Noble's 'Appeal': VII. The Trinity, As Centered In The Person Of The Lord Jesus Christ.:
D. The True Doctrine confirmed from the Texts most relied on for the Proof of the contrary.
we have seen in the preceding parts of this section, that the affirmative of the grand New Church tenet, of the Sole-Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ, his Oneness with the Father, and the concentration of the whole of the Divine Trinity in his Single Person, is easily proved; that an acquaintance with the truths relating to his assumption and glorification of the Humanity, takes away the ground of all the objections that can be raised against it, and proves its certainty by another process; and that these proofs, impregnable in themselves, still receive a great access of confirmation, when it is seen, that the only proper alternative of this genuine doctrine, is that of Tritheism, and that its opponents cannot resist it without betraying, that, when contending for three distinct Divine Persons, they mean, in the thoughts of their hearts, three distinct Gods. Nevertheless, there unquestionably are passages, which, to those who read them without understanding, may seem to favour that doctrine: it may tend, therefore, more fully to satisfy the minds of some, to pass the chief of such texts under review, to apply to them the principles for solving objections developed in part II., and to show, as is the truth, that they in reality teach, not the separation as to Person between Jesus and the Father, but their union. As then the writer whom I chiefly follow, after making the objections considered in the preceding part of this section to some of the texts which prove the True Doctrine, has selected those which he regards as the strongest for supporting his erroneous views, I will, in the present part, place those passages in their proper light, point out the inapplicability of his conclusions from them, and evince that, like every other text in the Bible, rightly understood, they illustrate the grand truth, that the whole Trinity is centered in the Single Divine Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The writer I follow undertakes to show, "that whilst Baron Swedenborg has removed the mystery of the Trinity in his way, he has created above a hundred other mysteries by doing so." The way this is attempted to be shown, is, by "joking and jesting" on the subject to such excess, that the joker deems it necessary seriously to assure his readers, "that whatever appearance of levity there may be in his remarks, they are not in any wise to be even suspected of being levelled at the Divine Being, or the divine character, but wholly and entirely against Baron Swedenborg and his system."
As, however, we consider joking not very appropriate to such a subject, and to be but a poor substitute for argument, I shall not repeat or take notice of this witty gentleman's facetiae, after citing at length his "remarks" on his first Scripture-quotation, as a specimen of the spirit in which not a few of our adversaries, both rigid Dissenters and clergymen of the Establishment (such as the Rev. W. Ettrick), have deemed themselves justified in indulging, when commenting upon the most sacred truths.
1. "When Jesus was baptised in the river Jordan, 'lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased' (Matt. iii. 16, 17). Here," says the adversary, "we find the Son of God, the Spirit of God, and a voice from heaven; and yet, according to Baron Swedenborg, there is but one Person in all these. Now, reader, didst thou ever know a man that begat himself, and of course, was his own father: and then proclaimed himself his own beloved Son: and then told the world that he was very well pleased with himself ? Methinks thou wilt say, why this is perfect absurdity and downright nonsense. So I think: but it is Swedenborgian sense. Did not I tell thee, that the Baron in getting rid of one mystery, in his way, had bred a hundred, each of which are far greater than the one he pretends to remove?"
The whole of this raillery proceeds upon the assumption, that Swedenborg admits no distinction whatever in the Divine Nature; whereas, as has been abundantly shown in part B of this section, we regard the terms, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as denoting really distinct Principles in the Godhead, though not forming three several Persons. It has also been shown, that we do not consider the person or Humanity of Jesus Christ to have been Divine, and thus to have been the proper Person of the Father, at his birth, but to have been in progress towards becoming so during the whole course of his life in the world, and not to have been completely so till his ascension. Thus all the above "joking" about a man that begat himself, and was his own father, and proclaimed himself his own beloved son, &c., is only applicable to what the author is pleased to put forth as our doctrine, but not, in the slightest degree, to our doctrine itself.
The arrival of a certain state in the Lord's progress towards union with the Essential Divinity is what is described in this text; and it is described by appropriate representative appearances and expressions, such as are always employed in Scripture for the expression of purely divine and spiritual subjects. By the Son is meant the Lord as to his Humanity, including not only the outward body, but all the nature belonging to him as a man. By the Holy Spirit's descending as a dove, and lighting upon him, is meant the open communication between the Divine Essence and the Human, by the outpouring, from the former into the latter, of the Emanating Sphere of the Divine Life. A dove is the proper symbol of purification and regeneration, and of the marriage-union of goodness and truth: the work of regeneration in man is an image of that of glorification in the Lord, and the union of goodness and truth in man is an image of the union of Divinity and Humanity in him: and as the whole of this transaction was representative of the accomplishment of an important stage of his glorification, or of the union of his Divinity with his Humanity, therefore the Holy Spirit communicated was represented by the appearance of a dove. By the voice from heaven, saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased," is described, the manifest perception now enjoyed by the Lord in his external part, by communication from his internal, that his Humanity, so far as glorified, was derived solely from his Divinity, and was its Form and Organ.
Now may I not appeal to every reader possessed of candour and rationality, and ask, whether this, instead of being ludicrous, is not a truly rational and consistent view of the subject. But can the same be said for the adversary's representation of it? According to him, we have here a manifest exhibition of the three Persons which he assigns to the Godhead. As this notion is taken from the literal sense of the passage, he must, in maintaining it, adhere to the literal sense only: he must not take, first, the doctrine from the letter, and instantly tell us that the letter does not give a true account of it. According to the letter, then,—of the three Persons of this gentleman's Trinity, only one has the human form: the form of the Holy Spirit is that of a dove, and the form of the Father is that of—a voice! is it not evident that this mode of describing the three Divine Essentials is here adopted, to prevent us from supposing that they are three separate Persons ? Were there any truth in such doctrine, here, certainly, was a fair opportunity of placing it beyond doubt. Why might it not have been said, "And God the Holy Ghost descended and hovered over him; and God the Father looked down from heaven, and said, This is my beloved Son." &c.? Can the Tripersonalist offer a shadow of a reason, why some such form of description as this was not employed ? These are the ideas supposed to be intended: why then were they not expressed? Why, but because they are totally foreign to the truth ?
