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principles of exegesis, strictly do support the doctrine ; to the exclusion of those which have been unwarrantably adduced in its defence. The latter, it is clear, can have no other tendency when thus adduced, than to weaken the evidence on which the doctrine rests, in the view of all, at least, who have no firm persuasion of its truth. In illustration of this remark, it is only necessary to refer to one of these passages; viz. Gen. xix. 24. 66 Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah, brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven.” Here it has been said we have two Jehovahs expressly mentioned—“ Jehovah rained from Jehovah;” but besides the unscripturalness of the phrase, “two Jehovahs,” it being expressly and uniformly taught in the Bible that there is but one Jehovah, the conclusion is overthrown by the simple grammatical fact, that in the Hebrew, as well as in the other oriental languages, the noun is frequently used instead of the pronoun. Thus Gen. ï. 3. “ And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it ; because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made." On the principle of the above interpretation, we should maintain, what otherwise might be accounted orthodox doctrine, that it was God the Son who created, and God the Father who blessed, the world. Similar instances may be seen by referring to Gen. xvi. 16; Exod. xvi. 7 ; Josh. ix. 21, and in many other places. It is not therefore without cause that Calvin on the passage, says,
“ Quod veteres Christi divinitatem hoc testimonio probare conati sunt, minime firmum est; ac sine causa, meo judicio, tumultuantur, qui acrius Judæos exagitant, quia non admittant tale probationis genus*.”
1. Gen. i. 1. It must ever be accounted a remarkable circumstance, that on opening the volume which every where inculcates and maintains the doctrine of the divine unity, the first name under which the Supreme Being is introduced to our notice, is a plural noun. This name, buth Elohim, is the regular plural of mbwe Eloah, which is also frequently applied in the singular to Jehovah; and this not merely in the later books of the Old Testament, but upwards of 40 times in that of Job, and in Deuteronomy, the Psalms, Proverbs, and Isaiah. The plural form, however, is the most usual appellation throughout the Old Testament, occurring upwards of 2,500 times; though, with very few exceptions, it is construed (when thus applied) with singular
* For the sake of our unlettered readers we may state that the substance of this quotation is, that Calvin “ considers the argument deduced by the ancients from this passage in favour of the divinity of Christ to be possessed of little weight or force; and in his opinion, those persons do greatly clamour without a cause, who bitterly criminate the Jews for not admitting the validity of this sort of proof.” It were well, if in all important cases, our correspondents translated for themselves, and so pleased their own taste.--Ep.
verbs, participles, and adjectives. The words, Gen. i. 1, are but na, Bârâ Elohim, phraseology altogether peculiar, and which it is impossible to imitate in any other language. If we say
66 The Gods” or “ the Eloahs created,” we at once express what is unscriptural and polytheistic. We feel that there is a perfect incongruity in supposing that there can be more than one Eloah; yet nothing is more familiar to the reader of the Hebrew Scriptures than the application of its plural, Elohim, to the one Jehovah, without any idea inconsistent with His unity being suggested by its use. Nor is Elohim the only plural appellative
given to the Deity ; " Adonâi (the Sovereign Judge) and 7 Shaddai (the Omnipotent) are both obsolete plurals, and of frequent occurrence. The following are also all in the plural form d'opp Kedoshim, (the Holy One,) Josh. xxiv. 19; Prov. ix. 10, xxx. 3; Hos. xii. 1 : 0 Asi, (my Maker,) Job xxxv. 10: Troy Aséch (thy Maker,) Is. liv. 5: and yoy Asain, (his Maker,) Ps. cxlix. 2: a Borech, (thy Creator,) Eccls. xii
. 1, and was Elonin, (Most High,) Dan. vii
. 22, 25. An attempt has been made by the Rabbins to account for this singular construction, by a rule according to which“ nouns of dignity or dominion are put in the plural, though denoting only a singular object,” and from them many of our most celebrated Hebräists have adopted their “ pluralis excellentiæ.” But it seems unaccountable why, on this principle, no such peculiarity occurs in the use of to Melech, (a king,) 10 Sar, (a Prince,) and other names of dignity in the Old Testament. It cannot be said, that it is particularly used in reference to the Divine Being, to express His infinite dignity and excellence, for how frequently is not Melech applied to Jehovah, yet invariably in the singular? Considering the fact that the Jews, being surrounded by idolators, and exposed to the adoption of polytheistic ideas, required to be particularly guarded against any thing that might give the least occasion to produce or foster such ideas ; it does seem unaccountable, that a plural form should be so prominently and commonly used to designate the Deity, and that too from choice, not of necessity, if there was not some particular instruction designed to be conveyed by it. That plurality, in some sense, was the idea conveyed by it, is admitted by some of the earlier Jewish writers themselves. Thus, in the very ancient book called Zohar, the author, speaking of the word Elohim, observes, “ The mystery of the word is this, there are three degrees, and every one of these degrees subsists by itself, and yet all of them are one, and knit together in one, nor can one be separated from the other.” Zohar in Levit. And again: “ There are three degrees, with respect to this high mystery, in the beginning out 22." In Deut. vi. 4.
