صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

upon him?"

God; so you must become sober, and not be so wicked as to get drunk any more-would it be likely to have any effect

This peculiar method of arguing, which so frequently occurs in the writings of the person just alluded to, always raises a doubt in my mind, whether I ought to follow the 4th or the 5th verse of the 26th ch. of Proverbs. There's a double danger; either of being led to say any thing that might look like bitter feeling towards the man, or of appearing to speak irreverently on so sacred a subject. But as the simplest and most effectual way of exposing the palpable sophistry of such an argument, only imagine a medical man, endeavouring in a public lecture to shew the uselessness of a certain drug as a medicine, and speaking thus: “Of what use can it be to any one? Can it cure a sick man, or make a healthy man stronger? Suppose I met a man in the street, and I said to him, Now, my man, you're evidently very ill; I've got an excellent medicine here; just let me rub a little of it in your eye !--would it do him any good?"* All the sensible persons present would probably walk out of the room at once; the ignorant would laugh and think what a clever hit it was; while, if any opponent thought it worth replying to, he would tell him that, however valuable a medicine may be, it must be properly applied, or it can do no good; and further, that different diseases require different remedies. Having already given my opinion rather plainly in the preceding lecture on a very similar controversial maneuvre, I will only just put these questions to Mr. Barker's conscience, and his hearers' judgments–Did he, when he used those words, believe that any Trinitarian ever applied that doctrine in any such way? Did he not know what use they do make of its And if so, was it not a wilful attempt to deceive men's souls “ with feigned words?" If throughout the whole course of his Trinitarian ministry, he never did learn the true value and use of the doctrine of the Trinity, no wonder he was led on at length to disbelieve and deny it. Every enlightened believer however knows full well, that on the Trinity rests Christ's Deity, and on that his Atonement. What effect this has upon the hearts and lives of all who are led by the Spirit to rest upon it with a living faith, he knows both from Scripture and experience. He can testify " that the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin;" nor dare he shrink from adding, “Neither is there Salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

* Mr. Barker lays great stress on believing "that Jesus is the Christ;" but suppose I met a drunkard and said to him, “ Yow you must leave off this wicked practice and be sober, for you know Jesus is the Christ-would it be likely to reform him?

“ As the doctrine of the Trinity" writes Dr. Whately “may be considered as containing a summary and compendium of the Christian faith, so its application may be regarded as a summary of Christian practice : which may be said to be comprised in this; that as we believe God to stand in three relations to us, we also must practically keep in view the three corresponding relations in which, as is plainly implied by that doctrine, we stand towards Him,-as first the creatures and children of God; secondly, as the redeemed and purchased people of Jesus Christ; and thirdly, as the temples of the Holy Ghost our Sanctifier."

APPENDIX.

(Extracted from the Preface to the seventh of the Liverpool Lectures on

Unitarianism.)

The word Trinity is of more ancient date than the public may happen to know. It is found in the writings of Justin Martyr, who was converted to the Christian Faith, about the year of our Lord 140. But that he was the inventor of the word is more than any one can prove.

He was for some time contemporary with Polycarp and Papias, two disciples of the Apostle St. John. And it is not improbable that he found the word in use with them. However that may have been, it is a fact, that between the death of St. John and the conversion of Justin Martyr, there intervened only 46 years. This brings the use of the word within half a century of the Apostolic age. And to assert that the word was not in use until it was written, is to assert a little too much: And to suppose that it was used and written without any meaning is still more absurd.

The next who makes use of the word in his writings is Theophilus, a Gentile convert, who was appointed Bishop of Antioch, in the year of our Lord 170, about 30 years after the conversion of Justin Martyr. The word occurs in his second book addressed to Antolycus.

Next to Theophilus, is Clemens of Alexandria, who was originally a pbilosopher, and is said to have been converted to the Christian Faith about the year 194, and so to have flourished 25 years later than Theophilus. He introduces the word Trinity in the third book of his Stromata.

Tertullian, Bishop of Carthage, who was converted to Christianity about the year 200, follows Clemens in the use of the word. He had occasion to introduce it in his work against Praxeas, in which he defended the fundamental doctrines of Christianity against the heartless attacks of that noted heretic.

