TT.000 Introduction

Dear Friends,

I present to you, "The Triumphs of Truth" written by Elder Wilson Thompson, published in 1825. This book truly is a "Triumph of Truth." Elder R.H. Pittman called Wilson Thompson, the greatest preacher ever among the Primitive Baptists. Well, I wouldn't know about that, but I can say that he certainly was one of the greatest writers.

In this book, Elder Thompson will discuss some major doctrinal positions. I hope all of you (especially those of a neo-reformed slant) will pay strict attention to his thesis on the doctrine of justification. He gives a well studied and ably presented defense of the historic Baptistic position.

TT.001 Preface

There is every assurance given in the word of God, that truth shall triumph over error; and that Christ shall destroy anti-christ. With these assurances, the christian in looking forward to the promised epoch, when the present mists and fogs, which have long darkened the religious hemisphere, shall pass away, and the true light shall shine with a splendour convincing to the gain-sayer and transporting to the truly pious soul; but while we are waiting as the expectants of such a day as this, we should employ every laudable mean in our power to propagate those truths which are calculated to confirm the pilgrims to Zion in the right understanding of the scriptures, and remove from their minds every clog and tradition, which is calculated to intercept their enjoyments of the truth. The press is the greatest vehicle by which useful knowledge can be conveyed to men, and therefore, I venture to employ its service in giving publicity to the following sheets, which I hope may be profitable to some of the lambs of Christ's fold. I am not altogether a stranger to the common lot of authors, and especially one who appears under all the disadvantages which I am placed under, and in opposition to some of the most popular traditions which have riveted themselves to the mind of the public, and knowing that many of my readers are prepared to look over the following sheets with a criticizing eye, instead of a prayerful heart, with a design to magnify faults rather than extenuate, or pardon my imperfections; but to such I can say, if imperfections are what you look for, no doubt but that you will find enough of them to reward you for your trouble, and gratify your spleeny spirit. No book that ever was written, has passed without censure. The scriptures, written by inspiration of God, have been disbelieved, reproached, and ridiculed by the captiousness of men; and the writers of that holy oracle treated as knaves and impostors! No wonder then if fallible writers should meet with impugners in this divided state of the world. In 1821, I published a small work, which was well received by many of the most pious and orthodox christians, but others found fault with some things which appeared in it; particularly in those places where I opposed the tri-personal scheme of the Trinity, and the covenant of redemption under the notion of a bargain made before the foundation of the world between two divine persons in the Godhead, and where I have spoken of the pre-existence of the human soul of Jesus Christ. I have been convinced that most of these objections have arisen from a misunderstanding of my writings, and from the industry of some designing men, who have warned their people against my books and represented them as being full of Arianism, Sabellianism, Socinianism, Deism, Bramanism, Mohammadism, &c., and by these means many have never read my book, and these have generally found the most fault with it, others were prepared to read it with a strong prepossession against it, and some of these have embraced it, and others have rejected it. I have never repented publishing that work, for I have had the humbling assurances of many, that it has been profitable to them, some have professed its usefulness in clearing their minds of many difficulties with which they had been long laboring, while others have been lead by reading it, to serious concern which has terminated in a cordial and comfortable reception of the truth; these tokens of divine approbation, is to me a humbling and copious reward for all my trouble and expense.  

In the following discourse on the Trinity, I have used the word Trinity, Triune, &c., not because they are found in scripture, for they are not; but because they are words in common use, and give a correct idea of three in one, or that the three that bear record in heaven are one. I have opposed the notion of three distinct persons, because -1st. It destroys the notion of the unity of God. -2nd. It is not scriptural, nor reasonable. -3rd. It is of Antichrist and is dangerous. -4th. It is conjecturing on the mode of God's existence further than he has seen fit to reveal it. -5th. It is distinguishing the only object of worship, into three several objects, individuals, or persons, each of them distinctly considered as an object of worship, each of them to be distinctly loved as a God, and feared as a divine sovereign. How this can be done, I cannot tell, are these persons finite? Then three finite persons cannot make one infinite God. Are these three persons divine and infinite? Then every divine infinite person must be a God; and if there be three distinct divine infinities, there must be three distinct Gods; for what is God but a divine infinite being? And as many such beings, or persons as exist distinct from each other, so many Gods must exist, or else I cannot understand words. Where the three that bear record in heaven are personified, and personal pronouns, personal acts, and personal properties are ascribed to each of them, I understood it in a figure of speech, used not to teach us that three real divine persons exist in the divine essence, or nature, but that this divine essence, or nature is manifested in those several ministrations, or Trinity; and by personification in a figure of speech these are severally expressed in the delineation of the system of salvation by grace, and each of these divine characters are to be understood as the agent accomplishing the work ascribed to it, not as a real person, distinct from the other two as persons, but the same divine Being or God, in whatever character he may be revealed, or however diversely personified, or figuratively spoken of. I pretend not to understand the mode of God's existence, I can know nothing of God, or of his existence, only by revelation, and as he has revealed to us, that "there are three that bear record in heaven, " I believe the fact, as he has told us that these are "the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, " I believe the fact; and as he has never said these three are persons, I cannot make it an article of my faith, but as it is said, "These three are one," I believe the fact; so I have a scripture warrant for my faith, and so my faith stands not in the words which men's wisdom hath devised, but in the words which the Holy Ghost has used; and in this I feel safe; and if I be asked what these three are? I answer, The Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and further than this God has not revealed, and I have no warrant to go any further, but confess myself ignorant of the mode of God's existence, further than he has revealed it.

In the following discourse on the mediatory nature of Christ as pre-existing, I believe that fact because I find it revealed in the scripture, that the one mediator between God and men is the Man Christ Jesus, and I read of his early appearances to the Patriarchs and Prophets, in the form of a man, conversing as a man, declared to be a man, and confessing himself to be a man. He was some times called an angel, or messenger, which are synonymous words, and signify, one sent with a message, which evidently cannot apply to the divinity; the first was visible to the eyes of men, the last is invisible, and was never seen by man; the first was man, the last was God; the first was a messenger, the last sent him; the man was heard to speak, but no man hath heard the voice of God at any time. Now that he who appeared to the Patriarchs was man, is a fact declared positively in the word of God, and that it was not his flesh is equally evident, for according to the flesh he came from the lines of Judah and David, he took on him flesh, was made flesh &c., so in his early appearances, he was man, but not in the flesh; so in my former work, I have spoke of it under the name, soul or spirit, but as some of my critical readers, took the advantage of these terms, as not being scriptural, I have in this work used the terms man, mediator, &c. That he who appeared to the patriarchs was not a common angel, is evident from his receiving divine titles, such as God, the LORD, Jehovah, I AM THAT I AM, &c.; and from his receiving the worship and adoration of those who saw him, which common angels always refused, but which Christ, when he appeared in the isle of Patmos to John received, although he appeared as a man, or an angel as he formerly had done to the patriarchs, all which go to prove that God was united to the man; that when the man appeared, he was the visible form of the invisible God, and being the mediator in whom God was reconciled, and was manifesting himself, he was both God and man, and of course the proper object of all praise and worship, the same as he was in his incarnate state, or is now in his glorified or exalted state. The Man is the mediator, and in him as such, God chose his people before the world was, and gave them grace, all the great and precious promises, and every spiritual blessing; when man was made it was in his image, when the first promise was given to man after the fall, he in whom all the promises were yea and amen, appeared and revealed it to man in a threat to the serpent. He often appeared to the prophets; he spoke to Moses out of the burning bush; he sent him to Egypt to deliver Israel; he went with them through the wilderness; he gave the law on Sinai; he conducted the affairs of the ancient church; he appeared glorious at the door of the tabernacle, in the temple, and on the mercy seat, &c. &c. Many of his appearances were in visible human form, or shape, and at other times concealed in a light, or blaze of the divine glory, from which his voice was heard; but this glory he laid aside when he became incarnate, and clothed himself with a body of flesh, prepared for him, in which he made satisfaction for sin; and as he approached to the close of his life of suffering he prays for the same glory he had with the Father, before the world was. This the disciples had seen in the holy mount, when he was transfigured before them, and his garments were white as the light; and in answer to his prayer, at his ascension into heaven, they saw a bright cloud receive, or invest him; this brightness was that glory in which he afterward appeared to John, as recorded in Re 1:13, and this was perhaps, the same brightness, or light, which often appeared at the door of the tabernacle, and fixed its abode on the ark, between the cherubims, which was called by the Jews, the Shekinah, or the habitation of God. God is described as dwelling in light, and being clothed with light as with a garment. In the midst of this brightness, there often appeared a human shape, or figure, which was called man, but when Christ became incarnate, and had laid aside this glory, it no more appeared in the temple, on the ark, or at the door of the tabernacle; and was only seen on the mount when the man Christ was transfigured; and at the time of his ascension, when the same form was invested with the same glory; and in that brightness, he afterward appeared to John in the Isle. All of which prove that the man Christ Jesus, as mediator, was in existence when he appeared to the patriarchs and prophets, before his incarnation; as incontestably, as his appearance to the apostles after his death, prove his resurrection; for if God appeared as a man and was known as a man, before Christ as man had any actual existence, then his appearing to the apostles, or John in the Isle, is no proof that he was then in actual existence, but if by frequent interviews which he had with the apostles, we are assured that he did actually exist after his passion, so by the frequent interviews which he had with the patriarchs and prophets we are equally assured, he did actually exist before his incarnation. These truths are settled in scripture language, and of great importance to the public who can read and judge.

In the following work, I have made no pretensions to embellishment of style, and no doubt the grammarian may find many imperfections, and I do suppose that no man ever has written a book, under greater disadvantages, as I have been engaged in preaching to several Churches, at a distance from each other, besides traveling a great deal in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky; and have had to write at intervals, as I could catch a day or an hour, from other engagements; but as to the substance of what I have written, I make no apology, believing it to be according to the word of God.

He that looks for a book without a fault, will never find it in human production, but as all our works must bear the print of a man's hand, I hope I shall share in the clemency of my readers, and my prayer is, that God may make this little work, a blessing to his people, and the glory shall be his. I hope nothing in the following sheets, will be so construed, as to look like a want of fellowship in me, with any of my brethren who do not see with me in those points, for this is not my meaning.

While myself alone am accountable for any thing erroneous in this work, and my God and Saviour be praised for all that good which is in it, or may be done by it; I dedicate it to his cause, and the Baptist community, which I believe to be his Church, into whose hands I now submit it, and subscribe myself your servant for Jesus' sake.

TT.01 The Triumph of Truth

The Triumph of Truth.

Truth, in all ages of the world has been unpopular, but probably never more so, than in the present age; and in no part of the world more so, than in America. I cannot therefore flatter myself, with the pleasing hope of gaining much applause from the public voice of my readers, nor do I aim to court the smiles, or fear the frowns of men; but to take the word of God alone for my criterion. To it I make my appeal, by it I wish my doctrine tried, and if anything should appear in the following work repugnant thereto, myself alone is accountable.

When I think of the very important work in which I am about to engage, and know my own imperfections, both as to talents and literature and the general taste for criticism that is almost predominant, I am ready to decline, but when I see the errors, and delusions that are spreading over our land, and the infatuated multitudes, that are floating down this complicated torrent, to the whirlpool of endless ruin, I am again resolved to prosecute my purpose, and if but one be profited thereby, I shall be well rewarded, and my God and Saviour shall have all the praise.

As one of the most important subjects in Theology is God and the Holy Trinity; I shall here invite the attention of my serious reader, to a dispassionate, and scriptural elucidation of this momentous article of the christian religion. May God lead my mind to write the truth, and my readers to understand it.

OF GOD AND THE HOLY TRINITY.

That there is one indivisible God who is unbegotten, absolutely of himself and without beginning, is a doctrine well supported from scripture. Ps 45:6, "Thy throne O God, is forever end ever." Ps 90:2, " Even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. " This truth may also be proven from the things that are seen which declare his eternal power and Godhead, from our own existence, from the existence of all things around us and from his impressions on the minds of men. I think it unnecessary to consume time in offering any arguments in support of the Being, and unity of God; for who but an Atheist ever denied his Being? Or who that professes the christian name, will deny his unity? My present object is, to illustrate the doctrine of the Trinity, or show in what sense God is triune.

No article in Theology is more generally subscribed to, than the unity, and indivisibility of the divine essence. Yet while the christian world is so generally agreed to the unity of the divine essence, various are the conjectures, and diversified are the conclusions drawn from the same premises. The Arian, the Socinian, the Sabellian, and the Trinitarian all agree to the unity of the divine essence; but when these different sects undertake to explain the mode of existence in this essence, they are at once divided. One infers from personal pronouns, plural nouns, &c., that there are three distinct persons existing in the one essence of God; while another infers from the indivisibility of the divine essence that Jesus Christ was not divine except by delegation. Warm have been the disputes, and fiery the zeal of each of those parties; and many are the cruelties, which have betrayed the malignity of these partisans. This should admonish us to be satisfied with what the scriptures reveal and not go farther than we have a positive, thus saith the Lord, for then we know we are right. Is it not sinful to attempt to comprehend the mode of existence in the divine essence farther than God has revealed it? If so, let us retract and like humble disciples, throw off our loads and clogs of tradition, and come as learners to the Bible for instruction. Let us not be wise above what is written. The first thing for our consideration is, can we comprehend God? No, we cannot, see Job 11:7-9. "Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? Deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The measure is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea." Job 37:5,23. "Great things doth he, which we cannot comprehend; touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out." See also, Ps 77:19; Isa 40:28; Ro 11:33-34. From the above passages we are taught that man cannot comprehend God. What folly then! What presumptuous folly to attempt to comprehend the very mode of his existence; but vain man would be wise. Now it is no way mysterious, that the first cause of all things should be incomprehensible; but it is very unreasonable for man, a creature of a day, a child of mortality, a [mite and fallen being, to presume to comprehend the mode of the existence of his infinite Creator. The next thing to which we shall invite the attention of the reader is the unity of God as an object of worship. Ex 34:14. "Thou shalt worship no other God." 1Co 8:4,6. "There is none other God but one; to us there is but one God." See Ps 83:18; Isa 40:8; 45:21-22. This God is a Spirit, and they that worship him, must worship in spirit. As I presume all professing christians will agree to the unity and indivisibility of God, or the divine essence, I shall pass to the main object of this chapter, which is: the Holy Trinity.

This subject is of very great importance, and requires much attention, not only on account of its sublimity and worth; but on account of the spurious philosophy and sophism in which this doctrine has been long shrouded. That we may not err in this article, we come at once to the scriptures, to hear there what God the Lord has revealed. That God is revealed in a triune manner, is evident from 1Jo 5:7, "There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father the Word and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one." We have been often told that these three are persons, each divine, and one in essence; but does the scripture say so? If not, it is only conjecture; and not revelation. Neither has it any foundation in good reason, for reason forbids the idea of three distinct persons, each one truly and properly God, considered by itself, distinct from the other two, and yet but one God. If the first, second and third person, each one distinct from the other two be a God, there is no reason in saying there is but one God; but if there be but one God, there is no reason in saying that there are three persons and each one distinctly considered, truly and properly God.

Nevertheless if God has revealed this, we must believe the fact; but I challenge the christian world, to present one solitary text in the Old or New Testament, that says anything much or little about there being three divine persons in the Godhead, or about three distinct persons being one in the unity of the divine essence. If this be a truth, it is not a Bible truth. A word on the Trinity: 1Jo 5:7- "There are three that bear record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one." The apostle is here adducing several evidences, by which the people of God are distinguished, such as faith, love and obedience. At the 5th verse he asks: "Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" -verse 6 -"This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the spirit that beareth witness, because the spirit is truth. " Here are three, the water, the blood, and the spirit, that bear witness that Christ has come. Shall we call them persons? If so there are three persons in every man for all men have water, spirit, and blood. -Verse 7 -"There are three that bear record in heaven; the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one. " The eleventh verse informs us what this record is: "This is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. " -verse 8 -"There are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood; and these three agree in one. " See verse 10. "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself. " Now it is plain; the earth that the water, spirit, and blood, bear witness in is the believer; for, "he that believeth bath the witness in himself. " So the heaven in which the Father, Word, and Holy Ghost bear record is the church; for, "This is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. " Then eternal life given to us in the Son of God is the record borne in heaven [that is, in the church called the kingdom of heaven] and the scriptures contain the record; hence in them we think we have eternal life, and they are they, which testify of Jesus Christ the Son of God, and of that life which God hath given us in him. The word record, and the word witness are synonymous terms, see Ro 10:2 -"For I bear them record" -that is, I bear them witness. The Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, bear record in heaven, [the Church, or Kingdom of heaven] and the scriptures contain the record, which testify that God hath given us [the subjects of this heavenly kingdom] eternal life, and this life is in his Son. These three are one, that is one God, or one testifier. God was manifest in the flesh, God was in Christ who came by water and blood, and the spirit beareth witness because the spirit is truth. "The Word was made flesh. " Joh 1:14. The Father was in him. Joh 10:38 "The Father is in me, and I in him." The Spirit was upon him. Isa 61:1. "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me. " These three are one. Christ says, "I and my Father are one. " Joh 10:30. Thus from positive scripture language we see, that when the Word was made flesh the Father was in him, and the spirit of the Lord God upon him; here are the three that bear record in heaven in Jesus Christ -who came by water and blood, to which the Spirit beareth witness. By water he was manifested to Israel, see Joh 1:31. "That he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore I am come baptizing with water. " When Jesus was baptized, the Spirit in the form of a dove, and the voice or testimony of the Father was given in saying, "this is my beloved Son. " Mt 3:17. " Here the Father that was in him, and the Spirit that was upon him; bear record to the senses of John, that this was the Messiah, and John "saw and bear record that this is the Son of God." (Joh 1:31-34 inclusive.) Here are the three that bear record in heaven, in the one person of Jesus Christ; who was manifested to Israel by water in baptism; by blood he redeemed his church, and the Spirit beareth witness in the church. So in earth, that is, in every believer, the water, the spirit, and the blood bear witness. The water in washing, see Heb 10:22. "Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water." 1Co 6:11. The blood in witnessing to our pardon and justification [1Pe 1:1-2] and the Spirit in quickening the soul, and applying to it, both the cleansing water, and atoning blood; so these three agree in one. Of what we have said, this is the sum. The three that bear record in heaven are all in Jesus Christ, who established his kingdom on earth, and delivered this record to it in his word. He was the everlasting Father, Isa 9:6. He was a quickening spirit, see 1Co 15:45 -"The last Adam was made a quickening spirit." He was the Word. Joh 1:14. "The Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us." Now these three are one; that is, God the Father, or first cause, is a Holy Spirit, or a most pure spirit, as says our confession, and this God was manifested in the flesh, or man Christ Jesus, or the Word, which was the Son of God. The kingdom of Heaven which Christ came to establish on earth, is the heaven in which the record is borne, and the scriptures are the record book, or in which the record is registered. The three that bear witness in earth, are the water to wash his subjects, the Spirit to quicken them, and the blood to justify them, and their earthly body is the earth in which they bear witness, for the comfort of the soul; and these three agree in one God man, whose divine Spirit quickens them, washes them with water by the word, and justifies them by his blood. So we see nothing favoring the tri-personal scheme in this passage; but we find that the whole Trinity was in one person, and the man Christ Jesus, whose divine nature was the Triune God, and whose humanity -or person was the mediator, according, to 1Ti 2:5. "There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. " Although this text has been so often called or rather forced into the tri-personal service, yet it says not one word about persons more or less, therefore it can prove nothing for them more or less.

Objection: May we not fairly infer three persons, as there are three that bear record, and bearing record is a personal act?

Answer: We are no better supported in inferring persons from the three that bear record in heaven, than we should be in inferring three persons from the three that bear witness in earth, for bearing witness, is as much a personal act, as bearing record, and as no man ever will attempt to infer persons in the latter case, in any other than a figure of speech, personifying that which is not a person, there is no more justice in the former case, than in the latter.

Premises must be settled by positive testimony, and then we may infer with some safety, but inferential witnesses will not do to settle premises upon. If I read the account of three thousand souls being added to the church in one day; recorded Ac 2:41, and then infer that all or some of them were infants; I am equally as well supported in drawing this inference, as when I infer persons in the other case. If it be objected on the ground that infants are not mentioned in the latter case; I answer, neither are persons mentioned in the former case, and if I may infer persons from the three that bear record in heaven, then with equal propriety I may infer infant from the three thousand that were added to the church in a day. Then I may as fairly infer infant baptism, and infant church membership in this case; as three distinct divine persons in the Godhead, in the other case.

TT.02 Triumphs Of Truth: Chapter 2

Chapter 2

Men have sought out many inventions; and have written as though they could understand the very mode of God's existence! I must confess that I have felt sorry to see, and hear, men of grace, and piety, give such a loose to their conjectures on this important subject.

First they will tell us, that we cannot comprehend the mode of God's existence; and then, in the next breath, or page; go about to explain the very mode of His existence; by saying, there is but one divine essence, but in this essence, there exists three divine, distinct, and equal persons, each one truly and properly God. Now if God had revealed the mode of his existence to us, in this way, it would have been for us and our children; but as he has not, we know nothing about it.

If by essence, is meant nature; and by distinct, is meant separate; and by person, is meant individual; then according to this hypothesis, the divine nature is but one, but there are three separate individuals existing in that one nature; and each of these separate individuals, separately considered, is truly God; and yet, (though each one of the three is God, separately considered) there is but one God. If one text in the volume of revelation, could be found, to say this was God's mode of existence, I should feel bound to believe it; whether I could comprehend it or not. But as I never have been able to find anything in the scriptures, about these distinct divine persons, I must leave it only accounted for, in the same way, that I account for the popes place of pergation. All a phantom of the brain, a tradition of anti-christian origin; which ought to be expunged from every religious creed. If God be one in nature, or essence; and three in person, it argues a plurality of Gods, as conclusively as three distinct individuals of the human essence, or nature, would argue a plurality of men. All men are one in essence, or nature, but many in persons; so that saying God exists in unity of essence, no more proves the unity of God; than saying the human race exists in one essence, or nature, would prove the notorious absurdity, that there is but one man, because but one in nature, or essence. If the unity of God be only in the divine essence or nature, and in this essence, there are three distinct, or separate persons; then in the human essence, there is the very same kind of unity, but many distinct human persons in that essence. Now if every separate, or distinct person, of the human essence, be a man, I cannot see why every separate, or distinct person in the divine nature, is not a god.

In a former treatise which I published, I hinted, that the tri-personal scheme, was of Anti-christian origin and some of my readers, thought this was rather harsh, and unfriendly. I will here introduce some evidence, on which I predicated that intimation. I believe all Protestants agree, that when the Church of Rome was established by law, it was no longer a gospel church, but immediately became an anti-christian body. This I presume will be acceded to by every Baptist, and if so, my point is easily proven; for in that body, thus established, the idea of three distinct persons in the Godhead was introduced. I will refer the reader to the two creeds, formed in that body; the one called the Nicene Creed, the other the Athanasian Creed. The council of Nice appears to have been called by the Emperor Constantine the Great; by the advice, and at the request of Alexander, bishop of Alexandria. The council consisted of all the bishops in Asia, Africa, and Europe, who met together in his palace at Nice, a city of Bethania. The intention of this council was to evince and condemn from the authority of the Holy Scriptures, the heresy of Arius, a presbyter of Alexandria, who denied the divinity of Jesus Christ. This council was convened some time from A.D. 318, to that of 325. That the members of this council agreed in this determination, that three divine persons: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost have existed from eternity will appear plainly from the two creeds above mentioned. On this point the Nicene Creed reads as follows: "I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, of one substance with the Father, who come down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost, of the virgin Mary; and I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and giver of life, who

proceedeth from the Father to the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified." In the Athanasian creed it is said: "This is the catholic faith, that we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in unity, neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance; for there is one person of the Father; another of the Son, and

another of the Holy Ghost. But whereas we are compelled by the christian verity to acknowledge every person by himself to be God and Lord, so we are forbidden by the Catholic religion to say there be three God's or three Lords." Now if the divinity of the blessed Jesus be the second divine person in the Trinity, and this divine person was begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, than the divinity of the incarnate God was a derived divinity; derived, or begotten of the Father. This is too degrading to my Saviour! What, him who is Immanuel, God with us; he who is the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, begotten! He who is the Lord God of the holy prophets, begotten! He who is called the mighty God, The everlasting Father, begotten! This I cannot admit, for if my God and Saviour is only a begotten or derived divinity, how shall I trust in him?

The Rev. J. Clowes M.A., in a letter on the doctrine of the divine Trinity, addressed to the Editors of the Christian Observer, p. 13, says, "You know as well as I can tell you, that the primitive christians, from the time of the apostles down to the Council of Nice, during the three first centuries, did not maintain the doctrine of the Trinity under any such idea of tri-personality, and that some of the Greek fathers were offended at the Latin church for adopting it. Thus Gregory Nazianzen on this subject, has the following words: "The Latin's held the doctrine of the Trinity as we do; but through the poverty of their language, and not rightly distinguishing between the Greek hypostasis and essence, they adopted the persons, lest they should seem to hold three substances in the Godhead." The same author, p.14, says, "You know yet further [or ought to know] that at a general meeting of the vice Chancellor and the Heads of Colleges and halls of the University of Oxford, on Nov. 25, 1695, they judged and decreed the position of the realists, [so called from holding the term person according to its literal and common acceptation] to be false, impious, and heretical, contrary to the doctrine of the church, and especially of the Church of England, and that the Nominals [so called to distinguish them from the Realists] were more correct, who denied the existence of three real persons, among whom were Dr. South, Dr. Walls, Mr. Hooker & many other of great note." Benedict says, P. 23, Vol. 1, "The first general council was held at Nice, in Bythinia," he dates it in 325, and says, "The deputies of the church universal were summoned by the Emperor Constantine, to put an end to the Arian controversy, which then began to rage extensively." He says at this council, that upwards of three hundred Bishops were assembled, and continued in session about a year. From all that I can find on this subject it appears, that some time from the year of our Lord 318 to 325, all the Bishops in the established church of Rome, were called together by Constantine the Great, in order to consult the most effectual method to destroy the Arian heresy from the earth, and for this purpose formed the above mentioned creeds; and then made use of them, as a criterion to try heretics by. However abominable the heresy of Arius might have been, this creed seems to have persecution for its object, the Bishops of Rome for its authors, and the council of Nice for its birth place; for I think no man can show that three distinct divine persons in the Godhead, was ever maintained till about this time. So I still contend that the tri-personal scheme is of anti-christian origin.