Many learned Trinitarians, among whom Calvin, have given it as their opinion that the doctrine of the Trinity does not derive any support from such plural phraseology. But most of their reasons have been directed against the hypothesis, that it furnishes a direct and independent argument. The total amount of evidence which it exhibits is a strong presumption, that in the one Godhead, there is a certain plurality; though what that plurality is, it does not evince. ל.
2. The same plurality is further proved, from the peculiar expressions employed by Jehovah when speaking of Himself. Thus, Gen. i. 26, “ And Elohim said, Let US make man, in OUR image, after OUR likeness." Ch. iii. 22. " And the Lord God (Jeho vah Elohim) said, Behold, the man is become as ONE of US, &c." C. i. 7. “ And Jehovah said, Let US go down, and there let US confound their language, &c." Is. vi. 8. " Also I heard the voice of the Lord (Adonai) saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for US?” Such language, to say the least, seems very strange, if no plurality exists in the divine essence.
That a plurality is indicated by its use, was the belief of the ancient Christians, as one of the early fathers in remarking on the first of these passages has expressly affirmed: “ This is the language of God to His WORD and only Begotten, as all the faithful believe.” Epiphan. Hæres. xxiii. n. 2. And that the language of these passages was felt by the Jews, unavoidably to suggest the idea of plurality in the Godhead, is evident from the ridiculous and puerile methods to which they have had recourse, in order to nullify the evidence of a trinity which Christians drew from it. To evade the force of Gen. i. 26, they maintain that God is here addressing the Angels : but as there is not the slightest shadow of a proof for such an assertion, we may place it on a footing with another made by Rabbi Moses Gerundensis, viz. that “the Creator is addressing the Earth, and calling upon her to furnish her portion, (the body, or earthy part of man,) and He would furnish His portion, the soul, or spiritual part !" Another method of interpretation to which recourse has been had, to get rid of the force of this plural form, was proposed by Aben Ezra, and has generally been adopted by modern Socini
It is the grammatical hypothesis of a plural of majesty. But, besides the fact that we meet with no instance of kings or great men employing such forms in early times*, no king could make use of such language as that occurring in Gen. iii
. 22, One of US, except he meant to imply an actual plurality of kings like himself ; he might say WE and US, as modern princes do, but the phrase in question is utterly destitute of meaning, if not more than one person be supposed. The above instances present forms of speech
* There is not one example of this style in the Hebrew records. It occurs first in the Chaldee, and then only in Ezra iv. 18, vii. 24, and Dan. ii. 36. Consult Gen. xli. 41, 44; Ezra vi. 8; 2 Chron. xxxvi. 23 ; Is. xxxvi. 16, 17; Dan. iii. 29, iv. 1, 2, &c.
which no criticism has yet been able to resolve into mere idioms, and which only the doctrine of a plurality of persons in the Godhead can satisfactorily explain.
