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PROVING THAT THERE IS A PLURALITY IN THE GODHEAD.
Having, in the preceding chapter, proved the unity of the divine Being, or that there is but one God, I now proceed, II. To prove that there is a plurality in the Deity, which shall endeavor to do; First, From the plural word Elobim, so frequently used when the divine Being is spoken of; and that in different forms of construction: As, 1. It is sometimes in construction with a verb singular, as in <010101>Genesis 1:1. “In the beginning God, or Elohim, created the heavens and the earth”. Elohim being a word in the plural number, and Bara, which is rendered created, being singular, many think ‘tis designed to express the truth of a plurality of persons in the unity of essence. Moses might have made use of some of the names, or appellations of God in the singular number: He might have laid, Jehovah Bara, Jehovah created; a name by which God had made himself known to Moles, and by him, to the people of Israel; or he might have made use of Eloab, the singular of Elohim, which he has made use of in Deuteronomy 32:15, 16. So that he was not obliged to make use of this plural word, from any want of singular appellations of God, or from any barrenness in the Hebrew language. And when we consider that one design of Moses writings is to oppose and extirpate the polytheism of the Heathens, it may well seem strange that he should make use of a plural word, when speaking of God, which might have a tendency to strengthen them in their notion of a plurality of gods: Nor certainly would he have used it as he does, thirty times in this history of the creation, and, perhaps, five hundred times more, in one form of construction or another, in the five books of his writings, had he not designed some kind of plurality or another. Now a plurality of gods he cannot mean; because this is contrary to what he asserts Deuteronomy 6:4. “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord”; nor a plurality of names or characters, to which creative powers cannot be ascribed, but a plurality of persons. For the words may be cast into a distributive form, in perfect agreement with the idiotism of the Hebrew lan guage, and be thus read:” In the beginning every one of the divine persons created the heavens and the earth”; and then the historian goes on to take notice of some of there persons, as concerned in the creation. He makes mention of the spirit of God moving upon the face of the waters, in ver. 2. which the ancient Jews understood of the spirit of the Messiah:
And in ver. 3. he ob serves, that “God said, h. e. God, the Word said, Let there be light, and there was light. 2. This word is sometimes in construction with a verb plural, of which there are several instances, as Genesis 20:13. “And it came to pass, when w[th yta µyhla the gods caused me to wander from my Father’s house”. And so Genesis 35:7, “And he, i.e. Jacob, built there an altar, and called the place E1-bethel; because there µyhlah zyla zlgn , the gods appeared to him, etc.” And once more, in 2 Samuel 7:23. “And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel, whom µyhla wklh the gods went to redeem for a people to himself”. Now as one a well observes, “That however the construction of a noun plural, with a verb singular, may render it doubtful to some, whether these words express a plurality or no; yet certainly there can be no doubt in those places, where a verb or adjective plural are joined with the word Elohim”.
The plurality here expressed, cannot be a plurality of gods, for the reason above given; nor of meer names and characters, but of persons; for to there Elohim are ascribed personal actions; as their removal of Abraham from his father’s house; their appearance to Jacob, and their redemption of the people of Israel. 3. It is sometimes in construction with adjectives and participles plural, as Deuteronomy 4:7. and 5:26. And in other places, where mention is made of the living God, ‘tis expressed in the plural µyyj µyhla the living gods; as in 2 Samuel 7:26, 36. Genesis 33:36. A very remarkable construction of this kind we have in Jeremiah 10:10. where ‘tis said, “But the Lord is the true God; µyyj µyhla awh he is the living Gods”; expressing, at once, a plurality of persons in the one divine Being. Of the same kind is Joshua 24:19. where Joshua says to the Israelites, “Ye cannot serve the Lord, for he is an holy God”; which, in the Hebrew, is awh µyçrq µyhla the holy Gods is he; which, in the natural construction of the words, should have been µh µyçdq µyhla the holy Gods are they, had not this mystery of a plurality in the one God been intended. Hence we read of more holies than one, in Proverbs 30:3. “I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge µyçdq of the holy ones”.