It is thought by some, that if we deny the tri-personality of the Trinity, we must be Arians, but I shall now clearly show, that while I reject the tri-personality of the Trinity, I differ three times as much from Arius, as those do who contend for the three distinct divine persons in the Godhead. Arius held that Jesus was the first formed of all creatures, of a super-angelic nature, and a God by delegation. See Elly's contrast page 264. The tri-personal scheme holds that Jesus is a divine person, distinct from the Father and begotten of him; [see the above creeds] the one holds that Jesus was God by delegation, the other holds that he was God by derivation or being begotten of the Father; while I hold Jesus to be exclusively God, without delegation, derivation, or filiation, for he does not derive his divinity from his filiation or sonship, but is independently, and exclusively God.

Or in other words, they hold that there are three distinct persons in the Godhead, and that the divinity of Jesus is the second one of these persons distinct from the other two, and was begotten of the Father, while I believe that Jesus in his divine nature, was the everlasting Father, the quickening Spirit, and the Word, or that the whole Trinity was in him as his proper, and underived, and unbegotten divinity. Now if three equal persons be three times as much as one of those equals, then on their own plan of reasoning, I hold the divinity of Jesus, to be just three times what they do; that is they hold that in the Godhead there are three distinct equal persons; and that Jesus is one of them, while I hold that Jesus in his divine nature is all three of these equals. They hold that Jesus as a divine person was begotten, by what they call eternal generation; while I hold his divinity to be the whole God to the exclusion of all distinct persons, unbegotten, underived, independent of delegation, or filiation. Now let men or angels, Trinitarians, or Unitarians, Arians or Socinians judge, who is the nearest Arianism, he that holds Jesus to be begotten in his divinity --- or divine person, and of course eternally derived of the Father or he who holds him to be unbegotten, underived by an eternal begetting, or any other kind of generation, but that he is independently God from everlasting to everlasting, the first to the exclusion of all divine persons before him, the last to the exclusion of divine persons proceeding from him. The filiation of Christ is in his human nature and not in his divine nature, yet many works only proper to his divine nature are attributed to him as Son, because performed by him in the human nature, and many of them designed to demonstrate his true Messiah-ship, or that he was the Son of God.

Is the Father, the first person in the Trinity? Jesus is the Father. "His name shall be called the everlasting Father." Christ said, "I and my Father are one." -"He that has seen me hath seen the Father."

Is the Word, the second person in the Trinity? Jesus is the Word; for "the Word was made flesh" &c.

Is the Spirit, the third person in the Trinity? Jesus is the Spirit; for "the second man was made a quickening spirit."

Now if these three are persons they are all three in Christ, and so the whole Trinity of Father, Word, and Holy Ghost is in Jesus, and if these three be one God, Jesus is that God, for he is the "Lord God of the Holy Prophets." So we see, take it any way; Jesus is the whole Triune God, to the exclusion of all distinct persons. Now leaving out the terms distinct persons, as the scripture does, and the above scriptures pointedly prove without inference, comment, or even implication, but in positive language that Jesus is the everlasting Father, the Word, and the Spirit. As these three are one so Jesus is the Lord God of the holy prophets; then my point is proved by positive scripture language, without inference. Three distinct, divine, equal persons in the unity of the divine essence, never was, nor never will be proven by the same class of testimony until we get new scriptures.

When we take the book of revelation for our guide, how easy, how plain to the child of grace. He believes in a God that is manifest in the flesh, he rejoices to view him in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, and worships the revealed God of the Bible; while many doctors, sages, and priests, are spending years in learned questions and criticisms, in order to find three distinct divine persons in the Godhead; but after all their labor and toil, what is produced? What advantage does the church derive? What profit does posterity receive on this point? Nothing but to be told that the mystery is so great that men cannot know it. What is this mystery? Lo, it is three distinct divine persons, each one truly and properly God, and yet but one God. This indeed is a mystery, and no doubt will be, for God has not revealed it, but what he has revealed, is not designed to puzzle his people, but to instruct them. "Whatsoever was written aforetime was written for our learning, that we through patience, and comfort of the scriptures, might have hope." The christian humble enough to take the scriptures, for his only guide, can set in his cottage, or tent door, with his Bible in his hand, and its consoling doctrine in his heart; and behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus; he rejoices in the hope of the glory of God, and puts no confidence in the flesh, and feels none of the entanglements, of the tri-personal mystery, but beholds God in Christ reconciled to his soul, and feeding him with the word of reconciliation. O my God, let this lot be mine! Every error that has been introduced into the church, has been supported by inference, and implication. If the Baptists had never departed from plain scripture, but had been consistent with themselves, and in all other matters of faith and practice, stood on the word of God, and not have moved, without positive scripture, as they have in the case of Baptism, they would this day, be as pure a church in doctrine, as they were in the apostolic age and not divided, and subdivided as they are at present. O Christian brethren, let us return to the good old way, and manifest as great zeal for the doctrine of God our Saviour, as for any ordinance of his house. Whatever may have been our former relaxed state, let us now rally to the standard of the Word of God, and believe nothing in religion without positive scripture; then we shall show that we are christians indeed.

TT.03 Triumphs Of Truth: Chapter 3

Chapter 3

I shall now invite the attention of the attentive reader, to a more full elucidation of the exclusive deity, or divinity of the incarnate Jesus, or that all we can know of a trinity in God is revealed in Jesus Christ, as the object of faith. The sense in which God is revealed as being triune, seems more to respect the operations of God, than his essence; if he is revealed as the first cause; as the Father of the manhood of Christ, or the author of our spirits, he is properly called Father, which is a relative term, relating to an offspring, or issue. If he be revealed in the labour of his works, either in creation, or redemption, he is properly called the Word, or Son. The term Word, or Son, is also a relative term, and relates to a speaker, something spoken, and something spoken too. The Word proceeding, was the human nature, [Joh 1:14] the speaker was God, [Ge 1:3] and when he speaks to us by his Son, or Word, we are the things spoken to. As a man expresses his will by his word, so God expresses his will, and reveals his power in and by his word; in which he goes forth in the accomplishment, or prosecuting his purposes; as he spoke all things into being by the word of his power, so he preserves all by the same word. If he be revealed as an invisible spirit, to quicken the soul and dwell in his people, and yet not in a corporal substance, but a spiritual indwelling, &c., he is revealed as a Holy Ghost. So the triune manner in which God is revealed, seems to be in relation to the triple work in which he is revealed; that is in creation, redemption, and illumination, or regeneration, and not in a trinity existing in his indivisible essence.

Now to prove this glorious, this soul comforting, this heart curing and love inspiring; yet alas, this long neglected and almost enveloped truth; hear the unerring word of revelation, as it teems from the pen of inspiration, to guide the feet, inform the mind, and comfort the hearts of Zion's heaven bound pilgrims in their march below.

I shall, [in proving the whole Trinity: of Father, Word -or Son and Spirit to be in Jesus Christ] show that the Father is in him, or that Christ in his divine nature is the Father. Isa 9:6 - "For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called: Wonderful, Counselor, the MIGHTY GOD, the EVERLASTING FATHER." Now I would fain hope, that no man who venerates the Bible, will blame me for calling Jesus the Father, since the scripture hath enjoined it on me; saying his name shall be called, not only the Father, but the everlasting Father; and I cannot believe he was to be so called barely in the way of a compliment, or flattery; but because he is the everlasting Father, and not as some say, barely the second Person in the Godhead distinct from the Father, and begotten by him. In Joh 10:30, Jesus says, "I and my Father are one." Will any lover of Jesus, blame me for believing he told the truth? Surely they will not. If Jesus and the Father were one, then Jesus was not barely the second person in the Trinity, and distinct from the Father, but if Jesus and the Father be one, then Jesus is the Father. When Jesus said, "I and my Father are one;" the Jews took up stones again to stone him; and said he was a blasphemer; and some now who profess some reverence for Christ, call me a heretic, for believing that he told the truth. Jesus then referred them to his works; Joh 10:37. "If I do not the works of my Father [not the works of the second person in the Trinity] believe me not." If any of my readers should say, that Jesus is the second person in the Trinity and distinct from the Father; I hope they will consider his works, and if he does not the works of the Father, believe him not, but if he does the works of the Father, though you will not believe his word, yet believe for the very works sake, for they are his witness. Joh 10:38. He adduces them, "That ye may know and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him." In consequence of saying the Father was in him, and he in the Father, the Jews sought again to take him, but he escaped out of their hands. Let those who are contending that Jesus in his divine nature, is the second person in the Trinity, and distinct from the Father, remember that Christ offended the Jews, by contradicting such an idea, and in stating my sentiments verbatim and unequivocally, I do not suppose that the disciples had ever heard or even thought of there being three distinct persons in the Godhead; but it seems as if they had some notion, that the Father was distinct from Jesus, before they were better taught by Christ, their all wise preceptor.

When Jesus, speaking of his going to prepare a place for them, said, [Joh 14:4] "Whether I go, ye know, and the way ye know," Joh 14:5, "Thomas saith unto him, Lord we know not whether thou goest; and how can we know the way," Joh 14:6-7, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also; and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him." From his saying if they had known him, they should have known his Father, that they did know the Father, and had seen him, it seems some light began to break in upon their minds on this subject; and in order to gain a more clear understanding, in this momentous doctrine; at Joh 14:8, Phillip saith unto him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us." Now if the divine Jesus, be the second divine person in the Trinity; and the Father be the first; and they be distinct from each other; how came it to pass, that Jesus deceived Phillip, so much as to show himself to him, and positively declare; "he that hath seen me hath seen the Father;" and then go on, by arguments the most convincing to confirm the disciples in this delusion, [if it be a delusion] which it must be if the divine Jesus, and the Father be two distinct persons. Why does Jesus call for Phillip's faith in this doctrine, if it be heretical as he does? see Joh 14:9-10,11. "Jesus saith unto him, have I been so long a time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Phillip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father, and how sayest thou then; show us the Father? Believest thou not, that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of myself; but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me; or else believe me for the works sake." This is the very powerful, and pointed manner, in which the immaculate Jesus convinces his disciples, that the Father is not a distinct person from him, but that they are one. Surely many are much slower to learn, than Phillip was, for they have read this instructive conversation of our blessed Lord, from their childhood, and yet do not believe that Jesus is the Father.

Reader let me ask you, doest thou believe? I hope you are ready to confess to your Saviour, Lord I believe, help thou mine unbelief. If so thou canst fall down and worship him. I think it needless to mention any more scriptures to prove that the divine Immanuel, and the Father, are one. If the injunction which God by the prophet lays us under to call him the everlasting Father is to be disregarded by christians, and only complied with by heretics, as they are called, by such as hold that Jesus is not the Father but another person distinct from him. If the positive declarations of Jesus before the Jews, who took up stones to stone him for what he said, are to be disbelieved; because it contradicts the notion of his being a distinct person from the Father; if Christ's explanation of this doctrine to his disciples at their request; and his showing himself to them, and positively declaring, that, they that have seen him have seen the Father; I say, if all this is to be sacrificed on the altar of tri-personality; and all the works, and words, which he refers both the Jews, and his disciples to for evidence on this point; if all these are to be thrown aside, as heresy and lies, by men professing any reverence for Jesus, or the sacred scriptures, it is time to take an alarm; and say with one of old, O how are the mighty in Israel fallen! How are their fine gold changed! Surely there is none that understandeth! Lord be very near unto us, for we are but few; be thou near unto us, for the help of the mighty men faileth.

As it is so generally believed, that Jesus is the Word or Son; I suppose it wants no proof; but as I intend to show a trinity in Jesus Christ, I will present the reader with a few witnesses on this point. Joh 1:1 - "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Here the Word seems to be spoken of in two senses, first as being with God, and secondly as being truly GOD. Just in the same manner this same Word when it was made flesh and dwelt amongst us, is sometimes said to be God, even the Father; and again he says, "my Father is with me." When he says "I and my Father are one," we understand him to speak of his divinity; and when he says "my Father is greater than I," we understand him to speak of his humanity. In the Word when it was made flesh, both these natures were existing, the humanity with the divinity, in the one God-man. So in the Word in the beginning; were these two natures, the Word in the human nature, was with God, but the divine power, or nature, of the Word, was God. So the Word was both with God, and was God, just as Jesus was both the Father, and yet the Father is greater than he. So the Word was with God, and the Word was God, Joh 1:14. "And the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us, and we beheld his glory, [the glory, as of the only begotten of the Father] full of grace and truth." Here was the same Word made flesh with both natures in him; yet, the human nature was made flesh, and the divine nature in it, is the glory which was beheld, as the glory of the human nature. Here the Word appears in both natures yet. 1Jo 1:10, "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled of the word of life." [see also 1Jo 1:2-3] John begins his gospel and first epistle, in speaking of the Word, and no doubt means the same thing in both places, and though he says "no man hath seen God at any time," [see Joh 1:18, and 1Jo 4:12,] yet here he says, speaking of the Word, we have seen it with our eyes, have handled it &c. That is, divinity is invisible; but humanity visible, and so both natures are in the Word still; for the divine life was manifest in the Word here, as the divine glory was in the other quotation. Re 19:13," And he was clothed in a vesture, dipped in blood, and his name is called THE WORD OF GOD." From these texts it is decidedly a fact, beyond all doubt, that Jesus is in the most emphatical language declared to be the Word. Not only in his human nature, which was with God, was made flesh, was visibly seen and sensibly handled by his followers; but in his divine deity, which was God, [not the second person] whose glory was beheld in the man, as if it were the man's glory, and demonstrated the man to be the mediator; to be the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth; and the divine life was manifested, as God was manifested in the flesh. This the apostles saw, and did testify that Jesus is the Word, or Son of God. Now as the prophet was not afraid of honoring the blessed Jesus too much by calling him the everlasting Father, I will call him so without any reserve; and believe him to be what he is called; and worthy of all the honors ascribed to him; and as the apostle John when in the Isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ, bears this testimony, his name is called the Word of God. I will call him so with all my heart, and believe him to be what he is called.

My next business is to show that Jesus is the Spirit, or that the Spirit is in him. When I say the Spirit is in Jesus, I do not mean by effusion, delegation, or inspiration; although when the manhood, or humanity of Christ is spoken of, it is properly said that the Spirit of the Lord God was upon him, was given to him, and he was anointed with it, &c., but here I am speaking of his divine nature, which was not anointed by the Spirit, or quickened by it; but was the anointing and quickening Spirit itself, independent of delegation, effusion, or inspiration.

When the scriptures speak of the advent of Christ in the flesh, they speak of the divine Spirit being upon him in his glory, power, and divinity. See Isa 61:1 - "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me." &c. Here the prophet was personating the man Christ; see Lu 4:18 - "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me." Joh 3:34 - "For God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him." It may be objected, that these scriptures do not prove that Jesus was the Spirit, but only, that the Spirit was upon him, or given to him. I admit it; but he to whom the Spirit was given, and upon whom it rested, was the human nature, or manhood of Christ. Then if the Spirit without measure was given to and rested upon the man Christ, surely it was his divine nature, or divinity, but we have positive witness to the point. Ga 4:6."God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." Now the Spirit is said to be the Spirit of his Son, surely none will deny, but the Spirit that was sent into our hearts, was the Holy Ghost, but this was the Spirit of the Son of God, then it was in him, and he is the Spirit. See 2Co 3:6. "For the letter killeth but the Spirit giveth life," [or quickeneth, as the margin reads.] But Christ is our life, and quickeneth whom he will. Joh 5:21; Col 3:3-4. Therefore Christ and the Spirit are one, and not two distinct persons. But the Spirit, and Word being one, performs the same act of quickening or giving life, being the divinity of Jesus Christ, it is properly said, 1Co 15:45, "The last Adam was made a quickening Spirit." The last Adam was Jesus, the Word made flesh, and the glory revealed in it, which was the divinity of it, was the Spirit that giveth life, nay, "the life was manifested;" "the Spirit is life," then the Spirit was that life which was manifested in the Word, and is the Spirit of the Word; not distinct from it, but the very quickening power of it; and so Christ is not a person distinct from the quickening Spirit, but is a quickening Spirit. Ro 8:9, "Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now, if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." In this passage, the Spirit is first called the Spirit of God, and then the Spirit of Christ. Then if God and the Spirit be one, and consequently God is a Spirit; so Christ and the Spirit are one, and consequently Christ is a quickening Spirit. The Apostle continues this subject, by saying, Ro 8:10, "And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness." Now the word, "If Christ be in you," and the words, "If so be that the Spirit of God be in you," being used in interchange, evidently mean the same thing; then Christ is the Spirit of God. The same thing is demonstrated by comparing the 11th verse. I presume that no reader of the Bible will feel disposed to dispute, but that the Spirit of God, that quickens, gives life, and dwells in his people, even crying Abba Father in their hearts, &c. is the Holy Ghost. If this is not denied, [which I think the most blinded zeal imaginable cannot prompt a christian to deny] then my point is proven, from scripture language. I have not been under the necessity of depending on inference and implication, in settling my premises; no, I have laid before the eyes of my reader, the chapters and verses; nay the very words which declare; as in the voice of thunder, bursting from the battlements of heaven, and teeming through the pen of inspiration, to arouse the ears and hearts of dreaming mortals; to vivify the almost torpid soul with fresh energy to look with vividness to God manifest in the flesh; and hail him Immanuel - "the everlasting FATHER," - "the WORD OF GOD," - "a quickening SPIRIT." O my brethren in Christ will you not own him, Father, Word, and Spirit too? To you I appeal, who love to honor Christ your God, and never are alarmed, with one remorse for honoring him too much. If hosts of D. D.'s should speak in strains as eloquent as angels, and say, there are three distinct divine persons in the Godhead; and the divine Jesus is but the second one of these; distinct from the Father, and Spirit, and begotten in his divine person by, or derived of the Father by eternal generation, &c. ; are you not ready to say, when you turn your eyes to your Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ," whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none on earth that I desire beside thee?" Yes, I think like the convinced Thomas, you are saying, I own him to be, " my Lord and my God." Yes he is Jesus Christ, my Lord; and to us there is but one Lord.

Now, from pointed scripture language that cannot lead us astray, I have proven that Jesus is, in his divinity," The everlasting Father, the Word and a quickening Spirit. This trinity is revealed in one person, and that the human person, or flesh of Jesus Christ; and is God over all blessed forever. He is revealed, or manifested to man, as the object of faith, the source of comfort, the fountain of life and the God of our worship, and affections.

Christian brethren; If the holy apostles and prophets, when under the inspiration of God, were not backward to call our blessed Jesus, the Father, Word, and Spirit, let us call him so, and believe him to be what we call him. If we hold him to be what the inspired Isaiah, the wise master builder Paul, and the beloved disciple John have declared him to be, we have both the old and new testaments on our side; nay even the Captain of our salvation is for us. We will, we must plead for his honor. Come brethren, ye travelers to Zion; come up to the help of the Lord against the mighty; come, rally to the standard of the omnipotent Immanuel; the white flag is waving, it is unfurled in the gospel field, and the voice of the scriptures as of the seraphs, invite you to liberty; they proclaim emancipation from antichristian oppression, and our heavenly Father's voice is calling," Come out of her my people." O may every child of grace with jubilant soul repair to our beloved Jesus saying- " great and marvelous are thy works Lord God Almighty, just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints."

Having fully shown, from pointed scripture, that all we can know of a Divine Trinity, from revelation, is in Jesus Christ; my next work will be to prove that the divine Immanuel, is exclusively God; or that the divinity of Jesus, is God, to the exclusion of all other persons, distinct from him. As I have pointedly proved each of my foregoing propositions by the word of inspiration; I propose to prove this, from the same source; and let scripture explain scripture. Then we must be right. I know there are many that are not willing to allow Jesus this honor, but we will hear some parallel scripture texts, speak on this subject; for none but avowed infidels, will dispute the validity of such witnesses, and to them I have made my appeal with confidence, so let us hear their voice, and the case is decided.

Isa 6:5 - "Mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts." It is said,

Joh 12:41,"I even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no Saviour." Compare this with II Peter 3:18,"Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." Then Jesus is the Lord, beside whom there is no saviour.

Isa 44:6, "Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his Redeemer the Lord of Hosts; I am the first, and I am the last, and beside me there is no God." See a parallel in Re 22:13, "I am Alpha and Omega; the beginning and the end, the first and the last." See also Re 1:8,11,17. In the former text the Lord of Hosts declares he is the first, and the last; and beside him who is the first and the last, there is no God. In the latter text Jesus is declared to be the first, and the last. Therefore, beside Jesus there is no God.

Isa 8:13-14, "Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he shall be for a sanctuary; and for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem." See how the apostle applied this to Christ; 1Pe 2:7-8, "Unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence," &c. In the former text, the Lord of Hosts himself is a stone of stumbling and rock of offence to both houses of Israel; in the latter text, Jesus is said to be the stone of stumbling and rock of offence. So if Peter was right, Jesus is the Lord of Hosts himself, and unless there be more than one Lord of Hosts, Jesus is exclusively LORD OF HOSTS.

Isa 54:5, "For thy maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called." Compare with Mt 9:15, "And Jesus said unto them, can the children of the bride-chamber mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them and then shall they fast." Here Christ is teaching that he himself is the bridegroom. According to Joh 3:29, "He that hath the bride is the bridegroom." Now if Christ is the husband, and bridegroom of the church, he is our maker, and the GOD OF THE WHOLE EARTH. The church has but one husband and he is not the second person in the Trinity, distinct from the Father, and Spirit, but he is our maker, the God of the whole earth, to the exclusion of all persons distinct from him, and JESUS is he.

Ps 23:1, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." [It is said the word rendered Lord, ought to be rendered Jehovah] Jesus declares himself to be this character. Joh 10:14, "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep." Now there is not two shepherds, for Christ says, Joh 10:16, "There shall be one fold and one shepherd." Therefore, Jesus is the Lord [Jehovah] beside whom there is no Lord, in heaven or earth, nor no distinct equal person.

Ps 78:56, "Yet they tempted and provoked the most high God; and kept not his testimonies." The apostle with reference to this same people, and transaction, says; 1Co 10:9, "Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents." From these two texts it is clear, that Christ is the MOST HIGH GOD. There can be but one most high God; therefore Christ to the exclusion of all persons distinct from him, is the only most high God.

From comparing the old & new testaments, and seeing how the new explains the old; we see beyond controversy, that the only, the most high, and exclusively all the God of the old testament, or that was known by the prophets; is Christ in the new testament and is the same that the apostles own to be "our Lord Jesus Christ," "The only wise God to the exclusion of all distinct persons from him."

TT.04 Triumphs Of Truth: Chapter 4

Chapter 4

My next business will be to prove that Christ taught; and the apostles believed that he was God to the exclusion of all distinct equal persons. That the apostles believed as they were taught by Christ, that he was exclusive God, and rejected the idea of any other equal person, that was distinct from him, we call your attention to the new testament, where their faith, and Christ’s lessons of instruction are plainly stated, in the following manner. Compare Re 22:6,16, "And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true; and the LORD GOD of the holy prophets sent his angel, to show unto his servants the things which must shortly be done." "I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches." Here Jesus teacheth, that himself is the Lord God of the holy prophets, who sent his angel, &c. Now can there be any distinct person from the Lord God of the holy prophets, and equal with him? Is not the tri-personal plan false, according to these texts?

Compare Re 1:8,13,17, in the 8th verse it is said, "I am ALPHA, and OMEGA, the beginning and the ending, saith the LORD, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty ." This august speaker [in vs. 13] is declared to be, "like unto the son of man." If any doubt should remain on the mind of the reader, whether this was Jesus or not, he can read Re 1:18 and he will be satisfied, Re 1:17, "I am the first, and the last." From these texts we find that Jesus taught; that himself was the first, and the last, the Alpha, the Omega, the Lord, and the Almighty .He is the first to the exclusion of all first persons distinct from him; and he is the last, to the exclusion of all third, or last persons, distinct from him. He is the Almighty , to the exclusion of all equal persons, [for there can be but one Almighty] and he is the Lord to the exclusion of all Lords as distinct persons from him. "These are the true sayings of God." Reader examine yourself, whether you be in the faith.

When Zacharias was speaking of John the Baptist; he said Lu 1:76, "And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the HIGHEST; for thou shalt go before the face of the LORD, to prepare his ways." Christ in speaking of this John says, Mt 11:10, "For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. " John went before the face of Jesus, to prepare his way before him. Therefore Jesus is the Lord, the Highest, before whose face John was sent; and whose prophet he was. Then Jesus was the Lord, the Highest; and as there can be but one Highest, Jesus is the Highest and can have no equal, that is distinct from him, for he is the Highest.

Compare 1Co 8:6, with Joh 20:28. In the first of these places, Paul says, "To us there is but one God the Father." In the other, Thomas says to Jesus, "My Lord and my God." Then Jesus and the Father could not be two distinct Persons, for while Paul owned no God but the Father; Thomas said Jesus was his Lord and his God. Then Jesus is all the God that the apostles acknowledged, as a God to them.

2Co 5:19, "To wit, that God [not the second person, but God himself] was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation." Now if there were a first, and a third person, equal with, and distinct from the God in Christ, I know of no way of reconciliation to them, for it is the God in Christ [manifest in the flesh] that hath committed to us, the word of reconciliation. This agrees with the two last mentioned texts, and shows that while the apostles owned no God distinct from the Father, Jesus was their Lord and God; so the God in Christ, or Christ as God, was the only Lord God of the apostles, to the exclusion of all persons distinct from him.

Some may try to evade the force of all these plain, and pointed scriptures; by acknowledging that Christ is God, in common with the Father and Spirit; but yet a distinct person, from them both. To destroy this futile and illogical refuge, I will adduce a few pointed texts, which will be like fire among thorns, to this cobweb refuge.

Col 2:8-9, "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." Now, if the Godhead consists of three equal, and distinct persons, and Christ be only the second one of these, how woefully the apostle missed it, and how improper the caution in the text; but if the apostle be correct, and the whole fullness of the Godhead, to the exclusion of all distinct persons, be in Christ bodily, how woefully the tri-personal scheme misses it, and how well timed the warning given by the apostle to the church, to beware lest any man spoil them through philosophy, &c. If the whole fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ, how can the first, and third persons in the Godhead, be distinct from him? This the apostle might well call philosophy, connected with vain deceit, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ; and let me ask you christian reader, has not the Church been much spoiled by it? While they have been looking in the field of philosophy for two divine persons distinct from Christ, and have almost forgotten, that the whole fullness of [not the second person in the Godhead] the Godhead dwelleth in him [Christ] bodily.

Col 1:19, "For it pleased the Father, that in him [Christ] should all fullness dwell." Now if all fullness dwell in Christ, the fullness of the Father, the fullness of the Word, and the fullness of the Holy Ghost, dwelt in him; with all the treasures of wisdom and prudence; grace and glory; then all persons distinct from him, are vague vacuums, or in a state of vacuity. If all fullness dwell in Christ, he is all the fullness of the Godhead, and can have no distinct equal person.

If positive scripture proved by scripture, be of any weight, in settling a question of faith in a christian land; my system is fully demonstrated. I have not went about to reason, and infer from implication, and unsettled premises, as the tri-personal writers have uniformly been under the necessity of doing; but from the plain, literal, and positive expressions of scripture language, according to apostolic explanation, and application, the following facts are settled.

