A Third SERMON Concerning the TRINITY.
JOH. xvij. 3.
〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉.
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the onely true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
I Have, in a former Discourse from this Verse, enter∣ed upon the Doctrine of the Trinity; not so much, as being contained in it, as occasioned by it.
I have shewed that the word Onely is here restrictive, not of the Subject Thee, but of the Predicate True God. Affirming the Father to be the Onely True God, though not the Father Onely. Nor is it exclusive of the Son, who is also the same True God; and is so expresly called, by this same Writer, 1 Joh. 5.20. where (speaking of Je∣sus Page 70 Christ) he says, This is the True God, and Eternal Life; as if it were spoken with a direct aspect to the words before us.
Now that Christ is often called God, neither the Ari∣ans nor the Socinians do deny. And it is so frequent, and so evident, as not to be denyed. Not only in the place last cited, but in many others. Thy throne, O God endureth for ever, Heb. 1.8. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. Joh. 1.1. My Lord and my God. Joh. 20.28. The Being over all, God blessed for ever, Amen. (Or, the Supreme Being, the ever blessed God. Rom. 9.5.) And elsewhere.
But to this they Object, That though he be sometime called God; yet by God is not there meant the Supreme God: But either a mere Titular God, as the Socinians will have it; (as one of the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, 1 Cor. 8.5. one who is called God, but indeed is not, but a mere Man however highly dignified.) Or (as the Arians will have it) that he is God indeed, but not the Supreme God, not the same God with the Father, but an Inferiour God, (Deus factus) a made-God, a Creature-God; who was in∣deed before the World, but not from Eternity,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, there was (a Time, a Moment, a Quando) when he was not, when he had not a Being.
In Answer to both which; I shall endeavour to shew, (by the most signal Characters, whereby the Supreme God, the Onely true God, is set forth to us in Scripture; and by which he is therein Distinguished from all false Gods, or other pretended Gods;) that Christ is the True God, the Supreme God, the same God with the Father, and not another God.
The first Character, which we meet with, of this God, is that of Gen. 1.1. In the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth. Which I think no man doubts but to be meant of the True God, the Supreme God. And by virtue of this, he claims the Sovereignty thereof; The Earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof, Psal. 24.1. Je∣hovah, the Lord of all the Earth, Josh. 3.11, 13. The God of the Heaven, and the God of the Earth, Gen. 24.3. The Heaven is my Throne, and the Earth is my Footstool, Isa. 66.1. Behold the Heaven, and the Heaven of Hea∣vens, is the Lord's, the Earth also, and all that is therein, Deut. 10.14.
The same Character is applied to God very often, Isa. 42.5, 8. Thus saith God the Lord (Jehovah) he that created the Heavens and stretched them out; he that spread forth the Earth and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein. I am the Lord (Jehovah) that is my name, and my Glory will I not give unto another. And Isa. 48.13. Mine hand hath laid the foundation of the Earth, and my right hand hath spanned (or spread out) the Heavens. So Psal. 8.3. When I consider the Heavens, the work of Thy fingers; the Moon and the Stars which thou hast ordained. Psal. 146.6. Which made Heaven and Earth, the Sea, and all that there∣in is. And many other places, not only in the Old Te∣stament; but in the New Testament likewise; as Acts 14.15. That ye should turn from these vanities unto the Living God, who made Heaven and Earth, and the Sea and all things that are therein. And Acts 17.24. God that made the World, and all things therein. So Revel. 4.11. Thou hast created all things. Chap. 14.7. Him that made Hea∣ven and Earth, and the Sea, and the Fountains of Water.
And it is the distinctive Character, whereby he doth Page 72 distinguish himself from all other pretended Gods, Jer. 10. Where he who at ver. 10. is called The Lord, the true God, the living God, an everlasting King, at who's wrath the Earth shall tremble, and the Nations shall not abide his indignation; doth at ver. 11. give this defiance to all other Gods, Thus shall ye say to them; The Gods which have not made the Heavens and the Earth, they shall perish from the Earth, and from under these Heavens.
Now this Character we find ascribed to Christ. Not only, where it is spoken as of God indefinitely, but to be understood of Christ; (as are some of the places al∣ready mentioned:) But even where it is particularly applied to him.
I shall begin with that of Joh. 1.1, 2. where we have a large Discourse of him, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Where, by the Word is meant Christ, as is evident from the further descriptions of him in the following verses; 'Tis he of whom John the Baptist came to bear witness, ver. 7, 8. He who came into the World, but the World knew him not. ver. 10. Who came to his own, but his own received him not; but to as many as received him, he gave power to become the Sons of God. ver. 11.12. Who was made flesh, and dwelt amongst us, and we beheld his glory; the glory as of the onely begotten of the Father. ver. 14. He of whom John bare witness and cryed, saying, This is he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred •efore 〈◊〉•or he was before me; (not as to his Humane Na•ure; fo• so, John the Baptist was older than he, by six months, Luk. 1.26.) and of his fulness (saith St. John) we have all recei∣ved grace for grace; For the Law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ, ver. 15, 16, 17. 'Twas Jesus Christ therefore that is here called the Word.
Now of this same Word, it is said, The same was in the beginning with God; All things were made by him, and with∣out Page 73 him was not any thing made which was made, ver. 2, 3. He was in the World, and the World was made by him, ver. 10. Consonant to that of Heb. 11.3. The Worlds we refrmed by the Word of God: and 2 Pet. 3.5. By the Word of God the Heavens were of old, and the Earth standing in the Water and out of the Water. And by the same Word, the heavens and earth are kept in store, or preserved, ver. 7.
And to the same purpose, Col. 1.16, 17. By him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And Heb. 1.2. By whom also he made the Worlds.
In Psal. 102. we have a long Prayer (to the Supreme God doubtless) which bears this title, A Prayer of the Affli∣cted, when he is overwhelmed, and poureth out his complaint before the Lord, (the Lord Jehovah.) It begins thus, Hear my Prayer, O Lord, (Jehovah) and let my cry come unto thee. And at the same rate he proceeds, addressing himself to the same God all along. And at ver. 24, 25, 26, 27. he speaks thus, O my God, thy years are throughout all Generations; Thou of old hast laid the Foundations of the Earth, and the Heavens are the work of thy hands; (who is the same God therefore of whom Moses had before said, In the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth, Gen. 1.1.) They shall perish (as the Psalmist proceeds) but thou shalt endure: Yea all of them shall wax old as a Gar∣ment, as a vesture shalt thou change them and they shall be changed: But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end. And doubtless the Psalmist, when he made this long Prayer, thought not of addressing himself to any other than the Supreme God. (Not to a God who had not, then, a Being, nor was to have till a Thousand Years after, as the Socinians would have us think of Christ.) He prays to God as his Redeemer; that is, to Christ.