Whenever the three Essentials of Deity are representatively exhibited, the same caution is observed, of not using any symbols which would give the idea of three divine persons. Thus, in the sublime vision in Rev. iv., the Lord, as a Divine Man, is seen sitting on the throne of heaven, and his Holy Spirit, or the Emanation of his Love and Wisdom, is represented by "seven lamps of fire burning before the throne," which are said to be "the seven Spirits of God." Will any one make a separate Person of this representation of the Holy Spirit ? Whoever does so, must not merely make him one Person, but seven. In the next chapter, the divine writer has occasion to advert specifically to the Human Nature of the Lord: is this exhibited as another Divine Man? This would necessarily have conveyed the idea of two Divine Persons: to avoid which, therefore, an appearance of a Lamb is presented, having seven horns and seven eyes; and these eyes are now declared to be the same Divine Principle as was before represented by the seven lamps, for they, also, are said to be "the seven Spirits of God." Will any one infer, from this representation, that the Lord Jesus Christ is actually a separate Divine Person from the Father ? Whoever does so, must assert him to be in the form of a lamb, and to have seven horns and seven eyes. And after all, the seeker for three Persons will quite lose the separate personality of the Holy Ghost; for this Divine Principle is now declared to be inseparable from the person of the Lamb,—to be his "seven eyes." Here then are plenty of mysteries for the Tripersonalist to solve, if he is resolved to go on, arguing from such passages as that which relates the descent of the Holy Spirit as a dove, in favour of his notion of a Trinity of Persons. But all becomes clear when we observe, that in no divine representation of the subject is there ever exhibited more than one Person which can possibly be regarded as the proper Person of Deity; and that the three great Essentials entering into the composition of this One Person, when considered distinctly, are symbolically represented by voices, or doves, or lamps, or lambs, or eyes.
That at the time when the appearance occurred at the Lord's baptism, though his external frame was yet unglorified, the interiors of his nature were actually Divine, is a fact which may be illustrated by an event which is recorded some time afterwards, when the glorifying process had passed upon the whole of his Human Nature except the mere body. "When he exhibited himself to the three Apostles at his transfiguration, though his outer frame was still composed of natural flesh and blood, "his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light" (Matt. xvii. 2). What was this, but his Divine Human Form, which was strictly one Person with his Divine Essence, and to which he referred when, he said, "I and my Father are One?" the Divine Love in which gave to his face the appearance as of the sun, and the sphere of Divine Truth encompassing which was representatively exhibited by garments white as the light, according to the description of Jehovah by David—"Who coverest thyself with light, as with a garment" (Ps. civ. 2). This exhibition of himself in his truly Divine Person, as this existed within, and in a sphere above, his yet unglorified outward frame, was made to the disciples by opening, for the time, the sight of their spirits, and closing that of their bodies; in which state they beheld the Lord in his Divine Human Form, and no longer in the material human form with which the former was yet invested: hence also, they saw at the same time Moses and Elias, who were purely spiritual beings the inhabitants of a purely spiritual world: and hence, when they returned into their natural state again, "they saw no man save Jesus only;" and him no longer in his Divine, but only in his natural, yet unglorified, outer form. Here is demonstrative evidence of Ms possessing an internal and an external personal form, in the former of which he was a Divine Person complete, independently of the latter, whilst the latter was not a person at all, independently of the former, since without the former it would not even have possessed life. An attention to the important truth thus obviously presented, will illustrate many particulars connected with our Lord's glorification, and his oneness with the Father.
2. "If thou be the Son of God," said the Devil, "cast thyself down; for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee;" &c. (Matt. iv. 6) This text is abundantly explained by our observations on the former. The Son is the Lord's Human Nature, not yet wholly glorified, and therefore liable, as to the merely human part of it, "to be tempted of the devil." He—God—is the Divine Presence, not yet wholly united to the Human Nature. The union was to be effected by expelling from the Human Nature all that partook of human infirmity, and by renewing it from the Divine Nature: and the means were, by suffering the Human Nature to be attacked by the infernal powers, and by its resisting their suggestions; by which, at the same time, hell was conquered and removed from man. Could the infernal powers have prevailed in any one conflict, the Human Nature could not have been united with the Divine, and the work of redemption would have failed of its accomplishment. This they knew; and therefore they exerted all their force and artifice to carry their point. Thus, that which our opponents aim at preventing from being believed—the perfect union of the Divinity and the Humanity in the Person of Jesus Christ,—is precisely that which, the devil aimed at preventing from being accomplished.
3. "And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ, the Son of God" (Luke iv. 41). "They did not confound the two Persons of Father and Son in one Person," says the Tripersonalist, "as the Baron does." We have seen that, to acknowledge the Humanity and the Divinity to be two distinct principles, is quite a different thing from dividing the One God into Two, as Tripersonalists do.
4. " Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess before my Father which is in heaven" (Matt. x. 32). "Here again," says the objector, "is the Father and the Son; and it is worthy of remark too, that the Father is in heaven, whilst the Son was speaking on earth. Now if the Father and the Son were both comprehended in the person of Christ, what could be more absurd than the language of Christ, when he says, 'him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.' Why not speak of himself only, and tell his followers what good things he himself would do for them, without that continual reference to his Father, which he gloried in making?" Well: if the Tripersonalist believes the Father and Son to be two completely separate persons, so that, if the Father is in heaven, he cannot be united as one person with the Son upon earth, he at least believes the Son to be but one person; and yet the very same phraseology which is here used of the Father and the Son, is used by Jesus of himself alone. "No man," saith he, "hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven" (John iii. 13). It is here declared that the Son of man was in heaven, whilst he was speaking on earth. Will the Tripersonalist therefore say, "Now if the Son, of man was comprehended in the person of Christ, what could be more absurd than the language of Christ, when he says while on earth, 'even the Son of man which is in heaven ?' " If he will not repeat the scoff in the present case, let him acknowledge, that if, in divine language, one Divine Principle may be spoken of as being in heaven and on earth at the same time, with equal propriety may this be affirmed of two Divine Principles, without any actual separation being intended;—that if such phraseology proves the Father and Son to be two separate Persons, it proves with equal certainty the Son alone to be two separate persons also. In divine language, heaven and earth do not so much mean two specific places, as whatsoever is internal and external respectively: thus, when the Lord speaks of his Father which is in heaven, he means much the same as when he speaks of the Father that dwelleth in him. And when he says, "Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father which is in heaven," he means, that whosoever acknowledges him in faith and life, shall have communication and conjunction, in and by his Divine Humanity, with the Divinity itself. Thus, instead of referring men to any God out of himself, he calls them to himself as the only Object of worship,—as the only Person in whom the Godhead can be approached.
But, to clear this subject further, let it be asked: Do our adversaries imagine, when Swedenborg speaks of the Divine Essence, or God himself, as assuming Humanity in the Person of Jesus, and as being the soul of that Humanity from its conception, that he means it to be understood that the Divine Essence, or the whole Deity, was shut up in the material frame taken from the Virgin Mary, like an ethereal essence in a bottle, and that, so long as the Person of Jesus remained on earth, heaven was left without its Governor, and the whole universe, except that little portion occupied by the material body of Jesus, was shut out from the presence of God ? Nothing can be more abhorrent from all the views of Swedenborg than such a phantasy. According to his expressive language, "God is in all space without space, and in all time without time;" he is universally omnipresent through all space and all time, without partaking in the least either of the one or of the other. Hence, then, it was quite possible for "the Father" to be "in heaven," considered even as a place, and yet to be in intimate union with the person of Jesus on earth: and so far as that person entered into this union, that is, so far as it was made Divine, it, also, was not in space, though still retaining a close connexion with the outward frame which was all that appeared before men: and when the outward frame also had been made Divine, as was the case at the resurrection, and most entirely at the ascension, it, likewise, put off the trammels of space; and the Lord is now as completely omnipresent, with respect to the whole of his Divine Person, as with respect to the Essence of Deity. "Lo, I," in the Divine Body in which you now behold, me, says the ascending Saviour to his followers, "am with you always, even to the end of the world" (Matt. xxviii. 20).