1st. That there is but one God.

2nd. That the Trinity, or Father, Word, and Spirit, are in Christ as his underived divinity, and,

3rd. That the whole fullness of the Godhead, to the exclusion of all Gods, was in the person, or body of Christ to the exclusion of all other distinct persons. I shall now point out some few of the evils of the tri-personal scheme; and the fallacy of the arguments by which it is chiefly supported.

On this part of my subject, it must not be expected that I can point out those evils, in positive scripture language, or quote scripture to say, the arguments for three persons in the Godhead are fallacious. This must not be expected, for as the scripture says nothing about three persons in the Godhead, one way or another, under the name person, we could not expect to find a text to say pointedly there are evils in the tri-personal scheme or the arguments are fallacious that are resorted to in support of that scheme. If I were to start up and say; there are seven distinct persons in the Godhead; no man could find one text of scripture to say, there are not seven persons in the Godhead. One certain and powerful argument against me would be, that the volume of inspiration says nothing about those seven persons, neither is there one text that says anything about three persons in the Godhead. If any man will find one text to prove the latter; I will pledge myself, to find one to prove the former, and the want of scripture is as strong an argument against the one, as the other.

Objection: There is a text, 1Jo 5:7, that says, "There are three that bear record in heaven; " and we may fairly infer, that they are persons.

Answer: There is a text, Re 3:1; 1:4, which speaks of the seven spirits of God, and I am as well supported in inferring persons from these seven, as you are from the other three.

Objection: These three are one, and bear record, therefore they must be persons of one essence.

Answer: These seven are one, [see Re 3:1,] and bear record - "These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God. " So to infer persons is equally just in this case as in the other.

Objection: That these three bear record, and bearing record is a personal act; therefore, we must infer persons, from their personal act.

Answer: These seven bear witness, or record, [Re 1:4,20 & Zec 3:9,] so if bearing record, being a personal act, demand of us, to infer persons in the one case it does with equal force in the other; and so the very arguments that support the tri-personal scheme; with equal force would prove seven persons in the Godhead, for these seven, are the seven spirits of God; and the personal act of running, is ascribed to them, which would prove them to be persons according to the tri-personal plan of reasoning.

These things are stated not because I believe in seven persons in God; but only by the analogy to show the fallacy of the argument, chiefly relied on, by the tri-personal party, in support of their fabricated hypothesis.

Some contend that there are three real persons in the Godhead; and on this account are called realists. Others hold three persons nominally, and not really, and on this account are called nominals. The evil of the former, is in making a real society of persons in the Godhead, as Hopkins does, [see Ely’s contrast pg. 21] and consequently three distinct divine beings, and objects of worship; or three Gods of one essence, as when they say, that each of these distinct persons is God; considered distinct from the other two. This evil is of such a destructive nature, as to show itself in all branches of their worship. I have heard them pray to each of these distinct persons, distinctly, as a separate God. Is there no evil in this? Nay, is there not such an evil, as would make an apostle’s blood run cold; and cause him to say, "To us there is but one God."

The evil of the nominals, is chiefly in contending for what they disavow; that is, they contend that there are three persons, when in reality they do not believe the fact, in any other than a nominal sense, so while they contend that there are three persons in the Godhead, and do not believe it is really true, their arguments are only calculated to mislead their hearers, and they are more notoriously inexcusable, than if they did believe what they contend for was a real truth. If their followers should be convinced, that there were three persons in the divine essence, they would believe, what their preceptors believed was not a real, but only a nominal fact. That which is no more than nominal can afford no more than nominal comfort, and if the personal existence of the Father, Word and Holy Ghost, is no more than nominal, the faith which is built on these persons, has but a nominal object, and of course must be a nominal faith; and the nominals are welcome to all the comfort it can afford them, and I envy them not in their nominal enjoyments.

The next thing that I shall attend to is, to notice the main arguments of the tri-personal party, and refute them. It is argued by some learned critics on the tri-personal scheme, that the Hebrew name, in the old testament, which we have translated by the word GOD, is Elohim, a noun substantive of the plural number, regularly formed from its singular. I will not pretend to contradict this fare brought criticism. The same critics do admit, that this plural noun Elohim is connected with verbs of the singular number. Now I see no undeniable rule, for forcing the single verb to agree with the plural noun, any more than to change the noun to agree with the verb. When we read the old testament, if we should always read Gods, in the plural, instead of God, in the singular, the whole sense of many chapters that throughout argue against a plurality of Gods, must be rendered unintelligible to the last degree. If our translation is so base; as to mislead us, in a subject of so much importance as this; are we not unsafe in confiding in any of it? For if the word Elohim is plural, and when connected with single verbs, must still be understood as giving a plural sense; then "Gods" would be proper, instead of "God." If it were so rendered through the old testament, the whole beauty and sublimity of the bible would be destroyed; and that sweet agreement that now shines with such convincing resplendence, in comparing the old and new testaments, would all be lost; and a perpetual jargon must reign in its stead. When men are compelled to condemn our translation of the Bible, in order to establish their hypothesis, I think we are authorized to suspect their scheme. I am not capable to criticize on Hebrew nouns, &c. , but the Jews who speak the Hebrew language as their native tongue say, that Elohim, is not a plural noun, except in some particular cases, or on some particular occasions; and I know of none that ought to be better judges of the Hebrew language, than the native Hebrews themselves. I therefore, would suppose, that if Elohim were single, except on some particular occasions that it must be of the singular number, when connected with verbs of the single number. It is evident, at all events, that our translators, with all the parliamentary inspectors understood it as giving a single, and not a plural idea of God. It becomes us to receive our English scriptures as our guide, unless they are proven corrupt, by proper authority, and when this is done; we should abandon them, and prosecute the proper measures to obtain a new translation. It is a well known and settled fact; that a plural noun is used to express more than one of a kind, so that if the noun Elohim be plural, and when connected with single verbs, must still give a plural idea, it should have been translated by the plural noun Gods. Then it would have been an argument in favor of three, or of three hundred Gods; but it would be no argument in favor of three distinct persons in one God; for the name of God, if it were changed into a plural noun, would not give an impartial reader, or unbiased mind, the most distant idea, of three distinct divine persons in the unity of the Godhead. If changing a noun, from the single, to the plural number would express the idea of three distinct persons in the essence of the thing named, then the noun Ship, when changed to Ships, would mean three persons in the essence of one Ship; the noun Tree, when changed to Trees; would mean three distinct persons in the essence of one tree, &c.

One evil arising from this notion of three distinct persons in the Godhead, according to the above criticism, is in striking a fatal blow at the very vitals of all confidence in the English scriptures; and in leading men to worship Gods, instead of one God; for it is a well known and indisputable fact, that the plural of the noun God, is Gods; more than one, but no man knows how many, whether two, three or three thousand; or what number. It is very strange, that Infidels, and the tri-personal party, are the only men that I have noticed, who have had need of this refuge, or of criticizing in this way on the Hebrew Elohim. In Volney’s Ruins, the very same kind of criticism may be seen; by him introduced to destroy all confidence in the scriptures and the same is introduced by the tri-personal party, to support a point [which to say the least] the English scriptures are silent upon; and in order to establish their thesis, they go into criticisms calculated in their natural tendency, to invalidate the English scriptures; but this is only one, among many of the evils of the tri-personal scheme and we will rather attribute it to the badness of the cause which employs it; than to any evil design in the critic who unfortunately introduced it, for he seems to have been much like Aesop’s fable of the doe, that fed on the bank, and being blind of one eye, she kept her blind eye toward the water, and her good eye toward the plains, to watch for the hunter; but unfortunately for the poor doe, a vessel came by, and an archer from the vessel shot her from the side from which she suspected no danger; so these critics, are exposing themselves to the arrows of the Infidel, while they seem only afraid of Arians, whose net they have only half escaped.

TT.05 Triumphs Of Truth: Chapter 5

Chapter 5

Another main argument which is much relied on, in supporting the tri-personal scheme, is drawn from personal pronouns. I shall, therefore, offer a few remarks on this source of argument. Personal pronouns are used in the English, in two ways. First, when we speak of a real person, the personal pronoun he, or she, is used instead of the name of the person. Secondly, the personal pronoun may be properly used, when we personify things that are not persons, but in this case the personal pronoun is used in a figure of speech, and does not argue a proper, or natural person; in the thing spoken of; but is only used in a figure of speech. For instance, if I personify the Sun; in this figurative way, it is proper to say, He rises in the east; He sets in the west. Or I may say of a ship, She sails well; She made a quick return. Now what man in Christendom, would infer from this usage of the personal pronoun, that the Sun was indeed, either naturally, or properly, a person, of the masculine gender; and that a ship was a proper person, of the feminine gender? I presume no man in his right mind will ever attempt this; and equally futile, and unjust must be every argument drawn from personal pronouns, to prove three persons in the Godhead. God is a Spirit, every where present, invisible, and uncompounded. Therefore, not a person naturally, and can be naturally, neither male nor female. From his great power he is, in a figure of speech, spoken of in the masculine, and in this figure of speech, the personal pronoun "He" is used for God. When we attend to the idiom of our language, with regard to person-"I" is the first person singular, and is used when the speaker speaks of himself. "Thou" is the second person singular, for the person spoken to. "He" is the third person singular, and is used for the person spoken of because the personal pronoun is thus used in the three persons, with reference to God. Men of erudition have contended that God exists in three distinct persons; while it is an uncontroverted fact, that the personal pronouns are used, both in scripture and in every day's conversation, in the first, second, and third persons, where no one ever thought of understanding a trinity of distinct persons. An instance of this kind you may see in 2Co 12:1-5, where Paul is doubtless speaking of himself, and speaks of himself under the first, and third person. See verse 3, " And I knew such a man, " verse 4, "How that he was, " &c. Now who ever was so fruitful in invention as to think, or ever pretend to argue, that there were two or three distinct persons of one essence in Paul, because he speaks of himself under the personal pronoun in the first, and third persons? But this would be an argument of equal weight, with any argument drawn from personal pronouns in favor of the tri-personal scheme. It is a well known, and almost universal practice with poets; to speak of themselves, in the first, second, and third person. The same things occurs in every day's conversation, in all ranks of society; but who from the untaught Hottentot, to the most refined linguist, ever pretended to prove from this usage of the personal pronoun, that there was a trinity of three distinct persons, in every man thus using the personal pronoun. If the personal pronoun can never be used in a figure, but must always identify a distinct, and a proper person, in the first, second, or third person, as it occurs, then there must be three distinct persons, in every speaker, real or fictitious that uses the personal pronoun, with reference to himself, in any other than the first person. I think this would be a new theory in our world, that would make shipwreck of all books -the Bible, and common sense itself. Equally absurd, childish, and mischievous in its nature, are the arguments drawn from personal pronouns, in support of the tri-personal scheme in theology. It may be objected, that those who support the tri-personality of the Trinity; do not hold that there are three real persons in the Godhead; but only that God is spoken of under the personal pronoun in the three persons by a personification, in order to teach us his ways, or methods of performing his purposes with regard to his creatures. On this I could give you my hand freely. If this had been what the tri-personal party has meant by three distinct persons, some would have expressed it before this time. No something more is intended.

Personal acts attributed distinctly to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, is another source of argument, much depended on, by those who hold to the tri-personality of the Trinity. I shall in the next place offer a few remarks on this subject.

Were there nothing in the tri-personal scheme of the Trinity, to create a suspicion of its impropriety; when we see its veterans resort to such futile refuges as this, it should start the enquiry, Can that cause be good, that depends on such poor support as this? If it were good, would it need support from such a futile resource? We think, that the very appeal to this source of argument, is in effect giving up the case. Nevertheless, as many have enlisted personal acts as one of their chief braces to the tri-personal fabric, it becomes our duty to animadvert on this their usual resort, under which they have taken shelter, and by which they have attempted to defend, and support their tottering tower.

Some may think that I speak too lightly of this argument, seeing many learned, and pious champions for the faith of the gospel, have improved it to their advantage. This is not denied; neither do I wish to impeach those eminent men, who have used it, but their making use of it, can make it none the better. Their arguments were directed against the Arians, and their success; was not in proving the tri-personality of the Trinity, but in proving the divinity of Jesus Christ; this they could scarce fail in doing, and however they might be foiled in other matters, they were sure of victory in the end, for the divinity of the adorable Jesus, is a point which shines in almost every page of the inspired volume. Had those great men left all this round of persons, personal pronouns, and personal acts out of their arguments, and have confined their antagonists to the word of God, they would have been to the Arians, like Sampson was to the Philistines.

It cannot be denied by any man in a land of Bibles, but that personal acts are attributed to things personified, without the most distant thought of the thing spoken of, being a real, or proper person. See for example Ps 65:12-13, " And the little hills on every side. The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing. " Here we see the personal acts of rejoicing, shouting for joy, and singing; are ascribed to the little hills, pastures, and valleys. Was there ever a reader of the Bible, that from these, and similar passages of scripture, would imagine, that the little hills, the pastures, and the valleys, are persons, either naturally, or properly? No, they would never contend for anything more than a figure of speech. Now if such personal acts do not prove a person really or properly; in the little hills, pastures, or valleys; why is this argument resorted to, in order to prove three distinct persons in the unity of the Godhead? It must show that the cause is but poor, that has to be supported by such a trite argument as this. It may be thought by some, that these are not proper cases; because the personal acts expressed in the examples above, were only spoken in a figurative way and the personal acts of singing, shouting &c., were not literally performed by the little hills and valleys, while those personal acts relied on in support of the tri-personality of the Trinity, are acts which have been literally performed. To put to silence this objection, see a case in Nu 16:32, "And the Earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up." Here was both the personal act of opening her mouth, and swallowing; and the personal pronoun her, is used for the earth. Will any man on earth attempt to infer from this, that the earth is a person, of the female gender; having a mouth to open, and a throat big enough to swallow this great company and all their goods? I think no man ever did, or ever will understand it so. Yet, strange to think! Such futile, such strained unqualified arguments are the main support of the tri-personal fabric.

The very doctrine of the Trinity itself is offered in support of the tri-personal scheme; as if there could be no such a thing as a trinity, without a trinity of persons. I shall therefore; offer a few remarks on this subject.

In a small Book, which I published in 1821 entitled Simple Truth; I said something against the notion of three distinct persons in the Godhead; as being a defect in the Trinitarian plan of reasoning. On this account, some men, not very well disposed toward me, have seized this as a good opportunity to poison the minds of their friends against me, by falsely saying, both, in print and verbally, that I had treated the doctrine of the Trinity with the utmost contempt. This is a false allegation, but I hold nothing against any man on this account; to his own master he stands or falls. By the word Trinity; I understand three in one. By the Divine Trinity; I understand the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; being one. But I never thought, nor do I yet think, that these three must necessarily be distinct, divine, and equal persons of one indivisible essence and each of these persons, separately considered, truly and properly God, and yet all of them but one God, in order to the existence of a trinity; nor did I believe, that the three must necessarily be persons at all in order to the existence of a trinity; nor do I yet believe it. "The Lord God is a sun and a shield. " The sun seems to have a trinity in it; for besides its body, there is light, and heat. Yet I think no philosopher would infer from this--that there were three distinct persons in the Sun. There seems to be a sort of a trinity in man; for Paul prays, "That your whole spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved," &c. 1Th 5:23. Would any man argue from this notion of a trinity in man, that there were three distinct persons in every man, or in those for whom Paul thus prayed? I think this will never be contended for. Is not ice, snow, and hail three; and are they not all of one essence, and that essence water, and are they not frequently personified? Are not personal pronouns applied to them severally; and personal acts attributed severally to them? But who ever attempted since the world began, to argue from this notion of a trinity, in the unity, or undivided essence of water; that ice, snow and hail, were three distinct, real or proper persons? I think sensible men will never attempt this, in any other way, than in a figure of speech, personifying things which are not persons.

From the above mentioned cases we plainly see, that a denial of three distinct persons in the unity of the Godhead, can have nothing to do with a denial of the Trinity; therefore, the doctrine of a trinity, can have nothing to do in proving three distinct persons in the Trinity.

I believe I have now noticed all the main grounds of argument, relied on by the tri-personal party; except such as are bottomed on the Father's sending the Son, and the Holy Ghost's proceeding from them, &c. These are only arguments drawn chiefly from personal acts; and as I shall notice them more particularly in the appendix in a letter to Elder Hornady; it would only be a repetition were I to enter on it here also. Suffice it here to say, that the human nature of Christ, was the sent; as he said "I came not of myself but he [the Father] sent me" -"I came not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. "Will any man say that Christ did not come to do the will of his divine nature or person? I think none will venture such an assertion; than it was his human nature, and not his divine, that was sent. As the sun sends forth its light, and yet the light always remains in the sun; so the Spirit of God may be sent, and yet not a distinct person; for the personal act of sending, is often ascribed to the Son; but more of this in its proper place. We only say here that when the Spirit is sent into this world, it is not distinct from the Father, and the Word, for the personal acts of the Spirit when thus sent, are equally ascribed to the Father, and Word, as to the Spirit; hence when we are born of the Spirit, we are said to be born by the Word, and God is the Father of the birth. This shows that the Father, Word, and Spirit, are not three distinct persons, but one efficient agent in the work of the new birth.

I shall now show a few, out of many, of the evils arising out of the doctrine of three distinct divine persons in the divine Trinity.

1st. The idea of three distinct divine persons--each of them separately considered as being really, truly and properly God; is the English way of saying, there are three Gods. I never could see any real, or substantial difference, between saying there are three Gods, and saying there are three distinct persons, and each one of them truly and properly God. Where would be the real difference between my saying there are three distinct men, or saying there are three distinct persons and each of them truly and properly man? Would not every man understand the same idea from each of these forms of expression? Although men are still saying, there is but one God, yet when they come to define or explain their views, the unity they mean is only in the essence or nature of God; that is, three persons each one truly God, but all one in nature or essence. The same may be properly said of three persons of the human race, for all men are of one nature or essence, but this does not show that all human persons are but one man, because but one in essence or nature. When men reason in this way they always give me good reason to believe, that they, [at least mentally] entertain the idea of three Gods; although they will not come out and express it, or if this is not the fact, they argue so as to cause many others to believe in three distinct and proper objects of worship. This is no untrue or colored statement, for I can with confidence appeal to many of my readers; who have no doubt, heard men in prayer, distinctly address three distinct objects, Father, Son, and Spirit, and pray to them distinctly, for distinct blessings, such as they think to be each one' s province to bestow. Why these different invocations? Why addressed distinctly to different, and distinct persons? Why all these different objects prayed to, if there be but one object of worship? Now I will appeal to every man who worships but one God, if the tri-personal plan has not introduced itself into our minds, to cause many to divide their worship, and address three distinct objects! Now we surely must mentally believe in three Gods, or else we pray to those which are not the proper objects of prayer, for they are not prayed to in unity of essence, but in personal distinctions, and to each for different blessings. O amazing! Is there no evil in this? While the tongue owns but one God, does not the mind entertain an idea of three? Reader, art thou clear? I believe the Father, the divine Word, and the Spirit, are but one, therefore but one object of religious worship, "God is a spirit and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit; " not in three distinct persons.

2nd. A person is a local being, and can be but in one place at a time; and can see nothing but what comes within the scan of his eyesight. The idea of three distinct persons in the Godhead, has fixed in our mind's eye, shapes, or beings, near together, on a local throne, at some great height above the stars, and from thence looking over the world beholding all things in their vast dominion; each one of these enthroned persons, distributing blessings, and judgments, according to his sphere. Search your own heart reader, and say before God, if it is not too much the case with thyself. This is another evil arising from the tri-personal theory. It leads our minds away from the proper, and scriptural doctrine of God' s omnipresence and leads the mind to view three local beings, or persons.

3rd. Another very great evil arising from this theory is, in its tendency, in dividing our affections, drawing them away from one indivisible God; and dividing them amongst three separate and distinct persons. These are but a few of the evils arising from the tri-personal theory. These I have not mentioned as an invective, on those of my dear, and much esteemed brethren, whose minds are fettered with these old traditions, which are hard to eradicate. My remarks are against the stale theory of three persons in the Godhead, and not against the pious servants of God, whose hearts are much better than their heads, and have long been bewildered with this error; and have been taught to think, it was not their province to think for themselves on this subject. May God help them to know the truth, and feel its power in the emancipation of their minds from all error.

It would be too tedious to animadvert on all the evils of this system, suffice it to say, that where ever the tri-personal theory has its influence on the mind, it tends to confuse the mind, veil the truth in mystery, and diminish our views of the real glory of Christ; and to depend upon fare brought criticisms, inferences and implications; to support our doctrine;

while without this anti-scriptural notion, having the light of the spirit in our hearts, and the volume of revelation in our hands; we can contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints, like Christ and the apostles, did; without once mentioning three distinct persons in the Godhead in the whole contest. Then our strength lies, not in learned criticisms, not in the wisdom of this world, not in inferences drawn from personal acts and pronouns; but in positive scripture language we can tell the Arian; the Socinian, the Jew, or the Mohammedan: -"To us there is but one God; " and we know that the Son of God is come and hath given us an understanding that we should know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. Now having showed the imbecility of the arguments in support of the tri-personality of the Trinity; and pointed out some of the evil tendency of this theory, I shall submit the whole to the clemency of the public, with a short recapitulation.

TT.06 RECAPITULATION

RECAPITULATION.

We have seen in the foregoing; that from the apostles days, down to the Council of Nice, during the three fist centuries of the church, that the notion, or doctrine of the Trinity, was not held under the idea of tri-personality; and this well accounts for the entire absence of all such arguments, in all the disputes which Christ, and the apostles had with the Jews, and others, respecting the divinity of Christ; we never hear one of them introduce the doctrine of three distinct persons in the Godhead; no, such an expression is never recorded in the scriptures. The reason is obvious, it was no part of their creed; for those that do hold it, can scarcely write a sheet of paper, or preach a sermon on the divinity of Christ, without using repeatedly the word three distinct persons, ten or twenty times in a sermon would be but seldom to repeat it over. Surely if the apostles had been of this sentiment, they would have expressed it somewhere; but we hear them say nothing about it; therefore, if we take them for our patron in contending for the faith, we should let it die and be forgotten. We have seen that the Council of Nice, was called by Constantine the Great, and that it was composed of the Bishops of the established church of Rome. That their chief object was, to put an end to the Arian controversy. That for this purpose the Nician and Athanasian Creeds were formed; that as persecution was the chief object that this council had in view; so they made these creeds the criterions by which to try them; and from hence the tri-personal theory took its rise, and is therefore, of Antichristian origin; and that it was opposed by the Greek fathers, in its first introduction into the Latin Church; and the only apology which could be made for the Latins was, the poverty of their language and an improper understanding of the Greek hypostasis. We have seen that this notion is not only of Antichristian origin, but that it has many pernicious effects, not only in persecution, which in all its branches is an offspring of Hell, [although I believe the doctrine of Arius was very base and hetroclitical] but in giving us a wrong and improper idea of God -in picturing in our minds, more than one object of worship, and dividing our worship and affections, among three distinct persons, located at some great distance from the earth; looking from thence, through nature's wide domain, and inspecting the actions of men. Thus many are led to worship a distant and located God, and have almost forgotten that he is Omnipresent and not far from every one of us. O my brethren, arise from these captivating chains; from this galling yoke; from this bewildering and delusive imposition of antichrist. God is a spirit, not persons; to know God [who is a spirit,] and Jesus Christ the mediator whom he hath sent, is eternal life; not to know three distinct divine persons. It is written, "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve;" not that we should worship, and serve three distinct divine persons, each one distinctly considered being truly and properly God. Let us worship God in the spirit; not in three distinct persons. Not the second divine person in the Godhead, but God himself, was manifested in the flesh; therefore, the whole fulness of the Godhead; [not the second person in it] dwelt in him bodily. Would we approach to God? We must come by the Mediator, the man Christ Jesus. There is no way to come to the Father but by the Son, as saith Christ, "No man cometh unto the Father but by me. " The Father is in him, and not a distinct person from him, and therefore, no man can come to the Father, but by the man, the mediator, in whom alone man can have access to God. Would you know whether you are born of Cod or not? Examine yourselves, "for except you have the Spirit of Christ you are none of his." The Spirit of Christ and the Holy Ghost are the same Spirit and not two distinct persons. We have showed from positive scripture that our adorable Immanuel is the "EVERLASTING FATHER," therefore, not a distinct person from him; that he is a quickening spirit; therefore, not a distinct person from the Spirit. From positive scripture language, and parallel texts in the old and new testaments which explain each other; we have showed that the divine Jesus is exclusively the "LORD GOD of the holy prophets." The just God besides whom there is no saviour; the first, and the last; to the exclusion of all first, or third persons distinct from him. We have showed that all we can know of a Trinity in the Deity is manifested in the person or manhood of Jesus Christ, or that in the man Christ, is a trinity of character, or divine operation; or in other words; God is manifested in the flesh, as one God in the trinity of operation, in the accomplishing of his threefold work, of creation, redemption, and regeneration; all of which is performed by One Divine Agent, in a Trinity of character, but not a trinity of distinct divine persons, either real or proper.

We have showed from the scripture language, that Jesus is the Highest, to the exclusion of any other distinct persons equal in height with him. That he is the ALMIGHTY, to the exclusion of all distinct persons, as being equal with him in might. And that he is the ALPHA, and the OMEGA, distinct from whom, there can be no equal person.

