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gotten by himself; and that the Spirit does not proceed from the Father, but from himself.” Again Calvin makes this remark. " Moses uses the word ELOHIM which is of the plural number. From which it is usual to infer, that there are three persons in the godhead. But this proof of so important a doctrine appears to -me by no means solid, and therefore, I will not insist upon this word. But rather incline to warn my readers, against violent interpretations of this kind."*
Gen. i. 2, 3. "The spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, let there be light, and there was light.' This passage has been sometimes used to prove, that the eternal Word or Son, (as Trinitarians speak) and the Holy Spirit, were equally concerned with the Father, in the creation of the world. But this is a far fetched and strained interpretation. For the spirit or breath of God moving or brooding upon the waters, appears here, plainly to denote, that energy and influence of the Supreme Being, which was exerted in the production and formation of the world : and the Chaldee interpreter Onkelos renders it ventum Dei, the wind of God. The expression God said, signifies nothing more, but the divine volition or command, which accompanied by his power, produced all the different parts of nature.
Gen. i. 26. • And God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness. Gen. iii. 7. And the Lord God said, behold, the man is become as one of us to know good and evil.' Gen. xi. 7. 'Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.' Isaiah vi. 8. • Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, whom shall I send, and who will go for us ?' In our first discourse (p. 9, 10, to which we entreat the reader to turn) we obviated any objections
* « Putant illi se testimonium habere adversus Arianos, ad probandum Filii et spiritus divinitatem; interea involvunt se in errorem Sabelli. Quia postea subjicit Moses, ELOHIM locutum esse. Et Spiritum ELOHIM incubuisse aquis
. Si tres personas notari placet, nulla erit carum distinctio. Sequitur enim et Filium a se genitum ; et Spiritum non esse Patris, sed sui ipsius.
" Habetur apud Mosen ELOHIM, nomen pluralis numeri.-Unde colligere solent hic, in Deo notari tres personas. Sed quia parum solida mihi videtur tantæ rei probatio, ego in voce non insistam. Quin potius monendi sunt lectores, at sibi a violetttis cjusmodi glossis caveant." -Calvin.
that might be raised from these places; but it may be pro. per here to add the following remarks. Our Lord Jesus Christ himself, whom our adversaries dare not deny to have been one person, speaks in the plural, John iii. 11.
Verily verily, I say unto thee, we speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen, and ye receive not our wit. ness.' St. Paul also, who was undoubtedly ore person, and not more, speaks also in the plural frequently in his Epis. tles; and particularly so in the two following passages, 2 Cor. x. 2. I think to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though 'we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: the weapons of our warfare are noi carnal, &c.' Ver. 10,11.
For his letters (say they) are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptiblė. Let such a one think this, that such as we are in word by letters, when we are absent, such will we be also in deed, when we are present, &c.' Instances of the like form of speech occur in the Old Testament. 2 Sam.'xvi. 20.
Then said Absalom to Ahitophel, give counsel' among what we shall do.' Cant. i. 4. Draw me, we will run after thee.' Dan. ii. 36. "This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.' In. stances of the plural being used for the singular might also be produced from the best writers ancient and modern. From these quotations, as well as from other considerations, it appears how contemptibly weak it is in some Trinitari. ans, to infer a plurality of persons in the Deity, from his being described as speaking in the plural, in a few places of scripture, in defiance of thousands of
pas. sages wherein he speaks in the singular. The former may be easily accounted for, upon the system that God is one person : bnt no good reason can be assigned for the latter, on the supposition of a plurality of divine persons. The learned Grotius remarks on Gen. i. 26. “ It is the custom of the Hebrews to speak of God as a king. Kings are guided by the advice of their principal subjects in important matters. 1 Kings xii. 6. 2 Chron, X. 9. So is God represented, 1 Kings xxii. 19, 20."* Calvin observes on
*Gen, i, 26. (Faciamus) “ Mos est Hebreis de Deo, ut de Regi loqui. Reges res magnas agunt de concilio primorum, 1 Reg. xii, 6. 2 Paral... 9. Sic it Deus. 1 Reg. xxii, 19, 20."-Grotius.
Gen. ii. 22. “Whereas, many Christians from this place, draw the doctrine of a Trinity of persons in the Deity ; I fear their argument is not solid.” •
Gen. xvi. 13. And she (Hagar) called the name of the Lord that spake to her, thou God seest me, &c.'
Gen. xviii. 2. And the Lord appeared unto Abraham in the plains of Mamre; and he sat in the tent door in the hcat of the day. And he lift up his eyes and looked, and lo three men stood by him, &c. Ver. 13. And the Lord (Heb. Jehovah) said unto Abraham, &c.' Gen. xxxii. 24.
And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him, until the breaking of the day. Ver. 30. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel ; for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.' Gen. XXXT. 1.' And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there; and make thee an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fileddest from the face of Esau thy brother.' Gen. xlviii. 16.
