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of discussion; and if the arguments and manner used do not carry conviction to the minds of any of different sentiments, it is hoped that they will not excite asperity.
It is the object of the author to prove from the Sacred Scriptures a threefold distinction in the Divine Nature, revealed by the names, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He has not attempted to shew how these things can be; but merely to shew that these things are revealed. Though the Divine Plurality, like the Divine Existence, is incomprehensible by finite minds; yet there is nothing in it, which any one can say is more contradictory, or inconsistent, than the distinctions in human nature.
The term person, as it is often applied to the Father, Son, and Spirit, and the expression, three persons in the Godhead, have been cautiously avoided, unless they have occurred in quotations. This language is offensive to many, because it conveys to their minds (though not intended by those, who use it) an idea of separation in the Divine Nature, so that the Father, Son, and Spirit, instead of being one, appear to them to be three Gods. There is no inconvenience in avoiding this phraseology, and it is abundantly sufficient to prove that each is divine, without attempting to prove that each distinctly is God.
It has not been attempted to prove, nor has it been taken for granted, that the Humanity and Divinity of Jesus Christ constitute either one, or more persons. He is “one Lord.” It appears to be inexpedient to predicate that of him, which the Scriptures do not predicate, and which unnecessarily excites opposition to the doctrine of his divinity. If the term Person, be applied to him in both natures, it is certain that its signification is different from what it is in any other application. It ought to be considered that the intimate connexion of his divinity and humanity, does not destroy their essential distinction.
The essay on the Atonement is brief; but enough is said to shew its connexion with the divinity of Christ, and the view given of its matter, will, it is believed, help to re
move the most formidable objections, which are brought against it.
Much has been written, and some has been very ably written on the Sonship of Jesus Christ. It does not appear to be necessary to prove that his relationship to the Father, which is expressed by the relative term Son, was produced either in eternity, or in time. If it were ever produced, there was a period in duration, in which it did not exist; and when it came into existence, a change in the Divine Nature must have taken place. Let it be admitted that the three distinctions in the Divine Nature always existed; and that they have been revealed by the names of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; let the attention be fixed exclusively on the Divine Nature, not on its official capacities, nor on its union with humanity, and it appears that all debate on the subject would terminate.
In the essay on the Authority of Jesus Christ, it is shewn that there is an essential difference between power and authority; and this distinction, which is warranted by the original Greek, is considered a refutation of the opinion of those, who maintain that power was imparted by the Father to the Son.
The view of the Mediatorial Office of the Savior, removes, it is believed, some objections, which are brought against the Trinitarian schene.
The Opinions of the Christian Fathers, are taken from Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History, and from Milner's History of the Church of Christ. It is unnecessary to make any prefatory remarks on the other numbers of the work. The reader will easily discover their design and weight.
It may appear to many to be entirely superfluous to add another publication to the many, which have already been made upon this subject. But it ought to be considered that as long as this doctrine is assailed by its enemies, it must be defended by its friends; and that the latter must be as indefatigable and persevering in their efforts as the former.". The same arguments, presented in different points of view, and
THE EXISTENCE OF GOD.
The divine existence is an interesting subject of contemplation. It concerns every intelligent creature to know from whom he has derived his being; and to whom he is responsible. It is important to know whether nature and her laws are self-existent and independent, or derived their existence and support from a Creator. It is important to know whether events occur under the capricious control of chance; or under the established laws of an infinitely wise Sovereign. To form correct sentiments on these points, it is necessary to admit, or establish by a process of argumentation, the existence of God. This first principle of religion is established in the volume of nature, and in the volume of inspiration. It has been demonstrated and defended by champions of Divinity in every age. But the subject has not lost any of its importance by length of time; nor has it been exhausted by the most able discussion. The learning and genius of every future age will find full scope in contemplating, and discussing this interesting, this infinite subject.
A variety of arguments offer their assistance in proof of the existence of God. The inanimate, and brutal creation, and our own existence are evidences of an independent first Cause. “The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead.” In every part of the natural world, there is a continual succession of changes. The face of the earth assumes, at every revolving season, a new aspect. One growth of the vegetable kingdom comes forward, matures, declines, dies, putrifies, and gives nourishment to a succeeding crop. Of the brutal creation individuals are continually perishing; and others take their place. In the rational world one generation passeth away and another taketh its place. This mutation among the different orders of beings proves that they are not self-existent; that they are not eternal; and proves, of course, that they derived their existence from a Creator. Because, what is changeable is subject to dissolution and extinction. What is subject to fall into nonexistence might, without contradiction or absurdity in the supposition, have been in that state. It follows, consequently, that all things, which are mutable may have had a beginning, and an author of their existence. As substances, which are changeable in their nature are not self-existent, it follows that they must have had an origin, and a Creator.
Between the different parts of the natural world there is a mutual connexion and dependence. The different particles of matter, which compose this globe, are united with, and rest upon cach other. The vegetable kingdom springs from the earth, and is supported by the elements. The irrational and the rational world derive their origin from a parental stock; and are supported by the productions of the earth. A series of connected links of dependencies cannot make an independent chain of beings. Dependence may be traced from one thing to another;