« EdellinenJatka »
“ Of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no not the angels which are in Heaven; neither the Son, but the Father."
These declarations are surely sufficient to protect Unitarianism from having no warrant in Scripture. They contain direct, positive, definite assertions; they assert that there is one God, and that Jesus Christ is not that God. It is not possible for human language to express more clearly or more guardedly the simple faith of Unitarian Christianity. Yet we are told that only the ingenuity of heretics has obliged Trinitarians to have recourse to unscriptural language. Strange, certainly, that Holy Writ should have itself expressed the creeds of heresy and damnable error, and rendered it impossible to express in its sacred words the Creeds of Truth!
I quote, in the second place, some passages out of a multitude, in which ideas are connected with Christ which are utterly inconsistent with the supposition of his deity. “I came not to do mine own will.” “I can of myself do nothing." "If I honour myself, my honour is nothing; it is my Father that honoureth me.”—John viii. 54. “ For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.”—John v. 26. “As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father.”—John vi. 57. “I have not spoken of myself, but the Father who sent me, He gave me a commandment what I should say, and what I should speak.”—John xii. 49, 50.
“The word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.”—John xiv. 24.
"I ascend to my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God.”—John xx. 17.
“When ye have lifted up the Son of man on high, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me I speak these things.”John viji. 28.
e it the ore pirena
ve giren spanzer
ning of the little
Ecclesiastical History has already acquainted us with the device that sets aside the plain meaning of these passages. It is said that Jesus Christ had two natures, was composed of two minds, that he was both man and God; and thus does Trinitarianism openly assert mysteries of an opposite character. Three Persons in one Essence is unintelligible enough; but no sooner is this propounded to us, than we are called off to a directly opposite mystery of two Essences in one Person. And here we cannot be put off with the metaphysical sophistry that we do not know the nature of God, for we do know something of the nature of man; and we do say that never was there a greater abuse of the moral meanings of the word Faith, than to set forth, that God's nature and man's nature so united together as to form one inseparable person, may be embraced as an object of Faith. The true nature and office of Faith is to carry us from the seen to the unseen,
-to give us moral confidence in that world which we do not see, from our moral experience in this world which we do see,—and in that portion of God's ways which the future conceals, from what we know of that portion of them which the present unfolds. Faith is moral, not metaphysical ; and, above all, finds no merit and no efficacy in assenting to unmeaning words.
As before, of the doctrine of the Trinity, so now of this doctrine of the Hypostatic Union, as it is called, 1 ask for a single hint throughout the New Testament of the inconceivable fact that, in the body of Jesus, resided the mind of God and the mind of man,-two natures, the one finite, the other infinite, yet making but one person,-a difficulty you will perceive the very opposite of that of the Trinity; tof whereas it teaches three persons in one nature, this teaches two natures in one person. But we have already traced, m Ecclesiastical History, the origin of this view, and the necessity of its appearance, in subservience to the doctrine of the
I will only apply one scriptural test to this theory of the two natures in Christ. And it is one from which Trinitarians cannot escape by their ordinary refuge of avoiding one set of statements by referring them to the humanity of Jesus, and another set of statements by referring them to his deity. It is God the Son, whom Trinitarians represent as becoming incarnate in the body of Jesus; it was God the Son who took humanity into union with deity; therefore whenever Jesus, in his human nature, speaks of the divinity that dwelt within him, inspired him, and wrought through him, it must be God the Son to whom he refers. But this is never the case: Scripture does not know this doctrine, nor support its requisitions. It is always, “the Father who dwelleth in me, He doeth the works.”
It was asserted in Christ Church, that if there is not a plurality of persons in the godhead, the oriental style, “ let us make man in our own image," and the use of the plural where we use the singular, made the word of God an agent of deception, and affected the morality of the divine mind. This is bold language ; and, considering the evidence, as unscholarlike as bold. We refrain from a retort in the same spirit. We look with unaffected wonder upon the mind that is reckless enough, and ignorant enough of the sources of error within itself, to dare to say, “if I am not right in my interpretation of Scripture, God is a deceiver.” Yet such men can charge others with making themselves judges of revelation, and saying what God must mean.
I have not taken up that other thread of supposed scriptural intimations, which is thought to connect the Holy Spirit as a third Person in the unity of the godhead. This portion of the argument, strangely neglected by Trinitarians, who generally take for granted the deity and personality of the Holy Ghost as following without debate from the deity of Christ, since three not two is the favourite mythological and theological number, is however to form the subject of a sepa
rate Lecture in Christ Church, not yet delivered. Why there should be any necessity, on Trinitarian principles of theology, for a third person in the Godhead to perform “ the work," as it is called, of the spirit of God in communication with man, after the sacrifice of Christ had left the Father's love free to operate, we cannot perceive, except upon the Platonic principle, that the Supreme One in the Trinity is an Essence perfectly abstracted, immoveable, and without action. Not wishing, however, to anticipate the argument, I shall only adduce one remarkable passage, in proof that the Holy Spirit could not, in the first age of the Gospel, have a deity and personality ascribed to it distinct from the deity and personality of God the Father. When Paul came to Ephesus, he found there some disciples, of whom he inquired,—“Have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed ?” The answer is remarkable : “We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.” Now is it possible that the Holy Ghost should be the third person of the Trinity, a constituent person in the Christian God, and that these “ believers,” though only disciples of John, should have been uninstructed in the doctrine ? The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, God himself in communication with man, naturally or supernaturally, the enlightening influence of the Spiritual Father revealing Himself to the spiritual nature of His children.
I do not know what may appear convincing to other minds, but to me the Ecclesiastical History of the doctrine of the Trinity, with its rise in human sources of Philosophy and Motive, and not in Revelation, seems a fact capable of being most clearly traced. Rarely indeed does the origin of an error so conspicuously disclose itself : rarely is its course so open to observation. On the other hand, if there is not decisive proof in Scripture of the strict and personal Unity of God, I must think that it is vain to prove any doctrine from the words of the Bible—for sure I am that there is no
doctrine more distinctly, more guardedly, more simply, more repeatedly stated, than the great doctrine, that there is One God, and that the Father is that God.
We are told that the “invisible things of God are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and godhead.” Yet the Universe reveals no Trinity. Reason knows and requires no Trinity. Natural Religion is not Trinitarian. Scripture speaks of One God the Father, and of One Lord Jesus Christ. Gentile Philosophy and Ecclesiastical History are Trinitarian. In their pages we find this subject. Ecclesiastical History has narrated the rise and progress of these doctrines—and to Ecclesiastical History shall they finally be referred, -when another chapter is added, a chapter that unhappily yet remains to be written, the history of their decline and fall.