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nity, the same dependent beings they were when on earth. He is sustained by the Father. Again, “ Why callest thou me good ? there is none good but one, that is God.” This is as true now that he is in heaven as when on earth. Absolute goodness belongs to God alone. Humanity never can be God, and is not, therefore, infinitely good. “ To sit on my right hand and my left is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.” It is the Father, then, and not Christ, as some falsely assert, who assigns the seats of glory in heaven to those for whom he has prepared them ; and this is as true of Jesus now as at the time he uttered these words,
Of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” Humanity, even in heaven, never can become omniscient, and there must be things which the human nature of Christ—the “ God-man,” the second person of the Trinity-can never know. Yet he who is thus weak, ignorant, imperfect, is worshipped, loved, honoured, and adored in the same person, same object, as he whom they profess to regard as omniscient, &c.; and thus ignorance and omniscience form conjointly their object of devotion. To me, I confess, the disputes which have arisen out of the metaphysical jargon in which this doctrine has been clothed, appear but as "the dust of the balance,” compared with the mountainous weight of the practical consequences to which it leads. It pervades and distracts many of the highest and holiest feelings of the pious heart. Instead of one single, all-perfect object to which the humble soul can look, in holy trust and dependence, for support, peace, pardon on earth and glory in heaven, it presents three, each having equal claims on our love, honour, obedience ; each, on pain of final condemnation, to be equally worshipped and adored.
we cannot serve three masters ;" we must cling to some one ; and, though the others may not be "despised, hated,” yet, to some extent, they must be overlooked, neglected. Oh, that the Tri. nitarians could be brought to imitate the holy and blessed example of Jesus, in patience, resignation, and, above all, in prayer to the Father ; and, like Christ, to the Father only. Then would they cease “ to teach for doctrines the commandments of men,” and refuse to yield to them that slavish submission which they do not yield to the instructions and example of Christ. Then would the Gospel shine forth again in all its native splendour, purity, simplicity. Then would it become mighty to pull down the strongholds of sin in the hearts of men. Then, freed from error, the labours of the servants of God would be sanctified and “ blessed, in turning many from darkness unto light,” and pot, as is now too frequently the case, “ become like the grains of corn upon the housetop, wherewith the reaper filleth not his hand, nor he that bindeth sheaves his bosom."
When we thus labour to “pull down, ” “to demolish,” the worship of three separate distinct persons—each God-each claiming to be worshipped and adored-each, as God, performing his own proper part in our salvation, which neither of the others do, or can do, is it true that we establish nothing in their stead? When we present one sole object of supreme love-worship, one being all good, all gracious, all perfect,—that being the Father-our Father—is that nothing? When we hold up the pure, holy, spotless example of the blessed Jesus, and ask men to pray as he prayed, to be like him, patient, resigned, submissive “to bis Father and our Father, his God and our God,"_is this nothing? To reverence, by a holy imitation, the example of Christ in prayer, which professing Christians undeniably do not; to receive, with implicit deference, his instructions in preference “ to the words which man's wisdom teacheth,”—is this nothing? When we present this great, glorious, ever-blessed God to the human soul, as a God of mercy, “who delighteth in mercy,” as a God of forgiveness, who is more ready to forgive his children than the best of earthly parents; as a Father, and a God of love, who loved us to such an inconceivable extent, that he gave his Son for our redemption; instead of presenting him to our souls a dread and stern sovereign, as limited in power as in will, "who will not, cannot forgive, until his offended justice is fully satisfied,” his insulted honour appeared, by a compensation which the offender cannot, and never could give—the debt discharged which the debtor cannot pay-is this nothing? The love, honour, obedience ; the holy, humble trust, dependence, submission of the heart filled with devotion to such a God, to such a Father, is this nothing? Is it, can it be, a cold, heartless negation which springs up in the human soul from the contemplation of such a being—our Father—whom we love, honour, and obey ? Never was there ignorance more profound, or falsehood more abandoned, uttered against a holy and righteous cause.
The forced, inconclusive, and feeble arguments which Trinitarians draw from Scripture in support of this doctrine, which, had it been true, would, like all others in which we are most deeply interested, have been set before us clearly, as if written by a sunbeam from heaven, prove it is not of God. No such statement is ever made in the word of God; and the Trinitarian is left to deduce it by inference from some obscure intimations and allusions which he finds in Holy Writ. No better evidence of this can be afforded than the proofs adduced from Scripture by the Assembly of Divines who composed the Confession of Faith, and Catechisms of the Church of Scotland. Writing, as they did, for such as are of the weaker capacity, and believing that the doctrine is one of the highest importance, essential to salvation, we naturally expect from them the plainest, clearest, and strongest proofs. One is curious to see the irrefragable and unanswerable evidences to be found so abundantly in “ every page of the Bible,” which such men can produce in support of a tenet fundamental in Christianity. Now, they just amount to three; and two of these taken from one book—the Gospel of Matthew. How far they have anything to do with the doctrine which they are produced to prove, we shall now proceed to examine ; and for this pur. pose, I eutreat the reader to remember what is to be proved—three persons in one God, “ of one substance, power, and eternity,” “equal in power and glory.” The first witness produced a suborned oneis taken from 1 John v. 7. His testimony might be passed over without remark; inasmuch as most modern Trinitarian writers, with all their partiality in favour of the doctrine, and all their anxiety to defend it, acknowledge that the text is a forgery. But even it says nothing to the purpose. It does not say they are three persons, nor one God, nor of the same substance, power, and eternity. Not only so, but the word one, so much relied on, is, in the original, in the neuter gender, and cannot therefore agree with God, which the Trinitarian would have us supply, which is masculine ; and yet many do not hesitate to father, on the spirit of inspiration, a blunder in grammar for which a school-boy would be whipped.
