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ality thus-"A positive mode of being, ultimately terminating and filling a substantial nature, and giving to it incommunicability."*
We also make use of the word Trinity. This is not a Scripture term, but it was early introduced by the Christian fathers, to denote by a single word, that unity of three persons in the divine essence which they considered as a fundamental article of Christian faith. It strictly signifies triunity, or the union of three in one; and is therefore a correct expression of the idea intended to be conveyed.
It is unreasonable to object to proper and appropriate terms, because they are not found in Scripture, when the notion, or idea, which they convey, is clearly and frequently found there. Terms that comprehend several ideas must often be used, unless we introduce a circumlocution that would destroy all clearness of reasoning, as well as all neatness of expression. Those who commonly make the objection io which I here answer, ought to recollect that Unitarian is not a scriptural term, any more than Trinitarian; and that the word unity itself, is but twice found in the New Testament; and where found, has no reference whatever to this subject.
Having thus explained the terms that will be used in this discussion, I shall only further remark in a preliininary way, that the doctrine of the Trinity is a doctrine of pure revelation. Human reason alone, certainly could not have discovered it. That we have good reason to believe it was revealed to our first parents, I shall have occasion to show hereafter: and that it was handed down by tradition, so as to be in some measure known to the heathen nations of antiquity, has, I think, been satisfactorily shown by several learned writers. But the truth itself, could come originally from revelation only. The light of nature may certainly discover the existence of a Great First cause, and indicate something of most of the divine perfections. But there seems to be no conceivable way in which human reason, unaided by divine revelation, could have arrived at the knowledge that the Supreme Being is one in essence, and yet three in personality.
* Modus positivus entis, ultimò terminans et complens naturam substantialem, ac illi dans incommunicabilitatem.
In further speaking on this subject, I shall endeavour
I. To show that the most peculiar attributes or characteristics of perfect Deity, are, in Holy Scripture, ascribed plainly, explicitly, and frequently, to each of the persons in the sacred Trinity; and in such a manner as distinctly to recognize their personal character.
II. To refer to a number of passages of Scripture, which plainly represent, sometimes a plurality, and sometimes a Trinity of persons, in the one only living and true God.
III. To give explanations, offer cautions, and answer objections, relative to this important and interesting subject.
IV. To make some inferences, of a practical kind, from what shall have been said.
The remainder of this lecture will be chiefly employed on the first division in this distribution; that is, in endeavouring to show that the most peculiar attributes or characteristics of perfect Deity are, in Holy Scripture, ascribed plainly, explicitly, and frequently, to each of the persons in the sacred Trinity; and in such a manner as distinctly to recognize their personal character.
Now, with respect to the first person in the Holy Trinity-God the Father---there is neither doubt nor controversy, in regard to the point before us.
We have nothing, at present, to do with Atheists: and all Theists, who are not Trinitarians, ascribe divine perfection, or perfect Deity, to the Father. We agree with them entirely in this ascription. We say that the eternal Father is God-the fountain of Deity -and that every attribute or perfection, which we have enumerated and endeavoured to illustrate, unquestionably belongs to Him. But we also affirm, that to his coequal, coeternal Son and Spirit, the very same attributes and perfections are also ascribed, in the inspired volume of unerring truth. Here we differ, radically and totally, froni all Anti-trinitarians, from the highest of the Arians to the lowest of the Socinians—from Dr. Samuel Clarke to Dr. Joseph Priestley. Here, therefore, is the ground of controversy-But O! let us make it something better than controversy. Let us make it the subject of candid, humble, solemn inquiry. Let us approach it with a teachable, honest, truth-loving spirit." Yea, let us lift up our hearts to God, with earnest desires that he would lead us into, and confirm us in the truth; that he would enable us to see clearly, what he has condescended to teach us on this subject in his own infallible word; and that seeing it, we may receive it in love, and rest upon it with unshaken confidence.
