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God; from whence it follows, that He, by whom all things were made, both in Heaven and earth, even the angels themselves,-He who in the beginning was the Word, and God with God, and although not supreme, yet the first born of every creature, must necessarily have existed previous to his incarnation, whatever subtleties may have been invented to evade this conclusion by those who contend for the merely human nature of Christ.
“This incarnation of Christ, whereby he, being God, took upon him the human nature, and was made flesh, without thereby ceasing to be numerically the same as before, is generally considered by theologians as next to the Trinity in Unity, the greatest mystery of our religion."
Again, pages 392-'3: “There is, then, in Christ, a mutual hypostatic union of two natures, that is to say, of two essences, of two substances, and consequently of two persons ; nor does this union prevent the respective properties of each from remaining individually distinct. That the fact is so, is sufficiently certain; the mode of union is unknown to us; and it is best to be ignorant of what God wills should remain unknown.”
“How much better is it [p. 393,) for us to know merely that the Son of God, our Mediator, was made flesh, that he is called both God and man, and is such in reality; which is expressed in Greek by the single and appropriate term, Θεανθρωπος.
Page 397 : “It sometimes happens, on the other hand, that what properly belongs to the compound nature of Christ, is attributed to one of his natures only, [1 Tim. 2, 5,) one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." Now he is not mediator, inasmuch as he is man, but inasmuch as he is Θεανθρωπος.”
The mediatorial office of Christ is that whereby, at the special appointment of God the Father, he voluntarily performed, and continues to perform, on behalf of man, whatever is requisite for obtaining reconciliation with God and eternal salvation.- Page 400.
"Christ's sacerdotal office is that whereby he once offered himself to God the Father as a sacrifice for sinners, and has always made, and still continues to make intercession for us.'
“The humiliation of Christ is that state in which, under his character of God-man he voluntarily submitted himself to the Divine justice, as well in life as in death, for the purpose of undergoing all things requisite to accomplish our redemption.”—Page 410.
The satisfaction of Christ is the complete reparation made by him in his two-fold capacity of God and man, by the fulfilment of the law, and payment of the required price for all mankind.-Page 417.
The effect of Christ's satisfaction is sufficient to produce the reconciliation of God the Father with man.-Page 426.
It will be now, we think, abundantly evident that, however much the work differs from the orthodox faith on the subject of the Trinity, it differs on the same subject quite as much, and indeed far more, from the Unitarian theory, while on all other points it coincides with the evangelical system, and is diametrically opposite to that of Unitarian.
To the names mentioned as being claimed by Unitarians, as authorities in favour of their opinions, several others of less celebrity might be mentioned.* Enough has been said to prove, 1. That Unitarianism is ever ready to avail itself of the authority of great names, however slender, or even suicidal may be the evidence. 2. That, like Popery, it waits for death to prevent the opportunity of immediate and direct denial in order to create and perpetuate rumours of an alleged change of opinions.
Howe on the Social Nature of God. "Upon the whole, let such a union be conceived in the being of God, with such a distinction, and one would think (though the complexions of men's minds do strangely and unaccountably differ,) the absolute perfection of the Deity, and especially, the perfect felicity thereof, should
*See Heber's Bampton Lectures, pp. 120, 121.
be much the more apprehensible with us. When we consider the most delicious society which would hence ensue, among the so entirely consentient Father, Son and Spirit, with whom there is so perfect rectitude, everlasting harmony, mutual complacency, unto highest delectation ; according to our way of conceiving things, who are taught by our own nature, (which also, hath in it the Divine image,) to reckon no enjoyment pleasant, without the association of some other with us therein; we for our parts, cannot but hereby have in our minds, a more gustful idea of a blessed state, than we can conceive in mere eternal solitude.
God speaks to us as men, and will not blame us for conceiving things so infinitely above us, according to the capacity of our natures; provided, we do not assume to ourselves to be a measure for our own conceptions of him; further than as he is himself pleased to warrant and direct us herein. Some likeness we may (taught by himself,) apprehend between him and us, but with infinite (not inequality only, but) unlikeness. And for this case of delectation in society, we must suppose an immense difference between him an all-sufficient. self-sufficient Being, comprehending in himself the infinite fulness of whatsoever is most excellent and delectable and ourselves, who have in us, but a very minute portion of being, goodness, or felicity, and whom he hath made to stand much in need of one another, and most of all of him.