The objector's last interrogation, quoted above, as expressing the sentiments of many, also demands a remark. "Why not," says he of Jesus, "speak of himself only, and tell his followers what good things he himself would do for them, without that continual reference to his Father which he gloried in making." This implied denial of the power of Jesus "himself" to do good things for his followers, really approaches to the cry which said, "Let Christ the king of Israel descend now from the cross,"—from the state of impotence, to which, as we think, our denial and opposition have reduced him,—"that we may see and believe." But at this time, to have spoken of "himself only," would have been to teach, not the union of his Humanity with his Divinity, but its separation from it; in which state it would have been powerless. While the Humanity was yet but partially glorified, it necessarily was in the acknowledgement that all its power was from the Divinity, and looked to the Divinity that its glorification might be completed: and Jesus at this time spoke accordingly, to teach us these truths. But does he never "tell his followers what good things he himself would do for them?" He does this, with only occasional references to his Father, even while on earth; even in this very declaration, rightly understood, he promises that he will give, to those who acknowledge him and his power to give it, the highest privilege that can be conferred on a created being,—the knowledge of, and conjunction with, the Inmost Divinity; a promise that would be absurd in the extreme if the Inmost Divinity and he were not one Person. To the same purport he says elsewhere, "No man knoweth the Son but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father save the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him." * But after his resurrection he constantly speaks of himself alone as doing good things for his followers; because, his union with the Father being now effected, there was no longer any reason for his ascribing the power to him; accordingly he never once does so: himself being, now, the proper Person of the Father. "In my name they shall cast out devils, they shall speak with new tongues, they shall take up serpents," &c.+ "Behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you." $ "He breathed upon them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost." $ "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life," &c. "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna," &c. "I will give to every one of you according to your works." "To him will I give power over the nations," &c.|| Thus the Lord Jesus Christ goes on through this chapter and the next, and indeed through the whole book, presenting himself alone as the inspector of his people's actions, and as alone doing "good things" to them that overcome. "What blasphemy would all this be, were he now, in any respect whatever, a separate Person from the Father! And how careful should his professed "followers" be, how they mock at the "good things which he himself will do for them," and "for whosoever shall confess him before men!"
* Matt. xi. 21. + Mark xvi. 17, 18. # Luke xxiv. 49. $ John xx. 22. || Rev. ii. 7, 17, 23, 26.
5. "For I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me." * Great stress is laid by the Tripersonalist, in common with all his brethren, upon this text; but what the Lord is here, in reality, asserting, is, not his separation from the Father, but his oneness with him. This we will endeavour fully to evince,— first, From the literal sense of the text and context; secondly, From the spiritual sense of the Mosaic law referred to; and thirdly, By showing, that, even in the language employed, the Divine Speaker is careful to avoid any expression that might sanction the notion, that the distinction between himself and the Father is a distinction of Persons.
We are first to show, That the Lord is here asserting, not his separation from the Father, but his oneness with him, from the literal sense of the text and context.
He had just before spoken of himself as the Divine Truth itself, by saying, "I am the light of the world." + The Pharisees denied this, and treated him as an impostor, with the scoff, "Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true."# Jesus replies, that though he bears record of himself, his record is true; and then he argues, in the words quoted, that he is not, as they supposed him, a mere man, but a Man of Divine Origin, or, as to his essential and interior nature, a Divine Man, and in close union with the Essential Divinity, or the Father. "I am not alone,"—not in a state of separation from the Father,—"but I and the Father that sent me." The construction of this last clause is left imperfect, and contains no affirmation, the words necessary to complete it being left to be supplied in the mind of the reader, as is often the case in the ancient languages. What then is understood, to complete the sense in English ? Evidently the clause is to be filled up thus: "I and the Father that sent me are together,"—that is, are in union; that is, as he explains it more fully elsewhere, "I and the Father are One." He explains it also with sufficient clearness in this same discourse, when he says, in nearly the same words, a few verses below, "He that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone." $ And he explains his meaning still more fully, and in still nearer connexion with the words in question, when he says,|| "If ye had known me, ye [should —or rather, according to the present use of the auxiliary verbs, ye] Would have known my Father also." If he were here teaching the duality,—the separation between himself and the Father,—how would this be illustrated by the assertion, that the knowledge of himself necessarily includes a knowledge of the Father ? If they were two persons, like two separate human witnesses, how could a knowledge of one of them,—and he, according to Tripersonal notions, far the inferior of the two,—include a knowledge of the other ? The thought is preposterous; and it demonstratively proves, that the Lord is not here teaching the duality, but the unity, as to person, of himself and the Father; and that the duality to which he does advert is of a far different kind. The declaration, "If ye had known me, ye would have known my Father also," is in fact an exact counterpart of the declaration to Philip, "Have I been so long time with you, and yet thou hast not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father:" accordingly, the references in the margin of the common Bible refer us to these words as the parallel passage to the other. Both explicitly say, that to know Jesus, is to know the Father. The parallelism becomes quite complete, when the similarity of the questions to which the two answers are given is observed. Philip, as an honest seeker, had said, "Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us." Jesus answered in the words just quoted. The Jews had asked in the way of cavil, "Where is thy Father?" Jesus answered, "Ye neither know me nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye would have known my Father also;" as much as to say, though he would not say it more explicitly to men who did not ask for information, "My Father is within me, and I am the Manifestation of his Person; insomuch that he that hath seen me, hath seen the Father." If the Lord's design was, to prove himself to be a different Person from the Father, this would have been an extraordinary answer indeed. Besides; the Jews, to whom he was speaking, wanted no proof of this: what he had to prove to them, was, not his separation from the Father, but his unity with him. Thus the whole context evinces, that this was his object: but, as was always his practice when reasoning with gainsayers, he proceeded with caution. He did not at once shock their prejudices and exasperate their hatred, by proposing bluntly a great truth which he knew they would, in that form, instantly reject: but, "with many parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to bear it" (Mark iv. 33). The parable or similitude by which he here introduces to them the doctrine of his unity with the Father, is drawn from the two witnesses of the Mosaic law: and the point of similitude which he aims at pointing out between such two witnesses and himself and the Father, is, not their separation as to person, but their unity as to testimony. Thus he proposes the unity as to testimony of such two witnesses, as an apt image of the unity as to person of the two first Essentials of Deity; and argues, that because he is thus in union with the Father, the testimony is true which he bare in calling himself "the Light of the world," and in saying, "he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."