We proceed then to allege evidence from Scripture, that the most peculiar attributes or characteristics of Deity, are ascribed, in the manner stated in the proposition, to the second person in the sacred Trinity, denominated the Son of God; and who, by taking our nature into union with his divine nature, is our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
1. He is called by the name JEHOVAH, the peculiar appellation of the true God -the great I AM.
There was often a visible appearance of Jehovah, the God of Israel, under the ancient Jewish dispensation. I shall cite at length a single instance, out of several that might be mentioned. Gen. xviii. 1-it is said, that "the LORD appeared to him,” (that is to Abraham)- In the original it is, “ And JEHOVAH appeared to him in the plain of Mamre; and he sat in the tent door, in the heat of the day: and he lift up his eyes and looked, and lo, three men stood by him.” Then follows the whole narrative of the destruction of Sodom, and of Abraham's intercession for it, till he was silenced by the terms of his own plea. Now, although there were three that appeared to Abraham, let it be observed that his whole address was to one; and that this one is called Jehovah, at least ten times, in this single chapter-is frequently called so, by
Abraham himself; and that this one remained with Abraham, after the other two, who in the subsequent chapter are called angels, had left him and gone on to Sodom. Here then is a Being, who is repeatedly called in the language of inspiration JEHOVAH-the special, the appropriate name of the true God, the God of Israel. The question is, who this Being was? We are assured from Scripture, as well as from reason, that the Father was not, and could not be seen-but that he is revealed by the Son. Mat. xi. 27. “No man knoweth the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him." John i. 184 “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son that is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." Can there be any reasonable doubt, without going further, that the Jehovah who appeared to Abraham, was the Son of God, the second person in the Trinity; who at that time assumed a human form, and declared or revealed a part of his Father's will and purpose to Abraham, the father of the faithful? But there is much more evidence than has yet
been alleged, of the point here maintained. He who is spoken of as Jehovah, when visibly appearing to men, is sometimes expressly called " the angel of the Lord;" sometimes, as in his appearance to Joshua, “the captain of the Lord's host;" and once “the angel in whom the name of God was.” There is no hint that a number of messengers were successively employed to make these divine communications. There was but one glorious Being, called both Jehovah and his angel, who was, under the ancient Jewish dispensation, the medium of the divine manifestations. And various things which in the Old Testament are said to have been spoken by, or addressed to Jehovah, are in the New Testament affirmed to have been spoken of, done by, or addressed to Christ To give one example—Where the sin of the people against Jehovah, when they were destroyed by fiery flying serpents, is referred to by the apostle Paul, it is expressly affirmed to have been committed against
and the hort togeth
Christ“ Neither (says he) let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents."
But what appears to me to settle this point, on the authority of revelation, is a comparison of a prophecy, in Isaiali xl. 3, with what is expressly stated to be a fulfilment of that prophecy, in Mat. iii. 1, 2, 3.—The prophecy is in these words—" The voice of himn that crieth in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of Jehovah—so it is in the original-make straight, in the desert, a highway for our God.” Now hear the Evangelist_“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. This is he who was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, the voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” Here is unequivocal evidence, that he who in the Old Testament is called Jehovah, was the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, of the New Testament.
Let it then be well noted and remembered, that the incommunicable name of God the name which was chosen out by himself, to signify his absolute independency, self-existence, eternity of being, and the cause of existence to all creatures-that this appropriate, sacred name of the Deity is, under his own infallible guidance, applied to the Son of God, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. My dear youth, I dwell so particularly on this point, because it does seem to me that it settles the whole question before uis, on the authority of divine revelation. God has expressly declared—“I am the Lord”—in the original_“I am Jehovah; that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another." This very name, comprising in it the glory of the ever-blessed God, he has actually and repeatedly given-not indeed to another-but to his own co-equal Son, who is one with himself. What can be more decisive than this?
You will also remark, that personal acts and agencies are constantly attributed to this glorious Being, this Son of God the Jehovah of the Old Testament,