II. Passages in which not only is a plurality taught, but this plurality is restricted to a trinity.
Here again it is necessary to discriminate between passages which clearly and expressly teach the doctrine, and such as from accidental circumstances only appear to do so. To the latter class must probably be referred such as the following: Num. vi. 24, 25, 26; Is. vi. 3, ch. xxxii. 22; Rev. iv. 8, &c. The repetition of the noun or adjective in these cases seems only intended to give emphasis to the passage; and in that of “ Holy, Holy, Holy,” it is clearly a superlative. The words, “ And the Lord God and His Spirit hath sent me,” Is. xlviii. 16, are not spoken in the person of the Messiah, but of the prophet, as Luther, Calvin, and others have shown. Haggai ii. 7, supposing nmn Hemědath (the Desire), which is a feminine noun, to denote the Messiah, it is not affirmed that He is a divine person, nor is He spoken of as one of the three divine subsistences, which is the thing to be proved.
But while these and some other parts of Scripture are at least doubtful in reference to this subject, there are others in which the doctrine of a divine Trinity is clearly taught.
1 1. Of these, none is more explicit or more satisfactory than the baptismal formula prescribed by our Lord in the commission which He gave to His Apostles, and which is to be regarded as the divinely authorized inscription over the entrance into His kingdom, Mat
. xxvii. 19. “Go, and disciple all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." — Here it is incontrovertibly taught, that there is by way of eminence and distinction, a Father, a Šon, and a Holy Spirit, to worship, serve, and obey whom every Christian is bound by the solemn rite of baptism. "The word voua (name), when construed with the genitive of another noun, often forms with it a periphrasis for the person ; so that, “to be baptized into the name is to be baptized with a view to the worship and service of that Divine Being who has revealed Himself as distinctly subsisting under the persons of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Nothing, indeed, is more common in Scripture, than the use of the word name in connexion with God, to denote God Himself, or the Divine Character, by which is meant that assemblage of excellences and perfections, without which we cannot suppose it possible for Him to exist. Thus also Mat. x. 40, 41, 42, “ in the name of a prophet—of a righteous man—and of a disciple,” means, with a view to them as such.
Some have had the audacity to deny the genuineness of this verse, (Mat. xxviii. 19) but contrary to all critical evidence, as the present Socinians themselves allow, To elude its force, some
have maintained that baptism was not designed to be a perpetual ordinance, while others endeavor to get rid of the formula, on the ground, that in all the accounts of baptism which we afterwards meet with in the New Testament, mention is made only of “the name of Jesus” or of Christ." This argument, however, goes for nothing: for it must be recollected, that the instances referred to are those of Jews, who had already admitted the existence of God as Father and Spirit, but who then first professed their faith in the Son. The heathen, (ta corn) on the other hand, were totally ignorant both of the existence of the one Jehovah, and of the personal distinctions which, in His revelation of Himself, He has attached to His mode of existence.
2. The Apostolic benediction furnishes another plain and evident proof of à Trinity in the Godhead, 2 Cor. xii. 14, “ The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all.” In this passage, the same Three who were represented in the former as jointly the object of a solemn and religious act, are exhibited as equally the source of favor and happiness. The Father and the Son being here mentioned as distinct persons, the analogy which the last clause bears to each of the two preceding, naturally obliges us, (if we would preserve consistency of interpretation,) to understand the Holy Spirit likewise as a person, and not as a mere quality. How unsatisfactory the note of the Socinian New Testament, “ Ít is improper to use this text as a form of benediction in public assemblies, because it is improper to express a wish for a participation of those spiritual gifts which were peculiar to the Apostolic age, and which have been since withdrawn !" Query: Is it improper to express a wish for the favor of the Lord Jesus Christ, as here placed upon an equal footing with the love of God?
3. “And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water : and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: and, lo, a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Mat. ii. 16, 17. These verses exhibit the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, distinctly to the view of the reader. 4.
“ And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever ; even the Spirit of Truth,” &c. John xiv. 16, 17.' “ But the Comforter, who is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father shall send in my name, He shall teach you all things,” &c. v. 26. « But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, who proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of me?" Ch. xv. 26. “ If I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto