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quite probable, it cannot be revealed to us in our present state, we must of course bound our inquiries by the sacred rule which God hath given. “ We are sensible we have very inadequate notions of it” says a distinguished writer upon the divine economy, “ but my incapacity is the ground of my expectation, and confidence. Could I perfectly comprehend it, it would argue its resemblance to some of the present objects of my
senses or its minute proportions to the present operations of my mind ;'-—and, “ I should suppose that partaking of the nature of present objects of my senses, and present operations of my mind, they partook of their vanity, and weakness."
It may be objected, again, that, Trinity, is not a Scripture phrase.-We answer-We do not read in the Sacred Scriptures, of any scct of people or christians who, distinguished themselves by the names of Unitarian, or Trinitarian. And some have vainly imagined, from hence, that names and articles, in the churches, have been the great causes of the schisms, discords, and animosities, which have abounded in the Christian world. Could we be convinced of this, we should be readily inclined, to give up the name Trinity.But we are far from supposing, that the differences between us, consists, in names or words; but in points of faith and doctrine. We could wish hat charity might much more abound,and that these points, which are the cause of such asperity of celing, and frequent schisms and disputes, at the present day, might be so attempered as not to alienate the affections of real christians. The Unitarians who have written
this subject, have contended, that the name, Trinity, did not come into use in the christian church, unitil the fourth century, or until after the christian religion was established by law of Constantine, the great. But if we can credit the celebrated Mr. Fletcher, who it is evident, was well acquainted with the writings of the Fathers in the church of Christ, who lived in the three first centuries of christianity, we must believe, that this word
came into use, long before that time. Mr. Fletcher informs us, that one of the Fathers in the second century, in a dialogue with a Jew, on this subject, used the term persons, and directly afterwards, the word trinity, came into use in the Latin church. And the same diyine, informs us for what reason, the word Trinity, was used in that age, viz. “for the sake of brevity and conveniency.” And should it be asked why we make use of the same word, we answer for the same reason, "brevity and conveniency.” Should it be found to give offence to the christian world, we can renounce this convenient, and comprehensive word, and on all occasions say, we believe in the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, the three subsistences united in one divine union; and these three are One God; are one, in the unity of the Godhead.
Again, should it be asked, wherein is the conveniency of using the word Trinity? We answer, we have ever considered, that every denomination, or sect of people, person, or things, ought to have a name or names, in order to designate them. And, that name, should be significant as far as possible : for instance, God's children, in the first ages, were called, Saints. And in the Acts of the Apostles, we learn that Saints, were called
Christians, we believe were first so called in Astioch. No doubt, because saints in that day, believed in Christ.
It is contended by some, that the name, Christiuns, is sufficient to designate the children of God, at the present day. We reply, that if there were but one denomination or sect of christians, in the world, all agreeing in the same strain of truths, and giving light and harmony to each other, it would be sufficient to designate them, in this way, from the rest of mankind. But as there are many sects, and much diversity and discord of beliefs, in the Christian world, at the present day, we think under every rule of reason and propriety, there ought to be some simple and expressive designation, by which each should be known by their kinds, in plain and legible characters
This word triune, or three-one, or Trinity, distinguishes us, from the Sabellians, Arians, Socinians, Unitarians, Tritheists, and Ditheists, of every sect. To speak more plain, it distinguishes us from-1st. The Sabellians, a sect of Christians of the 3d century, who embraced the opinions of Sabellius an Egyptian philosopher, who taught, there is but one person in the Godhead, who esercised three different offices.
2. It distinguishes us from the Arians, Socinians, Unitarians, of every sect, and sub-division of them ; who believe in the Unity of the Godhead, und deny the divinity or Godhead, of the Son and Holy Ghost.
3. It distinguishes us from the Tritheists, who so unscripturally separate and divide the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as to make three separate, and co-ordinate Gods..
4. It distinguishes us from Polytheists, who believe in a plurality or multitude of Gods.
5. Again, we think that this comprehensive word Trinity distinguishes between the pure doctrines of the Trinity, and the mis-named, or mixed doctrine, which we think is frequently taught for the doctrine of the Trinity. And which we view, not only erroneous doctrine, but a perversion in name, and an obvious abuse of the meaning of the word Trinity.
Therefore, we are persuaded, that unprejudiced minds, will at once discover, utility and propriety in our using the word Trinity, to designate our belief in the God we worship; the foregoing different systems of doctrine and belief, which we conscientiously consider, unsound and unscriptural, we apprehend, afford abundant grounds for distinctions by names.
We remark, that if Mr. Fletcher is to be accredited, this word Trinity, was used in the second century, to designate those christians, who believed, that this divine unity, consisted of, or was constituted of these three subsistences, namely, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. From this statement, if found correct, as we presume it is, every unbiassed mind, may plainly discover, that this class of professors, who assume to be Trinitarians, and deny that Jesus Christ is the Son of God in his divine nature, cannot, from the definition of the word Trinity, neither from any analogy of faith, be accounted Trinitarians, in the primitive sense and understanding of the doctrine. The reason is very plain ; Primitive Trinitarians helieved, that this divine union, which constituted the Godhead, involved, and comprehended, three subsistences, characters, or persons, viz. Faabode upon
ther, Son, Holy Spirit, and that these “ three are one God;" but those who deny that God has such a divine Son, hold that this divine union is constituted of something, different from Father and Son; as we before have had occasion to remark.
We close these cursory remarks on the Holy Ghost, by that passage of Holy Writ, which brings to us the testimony of John the Baptist.
“And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it
him. " And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.” And “if with, in some sense distinct.” Let none presume “to lift the mysterious pall” which veils the unrevealed mode of existence of these divine subsistences; we have only assumed, to hold forth, that the scriptures teach, that the Holy Ghost is comprehended and contained in the divine nature; and the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are the Holy One or Godhead. The union of these three persons, of one substance, majesty and glory,” is ineffable. But the existence of the facts, that there is a real difference, and that these three persons exist in union; as christians, we may not doubt.
The promise, and prefiguration, by a long train of prophecy, and the transfiguration, interlocution and agency of our Lord, and the Holy Spirit—the miracles, sufferings, divine displays,