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I do not understand it; it is altogether obfcure 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 fay, 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 Jehovah. How the ancient fynagogue, or the old Jewish writers understood these words, you will fee 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, fays: "These "are the three degrees in refpect of the fublime 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 firft, Elobenu, Jehovah; lo! They are "all one, and therefore called one, to fhew 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 manifeft." And then he explains it by a fimile taken from the voice, which though but one, consists of three things: fo fays he, "Jehovab, Elobenu, Jehovah; these "are one; these three pa 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 Ifrael "heard, Jehovah, Jehovah; and Elobenu is joined unto them; and they become "the feal of the ring of truth." I need not observe to you, the sense of Christian writers on this text; therefore will only mention a paffage or two out of Fulgentius, because they contain fome reasoning and argument. He, mentioning this text and the other, "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, " and him only fhalt thou ferve," makes this remark: « Which God, fays ❝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 perfonal union, nor disjoined by a fubftantial diffe❝rence, left we should either, after the manner of the Heathens, worship gods
by worshipping different fubftances; or with Sabellius, deny the Son and the "Spirit, not preferving the perfons in the Trinity." And in another place2:
▾ Audi, Ifrael, Dominus Deus tuus, Dominus unus eft, &3 Dominum Deum tuum adorabis, & illi foli fervies. Quem Deum, non patrem folum credimus, fed patrem, & filium, & fpiritum fan&tum. Fides enim noftra, qua unum Deum colimus & timemus, nec unione perfonali contrahitur, nec substantiali diverfitate disjungitur: Ne aut Deos Gentiliter colamus diverfas colendo substantias, aut filium & fpiritum cum Sabellio denegemus, non fervantes in Trinitate perfonas. Fulgent. Refponf. contr. Arrian. obj. 4.
z Quod fi Dominum Deum, folum patrem accipere debemus, filio ergo nec ut Deo ferviamus, nec eum adoremus: quicquid enim ad naturam Domini Dei folius non pertinet, ut Deus a nobis adorari non debet, Fulgent. ib. obj. 10.
"If by the Lord God we understand the Father only, then we should neither "serve nor worship the Son as God; for whatfoever 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 alfo ftand excluded from that love and affection which we are required to pay him, in the following verse.
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 exclufive 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 laft; which title our Lord Jefus Christ takes to himself, Rev. i. 8. which he certainly would never have done, had he ftood excluded from the one Lord God in this text, in Ifaiah. Again, another of these texts, namely, Ifa. xlv. 22, 23. is manifeftly applied to Chrift 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 exclufion of the Deity, either of the Son, or of the Holy Ghost.
John xvii. 3. is the first paffage cited: "This is life eternal, to know thee, "the only true God, and Jefus Chrift whom thou haft fent." Now had Jefus Christ, by this text, stood excluded from the only true God, he would never have joined himself with him. Befides, eternal life is made as much to depend upon knowing Jefus Chrift, as upon knowing the only true God. And after all, Chrift is expressly called the true God, in 1 John v. 20. "This "is the true God and eternal life:" that is, This, his Son Jefus Chrift; for he is the immediate antecedent to the relative, this.
Rom. iii. 30. where "one God is faid to justify the circumcifion by faith, "&r." cannot be understood fo as to exclude Jesus Christ; seeing it is prophefied of him, in Ifa. liii. 11. that he should justify many: nor of the Holy Ghoft; because it is " in the name of the Lord Jefus, and by the Spirit of our "God that we are juftified." If none can forgive fins, or justify finners, but the one God; and yet the Son and the Holy Ghost do forgive fins, and justify finners; then they, with the Father, must be the one God.
As for 1 Cor. viii. 5, 6. where it is faid, That "there is but one God the "Father." It ought to be observed, that the one God here ftands 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 confidered perfonally, but effentially, as the one God, the Father of fpirits,
a Vide Dr Waterland's first Defence of fome queries, p. 9.
the Former and Creator of all things; from which character neither the Son, nor Spirit ftand excluded. Befides, if Jefus Chrift ftands excluded from this. one God the Father; then, by the fame rule of interpretation, God the Father must stand excluded from the one Lord; which is faid of Jefus Chrift in the very fame text. The fame remarks may be made on Eph. iv. 5, 6. and the fame reply given to like objections formed upon it. Nor is Chrift excluded from the one God, in 1 Tim. ii. 5. "There is one God, and one Mediator "between God and man, the man Chrift Jefus." It is true, Chrift is fpoken. of in his lower nature, as man; yet there are fome things faid of him, which prove him to be God. Was he not God, he could not be a Mediatorbetween 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 ranfom for them, as he is faid to be in the following verfe. 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 fuppofes, at leaft, two parties, between whom mediationis made. "Now, fays the apostle, a mediator is not of one, that is, of one party, but God is one;" that is, one party: Now as Mofes (for of him the apostle is fpeaking) was a Mediator between God, as one party, and the people of Ifrael as the other: fo Jefus Chrift is a Mediator between God, and his. elect people. I fhall conclude this difcourfe, on the unity of God, with a paffage afcribed to Ignatius: "Whofoever afferts the one only God, to the "exclufion of the divinity of Chrift, (and, I may add, of the Holy Ghost) " is a defamer, and an enemy of all righteousness."
