Imágenes de páginas

Let it not be inferred that this is a denial of spiritual gifts, or influences. God is a Spirit. He is omnipotent. He is everywhere; and can operate on his creatures, and effect his purposes, without the intervention of a supposed third person, or of any agents whatever.

I will now, in as few words as possible, state the grounds of my belief that there is but one only, self-existent, and true God, and that Jesus Christ is not that being. On this subject, I know not better to whom to resort for information, than to him who was commissioned of the Father to bear witness to the truth, and was of him taught what he should say and what he should speak.

In addressing his Father in prayer, Christ says, "This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." Trinitarians assert that the Godhead consists of three persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. But Christ here asserts, in language as plain and unequivocal as can be devised, that the Father is the only true God, saying nothing of the Holy Ghost, and expressly distinguishing the Father from himself. I know not how words can be more explicit. This Father he declares to be Lord of Heaven and earth; to be "his God" and." his Father ;" and addresses him as such. In his conversation with the Scribe he asserts, that "the Lord our God is one Lord ;* and approves of the Scribe's reply, who said, "There is one God, and there is none other but He.” Nowhere can I learn that Christ ever made any pretensions to be the self-existent God, or to be possessed of underived power. On the contrary, he repeatedly asserts, that of himself he could do nothing, and that the Father which dwelt in him did the works. Once was he charged with making himself equal with God, and once with making himself God, and in both instances he refuted the charge. The first time, because "he said that God was his Father." To this he immediately replied, "The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do." And directly after, "I can of mine own self do nothing." If at this time, he could, of his own self, either as God or man, have done

*Or, according to the translation of Campbell and others, "The. Lord is our God: The Lord is one."

[ocr errors]

any thing, can he be acquitted of the charge of guile? The second time, for saying, "I and my Father are one. From which declaration the Jews drew the inference, that "he made himself God." He however shews them, that by this declaration he only made himself the Son of God; and immediately proves to them, that by calling himself "the Son of God," he had assumed a lower title than God himself had given to their rulers. For He had called them Gods. "Jesus answered them, is it not written in your law, I said ye are Gods;" quoting the eighty second Psalm, in which God addresses the Jewish rulers. "If he called them Gods, (continued Jesus,) unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken, (or contradicted,) say ye of him whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, thou blasphemest, because I said I am (not God, but) the Son of God?" How can words be more intelligible than these? On another occasion he shews, to use the language of the learned Doctor Campbell, "the infinite disparity" between himself and the great God. When charged with casting out devils by Beelzebub he says, "Whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him." Where then is the supposed equality between the Father and Son? And why forgiveness in the one case and not in the other, if the dignity of both be equal?

In another instance, when addressed by the title "Good master," he immediately replies, "Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is God?". Does he not here plainly distinguish himself from the great fountain of original and underived goodness ?"*

My rule in the investigation of this subject has been, to construe passages of a doubtful import, by those which are plain and unequivocal, and to consider Christ's declarations of himself, to be of primary regard. I know that to the re

* So in the Revelation, (xv. 3, 4,) they who sing "the song of Moses. the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb," a song not in honour of Moses or the Lamb, but the Lord God Almighty, are represented, "saying great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name, for thou only art holy. For al! nations shall come and worship before thee."

peated declarations of Christ, of his limited power and knowledge, and of his dependence on the Father for aid, it is answered, that he had two natures, and that in these cases he spake of himself in the human nature. But, as neither Christ nor the apostles have given us any such intimations, and as it is, in my opinion, utterly impossible to reconcile such a supposition with the character of uprightness, and freedom from guile, uniformly attributed to Christ, I am bound to reject such supposition.

