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make out the resemblance. And the philosophic tenets, in which the Christian doctrine of the Trinity is considered to appear, are obviously too much in the interest of pantheistic speculation to be of any service. The lines of argument to which we attach importance, are the scriptural, the patristic, and the ecclesiastical. And these certainly appear to us sufficient to establish the doctrine of the Trinity as a fact of revelation.
We now proceed to indicate the several forms of anti-Trinitarian belief. In the first centuries of the Christian Church many of the Fathers employed exceedingly imperfect forms of expression in stating the doctrine of the Trinity. They often spoke of the Son as subject to the Father, and the Spirit as subject to both, in a manner that implied the existence of degrees of superiority in the Godhead. These subordination views cannot be classed as anti-Trinitarian, for those who maintained them were strenuous advocates of the doctrine, and these very views were advanced for its exposition. They indicate an imperfect conception of the doctrine, and are faulty expositions of it; but progressing controversy speedily corrected them, and developed a more exact formula.
One class of anti-Trinitarian opinions may be distinguished by the term Unitarianism. This appellative, in its widest signification, applies to all who maintain the unity of Deity and deny the doctrine of trinal distinction : but it is generally used in reference to those in whose religious belief humanitarian views concerning the person of Christ predominate with more or less fulness. There are two well-marked divisions in Unitarianism thus understood : first, Dynamic Unitarianism. The advocates of this form of belief maintain that God is one; that there are no immanent and eternal distinctions in the Godhead. In Christ they recognize nothing more than a man filled with Divine power in an extraordinary degree: but only in this respect differing from those who accepted his teaching. The Son and Spirit are but manifestions of Divine power; the one in the man Christ Jesus, and the other in all who receive his word. Some dynamists hold that the power of God was manifested in Christ from the beginning of his life; its first expression being furnished in the unique character of his birth; a higher expression being given at his baptism, when he was anointed for his work on earth, and a still higher after his death, when he was exalted to the right hand of God, and invested with rule and authority; so that it is not improper to speak of him as God, nor idolatrous to worship him, providing we only worship God in him. But this exaltation will not be permanent; it will terminate with the present state of things, when God will become all in all, and believers will enter into an essential equality with Christ, and like him, and with equal fulness, participate in the eternal life of God. Ebionite dynamists on the other hand maintain that this power was not operative in Christ from beginning, but was communicated at his baptism. Both agree in denying the doctrine of trinal distinction ; in affirming the humanity of Christ; and in explaining his Divinity by the term power. As representatives of these views in the earlier centuries may be named the Alogians, the Theodotians, the Artemonites, and Paul of Samosata. In the same class may be also placed the Socinians of the Reformation period, and their successors. Advocates of dynamic monarchianism may be found in all existing Unitarian communities, and their views are not represented in modern latitudinarianism, as is obvious in the “Essays and Reviews,” and other writings expository of “ Broad Church” theology. Second, Pantheistic Unitarianism. The supporters of this view deny the supernatural, and hence sweep away the incarnation and every distinctive form of Christian belief. They speak of order, progress, and development, but identify all with Deity in the most approved pantheistic mode. The incarnation they accept is an incarnation of God in the human race, from which, in fact, in their speculations he is not distinguishable. They abolish the supernatural by elevating everything into the region of the supernatural, and making all that is, and all that occurs, only the mode and process by which the infinite realises consciousness, and returns into itself again. The moral aspects of this theorizing are especially offensive, for man in all his variety of degradation is represented as part of the process by which the infinite develops itself and returns into its own essential oneness. These views have been held under various modifications both in ancient and modern times. Representatives of them may be found in most of the Gnostic sects which troubled the early Church. Traces of them may be found among middle-age mystics and also among mystics of the Reformation period. In more recent times the same forms of Pantheistic Unitarian thought appear in the writings of Hegel, Schelling, and Strauss in Germany, in the productions of Theodore Parker in America, and in the books of Miss Martineau, F. W. Newman, and others in England. Now concerning these opinions we have simply to say they are anti-scriptural-contrary to the catholic teaching and sentiment of the Church during all ages -and subversive of every institution and usage distinctively christian. It is impossible by any mode of torture to make the Scriptures support them. If language has to be considered a vebicle of thought, and not a mode of concealing it, then it is utterly impossible by any legitimate method of interpretation to develop these views from either the Old or New Testament; while the Church, by formulated belief and in worship and practice, has from age to age furnished a standing protest against them, as departures from the true faith of the gospel.
A second form of anti-Trinitarian belief may be designated Modal Trinitarianism. This class of opinion bears some resemblance to Pantheistic Unitarianism, inasmuch as both contain, as a common element, the view of an expansion and contraction of the Divine nature—a development from and a return into monadic unity. But in Modal Trinitarianism the Deity is distinguished from the world in which he is manifested. The revelation is historic and successive; there is the ultimate resumption, but the development is not confounded with the world-manifestation, as is done, more or less distinctly, in Pantheistic Unitarianism. In the ancient Church this theory is associated with the name of Sabellius, a presbyter of Ptolemais, in Egypt, who lived about the middle of the third century. Previous to this there had been some preparation made for the development of the Modal view by the earlier Patripassian Monarchians, who denied a trinal distinction in the Godhead, and maintained the identity of Father and Son. Sabellius embraced in his speculations the Holy Ghost, and propounded, not an immanent Trinity, but a Trinity of successive revelation. His fundamental thought is that the unity of Deity, without any distinction in itself, unfolds or extends itself in the world's history, in three different forms and periods, and, after the completion of the process, returns again into unity. He does not consider creation as one form of the development, he rather regards it as the basis upon which the threefold revelation takes place. The trinal development refers to redemption, and creation furnishes the basis and condition of the process.
