Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

and invisible-whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities or powers—all things were created by him and for him-by him all things consist." " He shall change our vile body according to the working of his mighty power, whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself." Phil. 3 : 21. Heb. 1: 3. Coll. 1 : 16, 17.

In respect of his unlimited knowledge and universal pres. ence, what testimony can be plainer or síronger than this? “He knew all men and needed not, that any should testify of man, for he knew what was in man.” "All the Churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts ; and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.” “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” John 2 : 24, 25. Rev. 2 : 23. Matt. 18 : 20; 28 : 20, etc.

But, once more, does that other mark and evidence of true Divinity, viz. religious worship, belong to Christ? In answer to which, we briefly refer you to five sources of testimony. 1. To Christ himself. " That all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father.” John 5 : 22. 2. To the apostles assembled to choose a successor to Judas, “Thou, Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, show whether of the twain thou hast chosen." Acts 1 : 24. 3. To all the primitive disciples who were distinguished as those “ that call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Cor. 1:2. 4. To the dying martyr, Stephen, of blessed memory--who, with his expiring breath, prayed, “ Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Acts 7 : 59. 5. And, last of all, to the saints and angels that surround the throne in heaven. “I beheld, and lo! a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God, which sitteth on the throne and unto the Lamb.” " And I heard the voice of many angels about the throne and, the four (living creatures) and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice-Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing." Rev. 7:9-12.

Here let us pause a moment, and recur to the text, “I am the Lord, that is my name, and my glory will I not give to another." How is it possible to reconcile this unqualified declaration with the fact, that all the peculiar, descriptive titles of

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Supreme Divinity-all the attributes and works by which he is known, and even the very same kind of worship which be claims as his exclusive right, should be given to Christ? If Christ is a dependent, created being himself-has not the name and the glory of Jehovah been given to another? And is it indeed credible, that he who alone is Jehovah, would, contrary to his word, give up to, or divide with, a creature, all the ensigns of supremacy? Would he challenge his right to Divine titles, and then give them away? Would he reveal himself as the Creator of the universe, and then ascribe the work and honor of it to another? With reverence and humility we demand, could he create a being and make him eternal ? or could be impart infinite power to a being dependent ? or unlimited knowledge to one whose existence is limited ? and would he allow that created and dependent being, to claim worship and be worshipped by saints below and saints above, in the same pure and lofty strains that he himself is worshipped ? His own solemn asseveration is-never, never! “My glory will I not give to another." You will observe that the passages which we above cited, as belonging to Christ, are distinct from, and independent of, another class of passages, which belong to him in his assumed, mediatoriai character and office-in which authority, power, dominion, knowledge, and judgement, are said to be committed and given to him by the Father. The argument above presented, is not touched by this latter class of texts -these prove what we fully believe, that Christ, in his office as mediator, is inferior to the Father; the other, that in his inherent qualities and original character," he is one with the Father." John 14:28; 10:29–33.

3. On this part of our argument it only remains to be proved, that the marks of supreme Divinity which we have named, do also belong to the Holy Spirit. The first inquiry on this point which presents itself, is—What is meant by the term Holy Spirit? Does it mean simply God himself, an attribute of God, a divine influence, mode of operation, extraordinary gifts, miraculous powers? or does it mean a real agent, distinct from God the Father, and possessed of attributes of true Divinity ? To which we reply; the term has evidently various meanings attached to itin Scripture. Sometimes it may be synonymous with the term God. At other times it may mean, divine influence, miraculous gifts, right assections or dispositions of heart, &c. But after admitting this, it is equally evident too, that the term Holy Spirit means a person or agent distinct from the Father and the Son. How plain and unequivocal are the following passages : said Christ, “When the Comforter is come, whom I

66

will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me. When he is come, he will guide you into all truth; for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak, and he will show you things to come.” John 14:26; 16: 13. “ Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit: differences of administrations, but the same Lord : and diversities of operations but the same God which worketh all in all."-Tben enumerating the gifts of wisdom, knowledge, faith, prophecy, miracles, &c., the apostle says, “ all these are the work of that one and the self same SPIRIT, dividing to every man severally as he will." Mark this

Mark this passage. The Spirit

. is first distinguished from the gifts which he imparts; next from the Lord, Christ, next from God, the Father, and finally those works are ascribed to him which imply unlimited knowledge, power and sovereignty : " dividing to every man severally as he will." "The Spirit searcheth all things; yea, the deep things of God.” “As the apostles ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul,, for the work whereunto I have called them." See 1 Cor. 12: 4, 6, 11. 2 Cor. 2: 11. Acts 13: 2 ; 20: 28. As these passages distinguish the Holy Spirit from both the Father and the Son, and ascribe to him personal acts ; so those which follow clearly declare his Divine nature.