And that Christ is that God to whom he did thus ad∣dress, we are expresly told, Heb. 1.8, 10, 11, 12. Page 74But unto the Son he saith,—Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the Earth, and the Heavens are the Works of thine hands; They shall perish, but thou remain∣est: and they all shall wax old as doth a Garment, and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed; but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. All which is plainly cited from that Psalm. Christ therefore is that God to whom that Prayer was made; the same Supreme God, who created the Heaven and the Earth: even Jesus Christ, the same yesterday and to day and for ever, Heb. 13.8.
And it is very frequent in Scripture, that what in one place is spoken of God Indefinitly (without specification of this or that Person) is elsewhere applied to one or o∣ther of the Persons in particular, as that of the Creation is here to Christ, the Redeemer; as being the same God who is the Creator also. And that of Redemption, to God the Creator (who is the Redeemer also) Isai. 43.1. Thus saith the LORD (Jehovah) that Created thee,— Fear not, for I have Redeemed thee. So that God the Creator, and God the Redeemer, are the same God.
The next Character I shall insist upon, is that where∣by God denotes himself to Moses, Exod. 3.13, 14, 15. I Am that I AM; and I AM hath sent me unto you. When God was sending Moses to the Children of Israel, in order to their deliverance out of Egypt, Moses puts this Question, When I come to the Children of Israel, and shall say them, The God of your Fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say, What is his Name? What shall I say to them? 'Tis certainly, therefore the True God, that is here spoken of: Let us see what is the Character that this God gives of himself. And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: And he said, Thus shalt thou say to the Children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. This therefore is a proper Character of the True Page 75 God. I am that I am, (Ehjeh asher Ehjeh,) or I am, who AM; or I am, He who AM, so the vulgar Latin; (Ego sum QVI SVM;) and (QUI EST) He that IS, hath sent me: As if, what God says of himself (in the first Person) I that AM, were proper for Moses to say of him (in the third person) He that IS. And so the Septuagint, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, I am, He that AM, or He that IS; and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉(He that IS) hath sent me. Where simply TO BE, is made a Distinctive Character of God, as he whose Essence is To be; and it is Impossible for him Not to Be. Who IS of Himself (or rather Himself IS) without deriving ought from any other; and from whom all other Beings, have their Being. Who giveth to all, life and breath and all things; In whom we live and move and have our Being, Act. 17.27, 28. Who hath first given to him? that is, None hath: He receives no∣thing (aliunde) from ought else; but of him, and through him, and to him are all things, Rom. 11.35, 36. who is therefore called 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉.
The same notion the Heathens also had of the Su∣preme God. Hence Aristotle calls him 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the Being of Beings; and Plato〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the self Being; who himself IS, and gives Being to all else.
And (being thus self-existent) he must be also a Ne∣cessary Being (Ens Necessarium) and Eternal, (for if ever he had not been, it were impossible he should ever Be; for how could Nothing make it self to be:) and like∣wise Infinite (as the Source of all Being.) All which the Heathen acknowledged (as consonant to Natural Light) as well as We.
Now this same Character I Am, or 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 (which is the word whereby the Greek Septuagint doth here ren∣der the Hebrew word Ehjeh, which we translate I AM) that is I who AM, or He who IS, we find signally ap∣plied to Christ, Rom. 9.5. He that IS. For what there Page 76 we render, Who IS, in the Greek is not 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, but 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, He that IS, or the Being: With this addition, over all; (the Being, over all, or the Supreme Being:) with this further Character, God Blessed for ever; (or the ever blessed God.) Amen.
Where it is not amiss to note, that the Blessed (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) was an usual Title whereby they were wont to de∣sign the True God. And accordingly, that question which Caiaphas the High Priest, puts to our Saviour, Mat. 26.63. I adjure thee by the Living God, that thou tell us, whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God; is in Mark 19.53. Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Where no man doubts but that by 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, is meant, the Supreme God. And when Christ is here call∣ed, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, (the Su∣preme Being, the ever-Blessed God;) with the Solemn note of Asseveration, Amen: It is certainly too August a Title for any less than the Supreme God, the Only God.
The same Character we have of him again, Rev. 1.8. where we have not only the Title 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, importing his Being, but the additional intimation of his Eternity, through all the variety of continued Duration, past, pre∣sent, and to come.
Where we are to observe, that at ver. 4. we have this Character of God•ndefinitely, without restriction to this or that Person in the Deity, (as appears by its being con∣tradistinct to Christ personally considered, ver. 5.) Grace be unto you and peace, (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) from him which Is, and which Was, and which is to come,— and from Jesus Christ, &c.
Where it is manifest from the unusual construction, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉&c. that the Title 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, (who is and was, and shall be) is taken, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, as the Grammarians speak, (as one undeclined-Sub∣stantivePage 77 joined with the Article 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) as being (all toge∣ther) one joint title of God, Indefinitely taken, (because of that contradistinction which follows; And from Jesus Christ;) and with particular respect (as the Margin of our Bible directs) to that of Exod. 3.14. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, I am〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, or He who AM; and can relate to none but the Supreme God.
Now what is thus said of this God indefinitely, at ver. 4. is again repeated of Christ in particular at ver. 8. (with a further addition of Omnipotence,) I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending (the First and the Last) saith the Lord, which Is, and which Was, and which is to Come; the Almighty. So that he is here design'd, not only by his Absolute Being; but by his Eternity also, through all variety of continued duration, (past, present, and fu∣ture;) who Is, and Was, and shall Be; who was the First (before whom nothing was) and the Last (after whom nothing shall be;) and, by his Omnipotence, the Al∣mighty.
