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not liave supposed the Apostle to be amusing them with some idle tale for which they had a parallel in their fables of the birth and sepulchre of Cretan Jove ?
It is clearly demonstrable then from the records extant of the preaching of the Apostles, that they did not teach the doctrine of the Trinity to the Jews. It is equally demonstrable that they taught Unitarianism to the Gentiles--that faith which the eloquent reformers of the nineteenth century stigmatize as a “leprosy, and a soul-destroying heresy."
In the writings as well as the preaching of the Apostles, we find many passages strongly expressive of their belief in the divine unity-not one in which the holders of that doctrine are censured, as they must inevitably have been, if their doctrine were erroneous. The Apostle John combats the errors of the Gnostics and condemns the Churches of Asia, for various lapses and defections from the truth. But no where is any condemnation either direct or implied attached to Unitarianism. How should it? The inspired writers were all Unitarians, and knew no more of the tritheistic hypothesis than of the Pope's infallibility. The Apostle Paul spoke not only his own sentiments but those of bis Brethren, when he affirmed that the head of Christ is God." But of all the sacred authors John is the most copious in attesting the Supreme Deity of God, and shewing the derived existence, and derived miraculous powers of Christ. If one Apostle might claim pre-eminence above the rest, as the advocate of the divine unity, John would have a fair claim to be entitled the Apostle of Unitarianism. *
As the doctrine of the Trinity is no where tauglit in the Scriptures, it is inferred by Trinitarians ; and some of its ablest advocates admit that it is altogether a doctrine of inference. They eannot find it in Matthew-nor in Mark-nor in Luke-nor in Johnnor in Paul-nor in Peter---nor in James-nor in Jude-but they give us to understand that there are certain bints and expressions in the one and in the other, from a judicious combination of which it may be extracted, by a little knowledge of the dialectics of theology. The Scriptures, we suppose, contain its elements as the alphabet con. tains the elements of the mysterious tetragrammaton ! The picture is in the colours of the painter's pallet, and requires only to be transferred to the canvas ! The statue which
may chant the world," and claim its idolatry, lies in the marble block,
* See this most satisfactorily proved by the Rev. W. J. Fox, in his letter to the Rev. Dr. Blomfield, now Bishop of London, entitled “The Apostle John a Unitarian." The Bishop is to be commended for his prudence in not attempting an answer to so powerful and eloquent an antagonist. His silence may be deemed a sufficient concession, though it would be more magnanimous to declare himself vanquished. See also the Apostle Paul a Unitarian,” by the Rev. B. Mardon.
and asks but the chisel of some Phidias or Praxiteles to rescue it from concealment! The golden calf of Aaron had its component parts, its membra disjecta, in the ear-rings of the wives and of the sons and daughters of Israel. It required but the blast of the furnace, and the graving tool of the artist to fashion them into a four-footed idol. Thus, from a skilful amalgamation of heathentsh inventions and traditions, with certain garbled extracts from Scripture, do the advocates of Athanasianism form a triplicate object of worship, and with their predecessors in the wilderness of old, exclaim, “ These be thy Gods, O Israel !"
But why a triplicate object? Ah! there is a great mystery in the number three, and, as heathen mythology will teach us, it has many an ancient hereditary claim to respect. But on what particular passages of Scripture the doctrine of the Athanasian Trinity is founded, the reader who has nothing but revelation for his guide, cannot easily discover; for though it often speaks of the Holy One, and the Blessed One, it never speaks of the holy three, nor the blessed three. The advocates of the doctrine refer us to the Saviour's command, to baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,* and after informing us that to baptize in the name of a person, is to ascribe Supreme Deity to that person, a statement which at once makes Moses the Supreme Deity,t they ask in a tone of conscious triumph, “ Is not the Father one is not the Son one-and is not the Holy Ghost one—and are not three ones—three?” We answer unquestionably. And ask in return-three what?--Gods ?_No. That would be polytheism. Names of the same God? No. That would confound the persons and plunge us in what Athanasians would call the “ damnable heresy” of Sabellianism--Persons ? Yes. And the three persons are one God? Yes.--Then is each person but the third part of the one God. This divides the essence and robs God of his simplicity. Again, we are reforred to 1 John, v. 7-a text universally rejected as an interpolation by learned and honest critics. But, admitting it as genuine, it could give no more support than the former text, to the doctrine of three in one. The connexion would lead us to conclude, that the three witnesses were one only in testimony, Of essence it says nothing—it insinuates nothing. The same principles of inference which deduce a Trinity from these verses might deduce an Enneity, or nine in one, from Rev. i. 4, 5and we might ask, is not “he which was, and which is, and which is to come, one ? ._And are not the “ seven spirits before the throne,” seven ?--and is not “Jesus Christ the faithful witness," one? 1+7+1=9. This doctrine may be supported by 1 Tim. v. 21. “ I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Elect Angels.” What angels? The seven spirits of Jolin, forsooth. Thus is the doctrine of John confirmed by that of Paul. It has the high sanction also of Burgh, who says, that he may possibly surprise Mr. Lindsey, , by an assurance that these seven spirits are God.” It is, no doubt, a very surprising assurance ! but, he continues, “this is a position very easily explained to the man who remembers that • Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.' The seven spirits are the eyes of the Lamb (they were God just now,) and the Lamb is Jesus Christ himself." But Christ is God and there. fore he which was, and is, and is to come,--the seven spirits and Jesus Christ are one God! Thus is the doctrine of an Enneity proved by genuine orthodox inference. Let not the courteous reader object to the term Enneity, on account of its novelty. That of Trinity was as novel many years after the first dispensation of the gospel
* Mat. xxviii. 19.