Once more, in Psalm 58:11. “Verily there is µyfpç µyhla gods that judge in the earth”. Now of these Elohim it is said, that they live, are holy, are near to God’s people, and judge in the earth; all which are personal characters; and therefore they, to whom they belong, must be persons. This is the first kind of proof of a plurality in the Deity. I do not begin with this because I judge it to be the clearest, and strongest proof of the point, but because Elohim is one of the names, and one of the most usual names of God. Nor do I lay the stress of the argument on the word. Elohim it fell, but as it appears in a very unusual form of construction. I am sensible that the word is used of a single person in the Deity, in Psalm 45:6, 7. And it need not be wondered at, that a name that is common to all the three divine persons, should be appropriated to one of them; especially when it is considered, that each divine person possesses the whole essence and nature common to all three. I know it is also given to Moses, who was appointed to be a god, or Elohim, to Aaron and Pharaoh: And good reason there is for it, when he represented and stood in the room and stead of the trineune God to them. Wherefore ‘tis of little service to the Jews to object this to us: Nor ought it to be thought strange, when the idols of the Gentiles, in imitation of the true God, are called Elohim; whose names, as well as worship, Satan has endeavored to mimic. The ancient Jews not only concluded a plurality, but even a Trinity, from this word Elohim; as appears from a passage in the book of Zohar , where the author says: “Come, see the mystery of the word Elohim: There are three ˆygrd degrees, and every degree is distinct by himself, notwithstanding they are all one, and. are bound together in one, and one is not divided from the other”.
This is so full an account of the Trinity, that one would rather have thought it came out of the mouth of a Christian, than of a Jew. Was an Athanasian to give an account of his faith in the doctrine of the Trinity, he would do it in much the fame language, except, that instead of degree he would use the word person. And yet we find Tertullian, an ancient Christian writer, uses the word degree, when speaking of the persons in the Trinity ;. and calls the Holy Ghost particularly the third degree. I have took no notice of the word, Adonim, as applied to God; which though it is sometimes used of one, for the sake of honor, in the second and third, yet never in the first person plural, as it is of God in Malachi 1:6. “If yna µynwda I am lords, where is my fear”? But I go on Secondly, To prove a plurality in the Godhead, from some plural expressions which are used of the divine Being in scripture: And shall begin, 1. With Genesis 1:26. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness”.
The pronouns us and our, do so manifestly express a plurality, that he must willfully shut his eyes, who does not see it; and yet, left we should from hence conclude a plurality of gods, the words image and likeness are expressed in the singular number; a plurality in the Deity being entirely consistent with the unity of essence. Nothing is more plain from hence, than that more than one was concerned in consultation about, and in the formation of man. Hence we have those plural expressions used of the divine Being, when he is represented as the Creator of men; as in Job 35:10. “Where is God, yç[ my Makers ?” And <19E902>Psalm 149:2. “Let Israel rejoice zyç[b in his Makers”. And <211201>Ecclesiastes 12:1. “Remember Ëyarb thy Creators in the days of thy youth”. And Isaiah 54:5. “For Ëyl[b thy husbands are Ëyç[ thy Makers; the Lord of Hosts is his name”. Now what reason can be given for there plural expressions, if there was not more than one concerned in man’s creation ?
The Jews have tried at many things to evade the force of this text.
Sometimes they tell us, that God consulted with the souls of men, and with second causes; with the elements, and particularly with the earth f22 , out of which he formed man; and then breathed into him the breath of life: So that, in respect of his body, which is of the dust of the earth, he was made after the image of the earth; and in respect of his soul, after the image of God; and so in respect to both, after our image. But this is so wretchedly stupid, that it deserves no further notice. Others of them say, that God consulted with his angels, and speaks to them about man’s creation, which is the rearm of this plural expression. But it ought to be observed, that angels are creatures, and so not of God’s counsel: For” who hath directed ( Isaiah 40:13,14) the spirit of the Lord; or, being his counselor, hath taught him? With whom took he counsel”? Not with any of his creatures; no, not with the highest angel in heaven; they are none of them equal to him, nor equal to the work mentioned in the text, under consideration:
They are creatures, and therefore cannot be possessed of creative power; nor were they concerned in man’s creation; nor was man made after their image and likeness. Others of them say, that God here speaks regio more, after the manner of kings; who in their edicts, proclamations, etc. use the plural number to express their dominion, honor, and majesty. But it ought to be considered, that the reason why kings and princes use plural expressions in their edicts, proclamations, etc. is because they connotate other persons, kings acting by the advice of their ministers, or privy counsel. Besides, this aulic or courtly way of speaking is not so ancient. No one instance can be produced in scripture, where the kings of Israel speak after this manner nor indeed, where those proud, haughty and arrogant monarchs, Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, and Belshazzar use the plural number, when speaking of themselves only. The instances which are usually produced are foreign to the purpose; and as a learned Jew observes, are rqç yd[ false witnesses. And as a worthy prelate observes, “’Tis a very extravagant fancy to suppose that Moses alludes to a custom that was not (for “what appears) in being at that time, nor a great while after”.
