Page images


gracious unto thee: the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give "thee peace." Ifa. xxxiii. 22. “The Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our

Lawgiver, the Lord is our King, he will fave us." Dan. ix. 19. "O Lord ❝ hear, O Lord forgive, O Lord hearken and do, &c." The angels, in their adoration of God, fay, "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hofts," Isa. vi. 3Rev. iv. 8.

Lastly, I fhall conclude this argument with the apoftle's final benediction to the church of Corinth, 2 Cor. xiii. 14. "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, "and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you "all. Amen." Where not only three diftinct Perfons are mentioned, but diftinct perfonal actions are afcribed to them. Now this account I may venture to call the scripture-doctrine of the Trinity. And though I do not suppose that every proof I have produced, carries equal evidence in it; yet, when taken altogether, that man muft willfully shut his eyes, that cannot fee plain intimations of a Trinity of Perfons in one God, in the fcriptures.


Wherein the Special character, proper Deity, and diftinct personality of the Father, are confidered.


AVING proved not only a plurality, but a Trinity of Perfons in the
Godhead, I proceed,

IV. To confider the several characters, proper Deity, and diftinct perfonality of each of these Three, the Father, the Word, and the Spirit. And shall begin, First, With the Father, and confider the relation he stands in, or the character of a Father, which he bears; give some proofs of his Deity, and shew his distinct perfonality.

ft, I shall confider the relation or character of a Father, which he fuftains. Now it must be observed, that the word Father, when applied to God, does not always intend the first Person, to the exclufion of the Son or Spirit, as Deut. xxxii. 6. Ifa. lxiv. 8. Mal. ii. 10. Heb. xii. 9. where the one God, Father, Son, and Spirit, is called a Father; because he is the common parent, creator and former of all things: on which account, neither the Son, nor the Spirit, as I have before obferved, are to be excluded in thofe fcriptures, which


speak of one God, the Father of all things, as 1 Cor. viii. 6. Eph. iv. 6. By the word Father, fometimes is understood the first Person in the Trinity, as diftinct from the Son and Spirit. Who is fo called either with a peculiar regard to his people, whom he hath predeftinated to the adoption of children, and has fent his Son to redeem, that they might receive this bleffing; and into whose hearts, he has also sent his Spirit, crying, Abba Father: or rather, he is called fo with a peculiar regard to the fecond Perfon, the Word; who is his only begotten Son; and his Son in fuch a way of filiation, as neither angels nor faints are. For" to which of the angels, and it may be faid alfo, "to which of the faints, faid he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day "have I begotten thee?" And again, "I will be to him a Father, and "he fhall be to me a Son." Jesus Christ always owned him as his Father, addreffed him as fuch, and frequently diftinguished him from his earthly parents, by calling him his heavenly Father; or his Father which is in heaven. But because Father and Son are correlates, and fuppofe each other; and because I defign to infift at large on the Sonship of Chrift, I fhall, for the prefent, difmifs this character and relation of the Father; and go on,

2dly, To give fome proofs of his Deity. And though the Father's Deity is not fcrupled, or called in queftion, and therefore I need not enlarge upon it; yet it will be neceffary to fay fomething concerning it. And befides exprefs texts of fcriptures, fuch as Rom. xv. 6. 2 Cor. i. 3. Phil. ii. 11. and many others, where the Father is exprefsly called God; the thing will admit of proof,


1. From the divine perfections he is poffeffed of. He that is God, neceffarily is; he owes his being to no other; nor does he depend upon another, but fubfifts of himself: fuch is the Father of Christ. "For as the Father "hath life in himself, fo hath he given to the Son, to have life in himself *." He that is God, is from everlasting to everlasting; he is without beginning, and fhall be without end: fuch is the Father of Chrift. For he it is "which is, and which was, and which is to come!" He chofe his people in Christ before the foundation of the world, and bleffed them in him, with all spiritual bleffings; and will be all, and in all, to them for evermore. He that is God, is immenfe, infinite, and omniprefent; as he cannot be bounded by time, neither can he be circumfcribed by space: he fills heaven and earth, and is contained in neither; there is no going from his prefence, nor fleeing from his Spirit fuch is the Father of Chrift; whom Chrift often fpeaks of, as in heaven, and yet with him on earth, and with all his people, at all times, in VOL. III. all

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]


Rev. i. 4. Eph. i. 4. 1 Cor. xv. 28.

