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you ; and when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin," &c. “ All things that the Father hath are mine : therefore said I, that He (viz. the Spirit) shall take of mine, and show it unto you." Ch. xvi. 7, 8; 15. These passages teach the personal existence of the Father, the Son, and the Comforter, or Spirit of Truth; in other words, the Holy Spirit.
5. " I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” « When they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip,” &c. Acts viii. 37, 39. “ No man, speaking by the Spirit of God, calleth Jesus accursed ; and no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. Now, there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit ; and there are differences of administration, but the same Lord ; and there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God who worketh all in all.” 1 Cor. xii. 3, 4, 5, 6.
« And when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth His Son," &c. “ And because ye are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts,” &c. Gal. iv. 4, 6. In the last of these quotations, the Son is distinguished from the Father, as first sent by Him; and the Spirit both from the Father and the Son, as sent by the Father after He had sent the Son. “ There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling ; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all,” &c. Eph. iv. 4, 5, 6. In all the passages, there is a distinct recognition of Three personal subsistants, of whom, as we shall presently find, divine attributes are predicated; while neither in these, nor in any other, do we ever meet with a fourth thus invested with characters of so dignified and glorious a nature.
Some of your readers may feel a little surprised that the celebrated passage, 1 John v. 7, has not been adduced in proof of the doctrine of a Trinity in unity. It is well known, that for centuries, and throughout the greater part of Christendom, this passage has been, and still is by many regarded as the very rock on which the doctrine rests, the prime pillar and support by which it is upheld; and such indeed it would prove, could its genuineness be established. But it is not found in any Greek MS. written before the 15th century ; it is contained in no MSS. of any of the ancient versions, except the Latin, and in upwards of forty even of the oldest Latin MSS. it is wanting. It is not quoted by any of the Greek fathers, nor by any of the
Latin fathers, in the frequent controversies that were carried on with the early heretics. It is omitted, or marked spurious in the earliest and best critical editions of the Greek New Testament; and the Reformers, by whom the first European versions were made, either omitted it altogether, or inserted it within brackets, or in a different character, or a smaller type, thereby expressing their opinion of it as spurious, or at least doubtful.
Many specious arguments have been employed in defence of the passage, principally drawn from a supposed internal evidence, but the conclusion of Dr. Marsh seems irresistible. “ Internal evidence," he says, “ may show, that a passage is spurious, though external evidence is in its favor ; for instance, if it contain allusions to things which did not exist at the time of its reputed author: but no internal evidence can prove a passage to be genuine, where external evidence is decidedly against it. A spurious passage may be fitted to the context, as well as a genuine passage ; no arguments from internal evidence, therefore, however ingenious they may appear, can outweigh a mass of external evidence which applies to the case in question.” Mr. Horne, in the recent improved edition of his invaluable “ Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Scriptures,”
&c. gives up the passage as incapable of defence. His words are, “ Upon a review of the preceding arguments, the disputed clause, we think, must be abandoned as spurious ; nor can any thing less than the positive authority of unsuspected MSS. justify the admission of so important a passage into the sacred canon.” (Sixth edition, vol. iv. p. 485.)
The state of the question is such, that no enlightened editor of the present day would venture to insert the disputed clause into the text either of the Greek New Testament or our English version, if it had never existed in either before ; and in this case, it certainly argues no small degree of ignorance or obstinacy, if any one, in the face of all these facts against its authenticity, should adduce it in proof of the doctrine of the Trinity. The doctrine requires not its support. While baptism continues to be the door of admission into the Christian Church, the inscription, “ Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,” must present itself in indelible characters to the view of those who seek admittance ; and none can consistently enter, who reject the doctrine.
III. Passages which assert or imply the divinity of each of the Three Persons.
1. The divinity and personal attributes of the Father. An attempt to prove that the Father is God may be regarded as altogether superfluous, it being asserted in so many express terms in Scripture, and universally admitted. John vi. 27; I Cor. viii. 6; ch. xv. 24; Eph. iv. 6; 2 John 3 v. are a specimen.
What particularly demands our attention is the light in which His paternity is represented in Scripture. It is here worthy of notice that the term Father, as applied to God, is nearly as peculiar to the New Testament, as that of Son ; it not occurring above ten times in this application, in the whole of the Old Testament. In a more general point of view, God is represented as a Father, because He is the author of existence, the Creator, Protector, and Ruler of the Universe, over which He watches with paternal
care. See Deut. xxxii. 6; Mat. i. 6; ch. i. 10; Jer. ii. 4; Is. lxii. 16; ch. lxiv. 8; Mat. vi. 8; Luke xii. 32; Heb. xii. 9.In a more limited sense, God is the Father of Christians, in. as much as they are made partakers of His moral image, or divine nature, by regeneration, and admitted by an adoptive act into His family: in which sense it occurs in James i. 17, 18; Rom. viii. 15, 16, 17; Eph. i. 3, 4, 5; &c. Compare John i. 12; Gal. ii. 26. It is, however, in a sense altogether peculiar, that we read of God as the Father in relation to the Son and the Holy Spirit-and the circumstance is most striking, that the term is thus used with the utmost frequency in the Christian Scriptures. The Lord Jesus Christ is called His own Son, (tov idiov viov Rom. vii. 32,) and His life was attempted by the Jews, because πατερα ιδιον ελεγε τον Θεον
" He said that God was His own" (in a peculiar sense His) “ Father,” John v. 18.
