« AnteriorContinuar »
For the sake of greater order and distinctness, wo proposed to arrange the passages of scripture, by which our first proposition is supported, into three classes, viz.'
First, those which assert the unity of God, or God's being one person, without limiting this unity to any par. ticular object.
Secondly, those which absolutely restrict and appropriate this unity, or one Godhead, to the Father, and to him only. ,
Thirdly, those which ascribe such high titles and sublime epithets to the Father; as render it impossible to suppose that any being in heaven or in earth, can be equal to him, or compared with him.
The first of these divisions of our first proposition, we discussed in our first discourse on this subject : and as the second and third, have a great affinity to, and a close connection with one another, we proposed in our second discourse, to put them into one in the following manner; viz, To consider those passages of scripture which ascribe such high titles and sublime epithets to the Father; or so absolutely restrict and appropriate this unity, or one Godhead, to him, as, render it impossible to suppose that any being in heaven or in earth, can be equal to him, or compared with him.
In proof of this proposition, we quoted in our second discourse a great many passages of the New Testament, all of them direct and apposite to our purpose.
We in. sisted more particularly : upon the apostolical benedictions and salutations : upon our Lord's calling his Father, Lord of heaven and earth, and acquiescing with entire subu mission in his providential dispensations : upon the discourse of our Lord with the woman of Samaria, and his in forming ber that the true worshippers should worship the Father, in spirit and in truth; and that the Father - sought such to worship him ;' upon the practice of Christ, who always prayed to the Father himself and commanded his followers to do so also; upon that celebrated
passage in i Cor. viii. 4, 5, 6. .. There is none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven, or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many.) - But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him: and one' Lord
Jesus Christ by whom are all things and we by him.' These passages we considered at large, and pointed out their genuine force and efficacy ; and how strongly con. clusive they were in favour of our doctrine.
We have yet some places of a like nature to examine and illustrate. Eph. i. 15. to the end. (Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and -love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers ; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation, in the knowledge of him : the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us. ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power ; which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.'
This passage is exceedingly sublime, and I have recited it at large that its connection may be the better understood. Here, we have the God and Father of all, characterised by the Apostle as the Father of glory; and the God of our Lord Jesus Christ; not only his Father, but his God; his superior on whom he depends ; and from whom hé receives all his power and glory. He is represented as the person, who, by the operation of his boundless and irresistible power, raised our Lord Jesus Christ from the
and set him at his own right hand in the hcavenly places; and constituted him head over all things to his church. Hardly any thing stronger can be alledged, for the absolute supremacy and authority of the Father ; and the entire subordination, and inferiority of our Lord Jesus Christ to him.
But we go on to take notice of another passage in the same Epistle. Eph. iv. 4, 5, 6. There is one body, and one spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your
calling one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and
all.' This passage is striking and emphatical to the last degree. First the Apostle affirms, there is one body, and then one spirit by which that one body is animated : one hope, or glorious expectation of an heavenly inheri. tance set before all Christians : one Lord, by which he undoubtedly means our Lord Jesus Christ, whom God the Father hath made both Lord and Christ : and who is, therefore, ever to be acknowledged and reverenced as Lord, to the glory of God the Father.' One faith, or standard of belief and doctrine, which all Christians, who value the honour and purity of their religion, ought solemnly to profess and steadily to adhere to. One baptism, or clean. sing and washing with water, betokening a renunciation of all moral pollution and defilement; and that purity of heart and life which Christians ought ever to maintain and observé : and then to crown the whole he adds, One God, and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. Or in other words, that there is one supreme intelligent agent, or person, called the Father, who is absolutely unequalled in power, dignity, and glory, and who supports, pervades, and fills, the whole system of universal nature. A description of God, equally devout, rational, and philosophical : but at the same time diametrically