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ARGUMENTS AND REASONING OF LATE AND PRESENT TRIN
The object of late and present Trinitarians seems to be principally an attempt to show, that the Son of God is “very God,” the only true God, the supreme, self-existent, almighty God. And for this purpose, as they do not pretend, that there is in the Bible any express evidence of the fact, they endeavor to make it out by inference and implication, though it is not directly and clearly proved. They say, that the Son possesses ubiquity or omnipresence; that he is omniscient, — that he is almighty, or exercises almighty power, - that he is eternal,that he is to be the final judge of all, – that he received worship, such as is due to none but the supreme God, — that he associated his name with the Father, in the rite of baptism ; and that he is in Scripture called and styled God. Therefore they infer, that he is God, the supreme God. Each of these points I will briefly consider.
The ubiquity or omnipresence of Christ, I presume, is supposed to extend only to heaven, and earth, and all the beings and things thereof, and not to Venus, Saturn, Herschel, and all the other planets that have been discovered, or that there may be, which have not yet been discovered, with all their inhabitants
and appurtenances. There is certainly no color of evidence to extend it any further than this supposition. Now, suppose it were proved, that the Son was, and is, everywhere, and at all times present in heaven and earth, would that show, that he possesses of himself ubiquity and omnipresence in the strict, literal, and most extensive sense ; that, like the Father of the universe, he is at all times everywhere abiding, throughout infinite space ; that “he holdeth the stars in his right hand ; that he maketh Arcturus, Orion, Pleiades, and the chambers of the South ; that he walketh upon the wings of the wind; that he taketh up the ocean in the hollow of his hand ?” No such language is applied to the Son in the Bible, either in a strict or figurative sense. But if he did possess all this great and wonderful power, capacity and omnipresence, might not all be bestowed upon him by his almighty Father ? He repeatedly said all power in heaven and earth was given him of his father. Therefore he could not be the original possessor; he could not be the independent God.
To be present, is to be enabled to see, or hear, or know, all that is done or exists, in a certain place and time. A person in a large hall, where ten thousand people are assembled, may be said to be present in every part of the hall, and with every person there ; because he can see, or hear, or know, all that is, or is done there; and (quoad hoc) as to that hall and the people there, he may be said to be omnipresent. We know that such terms as all, every,
and everywhere, are often used in a restricted sense, according to the connexion in which they are used. Let us suppose, that, instead of our present limited powers, the Almighty should enlarge the boundaries thereof, (as he certainly could, if he saw fit to change our natures and enlarge our capacities,) and should give us capacity to see, and hear, and know all that is, and is done in the whole world ; nay more, to behold the glories of heaven, and hear the high praises, and enchanting anthems, and hallelujahs, constantly ascending to Him, who sitteth on the throne ! Would this prove that we are God, or persons of Deity? No. It would only show that our heavenly Father had been most abundantly and unspeakably gracious and beneficent to us; and that we should be (if possible ) under greater obligations to love, praise, and glorify our supreme Benefactor. Now, if the Son was endowed by the Father with the capacity and power of omnipresence, in the highest sense, could it prove him to be that God, who gave him that power? Or would it only show that he was the highly favored, glorious messenger and agent of the Father; that he was, indeed, his dearly beloved Son? But perhaps it will be said, this is speculating. Well, then, we will come to facts, to the evidence of the Bible, and show that there is not proof of the personal omnipresence of the Son, even so far as to heaven and earth; that the passages, considered the strongest proof texts, not only fail to prove, but actually disprove the allegation. One of the texts thought most favorable to this doctrine is John
iii. 13. — “No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man, who is (was in heaven.” Now if the Son came down from heaven to earth, as we are told, and believe, he could not have been here before he came down, and he could not have come down, if he was here before, nor could he, at any time, ascend into heaven, if he was, and is, and always will be, there, and everywhere. Indeed, the whole language of the Bible about Christ's coming and going, descending and ascending, being sent from heaven by the Father, and going and ascending to his Father and our Father, to his God and our God, must be a mere tale of nonsense and falsehood, if Christ is strictly and personally omnipresent. But if the Bible gives a true relation of facts, the Son of God cannot be, strictly and personally, an omnipresent being ; though in a figurative sense he may be considered as present upon earth, and still be in heaven ; as Moses and the Prophets, a thousand years after their deaths, were said to be with the rich man's brethren on earth; “ they have Moses and the Prophets,” that is, they had their writings and prophecies, and so figuratively speaking had them. Af-. ter this manner should Christians always consider Christ as present ; as present by his gospel, by the remembrance of his holy life, his miracles, his sufferings, death, resurrection, and triumphant ascension ! But while they remember these things, they cannot believe, that he is, or was the supreme God; or that he is, or will be with them, (as the days of miracles
are gone by,) except in a figurative sense, until he shall come again, at the last day.
The last part of this verse ó ūv tv tą orgavā, (who is in heaven,) may be rendered who was in heaven; the participle är being often used for the past, (there being no past participle to the verb elui,) and sometimes for the future. And John and the other Apostles often used the present tense for the past; as John ix. 2 and 38. — “His disciples say unto him," for said unto him. « Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave," i. e. came to the grave. And the present is used for the future in Matthew xxvi. 2. — “Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover,” i. e. will be the feast; " the Son of man is (i. e. will be) betrayed.” The same participle, wr, has a past tense meaning in John ix. 25, öti' tuplos wv, četu paérw, (though I was blind, I now see,) and also John i. 49, övra sidóv bé, (I saw thee when (örra being) thou wast under the fig-tree. Now if this participle were translated here, as it is in the verse we have been considering, it would read thus, - whereas (or though) I am blind I now see, and I saw thee, when thou art under the fig-tree. This shows that the translation in our text is wrong
that it should be, who was in heaven. Besides, in a great many other instances the present Greek participle is used for the past tense. see that nothing can be proved to the point by this wrong translation. Other texts of this kind have been cited; — “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of