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and Holy Ghost are one God, is one statement. The above named proposition is true, is another proposition, which I believe and comprehend. Again, I believe, that every thing asserted by God in the Bible is true, while at the same time I have no present understanding of all the true things contained in that blessed book.”—P. 33, 34.
From the second chapter of this part to the sixth inclusive, Dr. E. treats of the being of God and his mode of subsistence; —of creation, the covenant of works, and the covenant of redemption;–of the attributes of THE FATHER ;—of the attributes of the SoN ;—of the attributes of THE Holy Ghost.
We think it incorrect to say that the Son of God, in his official character of Mediator, created all worlds.-P. 57. The Son of God certainly did create the universe; and to him this glorious work is ascribed by inspired writers in the most express terms. But, then, it is to be observed, that, in our apprehension, they do not consider him as Mediator while exerting his almighty power in the production of all worlds, but simply as the Son of God. Nor do we consider it as scriptural to represent the Sonship of Jesus Christ as founded in his Mediatorship; thus, making his Sonship and Mediatorship synonymous terms. We believe the Sonship of Christ is to be traced to a higher source than any official relation; we believe it to be founded in that mysterious relation which subsists by nature between the Father and the Son. Peter manifestly makes a distinction between these two names in his ever memorable confession: “Thou art the Christ,” (anointed or Mediator,) “THE SoN of the living God.” The author of the epistle to the Hebrews, clearly teaches us to attribute to this glorious name something more than official distinction: “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.” It is not matter of astonishment that the Mediator should suffer, because it was the very design of his appointment to his office; but that the eternal Son of God, the second person in the adorable Godhead, should assume the office of Mediator and suffer for the salvation of man, is indeed astonishing, and will forever furnish matter for devout and holy wonder both to angels and redeemed sinners. Our readers will permit us to introduce here some very pertinent observations on this subject, from the pen of Doctor Miller, in his admirable Letters on Unitarianism.
“Nor ought it to give rise to the least difficulty in the minds of any, that the second Person of the Trinity is called the Son of God; that He is said to be the only Begotten Son, and the eternally Begotten. I know that the doctrine of the eternal generation of the Son of God is regarded by many as implying a contradiction in terms. But here again is a most presumptuous assumption of the principle, that God is a being altogether such an one as ourselves. Because generation among men necessarily implies priority, in the order of time as well as of nature, on the part of the father, and derivation and posteriority on the part of the son, the objection infers that it must also be so in the Divine nature. But is this a legitimate, is it a rational inference 2 It certainly is not.
That which is true, as it respects the nature of man, may be infinitely removed from the truth, as it respects the eternal God. It has been often well observed, that, with regard to all effects which are voluntary, the cause must be prior to the effect; as the father is to the son, in human generation : But that in all that are necessary, the effect must be coeval with the cause; as the stream is with the fountain, and light with the sun. Has the sun ever existed a moment without sending out beams? And if the sun had been an eternal being, would there not have been an eternal, necessary emanation of light from it? But God is confessedly eternal. Where, then, is the absurdity or contradiction of an eternal, necessary emanation from Him, or, if you please, an eternal generation, and also an eternal procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son? To deny the possibility of this, or to assert that it is a mani. fest contradiction, either in terms or ideas, is to assert that, although the Fa. ther is from all eternity, yet He could not act from all eternity; which, I will venture to assert, is as UNPHILOSOPHICAL as it is IMPIOUS. Sonship, even among men, implies no personal inferiority. A son may be perfectly equal, and is sometimes greatly superior to his father, in every desirable power, and quality : and, in general, he does in fact partake of the same human nature, in all its fulness and perfection, with his parent. But, still, forsooth, it is objected, that we cannot conceive of generation in any other sense than as implying posteriority and derivation. But is not this saying, in other words, that the objector is determined, in the face of all argument, to persist in measuring Jehovah by earthly and human principles ? Shall we never have done with such a perverse begging of the question, as illegitimate in reasoning, as it is impious in its spirit? The scriptures declare that Christ is the Son, the only begotten Son of the Father; to the Son the Father is represented as saying, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever: and concerning himself the Son declares, I and my father are one. This is enough for the Christian's faith. He finds no more difficulty in believing this, than in believing that there is an eternal, omniscient and omnipresent Spirit, who made all worlds out of nothing, and upholds them continually by the word of his power.
