Samuel Trott

{1784 to 1866}

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Biographical Sketch

Samuel Trott was one of the leading Baptist frontier ministers; a firm Predestinarian, an Exalter of Christ Alone, and one who contended in earnest for that “faith once delivered unto the saints.” Along with Gilbert Beebe, he was one the most influential of that group of Particular Baptists which came to be known as “Old School.” Born in Walpole, New Hampshire, he first joined a Presbyterian Church and in his own words, became a “pretty strict formalist” and a “legalist.” In time he was brought {under the teaching of the Spirit} to a gospel perception of the finished work of Christ, and sought out those of like-minded faith, and was consequently baptized by Elder Parkinson of New York, on December 22nd., 1810. In 1816, we find him in Ohio where he taught school and preached. In 1820, he travelled as far west as the Licking Particular Baptist Association, where, after preaching in the home of Elder Ambrose Dudley, he baptized his son, Thomas P. Dudley. Still later, we find him in Virginia, where he served Frying Pan Baptist Church at the Fairfax County Court House. He was a contemporary of Elder Gilbert Beebe and a frequent contributor to the “Signs of the Times.” He also was an author of the Black Rock Address; {which was a manifesto of a meeting that took place in Black Rock, Maryland in May, 1832,} consisting of resolutions against “uniting with worldly societies,” and a declaration of non-fellowship with those who had done so. By “worldly societies” were meant Missionary, Sabbath-school, Bible, Tract, and Temperance Societies, &c., against which the brethren of the Black Rock Meeting protested, as being at that time practiced among the portion of the Baptist denomination which at that time were known as Fullerites.

Hassell in his Church History, notes the following: “Numerous Scriptures forbid the intimate association of God’s people with the heathen or unbelievers {Ex.34:11-16; Deut.7:1-11; 22:9-11; Ezra 9; Neh.13:1-3, 23-31; Ps.26:4, 5; 44:20, 21; 106:35-48; 1 Cor.15:33; James 4:4; Jn.15:18, 19,} for the expressed reason that such associations are invariably corrupting to the people of God. Especially corrupting must be such alliances as are based upon money, which is represented in the Scriptures as the god of this world, and the love of which is a root of all evil {Matthew. 6:24; Luke 16:13; 1 Tim. 6:10.} From such money based societies let it be deeply impressed upon our minds that Peter, who had no silver or gold, and Paul, who had to work day and night for his daily bread, and even the Lord Jesus Christ, who had not where to lay His head, would have been debarred, unless some friend had paid their fee or a miracle had been wrought for that purpose. Can it be possible that such Egyptian or worldly alliances of the children of God, so repeatedly and pointedly forbidden in both the Old and the New Testament of Scriptures, are of the Lord and will be blessed of Him? Besides corrupting the people of God, these alliances demonstrate confidence in the flesh and a lack of faith in God; that is, a departure and alienation from God, and, to the extent they reach, and identification with unbelievers. God solemnly calls upon all His dear children who have been ensnared and carried down into Babylon— “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” {Rev.18:4.} Babylon was an idolatrous nation; and it is demonstrably certain that, if human language means anything, the language employed by a large number of high officials in these modern religious confederacies represents these human means and methods as the most important and indispensable requisite for the conversion and salvation of the world; that is, they represent these human institutions as gods, and thus, confederating with Babylon, professed Christians have become idolatrous too, just as the Scriptures abundantly warn us. Christ and His Apostles, let it be indelibly impressed upon our minds and hearts, instituted absolutely none of these forbidden, unhallowed and contaminating, idolatrous and ruinous Egyptian and Babylonian confederacies.” {Hassell: Church History, 1886}

In reference to the BLACK ROCK ADDRESS itself, Hassell writes: “When the Fullerite heresies had been introduced among the Baptists, and produced great discord and turmoil, some of the old veterans of the cross met at Black Rock, Maryland, in 1832, and published a solemn protest against all the newly introduced innovations upon our former faith and order, and made the rejection of the new departure a test of fellowship. To distinguish those who retained the apostolic doctrine from those who departed from it, we consented to be known by a name which had been given us by our opponents, viz., Old School Baptists.” {Hassell: Church History, 1886}

In 1832 Elder Samuel Trott became Pastor at Welsh Tract, and in his corresponding letter he says: “We receive Christ as our pattern, hence we do not walk in the observance of many things which have been introduced among the Baptists generally, and received as great importance in advancing the cause of religion, &c. We desire to keep in His footsteps, believing it to be the safest path. We rely on His wisdom and power to gather in His elect and extend the knowledge of His salvation.”

We insert the following information from Hassell’s Church History regarding this assembly of believers. “The WELSH TRACT CHURCH, whose meeting-house is two miles from Newark, in New Castle County, Delaware, is the oldest Old School Baptist Church in the United States, and the only American Baptist Church that was regularly organized in Europe before emigrating to this country. It was constituted, in the spring of 1701, by sixteen Baptists in the counties of Pembroke and Caermarthen, in South Wales, with Thomas Griffith, one of their number, as their pastor. A “Church Emigrant,” they embarked at Milford Haven in June, 1701, and landed at Philadelphia September 8th, 1701. They first settled about Pennypack, near Philadelphia, where they continued about a year and a half, and where their membership increased to thirty-seven. Then they procured land in Northern Delaware from Messrs. Evans, Davis and Willis, who had purchased upwards of 30,000 acres of William Penn, called the “Welsh Tract,” and in 1703 they removed to that location, and built, near Iron Hill, a small meeting-house, which stood until 1746, and was then succeeded by the present substantial stone house of worship. In the yard around the house rest the bodies of many of the pastors and members who, during almost two centuries, have met and joined here in the service of God. The Welsh Tract Church was one of the five original churches that, in 1707, formed the Philadelphia Baptist Association (the oldest Baptist Association in America), and for many years it was the most influential member of that body. The Philadelphia Confession of Faith, published by this Association in 1742, was the old London Confession of 1689, with two other Articles, added principally through the influence of the Welsh Tract Church—Article 23, Of Singing of Psalms (in Public Worship), and Article 31, Of Laying on of Hands (on all Baptized Believers). Until 1732 the Church Book was kept in the Welsh language; and for about seventy years the pastors were of Welsh extraction. The pastors of Welsh Tract Church have been as follows; Thomas Griffith, Elisha Thomas, Enoch Morgan, Owen Thomas, David Davis, John Sutton, John Boggs, Gideon Farrell, Stephen M. Woolford, Samuel Trott, William K. Robinson, Thomas Barton (from 1839 to 1870, when he died, after having been sixty years in the ministry), G. W. Staton, William Grafton and Joseph L. Staton, the present pastor. The church owns a residence and tract of land, which the pastor occupies.” {Hassell: Church History, 1886}

Strange, and truly contemptible is the fact that in this definitive History of the Old School/Primitive Baptists written by one of their own {Hassell: History of the Church of God, 1886} no mention {apart from his name, in conjunction with Associational Meetings, and churches for which he preached} is made of Elder Trott. One cannot but conjecture that perhaps his name was entirely blotted out by Sylvester Hassell, who revised the work prior to its first publication, after the death of his father Cushing Hassell {died 1880} to whom the book, for the most part, is attributed. The younger Hassell compromised some of the leading principles which distinguished the earlier Baptists, principles which Trott warmly advocated, and for which he was despised & hated.

