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and Holy Ghost, therefore, must be distinct persons. In this text, then, is clearly asserted, the doctrine of the Trinity in the unity of the Godhead.
“ The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the “ love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy “Ghost, be with you.” (2 Cor. xiii. 14.) Here is prayer addressed to three different persons, without the addition of any mark of inequality. The absence of that mark of inequality proves their distinct personality, and the circumstance of a prayer being offered to them, infers their divinity.
St. John, in addressing the Seven Churches, says: “ Grace and peace, from Him which is, “ which was, and which is to come; and from “the seven Spirits which are before his throne; “ and from Jesus Christ.” (Rev. i. 4.)
On this text we may observe, 1. By Seven Spirits, must be meant some person or persons, since he could not wish for blessings from an attribute. 2. The words must mean, therefore, either angels or the Holy Ghost. They cannot allude to angels, for their is no instance in all Scripture, of prayer being addressed to them ; and particularly in this book there are numerous authorities against such a practice. Besides, they surely would not be placed in order before Christ. 3. The Holy Ghost, therefore, is the person intended by the Seven Spirits, as fron him all the various gifts and spiritual operations
flowed upon the Church; and hence may be seen the reason of using the number seven, for it was in common use among the Jews, to denote perfection and variety. 4. His being placed before Christ is perfectly natural, on the supposition of their equality, and is moreover in unison with the Apostle's method, who was about to speak solely of our Saviour in the following period.
“ There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one.” 1. John. v. 7. This text, if genuine, is decisive. It has, however, been suspected as spurious.
2. This doctrine was received in the primitive Church.
We have the testimony of Tertulliana and Novatian, to the opinion of the Roman and Asiatic Churches; that of Irenæusc to the faith of the Asiatic and Gallican Churches; and as to
* Adv. Praxeam. c. 31. Tertullian was a presbyter of the Church at Carthage. He wrote an apology for the Christians, in consequence of the persecutions which took place in the reign of Severus. See Lardner's Works, v. 2. p. 250. Ed. Lond. 1788.
• De Trinit passim. Novatian was a presbyter of the Church of Rome, and founder of a sect called Novatians. See Lardner's Works, v. 3. p. 363.
C Adv. Hæres. 1. 1. c. 19. and l. 4. c. 37. Irenæus was Bishop of Lyons, and preached the Gospel among the Gauls. See Cave's Lives of Prim. Fath. and Lardner's Works, v. 2. p. 87.
the Greek Church, the excommunication of Paul of Samosata, a shows their preciseness in discountenancing any doctrine derogatory to the dignity of the persons in the Trinity.
It should be observed, that this testimony with respect to the doctrine of the Trinity, refers to those ages, in which there was no Christian Emperor to support it by his authority, nor any general Council to establish it by their consent; for though the Council of Nice made it a part of the creed to be received by the universal Church, yet this declaration merely shewed what had been the faith of the Church before that time, but was not the occasion of introducing any strange opinions.
a Paul was Bishop of Antioch. He held that the Son and Holy Ghost were mere energies or powers existing in God. He was degraded from his rank in a Council summoned at Antioch, in the year 269. See Mosheim's History, v. 1. cent. 3. p. 2. c. 5. sec. 15.
b At this Council, the different prelates who composed it presented their respective creeds for its consideration. That which was afterwards approved, was offered by Eusebius, Bishop of Cæsarea ; and it is observable, that in the preamble, he states, that the doctrines contained in it had been continually received in his diocese, before his time. Theod. Hist. 1. 1. c. 12.
OF THE WORD, OR SON OF GOD, WHICH
WAS MADE VERY MAN.
THE SON, WHICH IS THE WORD OF THE FATHER, BE
GOTTEN FROM EVERLASTING OF THE FATHER, THE
BE DIVIDED, WHEREOF IS ONE CHRIST, VERY GOD AND VERY MAN, WHO TRULY SUFFERED, WAS DEAD AND BURIED, TO
RECONCILE HIS FATHER TO US, AND TO BE A SACRI-
ACTUAL SINS OF MEN.
This article continues the proof of the latter part of the preceding, and is descriptive of the person of the Son, or Word, of the Father. It
That the Son of God is the same person with him who is called the Word of God, may be thus shown: Christ is called the Word. In John i. 1. “ The word was God;" the Apostle then proceeds to declare the incarnation of the Word : “ The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.”—(v. 14.) Of this incarnate Word
may be considered as consisting of two parts, which contain two grand doctrines:
I. His divinity, and
I. With respect to his divinity, the article declares, that“ he is begotten from everlasting “ of the Father, the very and eternal God, of
substance with the Father.” On these words it may be observed, that Christ is frequently called “ the Son,” and “ the only begotten Son of God," in Scripture. These names may be ascribed to him in two senses: Ist. As man ; the miraculous conception of the Virgin Mary by the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost, being instead of a natural begetting, he may in that respect be called the Son of God. 2d. As to his divine nature, in which
Jolin the Baptist is said to have been witoess.--(v. 15.) But in v. 30, Christ is said to be the person who was the subject of John's testimony. Christ, therefore, is the Word of God. Again, we shall see that Christ is called the Son of God; therefore, the Son is the Word of the Father. In opposition to this conclusion it has been said, that the Word mentioned in John i. I, is not a person ; that it means no more than an attribute subsisting in God. But such an assertion makes the language of the Apostle devoid of
For the proposition, “ An attribute is God," is a contradiction in terms.
a « The Holy Ghost shall come opon thee; therefore that holy thing wbich shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke i, 35.) The word therefore seems to lead to the conclasion in the text.