In Acts 5: 3, Annanias and Sapphira are said" to lie to the Holy Ghost;" then, v. 4, Peter says, “ Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God :" clearly to be understood that the Holy Spirit, to whom they lied, is God. So at one time Christians are said to be the "temple of the Holy Ghost," at another time the "temple of God.” i Cor. 3: 16. Gal. 6: 16. Paul made solemn oath, which was an act of religious worship: “I lie not, my conscience bearing me witness in-or rather by the Holy Ghost.” And to speak against the Holy Ghost, is blasphemy which can never be forgiven. Rom. 9: 1. Matt. 12: 31.

Turn now to those passages in which, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, are named together, as objects of worship. Matt. 28: 19. "Go, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." To baptize in, or into, the name of any one, is to impose the obligation, to honor, obey, follow him. And, as being the initiatory rite of our religion, it is solemnly to dedicate one to the service of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. But who, with all reverence we ask, are they? what do their names mean, who are thus united as the equal object of our religious homage? The idea that the term Son means only a dependent created being-and the Holy Spirit, a divine influence or miraculous power, and are united with God, the Father of all-is repugnant to the essential rights of Him who has said “My glory will I not give to another.” Besides, if Holy Spirit means divine influence or gifts—then what can it mean to baptize into the name of this influence or gifts—especially after being already baptized into the name of the Father, from whom the influence or gift proceeds?

Hear also the prayer, offered by the Apostle for spiritual blessings upon his brethren at Corinth. “ The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.” 2 Cor. 13:14. Is this a

" prayer addressed to the Father and to two of his creatures or as some would say to one of his creatures, viz.—Christ, and to an attribute or influence? Is it then right and scriptural thus to pray ? Remember it is written, 'I am Jehovah—that is my name—my glory will I not give to another.” The apostle Jude also directs, vs. 20, 21, “ praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God; looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” But why connect these three in this solemn devotional manner, unless they are equally and in common the object of religious worship?

Suspending now our argument, let us review the proof which we have thus far adduced. We have said that the Scriptures reveal one, and but one, Supreme Being ;-that the marks or characteristics by which he is known are certain names, attributes, works, and the exclusive right of worship ;-all admit that these marks belong to Him who is called God, the Father ; they also belong as we have shown, equally to the Son. For example, is the true Divinity known by the names, the true, great, mighty God, and Jehovah ?— These very names are repeatedly and in the strongest manner given to Christ ! Is the true Divinity eternal, omniscient, all powerful, the Creator of all things, and every where present ?' So is Christ. Does the true God claim divine worship, as his right, and forbid it to all others ? Christ was worshipped in the highest sense by apostles and primitive disciples, by all the angels, and is now by all the hosts of heaven; and he enjoined it also as a duty "that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father."

In regard to the Holy Spirit, we have found, from the Scriptures, that he possesses the qualities and attributes of a real agent or person distinct from the Father and the Son; that to him is ascribed omniscience and the disposal of all things; that he is called God, and the same works ascribed to him, in one place, as are ascribed to the Father in another; and finally, that he is an

object of religious worship, both alone and in conjunction with the Father and the Son.

III. We are then prepared for the third step or conclusion of our argument—viz: that the one God, whose name alone is Jehovah, and whose glory he will not give to, or share with, another, is, as to his mode

of existence, revealed to us as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. This conclusion seems to us direct and irresistible. The Scriptures declare that there is but one true God, and describe him by certain marks or characteristics. But the same Scriptures teach that the same marks or characteristics belong equally to three persons or subjects, viz. The Fa-, ther and the Son and the Holy Ghost : therefore, these are the one God. This conclusion we must admit, or else confess that the Bible is replete with dark sayings, which ill accord with its claim to be a revelation and which it seems utterly impossible to reconcile: holding that the Bible is true and infallible, we take our stand upon it. We receive the doctrine of one God in Trinity as a revealed fact, just as we do any other fact of revelation; and place it above all valid objection. We know it is common for writers and preachers, in their discussion of this sublime doctrine, to spend much time in answering objections which are urged against it from reason or philosophy: but we confess we have no objections to answer.

We are no apologists for the great and incomprehensible Being, whom we are taught to love, reverence, and obey. Rather, we are thankful that he has revealed himself to us in his word, in such a manner as fills us with awe of his majesty and adoration, of his ineffable perfections !

ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS.

In conclusion, we ask your attention to a few additional remarks, that may both strengthen your confidence in our Scriptural argument, and illustrate the great practical importance of the doctrine.

1. This doctrine has been the unvarying Orthodox belief, from the time of the apostles till now; and every departure from it has been marked and condemned as heresy.

In the first century, and during the life time of the apostles, a sect arose called Ebeonites, who taught that Christ was a mere man. About the same time also, the sect callled Gnostics, who maintained that Christ was an aæon, or emanation from God, inferior to the Father, and when on earth was only a man in appearance, not in reality. To these sects, Paul, Peter and John are supposed to refer, when they speak of “de

« PreviousContinue »