[ocr errors]




all nations; infomuch that they can fay, "Truly our ages, and among all nations; "fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jefus Chrift "." He that is God, is omnifcient; he knows the hearts, and tries the reins of the children of men fuch is the Father of Chrift, who knows the Son in such a sense as no other does; and knows that which neither the angels, nor the Son as man, do; even the day and hour of judgment. The time and feason of that, as well as of many other events the Father has put in his own power. The apostle Paul appeals to the Father of Chrift, as the omnifcient God, for the truth of the narrative he gave of his fufferings and labours, when he fays": "The God and Father of our Lord Jefus Chrift, which is bleffed for ever"more, knoweth that I lie not." Omnipotence is a perfection which belongs to God. He that is God, can do all things; and fo can the Father of Chrift: "Abba Father, fays Chrift, all things are poffible unto thee." And he intimates as much, when he bid Peter put up his fword, and said unto him: "Thinkeft thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he fhall presently "give me more than twelve legions of angels ??" And yet more fully, when fpeaking of the fafety and fecurity of his people, he fays: "My Father "which gave them me, is greater than all; and none is able to pluck them "out of my Father's hand." Once more, He that is God is immutable, the Lord who changes not, who is fubject to no variation whatever. Now he that is the Father of Chrift, "is the Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness, nor fhadow of turning." He is unchangeably the fame in his purposes in Christ, and in his promises through him; and in the bleffings of his Grace which he beftows on his people in him; nor can there be any feparation of them from the love of God towards them, which is in Chrift Jefus the Lord. In fine, there is no perfection that belongs to Deity, but what is to be feen in the Father of Chrift.

2. The Deity of the Father may be proved from the divine works and actions which are afcribed unto him: fuch as creation, providence, and the like. He created all things by Jefus Chrift; by him, his Son, he made the worlds; and his hands have laid the foundation of the heavens and the earth: he fupports the world by his power, and governs it by his wifdom. " My

[ocr errors]

Father, fays Christ', worketh hitherto, and I work;" that is, in the prefervation and government of the world, as heretofore in the creation of it. And hence, in another place, he calls him "the Lord of heaven and earth ';" which he would not do, was he not both creator and preferver of it. Forgivenefs of fins is peculiar to God. It is a maxim that will hold good: No one

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

can forgive fins but God only. But the Father of Chrift forgives finners. Chrift himself applied to him for them, while on the crofs; when he said: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." The refurrection of the dead is a work purely divine, and is frequently afcribed to the Father. As he raised up his Son Jefus Chrift, and gave him glory, fo he will raise up the dead at the last day: for "the Father raiseth the dead, and quickeneth “whom he will." Now from thefe, as well as from many other divine works and actions, afcribed to him, we may ftrongly conclude the Deity of the Father. Which,

3. May also be argued from the worship which is afcribed unto him. None but he, who is the moft high God, ought to be the object of religious worship and adoration: "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him "only fhalt thou ferve." Now the Father is frequently reprefented in fcripture, as he whom we are to love, to hope and believe in; as the object of prayer and fupplication, to whom, both Chrift and his apoftles prayed; and stands first in the form of baptifm; which is a folemn act of divine and religious worship. But I fhall no longer infift on this: But,

3dly, Proceed to confider the diftinct perfonality of the Father: and that he is a perfon, I fhall endeavour to prove,

1. From his being exprefsly called fo, in Heb. i. 3. where Christ is faid to be "the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his perfon." Our translation is indeed blamed by fome, who contend that the word izrais, should be rendered substance, and not perfon. I fhall hint a few things in vindication of our version. Let it be observed, that the word is only used in the New Teftament, in this epistle, and in the second epistle to the Corinthians; and but five times in all. In 2 Cor. ix. 4. the apostle ufes it to exprefs his confidence in boasting of the forwardness of the Corinthians, in their contributions to the neceffities of the poor faints. And in the fame epiftle, chap xi. 17. he uses it also to express his confidence in boafting of his own labours in the gofpel, and his fufferings for it. And in this epiftle to the Hebrews, it is twice used, concerning faith, chap. iii. 14. and xi. 1. and here it is applied to the divine Being. Now the word being used in such a different fenfe, "The mere use of it, in one place, as Dr Owen obferves", will afford no light "unto the meaning of it in another; but it must be taken from the con"text and fubject treated of." Moreover, it ought to be obferved, That not only our tranflators, who were learned and judicious men, but many other learned men, have rendered the word, by fubfiftence or Perfon; as Valla, Vatablus, Erafmus, Calvin, Beza, Pifcator, Paraeus, and others. And befides, fome of

G 2


Luke xxiii. 34.

u In loc.

