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nor any thing like it. Being therefore, as he is, one with the Father, there could be no impropriety in so naming him: which the prophet does (Isai. ix. 6), and he also did himself, alluding to this divine unity (John xiv. 9, 10), the meaning being general in these instances; namely as “ One God and Father of all ;”—not as the Father of Christ particularly, but as the universal Father, who is present in all the children of God, and in Christ more especially; “ One God and Father of all : who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Eph. iv. 6).
Understand then either person--namely the Father and the Son, as equally of God; understand every scriptural expression relating to either literally as it is intended; and there can be no insuperable difficulty in the conception. When the Son is mentioned in one relation, do not conceive that he is to be understood in another: and of the Father likewise. It is a mistaken notion, that the Father must be always understood by the glory of the Father, the Spirit of the Father, and other terms for the Godhead-whenever God is said to operate any how with, by, or for the sake of, the Son; as in making him his first born (Ps. lxxxix. 28), raising him from the dead (Rom. vi. 4-8. 11, &c.), highly exalting him and giving him a name that is above every name (Phil. ii. 9, &c.), and the like. Instead of this, which is a wilful construction, we should do well to guide ourselves by the letter, as well as by the spirit of divine Revelation ; understanding the Father, when the Father is expressed ; and God, when God. For God being in Christ the eternal Word,- not as an adventitious, but an inherent Cause or Principle, will effect immediately for him all that he ever does mediately by him, through him, or on his account for others; as giving them also power to become the sons of God (John i. 12), quickening their mortal bodies by him or his spirit (Rom. viii. 11); foreknowing and predestinating them to be conformed to the image of his Son (Ib. 29), the highest exaltation of which they are susceptible.
There are, in the doctrine of this relation two opposite errors and on either side to be equally avoided; namely, of those who maintain, and those who deny the intersubordination of the Father and the Son : of the first sort, in maintaining the inferiority of the Son as God, and consequently supposing degrees in Divinity; of the second, in maintaining an original personality of the Son, instead of deriving it from the Father, and consequently supposing more gods than one in the highest degree. The first of these errors is bad enough, and the second worse. If therefore this relation, the unity in duality of the Father and Son, cannot be supported without an admission of two gods, which is the effect in either case, let it be given up by all means. Let us not be like Gideon with his golden ephod (Judges viii. 23, &c.). Better believe, that there never was such a relation in Heaven or in earth, than admit so gross as well as impious a conceit! Better not believe a word of the grand dispensation which dividing into two parts or stages, the old and the new, proceeds so regularly with its preparations and evidences from one great era to another; from the evil to its remedy, from the crime and self-perdition of mankind to their vicarious satisfaction and consequent restoration by the medium of one family particularly chosen for that purpose among all the families of the earth: better doubt their election, as well as this divine production ; better also doubt the existence of the patriarchs, and the prophets,—of the precursor of Messias, and even of Messias himself-than by making either of these erroneous admissions, to establish an argument for polytheism or idolatry, if such is to be the consequence.
Or if such an argument as this cannot be considered without an infraction of the rules of charity either, it were better left alone. For considering our natural fallibility, it will seem possible for any of us to err on different points of controversy, and that with the purest intentions on opposite sides, as aforesaid : but one cannot suppose
such intentions, that is, the purest,-in party rancour. One might suppose for example, that they who deny the equal divinity of our Lord and Saviour with Him on the one hand are led to do so by a sincere zeal for the glory of God the Father, lest he should be dishonoured by having an equal falsely proposed for Him : and one might suppose, that they who on the other hand deny the inferiority of the Son in the respects above mentioned, namely in respect of his human nature and corresponding character only, may be led to such denial by the pure and praiseworthy though mistaken purpose of doing honour to their Redeemer, of honouring him in the highest degree, as indeed he deserves. But one cannot suppose any such pure intentions ; nor that either the Father or Son would be honoured and pleased
an UNCHARITABLE CONTROVERSY even for the sake of truth; however both as One may be disposed to pardon UNAVOIDABLE ERRORS on the same account.
$ 2. The unity in duality of the Father and the Holy Ghost appears to be more generally received if it be not better understood than their distinction in that respect: which may proceed from the circumstance of its being expressed or implied in those passages of Scripture where God is mentioned as a spirit, or appearing in that medium ; as for example where our Saviour says of Him and his worship, “The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. GOD IS A SPIRIT, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit, and in truth” (John iv. 23, 24): also in those which mention the divine Spirit with God in some action conjunctively-as in the following for example, “The Lord said My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years ” (Gen. vi. 3.): “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall
prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions” (Joel ii. 28; Acts ii. 17.); “ Make me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me; cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. O give me the comfort of thy help; and stablish me with THY FREE SPIRIT” (Ps. li. 10, 11, 12): also in those which mention the Spirit distinctly with God or with any synonyme of the same.
But people are not apt to take the same notice of other passages in which the Great Subjective and his Holy Spirit appear to be more like two, though their existence can never be divided, any more than that of the Father and the Son or Word; as in the following passages in which the operation of the Spirit is mentioned without any allusion to its Source or Subject, v. g. 1, “ Then the Spirit came upon Amasai, who was chief of the captains, and he said, Thine are we, David, and on thy side, thou son of Jesse: peace, peace be unto thee, and peace be to thine helpers ; for thy God helpeth thee” (Chron. I. xii. 18). 2, “Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch, and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper chambers thereof, and of the inner parlours thereof, and of the place of the mercy seat, and the pattern of all that he had BY THE Spirit of the courts of the house of the Lord,” &c. (Ib. xxviii. 11, 12): 3, in all the prophecy of Ezekiel : and lastly, in the New Testament from beginning to end ; but most pertinently where the mention supposes a mediate act, as in the passages above cited and elsewhere.
The Holy Ghost is never mentioned as image of the Father, or person, or anything like it, as the Son is; yet being one with the Father, like the Son, and together also with the Son, the Holy Ghost can never be separate from the Father in fact, any more than the Son who was in the bosom of the Father even during his personal residence on earth. And at the same time, the unity apparent in this relation will not be more striking than its apparent distinction. For if only, the accident of birth may imply a distinction between the Father and the Son, much more would that of procession from the Father and the Son, seem to imply a distinction from both; though it be also clear at the same time, that a spirit by its procession does not quit the bosom where it was wont to reside; whence a production without birth, and an unity equal to the distinction. For a spirit is not begotten, as we sometimes express it; but sent subjectively considered, or infused objectively. And so it is with the Holy Ghost; being sent, infused or poured out to those whom it deigns to bless, or the Father, or Son to bless, with its presence. At the same time it
proper to observe, that with all this essential unity and consequent equality of the Spirit or Third Mediate with the Father or First, with which it is now considered; it may seem personally inferior, even to the Second ; inasmuch as the sphere of spirit itself, in which the Spirit is perceived seems inferior to that of intellect, as far as they can be distinguished.
§ 3. To comprehend the unity of the Son and Holy Ghost in duality, or of the divine Being in these two instances particularly, we may recollect the allusion of St. Paul in his epistle to the Corinthians, concerning diversities of gifts, administrations and operations which the apostle mentions, apparently as proceeding not only from either of these two Persons, the Son and Holy Ghost indifferently, but from the same God by both of them equally (Cor. I. xii. 4, &c.): because, as the prophet says, “There stood other two” and one on the waters clothed between them. (Dan. xii. 5, 6); and, as said also by him who was clothed or made visible, “ The tree is known by his fruit” (Matt. xii. 33) Thus in one man or human subject we may contemplate both Persons; as 1 distinctly by different gifts, operations or administrations, 2 unitedly by the same combined or assimilated ; as for instance,