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The word translated Lord is in the original Jehovah, which signifies a manner of existence peculiar and proper to the most high God. He is the only self-existent essence. All other beings owe their existence to his will and pleasure, and depend on him for life and breath, and all things; but he exists by a necessity of nature, and this necessary existence is the meaning of the word Jehovah. We cannot fully comprehend the idea conveyed by this word, because we are not acquainted with the manner of necessary existence. The wisest man upon earth cannot describe in what manner any material object exists: for the atoms of which bodies are composed fall not under the observation of our senses. We know that gold differs from water, but we are ignorant of their constituent particles which make them differ, so that we confessedly know not the manner of their existence; and the plain reason is, gold and water do exist in a different manner, but our senses cannot discover how their particles or atoms differ. And since we know not the manner of the existence of the material bodies with which ourselves are conversant, how absurd would it be for any man to pretend to know the manner of the existence of a spiritual being ? How presumptuous then would it be for any man to undertake to describe how Jehovah exists, and rashly to affirm that he exists in a manner that excludes all personality, while this very man does not know the manner of the existence of any one thing in the world! And yet every little philosopher, who has but just learned to reason upon the objects which are within his reach, pretends to reason about the nature and attributes of God, and every minute infidel undertakes to prove by metaphysics, and one of them, more proud and ignorant than the rest, thought he could prove, a priori, that Jehovah exists in one person, although Jehovah himself declares he does not. If these men would attend to the meaning of the name Jehovah, it might correct some of their mistakes. It siguifies necessary existence. Now, from whence shall we form a perfect idea of this word? We have no ideas but from our senses, and there is no object within the reach of our senses which exists by a necessity of nature. All these Jehovah hath formed and made: consequently they can only give us ideas of dependent existence. There is but one Jehovah, the text says, and he exists in a manner of which no other thing can give us a perfect idea, and therefore we can have no reason to reject the account which God has given us of the manner of his existence; but, if we act consistently, we must receive and abide by the revealed account, which teaches us that Jehovah is the self-existent essence, and that this essence is one, one Jehovah, but the Alehim, the persons in Jehovah, are three. There was no doubt in those ancient times about the personality; the scripture guards most the unity of the essence, and while it affirms the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to be of the self-existent essence, it at the same time teaches us, that these three are one, one in essence, but three in person.
The personality in Jehovah is described in the text by the word Alehim, which is in the plural number, and acknowledged to be so by the Jews, as well as Christians; and if they had not owned it, yet the sense of the passage would lead us to seek for a plural interpretation, because there was no need for revelation to teach us that Jehovah, our one Alehim, is one Jehovah, which is no more than that one is
But the word Alehim being plural, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit being Alehim, it was necessary to reveal to us the unity of the essence, and to teach us that these three persons were one Jehovah; and therefore, being of the self-existent essence, none is before or after the other, none is greater or less than another, but the whole three persons are co-eternal and co-cqual. Each of the persons is Jehovah. The Father is Jehovah, as we read, Isaiah, Ixiv. 8~" But now, O Jehovah, thou art our Father.” The Son is Jehovah, Isa. xlv. 21-" Who hath declared this
from ancient time? Have not I, Jehovah ? and there is no God beside me, a just God and a Saviour:” here the Son, our Saviour, is called Jehovah. And the Holy Spirit is Jehovah, Isa. xi. 2—“The Spirit Jehovah shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,” &c.
