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ral men.

derstand the use of the figure "Meiosis," in the interpretation of Scripture, this is known to be mere empty words; in and among themselves, they are as much three several Gods (my pen revolts at the words), as the “ three, four, or more indi. viduals” of “a mercantile firm” are three, four, or more seve

Behold, reader, the Tritheism of Tripersonalism fairly unmasked. But will this naked unsupported assertion, that there are several Gods, carry the weight of a feather against the assertion of Jesus which it pretends to illustrate, “ I and my

Father are One ? If by such arguments our blessed Lord is stoned out of his Sole Divinity, in the mind of a Tritheist, may not accusers continue to cast such stones at him forever, before they will destroy the belief of this great truth in the mind of one consistent disciple of the Scriptures and of Reason ?

2. The next text to be diluted into insignificance is, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." The extenuator,

who is at other times, a great enemy of the Spiritual sense of the Scriptures, is now very anxious to get rid of their literal sense also. “If these words,” says he,* " be taken according to the letter, then several plain texts of Scripture will be clearly falsi. fied; as for instance : “and he,” (the Lord) "said, Thou canst not see my face ; for there shall no man see me and live." (Ex. xxxiii. 20). “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” (John i. 18). "And the Father himself, which hath sent me hath borne witness of me: ye have neither heard his voice at any time nor seen his shape. (John v. 37). “ Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God: he hath seen the Father.” (John vi. 46). From these passages,” adds the writer, “it is manifest that the words in question are to be taken in a figurative sense.Before we look at the figurative sense proposed, be it observed that the Lord's words to Philip, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father,” and the other texts, here quoted, instead of falsifying each other, are, according to our views of them mutually illustrative in an eminent degree. They are all "plain texts of Scripture;" and certainly, the words to Philip are quite as plain as any of the rest. Combined, then, into one proposition, what do they teach? Clearly, this : That Jehovah in his pure Divine Essence, as he existed before the incarnation, was inapprehensible either by the bodily, spiritual, or intellectual sight of human beings; but that, by his assumption of Humanity, in the Person of Jesus Christ he rendered himself apprehensible, for a time, and in a certain degree, to their bodily sight, and to their spiritual and

* Page 13, 14.

intellectual siglt forever. This obvious mode of uniting in one harmonious sentiment the (as the opponent would have them) conflicting statements, is also in one of them, clearly pointed out. “ No man hath seen God [the Divine Essence) at any time; the only begotten Son (the Divine Humanity, which is in the bosom of the Father (or in the closest union with the Inmost Divinity] he hath declared him ;" where the word translated, “ hath declared him," properly means hath brought him to view ;” by which we are expressly taught, that the invisible and inaccessible God was rendered visible and accessible in the Person of Jesus Christ. As the glorification of the Person of Jesus Christ advanced towards completion, the otherwise invisible God was more and more fully manifested therein ; since, therefore, when the Lord addressed the words to Philip, but one stage more of the great work remained to be accomplished, well might he say to the yet ignorant disciple, in stronger terms than this opponent likes to bring forward, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet thou hast not known me, Philip ? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father: and how sayest thou then, show us the Father ?"

Plain, however, as this is; and beautifully as it harmonizes with all the texts quoted as in opposition to it, the objector resolves the declaration into figure. The figure of speech em. ployed by the Divine Speaker, is assumed to be that of Hyper. bole, or Exaggeration; wherefore its explainer again has recourse to the opposite figure of Meiosis or Extenuation. He finds (Col. iii. 10, and 1 Cor. xi. 7), that man is called an “image of him that created him,” or “ of God.” He finds also, (Col. i. 15, and Hebrews i. 3), that Jesus Christ is called the image of the invisible God," and "the brightness of his glory and the express image of his person,” (which last phrase, however, according to the original, is, “the stamped impression," or “the moulded form of his substance), and thence he concludes, that Jesus Christ is an image of God, in the same manner and sense as man is an image of God. Lexicographers, however, tell us most truly, that the Greek term usually rene dered image, “ not only signifies an image, or an effigy of the form of a certain thing, but the very form, figure, and, as it were countenance of the thing ;* and this must be its meaning when applied by Paul to the Person of Jesus Christ, otherwise it would not agree with the same Apostle's other declaration just cited, that he is the Brightness, or Effulgent Display of the glory of God and the Stamped Impression, or Moulded Form of his substance. Hence, also, the Apostle distinguishes so accurately in his use of the term image, when applied to our

* Schleusner.

Lord, and his use of it when applied to man; for he calls Jesus Christ“ the image of the invisible God ;” but he never calls man so ; and by the image of the invisible God be obviously means, the Divine Form, in and by which the otherwise Invisible God is manifested, and rendered visible to his creatures. It is then perfectly true, that Jesus declares, that he that hath seen him hath seen the Father, in the same sense as the Apostle calls him the “ Image” or “ Visible form of the Invisible God;" but never will it be true, either that Jesus uses those words of himself, or the Apostle these words of him, in the same sense as man is called “an image of him that created him.”

The opponent would force this low meaning on the Lord's words by an illustration that is really shocking. Jesus Christ has declared it to be the will of God* “ that all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father ;" but the extenu. ator declares that we may honor all good men even as we honor the Lord: for he says, “ Respecting those who inherit the power and live in the practice of real religion, it might be said without blasphemy, that they who have seen such, have seen God: that is in a low degree, they have seen God in his moral likeness !”