Origen, who had been the scholar of Clemens of Alexandria, flourished about the year 230, and used similar language with his master in reference to the Trinity. He is accused of having being the first to mix up the reveries of the Platonists with the solemn truths of Christianity, but this eharge cannot apply to the introduction of the word Trinity, as that word was in use in the Christian Church nearly a hundred years before his time, if not much longer

To furnish any more examples of the use of the word Trinity in the primitive Church, would be superfluous: but to bring forward a few testimonies to show that the doctrine intended by that word, was held and taught in the earliest ages of the Christian era, cannot be unimportant: for though this doctrine is a matter of pure revelation, and must consequently derive its proofs exclusively from Scripture, yet the Christian feels a degree of satisfaction to learn that the view he takes of the doctrine was that of the Church of Christ from the beginning.

A proof of the Divinity of Christ has been always considered decisive in establishing the doctrine of the Trinity, because all who have admitted the former have also admitted the latter. We premise this remark, because some of the testimonies which we shall adduce bear more fully on that point as the turning one of the doctrine.

Polycarp, a disciple of St. John, when at the stake, addressed a prayer to God which he concluded in this mapner: For all things I praise thee, I bless thee, I glorify thee, together with the eternal and heavenly Jesus Christ : with whom, unto thee, and the Holy Spirit, be glory, both now and for ever, world without end, Amen." Polycarp was a cortemporary of the Apostles.

Justyn Martyr declares, “ that Christ, the first-born Word of God, exists as God; that he is Lord and God, being the Son of God; and that he was the God of Israel." Again he says,—“Him (the Father) and that Son who hath proceeded from him, and the PROPHETICAL SPIRIT, we worship and adore.' He flourished in the year 140.

Melito, Bishop of Sardis, says—“We are worshippers of one God, who is before all, and in all, in his Christ who is truly God, the Eternal Word.** He flourished in the year 177.

Irenæus, Bishop of Lyons, declares that “ Christ, as God, was adored by the Prophets; was the God of the living, and the living God; that he spake to Moses in the bush; and that the same person afterwards refuted the doctrine of the Sadducees concerning the resurrection of the dead :-He farther says, that Abraham learned divine truth from the Logos, or Word of God."

He flourished in the year 178 Athenagoras says :-" The Mind and Word of God is the Son of God : We, who preach God, preach God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one." He flou. rished in the year 178.

Clement of Alexandria, says,—“The Logos is the Universal Architect," that is the Maker of all things. “ The Logos is the Creator of men, and of the world : and in prayer he addresses both the Son and the Father, saying, _“Son and Father, both one Lord, grant that we may praise the Son, and the Father, with the Holy Ghost, ALL IN ONE." He flourished in the year 194.

Tertullian says :—“The name of Christ is every where believed, and every where worshipped. He reigns every where, and is every where adored. He is alike to all a King, and to all a Judge, AND TO ALL A GOD AND A LORD. He flourished in the year 200.

Origen states, that the Christians were accustomed to say, "The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, are one God," and speaks of this as a difficult and perplexing doctrine to such as hear not with faith." Again he observes : -"When we come to the grace of baptism, we acknowledge one God only, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost." He flourished in the year 230.

Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, says,—~ Christ is our God; that is, not of all, but of the faithful and believing." He flourished in the year 248. The Council of Antinch, in its Epistle, states :-" In the whole Church Christ is believed to be God; and man of the seed of David according to the flesh." This Council sat in 264.

The Council of Arles expressed its opinion on the subject of the Trinity, by declaring the baptism of such as refused to own that doctrine to be void. In a Canon drawn up concerning the proper mode of dealing with heretics on their return to the bosom of the Church, the Council put forth the general sense of the Church, in words to this effect:-“ That if any relinquished their heresy, and came back to the Church, they should ask them the Creed; and if they tound that they were (had been) baptised in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, they should only receive imposition of hands, but if they did not confess the Trinity, their baptism was declared void." This Council was held in the year

314.