Each of the persons is called Alehim. The Father is so called, 1. Chron. xxix. 10—6 And David said, blessed be thou Jehovah, Alehim of Israel, our Father, for ever and ever.” The Son is Alehim, Isaiah xlv. 21_" There is no Alehim else beside me, a just God and a Saviour." The Holy Spirit is Alehim, Exodus, xxxi. 3-"I have filled Bezaleel with the Spirit Alehim:" not of the Alehim; the Hebrew is, with the Spirit Alehim, so that the Spirit is the Alehim. These scriptures confirm the doctrine of the text, namely, that Jehovah is one, and that in the unity of Jehovah there are three Alehim, which word does not signify their manner of existence. Jehovah denotes that, but it is a relative word, descriptive of the gracious offices of the eternal three in the economy of man's redemption. And neither the personality expressed by its being plural, nor its meaning, are retained by our translators in the singular word God. God is no more the sense of Alehim than goodness is. And if the translators could no word in our language, they should have given a definition of it in the first place they met with it in the bible, and then have retained the Hebrew name ever afterwards. By their neglect our people are kept in ignorance of this gracious name, under which Jeho. vah would have himself to be known. It belongs to the covenant of grace, and is descriptive of the acts and offices of the eternal three, in the glorious plan of man's salvation, and it signifies the binding act of the covenant, the obligation entered into upon oath to fulfil it. This is the sense of Aleh, the root from whence Alehim is derived, and there is no other root from whence it can be derived, without offering great violence to the established rules of the Hebrew tongue. The oath of God is often mentioned in scris ture, and the people's entering into it is beautifull described, Deut. xxiv. 10, 11, 12—“ Ye stand thi day all of you before the Lord your God, your car tains of your tribes, your elders, and your officer with all the men of Israel, your little ones, you wives, and the stranger that is in thy camp, from th hewer of wood unto the drawer of water, that tho shouldst enter into covenant with the Lord thy God and into his oath.” God is here said to have mad an oath, emphatically stiled his oath, because it wa the oath of the covenant from whence the name Ale him is taken.
find a proper
If you ask, when was this covenant made by oathand by whom, and for what end? the scripture an swers those points very clearly.
The covenant was made before the world begat as, Titus, i. 2: “In hope of eternal life, which God. that cannot lie, promised before the world began. Was not this promise the oath of the covenant What else could it be? God, who cannot lie, pre mised, before the world began, and foreordained, (! Peter, i. 20,) that Christ should be the lamb, wł. should take sin by the sacrifice of himself. This wa foreordained by an eternal purpose, which he purpo sed in Christ Jesus our Lord; Eph. iii. 11. Wha is called in these scriptures the purpose, the promise and foreordination of God, was the covenant of gràc which was made before the world began, yea, by a eternal purpose, and from which the divine person who confirmed this covenant by an oath, are callee Alehim; and as the covenant was made before thi world began, they therefore took their name from it, and are described by it before the creation, in the first chapter of Genesis. They had done some ac before, from which this name was taken. Now signifies, to confirm any thing by oath, iherefore the had confirmed something by oath, before the wor began; and what it was those scriptures determi; which speak of the purpose, counsel, promise, an
foreordination of God, made before all worlds, to bring many sons unto glory by Jesus Christ. This was the design of the purpose, counsel, &c.; and the persons who designed this are the three in Jehovah: for each of them is called Jehovah, and each of them is called Alehim, because each person in Jehovah had a distinct office in the economy of the covenant. The Father undertook to demand full satisfaction for sin, therefore he is called a jealous God, and a consuming fire. Christ undertook to pay this satisfaction, and is therefore called God the Saviours and the Holy Spirit covenanted to apply and to render effectual the merit of Christ's satisfaction to believers, and therefore his constant name is Spirit, which word sig, nifies the air that we breathe, on which our animal life depends, as our spiritual life does on his inspiration. Now since the divine persons have entered in to a covenant, and do sustain those distinct offices in it, and since our salvation depends upon the knowledge of these truths, was it not an act of infinite love and condescension for the divine persons in Jehovah to take the gracious name of Alehim, and to reveal themselves to us, as persons bound by the obligation of an oath to carry
the covenant of
into execution !
If you ask, what necessity there was for this oath ? it was necessary only on our parts, and it was an act of astonishing mercy, and will demand our everlasting tribute of praise, that God would vouchsafe to give convinced sinners such encouragement to hope for mercy, as to bind himself by two immutable things to save them. The apostle (Heb. vi. 16, 17, 18,) thus speaks of this wonderful instance of God's love: “ An oath for confirmation is, among men, an end of all strife : wherein God more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us." In this