[ocr errors]

the Greek fathers have used the word in the fame fenfe; and fome of them too, who wrote before the council at Nice; as particularly Justin Martyr ", if the writings, which bear his name, referred to in the margin, are allowed to be his; and alfo Origen *. The word fubftantia indeed was ufed by fome of the Latin writers, as anfwering to rais; but then they understood it of prima substantia; and used it just in the fame fenfe as we do the word perfon. And when they ' said, there were three fubftances in the Trinity, they at the fame time afferted, that there was but one nature or effence; and fo diftinguished fubftance from nature or effence. But finding the word fubftantia to be of ambiguous fignification, and having a tendency to lead perfons to imagine that there were three diftinct divine Beings, they left off ufing it; and rather chofe the word perfona, as lefs exceptionable. A difference there certainly is, between wisais fubfiftence, and i effence or substance. For though For though "the compofition of the word, as Dr Owen obferves","would denote fubftantia, yet fo as to differ from, and to add fome"thing to dia, fubftance or being; which, in the divine nature, can be nothing “but a special manner of subsistence." Add to this, That the apostle is not fo much fpeaking of the Father, and of Chrift, in that wherein they are the fame as they are in nature and fubftance; but of them in thofe things which carry in them an evidence of diftinction between them. Thus Chrift is faid. to be the Son, by whom God hath, in these last days, fpoke unto us; and the heir, who is fo by his appointment; and by whom he made the worlds: He is the brightness of his glory. And fo, though he is of the fame nature with him, yet is he diftinct from him, as the fun and its beams; and is alfo the image of his perfon; and fo diftinct from him, as the image is from the perfon, of whom it is the image. Not that Chrift is the image of his Father's perfonality; for then, as the Father begat, which is his diftinctive perfonal character, so must the Son. I distinguish between perfonality and person: perfonality is the bare mode of fubfifting; a Person, befides that connotates


w Τὸ ἀγέννητον καὶ γεννητὶν καὶ ἐκπορευθὸν, ἐκ ἐσίας δηλωτικά, σημαντικὰ δὲ τῶν ὑποφάσεων. Julin. expofit. fidei, p. 374. Edit. Parif. "Ενα τοίνυν Θεὸν προσῆκεν ὁμολογεῖν ἐν παλεὶ, καὶ υἱῶ, καὶ walgi, xai ἁγίω πνεύματι γνωριζόμενον· ᾗ μὲν πατήρ, καὶ υἱός, καὶ πνεῦμα ἅγιος τῆς μιᾶς θεότητος τὰς ὑποςάσεις γνωρίζοντας· ἦ δέ Θεὸς, τὸ κατ ̓ ἐσίαν κοινὸν τῶν ὑποςάσεων νοῦντας. Idem, p. 379. Vide etiam Quæft. & Refponf. ad Orthodox. Quæft. 17, & 129.

* Ει δέ τίς ἐκ τέτων περισπαθήσεται, μήπη αυτομολῶμεν πρὸς τὰς ἀναιρῶντας δύο εἶναι ὑποφάσεις, πατέρα καὶ ὑἱὸν, ἐπιςησάτω τὸς ἦν δὲ πάντων τῶν πιςευσάντων ἡ καρδία καὶ ἡ ψυχὴ μία, ἵνα θεωρήση τὸ ἐγὼ καὶ ὁ πατὴρ ἕν ἐσμεν. Origen. contr. Celfum, 1. 8.

y Unde etiam dicimus unam effe vola, vel golwow, id eft, effentiam vel fubfiftentiam deitatis ; fed tres sous, id eft, tres fubftantias. Et quidem, fecundum hunc modum, dixere unam Trinitatis effentiam, tres fubftantias, trefque perfonas. Boetius de perfona & natura c. 3.

z In loc.

« PreviousContinue »