Therefore, we may well say, according to the sweet simplicity of the scriptures: Jesus Christ is both Lord and Christ, "the only wise God our Saviour. " Without a distinct equal in wisdom, and far superior to all persons distinct from him. We have also seen that a denial of three distinct divine persons, has nothing to do with a denial of the Trinity, and that the doctrine of a trinity is no support to the tri-personal scheme, as a trinity does not necessarily imply tri-personality. We have showed that in the light of scripture, the trinity of Father, Word, and Holy Ghost, seems more to respect the revelation, or operation of God, than his essence; or in other words, the scriptural doctrine of a trinity seems to respect God's method of grace in the salvation of his people, and the preparing, conducting, and consummating this salvation according to his eternal purpose, rather than a trinity in the divine essence; or thus, God as the creator of the world, the author of grace, the concertor of the glorious system by which an exhibition of these are made, the Father of our spirits, the parent cause of our spiritual birth, and the giver of all blessings; is brought to view in the scriptures in relation to the elect, both head and body; that is, both Christ and the church, under the relative character of Father; hence he is called the Father of Christ, the Father of our spirits, the Father of mercies, and the Church may pray, our Father. God in the execution and accomplishing of the above mentioned system for the salvation of his elect church, became incarnate, or was manifested in the flesh, which flesh was begotten by his power, and so is the Son of God; in whom the Father is performing his purposes of grace, and revealing the blessings of the divine paternity to the church, through the Son, and although the divinity of Christ was not begotten and therefore, did not properly in itself belong to the filiation of Christ, yet it was proper to him as Mediator, and so in Christ was two whole and distinct natures, the underived, and unbegotten God, and the undefiled and holy man, each nature performing the works proper to itself; yet as the man was the Son properly, and in him God was revealing his glory, and fulfilling his powerful works, many of those works proper to his divine nature are attributed to him as Son, because the divinity of the Father, and the divinity of the Son, was the same divinity, brought to view under the two fold character, proper to the two fold revelation of it. God is a most pure spirit, and by an invisible power regenerates the souls of the elect church, and will raise them from the dead, as he did their elect Head, and therefore, God is but one God, of one indivisible essence, existing without a "generation of divine persons, or triune essence, but one essence, revealed in a trinity of character, suitable to the three fold work in which God is revealed to his people. Now this God is the proper object of religious worship and adoration, and is not a distinct person, but the same indivisible God, be him revealed in whatsoever variety of character he may. When we worship God as our Father, with our whole heart, we worship him not as a person distinct from the Immanuel; when we worship God manifested in the flesh, we worship him not as a distinct person from the Father, and when we worship the Holy Ghost, we worship him not as a distinct person from either of the above; but we worship one indivisible God, who is the same undivided object of worship in whatever variety of character he may be revealed; and ascribe to him as God, all, and every divine property, and prerogative, as the whole and exclusive Deity, in whatever diversity of character he is revealed to us; either as Father, Word, or Holy Ghost. Now I hope no man will be so unjust to himself, and to me, as to say, that I hold the incarnate God, or the divine Spirit to be mere names; for I do with my whole heart, most unreservedly, and unquestionably, believe that the divine Jesus and the Holy Ghost are not two distinct divine persons, the former begotten by or derived from the Father; and the latter becoming a divine person by procession from the Father and Son. This idea is too low and diminutive of the blessed Jesus in his divine nature, for it argues that he, in his divinity, [or divine person as it is called] was begotten by, or derived of the Father. Be astonished O heavens at this! Was Immanuel, the First, and the Last, the Almighty, begotten! This I cannot believe, I cannot see any vagueness in these names, since the whole Godhead in all its fulness is intended; the word of God hath used these appellations, with reference to God, in relation to his people and their salvation. I am therefore authorized to use the same appellations, when speaking of the same God, in this relation to the same people, and their salvation; and it is no more just to say, these are empty names when I use them, than when the scriptures use them. I can see nothing to make the name Father, Word, and Holy Ghost, with one indivisible and self existent God to fill these relative names, denoting the gracious manifestations of himself to men, in a way of salvation, any more empty, than three distinct persons and one God to rule these persons; but if we consider that these persons according to the tri-personal scheme are so distinct that the Father is not the Word, and the Word is not the Holy Ghost, then these persons, are much more vague than these names, each of which contain, or reveal, not one person to the exclusion of two equals; but the whole fulness, and glory of the exclusive God. Unless there be three distinct Gods, one in each distinct person, a greater vagueness must appear in each of these persons, while the divinity of each is distinct, than can appear in these names when each name is ruled with the very same divinity undivided, but by these names distinguished, with reference to the different manifestations of that undivided Divinity. As God has been pleased in his infinite wisdom and grace, to reveal himself to us in his word, by the name of Father, Word, and Holy Ghost, I dare not say it is too vague, and as he has never in his word called himself three persons, I feel under no obligation to believe in the existence of such persons; nor can I abandon the phraseology of inspiration, for the phraseology of uninspired men, however bright they may have shined in other points in the christian world; nor do I see any need of attempting to assist revelation by making the addition of person, to the three that bear record in heaven.

Christian brethren let us learn humility from the mystery of Godliness, and if in everything we find something mysterious, so in the Trinity we may not feel surprised to find a mystery; let us, therefore be humble enough to go no further in this mystery than the scriptures go, and where they stop, let us stop, and until they say there are three distinct persons in the divine essence, let us reject the doctrine as human conjecture. Let us realize that God is everywhere present, invisible, a most pure spirit, underived, unbegotten, existing of himself, in himself, and by himself; and that in a way of grace and salvation, to, and for such rebellious worms as we, he has revealed himself to us under the endearing, the soul comforting, the love inspiring -all engaging relations of Father, Word, and Holy Ghost; yet he lets us know, that these are not three, distinct individuals, but ONE. All nature, as an open volume, declares to every attentive, intelligent being that there is a God of matchless power and skill; but only in the blessed Jesus, can we know this God as our Saviour, our Redeemer, our Shepherd, Husband, Father, friend and fountain, shield and buckler, life and head, our sun, our song, our tower, and our hiding place from every storm. Would we approach unto God, we must come by Christ, as he says "no man cometh unto the Father but by me." Wouldst thou know the Father? No man knoweth him save the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him. The man Christ Jesus is the Son, he is the Mediator, the way to the Father, and may I not say, he is the visible form of the invisible God, or in whom we see him that is invisible, for "God was manifested in the flesh;" and by the mediating man alone, can any of the fallen rise and have free access, to a reconciled God; and by this mediator alone can any of the sons of Adam, be reconciled to God. Here believers commune in the spirit, here they have fellowship with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. Here the mourning sinner, heavy laden with guilt and fears, loses his burden, shakes off his chains, bursting as from a gloomy dungeon, he hails God as his Father, and Christ his elder brother, while his very soul experiences a sweet and pleasing transition from trouble to joy, from mourning to praise, from lamentation and woe, to songs of praise; nay, from the border of despair, to the portals of heaven, and sees with great delight, that of a truth, "God in Christ is reconciling the world, " nay, even a miserable sinner, base as I, "to himself." Here let Zion's heaven bound pilgrims still repair for fresh supplies; here let mourning sinners come with all their heavy woes; though their sins be red like crimson, or scarlet, he can cleanse the foulest soul, and make them white as wool or snow. He has a name sufficient to secure your salvation; it is "The Lord our righteousness;" he is worthy to have a name which is above every name, yea, above the name of all persons distinct from him, and let all his subjects rest secure under his unparalleled power and rejoice while they honor him to the exclusion of all other persons to be the KING of KINGS, and LORD of LORDS. Now unto him who is the "King eternal, immortal and invisible; the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and praise, now and forever. Amen.

TT.07 A SCRIPTURAL VIEW, OF THE MEDIATORIAL NATURE AND OFFICES OF CHRIST

Chapter 7

A SCRIPTURAL VIEW, OF THE MEDIATORIAL NATURE AND OFFICES OF CHRIST.

Having published a sketch of my views on the human nature of Christ, in a small work entitled SIMPLE TRUTH, and finding that some people, have vented their spleen against it, and have not been sparing in the most unqualified invectives, even declaring it to have no foundation in truth, or scripture; that it was brooded in my brain, without one text of scripture to support it; knowing my weakness, and liability to err, I determined to give this subject a dispassionate examination, and if there be no positive and pointed scripture to prove this point beyond a doubt, I would recant publicly; for I will contend for no controverted point in theology, without positive scripture language to support it. Having laid aside all books but the scriptures, I endeavored to divest my mind, of all prepossession, feeling more afraid of error than of Hell, I have examined this point by the word of God, with as much impartiality as I am capable of, feeling only solicitous to know the truth, and the following is the result of my examination. I hope my readers may be enabled to divest themselves of all predilections, let the scripture have full weight, and be willing to receive Bible truth, if it should thwart all our former views on this subject, for the truth shall make us free. If I should offer that which is not provable from positive scripture, receive it not; but pray for me, that God may teach me to know the truth; for if I am wrong in this, it is a great wrong. I said in my other book, when speaking of the human nature or manhood of Christ; "We cannot read the scripture without being convinced, that he did exist in a nature inferior to the Father, both before the world and since. " Some have found fault with the expression inferior; I was here speaking of his human nature, and I did think that there was no point, in the whole system of theology less disputed, then, that Christ possessed two whole and distinct natures, the one divine, the other human, and I have never read after any man; that believed in this, but what also held, the human nature to be inferior to the divine. This is all that I have said, and how people with no evil bias, could find fault with this expression, I cannot tell? Does not Christ himself say, "The Father is greater than I" and have not the orthodox uniformly understood this to refer to him as man? If so, what more have I said, of this matter, than the Baptist have always said? And our confession substantially says the same. I can see no substantial difference; between my saying, he existed in a nature inferior to the Father; and Christ saying, "my Father is greater than I? " And as I explained this inferiority to mean his human nature, or manhood, all the Trinitarians [as far as I know] believe the same. Therefore I cannot account for the cause, which has induced so many to fault this expression.

In Simple Truth, I attempted to show that the soul, was the man, and that the body was only a corporal substance in which the soul acted, but existed independent of the body; therefore, could exist without the body. With this definition and according to these premises, I have used the term soul or spirit, for the man Christ when speaking of his pre-existence; my reason for using this term was to prevent any from mistaking my meaning, and so suppose me to hold, to the pre-existence of the flesh and blood of Christ. When I speak strictly of the human nature, I do not mean flesh and blood, but a nature that distinguishes man from all other beings; this nature I call the soul, or human spirit. I think no one [after examining this matter] will deny the soul being the human nature or nature that distinguishes man from the beast, or in other words, the soul is the essence of man. Every part of animate creation on earth, devoid of a soul, we believe to be a brute, but let the body be of whatever shape, size, or complexion it may, if it is inhabited by a reasonable soul, we believe it to be a human being. The humanity of the body therefore consists in the soul, and the body is only human, by virtue of its connection with a human soul. The essence of man is, therefore, properly his soul.

Let the soul and body be separated from each other, the body will soon decompose, like all other elemental bodies when dead; but the man lives in his essence, that is, the soul is not vapid, or dead, but capable of enjoyment or misery, without the body. If the body be called the man, after death, it is with reference to what he was in life, when acting in conjunction with the soul; for I think no well informed man will contend, that the fleshy body devoid of a soul is strictly speaking, man. Every being, therefore, which is properly entitled to the name man, must be of the essence of man; this essence or nature of man, I have, in my other Book, called the soul or spirit, when speaking of the manhood, or human nature of Christ. This is scripture language, for we read of the soul of Christ both in the old and new Testaments, yet I am not so great a stickler for terms, as to contend for the phrase, soul, or spirit, as being more proper, than any other scripture phrase. I willingly allow each one of my brethren, any scripture phraseology to communicate his ideas, on this subject, and I only claim the same liberty; and I think I am entitled to this privilege. I have been a little at a loss, to know what word to use in this work, in speaking of the pre-existent Mediator; but as I believe that all will agree, that every living being possessed of a reasonable soul, is a man, I have concluded to use the phrase man, or human nature; but by these phrases, when I use them in speaking of the Mediator before his birth of Mary, I do not mean to include his flesh and bones, as they were after his birth, but the nature of man, in its primeval purity, without any necessary connection, with any elemental body, but in any shape or form, or in any body of a material, or immaterial kind, that which in scripture is called man, I must believe to possess the essence of man whether the body be mortal or immortal, or of what sort so ever it be; in this sense I shall now use the phrase man, and other synonymous phrases, to express the same idea. In this sense I shall attempt to prove from positive scripture, that the Mediator as man, existed long before Mary conceived her son, or before his birth of Mary. Now as I have given my views of what the essence of man is, and in what sense I shall use the phrase man, in treating on this subject, as the most familiar appellation, I hope none will be so unjust to me, or themselves, as to say that I hold that the fleshy body of Christ, as it was after its birth of Mary, pre-existed, for I have said this is not my meaning, but I think his pre-existent form, or body, was rather the same that it is since his resurrection, that is, immortal and glorious.

With this much premised, and according to the above definition, I shall proceed to settle the doctrine by the word of God. 1Ti 2:5, "There is one God, and one mediator between God, and men, the man Christ Jesus. " From this text, I prove positively, that the man Christ Jesus is the mediator between God and men; then ever since there has been a mediator, between God and men, the man has existed, for the man is the mediator; and I will leave the reader to state the time when there was no mediator between God and men. Joh 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. " Now this was not God with God, for saith Jehovah, "there is no God with me." De 32:39. But the Word was with God, and the Word was God; that is, the Word was of two natures, divine and human. The human nature was with God, and the divine nature was God. Now the five first verses of John's gospel, and the first three verses of John's first epistle, speak of the same thing; the Word that was with God, was made flesh, according to Joh 1:14, and says John, speaking of that same Word which was with God, "That which was from the beginning; which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life." Now this Word which was from the beginning, was seen, looked upon, heard, and handled; but this same John says [in his gospel, Joh 1:18 & first epistle, 1Jo 4:12;] "No man hath seen God at any time." Now they did see the Word which was from the beginning, which was with God, which was made flesh; they heard the Word and seen his shape, but as for God, they have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape; this Word was with God, and the Word was God, in the very same sense, that the Word after it was made flesh, was with God, and was God; that is, in his human nature he was with God, and in his divine nature he was God. As in the beginning, the Word was both natures; in the human nature he was with God, so he was when in this world; in his divine nature, he was God, as he was when in this world. All things were made by this Word; the divine nature was the creator, and the human nature the medium of operation, according as it is said; "all things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. " Here we see the pronoun him, refers to the Word, that was both with God, and that was God; or to both natures of the Word, as being one person, as the divine and human nature is one Christ. In the divine nature he is God, in the human nature he is with God. The works of creation are uniformly ascribed to God; but not without bringing Christ to view, as will appear by comparing Ps 102:24, (beginning at the 24th verse), with Heb 1:8-12. The former place reads thus, "I said, O my God; take me not away in the midst of my days; thy years are throughout all generations. Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure; yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shall thou change them, and they shall be changed. But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end." This passage speaks of God the Creator, but in Hebrews as above cited, creation is ascribed to the Son, in almost the same words as follows: "But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever. A sceptre of righteousness [or straightness] is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands. They shall perish, but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment, and as a vesture shall thou fold them up, and they shall be changed; but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. " Now this text seems to be an apostolic quotation from the Psalm above recited, but the apostle is speaking of both natures of Christ, divine and human; as man, his God had anointed him with the oil of gladness, above his fellows; for as God he had no fellows, or if the Father, and Holy Ghost, as distinct, were his fellows, as some contend, yet the second person was not anointed above his fellows in the Trinity, for then there could be no equality between the persons in the divine Trinity, for one would be anointed above the other two, and besides this, if Christ as a divine person was before his anointing equal with the Spirit, with which he was anointed, his being anointed could be of no advantage to him, for he was equal before he was anointed with the Spirit, or oil with which he was anointed, and therefore he could receive no advantage from the anointing. The kings, and priests under the law, received qualifications superior to what they had before, from their being anointed; and by the anointing with a peculiar oil, they were qualified for their official duties, but Christ as a divine person, could receive no gifts or qualifications from the Spirit, for he was equal with it, and if so he had all the qualifications, that either the Father, or Spirit had, therefore could receive nothing from either of them, by the anointing; nor could Christ as a divine person, be anointed by his God, for he was God himself. But it must have been his human nature that was anointed, above his fellows as man, as priests, or as kings; and was anointed by his God, with the oil of gladness, or the divine Spirit, and here are his two natures: divine and human, as Lord the works of creation are ascribed to him, and as man, he was anointed above his fellows, and as both natures are proper to Christ, and the apostle is here showing that he is both God and man, he quotes David to prove that both natures existed in creation, as well as in Christ when he was here on earth.

Ps 110:1, "The LORD said unto my Lord, sit at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. " See how Christ himself applies this text in Mt 22:41-45, inclusive; "While the Pharisees were gathered, Jesus asked them, saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David. He saith unto them; How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The LORD said unto my Lord, sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then called him Lord, how is he his son?" This the Pharisees could not answer, nor do I see how any man can answer it yet; and deny, either the pre-existence of his human nature, or the exclusive divinity of his divine nature; for both David and Christ do make a plain distinction, the LORD that spake is in capitals, but David's Lord is not, the LORD is the divine Jehovah, and David's Lord was the Man, David's son, and both natures being in Christ; he was both David's Lord and his son; his Lord in his divine nature, and his son in his flesh; for according to the flesh our Lord sprang from David. The divine power, or God to the exclusion of all Gods beside him, and the human nature in whom he was displaying his divine power and glory, are here brought to view, in one Christ, who is both God and man, and these two natures in concurrence in him, are brought to view, in all the works of God, and in the whole of the mediation of the man Christ Jesus. Peter in 2Pe 3, speaking of scoffers that should come in the last days, [and I think I may say, many of them are already in the world,] says 1Pe 3:5, "For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water, and in the water; 1Pe 3:7, the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire, against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men." See also; Ps 33:6; Heb 11:3, "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the hosts of them by the breath of his mouth." "Through faith we understood the worlds were framed by the word of God." The word, in the above texts, evidently is the same Word, which John in the first chapter of his gospel and first epistle speaks of; and all seem to refer to the works of creation and providence; then let us read the history of creation, and see if the same truth does not appear; see Ge 1:3,6,9,14,20,24,26,29. Here we find that God created the world by the medium of his word. Speech properly belongs to man, and when speech is ascribed to God, the human nature is implied, for we cannot conceive of naked divinity, without the organ of humanity, speaking to man; for in this sense, we have neither heard his voice, nor seen his shape. Here in creation God said, let there be light &c. Here was the Word of God, saying let there be light, the word went forth, and the divine creating power was in it, producing all things; the divinity was the creator, the Word with it, and in which it was exerted, was the man, for the Word was made flesh, and this was the very same Word, that was with God in the beginning, by which all things were created, and without him was not anything made that was made; so we find in Genesis that the word of the Lord went forth, and the divine power in this word, created all things. This is not conjecture, for here were both natures in the Word, for the word which God spoke, was the medium of operation, and God was the power operating in the word, as a medium in creation. So the truth is, if the Word was from everlasting, Christ was from everlasting, for he "was brought forth from everlasting, or ever the earth was," and this was the same word or wisdom, by which God created the worlds, and is called the Son of God. See Heb 1:1-2. "God who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds." Here we see, that the very Word of God, in the last times, hath spoken unto us. No man of investigation will deny, but that the human nature of Christ, was the Son, by which God spake to the apostles, and it was the same Son, that was appointed heir of all things, by whom also he created the worlds. The divine nature of Christ, distinct from the human nature, was not appointed heir of all things, for they were all his without appointment, for they were his by right of creation, not by the appointment of another, making him heir; neither did God create the worlds by the divinity of Christ, or by Christ as God; for in this sense Christ was the creator, and not the instrument by which God did create. As Christ said, "the words which I speak unto you, I speak not of myself, but the Father which hath sent me, he doeth the works." The works of creation, are always ascribed to God or to Christ as God, but they were created by the Son, who was heir by divine appointment, by whom God created the worlds, and by whom he spake to the apostles in these last times; so if the human nature was the Man or Son, by whom God spake to us in these last times, the human nature was the Son, by whom God created the worlds and who was appointed heir of all things. Then so sure as God did create the worlds by Jesus Christ, so sure Christ existed when the worlds were made; and as sure as Christ is heir of all things by appointment; so sure his human nature is intended, for his divine nature was not dependent on any appointment to make him heir, for, " the earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof. " The terms Word, Wisdom, Voice, Breath, &c., in the Old Testament, are used in the same sense, that the terms Jesus, Christ, Son, Son of man, Son of God, &c. are used in the new Testament; and almost a constant interchange of these terms is kept up through the inspired volume; John says, "the Word was with God;" Solomon in speaking of the same, uses the appellation Wisdom, and says in Pr 8:30, "Then I was by him, as one brought up with him." The Word was with God, and so was the wisdom, by and with him. They are evidently no more, than two names for the same thing; and Christ is intended; but not his divine nature, that is, not Christ as God, for God says; there is no God with him, but this word, or wisdom, was with God; therefore, this word or wisdom, [in the nature and sense that he was with God,] was not God, but the divine power of the Word, and of the wisdom, was God. So while the Word, and wisdom, is God in the divine nature, they are with God in the human nature, and both natures must be understood, or a contradiction is unavoidable. Speaking of this same Word or wisdom, Moses says, Ge 3:8, " And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. " Ge 3:9, " And the Lord God called unto Adam; and said unto him, where art thou?" This shows the distinction, the voice of the Lord God was heard walking in the garden, and the Lord God called unto Adam. Here God was in the voice, as he was in his word, in the above case. This word, wisdom, or voice, is called breath, Ps 33:6, "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the hosts of them by the breath of his mouth. " Surely we can see a distinction between the Lord, and the breath of the Lord's mouth, but the breath of his mouth, was that by which he made all the hosts of heaven. This breath is called wisdom, Ps 136:5, "To him that by wisdom made the heavens;" &c. This wisdom is called the word of God, Heb 11:3, "The worlds were made by the word of God." Now nothing is more evident, than that these several appellations, are used for the same thing, and that the vehicle through which God exercised his power in creation, was intended, and that vehicle was Jesus Christ, as we have showed above, not his divine nature, for as God, he was the creator, but his human nature was the medium in creation, for in his human nature he was God’s Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom he made the worlds.  

TT.08 Of Free Justification, By the Blood and Righteousness of Christ

Of Free Justification, By the Blood and Righteousness of Christ.

Justification is one of the most important points of doctrine in the whole system of the christian theology. It embraces in it the four following considerations:

First: The Judge who justifieth.

Secondly: The character of those who are justified.

Thirdly: The principles upon which the Judge proceeds in justifying.

Fourthly: The evidences by which we are brought to know our justification.

To these four general propositions I shall call the attention of the reader in the following discourse.

First: The Judge who justifieth. "It is God that justifieth. " Ro 8:33; 3:30; Isa 50:8-9. In all these places God is spoken of as the Supreme Judge in the court of heaven; deciding on the case of his people, and pronouncing their justification. The word justify, or justification, is a forensic term, and is used in judicial affairs in a court of justice. It does not mean an inward cleansing, but a legal, that is, a just and lawful proceeding of a judge, adjudging one to life. Justification is the opposite of condemnation, and I perfectly agree with Dr. Gill, when he says, "The word justify is never used in a physical sense for producing any real internal change in men, but in a forensic sense, and stands opposed, not to a state of impurity and unholiness, but to a state of condemnation; it is a law term, and used of judicial affairs, transacted in a court of judicature; see De 25:1; Pr 17:15; Isa 5:22; Mt 12:37, where justification stands opposed to condemnation; and this is the sense of the word whenever it is used in the doctrine under consideration; so in Job 9:2-3, and Job 25:4; so by David; Ps 143:2, and in Paul's epistles, where the doctrine of justification is treated of, respect is had to courts of judicature, and to a judicial process in them; men are represented as sinners, charged with sin, and pronounced guilty before God, and subject to condemnation and death; when, according to this evangelic doctrine, they are justified by the obedience and blood of Christ, cleared of all charges, acquitted and absolved, and freed from condemnation and death, and adjudged to eternal life; see Ro 3:9,19; 5:16,18-19; 8:1,33-34; Ga 2:16-17; Tit 3:7."

Evangelic justification is not the work of the Spirit of God on the heart of the sinner, implanting life in, and quickening the soul, but the work of God as a judge on a throne of justice, deciding on, and adjudging one to life, according to law and justice. It is not the infusing of righteousness, nor a purging out of the inward evils of the heart, but the pronouncing of one's justification with reference to the charge preferred against him. I wish the reader to understand distinctly that Justification is an external act of God as a judge, acting in a court of justice, on the case of the sinner, and not the internal work of the Spirit on the heart. Thus God as the supreme judge of heaven and earth, acting upon the principles of justice, according to his most holy law, justifieth "the ungodly;" not because they have been renewed by the Spirit, nor because they have been washed with water by the word, nor because they have repented and believed the gospel, nor because of any other evangelical obedience of theirs, or inward work of the Spirit, but because of the obedience and blood of Christ, as saith the apostle, Ro 8:33-34, "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. " As God, who is the judge of all the earth will do right, and is just while he justifieth the ungodly, and these ungodly ones are justified as the elect of God, and because of the death of Christ, and so complete, that the apostle could challenge all opposers to lay anything to their charge, and declare, Ac 13:39, that they "are justified from all things." We shall consider,

Secondly: The character of those who are justified. We have seen already that they are the ungodly and God' s elect; and that God as the judge justifies the elect, so that none can lay anything to their charge, and yet they are called ungodly.

The character of God' s elect is set forth in scripture in two points of light; 1st, as they are in themselves, and in relation to Adam, their earthly head and progenitor, and 2nd, as they are in the sight of God as his elect, in Christ their spiritual head, in whom they were chosen, and by whom they were represented. In the first of these views they are spoken of as being condemned to death, and every charge may be justly preferred against them that can be brought against any other sinner; but in the last view they are spoken of as being justified and absolved from every charge, and adjudged to life. In the first Adam there is no discrimination of elect and non-elect, but all his natural posterity without exception are considered in a condemned state, under guilt and the sentence of death, by virtue of the offence of the first Adam, who acted for all his then unborn race; but in Christ the second Adam, all his elect seed are considered in a justified state, by virtue of the obedience of Christ, who acted for his unborn elect spiritual seed. These two Adams are spoken of as the only two men who represented mankind; and Paul runs these as parallel in order to show both the condemnation of the world and the justification of the elect; see Ro 5. In relation to Adam, the whole human family is condemned to death, and the sentence is gone forth, "Thou shalt surely die. " "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." By this original sin, condemnation unto death came upon all mankind; see Ro 5:13, "By the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation. " This offence armed death with power, and commissioned it to reign over the whole posterity of Adam, according to Ro 5:17, "By one man's offence death reigned by one. " So we see from plain scripture language; that by the offence of Adam sin commenced its reign; and reigns unto death, agreeably to Ro 5:21. We judge of the magnitude of a crime by the penalty which the law under which it is committed annexes to it. Death is the greatest possible penalty; the basest and most aggravated crime can be punished with no greater punishment. We are all exposed to death as the penalty annexed to the offence of Adam; our first earthly head and progenitor; therefore we judge this to be a crime of the greatest atrocity. By this one offence the whole race of Adam have become condemned under the reign of sin, and the sentence of death, and are now naturally and mentally opposite to all good, and inclined to all evil.

