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such, in the spirit, must speak mysteries, and be wonderful men. However, we must not fall down and worship every image that the children of men may set up; we must prove all things, and hold fast that which is good. The serpent's seed are very cunning; wiser in their generation than the children of light; and always crooked in their paths, evasive in their words, and allegorical in their speeches; they say one thing, and mean another; convey one meaning to us, and retain another meaning to themselves: for a heart that is not good can never be honest. If you were to ask an Arian whether he believes in Jesus, he will tell you, Yes. Ask him if he believes him to be God, he will answer in the affirmative: but he means that Christ is God in no other sense than by office, as magistrates are, “ There be lords many, and gods many.” Ask if he believe Christ to be the express image of the Father's person, he will tell you, Yes: but he means in no other sense than Adam was; “ In the image of God created he him.” Should you ask him if he believes the eternal existence of Christ, he will allow it: but his meaning is, that Christ had a human soul preexisting, which the Father made and set up from everlasting; though Christ is called the quickening Spirit, the Lord from heaven, which no human soul ever was. And it is clear that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and all that in them is; so that nothing was made, above or below, till those six days begun; therefore his human soul could not be made from everlasting, as nothing, in heaven or earth, was made till then. But from everlasting to everlasting Christ is God. “I am the First and the Last, the Almighty." If the first, then there was none before him to create him; and if the last, there will be none to outlive him.
Our souls, Christian reader, are precious to us, and truth is precious; therefore we must look well to our way, and take heed how we hear. This letter from Chatham, which is sent to vindicate Mr. Vessey and his doctrine from the charge of heresy which is brought against him, does not contain the true confession of a Christian's faith; nor shall I fall down and worship the god that Mr. Johns has therein declared; for this same letter is pregnant with nothing but Sabellianism. And, though Mr. Johns denies that Mr. Vessey was an Arian, or one who denies the Godhead of Christ, yet, from this letter, it appears to me that he denies the Godhead of the Father and the Godhead of the Holy Ghost, which is Sabellianism. Is my reader alarmed at this? Yes; and perhaps he is offended at it too. To be offended at my eyesight is to be offended at God, who opens the eyes of the blind. When my reader has been as much staggered, stumbled, and knocked about the head, by the devil, and the professors of the depths of Satan, as I have, he will look before he leaps, and not strain at a gnat nor swallow a camel. If Mr. Johns chooses to enter the list as an antagonist, I
will dispute the point with him, and my reader shall look on and judge betwixt us. We must not be baffled out of our faith, nor out of common sense, by a few scholastic phrases, nor yet by the triumphant departure of the wise man's fool, who is allowed to rage and be confident. There are some hypocrites, whose excellency reaches to heaven, and whose head touches the clouds, who will never be admitted into the kingdum of God. We now come to examine the letter.
Quot. He believed that there is not three gods, but one undivided essence; yet three persons in office, name, and character, as far as with respect to the covenant of redemption; and not a trinity of substances.
Answ. There are not three gods; yet the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God; and they are equal in power, equal in glory, and equal in divine majesty. And these three are distinct persons, and they are distinct in their personal properties; and yet co-equal in one undivided essence, and co-eternal in one undivided substance. Mr. Johns allows that there are three persons in office, name, and character, as far as with respect to the covenant of redemption. These gentlemen are aware that to make an agreement, contract, bargain, or covenant, requires more persons than one. Two persons, at least, must be engaged in making and signing a covenant; and a third person is required as a witness to it. And it is clear that there are three that bear record in
heaven. But then what are these three? Mr. Johns says, three persons in office, name, and character, as far as with respect to the covenant. This, reader, is the doctrine of Mr. Vessey: this is Sabellianism; three persons in name and office only in the economy of the covenant; which names and offices will be replaced or restored to the one person of Christ, as God, when his manhood is separated from the Godhead; and so God in one person will be all in all. Mr. Johns adds, but a trinity of persons in one self-existent Jehovah. There are three that bear record in heaven; the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one. These are three persons in office, &c. a trinity of persons, in name and character, in one Jehovah. Mr. Johns allows that there are three persons, but then they are only persons in name and far as respects the covenant. His meaning amounts to this; there are three personal characters in one Jehovah, and one Jehovah in three personal characters; for by three persons he means only in office, name, and character, as far as it respects the covenant.
But three personal characters in one Jehovah and one Jehovah in three personal characters, comes far short of being the Lord God of Israel, who is three distinct persons in one God, and one God in three distinct persons, from everlasting to everlasting. And these three are more than personal names and offices; they are real persons, distinct persons, self-existing in the Godhead from all
eternity. From everlasting is God the Father ; and from everlasting was the Word set up by the Father, to be future man and mediator by incarnation; and from everlasting did the Holy Ghost agree to be the future anointing on the human nature of Christ, when the fulness of time came for the human nature to be taken into union with the person of the Son of God. They are distinct persons. The Father is on the throne, the Son at his right hand, and the Seven Spirits before the throne. And they are distinct in their personal properties : for the scriptures ascribe understanding, knowledge, willing, choosing, speaking, working, and operating; yea, existence, life, and motion, to each of the three persons in the Godhead. Holiness, truth, power, light, life, and love; eternity, immortality, and immensity; are possessed, in all their fulness and perfection, by each person in the Trinity. And, though there are not three Gods, yet there are three persons equally God in one Elohim. And, though there is not a trinity of substances, yet there is a trinity of distinct persons, existing from everlasting to everlasting in one undivided substance: and these are more than three names, or three persons in officecharacter. “Behold,” saith the Father, “I send an Angel before thee, beware of him, and obey his voice; provoke him not, for he will not pardon your transgressions : for my name is in him," Exodus xxiii.20, 21. Here is the Father speaking;