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and making no unnecessary enlargement, it cunningly overthrows the whole mystery of the Trinity, whereof the perfect and explicit belief is an indispensable condition of salvation. So that this whole doctrine, (namely, the Apostles' Creed) can hardly be looked upon as any other than a cheat, because it maketh no mention of the Divinity of the Son or Holy Ghost, or their eternity, but even insinuates the contrary concerning the Son in the third article, viz. who was conceived of the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary."
It must be confessed, that these Jesuits had some reason in their wrath ; for nothing could more expressly condemn their doctrine of the Divine undivided Trinity than this creed of the apostles; and hardly shall you meet with two greater opposites, than this creed and that which goes under the name of Athanasius.
1 Cor. xii. 4-6: “ Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God that worketh all in all.”
There seems nothing on the face of this passage of Scripture, or on a comparison of it with any thing elsewhere spoken of the Son or Holy Spirit, to lead us to infer from it the doctrine of a Trinity in Unity, or the equality of any other being or person to God. It is, on the contrary, an express assertion of his prime over-ruling agency, and of his effecting all things in the Christian dispensation by the ministry of his Son and Holy Spirit.
The apostle's design, in this place, is to promote humility and peace; to prevent the Christians at Corinth from being elated on account of their own, or envious of the spiritual gifts of others. For the miraculous power of itself, made no moral change in the man on whom it was conferred. Without care and self-government, his dispositions might even be changed for the worse, by these extraordinary, as often happens with the ordinary blessings of Povidence; and though made instrumental thereby to promote the salvation of others, he might forfeit his own.
He tells them then, 1. That there were different gifts of tongues, healing, &c. imparted to different persons ; all of them equally good, because all proceeding from the same Spirit or influence of God, but the variety of them was bestowed for public utility, and not to generate strife and pride.
2. That there were different statiớns and offices in the church, the Christian Society ; viz. the people, and their ministers, the deacons and elders; but all were the appointment of the same Lord Jesus Christ, and in subjection to him. And,
3. There were different švegyquata inspirations, degrees of inspiration : but all these extraordinary vouchsafements proceeded from, and were directed by the sovereign wisdom and power of God, who taught men by his Son, and bestowed these gifts on then by his Holy Spirit.
Clement, whom St. Paul so highly commends, Philip. iv. 3, seems to have had this very passage in his eye in his letter to these same Corinthians; “ Have we not (says he) one God, one Christ ?” Is not one spirit of grace poured out upon us all ?
Wake's Apostolical Fathers, p. 63.
The following is Athanasius's comment upon it, for which lam obliged to Dr. Clarke: “In the distribution of gifts, as the apostle writeth to the Corinthians, it is the same Spirit, it is the same Lord, it is the same God, which worketh all in all. For the Father himself, through the Word, by the Spirit, worketh and giveth all things ;" i. e. as Dr. Clarke subjoins a little lower, "In plainer words, the meaning is, God does all things by his Son, and by his Spirit.”—Scr. Doct. p. 227.
2 Corinth, xiii. 14: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all."
The Holy Ghost here signifies, either, 1, a divine person, a distinct intelligent agent, as some understand it: or, 2, the gift of the Holy Ghost, Acts ii. 38, which Peter tells the Jews would be given them on their repenting and being baptized; viz, the miraculous powers then ordinarily
conferred on believers : or it may signify any benefit or assistance which God bestows in answer to our prayers. Compare Matt. vii. 11, with Luke xi. 13.
And the apostle bids farewell to his Corinthian brethren, by wishing them all the blessings of the gospel, viz, the grace of Christ, the love of God which is the source of all, (John iii. 16,) and the gifts and assistances of the Holy Spirit. In short, it is a summary of the gospel method of salvation, much like the baptismal form (Matt. xxviii. 19,) above discussed, and can no more than that be brought to prove the doctrine of a Trinity in Unity, unless it be such a Trinity as this, namely, “ that the One God and Father of all governs and manages the world of Christians by the instrumentality of his Son and Spirit.
These are the principal texts of the New Testament which are brought to establish the doctrine of a Trinity in Unity, of there being three persons, as they speak, in the Godhead, equal in power, severally God, and yet but One God; and upon which, many parts of our liturgy, and particularly the invocations at the entrance of the litany, and the Gloria Patri, &c. are founded; a weak foundation, as hath been shewn, for such a building
With regard to the last-named doxology, I was much disappointed, and few will be satisfied with what the late Archbishop Secker argues in
its behalf, and in defence of the exceeding frequent repetition of it in our church service.
“ At the end of this and each psalm (says he) that we repeat, of whatever nature it be, we add the same doxology that we used at first: i. e. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost: As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end: glory being due to God, for every thing he hath taught, and every thing he hath done, both in former times and present; and for every affliction as well as for every enjoyment. And therefore we do well to observe the apostle's rule of “giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Eph. v. 20.
Surely this was an unlucky oversight, to produce a text which, although enjoining thanks to be given always for all things, yet tacitly. condemns the practice of giving thanks to three persons and ordereth thanks to be given unto God even the Father only, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Concerning this doxology, Dr. Lardner thus remarks: “Doubtless this is said by many very frequently, and with great devotion. But can it be said truly ? Does not that deserve consideration? Is there any such doxology in the New Testament? If not, how can it be said to have been in the beginning? Are not the books of the
* Abp. Secker's posthumous Works, Vol. VI. p. 188