All men, therefore, without any distinction of elect or non-elect, as they stand related to Adam in his offence, are children of wrath, the servants of sin, the subjects of death, and stand as condemned criminals, under the just sentence of the just law of a holy God, who will by no means clear the guilty .In this state of guilt and condemnation the whole human family lies, indisposed towards God, unreconciled to his law, opposed to his gospel, and disaffected to his government, enslaved to their own discordant passions, they hate the light, and love darkness; and choose the way to death, and under the influence of an infernal infatuation; are rendered inflexible to every power but that which is irresistible. I shall make no distinction here between the moral and physical powers of man, for the physical actions of men are under the dictation and government of the moral disposition; and until the latter be rectified by the Spirit of God, the former will always be averse to real good. In this fallen condemned state where sin has placed us, it is impossible that we should ever be justified by our own good works. If all our powers, both moral and physical, were restored to their best state before the fall, we could never obtain justification by the exercise of them, for by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified. We are condemned already, judgment has come upon all men unto condemnation, and when condemnation unto death has past upon an offender, for a crime which he has previously committed, no works which he may afterwards perform will ever clear him from the former sentence of condemnation, which still stands in full force against the criminal. We are already condemned, condemned to death by a just and holy law, for a capital offence, and future acts of obedience will never justify us, be they performed ever so promptly; nay, if our whole nature were renewed, and made as pure as Adam’s was before the fall, and we were to live clear of all sin, to the age of Methuselah, we should yet be condemned; for when we have done all, we are unprofitable servants, we have done no more than our duty and being previously condemned to death, this sentence would still stand against us. Before a law is transgressed, it can only require obedience of those who are under it, but after it is transgressed and its sentence of condemnation unto death has passed upon the transgressor, nothing less than the penalty will satisfy it. The natural obligations which men were under before the fall to love and serve God and to obey and worship him, &c. , are in no sense relaxed by his indisposition to perform them, but men manifest the moral turpitude of their hearts by a habitual course of unreasonable rebellion against God. They love to walk in gaudy show, with impious lips, a deceitful tongue, feet that are swift to shed blood, an inexorable heart, that is deceitful and desperately wicked above all things, and no fear of God before their eyes. This is a faint representation of fallen men; eternity before, hell yawning with hideous and gloomy voracity to receive him at his arrival, while satanic influence impels the willing captive down the dreadful dreary way that leads to the dark domain of eternal despair and remediless woe. Should angels stand aghast, and weep in tears of blood, should all the cattle of a thousand hills pour forth their blood, should rivers fill their channels with costly oil, and infants yield their lives in sacrifice for sin; all these could never revoke the sentence of the law. Man has sinned and man must die! If wit and reason fail, angelic sympathy and blood of lambs and bullocks with all the works of men can never weigh one groat in the scale of our justification. I cry , O propitious heaven, is there no gracious volume in thy salubrious clime to grant one ray of hope to fallen man? This is the character of those whom God justifies, when they are considered as they are in their fallen state, and in relation to the first Adam; and in this relation they are condemned, and no work or sacrifice that either we or Adam can perform, will ever remove the curse or make us just with God. If we are not in a relation to the second Adam, justification is impossible, for we have neither power or merit to justify ourselves, and as I observed above, God's elect have two distinct standings, one in the first Adam, by which they with the rest of the world have fallen under condemnation unto death, and can never be justified by any work or sacrifice in the power of Adam or themselves; and another in Christ the second Adam, in and by whom alone justification is possible to any of the fallen race. This we shall further illustrate, while we consider,

Thirdly: The principles upon which the Judge proceeds in justifying. We have showed above, that justification is a law term, and is always used in scripture in a forensic sense, not for an inward cleansing, nor in opposition to a state of defilement, but for the act of a judge in the court of justice, and in opposition to a state of condemnation. The law and justice is the rule by which the judge proceeds, either to condemn, or justify the accused. If the prosecution be brought legally against the offender, and the crime alleged be sufficiently proven, it becomes the duty of the judge to pronounce the sentence of condemnation and death upon the accused, and to appoint the time of execution, but if the proof should go to clear the accused, it becomes the duty of the judge to pronounce the justification of the accused. The law will not allow the judge to clear the guilty , on account of his repentance, reformation, tears, fair promises, or any change that may be effected in the man accused after the commission of an offence. Now considering God as a judge in the court of heaven, man the accused, his guilt proven before the judge by ten thousand witnesses arising from the heart, and demonstrating it to be deceitful and desperately wicked above all things; full of murder, revenge, enmity , hatred, and every evil work; and the law says, "Thou shalt surely die. " God will not justify these rebels, unless it can be done in the strict administration of justice; for David says, Ps 9:8, "He shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness. " See Ge 18:25, "Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?" Ex 34:7, "He will by no means clear the guilty." De 7:10, "He will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face. " De 32:4, "He is the Rock, his work is perfect; for all his ways are judgment; a God of truth, and without iniquity , just and right is he. " From all these passages and many others, we are taught, that as a judge God will administer strict justice; therefore in relation to the first Adam, and in ourselves considered, we shall never be justified, and if the judge proceeds with us in this relation, we are in a hopeless situation, for in this relation "judgment has come upon all men to condemnation. " The scriptures present to us the blood and righteousness of Christ as our only justification; and this righteousness is declared, that God as judge might be just in the justifying of the sinner. See Ro 3:26-27,28. As condemnation has come upon all men, by virtue of their federal relation to the first Adam, so justification can only come upon any of the human race by a federal relation with Christ the second Adam; and so justification is always taught in relation to Christ, and unless we are related to him as our righteousness, we shall never be justified; for that is all the righteousness which the law will ever be satisfied with, and God will never justify a sinner in any other way than in relation to Christ, and that relation must be such that God as a just and equitable judge, in the ministration of justice, can act upon, and the law can recognize, so as to justify the sinner by the righteousness of Christ, as if it were a righteousness which the sinner had of himself. See Ro 5:18-19, "By the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. " The law is satisfied, God justifies and is just in so doing, and none can condemn the soul which is in Jesus Christ; and so Paul says, Ro 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus; " and this being in Christ Jesus, is according to election, as Ro 8:33 shows, where the apostle speaks of the same people, to whom there is no condemnation, and asks in a way of defiance, "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?" In Christ they stand, as the elect of God, in a relation to him as their righteousness. 1Co 1:30, "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness; " and so it is said, 1Co 6:11, "Ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus." 2Co 5:21, "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. " From the above scriptures with many others, it is positively declared, that the elect are in Christ, and being in him by the choice of God, they are made the righteousness of God in him; he is the end of the law for righteousness to them, and so they are justified in his name. Justification is not an act of the creature; nor does it depend on the knowledge of the creature, but it is the act of the judge, and bears date from the time the judge decides on the case. God decided on the case of all his elect before all worlds, and chose them in Christ, and in his decision gave them every spiritual blessing in him, before the foundation of the world; and therefore, their sins were laid on Christ, Isa 53:6, and God will not impute their sins to them, and these are they of whom David said, [Ps 32:1-2,] "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity." Compare with Ro 4:7-8; 2Co 5:19; Joh 1:47. God will not impute sin to his elect, because he has laid their iniquities upon Christ, and so they are blessed, for he bears their iniquities, and they are clothed with his righteousness, according to Isa 61:10, "He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with a robe of righteousness." Jeremiah saw into this, and said of Christ, Jer 23:6, "This is the name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. " Our iniquities being laid on Christ, and not on us, he must bear them, and so it devolved on him "to finish the transgression and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity , and to bring in everlasting righteousness. " According to Da 9:21, and Isa 54:17, "Their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord." In agreement with the above texts, we read in Nu 23:21, "He [God] hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel. " Now from the scriptures above cited, with the whole Bible, it is plainly taught that God did lay the iniquities of his people on Christ, and therefore will not impute sin to his people nor did he ever behold iniquity in Jacob, nor perverseness in Israel, but has decided as judge in the court of heaven, that their iniquities shall lay upon Christ and be executed on him and not on them. Therefore, "by his stripes we are healed, " for "he was [according to this decision] delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification," according to Ro 4:25.

Now I have always thought that when the judge officially decided on the case of any man or number of men, and decided on their justification or condemnation, that the date of such decision is the date of the thing decided on. If so, when the reader will tell me, the date of God's decision on the case of Christ's suffering, and his church's justification thereby; I will set the same date to their justification; for justification is the act of the judge, in thus deciding on their case; and this he did, when he laid our iniquities on Christ, and determined never to impute sin to his people; and therefore Christ was sentenced to death, and regarded [by virtue of this sentence] as a lamb slain from the foundation of the world, and that for the elect, and all this decided on by the judge, and recorded in the record of heaven's court; see Re 13:8; 17:8, and also Heb 10:7,9; Ps 40:6-7,8, from which we see that the sentence had gone forth against Christ, and this sentence was written in God's book or heaven's record, and that record not only contained the sentence against Christ, but the names of those in whose behalf he was sentenced to be slain; and so to them it was the book of life, because justification unto life was therein adjudged or recorded to them, but sacrifice and death was written against Christ, because our sins were adjudged to him, and he sentenced to death for them, and the very hour appointed for his execution, as he says, Joh 12:23; 17:1, "The hour is come," and the malice of men and devils could not take him any sooner; see Joh 7:30,44, "No man laid hands on him, for his hour was not yet come;" but when the appointed hour for him to suffer was come, he says, Joh 12:27, "Now is my soul troubled, and what shall I say? Father save me from this hour; but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father glorify thy name. " This was the hour which God had set for the execution of Christ when he was sentenced to death for the iniquities of his people, which God had laid upon him, and therefore would not impute sin to them, nor behold iniquity or perverseness in them, but recorded their names in the book of life, and that from the foundation of the world. And so Paul says, Ro 8:1, "There is therefore, now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus; " for his righteousness is declared [see Ro 3:26] that God might be just in the justification of the sinner, therefore, Paul believed that justification had come upon all God's elect in the past tense, as he says, Ro 5:18-19, and so he speaks Ro 3:24, "Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ."

Now if justification be a forensic term--and if it is used in a judicial sense--and is to be understood of the act of a judge adjudging one to life--and God be understood as the judge, then ever since he adjudged the elect to life, by virtue of their sins being laid on Christ and not imputed to them, they have been justified; for the judge has acted and decided on their case, and placed their names in the book of life.

 The apostle breaks forth into an ecstasy in viewing this exhilarating truth, and says, Eph 1:3, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places [or things] in Christ. " Justification is a spiritual blessing, and if we were blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ, we were blessed with this among other blessings, and these blessings were not in consequence of our faith and repentance, but according to election before all worlds, as the next verse says, " According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world; " and the consequent effect of these blessings being according to this early choice is, "that we should be holy and without blame before him in love; " and if our being holy and without blame before God, is according, not to our faith, but to our election before the foundation of the world; so our justification must be; for if I be holy and without blame before God the judge, I am in a justified state, because holy and without blame before him in love. The love of God, or his grace, which chose his people in Christ before the world, and blessed them with all spiritual blessings, gave them such a relation to him, and standing in him, that when God views them in Christ, according to this choice and these blessings, they are holy and without blame before him, and so they are "justified freely by his grace." God viewed them without blame before him, [Eph 1:5,] "Having predestinated us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will. " According to the good pleasure of his will, he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, and according to the same good pleasure of his will he laid our iniquities on Christ, and consequently will not impute sin to his people, but gives them all spiritual blessings, and having laid their iniquities on Christ, he has not beheld iniquity in Jacob, nor perverseness in Israel; but they are holy and without blame before him in his love. Now as all this is in Christ in whom they were chosen, blessed with all spiritual blessings, and regarded as being holy and without blame, so it is in him that God views them when he pronounces their justification; and as God had chosen them in him before the foundation of the world, and gave them all spiritual blessings in him according to that choice, so that in him considered they were holy, and without blame before God; and all this was in Christ, and before they had any knowledge of it, or sensible participation in it, they were secured to the sensible enjoyment of it by the grace of predestination, or the preordination of God, and all this was by Jesus Christ; see Eph 1:5-6, "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children, by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. " Here in the grace of election we are chosen in Christ, and accordingly blessed with all spiritual blessings, [and justification is one] and to secure us to the sensible enjoyment of these blessings, God has predestinated us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, and according to this glorious grace, and in it he hath made us accepted in the beloved; that is, in the electing and predestinating grace of God, we are accepted in Christ, and in him considered, we are holy and without blame before God in love, and all this to the praise of the glory of his electing and predestinating grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. God the judge views us holy and without blame before him, on account of our iniquities being laid on Christ and not on us, and so we being in him by election, we are blessed with eternal redemption, and our sins being laid on him, they are forgiven to us, or not imputed to us; see verse 2, "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace. " O what rich grace this is, all spiritual blessings are made ours by it, and in it God hath abounded in all spiritual blessings to his chosen people; see Eph 1:8, "Wherein he hath abounded toward us, in all wisdom and prudence." Every revelation of grace made to us is only a blessed consequence of this rich electing and predestinating grace, according to Eph 1:9-10,11-12. "Having made known unto us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he hath purposed in himself, that in the dispensation of the fulness of times, he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in him; in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will; that we should be to the praise of his glory who first trusted in Christ. "

Some of my brethren understand all this to be only a decree to justify, that is, they think God has determined that he will at some future time, justify the elect, but that they are always condemned until they are renewed by the Spirit, and brought to act faith on Christ, and then by their faith, as an act of reliance on him, the judge acts in their justification, and justifies them because they have believed in Christ. This is what I oppose, for if God proceeds to justify the sinner because he believes in Christ, it is faith as an acts of ours, and not the blood and righteousness of Christ which is the cause of our justification; but the scripture everywhere teaches us, that as a judge God justifies us, because Christ died for us, or because our sins were laid on him, and not because we believed it. Faith is an evidence of justification, and not the cause of it. If a judge should determine or decree beforehand to justify any man who should be brought before him, would not this predetermination disqualify such a judge to act on such a case? But if justification be an eminent act of God, passing upon the whole body of the elect in Christ, and by virtue of this act the sentence of death was passed upon Christ, and he regarded as slain for us, so we being made accepted in the beloved, are looked at by the judge as being holy and without blame before him.

The pardon of sin is very different from justification; the former is forgiving the guilty but the latter is declaring one guiltless according to law. {*Pardon of sin respects us as sinners in our fallen state, and was obtained for us by Christ before he rose from the dead; we are sinners, and forgiveness or non-imputation views us such, and to us as guilty in ourselves, and self-condemned, the grace of pardon or non-imputation is revealed to us by the Spirit, when we are brought to experience an application of the blood of Christ. Justification passes upon the elect by virtue of their sins being laid on Christ and not on them; and so they are justified as if they were innocent, and had never sinned; but pardon is a grace bestowed on them as sinners in themselves, and God freely forgives them through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. We are justified because we are holy and without blame before God; but as sinners before God we are pardoned and forgiven, through the interposition of Christ, and so while we rejoice that God will not impute sin to us, yet we are humbled under the sense of our being great sinners, to whom much is forgiven.} We can only be justified by the judge; because we are without blame before him; and we can only appear without blame before him in the beloved; in whom we were chosen, before the foundation of the world; and being thus chosen in him, our case was decided on, and our names were written in the book of life, according to Re 17:8, "The beast that thou sawest, was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition; and they that dwell on the earth sha11 wonder [whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world] when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is." These names were written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, and therefore they were justified to life or else their names would not have been written in the book of life; and he who wrote their names in the book, did it because Christ was sentenced to death for them, in agreement with Re 13:8, " And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him [the beast] whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. " Here the book of life, in which the names of God's people were written from the foundation of the world, is called the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world; from which we are taught, that our names were written in the book of life, at the same time that God decided on our case, and sentenced Christ to death, and us to life by him; and so our names were written in the book of life, and he was condemned to the slaughter at the same time, according to Ps 40:7, "Then said I, 10, I come; in the volume of the book it is written of me." The speaker in this text is Christ, according to Heb 10:7-8,9-10, where the same words are expressed and explained. Both David and Paul speak of God' s book, where the offering of the body of Christ was written, and as both of these writers refer to such a book, and the book of life being the book of the Lamb slain, in which his death was recorded; David and Paul no doubt referred to this book when they quote the words of the above texts from the book where these things were written of him. Nor were the names of the believers alone, all that were written in this book of life, but all the mystical body of Christ, whether born or unborn, were written in this book from the foundation of the world; see Ps 139:16, "Thine eyes did see my substance, [or body] yet being unperfect, and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. " And these whose names were written in the book of life, are they who shall finally be saved, according to Re 20:12-13,14-15," And whosoever was not found written in the book of life, was cast into the lake of fire."

Now from all the above scriptures, the following facts are deducible and unquestionable.

1st . We [the elect] were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. 2nd . God made them accepted in the beloved, and gave them all spiritual blessings in him [justification among the rest] according to his choice. 3rd . Those who were thus chosen in Christ were his sheep, and when they went astray, their iniquities were laid on him, and not on them, and God as the supreme judge pronounced the sentence of death on him, and recorded it in his book, and adjudged them to life, and recorded their names in the book of life from the foundation of the world. 4th . The judge having thus decided the case, and all the sins of his elect being laid on Christ, he will never impute sin to the elect, nor behold iniquity in Jacob, nor perverseness in Israel, but they stand holy and without blame before him. 5th . In consequence of this irrevocable decision, the hour is set for Christ to be executed; and the elect are predestinated to life. 6th . As our sins were laid on Christ and not on us, so he was executed for them, and not us; and so we are justified by his blood from all things .

Hitherto I have been speaking of justification as an official act of God as judge; sitting on the case of his elect, and deciding on their justification, and the death of Christ in their stead, and as I have fully proved from the positive declarations of scripture, that God did lay their iniquities on Christ, and declared them to be holy and without blame before him in love, and so their names were written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, and he adjudged to the slaughter from the same time, and the hour set for his execution, according to the determined counsel [or decision] and foreknowledge of God.

It only now remains for me to show the justice of God as a judge in thus deciding the case, since Christ was innocent, and we were guilty; and yet he was condemned and we justified in the decision of the judge.

Election gave us a standing in Christ, and a relation to him which will fully justify all the ways of God to man; and we have above proved from scripture, that God did choose his people in Christ before the foundation of the world, and of course they were in relation to him, ever since they were chosen in him; and he is their head, and they are his members, and this doctrine is taught in the following manner: Ro 12:4-5, "As we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office; so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another." 1Co 10:17, "For we, being many, are one bread, and one body." 1Co 12:20, "But now are they many members, yet but one body." 1Co 12:12, "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ." Eph 1:22-23, "Who gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. " These many members that make but one body, are the members spoken of in Ps 139:16; and these many members make the church or mystical body of Christ, and these are they whose iniquities were laid on Christ, and for whom he was slain, by which they were redeemed or purchased; see 1Co 6:19-20, "Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." 1Co 7:23. "Ye are bought with a price." Ga 1:4. "Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world according to the will of God, and our Father." See Eph 2:20; 5:22 to the close. Ro 6:7-11, all of which prove beyond a doubt the existence of an union between Christ and his church. This union or relation existed before we believe, nay before Christ died, for he loved the church, and gave himself for it, Eph 5:25-26,27; not that he might have it, but that he might present it a glorious church.

Now as the law will justify a judge in passing the sentence on the head, for the offence of the members of the body, so Christ the head of the church was sentenced for the offence of his offending members, and in this the justice of God appears in laying our sins on Christ.

This union or relation is illustrated in scripture by the union subsisting between the husband and wife. The church is called the bride, the Lamb's wife, Re 21:9; 19:7, and Christ is often called [in relation to his church] a bridegroom; and the apostle treats the subject in the following manner. 1Co 11:3, "1 would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman, is the man; and the head of Christ is God." Eph 5:23, "For the husband is the head of the wife; even as Christ is the head of the church; and he is the saviour of the body. " "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother , and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh; this is a great mystery , but I speak concerning Christ and his church. " Now the union between the husband and wife is such, that the husband must satisfy the debts contracted by the wife; for the law demands it of him by virtue of the relation above demonstrated; so Christ must pay the contract of the church, which is his wife, and so God is just in laying her iniquities to him, and not to her, for he is her living husband.

This relation is illustrated by the prophet, and by Christ himself, by the figure of the shepherd and the sheep, which are in a relation to each other, so that the shepherd, if he be the owner of the sheep, must be accountable for any damage done by the sheep. Christ shows that he is not only the shepherd but the real owner of the sheep, Joh 10:11,14-15; and many of his sheep were then in unbelief, see verse 16; and he will pay for all their trespasses, even if it costs him his life. This is what the prophet says, Isa 53:6, " All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. " The sheep is the property of the shepherd, and he must in law answer for them. If I be the proper owner of a flock of sheep, and they should unlawfully break in and kill your orchard, would you bring suit against the sheep, and bring them as transgressors into court; or would you not rather bring suit against me, as the shepherd and owner of the offending sheep; and I must pay the damage, be it great or small ; so Christ being the shepherd and owner of the sheep, is proceeded against in a legal way, and the Lord as a judge, lays the iniquity of the sheep to the shepherd, and assesses the damage to be the death of the shepherd; and so the sword must slumber, until the shepherd comes to the hour set for his execution, and then awake and smite the shepherd, who had been sentenced for the sheep, according to Zec 13:7, "Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts; smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered; and I will turn my hand upon the little ones. " So Christ says, "I lay down my life for the sheep." As he was prosecuted and executed as the shepherd of his sheep, and suffered for and under the iniquities of his sheep, so he is brought as a Iamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before his shearers, is dumb, so he opened not his mouth." Isa 53:7. As Christ was the shepherd, so the sheep were God's elect people; see Isa 53:8, "For the transgressions of my people was he stricken," or was the stroke upon him.

Various are the figures employed in the scriptures to illustrate this gracious union; such as the vine and branches, a king and subjects, &c. Time would fail me to enter largely into this glorious grace, but from the scriptures already adduced on the relation between Christ and his people, the bond of which is love, this one point is established, that Christ and his church are in such a relation as to show how God is just in laying their iniquities to him, and justifying them by virtue of his blood.

We have hitherto showed that the elect of God and church of Christ have two distinct standings, one in Adam, and one in Christ; that in Adam they are condemned to death, and so must remain; but in Christ they are holy and without blame before God. And so Adam was a figure of him that was to come; and these are the two heads. Condemnation came by the first, and justification came by the second. We feel under condemnation by the offence of the first, but we enjoy justification by the obedience of the second. The fifth chapter of Romans shows these two Adams acting for their respective seeds, with these different effects, on their seeds; by the one came condemnation unto death, on all his seed, but by the other came justification unto life and all his seed, &c.

Now as we have showed the principles upon which God as a judge proceeded to pass the sentence of death on Christ, and acquit the church, and so he must die and they must live thereby; so he came to the very hour appointed, and suffered and died for our sins; according to the scriptures he bare our sins in his own body on the tree; according to the sentence of the judge, he was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. As I have proved above, by positive scripture, that God will not impute sin to his people, having laid them on Christ, and that he is consequently regarded in the decision of God as a Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, and their names written from the same period in the book of life. So when he was actually slain they were actually justified, for by the obedience of one man the free gift has come upon all men [that is, the elect of all nations] unto justification of life.

Just in the very same sense that the church was chosen in Christ before the world was, they were viewed in him without blame, and as his elect, he will behold no spot in them; this I sometimes call a virtual justification, and the enemies of the doctrine call it eternal justification, and then commence a war with the name, and make a wonderful ado about the name. Well the truth will have its enemies, and they may give it all the hard names they please. I will not pretend to justify the term, eternal justification, but the doctrine which is generally buffeted under that name I esteem as a most precious truth, big with comfort to my poor soul, which I think could never be saved without it. As God had decided on the justification of the elect by the death of Christ, so our justification is often ascribed to his blood; it is said Ro 3:24, "Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ." So we see that we are justified by the grace of God as a judge, and that grace flows to us through the redemption that is in Christ; that is, when God freely adjudged us to life, and wrote our names in the book of life, he acted on the case, viewing us in relation to Christ, and through the redemption that is in him, he is just in the decision of our justification; as it is said, Ro 3:26, "To declare I say, at this time his righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus; " that is to say, the righteousness of Christ, or his standing related to his church, as the end of the law for righteousness to her, God is just as a judge in justifying the church by the satisfaction made, or rendered to it by her head and husband. Now we plainly see, that the sentence of death due to our offences, was executed on Christ according to God's determined purpose, and we are consequently justified thereby, in a way of justice. Christ bare the sins of many, and when he died for us, and suffered for our sins as a public head, acting and dying as the representative of many, his death is regarded as the death of all for whom he died, and this is what we read, 2Co 5:14-15, "For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge that if one died for all, then were all dead; and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again." As our sins were laid on Christ and we were in him by election, so he came to die in our stead, and when he died for us, it was the same in the eye of the law as if all his members had then died, and so Paul said, Ga 2:20, "I am crucified with Christ; " and Ro 6:8, "Now if we be dead with Christ," &c., Ro 7:4, "Ye are become dead to the law by the body of Christ. " From all of which it is plain that when Christ died for us, we were regarded as dead, or his death was looked upon as if it were the death of all he represented; for he died, not as a private individual; but as the public head and representative of all his members, and so when he, though but one; died for them all; the love of Christ constrains us to judge that they were all dead by him. So when he rose from the dead he rose for our justification, and as he died in relation to the elect, so he rose in relation to them, and so it is said of him. Ro 4:25, "Who was delivered for our offences and was raised again for our justification. " We being thus interested in his resurrection as our representative, we are spoken of as rising with him; see Isa 26:19, "Thy dead men shall live together with my dead body shall they arise." Ho 6:2, " After two days will he revive us, in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. " The sentence of God had gone forth against Christ, as in Isa 53:11, "By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many, for he shall bear their iniquities, " and according to this sentence it devolved on Christ to make an end of sin, according to Da 9:24, and so there was a must needs be, for Christ to suffer and rise again; in proof of this, see Ac 17:2-3, " And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath-days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, opening and alleging that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead." Lu 24:26,46, from which it appears plain, that Christ was under the strongest obligation to die for his church; yet he suffered freely and willingly; he was under obligation as the sentence of death had passed upon him, as the head, husband, and shepherd of his people, but he willingly and voluntarily stood in this relation, and so while he loved the church and freely gave himself for it, the law demanded his life, and he must suffer. So while his willingness to suffer for us, shows his grace and love to us, it is the obligation he is under to suffer that shows the justice of his suffering; and so both grace and justice shines with equal lustre in our free justification; and so we are justified by grace as a free gift, for it is said, Ro 5:16, "The free gift is of many offences unto justification; " yet though justification is a free gift, it comes to us through and by the blood of Christ, which he shed to satisfy the sentence of the law, which was justly executed on him, as the head of the church; see Ro 5:9.

Now I have said above, that when Christ actually suffered for our sins, we were actually justified, and this is true, according to Ro 5:18, " As by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. " The sentence of condemnation and death actually came upon all Adam's unborn seed, when he offended, and so they are heirs to corruption, condemnation and death, and as they are born by a natural birth, they begin to feel the weight of this sentence, and mortality .So when Christ the second Adam, fulfilled the law, put away our sins, finished transgression, and brought in everlasting righteousness, all his unborn spiritual seed were actually justified, because the sentence of God was actually executed on him in our stead, and all our sins were put away by the sacrifice of himself; and the law was satisfied to the full; and so he was raised for our justification, and we were justified by his blood; so justification is not a consequence of faith, as an act of the creature, but a consequence of the death of Christ , or in other words, justification is the decision of a judge, adjudging one to life. God adjudged us to life, because all our sins were imputed to Christ, and on this account he never did view iniquity in Jacob, nor perverseness in Israel, and will not impute sin to his elect, but all their iniquities being laid on Christ, the sentence of death due to their offences was executed upon him, and the justification due to his righteousness was given to them; and now the gospel reveals this righteousness to faith, and faith is an evidence to the soul, of his free justification. This brings me to speak,

Fourthly: Of the evidences by which we are brought to know our justification.