* John viii. 16, 17, 18. + Ver. 12. # Ver. 13, $ Ver. 29. || Ver. 19.
But, secondly: In order to perceive the whole force, beauty, and sublimity, of the comparison which the Lord here uses, drawn from the two witnesses of the Mosaic law, we must refer to the spiritual and truly divine import of that regulation, as it stands in the Mosaic law itself; whence we shall see, still more clearly That the Lord is here asserting, not his separation from the Father, but his oneness with him.
We read in Moses, "At the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall he that is worthy be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death" (Deut. xvii. 6). Does any one suppose that this was merely a regulation of Jewish municipal law, and no more ? Doubtless, as the Jewish was a representative dispensation, all the laws which were prescribed by God for the regulation of the civil conduct and fate of its members, are in fact the laws which are to regulate the spiritual conduct and fate of mankind under all dispensations: indeed, it is absurd to imagine that God himself would act as a lawgiver of any lower order. The law before us, then, is that which determines the eternal state of man. Now it is impossible to suppose that the witnesses upon whose testimony man is finally judged, can be any persons without him. No one can imagine that "He that searcheth the reins and the hearts," and who "knoweth what is in man" incomparably more perfectly than it is known to the man himself, will, at the hour of judgment, call any human or even angelic witnesses to testify what they know of him. The only witnesses that he will examine, are those of the man's own heart and mind. Man will be tried as to his state in regard to goodness, to truth, and to life; or, what is the same, as to the state of his will, which is the seat of his evil or his good, of his understanding, which is the seat of his true or of his false persuasions, and of his actions, which are the developments outwardly of the former two. Such is the Divine Mercy, that, if no more than one of these depose against him, he is not condemned. Trial is first made, whether, by affording him means of instruction, the testimony of that one witness can be taken off; or whether, when all external restraints have been some time removed, he will raise up against himself the other witnesses also. Thus, for instance, if a man, from ill instruction, has imbibed false principles of religious doctrine in his understanding, yet has not applied them to confirm himself in evil, but has lived in the affections and exercise of charity; the single testimony against him of an ill-informed understanding will not be regarded: on instruction, he will reject his errors, and accept such views of truth as are congenial to the state of his purified will, and thus will become a happy angel. So, if he has professed the pure doctrines of the church and imbibed them in his understanding, but yet has cherished evil lusts in his heart, the testimony against him even of this evil will does not sink him to hell, till what the will dictates the understanding justifies, by confirming such false sentiments as sanction and defend the lusts of the will; a state which is seldom fully made up in this life, though, in the other, when no reformation has commenced, it soon supervenes. This is the cause, also, that all who die before they have attained the full exercise of their rational faculty, are saved. The will, in all, is in evil by birth: but till man confirms evil in himself, by thinking in favour of it, in the free exercise of his rational faculty, it is not appropriated to him; and hence, by means of divine instruction provided in the other life, all who have not had the capacity of thus confirming it are saved. In short; it is the union of the will and understanding into an indissoluble one, so that what the will loves the understanding thinks, and what the understanding thinks the will loves, that determines man's state, either for heaven or for hell: and when these two witnesses thus concur, the third, or the actual life, necessarily adds its suffrage.
Now when we thus see what are the spiritual witnesses to which the Lord refers, we find that the example, instead of countenancing the notion of a separation of person between him and the Father, demonstrates their perfect union. We see that the two witnesses themselves are not two individual human persons, but the two leading principles and faculties which constitute man a man in one person: the plain inference, then, to be drawn from the Lord's use of the similitude, is, that as the will and understanding constitute man a man in one person, so do the distinctions called Father and Son, in the Lord, constitute him God in one Person. If it were absurd to argue, that the will and understanding in man are two persons, it is equally absurd, from this passage, to make two Persons of Jesus and the Father.
But the beauty and strictness of the analogy which the two witnesses in man bear to the Father and Son in the Lord, will still more strongly appear, when we consider what the Father and Son in the Lord essentially are. I have generally, above, defined the Father to be the Divine Essence, and the Son the Divine Humanity, because this is strictly true, and is the definition under which our view of the subject can be most readily apprehended. But what is, essentially, the Divine Essence ? and what is, essentially, the Divine Humanity ? The first Essential of Divinity, doubtless, is Love or Goodness, and the second is Wisdom or Truth. Love or Goodness is the moving spring of all the divine operations: in Wisdom or Truth it invests itself, as the soul in its body: therein it finds the means for accomplishing its beneficent purposes; and thence it goes forth into act. Love or Goodness is obviously the life or soul of Wisdom or Truth, and Wisdom or Truth is obviously the Form or Investiture of Love or Goodness. Indubitably, then, the essence of the Divine Essence, so to speak, is Love or Goodness; and the essence of the Divine Humanity is Wisdom or Truth. Hence the Lord Jesus Christ is emphatically called the Word, which is the Divine Truth; and hence it is said that it was the Word which was made flesh or assumed Humanity. Essentially, then, the Father is the Divine Love or Goodness, and the Son is the Divine Wisdom or Truth. Now we behold, in all its exactness, the analogy between the two witnesses,— the will and the understanding, on which, as united for good or for evil, depends the eternal state of man,—and the Father and Son, the Divine Love and Divine Wisdom,—united in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. We see also, that the distinction between the two Divine Principles, called the Father and Son, is most real, and on no account to be confounded; but that, before we can establish this distinction to be that of two separate Persons, we must be prepared to prove that Love and Wisdom can never exist in union in one Divine Person or God, nor will and understanding in one human person or man.
But this will appear more conclusively still,—it will be still more indubitably evident, That the Lord is here asserting, not his separation from the Father, but his oneness with him—when, it is observed, as we are, in the third place, to show, That even while thus speaking in parables to the carnal-minded Jews, he is yet careful to avoid any expression which might sanction the notion, that the distinction between himself and the Father is a distinction of persons.