(To be continued.)
(BY M. COQUEREL.)
The second point adverted to in our statement of general principles regarded the miracles recorded in Holy Scripture—“We believe in the miracles of the Old and New Testaments.” These words are sufficiently explicit. Certainly they go too far for the most moderate Rationalism, and they are comprehensive enough for the most rigorous orthodoxy. We venture not to add a word to this profession, nor to say what constitutes a miracle.
It would be easy to prove that every definition of a miracle hitherto attempted, even the most universally admitted, viz. "A miracle is a temporary and local suspension of a law of Nature,” are exceedingly imperfect—do not meet every case, and cannot satisfy the requirements either of reason or religion. But without broaching this disputed point, this we may say, that it is a true triumph for the Christian faith and an immense advantage to its defenders, that although no theologian has yet succeeded in giving a clear definition of a miracle, all the world knows full well without definition what a miracle is. No one is deceived
in this particular, and events of this kind offer so many characteristic features, stand out so distinctly from the ordinary record of human affairs, and the usual course of God's Providence, that a miracle always appears miraculous as a ray of the Sun appears always luminous. This has been proved a thousand times, both in the case of the believer and the sceptic. The one believes what the other denies, but neither can fail to know where the point in controversy is the reality or otherwise of some miraculous narration. A definition of a miracle may therefore be important when one writes a formal defence of the Christian faith, but it is hardly required when one makes a simple statement of his belief. The word Miracle is sufficient, it defines itself, and needs no commentary. The idea of direct intervention of divine power is distinctly understood. The fact is admitted as historically true, and the hand of God recognised in its existence. Therefore where the direct and positive intervention of a divine power is seen in any event, there is a miracle—if that intervention is not seen, the event becomes an ordinary historical fact or a natural phenomenon. After this explanation we cannot believe that any Orthodoxy will refuse to admit the qualification we have annexed to our general principle—“We believe in the miracles of Holy Scripture, after having examined by the rules of a sound criticism what facts are to be placed in this class.” Not even the most implicit credulity can dispute this position, and pretend to receive facts as miraculous before being assured that they have the marks of miraculous intervention impressed upon them. This is not an ingenious and flexible rule, invented for the advantage of a system, and designed by degrees to efface all miraculous agency from the events recorded in the Holy Scriptures. This is not a magazine which incredulity prepares in advance, where she stores and sharpens weapons for her attack upon the truth of the Bible! Who believes in a miracle without knowing whether it be a miracle or not? The best proof that any event merits the name is the impossibility of explaining it otherwise than by admitting miraculous agency, and this admission implies the previous search into its claims to such agency: if the marks of divine power are obvious, there is a miracle; if not, there is ordinary history, and our trust in this method is so assured that we believe it is impossible that any deception can exist upon the subject.
The wonders wrought by Almighty power are so marvellous that We have no fear in submitting them to examination. When the lame man in the temple, whose wonderful case is narrated in Acts III. leaped to his feet and walked, praising God in the presence of the astonished multitude, St. Peter said to the people, “Why look Je so earnestly on us, as though by our power or holiness we had made this man to walk.” So it is with us; we look for a moment to man the feeble instrument of divine power, and recognising his insufficiency, we lift our eyes to the Divine Being, the true author of the wonder and the blessing.
But it may be objected that in thus minutely examining the miraculous narratives in Scripture, in thus seeking to ascertain whether they may not be severed from Heaven and brought down to earth, we run the risk of materially reducing their number, and depriving the Sacred Histories of that marvellous feature which so clearly separates them from other records. It is an easy matter to allay this fear without stopping to tax it with superstition.
It is not the number of its miracles which constitutes the value of a religion, it is their greatness, their holiness, their utility, their certainty. The controversy between scepticism and faith turns not upon the point whether there be many or few miracles recorded in the Bible, but whether there be any. One single well authenticated fact of this kind is worth a thousand doubtful, and that the number, compared with the importance of the facts, is of little importance in this matter, the sacred writers themselves have shown, when they declare that Christ and his apostles performed many miracles not recorded in the Gospel history. John xxi. 25.
Very different such a declaration from the course pursued by the compilers of the Books of Legerids and Lives of Saints in after times, who appear to think that a multitude of marvels compensated for the want of truth in their recitals, and hope to pass off their bald and meaningless tales by varying and multiplying them without end. If one miracle is true, a thousand may be. If sight is given to one blind man, hearing to one deaf, the use of his limbs to one cripple, health to one leper—if one tempest is calmed, one loaf increased into ample provision for a multitude, if but once a tomb is opened at Bethany, and he who had lain four days in the grave called forth to life—what matters it that these wonders are not again and again renewed? Once performed, they are as miraculous, and prove as much, as if they were a thousand times repeated. In one sense they prove more, for it is their greatness that attracts attention to their rarity. The waves of every sea would have been as easily calmed as the storm on the Lake of Genesareth, and the tombs of all the dead as easily opened as the sepulchre of Lazarus. If there is but one example given in the Gospels, it is simply because the Lord judged one example sufficient.
Another important consideration we should wish to indicate is this --that God does nothing superfluous. He has permitted sufficient wonders to be performed to afford ample evidence for the faith of the believer, and yet to leave room for the free agency of the man disposed to doubt. The vain fears of those who tremble lest the number