The first instance of this royal way of speaking, is in the letters of Artaxerxes, king of Persia, mentioned in Ezra 4:18. and 7:23. which, as it is the most early intimation of this mode of expression, so it ought to be observed, that it first appears in the latest accounts of things which the scriptures of the Old Testament give; and further, that ‘tis only a proof of this way of speaking in the Chaldee, and not in the Hebrew language, and probably might take its rise in the court of Persia, from the conjunction of Darius the Mede, and Cyrus the Persian, in the government of the empire; in both whose names edicts and decrees might run, and letters be sent. This might occasion the first use of such plural expressions, and their successors might continue them to express their power and glory. After all, the Jews are conscious to themselves, that these words do furnish out an argument for a plurality in the Deity. Hence in one of their ancient commentaries upon this place, they say, That when Moses was writing the fix days works, and came to this verse, he made a stop, and said, Lord of the world, why wilt thou give an occasion to heretics to open their mouths against the truth? And add, that God should say to him, Write on; he that will err, let him err. Now this fabulous story is hatched on purpose to defend themselves against the argument of the Christians, for a plurality in the Godhead, founded on this text; and sufficiently discovers the sense they had of the force of it, and the self-convictions they labored under from this passage. They also tell us, That the seventy two interpreters, who were employed by Ptolemy, king of Egypt, to translate the law, when they came to this text, read it not hç[n , let us make; but as if it was hç[a , I will make: And this change was made by them, left Ptolemy should think that they held a plurality of gods as well as he. And for the fame reason they made the like change in other places, where there is an intimation of a plurality, as Genesis 11:7. And Philo f30 , the Jew, affirms, That there words declare plh~qov , a plurality; and are expressive of others, as coworkers with God in the creation.
A late writer tells us, That he “can conceive “how God is laid to do this, i.e. to make man in our image, and after our likeness, by his word and spirit; for that he acted, in those respective characters, in his Christ, and through his holy child Jesus”.
That the Word and Spirit were concerned with God in the creation of man, is a truth, and is the true reason of this plural expression; but then, there are not to be considered as mere characters, under which God acted; for mere names and characters cannot be consulted with; nor can creative powers be ascribed to them; nor have they any image and likeness after which man could be made. The words are a manifest proof of a plurality of divine persons, who were equal to one another, and to the work of man’s creation, in which they were jointly concerned. 2. Another scripture, which bears a testimony to a plurality in the Deity, is Genesis 3:22. “And the Lord God said, the man is become as one of us”.
Which words are not spoken to angels, as say the Jewish writers; for they are not God’s socials or equals, nor any of the Deity, as these here are said to be. Had the words any reference to angels, they should have been read, The man is become as one of you. The words of the serpent to Eve determine the sense of there, when he says to her: “Ye shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil”. Now whatever equivocal, ambiguous, fallacious, or deceitful meaning, the Devil had in there words; yet it is certain, that he intended she should understand him of the divine Being; and so she did.
The bait which he laid for her, and which took with her, was not an equality to angels, but to God: This our first parents affected, and this was their ruin. The words may be considered either as an irony, or sarcasm on man’s folly and vanity, in affecting Deity; and then ‘tis as if he had laid.
Behold the man whom Satan promised, and who himself expected to be as one of us. See how much like a God he looks; who, but just now, was covered with fig-leaves, and now stands clothed with the skins of slain bears; and who, by his sin, has brought ruin and misery on himself, and all his posterity: Or else, they may be considered as a comparison of his pail: and present state: “Behold the man hyh f34 , was as one of us, i.e. he was made in our image, and after our likeness; but he has sinned, and come short of his former glory: He has defaced this image; he is not like the man he was; and since he has done this, What will he not do? And now therefore, left: he put forth his hand, etc. Consider the words elder way, they prove a plurality in the Deity. Philo, the Jew acknowledges that there words are to be understood of more than one. 3. Another passage of scripture, which expresses the fame thing, is Genesis 11:7. “Go to; let us go down, and there confound their language”.
