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who alone is properly called his Son, the Word which was with him before the creation, because by him he in the beginning made and disposed all things,” &c. (Apol.) And again : “ But this Being, who was really begotten of the Father, and proceeded from him, did, before all creatures wore made, exist with the Father, and the Father con. versed with him.” (Dial. cum Tryph.) Once more :“God, and his only begotten Son, together with the Spirit, we worship and adore.” (Apol.)
Athenagoras was another Christian apologist who wrote in the second century. Speaking of the Son, he says, “ He is to the Father as the first offspring; not as some. thing made. For God, being an eternal intelligence, him. self from the beginning had the Logos in himself, being eternally rational.” (Horsley's Letters, p. 59.)
Theophilus, bishop of Antioch, was also a writer of the second century, in defence of Christianity. Addressing himself to Autolycus, he says, “ It was to no other that he said, Let us make, than to his own Word, and to his own Wisdom.” Again : 6 The three days which preceded the creation of the luminaries, were types of the trinity, tpiados; of God, and of his Word, and of his Wis. dom.” (Ad Autolyc. p. 114.) The passage just quoted from Irenæus shows that, by “his Word and his Wisdom, the writers of this age meant “the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
Clemens of Alexandria, an eminent writer of the se. cond century, says,
6 The Son of God is always every. where, and contained nowhere : all mind, all light, all eye of his Father, beholding all things, hearing all things, knowing all things.” And again : “ Ignorance cannot affect God, him that was the Father's Counsellor before the foundation of the world.” (Stom. lib. vii, cap. 2.)
Tertullian is the last writer of this century to whom we appeal. The following passage is translated from his treatise, de Prescriptione, by Dr. Priestley, and acknow. ledged by him to contain the catholic faith. The rule of faith, “ by which we are taught to believe that there is but one God, and this no other than the Maker of the world, who produced every thing out of nothing, by his own Word then first sent down: that that Word was called his Son ; that he appeared variously in the name of God,
(i. e., being called Jehovah,) to the patriarchs : that he was afterward conveyed, by the Spirit and power of God, the Father, into the Virgin Mary: that he was made flesh in her womb, and from her appeared in the person of Je. sus Christ.” (Remarks on Mr. Badcock's Review, p. 18.)
That some should be dissatisfied with the terms trinity, economy, &c., which began to be invented and adopted in the times of Tertullian, as Mr. G., quoting that author, has specified, (vol. ii, p. 76,) is not matter of wonder. The frequent discussion of these subjects led to the adop. tion of compendious terms and phrases, which, however proper, might easily give offence, especially as Theodotius, the tanner of Byzantium, was then preaching at Rome the Unitarian doctrine of the mere humanity of Jesus Christ. (Dr. Horsley to Dr. Priestley, Let. xiv, sec. 6.) We have not, however, undertaken to vindicate these scholastic terms, but the scriptural truth, with which, therefore, they are not to be identified.
Of the Scriptural Use of the Doctrine of the Trinity.
HOWEVER the prying curiosity of speculative minds may wish to extract from the Scriptures a theory of the trinity, the sacred books will afford them no satisfactory instruc. tion on that mysterious subject, abstracted from its prac. tical use.
A careful perusal of the Old and the New Testament may soon convince the reader that those books are intended to humble the pride of the human understand. ing, and to amend the heart. Let no one therefore ima. gine that his views of the subject are correct and scriptural, if he do not enter into the spirit and design of the sacred writers, and study the mysterious relation of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, in the light of that practical use with which it is always connected, from which it can never, without detriment, be disjoined, and for the sake of which it is revealed. The following may serve to exemplify the use which the sacred writers make of it.
« God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
but have everlasting life,” John iii, 16. To produce and “ prepare a body” for the Son,
“ the Holy Spirit came upon the virgin, and the power of the highest over. shadowed her.” The Son obediently accepted the Father's commission, and said, “ A body hast thou prepared me. Lo, I come to do thy will, 0 God!" Heb. x, 5, 7. He “came forth from the Father and came into the world,” John xvi, 28. Thus, “ when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons,” Gal. iv, 5, 6.
