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THE CONNEXION OF DIVINE PLURALITY WITH OTHER DOCTRINES OF THE SACRED
THE different parts of Christianity perfectly correspond with each other. Its doctrines compose one great chain, whose links are intimately connected. If one doctrine be weakened, the whole system is affected. If one doctrine be expunged, the connexion is dissolved. It is not the province of human imperfection to define the utmost extent of error, which will not make the Christian religion another gospel. But it is evident that every error in religion is of evil tendency; and an incorrect opinion of one doctrine naturally leads to an incorrect opinion of others. Our holy religion is a well connected and proportioned system. Errors also have their connexion and proportion; and it is not seldom they are marshalled into a systematic form. If an incorrect sentiment of one doctrine of the Gospel be formed, this sentiment will not coalesce with other doctrines, till they are modified, perverted, diluted and despoiled of their true meaning. It is unnatural for truth to unite with error; and for error to unite with truth. There is no fellowship; there is no bond of union between them. As far as error is incorporated with divine truth, so far the truth suffers; and the Christian system is marred. Some errors are more pernicious than others. While
some strike at the foundation and subvert the whole fabric of Christianity, others only tarnish it.
The divine plurality appears to be not only a prominent, but an important doctrine of the scriptures. Every manifestation of the divine Nature appears interesting; but none is more so, than that, which is made in the work of redemption. Here, if any where, the Trinity is disclosed, and a belief or a denial of this doctrine is intimately connected with a belief, or denial of most of the doctrines of the gospel. The doctrine of the Trinity appears to give an excellence and importance to other doctrines of Christianity, which, by a denial of it, are wholly lost.
In the covenant of redemption there are contracting parties. The Father promises to give the Son the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession; that he shall see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied; that he shall have dominion from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth. This was promised him in view, and as a consequence of, his taking upon him the form of a servant, of humbling himself even to the ignominy and tortures of the cross. In view of this part of the covenant transaction, and of what he had to perform, the Son replied, "Lo, I come, (in the volume of the book it is written of me) to do thy will, O God." In the prosecution of the work of redemption the Holy Spirit appears engaged in renewing human nature; in enlightening and comforting believ ers, and sealing them to the day of redemption. His office and work afford evidence that he was concerned in the covenant of redemption.
If there be a plurality in the divine Nature; if the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit constitute this plurality, they are competent to form and execute Covenant engagements respecting the salvation of the human race. Each is adequate to his own peculiari work. The excellence and dignity of the high contracting parties give the greatest degree of importance
to the transaction. The ability of each to fulfil his stipulated part, and the unity of design subsisting between them, afford ground of perfect confidence that the covenant engagements will be performed. The same Being, who, in plurality, said, "let us make man," was equally able to say, let us redeem man.
But if there be no ground of distinction in the divine Nature; if the Son of God be merely a created being; if the Holy Spirit be only the operations of the Father, the covenant of redemption appears to lose its peculiar excellencies. The parties concerned are entirely disproportionate. There is no comparison between the Creator and a creature. It appears to be a manifest incongruity, that God should enter into compact with a created being respecting any matter, in which the latter was not personally concerned. To treat with him by an interchange of correspondent obligations seems to imply an exaltation of the creature to an equality with himself; or an abasement of himself to a level with the creature. In forming the covenant of redemption, did infinite Wisdom need the assistance of any created intelligence? In carrying it into operation did the Almighty need the dependent power of any created being? It is not doubted that the Supreme Being employs ministering servants as agents in the administration of his government. But which of his agents stipulates with the divine Sovereign, and produces claims upon him correspondent to
his own obligations? Time of the Son upon the
Father to fulfil his part of the contract are not less valid and important than the claims of the Father upon the Son. What makes this case different from all other cases is this, what the Son did in redemption he did not for himself, but for others. He has, therefore, not only a claim upon the Father arising from promise, but he has a meritorious claim upon him to fulfil his part of the covenant. What created being can, after he has discharged his own personal obligations, produce a surplus of righteousness, which may
be accounted for the benefit of others; and then produce a claim upon heaven for remuneration for extra services? Were this the case, were this the ground of salvation, then a created being would be the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth He would be made unto us wisdom, sanctification and redemption.
The disparity between the Creator and a creature seems to preclude the possibility of their being contracting parties respecting the redemption of man. The disparity is infinitely greater than that existing between the highest sovereign on earth and his lowest subject. If the Son of God be merely a created being, he does not possess one quality in his nature, which renders him competent to contract with the Father, or to fulfil covenant engagements respecting the salvation of man. His wisdom would not be sufficient to devise concerning those things, which the angels desire to look into. His own power would not be competent to the performance of his part of the compact. Every thing pertaining to him and to his work would be limited; and he would be entirely incompetent to be a party in the covenant.
If the Holy Spirit be not a party in the covenant; if he be only divine operation or influence, there appears to be an incongruity and deficiency in the scheme of redemption. It is the office of the Father to send the Son to fulfil his part of the covenant; to answer his requests; to accept what he does; and give him, as a recompense, what he had promised. It is part of the office of the Son to send the Holy Spirit to convince and convert sinners; to comfort believers and seal them to the day of redemption. If the Son be sent by the Father, if he be subordinate to him in his official work, it is incredible that he should have authority over the Father to control his operations and send them when and where he pleases. pleases. This would reverse the order of offices; and produce confusion in the economy of redemption. But if the Son
and Holy Spirit be divine, as well as the Father, they are on equality; and they are suitable parties to enter into reciprocal compact. They are adequate to the performance of their respective parts. The covenant of redemption is an instrument, formed and confirmed in all its articles by Divinity; and carries evidence with itself that it will be fulfilled.
Let the doctrine of the Trinity be next viewed in relation to the atonement. If the Son of God be divine, it was infinite condescension for him to take upon him the form of a servant. He subjected himself to the lowest degree of humiliation, when he veiled his divine glories with humanity in its lowest condition; when he suffered the scoffs and reproaches of his enemies; when he endured all the ignominy, which could be cast upon a crucified malefactor. The whole term of his abode on earth was a continued series of deep humiliation. The union of divinity with humanity gave the latter an extraordinary dignity and excellence. So intimate was the connexion of divinity and humanity that the second man is called the Lord from heaven; and the blood of the Son of man is called the blood of God. By the union of the Son of God with the Son of man, the sufferings of the humanity of Christ acquired an unspeakable importance; and in conjunction with the abasement of the divine Son, they constituted a sacrifice, which was a propitiation for the sins of the world. Look at the cross and behold divinity and innocent humanity engaged in making an expiation for sin; the one enduring a concealment of his glories, and all the ignominy, which his enemies could cast upon him; and the other suffering the tortures of the cross. this view the atonement appears to be of infinite importance.
By the worth of the sacrifice, which was made, the guilt of sin may be accurately estimated. There was no suffering needlessly expended. If the victim, which was offered upon the cross was of infinite