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I do not understand it; it is altogether obscure and unintelligible to me; and therefore this author must not be displeased if I take up his own words, used by him in the fame page, and say, It “is a confused meaning and the language “ of Babel.” The true meaning of the text, I take to be this : Jehovah, our Gods, Father, Son, and Spirit, are one Jehovab. How the ancient fynagogue, or the old Jewish writers understood these words, you will see by an instance or two out of their book of Zohar. The author in Gen. fol. 1. col. 3. mentioning this text, and the three names Jehovah, Elobenu, Jehovah, says : “ These “ are the three degrees in respect of the sublime mystery. In the beginning
God, or Elohim, created, &c.' And in Exod. fol. 18. col. 3, 4 “ This is “ the unity which is called Jehovah, the first, Elobenu, Jehovah; lo! They are “ all one, and therefore called one, to shew that those three names are as one ; " and therefore we call them one, because they are one; which is made known “ by the revelation of the Holy Spirit, and indeed is abundantly manifest.” And then he explains it by a simile taken from the voice, which though but one, consists of three things : so says he, “ Jebovab, Elobenu, Jehovab; these « are one; these three 79112 modes, forms or things, are one.” Once more on Numb. fol. 67. col. 3. “ There are two, and one is joined unto them, and “ they are three, and these three are one : these are the two names which Israel « heard, Jehovah, Jebovab; and Elobenu is joined unto them; and they become “ the seal of the ring of truth.” I need not observe to you, the sense of Christian writers on this text; therefore will only mention a passage or two out of Fulgentius, because they contain some reasoning and argument. He, mentioning this text and the other, “ Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, " and him only shalt thou ferve,” makes this remark': « Which God, says
he, we believe, is not the Father only, but the Father, and the Son, and " the Holy Spirit. For our faith, by which we serve and fear the one God, « is not contracted by a personal union, nor disjoined by a substantial diffeus rence, lest we should either, after the manner of the Heathens, worship gods « by worshipping different substances; or with Sabellius, deny the Son and the “ Spirit, not preserving the persons in the Trinity.” And in another place?: “ If by the Lord God we understand the Father only, then we should neither “ serve nor worship the Son as God; for whatsoever does not belong to the “ nature of the Lord God only, ought not to be worshipped by us as God.” In fine, if the Son, or Holy Ghost, stand excluded from the one Lord, in this text, then they must also stand excluded from that love and affection which we are required to pay him, in the following verse.
y Audi, Ifrael, Dominus Deus tuus, Dominus unus eft, & Dominum Deum tuum adorabis, & illi foli fervies. Quem Deum, non patrem folum credimus, sed patrem, & filium, & fpiritum sanctum. Fides enim noftra, qua unum Deum colimus & timemus, nec unione personali contrahitur, nec fubftantiali diversitate disjungitur: Ne aut Deos Gentiliter colamus diversas colendo fubftantias, aut filium & fpiritum cum Sabellio denegemus, non fervantes in Trinitate personas. Fulgent. Refponf. contr. Arrian. obj. 4.
z Quod fi Dominum Deum, solum patrem accipere debemus, filio ergo nec ut Deo serviamus, aec eum adoremus: quicquid enim ad naturam Domini Dei folius non pertinet, ut Deus a nobis. adorari non debet, Fulgent. ib. obj. 10.
The texts, which have been produced out of the prophecy of Isaiah, for the proof of the unity of God, are not to be understood exclusive of the Son, or of the Holy Ghost. In Ifa. xliv. 6. one of the texts cited, the only Lord God calls himself the first and the last; which title our Lord Jesus Christ takes to himself, Rev. i. 8. which he certainly would never have done, had he stood excluded from the one Lord God in this text, in Ifaiah. Again, another of these texts, namely, Ifa. xlv. 22, 23. is manifestly applied to Christ in Rom. xiv, 10, 11, which would never have been, had he stood excluded by it.
As for the texts in the New Testament, already cited, it will quickly appear, that they are not to be understood to the exclusion of the Deity, either of the Son, or of the Holy Ghost.
