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IN WHAT SENSE CHRIST SAYS, “I AND MY FATHER ARE
(From Rammohun Roy's Second Appeal.)
The Saviour having declared that unity existed between the Father and himself, John x, 30, 'I and my Father are one,' a doubt arose with regard to the sense in which the unity affirmed in those words should be accepted. This Jesus removes by defining the unity so expressed as a subsisting concord of will and design, such as existed amongst his apostles, and not identity of being; see chap. xvii, verse 11, of John, Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. Verse 22, The glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one even as we are one.' Should any one understand by these texts real unity and identity, he must believe that there existed a similar identity between each and all of the apostles; nay, even that the disciples also were included in the godhead, which in that case would consist of a great many times the number of persons ascribed to the trinity. John xvii, 20—23, ' Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word—that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us.--That they may be one even as we are one. I in thee and thou in me; that they may be made perfect in one. I know not how it is possible for those who pro
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fess obedience to the word of Christ to overlook the explanation he has here so clearly given of the nature of the unity existing between him and the Father.
CREED OF TERTULLIAN.
Messrs Editors-In your number for January, I noticed some interesting and useful remarks concerning Tertullian. The writer of those remarks appears to have overlooked what has always struck me as the most remarkable and important passage in all the writings of that eminent Father. In his work “De Præscript. Hæret. part. xiii,' he declares and defines his own faith and that of the Orthodox of his day in the following creed.
“There is one, and only one God. He alone created the world. This Being formed the universe out of nothing, by the instrumentality of his word, which proceeded forth from him, the first of all derived beings~ (verbum suum primo omnium demissum.) This word called his Son, appeared variously to the Patriarchs under the name of God (in nomine Dei;) its voice was always heard by the Prophets. It was afterwards brought down by the spirit and energy of God the Father (postremo delatum se spiritu Patris Dei et virtute) into the virgin Mary; it became flesh, or a human being, in her womb, and proceeded from her as Jesus Christ. Afterwards he promulgated a new law, and a new promise of the kingdom of the Heavens; he
practised and developed the virtues(virtutes egisse); was crucified; rose again on the third day; was taken up
into the Heavens, and seated at the right hand of the Father; and sent down in his stead, the power of the holy spirit, which actuates believers. He will come in conspicuous glory, to take up the holy to the enjoyment of life eternal, and of the celestial rewards, and to adjudge the unholy to perpetual fire, both which descriptions of persons having, in the first place, been raised again to life, and reunited to their bodies.'
This creed is remarkable in several points of view. It is entirely destitute of allusion to the doctrine of the atonement, and contains not the least sign or mark of the distinctive doctrines of Calvinism. We look in vain for what are called the peculiar doctrines of the gospel. In searching it from beginning to end we catch no glimpse of the doctrine of the trinity. It declares on the contrary the unity of God. It asserts that Christ, or the word, was created in time, (primo omnium ;) that he derived his being from God the Father ; that he came to establish a new law, to proclaim new promises and to influence us by practising the virtues, that is, to be our example. Finally, I would remark that the account given in this creed of the holy spirit, is substantially the same with that presented by ynitarian interpreters, that is, the spirit which actuates believing and faithful Christians. As long as this creed can be adduced, it will be impossible to accuse of heresy, or con
sistently to deny the christian name, to those who do not believe in the trinity of Athanasius or the dogmas of Calvin, without at the same time denouncing Tertullian as a heretic and infidel.* Indeed the above formulary is demonstrative evidence that these unscriptural theories had not been admitted to the creed of the church in the days of this orthodox Father.
Upham * Judged according to the standard set up by the Exclusionists of the present day, all christian writers for three centuries after the birth of Christ would share the fate of modern Unitarians, and with them be struck off from the list of Christians. The attempt to save Tertullian would be hopeless. He could not stand the test a moment. His writings are full of expressions, which either directly assert, or plainly imply that the son is inferior to the Father, and distinct from him. We might fill page after page with such expressions. His current language cannot by the most ingenious sophistry be made to favor the modern hypothesis of the trinity. He contends that the assertion the Father is greater than 1,' is strictly and literally true; and observes very justly that he who begets is different from him who is begotten, and he who sends from him who is sent; before all things, he says God was alone, and God is the head of Christ, and all things were given or subjected to the son by the Father. His writings we say, abound with expressions of such or similar import. It is true, he calls Christ God, but he must have read the Fathers to very little purpose, who does not know that, in applying this term to Christ they had no intention of identifying him with the One Supreme Being. They supposed that he derived in some sort a divine nature from God, and in virtue of possessing such a nature was entitled to be called God in an inferior sense. They constantly, however, asserted the supremacy of the Father as the one true and only true God, -Ed.
OUR SAVIOUR'S DISTRESS IN THE GARDEN OF GETH
SEMANE. MATTH. XXVI, 36—42.
This is a scene of deep and bitter agony, described with slight variations, by all the four Evangelists. It is a story of affecting interest to every Christian, and has often occasioned perplexity and distress to serious minds. As the son of God, the visible representative of the unseen Jehovah, made known to us in these distant ages by the records of his unearthly power and wisdom, and revered as one empowered by the Almighty to save mankind from sin and ruin, we are apt to regard him as a being wholly above mortal passion and mortal fear.
Some Christians, unwilling to believe that the blessed Jesus could suffer like a common man, as if this could impair the dignity of his character, have given a strange and far sought explanation of this scene of anguish. They have declared that, at this awful moment, when he prayed that the cup might pass from him, when the intenseness of his agony wrung the heavy damps from his frame, even then it was no mortal suffering, which weighed down his spirit, it was no instinctive recoil of nature at the certain aproach of a cruel and infamous death. They choose to impute it to the vengeance of an angry God, justly due to a guilty world, condensed to one burning point, and hurled with measureless and blasting power on this innocent and holy victim! They suppose that the mercy of God consists, not in par