The prisoner in the dungeon can only know that he is justified by the judge in court by some messenger, who may be sent to him, with the tidings of it; and however long he may disbelieve the message, it cannot make it untrue, because the fact does not depend for its truth upon the prisoner's faith, but is a truth before he believes it, as certainly as afterwards, and his faith adds nothing to the truth of the fact, but only to his comfort in the enjoyment of a knowledge of the fact.

So Justification is a fact before faith, and faith adds nothing to it, but only believes the fact as it is declared to it in the gospel. Ro 1:17, "For therein [in the gospel] is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith. " This righteousness is our justification, faith is the eye to which it is revealed, and the gospel brings it to view; thus the gospel is called the word of faith, Ro 10:8; and faith cometh by hearing this word; see Ro 10:17, "So then, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. " The gospel is sent to men as sinners, lying in the ruins of the first Adam, lost and condemned under the sentence of death; and proclaims and reveals the righteousness of Christ, as the justification of the ungodly; but no eye but that of faith can see it, and on this account many are ignorant of the righteousness of God, and are going about to establish their own righteousness, and because faith is the eye to which this righteousness is revealed, it is called the righteousness of faith, Ro 10:6, and this righteousness is manifested, and the law and prophets attest it to be faultless; and warrants the faith of the sinner to trust in it. Ro 3:31,22, "Now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ, unto all, and upon all them that believe, for there is no difference. " This righteousness is of God, and we see it by faith, according to Php 3:9, where Paul desires above all things, "to be found in him, not having mine own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. " Now this righteousness alone is our justification; and it is revealed or manifested to faith, well proved by the law and the prophets; therefore faith may safely venture on it. A word on faith; faith is a fruit of the Spirit, Ga 5:22, and so the spirit is called the spirit of faith, because we have no true faith, without it; see 2Co 4:13, "We having the same spirit of faith," &c. This faith is peculiar to God's elect, Tit 1:1, because the gospel by which faith cometh and which is the word of faith, and which reveals the righteousness of God to faith, comes with power and the spirit, only to the elect, although the word be preached to all. See 1Th 1:4-5, "Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God; for our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance. " Christ taught the same where he said, "Ye believe not, because ye are not my sheep, as I said unto you, my sheep hear my voice," &c. The faith of God's elect has Christ and his righteousness for its object, and so its object is our justifying righteousness, and so faith as to its object, is our justification; for in this sense Christ is called faith, see Ga 3:23,25, and so faith is declared to be the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, Heb 11:1, the substance, as to its object, and an evidence to the soul of its interest in that object; and when the apostle would show that we are justified by the righteousness of Christ, which is revealed to faith, and is the righteousness on which faith builds; and by which the sinner is justified, and this is faith's substance, and of which it bears evidence for the comfort of the soul; showing this free justification by the obedience of Christ, without the works of the law, he speaks of our being justified, not for faith, but by faith, by faith really as to its object, CHRIST, and manifestively, as to its evidence of our interest in that object. Justification is a grace, and faith never secured it, or made it ours; but by Christ we have access into this grace, and faith is the eye by which we see our standing in this grace; and from the evidence of faith we see our standing in Justification, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God; see Ro 5:2, "By whom also we have access by faith into this grace [the grace of justification] wherein we stand and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. " So we see that by Christ we stand in the grace of justification, and by faith in him we see our standing in this grace, and so we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Justification by faith is taught in opposition to the notion of justification by works, not because our faith as an act of ours justifies us, but because faith receives or views our justification complete in Christ without our works and so the apostle argues in Ac 13:39, "By him [Christ] all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. " By Christ alone are we justified, and faith is the Spirit's evidence to the soul of his interest in this grace; and it is said, Ro 4:3, " Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. " Ga 3:6; Jas 2:23; Ro 4:5-6,7-8, all of which prove that it was the substance or object of faith that justified Abraham, and not barely the act of Abraham's faith, for the fact which he believed was not dependant on an act of his faith; but his faith believed the fact, and received such evidence of its truth, as to fill Abraham with an unshaken confidence in God, that what he had promised he was able to perform; and so he gave glory to God. The same thing is declared, Ro 4:23, and Ro 5:1, where Christ is spoken of as he "who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. " This verse ends the fourth chapter, and shows that Christ being delivered for our offences, had made full satisfaction for us, and so was raised again for our justification, and so justification is complete; then in Ro 5:1, he infers from this fact, that we may have peace, even the peace which a knowledge of our free justification will afford, by believing in the fact above settled, and says, "Therefore being justified, by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. " I have changed the comma in the last quotation, because the sense of the passage required it, and some other versions place it as I have, but whether it be changed or not, the meaning is the same, when we take the two verses together, for the last is an inference drawn from the other, and both together show, that we were justified when Christ was raised from the dead, and faith in this truth affords us peace with God, and that peace we enjoy through our Lord Jesus Christ, who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification; and faith is an evidence of it to the soul. This is the sense in which the scriptures speak of justification by faith, and all goes to prove that we are not justified by an act of faith in the creature, but by the righteousness of Christ, and this is the righteousness which faith sees, and leads the soul to trust in; and this is what the poet sings,

"Faith pleads no merit of its own,

But looks for all in Christ. "

And so "faith receives a righteousness that makes the sinner just. " We see that faith is a fruit of the Spirit, and its office is to lead the soul to Christ, and as an eye to view the righteousness of Christ revealed to it in the gospel, and as a hand to take hold on that righteousness, and build the soul on it, as a sure foundation, and cause it to rejoice in God through Christ, and say, who shall lay anything to the charge of God' s elect? It is God that justifieth, who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, and so we see that justification is of the grace of God through the blood and righteousness of Christ, and faith is the Spirit's evidence of it to and for the comfort of the soul; and this is according to the experience of every truly regenerated man or woman, and I shall now show something of the way in which the experience of the people of God agrees with the doctrine of this discourse.

I have showed that the elect of God have two standings, one in Christ, in relation to whom they are without blame before God; and another in Adam, in relation to whom, and in themselves considered, they are condemned to death. Now men do not feel their condemnation properly until they are quickened by the Spirit; but as soon as they are made alive they begin to feel and see, and so faith is one of the first fruits of the Spirit; it views the excellency of the divine character, and the beauty of holiness, and begins to pant for the living God. Although the awakened sinner now has faith; its eye is not directed to Christ, but he now sees the glory and justice of God, and the purity of the law, and by the law he has a knowledge of sin; and so he begins to abhor himself and repent; he looks at himself in his fallen state, in relation to the first Adam, and sees that he is a condemned criminal; he reads the law, it sentences him to death and condemnation, and as he is wedded to a covenant of works , and sees not his relation to Christ, he begins to try to reform and keep the law, and work for life; and however long he may work under this legal persuasion, he finds but a poor reward, and at length he finds that all his plans are thwarted, and he is like the woman in the gospel that had spent all she had with physicians, and had got nothing better, but rather grew worse. Now the quickened sinner sees what he is in himself, and in relation to the first Adam, and that in this relation he is condemned to death, and can never be justified by any work or sacrifice in his power; all his hopes of obtaining salvation by the deeds of the law, gives up the ghost, for sin now appears exceedingly sinful, and it takes an occasion by the commandment to slay the sinner , who is ready to say, the commandment is holy, just and good, but I am carnal, sold under sin. Sin works by that which is good, and the sinner dies to all hope of ever being justified by any works of his own, and as if cut off from every other refuge, he cries, "God be merciful to me a sinner. " His expectation being cut off from everything else, he looks to God only, and falls as a pensioner on his mercy and grace, filled with the deepest sense of his condemnation, and the impossibility of being justified by the works of the law. This is his state as he stands in himself, and in relation to the first Adam, and this he clearly sees; but here the gospel reveals to faith the righteousness of God, and by faith the soul views his justification complete in the blood and righteousness of Christ; not that his faith hath justified him, but by faith he sees that which was a truth before he saw it; and his soul seems to melt like wax into the depth of humility , and yet he rejoices, he is amazed at the matchless grace of God, is almost ready to wonder he never saw this before; the fulness of Christ engages his confidence, and the sentiments of the soul is, "In the Lord have I righteousness and strength, he has become my salvation. " Now all this comfort flows from the evidence which faith bears to the soul, of its interest in and relation to Christ the second Adam; and from this view of his relation to Christ, in his death and resurrection, he builds his only hope for salvation in Christ, and this building is what is called the faith of reliance; and so it is written, "The just shall live by faith. " To live by faith is to live relying on Christ, looking to Christ, and trusting in his righteousness, faithfulness, and truth. Faith as an act, has nothing in it to comfort the soul, but it brings all its comforts from its object, and so faith, though one of the first fruits which the Spirit produces in the soul, can afford no comfort to the soul until its eye is directed to Christ, and his blood and righteousness, which the gospel reveals to it, nor even then will it afford comfort to the soul, unless it views the relation in which the soul stands to that righteousness; for we may have strong faith in Christ, as one able to save, and yet have no comfortable assurance that he will save me; as the man in the gospel had a strong faith in the ability of Christ, and said, "If thou wilt thou canst make me clean, " but when faith views him, " The Lord our righteousness," the soul can rejoice, and say, "In the Lord have I righteousness. "

Christian reader, is it not according to thy own experience? The awakened sinner has faith in God, and in Christ as being righteous, but sees not his own relation to that righteousness, and therefore he is not comforted, but hungers and thirsts after righteousness, and although the promise is positive, " He shall be comforted, " yet the soul cannot see how this can be; but when by faith the soul receives an evidence that it is related to Christ as its righteousness, it is then that it is filled and can rejoice in hope of the glory of God, and puts no confidence in the flesh; and so says Paul, "The life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. "

I shall close this discourse with a song which I composed some years past, suited to the tune Kingwood, which may serve as a recapitulation of this discourse.

"O for a heart to love my God, A tongue to sound a Saviour's praise,

His fulness to proclaim; In him the Father's fulness is,

In him the treasures of his grace, Are open for the poor .

Behold the Saviour on his throne, He turns an eye of pity down,

And sees his bride enthrall'd, She is my love, I know her groan,

And for her I must leave my throne, And bear her massy load.

I was ordained e'er time began, To ransom God's elect of men,

And suffer in their room; The time rolls on the atoning hour ,

I'll meet the thundering law with power And bear the flaming sword.

The Saviour comes in human form, And with his priestly garments on,

His breastplate shows their names, A Mediator now we see,

Fulfilling God' s fIrst great decree To save poor fallen man.

Thus on the cross was Jesus slain, Sustained the curse, endured the pain,

And bought the church with blood; As every charge on him was laid,

And he complete atonement made, No curse can fall on those .

The law can never curse them more, And justice burns with wrath no more,

'Tis quenched with Jesus' blood; And ever since the Head was slain,

The body's justified from pain, With Jesus they are one.

But when he rising from the tomb, Resumed his native glorious throne,

His chosen rose in him; Then in their priest they are complete

Accepted at the mercy seat, In Jesus they're received.

Thus down to earth the tidings flew, Go tell the Gentile and the Jew ,

That Jesus lives again; He lives, he lives for you above,

Your life is hid with Christ in God, Beyond the reach of harm.

He'll bring you to his promised rest, With every blessing you'll be blest,

And made like Jesus is; Yes, you shall circle round his throne,

When all his work of grace is done, The ransomed shall get home.

Then glory in fruition rise, And endless are their heavenly joys,

When all the saints get home . With sounding notes they then shall sing

The glories of their heavenly King , And all his fulness prove.

TT.09 OF THE SONSHIP OF CHRIST, AND OF A GOSPEL CHURCH AND HER DUTIES

Chapter 9

OF THE SONSHIP OF CHRIST, AND OF A GOSPEL CHURCH AND HER DUTIES.

Re 2:18 to the end of the chapter. "And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write, These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass."

In this verse the Son of God commands John to write to the angel of the church in Thyatira; and we are naturally led to consider these two characters.

First: The Son of God.

Secondly: A gospel church.

1st. We shall consider the character of the Son of God. To have a proper knowledge of this glorious personage, is one of the most important points in revealed religion. It embraces in it everything which can make us wise unto salvation. Therefore it is said in the scripture, "to know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent, is eternal life." Jesus Christ, when he was in this world, declared himself to be the Son of God, and substantiated this declaration by many miracles. Hence it is said, "He was declared to be the Son of God with power." Christ is called the Son of God 44 times in the scriptures; and he is called the son of man 84 times. May we not be safe in saying that he is both the Son of God and of man? I never remember of his being called the son of man until he was born of Mary; and so I conclude, the appellation son of man was expressive of his corporeal body or flesh. Yet we find many of the works, which he done as God, and which could only be done by the divine nature, are attributed or ascribed to him as the son of man; such as forgiving sins on earth, exercising all judgment, &c. He is often called indefinitely the Son, without expressing his relation to God or man; but I believe it is always implied and perhaps where it is not expressed we may fairly understand both; for I find, that when his power as God is spoken of, and ascribed to him as Son, it is spoken of as a given power, as he says of himself, as the Son, speaking to a Father, "Thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him." The reason why Jesus was called the Son of God, when he was born of the virgin, is stated by the angel Gabriel to Mary in the following words: "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore, that Holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the SON OF GOD." Here the power of the Highest and the Holy Ghost are both spoken of, and because of the agency of both in the conception of Jesus, he is called the Son of God. Let those who are fond of personal distinctions and divisions in the Godhead say which of these two is the Father, for the power of the highest came upon Mary, and the Holy Ghost overshadowed her. Now if these were distinct persons, I ask which of the two was the Father of Jesus? But if this popish tri-personalism be left out of sight, and the power of the Highest, and the Holy Ghost, be the same thing and God be intended, then it is proper to say that holy thing which was conceived by the power of the highest God, who is a Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit, should be called the Son of God, or the Son of the most high God. But we do not believe that the divinity of Jesus Christ was originated in this conception; therefore his sonship in this sense, was not in his divine nature, for his divine nature was not begotten by this overshadowing; but this begetting was the flesh of Christ, which came of the tribe of Judah and seed of David, according to the scriptures. Christ was both God and man in one person; as God, he was the root of David; as man he was David’s son; hence he is called the root and offspring of David; and as God was manifested in the flesh, many of his divine works are spoken of as the works of the Son, and properly too, because the Son performed those works, but performed them by the power, not of his begotten flesh, but of his unbegotten and underived divinity .So we see that the divinity of Christ was not begotten when his flesh was conceived in the womb of Mary. Therefore his being called the Son of God by the overshadowing, is with reference to the flesh of Christ, and not his divine nature, nor do I think any believer in the proper divinity of Christ, will contend that his divine person was begotten at this time; although some, nay, many, very many, have been vain enough to argue, that he was begotten as God by eternal generation; as if it added some greater honors to him to be begotten so long ago, than to be begotten at the conception of Mary. But a begotten being is but a begotten being, be him begotten whenever he may; whether in time or eternity as to eternal generation, I know nothing about it; but if there is any such a thing, I would much sooner believe that the human nature was that begotten, than his divine nature or divine person, as it is called. It matters not to me how far back men trace the divine Jesus; if they hold him as God, to be a Son, that is, a begotten being, it is to me so low and so diminutive an idea of the Immanuel, that I cannot believe it to be any better than Arianism under disguise; yet I am fully persuaded that many great men in Israel have believed it, not seeing the dishonor which it attached to the divinity of Christ, to make him a begotten divine person; and while men do not see this, I feel bound in charity to bear and forbear with my dear brethren, believing that their hearts are much better than their heads on this subject; and that from tradition and education they are blind to the evils of their system. May the good Lord help us all to know and love the truth, and enjoy the freedom which it administers.

Jesus as the Son of God was in existence before his conception or birth of Mary. He was seen by Nebuchadnezzar about 580 years before his birth of Mary according to Da 3:25; and his form was like the "Son of God." David in Ps 2 exhorts the kings to be wise, and "Kiss the Son." But we need not start the Son of God into being in the fiery furnace, for God created the worlds by him, as his Son, according to Heb 1:2, and as his Son appointed him heir of all things. Now we have traced Jesus under the name Son, back from the gospel era, to the creation of the worlds, and we are done with dates, and therefore cannot tell when he was brought forth; but we are taught the fact, that is, we are taught that he was brought forth before the creation of any part of this world. Read Pr 8, and especially Pr 8:22-23,24,30-31. From this chapter we are taught, in as plain words as we could now select from our language, that he was brought forth, set up, &c., and all this before the beginning of creation. In the above mentioned chapter this personage, who was brought forth before all worlds, is expressed to be God’s delight, rejoicing before him and as being with him. John in the first chapter of his gospel expresses the same; in verse 1 (Joh 1:1), he says of the Word, that it was "with God;" in Joh 1:14 he says, this "Word was made flesh," and in Joh 1:18 this Word is called, "The only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father." I have showed elsewhere, that both natures: divine and human, was in this Word or wisdom, but it was not the divine nature that was brought forth, set up, &c. , as mentioned in Proverbs, nor that was with God, and in his bosom mentioned by John, but this that was brought forth, and set up, was with God, and was his delight, dwelling in his love, called the bosom of the Father. This was the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father. Now we do see that the Son of God was brought forth before creation, but how long before I cannot tell, for the scriptures have not said, and I will not conjecture. I know there are many who are much opposed to the idea of this early existence of the human nature of the Son of God, and as the scriptures speak of him as a Son, so long before his birth of Mary, they have placed his sonship in his divinity and hold him to be begotten as God! I have never doubted the divinity of Christ, or that his divinity is the only wise God; but I do not believe that his divinity was begotten, but his human nature being begotten, brought forth and set up, was strictly speaking, the Son of God; yet the human nature being brought forth, begotten, or derived of the divine nature, and on that account in complete subserviency to the divine will, he moves in the very channel prescribed by the divine; so while he is sent into the world, he comes freely, not to do the will of the begotten human nature; but the will of the Father or unbegotten divinity; not to do a work which the begotten son or man had laid out, but to do a work which the Father or begetting divinity had given him to do; and as the Son had heard and learned with the Father so he judged; the Son or human nature did not even seek his own glory .In support of these assertions, read the 8th chapter of John, where Christ speaks largely of his own sonship, and we know that his testimony is true. Now some person, who is more tenacious for old tradition than for truth, may try to pervert the above remarks into the appearance of a denial of the proper divinity of the Son of God; but when anyone wishes to pervert the obvious views of a speaker, I think it hardly worth while to spend much time to answer his criticism; but I will here state, once for all, that I am as firm a believer in the divine deity of the Son as any man; and whoever can select words to express it in the highest colors; those are the words I would choose to use, when I express it; and this is reason enough why I should refuse to acknowledge his divinity to be a begotten divine person. The filiation of Christ is in his human nature; which was brought forth before all worlds; and it being properly the Son of God, being derived or brought forth before all worlds, and in every sense in complete agreement or conformity to the divine will, was actuated by it, and voluntarily performed all that the divine nature dictated to be done. Now as the human nature was begotten, and not the divine nature; so the human nature strictly speaking was the Son of God, and not the divine; but both natures being in one person, he is both God and man, in one Christ. The divinity of the Son of God is the MIGHTY GOD, who never was begotten, but was the EVERLASTING FATHER; and his human nature was the begotten Son of the Father. Both these natures, being in one person and proper to him as his own, without delegation from any other person, or being begotten of any other person, or in any sense dependent on any other person; he exists of himself, and by himself, and these two whole and distinct natures, being in one person, he is both God and man, both Father and Son; and as the man was the visible form of the invisible God, and the glory of the divine nature, or God was only visible in the visible man, in whom he was manifested; so this personage is properly called: God or Man, Father or Son, and is called both a given Son and the everlasting Father, in one verse; Isa 9:6. In the first chapter of Revelation, this person is spoken of as appearing to John in the Isle of Patmos; and he declared himself to be both these natures in the same person. In Re 1:11, he declares, "I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last." When John heard this declaration behind him, he turned to see the voice or who it was that spoke to him; and saw seven golden candlesticks, and in the midst of them, "one like unto the son of man," Re 1:13; this personage which John says was like unto the son of man, whom he described by his clothing, a "garment down to the foot, and a golden girdle about the paps;" by his head and his hairs, "white like wool, as white as snow," and by his eyes, ‘‘as a flame of fire, and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters." This august personage had in his right hand seven stars, the hieroglyphics of the angels, or ministers of the seven churches in Asia, [and perhaps may denote ministers in all ages] was in the midst of the golden candlesticks, the hieroglyphics of the churches; "and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength." The overpowering glory of this son of man [whom John calls afterwards the Son of God] was such, that mortality fainted beneath its blazing splendor, and John fell, as dead at his feet; but he laid his right hand upon him, saying, "Fear not; I am the first and the last; I am he that liveth and was dead; and behold I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death." Here are seven particular traits or descriptive characteristics in this personage, and these John distinguishes, at the commencement of the seven epistles, in Re 2:1,8,12,18 and Re 3:1,7,14. But all these characters are in one person; in Re 1:11,19, commands John to write these things, and John at the second verse calls his writing, "the testimony of Jesus Christ." The same person that John speaks of in Re 1:13, as being "one like unto the Son of man;" he calls him in Re 2:18, "THE SON OF GOD, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass." This person here called the "first and the last," "the Alpha and Omega," &c., was surely the unbegotten, underived God; but the same person declares himself to be, him that liveth and was dead; and John says, he was like unto the Son of man. These declarations show his human nature, for his divinity, the first and the last, the Alpha and the Omega, was never dead. But this person, including both natures, fills every character ascribed to him; but if his divinity or divine person was begotten and distinct from the Father, he could not have been called the first; for the Father who begot him was before him; and if the Holy Ghost was another person distinct from them both, he was not the last, for the Holy Ghost proceeded from them; and if he was not the whole triune God he would not have been called "the Alpha and Omega." The Alpha being the first letter in the Greek alphabet, and the Omega the last, the whole alphabet is included between these two letters, and this person being both shows that the whole trinity of God was in him. And as this person was alive, and had been dead, and is called the Son of man, it shows that the human nature was in him; and this same person hath "the seven spirits of God," see Re 3:1, or the fulness of the Spirit of God, and is the prince of the kings of the earth. So he is the same person whom the prophet speaks of when he said, "Unto us a Son is given, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace. " He is both the Son and the everlasting Father in one person, the Son in his human nature, and the Father in his divine nature.

Thus while his Sonship, strictly speaking, belongs to his human nature, which was begotten, and so is called his only begotten Son; [the reader will not be vain enough to think of this begetting in the ordinary sense of the word, but a production brought about by the power or love of God, as Christ was raised from the dead by the power of God, and it is called a begetting, Re 1:5; Col 1:18,] yet the eternal Godhead was proper to, and belonged to the same person, so that the divinity of Christ is so far from being tarnished by saying that his sonship, strictly speaking, belongs to his human nature, that it is exalted; for if his divine nature was the Son, strictly speaking, we must admit, that his divine nature was begotten or produced, and this is too degrading an idea of the adorable Jesus. Then God, the unbegotten, underived, self-existent, and independent Jehovah, and the mediator, the man Christ Jesus, were in one person, and did appear to John under a sevenfold character, as both God and man; and being visible in the human nature, and appearing like the son of man, and possessing all the glories of the deity; he is declared to be the "Son of God." This person was walking in the midst of the golden candlesticks or churches; to show his care and attention to his people; he holds the stars or ministers in his right hand to show how he supplies them; he has the seven spirits of God to store them with gifts and graces; and appears in all the translucent glories of his divine majesty , paternal attention, and humble but deeply interesting sonship. O that he may ever hold his ministers in his right hand. O that his countenance, like the sun in its strength, may dispel every cloud of error from his church. May his eyes like flames strike tenor to the hearts of his enemies, and his voice like the sound of many waters, call his friends to the feast of his love. This person with both natures was both God and man; and John was his disciple and apostle, who would obey his command, in writing for the good of his church; and this is the command, "Unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write, these things saith the SON OF GOD."

This brings me to the second proposition, which is to consider: What we are to understand by a gospel church. The term church is used in different senses in scripture; sometimes for all the elect of God, as in Eph 5:25-26,27,32, and many other places. Sometimes for all true evangelic believers, as in Ac 2:47; 5:11; 8:1. Sometimes for a particular located body of believers, who for local conveniences have formed themselves into a body, to be governed by the scriptures, and keep up the worship of God socially, and observe the ordinances of the gospel. In this sense I understand the term church to be used in the verse under consideration; for there were seven churches in Asia, and the one mentioned in this verse was in Thyatira. A church in this sense I understand to be any number of believers that may have been baptized [I mean immersed] upon profession of their faith in Christ. All the churches in the apostles’ days were composed of such materials. When John came to prepare a people for Christ, or materials for the first gospel church, he came "baptizing with water;" and when Jesus entered on his gospel ministry , he was baptized, and so was manifested to Israel by water. And his disciples by his command continued baptizing, as it is said, "Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples." From the baptism of John, the example of Christ, the continuation of the same practice by the disciples, and the express command of Christ in the commission he gave to the apostles after his resurrection, there remained no doubt of the propriety of water baptism, in order to church membership; so on the day of Pentecost, when many cried out, "What shall we do," being pricked to the heart under Peter’s sermon, with a full conviction that Jesus was the Christ, baptism was enjoined upon them, and as many as gladly received the word were baptized, and the same day there was added to the church about three thousand. This was the first gospel church, and we see these were baptized believers. Here in this first church, the members were thus prepared; first, they received the word gladly; secondly, they were baptized; thirdly, they were added to the church. And then they continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine, in fellowship, in breaking of bread, and in prayers. This was the first church, and a model for all the rest; and they were built of materials made ready in the same way. So the church at Samaria was built of materials who rejoiced at Philip’s preaching, and "when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women."

The church at Cesarea was formed of the same kind of materials; for when Cornelius had sent for Peter, he went and preached Jesus to them, and when he perceived that they had received the Holy Ghost, he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord; see Ac 10. In Ac 16, you will find that the church at Philippi was formed of similar materials; Lydia, whose heart the Lord opened, and her household which were the brethren, that the apostles comforted; and the jailor who rejoiced, believing in God with all his house; these two families of believers and brethren were all baptized, and so this church was formed.

Read Ac 18, and you will see that the church at Corinth was composed of baptized believers; for when Paul preached in that place, "Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing, believed, and were baptized." These Paul calls "the church of God, which is at Corinth;" see 1Co 1:2, and declares, 1Co 11:2, "that they kept the ordinances as he had delivered them."

The church at Rome was composed of materials who had been baptized unto Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death, nay such as were buried with him in baptism; see Ro 6:3.

