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glorify his justice; the crofs of Christ glorifes them both in a more remarkable manner, than heaven or hell glorifies any of them. There is more signal honour done to the justice of God by the sufferings of Christ, than by the torments of devils; and there is a more remarkable display of the goodness of God, in the redemption of finners, than in the joy of Angels; so that we can conceive no object in which we can discover such manifold wisdom, or so deep contrivance for advancing the glory of God. To this add, that it equally tends to the good of
It heals all bis diseases, it pardons all his fins. It is the facrifice that removes the guilt of fin, it is the motive that removes the love of fin; it mortifies fin, and expiates it, it atones for disobedience, it excites obedience; and purchases strength for obedience, and makes it easy and delightful.
In fine; so universal and vast was this design, that no part of the universe was unconcerned in it.
The glory of the Creator was eminently to be displayed, all the divine persons were gloriously to be manifested, the divine attributes to be magnified, the divine works and ways to be honoured; the earth was to be redeemed, hell conquered, heaven purchased, the law to be magnified and established, its commandments to be fulfilled, its curse to be suffered, the head of the old serpent was to be bruised, his works to be destroyed, and the principalities and powers of darkness to be spoiled and triumphed over openly, the principalities and powers of heaven were to receive new matter of everlasting hallelujahs, and new companions to join them, fallen Angels were to loose their old subjects, and the bleffed Angels to receive new fellow-citizens. A new heaven and a new earth formed, to be the scenes of the future glory and blessedness of the countless millions of the redeemed !what things are these!
Thus I have attempted to delineate the mediatorial character of Christ, and his high qualifications, for the execution of a performance of universal importance, the preparation incomparably folemn, the Deity himself looking on with complacency, and all the hosts of heaven in loud and triumphant anthems of joy, celebrating the matchless atchievements of his victorious arm. As he is, in one word, the foundation of all the councils of God, the rock on which the church is built, the brightest mirror of all the divine perfections, the inexhaustible and only fource of every grace, virtue, and excellency, to men; May we not fairly infer from this view of him, that he is Christ the blessed a.
But the text says also, he is God over all, blessed for ever. It introduces me to the
II. Head, which was to prove the Divine character of the Son of God; and to obviate some of those objections that have, for many ages, in various forms, been made to the divinity of the person of Christ.
To proceed with regularity, I shall, as on the former head, make some preliminary remarks, especially as the distinct Divinity of the Son, involves the idea of a plurality of persons. Remark. I must candidly own that the word TRINITY, is not to be found in all the Bible. It is a term of the invention of men. How, and why, it came to be used, I shall inform you. During the Apostolic age, nay for 180 years, the faith of the church all along was in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, one God, into which they were baptized. The Father was not the Son, nor the Son the Father, nor the Holy Ghoft either of the other. This was the common faith of the church, before either Person, or Substance, was used. Justin Martyr, informs us, that the sacred three were equally worshipped as one God. In Athenagoras, we find plain mention made of the Union and Distinction of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
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Theophilus, about the year 180, is the first writer extant that expressly gives them the name of Trinity. The mighty contentions raised by Sabellius, Praxeas, and Noetus, obliged the orthodox to adopt terms to express their judgment respecting the facred three, and they termed it Trinity of Hypoftafes, persons, in unity of usia, or efsence. And I own that these learned Greek and Latin Fathers, frequently bewildered themselves in subtleties and artificial terms to define that, in which all human comprehension is swallowed up and loft.
“ Ignoscenda tamen, si scirent ignoscere Hostes."
“ A venial fault, if foes knew to forgive.” I acknowledge that the doctrine of the Trinity is attended with difficulties. And yet we must perceive that the Holy Scriptures hold out for our belief, and object of worship, three distinct names, or titles, of Father, Son, and Holy Ghoft. The divinity of the first of these all parties agree in. The divinity of the Holy Spirit, I shall here prove from scripture, reserving, that of the Son, to conclude the discourse.