The same title of Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, is given him in divers other places; as at ver. 11, and 17. of the same Chapter, I am Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last; I am he that liveth and was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore, Amen. And Rev. 2.8. The first and the last, which was dead and is alive. And again, Rev. 21.6. and Rev. 22.13. All relating to Isai. 41.4. Isai. 44.6. Isai. 48.12. where the like had before been said, as a Character (no doubt) of the True God. And Isai. 43.10. Before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
And what can this be other than the Infinite, the E∣ternal, the Almighty God. The same yesterday, and to day, and for ever, as he is called, Heb. 13.8. The Blessed, and only Potentate, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, who only hath Immortality, &c. as he is described, Page 78 1 Tim. 6.14, 15, 16. And again, The King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, Rev. 17.14, and Rev. 19.16. The Great God, and our Saviour, Tit. 2.13. Where, our Savi∣our, is so contra-distinguished, not as another from the Great God, but as another Title of that same Person: He that is our God and Saviour, or God our Saviour, as it is Tit. 3.4. (like as God and the Father, Ephes. 5.2. and again, Col. 3.17. Giving thanks to God, and the Father.) For 'tis manifest that here (Tit. 2.13.) it is spoken of Christs coming to judgment; which is here called, the Glorious appearance of the Great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ; that is, the glorious appear∣ance of Jesus Christ, who is the Great God and our Saviour; The title that Jeremy gives to God, Jer. 32.18. The great and mighty God, the Lord of Hosts is his name. Christ therefore, our Saviour, is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the Great God.
And the Doxology there added, Rev. 1.6. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever, Amen; is equi∣valent to that of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Rom. 9.5. God bles∣sed for ever. And the like, 1 Tim. 6.16. To whom be Honour and Power everlasting, Amen. And much more, that of Rev. 5.12, 13, 14. Worthy is the Lamb, that was slain, to receive Power, and Riches, and Wisdom, and Strength, and Honour, and Glory, and Blessing: (As High a Doxolo∣gy as that in the close of the Lords-prayer;) To which we have the Acclamation of every Creature (which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the Sea, and all that are therein,) saying, Blessing, Honour, Glory, and Power, be unto him that sit∣teth upon the Throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four Beasts said, Amen; And the four and twenty Elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever. Too great things to be said of a mere Creature, or a Titular God; but very agreeable to Christ, being (as he is) the same God with the Father, the only True God.
Page 79I might here add a like Remark, on that of Isai. 48.12. Hearken O Israel, I am HE; I am the First, I am also the Last. And in like manner, Isai. 41.4. Isai. 43.10, 13, 25. Deut. 32.39. I, even I, am HE (Hu) and there is no other God with me, or beside me. (And to the same purpose elsewhere.) Ani Hu; I am HE; so we render it.
I am HE; What HE? 'Tis 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. 'Tis the HE Absolutely taken, and Emphatically applied to God. Which I take to be of like import with, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, I AM; I that Am, or That which IS.* The Greek Septuagint (in the places cited) renders Ani Hu by 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉: And the vulgar Latin (indifferently) by Ego Page 80 Sum, Ego Ipse, Ego Sum Ipse, Ego Ipse Sum: That is, I am He, or I AM. And Christ, of himself, Joh. 8.58. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Before Abraham was, I AM. And I the rather take it so to signify (in the places cited) because I there find it attended (exegetically) with an In∣timation of his Eternity; He Is, He is the First and he is the Last; Before him none Was, and after him none shall Be: He Is, and ever Was, and ever shall Be.
The next Character that I shall insist upon, is that of the two Proper Names of God, Jah and Jehovah; which I take to be Proper to God, and Incommunicable to any other. I put them both together, because they be both of the same import; and indeed, of the same with Ehjeh, (I AM) before-mentioned. The chief difference is, that Ehjeh (I AM) retains the form of the Verb; but Jah and Jehovah are Nouns verbal, from Hajah or Havah which signifie to Be: All denoting Gods absolute Being: And All peculiar to the Supreme God, and no where applied in Scripture (that I know of) to any other. I know the Socinians would perswade us that Jehovah is sometime given to an Angel, which we do not deny; but we say that Angel is not a Created Angel, but the Angel of the Covenant, who is God himsel•.
The name Jah comes often in the Old Testament, but not so often as Jehovah. Particularly in Psal. 68.5. Sing unto God, sing praises to his Name, extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his Name JAH. So we find it in our Bibles, and it agrees with the Original. But in our Psalters, (by a continued mistake,) instead of Jah or Ya, is printed Yea.*.
Page 81But this name is no where (I think) retained in the Greek Septuagint, (the Septuagint renders it by 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉:) Nor in the New Testament (which frequent∣ly follows the Septuagints form of Speech,) unless in the Solemn Form of praise Hallelu-Jah (which the Greek puts into one word Alleluia) that is, Praise Jah, or (as it is usually rendred) Praise ye the Lord. Which is joint∣ly applied to him that sits upon the Throne and to the Lamb, Rev. 19.1, 3, 4, 6. whom I take to be there meant by the Lord our God, ver. 1. and the Lord God Omnipotent, ver. 6. and the Great God, ver. 17. For the Supper of the Great God, ver. 17. is the same with the Supper of the Lamb, ver. 7, 9.
The name Jehovah is, in the Old Testament, much more frequent; especially in the Original Hebrew. But in our Translation is frequently rendered by the LORD; as in all those places (if the Printers have been careful) where LORD is printed in Capital Letters.
The name Jehovah, is at Exod. 3.14, •5. made e∣quivalent to Ehjeh, I AM. For what is said at ver. 14. Thus shalt thou say unto the Children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you; is thus repeated at ver. 15. Thus shalt thou say unto the Children of Israel, JEHOVAH (the God of your Fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob) hath sent me unto you: with this Addition, This is my name for ever, and this is my me∣morial Page 82 unto all generations. And Psal. 81.18. That men may know, that thou, whose Name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most High over all the earth.
In which place, the restrictive word Alone, cannot be understood to affect the word Name, as if it were thus to be construed, (cujus nomen est Jehovah solum,) Whose name is Only Jehovah; (For God we know had other Names, whereby he is often called:) But to the word Whose, (cujus solius nomen est Jehovah,) To whom Alone (or to whom Only) the name Jehovah doth belong. So Isai. 45.5. I am JEHOVAH and none else; there is no God beside me. And Deut. 5.35, 39. JEHO∣VAH he is God, and there is none else beside him: JE∣HOVAH he is God in heaven above, and upon earth beneath, there is none else. And Isai. 42.8. I am JE∣HOVAH that is my name; and my Glory will I not give unto another. And Deut. 6.4. Hear, O Israel, the LORD thy God is one LORD; or, JEHOVAH thy God is one JEHOVAH; there is no other Jehovah but he. And Deut. 28.58. That thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD, or JEHOVAH thy God. And to the same purpose, Deut. 32.39. 1 Sam. 12.2. and in many o∣ther places.