The churches at Galatia, Colosse and Ephesus were all composed of baptized believers, and so the apostle says, Ga 3:26-27, "For ye are the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, for as many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ." This church was therefore composed of baptized believers.

The church at Colosse was composed of saints and brethren in Christ; see Col 1:2, and in Col 2:12, who were "buried with him in baptism, "&c.

The church at Ephesus was of the same sort of materials. See Ac 19:1,4-5. Paul having passed through the upper coasts to Ephesus, and finding certain disciples, said unto them, "John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people that they should believe on him who should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus." On which account he calls them "the saints which are at Ephesus and the faithful in Christ Jesus." Eph 1:1.

Thus we see the primitive church at Jerusalem was a body of baptized believers; and that when a sore persecution arose in that place, the brethren were scattered abroad, and went in different directions, preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ; and when their ministry was blessed, and the people believed, they were baptized and formed a worshipping assembly, under the gospel charter or laws of Christ; and enjoyed amongst themselves as a church all the ordinances of the gospel, or of a gospel church. Therefore we are well supported in saying, that the members of the apostolic churches were baptists, or baptized believers, nor do we read of any church, in the apostles’ days, that were not composed of such members. And as the gospel gives us but one model of a church, [that at Jerusalem] and the apostles were as particular in the formation of all the above named churches, to have them baptized believers, as Moses was in building the former tabernacle according to the pattern showed to him in the mount; so the church at Thyatira, seems to have been a congregated body of baptized believers; for this city of Thyatira, was in Asia Minor, and the apostle in Ac 19:10, says, "All they who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks." And it is pointedly said, Ac 11:14, that "Lydia, who was of this very city , was baptized with her household, and being at Philippi, as a trader when this took place, she probably returned afterwards to Thyatira, her place of residence, and was the seed of the church, which John now writes to; if so, [and it seems to be so] this was a baptized church of believers, and Lydia might be addressed, and the church of God in thy house, as well as another. Thus we have seen the pattern of the first gospel church, and the constant example of the apostles in forming all the other churches after this pattern, that a church in the apostolic sense is a congregated body of baptized believers, who for local convenience have united themselves in a religious society , to be governed by the laws, and maintain the doctrine and ordinances of Christ; and those societies, formed of unbaptized and unbelieving members are not churches in the scripture sense of the word.

TT.10 A SERMON

Chapter 10

A SERMON.

Delivered by WILSON THOMPSON,

in Lebanon, on the fourth Lord’s day in July, 1823.

The following discourse is published by request of a number of the members of the Baptist Church in Lebanon, as near verbatim as can be from memory .As I had no notes, nor any thoughts of writing it at the time of delivering it, nor for several days afterwards, it is probable that it is not verbatim literatim; but having been inspected by a number who heard it extempore, they say there is no observable difference in matter or style.

Some of the same arguments are repeated in it that are used in the foregoing discourses, and it may serve as a recapitulation of the whole, I therefore choose to place it here.

Lu 23:35. "And the people stood beholding; and the rulers also with them, derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself; if he be Christ, the chosen of God."

Those who have made themselves conversant with the scriptures, and have read with interest the history of our blessed Saviour’s humiliation, will need no remarks on the foregoing verses, as the very recital of the text itself will lead their minds to the contemplation of that pleasing, mournful hour, when the Son of God was fastened to the cross between two malefactors, there to suffer and die for the fallen sons of an apostate Adam. The sufferings and death of Christ in behalf and for the salvation of sinners, were irrevocably settled in the purpose of God; but the Jews were ignorant of that purpose, and therefore that purpose could not have had any influence on them to be active in its accomplishment; but they were under the influence of their carnal mind, which is enmity to God. This was Peter’s sentiment, when he was full of the Holy Ghost, and said, "Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain."

The purpose of God with regard to the incarnation and death of the blessed Jesus, was shadowed out by the ceremonies of the law, and taught by the sons of Aaron in the Levitical priesthood, by every bleating lamb and bleeding bullock that stained with purple gore the burning altar in the Jewish temple; hence says the apostle, "The law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ." This purpose was revealed to the holy prophets under the former dispensation, and they with hearts of gratitude, souls fired with a hallowed flame of the Holy Spirit, and tongues or pens flowing with melting strains of refined eloquence, "showed before the coming of that just one," who had been promised to Abraham, believed in by the fathers, described by the seers as a king who should reign in Israel, that Judah and Jerusalem should be saved in his reign, and the horn of David be exalted in honor, and his kingdom be glorious. In consequence of these prophecies the Jews were authorized to look for a great king to rise from Abraham’s loin; but they supposed his honors would be of this world; that he would wrest the government from the Romans; tear the galling yoke from the neck of the Jews; advance their honors, and make the surrounding nations their tributaries. These seem to have been the towering expectations of the Jews, these selfish views, the national hopes and the political prospects of the descendants of Abraham, in regard to the dignities of the promised Messiah. "All Israel was in expectation;" Daniel’s weeks rolled round, the infant of Bethlehem was born in a manger, an innumerable company of the heavenly host, in ecstasies of praise announce the birth of the Saviour in language the most interesting to men, and the most delightful to themselves, they close the message with a loud anthem, "Glory to God in the highest; on earth peace, good will toward men, for this day is born unto you in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." He is soon persecuted, his parents must flee their country to save his life, he is raised in poverty , and continues with his parents until he commences his ministry , he sanctions John’s baptism by his example, overcomes the tempter in the mount, calls his disciples to follow him, goes from place to place doing good, and professes to be the Son of God, the Saviour of men, the light of the world, the bread of life, the root and Lord of David, as well as his Son. When the Jews found that he made such high pretensions as these, they undertook to entangle him in his words, and to treat him with contempt and ridicule. Had he professed to be a prophet of the ordinary cast, or even a great prophet; nay, even one of the old prophets risen from the dead, it seems at least some of them would have believed it; had he told them he had come to advance their political glories, erect monuments of honor to their nation, and unsheathe the glittering sword for the defense of Jerusalem, to avenge her wrongs in the blood of nations, his miracles had, no doubt, been sufficient to have caused the Jews to rally round his standard with warlike enthusiasm, and thirst for the blood of their enemies; but when he declared, My kingdom is not of this world, that he was from above, that God was his Father, that he and his Father were one, &c. , they took up stones to cast at him, accused him of blasphemy, because he, being a man, made himself God. For his doctrine, profession, and pretensions to Divinity, they accused him, reviled him, persecuted him, and pointing at him with the finger of scorn, they say, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" Is not this the carpenter’s son? He speaks blasphemy. He is beside himself. He hath a devil, and is mad. Crucify him, crucify him! Their highest expectations were temporal national grandeur, and as he made no pretensions to this, they rejected him as the Messiah, condemned him as an impostor, brought him before the rulers, and sentenced him to the painful and shameful death of the cross, on which they placed him, and then "the people stood beholding, and the rulers also with them, deriding him, saying, He saved others, let him save himself, if he be the Christ, the chosen of God."

In attending more particularly to our text, we shall notice two things which present themselves to our view in these words.

First: Christ’s pretensions to divinity , and,

Secondly: The moral turpitude of the human heart as exposed in his crucifixion.

First. Had Jesus professed no more than a delegated divinity, the Jews would not have been so much enraged at him; but when he declared himself to be God, in the highest sense, saying, "I and my Father are one," they took "up stones to cast at him." They had read in their scriptures that God was the only Saviour , but Christ made pretensions to salvation; therefore they understood that he made out that he was God; they were taught to believe in a God that was invisible, but Christ was a man passing daily amongst them; they could see him, and even see him associating and eating with sinners, and he seemed to be their friend; the Jews rejected him, and said, with a firm determination, "We will not have this man to reign over us." Thus the Jews refused him as their king and Messiah, because "He being a man made himself God." But surely they did not understand their own scriptures, for this was the very character the prophets had described when they spoke of the Messiah. Isaiah says, "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given." This shows that the Messiah would be a man -a child -a male child -a son; but though a man, he was to be the very God; for "His name shall be called wonderful, counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace." Now because Christ said that he [being a man] was this very character, the Jews said, "He is a blasphemer," and I find that even now many men who call themselves christians, and profess some reverence for Jesus and his divinity are much offended if we call him "the everlasting Father;" but the promised Messiah was to be so called, although clothed with the body of a child, a son, or human nature. Thus Christ professed to be his real character; and if the people would not believe his words, he would refer them to his works; which bear testimony of him. Hear him say, "Of myself [as man] I can do nothing. The works which I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. I am in the Father, and the Father in me." See his works: "The dead are raised up," "the dumb speak," "the lepers are cleansed," "all pestilential diseases are cured," "the blind see;" nay, "even the winds and the seas obey him," and the devils and unclean spirits cry out at his presence, and leave the possessed at his rebuke, "the water becomes choice wine at his bidding," and the fig tree withers under his curse. If he is not the "mighty God, the everlasting Father," these works challenge all your reason and philosophy to account for on any magic principles, or cunning slight of hand; no, the world must be silent, and believe what he says, "I and my Father are one, " or drown these evidences in the hideous clangor, "Crucify him, crucify him;" for if they should maliciously attribute his miracles to Beelzebub; they have been once silenced on that subject already.

That Jesus existed in two natures but few deny; but that his divine nature was exclusively God, but few comparatively acknowledge; and many object to the pre-existence of his human nature. I shall therefore turn your attention to a few passages of scripture to prove these important points. "There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." The man Christ Jesus implies; or rather expresses his human nature; for his human nature was the man, and the man was the mediator; then ever since there was a mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus has existed; but "God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself." It pleased the Father that all fulness should dwell in him. The whole fulness of the Godhead [not the second person only] dwelt is him bodily. Thus the human nature of Christ is "the way to the Father," that dwelt in him; and so he said, "No man cometh unto the Father but by me." That is the same as to say, no man can come unto God but by a mediator, I am the only mediator -the man Christ Jesus; therefore no man can have access to God, but by me; for he is in me. "No man knoweth the Father but the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him." The scriptures of the old and new Testaments unite in declaring that God was never seen by man. John says in his gospel, Joh 1:18, "No man hath seen God at any time;" and when he wrote his first epistle [although some say this was after he had seen the Alpha and the Omega in the Isle of Patmos] his sentiment is the same, for there we find the same words, 1Jo 4:12, "No man hath seen God at any time." Paul was of the same opinion when he wrote his first letter to Timothy, 1Ti 6:15-16; he says, speaking of Christ, "Which in his time he shall show who is the blessed and only potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see." God declared the same to Moses, saying, "No man shall see my face and live." Now how shall we reconcile the above scriptures with the many places where men have seen God and have talked with him? I would fain hope that those who deny that the mediator ever existed before he was born of the virgin, that is, that the man Christ Jesus existed before he was born of the virgin Mary, would attempt to reconcile those scriptures; for I know not how they would proceed in it; but if we will admit that there was a mediator, "the man Christ Jesus," between the patriarch’s, prophets, and saints of old and God, as there is now between us and God and that he could be seen through that medium by them, as he was by the apostles; that is, his glory could be seen in the face of Jesus; then all is easy, but must appear paradoxical any other way, as Christ said to Philip, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." "God was in Christ, " and they who have seen Christ and the glory of God shining in his face, have seen all of God that can be seen, for naked divinity is invisible, and no man hath seen it, nor can see it. Did Moses see God in Horeb? It was his glory as a flame of fire in a bush; and the wonder was, the bush was not consumed. Did the Lord speak to Moses? It was "out of the midst of the bush." The bush was to represent the humanity, and the fire the glory of the divinity and so the glory of God was seen in the bush, as it is revealed in the flesh of the mediator. Did Abraham see the Lord? He was in human shape or form, and conversed with him with regard to Sodom, then the man in human nature not only existed in Abraham’s day, but when he was seen, God’s glory was seen shining in him, and so Abraham saw the Lord. When Jacob, Manoah, and many others, saw and conversed with God, in the form of a man, could this be and yet the man not then be in existence? We might turn your attention to many places where God was seen by men, but time would fail us to speak of all the prophets, and fathers, and kings, who saw him as a man at different times from the creation to the birth of Christ in the manger. But we may well say the divine glory was seen in the man or human nature, and no other way was God ever seen, for no man could see him [except in the mediator] and live, for divinity unveiled is invisible to mortals, nor could mortality bear the sight and live. John says, "The only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him;" and Christ says, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." Here in him they see their God in the displays of his power, grace, and glory , and are constrained to lift their voice with the poet, and sing,

"O sacred beauties of the man,

The God resides within,

His flesh all pure without a spot,

His soul without a sin."

 

I may safely say, "No man hath seen God at any time," but when "God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness," shines into our hearts, it is to "give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." Then we can see God reconciled and reconciling us to himself; then may we say, with pleasing wonder, "I have heard of thee with the hearing of the ear, but now mine eyes see thee, wherefore I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes." Thus God is seen in the exercise of his wisdom, power and grace, in the displays of his glory and his alluring love; but all in Christ the mediator and medium of communication from God to man; he is the only way to the Father - the Father is in him -we cannot come to the Father but by him, nor see the Father but in him.

Thus we have clearly seen that the human nature of Christ did pre-exist his birth at Bethlehem, and was seen by the saints of old, and God appeared to them in the man, and they saw his glory and said, "We have seen God" -"the Lord God of Israel." In the same way they saw God, who saw Christ, when he was here on earth, in the days of his flesh; and so John in the Isle of Patmos, on the Lord’s day, when he was in the spirit, saw him that was like unto the son of man, him that had been dead and was alive, and lives for evermore, and hath the keys of hell and of death. Here his human nature is brought to view; but his exclusive divinity is as plainly manifested, for he declares himself to be the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Is there any God distinct from the FIRST and the LAST? If not, then Jesus in his divine nature is exclusively God, for he is the first and the last, and beside him who is the first and the last, I know of no God. "The LORD GOD of the holy prophets sent his angel to show unto his servants the things which must be shortly done." Jesus is the Lord of the holy prophets, for he says, "I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches." "Thus saith the LORD, the king of Israel and his redeemer, the LORD OF HOSTS, I am the first, and I am the last, and beside me there is no God. " Jesus is the "first and the last;" therefore beside Jesus there is no God. Jesus is the Lord God of the holy prophets, who sent his angel; he is the ALPHA and OMEGA, as saith Jehovah, "I even I am the LORD, and beside me there is no saviour."

Jesus is both Lord and Saviour -"our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." Then Jesus is that Lord beside whom there is no saviour. In Jesus the whole fulness of the Godhead dwells, and if the whole fulness is in him, then the whole triune God was in him -the whole trinity of "Father, Word, and Holy Ghost." Here the "three that bear record in heaven," have displayed their glory. Here the God of angels and men, he who gilds heaven with his smiles, who pours forth the eternal torrent of celestial glory , which transports the glorified millions, and extorts from every heavenly tongue the sweet anthem, "Glory to God in the highest;" here I say, in the body of Christ the triune God descends to men. {*When I say the God descends in the man or body of Christ, let it be understood of the manifestation of the Triune God. God fills all space, and is every where present; but he has revealed himself to men, in the man who came down from heaven, and in this sense God is spoken of as coming down; that is, in the man God reveals himself to men on earth, and becomes accessible to men.} Let angels strike their highest strains, lift their voices in sweet concert, bursting from the battlements of heaven, pursue the object of their worship down to earth -earth, the seat of confusion, strife, and war , where the prisoners groan with lingering pain, where mortality spreads its desolating influence, and death armed by sin, exerts its power to fill the tombs with ghastly skulls and moldering bones. While death with all its train, armed by man’s rebellion, with all the implements of slaughter, goes forth with velocity and revenge, and without the least relenting, drags the rebel man down to endless pain and woe -behold the Saviour -the mighty God in human form descends -the angels know the peace his presence gives, and in accents of joy and acclamation of praise, they sing to listening shepherds, "Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good will toward men; for this day is born in the city of David a Saviour which is Christ the LORD." O my brethren, did the Lord descend as a Saviour for us; and shall our hearts not burn with joy? Shall our tongues be silent? Our affections cold? Our devotions languid, and our zeal uninspired! Shall we who have rebelled, we who have sold ourselves for naught -but O amazing grace -hear it fellow sinners -we for whom the only God in human form descends in humble flesh -we for whom the man, the mediator suffered here below, and died to save our souls from endless pain -behold him in the garden sweating great drops of blood - see the hand approach him with a deceitful kiss -see him buffeted, spit upon, crowned with piercing thorns, and smitten with a reed, and his omniscience insulted with a challenge to prophesy -see him stained with purple gore, with feet and hands transfixed and torn with iron javelins, fastened to the cross. The trinity in unity is now in him, the Father is in him, for this as we have seen he has frequently declared, then it is the truth when he says, "I and my Father are one," and while he hath a people on earth to record his name; they like the prophet will say; "His name shall be called the MIGHTY GOD, the EVERLASTING FATHER, the Prince of Peace;" this is our Immanuel. The Holy Ghost was in him, for he was "anointed with the Holy Ghost [ or oil of gladness] above his fellows;" not above his fellows as a divine person; that is, above the Father and Holy Ghost, but the human nature was anointed above his fellows as man, the prophets and apostles may be said to be anointed with the Holy Ghost in a measure, but he without measure, and if without measure, it was with the whole of it; and so "the spirit of the Lord God was upon him." "All scriptures were given by inspiration of God; "but that God was the Holy Ghost; for "holy men spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost;" but that Holy Ghost was the spirit of Christ, for Peter says, when speaking of the prophets who prophesied of this salvation, and the grace that should be revealed, that they were "searching what, or what manner of time the spirit of Christ which was in them did signify , when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow." Then the spirit of Christ which was testifying in the prophets was the Holy Ghost by which they spoke, and this was that God by whose inspiration all scriptures were given. Therefore God the Holy Ghost, and the spirit of Jesus, is the same thing, and except we have the spirit of Christ [that is the Holy Ghost] we are none of his. Thus the whole trinity of Father, Word, and Holy Ghost is in the man Christ Jesus. {*When I say the whole trinity or the whole Godhead was in the man Christ, I would not be understood to mean that God was circumscribed by the corporeal body of Christ, but that the God which was manifested in the flesh or body of Christ, was God to the exclusion of all persons distinct from him; and that the Father, Word, and Holy Ghost are manifested in the man, and not the second person only, to the exclusion of the Father and Holy Ghost.} This honor he claimed, this glory his followers ascribed to him, this was his profession of himself, and for this profession men both Jews and Greeks opposed him. The Jews were taught in their scriptures that God was the only Saviour; therefore, when Christ taught the people to believe and trust in him for salvation, they reviled him, buffeted and scourged him, sought for false witnesses, and condemned him. They raised him on the cross, and offered him vinegar and gall, and with sarcastic jeers seem to rejoice at his pain, and tauntingly derided him saying, [by way of mockery] "He saved others; let him save himself, if he be the Christ, the chosen of God." While we further illustrate our present subject, we shall attend to the second proposition therein.

Secondly: We shall show the moral turpitude of the human heart as exposed in the crucifixion of Christ. We have seen that according to the pretensions of Christ he was both God and man; that he professed himself to be the only Saviour, &c. By making this profession the Jews reproached him as a blasphemer , rejected him as an impostor, and crucified him as a malefactor. And in order to revile him for pretending to have a power to save others, they call on him to save himself if he be the Christ the chosen of God, as if they had said, he professed to be the saviour of men, the God of Israel, the vanquisher of devils, the rebuker of diseases, pain, and death itself. Now we will test his power; now let him save himself; let him loose the nails with which he is fastened to the cross, and come down. This was the hour and power of darkness; this was the day when sin and Satan both engaged in all their dreadful forms , and summoned the rebellious sons of men to engage in the unequal war. They rally round the cross, with unrelenting hearts; they challenge the Saviour to give a proof of his power, in delivering himself. "Let him come down from the cross, and we will believe." I will not say he could not come down; I will not limit the power of the holy one; but the iniquities of his sheep were laid upon him, the decision of heaven was past upon it; the time predestinated of God had expired; and "to this hour he had come," in this way he was to finish the work which he had engaged in; this the prophets had showed before; this the shadows under the law had pointed to; and therefore it doth not appear how it could have been consistent with his plan of grace to have come down from the cross. No kind hand to help him; no comforter to sooth his sorrows. The rulers and the people deride him; devils seem to rejoice, and hell with a delusive hope, for awhile seem to triumph. His mother and John standby to behold the scene in melting grief! But rebels for whom he died remained unfeeling, with hearts unmoved and calloused by the tyrant sin; and filled with enmity, continue their derision. Here we may see the picture of the human heart, the malignity of human nature since the fall, and be convinced that "the carnal mind is not subject to the law of God." Is not shame, pain, mockery , and derision enough for the Saviour to bear? No, he must die, he must give his life for his sheep. While devils smile with a vain hope of victory , and men with hearts of steel, make sport of his pain; the God forsakes the man, and leaves him, here to die. O hear him who had borne all his grief before in silence cry out in mournful accents, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me." Now for a while hell seemed to triumph; the sun blushes into darkness; black chaos spreads her gloomy veil around the trembling earth; while rocks in wild confusion start and quake; all nature mourns; the temple rends its veil; and the very dead forsake their graves, and bend their course for the city , as if to chide the murderers of their Lord. Then Jesus cried, "It is finished, and gave up the ghost." May I say, that devils reached their arm to grasp the laurel, and call the worlds their own; but their arm was too short to reach the prize. The heart of man, not moved with all these sufferings, set a guard to watch the tomb in which he sleeps in death. The disciples mourn, and women prepare their ointment; but two days are all that Jesus sleeps; the third behold him rise again. The God that left him on the cross returned again, and raised him from the dead. It was the Father that raised him from the dead, and he was quickened by the Holy Spirit, then the Trinity; God I say, resumed his body again; and so the Saviour rises; the gloom recedes; the angels descend to announce his resurrection; the earth quakes under the display of his victory , and the guard become as dead men; the disciples filled with amazement run to the sepulcher; but lo, the Saviour left the tomb. The victorious conqueror has spoiled the powers of earth and hell; he has conquered death, and "by death destroyed him that had the power of death, that is the devil;" he has loosed the powers of death, and could no longer be holden of it; he has got the "keys of hell and of death," he teaches his disciples into the nature of his conquest, by the space of forty days, he declared he had all power in heaven and earth in his hand, and commissioned them to "go forth into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature," and then ascended "up on high," "led captivity captive," "brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." And may I not safely say, his humanity is the throne of grace, and his divinity the God of grace enthroned. There his glory shines; there his love is revealed. Did John hear his voice as the sound of many waters? He turned to see the voice, and he saw one like the son of man, girt about the paps with a golden girdle; his eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet like fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace, and his head and his hair white like wool, as white as snow. He is Jesus; he is Alpha and Omega, the first and the last; on his vesture and on his thigh is his name, written in large capitals, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. O let angels praise him; let saints adore him; let elders cast their crowns at his feet, and utter their creed in accents of devotion, saying, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, thou who art, and was, and is to come;" while the redeemed thousands on earth reverberate the same sentiment, in this high anthem, "Great and marvelous are thy works, LORD GOD ALMIGHTY, just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints." Thus saints on earth, and elders round the throne, in strains alike, may swell their notes in solemn chord, and own their God in Christ, the Lord of lords, and strain their high immortal powers to speak his worth, and count his victories o’er.

Time admonishes me, I must come to a close by a brief recapitulation. My brethren, we have seen in this discourse that the mediator is the Man Christ Jesus, that as such he was seen by Moses, Abraham, &c., before his birth of Mary; that God was in him, and his divine glory was visible in the man, so that the saints saw God in human form, and worshipped him. That in the days of his incarnation they who saw him saw the Father, as it is said," And we beheld his glory, [the glory of the only begotten of the Father] full of grace and truth." So that "he that hath seen Jesus, hath seen the Father;" that the "Word was made flesh;" the Father was in him, and he was anointed with the Holy Ghost without measure, and so was made a quickening spirit, and so the whole trinity in God was revealed by and in the person of Jesus Christ. We have seen that in this way God was seen in the mediator, in whom "the whole fulness of the Godhead dwelt;" and so although no man had ever seen God [unveiled divinity,] yet they had seen the man, the visible form of God, and had beheld his divine glory, and in this way the scriptures are true, and easily reconciled, while they declare that God was never seen, and again, that many have seen the Lord God of Israel. They saw the man, and in him they beheld the glory of God, but not his divine essence unveiled. We have seen that Jesus is the Lord God of the holy prophets, the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, and the God beside whom there is no saviour. We have seen that it was for making this profession, "I and my Father are one;" that the Jews took up stones to cast at him; for this they accused him, for this they reviled him, and for this they tauntingly said, "He saved others, let him now save himself, if he be the Christ, the chosen of God." We have seen the moral turpitude of the human heart displayed and exposed in awful colors, while men with devils join in strong alliance, to slay in murderous form the only Saviour, and shut the only door of hope, and stop the way of communication from God to man; to break down the ladder on which the ministering angels pass; to overset the throne of God, and stop the river springing up from thence from wafting blessings down to men. But sovereign power prevailed; and although God forsook, and left him here to die beneath their rage, and bear the heavy curse and glittering sword that now awoke from slumbering long; and smote the shepherd of the sheep. The man, the mediator died; the purple torrent which cleanses from all sin, then stained his body on the cross. O brethren see! Here is sin exposed. O hear our Jesus cry , "It is finished," and give up the ghost; count the victories he has won, and say to listening angels, all these victories are mine; but stop not here; behold him rising; the God reanimates the man; he bursts death’s bars and bolts asunder; he wrests the victory of the grave; the conqueror mounts aloft; and after he shows himself alive to many witnesses, he leaves this world of woe; he makes a bright cloud his chariot, and rides in triumph to where he had been before all worlds; and leading captivity captive, he opens wide the portals of celestial glory to his people, and says, "Be of good comfort, I have overcome the world, and where I am there shall ye be also, for I will come again and receive you to myself." O brethren, what manner of persons ought we to be; we for whom the blessed Jesus groaned and died; we for whom the battle was fought, the victory won, the prize taken, and heaven’s high portals opened for our admission to the enjoyment of that "inheritance which is incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away."

My fellow sinners, who are bound with me to the judgment seat of Christ, is it nothing to you that Jesus died? Does those groans and cries that pierced the skies; those pains and sighs which Jesus bore; convulse the earth and rend the rocks, and yet we remain unfeeling and unmoved! Does all the victories he has gained, and all the glory he reveals, appear so poor in our esteem, that we have no heart to love him. O sinner, you must see him by and by, but not fastened to the cross, to be taunted and mocked by mortals; not to bear the nails and spear; not to bear the insults of rebels; but with the dignity of a Judge "coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory." The earth and heavens shall flee away at his presence; the earth quaking, the seas roaring, and men’s hearts failing them with fear, when worlds on worlds, in one general crush, shall all dissolve in liquid flame. But hark! The judge invites his sheep to his right hand, and they arise above these melting ruins, and shout their loud hosannas with immortal tongues, and say, "Not unto us, not unto us, but unto thy name be the glory." While Jesus says, "Come up ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." But hear ungodly sinner, here behold the awful contrast; and see at the left hand of the Judge the guilty crowd in deep confusion; and hear them utter their desperate choice in language of wild despair, "Rocks and mountains fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand."