John xvii. 3. is the first passage cited : “ This is life eternal, to know thee, " the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast fent.” Now had Jesus Christ, by this text, stood excluded from the only true God, he would never have joined himself with himBefides, eternal life is made as much to depend upon knowing Jesus Christ, as upon knowing the only true God. And after all, Christ is expressly called the true God, in 1 John v. 20.
" This " is the true God and eternal life:" that is, This, his Son Jesus Christ; for he is the immediate antecedent to the relative, this.
Rom. iii. 30. where “ one God is said to justify the circumcision by faith, « &c.” cannot be understood so as to exclude Jesus Christ; seeing it is prophesied of him, in Ifa. liii. 11. that he should justify many: nor of the Holy Ghost; because it is “ in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our « God that we are justified.”. If none can forgive sins, or justify sinners, but the one God; and yet the Son and the Holy Ghost do forgive sins, and justify sinners; then they, with the Father, must be the one God.
As for 1 Cor. viii. 5, 6. where it is said, That “ there is but one God the “ Father.” It ought to be observed, that the one God here stands opposed to the polytheism of the Gentiles, to them that are called gods, which were many. Moreover, he is not called the Father of Christ, and so not to be considered personally, but essentially, as the one God, the Father of fpirits,
· Vide Dr Waterland's first Defence of some queries, p. 9.
the Former and Creator of all things; from which character neither the Sony, nor Spirit stand excluded. Besides, if Jesus Christ stands excluded from this one God the Father; then, by the same rule of interpretation, God the Father must stand excluded from the one Lord; which is said of Jesus Christ in the very same text. The same remarks may be made on Epb. iv. 5, 6., and the same reply given to like objections formed upon it. Nor is Christ excluded from the one God, in 1 Tim. ii. 5. " There is one God, and one Mediator “ between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.” It is true, Christ is spoken of in his lower nature, as man; yet there are some things said of him, which prove himn to be God. Was he not God, he could not be a Mediator between God and men : he could not draw nigh to God, and treat with him about the peace and reconciliation of his people, much less effect it, or be a ransom for them, as he is faid to be in the following verse. As to Gal. iii, 20. I do not take it to be a direct proof of the unity of God, and have therefore neglected it in my collection of proofs. The meaning of the text, I apprehend, is this : a Mediator fupposes, at least, two parties, between whom mediation is made. “ Now, says the apostle, a mediator is not of one, that is, of one
party, but God is one;" that is, one party : Now as Moses (for of him the apostle is fpeaking) was a Mediator between God, as one party, and the people of Israel as the other : so Jesus Christ is a Mediator between God, and his elect people. I shall conclude this discourse, on the unity of God, with a paffage ascribed to Ignatius : “ Whosoever asserts the one only God', to the « exclusion of the divinity of Christ, (and, I may add, of the Holy Ghost). « is a defamer, and an enemy of all righteousness.”
CH A P. II.
Proving that there is a Plurality in the Godhead.
AVING, in the preceding chapter, proved the unity of the divine Being,,
or that there is but one God, I now proceed, II. To prove that there is a plurality in the Deity, which I shall endeavour
to do; First, From the plural word Elohim, so frequently used when the divine: Being is spoken of; and that in different forms of construction ; as,
ist, Πας &ν δεις ένα και μόνον καταγγέλλει Θεόν, επ' αναιρέσει της τ8 Χρισ8 9ίο1ηλος, έτι διάβολος, . tai ixgès raons doxalocúrns. Ignat. Epist. ascript. ad Antiochen. p. 84. Ed. Voll.
ift, It is sometimes in construction with a verb fingular, as in Gen i. 1. " In the beginning God, or Elohim, created the heavens and the earth.” Elohim being a word in the plural number, and Bara, which is rendered created, being fingular, many think it is designed to express the truth of a plurality of persons, in the unity of effence Mofes might have made use of some of the names or appellations of God in the singular number, he might . have said, Jehovah Bara, Jehovah created ; a name by which God had made himself known to Moses, and by him, to the people of Israel.; or he might have made use of Eleah, the singular of Elohim, which he has made use of in Deut. xxxii. 15, 16. So that he was not obliged to make use of this plural word, from any want of singular appellations of God, or from any barrenness in the Hebrew language. And when we consider that one defign of Moses's writings. is to oppose and extirpate the polytheism of the Heathens, it may well seem Atrange that he should make use of a plural word, when speaking of God, which might have a tendency to strengthen them in their notion of a plurality of gods : nor certainly would he have used it as he does, thirty times in this history of the creation, and, perhaps, five hundred times more, in one form: of construction or another, in the five books of his writings, had he not designed fome kind of plurality or another. Now a plurality of gods he cannot mean; because this is contrary to what he afferts Deut. vi. 4.
Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord;" nor a plurality of names or characters, to which creative powers cannot be ascribed, but a plurality of persons. For the words may be cast into a distributive form, in perfect agreement with the idiotism of the Hebrew language, and be thus read: “In the “ beginning every one of the divine persons created the heavens and the “ earth ;” and then the historian goes on to take notice of some of these persons, as concerned in the creation. He makes mention of the Spirit of God moving upon the face of the waters, in ver. 2. which the ancient " Jews understood of the spirit of the Messiah : and in ver. 3, he observes, thac “ God said, that is, God, the Word, said, Let there be light, and there
2. This word is sometimes in construction with a verb plural, of which there are several instances, as Gen. xx. 13. " And it came to pass, when “ Wynn inn by the gods caused me to wander from my father's house.” And so Gen. xxxv. 7. “ And he, that is, Jacob, built there an altar, and called o the place El betbel; because there 158 1590 5x7, the gods appeared to w him, &c." And once more, in 2 Sam. vii. 23. “ And what one nation
e Zohar in Gen. fol. 107. col. 3. and 128. 3. Bereshit Rabba, Parash. 2. and 8. Vajikra. Rabba, Parash. 14. Caphtor. fol. 113. 2. Baal Hatturim in loc,
“ in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel, whom the 135or the gods " went to redeem for a people to himself.” Now as one well d observes, “ That however the construction of a noun plural, with a verb singular, may “ render it doubtful to some, whether these words express a plurality or no;
yet certainly there can be no doubt in those places, where a verb or adjec“ tive plural are joined with the word Elobim.” The plurality here expressed, cannot be a plurality of gods, for the reason above given; nor of meer names and characters, but of persons; for to these Elobim are ascribed personal actions; as their removal of Abraham from his father's house; their appearance to Jacob, and their redemption of the people of Israel.
3. It is sometimes in construction with adjectives and participles plural, as Deut. iv. 7. and v. 26. And in other places where mention is made of the living God, it is expressed in the plural o'n onbx, the living gods; as in 1 Sam. vii. 26, 36. Gen. xxxiii. 36. A very remarkable construction of this kind we have in Jer. x. 10. where it is said, “ But the Lord is the true God; O'Y “ Bube 117 he is the living Gods ;" expressing, at once, a plurality of persons in the one divine Being. Of the same kind is Josh. xxiv. 19. where Joshua says to the Israelites, “ Ye cannot serve the Lord, for he is an holy God;" which, in the Hebrew,is 817 O'VTPO's the holy Gods is he; which, in the natural construction of the words, should have been On Doop Dinby the holy Gods are they, had not this mystery of a plurality in the one God been intended. Hence we read of more holies than one, in Prov. xxx. 3. “ I neither learned wisdom, nor “ have the knowledge D'vip of the holy ones.” Once more, in Psalm lviii. 11.
Verily there is O'nav uthe gods that judge in the earth.” Now of these Elohim it is said, that they live, are holy, are near to God's people, and judge in the earth; all which are personal characters; and therefore they, to whom they belong, must be persons. This is the first kind of proof of a plurality in the Deity. I do not begin with this because I judge it to be the clearest, and strongest proof of the point, but because Elobim is one of the names, and one of the most usual names of God. Nor do I lay the stress of the argument on the word Elohim itself, but as it appears in a very unusual form of construction. I am fensible that the word is used of a single person in the Deity, in Psalm xlv. 6, 7. And it need not be wondered at, that a name that is common to all the three divine persons, should be appropriated to one of chem ; especially when it is considered, that each divine person possesses the whole essence and nature common to all three. I know it is also given to Mofes, who was appointed co be a god, or Elobim, to Aaron and Pharaoh : and good reason there is for it, when he represented and stood in the room and