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here in the course of a long life, we might be inclined to believe that it sometimes pleaseth the Lord, to allow his glory and his power to shine forth in his servants. Thus, Enoch was carried
appeared transfigured on the holy mountain, Elijah was raised
up to heaven in a fiery chariot, John the Baptist was foretold. But, besides that these were individual circumstances, and that the language of those miraculous men and of their disciples, with respect to the divinity and to themselves, left no room for superstition and mistake: here, it is an assemblage of wonders, which all, or even taken separately, would have been sufficient to deceive the credulity of men: here, all the different traits, dispersed among all these extraordinary men, who had been considered almost as gods upon the earth, are collected together in Jesus Christ, but in a manner a thousand times more glorious and more divine. He prophesies, but more loftily, and with more striking characters, than John the Baptist: he appears transfigured in the holy mount, but surrounded with more glory than Moses: he ascends to heaven, but with more marks of power and majesty than Elijah: he penetrates into the future, but with more accuracy and clearness than all the prophets: he is produced, not only from a barren womblike Samuel, but likewise by a pure and innocent virgin: what shall I say? And not only he does not undeceive men by certain and precise expressions upon his origin as purely human; but his sole language with respect to his equality to the Most High; but the sole doctrine of his disciples, who tell us that he was in the bosom of God from all eternity, and that all hath been made through him, who call him their Lord and their God, who inform us that he is all in all things, would justify the error of those who worship him, had even his life been, in other respects, an ordinary one, and similar to that of other men."*
The only way, by which we know one class of being from another, is by their respective peculiarities. Angels are distinguished from men by their disembodied state; by their superiority of capacity; and by their difference of employment. The divine Spirit is distinguished from angels and men by the peculiarities of his nature and the peculiarities of his works. If they, like him, be spirits, he possesses qualities infinitely superior to theirs; and he performs works infinitely beyond the limits of their capacities. If we find a character described in the sacred Scriptures, which does not rank with angels or men, but possesses all the peculiarities of divinity, it is agreeable to the rules of classification to call him divine. The Scriptures attribute all divine properties to Jesus Christ; and they must be perverted or rejected, if the conclusion that he is divine be denied.
Besides the Father and the Son, the sacred Scriptures exhibit another character, to which they attribute divine peculiarities. To the Holy Spirit they ascribe divine attributes; divine works; divine honors; they give him a distinct character, and they represent bim acting in a distinct office; and bearing a certain relationship to the Father and Son. If the Holy Spirit be no more than the operation of the Father, it is hard to conceive why the Scriptures should give it significant and appropriate names; give it divine qualities, works and honors; and declare it to be more criminal to sin against it, than to sin against the Father or the Son. If the Holy Spirit be not divine; if he be not, in a certain sense, distinct from, as well as united to the Father and the Son, the Scriptures cannot be understood according to the most natural import of words.
Should we, in reading the history of any particular country, find three distinct characters, who had been employed in laying the foundation of a nation; and at a critical juncture, had, by their united exertions saved it from ruin; should we find human qualities attrib
uted to them; and discover them to be authors of achievements, peculiar to men, we should naturally conclude, without labored arguments, that these were the authors of the same work; that they were three; and that these three were human. In the history of creation, and in the history of redemption, three distinct characters are brought to view. Each is represented with divine peculiarities; and exercising divine prerogatives. By analogy of reasoning it is a fair conclusion that these are three; and that they are of divine nature. If analogy ceases here, and does not prove that these three are one, we feel no need of analogy. The Scriptures are decisive on this point. They expressly declare that there is but one only living and true God. The first cominand of Jehovah is, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” If the sacred Scriptures present to our view three distinct characters with divine peculiarities, and at the same time expressly assert that there is but one God, what shall be done with this seerning contrariety? Shall we reject the doctrine of the Trinity because we cannot clearly reconcile it with the divine unity? Why may we not as well reject the doctrine of the divine unity because we cannot reconcile it with the doctrine of the Trinity? Why may we not, on the same principle, reject both doctrines because we cannot reconcile them?
Our inability to comprehend a subject is not a conclusive evidence against its truth. Our inability to reconcile two propositions does not prove that they are not reconcilable; nor does it prove that both, or either of them, are untrue. If we had a perfect knowledge of the divine nature, we might say what could be, or what could not be predicated of it. But we are not competent to make a decision of this kind. Propositions, which in terms are contradictory, carry on the face of them their own falsity. Propositions, which are not contradictory and are not sell-evident must be proved to be true or false by extraneous evidence. The doctrine of the Trinity is not self-evident. It never has been intuitively perceived; nor has it been discovered merely by the power of reason.
It is a doctrine of revelation. If it be substantiated from this source it stands. If it be not substantiated from this source, it falls. Revelation represents the Father to be divine; the Son to be divine; the Holy Spirit to be divine; and it represents only one God. resentations are not, in terms, a contradiction. We may, upon divine authority, safely believe both the plurality and the unity of God.
The union of divine and human nature is a doctrine, which appears to be taught in the Scriptures. It is a doctrine, which, it is presumed, was never invented by reason; and, it is presumed, will never fall entirely within the compass of a finite understanding. But the unsearchable nature of the doctrine affords not a shadow of proof against its truth. If such a union be contradictory, or absurd, it is presumed that it is not revealed in the Scriptures. It cannot be, that the Author of human reason requires a belief of that, which contradicts the conclusions of that power of the mind. It is the province of reason to decide what is revealed; but it is not the province of reason to fathom all revealed truth. Reason teaches, that a system of religion, which embraces the infinite Spirit and an eternal state of existence, is not within the bounds of finite comprehension.
It appears to be not unreasonable, nor unphilosophical to suppose that divinity was united with humanity.
human action, there is a co-operation of divine
power. Without the supporting influence of the Deity, creatures can neither think nor move. This concurrence of divine and human operation is as far beyond our comprehension as the union of the Son of God with the Son of man. Man is composed
; of matter and spirit. 'Rational, sensitive, and corpoI real powers unite in one person.
appears to be no more contradictory, that divine power should be united with these, than that they should be united with each other.
There was a more special connexion between divine i operation and those holy men of old, who spoke and
wrote as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. There
is another and different operation of divine power ? upon men, in causing them to be born again. The
Holy Spirit dwells in those, who have been subjects of this divine influence. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” 1 Cor. 3:16. In these cases, there is a certain connexion of divinity with humanity; and in each case divine operation is different. If it be not unphilosophical to admit this connexion of divinity and human nature,
appears to be not unphilosophical to admit that connexion, which the Scriptures represent to subsist between the Son of man and the Son of God. It is no more difficult to conceive this connexion than it is to conceive the immeasurable gift of the Spirit, or divine fulness dwelling in the man, Christ Jesus. If the former hypothesis be unphilosophical, so is the latter.
It is objected by some that it is not agreeable to sound philosophy to suppose that divine and human nature should so unite that they constitute but one person.
We shall not contend for the phrase, one person, nor for the propriety of it, when applied to Jesus Christ. Viewed in his human and divine nature, he is different from all other beings; and it is obvious that many
of those terms and phrases, which are appropriate to them, cannot be applied with the same propriety to him.
One class of texts proves his humanity; another as evidently proves his divinity; and from both classes is inferred the union of both natures.