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Trinitarians have often enough given notice, that the term persons, as understood when applied to men, fails of fully answering to the Three in the Godhead. That the term is adopted, because they can find no better. But that they do not suppose the Three Persons in the Godhead to be so perfectly distinct from each other, as are different persons among men. That in some important sense they are distinct from each other; while yet they are really one. May this ever be remembered, when the term persons is applied to the Three in the Godhead.
The Bible throughout does teach, that there is something in the mode of the divine existence, which lays a foundation for the one God io speak of himself as I, thou, and he. These Three bave different names, like three persons ; while equal works, names, and honors of pure Divinity are abundantly ascribed to each. This fact appears upon the face of the Bible, of the Old and New Testaments. If it appeared in but one, or even several solitary passages, it might possibly be said to be a figurative speech; and the Trinitarian sentiment might fail of support. But the sentiment is found throughout the sacred book.
The passages which indicate a plurality in the Godhead, where the number three is not noted, I shall adduce as fully in point to prove the doctrine of the Trinity. We find a plurality in God in the beginning of Genesis. We find the same in the last chapter of the Revelation. And we find it all the way through the sacred volume. The whole economy of grace is represented as resting in the hands of these three Persons, in mutual concert; one covenanting with the other; and each having his stipulated part in the vast design of man's salYation. These different Persons speak to, and of
each other, as of different Persons ; ascribing to themselves, and to each other, the names and works of God. And yet they often assert, or teach, that there is but one God.” 6 The Lord thy God is one God." “ Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” “ Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” Here is perfect Unity in the Three.
I shall now adduce some arguments in favor of this plurality in the Godhead, and of the doctrine of the Trinity. The word Aleim, or Elohim, in Hebrew, translated God, is in the plural. “ In the beginning Gods created the heavens and the earth." And notwithstanding all that Jews, Arians, Soci. nians, and infidels say to the contrary, I am far from being convinced, that this plurality in the name of God, does not indicate a plurality of Persons in the Godhead.. Jewish converts (having given up their enmity against the Divinity of Jesus of Nazareth) have viewed this plural word a forcible argument in favor of the doctrine of the Trinity. John Xerese, a Jewish convert in Britain, wrote an excellent address to his countrymen, upon this subject. And in his first argument in favor of the Trinity, he says ; " Why else is the frequent mention of God, by names of the plural number? as Gen. i. 1, where the word Elohim, which is rendered God, is of the plural number, though annexed to a verb of the singular number ; which demonstrates, as far as may be, that there are several Persons partaking of the same divine na. ture, or essence."* It is a fact that we find much which enforces the same idea of this conyerted Jew ; as in the following scriptures – And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our, likeness.” “ The man is become as one of us, to.
* Con. Mag. vol. III. pag. 24.
know good and evil.” Pass on, to different parts of the Bible, you abundantly find the same. « Let us go down, and confound their language." " And the Lord God said, “ Whom shall I send, and who will go for us ?” What a changing of persons is here found from 1, to us! as the beginning of Genesis; “Let us make man." “ I have given you every berb.” The singular and the plural are thus used interchangeably. There is Unity, as well as Trinity, and Trinity, as well as Unity, in God. This appears, in that verbs, pronouns, and relatives, united to plural nouns of the name of God, are found in the singular number. On the contrary, verbs and adjectives relating to God are often found in the plural. As Gen, xx. 13; “ And it came to pass when God caused me to wander from my father's house." In the Hebrew the verb rendered caused, is in the plural. When God they caused me to wander.* And such instances are declared by ancient critical writers to relate to the mysterious Trinity. Gen. xxv. 7,“ Because there God appeared unto him ;" the word rendered appeared, in the original is plural ;-God they appeared, or were revealed. 2 Sam. vii. 23; “ Israel, whom God went to redeem.” The verb here rendered went in the original is in the plural ; God they went to redeem. Deut. iv. 7; “ What nation is there so great, that hath God so nigh unto them ?" The adjective here rendered nigh, is plural in the Hebrew. God, who are so near. Josh. xxiv. 19; " He is a holy God.” In the Hebrew, the word rendered holy is plural. He is a God, who are holy; or holy oneș.' Psalm lvji. 11; “ Verily be is a God that judgeth in the earth.” In the Hebrew the word rendered judgeth is plural...A God who are judging in the earth.
* See Jones, page 87.
Mal. i. 6; “ If I be a Master, where is my fear." In the Hebrew it is, “ If I be Masters-,' Isai. liv. á; “ For thy Maker is thine husband." In the Hebrew both are plural ; Makers, and husbands. . The Hebrew word for Maker, in Isai. li. 13, is used in the singular; “ And forgetest the Lord thy Maker." Thus sometimes God is our Maker, and sometimes our Makers. Eccle. xii. 1 ; “Remember now thy Creator-," In the Hebrew it is plural, Creators. Adjectives denoting some divine attribute, and standing for the name of God, are often found in the plural. Prov. ix. 10; “ The knowledge of the Holy, is understanding. The word Holy here is plural in the Hebrew ;-the Holy Ones. The same occurs in Prov. xxx, 3 ; 6 I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the Holy.” Hebrew, Holy. Ones. In Eccle. v. 3, where God is called Higher than they ; (oppressors) the word rendered Higher is in the plural
In Dan. iv. relative to Nebuchadnezzar's great tree, God is repeatedly spoken of in the plural. • This matter is by the decree of the Watchers, and the demand by the word of the Holy Ones." 66 They commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots." In chapter v. 18, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar a kingdom and glory. And in verse 20,“ They took his glory from him;" they, i. e. the Most High God; or the Persons in the Godhead. . This plurality in God, accounts for that often and abundant changing of persons, in the same sentence, relative to God, which we find through the Old Testament; like the following; “ When the Lord hath performed his whole work upon Mount Zion, I (not he) will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria." Here are the third and first persons, in the same sentence, relative to God. “I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts in the day of his (not my) tierce anger." "I will drive thee from thy station, and from thy state shall he (not I) pull thee down." “ Neither hath the eye seen, o God, beside thee, what he (not thou) hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.” Such instances are numerous. And they perfectly accord with a plurality of Persons in God: but would be unaccountable upon any other principle.
It is said by a great writer, that God is spoken of, in the plural number, more than an hundred times, in the Bible. This most clearly favors the doctrine of the Trinity. And pronouns, relatives and verbs being in the singular number, when connected with these plural nouns, forcibly teaches the unity of the Trinity; that while they are personally Three, they are essentially One. :
It by no means follows, that if there be Three in one God, the neuter pronoun it may be applied to God; because it is applied to a human triumvirate, or a council. Some have imagined, that because we say of a council, When will it sit ? or when will it rise ? So if God consist of a Trinity of Persons, the same language must be able equally to apply to him ; as, It is omniscient; i. e. God is omniscient. And because this neuter pronoun does not apply to God, as it does to a council; therefore God cannot consist of different Persons. But this deduction is incorrect. For the members of a council of three, are not one in the sense in which the Three in the Godhead are one. Neither are the Persons of the Godhead three, in that full sense, in which the members of such a council are independently three. Such reasoning