I will not despute, whether this name JEHO∣VAH, were never made known, till God did thus declare it to Moses, at Exod. 3.15. It might seem so to be by that of Exod. 6.3. I appeared unto Abraham, and to Isaac, and to Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them. 'Tis true, that God is often so called in the Book of Genesis: But that Book was written by Moses, after the time that Moses speaks of, in Exodus. And Moses might so call him, by a name known at the time when he wrote, though it had not been known at the time whereof he Page 83 wrote. As when Abraham is said to go forth from Vr of the Chaldees, or of Chasdim, Gen. 11.31. though Chesed the Son of Nahor (from whom, in likelihood, the Chaldees were called Chasdim) was not born till afterwards, as appears Gen. 22.22. So Exod. 12.40. where the Children of Israel are said to have sojourned four hundred and thirty years; it must be reckoned back∣ward as far as Abraham's coming forth from Vr of the Chaldees, at which time they could not be called, the Children of Israel, (for Israel was not then born,) but it was that people, who were afterwards called the Children of Israel. And many such Prolepses, or anticipa∣tions of Names, there are in all Historians.
But, whether it be upon this account, or some o∣ther, that he is said, by his Name JEHOVAH not to have been known to them, is not material to our present business. 'Tis enough, that Jehovah is now known to be the signal Name of the True God; and (I think) no where given to any other.
Now that our Saviour Christ is called Jehovah, is not to be denied. And it is for this reason, that the Soci∣nians would have us think that this Name is not pecu∣liar to God. In Jer. 23.5, 6. he is called Jehovah Tzidkenu, the LORD our Righteousness. Behold the days come saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a Righteous Branch; and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice on the Earth; In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell in safety: (which is agreed, by Jews and Christians, to be understood of the Messias.) And this is the name whereby he shall be called (JEHOVAH Tzidkenu) the LORD our Righteousn••s, (JEHO∣VAH our Righteousness.) And to the same purpose, Jer. 33.15, 16.
In Psal. 102. which is called, A prayer of the afflicted, when he poureth out his complaint before the LORD (Je∣hovah.) Page 84 It begins thus, Hear my prayer O LORD (Jehovah) and let my cry come unto thee. And he to whom this prayer is made, is eight or nine times called the LORD (Jehovah.) Now he to whom this prayer is made (we are told, Hebr. 1.8, 10, 11, 12.) is our Lord Christ; Vnto the Son he saith,—Thou Lord in the be∣ginning hast laid the foundations of the earth, and the hea∣vens are the works of thy hands; They shall perish, but thou remainest; They all shall wax old as a garment, and as a ve∣sture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed; but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. All which is cited out of that Prayer, made to the Lord Jehovah.
So I the LORD (Jehovah) the first and the last, Isai. 41.4. Thus saith the LORD (Jehovah) before me there was no God, neither shall there be after me, Isai. 43.10. Thus saith the LORD (Jehovah,) the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, (Jehovah) the LORD of Hosts, I am the first and I am the last; and beside Me there is no God, Isai. 44.6. which are the Characters applied to Christ, Rev. 1.8, 9. & 2.8. & 21.6. & 22.13. as was shewed before.
'Tis true, that in the Greek Septuagint of the Old Testament, the name Jehovah is no where retained; but 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 (I think) every where put for it. Whe∣ther because of a Jewish Superstition, no where to pronounce that Name; or because it could not conve∣niently be expressed in Greek Letters; I will not de∣termine. And for that reason (because the Sep∣tuagints did not use it) it is not used in the New Testament (which doth mostly comply with the Lan∣guage of the Septuagints; as being the Greek Tran∣slation then in use.) And therefore we are not to look for the Name Jehovah there applied to Christ. But di∣vers places are in the New Testament applied to Christ, wherein the name Jehovah was used in the Old Testa∣ment. And the name 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 (the Lord) by which Page 85 both the Septuagints and the New Testament do con∣stantly render the Hebrew Name Jehovah, is so frequent∣ly applied to Christ in the New Testament, as that (throughout the New Testament) it is almost his con∣stant Character, the Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ, &c. One Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Cor. 8.6. Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory, Jam. 2.1. My Lord and my God, Joh. 20.28. No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost, 1 Cor. 12.3. And elsewhere so often, that none can be ignorant of it.
The last Character (which I shall insist upon) of the True God, the Only God; is that of the Lord God of Israel; Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, &c. Deut. 6.4. And the Lord thy God, is almost the constant Language of Moses to the Children of Israel: And it is the Character which God directs him to use; Thus shalt thou say unto the Children of Israel, The Lord God of your Fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me; this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all Generations, Exod. 3.15. and the Lord God of the Hebrews, ver. 18. And elsewhere very often throughout the Bible. And doubtless, he that was the Lord God of Israel, is the true God, the only God.
'Tis He who tells us, I am the Lord thy God— Thou shalt have no other God but Me, Exod. 20.3. And, Be∣sides Me, there is no other God, Isai. 44.6. and so often elsewhere, that it is needless to name the places.
And this Character, as well as the rest, is expresly given to Christ also, Luk. 1.16, 17. where we are ex∣presly told of John the Baptist, that many of the Children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord Their God (to the Lord God of Israel:) for he shall go before Him in the spirit and Page 86 power of Elias. Now we all know, whose fore-runner John Baptist was; and before whom he was to go, in the Power and Spirit of Elias. And he before whom he was thus to go, is the Lord God of Israel; and therefore not only a Titular God, or a Creature God, but the True God, the Supreme God, the same God with that God who is the Lord God of Israel; whom no man doubts to be the True God, the Supreme God, the Only God.
I might add many other Characters given to Christ, proving him to be the True God; as that Rev. 2.13. I am he which searcheth the Reins and Hearts, and I will give unto every one according to his Works, (and to the same purpose, Rev. 22.12. and elsewhere:) which God (the True God) claims as his peculiar Prerogative, Jer. 17.9, 10. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperate∣ly wicked, Who can know it? I the LORD search the Heart, I try the Reins; to give to every man accor∣ding to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. And to the same purpose, Jer. 11.20. Jer. 20.12. 1 Chron. 28.9. Psal. 7.9. Psal. 139.1. and in many o∣ther places. And that likewise of Isai 9.6. His Name shall be called Wonderful Councellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, &c. with many other Characters of like nature, which can never a∣gree to any but the True God.