Which cannot be meant of Angels, in which sense the Jewish writers understand it; for God never speaks in such language to them: Had he spoke to them, it would have been in such a form as this: Go ye down, and do ye confound their language. But he does not thus speak; but let us go down, etc. Besides, the work to be done, was such as angels could not do, nor any mere creature. The fame God that gave man the faculty of speech, and use of language, could only confound it. There was as great a display of divine power in the confusion of language, as there was in bestowing the gift of tongues on the apostles, at the day of Pentecost. No, this was not the work of angels, but of those divine persons, who are the one Jehovah; who, in ver. 8. is said to scatter the people abroad from thence, upon the face of all the earth. Philo, the Jew, s ays, That it is plain that God speaks to some here as co-workers with him. 4. Another text, which might be produced as a proof of a plurality in the Deity, is Isaiah 6:8. “also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, here am I, send me”.
These are not the Seraphim, in ver. 2, 3. who are here speaking, but the Lord, who says, whom shall I, Jehovah, send, and who will go for us?
Neither the name, nor the work agree to angels. Not the name Jehovah; for that is incommunicable to creatures: Nor the work, which is the fending forth ministers to preach the gospel. For Angels themselves “are ministering spirits; sent forth to minister to them, who shall be the heirs of salvation”. These are divine persons, and are no other than the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Of the Father, there is no question; nor need there be any of the Son, since he expressly refers the words to himself, John 12:39, 40, 41, as the Targum on the place does, to the Word of the Lord: Nor ought there to be any with respect to the Holy Ghost, seeing they are manifestly applied to him in Acts 28:25, 26. 5. There’s one passage more in this prophesy of Isaiah 41:21, 22, 23. which I’ll just mention: “Produce your cause, saith the Lord; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the king of Jacob: let them bring them forth, and show us what shall happen: Let them show the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare unto us things for to come. Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are Gods: Yea, do good or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together”. In which words ‘tis manifest, that the Lord, the Jehovah, who is the king of Jacob , continues speaking all along in the plural number; upbraiding the gods of the Gentiles for their ignorance and imbecility. These are proofs out of the Old Testament, to which some have added Song of Solomon 1:11. 6. I might now produce some passages out of the New Testament, which discover a plurality in the Godhead. Some have thought the words of our Lord, in John iii. 11. are an indication of it; where our Lord may be thought to use the plural number, not on the account of his disciples, who were not concerned in that discourse of his, with Nicodemus; but with respect to the Father, and the holy Spirit. For he was not alone but there spoke in him, and bore witness with him. But I shall conclude this kind of proof with John 14:23. “Jesus answered and said unto him, If any man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him; and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him”.
That more than one person is here intended, is certain; nor can we be at a loss about two, and who they are: For the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, are expressly mentioned, as diviner persons, having personal characters and actions, such as coming to the man that loves Christ, and making their abode with him, ascribed unto them. But I proceed, Thirdly, To endeavor to prove a plurality in the Deity from those places of scripture which speak of Jehovah, and of the Angel of Jehovah; which angel is also said to be Jehovah. And my argument from thence will be this: That if there is one who is Jehovah, that fends; and another who also is Jehovah, that is sent; then there must be a plurality in the Godhead. Let us attend to some instances.
The first passage I shall take notice of is in Genesis 16:7. where we read of an angel of the Lord who found Hagar, Sarah’s maid, in the wilderness, and bid her return to her mistress; which angel appears to be Jehovah; for in ver. 10. he promises her that he would “multiply her feed exceedingly, that it should not be numbered for multitude”; which a created angel, or any meet creature, could never perform. And to put it beyond all doubt, that this angel of the Lord was Jehovah, in ver. 13. ‘tis said, that “she called the name of the Lord, which spake unto her, thou God seest me”.
