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gether "incomprehensible to mortals," Matt. xi. 27, Luke x. 22.
The creed, commonly called the Athanasian, justly declares "THE FATHER incomprehensible, THE SON incomprehensible, and the HOLY GHOST incomprehensible." There it should have stopped, and not have plunged into the ensuing contradiction; "and yet there are not three incomprehensibles, &c. but one incomprehensible !" thus defining what was allowed to be undefineable; adopting the metaphysical subtilties and distinctions of the schoolmen, (by some of whom it was probably composed ;) introducing unscriptural terms, "Trinity, coeternal, coequal," &c. and perverting the scriptural term, “unity," signifying union, or unanimity, (see this Vol. p. 152, note, and p. 196,) into a personal sense, and even denying the express declarations of Scripture, "and in THIS TRINITY, none is afore or after other; none is greater or less than another;" whereas, THE FATHER is" afore" the SON, in order of precedence, (Mal. i. 6,) and THE SON himself declares, THE FATHER is greater than I,”—“ is greater than all,” (John x. 29, xiv. 28;) the creed, also, inconsistently admitting afterwards, that "THE SON is inferior to THE FATHER, as touching his manhood."
We cannot, therefore, but regret its admission from the Romish into our reformed, and truly evangelical Liturgy, and express our wish, with the honest and candid Archbishop Tillotson, that “the Church were well rid of it," as a stumbling-block to those that are within its pale, and a scandal to those that are without, and as furnishing a specious pretext for those deplorable schisms which are now, alas, rending the vitals of the Established Church.-Unitas irrationaliter collecta hæresin facit; Trinitas rationaliter expensa veritatem constituit.-Veritatem male accipit idiotes quisque aut perversus.— Tertull.
How widely different was the caution of that illustrious philosopher, Newton, in his admirable description of THE DEITY, in the Scholium generale of his immortal Principia, p. 528, concluding with this reflection:
"As a blind man has no idea of colours, so we have no idea of the modes in which GOD MOST WISE perceives and understands all things. He is totally void of all body, and bodily figure, and therefore can neither be seen, nor heard, nor touched; neither ought HE to be worshipped under the appearance of any thing corporeal. We have ideas of His attributes, but we know nothing at all of the substance of any thing. – We know not their intimate substances by any act of sensation or reflexion; and much less have we the remotest idea of the SUBSTANCE OF GOD. We know Him only by his properties and attributes, by the wisest and best structures of things, and by final causes. We admire him for his perfections, and we worship Him for his PROVIDENTIAL DOMINION"— '—" He rules all, not as the [material] soul of the world, but as [the spiritual] Lord of the UNIVERSE, and on account of his [universal] DOMINION, is called ПavroкpaTwp. And from his true dominion it follows, that the TRUE GOD is [EVER-] LIVING, INTELLIGENT, and POWERFUL; from his other perfections, that He is SUPREME, or SUPREMELY PERFECT," &c.
The following is the admirable philosophical reflexion of his illustrious predecessor, Lord Bacon.
"In the entrance of philosophy, when the second causes, most obvious to the senses, offer to the mind, we are apt to cleave unto them, and dwell too much upon them, so as to forget what is superior in nature; but when we pass further, and behold the dependency and confederacy of causes, and the works of PROVIDENCE, then, according to the poets, we easily perceive that the highest link of nature's chain must be tied to the foot of JUPITER's chair; that PHILOSOPHY, like Jacob's vision, discovers to us a ladder, whose top reaches up to the footstool of the throne of GOD."
HINC OMNE PRINCIPIUM, HUC REFER EXITUM.-Hor.