(From Tupper's Proverbial Philosophy.)
Like begetteth like, and the spreading tree of being
With each of its trefoil leaves pointeth at the trinity of God.
Let him whose eyes have been unfilmed, read this homily in all things,
And then, of duller sight, despise not him that readeth :
There be three grand principles; life, generation, and obedience;
Shadowing in every creature, the Spirit, and the Father, and the Son.
1 here be three grand unities, variously mixed in trinities,
Three catholic divisors of the million sums of matter:
Yea, though science hath not seen it, climbing the ladder of experiment,
Let faith, in the presence of her God, promulgate the mighty truth;
Of three sole elements all nature's works consist :
The pine, and the rock to which it clingeth, and the eagle sailing around it;
The lion, and the northern whale, and the deeps wherein he sporteth;
The lizard sleeping in the sun; the lightning flashing from a cloud;
The rose, and the ruby, and the pearl; each one is made of three;
And the three be the like ingredients, mingled in divers measures.
Thyself hast within thyself body, and life and mind :
Matter, and breath, and instinct, unite in all beasts of the field;
Substance, coherence, and weight, fashion the fabrics of the earth;
The will, the doing, and the deed, combine to form a fact:
The stem, the leat, and the flower; beginning, middle, and end;
Cause, circumstance, consequent; and every three is one.
Yea, the very breath of man's life consisteth of a trinity of vapours,
And the noonday light is a compound, the triune shadow of Jehovah.

Shall all things else be in mystery, and God alone be understood ?
Shall finite fathom infinity, though it sound not the shallows of creation ?
Shall a man comprehend his Maker, being yet a riddle to himself?
Or time teach the lesson that eternity cannot master ?
If God be nothing more than one, a child can compass the thought;
But seraphs fail to unravel the wondrous unity of three.
One verily He is, for there can be but one who is all mighty;
Yet the oracles of nature and religion proclaim Him three in one.
And where were the value to thy soul, O miserable denizen of earth,
Of the idle pageant of the cross, where hung no sacrifice for thee?
Where the worth to thine impotent heart, of that stirred Bethesda,
All numbed and palsied as it is, by the scorpion stings of sin ?
No, thy trinity of nature, enchaned by treble death,
Helplessly craveth of its God, Himself for three salvations :
The soul to be reconciled in love, the mind to be glorified in light
While this poor dying body leapeth into life.

LECTURE IX.

THE FOREKNOWLEDGE OF GOD; ESPECIALLY IN REFERENCE TO

THE MESSIAHSHIP OR CHRISTHOOD OF JESUS.

The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Rev. xix. 10.

The title of this lecture may perhaps surprise some of my readers. Does any one really deny, that God foreknew that Jesus would be the Messiah? You may well ask the question. I confess, that of all the marvellous things I ever met with, nothing astounded me so much as the first perusal of Mr. Barker's remarks on this subject. The absurdities and inconsistencies of Atheism, Deisn, Mahommedanism, or any other ism, absolutely sink into nothing by the side of such an overwhelming mystery, as the fact of a man well read in Scripture, allowing its truth (even in the loosest sense of the word, and yet denying the foreknowledge of God;—above all, with respect to the person and office of Jesus Christ. Yet so it is, Not only does he deny our Lord's Deity, his Pre-existence, and his miraculous conception, but he actually asserts, that God did not know at the time of his birth, whether he would turn out a good man or a bad man; that he did not know, until he had tried him, whether he would do for the Messiah or not; that Jesus was never prophesied of as an individual; that it is quite possible God may have tried many other persons before to see if they wouid answer his purpose for the Messiah; and that there is no means by which he can know, how a free agent will act under any given circumstances, except by trying bim! What a proof of the depth of folly, into which man's boasted reason will sink, whien left to itself! -and that by the very attempt to assert its own wisdom! Human reason cannot reconcile God's foreknowledge with man's free agency; and therefore, instead of bowing before the dilliculty and confessing its blinduess, it must stand up for its own dignity, and boldly deny the possibility of it. warning does this give us against the infidel principle of rejecting every thing that cannot be reconciled' to human

For nothing, but a biind determination to stick to this principle at whatever cost, could have hurried any one into such a monstrous absurdity, or such a daring assault on the throne of the Almighty. The doctrine of God's foreknow

What a

reason.

« السابقةمتابعة »