But it is not my business, in this short Discourse, to say All that might be said; but what may be sufficient.
He therefore that is (as hath been shewed) God, the True God; the Mighty God; the Everlasting Father; the Eternal God; the First and the Last, (before whom nothing was, and after whom nothing shall be) that Was, and Is, and shall Be; the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever; the Almighty; by whom the World was made; by whom all things were made, and without whom nothing was made that was made; Page 87 who laid the foundations of the Earth, and the Heavens are the work of his hands; who, when the Heavens and the Earth shall fail, his years endure for ever; who searcheth the heart and the reins, to give to every one according to his works; who is Jehovah; the Lord God of Israel; the Su∣preme being; which is over all, God blessed for ever; who is the Blessed and only Potentate, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who only hath immortality, to whom be Ho∣nour and Power Everlasting, Amen. That God (I say) of whom all these great things are said, is (certainly) not a mere Titular God, (who is called God but is not,) a Creature God, or only a dignified Man. For, if these be not Characters of the True God, by what Cha∣racters shall the True God be described?
I know, the Socinians have imployed their Wits to find out some tricks to evade or elude some of these plain places, which I shall not trouble my self, or you to re∣peat; or to give an answer to them. For they are so weak, and so forced, that the plain words of Scripture, read together with the forced senses they would put upon them, are answer enough; nor do they need or deserve any further answer.
The last Objection which I shall now take notice of, is this; That the Doctrine of the Trinity was not known to the Jewish Church before Christ.
To which I answer, 1. If it were not made known to them, it was not necessary for them to know. For mat∣ters of pure Revelation, are not necessary to be known, before they are revealed, (nor farther than they are re∣vealed:) But may be so to us, to whom they are Re∣vealed.
The whole Doctrine of our Redemption by Christ, was (doubtless) unknown to Adam before his Fall; Page 88 And, had he not fallen, it would have been no fault in him not to have known it at all.
And when (after his fall) it was first made known to him, (in that first promise, that the Seed of the Wo∣man should break the Serpents head, Gen. 3.15.) it was yet so dark, that he could know very little (as to the particulars of it) of what is now known to us. And as God by parcels (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) at sundry times, and in di∣vers manners, declared more of it to Abraham, to David, and the Prophets, so were they obliged to know and be∣lieve more of it: and when in the last days he had de∣clared the whole of it by his Son; Heb. 1.1, 2. it is now necessary for us to believe much more; of which they might be safely ignorant. And, of the Trinity likewise, if it were not then revealed.
2. But Secondly, There were many things, which though not fully revealed, so as to be clearly understood by All; were yet so insinuated, as to be in good mea∣sure understood by some; and would more be so, when the Veil should be taken off from Moses's face, 2 Cor. 3.13, 15, 16.
Thus the Death and Resurrection of Christ, were not understood, even by his own Disciples, till after his Resur∣rection. Yet we must not say that these things were not before intimated in the Scriptures (though covertly;) for when their understandings were opened, to understand the Scriptures, and what had been written of him in the Law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms; they then perceived that it was so written, and that it behooved Christ to Suffer and to Rise from the dead the Third day. Yet this was therein so covertly contained, that they seem no more to have understood it, than that of the Trinity.
And St. Paul in the Epistle to the Hebrews, declares a great deal to have been covered under the Jewish Rites Page 89 and Ceremonies; which, certainly, most of the Jewish Church did not understand; though, in good measure, it might be understood by some.
I might say the like of the Resurrection; which was but darkly discovered till Immortality was brought to light through the Gospel, 2 Tim. 1.10. We must not yet say, it was wholly unknown to the Jewish Church, (of whom many, no doubt, did believe it:) Yet neither can we say, it was generally received; For we know the Pha∣risees and the Sadduces were divided upon that point, Act. 23.6, 7, 8. And so little is said of it in the Old Te∣stament, that those who had a mind to be captious, might have found much more specious pretence of cavilling a∣gainst it then, than our Adversaries now have against the Doctrine of the Trinity.
3. I say Thirdly, as of the Resurrection, there were then divers intimations, which are now better under∣stood (in a clearer light) than at that time they were: So I think there were also of the Doctrine of the Trinity. I shall instance in some of them.
1. That there was, in the Unity of the God-head, a Plurality of Somewhat (which now we call Persons) seems fairly to be insinuated, even in that of Elohim-bara, Gen. 1.1. (In the beginning God created,) where Elohim (God) a Nominative Case Plural, is joined with Bara, a Verb Singular; (which is as if we should say in English, We Am, or They Doth; which would to us sound odly, if somewhat of Mystery be not intended in it.) Nor is it here only, but very frequently, that God is called Elohim in the Plural Number, (and much oftner than in the Singular Number Eloah,) as if, though Jehovah be but One, yet Elohim may be Three: Not Three Gods, but Three Somewhats in that One God. (For though it be Elohim, yet it is Bara: It is So Three, as yet to be One.) Nor is it Elohajim (in the Dual Number) as spoken of Page 90Two, or a Couple; but Elohim (in the Plural Number) as of more than Two.
This may perhaps be called a Criticism, (and it is so.) But I am loth to say, it is purely Casual, and not designed. For many times little Circumstances, and unheeded Ex∣pressions (as at first they may seem to be,) may (by the Divine Wisdom) be fore-designed to some considerable purpose. As, that of, Not a bone of it shall be broken, Exod. 12.46. Numb. 9.12. Psal. 34.20. And that of, they pierced my hands and my feet, Psal. 22.16. And, they shall look upon him whom they have pierced, Zach. 12.10. And that, they part my garment among them, and on my ve∣sture they cast lots, Psal. 22.18. And, they gave me gall for my meat, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink, Psal. 69.21. Which are most of them, but Poetical Ex∣pressions; and seemingly casual, and undesigned, as to their Literal Sense; but were providentially ordered, as being literally to be fulfilled; as we find in Joh. 19.23, 24, 28, 29, 36, 37. and in the places parallel of the other Gospels.
