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although some have fathered it upon them, and have pretended to gather it from the plural termination of a Hebrew word, Elohim, indifferently applied to God and man, and from the Chaldee Targums,* or paraphrases of the Old Testament, which yet do countenance no such doctrine.
• Chaldee Targums. Dr. Allix, in his Judgment of the Artcient Jewish Church, labours much to make this ancient "Jewish church Trinitarian. But all the Jews of later times cry out against such an imputation upon them and their ancestors, and uniquestionably the Trinity is one of those doctrines that prejudice them most against Christianity. I make no doubt but this gross error and misapprehension has arisen from Christians, like Dr. Allix, going to the reading of the Chaldee and Hebrew writings, full of their own Trinitarian ideas, and fixing them upon words which the writers never intended to convey any thing of the kind. Our Prideaux, and Louis Capellus, have so well explained this matter, and set aside these fancies, that the reader will thank me for producing them: “With much better reason (says the former) does the same Frenchman (Father Simon) disapprove of the use of the Targums for the proof of the Aoyos, or Word, in that sense in which we find it expressed in the first chapter of the gospel of St. John. For through all those Targums, in a great number of places where mention is made of God in the original Hebrew, it being rendered the word of God in the Chaldee interpretation, hence the Chaldee Mimra, which in that phrase signifieth the Word, hath been thought to correspond with the Greek Aéyos in that gospel, and both exactly to denote the same thing. And therefore several learned men have endeavoured to explain the one by the other, and from hence to prove the divinity of our Saviour. But others, as well as Mons. Simon,
The people of God have in all times asserted the divine Unity in the strongest terms. One of
being sensible of this phrase in the Chaldee being an idiom of that language which may be otherwise, explained, they are against pressing any argument from it for this point, because it is capable of an answer to which we cannot well reply :" [i. e. I presume, it would prove, that the Word in the beginning of John's gospel is wrongly applied to Christ, and is nothing but a description, in the Hebrew way, of God himself, which seems the true interpretation, though Prideaux and many others have been unwilling to admit it).Prideaux's Connection, &c. Vol. IV. pp. 749, 750.
Capellus says, “ Although I will not directly condemn the conjecture, I think it not sufficiently solid against an obstinate Jew. For it is certain the Chaldee paraphrase contipually uses the term, Mimra, Word, for the reciprocal pronoun himself. Continual examples occur of this
of speaking. And, therefore, the Word of the Lord, Mimra Dei, can signify no more, according to them, than the Lord himself."--Lud. Capelli Op. p. 76.
A few instances out of a thousand that are produced by Alix, and Bp. Kidder, in his demonstration of the Messiah, will explain and confirm this interpretation.
« Gen. i. 27: Instead of God created man, it is in the Jerusalem Targum, the word (Mimra) of the Lord created man, i. ę. (uot the word Logos, a distinct being but) the Lord himself created man.
“Gen, ix. 12: • And God said, this is a token of the covenant which I make between me and you.' Onkelos paraphrases-between ṁy word (my Mimra, and you, i. e. myself and you.
• Exod. xx. 24: • For I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee.' The Jerusalem Targum has it, my word (my Mimra) shall appear to you and bless you, i. e. I myself.
the articles of their creed is, “ Credo perfecta fide, quod Deus Creator unus sit; quodque unitas talis qualis in eo est, in alio nemine reperiatur;" i. e. I believe with an entire faith, that God, the Creator, is one person, and that the unity or oneness which is in him is not in any other.
Buxtorf, who gives us this article of their faith, p. 3, in his account of their daily devotions, informs us-" They then go on to sing : ' And God shall be king over all the earth: In that day there shall be One God, and his name One,' (Zachariah xiv. 9,) in like manner as it is written in thy law, 'Hear, O 'Israel, God our God is one God. This (continueth he) is so drawn up by them in opposition to the belief of Christians, as though we adored more Gods than one, or gave him more names than one, viz. that of Christ.”*
« Psalm cx. 1 : · The Lord said unto my Lord.' The Chaldee paraphrast renders it, The Lord said by his word, his Mimra, i. e. by himself. Which sheweth he did not rightly understand the words, as prophetically addressed to the Messiah, according to our Saviour's own interpretation of it, Matt. xxii. 44 ; but thought it a strong asseveration made by God himself." Kidder's Demonstration of the Messiah, Part iii. p. 108.
* Buxtorf. Synagoga Judaica, p. 165.
Athanasius writing against the Arians, owns that, on account of the doctrine of the Trinity, the Heathens of that time charged Christians with holding many Gods theme selves. Well then might the Jews so think of that doctrine, which he and others had framed.
Our Lord Jesus Christ himself uniformly and invariably taught this Jewish doctrine of the divine Unity. One is surprised how any could bring themselves to think he taught any other.
Language the most decisive is used by him to denote the singleness and unity of the object or person-1, Thou, He, Him; words, which in every other instance we appropriate to one single person; and which, without confounding all language, are incapable of being applied to more than one.
Matt. xxii. 37, 38, he inculcates that first and great commandment of the law, referring no doubt to Deat. vi. 4, 5, “ Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all - thy mind.” And supreme affection cannot belong to two or more persons. We can but love One with all our heart.
Christ never referred the Jews to any other than the Lord God of their fathers, whose words he quotes to them, Matt. xxii. 32, I am the God of Abraham, &c.-Nor any other Creator than he, that One, whom Moses declared, Matt. xix. 4, He which made them at the beginning, made them male and female: and Mark x. 6, From the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
And Matt. iv. 10, he in the most decisive terms declares the Lord God to be One person,
and singly, exclusive of all others, to be the sole object of worship; “ Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve."
His disciples after him speak the same language.
St. Paul declares to the Athenians,“ Whom ye ignorantly worship, kim declare I unto you; God that made the world-he is Lord of heaven and earth; and now commandeth all men every where to repent; because he hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world by the man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” Acts xvii. 23, &c.
See also the joint prayer of the apostles, Acts iv. 24.
No Plurality of Persons in God.
It is related of Father Paul, that he was once denounced to the office of the holy inquisition, for maintaining that no proof of the doctrine of the holy Trinity could be drawn from the first chapter of Genesis; and that not being intimidated by the accusation, so as to retract his opinion, but persisting in it, and making his appeal to the inquisitor-general at Rome, he was acquitted.* What was not found to be heresy
Vita del Padre Paolo, p. 28.