« AnteriorContinuar »
is as the letting out of water, which at the first begins to descend in small drops; anon they come out more quick and large: from dripping it next proceeds to running; and from thence, issuing forth in rapid torrents, it sweeps down all before it; and, but for free, sovereign, and invincible grace, this truly awful state had been mine: but, being enabled to obey the enjoined exhortation; viz. leave off contention against God, scripture, and conscience, before it be too far meddled with, I have, I trust, since been established in the present truth, upon which I shall briefly offer a few thoughts.
In treating of the oneness or unity of the essence or Godhead of Jehovah the Father, Word, and Holy Ghost, I humbly conceive they are not to be considered in this respect as plural, but one; agreeable to the following scriptures : “ Hear, O Israel, the Lord our Gods” (as the word Eloi or Elohim might be rendered) " is one Lord,” Deut. vi. 4. Again, “ for there is one God, and one Mediator between God and man, &c.” 1 Tim. ii. 5. Again, “But to us there is but one God the Father, of whom are all things.” Again, “ Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one." And again, “ There are three that bear record in heaven; the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one,” 1 John v. 7. Hence it is obvious, from these, with many other scriptures of the like import, that, although the Fatheris very and eternal God, the Word very and eternal God, and and the Holy Ghost very and eternal God; yet in essence, being, or existence, they are but one only indivisible and eternal Jehovah. But to be more explicit; though the Father is not the Word nor the Holy Ghost, but distinct from them both; though the Word is not the Father nor the Holy Ghost, but distinct from them both; and, likewise, though the Holy Ghost is not the Father nor the Word, but also distinct from them both in personality, name, office, and operation; yet they do not exist distinctly, individually, and independently, from and of each other,' but are to be considered as existing in one incomprehensible essence or Godhead. “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.”
As touching this oneness of essence in the Godhead, he is frequently spoken of in his word in the singular number; as in the following; “I am that I am.” Again, “I am the Lord thy God.” Again, “I am God, and beside me there is none else," with numerous others of the like import. But, when the triune God speaks of himself personally, he doth it in the plural number; as for instance, “And God said, Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness.” Again, " And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, knowing good and evil.” And again, “And the Lord said, Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language.” And again, “Who will go for us?” And, furthermore, to confirm this doctrine, ! Jehovah frequently assumes three
distinct personal forms; sometimes of men, at other times of angels. In these forms he appeared unto our father Abraham, to give him the promise of a seed in whom all the nations of the earth were to be blessed. These Abraham offered sacrifices to, worshipping and addressing as Lord; and no doubt but in one of these he clearly saw the Father of mercies in choosing and electing, setting apart, and confirming in his dear Son, every vessel of mercy; in another he saw the promised seed, which was to bruise the serpent's head, and to bring life and immortality to light by the gospel, and who, according to the flesh, was to spring from his own loins; and in the other he saw the Spirit of truth, whose work is to convince of sin, of an imputed righteousness, and of judgment; and to seal every elect sinner unto the day of redemption.' “Thus Abraham,” saith Jesus, " rejoiced to see my day; he saw it, and was glad.”
Furthermore, the inseparable union of the divine essence is set forth unto us in the following scriptures. “In the beginning was the Word,” viz.
in the beginning of the creation was Jehovah the Word made manifest, as the great Creator and Upholder of all things, and also as the Redeemer and Deliverer of the elect, “and the Word was with God,” mark the union, "and the Word was God.” The same Jehovah Jesus “was in the begin- , ning with God,” John i. 1, 2. Again, Jehovah the word speaketh of himself, as touching this mysterious union, on this wise; “I came forth from the
Father, and am come into the world; again I leave the world, and go to the Father.” Again he saith, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him," John i. 18. Hence observe, although the Word was personally incarnate and on earth, yet, as to his oneness of essence with the Father and the Holy Ghost, he was then in God and with God.
"Sometimes we find that the whole Godhead is comprised under the appellation of Father, to shew them ysterious union and oneness thereof’: as you read, “Have we not all one Father? Hath not one God created us?” Mal. ii. 10. Again, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from [Jehovah the Father, Word, and Holy Ghost] the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning," James i. 17. Again, when a disciple of our Lord requested him to shew unto him the Father, he receives this reply; “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me [i. e. by the eye of faith, which always views the Godhead in him] hath seen the Father. Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The Father that dwelleth in me he doeth the works,” John xiv. 8, &c. Here we are not to understand the Redeemer as speaking in reference to the person of the Father, as it would not only be erroneous, but also absurd, to say that God in the person of the Father was
incarnate, it being the Word who was made flesh: therefore I understand it thus; that whoever, by the operations of the Holy Ghost, hath seen Jehovah the Word in human flesh, hath, as to his oneness of essence with the Father and the Holy Ghost, seen the whole Godhead in him; 'for as touching the unity of the divine Three, we are told that in that human nature, which was mysteriously begotten and conceived in the womb of the Virgin, dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily; not personally, but essentially. With respect also of the Holy Ghost; though, as was before hinted, he is distinct from the Father and the Son, as to personality, name, office, and operation, yet in essence he likewise is one with them; as we read: “But, when the Comforter is come,” saith Jesus, “whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me."
Moreover, in speaking of the distinct personalities in the Godhead, and their oneness of essence, we consider it in the following light. The Father from all eternity sanctified or set apart his elect to everlasting life in Jesus Christ. He gave them, in the bond of an unalterable covenant, to his dear Son, that he might purchase them of incensed and injured justice by the price of his precious blood, and rescue and redeem them by power out of the hands of all their numerous and potent enemies, by whom they were taken captive; as he saith, “Thine they were, and thou gavest them to me."