Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

state, and vice versa, and so of all other matters; to know them satisfactorily, she must learn them in both states. In the old state she possesses fine powers of penmanship; while in the new, she writes a poor and awkward hand, having not had time or means to become expert. During four years and upwards, she bas undergone periodical transitions from one of these states to

the other. The alterations are always consequent upon a long • and sound sleep. Both the lady and her family are now capable

of conducting the affair without embarrassment. By simply knowing whether she is in the old or new state, they regulate the intercourse, and govern themselves accordingly. A history of her curious case is drawing up by the Rev. Timothy Aldin, of Meadyille,"

FOR THE NEW JERUSALEM CHURCH REPOSITORY.

Discussion upon the Doctrine of " The Trinity.” It is not usual to see religious controversies maintained in the public gazettes, particularly where points of doctrine are the subjects of dispute. It is, therefore, as a remarkable instance of deviation from an established system, that we take the liberty of presenting to the notice of your readers, the following circumstance.

In the “ Lancaster Journal,” (Pennsylvania) of 9th Novem. ber last, was published A New Church Sermon, which was furnished to the editor of that paper by a gentleman of the Old Church, who had met with it by accident, and who was pleased to see a rational explanation of what had before perhaps appeared to him as obscure. It was introduced to the public by the following prefatory remarks.“

“MR. CLOWES' CELEBRATED SERMON. “ In a dearth of news, we think we shall gratify a great majority of our readers by publishing the following excellent Sermon on the Sacred Doctrine of the Divine Trinity. By the Rev. J. Clowes, M. A. Rector of St. John's Church, Manchester, England, on Trinity Sunday.' 1 John y, part of 7th verse. These Three are One.”

This discourse, which is well known to the members of the New Church, asserts the existence of a Trinity of Principles or

Essentials, in the One Person of Jesus Christ, and compares it to that trinity of principles called soul, body, and operation, which exists in every individual man.

The publication of this sermon, it appears, excited the ire of some of the reverend clergy of the place, and we find in the same paper, of the 15th and 25th of November, the two following communications in relation thereto.

“ BRIEF REMARKS ON MR. CLOWES' SERMON. “When I commenced the perusal of the discourse which is the subject of the following animadversions, I expected to be edified with a defence of the mystery of the Holy Trinity, that is, of three divine persons existing from all eternity in one divine substance; but what was my surprise when upon continuing to read I found that instead of opposing the adversaries of the blessed Trinity, the author's object was to undermine the doctrine of that mystery, arhed for that purpose entertained his readers with crafty, captious and Socinian expressions and definitions, replete with error and falsehood. .

“ Let us now see whether I can prove what I have just asserted. The doctrine of the Trinity of persons in God, has always been believed from the time of Christ himself, to be one of the most profound mysteries in the Christian religion. This I think will not be denied ; if it were, I could easily prove it. By the word mystery, is to be understood an article of doctrine that is above human reason—that is, incomprehensible to human reason; but Mr. Clowes tells his audience that the idea of Trinity in Unity is most agreeable to all the dictates of sound and sober reason. His assertion is therefore a new doctrine and of course false, since he did not receive it from that deposit which the Apostle exhorts us to contend for.

66 Again, he finds a striking similarity between God and man. Now, it appears to me there is very littlemthere is but very little as to substance. God is one indivisible, spiritual, unlimited substance, and man is composed of two substances, the spiritual and the material, or in other words, the soul and body, which are the two parts of man; and if we admit the third part newly discovered by Mr. Clowes, I do not perceive that the similarity would be, more perfect. There is no similarity as to person ; in God there are three, in man only one.

« His comparison of a flower, is, in my opinion, less convincing than that of the Shamrock itself.

“ Again, he tells his hearers, that at a certain time the human essence was united to the divine, from which union proceeds the Holy Ghost. Now, if that union produced the Holy Ghost, he did not exist before it, and is therefore not eternal, and by consequence not God!! I say produced, because Mr. Clowes asserts a second time in his discourse, that the breath, the influence or the operation of the human nature in its union with the divine, is the Holy Ghost. Risum teneatis, &c.

