Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

be illustrated, by saying that the same person was the original and copy of David. . . . *

Perhaps this proposition is to be applied to the whole Trinity, and not exclusively to the double nature of the Saviour. Then we have the following position: To effect the redemption of mankind, the one eternal God assumed the character of man; and thus the same God was in fact both father and son, cause and effect, original and copy. If this be the meaning we have a solution of one of the distressing problems in polemick divinity. But is it not obtained at the expense of the orthodox scheme? Is it not Sabellianism outright ? the same person is God and man, father and son. Sabellius, also, maintained that the Father, Son and Spirit are only names and offices of the same person. Go on, however, with Mr. G's position consider the words “ the same person is cause and effect, ori, ginal and copy" as exegetical of the former assertion, and you must acquit him of the Sabellian and every other heresy that has been invented from Cerinthus to Priestley, and you must allow him to be as far removed from the scheme of his own or any other orthodox church..

It does not appear how he can believe in the personality of the Spirit. If he does, he must maintain a unity, consisting of a duality, that constitutes a trinity. The same person is both Father and Son-therefore the father and son are but one per: son; for identity or sameness of person cannot be predicated of two persons. Hence the Father and Son constitute one per son, and the Spirit another; and thus we have a duality. Is not this a “confounding of the persons" which the creed forbids? Where do we find the third person ? Mr. G. says his church is Trinitarian, and he believes as she believes. But is his trinity a trinity of names? We presume not, for he prays in the words of the litany to a trinity of persons and not names. . There is still a further puzzle in this statement of the doco, trine. If the same person be original and copy, then the Son, who is the brightness of the Father's glory, is, in fact, merely the glory of his own brightness. The same person is original and copy-but the Son is the image of the Father's person; therefore the Son is the very person of which he is the image, i. e. he is the image of himself. It is indeed a mystery how an original can be the copy of itself; or how an acknowledged

[ocr errors]

copy can be its own original, and yet this original and copy can be precisely the same : and it is another mystery hard to conceive that the same person should be in the same sense both cause and effect—that is, the Son was begotten by the Father, and yet the Son thus begotten is the identical person, that begat, &c. &c. Dr. South, speaking of the Apocalypse (Vol. II. Ser. 2. p. 422. 6th. ed.) observes, " That book either finds a man mad or makes him so.” . But whatever idea was intended to be conveyed by the preacher, we think the text has no reference to the divinity of Christ. There is nothing mystical in the expression, the “root” of David. If we will have the figure appropriate, we must avoid such an interpretation. The root and stock must have one nature and a simultaneous existence. If we judge of the meaning of the passage by parallel expressions, we shall not find the signification annexed to it by the preacher. "The word rendered “root” is in the original picacy and according to Schleusner, is sometimes used in the N. T. to sig. nify, oriundus ex stirpe, soboles, &c. &c. and in quoting his authorities for this use of the word, he adduces the very text. under consideration. In Rom. xv. 12. Christ is called “ a root of Jesse,” because he sprang from the family of Jesse and David. This is a quotation from Isaiah xi. 10. In that day there shall be a root of Jesse, &c. Here, says Wm. Lowth, the He- ' brew word signifies both a root, and a branch growing out of a root, and it must have the latter signification, both here and in Rev. xxii. 16. which is an allusion to the very place. This last assertion is also made by Robt. Lowth, in his note on Isaiah xi. 10. It is difficult to discover in these phrases any intimation of

the divine nature of the Saviour. Neither is there any thing " which appears like it in this passage of Isaiah liii. 2, " And he

shall grow up as a root out of the dry ground.Although we do not quote the apocryphal writers as authority in matters of faith, yet their evidence may, be adınitted on points of criticism, and a few instances will be produced from them to show that “ a root” signifies simply a descendant. Eccles. xlvii. 22. « The seed of him that loveth him, he will not take away: wherefore he gave a remnant unto Jacob, and out of him a rout unto David," i Macc. i. 10. ^ And there came out of them (the successors of Alexander] a wicked root, Antiochus

[ocr errors]

Epiphanes." i Esdras viii, 88. “ Till thou hadst left us neither root, seed, nor name.” The proofs of the point maintained by our author must depend on other passages, a few of which we notice. We leave our readers to judge whether the point, which the author proposed to establish, is not a contradictory proposition, and involves a palpable absurdity; and we pass to the consideration of those proofs he has alleged in support of his novel doctrine.

II .

lns. Een “ The arrangement of scriptural proofs, the comparison of texts," and the arguments and observations deduced from theni, are acknowledged transcriptions from Jones's 6 Catholic Doc. trine of a Trinity.” This mode of proof arises from a compa: rison of texts in the Old and New Testaments; for example, Isaiah viii. 13, 14. “Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself, and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread, and he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and rock of offence to both houses of Israel.” 1 Pet. ij. 7, 8. 6 The stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling and rock of offence." .. .)