But, when looking into ourselves, we find there is in us a disposition, often upon no necessity, but sometimes, from some sort of benignity of temper, unto conversation with others; we have no reason, when other things concur, and do fairly induce, and lead our thoughts this way to apprehend any incongruity in supposing he may have some distinct object of the same sort of propension in his own most perfect being too, and therewith such a propention itself also.
As to what concerns ourselves, the observation is not altogether unapposite, what Cicero treating of friendship, discourses of perpetual solitude, "that the affectation of it must signify the worst of ill-humor, and the most savage nature in the world. And supposing one of so sour and morose a humor as to shun and hate the conversation of men, he would not endure it, to be without some one or other to whom he might disgorge the virulency of that his malignant humor. Or that supposing such a thing could happen, that God should take a man quite out of the society of men, and place him in absolute solitude, supplied with the abundance of whatsoever nature could covet besides; who, saith he, is so made of iron, as to endure that kind of life?" And he introduces Architas Tarentinus, reported to speak to this purpose, “that if one could ascend into Heaven, behold the frame of the world, and the beauty of every star, his admiration would be unpleasant to him alone, which would be most delicious, if he had some one to whom to express his sense of the whole."
We are not, I say, strictly to measure God by ourselves in this ; further than as he himself prompts and leads us. But, if we so form our conception of Divine bliss, as not to exclude from it somewhat, whereof that delight in society, which we find in ourselves may be an imperfect, faint resemblance; it seems not altogether disagreeable to what the Scriptures also teach us to conceive concerning him, when they bring in the eternal wisdom, saying, as one distinct from the prime Author and Parent of all things, then was I by him, as one brought up with him, and daily his delight.-Prov. viii: 30.
For the same import are many passages of the Fathers : "If," says Athenagoras, “on account of your surpassing intellect, you wish to learn what the Son means; in a few words I will tell you. He is the first offspring of the Father, but not as anything created, for God is from the beginning. and being an eternal mind, he himself had within himself the Word, being eternally comprehensive of the Word. The Holy Spirit likewise, acting efficaciously in those who prophecy, we assert to be an emanation from God, flowing from him and returning to him, as a ray of the
Who then, might not well think it strange, that we, who declare God the Father, and God the Son, and the Holy Spirit, showing both their power in unity and their distinction in order, should yet be called Atheists.
The argument of Athenagoras is this, God's personal Word is the Reason of God. But God is eternally rational, or eternally comprehensive of Reason. Therefore, the Word or Reason of God is eternal also.
The play upon the terms doyos and Noyikos in their Greek acceptation cannot be preserved in an English version.
There is a parallel passage of Athanasius, which may serve to elucidate this of Athenagoras. Athan. Orat. ii. Cont. Arian. Oper. vol. i. p. 154. Commel 1600.
The αλογος of Athanasius is evidently the opposite to the λογικος of Athenagoras.
Tertullian has imitated in Latin, the same form of phraseology and the same peculiar line of argument.
Ante omnia enim Deus erat solus, ipse sibi et mundus et locus et omnia : solus autem, quia nihil extrinsecus praeter illum. Caeterum tunc quidem solus; habitat enim secum, quam habetat in semetipso, Rationem suam scilicet. Rationalis (Athenagoræ loyikos ] enim Deus ; et Ratio in ipso prius: et ita ab ipso omnia. Quæ Ratio sensus ipsius est, hanc Græci loyov dicunt. Tertul. adv. Prax. $ 3. Oper. p. 407.
The whole argument is founded upon the double sense of the term doyus which imports either Verbum or Ratio. On this double sense, Athenagoras and others of the old Fathers delighted to play. As the Father is eternally λογικος his λογος they argued must be eternal also.
Tres dirigens, Patrem et Filium et spiritum sanctum: tres autem non statu, sed gradu; nec substantia, sed forma: nec potestate sed specie: unius autem substantiae et unius status.*
The same argument for, and view of, the Trinity, is embodied in one of the ancient hymns of the church, as found in the Thesaurus Hymnologicus Tom. I, p. 276.