The person of the Holy Ghost is described in scripture as the immediate worker of miracles a; and even of those done by our Lord Himself b. The conductor of Christ Jesus in his human capacity during his state of humiliation here upon earth; the inspirer of the Prophets and Apostles; the searcher of all hearts, and the comforter of good men in difficulties c. To lie to Him, is to lie unto God d; blasphemy against him, is unpardonable e; to resist Him, is to resist God f. He is in God, and knows the mind of God, as a man knows his own mind;
a Acts xxiv, 45, 46. 6 Matt. xii, 18. Acts X, 38. c Matt. iv, 1,xii, 18. d John xiv. e Acts V, 3, 4.
f Matt. xii, 31, 32.
and that in respect of all things, even the deep things of God a. Men's bodies are his Temple, and so are we the Temple of God b. He is joined with Father and Son, in the solemnity of Baptiím; in religious oaths, and invocations for grace and peace c, in the same common operations d, and vocation of persons into the ministry e: and he is joined with the Father in the same common miffion, even of the Son himself f. In a word, he is Lord.g (or Jehovah) and God h, and Lord of Hosts i. This is a brief summary of what the Scriptures have taught us of the person, character, and offices of the Holy Ghost.
Thus facred Scripture plainly holds forth to us Three Persons, dignified with the same high titles of Lord, God, &c. invested with the fame high powers, attributes, and perfections; and intitled to the same honour, worship, and adoration.
The Trinity in Unity, is the one Supreme Being or Nature, distinguished from all other beings by the name of Jehovah; for the Scripture gives us the following position:
Deut. vi. 4. The Lord our God is one Jehovah: and again, Psal. Ixxxiii. Thou, whose name Alone is JEHOVAH, art the Most High over all the earth.
Yet Christ is Jehovah.
. 6. This is the name whereby he shall be called, JEHOVAH our righteousness. So also Isaiah vi. 1, 2. I saw JEHOVAH high and lifted up, &c. which John xii. 41, expressly says respected Chrift.
So is the Holy Spirit designed by the same supreme, and incommunicable title.
Ezek. viii, 1, 3. The Lord JEHOVAH put forth the form of an hand and took me and the Spirit lift me up, doc.
a Acts vii. 51. b 1 Cor. ii. 19, II. (1 Cor. jii. 16. d 2 Cor. e i Cor. xii. 5, 6, 7. f Acts xiii. 2.-ix. 15.
g Isa. lxviii. 16. b Compare Exod. xxxiv. 34. with 2 Cor. iii. 17.
i Acts v. 3, 4.
Ghost, are One Jehovah: They are three persons, yet have but one name, and one nature. And here it is to be observed, that the argument acquires irresistible force, from this consideration, that the name Jehovah is not capable of such equivocal interpretations, as that of God; it has no plural, is incommunicable to any derived or created being; and is peculiar to the divine nature, because it is descriptive of it a.
At a very early period of the Church, upon the incomprehensibility of the doctrine, some bold men b,
a See a learned and excellent Treatise on this mysterious subject, by the Rev. William Jones.
b. Praxeas, about the year 186, denied the doctrine of the Trinity, and charged the Church with Tritheism. Tertullian supported the received doctrines, and overthrew his arguments.
Not long after Noetus, revived the charge, and his plea was that God is One, and that there could not be a plurality in the Godhead. But he went away with the character of a weak and rash man; and his opinions were condemned by the Christian Church. Yet his followers had so exalted an opinion of the Divinity of Christ, that they had no way of solving the difficulty, but by making Father and Son one Person,-They were on that account termed Patripaspans.
About the middle of the third century, arose Sabellius. He was a violent Unitarian, and charged the Church with the worship of Three Gods. He boldly struck out the Divinity of Christ, ridiculed an incarnate Cod, and denied his existence, previous to his incarnation. therefore, juftly be termed the father of the Socinians, who, when they were pleased to speak out, held nearly the same principles.
Within a few years after Sabellius, Paul, of Samofata, carried on the same charge of Tritheism against the church ; was a warm, injudicious afferter of the Unitarian Plan, confining all worship to the Father only, exclusive of the other Persons. Eufebius informs us, that the Bishops of the Church, struck with horror at the impiety of his tenets, ran together against him, as a wolf that was endeavouring to destroy the flock of Christ.
About the end of the third century appeared Arius, who to avoid Tritheism, (as he thought) and to preserve the unity of the Godhead, and that there might be one self-existent Being or Person ('Ey to 'ayevYntor, Eīs 'ayéventos) denied the Divinity of the Second Person, only allowing a real pre-existence, and so making him more a ntient than the others before-mentioned did. To demonstrate to my readers that I do him justice, I shall give his comment on the incarnation of the Eternal Aeroso John i. II.