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Written by Wilson Thompson   

My next business will be to prove that Christ taught; and the apostles believed that he was God to the exclusion of all distinct equal persons. That the apostles believed as they were taught by Christ, that he was exclusive God, and rejected the idea of any other equal person, that was distinct from him, we call your attention to the new testament, where their faith, and Christ’s lessons of instruction are plainly stated, in the following manner. Compare Rev. 22: 6, 16, "And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true; and the LORD GOD of the holy prophets sent his angel, to show unto his servants the things which must shortly be done." "I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches." Here Jesus teacheth, that himself is the Lord God of the holy prophets, who sent his angel, &c. Now can there be any distinct person from the Lord God of the holy prophets, and equal with him? Is not the tri-personal plan false, according to these texts?

Compare Rev.1:8,13,17, in the 8th verse it is said, "I am ALPHA, and OMEGA, the beginning and the ending, saith the LORD, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty ." This august speaker [in vs. 13] is declared to be, "like unto the son of man." If any doubt should remain on the mind of the reader, whether this was Jesus or not, he can read the 18th verse and he will be satisfied, vs. 17, "I am the first, and the last." From these texts we find that Jesus taught; that himself was the first, and the last, the Alpha, the Omega, the Lord, and the Almighty .He is the first to the exclusion of all first persons distinct from him; and he is the last, to the exclusion of all third, or last persons, distinct from him. He is the Almighty , to the exclusion of all equal persons, [for there can be but one Almighty] and he is the Lord to the exclusion of all Lords as distinct persons from him. "These are the true sayings of God." Reader examine yourself, whether you be in the faith.

When Zacharias was speaking of John the Baptist; he said Luke 1 :76, "And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the HIGHEST; for thou shalt go before the face of the LORD, to prepare his ways." Christ in speaking of this John says, Mat. 11:10, "For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. " John went before the face of Jesus, to prepare his way before him. Therefore Jesus is the Lord, the Highest, before whose face John was sent; and whose prophet he was. Then Jesus was the Lord, the Highest; and as there can be but one Highest, Jesus is the Highest and can have no equal, that is distinct from him, for he is the Highest.

Compare I Cor.8: 6, with John 20: 28. In the first of these places, Paul says, "To us there is but one God the Father." In the other, Thomas says to Jesus, "My Lord and my God." Then Jesus and the Father could not be two distinct Persons, for while Paul owned no God but the Father; Thomas said Jesus was his Lord and his God. Then Jesus is all the God that the apostles acknowledged, as a God to them.

II Cor.5:19, "To wit, that God [not the second person, but God himself] was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation." Now if there were a first, and a third person, equal with, and distinct from the God in Christ, I know of no way of reconciliation to them, for it is the God in Christ [manifest in the flesh] that hath committed to us, the word of reconciliation. This agrees with the two last mentioned texts, and shows that while the apostles owned no God distinct from the Father, Jesus was their Lord and God; so the God in Christ, or Christ as God, was the only Lord God of the apostles, to the exclusion of all persons distinct from him.

Some may try to evade the force of all these plain, and pointed scriptures; by acknowledging that Christ is God, in common with the Father and Spirit; but yet a distinct person, from them both. To destroy this futile and illogical refuge, I will adduce a few pointed texts, which will be like fire among thorns, to this cobweb refuge.

Col.2: 8,9, "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." Now, if the Godhead consists of three equal, and distinct persons, and Christ be only the second one of these, how woefully the apostle missed it, and how improper the caution in the text; but if the apostle be correct, and the whole fullness of the Godhead, to the exclusion of all distinct persons, be in Christ bodily, how woefully the tri-personal scheme misses it, and how well timed the warning given by the apostle to the church, to beware lest any man spoil them through philosophy, &c. If the whole fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ, how can the first, and third persons in the Godhead, be distinct from him? This the apostle might well call philosophy, connected with vain deceit, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ; and let me ask you christian reader, has not the Church been much spoiled by it? While they have been looking in the field of philosophy for two divine persons distinct from Christ, and have almost forgotten, that the whole fullness of [not the second person in the Godhead] the Godhead dwelleth in him [Christ] bodily.

