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of discussion; and if the arguments and manner used do not carry conviction to the minds of any of different sentiments, it is hoped that they will not excite asperity.
It is the object of the author to prove from the Sacred Scriptures a threefold distinction in the Divine Nature, revealed by the names, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He has not attempted to shew how these things can be; but merely to shew that these things are revealed. Though the Divine Plurality, like the Divine Existence, is incomprehensible by finite minds; yet there is nothing in it, which any one can say is more contradictory, or inconsistent, than the distinctions in human nature.
The term person, as it is often applied to the Father, Son, and Spirit, and the expression, three persons in the Godhead, have been cautiously avoided, unless they have occurred in quotations. This language is offensive to many, because it conveys to their minds (though not intended by those, who use it) an idea of separation in the Divine Nature, so that the Father, Son, and Spirit, instead of being one, appear to them to be three Gods. There is no inconvenience in avoiding this phraseology, and it is abundantly sufficient to prove that each is divine, without attempting to prove that each distinctly is God.
It has not been attempted to prove, nor has it been taken for granted, that the Humanity and Divinity of Jesus Christ constitute either one, or more persons. He is "one Lord." It appears to be inexpedient to predicate that of him, which the Scriptures do not predicate, and which unnecessarily excites opposition to the doctrine of his divinity. If the term Person, be applied to him in both natures, it is certain that its signification is different from what it is in any other application. It ought to be considered that the intimate connexion of his divinity and humanity, does not destroy their essential distinction.
The essay on the Atonement is brief; but enough is said to shew its connexion with the divinity of Christ, and the view given of its matter, will, it is believed, help to remove the most formidable objections, which are brought against it.
Much has been written, and some has been very ably written on the Sonship of Jesus Christ. It does not appear to be necessary to prove that his relationship to the Father, which is expressed by the relative term Son, was produced either in eternity, or in time. If it were ever produced, there was a period in duration, in which it did not exist; and when it came into existence, a change in the Divine Nature must have taken place. Let it be admitted that the three distinctions in the Divine Nature always existed; and that they have been revealed by the names of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; let the attention be fixed exclusively on the Divine Nature, not on its official capacities, nor on its union with humanity, and it appears that all debate on the subject would terminate.
In the essay on the Authority of Jesus Christ, it is shewn that there is an essential difference between power and authorily; and this distinction, which is warranted by the original Greek, is considered a refutation of the opinion of those, who maintain that power was imparted by the Father to the Son.
The view of the Mediatorial Office of the Savior, removes, it is believed, some objections, which are brought against the Trinitarian scheme.
The Opinions of the Christian Fathers, are taken from Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History, and from Milner's History of the Church of Christ. It is unnecessary to make any prefatory remarks on the other numbers of the work. The reader will easily discover their design and weight.
It may appear to many to be entirely superfluous to add another publication to the many, which have already been made upon this subject. But it ought to be considered that as long as this doctrine is assailed by its enemies, it must be defended by its friends; and that the latter must be as indefatigable and persevering in their efforts as the former. The same arguments, presented in different points of view, and variously arranged and combined, will produce different effects; and when others, if sound, are added, they give impulse to those, which have gone before. At the present juncture, when opposition is powerful and active, it does not become the soldiers of the cross merely to stand on the ground, which their fathers valiantly defended, and use only their arms, and their method of warfare; they must keep pace with the progress of their opponents; search out all their varied modes of attack; and learn from the skill of the enemy how to repel their assaults. They must open the Magazine of divine truth; take arms from every apartment; and when, with a helmet, or a shield, or a buckler, or a sword, severally, they cannot prevail,
let them take the whole armor of God, and they will bear down all opposition. To drop the figure, when evidences of the doctrine of the Trinity, drawn from one, or a few sources, are resisted, let every source of evidence be opened; let every argument be brought to its place; let the whole be marshalled, and they will not, they cannot, be ineffectual. Like the Grecian phalanx, they will be not only impenetrable; but they will break through the line of opposition.
The following work is now committed to an intelligent and candid public, and commended to the blessing of Him, whose honor and cause it is designed to vindicate.