The only way in which, from the literal sense of this passage, a conclusion can be .drawn in favour of the doctrine of two persons, is, by asserting that the Father and Son are either merely two men, or that they are absolutely two Gods: and if both these conclusions are most abhorrent from reason and Scripture, most certainly the doctrine of a duality of Persons is not here conveyed in any way whatever. If the Lord had meant to say, that himself and Father were two witnesses, as distinctly two persons, as, according to the literal sense, were the two witnesses of the law, his words must have had this form: "The testimony of two men is true: I am one, that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me is another that beareth witness of me:" and the Tripersonalist's argument goes upon the supposition that he had actually said so.(Many paraphrases and free translations most unjustifiably make him say so: as Doddridge, Campbell, &c.) Suppose he had what would be the result? Here are two adjectives, one, and another, which of themselves mean nothing, but by reference to some substantive with which they are understood to be connected. The only substantive to which they can grammatically be referred is man. "The testimony of two men is true." Does then the Lord mean to say, "I am one man that bear witness of myself, and the Father is another man that beareth witness of me." No one will affirm this to be his meaning. Well, then: we must make allowance for difference of natures, and complete the construction by such a word as expresses that difference. "The testimony of two men is true." But we are now speaking, not of man, but of God "I then am one God that bear witness of myself, and the Father is another God that beareth witness of me." The parallelism is here exact: but will any allow that this is the meaning ? The writer I follow, indeed, will not be shocked at it, because he has abundantly disclosed that such is his idea: still, even he will be sufficiently "cautious and reserved" not to adopt the words, one God, and another God. He will therefore say, that we must understand the Lord as speaking thus: "I am one Divine Person that bear witness of myself, and the Father is another Divine Person that beareth witness of me." We will not quarrel about a word, when we know exactly what idea is meant by it. But in this use of the phrases, one, and another, Divine Person, they are exactly equivalent to the phrases, one, and another God; and it is impossible to suppose a shadow of difference in the meaning of the two terms. For the whole argument rests upon the assumption, that the difference between the Father and Son as witnesses, is the same as that between the two men as witnesses: but these are two human persons, only because they are two men; therefore, if the Father and Son are two Divine Persons, they are also two Gods.
But this conclusion is shocking and absurd: therefore, it must be totally foreign to the meaning of the Divine Speaker.
And as such an idea as that of distinction of Persons in the Godhead, or of a partition of Divinity between two or three separate Gods, is utterly foreign to the meaning of the Divine Speaker, therefore he cautiously abstains from the language requisite to give a shade of colour to such a conclusion. We have seen, that the conclusion supposes his language to be, "I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father is another that beareth witness of me." The word "one" but not the words "is another that," are given in the English version: but, though the word one is thus introduced to make the construction in English more easy, there is nothing answering to it in the original. According to the nearest rendering, the passage would be, "I am a witnesser respecting myself, and the Father that sent me witnesseth respecting me;" or, not to turn the commencing participle into a substantive, "I do witness respecting myself, and the Father that sent me witnesseth respecting me." Now, if the intention was, to declare that the Son is one Divine Person or God, and the Father another, this construction is as defective in the original as in the translation. The words eis and etero are as necessary to such a sense in Greek, as the words, one and another in English. Any speaker whatever, intending to convey such a sense, would naturally and necessarily have used them. To what cause then must the so cautious omission of them, by the Divine Speaker, be assigned ? To what but this: That, in the literal sense, the parallelism between two agreeing witnesses and the Divine Father and Son is not complete, but that the distinction between two agreeing men only exhibits a certain general, coarse, and exaggerated image or representation, of the distinction in the Divine Nature which the terms Father and Son are used to express ? The two witnesses are mentioned as images of the two Essentials of Deity, the Divine Essence and the Divine Humanity; or of the Essentials of those Essentials, the Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom; just upon the same principle as painters and sculptors form representative images of Faith, Hope, and Charity, and all the other virtues: and to argue, because two men are taken as representative images of the Divine Essence and the Divine Humanity, or of the Divine Love and Divine wisdom, that therefore those Essentials of Deity are two separate persons; is just as convincing as to argue, because Faith, Hope, and Charity, and all other virtues, are representatively imagined by distinct personal forms, that therefore no two of them ever existed together in one human mind.
Thus then we find, in every way in which the passage can be viewed,—-from the literal sense of the text and context; from the spiritual sense of the Mosaic law referred to; and from the very language employed;—that what the Lord is here in reality asserting, is, not his separation from the Father, but his oneness with him.
6. "Jesus said unto them, If God were your father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God: neither came I of myself, but he sent me" (John viii. 42). "Here," says the writer I follow, "is language as explicit as it possibly can be: for we have Father, God, and Jesus says, 'I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.' Now, candid reader, what sort of sense would it be deemed if a man were to talk of proceeding from himself, and sending himself on an errand; and then, having accomplished the object of his mission, of going back again to himself? And yet if the Father and the Son are one and the same person, according to the Swedenborgian doctrine, this must be the case. Here then is another mystery of Baron Swedenborg's making."
Only read one verse further. Jesus there adds, "Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word." By his speech, the Lord obviously means his language and expression; and by his word, the doctrine or truth which was couched within that language or expression: and he thus most explicitly declares, that we are not to understand what he had before said in a carnal and superficial manner. Now how did the Jews understand his speech in this instance? Evidently, just as Tripersonalists understand it;—according to the most carnal and most superficial purport of the words,—as if "a man were to talk of proceeding from another man, and of being sent by another man on an errand." Jesus however explicitly declares, that thus to understand his speech, is not to understand it: and that the reason why it is understood so grossly, is, because the mind is adverse to the doctrine, or word, which the speech, in its genuine sense, involves. All the "mystery," then, here charged upon Swedenborg, is, as every where else, of our accuser's making, not his; and his explanation of it relieves the subject of all unintelligible mystery whatever, by unfolding the doctrine contained in the Lord's significant speech.
Understood of the evolution of the Divine Humanity from the Divine Essence, the "language" is indeed "as explicit as it can possibly be." They who argue from it that Jesus must be a different Person from the Father, understand the term sent, when applied to a Divine Being, as meaning the same as when applied to a man,—as implying loco-motion from place to place, and separation by distance from that which sends him. But applied to Divinity, this makes a mystery indeed: it subjects him to the limitations of space, and supposes that he can never be present in distant places at the same time, and cannot be present in distant places at any time, but by travelling about as man does. They who thus apply this text, suppose this to have been the case with the Son of God born from eternity; for as to the humanity born of the virgin, they of course do not think that this, literally, was sent from God at all: they do not believe that this was with God before it appeared in the world. The Son of God from eternity, then, they conceive, was so sent from God himself, as to be entirely separated from him by an immense tract of space, which was left without the presence either of the one or of the other: neither of them, consequently, is omnipresent. Such are not merely the "mysteries," but the absurdities, consequent upon understanding the Lord's language respecting himself and the Father as if it were the language of a man respecting himself and another man; absurdities against which the Lord repeatedly warns us, not only by saying that his literal speech is not his word or meaning, but by declaring, that though sent from the Father, he was not absent from him. "I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me." "He that sent me is with me." When therefore Jesus speaks of himself as sent of God, he means, that the Divine Humanity is a derivation and evolution from the Essential Divinity, filled by it, and in the closest connexion with it; that it is a putting forth of the divine energies in a form suited for their effectual exertion in the sphere of human existence, but without any separation from their Divine Source; as the sun by its heat and light operates in the world, which it could not do if its rays were separated from the fountain. Hence the Lord couples the statement with that strong declaration, which is alone sufficient to show how the whole is to be understood, "I proceeded forth and came from God:" which words, given literally from the original would be, "I out of God proceeded forth, and came:" and how could that which was not created by God, but proceeded forth out of God, be a separate Person from the God out of whom it came?
