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Upon these grounds we believe that God is OF INFINITE POWER, WISDOM, AND GOODNESS.
As the world could not have existed from : eternity, or have caused its own existence, it must have derived its being from God; and that God was the MAKER OF ALL THINGS BOTH VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE, is repeatedly asserted in Scripture : “ In six days the Lord made heaven and earth (6)."-" In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is (c).”-“ Thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created (d).”—“ By him were all things related that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible (e):”—God, having created all things, continues to preserve them in a state guitable to the purposes for which they were designed, and by his superintending providence constantly governs the universe he created. Nothing can happen without the direction or permission of that Being who is the source of all power; he appointed and supports the general course of nature; and he interrupts it by his particular interposition, whenever it seems good to his infinite wisdom : “ God giveth to all, life,
and (b) Ex. c. 21. v. 17. (c) Ex. C. 20. v. 11. (d) Rev. C. 4. v. 11. (e) Col. c. 1. v. 16.
and breath, and all things (f ).”—“ He is before all things, and by him all things consist (g).”— “ How could any thing have endured, if it had not been thy will; or been preserved, if not called by thee (h)?”—Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all the host; the earth, and all things that are therein; the sea, and all that is therein; and thou preservest them all (i)."2" Where,” says bishop Pearson, “ the continued conservation of the creatures is in equal latitude attributed unto God with their first production ; because there is an absolute necessity of preserving us from returning unto nothing by annihilation, as there was for first bestowing an existence on us by creation. God doth sustain, uphold, and constantly preserve all things in their being which they have (k).”Thus God is not only THE MAKER, but also THE PRESERVER OF ALL THINGS BOTH VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE.
We now come to the latter part of this article, in which the gospel doctrine of the Trinity, or of three persons (1) in the Divine Essence, is asserted.
That (f) Acts, c. 17. v. 25. (g) Col. c. 1. v. 17 (h) Wisdom, c. 11. v. 23. (i) Neh. c. 9. v. 6. (k) Pearson, Art. 1.
rl) Tertullian, the oldest Latin father extant, uses the word Persona as applied to the Trinity. The word used by the Greek fathers is υποστασις and προσωπον,
That nearly all the pagan nations of antiquity, in their various theological systems, acknowledged a kind of Trinity in the divine nature, has been fully evinced by those learned men, who have made the heathen mythology the subject of their elaborate enquiries. The almost universal prevalence of this doctrine in the Gentile kingdoms must be considered as a strong argument in favour of its truth. The doctrine itself bears such striking internal marks of a divine original, and is so very unlikely to have been the invention of mere human reason, that there is no way of accounting for the general adoption of so singular a belief, but by supposing that it was revealed by God to the early patriarchs, and that it was transmitted by them to their posterity. In its progress indeed to remote countries, and to distant generations, this belief became depraved and corrupted in the highest degree; and he alone “ who brought life and immortality to light,” could restore it to its original simplicity and purity. The discovery of the existence of this doctrine in the early ages, among the nations whose records have been the best preserved, has been of great service to the cause of Christianity, and completely refutes the assertion of infidels and sceptics, that the sublime and mysterious doctrine of the Trinity owes it origin to the
philosophers philosophers of Greece. “If we extend,” says Mr. Maurice, “our eye through the remote region of antiquity, we shall find this very doctrine, which the primitive Christians are said to have borrowed from the Platonic school, universally and immemorially flourishing in all those countries, where history and tradition have united to fix those virtuous ancestors of the human race, who, for their distinguished attainments in piety, were admitted to a familiar intercourse with Jehovah and the Angels, the divine heralds of his commands.” · The same learned author justly considers the two first verses of the Old Testament as containing very strong, if not decisive, evidence in support of the truth of this doctrine: “Elohim, a noun substantive of the plural number, by which the Creator is expressed, appears as evidently to point towards a plurality of persons in the divine nature, as the verb in the singular, with which it is joined, does to the unity of that nature : In principio creavit Deus; with strict attention to grammatical propriety, the passage should be rendered, In principio creavit Dü, but our belief in the unity of God forbids us thus to translate the word Elohim. Since, therefore, Elohim is plural, and no plural can consist of less than two in number, and since creation
can alone be the work of Deity, we are to understand by this term so particularly used in this place, God the Father, and the eternal Logos, or Word of God; that Logos, whom St. John, supplying us with an excellent comment upon this passage, says, was in the beginning with God, and who also was God. As the father and the Son are expressly pointed out in the first verse of this chapter, so is the third person in the blessed Trinity not less decisively revealed to us in the second : “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. Calasio renders this passage, Spiritus Dei motabat; but as Dr. Patrick rightly observed, this is not the exact meaning of the text, for the original verb translated moved, should be rendered brooded upon the water, incubavit, as a hen broods over her eggs. . Thus we see the Spirit exerted upon this occasion an active effectual energy, by that energy agitating the vast abyss, and infusing into it a powerful vital principle.”
“ Elohim seems to be the general appellation by which the triune Godhead is collectively distinguished in Scripture; and in the concise history of the creation only, the expression Bara Elohim, the Gods created, is used above thirty times. The combining this plural noun with a verb in the singular would not appear so