I might instance in a great many such, which at first might seem Casual, but were Providentially designed. I shall content my self at present with one more; which is that of St. Paul, (which perhaps may be thought to look as like a Criticism as what I mention) Gal. 3.16. Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to Seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy Seed which is Christ. Now the promises made to Abraham, to which he refers, are those Gen. 22.16, 17, 18. (which, I think, is the only place, where, in pro∣mises made to Abraham, such mention is made of his Seed.) By my self have I sworn, saith the Lord; For be∣cause, thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy Son, thine onely Son; That in blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thy Seed, as the stars of the heaven, Page 91 and as the sand which is upon the sea-shoar, and thy Seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy Seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
By Abraham's Seed, here, is manifestly meant his Chil∣dren whom God promiseth to multiply. And it might seem to be very indifferent whether to say, thy Seed, or thy Children. But St. Paul was so nice a Critick, as to take advantage of his saying Seed (in the Singular Number) and not Seeds or Children (in the Plural) as thereby signally denoting (as principally intended) that One Seed, which is Christ. Yet are not the rest of the Seed to be quite excluded (even in that last Clause of it, In thy Seed shall all the Nations of the earth be blessed,) as appears by Act. 3.25. And ye (men of Israel, ver. 12.) are the Children of the Prophets, and of the Covenant which God made with our Fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy Seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Whence 'tis evident, that seemingly unheeded Criticisms are some∣times Providentially designed. And such I take this of Bara Elohim, to be. And it is taken notice of to this pur∣pose, both by Jewish and Christian writers.
The like Plurality seems plainly intimated in the same Chapter, Gen. 1.26. Let VS make man in OVR image and after OVR likeness. Yet even this Plurality is no other than what in another consideration, is an Vnity; for so it follows, ver. 27. So God created man in HIS own image. These Plural Somewhats, therefore, are but One God.
And 'tis but a childish excuse to say, It is the Stile of Princes to speak in the Plural, We and Vs instead of I and Me. 'Tis indeed a piece of Courtship at this day, (and perhaps hath been for some Ages:) But how long hath it been so? 'Tis not so old as Moses; much less so old as the Creation. King Pharoah, and Senacharib, and Page 92Ahasuerus, were wont to say I, Me, Mine, (not We, Vs, Ours.) And Nebuchadnezzar, even in the Height of his Pride, Dan. 4.30. Is not this great Babylon that I have built, by the might of MY Power, and for the honour of MY Majesty. Here's nothing of We and Our. This was not Stilus Regius in those days. And if we should here ex∣pound it by such an equivalence; And God said, Let Me make man in My image; it would scarce sound like good Sense. (For 'tis not usual to speak Imperatively in the First person Singular.) It seems therefore to imply a Plurality, though not a Plurality of Gods.
The like we have Gen. 3.22. Behold, the man is be∣come like One of Vs. Is this also Stilo Regio, instead of, The man is become like one of Me?
So, Gen. 11.6, 7. And the LORD (Jehovah) said, Let VS go down, and confound their Language.
2. And as these places intimate a Plurality, so I know not but that of Gen. 18. may intimate this Plurality, to be a Trinity. That the appearance there of three Men to Abraham, was a Divine Apparition (though Abraham did not at first apprehend it so to be) is evident. For it is expresly said by Moses, ver 1. The LORD (Jehovah) appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre; and he lift up his eyes, and lo Three Men stood by him. So that this appear∣ance of Three Men, was an appearance of the Lord Je∣hovah. And though we do not find that Abraham doth any where use the word Jehovah in that discourse, (but Adonai all along:) Yet Moses the Relater (where him∣self speaks) says every where Jehovah; though when he recites Abraham's words, it is Adonai: But even Adonai is a word Plural (as well as Elohim) that is, my Lords, (the Singular is Adoni, my Lord; but seldom said of God.)
Whether it were, that the name JEHOVAH were not then known to Abraham (according to that of Page 93Exod. 6.3.) or that Abraham was not at first aware who it was with whom he was then discoursing; or for what other reason he did avoid using the name Jehovah; I shall not trouble my self curiously to enquire: But sure we are that Moses tells us, This Apparition of Three Men (as at first they seemed to be) was an Apparition of the Lord Jehovah.
We need not doubt therefore, but that God appeared there, in this Apparition of Three Men; which is there∣fore a fair intimation of a Trinity of Persons.
It might perhaps be cavill'd at, if this were all: And so might that of Jonah's being three days and three nights in the Whale's belly, when brought as an Argument to prove our Saviour ought so long to lie in the Grave. But St. Paul tells us, 1 Cor. 15.3, 4. that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that he rose again the Third day, according to the Scriptures. (And Christ in like manner, Luk. 24.46.) Yet I know not any thing more clear to that purpose in the Scriptures (of the Old Te∣stament) than either this of Jonah's being so long in the Whale's belly (to which Christ himself alludes, Mat. 12.40.) or that of Hos. 6.2. After two days he will re∣vive us, and the third day he will raise us up. Which seems not to be more express (for the Resurrection of Christ on the Third day) than this of Jonah. But such covert Intimations there are in the Old Testament; of things afterward more clearly discovered in the New.
Nor was this unknown to the ancient Jewish Doctors, as appears by what Ainsworth (in his Notes on Gen. 1.) cites from thence, (out of R. Simeon, Ben Jochai in Zoar;) Come see the Mystery of the word Elohim: there are three Degrees, and every Degree by it self Distinct; and yet not∣withstanding they are all one, and joined together in One, and are not divided one from another, (only, there he calls Degrees what we now call Persons.) So that it was Page 94 not unknown to the Jews of old, whatever the present Jews think of it.
3. What these Three are, (the Father, the Word, and the Spirit,) seems to be likewise intimated in the Story of the Creation, Gen. 1. where they seem to be distinct∣ly named.
In the beginning (Elohim) God created the Heaven and the Earth, ver. 1. where no man doubts but God the Father is implied, though perhaps not He only.
And ver. 2. The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the Waters. Where Ainsworth tells us from the ancient Rab∣bines whom he cites, they call him, The Spirit of Mercies from before the Lord: The Spirit of Wisdom, called, the Spi∣rit of the Living God: And, The Spirit of the Messias. Of the same Spirit, we have elsewhere mention; My Spi∣rit shall not always strive with Man, Gen. 6.3. Take not thine Holy Spirit from me, Psal. 51.11. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, Isai. 61.1. They vexed his Holy Spi∣rit, Isai. 63.10. and elsewhere. And if it be said, that by the Spirit of God, is meant God himself: we say so too, for we do acknowledge, that the Holy Ghost, is God himself.
