« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
time after Sir Arthur Langford also v. Drummond by his decree ; and it gave a sum of £500 to the ministers was not disputed, but that if the matof the same Meeting-house, and in ter was left open, the defendant would this case the principal document was be entitled to the benefit of the 3d also mislaid, which consisted of a let- section of the 6th and 7th of Victoria. ter, and there was no evidence as to He (the Chancellor) had not decided its specific contents. This grant was this question, and he was of opinion in the year 1710, and in the year that the defendant was entitled to the 1718 Sir Arthur Langford died, and benefit of the statute. Certainly there bequeathed a sum of £4000 to the was, in the commencement of his trustees of the general fund, directing decree, a general declaration, that that £1000 of this amount should be persons professing the Unitarian beplaced to the separate account of the lief were not entitled to participate in ministers of the Congregation; in those funds created by the deed of consequence of which, the trust fund 1710 ; but the court guardedly abamounted to £2000, on which the in- stained from pronouncing any decision terest £100 per annum was regularly regarding the £100 then in dispute. paid to the minister of the Meetinghouse. The question relating to this ANATHEMA.-As for the use of ex£100 a-year he (Mr. Moore) submit- communication in the Apostolic ted was never decided, and he was Church, it seems enough to say, that sure the court would consider his Jesus Christ himself did not proclient entitled to the benefit of the nounce an anathema against any one, act as regarded it, and that the infor- but suffered himself as an anathema mation should be dismissed.
for the world; while the example of Mr. Sergeant Warren, on the other Paul may then only be pleaded as a side, contended that, in point of fact, guide for others, when those others the court had already decided the point are placed in the same position as now before the court, by the judgment that which was held by the apostle. which his lordship had already given, The act of anathematising is a declaring that persons professing the very unseemly one for beings to perUnitarian belief were not fit objects of, form who are so frail, erring, and sinand not entitled to participate in, the ful as men. Nor can any one plead general fund; and it was admitted an immunity from such a liability to that the trust funds created by the mistake, as disqualifies man for being deed of 1710 belonging to the general the judge of his fellow-man. And fund.
those who by their true holiness of charMr. Moore said he admitted nothing acter approach most nearly to such of the kind.
immunity, will, like the great Master Sergeant Warren stated that it had whom they resemble, prefer blessing been admitted, and gave it as his opi- instead of cursing their brethren of nion that the question before the court mankind. It is an easy, though very was decided.
wrong, thing to anathematise. Per. Mr. Napier, Q. C. having been sons who are in the lowest grade of heard on the same side, and Mr. culture, easily surpass in this unseemly Holmes in reply,
act men that are least disqualified to His lordship proceeded to give judg; judge others. Ignorant zeal may ment. He said that as he understood outdo the knowledge of an apostle, the question, it rested upon this — and the sanctity of a seraph.whether or not he had concluded the People's Dictionary of the Bible. point at issue in the Attorney-General
We regret we cannot find room in the present publication for an account of the Meeting of the “ Irish Unitarian Christian Society." It occupies upwards of six pages. We expect to be able to publish it next month.
It is requested that all communications intended for insertion in the Irish Unitarian Magazine will be forwarded not later than the 10th of the preceding month (if by post, prepaid), to 28, Rosemary-street, Belfast.
IRISH UNITARIAN MAGAZINE.
OBJECTIONS TO UNITARIANISM CONSIDERED.
(Continued from page 214.)
THE next passage quoted is from Matt. iii. 16, 17, containing an account of what passed at the baptism of Jesus. "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." Now, what is the testimony of this unimpeachable and unimpeached witness? That Jesus was baptized of John, and when coming out of the water he saw the heavens opened, and the spirit of God descending in shape like a dove, and lighting upon him, and a voice from heaven testifying, This is my beloved Son. But what has this to do with three persons, a triune God, one substance, power, eternity.? It is the imagination of the interpreter which converts a dove into a person, and tells us that these three are one God, equal in power and glory, for Matthew says no such thing. Who then disputes the testimony which he gives, or seeks to add to it? Not the Unitarian. He cordially receives, and gladly welcomes it, as the highest attestation to the glorious truth, that Jesus is the beloved of the Fatherthe Son of God-of that God and Father of whom he has said, "My Father is greater than I." Respecting, then, the main point which this witness is produced to prove-"a triune God"-he is entirely silent. Nay, except there be more Gods than one, he proves directly the contrary; for Jesus is declared by a voice from heaven to be "the beloved Son of God," a separate and distinct being from that God of whom he is the Son.
