Imágenes de páginas

ibsistence alone, in which, Christ, as the Word or ungenerated ssence, had also been, and which the Spirit could not give up solutely but only relatively. And that he was a property of the n is very evident : since the power of Christ to lay down his e and take it again, which is ascribed to the Spirit, Rom. viii. ; 1 Pet. iii. 18; Heb. ix. 14, the Son expressly ascribes to nself, of which circumstance Bishop Heber has made a wonrful MYSTERY, in his Bampton Lectures, Lect. iv. p. 230, cording to the practice of that Babylonish class of divines, who, getting the simplicity as it is in Jesus, darken counsel with roing without common sense. No man toketh it from me, but lay it down of myself. I have power to luy it down, and have wer to take it again, Jobn x. 18. Why? Because the last lam was made a quickening spirit. 1 Cor. xv. 45. For the rd is that spirit : and wherever the spirit of the Lord is, there liberty and no mental slavery. But what is plainer than the rds, the Spirit of God,' the Spirit of Christ'? if the church at any time has possessed God in otber than his ral perfections, as instanceri in the tbird class of texts, we ist attribute ber possession of them to the Father and the Son, m whom the Spirit received them in addition to his own, acding to John xvi. 14, 15. The all things which the Spirit in church searched must have been very limited in number, since disciples who saw but in part are said to bave known these all ngs, wbich can mean nothing more than all the doctrines of ristianity. from the fourth class of texts, the Paraclete will appear to be no. ng more than a relative state, of God in the first and second subences, both being in one sense or other spirit, and both holy.

VII. The TRIFORM God, a title more conformable to the Word of d, simpler, and more correct, than the word TRINITY. id he had a name written, that no man knew but he himselt-and his name is called Nord of God. Rev. xix. 12, 13. (The genders are ambiguous in the original, Comp. Heb. 2, 13.) Che above text. indeed, is a severe satire upon the church : to

that after seventeen centuries of theological warfare, atter ocils of Nice and of Trent, and contessions of Augsburg, and irty-Nine Articles, and Long and Short Catechisms, Christ uld at last he exbibited to the world in bis true nature, only by Word of Goi itself. No one knew she Word of God but the ird of God itself !-But the objections of the orthodox to scriptural and not traditional faith may be summed up in the ds of Mr. Faber, and thus one answer may serve them all. o far as I can understand you,' says he, “ I can see no warrant your opinion in scripture : and there certainly is no evidence, [ it was the received doctrine of the primitive church as in. icted by the Apostles and their immediate successors. The jstles must have both written and orally taught the same em of doctrine. Had your doctrine been their doctrine, it uld have been the universally received doctrine of the early holic Church in all its branches. This, however, is so far o being the case, that no doctrine, save that which is called doctrine of the Trinity, viz. the existence of three consul,. tial persons in one Numen, appears in the primitive documents Christianity. I have read nearly all the Ante-Nicene Fathers from beginning to end, and every one of the earliest of them. I speak therefore from the testimony of my own eye-sight. The primitive church, which invariably professed to receive ber doc. trine from the Apostles themselves, held and taught no such opinion, as you in the nineteenth century, would deduce tron scripture. I believe I may say, that every litigated text between Trinitarians and Anti-trinitarians was interpreted by the primitive Christians precisely as Trinitarians still interpret sucb texts. The commencement of St. John's gospel is again and again interpreted by the early theologians : but they never give your exposition On the contrary, they invariably give that which is still receive by the Catholic Church. In the face of such evidence, whe proof have I, that your exposition is the true one? I do na perceive any proof save your own assertion, that you interpre aright: and I discern no reason why I sbould prefer your exps sition to that of Ireneus, who professcd to receive his doctrin from St. John through the single intervening link of his me ter Polycarp." Leaving out of the question that my doctrix, as Mr. Faber calls it, has been more clearly evolved since M Faber's letter to me, and that it is substantially the same widi that of the orthodox, only with less rhetoric in it, and more logia Mr. Faber has three, if not four, points against bim. Ist. H takes for granted that the Apostles explained all they knew abou the doctrines of Christianity, which is far from being clear There must be also heresies among you, that they which are o proved may be made manifest among you, says St. Paul, 1 Ca xi. 19, an obscurity being necessary in some things, as Los viij. 9, 10; 2 Cor. xii. 4; Rev. x. 4, evince, that seeing the might not see, and hearing they might not understand, . argument Warburton has employed in Book VI. of his Dini Legation.-Or, be takes for granted that the Apostles then selves accurately understood all that they wrote, which is a far from being clear, as Peter himself confesses, that in Paul epistles there are some things hard to be understood, 2 Pet. iii. 11 2ndly. He takes for granted that the oldest opinion is the 1 opinion, which is far from being clear, since the Apocalypse 1 presents the oldest Propbet or teacher to be a false Teacher, a the oldest church to be a false and mystical church, and that one knoweth the Word of God to the last, but the Word of G itself. 3dly. He takes for granted that what is true in one sel is true in another. An eternally begotten Son is trae Gigurative in as much as God calleth those things which be not, as thos they were, Rom. iv. 17, but not literally. I do not deny that early Christians had the right faith, but when they began to apl the rules of logic to rhetorical expressions, they darkened conn by words witbout knowledge. They may have had the right ta without having a right understanding of that faith. I can bele that the Son is an eternally begotten being in the same sense, thi I believe the body and blood of Christ verily and indeed taken a received by the faithful in the Lord's supper. 4thly. Mr. Far must excuse me, if I consider my exposition of St. John, of as good authority as that of Ireneus, who for what I know, mg have mistaken his master Polycarp as Polycarp might have taken his master John, unless Mr. Faber can shew any Scriptus proof that the immediate successors of the Apostles were to exempted from the general liability of falling into error; whid

