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there is, however, a trinity of Principles or Essentials, consisting of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in the One Person of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, just as in every individual man there is a trinity of principles, composed of soul, body, and operation, is established by abundant testimony, of which I shall quote a few examples.
St. Paul, speaking of Christ, says, “ In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and in Him ye are complete." St. John
says, “ There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are ONE," and thus manifestly not three distinct persons. The Lord sent his disciples into the world, with orders to “teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost," and that his disciples did not hereby understand three distinct, separate and self-subsisting persons as held in the orthodoxy of the present day, is evident from the fact, which is upon record in the Acts of the Apostles, that they uniformly baptized, in every single instance where the particular mode is expressed, in the name of the Lord Jesus alone. Here is testimony of the most decided and unequivocal character, that the primitive Christians considered the Trinity, as existing not in three persons, but in one, and when we hear the Lord himself say, “ He that seeth me, seeth the Father,” how presumptuous must that man be, who dare contradict it, by asserting that the Father is a distinct person from the Son. If this be not wresting the Scriptures to their ruin, and making the Word of God of none effect by human traditions, we know not what can be so considered.
Divine JUSTICE. From hearing the terrors of the law daily and incessantly proclaimed from our pulpits, one would be inclined to suppose, that such a prominent expression as Divine Justice was to be found conspicuous upon every page of the Bi. ble'; but, strange as it may appear, it does not once occur either in the Old or New Testament. Even the word Justice, unaccom. panied with the epithet Divine, is not introduced once in the lat. ter book, where the threats of the law are supposed to be the most awful.
SATISFACTION does not occur once in the New Testament, and but twice in the Old, where it relates to the taking of satisfaction for the life of a murderer, and for one that has fled for refuge. Neither is the verb satisfy used in any of its moods or tenses, as
implying any thing like an idea that God, or bis Divine Justice, requires satisfaction : but, on the contrary, wherever it is mentioned as between God and man, it is the latter who is to be satisfied. The use of this word, like reconciliation, has, by the vain traditions of men, been completely transposed from the creature to the Creator; and thus the Almighty Father has been represented as entertaining a hatred to his children, which required, before he would be reconciled to them, that he should have satisfaction for the sins of mankind. Alas! what satisfaction can a Parent, infinite in love, desire, except that which arises from beholding the objects of his tender solicitude turn unto him in sincerity of heart, repent them of their evils, and follow him in the regeneration ?
VICARIOUS SUFFERINGS is not to be found in either Testament.
Expiation does not occur in the New Testament, and but once in the Old. The verb expiate is not used in either book.
REPROBATION, PREDESTINATION, ADAM'S FALL, ORIGINAL Sin, and COVENANT OF GRACE, do not once occur in the whole Bible.
These facts, which have no doubt escaped the observation of many inquiring Christians, ought at least to excite their attention, and lead them to reflect, before they blindly embrace the prevalent tenets of the day. It is all in vain to endeavour to impose upon intelligent beings, the absurd proposition, that, in matters of faith, reason is to be blindfolded ; and it is a perseverance in this heretical dogma, which has driven so vast a portion of the Christian world into infidelity. Religion is in harmony with reason, and, although the mysteries of faith may be, and are, above human reason, they never can be in opposition thereto.
If Jesus Christ be a Divine Being, he must be the sole Divipe Being, or else there must be more Divine Beings than one.
If there be more Divine Beings than one, each of whom is distinct not only in person, but in attributes, there must be a plurality of Gods.
If the Godhead be composed of a trinity of persons, neither the Father, nor the Son, nor the Holy Ghost can be God, inasmuch as each one is but the third part of what constitutes one God.
Such is the dilemma in which the Christian Church is inevita bly involved, when urged upon this fundamental doctrine; and it is no wonder that such pains are taken to impress upon the minds of inquirers, that reason has nothing to do with faith.
I confess to you, gentlemen, that this point was the one respecting which I first doubted, prior to my acquaintance with the doctrines of the New Church, and which first aroused me to in. vestigate for myself. My understanding was convinced, that the doctrine of a trinity of persons was not in accordance with rationality; and, as a rational accountable agent, I felt myself called upon, in a manner which I could not resist, to obey the commandment of the Lord, wherein he says, “ Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of Me." I did so; and, by the Divine aid, have been enabled to see and acknowledge, that the JEHOVAH of the Old Testament, the Creator of the Universe, in the fulness of time became manifest in the flesh, by assuming the human nature, in the person of Jesus Christ, and that thus the Father, or Divine Essence, the Son, or Divine Humanity, and the Holy Ghost, or Divine Proceeding Energy, are united together in the one person of the glorified Redeemer; and thus they constitute properly, and in the true sense of the term, One God.
