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persons are three distinct minds and substances, which are one by a mutual consciousness, or a mutual in-existence. But neither mutual consciousness, nor mutual in-existence, will make three distinct minds and substances to be one God. For, if we could suppose three men to know one another's thoughts perfectly ; yet while each man retained the faculty of thinking for himself; and could communi. cate his ideas to the other two, as well as receive theirs; all the three would be still separate and distinct beings; and could with no propriety be affirmed to be one being. The same reasoning will apply to the deity. And as to mutual in-being or in-existence, if this in-existence extends so far as to blend, mingle, or confound the essence, or subsistencies, of the three supposed divine persons together, then the distinction of persons will be entirely lost; and the mind will discern nothing but unity alone. Or, on the other hand, if each person remains distinct and separate notwithstanding this in-existence, and retains all his proper powers and attributes, they will still be different beings, and distinct agents. They may inderd be called three united Gods: but can never truly be affirmed to be one God. Other Trinitarians reject this notion of three dis. tinct minds and substances, and pronounce it heretical, and contend for a Trinity of modes, a Trinity of attributes, characters, respects, relations, attitudes, somewhats, &c, &c. But this is in effect to give up the Trinity, and has been justly called Sabellianism, or disguised Unitarianism. It is retaining the language of pretended orthodoxy, and explaining away the spirit of it.
I am almost ashamed to mention the strange similitudes and comparisons, to which some Trinitarians have descended, in endeavouring to illustrate their principles. They have com. pared their Trinity in unity, to a triangle, a cube, to the three principal faculties of the human mind, understanding, memory, and will, and to many other things, too tedious and trivial to be recapitulated in this place. Some have asserted, that society was necessary to the felicity of the divine being, as if God could not be completely happy, without the company of other beings like himself. But what low ideas must these persons have of the all-perfect and self-sufficient JEHOVAH, who is infinitely removed from all the weaknesses and imperfections to which human
nature is subjected, and which render the mutual inter. course and society of friends, a principal ingredient in human happiness.
I have now finished all that I intended to say upon the first proposition. In my next discourse, I shall enter upon the consideration of the second, which was to prove from the Scriptures, that Jesus Christ is not the most high God, but a being inferior to him, dependent upon him, and acting by his command and authority; or in other words, his Son, Servant, and Messenger, and by the Father's appoint: ment the Messiah, or only Mediator between God and Man. In the mean time, my brethren, let us devoutly reverence, and faithfully serve this one living and true God, whosé sole. existence as such, is clearly demonstrable both from reason and scripture. Let us endeavour to live and act as seeing him who is invisible, and in the certain expectation of that awful and important day, when he shall judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained, whereof he hath given to all men assurance, in that he: hath raised him from the dead. To this one God and : Father of all, who is above all, through all, and in us all, be glory by Christ Jesus for ever, Amen.
JOHN xvii. 3. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.
we entered upon the consideration of these words, we proposed to make them the ground work and basis of our reasoning: and by an appeal to the scriptures at large, to endeavour, to enforce and establish the fol. lowing propositions.
First, that there is one person, or intelligent agent, who alone is God, supreme, almighty, and eternal : and that this one person is the Father, or as he is sometimes called in scripture, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God.'
Secondly, that Jesus Christ is not the most high God: but a being inferior to him, dependent upon him, and acting by his command and authority : or in other words his Son, Servant, and Messenger ; and by the Father's appointment, the, Messiah, or only Mediator between God and man. That they might know Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.'
And thirdly and lastly, to consider and answer the objections, that the Trinitarians make to our hypothesis, and urge in support of their own, founded on various places both of the Old and New Testament.
The first of these propositions we discussed pretty fully and copiously ; in our three preceding discourses on this subject : and proved its truth and certainty, by the ex. press testimony of many passages of scripture; and by
some conclusive arguments and considerations suggested by: the nature of things, and the genuiñe dictates of right rea
We enter to day upon the consideration of the se. cond proposition, viz. That Jesus Christ is not the most high God; but a being inferior to him, dependent upon him, and acting by his command and authority: or in other words his Son, Servant, and Messenger ; and by the Father's appointment, the Messiah, or only Mediator between God and man. That they might know Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.'
The knowledge of Jesus Christ is made necessary to life eternal; as well as the knowledge of the only true God the Father who sent him. Because, Jesus is the great messenger and ambassador of the Father, the great mediam of the divine communications with mankind ; the way, the truth, and the life, by whom we have access to the God and Father of all. It is necessary to know the sent, as well as the sender; the ambassador, and he who appoints and authorizes him to act : but we must take care at the same time, not to confound the different and dis, tinct characters of each. We must honour the Sori, because he is sent, and because he bears the Father's com. mission, and acts in his name, and by his authority. But we must honour the Father, on account of his own inde. pendent and underived authority and excellence ; which render him superior to all other beings whatever.
Far be it from me to wish, to depreciate the character of Jesus, the on, Servant, and · Messenger, of the most high God': to make him less great, less venerable, less amiable, than he really is. Such an intention would be highly culpable in itself; and a very ungrateful retury, for that benevolence, tender regard, and deep concern, which that excellent person discovered for the best and most valuable interests of mankind. If we would speak of our Lord Jesus Christ justly, and truly, we must speak of him as he spoke of himself; and agreeably to the lan. guage of divine revelation. If we do this we can never err, but we may err, and that capitally, by following human standards and forms of speaking concerning him. Divine revelation being then the only certain criterion to direct us, we ought to try all our opinions by this infal. lible rule; and be ready to renounce even the most favour.
ite notions, when, after due examination and inquiry, they arc found to be inconsistent with the genuine sense of sacred scripture. Can any person think to please the meek and humble Jesus, by bestowing titles upon, and ascribing honours to him, which he never claimed? By raising him to a proper equality with that God and Father of all, to whom he always professed the most implicit sub. jection; and the most unreserved obedience. It can be no disparagement to any character, (however excellent and meritorious) to forbear ascribing to it, what does not properly belong to it. “ It is no detraction from the dignity of the highest peer of the realm, to say that he is not the king of Great Britain. Persons of just discernment and good sense amongst mankind, disdain to receive titles that do not belong to them. Far more may we suppose vur Lord Jesus Christ, to be superior to every thing of this kind."
When arrayed in heavenly glory he spoke to Saul of Tarsus, in his way to Damascus ; and, when Saul put the question to him. • Who art thou Lord ? He did 'not reply, I am God the Son, or, I am the second person of the Trinity equal with the first : but his answer was, "I am Jesus of Nazareth whom thou persecutest.' Besides, by ascribing titles and prerogatives to our Lord Jesus Christ, unauthorized by scripture, we dishonour his Father, and our Father, bis God, and our God. W dishonour the Father by giving away his peculiar glory to another, which he has declared he will not give : and we dishonour the Son by contradicting the testimony he has given both of his Father and of himself. He who refused the title, of GOOD MASTER, when on earth, can never be gratified with that of the moST HIGH GOD, he is heaven. If it be true, that he that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father who hath sent him ;' it must also be true, that he that honoureth not the Father who sent the Son, with that supreme and peculiar adoration which is due to the Father alone; honoureth not the Son, who came to declare and command it.
This being premised, we proceed without farther preamble, or apology, to the direct proof of our second proposition. And first. Jesus Christ is not nor cannot rationally, be supposed to be the most high God; or