And, of the Word, there is a like intimation, ver. 3. God Said (or spake the Word) Let there be Light, and there was Light. And in like manner, ver. 6, 9, 11.14, 20. God Said, Let there be a Firmament, &c. So Psal. 33.6, 7. By the Word of the Lord were the Heavens made, &c. He Spake and it was done, He Commanded and it stood fast. And Psal. 148.5. He Spake the Word and they were made, He commanded and they were created. Con∣sonant to that of Heb. 11.3. By faith we understand that the Worlds were made by the Word of God. And 1 Pet. 3.5, 7. By the Word of God the Heavens were of old, and the Earth, &c. And by the same Word they are kept in store, or preserved. In which places, by the Word, so often men∣tioned, Page 95 and with such Emphasis put upon it; seems to be meant, that Word mentioned, Joh. 1.1, 3, 10. In the beginning was the Word, (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉,) All things were made by Him: The World was made by Him; just as in Heb. 11.3. the Worlds were made by the Word of God.
Nor was this notion of the Word (Personally taken) unknown to the Jewish Doctors. For what we have Psal. 110.1. The Lord said unto my Lord, (Dixit Jehova Domino meo) the Chaldee Paraphrase, renders by Dixit Jehova, (Bemeimreh) in Verbo suo meaning, by His Word, the Messias; and of whom our Saviour himself expounds it, Mat. 22.44. And it is frequent, in that Paraphrase, by the Word to design the Messias; * as S. Joh. doth, Joh. 1.1. In the beginning was the Word.
And I put the more weight upon this, because (as here, Gen. 1.2, 3. so) we have in several other places, the Word and Spirit mentioned as concerned in the Creation, Psal. 33.6. By the Word of the LORD (Jehovah) were the Heavens made, and all the Hosts of them by the (Spirit, or) breath of his mouth, (Berwach.) Where we have Je∣hovah, his Word, and Spirit. Job 26.12, 13. He divideth the Sea by his Power, and by his (Wisdom, or) Vnderstand∣ing he smiteth through the proud; By his Spirit he garnisheth the Heavens, his Hand hath formed the crooked Serpent.Page 96 Where we have the Power of God, the Wisdom of God, and the Spirit of God. And Job 33.4. •he Spirit of God hath made me, and the Breath of t•e Lord hath given me Life. So, Psal. 104.24, 30. O LORD (Jehovah) how won∣derful are thy Works, in VVisdom thou hast made them all. Thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created, and thou re∣newest the face of the Earth.
And it is not amiss here to take notice, that as 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 signifies as well ratio as oratio; so Christ (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) is called the Word of God, and the Wisdom of God. And as in Joh. 1.1, 3, 10. it is said of the Word, that in the be∣ginning was the Word, all things were made by Him, and the World was made by him: And Heb. 11.3. The Worlds were framed by the Word of God. So the same is said of Wis∣dom, Prov. 3.19. The LORD by VVisdom hath formed the Earth, by Vnderstanding hath he established the Heavens. And Prov. 8.22. &c. The LORD possessed me (Wisdom) in the beginning of his way, before his works of old; I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, ere ever the Earth was;—When he prepared the Heavens I was there,— When he established the Clouds above,— When he strengthened the Fountains of the deep,— When he appointed the Foundations of the Earth, then was I by him, &c.
And accordingly the Holy Ghost is called the Power of God, Luk. 1.35. The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the Power of the Highest shall over-shadow thee. And 1 Pet. 1.5. Who are kept by the Power of God, through Faith unto Salvation▪ which doubtless is not without the operation of the Holy Ghost, working and preserving faith in us.
Suitably hereunto, God's Power and Wisdom are oft con∣joyned. He is Wise in Heart, and Mighty in Strength, Job 9.4, &c. He is excellent in Power, and in Judgment, Job 37.13.
But, (without laying too great a stress on every par∣ticular,) there seems a foundation clear enough to con∣sider the Word of God, and the Spirit of God, as clearly Page 97 distinguishable, even in the great Work of Creation; and that the holy Writers, even in the Old Testament, have considered them as distinct; and that even the Jewish Writers have owned them as such.
I know very well that those who have a mind to be cap∣tious, may cavil at these places, as the Sadduces of old did at those passages in the Old Testament tending to prove a Resurrection.
And not those only, but even some of our own; who would have us think, that the Fathers before Christ had only Promises of Temporal blessings (not of Heavenly and Eternal:) Though St. Paul tells us, (when, of the hope and resurrection of the dead he was called in question;) that he did so worship the God of his Fathers, believing all things which were written in the Law and the Prophets, and had hope towards God (which they also allowed) that there should be a Resurrection of the dead both of the Just and Vnjust; and that it was a promise made of God to their Fathers, to which their twelve Tribes instantly serving God day and night, hoped to come; which were no other things than what Moses and the Prophets had said should come to pass; and which to King Agrippa (who if not a Jew, was at least well acquain∣ted with their Doctrines) should not seem strange, Act. 23.6. Act. 24.14, 15. Act. 26.2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 22. And Heb. 11.13. that all these died in faith, not having received the promises; (that is, they died in the belief of better things than what they had yet received:) But saw them afar off, and were per∣swaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed, they were but strangers and Pilgrims upon Earth. And our Savi∣our proves it out of the Old Testament, (Mat. 22.32.) by such an Argument, as if one of us should have urged, it would perhaps have been ridiculed: I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; Now God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. And the Apostle pursues the same Argument, Heb. 11.9, 10, 14, 15, 16. Page 98They sojourned in the Land of promise, as in a strange Land, dwelling in Tabernacles (movable from place to place) for they looked for a City which hath foundations (a fixed City, not flitting as were those Tabernacles,) whose buil∣der and maker of God: Declaring plainly that they did seek a Country: Not such as that from whence they came; but a bet∣ter Country, that is, a Heavenly: wherefore God is not asham∣ed to be called their God; for he hath prepared for them a City; where he directly argues, that God's Promise, to be their God, was a Promise of Heaven.
And no doubt but the Prophets, and Men of God, had taught them all along, to put a Spiritual Sense, upon those (seemingly) Temporal Promises, (though the Sad∣duces would not believe it, but cavilled at it;) in so much that not only the Pharisees and Doctors of the Law; but even the Women embraced it (even before Christ's Resur∣rection;) I know saith Martha (of her dead Brother Laza∣rus) that he shall Rise again in the Resurrection, at the last day, Joh. 11.24. And, of such Spiritual Senses, we have copious Instances, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, and else∣where frequently.
