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As this work is particularly addressed to the consideration of the Clergy, and the quotations of Scripture will be numerous, I shall not think it necessary to point out the chapter and verse of each, as those who are conversant with Scripture will easily refer to them either by memory or the help of a Concordance.
The Unity of the Godhead is beyond controversy : it also appears that there is but one Spirit, and one Hypostasis or Person in the New Testament. We are not therefore authorised to say that there are three Persons in the Godhead. If we say there are three Persons, we thereby make them distinct, and can scarcely escape the charge of holding three Spirits or tritheism, but in truth there is but one Spirit. God is a Spirit, and the Lord is ihat Spirit, consequently they are one and the same. It is the Father's own Spirit, as we read in Scripture, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all Flesh; this spirit was dwelling and still dwells in his Son our Lord Jesus Christ. He had not a distinct Spirit, for in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead, and the Spirit is not given by measure unto him, and he himself teaches us, the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. He is called by Isaiah, “the mighty God, the everlasting Father;" and in the Revelations we read; “I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”. In the Epistle to the Hebrews he is represented as “the brightness of God's Glory, and the express Image of his Person;" and St. Paul, in his Epistle to Titus, writes "the appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” In the Book of Genesis God is represented saying, “
my Spirit shall not always strive with Man :" in Isaiah we find,
6 God and his Spirit hath sent me:" in the Book of Job it is written, “ by his Spirit he hath garnished the Heavens:" In the fourth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles this Prayer is recorded, “ Lord, thou art God, which hast made Heaven and Earth, and the Sea, and all that in them is : who by the Mouth of thy Servant David hast said, why did the Heathen rage, and the People imagine vain things ?” and no difference here appeareth between the Father and the Prophetic Spirit. St. Paul says, “ What man knoweth the things of man, save the Spirit of man that is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” Man and his Spirit are not two but one: 'God and his Spirit are likewise one. We do not learn from the Bible that there are three Persons in the Godhead, nor did the Apostles teach the Doctrine. St. Peter merely said unto those that were convinced of the truth of Christianity; “repent, and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of Sins, and ye shall receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost.” St. Paul questions the Disciples at Ephesus in these Words, “ have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed ? and they said unto him, we have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.” And he said unto them, “unto what then were ye baptized ? and they said, unto John's Baptismi' Then said Paul, “ John yerily baptized with the Baptism of Repentance, saying unto the People that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them.” It is remarkable that nothing concerning a Trinity of Persons is mentioned in this,
place, although the story is related so circumstantially ; moreover the Doctrine could not have been known to the Jews, otherwise John the Baptist would have taught it, and then it could not have been unknown to these Disciples, who had not so much as heard, whether there be any Holy Ghost.' In his Epistle to the Romans St. Paul saith : “ if thou shalt confess with thy inouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in the heart that God hath' raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Having thus examined the Scripture, Iam inclined to believe that there is no real difference between the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost in the Divine Nature ; 'but that the three names of God allude to the three great powers and dipensations of the Father, in his Creation, Redemption, and Sanctifịcation of Mankind : and that we are baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, that we may thereby acknowledge the three glorious and gracious manifestations of the Power and Mercy of the Father, in these his three stupendous and marvellous Works. It is not at all clear that Moses was instructed in the Doctrine of the Trinity, when he heard God saying unto him, “ I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,” for St. Peter in the Acts of the Apostles quotes this passage, and calls that God, the God of their Fathers; and the term used for God is in the singu. lar number: nor is it by any means certain that Isaiah, who saw Christ's Glory, and spake of him, when he heard the Seraphim crying “ Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts,” believed in the Trinity. Both these inspired writers always inculcate the Unity of the Gods head, and assert that there is but one God, nor can I believe that they entertained such a notion, as 'a Trinity
of Persons in the Divine Nature, but believed the premises of the Heavenly Father, their Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. In the twelfth Chapter of St. Mark's Gospel, which I would seriously recommend to the perusal of all, who enter upon this question, our Saviour himself teaches us, “ Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord.” And the Scribe in a few verses after answers him : “Well, Master, thou hast said the truth : for there is one God, and there is none other but he : and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices." And when Jesus saw. that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, “thou art not far from the Kingdom of God.” I do not think that the Jews understood the Plural name of God in their Scriptures as conveying the idea of three Persons in one Godhead, since we find the corresponding word in the Septuagint, and, what is more to our purpose, in the New Testament, in the singular number. If any particular meaning was intended to be conveyed by it, it is more probable thay there was an allusion to the Father's three gracious Manifestations of his Mercy to mankind, or else it included in the work of the Creation the Father, and the Word, in whose image man is created. When we reflect that the Gospel is an improvement upon
the law, that the New Testament is explanatory of all things, which were obscurely shadowed in the Old Testament, and that our Saviour came to teach a perfect religion, we must conclude that the Doctrine of the Trinity is incorrect, since neither the translation of the Hebrew plural noun, nor the preaching of our blessed Saviour, nor the general Doctrine of the New Testament are in its Favour,
The Doctrine of the Trinity cannot, I believe, be recon+ ciled to the Jewish opinions of the Deity, and the Proceşsion of the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son divides the Eastern and Western Churches; it may therefore be of importance to inquire into these Subjects, arid ascertain on what foundation they rest. If they are not the Doctrines of the Bible, their removal from the Creeds of Christians may facilitate the Union of the Greek and Latin Churches, and encourage the Jews to turn their Eyes to the Gospel of the Messiah, and so hasten that glorious and long wished for period, whep we shall be all one Fold under one Shepherd, Jesus Christ our Blessed Lord and Saviour, and with one heart and mouth glorify our Father, which is in Heaven.
St. Peter when he was sent to Cornelius by the Holy Ghost, informed his hearers, that“God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with Power : who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the Devil'; for God was with him;" and St. Paul has written, “ God was manifest in the Flesh ;" but they do not inform us that the Divinity of the Son is distinct from the Divinity of the Father. Indeed we. rather infer the contrary from the exclamation of Jesus on the Cross, “my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" and his assertion after his resurrection, “I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and unto my God and your God.”. We conclude that the Spirit of the Father was in our Lord Jesus Christ, for he himself, in St. John's Gospel, attributed all his power and mighty works to the Father, “I can of mine ownself do nothing; and, the Father, which dwelleth in me, he doeth