The Father acknowledged the Son, and while "the Holy Ghost descended upon” the latter, “ a voice came from heaven which said, Thou art my Son, in thee I am well pleased,” Luke iii, 21, 22. The attention of the human race was called by the Father to the Son, when a voice proceeded from the excellent glory, “ This is my beloved Son, hear ye him,” Luke ix, 35. “ It pleased the Father that in his dear Son should all fulness” of the Spirit 6. dwell,” Col. i, 19. When, therefore, the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten (Son) of the Father, full of grace and truth,” John i, 14. Anointed with all the fulness of the Holy Ghost, the Son went forth, declaring to mankind the Father. He, whom God had sent, spake the words of God; for God gave not the Spirit by measure to him," John iii, 34. “The Spirit of the Lord, said he, is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor: he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord,” Luke iv, 18. Speaking the words of the Father, and delivering the Father's commandments, the Son, John xii, 49, by the Spirit of God, wrought divine miracles, and confirmed the Father's word, by doing the works of the Father ; " that the Father might be glorified in the Son.” “ My Father worketh hitherto, (said he,) and I work. The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do ; for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For as the Father raiseth up the dead, even so
the Son quickeneth whom he will; that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father; for he that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father," John v, 17-23.
To “ redeem us to God by his blood, the Son, by the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God," Heb. ix, 14, thus making “himself an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour," Eph. iv, 2; and the Father by the Spirit, Rom. v, 24 ; viii, 11, “raised the Son from the dead, for our justification.
The Father “ exalted the Son to his own right hand," and “ glorified him with his own self, with the glory which he had with him before the world was,” John xvii, 5. * The Son ever liveth to make intercession, and is able to save to the uttermost all that come to God by him,” Heb. vii, 26. He “ prays the Father that he may give us another Comforter, even the Spirit of truth,” John xiv, 17. He has ascended up on high, and received gifts for men, that the Lord God (by the Spirit) may dwell among them, Psalm Ixviii, 18; Eph. iv, 7, 8. “Behold I (says the Son) send (the Spirit) the promise of my Father upon
Luke xxiv, 49. “ This Jesus hath God raised up. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this,” Acts ii, 33.
“The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son. For, as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself, and hath given him authority to execute judgment also,” John v, 22, 27. « God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ,” Rom. ii, 16. When, therefore, the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God,” 1 Thess. i, 8, and shall have pronounced the sentence of final acquittal, “ Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you ;" when the offering up of the nations shall be accepted, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost ; " when he shall have put all enemies under his feet :--be shall deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father, and the Son also himself shall be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all," 1 Cor. xv, 24-28.
From the various combinations of this mysterious economy, all our blessings, but especially the blessings of our redemption and salvation, fow.
1. Mankind are ignorant of their Maker. “Verily he is a God who hideth himself,” Isa. xlv, 15.
• No man hath seen God at any time; but the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him,” John i, 18. “No man knoweth the Son but the Father ; neither knoweth any man the Father save the Son; and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him," John xi, 27. Again, on the other hand : “ The things of God knoweth no man but the Spirit of God," 1 Cor. ii, 14. “ No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost,” i Cor. xii, 3. “ But when the Comforter is come,” says the Son of God, “ whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me,” John xv, 26. I will pray the Father, and he shall give you an. other Comforter, even the Spirit of truth.
At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you,” John xiv, 16, 20. When “ the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, gives unto them the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, so that the eyes of their understanding may be enlightened,” Eph. i, 18 : then they see the Son, who is the express image of the Father's person ; and “ seeing the Son, they see the Father,” John xiv, 9 : then they “know the Son, and know the Father also," John xiv, 7. Thus “God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, shineth in their hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,” 2 Cor. iv, 6. And thus “ with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, they are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord," 2 Cor. iii, 18.
2. “ All have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” Rom. iii, 23; and “are by nature the children of wrath,” Eph. ii, 3. But the Son has, “ by the grace of God, tasted death for every man,” Heb. ii, 9. delivered (to death) for our offences, and raised again from the dead by the glory of the Father for our justification," Rom. iv, 25; vi, 4. 66 God was in Christ recon.
6 He was