I truly congratulate my fellow Christians of the New Church, that this blessed truth is every day gaining ground, amongst individuals of all the prevailing denominations; and I have not a doubt, but that it would soon be very generally received, if it were not, that the whole fabric of modern orthodoxy, which is built upon the doctrine of a plurality of Divine Beings, would, in that case, have to be abandoned. This, you are aware, would not be an agreeable surrender; for few things are more painful to the feelings of a man, than to find, after years spent in confirming himself in a particular system, that he must give it up, and unlearn it.
The following essay on the resurrection of the material body, in which the author agrees, as to some things, with the doctrines of the New Jerusalem, as it shows a liberality of opinion, and an independent spirit of inquiry, gives great occasion to hope, that further investigation, in the same temper, will eventually make him not “almost,” but “ altogether a Now Churchman. The Editors do not hold themselves responsible for the sentiments contained in this piece; but leave them to the judgment of their readers, who will be able, for themselves, without difficulty, to see how far they agree or disagree with the doctrines of the New Jerusalem.
ESSAY On the Resurrection of the Material Body. “So God created man in his own image.” Gen. i. 27.
“ And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life ; and man became a living soul." Gen. ii. 7.
“ Til thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken, for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thori return." Gen. iii. 19.
In these few words, we have a concise view of the origin, progress, and termination of the human race. They form a copious subject for reflection; and, in connexion with other parts of the Sacred Volume, lead us to contemplate the nature of the resurrection to another state of existence.
In referring to the 1st Genesis, we find that the two last days of the creation were employed by the Almighty in bringing into life the various classes of animated nature, birds, fish, cattle, beasts, and creeping things, terminating the whole by his most perfect production, man: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” See also Ch. 5. v. 1, 2.
Since the different classes of animals vary greatly in structure, according to the nature of the food they are to employ, as in the number, form, and structure of their teeth, stomach, &c. as is developed by comparative anatomy, all nevertheless displaying the greatest wisdom in adaptation to their peculiar habits of life, we may demand if such diversity existed at the creation, and before permission was given to eat flesh? It is presumed that, before the Fall, the lion and the lamb were, in common with all other animals, equally confined to vegetable food; as we have nothing contrary to this view of the subject, but it being expressly stated, that “ every green herb for meat” was given to them, we are, I think, led to regard this as an example of the prescience of the Deity, who, foreknowing the Fall of Man, prepared him, beforehand, and a large proportion of inferior animals with organs, adapted both for animal and for vegetable fuod ; whilst others were to be confined to the one or the other solely, so as to be unaffected by the change that was to ensue.
In the terms employed to distinguish the cattle, beasts, &c. a vast classification is confounded; but man has a word approprio, ated to himself, (Adam) signifying either the clay of which he was made, or (as Dr. Parkhurst more properly, I think, concludes it to be,) the appellative name of the human race, because created in the likeness of God. (Gen. v. 1, 2.) It may indeed be applicable both to his spiritual and corporeal similitudes. But however this be, the term is applied to man specifically, and to man alone, evincing thereby his superiority over the other objects of animated nature.
But whence arises this superiority ? Not from corporeal qualifications, certainly; for in these he is exceeded by numerous animals, whom, nevertheless, (even in the most savage and uncultivated state,) man has uniformly subjected to his will, or driven from their pristine habitations. From this, it should seem, that it is not education simply that affords such superiority: for the most uncultivated savage, independently of the fortuitous advantages of fire-arms, would probably far exceed the most learned European, in successfully repelling the hostile invasions of ferocious animals. It is the likeness to the Deity, in which all mankind is formed, which gives bim the supremacy; for he is excelled in strength by the lion, the tiger, the elephant-in agility by the horse, the monkey, (his terrestrial counterpart,) and by all, in the means of acquiring his daily support, until many years have passed over his head.
The 6 os homini sublime dedit,” &c. is a mere poetic picture, which'will equally apply to the ouran outang as to man; but with whom we should not wish to be identified. The likeness to the Deity, therefore, I conceive to be something beyond the mere external figure, that was impressed, at creation, on the dust of the earth, of which man was formed. It is obvious, he possesses more than a mere vital principle: this he holds in common with vegetable matter, and with the beasts that perish ; and that part of man, which, by means of the vital principle, connects him with the inferior grades of creation, like those inferior grades, after its separation by death, passes away into other forms of matter, never again to be united as before. The likeness of the Deity, the “ living soul,” then leaves its tenement of clay, and lives forever, clothed in a spiritual form, in another state of being; its material covering of flesh being left a prey for worms.