Again, in <011801>Genesis 18: 1, 2. we read, that the Lord appeared to Abraham, in the plains of Matu re; and that when he lifted up his eyes, and looked up, lo, three men stood by him; which were angels, as appears from <011901>Genesis 19:1. Now one of there was the great Jehovah, as is manifest from the name Jehovah being given to him, ver. 1 3, 20, 26. and in many other verses; and from his separation from the other two, ver. 22. and from the works of Jehovah, which are ascribed to him, ver. 14, 17. Yea, he is called the judge of all the earth, who will do right, ver. 25. And Abraham all along pays the utmost deference, and gives the profoundest respect unto him, ver. 27, 30, 31, 32. So that from the whole, there’s sufficient reason to conclude that one of these three angels was Jehovah.
The angel of the Lord, who appeared to Abraham, when he was about to sacrifice his son, and bid him desist from it, Genesis 22:11, 12. was no other than Jehovah; for he tells him, that he had not withheld his Son, his only Son, from him. Now it was at the command of God, and not a created angel, that Abraham went about to sacrifice his son; it was to the Lord Jehovah that he devoted him, and to whom he was going to offer him up in sacrifice, and not to a created angel. And because the Lord himself thus opportunely appeared to him, he called the name of the place Jehovah Jireb, h. e. the Lord will appear. And again, a second time, the same angel of the Lord called unto him, and swears by himself, which no creature ought to do, and promises that which no creature can do, that in blessing he would bless him; and in multiplying, he would multiply his seed as the stars of heaven: All which the author of the epistle to the Hebrews applies to the great God, Hebrews 6:13, 14. So that we may be assured that the angel of the Lord, who here speaks, spoke in his own name, and not ministerially in his who sent him.
The angel mentioned in Genesis 48:16. cannot be understood of a created, but of an uncreated one. He stands upon a level with the God of Abraham, and Isaac; and as great an act of divine power and goodness is ascribed to him as to that God, before whom Abraham and Isaac walked:
Yea, he makes him the object of his supplication, and invokes a blessing from him as from God, upon the lads, the sons of Joseph.
The angel of the Lord, which appeared to Moses in the bush, Exodus 3:2. was no other than Jehovah; which appears from the names by which he is called, viz. Jehovah, God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; I am what I am, ver. 4, 6, 13, 14, 15. As also from the divine works and actions ascribed to him: As, seeing the afflictions of the Israelites; hearing their cries; coming down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians; and to bring them out of their land into a land flowing with milk and honey.
The same may be said of the angel in Exodus 23:20. whom the Lord promised to send before his people Israel, to keep them in the way, and to bring them into the place which he had prepared. Here he requires them to yield obedience to him; to be cautious of provoking and offending him; and assures them, that he would not pardon their iniquities; which would have been needless to have observed to them, had he been a creature. None can forgive sins but God. Besides, he says his name was in him; that is, as a late writer well enough observes, his name Jehovah; and if that: is in him, which is incommunicable to a creature, then he must be the most high God, whose name alone is Jehovah. Moreover, the apostle Paul has assured us, that he who led and guided the people of Israel through the wilderness, and against whom they there rebelled, was Christ; when he says, Corinthians 10:9. “Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents”.
We read also of an angel of the Lord, in <380301>Zechariah 3:1. who not only is called Jehovah, in ver. 2. but declares to Joshua, in ver. 4. that he had caused his iniquity to pass away from him, and would. clothe him with change of raiment; which none but the most high God can do: For who can take away sin, pardon it, or acquit from it, or clothe with a justifying righteousness but him ?
Now ‘tis easy to observe, in many of there instances, that obedience to this angel is required; that he is invoked and represented as the object of worship and adoration; which would not be, was he not the true Jehovah.
This the author of “The great concern, etc. seems to be aware of; and therefore tells us, That this angel personated Jehovah, and had his likeness; and that the people of God, under that shadowy dispensation, were permitted to worship him. But to do this, is a breach of that command ( Matthew 4:10), “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve”; and to be guilty of that which is condemned by the apostle, Colossians 2:18. even worshipping of angels. As we have no instance of divine worship and adoration given to angels, but on the contrary, that they are called upon to worship God’s first begotten Son, Hebrews 1:6. So when an offer of this kind has been made to them, they have always rejected it: An instance of which we have Revelation 22:8, 9. Indeed this author intimates, that since the Messiah, the substance, is come, it is not proper or lawful to worship angels: As the change of the dispensation made any change in the object of worship. Since the coming of Christ, some things have been altered, as to the outward form or manner of worship; but the object of worship is invariably the same: Though God may change the one, he cannot change the other without denying himself.