When the meaning of the Lord's speech is thus understood, we may see that there would be no impropriety in the phrase, (however oddly it might sound, owing to the gross idea we attach to the term sending,) if we were to say, that God sent himself into the world by the Humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ. We have only to conceive of the Holy Spirit and the Power of the Highest, by which, we are told in Luke, the divine conception was produced, as proceeding forth into the sphere of life in which are men in the world, and there embodying themselves in the person of Jesus Christ, generated by their energy, and born of the virgin. In this Humanity, we see, God would be present with mankind in a more particular and personal manner than could otherwise be possible. Here, God, in the Person of Jesus Christ, is the same God as the Highest by whose Spirit and Power that person was produced: He sent forth, or evolved from himself, but without any separation from himself, that Spirit and Power, and, consequently, that Person in which they embodied themselves, so far as this Person is considered separately from the infirmities which at first adhered to it from the virgin mother: consequently, as God was in that Person which he thus sent into the world, he, in it, sent himself into the world, though without ever leaving for a moment his proper and peculiar residence in the highest or inmost of heaven and of the universe. Although then it would be nonsense "if a man were to talk of proceeding from himself, and sending himself on an errand;" the case is quite different when the like phrases are used of God, and when the terms are understood in the sense which they bear in divine language, and in which alone they can be predicated of the Omnipresent.
There is another passage somewhat similar to this, which the objector, in his observations, confounds with it; on which, therefore, we will make a few remarks. It is that in which Jesus says, "I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world; again, I leave the world, and go to the Father." * In these words the Lord briefly describes the whole process of the assumption and glorification of the Humanity. What is signified by, "I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world," has been explained already. He speaks of himself here, not only in regard to the outward human form, and to the perceptions, which this had as a man in the world, but in regard to the Spirit and Power of the Highest by which that form was produced, and which ever animated it, in union with the Highest, the Father, as its divine soul. So long as this remained connected with any of the substances, perceptions, or material nature, inherited from the mother, the Lord was in the world, and, though there was a connexion between the Humanity, through all the principles and faculties belonging to it, and the Divinity, the union between them was not complete. When, however, the whole of the forms and substances taken from the mother were put off, and Divinity was put on through the whole of the Humanity, the whole being renewed, or formed anew, from the Divinity; which Divine operation was on the eve of its full accomplishment when the Lord uttered these words; he personally appeared on earth no longer. The whole Human Nature, even to the extremes, which are called flesh and bones, + being now Divine, the union between the Divine Humanity and the Essential Divinity became closer than can be conceived: all appearance, even of separation between them, was abolished for ever: and this is what the Lord speaks of, when he says, "again, I leave the world, and go to the Father." Thus, whatever appearance of separation existed between the Lord and the Father while in the world, it only continued while he was in the world; and whatever language he uses in reference to such appearance of separation, only relates to his state at that time. If then there are any who cannot conceive how "the Father and the Son were one and the same person" while Jesus was in the world, none, surely, will pretend that it is at all difficult to conceive this since the departure of Jesus out of the world; let, them, then, cease to perplex themselves, by applying to our Lord in the latter state, the texts which only relate to him in the former.
7. "And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having thus said, he gave up the ghost." If both Father and Son were found in the person of Jesus Christ, this is pronounced to be another mystery! There is here, however, not even the appearance of a mystery, if it be borne in mind, what has been so fully shown in part B of this section, and in Nos. 4 and 6 of this part, that, so long as the Lord remained in the world, there was a portion of his constitution which was not Divine, and thus which was not properly one with the Father. The passion of the cross was the last temptation, by which the glorification or deification of the Human Nature was effected; end, while undergoing it, our Lord was in the last extreme of his state of humiliation. As dreadful tortures were now inflicted on his outer frame, and the cruel scoffs of his persecutors entered his outer ears, at the same time that all hell united for a last assault upon the perceptions of his mind, the seat of those perceptions was drawn down, more than at any other time, into the very body. Hence the despairing exclamation recorded by Matthew and Mark. When, however, he says, "Father, into thy hands I [commend—more literally, I] commit my spirit," we see that he inwardly had a perception of his approaching complete union with the Divine Essence, and an assurance that, notwithstanding his present sufferings in the dregs of mortality that were yet adjoined to him, the divine power of which the hands of God are mentioned as the symbol, would secure this result.
8. "And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani ? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matt, xxvii. 46). Here, it is argued, "there is one praying, and another to whom the prayer is most solemnly offered up:" if not, "Jesus Christ ought to have said, 'Myself, myself, why has thou forsaken me?' " The inapplicability of this parody of Scripture, will have amply appeared from part B of this section, where are explained the circumstances of our Lord's state of humiliation, in which the seat of his perceptions was chiefly in the unglorified part of his human nature as taken from the mother, and in which his temptations and sufferings at times shut out from that part of his constitution the manifest sense of his connexion with the Divine Essence. To argue then from what in these states he said, or rather, from what the unglorified part of his nature said, against his Oneness, as to his Divine Humanity, with the Father, is just as conclusive, as to argue thence, that he really was forsaken by his Father. If he was not really forsaken by the Father, though to his perceptions, in this state, it appeared so; neither does it thence follow that he was altogether a separate person, from the Father, though, to the part of him which suffered, such, at the time, was the appearance.
But I am surprised that a Tripersonalist should allege the despair of Jesus on the cross as a difficulty against us, when, upon, his own views, he must either explain the seeming difficulty just as we do, or must substitute for it another difficulty far more serious and insurmountable. Tripersonalists believe, exactly as we do, that, in Jesus Christ, God was united with man, so as to form together but one Person; the only difference being, that we believe, since there is but one God, that that one God was united with manhood in the Person of Jesus Christ; whereas they believe that it was a second God, co-equal with the first, that was thus united. Let us see then whether this division of the one God into two will help them to any other or better solution of the imputed difficulty than that which we derive from our conviction that God is but one.