CHA 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 fhall endeavour to do;
First, From the plural word Elohim, fo frequently used when the divine Being is spoken of; and that in different forms of conftruction; as,
• Πᾶς ῦν ὅσις ἵνα καὶ μόνον καταγγέλλει Θεὸν, ἐπ ̓ ἀναιρέσει τῆς τῷ Χρισὦ θέοτητος, ἐπὶ διάβολος, xai ixogos wáons dixaiocúrns. Ignat. Epift. afcript. ad Antiochen, p. 84. Ed. Voff.
ft, It is fometimes in conftruction 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 defigned to exprefs the truth of a plurality of perfons, in the unity of effence Mofes might have made use of some of the names or appellations of God in the fingular number, he might. have faid, Jehovah Bara, Jehovah created; a name by which God had made himself known to Mofes, and by him, to the people of Ifrael; or he might have made ufe of Eloah, the fingular of Elohim, which he has made ufe of in Deut. xxxii. 15, 16. So that he was not obliged to make ufe of this plural word,. from any want of fingular appellations of God,, or from any barrenness in the Hebrew language. And when we confider that one defign of Mofes's writings. is to oppose and extirpate the polytheifm of the Heathens, it may well feem ftrange that he should make ufe of a plural word, when speaking of God, which might have a tendency to ftrengthen them in their notion of a plurality of gods nor certainly would he havé ufed 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 defigned 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 Ifrael, the Lord our God is one Lord;" nor a plurality of names or characters, to which creative powers cannot be afcribed, but a plurality of perfons. For the words may be cast into a distributive form, in perfect agreement with the idiotifm of the Hebrew language, and be thus read: "In the beginning every one of the divine perfons created the heavens and the "earth;" and then the hiftorian goes on to take notice of fome of these perfons, 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 obferves, that "God faid, that is, God, the Word, faid, Let there be light, and there "was light"
אלהים אתי התעו
2. This word is fometimes in construction with a verb plural, of which there are several inftances, as Gen. xx. 13. "And it came to pafs, when “won an omb the gods caufed me to wander from my father's house.” And fo Gen. xxxv. 7. " And he, that is, Jacob, built there an altar, and called "the place El betbel; because there baban, the gods appeared to him, &c." And once more, in 2 Sam. vii. 23. "And what one nation
• 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 Ifrael, whom be the gods "went to redeem for a people to himself." Now as one well obferves, "That however the conftruction of a noun plural, with a verb fingular, may "render it doubtful to fome, 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 Elohim." The plurality here expressed, cannot be a plurality of gods, for the reason above given; nor of meer names and characters, but of perfons; for to these Elohim are afcribed perfonal actions; as their removal of Abraham from his father's houfe; their appearance to Jacob, and their redemption of the people of Ifrael.
3. It is fometimes in conftruction with adjectives and participles plural, as Deut. iv. 7. and v. 26. and v. 26. And in other places where mention is made of the living God, it is expreffed in the plural on on, 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 faid, "But the Lord is the true God; " " he is the living Gods;" expreffing, at once, a plurality of perfons in the one divine Being. Of the fame kind is Job. xxiv. 19. where Joshua fays to the Ifraelites, "Ye cannot ferve the Lord, for he is an holy God;" which, in the Hebrew,is xm op □ the holy Gods is he; which, in the natural construction of the words, should have been on Dwip on 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 Dp of the holy ones." Once more, in Pfalm lviii. 11. "Verily there is a gods that judge in the earth." Now of these Elobim it is faid, that they live, are holy, are near to God's people, and judge in the earth; all which are perfonal characters; and therefore they, to whom they belong, must be perfons. 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 ufual 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 conftruction. I am fenfible that the word is ufed of a single person in the Deity, in Pfalm xlv. 6, 7. And it need not be wondered at, that a name that is common to all the three divine perfons, fhould be appropriated to one of them; efpecially when it is confidered, that each divine perfon poffeffes the whole effence and nature common to all three. I know it is alfo given to Mofes, who was appointed to 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
Allix's judgment of the Jewish Church, p. 124.