Remarks Of Jonathan Edwards On The Trinity -- By: Edwards A. Park

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 038:150 (Apr 1881)
Article: Remarks Of Jonathan Edwards On The Trinity
Author: Edwards A. Park


Remarks Of Jonathan Edwards On The Trinity

Edwards A. Park.

The preceding Article on this subject contains (pp. 157-177) the concluding paragraphs of Edwards’s “Treatise on Grace.” Mr. Grosart in his Introduction to this Treatise says: “I shall be surprised if this Treatise do not at once take rank with its kindred one, on ‘ the Religious Affections.’ There is in it, I think, the massive argumentation of his great work, on ‘ The Will;’ but there is, in addition, a fineness of spiritual insight, a holy fervor not untinged with the pathetic ‘ frenzy’ of the English Mystics, as of Peter Sterry and Archbishop Leighton, and—especially toward the close— a rapturous exultation in the excellency and loveliness ‘ of God, a glow in iteration, of the wonder and beauty and blessedness of Divine Love, and a splendor of assertion of the claims, so to speak, of God the Holy Spirit, which it would be difficult to over-estimate.”1

Mr. Grosart has no doubt that the Treatise “was intended for publication.” As he is one of the most accomplished and voluminous editors now living, his opinion is entitled to great regard. There are reasons, however, for supposing that if Edwards in penning the Treatise intended it for the press he afterward abandoned the intention, and formed a new plan for a volume on the same theme. There are conclusive reasons for supposing that if he had published the Treatise now under review he would have made it more consistent with itself and with his other writings; would have omitted some irreconcilable assertions, and have added some complemental definitions. In its present shape we must

look upon it as we look upon one of Michael Angelo’s unfinished statues, and as Michael Angelo himself looked upon the Torso of the Vatican. Some of the reasons for this opinion may be suggested in the following criticisms.

§ 6. In attempting to explain Edwards’s view of the Trinitarian doctrine we must remember that the doctrine is distinct from an hypothesis or theory regarding it.

Although the two words hypothesis and theory are often used as synonymous with each other, yet they are clearly distinguished from the facts or doctrine to which the two words relate. Sometimes the term hypothesis denotes a supposition which may account for or explain certain facts, but is not recommended to our belief by positive argument; while the word theory is used to denote a supposition which does account for or explain the facts, and is supported by positive argument. When an hypothesis becomes probable it is sometimes called a theory. In one case there may be dive...

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