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they commonly are.*** Of course, then, he intended to practice the caution and reserve which he so earnestly recommends. He is sensible that Tripersonalists have much to conceal. And yet we have seen that he has so far let out the interior sentiments of his mind or his creed upon the subject, as to evince that, in his ideas, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are three separate Gods; may we not conclude, then, that had he not aimed at being “ cautious and reserved,he would openly have used the

very

words? Since then these three important texts stand quite uninjured by the efforts to deprive them of meaning, but, the more they are examined, are more demonstrably seen to be plain declarations of the most important doctrines; and since, as is obvious, in agreement with these texts only can be understood the other texts which speak of the Father and the Son, so as to be in harmony with those numerous passages which affirm the strict Unity of the Divine Being; it follows that we are to believe, what these three texts so plainly affirm, that the Lord Jesus Christ is one Person with the Father, the whole Godhead dwelling personally in him, as the soul in the body. Abundant other proof of the same grand doctrine has been given above; and the only portion of the Scripture evidence that the writer I follow has ventured to attack, has now been shown to be invulnerable to all his objections. It is eternally true, as the Lord declares of himself, that He and the Father are One, and that he that hath seen Him, hath seen the Father; and as Paul declares of the same Glorious Being, that in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead, bodily. No attempt has ever been made to explain these texts to any but the New Church sense, which did not wear the character of most miserable subterfuge, most palpable violence. And how must our conviction of the truth they teach be strengthened, when we find, as has now indisputably appeared, that Tritheism lurks in the interior thought of those who deny it, - that when, in the warmth of argument, they forget their wonted caution and reserve, they allow the triple-headed monster openly to display his dreadful form, — that the only alternative for those, who asserting a Trinity, deny that it is centered in the Single Person of the

Lord Jesus Christ, is to acknowledge in heart, if not common- ly with the lips, three several Gods !

* P. 21.

SECTION VII.

THE TRINITY, AS CENTERED IN THE PERSON OF THE LORD

JESUS CHRIST.

PART IV. The True Doctrine confirmed from the Texts most relied on for

the Proof of the contrary. We have seen in the preceding Parts of this Section, that the affirmative of the Grand New Church tenet, of the Sole Divin. ity of the Lord Jesus Christ, his Oneness with the Father, and the concentration of the whole of the Divine Trinity in his Single Person is easily proved ; that an acquaintance with the truths relating to his assumption and glorification of the Humanity, takes away the ground of all the objections that can be raised against it, and proves its certainty by another process; and that these proofs, impregnable in themselves, still receive a great access of confirmation, when it is seen, that the only proper alternative of this genuine doctrine, is that of Tritheism, and that its opponents cannot resist it without betraying, that, when contending for three distinct Divine Persons, they mean, in the thoughts of their hearts three distinct Gods. Neverthe. less, there unquestionably are passages, which to those who read them without understanding, may seem to favor that doctrine; it may tend, therefore, more fully to satisfy the minds of some, to pass the chief of such texts under review, to apply to them the principles for solving objections developed in Part II., and to show, as is the truth, that they in reality teach, not the separation as to Person between Jesus and the Father, but their union. As then the writer whom I chiefly follow, after making the objections considered in the preceding Part of this Section to some of the texts which prove the true Doctrine, has selected those which he regards as the strongest for supporting his erroneous views, I will, in the present Part, place those passages in their proper light, point out the inapplicability of his conclusions from them, and evince that, like every other text in the Bible, rightly understood, they illustrate the grand truth, that the whole Trinity is centered in the Single Divine Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The writer I follow undertakes to show, “ that whilst Baron Swedenborg has removed the mystery of the Trinity, in his way, he has created above a hundred other mysteries by doing so." The way this is attempted to be shown, is, by “joking

and jesting" on the subject to such excess, that the joker deems it necessary seriously to assure his readers, “ that whatever appearance of levity there may be in his remarks, they are not in any wise to be even suspected of being levelied at the Divine Being, or the Divine Character, but wholly and entirely against Baron Swedenborg and his system."*

As, however, we consider joking not very appropriate to such a subject, and to be but a poor substitute for argument, I shall not repeat or take notice of this witty gentleman's facetia, after citing at length his “ remarks” on his first Scripture quotation, as a specimen of the spirit in which not a few of our adversaries, both rigid Dissenters and clergymen of the Establishment,t have deemed themselves justified in indulging, when commenting upon the most sacred truths.

1. “When Jesus was baptized in the river Jordan, “lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the spirit of God decending like a dove, and lighting upon him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.'I 'Here,” says the adversary,8 " we find the Son of God, the Spirit of God, and a voice from heaven; and yet, according to Baron Swedenborg, there is but one Person in ali these. Now, reader, didst thou ever know a man that begat himself, and of course, was his own Father; and then proclaimed himself his own beloved Son; and then told the world that he was very well pleased with himself ? Methinks thou wilt say, why this is perfect absurdity and downright nonsense. So I think; but it is Swedenborgian sense. Did not I tell thee, that the Baron, in getting rid of one mystery, in his way, had bred a hundred, each of which are far greater than the one he pretends to remove ?"

