Imágenes de páginas

given that there is any difference of nature, dignity, power, or glory” between the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.” The reason for not giving this hint seems to us plain ;-the difference alluded to, was too obvious, too much a matter of course, to call for any such hint. It was a good reason - for not denying the doctrine of the trinity, that Christ had never heard of, or had reason to suspect that


one would ever believe in, such a doctrine. Theology would be a strange medley indeed if this negative use of Scripture were to come into fashion.

Use is also made of the passage, “ I and my Father are one,” as a proof that “the Eternal son is seen remaining rooted forever in the Godhead.” The absurdity of such an interpretation will be clear enough if applied to another passage containing similar phraseology.

“ That they (the disciples) all


be one, as thou, Father, art in me and I in thee, that they also may be one in us. ... And the glory which thou gavest me, I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one. I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one.” (John 17 : 21–23. Dr. Huntington's interpretation applied to this passage would destroy the “ threeness” of the Godhead by showing all the disciples to be rooted” therein. But the passage itself is an interpretation of the words, “My Father and I are one ;” showing, more than this, explicitly stating, that God and Christ are one in the same sense in which all the disciples were to be one. It strikes us conclusively, that there is a marked difference between the interpretation which Christ puts upon his own words, and the interpretation which Dr. Huntington has put upon them.

There is much ingenuity, to say the least, in the construction which our author puts upon a passage in Corinthians.

• At last, when all the purposes of the propitiation are accomplished,-in that dim, far-off, well-nigh inconceivable future toward which a prophetic eye once ventures to reach,—this incarnate Head over all things to the Church' will render up the kingdom to the Father, and resume his place in the co-equal Three, the indivisible One. Mark the expressions (1 Cor. xv. 24, 28.) It is the Son who hath put all things under his feet,' all rule, authority, and power,' who is subject unto God.' Just after, it is God that hath put all things under him.' In this sense, therefore, God and the Son are the same, for the same mastery is asserted of each. But the Son, in his character of Sonship, is retaken, so to speak, into the everlasting, almighty, ineffable, undivided One, where the distinctions of office which had aided us so greatly in apprehending the glorious trinity are lost to our sight.” p. 367.

As this passage most unequivocally asserts the subordination of Christ to God—directly affirming a difference in their nature and dignity—and is therefore a favorite prooftext with Unitarians, Dr. Huntington displays not a little skill in making the act of subjection identical with the act of the son's being retaken into the Godheadidentical with the act by which the distinctions of office in the persons of the trinity are lost to sight. One, however, must be strongly grounded in the doctrine before he can look upon such an exposition as anything more than ingenious.

The point on which he depends as positive to his purpose, is the inference, “ God and the Son are the same, seeing that “the same mastery is asserted of each.” Yet no use of language is more common than that which, in assigning the authorship of any work, confound the principal with the subordinate. There is an instance in John 4:1, 2,4" When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (though Jesus baptized not, but his disciples.") To imitate our author's style of exposition, we must say, that while between Christ and his disciples there is a distinction of office, yet are they all the same, seeing that the same work is attributed to each party!

In this connection we must notice a most extraordinary interpretation put forth by our author; an interpretation whereby a singular faculty is attributed to Christ in his humanitarian character.

“ For those who do not see the literal divinity or deity of Christ it appears difficult to entertain the idea that the Saviour's perfect humanity is just as dear to the Trinitarian, and just as theologically important as his perfect divinity : indeed that each is indispensable to the whole mediatorial office. For him who has ó all power in heaven and earth' to say. Of that day and hour knoweth not the Son’ is condescension indeed! It brings God near, as in his unabated attributes he could not be brought." p. 366.

This passage reminds us of the famous attempt of Dr. Clarke to solve the problem of the foreknowledge of God; in which he made a profound distinction between actual foreknowledge on the part of God, and his ability to foreknow. His conclusion was that though God has the ability to foreknow all events, he has thought it wise not to have an actual foreknowledge of some events. The difficulty involved in such a theory seems to be that God must first actually have a foreknowledge of all events, in order to determine of what special events it is best to be ignorant ! Dr. Huntington's theory, as exhibited in the above extract, is not less curious. As God, Christ knew “ the day and hour,” but as man, he “condescendedto be ignorant thereof! The inexplicable point is, how a fact of which in one office he must have a knowledge, he could make himself ignorant of in another office. The faculty of " condescending” to be ignorant is a new discovery in psychology, whether affirmed of deity or humanity. It is difficult to realize that such a notion is seriously put forth.