2 can, he will, to be consistent, accept the epistles of the Aposlic fathers as canonical in addition to those already enrolled to the canon of Scripture, and for a similar reason the theolocal writings next to these, and so on, down to those of the preat age. But really I am surprised that Mr. Faber does not see w the case stands. When there had not been as yet any nice stinctions made between the persons of the Trinity, the church is satisfied with general statements of the doctrine ; and how sy was it for the servants of that blessed Master who had himIt not much regarded nice distinctions in his simple unaffected icbing, to fall into the same popular ioethod of expressing themves as he had employed. When the Gospel could maintain that sus Christ, a term properly restricted to Christ in his human ture, had created the worlds, how easy was it for the church proceed one step further and teach that the Son created the rlds, without any great impropriety in the sight of those who uld have regarded as over-wise, and as abhorrent to the simpliy of the faith, such technical accuracy as we are obliged now introduce in order to rescue the truth from the absurdities by ich it has so long been desecrated. The early Christians were isfied that the Son was eternal somehow, though they perhaps

not exactly comprehend the nature of that eternity; and refore without entering into much criticism on the subject, fear of transgressing the bounds of decorum on so sacred a tter, they were contented with broadly laying it down, tbat rist was the eternal Son of God, clapping all the difficult parts the tenet to the account of faith. The system of Plato soon ne to their aint by the conversion of some of the Greek philo. hers; and desiring to illustrate their subject from it, they resented the Son as Plato's eternal EMANATION of the Logos or ord from God, and therefore as the eternally BEGOTTEN Sou the Christian Scheme. But from the time of the completion the canon of the New Testament, there have been always je men, superior to tbeir age, who bave, from an attentive isal of the inspired volume, never been satisfied with the ular acceptation of it, who have seen that there was something ing in the general conclusions deduced froin that book, though i have never given a satisfactory representation of its contents the matter themselves; and hence we bear of the names of xeas, Noetus, Sabellius, Beryllus, men of more than ordinary teness, living in the second and third centuries, and Arius, veen whose creed and that of Atlianasius there was in early es a perpetual war.-Can Mr. Faber shew from the Scriptures : the dominant creed was to be the true creed? If he cai), the it is settled in his favour. But I think he cannot. On the trary, I believe the Scriptures represent the popular belief as a ture of truth and error to tbe last, ' a light neither clear nor is,' and that at evening time' alone 'it shall be light,' Zecb. 6,7. Indeed the very circumstance of the Nicene Creed being creed of the Pope, of the False Teacher, of Antichrist, is cient to con lemn it. For so far is John from maintaining that scendant ecclesiastical power should preserve the true faith, that istinctly states it, that Antichrist, who is always represented cripture as a churchman, 'sitting in the temple of God,' the ich; the spiritual wickedness in heavenly places,' should fall