“I am aware that some who maintain, with great zeal, the Divinity and atonement of Christ, reject his eternal Sonship, or generation, as being neither consistent with reason, nor taught in scripture. It does not accord, either with my plan or my inclination, to spend much time in animadverting on this aberration, for such I must deem it, from the system of gospel truth. I will only say that, to me, the doctrine of the eternal Sonship of the Saviour ap. pears to be plainly taught in the word of God, and to be a doctrine of great importance in the economy of salvation. Of course, I view those who reject it, not merely as in error, but in very serious error; an error which, though actually connected with ardent piety, and general orthodoxy, in many who embrace it, bas, nevertheless, a very unhappy tendency, and cannot fail, I fear, to draw in its train many mischievous consequences. If the title Father, be the distinctive title of the first Person of the adorable Trinity, as such, does not the correlative title of Son seem to be called for by the second Person, as such? If the second Person of the Trinity is not to be distinguished by the title of Son, what is his distinguishing title? By what appropriate name are we to know Him, as distinguished from the other Persons? In the form of Baptism, all the friends of orthodoxy grant that the Father and the Holy Ghost are expressive of divine personal distinctions; but if so, what good reason can be given why the Son should be understood differently? In short, my belief is, that the doctrine of the eternal generation of the Son, is so closely connected with the doctrine of the Trinity, and the Divine character of the Saviour, that where the former is generally abandoned, neither of the two latter will be long retained. I must therefore, warn you against the error of rejecting this doctrine, even though it come from the house of a friend. It is a mystery, but a precious mystery, which seems to be essentially interwoven with the whole substance, as well as language, of the blessed economy of mercy.-P. 86–90.
In relation to the Trinity Dr. E. pertinently observes :
« On this subject I remark, that there was a time when God had not given himself a name in any human language; and that we might reasonably have expected him, when he did give himself a name, by which he would be distinguished from other beings, to employ such terms or epithets as would be calculated to convey to our minds just apprehensions. Now, the names which God has employed to make himself known to us, and the epithets and other terms which he uses in relation to himself, plainly indicate, that he is in some sense ONE, and in some other sense MORE THAN ONE.”—P. 38.
And again : “ That the distinction, for which there is a foundation in the essence of the Deity, is three-fold and no more, is evident from 1 John v. 7, and the following argument: Every name of God used in the Bible, except these three, of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, is predicated by the inspired writers of each of these three, and of all the other names; but the Father is never said to be the Son, nor the Holy Ghost; the Son is never said to be the Father, nor the Holy Ghost; and the Holy Ghost is never called either the Father or the Son. For illustration, I remark, that the Holy One is said to be the Almighty, the only wise God; and Jehovah is called God, and Lord; but if it were found written, that the Father is the Son, or the Son the Spirit, and the Spirit the Father or the Son; then we should prove, either that the essence is as manifold as the names of God in the Bible, or else that there is no foundation for any personal distinctions, relations, and operations.
“Without reference to this argument, it would be as easy to prove twenty persons in the Deity as three, for to twenty names we may prove that the scriptures attribute some of the essential attributes of the Deity.
“ To obviate an objection which may here be made, let it be remembered, that God is a Spirit,' but neither the Father nor the Son is styled The Spirit. The Elohim, or the Aleim, meaning the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is a Spirit in bis substance, but the title of the Spirit is applied to the Holy Ghost alone. In Isaiah ix. 5, the Son is called the Everlasting Father in the English translation; but the best critics have shown, that it should be rendered, the Father of the everlasting age; for although the Father is Jehovah, and the Son is Jehovah, and the Holy Spirit is Jehovah, yet the Son is not absolutely called the Father. Such a use of the terms would render the names both of Father and Son utterly unmeaning.-P. 39, 40,
In Chap. VII. Dr. E. treats of the means of grace. His enumeration is full and worthy of attentive consideration. He shows what means of grace were appointed before, and what since the advent of our Lord, and points out those which were common to both economies.
Of SPECIAL REVIVALS of religion, which are considered as signal means of grace, our author gives us his views in the fol. lowing propositions :
“1. A revival of religion, strictly speaking, is a work of the Spirit of all grace upon the minds of those who are already the people of God; in which he makes all the Christian graces live again within tbem; so that, recovering from a state of partial declension and slumber, they are brought to renewed considerations of divine truth; to the zealous exercise of faith, love, godly sorrow, hope, and gratitude ; to unusual frequency and fervour in prayer; to a lively sense of their dependance on the Holy Spirit for success in all spiritual undertakings; to an earnest desire after the salvation of their fellow sinners, and a vigorous determination to use, so far as practicable, the various means of grace with them; to a deep conviction of the evil of sin, the worth of the soul, the importance of seeking heaven, the exposure of the impenitent to the punishments of an endless
hell, and the preciousness of Christ : and finally, to the performance of the first works of their espousals to the Redeemer. “2. In answering the prayers of the saints which are thus excited, and in honouring those who thus honour him, the Redeemer sends his Holy Spirit to convince and convert sinners, through the means of grace instrumentally applied to them by revived disciples; and the consequence is, that a greater number are brought to the knowledge and acknowledgment of the truth, in a short time, than are usually gathered to Christ in a much longer period, when no extraordinary exertions are made by Zion, to be rendered efficacious by the SANcTiriett. “3. A time of revival may be considered as a harvest time of souls; and if such a season passes by, and any, who have had an opportunity of witnessing the special outpouring of the influences of the Spirit of God, are not converted, they are chargeable with a special aggravation of their sin of unbelief; and the probability of their ever being saved is greatly diminished. “4. If any particular section of the visible church is visited with an extensive revival of religion, and any professors of evangelical piety are not quickened in their spiritual pursuits, humbled under a conviction of past lukewarmness, and warmed in their religious affections towards the people and cause of the Redeemer, they have great reason to doubt the truth of their own supposed conversion, and the sincerity of their professions of godliness. “5. The blessed effects of a revival of religion upon the unrenewed members of a congregation, rarely, if ever, cease to be experienced, until the work of grace has first declined, from the encroachments of error, extravagant indulgence of feeling, weariness of body, weakness of the flesh, unprofitable contentions, want of faith, or some other cause, in the minds of God’s reanimated people; and hence they should be careful not to grieve, resist, or quench his gracious influences.”—P. 155, 156. We cannot concur with Dr. E. in believing that a single Elder or Bishop has power to ordain preaching Bishops.-P. 112. No direction was given either to Timothy or to Titus, that would have led them to exercise the ordaining power, but in concurrence with their brethren. Timothy had been ordained with the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery: and having been himself thus inducted into office, he would of course conclude that others were to be ordained to the work of the gospel ministry in the same way. Nor can we accord with the interpretation put on 1 Tim. v. 17, in a note, p. 113, by which RULING ELDERs are represented as Presidents or Moderators of Presbyteries. By Ruling Elders our author means persons ordained to the work of the gospel ministry, who did not constantly or habitually “labour in the word and doctrine,” but only preached occasionally. Of such a class of ministers we have no account in holy scripture. Aptness to teach is laid down as an essential qualification in a preaching bishop: 1 Tim. iii. 2. It seems then reasonable to conclude, that all admitted to this sacred office, were devoted to its chief function, that of preaching; and of course that none could discharge their duty merely by occasional efforts in dispensing the word in public. That ministers might, through age and infirmity, become unable to perform the functions of their office, was to be expected as a natural occurrence in the common course of human affairs;
but we find no intimation, in sacred scripture, that persons ordained to the work of the gospel ministry, were set apart only for an occasional, and not a habitual application to its great business. No such intimation is to be found in 1 Tim. v. 17, to which reference is made. This passage in our apprehension speaks neither of such persons, nor of presidents of presbyteries. Ruling Elders, in the Presbyterian church, is the name of that class of elders who rule, but do not preach. In the text referred to, however, the phrase “Elders who rule well,” is not restricted to one class of elders, but applies to both classes; so that no argument can be drawn from the original word orpotswris, to prove that the apostle speaks of presidents or presbyteries. All the elders were root;wris; all ruled; all presided over the church: but while all presided, only some laboured in the word and doctrine.* But on this subject we shall not enlarge. From the 8th to the last chapter inclusive, the author has given a view of the duty which God requires of man, presented in an exposition of the ten commandments, under which he ranges the various injunctions on the subject of duty found in the different portions of the inspired volume. It constitutes nearly one half of the treatise. The exposition is valuable and comprehensive; it will repay the labour of an attentive perusal. The following general principles are justly and clearly stated: “When any law of God requires any single operation of the mind, or of the complex being man, consisting of body, and mind, every thing essentially prerequisite to that operation is also required; and when God's law forbids any operation, it equally forbids anything which will naturally produce or occasion that forbidden operation. “These are principles of common sense, which need not be proved until they are disputed; but they may be illustrated thus: God requires love; but the conception of some lovely object, and the judgment that it is lovely, are essential to the exercise of love; and therefore these mental acts are required, when we are commanded to love. The command, that we should believe on the Lord Jesus, is equally a command to do every thing which is essential to the operation of the mind in believing. We must attend to and consider the testimony concerning Jesus, which is to be the object of faith; and we must employ our minds also on the subject of the competency and veracity of him who É. the testimony. Again, when God forbids lustful feelings, he equally forbids, though by implication only, all those perceptions and conceptions which are known to be incitements to libidinous sensations and motions. When, therefore, God requires love as the fulfilling of the law, he
* The same interpretation we apply to other texts in which the word waxus-a, especially, occurs. On examination it will be found that in these passages the first member is universal, the second particular. For example, Gal. vi. 10. “As we have, therefore, opportunity let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” The first member of this text is universal, it comprehends all men; the second is particular, it draws a class from this universal assemblage. The injunction is that we do good to all men, whether Christians or not, but, especially to the Christians, or “those who are of the household of faith.” In the same manner 1 Tim. iv. 10, and 1 Tim. v. 8, are to be explained.