Samuel Trott’s own personal testimony of God’s Grace in Christ was published in the Old School Baptist periodical the SIGNS OF THE TIMES, in 1851; from which we extract the following: Childhood: I was born in Walpole, New Hampshire, was one of three children my mother had. My sister died before my mother and my brother was burned up with the house in which he lived a year or two after, and my mother died when I was eight years old. My father who had been for several years riding as sheriff, and had thereby become involved, was about this time broken up as to property, and shortly after broke up housekeeping. From that early period in life, though my father lived several years after, I never knew the comforts of a parent's home, nor the solace of a brother or a sisters society. I had no near relatives on my father's side, and none that I knew; on my mother's side I had several, but circumstances around the above time caused me to become estranged from them. My father procured a kind and comfortable home for me, where I enjoyed all the advantages of a common school education, usual for boys in New England to have. I continued in this family until I was nearly fifteen, when I went as an apprentice to a trade. First Impressions & Presbyterianism: From my first religious exercise, I thought it important, I should, on the first opportunity join some church, as a part of my religious service to God, and as calculated more to establish me in my resolution to seek God. When I became located in Cooperstown I thought this opportunity was afforded me. There was however one difficulty in the way: the Presbyterians I had understood professed to believe in the doctrine of election, that I could not profess, my heart was bitter against it, so much so that as I was one night in my room reading the 8th and 9th chapter of Romans, I was so incensed against those chapters because of their containing so fully the doctrine of election and predestination, that I actually thought of cutting them out of my Bible and casting them into the fire. Nothing but a sense of its being God's Word prevented me. This difficulty however was soon removed, for shortly after, some persons were received into the church, and I had an opportunity of hearing the church covenant to which they were to assent, read, and found to my joy that election and predestination were not named therein. The next month I applied to the session, and was received into the church. In the spring a young Presbyterian came to study with Mr. Neal with a view to the ministry, who was better indoctrinated in the Presbyterian faith than I was. As he boarded and roomed with me he soon found out my opposition to election, and set about reforming me from my error. By his reasoning from the Scriptures, and by reading certain writers on the subject to which he referred me, I was convinced that election was a Scriptural doctrine, and became a strenuous advocate for it, that is as held generally by the Presbyterians in connection with general atonement, general offers, invitations &c. Having joined the Presbyterian church in March, I think, 1808, I was strict in observing the Sabbath, as I considered it, in reading a certain portion of Scripture daily, in prayer and in morality, was during that year a pretty strict formalist, and got along comfortably. Not that I thought I had attained a safe state, this was what I was labouring for, and I hoped that God had begun the work in me, and therefore that I should be able to persevere and attain to a safe state before I died. This as nigh as I can recollect was about my views. I from this time became about as laborious a legalist as was to be found among the Presbyterians. Instructions in Grace: In looking at some of the entries in my diary during this Summer, I should think that they had been penned by a tempted, doubting believer, were it not for the legality so apparent in them. I speak in them about my inability to do anything, that God must do all for me by His grace, and of my entire dependence on Christ for acceptance, &c., and yet there is a rotten legal self doing spirit running through the whole. My reading was of the more evangelical class of authors, as they are called, such as John Newton, and even Dr. Hawker's "Zion's Pilgrim" was a favorite book with me. I no doubt imbibed their mode of expression. I mention these things, to show how the natural mind may be molded into a gospel mode of thinking and expression, whilst we are ignorant of our helplessness, though I was being taught to feel the power of my corruptions, though ignorant of Christ. Conversion: {His conversion experience as related by himself was as follows:} Immediately upon this, {under great conviction of sin,} as I was there on my knees, the account of Abraham's offering his son Isaac as in Gen.22 was brought to my view. Isaac as bound and laid upon the altar, appeared as representing the case of the heirs of promise, and as fully representing my then case, as bound by the law and doomed by its condemnatory sentence to death; as Abraham knew nothing but to inflict the death blow, so the law knew nothing but to inflict the curse upon the sinner. My attention was then turned to Abraham's arm, being arrested by the angel's call to him, and the ram caught in the thicket by his horns being taken by him and sacrificed in the place of Isaac. This ram appeared to represent Christ as involved in the demands of the law, in the power of His Godhead, by virtue of His headship and union with His people, and therefore as made to suffer the penalty of the law in their stead. My views then were not as distinct on all these points as I have here {in The Signs} given them; but the substitution of Christ in the place of the condemned sinner was fully presented to view. And the atonement of Christ appeared so full and so exactly adapted to my helpless, guilty and condemned case, that surely, I said to myself, as I viewed it, God must have had me in view when He made this rich provision in His Son. I was therefore enabled confidently to rely on His atonement for pardon, and to plead it for my acceptance with God, and the sense of condemnation was gone…self was in a great measure lost sight of, and God in His glorious character and sovereignty occupied my view…I had never before felt such meltings of heart on account of sin, nor saw sin to be so vile as now; - not as contrasted with the demands of the law, but as contrasted with the goodness and mercy of God. Confirmation: {He goes on to relate some consolation received by the writings of William Huntington} As I went out of the study door, the thought occurred to me that I would go into my lodging room, and pray to the Lord to go with me and direct me. Whilst there thus engaged, my mind became somewhat composed, and the idea was suggested to me, that I had better go back into the study, and read a certain pamphlet which had been laid on Elder P's table a few days before. I went back and took up the book; which was the experience of a person in England written by himself in a letter to William Huntington, and was by him thus published. As I read it, I saw the path in which the Lord had led me delineated step by step. Like myself this man had been a professor for some years previous to his being brought into gospel liberty, had been a zealous legalist; had had his foundation suddenly all knocked from under him, as mine was, and afterwards, Christ had been revealed to him as the substitute of the sinner, and the end of the law for righteousness. As he described these exercises as a being killed by the law, and a being born again, born into gospel liberty, I was led to understand such to have been the nature of the exercises I passed through during the months of Sept. & Oct. 1810, as before described, that then it was, I was slain by the law, and then that I became a believer in Christ, and was born of God. The cloud that I had been so long under now in some measure broke; and I enjoyed a comfortable hope of being a new creature. From this I was led on to see what a galling yoke of bondage, the law and legal religion was; and how lovely and glorious was gospel liberty and gospel grace as contrasted with legal service. Call to the Ministry & Further Establishment in the Truth: Soon after my mind received satisfaction in reference to the ministry. I returned to the vicinity of Morristown, with the expectation of preaching for that church. But I went not with my mind impressed with a desire to convert souls. I went deeply impressed with the evil of that legal bondage which I knew by past experience was so prevalent in that region among the Presbyterians and others. I went therefore with the design of bearing my testimony against it, and to hold forth salvation as being of rich, free and sovereign grace reigning through the righteousness of Christ. I soon by that kind of preaching aroused a pretty severe opposition against me, both in and out of the church; I was charged freely with being an Antinomian, with bringing forward new things, and with creating divisions, &c. This drove me to search the Scriptures and to enquire more earnestly at the mouth of the Lord, and resulted in my becoming stronger in my views and in the defense of them. From that day to this, the most aid I have received from man in forming my religious views, has been through their opposition; thereby driving me from men to look to God and the Scriptures for my guidance. I have learned in my early experience, many ideas from men, but have had again in many instances to unlearn them. I know that it has been my desire to learn of God and not of man, and He I think taught me that desire, in my early experience. Notwithstanding the opposition raised against my preaching at Morristown, the church in the course of the summer called me to ordination. And I was ordained August 30, 1812, not as the pastor of that church, for that I declined, finding no Scriptural authority for it, but to the gospel ministry. {Signs of the Times 1851}

