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misapprehension, or the misapplication, of adjunct. Thus, a short time prior to the æra of Dr Bull's writings, the celebrated patron of human • Intellect, Dr Cudworth, maintained • Three distinct spiritual substances' in Trinity, with reservation of supremacy, and of absolute Divine honour to the Father, who, according to him, is alone truly and properly God; the Son and Spirit being God only by the Father's concurrence with them, and by their subordination and subjection to him.
After Dr Cudworth, the great Dr Sherlock trod in the same path : Though he rejected Dr Cudworth’s conclusion, yet did he affirm, that there are • three infinite distinct minds' in Trinity. This he endeavoured to explain upon the principles of the Cartesian philosophy, which, at that period, was not wholly out of repute.
Against Dr Sherlock's opinion, which by many was looked upon as false, heretical, and impious, Dr South came forward, supported by a decree of the University of Oxford, condemning the opinion, as open Tritheism. To this Dr Sherlock replied; insomuch, that between these two eminent divines a metaphysical warfare commenced, of which the avowed Socinians, their contemporaries, did not fail to avail themselves, having the audacity to claim Bishop Bull, as no longer halting between two opinions, but as having passed over to their side of the controversy.
From this late instance, among many others, we may see what danger, as I have already observed, is to be apprehended from the application of any such adjunct, as mind, substance, &c. to the · Three' in Jehovah ; since this application may so easily be perverted to any sense, as different parties please. Yet, as it is scarcely possible to speak, or to write, with any degree of precision, on this subject, without using some definite adjunct or other, there appears to me none safer, or less objectionable, (when stripped of it metaphysical garb, in which Dr Clarke, and such as he, have artfully decked it out), than the English noun, · Person. In my idea, it corresponds with the Greek scriptural term, ' Aporw• Tov;' and still more pointedly expresses the sense of the Hebrew scriptural-term “D'UN,' used by the sacred historian, to denote • the Men' (as our translation has it) who appeared to Abraham, and who, in their relation to Jehovah, might have been, with as much propriety, denominated · Persons.' Still, however, I can discover neither authority, nor necessity, for the restrictive application, adopted so universally, of 'first,'second,' and 'third,' person. These are marks of distinction which I never make use of, as implying precedency, or post-cedency, terms, in my opinion, wholly inadmissible on this subject.
I am not ignorant of the jarring, with respect to the Greek words Yoice' and U7052015, and the Latin words substantia,' and ' persona,' which so long subsisted between the Eastern and Western churches; and which, in the latter part of his life, Athanasius was fortunate enough to remove.
If these, and other early differences, are traced to their proper source, they will be found to proceed, in a great measure, from the diffusive copiousness of the Greek language bearing away the expressive simplicity of the Hebrew. Had the use and application of the terms '958 77170° • JEHOVAH ALEIM, been understood and attended to; or, were they but understood and attended to, cven now, the door had been, and would be at this moment, shut against all the perplexing intricacies, with which, on the subject of the Holy Trinity, the church has been, and is still
, agitated. For, at this very hour, it is obvious to the theological student, and a matter of sincere regret to every sound divine, that there does exist a most wanton spirit of cavil, as to the English words which have been adopted, in expressing the church's sense of this doctrine; and an unhappy propensity towards the arbitrary introduction of cramp and uncouth language, in supporting what passes under the name of ORTHODOXY.' There is no candid adherer to the orthodor side, who does not readily acknowledge, that it had been better, if the language, to which I allude, had never been adopted. And this acknowledgement may suffice to show, that the scriptural representation, which it is so much the wish of my heart to see prevail, ought to be studied, and strictly adhered to, were it for no better reason than that the maze of confusion, in which even the learned orthodox have involved the subject, might be got rid of, and the TRUTH rendered as intelligible, as it is confessedly important.
IN opposition to the opinion, which I have ventured to express, on the deep and mysterious subject still before me, I foresee, that it will be contended, that no explanation whatever can be attempted, without being open to controversy ; in proof of which, I shall be told, that the very remedy, which I now propose, is no less objectionable than is the malady of which I complain. Not discouraged, however, by such a negative sort of opposition, and having myself, as I think, discovered the two most prominent objections to my plan, and under which every inferior objection may be held to be included, I shall now proceed to discuss these, with the hope of doing them completely away, before I bring this interesting branch of theological science to an end.
I. I shall be told, that even upon the plan, for the adoption of which I am so zealously contending, I must, and do acknowledge an inferiority, and subordination in TRINITY, since the two titles, on which I lay such stress, 1978, Adoni, made Lord, and 5x, Alue, made curse,' do, by my own explication, and use of them, convey
idea. This I am not only ready to admit; but even feel cause to rejoice in it, since thus it is, that He, who is my Lord, is become my propitiation. But should there, from this admission, be supposed to follow either a sound, or shadow of subordination, or of inferiority, it must be remembered, that I ascribe these not to 'nature' or 'essence, (where I am taught to believe there is an absolute and unrestricted coordination, and cquality), but to æconomy' and • office :' and, for this distinction, so important in itself, though so little attended to in most disquisitions on this subject, I am prepared to plead the very authority, which the most strenuous objector can possibly require, the authority of Scripture, and of the primitive Fathers.
To be sure, in the light in which Christianity is now-a-days represented, as simply a system of ethics, or collection of moral precepts, there is no shadow of this, or of any other distinction whatever, either seen, or thought worthy of being enquired after. But, in the higher light, in which the inspired writers represent it, as a “ MYSTERY, (notwithstanding the buffoonery of witticism, to