opposite to the notion, of three persons, or intelligent agents, forming one supreme God. head. For if that system had any foundation in the nature of things, or in divine revelation, the Apostle's description of the one God would be very lame and defective, by leaving out two persons to whom the Godhead belonged as well as the Father. Neither could it be justly affirmed that the Father was above all, if there were two persons of the same substance, power, and eternity with him. In this case, the Apostle ought to have made use of very dif. ferent language, and 'undoubtedly would have done so, if there had been any truth in this opinion. I apprehend he would have expressed himself in this manner, or similar to it. There is one Spirit, one Lord, and one Father, and these three are one God, and are above all, through all, and in you all. No Unitarian, were he to express his own
belief, could chuse better terms than our Apostle has done to his hand, and already supplied him with : and on the other hand, there is no Trinitarian were he to give a defi. pition of his faith; but would use terms and expressions quite different from those of the Apostle. This clearly discovers, that the opinions of the former, (viz. the Unita. rians,) are perfectly, harmonious with, and correspondent to, those of this eminent teacher of pure, and undefiled relis gion, and that the notions, of the latter (viz. the Trinita, rians) are altogether inconsistent with his meaning and ideas,
For my part, I look upon this short summary of Chris. tian doctrine which St. Paul has here exhibited, to be one of the best creeds, and confessions of Faith that I ever perused, in my life, and far superior to many of those, which human folly and presumption have substituted in its room. In vain do the Trinitarians attempt by sophistical arts, to explain away the natural and obvious sense of this place of sacred scripture': and to mould and shape the Apostle's words into a consistency, with their own absurd and metaphysical schemes. The Apostle by first mention. ing the one spirit, and the one Lord, and inserting other things between, has absolutely prevented this perversion of his meaning. As well may they, affirm that the one body, one hope, one faith, and one baptism, are persons in the Godhead, and then we shall have seven persons instead of three) as affirm, that the one spirit, or one Lord, are so. The one spirit, and one Lord, are clearly_distinguished and discriminated from the one God and Father of all, who is above all, and therefore : (as before observedy) can have no equal or associate in the government of the world.
There are a vast number of passages of scripture, in which though the word God occurs without the paternal character being annexed to it; yet it is absolutely necessary to understand them of God the Father, such as the fol. lowing Rom. xvi. 27. "To God only wise be glory through Christ Jesus,' &c. 1 Tim. ü. 5. For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and Men, the Man Christ Jesus.' Luke 1. 32. • The Lord God shall give unto him (viz. Christ) the throne of his Father David.' Luke ii. 52, 6 And Jesus increased in wisdom
and stature, and in favour with God and man.' John iii. 16. God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,'&c. John iii. 34. . He whom God hath sent, speaketh the words of God, for God giveth not the spirit by measure unto him.' Acts iv. 24. to 30. And when they heard that they lift up their voice with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and carth, and the sea, and all that in them is :' &c. Acts, X. 38. God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power ; who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the Devil; for God was with him.' Acts xvii. 30, 31.
"God hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained : whereof he hath given assurance unto all men in that he hath raised him from the dead.' Rom. ii. 16.
• In that day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my Gospel.' Rom. vi. 23. gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.' i Cor. xii. 4, 5, 0. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diver. sities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.'
In all these, and many other passages of scripture, al. though the word Father be not expressed, it is most certainly implied. For, the word God, and Father, in the New Testament (excepting in a few passages wherein the word God, may be used in an inferior acceptation,) are erer convertible terms. Nor can the Trinitarians produce. a single instance, wherein the word God signifies more persons than one.
From this consideration it is apparent and obvious, that the doctrine of a co-equal and consubstantial Trinity in unity, has no foundation in the New Testament. If the inspired writers had intended to have inculo cated such a doctrine upon us, they would have made use of clear and positive expressions, sufficient to have ascer. tained their meaning to the lowest capacity.
But so far are the Evangelists and Apostles from teaching such a doctrine, that neither the words Trinity in upity, nor any term equivalent to them, occur in the whole compass of their writings : but on the contrary,