From the Signs by Gilbert Beebe

ELDER SAMUEL TROTT - DIED AT AGE 83. Elder Samuel Trott has laid off his armor, received his passport, and gone, as we fully believe, to the bosom of his God and Savior. For several months his strength has been gradually declining; so much so as to prevent him from visiting the churches, as he has been confined to his house or immediate neighborhood ever since last May. At that time we met him at the Baltimore Association, where we heard him for the last time, preach a short but very impressive sermon from John 3:3, “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” His voice was feeble, and his physical power scarcely sufficient to support his debilitated frame. He remarked that that was in all probability the last time he should ever attempt to preach to us. But the ardor of his spirit arose to an irrepressible earnestness, in solemnly impressing upon the brethren the important doctrine of his text, that whatever amount of human wisdom, literary acquirements, or human talent a man may possess, or however sound in theory, none are competent to preach the gospel of Christ, who have not seen the kingdom; and none can possibly see that kingdom who are not born of the Spirit. His last solemn admonition to the saints on this important subject fell upon our ears, and sank deep in our hearts, as our dear aged father was summing up in a few words what had been the burden of his ministry for more than sixty years. His stand point, bordering on the verge of the eternal world, with the eye of faith uplifted to the glory of the upper skies, and wings expanded for his rapturous flight from earth, only waiting to pronounce the finishing sentences of the ministry which he had received of the Lord, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. If we mistake not that was the last time he in a formal manner attempted to preach. But as long as he continued in the flesh, he ceased not, as opportunity presented and his receding strength would allow, to speak of his Redeemer’s kingdom, and to talk of his power. We called on and spent a night with our dear brother in August last, in company of Elders Leachman and Durand, after the close of the Corresponding Meeting in Loudoun County, Va. In our last interview, as far as strength would permit, he reaffirmed the position he had so long held, and the testimony he had so long and faithfully born to the truth of prophecy, and of what he had understood to be its import. To us, his clear and lucid interpretation of those prophecies concerning the twelve hundred and sixty days of the papal beast, and the corresponding time of the two witnesses prophesying in sackcloth, was wonderful. And that he should have published his views nearly forty years ago, and that he lived to see that his views were correct, in the literal humiliation of the pope, and extinction of his temporal, or secular power, just twelve hundred and sixty years after the inauguration of that power in the year 606, is evidence that he was endowed with more light upon these subjects than had ordinarily been enjoyed by his contemporaries. We have been personally acquainted with our dear departed brother about 45 years, and from our earliest acquaintance, have looked up to him as to a father, for counsel, and instruction, which he has been enabled to give. We have always found him ready to speak a seasonable word to us when occasion has required. Like David and Jonathan, we have loved each other; facing the same foes, bearing the same testimony, engaged in the same conflicts and participating in the same victories, suffering the same reproaches, encountering the same persecutions for the truth’s sake. Is it strange, now that he is taken from us, that we should exclaim, as did Elisha, when he saw Elijah taken up to heaven in the fiery chariot? “My father! My father! the chariot of Israel, and the horseman thereof.” More than an ordinary tribute to the memory of this dear servant of God is due from us, and a very large space in our columns should be devoted to a becoming notice of his departure. No other correspondent has contributed so liberally to our columns from the first number of our first volume, until prevented from writing, first by the late war, and since the war, for debility. Indeed it is doubtful if we could have succeeded in sustaining our publication had he withheld his support; and now that his pen shall no longer write for our edification, it is meet that we should record how greatly we have been aided by him, and how sadly the announcement of his departure has fallen on us. Brother Trott leaves a widow and one daughter, and has one surviving son residing in Texas. His first wife and all his children, except the one son and one daughter, had been called away before him. With our dear bereaved sister Trott, and the surviving daughter, who were with him to the last, we most sincerely sympathize in this, their deep affliction, and may their sore bereavement be sanctified to their good, and may they, with the absent son, be divinely sustained by the strong arm of the Lord. To the churches of our order, especially those who have enjoyed the labors of the departed, we would speak words of consolation. It is the Lord, and he is able to comfort you, in this and in all your sorrows. Look up to him and pray him to send forth faithful laborers into his harvest. To the readers of the “Signs of the Times”: we shall greatly miss that familiar signature and those deeply edifying epistles of love, which, for thirty-four years have afforded so much instruction and comfort. But our God hath raised up many other witnesses, and has assured us that he will not leave himself without witnesses. Long will you cherish the memory of our dear departed brother. To our brethren in the ministry: a valiant soldier has laid aside his armor; a veteran has received his passport to his mansion in the skies; our hearts are saddened, because the places that knew him once shall know him no more; but he is not dead, but sleepeth. His trials and conflicts are over, and all his tears are wiped forever away. A few more days of trial, temptation and conflict remains for us to fill up, and then, like him, shall we close our weary eyes on all the vanities of earth, and go to dwell forever with the Lord. {Signs of the Times 1866}