Col.l:19, "For it pleased the Father, that in him [Christ] should all fullness dwell." Now if all fullness dwell in Christ, the fullness of the Father, the fullness of the Word, and the fullness of the Holy Ghost, dwelt in him; with all the treasures of wisdom and prudence; grace and glory; then all persons distinct from him, are vague vacuums, or in a state of vacuity. If all fullness dwell in Christ, he is all the fullness of the Godhead, and can have no distinct equal person.

If positive scripture proved by scripture, be of any weight, in settling a question of faith in a christian land; my system is fully demonstrated. I have not went about to reason, and infer from implication, and unsettled premises, as the tri-personal writers have uniformly been under the necessity of doing; but from the plain, literal, and positive expressions of scripture language, according to apostolic explanation, and application, the following facts are settled.

1st . That there is but one God.

2nd. That the Trinity, or Father, Word, and Spirit, are in Christ as his underived divinity, and,

3rd. That the whole fullness of the Godhead, to the exclusion of all Gods, was in the person, or body of Christ to the exclusion of all other distinct persons. I shall now point out some few of the evils of the tri-personal scheme; and the fallacy of the arguments by which it is chiefly supported.

On this part of my subject, it must not be expected that I can point out those evils, in positive scripture language, or quote scripture to say, the arguments for three persons in the Godhead are fallacious. This must not be expected, for as the scripture says nothing about three persons in the Godhead, one way or another, under the name person, we could not expect to find a text to say pointedly there are evils in the tri-personal scheme or the arguments are fallacious that are resorted to in support of that scheme. If I were to start up and say; there are seven distinct persons in the Godhead; no man could find one text of scripture to say, there are not seven persons in the Godhead. One certain and powerful argument against me would be, that the volume of inspiration says nothing about those seven persons, neither is there one text that says anything about three persons in the Godhead. If any man will find one text to prove the latter; I will pledge myself, to find one to prove the former, and the want of scripture is as strong an argument against the one, as the other.

Objection: There is a text, I John 5:7, that says, "There are three that bear record in heaven; " and we may fairly infer, that they are persons.

Answer: There is a text, Rev.3:1 & 1:4, which speaks of the seven spirits of God, and I am as well supported in inferring persons from these seven, as you are from the other three.

Objection: These three are one, and bear record, therefore they must be persons of one essence.

Answer: These seven are one, [see Rev.3:1,] and bear record - "These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God. " So to infer persons is equally just in this case as in the other.

Objection: That these three bear record, and bearing record is a personal act; therefore, we must infer persons, from their personal act.

Answer: These seven bear witness, or record, [Rev.1:4,31 & Zech.3:9,] so if bearing record, being a personal act, demand of us, to infer persons in the one case it does with equal force in the other; and so the very arguments that support the tri-personal scheme; with equal force would prove seven persons in the Godhead, for these seven, are the seven spirits of God; and the personal act of running, is ascribed to them, which would prove them to be persons according to the tri-personal plan of reasoning.

These things are stated not because I believe in seven persons in God; but only by the analogy to show the fallacy of the argument, chiefly relied on, by the tri-personal party, in support of their fabricated hypothesis.

Some contend that there are three real persons in the Godhead; and on this account are called realists. Others hold three persons nominally, and not really, and on this account are called nominals. The evil of the former, is in making a real society of persons in the Godhead, as Hopkins does, [see Ely’s contrast pg. 21] and consequently three distinct divine beings, and objects of worship; or three Gods of one essence, as when they say, that each of these distinct persons is God; considered distinct from the other two. This evil is of such a destructive nature, as to show itself in all branches of their worship. I have heard them pray to each of these distinct persons, distinctly, as a separate God. Is there no evil in this? Nay, is there not such an evil, as would make an apostle’s blood run cold; and cause him to say, "To us there is but one God."

The evil of the nominals, is chiefly in contending for what they disavow; that is, they contend that there are three persons, when in reality they do not believe the fact, in any other than a nominal sense, so while they contend that there are three persons in the Godhead, and do not believe it is really true, their arguments are only calculated to mislead their hearers, and they are more notoriously inexcusable, than if they did believe what they contend for was a real truth. If their followers should be convinced, that there were three persons in the divine essence, they would believe, what their preceptors believed was not a real, but only a nominal fact. That which is no more than nominal can afford no more than nominal comfort, and if the personal existence of the Father, Word and Holy Ghost, is no more than nominal, the faith which is built on these persons, has but a nominal object, and of course must be a nominal faith; and the nominals are welcome to all the comfort it can afford them, and I envy them not in their nominal enjoyments.