some lying heresy concerning the Father and the Son by deig them. And is not this the case? The Scriptures say that the Ju he Son oé Goi. ho came be water and blood'

See :: V er A: III. No-says the Nicene Creed Je

so Goc. cor cid tbe Son ot God come ty Taier 1900. e Soo of God was begotten before al Foru" 2 ** Lre: of Lgat,* wbereas Jesus was a man, in the Scor Mes Tbe.orne Creed therefore denies Jesus to be th So G., and coesecvectis God to be the Father of Jesus, a it betere Secoes the Frizer and Son ; having a Father and So

* *0.9 secon, oa Fatber and son adopted from the Plati Di Para Soe I c on Creed was establisbed by the i api sort o ide Reas Ecperors, and these also I have sber to be Ad cars Sl Jota also says, ibat the Spirit of Antichr was a reads in be world is his dans Is Mr. Faber certain that i Ranni Treden escaped the contagion: Daniel says that those understanding are the files ones for a long period of time; b Ireneus bas lept hs ground to the present day. St. John says to tbe beresy of Antichrist was to be a lie. And what lie can greater than tbat two beings of the same age are Fatber and Sol Or what a greater lie, than that one can be derived from the ou and ret ne eternal, i.e. witbout deriration? Or what a greater i than that the all perfect, immutable, inbnite God, can experien an increase by the procreation of a being of exactly the same i mixed substance with himselt? Or what a greater lie, tban ti three inboite beings of exactly the same substance can occupa one inönite space • Ligbt of Light' !!! as if he who is perá could admit ot an increase of ligbt! Uodoubtedly then he com admit of a dimicution, and may bare once been nothing at al But surels tbe Bible takes it for granted that we should use a reason in the interpretation of it; else why does St. Jebn la down as a criterion ot Gospel truth, that “ no lie is of 1 truth?" I John, ii. 21. The orthodox are sagacious enough discover what is monstrous in practice, if taken literally in 1 Gospel : but they bave not so much difficulty in swallowing alit specul tire &b-u diries which others bare catered for their 1 over-nice appetites. S:ickiers are they for doctrine which costs to no:bing ; but when yo'l talk to them of discipline, the intam alliance of Churcb and state, their prostitution to their forel tion wiib, kings and lords, the iniquity of titbing “ those that without their pale, her husb the matter up. But let them kg that God always visits those with false doctrine, who have been little watchful as to let a false discipline creep in, and that Bu LOX THE GREAT is not oply the MOTHER OF HARLOTS but i MYSTERY is the learling delusion of her creed.

The Word of God then bas a name which no man knows to last but the Word of God itself; and this is true in more ser than one. If my explanation of the text Philip. ii. 6, 7, in Art IV. be at'entively examined, it will be found that Form is! name wbich more accurately expresses a personality of the De and that consequently the Trifurm God is the Scriptural express Trinity relates only to the ideal state of the three Subsisted when God is three in one, as the term means; but Trifort relttes to the real and practical state of the three Subsisteme when God is one in three. But the name may more particu mean the New Name of the Word, Son of GOD, as before shen





« AnteriorContinuar »