Elder Robert C. Leachman, referring to Elder Trott’s ministry said that; “his ministry was not with him as; alas, it is with too many, a work of convenience or of secondary importance, but regarded as the great and leading business of his life. Through sunshine and storm he was faithful to his appointments, and seemed to be always laden with gospel treasures. No man seemed to feel more sensibly his dependence upon God, and none seemed to be more constantly furnished unto every good word and work. His preaching seemed to me like a voice from the grave, rebuking the foul spirit of fanaticism, and testifying that the boasted and boastful religion of the time amounts to nothing. His last moments were marked by no special demonstration. Yet his death was just such a one as I would wish to die; with no particular disease, his body not racked with pain, his mental powers in full exercise to the last expression he was able to give, he quietly fell asleep like an infant in its mother’s arms.” MPJ

Conditions of Salvation

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What are the Conditions of Salvation? If the term condition were at all admissible in reference to that which is the sovereign act of Jehovah, I would give these as the conditions of salvation, namely: 1. That there are guilty, justly condemned sinners to be saved; and 2. That a way was provided in which God is just in saving sinners or in justifying the ungodly. These are certainly inseparable from the idea of salvation though not conditions in the common sense of the term. If we were not sinners ruined in ourselves, and already condemned by the just and unchangeable law of God, we had not been proper subjects of salvation; but on the contrary would still be probationers; that is would be in such circumstances that our future destiny whether of happiness or misery would depend on our acts or the course we take. Could we get to heaven under such circumstances, it would be as much the consequent result of our own acts, as would be our going to hell in pursuing a different course; hence there could no more be salvation in the one case, than there would be unjust oppression in the other. So also in reference to the other circumstance or condition, justice must be satisfied; the law of God must be canceled in its demands or it would forever bar the flowing of grace to the sinner: God cannot deny Himself. Hence the grand leading subjects of revelation are that these circumstances actually exist, or that these conditions are fully met in reference to all who are chosen to salvation. Thus the use of the law on the one hand, to show our guilt and condemnation; "That sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful." See Rom.7:7-13 & 3:19, 20. So on the other hand, the gospel is a declaration of Christ Jesus having magnified the law and made it honorable, and being the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth; and hence, of redemption and salvation in Him. Of Him it is said, "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare I say at this time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." Rom.3:25 & 26. Hence the justice of God is manifested in fully acquitting and justifying all them that believe in Jesus though in themselves they have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and are justly condemned by the law. So in christian experience, none can receive the hope of salvation in truth until they know themselves sinners, ruined and justly condemned by the law; and by faith know that God is just in pardoning and saving sinners alone through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. On the other hand he that knows and feels his just condemnation as a guilty transgressor of the law, and the deep pollution of his nature and acts so as to have lost all hopes of escaping the curse by anything of his, is the very character, whom, as declared in the Scriptures, Christ came to save. He came to seek and to save that which was lost. And he that by faith knows and receives Christ as the end of the law for righteousness, his hope for salvation resting upon a foundation that can never fail, is according to the Scriptural decision, a saved one. But I presume the inquirer had in view conditions according to the common notion of the term; something found in us or done by us, which at least gives us the ground to hope for acceptance with God; such as our repenting, believing, sincerely seeking and loving God, &c. The natural mind becomes so completely imbued with this notion of conditions, by hearing and reading of them so much, as set forth by men, that even believers frequently, notwithstanding what they have been taught of themselves, and of Christ's full work, will be looking for some of these conditions as an encouragement to hope, instead of looking to Christ. Hence the propriety of discussing this subject. In contradiction to all notions of conditions performed by creatures interposing in the work of salvation; 1st. We are taught that "Salvation is of the Lord," that "He that is our God is the God of salvation." The consideration that He claims salvation to be of Himself; and that He is self-existent and absolutely independent, that everything else exists of and from Him, and therefore that He cannot be influenced to act from anything out of Himself, shows that salvation being of Him, it must be exclusively of Him. Were He induced to save by the creature's performing certain conditions, He would be controlled in the act by the will of the creature, and could no longer justly claim the sovereignty He does, when He says, "I even I am the Lord {Jehovah} and besides me there is no saviour. I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God, &c. Isa. 43:11-12. 2nd. The fact that those who are saved were, from the beginning chosen to salvation, and therefore before they actually existed or had done any good or evil, effectually excludes all conditions or works done by the creature. See II Thes.2:13, Rom.9:11. 3rdly. Salvation as wrought out is embraced in redemption; it is redemption from the curse of the law, and from under the law. "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." Gal.3:13. And receiving the adoption of sons was the result of this redemption, Gal.4:4 & 5. And mark, it was God that sent forth His Son, &c., to redeem, and hence it was not that He was moved to it by any act of the creature. Even in His very birth as a Saviour, all fleshly power was excluded, He was made of a woman; not born by any act of man. And lest men might claim that God's thus sending His Son was the result of conditions performed by Abraham or his posterity, it is declared that, in the very relation in which Christ was born as a Saviour, His goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Micah 5:1 & 2, and Matt.2:5 & 6. Thus effectually debarring all creaturely influence or conditions from having any control over His coming. 