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That nearly all the pagan nations of antiquity, in their various theological systems, acknowledged a kind of Trinity in the divine nature, has been fully evinced by those learned men, who have made the heathen mythology the subject of their elaborate enquiries. The almost universal prevalence of this doctrine in the Gentile kingdoms must be considered as a strong argument in favour of its truth. The doctrine itself bears such striking internal marks of a divine original, and is so very unlikely to have been the invention of mere human reason, that there is no way of accounting for the general adoption of so singular a belief, but by supposing that it was revealed by God to the early patriarchs, and that it was transmitted by them to their posterity. In its progress indeed to remote countries, and to distant generations, this belief became depraved and corrupted in the highest degree; and he alone "who brought life and immortality to light," could restore it to its original simplicity and purity. The discovery of the existence of this doctrine in the early ages, among the nations whose records have been the best preserved, has been of great service to the cause of Christianity, and completely refutes the assertion of infidels and sceptics, that the sublime and mysterious doctrine of the Trinity owes it origin to the philosophers

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philosophers of Greece.

"If we extend," says

Mr. Maurice," our eye through the remote region of antiquity, we shall find this very doctrine, which the primitive Christians are said to have borrowed from the Platonic school, universally and immemorially flourishing in all those countries, where history and tradition have united to fix those virtuous ancestors of the human race, who, for their distinguished attainments in piety, were admitted to a familiar intercourse with Jehovah and the Angels, the divine heralds of his commands."

The same learned author justly considers the two first verses of the Old Testament as containing very strong, if not decisive, evidence in support of the truth of this doctrine: "Elohim, a noun substantive of the plural number, by which the Creator is expressed, appears as evidently to point towards a plurality of persons in the divine nature, as the verb in the singular, with which it is joined, does to the unity of that nature: In principio creavit Deus; with strict attention to grammatical propriety, the passage should be rendered, In principio creavit Dii, but our belief in the unity of God forbids us thus to translate the word Elohim. Since, therefore, Elohim is plural, and no plural can consist of less than two in number, and since creation



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can alone be the work of Deity, we are to understand by this term so particularly used in this place, God the Father, and the eternal Logos, or Word of God; that Logos, whom St. John, supplying us with an excellent comment upon this passage, says, was in the beginning with God, and who also was God. As the father and the Son are expressly pointed out in the first verse of this chapter, so is the third person in the blessed Trinity not less decisively revealed to us in the second: And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.' Calasio renders this passage, Spiritus Dei motabat; but as Dr. Patrick rightly observed, this is not the exact meaning of the text, for the original verb translated moved, should be rendered brooded upon the water, incubavit, as a hen broods over her eggs. Thus we see the Spirit exerted upon this occasion an active effectual energy, by that energy agitating the vast abyss, and infusing into it a powerful vital principle.

"Elohim seems to be the general appellation by which the triune Godhead is collectively distinguished in Scripture; and in the concise history of the creation only, the expression Bara Elohim, the Gods created, is used above thirty times. The combining this plural noun with a verb in the singular would not appear so


remarkable, if Moses had uniformly adhered to that mode of expression; for then it would be evident that he adopted the mode used by the Gentiles, in speaking of their false gods in the plural number; but by joining with it a singular verb or adjective, rectified a phrase that might appear to give a direct sanction to the error of polytheism. But in reality the reverse is the fact; for in Deuteronomy, c. 32. v. 15 and 17, and other places, he uses the singular number of this very noun to express the Deity, though not employed in the august work of creation; Dereliquit Eloah; sacrificaverunt dæmoniis, non Eloah. But farther, Moses himself uses this very word Elohim with verbs and adjectives in the plural. Of this usage Dr. Allix enumerates two among many other glaring instances that might be brought from the Pentateuch, the former in Genesis, c. 20. v. 13. Quando errare fecerunt me Deus; the latter in Genesis, c. 35. v. 7. Quia ibi revelati sunt ad eum Deus; and other inspired writers use it in the same manner in various parts of the Old Testament (m). It must therefore, to every reader of reflection, appear exceedingly singular, that when Moses was endeavouring to establish a theological system, of which

(m) Job, c. 35. v. 10. v. 1. Eccl. c. 12. v. 3.

Jos. c. 24. v. 19. Ps. 109. 2 Sam. c. 7. v. 23.

which the unity of the Godhead was the leading principle, and in which it differed from all other systems, he should make use of terms directly implicative of a plurality in it; yet so deeply was the awful truth under consideration impressed upon the mind of the Hebrew legislator, that this is constantly done by him; and indeed, as Allix has observed, there is scarcely any method of speaking from which a plurality in Deity may be inferred, that is not used either by himself in the Pentateuch, or by the other inspired writers in various parts of the Old Testament. A plural is joined with a verb singular, as in the passage cited before from Genesis, c. 1. v. 1. A plural is joined with a verb plural, as in Genesis, c. 35. v. 7. 'And Jacob called the name of the place Bethel, because the Gods there appeared to him.' A plural is joined with an adjective plural, Josh. c. 35. v. 19. You cannot serve the Lord for he is the holy Gods.' To these passages, if we add that remarkable one from Ecclesiastes, Remember thy Creators in the days of thy youth,' and the predominant use of the words, Jehovah Elohim, or, the 'Lord thy Gods,' which occur a hundred times in the law (the word Jehovah implying the unity of the essence, and Elohim a plurality in that unity) we must allow that nothing can


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