An affirmation which, to their minds amounted to a claim of absolute equality with the Father, lov EAUTOV TOWY T9 069" making himself equal with God.” Had He merely avowed that God was His Father, in a general or accommodated point of view, they could have found no fault with Him, as they themselves made no scruple in saying, “We have one Father, even God,” ch. viii. 41. But the relationship which He claimed was strictly and properly divine. In this peculiar and appropriate sense, God is called The Father of Christ upwards of 220 times in the New Testament, and of these, more than 130 occur in the Gospel and Epistles of John.
With respect to the nature of this paternity, many things have been advanced by the schoolmen and ancient divines, which it is impossible to receive while we hold fast the supreme and underived divinity of Christ. For instance, to speak of the Father as , apyn kat πηγη της θεοτητος “ the origin and source of the Godhead," suggests ideas of posteriority and dependence in reference to the divinity of the Son and Spirit, which are utterly at variance with all our conceptions of its nature, strictly and properly taken. In no part of Scripture are'we taught that there is any such thing as inferior or subordinate deity, or that the Three Persons in the Godhead are not co-equally and co-eternally God. Originated and communicated existence, we must necessarily exclude from the idea of Supreme Deity: derived being, or mode of being, is obviously not self-originated, in other words, it is dependent. If then the Son of God does not possess every attribute which constitutes divinity_in and of Himself, but has His deity imparted to Him by the Father ; He cannot surely be considered as truly and fully God.
It is usual to speak of the Father as the First Person of the Trinity, and there does not seem to be any thing objectionable in the phrase itself; but in employing it, we must ever be careful not to associate with it any ideas of priority, either in point of existence, nature, or dignity, otherwise we shall entertain erroneous conception of the Deity, and (if in the office of the Christian ministry) mislead the minds of others on the subject. It seems to have originated, partly in the order in which the Three Persons are mentioned in the baptismal formula, and partly in the order of operation in which Jehovah has represented Himself as proceeding in the execution of His purposes. That no argument, however, is to be drawn from the order of the names, appears from the fact that in the Apostolic benediction and elsewhere, it is different, the Lord Jesus Christ being mentioned before the Father. With respect to the other reason, it is evidently founded on the representations of Scripture; but it is a question whether it be not, to use the technical language of divinity, rather xar' olkovoulav, agreeably to the economy of operation devised and adopted by infinite wisdom, than kata Ocotata, according to any internal relations of the divine nature, formed with a view to the administration of this economy As it respects the relation of the Father to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, it is, like the doctrine of the Trinity itself, altogether incomprehensible by us. Nothing is said in Scripture concerning its nature, and where the Bible is silent, it ill becomes us to open our lips. The dogmas of eternal generation, and eternal procession, as held by many, it nowhere proposes for our belief; and we shall find, when we come to investigate those passages which have been employed to support them, that they admit of a construction which is accordant with other parts of revealed truth, and which alone is sanctioned by the principles of correct Scripture interpretation.
(The next paper will begin the examination of passages in which the divinity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is taught.)
III.-Observations on the Véda and Védant Systems,
To the Editors of the Caloutta Christian Observer, GENTLEMEN,
I have observed in the last two numbers of your valuable periodical, two articles on the connection between the Vedas and the Védant. The first one treats of the peculiarities of the Vedas in relation to Grammar and Lexicography. With the remarks of this part I am prepared entirely to concur, and am persuaded that they will remain uncontradicted, as they are capable of ocular demonstration. It does not, however, follow, that because the Védas and Védant differ in their style, they differ also in the doctrines which they teach; the one is not the premises and the other the conclusion, but they are two distinct propositions. The former parts of the sacred Scriptures differ very much in their style from the latter parts, but it cannot thence be inferred that they teach different doctrines. I understand the writer in the second article to maintain, that there is as much difference in the doctrine, as in the dialects of the Véda and Védant. As in the first paper he offered three proofs of the former, so in the second he has offered three passages as proofs of the latter. These are to me by no means satisfactory. I do not deny that discrepancies may exist between the Védas and Védant in point of doctrine ; but the passages adduced appear quite insufficient for the purpose. In reading the work I have met with other passages which appeared to me more palpable contradictions than either of the three quoted by the writer of these articles; yet on referring them to the pundits I have found them capable of explanation on principles which have been universally allowed to be correct in theological discussions. In order to establish the writer's position, it is necessary for such statements to be brought forward as can by no fair and common rules of interpretation be reconciled.
It must be evident to every reflecting mind, on the first view of the subject, that the two quotations made from the Gita, at page 117 of the Christian Observer, have a meaning attached to them which it was never the intention of the author Vyas to convey. He was the first man that collected the Védas together ; he was the framer of the Védant system. In this, his great object was to magnify the Védas ; and with this object in view, can any one suppose that he would in one of his most laboured compositions pour contempt on the Védas, as incapable of conducting to the supreme and principal place of bliss ? If he has done so, we may be certain that it was contrary to his intention ; but a little attention to the principia of the Védant system may serve to convince us, that he has written nothing in the Gita which derogates from the authority of the Vedas.
One fundamental principle of this philosopher is, that there are two kinds of future felicity; the one sensual in its nature and limited in its duration, and the other spiritual in its nature and eternal in its duration : the one, consisting of temporary carnal delights in the heaven of Indra ; and the other, of eternal absorption in Brahma the supreme Deity. It is not of consequence to the argument to inquire which of these is most worthy of pursuit. Most Europeans would esteem a heaven of carnal pleasure for a season, as preferable to that absorption which terminates individual existence. The eastern philosophers, however, form a different conclusion, and reckon that the highest bliss which precludes all possibility of change, though it terminate in the extinction of individual existence. Those who are advanced to Indra's heaven, after