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Q. 10. Is there a subordination among the Persons in the Trinity?
A. There is. The Scriptures represent the Holy Ghost as subordinate to the Father and the Son, and the Son as subordinate to the Father. But this is only a subordination of office, in reference to the different parts they take in the work of man's redemption. In their official capacity, the Son is obedient to the Father, and the Holy Ghost is obedient to the Father and the Son. This gives rise to all that is said in the Scriptures of the Holy Ghost, and much that is said of the Son, as unequal to the Father.(i)
Q. 11. Is the Son, the second Person in the Trinity, human as well as Divine!
A. He is. He possesses a true human body and soul, as well as a Divine nature. In Him, as a complex Person, the Divine and human natures are united-so united, that they cannot be divided, so as to make entirely distinct separate agents; and yet the Godhead and manhood are not one Person by the conversion, or the intermixture of the two natures. The union of the Divinity and humanity of Christ is such, that each nature retains its properties entire, and yet both together constitute the Person of Christ. As we speak of man, sometimes in relation to his soul, and sometimes in relation to his body, and sometimes in relation to both as united, so the Scriptures speak of Christ's Divinity and humanity, and of both as united; and they sometimes attribute to the one what belongs to the other. The person of Christ is truly God and truly man. When in the Scriptures He is called by Divine appellatives, it is in reference to His Divinity, and when he is called by human appellatives, it is in reference to His humanity. If Christ does not possess two natures, the human and Divine, the Bible is inex
Philip. ii 6. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.
(i) John xiv. 26. But the comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all thivgs, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. -John xv. 16. But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.- 1 John iv. 9. In this was manifested the love of God towards us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world that we might live through him.
plicable, and leads into the most awful and dangerous errors.()
Q. 12. How does it appear that Christ was really and properly man?
From the following considerations: 1. He was born of a woman; 2. He had a human body and soul, and was like other men, sin only excepted; 3. He was made under the law, moral and ceremonial, and perfectly obeyed it; 4. He increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man; 5. He hungered, thirsted, ate, drank, and conversed like other men; 6. He was subject to pain, weariness, and mortality, and finally died; and 7. He is many times expressly called man and the Son of man, by the Divine writers.(k)
(j) John i. 1, 14. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.Phil. ii. 6, 7. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man.—Col. ii. 9. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.-Matt. i. 23. Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which, being interpreted, is, God with us.—1 Tim. iii. 16. And without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.—John x. 33. The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy, and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.
(k) Gal. iv. 4. But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.-Heb. vi. 26. For such a high priest became us who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.-Phil. ii. 6. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.-Luke ii. 52. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
- Matt. iv. 2. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterwards an hungered.--Johu xix. 28. After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.—Mark ii. 16. And when the scribes and Phari. sees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? -John iv. 7. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.-Luke xxiv. 32. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures?—John iv. 6. Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.—Mark
Q. 13. Will Christ continue to be God and man in one Person forever?
A. He will. His manhood, however, will be in its glorified state. (1)
Q. 14. Is the doctrine of the Trinity to be viewed, in some respects, as inexplicable and incomprehensible!
A. It is to be regarded as profoundly mysterious and above reason; but not contrary to reason, or absurd, nor more mysterious or above reason than the very being, nature, and perfections of God. These are all inexplicable and incomprehensible by finite minds. It is not to be expected that the mode of the Divine existence should be level to the comprehension of finite capacities.(m)
Q. 15. Wherein does the mystery in reference to the Trinity exist?
A. It does not exist in the fact, that there are three Divine Persons in the Godhead, for this is plainly revealed; but in the manner in which the three Divine Persons subsist in the Divine essence, or in the Godhead.
Q. 16. Is the mysteriousness of the triune existence of God a reason for rejecting the doctrine? A. It is not.
If we may not believe any thing respecting God which we cannot comprehend, we may not believe His existence, or His perfections, or His works, or His ways; for they are all incomprehensible by us. Incomprehensibility is no good reason for unbelief. It is only absurdity or the contradiction of our senses, or the want of proper evidence, that can justify unbelief. It becomes us, short-sighted, fallible creatures, immersed in the darkness of the fall, to bow to the instructions of Heaven. If we do not, we must abide the doom of unbelievers.
xv. 37. And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.—1 Tim. ii. 5. For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.-John iii. 13. And no man hath ascended up to hea
en, but he that came down from heaven en the Son of man which is in heaven.
(2) Philip. iii. 20,21. For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
(m) 1 Tim. iii. 16. And without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen
Q. 17. Are those persons who worship Christ idolaters if He is not God?
A. They certainly are, and to as great a degree as the Papists, who worship the Virgin Mary and canonized Saints, or the Heathen, who worship departed heroes and graven images. No being but God is, or can be, a proper object of religious worship.(n)
Q. 18. Are the three Persons in the Godhead, distinctly, proper objects of religious worship? A. They are.
This appears from the fact, 1. That each Person is truly Divine, and 2. That worship is represented as paid to Them, distinctly, in the Scriptures. God should be worshipped according to His personal distinction, because in this mode of existence much of His essential and peculiar glory consists, as in this way He differs from all other beings, and claims a superiority to them;-and because to each Person we are indebted for the part They take in the accomplishment of the great work of human redemption.(o)
Q. 19. Is the doctrine of the Trinity of great importance?
A. It is; for it relates to, and has a vastly important bearing upon, the whole scheme of salvation. The Gospel is wholly built upon it. It is, therefore, the fundamental, and an essential, article of the Christian religion.
of angels, preached unto the Gentiles. believed on in the world, received up into glory.-Job xi. 17. Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?
(n) Exod. xx. 345. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.-Matt iv. 10. Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
(0) 2 Cor. xiii. 14. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. -1 Pet. i. 2. Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.
Purposes of God.
Q. 1. What is meant by the purposes of God? A. By His purposes is meant His eternal and immutable pleasure, will, or choice, concerning all creatures and events, or whatever comes to pass in time or eternity.
Q. 2. Do God's purposes respect particular parts of the system of beings and things separately; or the whole as connected together? A. God does not purpose by parts.
He does not purpose
effects without causes, ends without means, or volitions without motives. But his purposes extend to all things in the natural and moral worlds, as one great and harmonious whole.
Q. 3. What is meant by the purposes of God in relation to what is usually called Election?
A. It means, simply, His pleasure, will, or choice, in reference to the eternal salvation of a part of mankind, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth, in distinction from the remaining part, who by reason of their continuing in their own chosen ways of sin, and their voluntary rejection of the salvation, freely and sincerely offered to them in the Gospel, will be justly destroyed. Thuse who are saved are saved through holiness and faith; and those who are lost are lost through sin and unbelief. None are saved simply because they were elected; but in consequence of their embracing the Saviour, and conforming to the requisitions of the Gospel. None perish simply because they were not elected; but in consequence of their voluntarily persisting in sin, and rejecting the Saviour.
The wicked are punished on account of their sins, which render them deserving of punishment.
Q. 4. In reference to man's salvation, are the purposes of God conditional, or unconditional and absolute? or do they have any respect to the atonement of Christ, or good works in men?