Tripersonalists believe that the Son of God born from eternity, was at this moment in personal union with the Humanity born of the-virgin: do they then think that the Son of God from eternity concurred in uttering this complaint ? Was this despairing cry dictated by the Divine Nature, which, as a separate Divine Person, they believe was united to the Human Nature, or by the Human Nature alone ? If their creed would permit them, I am sure they would gladly answer, that it was the Human Nature alone which suffered and died, and the perceptions and feelings of which alone were expressed in the exclamation, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me." It is thus that the Tripersonal creed usually explains the passages in which inferiority or imperfection is ascribed to the Son: its advocates assure us, that such statements relate to his Human Nature only, to which they impute, upon occasion, a completely distinct consciousness. Thus, when the Lord says, "Of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father;" they tell us, that the Son is here only mentioned in reference to the Lord's Human Nature, which they thus represent to be positively ignorant of things which his Divine Nature knows. Ought they not then to view the present subject in the same light, and to allow our explanation to be completely satisfactory, when we say, that the unglorified part of the Lord's Human, Nature (a distinction of which they are ignorant) at times had perceptions of its own, quite distinct from those which belonged to his Divine Nature also; and that they alone spoke in the dying exclamation ?
But I apprehend, that, for the sake of exalting the merit of our Lord's sufferings, the Tripersonalists' creed will compel them to forego this alone consistent and satisfactory explanation. They will then allege, that, owing to the union of a Divine Person with a human form, the perceptions of the mere man were communicated to the God, so that the Divine Person knew no other than that it felt all that the Human Nature felt, and suffered and died with it; whence it follows, that it was as much the Divine Person as the Human Nature which exclaimed, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me," those words being addressed to another Divine Person. But can any possibly think, that this explanation has any advantage above ours ? Must not every one see that it is incumbered with "mysteries," and completely inexplicable ones, from which ours is
free ? Our creed considers the perceptions of the Divine and of the unglorified Human Natures, in the compound Person of Jesus Christ while in the world, to be quite distinct, and to be distinctly expressed, so that it was the mere unglorified Human Nature alone which suffered, despaired, and died: but the Tripersonal creed considers the perceptions of the Divine and merely Human Natures in the compound Person of Jesus Christ, to be undistinguishably blended, so that a Divine Person as well as a human actually suffered, despaired, and, to his own perceptions, died. The creed of the writer I follow, as we have seen above, represents the Divine Person of Jesus Christ as possessing in himself, "those attributes which are designated as essential and incommunicable, namely, omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence;" yet it considers that his own omnipotence and omniscience were now so extinguished by the weakness and ignorance of his human nature, that he both felt unable to deliver himself, and despaired of being delivered by the other Divine Person, his Father.
Look at these positive "mysteries," candid reader, and judge whether they are preferable to the satisfactory solution of all seeming mysteries which our doctrines present. Either the Divine and Human Natures, which both doctrines regard as combined in the person of Jesus Christ, had distinct perceptions, or they had not: If they had, and the Tripersonal doctrine admits it in this instance as in others, then, according to both doctrines, it was the Human Nature alone which exclaimed, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" and their view of this subject is precisely the same as they object to in us: If their doctrine affirms that they had not, or not in this instance, then it maintains the far more difficult supposition, of a, suffering, despairing, and dying God. Thus they must either explain the seeming difficulty just as we do, or must substitute for it a real difficulty which is truly insurmountable. The writer I follow, with many more, falsely charges Swedenborg with reviving the doctrine of Sabellius and the other ancient Patripassians. The charge, even if it were true as it is false, would come with an ill grace from modern Tripersonalists, who are Deopassians in the strictest sense of the word. (For a complete refutation of the charge against the New Church of Sabellianism, and for proof that the common doctrine is Deopassian, see the Appendix to this work, No. II.)
It may also be worth remarking, that, in the dying exclamation, Jesus does not address the Divine Essence by the term Father, but by that of God. Thus, even upon the doctrine of more Divine Persons or Gods than one, it would be reasonable to conclude, that this was an address of the mere Human Nature to the Divine Nature or Person hypostatically united with it, rather than that it was an address of the Divine and Human Nature of Jesus unitedly to another Divine Person.
That the Lord, while in the world, had distinct perceptions in the distinct parts of his constitution, may be inferred from the very different language which he uttered at his crucifixion and death, as recorded by Matthew and Mark, compared with Luke and John; whose very different statements can scarcely bo reconciled upon any other supposition, than that they express the perceptions of Jesus in the distinct regions of his human mind. Thus, while Matthew and Mark relate only the sense of separation from the Divine Essence experienced by the lowest unglorified part of his Human Nature, Luke gives only the confidence of approaching complete union with the Divine Essence with which the interior part of his Human Nature looked to the pure Divinity; whilst John neither notices the sense of separation perceived by the ultimates of his Human Nature, nor the confidence of approaching entire union felt by the interiors of that Nature, but only the consciousness of union already begun enjoyed in its inmost part. Thus whilst in Matthew and Mark Jesus expostulates with his God, and in Luke relies on his Father, in John he makes no address to, nor even mentions, his God, or Father, at all, but speaks entirely of and from himself.*
* On this remarkable circumstance, see the Plenary Inspiration, &c., pp. 588—590.
That then in Jesus which suffered, despaired, and died, was the merely human nature only,—the mere Son of Mary, and not the Son of God. This was not a separate person from the Father, since what any human being takes from his mother, considered separately from what he takes from his father, does not constitute a separate person, but only a part of his person: yet it was not strictly one with the Father, much less was it, as the cavils of our opponents suppose us to affirm, the same as the Father; for it was merely human, and not yet divine. It, however, was rendered Divine by means of this last temptation and passion of the cross, being entirely renewed, in consequence, from the Divinity within. Thus, after the resurrection, the whole of the Humanity or Son was one with the Divinity or Father; but it never became the same as the Father: as man's body is one with his soul, forming with it one man in one person, though it is not the same, but quite a distinct part of his constitution. This view of the subject clear? from all difficulty the Lord's dying exclamation, and all the other circumstances relating to his state of humiliation, as completely as the Newtonian theory of the universe clears from all difficulty the phenomena of the motions of the heavenly bodies: to treat therefore such a view with derision, is to imitate the rustic, who believes, from the appearance to his senses, that the sun and stars move round the earth, and ridicules the philosopher who would convince him of the fallacy.
