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admitted that no christian doctrine is more difficult to our belief than that of the Trinity, because it is so incomprehensible to us; but being, as we think, distinctly asserted in Holy Writ, we must believe in it, although, in a great measure, beyond our present limited understanding. This last would not in itself be a sufficient reason for doubting it, for we believe that our souls and bodies can act on each other, and yet we cannot comprehend how they are connected.
In the beginning of The Nicene Creed, the before-noticed distinction is placed in a still stronger light, and some ambiguity arises in speaking of Christ, where it is said, that he is “of one substance with the Father, By whom all things were made,”—which might be interpreted to mean, that the Father, in his own person, made all things; but from what follows, the words here in Italics would rather seem to apply to the Son, for it goes on—“who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven,” &c.
In the Rev. Mr. Gleig's History of the Bible, he expresses a very general mode of thinking, when he says-—“ To the Father we look as the Creator and supporter of all things : to the Son, as the Mediator between God and man.” And this he affirms to be one of the distinguishing tenets of the Christian religion.*
I may cite another instance of erroneous views on this subject, from Dr. Kennedy's Religious Conversations with Lord Byron, where, in one place, the author attributes the creation to the Holy Spirit of God,—the Comforter ; (whom we otherwise call the Holy Ghost, the Third person in the Trinity, whom the Father sent to the earth after the Son had left it,t) and three pages farther on, the Persons in the Godhead are distinguished thus : “God the Creator, Christ the Saviour, and the Holy Spirit the Comforter.” I
When an act is said in Scripture, to be done by any of the Persons of the Trinity, the whole of the blessed Three may in one sense be held as engaged in it, although one of them may be the more immediate person who works.* When, (speaking generally,) God is said to be the Creator of the world, the whole Godhead is meant, but it must not be held from the expression, that God the Father is alone referred to. The Father willed that the world should be created the Son (instructed by the Father t) carried this intention into effect, and consequently, is properly in our eyes the immediate Creator, although, also, the Spirit of God—the Holy Ghost (B7%8771 Ruach Elohim) moved upon the face of the waters-hovered over the new creation, as a bird hovers over her young, which the original properly signifies. In another example which may be adduced, of the acting together of the Godhead—the Son prayed the Father to send the Comforter to his disciples, and this divine Spirit came down to enlighten them ; consequently, was the One who, on this occasion, carried the design into execution. Again—the Son (sent by the Father 1) was He who personally redeemed us, assuming our form and nature for that purpose, and joining it with his own divinity, which partook of his sorrows, and this must evidently have been the case on several occasions, particularly during the agony in the garden. His divine nature was not left in heaven when his human nature was on earth, for he spoke of having come down from heaven, and of returning to his Father who had sent him : both natures, therefore, were conjoined, and the first was shown by the miracles & he did, and the words which he spake |; being perfect man and perfect God at one and the same time.
* History of the Bible, Vol. II. p. 324. + St. John xiv. 26.--Xv. 26.-xvi. 7.
Pages 273 and 276.
It is written in Genesis, that God created the heavens and the earth, and that the Lord God spoke to Adam ; but He who afterwards took our human nature upon himself, is in the New Testament also called God, and the Lord God: so
• “My Father hitherto worketh, and I work,” St. John v. 17. + See St. John v. 19.
St. John v. 24, 30, 37. § “No man can do the miracles that thou doest, except God be with him," St. John iii. 2.
Il “ Never man spake like this man," St. John vii. 46.
even from this, there is nothing against a belief of his having borne a very prominent part in our creation, and actually been the person in the Godhead referred to by Moses as the “I AM” God. On tracing this point through the Old Testament, it soon becomes evident, that it must have been our Saviour who appeared to the Patriarchs and Prophets as God on many different occasions ; communicating his pleasure to them both when they were awake and in their visions; becoming visible to them under an assumed human form, or merely allowing them to hear his voice. *
St. Paul directly affirms, in the two following passages, that our Saviour was the Creator : “For by him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible,”+ and God—“created all things by Jesus Christ.”! Our Lord is frequently designated in Scripture under the Greek title of Aoyos (Logos,) which we translate “ The Word,” as in the commencement of St. John's gospel: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him : and without him was not any thing made that was made.”'S
Christ, therefore, was not only the Creator of the world and of man, but our Saviour also, and is to be our Judge at his second coming on the last day, after our souls shall have again received material bodies.