I really felt thunderstruck when I read this declaration. I could scarcely believe it possible that eagerness to shun the force of a plain text could drive any one to such a degrading parody on the Lord's words. Is its proposer prepared to stand by his statement through all its consequences ! Philip, unquestionably, was a holy man; will the parodist then contend that it is a matter of indifference whether we read the Lord's answer to him, “ He that hath seen me hath seen the Father;" or " He that hath seen thee hath seen the Father,”. that the declara. tion would be as true in the one case as in the other? Yet this is no more than he asserts again, when he asserts in the next sen. tence, that “this may be said of a [i. e. any] good man or good woman.” No good man or good woman, it is certain, ever before dreamed of arrogating such divine honor, or ever will hereafter; the person who makes the assertion doubtless considers himself as belonging to the class of good men. If then he, as a good man, finds it not repulsive to his feelings to say, " He that hath seen me hath seen God,” he will never have any for his rival - but the Lord Jesus Christ !- I am persuaded that he must himself be shocked at the consequences which flow out of his proposition.

But error is always inconsistent ; and the author of the above “gloss” proceeds with observations which nullify his whole

† P. 15.

* John v. 28.

argument. “Now," he adds,* “ if this may be said of a good man or a good woman, how much more may it be said of Him who knew no sin, who did all things well, in whose mouth was no guile, who was in the bosom of the Father, who came from the Father, and was with the Father before the world was, and who was as a lamb without blemish and without spot!" How much more, indeed! In fact when the writer sees that there is this infinite difference of character between the Lord Jesus Christ and a mere man, how strange that he cannot al. low the Divine Speaker's descriptions of his own character to indicate that impassable difference between himself and a mere man, and that to apply them to a mere man is as great an outrage, as to apply to a man any other incommunicable divine characteristic! Now, however, he seems disposed to paint the difference as it really is ;. for he proceeds to say further, “ But more than all these, Jesus Christ inherited in himself the attributes of the Father; those attributes which are designated as essential and incommunicable, namely, Omnipotence, Omniscience, and Omnipresence ;” and he goes on for some time, giving Scripture proof of these truths. We do not desire a more full concession. Jesus Christ inherited the Divine attri. butes that are “incommunicable ;" Can this be admitted by a writer, who yet will not allow that he who sees Jesus Christ sees the Father, in any other manner, than as he who sees any good man sees God ? After he has affirmed that the oneness of Jesus Christ with the Father differs not in kind from the union that exists between good men and God, does he not see the inconsistency into which he plunges, when he adds in the same breath, that Jesus Christ possesses the incommunicable divine attributes of Omnipotence, Omniscience, and Omnipres. ence ? If the oneness that exists between Jesus Christ and the Father be only a figurative, and not a real oneness, that is a personal oneness, does its impugner not see that he is now affirming, as plainly as words can convey it, that there are two Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent Beings ? By his own confession these attributes are incommunicable;' does he not see then that he hereby openly affirms that there are two, if not three separate Gods.

Yes, alas! he sees it too well. It is the very doctrine he means to convey; and he has only laid down these glorious acknowledgements of the truly divine character of the Lord Jesus Christ as introductory to it. For behold the consistency of his conclusion. “ Now seeing that so much of the divine power, properties, and perfections, are evidently found in the Son of God, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowl.

* P. 15.

edge,' might je not with much propriety say, “ He that hath seen me hath seen the Father, without meaning or intending to be understood, that he and the Father were one and the same Person?"** Here then are two Beings, each possessing the same incommunicable, divine attributes; two Almighties, two Omnipresents, two Omniscients ; for when Jesus says," He that hath seen me hath seen the Father,” he does not mean, we are told, to account for his possessing the incommunicable divine attributes by affirming that he and the Father are one Person, like the soul and the body, whence all the attributes properly belonging to each are at the same time the property of the other according to the Lord's declaration, when he says, “Father, all thine are mine,

and mine are thine ;t but the meaning of the Divine Speaker, it is pretended, is, that he is just such another as the Father; that he that seeth him does not actually see the Father, though he says so, but sees one just like him, a fellowGod. This is tolerably plain : but the writer is determined to leave no doubt about his meaning, whatever ambiguity he may impute to the language of the Lord Jesus Christ; he therefore concludes his illustrations' of divine language thus ;“ Do we not often even among ourselves, say, speaking of a father and his son, “The son is the very picture of his father;' and some. times we hear it also said, “If you have seen the one you have seen the other.' But in these cases it is never apprehended that the two like persons are one person !The note of admiration is the writer's own. He appears to think that he has now succceeded to admiration in proving, that the Divine Saviour was trifling with Philip's anxiety for knowledge on this most momentous of subjects, and was amusing him with paltry quibbles. When Jesus declared, and accompanied the declaration with every circumstance expressive of the utmost earnestness, " He that hath seen me hath seen the Father,” he meant, we are to believe nothing of the kind; He intended, no more than we do, when speaking of two men, we say, “ the son is the very picture of his father,” especially if we add to it, “ If you have seen the one you have seen the other.” There is no more identity between the Lord and the Father than there is between a human father and son. As these, even when they happen to resemble each other most closely, are never one person, so neither are the Lord and the Father one person. As the human father and son, even though as often happens, they may be united in one mercantile firm,” are two absolutely separate men, so also the Divine Father and Son, though likewise united

by a certain covenant, as by articles of partnership, are two · absolutely separate Gods. * Pp. 16, 17.

† John xvii. 10. ch. xvi. 14, 15.

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