Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]


again one substance with three persons, the fountain, the stream, and the water.'

This mode of illustrating the mystery of the Trinity, however, was familiar long before the Coune'il of Nice ; forin Tertullian's treatise against Praxeas (p. 504,) more than a century earlier, we find this language, (d) ' God produced the Word, as the root produces the tree, and the fountain the stream, and the sun,the ray.' And again a little further on:

(e) 'The third is the Spirit from God and the Son, as the third from the root, the fruit from the tree. And the third from the fountain, the brook from the stream. And the third from the sun, the point from the ray.' And again, (p. 507. D.) he uses the same kind of illustration with regard to another part of his argument, (f) 'For,' says he, 'when I speak of the ray of the sun separately, I shall call it the sun; but in speaking of the sun from which the ray proceeds, I shall not call the ray immediately the sun. Yet although I shall not make two suns, nevertheless the sun and his ray are two things, and I shall count them as two species of one undivided substance, as God and his Word, as the Father and the Son.' And again, when proving to Praxeas that notwithstanding the Son was one with the Father, since the Divine essence was one and

ntjytjv 7} rov norauov, 'aV.' vdato, xat ftta fttv tf tpvatg, Rqtu dt nQvaama fojCZteC, nljytj, norauog, vdooQ.

(d) "Protulit enim Deus sermonem, quem admodum etiam Paracletus docet, sicut radix fruticem, et fons fluvium, et sol radium."

(e) "Tertius enim est Spiritus a Deo et filio, sicut tertius a radico fructus ex frutice. Et tertius a fonte, rivus ex flumine. Et tertius a sole, apex ex radio."

(f) " Nam et radium solis seorsum solem vocabo; solem autem nominans cujus est radius, non statim et radium solem appellabo. Nam etsi soles duos non faciam, tamen et solem et radtum ejus tam duasres, et duas species unius indivisae substantiae numerabo, quam Deum etcermonem ejus, quam patrem et filium."'

indivisible, nevertheless the Son alone suffered, and not the Father with him, he uses this illustration, (p. 518. B.) (g)' For if any foulness contaminates a stream, although that stream flows in one substance from the fountain, and cannot be separated from the fountain, yet the foulness of the stream does not belong to the fountain. And although it is the water of the fountain which suffers in the stream, so . long as it suffers not in the fountain but in the stream, it is plain that the fountain does not suffer, but the stream which is from the fountain.'

The philosophical correctness of the illustrations given in the discourse itself (vid p. 20.) from the sun in the firmament, and the metaphysical strictness of analogy afforded by the trinity in human nature, or by that in the mind of man, may doubtless be thought open to criticism, by many of our readers. We would observe, however, that our object required the use of popular terms in their popular acceptation: nor could we, with any propriety, have regarded the artificial distinctions of science in an argument which was intended merely to furnish a plain and simple reply to a very common cavil. Besides which, we must frankly acknowledge—so far as. metaphysical objections may be concerned,—that we take but small account of them in questions of theology. The science of mental philosophy was never in a more unsettled state than it is i at the present moment; and he that would attempt to do full justice to the many guides who have professed a familiar knowledge of that mysterious labyrinth, the microcosm of man, must possess a strength of intellect and of

(g) "Nam et fluvius si aliqua turbulentia contaminatur, quamquam una substantia de fonte decurrat, nec secernatur & fonte, tamen fluvii injuria non pertinebit ad fontetn. Et licet aqua fontis sit quae patiatur in fluvio, dum non in fonte patitur, sed in fluvio; non fons patitur, sed fluvius qui ex fonte est."

purpose equal to any undertaking. Still we feel it incumbent on us to express our gratitude to those men who have endeavored to place metaphysics in her true rank as the . handmaid to Faith. Especially would we record our admiration of that original and extraordinary author, Coleridge, who, standing in the fore-front of literary and metaphysical distinction, has rendered his public homage to the sacred doctrine of the Trinity, and entered his solemn protest against the antagonist system: and we add our hearty thanks to the able and accomplished scholar who has introduced him so well to the knowledge and applause of the American public.

But to return from an undesigned digression, we shall close this section by one of the most beautiful illustrations of ancient theological literature, from the Nestorian, Mar Ebedjesu, translated from the Syriac of ' The Book of the Pearl,' &c. See Asseman. Biblioth. Oriental, torn. 3. p. 332. The subject is the union of the Divine with the human nature in the Redeemer, and the language is as follows, in a free English dress.

(h) 'He (i. e. the eternal Word) took man for his habitation, and made him his temple and his home, and united this participant of mortal nature with his Deity, in an eternal and indissoluble union, and constituted it his partner in rule and power and sovereignty. And truly the Divine nature illuminated the human nature by this union, as the fairest pearl of purity is illustrated by the light of the sun shining

(h) 'Proptereahominem in suum habitaculum assumpsit, ac templum et domicilium suum effecit, et cum divinitate sua mortalis nalurae participem univit unione sempiterna et indissolubili, stbique consortem constituit in dominatione et potestate ac regno. Nempe natura divina humanam naturam illuminavit per adhtesionem, sicut margarita optima et pura lumine solis sibi affulgento collustratur: aded ut illuminati natura natural illuniinantis fiat similisyindeque micantibus radiia et fulgori. into it, so that the nature of the illuminated becomes like the nature of the illuminator, and shines in rays of light; and yet the nature which effects this is in no respect changed by that nature on which it operates. And as the word conceived in the mind becomes united with visible writing, by intellectual consent, and is sent in this form from place to place, while yet it deserts not the mind which conceived it, so by the divine will, the Word was united to man for us, and came into the world, but in such wise that in his essence he never departed from the Father. The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.'

§ 2. On the Plurality of Persons in the Godhead intimated by the phraseology of the Old Testament.

It has been a very ancient notion amongst Christians, that the plural form of expression combined with the singular which occurs so frequently throughout the Old Testament in speaking of the words and actions of the Deity, was to be fully understood and properly justified only by the doctrine of the Trinity. We shall first cite a passage from Tertullian to this effect, and then examine, briefly, the grammatical slate of the question.

(i) * If,' says Tertullian to the heretic Praxeas, (p. 506. c.) 'the number of the Trinity still offends you, as if the Divine Persons were not connected in simple unity, I ask

bus speciem natura suscipiens praebeat, qualem natura effectrix, ut factor nullam mutationem ex factura patientis subeat. Et quemadmodum verbum intra animam conceptum scripturae sensibili unitur per intellectualem consensum, et ex uno loco in alteram mittitur, ut locum suum minimc deserat: ita verbum ex Patre homini ex nobis per intcl. lectum unitum fuit, atque in mundum venit, ita ut a Patre suo in "sua essentia minimc. recesserit. Verbum enim caro factum est, et habitavit in nobis.'

(i) 'Si te adhuc numerus scandalizat Trinitatis, quasi non connexae in imitate simplici, interrogo quomodo unicus et singularis pluraliter loqui

« AnteriorContinuar »