Page images
PDF
EPUB

the Godhead. David represents the Lord thus addressing the Son, “ This day have I “ begotten thee * ;” and as saying unto him, “sit thou on my right hand until I 66 make thine enemies thy footstool t. Zechariah, referring it should seem to the death of Christ, calls upon the sword in the name of the Lord of Hosts, saying, “ Awake “ O sword against my Shepherd, and against “ the Man that is my Fellow I, saith the “ Lord of Hosts, smite the Shepherd and " the sheep shall be scattered, and I will “ turn mine hand upon my little ones 8;" and this text was directly applied by our Saviour to himself when he was about to be betrayed Il.

With respect to the Holy Ghost, from the creation, when the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters (, till the period when he descended upon Christ, he is described as having inspired the Prophets and holy men, who delivered the communications of God, and he is spoken of by the Evangelists as a being known to the Jews, and without any intimation that they bring forward any new doctrine.

* Psal. ii. 7. + Ibid. cx. 1. See also Isai. xliv. xlviii. 16. Hag. ii. 4, 5. I nipp.

Ś Zech, xiii. 7. See also Job xix. 25. Isai. xlviii. 16. lix. 19. || Matt. xxvi. 31.

Gen. i. 2. Psal. li. 11.

Many proofs that the Rabbins had a notion of the existence of a Trinity might be produced, and learned writers have abundantly shown, that the ancient Jewish theology concurs with the orthodox Christian faith upon these points *. The Jewish writers discovered a mystery in the word Elohim t, they considered the person spoken of as the Son, to be God, and that he had a twofold nature S. The Targumists and Cabbalists make distinctions between Jehovah, the Word, and the habitation of Jehovah, ascribing to each, personal actions and divine properties ||. They confess also a

* Carpzov. Introduct. Theolog. Judaic. c. ii. p. 6. + Rabbi Bechai in Seg. Job iv, Col. i. .

1 Bereschit Rabba, cap. v. lib. 2. Raymondi Pugio Fidci, Part II. Dissertatio i. cap. 119.

§ Midrasch Tillim on Psal. ii. 7. See also Veelleh Shemoth Rabba sive Glossa super Exod. xv. and Psal. lxxxix. 27, 28. See also Observat. Joseph. de Voisin in procem. Pugion Fidei.

| See Oxlee on the Christian Doctrine of the Trinity.

mystery in the blessing expressed in the book of Numbers *.

Philo regards the Logos f and the Holy Spirit, as having each a divine nature.

Indications of a similar persuasion appeared among the Heathens in very early times. The persuasion originated, probably, in some traditionary knowledge of the particulars which have been mentioned. The Heathen Trinity has sometimes indeed no farther conformity to the revealed doctrine than what may be found in a numerical correspondence of persons, but it often also seems to imply a Trinity in the Godhead, a Trinity of causes, of beings eternal and uncreated, though occasionally described under representations which are confused and contradictory I. The doctrine of a Trinity, then, was not deemed by the ancients incompatible with the principles of reason, and it has been well observed, that he who would examine an article of faith by a proposition in philosophy, should be well assured that his philosophy is correct.

* Numb. vi, 26, and Hales.

+ Igọc Tày tay Osày 5c is Exỡyou (Osẽ 8) Aeros: Frag. Vol. ii. p. 625. lib. vii. c. 13. Edit. Mangey.

Cudworth Intell. Sys.

Traces of the doctrine are si i to be covered among the Persians. In the cagical oracles of Zoroastres, a Tripity is asserted, and a line is cited by Patritias from Darascius, which expresses, that a triad abides ia all the world of which unity gorerst. Tsese oracles are, however, probabs spurioas.

The same notion preraled among the Sa. mothracians. The Chaldæans and Eurotians reduced the divine altr: botss to three. wbich may be considered as engrejte the Almighty Father, of the Holy Spirit, 21 of Him who was the great prostire of se.

Allusions to the second person of the Tre nity are to be found in other writings of great antiquity. Aristobulus, tutor ts Pisz lemy Pbiladelchus, ainut 259 veas liste Christ, spoke of a second 2040, deazid as “the wisdom of God," site Falist Á “ lights;" ard by other 1.1.4; Ecratus, before this time, bad coverig riesented the duine Tord as the au:bor oi ai! cevi inte struction, and as teac:Men what they ought to be t. * Dizzy2; á 6:4 12775, 7asiga saz 1:

2 5 *** Plato de Lesas, 5. I tres , p 195 Ed. 24. 17 lor's Dact. Dub. B. i. cle i pt.

+ Clemens Siren. 1. 7. 4.936. 7:9 raw, by Diseys. ani mrater ca 4reina.

VOL. I.

IS nam

Chalcidius named the first person of the Triad, the High God; the second, mind or Providence; the third, the Soul of the world; He describes the three as “ Ordinans," “ Jubans,” and “ Insinuans *." He, however, probably lived long after the promulgation of Christianity.

Striking representations of wisdom personified, and expressive, as some conceive, of the second person of the Trinity, are displayed in the Apochryphal books. The notion of a Trinity appears under diversified modifications in the writings of Pythagoras F, Parmenides and Plato .. That the triad of the divine Hypostases which they mention, differed in many respects from the Trinity of persons described in the Gospel, is readily admitted. The representations upon the subject, which were framed by the later Platonists, being composed after the promulgation of the Gospel, were probably modified in adaptation to its doctrines. The

* See Cudworth. See also, on the other hand, Bp. Randolph's Tracts on the Trinity.

+ Porphyry de Abstinentia, Sectio 27. Carmina Pythag Hieron. and Stillingfieet, Orig. Sac. b. iii. c. 7.

+ Σιωπώ γάρ Πλάτωνα αντικρυς ούτος εν τη προς Ερατος και Kogiaxay k oA3 Qatvia Tiga nai viền, của sĩ8 679;, izT É Zgairūs ypaws fu@airw. Clem Alex. Strom. I. v. 5. 255. p.710. Edit. Potter.

« PreviousContinue »