The whole of this raillery proceeds upon the assumption, that Swedenborg admits no distinction whatever in the Divine Nature; whereas, as has been abundantly shown in Part II. of this Section, we regard the terms, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as denoting really distinct Principles in the Godhead, though not forming three several Persons. It has also been shown that we do not consider the person or Humanity of Jesus Christ to have been Divine, and thus to have been the proper Person of the Father, at his birth, but to have been in progress towards becoming so during the whole course of his life in the world, and not to have been completely so till his ascension. – Thus all the above “joking” about a man that begat himself, and was his own father, and proclaimed himself his own beloved Son, &c., is only applicable to what the author is pleased to put * Anti-Swedenborg, p. 25.

† Such as the Rev. W. Ettrick. Matt. iii. 16, 17.

§ P. 26.

forth as our doctrine, but not, in the slightest degree, to our doctrine itself.

The arrival of a certain state in the Lord's progress towards union with the Essential Divinity is what is described in this text; and it is described by appropriate representative appear. ances and expressions, such as are always employed in Scripture for the expression of purely divine and spiritual subjects. By the Son is meant the Lord as to his humanity, including not only the outward body, but all the nature belonging to him as

By the Holy Spirit's descending as a dove, and lighting upon him, is meant the open communication between the Divine Essence and the Human, by the outpouring, from the former into the latter, of the Emanating Sphere of the Divine Life. A dove is the proper symbol of purification and regeneration, and of the marriage-union of goodness and truth : the work of regeneration in man is an image of that of glorification in the Lord, and the union of goodness and truth in man is an image of the union of Divinity and Humanity in him and as the whole of this transaction was representative of the accomplishment of an important stage of his glorification, or of the union of his Divinity with his Humanity, therefore the Holy Spirit communicated was represented by the appearance of a dove. By the voice from heaven, saying, “ This is my be. loved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” is described, the manifest perception now enjoyed by the Lord in his external part, by communication from his internal, that his Humanity, so far as glorified, was derived solely from his Divinity, and was its Form and Organ.

Now may I not appeal to every reader possessed of candor and rationality, and ask, whether this, instead of being ludicrous, is not a truly rational and consistent view of the subject? But can the same be said for the adversary's representation of it? According to him, we have here a manifest exhibition of the three Persons which he assigns to the Godhead. As this notion is taken from the literal sense of the passage, he must in maintaining it adhere to the literal sense only: he must not take, first, the doctrine from the letter, and instantly tell us that the letter does not give a true account of it. According to the letter, then, — of the three Persons of this gentleman's Trinity, only one has the human form : the form of the Holy Spirit is that of a dove, and the form of the Father is that of — a voice! Is it not evident that this mode of describing the three Divine Essentials is here adopted, to prevent us from supposing that they are three separate Persons ? Were there any truth in such doctrine, here, certainly, was a fair opportunity of placing it beyond doubt ? Why might it not have been said, " and God the Holy Ghost descended and hovered over him; and God the

Father looked down from heaven, and said,

66 this is my

beloved son,” &c. Can the Tri-personalist offer a shadow of a reason, why some such form of description as this was not employed! These are the ideas supposed to be intended : why then were they not expressed? Why, but because they are totally foreign to the truth?

Whenever the three Essentials of Deity are representatively exhibited, the same caution is observed, of not using any symbols which would give the idea of three divine Persons.—Thus, in the sublime vision in Rev. iv., the Lord, as a Divine Man, is seen sitting on the throne of heaven, and his holy spirit, or the Emanation of his Love and Wisdom, is represented by “seven lamps of fire burning before the throne,” which are said to be " the seven Spirits of God.” Will any one make a separate Person of this representation of the Holy Spirit ? Whoever does so, must not merely make him one Person, but seven. In the next chapter, the divine writer has occasion to advert specifically to the Human Nature of the Lord : is this exhibited as another Divine Man? This would necessarily have conveyed the idea of two Divine Persons: to avoid which, therefore, an appearance of a Lamb is presented, having seven horns and . seven eyes; and these eyes are now declared to be the same Divine Principle as was before represented by the seven Lamps, for they, also, are said to be the “ seven Spirits of God.Will any one infer, from this representation, that the Lord Jesus Christ is actually a separate Divine Person from the Father ? Whoever does so, must assert him to be in the form of a Lamb, and to have seven horns and seven eyes. And after all, the seeker for three Persons will quite lose the separate personality of the Holy Ghost; for this Divine Principle is now declared to be inseparable from the person of the Lamb, to be his " eyes.” Here then are plenty of mysteries for the Tri-personalist to solve, if he is resolved to go on, arguing from such pas. sages as that which relates the descent of the Holy Spirit as a dove, in favor of his notion of a Trinity of Persons. But all becomes clear when we observe, that in no divine

representation of the subject is there ever exhibited more than one Person which can possibly be regarded as the proper Person of Deity; and that the three great Essentials entering into the composition of this One Person, when considered distinctly, are symbolically represented by voices, or doves, or lamps, or lambs, or eyes.

That at the time when the appearance occurred at the Lord's baptism, though his external frame was yet unglorified, the interiors of his nature were actually Divine, is a fact which may be illustrated by an event which is recorded sometime afterwards, when the glorifying process had passed upon the whole of his Human Nature except the mere body. When he ex

seven

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