4th. The experience of salvation, or being brought to have communion with God as a Father, is so represented in the Scriptures as effectually to deny its dependence on conditions. God is a Spirit, this communion of course must be spiritual, and of which the flesh can have no part. Therefore to enjoy it we must become spiritual. This can only be by our being born of the Spirit; that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. The fleshly birth is the result of being begotten of the flesh. The spiritual birth of course must be the result of being begotten of the Spirit. So says our Lord, It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing. Of course the flesh has no part in the quickening or begetting. No room then for conditions here. See John 3:6, and 6:63. And of this birth as sons of God or as spiritual, it is said "Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." John 1:13. Here all natural or blood descent is excluded, and of course all conditions performed by parents. No fleshly volition wills it, nor any will of man, even though he may be regenerated, produces it; but it is of God's sovereign volition. If we perform a condition as such do we not will the result? In excluding then the will of the creature, is not the condition excluded? - But 5. Not to be extremely tedious in multiplying proofs establishing the same fact, I will confine myself to this one more point of illustration. Paul in confirmation of the view above given of salvation as wrought out, says, Eph.2:4 - 6, "But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, {by grace ye are saved;} And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Here he shows that the saints were delivered from it; and were raised up together and made to sit together in heavenly places - not placed back again in Adam's original state of innocency and like him left subject to conditions or the requisitions of the law; but embraced in the provisions of the heavenly or everlasting covenant, having no ifs in it, no conditions to render it uncertain, but ordered in all things and sure. Well therefore might Paul interrupt the thread of his discourse to exclaim, "By grace ye are saved," every line, and word, shows God as going forth in the sovereignty and independence of His love and mercy, toward guilty sinners; a love that even their being dead in sins, could not check, and one therefore which creaturely works could never have drawn forth. But Paul goes on in verse 7 to show an object God had in raising them up and making them sit together in heavenly places; namely, "That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus." In the ages to come, that is, in the experimental deliverance, in all succeeding ages, of those He had made to sit together in heavenly places, He might show the exceeding riches of His grace, &c. One might have supposed that if Paul had mentioned only the riches of God's grace as that which He intended to show, no one would ever think of its being found so scanty as to be limited and confined within the bounds of such conditions as puny man could comply with. But the Holy Spirit knowing the proneness of man to bring everything, even God's rich grace, down to the standard of earthly things and places, which all have limitations, directed the use of the still broader expression, the exceeding riches of His grace. That which is exceeding, must go beyond, over-top everything in competition; but if the grace of God in salvation, were suspended upon any conditions whatever, those conditions uncomplied with must bar that grace and therefore exceed it. And hence where sin abounded in the non-compliance grace could not abound. Not so, such is the riches of God's grace that it must exceed every impediment. So is the testimony, "That where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord." Rom.5:20 & 21. It certainly cannot be possible that a conditional salvation can consist with the exceeding riches and sovereignty of God's grace. Salvation must flow as sovereignly free from Him as did creation, for He is alike the God of both. But again, many persons, generally sound, hold the idea of a conditional covenant contracted between the Father and Son, the salvation of the elect being suspended on Christ's fulfilling the conditions thereof. The inquirer may have had reference to this idea. But there is no declaration made in the Scriptures of any such contracting between the Father and Son, nor anything to justify the idea of such a conditional covenant. That there is an everlasting covenant ordered in all things and sure established with the elect in Christ as their Head I think the Scriptures clearly teach. Of this covenant {or testament as the original word is in some cases rendered, though more generally rendered covenant} Christ is revealed as the Surety, Heb.7:22, the Mediator, Heb.9:15, and the Messenger, Mal.3:1, each of these terms conveys an idea very different from that of a contracting party, as will be manifest on a moment's calm reflection. The great mistake in reference to this covenant arises from man being disposed to think of God as such a one as themselves, and therefore when God's covenant is spoken of, they conclude it must be like the covenants existing between men; and to carry out the idea they split up the Godhead into contracting parties having distinct, and therefore clashing interests in the concern. But no such idea is conveyed in the language of any covenant revealed in the Scriptures. As the Psalmist says of the everlasting covenant, Ps.111:9, "He sent redemption unto His people: He hath commanded His covenant forever &c.", so it will be found in every covenant recorded, and in every reference to the everlasting or new covenant made in the Scriptures, that God appears as the sovereign Jehovah establishing every part by His absolute wills and shalls. Look at the covenant God established with Noah, &c., Gen.9:8-17; the one established with Abraham, Gen.15:7-18, and the one, Gen.17 - then to the covenant mentioned by David, II Sam.23:5 & Ps.89:19-37 and see the wording; and David's views of it, as confirmed to him as the type of Christ, II Sam.7, and then pass to Isa.59:21, and to the new covenant - Jer.31:31-34, and see if in any instance God appears in relation to those covenants in any other light than as the sovereign God commanding and promising in His own absolute independency? And then look through the Scriptures and see if you can find a single promise made to Christ as the Head or to His people in Him, depending on an if or contingency. If you cannot satisfy yourself hear Paul's testimony: "For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us." II Cor.1:20. I said above, this covenant was made with the elect in Christ their Head; thus all the other covenants mentioned in the Scriptures were made with certain persons as heads and their seed in them; the head being subject to the provisions of the covenant in common with the posterity. So in this in an infinitely fuller extent; He being their Head, their Life, their all, every provision centers in Him, whilst its blessings terminate in His seed. Thus the purpose and grace which secures their salvation, are given in Him, II Tim.1:9; all the promises of God are in Him, II Cor.1:20; and indeed He is the covenant; was given for a covenant of the people, Isa.42:6 and 49:8. And notice in all this, that Christ instead of being represented as stipulating and coming forward as a contracting party, is represented as the servant, God directing and promising that He shall do it and succeed. So Christ Himself represents the matter. He says not, that I came down from heaven to fulfill my part of the contract; but that, "I came down from heaven not to do my own will, but the will of Him that sent me," &c. John 6:38-39. Thus, in accordance with the above, when the sword of justice was commanded to awake, it was to awake against Him who was the Lord's Shepherd, against the Man that was His fellow. Zech 13:7. Thus, it was not by contract, but as the Lord's appointed Shepherd that He was accountable for the safety of the sheep. See also John 10:11-16. It was not to the God that was fellow to the Lord of hosts, but to the Man that was His fellow. It has been said that fellow means an equal. Not so, its proper meaning is an associate, and it here particularly designates, that Man who is the one Mediator, and who is associated in personal union with the Godhead. I think if the Scriptures are carefully examined on this head by anyone disposed to receive Scriptural truth, he will be convinced that the covenant securing salvation as sovereignly free and absolute as the purpose and grace thereby revealed; that God appears as God commanding it; and that Christ and His people are one in all its provisions. To the inquirer then, in conclusion, I would say trouble not yourself about conditions of salvation. If you have been taught by the law to know that you are altogether sinful in yourself and justly condemned, be assured that God has provided in Christ Jesus a full and free salvation for you as thus helpless. Samuel Trott {Signs of the Times, Volume 16, 1848} 