1. THE SUPREME BEING is described throughout, in the most awful, sublime, and magnificent terms our puny intellects are able to conceive. He is represented as pervading and upholding the universe, as "filling heaven and earth with his presence; the heaven of heavens cannot contain," or confine HIM, Job xi. 7-9; xxiii. 3-9; Psalm cxxxix. 1-9; 1 Kings viii. 27; Jer. xxiii. 24. He is more particularly described as being << SPIRIT," ," John iv. 23; "THE ONE AND THE SAME SPIRIT," 1 Cor. xii. 11; and THE FATHER of Spirits, Heb. xii. 9; He is LIGHT, and in him is no darkness at all, 1 John i. 5; THE FATHER of lights, James i. 17; He is LOVE, 1 John iv. 8, the infinite and inexhaustible source of all that is good, and fair, and lovely, throughout the universe; to whom the SON OF HIS LOVE, Col. i. 13, with the profoundest modesty and humility, ascribed all his own goodness and greatness, Matt. xix. 17, John v. 30, xiv. 28, as HIS FATHER and HIS GOD, no less than OUR FATHER and OUR GOD, John xx. 17: for we are all HIS offspring, in whom we live, and move ourselves, and are, Acts xvii. 28; THE GOD, and FATHER of OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, 2 Cor. xi. 31, the ONE GOD and FATHER OF ALL, who is above all, and through all, and in us all, Eph. iv. 6, who is greater than all, John x. 29; The ONLY TRUE GOD, John xvii. 3; the ONLY WISE GOD, Rom. xvi. 27; the ONLY GOOD GOD, Matt. xix. 17; THE BLESSED and ONLY POTENTATE, THE KING OF THE REIGNING KINGS, and LORD OF the RULING LORDS *, WHO ONLY HATH IMMORTALITY, inhabiting light inaccessible; THE KING ETERNAL, INVISIBLE, whom none of mankind saw, at any time, nor is able to see; To HIM be honour and glory for evermore. Amen. 1 Tim. i. 17; vi. 15, 16; John i. 18.
2. THE SON OF GOD is described in terms of equal grandeur and magnificence, as "THE IMAGE, or visible representative OF THE INVISIBLE GOD, the effulgence of His glory, the impress of His subsistence, upholding the universe by the dictate
• This is a closer rendering of the original, ὁ βασιλευς των βασιλευοντων και κύριος των κυριευόντων. The received, "THE KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS," does not sufficiently discriminate this title of THE FATHER, 1 Tim. vi. 15, from "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS," the proper rendering of Buoλevg Baoiλewv kai kupio kupiwv, the title of CHRIST, Rev. xix. 16, conferred on Him by THE FATHER, Phil. ii. 9, who is "The Lord God OMNIPOTENT," Kupios à Deos d Παντοκρατωρ, Rev. xix. 6.
of HIS POWER; THE ORACLE, who was in the beginningbefore the world was,-with GOD THE FATHER, and had glory with HIM before the foundation of the world, as GOD THE SON, by whom were all things made, and without whom was not any thing made that hath been; the FIRST BORN of all creation, by whom GOD made the worlds; for by Him were all things made, both in the heavens and upon the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or lordships, or principalities, or authorities; all things were made by Him, and for Him; and HE is before all things, and in Him all things consist, John i. 1-18; Col. i. 15-17; Heb. i. 1-3; John xvii. 5-24. This ONLY Begotten Son of God, full of grace and truth, subsisting in form of God, reckoned to be GODLIKE, not a matter of usurpation [to be seized *, but rather of reward to be earned, and therefore] exhausted himself [of his divine form,] assuming a servile form, being born in the likeness of men. And having been found in figure as a man, HE HUMBLED HIMSELF, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the
Ουκ ἁρπαγμον ήγήσατο το ειναι ισα Θεῷ. The phrase ισα θεῷ was shewn before to be equivalent to tσoɛws, "Godlike," (see this Vol. p. 100, note,) to which we may add these examples, τιμην δε λελογχασι ισα θεοισι. "They were allotted Godlike honour," Odyss. XI. 304. τον νυν ισα θεῷ Ιθακησιοι εισορόωσι, now the Ithacans respect as Godlike," Odyss. xv. 519.
The expression ȧprayμov signifies hasty "seizure" of honours or rewards, without waiting till they be duly earned, and conferred for services performed. Thus Plutarch says of Alexander the Great, ου γαρ ληστρικως την Ασιαν καταδραμων, ουδε ώσπερ ἁρπαγμα και λαφυρον ευτυχίας ανελπιστου σπαραξαι και ανασυρασθαι διανοηθεις. "For he did not, robber like, overrun Asia, nor did he design to ravage and plunder it, as a booty and spoil of unexpected good fortune." So Eschines, μη άρπαζε την piλorijuar, “Seize not the meed of honour;" and Cicero, Sapiens Virtutis honorem præmium haud prædam petit. "The wise seeks the honour of virtue as a reward, and not a prey." And so Vopiscus, Discant qui regna cupiunt, non raptum ire imperia, sed mereri; "Let the ambitious learn, not hastily to seize empires, but to deserve them."
Horace has a remarkable passage in his praise of Pallas, the goddess of wisdom, the immediate offspring of Jove.
