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An Altempt at a Scriptural Statement and Defence of the Doc

trine of the Trinity, in consistency with the Unity of God. By Joseph Field, Pastor of a Church in Charlemont. 12mo.

pp. 234. Greenfield, printed by Denio and Phelps. This little volume is deserving of public attention, and of the public favour, for several reasons. It appears to be the work of a man of a discriminating mind, of no small degree of comprehension, and who seems, from this publication, to have allowed himself to think with freedom and independence, unincumbered with system, and undeterred by the fear of coming to unpopular results. Every attempt of such men to place commonly received doctrines of religion on a better foundation than they have usually stood, to explain, illustrate, and render them more intelligible, to modify, and give them a more rational form : or to show, that they are not doctrines of christianity, but its corruptions ;-is entitled to consideration and to the gratitude of the christian community. Especially ought we to respect a man, who is ready to do this upon a subject, on which much public feeling is excited ; at a time, when powerful influences are excrted to check the spirit of inquiry, and to intimidate those, and prevent their expressing their doubts and their convictions, who, unable to receive a doctrine, which they cannot understand, and which seems to them absurd and impossible, have been honestly seeking an intelligible faith; and in a section of the country, where the spirit of intolerance has fixed its head quarters, and where memorable examples of its power and its vengeance are presented all around him. A man who, with Deerfield, Hadley and Pelham under his eye, and with a knowledge of the hostility with which such men as Willard, Huntington, and Bailey are to be pursued, for daring to think for themselves, and to express what they think ; yet is not restrained from exercising the right, wbich God gave him when he gave him

To say,

reason, and performing the holy duty imposed upon him by
his Christian faith, and his profession as a teacher of his reli-
gion, who allows him to call no man on earth his master ;-
a man thus intrepid is entitled to no common share of the
respect of christians.

The book which has attracted our attention, has other claims also of an intrinsic nature. Besides being written with great independence of mind, without reference to any prevalent system, and apparently with a single aim at what is true, and with a catholic spirit, which does not forget the rights of others in asserting its own; besides this, it is composed by one who has thought closely and connectedly upon the subject about which he writes; bas viewed it upon all sides; and bas endeavoured to form a complete system, intelligible and consistent with itself in all its parts, and drawn from the obvious meaning of the Holy Scriptures.

In forming his system, the author sets out with the Unity of God in its most proper sense, as

an undoubted doctrine of revelation as well as of reason. This unity implies one distinct intelligence, one individual consciousness. therefore, that there is more than a single, individual, distinct intelligence in God, would be to deny bis Unity : 80 would it also, to represent the Godhead as consisting of persons, so separate and distinct as to enter into covenant with each other, by forming mutual engagements, and taking upon themselves separate offices. It would be contrary, again, to the unity of God to affirm of him, that in bis nature there exists from eternity a society, which is the basis of that sort of happiness, which is the most delicious, and the most congenial with intelligent and rational existence. It would, once more, militate against the unity of God to represent a trivity of persons in his undivided nature, each performing works peculiar to himself, just as the individuals of a community have their several and separate tasks to fulfil, or as the officers of government restrict themselves each to his respective department, and to the duties pertaining to it.

• When we are told,' says the author, with great clearness and force, * that the second person in the trinity, who is God, executes the work of redemption, and that this branch of universal providence does not belong to either of the other persons; the question almost insensibly obtrudes itself, can the one, who is inactive, be the same being with him, wbo acts. Or can human ingenuity make any other than an express contradiction of it, when it is said, that be who sanctifies the heart, as his peculiar work, and he who does not, are one being?- If personality should be resorted to as a refuge in this difficol.

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ty, making the difference applicable to persons and nothing else ; what would it a vail ? is there any thing intelligible in this expedient to free the subject from embarrassment ? It is clear that there is not ; and one might as easily produce conviction by an ef. fort to show, that three distinct beings may be one ; as by endeavouring to prove, that three persons may have distinct parts to act, and this noi interfere with unity of being.'-p. 31.

Having shown, in the first chapter, that in several points of view, the doctrine of the Trinity, as it is usually understood and explained, is inconsistent with the scriptural and necessary unity of God; the author proceeds in the second and following chapters to a distinct and minute exposition of his own views of the several parts of the subject. Of this our limits will admit of giving but a very brief and imperfect sketch. It will be done as far as possible in the author's own words.

it does not appear, he thinks, that independently of revelation, any just conceptions of the Deity would have been attaina. ble ; so that we are indebted to the mystery of godliness, the manifestation of God in the flesh, in the person of his Son, -of him, who was Immanuel, or God with us,- for all that knowledge of God, by which he becomes an object of our regard, reverence, and adoration. He endeavours to show, that in manifesting the Deity to men, he acts not as personally the Supreme God, but by a delegated power and authority. He is thus the Creator of the world. God having created all things by Jesus Christ. He is also a Mediator between God and man,-not as an intermediate being, of a larger capacity and higher rank than man; but as participating in both the divine and human nature, and uniting divinity and humanity in one person.