+ I Cor, x. 2.
. The one word—the one doctrine, is as scriptural as the other; and the Enneity wants nothing but a little aid from tradition, the Infallible Church, and the Synod of Ulster, to fix it on as stable and permanent a foundation as the Trinity.
The inferiority of Christ to the Father proved by his own
Mr. Pope has quoted the long list of texts usually employed in this controversy, to shew that Christ possessed all the attributes of the Supreme Deity. A similar task has been repeatedly executed by men whose erudition and critical ingenuity were fully equal to those of Mr. Pope, but with a success similar to that of the architects of the tower of Babel. Many of the texts quoted, are irrelevant and misunderstood. It would be a labour more tedious than difficult, to shew that none of them, when rightly interpreted, yields any support to the doctrine of three
persons in one God. Mr. Maguire's assertion could be amply verified, that every text in support of the doctrine, could be confronted by another, till not a shred of argument remained. The New Testament is redundant in passages proving the supremacy of the Father, and the subordination of the Son. The very ideas of Father and Son imply superiority in the oneinferiority in the other. The Nicene and Athanasian Creeds, in fact, admit this, though it is denied by the “ Article," which affirms that the three persons are of one substance, power, and eternity. They admit that Christ was begotten of the Father, and thus contradict the coeternity and coequality which the article asserts. The words of the second article of the Church of England “begotten from everlasting of the Father," are nonsense, for they involve two ideas which destroy each other
that which is begotten is not self-existent, therefore not eternal that which is eternal is self-existent, therefore not begotten. So little consistency is there in the creeds and articles of man's in. vention. So difficult it is to put a total extinguisher on the truth, that God is one !
Again, as reason and common sense tell us that a father must exist before a son can be begotten, so must he wbo commands be greater than he who obeys; the bestower is superior to the receiver; the sender to him who is sent; and he who prescribes a task, to him by whom it is executed. Now Christ is represented in the Scriptures as in all things subordinate to the Father. He declares his own inferiority, and so strongly and so frequently disclaims the ascription to himself of the attributes that belong to Jehovah alone, that it is really a matter of astonishment how any one can entertain a doubt on the question.
He affirms the supremacy of the Father in terms the most explicit, undeniable, and unqualified.
* My Father is greater than all.”—John, x. 29. Consequently greater than the Son-and that there
may doubt of this, he says again,
My Father is greater than ļ." --John, xiv. 28. He declares that the same great being who is our God and Father, is also his God and Father.
“ I ascend unto my Father and your Father : and to my God and your God.”—Jolin, xx. 17.
He denies independant and underived existence when he says,
« I live by the Father.”-John, vi. 57.
He denies that he is inherently and underivably possessed of any power whatsoever ; and he does this with a solemn repeated asseveration.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, the Son can do nothing of himself but what he seeth the Father do."-John, v. 19.
“ To sit on my right-hand and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.”-Mat. xx. 23.
He affirms that he is not omniscient
“Of that day, and that hour, knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven; neither the Son, but the Father.”-Mark, xiii. 32. *
* This is a most distressing text to Trinitarians. In vain have they tortured invention and falsified the meaning of the Greek text, to escape a conclusion which is fatal to their scheme. One informs us that the verb o day here signifies maketh known, though no instance of its having such a meaning occurs in the whole compass of Greek learning. Admit, it however, for a moment, and mark the consequence. “ That day and that hour no man muketh known, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only maketh known.” This is a direct contradiction of the Saviour's meaning, to avoid which, it is proposed by other expounders, to supply the words “in his official capacity,” or “in his human nature,"
He refuses to be called good in the sense of infinitely bepevolent.
“ There is none good but ONE, that is God.”—Mat. xix. 17. . He ascribes his mission and his works to his Father.
“ The works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me that the Father hath sent me.”-Jobn, v. 36.
He acknowledges that his power of exercising judgment is bestowed upon him by the Father.
“ The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment to the Son.”—John, v. 22.
He affirms that his doctrine did not originate with himself:
“ My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.”—John, vii. 16, 17.
He denies that he came of himself.
“ Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am : and I am not come uf myself, but he that sent me is true whom ye know not.”—John vii. 28.
He denies that he came to do his own will.
I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.”- John, v, 30.
Or, that he sought his own glory,
“I seek not mine own glory—there is one (viz : God) that seeketh and judgeth."-John, viii. 50.
Or, that he is himself the ultimate end and object of our faith.
“ He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me.”—John, xii. 44. i. e. not so much on me, as on him who sent me.
He makes it a less heinous offence to speak against himself than against the Holy Spirit, which is a clear acknowledgment of his inferiority.
“ Whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of Man it shall be forgiven him ; but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be for. given him.”—Mat. xii. 32.
After his resurrection he says, that all his power is the gift of his Heavenly Father.
“ All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”-Mat. xxviii. 18.
The texts that speak a similar language are almost innumerable, and all so plain and intelligible, that their meaning is never disputed. How then avoid the conclusion to which they irresistibly compel? How maintain a doctrine by which that conclusion is utterly subverted ? Certain creed-makers and In
for which addition, even if it did not convert solemn truth into impious folly, they have no more authority, than for writing a new gospel. But this is not all. Audi fucinus majoris abollæ. In order to parallel and neutralize the force of this vexatious text, they have actually quoted Hosea viii. 4. “ They have made princes, and I (Jehovah) knew it not :” as if this was an expression of ignorance and not of disapproval—and in their anxiety to secure a point, have been contented to rob Jehovah of his Omniscience!