It is expected from us, that we should reconcile these appearances of Jehovah, under the Old Testament, to the invisibility of God. When our Lord says, in John 1:18. That “no man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him;” he means God the Father, who is manifestly distinguished, in the text, from his only begotten Son. And still more plainly does he express himself, in John 5:37. “And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath born witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.”
It is a rule, which, I believe, will hold good, that whenever any voice was heard under the Old Testament-dispensation, which is ascribed to Jehovah, it is always to be understood, not of the Father, but of the Word; and whenever any visible shape was seen, it was the shape and form of the human nature, which the Lo>gov , or Word assumed as a pledge and presage of his future incarnation. Betides, that God should, in some form or other, make some singular appearances of himself, or afford his singular grace and presence to his people, is no ways inconsistent with the invisibility of his nature or essence. For though he is that God, “whom no man hath seen, or can see,” i.e. his nature or essence; yet there is a state of glory and perfection, in which the saints shall see him as he is. To conclude this head:
My argument from these passages of scripture, as I before observed, stands thus: That if there is one who is the true Jehovah, that fends and another distinct from him, who is also the true Jehovah, who is lent by him; then there must be more than one who is Jehovah; and so consequently there must be a plurality in the Deity: Which is the thing I have undertaken to prove. But, Fourthly, This will also admit of proof from those passages of scripture, which speak of two as distinct from each other, under the fame name of Jehovah, or God. I’ll just mention two or three instances of this kind. In Genesis 19:24. it is said, That “the Lord, or Jehovah, rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah, brimstone and fire from the Lord, or Jehovah, out of heaven.”
This wonderful conflagration was not made by the ministry of angels; for wherever it is mentioned, as in Jeremiah 50:40. Amos 4:11. it is represented as the work of Elohim, of every one of the divine persons. In Psalm 45:6, 7. it is said: “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever — Thou lover righteousness, and hatest wickedness: Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” Jeremiah 12:5, 6. is another instance of this kind; where Jehovah promises to raise up to David, a righteous branch, whose name should be called Jehovah, our righteousness. And to add no more, in Hosea 1:7.
Jehovah, or the Lord God declares, That he would “have mercy on the house of Judah, and save them by the Lord their God ;” or, as the Targum paraphrases it, by the word of the Lord their God. Now, in all these passages, it is manifest, that two are spoken of, as possessed of divine perfections, and as distinct from each other. He that rained fire and brimstone upon Sodom and Gomorrah, must be distinct from him, from whom this fire and brimstone was rained, and must: be one of equal power with him. He that was anointed with the oil of gladness, or the Holy Ghost, must be distinct from him, by whom he was anointed: The anointer and the anointed cannot be, in all respects, the same. And so like-wife Jehovah, who railed up the branch to David, must be distinct from the branch which was railed up by him; as he also that promises to save his people, must: be distinct from him, by whom they are fared. Now this distinction must be either nominal or real; not nominal, because they both bear the fame name in all there passages. The distinction therefore, mutt be real; and if it is real, it must be either essential or personal; not essential, for there is but one divine nature or essence; otherwise there would be more gods than one. It remains then, that the distinction is personal, and consequently that there is a plurality of divine perform in the Godhead.
There is one passage, which I have not taken notice of under any of the foregoing heads, which seems to express a plurality in the Deity: It is in Daniel 4:17. “This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones.”
These words are commonly understood of angels. And I deny not, but that they may be called watchers, and holy ones; and that they may be said to declare the decrees of God, and be the executioners of them: But then these decrees are not theirs; not any affair, that is done in this world, done in consequence of any decree of theirs, much less a matter of so much importance, as this which concerned so strange a revolution in the Babylonia, monarchy. Betides, this decree is called the decree of the Most High, in ver. 24. from whence we learn who these watchers and holy ones were. They are no other than the divine persons in the God. head, who are holy ones, and watch over the saints for their good; and over the wicked, to bring evil upon them. There are called watchers and holy ones, to express a plurality in the Deity; and they are called the Most High here, and the watcher, the holy one, in the singular number, ver. 1 3. to secure the unity of essence. This I take to be the true sense of there words: Nor am I alone in it. There are now some of the proofs of a plurality in the Godhead, which the scriptures furnish us with; there are many more which I might have collected; but as they also prove a Trinity, I have referred them for their proper place.