Three-Oneness of God

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That God is ONE appears manifest from every page of God's revelation; but I shall here content myself with quoting some of the those texts in which He has more positively taught that He is to be acknowledged and worshipped as one and only as one God. The 1st command in the Decalogue is in point. "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" Ex. 20:3. Thus Moses on another occasion: "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord" Deut.6:4. Hear God also by the prophet saying, "Is there a god besides me? yea there is no god, I know not any" Isa.44:8. Again, Isa.45:22, "For I am God and there is none else." In Isa.46:9, He says: "For I am God and there is none else; I am God and there is none like me." When we pass to the New Testament, we find Jesus teaching the same thing as taught by Moses, with His declaration prefixed that it is the first of all the commandments, "And Jesus answered him, the first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel, The Lord our God is one Lord" Mark 12:29. Paul's testimony is, I Cor.8:6 - "But to us there is but one God, &c." Here, in conclusion of my proofs on the point of God's unity, I would remark that although the doctrine of God's existing as three is, as I shall show, fully revealed in the Scriptures, yet there is nothing like the positive declarations which we find on this point, found on the other. Surely, as the Master says; the first of all the commandments is this; so it is carried out through the law, the prophets and the New Testament. And certainly it cannot be without a special design. What then are we to learn from it but this, that the point of the first importance in the doctrine of God is His unity? Hence the system which implies directly or indirectly God's existing as three beings or gods, or parts of God, is a greater departure from the scriptural doctrine of God than is that which obscures or denies His essential existence as Three in One. That God exists in plurality, and that His plurality is limited to three, I will now show from several texts of Scripture. 1st.   That He has revealed Himself in plurality. The first name by which God declared Himself (as in Gen. 1:1, "In the beginning God created, &c.") is in the original plural, Elohim, but in this, as in most instances, it is connected with a verb singular, though there are exceptions to this, thus showing that this plurality exists in unity. In ver.26 of this same chapter, God says, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness;" and in verse 27, it is said, "So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him, &c." Thus we have God again presented to view both in plurality and in unity. In Gen. 3:22, "The Lord God said, Behold man is become as one of us." In Gen. 11:7, God says: "Go to let us go down and there confound their language." Isaiah says: "Also I heard the voice of the Lord God saying whom shall I send and who shall go for us" (Isa.6:8). Unity and plurality again united. In Dan.4:17, we read: This matter is by decree of the Watchers and the demand by the word of the Holy Ones. These Watchers cannot be angels, for it is not for them to decree concerning the affairs of kings and men. Christ, in the figure of Wisdom, says, "By me kings reign," &c. Prov.8: 15. Hear Daniel also further in that same verse, "To the intent that the living may know, that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men."  2nd.   I will now show this plurality to be declared in the Scriptures to be Three. In Isaiah, chapter 48, we hear Him who in verse 12 and 13 says, "I am He, I am the first, I also am the last. Mine hand hath also laid the foundations of the earth," &c., in verse 16, saying, "Come ye near to me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from-the time that it was, there am I; and now the Lord God and His Spirit hath sent me." Who can this be that declareth all these things of Himself, but He whom He declares Himself to be, in verse 17, The Lord thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel - the Lord thy God. And yet this glorious One says, "Now the Lord God and His Spirit hath sent me." Here then are Three clearly brought to view acting distinct parts in accomplishing the work of redemption. The Lord God, as Father, and His Spirit, the Holy Ghost, as uniting in sending the Redeemer; and the Lord thy Redeemer, as being sent, and who in equality with the Father declares, I am the Lord thy God, which teacheth, &c. Passing on to the New Testament, at the baptism of Jesus, the Saviour, we have the same Three presented to view as sustaining their respective stations in the great plan of redemption. We see Him, who was made of a woman, and made under the law, to redeem, &c.; and who was therefore the LORD THY REDEEMER, being baptized; and the Spirit, whose office it is to testify of Christ (John 15:26) So designating, by a visible appearance, Jesus, as the Messiah, that John could unhesitatingly bear witness of Him as being the Son of God. (See John 1:33,34.) "And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon Him." And also the Father was manifest as approving of the work the Son was engaging in, "And, lo, a voice from heaven saying, this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased" Mt.3: 16 & 17. Again the Three are declared as equal in authority, and equally objects of the believer's trust, in the instituted form of baptism: Baptizing them in the name - not names - of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost Mt.28: 19. They are also revealed as being equally the object of worship, and the source of blessing; in the form of blessing II Cor. 13:14. ("The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all.") Again the Three are declared as sustaining their several stations in the plan of salvation, in Eph.2: 18 ("For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father."); in effect, in II Thes.2: 13 ("But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth."); and fully in I Pet. 1:2 "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ." And in the text which has been so often referred to in this controversy, I John 5:7. Three are declared by distinct names, and as bearing testimony in heaven, not that they bear one testimony; but there are Three that bear record, it is therefore a threefold testimony, though the Three are declared to be ONE. There are many other texts in which each of the Three is declared by one or other of His peculiar names, and as sustaining His peculiar relation and performing His peculiar part in the plan of salvation; and there are other texts also in which the Three are presented to view at once, each at the same time sustaining a distinct relation as in John 14:26 - "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, &c.," says Christ to His disciples. So that the Three must be something more than merely three names or three manifestations which He has made of Himself. God must be so Three that He can be distinctly manifested as Father, Son and Spirit, in the peculiar relations and stations of each, in the plan of salvation, at the same time. See also John 15:26, where the order is somewhat reversed. I now pass to show from the Scriptures, that whilst, as has been shown, God has so revealed Himself as three, as that He is manifested as sustaining three distinct relations, &c., at the same time, that on the other hand, He is so revealed to be One, that when spoken of as God, even in reference to the distinct relations He sustains as three, He speaks and is spoken of as absolutely God, as the one Lord God, as He whose name alone is Jehovah. I here declare, and who will make me a liar on this point, that God is no where spoken of in the Scriptures in a way to justify expressions like this, God in the first person, God in the second person, &c., or God in the person of the Father, God in the person of the Son, &c., or that which such expressions imply, namely: God in the first order or relation, and God in the second order or relation, &c. Expressions calculated to present God to view thus in different grades, are evidently the offsprings of an overheated zeal to support a system. And as God said to Job, so it may be said to such zealots: "Who is this that darkeneth counsel with words without knowledge?" I shall on this head confine myself to proofs to show that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, each in His distinct relation, is declared absolutely and equally as God, the one God, &c. Referring to the text before quoted, I Cor.8:6, Paul says: "But to us there is but one God, the Father." - The Father then as distinct from the Lord Jesus Christ, is absolutely the one God. (See the whole text.) But Thomas addressed Christ as