« AnteriorContinuar »
When the excellences of this production, the high tone of its piety, the purity of its morality, and the utility of its precepts, are duly considered, it can surely be no part of superior wisdom to undervalue its sacred contents. But it is not only entitled to our regard as a code of moral axioms, and as a system of practical morality; it demands a reverent examination on account of the evidence it bears to a tenet of transcendent importance. Though it seems to have been the leading object of the Author to inculcate the rules of duty and the precepts of wisdom, in one passage, at least, he touches upon a point of doctrine, and teaches, in strong and emphatic language, the Generation and Eternity of the Son of God.
Theologians of eminence, it must be acknowledged, have asserted, that the mystery of the Trinity is not discoverable in the sacred Oracles of the Jews :* but the inspired writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews was of a different opinion, for he adduces certain parts of the Old Testament in proof of the Preeminence and Divinity of Christ. According to St. Matthew, the Divinity of our Lord is declared in
. Doederlein, Institutio Theol. Christ. vol. i. p. 379.
the prophecy of Isaiah, that “a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”* Our Saviour himself appeals to the 110th Psalm in attestation of his superior nature; and he asserts generally, that there are things “ written in the Law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms concerning him ;” among which his essential Deity, we may reasonably suppose, is included.+ The ancient Jewish church collected from the Hebrew Scriptures a notion of a Trinity of Persons in the Divine Essence, as has been demonstrated by the very learned Dr. Allix. $ The primitive Fathers, likewise, universally appeal to the Old Testament in confirmation of the Divinity of the Son and Holy Ghost. It cannot, therefore, be safe to deny, in opposition to the concurring voice of the ancient Rabbins and Christian Doctors, supported by the infallible authority of the New Testament, that traces are to be found of a Triune God in the Hebrew Scriptures.
* Isaiah, vii. 14; Matt. i. 23. Also compare Isaiah, vi. 1, with John, xii. 41.
+ Luke, xxiv. 44. Compare Jolin, v. 39. See Matt, xxii. 44.
# Judgment of the Ancient Jewish Church, &c. See also Witsii Judæus Christianizans.
Ś Bishop Burnet says: “ Though the expositions of some of them (i. e. passages of the 0. T.) in the New Testament prove to us, who
The doctrine of the Trinity, it is true, is delivered in the Old Testament with some degree of obscurity; it is oftener to be inferred from the sacred text, than expressly declared in it; the full revelation of this important truth being reserved for the divine heralds of Christianity. Yet it was declared, in all probability, with as much clearness and perspicuity as was consistent with the chief design of the Mosaic Covenant, and with the character of the Israelites. While it was one grand object of the Jewish religion to inculcate the Unity of the Deity, a more express declaration of a Trinity of Persons in the Divine Essence might have interfered with that object; and, considering the proneness of the Jews to relapse into idolatry, in imitation of the surrounding nations, particularly of the Egyptians among whom they had long sojourned, might have given occasion to polytheism and idolatrous worship. It was agreeable, therefore, to Divine Wisdom to involve the doctrine of the Trinity in some degree of obscurity, during
acknowledge it, what was the true meaning of those passages; yet take the Old Testament in itself without the New, and it must be confessed, that it will not be easy to prove this article (i. e, the Trinity) from it.” -(Expos, of the Thirty-nine Art. p. 37, fol. See also Bishop Kidder's Demonst. of the Messias, part 3, p. 81.) This may be granted; yet the Trinity is, to a certain extent, revealed in the Old Testament; otherwise how did the ancient Jews come by their notions of a Plurality in the Godhead?
the continuance of a dispensation designed to preserve the chosen people from idolatry, and to promulgate the Unity of the Godhead. *
Still the Old Testament does contain many intimations of a Plurality in the Divine Nature, which, when viewed by the light of Christianity, have a clearness and force beyond what they ever could have had upon the mind of the pious Israelite. Without enlarging upon this subject, which would require a volume in order to its full discussion, I cannot omit briefly noticing some of the arguments for a Plurality afforded by the Scriptures of the Old Testament.
1. God is denominated by terms of a plural form, which implies a Plurality of Persons in the Godhead. Thus, the word Elohim, God, is plural; (Gen. i. 1;) “ Let us make man after our image;” (Gen. i. 26 ;) “ Adam is become as one of us;" (Gen. iii. 22;) and
many similar expressions certainly denote a Plurality. And they are still more remarkable by occurring in the very beginning of a book, one chief design of which was, to inculcate the Unity of the Godhead. It is impossible to conceive, that Moses would have used such language, in such a place, had it not been intended to imply, that a Plurality did actually exist in the Unity of the Divine Nature.*
2. There is a person in the Old Testament sometimes called “ an Angel,” and sometimes “ Jehovah;" (Gen. xvi. 7, 13, xviii, 1, et seq. xxii. 15, 16, xxxi. 11, 13, xlviii. 15, 16; Exod. iii. 2, 4, 6, 15, xiii. 21, compared with xiv. 19, and other places;) but God the Father cannot be called an angel, for this appellation implies a ministerial office ; but ministration is never ascribed to the Father in the Scriptures, and is incompatible with that priority of order which belongs to him; yet this Person, sometimes called an Angel, was God; because in him was the incommunicable name of Jehovah, and he was obeyed and worshipped as the Jehovah of Israel : it is concluded, then, that it must have been the Son of God.
* See the note to Prov. ch. ix. 10.