« AnteriorContinuar »
In making up your mind there are these two material considerations to guide you. The doctrine of the Trinity is not directly asserted in any of the passages which are brought to prove it. It is only inferred. It is drawn from them as an inference, which seems more or less certain to different indi. viduals, and therefore may not be a true inference. The doctrine of the Father being the one and only true God, is expressly asserted in so many words. “To us there is but one God, the Father.” Here the Unitarian doctrine is not inferred, but is in so many words asserted. The choice, therefore, is between inference, on the one side, and unequivocal assertion, on the other.
The second consideration is, that there are but very few passages in the Bible, where the doctrine of the Trinity is pretended to be contained, even by implication; whereas the Unity and supremacy of God the Father is the common and prevailing doctrine of the scriptures, and the passages in the New Testament in which he is emphatically called the one or only God, amount to seventeen.
There is not a passage in the Bible which unequivocally asserts the Trinity. There are many which unequivocally assert the Unity. In order to reconcile scripture with itself, either the passages which are thought to teach the Trinity must be explained in consistency with the Unity, or those which declare the Unity must have a sense put upon them which will not contradict the Trinity. Is it not more reasonable to suppose that the Tri
nity-which is an inference, merely, from a very few texts of Scripture—may be a mistaken inference, than to suppose there can be any mistake in the overwhelming majority of texts which unequivocally assert the Unity.
But the disadvantage of the doctrine of the Trinity does not stop here. There are difficulties in things, as well as words, involved in it. Taking the side that the Unity is true, then the only difficulties you have to encounter, are in the interpretation of a few words and sentences. 'In the thing
*“Those passages in the New Testament in which the Father is styled one, or only God, are in number seventcen.
“Those passages where he is styled God absolutely, by way of eminence and supremacy, are in number three hundred and twenty.
“Those passages where he is styled God, with peculiarly high titles and epithets, or attributes, are in number one hundred and five.
“Those passages wherein it is declared that all prayers and praises ought to be offered to him, and that every thing ought to be ultimately directed to his honor and glory, are in number ninety.
"Passages wherein the Son is declared, positively, and by the clearest implication, to be subordinate to the Father, deriving his being from him, receiving from him his Divine power, and acting in all things wholly according to the will of the Father, are in number above three hundred.
“Of thirteen hundred passages in the New Testament wherein the word God is mentioned, not one of them necessarily implies a plurality of persons.
“To which may be added about two thousand passages in the Old Testament, in which the Unity of God is either positively expressed, or evidently implied.”—Grundy's Lectures.
itself there is no difficulty. That there should be one God in one Person, is all plain and reasonable, and intrinsically probable. It involves no mystery, or contradiction.
But taking the doctrine of the Trinity as true, there are not only all the difficulties in words which exist in those passages which assert that there is but one God, and the Father alone is that God, but there are difficulties in things. A doctrine is asserted which is, in itself, essentially incredible. It is strange, unreasonable and contradictory. A Being is presented to our faith, made up of elements entirely inconsistent with each other, one and yet three, three Persons, and yet one Being, a Trinity, the first Person of which, in the ideas of all, has some sort of a pre-eminence over the other two, and yet either of the other two is of equal power and glory. One is Son to another, and yet as ancient as his Father. The first Person is said to do things by the instrumentality of the other two, and yet they have equal and original agency in all things with the first.
The second Person becomes so connected with a human soul, as to make one Person, and yet the human soul is ignorant of what is known to the Divine mind. This complex person, made up of the Divine and human, mind, sometimes acts and speaks, and then is laid aside, and the human mind acts and speaks, all without giving any warning of such a change. Now we say such a doctrine as this so mistifies the nature of the Deity, so mingles and confuses the nature of things, so destroys the
boundaries of the identity and individuality of mind or spirit, that it raises and encounters insuperable difficulties in things, becomes essentially inconceivable and incredible. The proposition that God is a Spirit, meaning one pure and underived mind, is possible, is conceivable, is probable, is agreeable to the analogy, reason and nature of things. But that God is a Trinity of persons is supported by no analogy, is inconceivable, contradictory, and incredible. So that, besides the difficulties in words, arising from the fewness of the passages in which it is found only by inference, and its contradiction to a much greater number of texts, where the Unity is expressly, and in so many words declared, it encounters and involves insuperable difficulties in things, the very things which it asserts. To overcome such difficulties in the nature of the proposition which it sustains, the number of passages in which it is found ought to be greater, and their meaning more plain, than those which declare the opposite. Whereas they are incomparably fewer, and do not in so many words declare the doctrine at all.
I appeal to all who hear me this night, if the great proposition with which we started is not fully made out, that there is but one God, the Fatherthat in the Scriptures undivided Unity and supremacy are ascribed to Him. He is the only Fountain of being, He alone hath immortality abiding in himself, the blessed and only Potentate, the only wise God, the only true God, our Saviour.
THE SECOND PERSON OF THE TRINITY.
"Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you, I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.”—John, xiv. 10.
THE Trinitarian system supposes a second Person in God called the Son, who became incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth, and joined with his human soul, made one Person with him. The truth of the whole system depends, upon the truth of this hypothesis. To establish its truth therefore, you must identify and prove by proper evidence, the existence of such a Person in God, and such a Person in Christ. If that proof fails, the whole system falls. A course of argument then which shall show that there is no sufficient evidence of the existence of this Person will overthrow the system. The existence of God the Father is certain. The existence of one of Christ's natures is certain. The existence of a second Person in God and Christ is a hypothesis which may, or may not be true. If no trace of the agency of a second Person can be found in Christ, and every thing in him requiring divine power and knowledge appears to be the agency of God the