« AnteriorContinua »
human invention; it were better to call almighty God God, than Trinity.” And Calvin said, “I like not this prayer, O holy and blessed Trinity; it savors of barbarity. The word trinity is barbarous, insipid, profane; a human invention, grounded on no testimony of God's word; the Popish god, unknown to the prophets and apostles.” It is worse ; it is a monster. A three-one man, or three-one any creature would be a monster. And must not a triune God be a monster deified ? Let no one say, that I speak contemptuously of holy things, or of the Bible ; for there is nowhere in the Holy Scriptures such an expression as trinity, triunity, or a triune God, or any expression of that signification; it is a production of human creation, unwarrantably interpolated into the Christian creeds; but I hope it will ere long be excommunicated.
Having considered most of the important orthodox creeds, decrees, and confessions, both ancient and modern, and having shown, as we think, that they all, or nearly all of them, not only fail to prove and support the Trinitarian doctrine, but actually disprove it, or prostrate some of its necessary and essential pillars of support, so that the whole fabrication must fall, we will now consider the arguments and reasoning of the orthodox fathers, and other great and learned men, upon the same subject.
THE ARGUMENTS AND REASONING OF THE ANCIENT FATHERS
AND OTHER DISTINGUISHED WRITERS CONSIDERED.
We will first quote largely from the works of the most celebrated ancient fathers and other learned and distinguished orthodox writers, that all may see for themselves, as we go along, what must be the necessary conclusion and result therefrom.
The great and learned St. Athanasius says, “Our Lord and Saviour spake in confirmation of the words of Moses; that the Lord God is one; and I thank thee O Father, Lord of heaven and earth." And again; "the Son when he came into the world glorified not himself, but the Father, saying to a certain person who came to him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is God; and to another that asked, which is the great commandment in the law; giving this answer, hear 0 Israel, the Lord thy God is one Lord; (or the Lord thy God even the Lord is one) and teaching his disciples, saying, my Father is greater than I.”
The learned Bishop Bull says, “ Cesaræus, (the brother of Nazianzen,) in his first dialogue, says, that Moses uses this expression, the Lord thy God is one Lord (or the Lord thy God even the Lord is one) to lead us to the knowledge of God, and that
the universe is under the government of one supreme Principle, which one Principle is the Father, from whom the Son and Holy Spirit derive their original.”
Again; Athanasius, in commenting on Mark xii. 32, “ There is one God (or God is one) and there is none other but he, says, For there is one God, and there is none other but he. And when the Scripture saith, that the Father is the only God, and there is one God, [or God is one] and I am the first and I am the last, these things are well spoken; for he is the one God, and the only one, and the first."
6. The true God, who is absolutely and strictly such; I mean the Father of Christ. The knowledge of the one and only true God, I mean the Father of Christ.” Again, “He whom we preach and worship is the only true God, the Lord of all creatures, and the Author of all being. And who else is that but the most holy Father of Christ, even he who is far above all derivative being," &c.;
66 who does everything by our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The very learned Origen says, “He which is of himself God is that [the true] God: For which reason our Saviour says in his prayer to his Father, that they may know thee, the only true God. But whatsoever God, besides that self-existent person, being so only by communication of his divinity, cannot so properly be called (ó Oros) that [the true] God; but rather (98) a divine person,” &c. And Cyprian, after reciting the same
verse of John, says, “ Christ himself declares and testifies,
that the Father who sent him must first be known, and then Christ who was sent."
Both Irenæus and Justin Martyr, two of the earliest fathers, in reference to the passage, “there is none good but one, that is God," say, “ there is one that is good, even the Father who is in heaven.”
“ The supreme God over all has alone that singular manner of subsistence, by which he is the Father, and subsists without deriving from any cause, and by this character he is peculiarly distinguished, [as the Son is by the character of only begotten.]” “He,” (the Father) says Bishop Pearson, “ is the only Potentate, because he alone hath all power of himself."
Again Irenæus says, “ John preached one God supreme over all, and one only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.” And Justin Martyr again, “Ye have slain the just one; and ye have rejected the God over all, and Maker of all things, who sent him.”
And Clemens Alexandrinus says, “Our Lord taught, that God the Father only and alone is supreme over all, whom none knoweth but the Son.”
Some very ancient books represent it to be “ branch of the Gnostic heresy, to affirm Christ to be himself absolutely τον θεόν επί παντων, the God over all.” And Origen calls it “rashness to suppose Christ to be the God over all, as being inconsistent with his own words, my Father is greater than I.” And the learned Eusebius lays it down as the constant known doctrine of the church, that “ Christ himself is not (ó ini navtov Oss) the God over all, but that these are
the peculiar titles of the Father; and he affirms that whosoever applies these titles to the Son, cannot be a pious person."
Justin says, “Christ is Lord of hosts, according to the will of the Father, who gave him that power;" Clemens Alexandrinus, that he is the Lord of all ministering to the will of the supreme Father ;” and Tertullian, Novatian, Hippolytus, and Epiphanius held similar views.
In commenting on Hebrews i. 8, Thy throne, O God, &c., Eusebius says, “ O God, (the Son,) he that is greater and superior, even thy God hath anointed thee; so that he who anointeth is far above him that is anointed, being the God of all, and in a particular manner of him, who is (here declared to be) anointed."
Concerning the phrase used in John i. 3, and in other places, all things were made by him, &c., Origen remarks that “the phrase, through whom, never signifies the first, but always the second cause. All things were made through the word, not by him, (as the original cause] but by one superior and greater than the word.” And Eusebius says, when the Evangelist affirms that all things were made (dià) by (or through) him, he therein declares the ministration of the word to God, (the Father,) for he might have expressed it thus; all things were made (úr autou) by him as the efficient cause; he does not so express it, but thus; all things were made ( di avtoü) by (or through) him as the ministering cause; that so he might refer us to the supreme