In Milton's Paradise Lost, the angel Raphael, when relating the creation of the world to Adam, tells him that our Saviour was the person in the Godhead by whose hand the
* “ It was the Second person of the ever blessed Trinity who appeared to the patriarchs of old, who talked with Moses from the burning bush, and proclaimed himself the God of his fathers, of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; declared that he had surely seen the affliction of his people. It was le who conducted the Israelites through the wilderness, and settled them in the promised land."
From a Sermon by Bishop Walker of Edinburgh, preached at
D'ndec, Ilth Feb. 1810. See also I Cor. x. 4. + Coloss. i. 16.
Ephes. iii. 9. St. John also, in another place, calls Christ—“ The Word of God." “King of kings, and Lord of lords," Rev. xix. 13, 16.
work was done ; but I refer to this merely as an instance of a correct scriptural distinction now too often overlooked. In the Argument prefatory to the seventh book, it is said that “God-declares his pleasure to create another world, and other creatures to dwell therein ; sends his Son with glory, and attendance of angels to perform the work of creation in six days :”-In the poem itself, the Father thus addresses the Son :
“ And Thou, my Word, begotten Son! by Thee
This I perform; speak Thou, and he it done.
“ So spake th' Almighty, and to what He spake
His Word, the filial Godhead, gave effect.”
Heaven is represented as opening her gates
- - to let forth The King of Glory, in his powerful Word, And Spirit, coming to create new worlds."*
The following passages from one of Bishop Sherlock's Sermons, will farther confirm this interpretation of Scripture :
“The Scriptures of the New Testament have discovered to us that we are the immediate workmanship of the Son of God, by whom all things were made which were made; being created by him, and for him.' "_“The fall of man was the loss of so many subjects to Christ, their natural Lord under God, in virtue of his having created them : the redeeming them was the recovering of them again, the reestablishing his power over his own works.”—“As we owed to him our first life, so we owe to him our second.”—“As Christ was head of the creation, and made all things, so when God thought fit to restore the world from sin, it
* The commands of the Deity, mentioned by Moses, as—“Let there be light,” &c. are all attributed in Paradise Lost, to our Saviour, and certainly ought to be so considered.
pleased him that Christ should be head also of this new work, the first born from the dead himself, and the giver of [immortal] life to every believer.”*
Moses informs us, that man was created in Eden; sometime after which, God prepared a delightful residence for him to the eastward, upon the banks of a river, which took its rise in the same country. How long Adam lived by himself in Eden, or how he was employed before the garden was ready for his reception, we are not told. Some authors have endeavoured to point out still, the exact situation of this earthly paradise, but it is probable that its site is covered by the waters of the sea, as a vast extent of antediluvian dry land is now beneath its waves, while a great deal of what we inhabit must then have been under water, as geological researches show.t
Several Biblical commentators I speak of Eve as living with Adam before either was in this blissful residence, but it would seem from the second chapter of Genesis, that our general mother was formed from a part of Adam's body, while he was residing in Paradise, and after he had there named all the beasts ; at which time, “there was not found an help meet for him.” In Paterson's “ History of the Church,” the author observes—“Although the sacred historian does not particularly mention the formation of Eve until some time after that of Adam, yet there is not the least doubt that they were both created on the same day. This indeed evidently appears from the relation of the works of the sixth day, Gen. i. 27. where, after the words, God created man in his own image, it is added, male and female crea
• Discourse LI. See Valpy's “Divines of the Church of England," Vol. III. pp. 11, 12.
+ The Reverend author of a well known little work, entitled The Rectory of Valehead, says that—“In a garden the first man was born;" (page 183, but Adam was born nowhere, and was not even created in a garden, although the first woman began her life in one, and it may be said, that both our first parents died before they were born.
See Gleig's History of the Bible.