3. In the following passage, Dr. Huntington makes an appeal to the consciousness of the believer, accompanied with an intimation, that if any one fails to see the conclusiveness of his Scripture argument, it is because of a lack of the faculty necessary in order to appreciate its force ! As to the taste which could suffer such a passage to go forth, we are content to say nothing. Speaking of the difficulties which the critical


the doctrine he defends, he continues :


“ To all such oppositions, the believer has to make a single and sufficient answer : “I know in whom I have believed ;' and if he may do so without presumption, he will repeat those great words of the Apostle, written from 1 Cor. 1: 23 to the sixteenth verse of the second chapter, beginning, But we preach Christ crucified.'” pp. 365, 366.

We have entire confidence in the authority of consciousness when made to testify of things within its sphere. е trust that we are not lacking in the faculty to perceive the pertinence of the apostle's appeal to this faculty in the truly “great words to which our author refers. We are confident, that in the lack of that spiritual vision which apprehends the deep things of God, argument in proof of the reality of those things is simply thrown away. We never should discourse on the beauties of a landscape to one blind from his birth. Nó proof texts can convey any thing intelligible of spiritual themes to one who has no spiritual discernment. He that receives the spirit of God is put once into relation with spiritual things, similar to the relation which exist between the physical eye and the sensible objects of vision. But do we betray a lack of this spiritual power when we say that those " deep things of God” which are "spiritually

spiritually discerned,” must be subjective in their sphere—that is, in immediate contact with the spiritual eye? And are not all matters pertaining to the mode of the Divine existence, and the specially revealed scheme of Divine operations, objective in their nature and sphere? Is not the truth on such points to be communicated by testimony, the believer coming to a knowledge thereof indirectly, and so not by sight ? It may not be for us to decide upon such questions. We can, however, but remember that very many saintly souls-souls whose spiritual illumination our author would hesitate to call in question-have failed to see the doctrine of the trinity among the deep things of God.

Mr. Mansel,“ by a course of metaphysical reasoning, which, in its logical sequences, opens the way for any conceivable theological monstrosity, has, apparently it may be thought, done something to shield the so-called evangelical dogmas—and among these the trinity-from the assaults of the critical reason. In endeavoring to make it appear that all our conceptions of the Infinite Being involve contradictions, he would make out his case by showing that the notion of the trinity does nothing worse! Which party has the more reason to be grateful for this service, the Trinitarian or the skeptic, may perhaps be a question. However this may be, the eagerness with which Trinitarians have seized upon Mr. Mansel's speculations, shows how hopeless they deem their cause when looked at from the stand-point of reason. Dr. Huntington acknowledges his indebtedness to the sagacious metaphysician ; and the point in his argument which, more than any other, commands at least our respect, he has taken from the “ Limits of Religious Thought.” Says Dr. Huntington, " We have no more reason to disbelieve God's declared tri-unity on the score of any inadequacy in our rational conceptions of it, than we have to disbelieve his infinite personality.” (page 375). For the general principle on which this affirmation is made, our author gives credit to Mr. Mansel, quoting several detached sentences from his lectures, which sentences we will introduce here in the order in which we find them in Dr. Huntington's book.

4 The Limits of Religious Thought Examined in Eight Lectures on the Bampton Foundation. By Henry Longueville Mansel, B. D.

" The objection, . How can the One be many, or the many one ?' is so far from telling with peculiar force against the catholic doctrine of the holy trinity, that it has precisely the same power or want of power, and may be urged with precisely the same effect or want of effect against any conception, theological or philosophical, in which we may attempt to represent the Divine nature and attributes as infinite, or indeed to exhibit the infinite at all.” “How can there be a variety of attributes, each infinite in its kind, and yet all together constituting but one Infinite ? or how, on the other hand, can the Infinite be conceived as existing without diversity at all ?” 6. The doctrine of the Son of God, begotten of the Father, and yet co-eternal with the Father, is in no wise more or less comprehensible by human reason than the relation between the Divine essence and its attributes.” “ If there is sufficient evidence, on other grounds, to show that the Scripture, in which this doctrine is contained, is a revelation from God, the doctrine itself must be unconditionally received, not as reasonable nor as unreasonable, but as Scriptural. If there is not such evidence, the doctrine itself will lack its proper support; but the reason which rejects it is utterly incompetent to substitute any other representation in its place.” “Let religion begin where it will, it must begin with that which is above reason.”

may seek as we will for a religion within the limits of the bare reason, and we shall not find it, simply because no such thing exists,” &c., &c." pp. 376, 377.

66 We

We concede that Mr. Mansel has made a conclusive case against those shallow reasoners, who deny all obligation to

« AnteriorContinuar »