But Jesus Christ had not only divinity and humanity united in his person, as the Mediator; he had also a pre-existent created, as well as upcreated, nature. It is in this created nature, in which he existed before any other being was brought into existence, that he is styled the first born of


creature.' It is in this, too, and not in his divine nature, that he is the image of the intisible God. Yet this finite created nature could become the image of the invisible God only by the whole fulness of the Godhead dwelling in it. This divinity, not a part but the whole of it, he must possess in himself; which will give a specimen of an uncreated and a created nature united in one person. Thus

in him dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily;' and it *pleased the Father that in him all fullness should dwell.'There can be no ground to object against this, our author thinks, as a union of two natures in one person ; and that this took place before the creation of the world-alluded to Heb. i. 2.

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Christ then is possessed of a created, intelligent nature, produced into being by that divine efficiency, which is itself unproduced, eternal and Almighty, and the first of creatures in the oriler of time, io extent of capacity, and in brightness of glory. With this intelligent nature Godhead unites itself, and makes it a medium through which divinity adapts its glorious attributes and operations to the perception of those, who cannot look upon Godhead only as presented under some definite apil intelligible form. A being is thus constituted, who is the image of the invisible God, not God himself, whose pature is absolutely without boundaries and undefinable ; and yet comprising the whole of Deity .... The eternal God, whom oo man hath seen or can see, is thus revealed to us in the person of the Mediator, who is the image of the invisible God, because in bim dwells the foloess of the Godhead bodily.'—p. 62

In this complex nature, some things may be affirmed of the Mediator, in relation to his divinity, which are inapplicable to him in other respects. On the other hand, that may be ascribed to him, which can in no manner be true of the Deity. Thus the Father in the Son n ay know, what the Son as a man, or as a creature of the Father, does not know.

The mediation of Christ relates not to men only, but also to the holy angels, who might need as much as mortals, a sensible manifestation of the Deity. In his intercourse with them, that is, the angels, he is supposed to have inhabited a spiritual body like theirs, as when he came to appear on earth, it was in human form, in fashion as a man, and with all the properties of a man. Our author supposes this power of appearing in bodies of a different nature, not peculiar to Jesus Christ. He thinks there is no absurdity or improbability in the thought, that a messenger from heaven to earth should suddenly pass from a state of body purely etherial, to what is corraptible and gross, that he might be fitted to converse with mortals, and, having finished his sojourn below, revert to his former state. This he supposes took place in the messengers sent to Abrabam and to Lot; and in the several exhibitions of our Saviour after his resurrection; as for example, when he appeared suddenly standing in the midst of bis disciples, the door being shut.

Our author endeavours to show, that it was Christ, in the character of Mediator, and as an angel from heaven in the garb of a mortal man, who often appeared to men on earth prior to his birth at Bethlehem. It was he, with whom Adam communed in the garden, who appeared to Jacob in his return from Padanaram, who met Abraham in the person of Melchisedek, who appeared to Moses in the burning bush, who was the captain of the Lord's host, and the angel that conducted the Israelites in

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their wanderings through the wilderness. It was the same person, who thus appeared under the former dispensation, as Jehovah, the angel of Jehovah, in whom the "Godhead resided; who was afterward born into our world of the virgin Mary, hav. ing the same complex existence before as after this event, with this only difference, that before, it was angelic, or heavenly, just so far as it was afterwards human or earthly. And it is the same person, who is constituted Lord of the Universe, not in his attributes and prerogatives, as the infinite and eternal God, but in his finite and created nature. It was the same nature, which hum. bled itself to appear in fashion as a man, and in the form of a servant, that was afterwards highly exalted, receiving a name that is above every name.

Our author is equally dissatisfied with the common Trinitarian theory with respect to the Holy Spirit, and thinks, with many, that it has insuperable difficulties.. Instead of being a distinct person in the Unity of the Deity, he thinks it is a distinct agent or being,-employed in highly important offices, having a created as well as an uncreated nature, like the created and uncreated nature of Christ, making a complex person.

His whole notion of the Trinity is tbus expressed ;

• We have found God sometimes denominated the Father, represented as one being, and one person. We have also found the Son of God, in some respects distinguished from God, and, thus far, the subject of a personality, in which divinity is not involved ; and, in addition to this, so united to the divine nature, expressed by the Fa. ther's dwelling in him, as to be personally identified with the Father, according to his owo saying, He that hath seen me hath seen the Father. Here then are two distinct persons, not both divine, though both united in one, who is the Son of God; the Father uncreated, united with the Son produced to make a complex person. We bave, furthermore, found the Holy Spirit a complex person, constituted, like the Son, by the indwelling of divinity in a created spirit. God the Father in whom all divine personality exists, dwells in the Son and also in the Spirit ; so that the Son is truly denominated God through the personal indwelling of the Father in him, and the Holy Ghost has the same honours upon the same footing. The Trinity, upon this plan, is no other, than the divine nature, which is the first person, the created nature of the Son of God, the second, and the created nature of the Holy Spirit, the third.'

After distinctly stating and explaining and defending at large bis own views of the doctrine of the Trinity, the author offers his objections to that form of the doctrine, which it seems to be assuming at the present time ; passing by as obsolete, those explanations of the doctrine and modifications of it, which, though

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