“ Now the stone of stumbling and rock of offence is declared in the for. mer text, to be the Lord of hosts himself; a name which the Arians al. low only to the supreme God. But this stone of stumbling and rock of offence, appears in the latter text to be no other, than Jesus Christ. The conclusion is inevitable. Christ therefore is the Lord of hosts himself ; and the Arian is confuted on his own principles.”

This is a favourable specimen of the reasoning in Jones's treatise, and in this instance the argument wants only one es- : sential thing, viz. evidence that the apostle and prophet meant the same person. This mode of arguing, however, generally is wholly unsatisfactory. It is not what the scriptures may mean, but what they do, that is to be sought ; -and it is by the sense and not sound that we must judge.

The following illustration shows the insufficiency of this reasoning. Take the first text adduced by Jones, and cited by Mr. G. and collate it with a few other passages in the same manner; and what they make an argument for the divinity of the Saviour becomes a proof of the divinity of the apostle. Isaiah vii. 13, 14, Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself, &c. and he shall be a stone of stumbling and a ROCK of OFFENCE. Compare this passage with the following, of Matt. xvi. 18 and 28.

“ But I say unto thee, that thou art Peter, (which is by interpre. tation a ROCK.) But he turned and said unto Peter, thou art an OFFENCE unto me. “ Now the rock of offence is declared, in. the former text to be the Lord of hosts himself;" a name which Trinitarians allow only to the supreme God. But in the latter verses Jesus Christ expressly declares Simon Peter to be a rock, and a rock of offence. The conclusion is inevitable. Simon Peter therefore is, &c. Take another instance-Psalm xviii. 31. “ For who is God save the Lord ;-or who is a ROCK, save our God ? Matt. xvi. 18. 6. And I say also unto thee, thou art Peter (which is by interpretation a ROCK] and upon this ROCK I will build my church." - In the first verse there is an implied assertion, that there is no rock but God; but in the latter Jesus Christ says, that Simon Peter is a rock; therefore, &c. These instances show that there is a radical defect in this mode of arguing. I

We will dismiss this part of our review by observing that the author has brought to our notice one text not formally prou duced by Jones, which is Phill. ii. 6. &c. After quoting the passage at length, he thus concludes:

« The obvious sense of this passage so decidedly proves the divinity of Christ, that those who deny the doctrine, are obliged to give a very diffe. rent interpretation of it, and object wrong translation and other nameless et cetera of heretical subterfuge."

This is not courteously or discreetly said. The examination of the common translation of a text should not be called subterfuge; especially as in this instance it is most obviously re. quired. The fact is, that the argument from this text is not sufficient, and is, we believe, relinquished by the most judicious advocates of the Trinitarian articles. Calling a correction of the translation subterfuge is less proper in Mr. Gardiner, because he had just before, though professing to use the received version, quoted a text in another translation, and this without comment or notice. .

2 Peter i. 1. as quoted by Mr. G. stand thus : “ Through the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ.” In the English Testament thus: “ Through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”

Our author says that a simple text is sufficient to demolish the Socinian fabrick. .

“ Glorify me, O Father, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. John xvii. 6. Here, my brethren, the Saviour makes a direct affirmation of his pre-existence before the world, which all the subtleties of the ablest Socinians can never explain away." Yet the Socinian will say, our Athanasian brethren do not believe that our Saviour was crucified in his pre-existent state, but chapter and verse prove him to be the “ lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”

Having compared Isaiah xliv. 6. with Rev. xxii. 13. he says, “ On Rev. i. v. 11, where these titles [alpha and omega] first appear, Dr. Doddridge has the following note : that these titles, which accur just above in verse 8. should be repeated so soon in a connection which demonstrates they are given to Christ, will appear very remarkable, whatever sense be given to the 8th verse. The argument drawn in the preceding note upon it would have been strong, wherever such a passage a's this had been found; but its immediate connection with this greatly strengthens it. And I cannot forbear recording it that this text has done more than any other in the Bible, towards preventing me from giving in to that scheme, which would make our Lord Jesus Christ no more than a deified creature :" It is remarkable that this eleventh verse is an undoubted interpolation. See Griesbach and Newcome in loc. - The objections of a “sensible Jew or Mahometan," as stated by Mr. G. to the Arian scheme, lie with more force in the minds of that class of unbelievers against the Trinitarian. The doctrine of three co-equal persons in the godhead is the crux : Judæorum. Upon the Arian plan the worship of Christ, being subordinate and ultimately directed to the Father, may be reconciled to the Jew's notions of unity.

Mr. G. speaks of the convulsions of nature when her Creator "died.” It is too much to affirm concerning the impassia ble God, with whom is no variableness, and who changeth not, , **

that he suffered and “expired." .. Our author sneers unreasonably at those, who in discussing

doctrines, discuss the force of a conjunction, &c. He should
read the orthodox Middleton and Sharpe on the Greek article.
· The second class of arguments, as before observed, is drawn
from the miracles performed by the Saviour, and the success
that attended the first preaching of the gospel. These argu-

« AnteriorContinuar »