His Lord and his God, and no doubt Thomas had then true faith in exercise. John 20:28. And Paul says of Christ: "Who is over all God blessed forever. Amen" (Rom.9:5). If Christ is overall God blessed, then He must be the Most High God. And therefore the only God. When we look into the Old Testament, we find many instances in which God is declared by one or another of His names, as, God Almighty, LORD or Jehovah, &c., &c., in which it might be presumption in us to undertake to decide whether it is as the Father, as the Son, or as the Holy Spirit, He is therein declared. It is evidently enough for us, in such cases, to know that it is God, our God, the God of the Scriptures who is revealed as therein speaking or acting. In other instances by a reference to the clearer light of the New Testament, we may clearly discover, whether as Father, or as Son, or as Holy Ghost, it is that God speaks, or is declared. Thus we know from the New Testament that Christ is the Lord that hath shown us light, for He came a light into the world, &c., and this is the true light, &c. We are told, Ps. 118:27, that, "God is the Lord, which hath shewed us light." God then is Christ. And so John bears testimony, John 1:1-4. We know from the New Testament that Christ Jesus is the only Saviour, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved" Acts 4:12. We know also that we have redemption through His blood, (Eph. 1:7, Col. 1:14) and therefore that He is the Redeemer of Israel. And the disciples were not deceived when they trusted that Jesus of Nazareth had been He which should have redeemed Israel Luke 24:19-23. But on turning to Isa. 47:4, we read: "As for our Redeemer, the Lord of Hosts (Jehovah Sabaoth, in the original) is His name, the Holy One of Israel." Hence the name Jehovah Sabaoth, or Lord of Host is here clearly given to the Redeemer as such. He "whose name alone is JEHOVAH is the Most High over all the earth" Ps. 83:18. Is not then Christ in His distinct relation as Redeemer, the Most High and He whose name alone is Jehovah, and therefore distinctly the one Lord God? As to the name, Holy One of Israel, it as peculiarly belongs to Christ as the Messiah, as does the name Redeemer, and so I understand it wherever found. All the holiness of national Israel and of their multiplied rites, &c., was centered in Christ, as He was shadowed forth in them. And all the holiness of spiritual Israel is found in Him, as made unto them sanctification, holiness, &c. I Cor. 1:30. That the Father also in His distinct relation, as calling Christ, upholding Him, giving Him for a covenant of the people, &c., is He whose name alone is Jehovah, I will now show from one text. After declaring Himself as He that created the heavens, &c., and then saying to Him whose office it is to be a light to the Gentiles, to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners, I the Lord (Jehovah) have called thee, &c. He then goes on to say, "I am the Lord (Jehovah) that is my name and my glory will I not give to another nor my praise to graven images" Isa.42:5-8. Now looking to Isaiah chapter 43, we shall see that He who addresses Israel and says thou art mine, I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name, and repeatedly in the same connection declares Himself their Saviour, their Holy One, their King, &c. (see verses 3-14, 15) as confidently and absolutely declares, as did the Father in the preceding chapter, that He is Jehovah. He says verse 3: "I am the Lord thy God," and in verse 11: "I am the Lord and besides me there is no Saviour." In both of these instances, instead of Lord it is in the original Jehovah. And in verse 12, he says to His Israel, "Therefore ye are my witnesses saith the Lord that I am God." And will not His people with Thomas bear witness that He is the Lord their God? And can any doubt from these Scriptures, as thus compared, that the Father and the Son whilst distinct, as manifested in their separate relations in the economy of salvation, are each absolutely the one Jehovah, the one self-existent, independent God in all His divine attributes? It will be discovered by those who examine the Scriptures, that I have selected but few among the many proofs in point. As to the Holy Ghost's being in His distinct relation absolutely God, we have also proofs in point. Thus by comparing II Pet. 1:21, with II Tim.3: 16; and Acts, chapter 5, verse 3 with verse 4, we shall find that He who in the one instance in each verse is said to be the Holy Ghost is in the parallel text declared absolutely to be God. Christ informs us, John 6:63, that it is the Spirit that quickeneth, yet Paul tells the Ephesian brethren, that, "God who is rich in mercy, &c. hath quickened us together with Christ" Eph.2:4,5. In the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established, we are told. Hence the above establish the fact that the Holy Ghost is God, the One God. I would suggest for the consideration of brethren, whether, from the declaration of Peter, "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of men, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (II Pet. 1:21), we are not authorized to understand, when the prophets speak of God speaking to them, that the Holy Ghost, in His distinct office is intended? Thus when Isaiah says, "the Lord spake to me with a strong hand and instructed me," are we not to understand that the Holy Ghost was He who thus spake to him with a strong hand, or in him, as he speaks to the saints in these ways and instructs them? For, I presume, God spake not audibly to the prophets. And whether, among many other texts, we are not to understand, in the text Amos 6:8, which is rather a remarkable one, the Lord, the God of Hosts, which saith, The Lord God hath sworn by Himself, is the Holy Ghost in His distinct office? What, then, is the sum of this Scripture testimony, concerning God as being one and three? It is, as I receive it, this: 1st.   That the Lord our God is ONE Lord. ONE JEHOVAH – that besides Him we are to have no other as the object of our worship and trust. 2nd.   That this one Jehovah, exists as THREE, and so exists as THREE, that in all His divine majesty and perfections, He as the Father remains the invisible God, high seated on His throne, rolling on His eternal purpose, maintaining the honors of His throne, demanding and accepting satisfaction for His transgressed law, &c. At the same time the Son, as appointed heir of all things, be made a High Priest, offers Himself in sacrifice, and having purged away the sins of His people, enters into glory as their Intercessor and Forerunner. And, also at the same time, as the Holy Ghost be a distinct Witness, through the Apostles and in the hearts of God's children, of the completion and perfection of the work of Christ and of the acceptance of His offering and intercession for His people by the Father. And 3rd.   That whilst He is thus three, these three are so absolutely ONE, that each is the one Jehovah, acting in His distinct relation, in all the fullness of the Godhead; so that whether it is the Father, predestinating, and loving; the Son, redeeming, interceding and governing, or the Holy Ghost, quickening, comforting and guiding, whatever part or point of the believer's salvation we contemplate, we are constrained to say it is God's act, and God's perfection is in it. {Note: The difference of my views on this subject, from those of other Trinitarians, is that I hold that as these three witnesses are declared to be three, and one absolutely, so we ought to receive the declaration, without putting any limitations or qualifications of our own to it; whilst the others contend that the three must be understood as meaning three persons, and the one as meaning one God. Their authority for this addition I feel bound to dispute, seeing the Holy Ghost has not so declared it. They may talk about there being three subsistences in one divine essence, and say that this essence is God and these substances are Persons; and yet I may venture the assertion, that they know no more about it than I do; because nothing can be known of God, beyond what He has been pleased to declare of Himself. He has declared Himself as Father, Word and Holy Ghost, three, and that whilst He is thus three, He is absolutely one, this declaration let us receive, and with it, as made, let us be satisfied. - Why will not our brethren be satisfied with the revelation which God has made of Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Three, distinguished by different names and relations, &c., and yet each in His distinct relation being God manifested in all His divine attributes, the same one glorious Being, and divine Person. – Again, the position which we occupy, and the ground on which we stand, is, that what God has revealed of Himself in the Scriptures, we are safe in receiving as truth; what He has not revealed, it is presumption in mortals, and would be in angels, to attempt to inquire into; that God has revealed himself as three, as the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and that these three are one; that they are so three, that there are points of distinction by which they are severally declared in the Scripture; and so one, that to us there is but one God. Hence, when either of the three is spoken of as God, we understand it to be that one God in all his fullness of attributes and glory. Hence our conclusion is, that if God exists absolutely independent of any one, or of any act by which he is brought into existence, then each of the three must alike so exist as God; and as we find it not declared in the Scriptures that God exists as three distinct persons, or that one of these persons was begotten of the other, and that the third is breathed into existence, we reject the whole, as fabulous. I have here summed up, in as definite and clear words as I can, my belief of God, as existing in Trinity, for I do believe in a Trinity, but not in tri-personality.