9. "Who [Christ] being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Heb. i. 3). The writer I follow asks, "how a man must proceed in order to sit down on his own right hand? The Saviour (he adds) sits down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; and yet, according to the Baron's doctrine, there is no right hand on the supreme throne in heaven besides his own. Here is another mystery of the Swedenborgian manufacture."+ Here, again, is an open display of Tritheism. We shall soon see who is here the manufacturer of mysteries. It is assumed, we see, that the right hand here mentioned is literally a right hand. On this assumption his whole argument proceeds: and then he distinctly presents to oui imagination, a Divine Personal Being sitting on the throne of heaven, with another Divine Personal Being sitting near his right hand. Did ever the polytheism of Tripersonalism more openly take off the mask ? Was ever the belief in two or more Gods more distinctly avowed? The avower proceeds: "It is true the Baron was aware of the text before us, and has given an explanation of it, such as it is: but they who can be pleased with it are not ill to please; for it appears to me to be void of all solid argument, and frivolous." Was the writer aware, that among those who have been pleased with the "frivolous" explanation adopted by Swedenborg, are some of the most eminent authorities of the Anglican Church ? If it is to be condemned as "void of all solid argument" when stated by Swedenborg, let us see whether any more solidity will be allowed it when it comes in the name of Bishop Pearson. "First," says that learned writer, in the proper article of his Exposition of the Creed, "we must consider what is the right hand of God in the language of the Scriptures: Secondly, what it is to sit down at that right hand.—God is pleased to descend to our capacity, and not only to speak by the mouths of men, but also, after the manner of men, he expresses that which is in him by some analogy with that which belongs to us.—The hands of man are those organical parts which are most active, and executive of our power; by those the strength of our body is expressed, and most of our natural and artificial actions are performed by them. From whence the power of God, and the exertion and execution of that power, is signified by the hand of God. Moreover, since, by a general custom of the world, the right hand is more used than the left, and by that general use acquireth a greater firmitude and strength, therefore the right hand of God signifieth the exceeding great and infinite power of God." The bishop gives two other significations of the right hand of God; according to one of which it also implies "the glorious majesty of God," and according to the other "celestial happiness and perfect felicity." He then proceeds: "Now as to the first acceptation of the right hand of God, Christ is said to sit down at the right hand of the Father, in regard of that absolute power and dominion which he hath obtained in heaven; whence it is expressly said, 'Hereafter, ye shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power', (Matt. xxvi. 64, Mark xiv. 62, Luke xxii. 69)." As to the phrase to sit; this, he says, "prescinding from the corporal posture of session, may signify no more than habitation, possession, permanence, and continuance; as the same word in the Hebrew and Greek languages often signifies." They who will not receive Swedenborg's explanation supported by such authority, must be "ill to please" indeed: but when it is accepted, what becomes of the heathenish idea, of a side-by-side partnership in the heavenly throne? The above are all the texts which the writer I here follow has quoted, to establish the notion of the separation as to Person between Jesus and the Father: I trust it has now sufficiently appeared, that they more truly establish their Unity, and confirm the grand truth, that the whole Trinity is centred in the single Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, To add, however, to their force, for his purpose, their selector makes this observation: "There are more than a hundred texts in the New Testament, a great part of which are in St. John's gospel, all bearing much the same meaning with those noticed above." This is very true: there are a great many texts bearing much the same meaning as the above, and thus contributing to illustrate and confirm the New-Jerusalem doctrine respecting the Divine and Human Natures in the person of Jesus Christ, and the progressive glorification, or deification, of the latter. It is the New-Jerusalem doctrine alone which can explain such texts in agreement with "the analogy of the whole Bible and unbiassed reason." Our Tripersonalist gives a page of references to all the passages he could find which contain the words "Father," "Son," "Son of God," or "Son of man." But to what purpose are such references ? Who requires to be convinced that the New Testament contains those terms ? The question is, not about the existence of those terms, but the sense of them; and it has now, I apprehend, been sufficiently seen, that they are not the titles of separate Divine Persons or Gods, but of the Divine and Human Natures united in One Person, which is that of the Lord Jesus Christ; that this union, while he was in the world, was in progress only towards completion, whence the occasional appearances of separation between them; but that, at his resurrection and ascension, the union was perfected; whence, the Human Nature being thenceforth also Divine, and with the Divine Essence an Indivisible One, he ever liveth and reigneth the Supreme and Only Deity,—"God over all, blessed for evermore" (Rom. ix. 5).
Here, then, 1 will conclude this Section. It is certain, that the one God has, from the beginning of creation, manifested himself to his people under various characters, expressed by various names, suited to their various states of necessity. Thus we find God saying to Moses, "I am Jehovah; and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, by the name of God Almighty; but by my name Jehovah was I not known to them" (Ex. vi. 2, 3). Whether this name was altogether before unknown, is disputed among commentators: but it evidently was either first assumed, or was assumed anew, at the founding of the Israelitish Church by the calling of Moses: was it not then to be expected, that, when God founded the Christian Church, the character of which, compared with all that preceded it, was so entirely new, he would again manifest himself by an entirely new name? Now, we may be certain that he never called himself by a new name, but in reference to some new manifestation of his character: was it not then to be concluded, that when he should appear in the character of Redeemer, it would be with some new development of the infinite perfections which are comprised in his essence; yet that it could not be as a separate Divine Person; just as, when he manifested himself as Jehovah to Moses, it was under a new character, but without any difference as to person from that in which he was known as God Almighty ? Accordingly, we have abundantly seen, that both prophets and evangelists unite in proclaiming that such is the fact. Isaiah, we have ascertained, declares, over and over again, that the Being who redeems the church and
human race is Jehovah; and not only so, but that Jehovah the Redeemer is he that formed the human race, that maketh all things, that stretcheth forth the heavens alone, that spreadeth abroad the earth by himself. Jesus is constantly called the Saviour in the New Testament: nay, the very name, Jesus, means the Saviour: but Jehovah, we have found, declares, that beside himself there is no Saviour; the very name, Jesus, the Saviour, involves then a blasphemy, unless the being who owns it is the. alone Jehovah. How clearly, too, is this established by the declarations of Jesus himself! We have noticed, in particular, his avowal to Philip, and have seen, that "every attempt to explain it to any but the New-Church sense, wears the character of most miserable subterfuge, most palpable violence." Thus, while the Old Testament openly declares, that there is no Saviour beside Jehovah, and no Creator but Jehovah the Redeemer, the Redeemer of the New Testament corroborates the testimony with his solemn assurance, that there is no Father, that is, no Jehovah, out of him. If he that hath seen him hath seen the Father, it can only be, because he is himself the person of the father, who dwells in him as the soul dwells in the body. Hence he is the proper Object of worship. As, when we address a man's body, we address his soul at the same time; and in fact, if he is a sincere man, we see his soul in his body, because it shines through it, and causes it to express all its sentiments; so, when we address the Lord Jesus Christ, we at the same time address the Father; and, in fact, we see the Father in him; because his Person is "the brightness of the Father's glory, and the stamped impression of his substance" (Heb. i. 3) (as the original of that passage expresses it,—not person, according to the sense now attached to that term, because the Father since the coming of Jesus Christ, has no Personal Form distinct from his).
Altogether, then, I trust, the Candid and Reflecting will admit, that these first truths of theology are most certain, and assailable by no valid objection: that as there is, and can be, but One God, so the Lord Jesus Christ is He: that in his Glorified Person the whole Trinity centres; the Divine Essence, or Father, being his Divine Soul, the Divine Manifestation, or Son, being his Divine Form, and the Divine Influencing Power, or Holy Spirit, being his Divine Effluent Life and Operation: thus that the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ is the proper Person of the Father, and is the Sole Dispenser cf the gifts of salvation.