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divine attributes?_Does reason teach or admit the existence of three beings, equal and infinite in divine attributes? Is it not difficult to conceive of, and contemplate three divine persons otherwise than so many separate and distinct beings?--Must not this one God then

possess three sets of all divine attributes? — If all fulness dwelt in Christ by the will or pleasure of the Father, must not this fulness have been a derived fulness? --The fact however is, that the fulness, which dwells in Christ is the fulness of the Father.” (See Serious Inquirer, pp. 6,7,30,43,49.).

It is nat denied that some Trinitarian writers have given too much occasion for these inquiries. It is not denied that difficulty attends the contemplation of the divinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Whether we contemplate the divine nature existing in plurality, or in unity, there is difficulty. It is not surprising that an infinite subject should be difficult for finite minds. It is unfortunate that the subject should be made to appear more difficult by ill chosen words and phrases. In treating of the divine Nature, it is not necessary to represent it consisting of three distinct beings, agents, or persons. Nor is it necessary to represent the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as distinct persons, agents, or beings. It is not necessary to attempt to explain the mode of divine subsistence. It is sufficient to shew from scripture that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are divine. When it is inquired, how. can these things be? we do not attempt to answer the question. But if we find evidence from scripture that these things are so, it is sufficient to make them articles of belief?

When it is said that the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God, it is not to be understood that each is God, or possesses all divine attributes distinctly and separately from the other two. If this were the case, there would be three Gods. But it is to be understood that there is such a ground of distinction between them, that some works are peculiarly

attributed to the Father, some to the Son, and others to the Holy Spirit; and at the same time there is such a ground of union between them, that some works are attributed indiscriminately to each. It is replied, this distinction and this union in divine nature is unintelligible. Be it so. Let us bring, under review a subject, with which we are better acquainted; and about which there is less dispute. Let us take human nature. Let us take man. He exists in duality. He consists of matter and spirit; or of body and soul. Some actions are attributed to one and some to the other; and some are attributed to both without discrimination. A man walks.

A man walks. The act is attributed specially to his body. But there is a concurrent action of his spirit, or mind. A man reflects, or calculates. The act is attributed specially to his mind. But there is no doubt that his mental exercises are affected, more or less, by his material part. We speak of a wise man, and of a strong man. In the one case we speak peculiarly of his corporeal nature; in the other, of his spiritual nature; and in both cases we include, by the word man, both natures. Could the body, in its individual capacity, speak, it might truly say, of myself I can do nothing. It is the mind, which dwelleth in me, that doeth the works. Does it follow from this that the body was not human, or did not belong to the man? Does it follow that the matter and spirit

, which compose human nature, make two men? Is it difficult to conceive of, and contemplate on these two natures, body and soul, otherwise than so many distinct beings or men? Must this one man possess two sets of all human qualities? We allow that the distinction between, and the union of, soul and body are unintelligible. But upon evidence it is admitted as matter of fact. We affirm and deny the same thing of human nature. We say, man is mortal; and we say, man is immortal; we say he is material, and we say, he is spiritual; and we are believed. At one time Christ said, “The Father is greater than I.” At another time he claimed a relationship to him, by which he was understood to make himself God, or equal with God; and the apostle Paul states that he “ihought it not robbery to be equal with God.”

It is not supposed that divine Nature can be adequately explained, or illustrated by arguments drawn from human nature. But the foregoing observations are made to shew that if man exists in duality, there appears to be no impossibility that God should exist in Trinity; that if this duality in human nature does not involve two sets of all human properties, a Trinity in divine nature does not necessarily involve "three sets of all divine attributes;" that if the body and soul of man do not constitute him two distinct and separate beings, there appears to be no necessity of resolving the divine Nature, designated by the names Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, into three distinct and separate beings. From the mode of existence of human nature we do not ipfer what is the mode of divine existence. But when we admit the peculiar manner of human existence with all its difficulties, there appears to be no necessity of denying a peculiar manner of divine existence, when similar, and perhaps to our apprehension, not greater difficulties attend it.

It does not appear to be necessary to contend whether the two natures of Jesus Christ constitute one person, or not. The dispute is merely about names. When the name person is applied to Christ in both natures, it signifies something different from what it signifies when applied to any other being. Of course, objections may be raised against this complex personality, (as it is called) which would not lie either against his divinity or humanity. If it be proved by scrip ture that two natures are united in Jesus Christ, it is unnecessary to contend for the word person.

In examining the subject of divine Nature it is found that difficulty is not peculiar to the Trinitarian hypothesis. Those, who vindicate the simple unity of God,

believe his omnipresence. They believe he is present in different parts of the world and in heaven at the same time. They believe he exercises his attributes in different parts of creation at one and the same time; and that he is conscious of all his operations. He exercises divine power, wisdom and goodness on earth. At the same time he exercises divine power, wisdom and goodness in heaven. At the same time he is conscious of his operations in both places. We ask in our turn, must there not be as many consciousnesses, “as many sets of all divine attributes," as many distinct beings, or agents, as there are places, in which God is, and acts. God is here; and God is there. If he be wholly here, how can he be there? If he be partly here, and partly there, a part is less than the whole; and of course, must not something less than God be here; and something less than God be there; and must not the supposition imply a division of the divine nature? Let it be shewn how these difficulties may be removed, and it will help Trinitarians to remove the difficulties, which are alleged against their system.

“It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell,” Col. 1:19. "In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily,” Col. 2:9. “But if all fulness dwelt in Christ by the will or pleasure of the Father,” it is inquired, “must not this fulness have been a derived fulness?" Does it not seem to imply that for all the attributes or excellences, which Christ possessed, he was dependent on bis Father? --The fact however is, that the fulness, which dwells in Christ, is the fulness of the Father. But what is this fulness, aside from those "treasures of wisdoro and knowledge” imparted to Christ by the Father for the benefit of the church?-_That the wisdom and power of the Father resided in him. (See Serious Inquirer, pp. 30,43.)

If the fulness of the Father, i. e. his wisdom, knowledge and power, was derived from him and dwelt in Christ, and he “possessed” them, it seems that, when Christ possessed this fulness, the Father did not possess it, unless two distinct beings could possess the same numerical properties. As this is impossible, it appears that, if Christ possessed the fulness of the Father, the Father suffered a privation of his fulness; and that he retained nothing but his name. But if this be not the consequence, we inquire, would not the fulness of the Father, added to the man Christ Jesus, be greater than the Father himself? Is it possible that divine attributes can be transferred? Is it possible that a finite being can be the recipient and possessor of infinite qualities? If the fulness of the Father dwelt in Christ, in no other sense'than it dwells in heaven, or on earth, or in christians, might not divine works be attributed, with as much propriety to them, as to him? And how could Christ

that reciprocal union, which subsisted between him and the Father, “I am in the Father, and the Father in me.” If the Father retained all his attributes after he had imparted his fulness to Christ, would there not be an increase of divinity? Would there not be two sets of divine attributes? But where will our inquiries lead us? The fact is, it is easier to raise difficulties, than to remove them. We need to be cautious, lest we condemn that in others, which we approve in ourselves.


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