In maiestatis solio,
Aeternæ mentis oculo,
Hoc gaudium est spiritus
In tribus est simplicitas,
Per solam vim originis,
Ingenito et genito, etc.
*Faber's Apost. of Trinit. vol. ii. pp. 240.
OBJECTIONS TO THE DOCTRINE Of The TrinitY FROM THE
UNITY OF GOD, AS TAUGHT IN SCRIPTURE, ANSWERED. The chief difficulty in the way of a candid examination and acceptation of the doctrine of the Trinity, arises from the prejudices with which the mind comes to the investigation its unwillingness to submit itself to the truth of God without being able to comprehend the nature of the truth believed, — and above all the enmity and aversion with which this doctrine is associated, because it is so humbling to the pride and selfrighteous vanity of man.
The irrelevancy of the objections made against the doctrine of the Trinity on the ground of its alleged unreasonableness, contradictoriness, incomprehensibility, obscurity, and merely speculative and abstract character, we have, we think, satisfactorily proved to be untenable. The objections which arise from "an evil heart of unbelief" against the doctrine itself, and against the system of grace which it involves,--and which after all is the real hindrance to the more universal reception of this doctrine,—these can be removed only when “the natural heart" is transformed by the renewing and enlightening influences of the Holy Ghost, through whose teaching alone any man can call Jesus Lord, and worship Father, Son and Holy Ghost, as one God, “in spirit and in truth.” Of all the objections which can arise against the doctrine of the Trinity, it may be truly said that they are based upon the impious and absurd presumption that the Divine Being is more clearly and fully known to those who are so wise in their conceit, as to imagine they have “by searching found out the Almighty to perfection,” than he is to himself. Such persons therefore, imagine that they are better able to describe what God is, and what God is not, than God has thought fit to make known as the truth on these subjects in the sacred Scriptures, which ware all given by inspiration through Holy men who spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."
The only rational inquiry on this subject undoubtedly is, who or what God is, as he himself has been pleased to inform us, in his own selected language; and whether this God is only one simple, absolute, personal, uncompounded and solitary being; or whether in the Unity of the Divine Being there is a Trinity, composed of three persons who are spoken of in Scripture as the FATHER, Son, and Holy Ghost. The former of these opinions we affirm not to be the doctrine of Scripture; such a metaphysical unity can be held only by declaring God to be, what he himself has nowhere affirmed that he is, and by peremptorily denying God to be what he has led us to believe he is, from the whole tenor, and from many express declarations, of the sacred Scriptures. The Scriptures, we affirm, plainly teach that God is one,—that nevertheless, there are three persons bearing distinct names and offices who are called Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,—that to each of these three is attributed everything that is most peculiar and appropriate to the Divine nature without any difference ;—that those things, which most clearly distinguish God from every created and derived being, do not distinguish these three persons from one another ;—that all that is most distinctive of God is not appropriated to THE FATHER alone, nor to the Son alone, nor to THE SPIRIT alone, but to each and every one of them ;-and, therefore, that the only living and true God is a Tri-unity consisting of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and not any one, or any two of these, alone. The Father alone, therefore, exclusive of the Son, and Holy Ghost, is not the one God, the only God, the one supreme cause of all things, or the sole origin of all being, power, wisdom and authority.
But it will be here vehemently urged that inasmuch as all believers in the Bible admit the unity of God to be clearly, and frequently, taught in the Holy Scriptures, all other passages which seem to teach an opposite doctrine must be interpreted in accordance with this.
Undoubtedly we admit, as fully as our opponents in this controversy do, that the Scriptures teach, as a fundamental truth, that there is but one living and true God, besides whom there is none else. About this point there is no dispute. But the question is, who is this one God, and what is the Unity of this one God.
It is, as we before remarked, commonly imagined, that the Bible is full of texts in which the absolute and personal unity of the Father, as alone the true God, is taught. The truth, however, is, that such a unity of God is nowhere taught in Scripture,—that there are very few passages either in the Old or the New Testaments, which bear directly and dogmatically upon the unity of God, and that they are by no means as