The one God reveals himself as the Father in the Old Testament economy, as the Son in incarnation, and as the Holy Ghost in the inspiration and santification of believers. He denies the immanence of the trinal distinction, and also the permanence of the Trinity of revelation which he advocates ; making the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost temporary phenomena, which fulfil their mission and are again resumed into the abstract unity. In the eleventh century religious thought, in freeing itself from Pantheistic mysticism, adopted in many instances the viewpoint of Sabellius. Principal among the representatives of Modal Trinitarianism at that time may be named Abelard and Joachim, of Floris. In the Reformation period this view found advocates among some of the Anabaptist sects. And in more recent times it has been advanced by Schleiermacher, and many of his followers, with a modification relating it still more closely to Pantheism. This view is exposed to speculative and philosophical objections almost innumerable; these we do not undertake to enumerate, but content ourselves with stating that Sabellianism, under any of its modifications, denying, as it does, the simultaneity and co-existence of the trinal distinction in the Godhead, is anti-Scriptural, and opposed to that interpretation of the sacred record which the Church has from the beginning received. It is unnecessary to give specific reference to passages affirming this co-existence. Mention need onlybe made of instances in which the Father is said to have sent the Son; and in which the Son is said to have shared the glory of the Father before the world was ; indeed, the whole revealed economy of redemption requires as its condition and explanation, not a successive trinity of revelation, but a simultaneous and co-existent trinal distinction in the Godhead. Sabellianism represents the appearance of Christ as a transient phenomenon-a passing means to another end. Now the Scriptures never represent Christ as sustaining a merely temporary relation to the religion he founded; he is ever set forth as a constitutive and integrant element of it, and in this light the Church has ever contemplated him. In his person and work he is not to be considered as a momentary exhibition of Divine presence and power—which having accomplished its purpose, no longer continues—but as the abiding centre of regenerated humanity, in whom, and through whom, God is personally and actually united with men. This conception of the person and work of Christ, Sabellianism repudiates, and we may venture to add that this repudiation under one form or another may be charged upon all who reject the doctrine of the Trinity.
The Arian doctrine may be considered a third form of antiTrinitarian belief. This theologic view was advanced by Arius, a presbyter of Alexandria, in the beginning of the fourth century. He was decided to this course of speculation by what he deemed strong leanings towards Sabellianism in some leading church teachers, and in opposition to them he pushed the subordinationism of the earlier Fathers to an unwarrantable extreme. The Deity he pronounced a primal simplicity, devoid of all distinction. The terms Father and Son, begotten and unbegotten, he regarded as totally inapplicable to the Divine essence. As his theological views developed more definitely, he maintained that, if the Father begat the Son, then the Son had a beginning. This act of begetting he described as a creation out of nothing. It was not an efflux or emanation from the Divine essence, but an origination out of nothing by the exercise of Divine will and power. He did not affirm that time was when the Son was non-existent, but “there was when he was not.” This person, in the theory of Arius, is the firstborn and most glorious of all creatures, and by him all things have been made. The Holy Ghost is created by the Son, and separated from him as he is separated from the Father. In this theologic view the unity of God is maintained, but the denials it comprehends involve immense sacrifice. All direct relation between God and the world is severed. Deity is highly exalted, but the exaltation, through its very sublimity, renders it necessary that
the Son come between him and created things. This interposition destroys all direct connection between God and the world, both remaining by themselves isolated and abstract, each sustaining some sort of relation to the Son, but standing in no definite and direct relation to each other. A theory like this also renders it impossible for man to enter into fellowship and communion with God. A creature has neither power nor capacity to unite us with God, and yet a creature is all that Arianism brings into direct relation with man. This form of belief furnishes no consistent and satisfactory interpretation of Scripture, and it contradicts the pronounced faith of the Church throughout all ages. formally condemned by the Council of Nice in 325, and though under various modifications it has perpetuated itself, yet the Church has always declared against it, and condemned it, as a departure from sound doctrine.
It is obvious that these anti-Trinitarian forms of belief do not rest upon a scriptural basis. Their advocates attempt, from metaphysical grounds, to evolve certain positions, and by these to determine what the theologic doctrine of Scripture is. They never take the record, and by a legitimate exegesis ascertain its purport. It must speak in harmony with their abstract and speculative notions. Now we submit that it is not within man's province to determine what tbe Scripture must say; it is his privilege to ascertain what the Scripture does say; and whoever, in the spirit of humble inquiry, interrogates the record, shall not walk in darkness. To the disregard of this obvious consideration, is to be attributed by far the greater part of the perplexity, error, and unsound doctrine by which the Church has been disturbed from age to age. Let it be understood that the basis of theologic doctrine is scriptural; that all man can know of God is revealed; and that direct revelation by the word must be accepted as interpretative of revelation under any other form, and a host of difficulties at once disappear. We can no more determine beforehand upon abstract and metaphysical grounds what a revelation must contain, than we can determine beforehand what the contents of a world must be; or how a system of worlds must be arranged. The older physical philosophies contain amusing instances in which men have constructed systems of the universe, and then proceeded by their already acquired result to interpret the phenomena of nature, landing themselves and their disciples in the most inextricable disorder and confusion. We smile at these vagaries of the old philosophers, forgetting that in relation to revelation many still pursue a precisely parallel course, determining extra-revelationally what a revelation must contain, and under what form it must be given, then taking the result gained, and applying it to the interpretation of the record. The product developed from revelation by this process is proclaimed to be the profoundest wis