« ForrigeFortsett »
been made, that necessity, though philosophy may have many things to allege in its defence, is not the doctrine of common sense, is not the doctrine of the scriptures. It may amuse or confound the learned in the retirement of their studies; but it ought not to be brought before the public; it ought not to be talked of in the streets; it ought not to be proclaimed in the pulpit. When it is philosophical necessity, when it is admitted completely, and connected with the belief that God is infinitely good, it is perhaps a harmless opinion: but when it is forced into the brains of the ignorant, who can understand it in part only; when it is associated, as it usually is, in their creeds, with the terrific doctrines of reprobation, total depravity, and everlasting misery, it becomes worse than useless: it overwhelms their minds, and fills them with gloom; and it is frequently accompanied with bitterness of spirit, an uncandid temper, an unrelenting severity. Its supposed influence on religion induces many to appear in its defence; but this advantage is altogether imaginary.
For it is not peculiarly favorable to what they most highly prize, to what they call orthodoxy, as it may be made consistent with Arminianism, as well as with Calvinism; and accordingly writers of both these denominations have espoused the doctrine of necessity.
Nor is it peculiarly farourable to piety; because it does not exalt the power, wisdom, and goodness of God, more than the doctrine of freedom; and in truth not so highly, as it is certainly a more splendid display of those attributes to create an intelligent agent, endowed with choice, than to form a mere machine, however curious.
Nor is it peculiarly favorable to humility. Humility consists in not thinking of ourselves highly, and in being sorry and ashamed, when we have done wrong: but if our actions are a necessary part of the chain of events, we are as important in the universe as the most exalted archangel in heaven, and there is nothing, for which we ought to be either ashamed or sorry. A mountain may figuratively be called proud, and a valley, humble; but literally speaking, the former is only high, and the latter, low: it is the same with the mind of man; if all its motions
are necessary, humility does not belong to it, as humility is entirely a moral quality.
J. A, M.
THE MORNING INQUIRY, No. III.
An attempt to show that the trinitarian theory is a departure
from all analogy in the use of language; and how far it is
contradicted by the natural import of bible language. There are several particulars in the trinitarian system, which are a departure from all analogy in the use of language. Of this nature are the following:
1. There are three distinct persons in one Being, or one God.
It is presumed that no analogy can be found in favor of such a use of the terms distinct persons.
2. Christ is both God and man in one person.
In the first proposition we had three distinct persons for one Being But now we have two distinct Beings for one Person; which is equally a departure from all analogy.
3. God and his Son, or the Father and the Son, are the same Being. If it can be done, let some analogy be produced, in which a father and his son are the same being.
4. The Son of God is selfexistent.
5. The same person is both absolutely dependent, and absolutely independent. This is abundantly implied in what is said of Christ
God and man in one person. 6. A proper man destitute of human personality. In every other case a proper man is supposed to be a human person. But of Christ it is affirmed, that he is a proper man, yet not a human person, because his personality is wholly in his divine nature, and not in his human nature."
As in the foregoing propositions there is a departure from all analogy in the use of words, of course the propositions are unintelligible and useless, when words are used in a sense which agrees with no analogy, the meaning, if any, can never be known, until an intelligible explanation of the terms be given,
And so long as the meaning of the words shall remain unknown, the proposition is not only useless, but of evil tendency. For, by the aid of analogy, erroneous sentiments will naturally be formed.
Firmly believing that this system is not in agreement either with the language or the meaning of the bible, I shall now proceed to show how far it is contradicted by the natural import of scripture language. In doing this, I shall not attempt to quote all the passages of scripture which are opposed to the system; for this would be to quote a very considerable part of the bible. But I shall exhibit a number of classes of texts, by which the theory is either explicitly or implicitly and plainly contradicted.
I. The most numerous class of texts to be mentioned is that in which a pronoun or verb of the singular number is used in agreement with a name of the Supreme Being.
