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eed, we as Trinitarians, may as well blush and evolt as the Arian or Socinian, when we bapize in the name of the Father and Son, if we do not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God in his divine nature. Neither did we ever see, why, we cannot commune, with as much propriety, with the Socinian or Arian, as with professors of the doctrine of the Trinity, who deny and expunge the idea, that God has a divine Son.
Same subject concluded. We shall now recur to the inquiry. What has been the general objections brought against the doctrine of the Trinity, and the proper Sonship of our Lord? And what way, and how, ought these objections to be answered ?
1st. Objection is, that it seems to make three co-ordinate Gods. This objection, is the one in which our opponents have had the geatest confidence. And whoever has been at the pains of of hearing their debates, and examining their arguments, will find we are not mistaken in considering this point, as one, on which they have placed their greatest reliance. Indeed it has been exhibited with so much of derision and impious exultation and triumph, that a question upon
the subject, has been put to a congregation, by an anti-trinitarian preacher, in this way—“What would you think, if you were to see a man, or person, come into this congregation with three heads on one body?”
The primitive Trinitarians never likened their Trinity, to the three headed image of the heathens, they never contended that three heads proceeded from one body.
These writer to fix this notion of three co-ordinate Gods and three headed Gods, attack the corruptions or abuses of the doctrine,
mautiously or purposely admitted or ayowed by
tiesigining or ignorant professors of the doctrines a direct attack upon the Gospel grounds of it, is rarely made, or with long continued effort; they soon fly off upon creature errors of doctrine.' The nominal and real opponents,oftener attack those who wear the name trinitarian as a frontlet; and the latter, who are only outwardly friendly, or defective in experimental views, and blinded to consequences, most generally made the attack direct, and furnish the materials and grounds of accusation, schism, and denial. These last who bear the superscription only, of trinitarianism, we have ever supposed were referred to, by doctor Mosheim, he says, “the faction of the Donatist, was not the only one which troubled the church, during this century. Soon after its commencement, even in the year 317, a new contention arose in Egypt, upon a subject of much higher importance, and followed with consequences of a yet more perninicious nature. The subject of this fatal controversy, which kindled such deplorable divisions through the christian world, was the doctrine of three persons in one God. A doctrine which in the three preceding centuries had happily escaped the vain curiosity of human researches, and had been left undefined, and undetermined, by any particular set of ideas. The church had, indeed, frequently decided against the Sabellians, and others; and that there was a real difference between Father and Son, and that the Holy Ghost was different from them both."
The reasons why we place this doctrine which arose in Egypt to the account of those who have perverted the genuine doctrine of the Trinity, is; Ist, because Doctor Mosheim informs that this sect, which caused such deplorable division, arose in the year 317. 2dly, That these ideas had ese caped the vain curiosity of human researches,' and it kindled, at the period he speaks of, extensive division in the christian churches. 3dly, We offer on the authority of the Rev. Mr. Fletcher, that the Latin Father's began to use this word
persons” in the 2d century, which was one hundred years before this sect arose in Egypt. He tells US,
“ these divine subsistences were soon called persons by the Latin Fathers as appears from Tertullian (who wrote as early as 120 or 190) who in his book against Praxeas, frequently mentions the person of the Son, and the divine persons. The primitive christians, finding it inconvenient to repeat always, at full length, the names of the divine subsistences, as our Loid enumerates them, in his charge of baptizing all nations, began about the same time, both for brevity and variety's sake, to call them the Trinity; and if by renouncing that comprehensive word, we could remove the prejudices of deists against the truth contended for, we would give it up, and always say, “ The Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost,” which is what we mean by the Trinity. In the mean time, if to worship the Son and the Spirit, as comprehended in the Unity of the Father's God-head, is to deserve the name of Trinitarian, we glory in the appellation, provided it does not exclude that of Unitarian--for we do not the less worship the Unity in mysterious Trinity, than the Trinity in the most perfect and unfathomable Unity." The veracity or knowledge, of Mr. Fletcher, in the writings of the three first centuries, no person will question.
We offer as a 4th reason, that this doctrine which sprung ưp in Egypt, must have been a per:
version, or spiritualizing of the genuine doctrine of the Trinity, very similar in complexion and features to the modernized doctrines which are frequently taught at the present day, and which then and now, is not less or more, than a modified and partial revival of “the ancient heresy of Judaizing christians,” as it has been termed, sheltering under the name of the Trinitarian doctrine. And the more especially, for we cannot learn that they defined who these three persons were, that in unity were one God;-or whether under their Trinitarian notions they had any names attached to them; or what was the nature of that union, and what ideas of their unity were defined and determined. It appears by the last clause of our extract from Doctor Mosheim, that “the church had indeed frequently decided against the Sabellians and others," we therefore conclude it was not a sect who had taken anti-trinitarian names; nor can it be the sect of genuine trinitarians, for the historian says nothing of the unity, but of the difference of their subsistences. Besides the genuine trinitarian doctrine could not be at that time a new sect, unless the words of all authority are discredited. It must of course be a sect, holding on to the name of trinitarian, and yet schismatic as to the divine unity and oneness, of nature, glory, and dignity. If the name and doctrine
and with the baptismal sacrament, and the angelic doxology, and the christian doxology, this is the test of genuine trinitarianism, for the unity is preserved which is essential, and indispensible ; and the use and meaning of the word Trinity was in use and so understood in the 2d century, and indeed there can be no doubt, but it was so at a period drior to the era of Tertullian.