The last quotation is from Matt. xxviii. 19; but as the baptismal formula is familiar to all, I shall not quote it. Like the former, it says not one word about three persons, or a three-one God. It simply states, that baptism is to be performed in the name of the Father, as first in glory, majesty, and greatness, who so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son for our salvation; and in the name of the Son, our Saviour, "the author and finisher of our faith," whom he has made to be both Lord and Christ; "whom he has given to be head
over all things to the church ;” “ for the head of every man is Christ, and the head of Christ is God ;” and of the Holy Ghost, “the Comforter, whom Christ promised his disciples that the Father, on his prayer, would send, after he had ascended into heaven, and by whom they should be endowed with power from on high.” But what does this
say about “ three persons, a triune God, God the Son, in all re. spects equal to the Father.” Matthew says no such thing; but the Trinitarian can easily fabricate for him a spurious testimony, or father upon him his own interpretation of Scripture, as of equal authority with the language of the Evangelist. Besides, the context proves distinctly that Jesus is not God. He says expressly, “ All power is given unto me in Heaven and on earth.” Now, God can have no power or perfection given unto him, for in himself they all necessarily centre ; but Christ declares, all the power he exercises, both in heaven and earth, is a given, derived power, proceeding from some higher source. And he also declares, that with the same unlimited power, commission, authority, with which the Father had sent him, he commissioned his disciples, “ As the Father hath sent me, so send I you.” These are the clearest and best proofs of a Trinity, which men of so much learning and ability were able to collect from the word of God; and the understanding of a child would easily perceive they prove no such thing, and it is also somewhat suspicious that they should commence their proofs with a forgery.
In speaking or writing of the tripartite God of the Trinitarian, it is impossible to avoid falling into contradiction and absurdity. You must not say there are three Gods, and yet you are obliged to speak of them “ as three, each of whom is God,"-each acting towards the others as a separate, distinct God; each distinguished from the others by “his personal properties," "his relations to the others," and to the human race. “ A person is that which does personal acts ;” but that which acts is a being, and if intelligent, is a person ; yet, though we may say there are three persons, we must not say there are three beings, for this would be three infinite minds—three Gods. From these absurdities, the most learned, talented, and cautiously-guarded Trinitarian writers are not exempted. Dr. South, who, in point of learning, talent, and acuteness of mind, was inferior to no man of his day, on his reply to Dr. Sherlock, whom he charges with the heresy of three Gods, falls into this mistake. “My reason,” says he, "for what I affirm, that three distinct, infinite minds or spirits, are three distinct Gods, is this : that God and infinite mind, or spirit, are terms equivalent and convertible.” Apply this to his own belief: the Father is God, the Son is God, &c. Here, on his own showing, which, I confess, is to me satisfactory, God, and infinite mind being convertible terms, there are and must be three Gods. Again, quoting
from his opponent, who says, "That it is the constant language of the fathers, that the Son is the substantial word and wisdom of the Father, and that this can be nothing else but to say that he is an intelligent being, or infinite mind." "And he is so," adds Dr. South, "I confess;" which confession he afterwards endeavours to quibble away. Now, here again it is admitted that the "Son is an intelligent being, or infinite mind," distinct from the Father and the Holy Ghost, and consequently we have three beings one being; three infinite minds one infinite mind, three Gods, one God! Can absurdity and contradiction go farther than this?