According to the established and acknowledged rules of grammar; a pronoun or verb must agree with its noun in number. If by the noun or name, three persons be intended, the pronouns and verbs must be of the plural number; but if by the noun one person only be intended, the pronoun and verb must be of the singular number. This rule is regarded in the bible, as well as in other writings. Consequently, every text in which a pronoun or verb of the singular number is used, as agreeing with a name of God, stands opposed to the doctrine of three distinct persons in one God.
Example: Isa. xlii. 8. “I am the LORD; that is, my name, and my glory will I not give to another.” If by the Lord
were intended three persons, the text would naturally stand thus:
We are the LORD; that is, our name and our glory will we not give to another.
Again, Mal. ii. 16. “For the Lord the God of Israel saith that he hateth putting away."
If three persons had been intended, it would have been thus: say that they hate putting away.
But whatever name or title is used for God in the bible, the pronouns and verbs are of the singular number. It is thus in both the Old Testament and the New. Therefore through
out the bible God is represented as one person only, by the uniform use of singular pronouns and verbs in agreement with his names and titles.
II. In the second class of texts we may include all in which Christ is represented as the Son of God.
It is presumed that no person of candor will deny that the term son naturally means a being distinct from his father. There are indeed several senses in which the term Son is used, but no one in wbich by a son is meant the same being as his father. Therefore every text in which Christ is represented as the Son of God may justly be considered as opposed to the doctrine of three persons in one God.
This class includes not only every text in which Christ is called the Son of God, but every text in which God is represented as his Futher; and also every text in which the relation of Father and Son is represented as existing between Christ and God. And as this relation of Father and Son runs throughout the New Testament, the general tenor of these sacred writings stands directly opposed to the trinitarian scheme.
III. In the third class we may include all those texts, in which the Holy Spirit is represented as bearing the relation to God of an attribute, or as subordinate to his will, or the will of Christ. The Spirit is represented as bearing the relation of an attribute, when spoken of in the following manner; my Spirit, thy Spirit, his Spirit, thy holy Spirit, his holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, &c. It is represented as subordinate to the will of God, when it is spoken of as something which God gives, distributes, pours out, sheds forth or sends.
It is represented as something subordinate to the will of Christ, when he is represented as baptizing with the spirit as John baptized with water, when he promises to send it, and when he is said to shed it forth, &c. &c.
This class will include much the greater part of the texts in which the Holy Spirit is so much as named; whether it be called the Holy Ghost, Holy Spirit, the Spirit, the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of the Father, or the Spirit of Christ.
IV. In this class we may include all the texts of the following descriptions.
Those which represent God as giving or sending his Son; or the Son as sent, as coming forth from God.
Those which represent the Son as acting in obedience to his Father's will, or as being directed, supported, assisted or instructed by God, as praying to God or trusting in him.
Those which represent the Son as suffering, dying, being raised from the dead, and exalted to the right hand of God.
Those which represent the Son as receiving from God fulness, authority, offices or titles of dignity.
Those which represent God as creating, governing, saving, speaking, judging, or in any manner acting by Christ.
Those which represent God as in Christ, dwelling in him, or causing his name, his spirit, or his fulness to be in him.
Those which represent the Son as a Mediator between God and men, an advocate or intercessor. And
Those which represent Christ as having a God as well as a Father.
It is presumed that there is not one of the ideas, or the forms of speech referred to in this fourth class of texts, which can, by any analogy in the use of language, be reconciled to the hypothesis that God and his Son are the same Being. Therefore, the natural import of all this variety of scripture language is opposed to the trinitarian doctrine.
V. We have a small class of texts which, in the most unequivocal manner, imply, that the Holy Spirit is not a person equal with the Father or Son. These may be particularly examined.
Matt. xi. 27. and Luke x. 22. “ All things are delivered to me of my Father, and no one knoweth the Son but the Father, and no one knoweth the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him."
In our translation we read no man instead of no one. But this is not justified by the original. Besides it could not be the meaning of Christ to represent the Father as a man; yet he is so represented when we say no man knoweth the Son but the Father. Not only the original text, but the sense of the passage, evidently requires that we should read “no one knoweth the Son but the Father," &c. The text evidently teaches that there is No, 1. Vol. III.