6. In fact, if we are to understand the word person to mean nothing more than character, quality, influence or operation, &c. which Mr. Clowes would wish us to do, there was no Father or first person before the creation, nor Son or second person before the work of our redemption!!! The word person, then, is not to be taken in any other sense than that in which it is universally used ;. that is, to mean a rational substance or being. For example, we cannot say of a brute that it is a person; but we say of a man he is a person, because he is endowed with reason. Hence arises the difficulty in respect of the Trinity of persons in God; for it would appear, if there are three persons in God, there must be three substances. To this I reply, that if the person of the Father possessed one substance, and the person of the Son another substance, and the person of the Holy Ghost another substance, it would certainly be so: but faith teaches us that each one of the divine persons possesses the same identical, undivided substance which the others do, and yet the three divine persons are perfectly distinct, independent and complete in themselves, But it will be said all this is inconceivable. Undoubtedly it is so, and as far above human comprehension as infinite is above finite. But why should it astonish us that God is inconceivable to his creatures, when even his works are so ? Do we understand how he made the universe out of nothing? How we shall all rise again at the day of judgment with the same bodies we had in this life: Nay, do we understand how our own members obey our will ? Do we understand the nature of attraction, how the loadstone operates, &c. &c.? We do not, neither can we understand the Trinity of persons in one divine substance; but God himself has declared it, which is the greatest authority we can have for any thing therefore it is so. I say declared it. We read, Matth. ch. ix. verse 16, 17, “And Jesus being baptized, went up presently out of the water : And behold the heavens were opened to him: And he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upoin him. And behold, a voice from heaven, saying: this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.Behold three distinct persons; the Father who speaks from heaven-the Son, who is baptized—and the Holy Ghost who appears as a dove. In the discourse of our Saviour to his disciples at the last supper, we find the following words : John, ch. xiv. ver. 16, 1745 And I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter-the Spirit of truth:” And again, ch. xv. ver. 26, “ I will send you from the Father the Spirit of truth, who proceedeth from the Father.” Now, it cannot be the same person who asks and is asked, who sends and is sent. Therefore, one is the Father, whom Christ asks-another is the Son, who asks the Father, and who is to send the Holy Ghost—and another is also the Holy Ghost, who is sent by both, and whom Christ expressly calls another Com. forter, distinct from himself. Several other texts might be ad. duced.

“ Mr. Clowes, in fine, seems to be of opinion, that works alone, and not faith, are of primary importance in the obtaining of salvation. I answer to this what the Apostles themselves have taught us : faith without works is dead. James, ch. ii. ver. 17, and the Apostle Paul tells the Hebrews, ch. xi. ver. 6, without faith it is impossible to please God.

“ANTI-SOCINUS.”

6 For the Lancaster Journal. 6 MR. HAMILTON, “ In the Journal, which is justly acknowledged to be the most enlightened and impartial newspaper in Lancaster, I was sorry to see Mr. Clowes' Sermon on THE TRINITY. Nor are the animadversions of Anti-Socinus satisfactory.

“ Upon a doctrine of revealed religion, so abstruse and so sublime, the safest language is the sacred phraseology.

6That God is ONE, both reason and revelation pronounce. That He is also TRIUNE, the holy scriptures expressly declare. To deny the Trinity is death. If we reject the revealed doctrine of the Trinity, because it is incomprehensible, we may, for the same reason, renounce our belief of a God. To us His existence, eternity and self-sufficiency must ever be incomprehensible.

." The animadverter justly censures Mr. Clowes for attempting to bring the DEITY down to the standard of our feeble powers; for teaching that DIVINE PERSONALITY is nothing more than quality or operation ; and for his comparisons—" To whom, to what,” saith God, “ will ye LIKEN ME?" Isa. xlvi. 5.

“ But the animadverter's own expressions and definitions are not always correct.

“1. He says that “Mr. Clowes has entertained his readers with Socinian expressions, and definitions replete with error.” He should have said offended. Doubtless Mr. Clowes' expressions and definitions are Unitarian. But his scheme is neither Arian nor Socinian ; though alike anti-scriptural. According to him, the second Person is the Trinity.

66 2. He says that the Trinity is one of the most profound mysteries of the Christian religion. But of all the mysteries of our holy religion it is THE CHIEF. The ancient Jews called it the mystery of mysteries...

« 3. He says that Mr. Clowes' assertion is a new doctrine, and of course false. What is the particular assertion to which the animadverter refers? That the idea of Trinity in Unity is most agreeable to all the dictates of sound and sober reason.' This sentence, considered apart, is not very exceptionable. In the doctrine of the Trinity there is nothing contradictory to reason. Human reason it infinitely transcends. But reason it does not contradict.

“ 4. The animadverter has used other expressions, which are not sufficiently guarded. He says that the Divine Persons are

perfectly distinct, independent, and complete in themselves.' Does he mean that they are independent of each other? It is only as Persons that they are distinct. GOD IS ONE. Again, he says, that a person is a rational BEING,' and applies this definition of a person to the sacred Trinity. Between DIVINE PERSONALITY and human personality there must be a vast difference. Believe me, sir, that on this sublime subject some have used expressions which lead to Polytheism. Let us study it with the humility of

FAITH.”

That a rational explanation of the sacred doctrine of the Tripity, should have aroused the advocates of a mysterious tri-personality, is not to be wondered at, and particularly when a lay

VOL, 1,

« PoprzedniaDalej »