Unde nil majus generatur IPSO (Parente)
Here Pallas is said to “occupy” as an heritage, not by usurpation, "the honours next to THE FATHER," by a striking resemblance to her prototype, the true ORACLE, or WISDOM.
cross*. Wherefore, GOD also transcendantly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him THE NAME ABOVE EVERY NAME; that at the name of JESUS every knee should bow, of celestial, terrestrial, and infernal beings, and every tongue profess that JESUS CHRIST is LORD, to GOD THE FATHER'S glory," Phil. ii. 6-11; Rev. xix. 16.
"Though he were a SON, yet learned he obedience from his sufferings; and having been perfected [thereby] became author of eternal salvation to all that obey Him,that look up to the author and finisher of their faith, JESUS: who, for the joy proposed to Him, endured the cross*, despising shame, and sate down on the right hand of GOD,-when HE was ordained SON OF GOD, in power, by THE SPIRIT, on his resurrection from the dead; who Himself is THE HEAD of the corporation of the Church, THE BEGINNINg, the first-bBORN OF THE DEAD; that he might become PRESIDENT in all; as THE FIRST, and THE LAST, and THE LIVING; who became dead, and lo! he is LIVING FOR EVERMORE, Amen, and holds the keys of Hades and of Death.-To HIM, who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and made us kings and priests unto GOD HIS FATHER, be glory and dominion for evermore, Amen," Heb. v. 8, 9, xii. 2, Rom. i. 4, Col. i. 18, Rev. i. 5-18.
3. The personality of the HOLY SPIRIT, and his functions, are clearly described in the NEW TESTAMENT. He is plainly distinguished from THE FATHER and from THE SON, in the instituted form of Baptism, in the general benediction, and in the spiritual gifts and graces which He jointly confers with them, on the faithful, as we have seen. And his functions, 1. To be another advocate for us with THE FATHER, in addition to CHRIST our advocate; for HE jointly assisteth our infirmities, and intercedeth for us, with groanings unutterable, John xiv. 16, xvi. 7, 1 John ii. 1, Rom. viii. 26. 2. To be a powerful advocate with the Apostles, with the world, convincing the world, by their preaching, of sin, and righteousness, and judgment, and thereby making numerous proselytes to the
In both these passages, Phil. ii. 8, and Heb. xii. 2, σravpos, without the article, does not signify "a cross," or the individual cross on which Christ suffered; as imagined by Bishop Middleton, on the Greek article, p. 607, but rather that particular mode of punishment, crucifixion, as distinguished from all others.
Christian faith, John xvi. 8-11. 3. To bring all CHRIST'S sayings to their recollection, and guide them into all the truth, guarding their preaching and writings from error; and to shew them things to come, John xvi. 13; and 4. To regenerate and sanctify the faithful to the end of the world, John iii. 5, Tit. iii. 5, 1 Cor. vi. 11.
REGENERATION BY BAPTISM AND THE SPIRIT.
In steering our course through this mysterious, but most important subject, so as to avoid the opposite extremes of enthusiasm and scepticism, by which it has been either disgraced or denied, we shall be guided by the pole star of OUR LORD'S discourse with Nicodemus; which contains the fundamental doctrines of regeneration, justification, and sanctification, so important to all Christians rightly to know and understand.
This profound discourse, the occasion of which was noticed before, (see this Vol. p. 89,) opens with a respectful enquiry, on the part of Nicodemus, concerning the true way to salvation, from a divine teacher, as he acknowledged JESUS to be, from his signal miracles, both in his own opinion, and in that of others, we may suppose, the best informed.
"Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from GOD; for none can do these miracles that thou doest, except GOD be with him," John iii. 1, 2.
JESUS answered, "Verily, verily I say unto thee, except any one be born anew *, he cannot see the kingdom of GOD," ver. 3. This figurative new birth, OUR LORD afterwards expressed more plainly to his disciples.
"Verily, verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall by no means enter into the kingdom of heaven," Matt. xviii. 3, for " of such is the kingdom of heaven" attainable, Matt. xix. 14; such only as resemble babes in their leading characters of humility, simplicity, innocency, and docility, John i. 48, Matt. xviii. 4, xi. 25, Luke xii. 36, Matt. xxi. 16, 1 Pet. ii. 2. So David described the MESSIAH, Psalm cxxxi. 1, 2.
The original term avw0ev, here should be rendered "anew," corresponding to dενTEρov, "a second time," in the next verse. The full phrase, παλιν ανωθεν, "again anew," Gal. iv. 9, is equivalent to aλiv EK devтepov, "again a second time,"
Matt. xxvi. 42.