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that in applying the word person to the doctrine of the Trinity, we do not use it in its common acceptation as expressing that distinct and separate existence which one being possesses independently of others. For this would annihilate the unity of the Godhead. We only mean by this expression that the distinctions of the Godhead spoken of in Scripture under the titles of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are not the attributes or qualities of Deity ; but that they are, in a certain mysterious and wonderful manner, subsistencies, or persons, in one Jehovah : or, in plainer words, that the Father is not the Son, nor the Son the Father, nor the Father or Son the Holy Ghost; but that each, being Himself God, and not an attribute of God, these Three Persons subsist in co-essentiality and co
I observe once more that, when we speak of a threefold subsistence in Deity, we do not mean to say that God is three and yet one in the same respect. This is an absurdity and impiety which is charged on believers in the Triunity of the Godhead for the purpose of exciting prejudice against a fair and impartial consideration of the doctrine ; and intimates an inability to answer the plain and convincing arguments which the Scripture furnishes in its support. And now, my dear friend, I conclude my
* The word person, or persona, renders the Greek word προσωπον 2 Cor. iv. 6. The Greek word προσωπα renders the
. tinctions in the cherubic figure.
-is frequently used to describe the dis פנים and ,פנים .Heb
letter by recalling to your consideration and my own the importance and advantage of studying the volume of Divine Revelation. Its truths are “more to be desired than gold, yea, than much fine gold.” Much of this treasure lies hid under the surface; and it is not to a superficial but to the laborious inquirer that the Scriptures disclose their latent riches. In order to be successful students, the knowledge of Scripture-truth must be our chief object of pursuit. We must give ourselves wholly to it. And conscious of our own ignorance, we must seek instruction from Him who alone can open our understandings to understand the Scriptures.
And oh, my friend, what motives to humiliation and admiration and gratitude arise before we contemplate the condescension of Jehovah in conversing with sinful men.
That “the High and lofty one who inhabiteth eternity whose name is holy," should stoop so low, is what could not have been believed, if He had not Himself revealed it. He visited the patriarchs of old in the appearance of man. Those occasional visits have become a permanent residence. “God was in Christ;" and that nature which he once assumed on earth, he hath translated to the throne of Glory. Thither he has promised to translate his redeemed:
and in the interval he says, “I dwell with him that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones."
I am, my dear friend,
Your's most truly,
THE OFFERING OF ISAAC.
MY DEAR FRIEND.
In an attempt to prove that the religion of the Son of God has been that of all ages, not excepting the patriarchal period, and that the Gospel of Christ has afforded to fallen man his only hope from the beginning ; the wonderful instance of faith, recorded in the life of the patriarch Abraham, and consisting in the virtual sacrifice of his only son, demands a prominent station. And whether we consider this extraordinary act as showing his acquaintance with the way of salvation provided for sinful man, or as evidence of the effect of faith in a renewed heart, it is truly worthy of our closest attention. The record of the transaction is found in the 22nd chapter of the book of Genesis, and is appointed by the church of England as the first lesson in her morning service on her great day of commemorative atonement, as being typical of that unspeakable act of Divine compassion which is prophetically described in the proper psalms selected for the occasion, and in the first
lesson for her evening service, the 53d of Isaiah; and which is, historically and doctrinally, the subject of her second lessons, and of her Epistle and Gospel for that day.
Of this wonderful transaction it has been observed, that the like is not to be found in Scripture ; for we see therein the God of infinite truth requiring, without any breach of his fidelity, the removal by death of that person who had been constituted the organ of fulfilling the promises of salvation made to the human race ;-the God of infinite justice requiring, without any taint of injustice, the effusion of the blood of a son, whose piety and filial obedience were unquestionable : we see a father intending to offer as an holocaust his only son, without being chargeable with cruelty, aiming a blow at the throat of that son without any defect of natural affection, and purposing to reduce his body to ashes without any imputation of impiety either towards God or his child.
St. Paul has epitomised the narrative of Genesis in his epistle to the Hebrews, chap. xi. 17-19. He says, “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac; and he that had received the promises, offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said that in Isaac shall thy seed be called: accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead ; from whence also he received him in a figure.” There are also