} Should I be asked what I mean by God's existing as three; I answer, my meaning is that He as absolutely, eternally, and essentially exists as three, as He exists as God. I feel authorized so to understand it, first: from this consideration, God has manifested Himself in the Scriptures as three and I cannot conceive that in making a revelation of Himself, He would declare Himself as existing as three and one unless He so existed; so I must believe He eternally existed, as essentially three, as one. Secondly: I am confirmed in this, by His declaring Himself to be, I AM THAT I AM, not I Am, what I eternally was not. How He exists as ONE, or how He exists as three, He has not told me. I can no more comprehend how He eternally exists of Himself, that I can how He exists as three or as three and one. It is enough for me to know that He so exists, and therefore that every part of salvation is His work, and bears His mark of perfection. But I will add that I can no more believe that God, in order to exist as three, was under the necessity of begetting and breathing Himself into existence as such, that I can, that He begat or breathed His essence into being. Again, should I be asked: Are the Three, three persons? I answer, not in a proper sense and I think to use a word in an indefinite and improper sense, tends to confuse and darken counsel. An undefined term can be of no use; it may do hurt. I am authorized to speak of the Father as a person, not only because He is God, but also because as God, the Scriptures speak of His person, in Heb. 1:3, the Son is said to be the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person. But I understand the term person here not to have reference to the Father in His distinct relation as such in the Godhead, as the attachment to a system has led some to represent it; but to Him as the invisible God, it being evidently a parallel passage with Col. 1:15, where Christ is said to be the image of the invisible God. I am also authorized to speak of the Son as a person, because He is God, and also because He stands in personal relation to His church as Her Husband, Head and King. And in speaking of Him as a person, I am led to contemplate Him as having some things peculiar embraced in His person, which do not belong to the Father or Holy Spirit as such. For He is revealed as God and man, and having in Him that life which is the light of men, all in one person. In like manner the Holy Ghost is declared to be God and as exercising the attributes of a person as in I Cor. 12:11 - "But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will." That is, I am authorized to speak of each, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, individually as manifested, and as acting, as God and therefore as a person. But I am thereby no more warranted to say they are three persons than I am to say they are three Gods. That I may not, however, appear to make a greater difference than what really exists, between what I understand to be the scriptural view of the subject, and the system of men. I will add further; that what many mean by the terms three persons, namely: that the relations and distinctions, which the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost sustain each toward the other, are of a personal nature, I believe to be a scriptural idea, revealed by the use of the personal pronouns distinctly applied to each, and in other scriptural declarations. And for this I contend in opposition to the notion that the Three are only three offices or manifestations of God. And when persons, in using these terms, are careful to explain that they do not use them in the full import of the terms I do not feel so much opposition to their using them, though for reasons before assigned, I do not use them. But when, without any reserve or explanation persons say absolutely that there are three persons in the Godhead, or say there are three proper and distinct persons, my mind revolts at it as absurd in itself, and as calculated to beguile the inexperienced into a notion of three gods or something like it. And when men assume to prescribe to us that we must conform to them in the use of these terms, or be denounced as heretics, I certainly shall resist it, as being, so far as it goes, the very spirit of popery; the terms not being sanctioned by Scripture authority. I now appeal to my brethren, Does not the revelation which infinite Wisdom and Love has given us of God in the Scriptures, possess in and of itself a godlike glory, beauty, simplicity, and adaptation to our cases, which the explanations and sophistry of the schools with their undefined, but consecrated forms of expression only tend to mar and confuse? Such as their explaining God's existence as three, by their first, second, and third persons, one begetting, another begotten, and the third breathed forth, and the Godhead of the Son as begotten, thus, that He is very God of very God, begotten - not created, begotten, unbegotten, &c. Whoever may undertake to study the system of men on this subject, with the idea of comprehending the being of God within a human system, will find such study producing a very different feeling from a suitable reverence of the greatness of God, they will find it to be a leaning to their own understandings, and producing disappointed feelings at the incapacity of their reasoning powers to grasp and arrange the subject without confusion, and a consequent bitterness of feeling toward those who discover the weakness of their system and reject it. On the other hand, when we go as little children to the Scriptures to receive the revelation which God has been pleased to give of Himself, and to receive it just as He has given it, we are filled with reverence and awe at the greatness, the glorious majesty, and incomprehensibility of Him whom the Son has declared; and are humble before Him under a sense of how little we know or can know of God. Should reason under these circumstances attempt to approach the subject, she is confounded at once, driven back abashed, and gives place to faith whose province alone it is to apprehend the revelation of God. And she, as she takes hold of this subject, is still knowing that it is the being of God she is embracing in her arms, the great I AM THAT I AM. Yet faith apprehends all in the revelation that we need to know to inspire us with fear, reverence and love of God; with unreserved and childlike trust and confidence in Him, and with boldness of approach to Him, and pleading with Him in all our straits. This revelation corresponds with our experience. Our experience taught us nothing of first, second and third persons in God, of eternal generation of a begotten or breathed forth God; nor of the pre-existent soul of Christ, &c. But when our hearts were opened to understand the law, we felt that it was the law of God our Creator which we had transgressed, that against Him and Him only we had sinned. When the plan of salvation was revealed to our souls, it appeared all of God; God, in the riches of His love I and in His wisdom and power to save, was manifested to us; and with confidence we trusted in His salvation. In our after experience, when a promise has been peculiarly applied to our case, or a Scripture has been opened by the Holy Ghost to our understanding, we have been ready to say with Isaiah: "The Lord spoke thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me" Isa.8:11. Samuel Trott {Signs of the Times, July 1840}


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Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle
and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus. Hebrews 3:1