The next thing that I shall attend to is, to notice the main arguments of the tri-personal party, and refute them. It is argued by some learned critics on the tri-personal scheme, that the Hebrew name, in the old testament, which we have translated by the word GOD, is Elohim, a noun substantive of the plural number, regularly formed from its singular. I will not pretend to contradict this fare brought criticism. The same critics do admit, that this plural noun Elohim is connected with verbs of the singular number. Now I see no undeniable rule, for forcing the single verb to agree with the plural noun, any more than to change the noun to agree with the verb. When we read the old testament, if we should always read Gods, in the plural, instead of God, in the singular, the whole sense of many chapters that throughout argue against a plurality of Gods, must be rendered unintelligible to the last degree. If our translation is so base; as to mislead us, in a subject of so much importance as this; are we not unsafe in confiding in any of it? For if the word Elohim is plural, and when connected with single verbs, must still be understood as giving a plural sense; then "Gods" would be proper, instead of "God." If it were so rendered through the old testament, the whole beauty and sublimity of the bible would be destroyed; and that sweet agreement that now shines with such convincing resplendence, in comparing the old and new testaments, would all be lost; and a perpetual jargon must reign in its stead. When men are compelled to condemn our translation of the Bible, in order to establish their hypothesis, I think we are authorized to suspect their scheme. I am not capable to criticize on Hebrew nouns, &c. , but the Jews who speak the Hebrew language as their native tongue say, that Elohim, is not a plural noun, except in some particular cases, or on some particular occasions; and I know of none that ought to be better judges of the Hebrew language, than the native Hebrews themselves. I therefore, would suppose, that if Elohim were single, except on some particular occasions that it must be of the singular number, when connected with verbs of the single number. It is evident, at all events, that our translators, with all the parliamentary inspectors understood it as giving a single, and not a plural idea of God. It becomes us to receive our English scriptures as our guide, unless they are proven corrupt, by proper authority, and when this is done; we should abandon them, and prosecute the proper measures to obtain a new translation. It is a well known and settled fact; that a plural noun is used to express more than one of a kind, so that if the noun Elohim be plural, and when connected with single verbs, must still give a plural idea, it should have been translated by the plural noun Gods. Then it would have been an argument in favor of three, or of three hundred Gods; but it would be no argument in favor of three distinct persons in one God; for the name of God, if it were changed into a plural noun, would not give an impartial reader, or unbiased mind, the most distant idea, of three distinct divine persons in the unity of the Godhead. If changing a noun, from the single, to the plural number would express the idea of three distinct persons in the essence of the thing named, then the noun Ship, when changed to Ships, would mean three persons in the essence of one Ship; the noun Tree, when changed to Trees; would mean three distinct persons in the essence of one tree, &c.

One evil arising from this notion of three distinct persons in the Godhead, according to the above criticism, is in striking a fatal blow at the very vitals of all confidence in the English scriptures; and in leading men to worship Gods, instead of one God; for it is a well known and indisputable fact, that the plural of the noun God, is Gods; more than one, but no man knows how many, whether two, three or three thousand; or what number. It is very strange, that Infidels, and the tri-personal party, are the only men that I have noticed, who have had need of this refuge, or of criticizing in this way on the Hebrew Elohim. In Volney’s Ruins, the very same kind of criticism may be seen; by him introduced to destroy all confidence in the scriptures and the same is introduced by the tri-personal party, to support a point [which to say the least] the English scriptures are silent upon; and in order to establish their thesis, they go into criticisms calculated in their natural tendency, to invalidate the English scriptures; but this is only one, among many of the evils of the tri-personal scheme and we will rather attribute it to the badness of the cause which employs it; than to any evil design in the critic who unfortunately introduced it, for he seems to have been much like Aesop’s fable of the doe, that fed on the bank, and being blind of one eye, she kept her blind eye toward the water, and her good eye toward the plains, to watch for the hunter; but unfortunately for the poor doe, a vessel came by, and an archer from the vessel shot her from the side from which she suspected no danger; so these critics, are exposing themselves to the arrows of the Infidel, while they seem only afraid of Arians, whose net they have only half escaped.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 13 September 2006 )
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