I will now attend to the words of the apostles. Paul says to the Corinthians, that "there is none other God but one," "though there be that are called Gods." "But to

us, there is but one God, the FATHER; and one Lord Jesus Christ." He says also to the Ephesians, that there is “ one Lord" and "one God and Father of all," and that the latter "is above all, and through all, and in all." He says also that the Father is "the God of Christ ;" that He is "the head of Christ." That "Christ is God's." That Christ, since the ascension, 66 liveth unto God;" and that he also "liveth by the power of God," which Christ also says of himself. He says also, that at the resurrection, Christ shall deliver up his kingdom to the Father, and that "the Son also himself shall be subject unto him, (the Father,) that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.' says also of God, in distinction from the "Lord Jesus Christ," that He is the "only Potentate," and that He "only hath immortality." Jude also plainly distinguishes between "the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ."*


These passages are all plain, intelligible to the smallest capacity, and about which there can be no dispute. But it is said, that notwithstanding all this, Paul has asserted that Christ is God, and equal with God the Father. Is it credible, that a man of intelligence, inspiration out of the question will assert things contradictory to each other? And if Paul has asserted Christ to be God, equal with the Father,

* Paul says also to the Romans, (i. 19, 20,) that "that which may be known of God," "even his eternal power and Godhead," are manifest from the works of creation. But who will pretend to say that these works shew the existence of God in three persons? And if they do not, he either does not so exist, or the declaration of the apostle cannot be true.

has he not contradicted himself? And has he not, by necessary implication, asserted that there are two Gods? Does not such equality necessarily imply plurality? But he has made no such assertions. The passages referred to are Rom. ix. 5; Phil. ii. 6; Heb. i. 8, 9. About the meaning of which, trinitarians have differed among themselves, as well as with others, and for no other reason but because the passages admit of different interpretations. And it ought not to be forgotten, that our translation was made by trinitarians. As to the passage in Romans, it is maintained that the words admit of this translation as well as that in our Bibles; "God who is over all, be blessed forever." As to the other two, and those in Colossians and Ephesians, which speak of Christ's creating all things, the context, in each passage, plainly shews inferiority, and derived power. That the creation there spoken of cannot be the material world and heavens, is evident, because it is again and again asserted, that of these the Father was the Creator. And the Father and the Son could not, each, have been the Creator of the same things. The creation therefore spoken of in these passages must be other than the material world, unless it be understood that it was the Father who was in the Son, who created all things; and to this interpretation I have no objections. It should also be remembered, that although Christ be called God, yet the Father is still called his God. But who is the God of the Father? No where is it said that the Father has a God.

It is said also of John, that notwithstanding he recorded the words of Christ, that the Father is the only true God, he has yet asserted that the Son is the true God. Can both propositions be true? Can the Father be the only true God, and the Son the true God? Can any two propositions be more contradictory? But the apostle has made no such contradiction. The latter passage is a beautiful illustration and confirmation of the first. John asserts that they knew that the Son of God had come; that he had given them an understanding, that they might know the true God; (the very thing which Christ said was necessary to eternal life;) that they were under the true God, by being under his Son Jesus Christ; and that this was the true God, and the eter

nal life which God had promised to them who knew him, evidently alluding to the words of Christ.*

The passages which speak of Christ as being the first begotten, the first born, the only begotten, the Son of God, the beginning of the creation of God, the image of God, the gift of God, made Lord and Christ, made like unto his brethren, exalted to be a prince and saviour, given to be head over all things to the church, possessing all fulness at the pleasure of the Father, appointed heir of all things, ordained the Judge of the world, made for a little while less than the angels, made better than the angels, given a name which is above every name, and even the name Christ, all shew derived existence and power; not less than those which speak of God, plainly distinguished from Christ, as the only Lord God, the only potentate, and who alone hath immortality.

It is said by John, that "he is antichrist that denieth the Father and the son; and that whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father." How it can be said that the Son is equal with the Father; that he is co-eternal with the Father, and self-existent; without denying both Father and Son, I cannot conceive. Nor can I conceive wherein the relationship of Father and Son, in any sense, can exist, or be supposed to exist, consistent with this hypothesis.— For my part, I dare not deny, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, nor maintain any proposition inconsistent with that truth.

Again, it is said that Christ is the God man, Mediator between God and men. But why mediate for that which himself can bestow? if he be omnipotent, capable of bestowing all blessings, and forgiving all sins, why mediate or intercede for the same forgiveness and the same blessings? Why direct us to pray the Father, in his name? And if he be very God, with whom is he mediating but himself? And can God mediate with himself? Is not equality of the Son with the Father, each being very God, incompatible with the office of mediator? and does not such supposition involve a gross absurdity? To me, most certainly. Neither are we warranted by the scriptures in believing that our mediator is of this character. On the contrary, we are expressly assured, in so many words, that the one mediator,

* See Macknight.

« AnteriorContinuar »