O that God may awaken the careless, if it may be for his glory, and comfort the mourners in Zion, and grant his children "the spirit of wisdom, of power, and of a sound mind," that they may say with understanding and gratitude, "We know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we should know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ, that is, the true GOD and eternal life."

TT.11 APPENDIX

Chapter 11

APPENDIX

Containing three short Letters, addressed to the writers of a pamphlet, recently published, entitled, SIMPLE TRUTH EXAMINED, &C. 

LETTER I.

TO ELDER MOSES HORNADAY.

Dear Sir,

I have carefully examined a letter which you published in a pamphlet entitled, "Simple Truth Examined, or a candid refutation of the errors contained in a pamphlet published by the Rev. Wilson Thompson of Lebanon." I can see nothing in your letter calculated to convince of any error which I hold in the important doctrine in question. Had you written against the doctrine contained in my book, and fairly controverted the subject, you would have acted much more friendly, and I should never have replied to it; but finding that you had [through mistake or otherwise] misrepresented every part of my book which you have noticed, I felt bound in duty to let yourself and the world know that I am not guilty of holding those errors with which you have accused me. If yourself or any of your readers should now think that you have not misconstrued my writings, I hope you and they will examine with me the following sentences in your letter. Before I read the first six lines I met with this strange assertion. "You have taken up the doctrine of the Trinity, and treated it with the utmost contempt." This is somehow a very great mistake of yours, for the book to which you refer says nothing against the doctrine of the Trinity; in that book I have never taken up that doctrine, nor is there one sentence in it in opposition to that doctrine, much less in contempt of it. I have there taken up the distinct tri-personality of the Trinity as a defect in the trinitarian plan of reasoning on this doctrine, and have attempted to show some of the evils of that defect, and how it exposes those who use it to the just censures of the infidel and Arian, and I have stated this defect to be a mischievous, popish tradition, mischievous in its tendency, and veiling to the truth in its nature; all this I do believe, nor is this charging anything to the doctrine of the Trinity. If I were to assert that man was an accountable being, but few would deny it; but if I should attempt to support this doctrine by alleging that he was erect, perhaps many might think there was a defect in my plan of reasoning, and some might treat such reasoning with contempt; but this would be a very different thing from treating the doctrine of accountability with contempt; so what I have said against the defects in the tri-personal scheme, is a very different thing from "taking up the doctrine of the Trinity and treating it with the utmost contempt." Now by making this unfortunate and fatal mistake in the very onset of your letter, you have never recovered from this blunder to the close of it. As to the doctrine of the Trinity, I do now, and from the first of my religious life have most firmly believed in it; but as to the tri-personality of the Trinity, I do not believe in it, nor have I for many years; but do view it as a mischievous, popish, anti-scriptural, anti-christian defect, introduced by the Bishops of Rome, in that flood of error which they invented in order to inundate and envelop or conceal the truth. Now if you did believe that the tri-personal scheme was no defect in the Trinitarians plan of reasoning, you were at liberty to pursue it, and if I thought it was a defect, I did hope I was at liberty to reject it; and in doing this, I never dreamed of any candid man's rising up and accusing me of treating the doctrine of the Trinity with the utmost contempt. I am sorry for this mistake, for it is beyond the most charitable philanthropy to account for it on any other than a malevolent and malign principle, and rather than do this, I will leave it not accounted for at all, and hope the public will treat it with as much clemency as they can, as it might have been a typographical error not noticed in reading the proof -sheet.

On your 18th page you have entered an invective against me, for being compelled to say, "The Father hath committed all judgment to the pre-existent soul of Christ." You have never heard me say any such a thing; it is only an illogical inference which you have drawn from a perversion of my sentiments, and not a legitimate offspring of my writings. God will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained, and the man Christ Jesus having received a kingdom as a gift from the Father, hath all judgment in that kingdom committed to him, and the Father will never condemn any of them, for Christ in his mediatorial kingdom has all judgment committed to him, because he is the Son of Man. This mistake was either an unlucky slip of the pen, or an oversight occasioned by too much zeal, without an equal quantum of knowledge. But as men who are passionately fond of controversy, and prone to fall into this error, when they aim more to act the pasquinade than the fair reasoner, I think your crime may be overlooked in the clemency of the public, and I will pass it by.

You have no reason to believe from anything which I have written that I am an Atheist, and deny the being and unity of God; and I can appeal to yourself in the face of an enlightened public on this subject, and if you will say that I ever gave you the smallest reason to think that I denied either the being or unity of God, I will never complain of your refutation of my errors; but if not, I ask you before God to answer me the following questions: Did you design your letter to be "a candid refutation of the errors contained in a pamphlet published by Wilson Thompson, of Lebanon: Ohio?" Had Wilson Thompson of Lebanon, Ohio, in that pamphlet, denied the Being or Unity of God? Did you entertain the most distant idea that Wilson Thompson of Lebanon, Ohio, was an Atheist? I believe candor will compel you to answer these questions in the negative. Then I would ask you for what reason did you undertake to prove the being and unity of God, in refuting my errors? Did you wish to blacken my character by this insinuation; or had you forgotten that you were writing a candid refutation of the errors contained in my book? Did you not know that the first discourse in that book was written in support of the being and unity of God? Then why must you prove the same in candidly refuting my errors? This was very illiberal, and if you thought it necessary to write on this subject, you ought, as a candid writer, to have stated this as a point of agreement, and not have introduced it as a refutation of my errors.

You have written in support of the divinity of Christ, and the Holy Ghost. My second discourse in the pamphlet which you attempt to refute, is written on the same subject. Then why must you support these points in refuting of my errors? Why did you not act candidly, and state these as points of agreement, and not pretend to be refuting any errors, when you well knew that I believed in these points; as unquestionably as you or any other man could. These things I cannot account for without indulging myself in the unwelcome conclusion, that you were blinded by a malefic spirit, and were giving vent to your spleen; but as I do not wish to be an adherent to any such sensual intruders, I try to lay it aside, as an evidence of the remaining imperfections of a respectable brother, who for once blundered a little to one side of his good old way, and surely we all do many things which would be much better left undone, as well as this unguarded brother, but because he has exposed his faults to the world, they become more notorious, but after a mild reproof for his good, we ought to forgive him as he is but a young transgressor; and we hope he will never be overtaken in this fault again. We have seen frequently that young warriors have more courage than conduct, and if such men's lives are spared after a few defeats, they may make good soldiers; and perhaps after brother H. becomes acquainted with the doctrine of the Trinity a little better, he will know that if a man should mention some defects in the reasonings of the people on the subject, it is not treating the doctrine with contempt; and if he should then undertake to refute my errors, he will try to refute them, and not write on the same side of the question; and try to make his readers believe that I had denied the being and unity of God, the divinity of Christ and the Holy Ghost; but as he happened to join sides with his antagonist, and instead of refuting his errors, gave him all the assistance he could in proving those important truths, I think he ought to be forgiven his crime, which is in insinuating that I had denied these points, and he was refuting my errors. This we all know was a great mistake, and I thought it my duty to let the public know that these insinuations were without foundation, so I will ask the Baptist people to forgive brother H. for this fault, although it is a great one. The only difference which I can see between us is, with regard to the tri-personality of the Trinity. You believe that the three that bear record in heaven are three distinct persons, and that they are one in essence; while I believe the three are not persons, but that they are one. Now we both believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, you in a trinity of distinct persons, and I deny this tri-personality. The being of God, the unity of God, the divinity of Christ, the divinity of the Holy Ghost, and of the Father, and the doctrine of the Trinity, are all points of agreement between us, and these things you ought to have stated in justice to me and yourself as a candid writer, and not to have insinuated that I had denied these points, by going to establish them under the pretext of a candid refutation of my errors. These things are very illiberal and unjust, and I am very sorry that you have given me so much reason to fear, that you did not write with a good spirit. Your invectives are very cruel, you rank me with "Mohammedans, Socinians, Arians, Sabellians, Deists, and the Bramians;" and you accuse me of being equally hostile with these to the Trinity; see your 33rd page. O brother H.; these are hard things; have you not been too censorious? I think a little repentance would be of use here.

The doctrine of the Trinity is a mystery which we can know nothing about except by revelation; and I cannot read anything in the scripture that teaches me that there are three persons in the Godhead, and I cannot feel warranted in believing it, but if you or any of my brethren do believe it, I do not wish to bind your conscience, but to pray for you that God may bless you, and lead us all to know and love the truth. You accuse me of not being a regular Baptist, and that upon my principles baptism is an unmeaning ceremony, which in effect goes to invalidate every baptism which I have administered. You charge me with aiming to draw off a party from the regular Baptist communion, and that my followers will be called Thompsonites, and those who oppose me will be the Regular Baptists. You intimate that I am a mixture of two ancient heresies which formerly troubled the church. Many such hard, uncouth, splenetic, and ireful accusations you have in the most unqualified manner, brought against me. Is this the way for one brother to calumniate another? If I were such a heterogeneous mixture of every error, both ancient and modern, how could you call me by the appellation of brother? Let me ask you if I ever acted or said anything like raising a faction in the Baptist church? Did I ever say that those who believed in the tri-personality of the Trinity were not regular Baptists? Did I ever refuse fellowship to, or treat with contempt, any Baptist member, because he differed with me on this subject? Have I not always manifested the greatest willingness to serve my brethren, by day and night, riding through storms and freezes for fifteen years, in which time I have traveled much in Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, Illinois, Missouri, and Mississippi Territory, and have baptized about five hundred persons, and now I can appeal to you, and all who know me, and state in positive terms that no man ever heard me say anything like desiring to separate the Baptist church, or draw off a part to be called Thomsonites! No, this world with all its emoluments, would never tempt me to lead such a party if my influence was sufficient to seduce thousands. I have lived from the thirteenth year of my age in the Baptist church, and although I have always been a poor unworthy sinner, I hope I have experienced some tokens of divine approbation, and I wish to live the rest of my days on earth in the enjoyment of the communion of the same people, believing there to be the only true gospel church on earth. I am now 36 years of age, about 23 of them has past since I was baptized, 15 of them since I have been trying to preach the gospel of Christ, and your pamphlet contains the first invectives which I ever knew the Baptists to issue against me. O that my God may still be with me, and give me much of that charity which "suffereth long and is kind," which envieth not," which "vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity , but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things," and that "never faileth." Then shall I walk in that "more excellent way," and learn from my Lord and Master, that if I am reviled to revile not again; if I am buffeted, not to threaten, but to bear hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ; and if I am smitten on one cheek to turn the other also.

Dear brother, did you think when you were writing your letter that you were detecting an Alexander, and feeding the gullibility of the public with the mangled frame of a heterodox, who was neither fit for the society of christians nor heretics, but a mixture of everything that was good for nothing? Well, I am what I am, but let you treat me as you may, I will try to love you as a brother, and pray for your prosperity; and if ever I get to heaven, I hope I shall mingle voices with brother H. in that song which is forever new; O that the Lord may help us now to lift our voices in sweet agreement in proclaiming the glad tidings of salvation to perishing sinners, through the atoning blood of the immaculate Jesus. Then Zion will no longer mourn, her daughters no longer go in sackcloth on account of division, but like the sheep of one fold, they will rest and feed together.

Your quotations from Ge 1:26, "Let us make man," &c, Ge 11:6-7, "Let us go down and there confound their language;" Isa 41:21-22, "Let them bring them forth and shew us" -"that we may consider them, or disclose us things to come;" Da 4:17, "The decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones;" &c. These texts I should explain of the two natures of Christ, and I should feel fully supported in this from the following considerations. First, man was not made in the image of divinity, but a figure of Christ who should come in the flesh, and as the governor of the lower world. Adam was in the image of God, for he was to subdue the earth. The descendants of Nimrod, who were building a tower when their language was confounded, are to represent a false religion, which is to be confounded by the gospel of Christ, in which both natures of Christ is revealed. Isaiah was speaking of the gospel day; when Christ in both natures should challenge all false prophets and teachers to bring forward any argument against his doctrine, or disclose anything to him which he did not know, or perfectly understand, either of present or future things. The Watchers and Holy Ones was a watcher and an holy one, and so Daniel explains it, Da 4:23. This heathen king, believing in many gods, says, watchers and holy ones, as he says "holy gods," in the 8th verse, and his using the plural nouns, watchers and holy ones, proves no more than the plural noun gods, would prove more than one God. By the watcher, I understand a seer or prophet, in which office the man Christ was visible to the king, and the blazing glory of his divine dignity was the holy one. "No man hath seen God any time," but the human nature is the visible form of the divine Jehovah, for the glory of God is beheld in the face of Jesus. But if it should be granted, that the king saw a plurality of watchers and of holy ones, and if these were divine persons in the Godhead, they would at least prove four such persons, for there must have been more than one watcher, and more than one holy one; and if these texts should be sufficient to prove the doctrine of the Trinity , yet they are no support to the tri-personality of the Trinity , for they would prove too many persons; so they only prove what we both believe, the two natures of Christ, and prove nothing which we split upon. Your quotation from 1Jo 5:7, I have noticed elsewhere, and therefore shall pass it here, as my object is not to controvert your doctrine, but to correct some of your mistakes, which are calculated to gender strife.

You say by the term persons, that you do not mean "three beings separate and distinct from each other, nor that each of the persons in the Godhead contain a third part of the Deity; but you mean that in the Godhead to which personal properties can be ascribed." This I never denied. There is in man that of soul, body and spirit; and personal properties may be ascribed to each of them. In the water, in the wind, and in the sun, and in almost everything in nature, we may find a sort of trinity, to which personal properties can be ascribed, but this does not prove the real tri-personality of those visible things. Now if these visible things declare the eternal power and Godhead of their creator, we have no reason to argue from personal properties real tri-personality. Buck's definition of the word Trinity, that it means "three in one," I agree with, and that it has been "generally applied to the ineffable mystery of three persons in one God" is also true; but that the word Trinity necessarily means three persons in one God, I deny. Distinct personality in the Trinity is the main point of dispute between us; and on your 17th page you request me to attend while you prove this point from the word of God. This I will do with pleasure, and as you propose first to prove the distinct personality of the Father, I will transcribe every word you have said on this subject, which is as follows: "That the Father is God, and that he is a person, cannot be disputed by any however skeptical, I therefore pass on to prove the personality and divinity of the Son of God." I do here confess before the public, that this is the last way to prove a disputed point "by the word of God" that I have ever heard of! Not one text of scripture mentioned! The distinct personality of the Son and Spirit are about as well proven from the word of God, as that of the Father, for instead of the word of God you commence by declaring, "Christ is a person distinct from the person of the Father, and truly God." That he is truly God, I have never denied, and to prove that he as God is a person distinct from the Father, you introduced criticisms on personal acts, nouns, and pronouns, instead of the word of God; and you rely on the same kind of criticism to support the distinct personality of the Holy Ghost. O fie brother H! Your learned criticism will never pass for the word of God! This was a great mistake of yours, but you mingled the notion of tri-personality with that of the divinity of the Father, Word, and Holy Ghost, as if I had denied both. This was unbrotherly, for you knew, from the second discourse in Simple Truth, that I was a firm believer in the divinity of each. For this illiberal misrepresentation I blame you, and do think you ought to blame yourself. I have in the first discourse in this book weighed these criticisms, and I refer you to that for my views of their magnitude.

You made a great mistake where you took up my views of the human nature of Christ, and on your 391h page undertake to amuse your readers with mockery and criticism, in a number of such sentences as this, "And to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the human soul shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not the human soul, and that obey not the gospel of our human soul of Jesus Christ, who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the human soul, and from the glory of his power." Does this look like a candid writer? O blush, brother H., blush, for you well knew, that although I did believe that Christ had a human soul, [and do you not believe the same?] yet I believed in his divine nature as firmly as yourself, and that God will be the Judge, and that man whom he hath ordained will be that by which he will judge the world in righteousness; and Christ as mediator stands for all the elect, and with respect to them the Father will judge no man; that is, he will condemn none of them, for in Christ the Mediator they have been brought to judgment, and he has been executed for them, and by his stripes they are healed, and by his blood and righteousness, they are freely justified; and shall not be condemned with the world. Christ, because he is the Son of Man, or is in human nature, and in that fills all the offices of his mediatorial character, so in his mediatorial kingdom, all judgment is committed to him, hence it is a judgment which the Father hath given, or committed to him, because he is the Son of Man.

This is my understanding of this matter, and let the reader judge whether you ought not to blush at such illicit, ill-natured, and illogical representations. I do believe in the pre-existence of the human nature or soul of Christ, nor has this ever been called heresy by the orthodox that I know of. Dr. Watts, whose hymns we use in common, believed the same; Mr. John Stephens of England [a Baptist minister of high standing] believed the same; John Allen of England, who stood high amongst the orthodox Baptists, believed the same, and denied the tri-personality of the Trinity also; and each of these and many others have written on this subject, but who ever ranked them with heretics? As I have Allen's work by me; entitled "Spirit of Liberty," and signed, JUNIUS JUNIOR, I will give the reader a few quotations from it on this doctrine, by which they will see that I am of the same faith in these matters, with many of the ablest and most orthodox Baptist authors in England, and many of the Calvinistic Paedobaptists were of the same opinion in these matters. In assigning some reasons why Dr. Gill was so earnest to establish his eternal generation creed, Allen says, "Because he [Gill] thinks that the distinction of the first, second, and third person in the Godhead, as we have been ignorantly taught, cannot be maintained without it, but [continues he] unhappy as it is for the Doctor, nor with it; for we have not so learned CHRIST by tradition from the fathers, but from the scriptures we know and believe, not as the Doctor teaches, that a first, second, and a third person existeth, the one by nature, the other by being begotten, and the other by procession; such an idea as this of the existence of God is unworthy his name, his nature, and perfections and contrary to the declaration of the truth of CHRIST, who says, I AM- I am the first; as though he had said, I am of myself, and derive neither essential nor personal glory from any; therefore it is that we believe, according to the sweet simplicity of the scriptures, that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, the sacred three that bear record in heaven, self -exist in every glory and perfection of the divine nature, whether essential or personal as the triune GOD, and that the personal glory of this GOD whom we adore is only in the man CHRIST, who is called in scripture the brightness of GOD'S glory, and the express image of his person." See the Spirit of Liberty, pages 111, 112.

Thus you see that many of the orthodox Baptist writers, who were never charged with denying the Trinity, have boldly opposed the tri-personal scheme, and were neither called Mahometans, Arians, Socinians, Deists, Bramins, nor heretics. But you can now represent me as being equally hostile to the Trinity with these heretics, for holding what many of the best writers amongst the orthodox have held ages ago. Have you not been too censorious? Would not a little more candor, moderation and christian forbearance have become you much better? But I hope these were mistakes, and not the fumes of a seditious spirit, although I must confess it looks bad enough, make the best of it; but if I err, let it be on the side of lenity. Your heavy charges against me for saying, that Christ existed in a nature inferior to the Father, both before the world and since, is another mistake of yours; for you have very strangely construed this sentence into an appearance of a denial of the divinity of Christ. Now brother H., you did know, that when I wrote this sentence, I was speaking of the human nature or manhood of Christ, and not of his divinity, and I think you believe that his human nature or manhood was inferior to the Father, as well as I; for you say, p. 23, of the human nature of Christ, that it "was not immutable; " and you think that Jesus in human nature, when a babe, was "destitute of knowledge and reason." This is going much further with his inferiority than I could go, and when you can go this length, you must be very wrong to blame me for only saying his human nature was inferior to the Father, or divine nature. But your design in bringing this charge, seems to be for the sake of taking an advantage, for on your 23rd page you pretend to understand me to hold this human soul to be equal with God, the creator of the world - "omnipotent, omniscient, and almighty," and ridicule me on this ground awhile; and go about to prove that all the perfections of God did not belong to his human soul, but before you come to your 34th page, you turn your tune, and instead of supposing me to hold this soul to possess all the perfections of the Deity, you charge me with being "beyond all controversy a Unitarian of some stamp -partly Arian and partly Sabellian, a mixture of two ancient heresies which troubled the church," &c. Here you urge my word inferior to show that I am an Arian. Now we see that you can understand this term just as it suits your turn, sometimes to represent me as an Arian, sometimes to show that I make a god of it, and sometimes to represent me as making it fill the judgment-seat in the last day distinct from the divinity. O my brother H., I am sorry you have acted so unfairly, and have manifested so little candor. We both believe in the proper manhood of Christ, and if I cannot go with you to the great length of starting him into being in Bethlehem's manger, devoid of any knowledge or reason, &c., we do believe that as God he was greater than he was as man. And I do believe that as man, or in the human essence he was the representative of the elect, in whom they were chosen, and in whom they were beloved, and as the head of the elect he was the object of God's love, ever since that love was a active principle, going forth to an object, and this is what many sound men in Israel have taught. After Mr. Allen has mentioned a number of sound Baptist ministers in England, among whom he classes Gill, Booth, Ryland, &c., he says, "But above all, as a man of God, a champion for truth, as a minister in the pulpit, as a christian in conversation, as a teacher in Israel, there is Mr. Johnson, who surely is the greatest man this day in Israel." This great man says, "That love cannot be before the object loved, and that the object must be coeval with the love fixed upon the object, which object, says he, is Christ." Allen says, "In this he is surely right, for we know, that the love of God is from everlasting, Jer 31:3, and that Christ, as the object of this love is from everlasting, Pr 8:23. And that this love is from the foundation of the world, Joh 17:23. And that the object was before the world was, Joh 17:5."

Allen on the same subject has these words, "All the glory of grace to the elect is nothing else but the treasures of Jehovah's love to his beloved image, his beloved one, his Christ unfolded, revealed and communicated to them; for as Adam loved Eve in her first beauty , with one undivided love, as his own image, being flesh of his flesh, therefore not twain, but one; so there is the same union of nature and love between Christ and his church. Now Christ as the bridegroom, was the church's representative as the object of love, of glory , and of complacency; for she had the same union and existence as part of Christ, as Eve had with Adam, before she had her open existence from him; and if Jehovah was at rest in his love, and took up his delights of love, and Christ rejoiced in this love before the world was; then as surely as he now existeth, so he then existed as the object of it, and in the enjoyment of it; or we are finally at a loss how to understand his own words, for what language can be more emphatical or words more strong, Pr 8:30; Joh 17:5." "Thus you see, [Allen continues] I have given you a concise account of the people called Baptists, taking their rise from John the Baptist, from the example of Christ, from the practice of the apostles, from the testimonies of the ancients, through every age, through every king's reign, through every century to the present day; and the same testimonies are now continued by many Baptist teachers in Israel, whom God has counted faithful, and put them into the ministry , who are not ashamed to own or defend the cause, being set for the defense of the gospel." Spirit of Liberty, page 126, 127. This object of Jehovah's love and glory was the man Christ, as says the same author, page 113, "Now we see plainly that this glory [which Christ had with the Father before the world] was not the glory of the Deity which is essential to Christ, but is a given glory , and it was a glory given to him as man, which was enjoyed by him before the world began, Joh 17:5, and [continues he] we believe this early and ancient glory of Christ, as the object of Jehovah's delight, according to the word of truth before the world was." And this says he, is "what Christ affirms, and what the poet sweetly sings of, speaking of the song of angels adoring the man in God, in all the glory of his sonship, before the world was, Pr 8:22,

There the dear man, my Saviour sits;

The God, how bright he shines;

And scatters infinite delights,

On all the happy minds," &c .

 

I have not given these quotations in order to prove the truth of my doctrine, the scriptures alone are my witnesses for this; but as you have accused me of departing from the doctrines of the Baptist Church, I have quoted these authors to show that many of the most orthodox of our denomination have written and believed as I do, therefore you were under a great mistake when you chided me on your 35th page because I did not candidly confess to my brethren that I was not a Baptist in principle; and on page 34 you decide the case in these words, "In fact you are not what you profess to be, a regular Baptist." Well, if you believe me to be such an arch hypocrite and designing impostor, that I profess one thing and believe another, you may urge this as an apology for accusing me of believing many things which I never professed to believe; but be me wicked as I may, or hypocritical as you think me to be, I demand of you to make good your words if you can. The charges and implications which you have published against me are as follows: "For taking up the doctrine of the Trinity and treating it with the utmost contempt" -for opposing the unity of God, the divinity of Christ, and of the Holy Ghost -for being equally hostile to the Trinity with Arians, Sabellians, Socinians, Mahomet, Deists, and Bramins for striking a blow at the foundation of the christian faith [see page 35 of your letter] -and for representing it as a shocking tradition which sprung from the mother of harlots -for having views of God, the object of our worship, entirely opposed to the sentiments of the Baptist denomination -for being an Unitarian, and not a Baptist in principle -for professing one thing and believing another, &c. &c., all of which I do here, in the presence of God and his church, most solemnly deny; and call on you to support these charges and insinuations if you can, or account for them if you please. If they are bare mistakes, which you have made from not being able to understand my book, confess it, and do so no more, and never be in haste to commit yourself in like manner again, and I hope that the many in Zion, who mourn for your folly, will freely forgive you. But if you were forced into these insinuations in order to get something to connive at and oppose, you ought to repent before God for indulging such a spirit. But I would fain hope, that these were mistaken notions, which you had taken of my book, from being too much engaged in better business to read it with attention.

I have not controverted the doctrine of your letter, but only corrected a few of your mistakes. I have, in this volume, taken up the doctrine of the Trinity , and you may see some of my views on that subject. I have in this letter quoted some of the good old Baptist writers; to show that I have not departed from those who have shone as greater lights in Israel than I ever shall, and let you call me Deist, Bramin, Mahometan, Jew, or hypocrite, I hope one day to meet you in heaven, where you will have lost all those little inimical passions, and if I may be admitted [through sovereign grace] to bow around the throne, I think I shall have no hardness against brother H. Then I ought to feel nothing against him here, and if I do know my own heart; I do feel willing to forgive him; but I did think it was my duty to correct his mistakes, because they were calculated to do mischief, and wound the peace & harmony of churches & individuals among ourselves and abroad. This I have done, and as to our different views of the Trinity; I never wish to despise a brother because he cannot see with me in this point, and do hope that the Baptists will never be divided on this subject. I have many dear brethren that believe in the tri-personal scheme, whom I highly esteem, and to whom I can break bread freely, for we all believe in one God in three that bear record in heaven, and in the divinity of Christ and the Holy Ghost; but I do think that the notion of three distinct persons is a great defect in their plan of reasoning, and they think not; and as we are in an imperfect state, and only know in part, let us travel together until we shall know as we are known.

I am yours respectfully,

WILSON THOMPSON.