And as they did without any reluctances, readily em∣brace the Doctrine of the Resurrection, when more clearly declared by the Apostles, (as a thing not wholly new to them;) so neither do we find in them any Reluctance to that of the Trinity (for which, in likelihood, they had in like manner been before prepared:) but readily closed with the Form of Baptism, in the Name (not Names) of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Mat. 28.19. And that Solemn Benediction, 2 Cor. 13.14. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the Communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all, Amen. Where we have all the Three Persons reckoned together; as they are also in that cele∣brated place, 1 Joh. 5.7. The Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; these Three are One. And as they had been Page 99 before by Christ himself, Joh. 14.26. The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My Name, He shall teach you all things. And Joh. 15.26. The Comforter whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which Proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me. And (to name no more places) Mat. 3.16, 17. Jesus, when he was baptized, went strait∣way out of the Water: And lo, the heav•ns were opened unto him, and he (John the Baptist) saw the Spirit of God de∣scending 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.
4. There is yet another Consideration which doth con∣firm this opinion, that the Doctrine of the Trinity was not unknown to the Jewish Church before Christ: From the footsteps thereof yet extant in Heathen Writers.
'Tis well known (to those conversant in such Studies) that much of the Heathen Learning (their Philosophy, Theology, and Mythology) was borrowed from the Jews; though much Disguised, and sometimes Ridicu∣led by them. Which things though they be Fabulous, as disguised in a Romantick dress: yet they are good Evidence that there was a Truth in History, which gave occasion to those Fables.
None doubts but Ovid's Fable of the Chaos (of which all things were made) took its rise from Moses's History of the Creation: And Deucalion's Flood, from that of Noah: and the Titan's fighting against the Gods, from the Builders of Babel's Tower: And that of Two-faced Janus, from Noah's looking backward & forward to the World before and since the Flood. And many the like, of which we may see in Natalis Comes, in Bochartus, and others: And of which we have a large Collection in Theophilus Gale's Court of the Gentiles. And in Dr. Duport's Gnomologia Homerica; wherein is a Collection of Homer's Sayings,Page 100 which look like Allusions to like Passages in Sacred Scri∣pture; and seem to be borrowed (most of them) from those Books of it, which were written before Homer's time; who yet is one of the most Ancient and most Fam∣ed of Heathen Writers.
Plato hath borrowed so much of his Philosophy, History, and Theology, from the Jewish learning, as that he hath obtained the Title of (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) Moses disguised in a Greek dress. And, may seem, because the name of Jews was odious, to cite them rather by the names of certain Barbarians, Syrians, Phoenicians, Egyptians &c. From that Title of God in Exodus, I AM, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, (or from the Equivalent names of Jah and Jehovah) he borrows his (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉,) the Being, (or that which Is,) the very Being, the true Being; which are the Titles he gives to the Supreme God. For his Immortality of the Soul, he reckons the best Argument to be (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉.) a Divine Revelation, which he had by Tradition from cer∣tain Ancients, who lived (as he speaks) nearer to the Gods, (as if he had borrowed even this Phrase from Deut. 4.7. What nation is so great, who hath God so Nigh unto them?) And much more, as hath been noted by others.
And I am so far from thinking (as the Socinians would have us) that St. John did but Platonize, and borrowed his 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 from Plato's Trinity; that I rather think, that Plato borrowed his Trinity (as he did many other things) from the Jewish Doctrine, though by him dis∣guised: And take it for a good Evidence, that the Do∣ctrine of the Trinity, was then not unknown to them.
Aristotle, in the last Chapter of his Book, De Mundo; which is de Dei Nominibus: He tells us that God, though he be but One, hath many Names: And amongst those many, he reckons that of the Tres Parcae (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) or as we call them, the Three Destinies (Atropas, Clotho, and Lachesis; whom he doth accommodate to the three di∣versities Page 101 of Time; past, present, and future,) to be One of these Names. Which, though numbred as Three, are but this One God.〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. (And cites Plato to the same purpose) 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. So that it seems both Plato and Aristotle were of opinion, that Three Some∣whats may be One God. And this, in likelihood, they derived from the Jewish Learning.
I might say the like of their three Judges in another World, Minos, Radamanthus and Aeacus. which thing though it be Fa∣bulous, yet it implies thus much, That they had then a Notion, not only of the Soul's Immortality, but also of a Trinity of Persons in another World, who should take Account of mens Actions in this World. And both these Notions they had, no doubt, from the Jewish Learning; from whence their most sublime Notions were derived.
To these I might add that of their three-shap'd Chimaera; which their Poets feign to have been. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, as is to be seen in Homer one of their most Ancient Po∣ets. And that of Cerberus, their three-headed Porter of the other World.
Which Poetical Fictions, though invented perhaps to ridicule the Trinity; do yet at last argue that they had then some notices of a Trinity, (of Three Somewhats which were yet but One.) For, if they had no notice of it, they could not have ridiculed it.
Our Adversaries, perhaps, may please themselves with the Fan∣sy, that Chimaera and Cerberus are brought in to prove the Trinity.
But they mistake the point: We are not now Proving the Tri∣nity, (which is already settled on a firmer Foundation;) but in∣quiring, whether this Doctrine were then known. And as we think it a good argument to prove the Christian Religion, to have been known in Lucian's time, (and known to him,) because Lucian doth Scoff at it; which he could not have done, if he had known nothing of it: So is it a good Argument to prove the Doctrine of the Trinity to have been then known, when it was ridiculed.
And it proves also, that there might be then prophane Wits to ridicule it, as there are now to Blaspheme the Trinity, as a three-headed Page 102 Monster; and, that this 〈◊〉 Wit of theirs, is not their own, but stollen from wittier Heathens.
But, whether it were, or were not, known to the Jewish Church before Christ, (of which there be great Presumptions that it was so known, as well as that of the Resurrection:) it is enough to us, that we are taught it now. And, if any will yet be so obstinate as not to believe, either the Resurrection, or the Trinity; upon pretence that neither of them was known to the Jewish Church, (or at least, not so clearly, but that they may be able to cavil at places from the Old Testament alledged to prove either;) we must leave them to the Wisdom and Judgment of God, till he shall think fit to instruct them better.