Into similar contradictions the Westminster divines have fallen; thus, Conf. chap. ii. they say "the Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding;" "the Son is eternally begotten"—"the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding." The Father then, is underived a property which belongs to neither of the other two persons; and they have properties "begotten, proceeding," which belong not to the Father. Now, these are either perfections or imperfections. It must either be a perfection or an imperfection to be "a father"—"of none" "unbegotten," &c. If perfections, neither the Son nor the Holy Ghost can claim these, and then they are not equal, nor the samenot God; for all perfections centre in God. If imperfections, then three imperfect beings cannot make one perfect being-one God. "The Son is of the Father begotten." It is either a perfection or imperfection "to be begotten"-"born"-"God and man"-have "two distinct natures," &c. These belong neither to the Father nor the Holy Ghost-and then, either they must be perfect, and the Son imperfect, or the Son perfect, and the other two imperfect-not God -not equal. This is equally true of the Holy Ghost "proceeding from the Father and the Son." Here, again, you have three separate, distinct beings, each possessing personal properties which belong not to the others, and yet they are equal-the same; that is, three beings are one being-three Gods one God-or the Son is begotten of himself— and the Holy Ghost proceeds from himself! It was these absurd and unscriptural opinions which gave rise to the nonsensical declaration of Bishop Beveridge-"The Father is God and something more; the Son is God and something more; the Holy Ghost is God and something more; and yet all three are one God and nothing more.”
Besides, we find from the Confession of Faith, these three persons entering into covenant with each other, and each performing his separate and distinct "office" in the "economy" of man's redemption. The Father "appoints," "anoints," "upholds," "calls to be mediator," "sends," &c. &c. "his only-begotten Son" to be the "prophet," "priest," "king," "head," "Saviour," &c. &c. of his church, which neither of the other two persons do, or can perform. The Son ful
fills the offices to which he is appointed, &c. &c. "by the Father's decree of election,” “being made under the law, which he did perfectly fulfil, enduring most grievous torments immediately in his soul, and most painful sufferings in his body-was crucified, dead, buried,” &c. &c.; and thus they, “who are chosen in Christ unto everlasting glory," are redeemed by him; "neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, and saved, but the elect only." See Conf. chaps. iii.--vii; viii.—xiv. &c. The Holy Ghost unites them to Christ, applies his redemption, effectually calls, &c. &c. and this constitutes the offices in the covenant of grace for man's salvation, which he is to perform. Now, you cannot have a covenant except between different parties—beings possessed, too, of intelligence. Here, again, you have three very different beings, possessed of very different qualities-one, at least, of whom can suffer and die, though the other two cannot; each of them acting distinctly different parts in man's redemption—each God. The Trinitarian covenant of grace proves, then, there must be three Gods. Again, there is one who chooses, appoints, anoints, &c. &c. offices which can only be performed by an intelligent being ; there is another thus qualified who executes the objects for which he is thus chosenappointed; and he, too, must be an intelligent being, for none other could do the work assigned ; and still a third is necessary, whose wisdom is manifested in applying, and making effectual what has been done by the other two. Here, again, you have three beings one being-each God-and the three Gods but one-or the equal absurdity of a being begetting himself, choosing, appointing, sending himself! I beseech the Trinitarian to ask his own conscience can such absurdities proceed from a God infinitely wise ? No, no: they are the foolish inventions of men who have marred what God has made; and, carried away by the pride of human reason, prefer the contradictory jargon of a vain philosophy to the sober teachings of the Word of God.
The fact is, the doctrine of a Trinity, in whatever form it is professed, or attempted to be explained, when examined by the test of reason, must end in contradiction and obscurity; and when brought to the standard of divine revelation, its language is unknown to the Bible. Nothing but a most woeful perversion of the Word of God can afford any terms suited to the purpose of the Trinitarian, and this of itself should be sufficient evidence that the doctrine is untrue. If there be anything which we would expect clearly revealed in the Word of God, it would be the God whose word it is—who must know how to place himself in a manner the most clear and distinct before the understandings of the beings he has formed, and from whom he claims supreme love, homage, and obedience. But to say, that, with all the