Gen. xlviii. 16. The angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads.? Judges vi. 12. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, the Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of va lour, &c. Judges xiii. 3.' And the angel of the Lord appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold thou art barren and bearest not; but thou shalt conceive and bear a son.'' Ver. 22. "And Manoah said unto his wife, we shall surely die, because we have seen God.'
We have put all these places together, as one reply will be sufficient for them all. Because Almighty God spoke to Hagar, Abraham, Jacob, Gideon, and Manoah, by the ministry of angels, who are called sometimes God, and at other times Jehovah, because, they represented his person, and acted in his name and by his authority, therefore some patrons of the doctrine of the Trinity have asserted, that one of these angels was really God equal with the Father, or the person of our Saviour, prior to the incarnation. But there is no foundation in scripture for this conjecture. It is no where said that our Saviour appeared to mankind, under the patriarchal or Jewish dispensations. On the contrary, this notion is rather contradicted by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, chap. i. 1.
*" Quod autem eliciunt ex hoc loco Christiani doctrinam de tribus in Deo personis, vereor ne satis firmum sit argumentum.”—Calvin.
who at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spake unto us by his son:' which seems to imply, that he had not spoken to mankind before by him. Whereas the notion entertained by some of our opponents, supposes, that he had frequently been sent on messages to mankind; and had conversed with the patriarchs and Jews face to face. Again, the author of the same Epistle to the Hebrews, as an encouragement to the virtue of hospitality observes, chap. xii. 2. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers : for thereby some have entertained angels unawares :' which shews that the three men who appeared unto Abra. ham, one of whom assumed the character of Jehovah, were considered by the author of this Epistle in no other light, than as messengers of the Supreme Being For had one of these angels been God himself, he might have used a far stronger argument for the exercise of hospitality. He might have said that some had not only entertained angels, but even the Supreme Being unawares. But it deserves to be taken notice of here, that the term angel in scripture does not always denote an intellectual being, distinct from Almighty God. An excellent and valuable writer observes as follows. 66 Malach, an angel, signifies a messenger, an executor of some command or purpose. The common meaning of the word, and a very just one, is, when it is put for one of those higher order of beings, whom the scriptures speak of as employed by God on messages to man. So Gabriel was sent (Dan. ix. 21.) to Daniel ; to Zacharias, and Mary, Luke i. 19, 26. Angels were sent to the shepherds, Luke ii. 13. to the Apostles, Acts i. 10. But this term angel, has another signification in the scriptures ; and does by no means al. ways stand for a spiritual intelligent agent, though by a vulgar error, it is almost universally so understood. That most learned Jew, Maimonides makes this observation. ** You know that MALACH, angel, signifies an ambassador, messenger. An angel also is whatever executes an order or
“ Nosti quod MALACH, angelus, significet legatum nuncium. Et quivis qui mandatum aliquod expedit; est angelus; ita ut de motu animalium irrationalium quoque dicatur, illum fieri per manum angeli, quando ille motus est ad intentionem Creatoris, qui indidit eis facultatem, qua illo motu movere possunt. Sic dicitur, Deus meus misit
commission: so that it is applicable to the movements of brute creatures, and they are produced by the hand of an angel, when they follow the will of the Creator who puts them in sach a disposition by which they are moved so and so to act. So it is said. Dan. vi. 22. My God hath sent his angel, and shut the lions mouths, that they have not hurt me.'— Nay the elements themselves are called an. gels; as Psal. civ. 4. "Who maketh winds his angels; and flaming fire his ministers.'* Another learned writer has the following remark on the subject of which we are speak. ing. The Shechinah, or material symbol of glory, and the oracle from thence, may be called the angel of the Lord, and it is actually so called in scripture. Thus the Shechinah which Moses saw in the fire in the bush, and the voice of the oracle which he heard fron thence, are called the angel of the Lord. And the Shechinah which conducted the Israelites in a pillar of cloud and fire is also called the angel of Jehovah. So that the appearance and voice of Jehovah in the midst of the fire, and the angel, which spake to Moses on Mount Sinai, are equivalent ex. pressions. And thus also in the language of the Chaldee paraphrase, the Shechinah of Juhovah the MIMRADE ADONAI (that is the word of the Lord), are both of them equivalent to the voice of Jehovah, or the voice of the an. gel of the presence, or the divine majesty and glory. This observation, which is not a bare conjecture of criticism but which is foundled on many concurrent and direct evi. dences, will, I conceive, take away the force of what is objected ; viz. that we must understand the appearance in the Shechinah, of some spiritual being representing God; because it is ascribed to angels, and the appearance itself, is often called in scripture the angel of Jehovah. For it appears, that the Shechinah, and the oracle themselves, may, in a very proper sense, be styled the angel of the Lord; though the true God himself was the only spirit or intelligent agent, who acted upon then, and manifested himself by them, as much as if they were acted upon by
angelum suum, et conclusit os leonum, et non perdiderunt me.'-Quin imo elementa ipsa vocantur angeli; ut,' qui facit angelos suos, ventos; ministros suos, ignem flammantem.""-Maim. More Nevochim, p. 200
* Mr. Lind ey's Sequel to his Apology. p. 314.