Page images
PDF
EPUB

first place, the Scriptures assert, that Christ existed, and acted, long before he appeared on earth.” Jesus said unto them “Before Abraham was, I am.” " And now, D Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was."* We are then told, that Christ, in his pre-existent state, was divine.

“ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”+

Here then is what I have called the original character of Christ. But in the next place, the Scriptures describe a great and wonderful change as having taken place in the condition of Christ. St. John declares, the “Word became flesh, and dwelt among us." St. Paul says, “And without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh.” Other passages are more minute in the account which they give of this change. But no where is it more strongly assured, or more fully exhibited, than in the following passage :

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God : but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." I

Who does not perceive in these passages a twofold description of the person of Christ, in which he is represented as possessing an original and assumed character. Only let this distinction be remembered, and every objection falls at once to the ground. In his original character Christ is divine,

[ocr errors]

• John xvii. 5.

† John i. 1.

# Philippians ii. 6, 7, 8.

and is, therefore, represented as equal with the Father in the numerous passages which have been brought to prove his divinity. But in his assumed character, he is man and mediator, and is accordingly represented in other places as acting in a subordinate capacity. Every passage of Scripture which speaks of Christ as inferior to the Father, alludes to his assumption of the character of man and mediator; while there is no other possible way of reconciling the two classes of passages, and this makes all most perfectly and beautifully consistent. If Christ be not truly and properly divine, no explanation can be given of those passages which speak of his equality with the Father. If he be not also man and mediator, no explanation can be given of those which speak of his subordination to the Father. But if both characters are allowed to be united in one complex person, all the passages harmonize with each other, and there is no more difficulty in conceding this, than there is in acknowledging that there are two natures in the formation of that complex person called man. If the attributes of animal and spiritual existence may be so combined as to form one person, who will say that it is difficult for the Almighty to combine human and divine attributes in the person of Jesus Christ? We speak of man as mortal and immortal, and nobody misunderstands our meaning; because, when we speak of man as mortal, every one understands us to speak of his corporeal nature; and when we speak of him as immortal, every one understands us to speak of his spiritual nature. The Scriptures then need not be misapprehended when they attribute two natures to Christ, and speak of him sometimes in reference to

one, and sometimes in reference to the other. Now let these remarks but be attentively considered, and it will be seen that the doctrine of the Trinity, instead of being open to the objection which has been discussed, is the only system which effectually obviates that objection, since it is the only one which corresponds with the entire full representation of the Scriptures themselves.

Having removed the objection, we fall back on the passages which represent Christ as God; and, therefore, the second thing proposed is accomplished, viz: that the Son is represented and represents himself as God.

My third object is to show, that the Father is represented and represents himself as God. I need not discuss this; no one disputes it.

From separate passages I have proved, then, three things. 1. The Holy Ghost is represented as God. 2. The Son is represented as God. 3. The Father is represented as God.

Now there are passages in which the three are mentioned together in such a way as to show both their distinction and their equality—“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. . Amen."*—“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with

you for ever; even the Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him, for hedwelleth with you, and shall be in you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father

2 Corinthians xiii. 14.

will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."'*

It appears to me that these require no comment. I will only mention one more passage to the same effect. It is the one placed at the head of this discourse

Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” I make a brief commentary upon it, merely to show the great importance which it has as connected with this subject. It cannot, I apprehend, but arrest the attention of every individual, that at the very entrance and porch of Christianity, the Son and the Holy Ghost are placed on the same level with the Father. That they are placed in this relation, shows their equality, and the utter absurdity of any other supposition can be thus shown. Suppose that the form was as follows: Go ye and preach the Gospel to every creature, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Apostle Paul, and of the power of God. You will be struck at once with the absurdity of this; and why? Simply, because it joins the name of an inferior being with that of a superior in a business which implies equally between them. And the same absurdity would be apparent, if the Son and the Holy Ghost were not on an equality with the Father.

What I have proved, therefore, in the preceding discussion, is this—that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, are each represented, and each represents himself as God: after the much that has been said, there cannot be any mistake as to this fact. What is essential now to be done is to arrive at a

* John xiv. 16, 17-26.

logical conclusion, and I propose to do this in the sylogistic form of reasoning; thus,

1. The Scripture is clear in the representation that there is but one God—“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.”

2. But the Scriptures represent the Father as God, the Son as God, and the Holy Ghost as God.

3. Therefore the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, are the one God of the Scriptures.

It is impossible to evade this conclusion.

You will of course have observed that I have made no attempt to explain the doctrine. I have simply stated what the doctrine is, and then have gone on regularly to prove it in the only way in which it is susceptible of proof, viz: by proving that each of the persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are represented as God; and as there is but one God, so these three persons are the one living and true God. This is the doctrine. Now the truth of the doctrine stands upon the proof which is brought to support it. It has no necessary connexion whatever with the possibility or the impossibiliy of explaining it. There are thousands and millions of facts, which, like this, depend entirely on evidence. Explanation is out of the question; explanation is not required. For, if a fact could be rejected, though it was supported by evidence, merely because the rationale, if I may so speak, cannot be explained, there is no resort but to universal skepticism. No man, under such circumstances, could believe even his own existence. A principle which leads to such conclusions, can have no claim to confidence; and no objection, founded on such a principle, is worthy of a serious and enlightened mind. The only ques

« PreviousContinue »