Page images

come, saith Jehovah of hosts ;” and still more clearly Psal. i. where God the Father is introduced in his own person as explicitly dec laring the nature and offices of his Son. Psal. vii. 8, 11, 12. “ I will declare the decree; Jehovah hath said unto me, Thou art my Son .... ask of me and I shall give.... serve Jehovah .... kiss the Son.” Heb. i. 8, 9: unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever.. thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." To the above may also be added the testimony of the angel Gabriel, Luke i. 32. “he shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David.” If, then, he be the Son of the Most High, he is not himself the Most High.

The apostles every where teach the same doctrine ; as the Baptist had done before them. John i. 29. “behold the Lamb of God.v. 33, 34. “I knew him not, but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, &c. and I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God." iii. 32. “ what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth,” &c. - not he alone that was earthly, nor did he speak only of earthly things, but he that is above all, and that cometh from heaven, v. 31. lest it should be still contended that this and similar texts refer to the human nature of Christ. 2 Cor. iv. 4, 6. "lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” Col. i. 15. “who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature.” Philipp. ii. 6. “in the form of God.” Heb. i. 2. “ whom he hath appointed heir.” v. 3. “the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.” The terms here used, being all relative, and applied numerically to two persons, prove, first, that there is no unity of essence, and secondly, that the one is inferior to the other. So v. 4. “ being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” I Cor. iii. 23. “ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's.". Here, if any where, it might have been expected that Christ would have been designated by the title of God; yet it is only said that he is of God. The same appears even more clearly in what follows; xi. 3. “I would have you know that.... the head

of Christ is God.” Eph. i. 17. “ the God of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor. xv. 27. “when he saith, all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him: and when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” Here the usual subterfuge of the opponents of this doctrine, that of alleging the mediatorial office of Christ can be of no avail ; since it is expressly declared, that when the Son shall have completed his functions as mediator, and nothing shall remain to prevent him from resuming his original glory as only begotten Son, he shall nevertheless be subject unto the Father.

Such was the faith of the saints respecting the Son of God; such is the tenor of the celebrated confession of that faith; such is the doctrine which alone is taught in Scripture, which is acceptable to God, and has the promise of eternal salvation. Matt. xvi. 15—19. “whom say ye that I am ? and Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God : and Jesus answered and said unto him : Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.. upon this rock I will build my Church.” Luke ix. 20. “the Christ of God.” John i. 49, 50. “Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.” vi. 69. “We believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” ix. 35—38. “ dost thou believe on the Son of God ? he answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him ? and Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee : and he said, Lord, I believe; and he worshipped him.” xi. 22, 26, 27. “I know that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee : whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die : believest thou this ? she saith unto him, Yea, Lord, I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.” xvi. 27, 30, 31. “ the Father himself loveth you, because


have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God: now are we sure that thou knowest all things; by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.” xvii. 3, 7, 8, 21. “ this is life eternal that they might know thee the only

[ocr errors]

true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent: now they have known that all things, whatsoever thou hast given me, are of thee; for I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee : that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” xx. 31. “these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing, ye might have life through his name." Acts viii. 37. “if thou believest, thou mayest.... I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Rom. x. 9. “ if thou shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Col. ii. 2. “that their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ.

Philipp.iv. 6, 7. "let your requests be made known usto God : and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” 1 Pet. i. 21. “who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God." 1 John iv. 15. “ whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” v. 1. “ whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God.” v. 5. “who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God ?Finally, this is the faith proposed to us in the Apostles' Creed, the most ancient and universally received compendium of belief in the possession of the Church.

CHAP. VI.-OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. HAVING concluded what relates to the Father and the Son, the next subject to be discussed is that of the Holy Spirit,

4 The following remarkable passage occurs in the Treatise of True Religion, &c., which was Milton's last publication, and did not appear till the year before his death :- - The Arian and Socinian are charged to dispute against the Trinity; yet they affirm to believe the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, according to Scripture and the Apostolic Creed. As for the terms of Trinity, Triunity, Coessentiality, Tripersonality, and the like, they reject them as scholastic notions, not to be found in Scripture.' Prose Works, II. 512.

[ocr errors]

nasmuch as this latter is called the Spirit of the Father and che Son. With regard to the nature of the Spirit, in what manner it exists, or whence it arose, Scripture is silent; which sa caution to us not to be too hasty in our conclusions on he subject. For though it be a Spirit, in the same sense in

hich the Father and Son are properly called Spirits; though we read that Christ by breathing on his disciples gave to them the Holy Ghost, or rather perhaps some symbol or pledge of the Holy Ghost, John xx. 22.-yet in treating of the nature of the Holy Spirit, we are not authorized to infer from such expressions, that the Spirit was breathed from the Father and the Son. The terms emanation and procession, employed by theologians on the authority of John xv. 26. do not relate to the nature of the Holy Spirit ; the Spirit of truth, ο παρά του Πατρός εκπορεύεται, oho proceedeth or goeth forth from the Father ; which single expression is too slend foundation for the full establishment of so gr especially as these words relate rather to the the nature of the Spirit ; in which sense th: said genow, which in my opinion may' to go forth or to proceed from the Fat any difference in the meaning. Nay, live by every word (έκτορευομένω) tha forth from the mouth of God,” Matt the Spirit is neither said to be gen any other mode of existence speci Scripture, we must be content to l on which the sacred writers hav silence.

The name of Spirit is also fre angels, and to the human mind Spirit of God, or the Holy Spir

5 This seems to be said in allusio tween the Eastern and Western C or procession of the Holy Ghost 64

Sciunt, qui in Hebræis litr nomen. Origine sua ventum si fugit, ad alia transfertur : pri malique, deinde ipse homini ad Luc. ix. 55. See also and Personality of the H errors which arise from

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


ment, it is to be variously interpreted; sometimes it signifie 5 God the Father himself,—as Gen. vi. 3. “my Spirit sha not alway strive with man ;” sometimes the power and virtud del of the Father, and particularly that divine breath or influence by which every thing is created and nourished. In this sens many both of the ancient and modern interpreters understas the passage in Gen. i. 2. “the Spirit of God moved upon the .hn face of the waters.'

."7 Here, however, it appears to be with reference to the Son, through whom the Father is so often said to have created ah things. Job. xxvi. 13. “ by reahis Spirit he hath garnished the heavens.” xxvii. 3. “the Spirit of God is in my nostrils.” xxxiii. 4. “the Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.” Psal. civ. 30. “thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created.” cxxxix. 7. “whither shall I go then from Spirit ?". Ezek. xxxvii. 14. “I shall put my Spirit in hall live.” See also


other similar passages,
means an angel. Isai. xlviii. 16. “the Lord
Spirit hath sent me.” Ezek. ii. 12. “ then

See also v. 14, 24, &c.
ns Christ, who according to the common
the Father to lead the Israelites into the
'Ixiii. 10, 11. “they rebelled, and vexed
re is he that put his Holy Spirit within

gel to whom he transferred his own if
om they tempted, Numb. xxi. 5, &c.

id impulse or voice of God by which the

Nehem. ix. 30. “ thou testifiedst in thy prophets."

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Rabbinical interpretation of this passage, irit."
e of the Fathers, explains the Spirit
«στικήν, or την ενεργείαν ζωτικών,
Veems extraordinary that Patrick

explanation nearly similar, and

are to understand to be here God, which made a vehement rising perhaps a great wind)

Ezechielem Explanationes, e sense attributed to it by

« PreviousContinue »