(Part of the Collection, Kersey's Essays)

Jesse Kersey

Taken From  A Narrative of the Early Life, Travels, and Gospel Labors of Jessey Kersey, Late of Chester County, Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: T. Ellwood Chapman, 1851, pages 278-281.

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[p. 278] Having from my childhood been much puzzled with what I believed to be the doctrine of Christianity on the subject of the Father and Son, I shall here state some of the difficulties into which this doctrine frequently led me, and attempt to explain the whole subject in conclusion upon principles which may be comprehended and understood. And first as to the difficulties:-I could not comprehend how it should be possible that three beings should be one being. Every thing that was to be found in the world stood distinct, and no proposition is more clear than the following,--that no two things can at the same time be one thing. But the doctrine imposed by the advocates of Christianity requires us to believe that God, the Father, is one thing, and that God, the Son, is another, and that those two are one. If we do not believe this we cannot be Christians-and if we do believe it we must believe it in contradiction to reason, and to the evidence of every thing around us. This would be a belief founded in ignorance, and consequently a prostration of the faculties received from that God who it is said has imposed upon us this difficulty. The disputes of professed divines have been almost endless upon this subject--and their contrary arguments are only calculated to involve the honest enquirer in deeper perplexity. Schoolmen have personified the Trinity, and added to their many absurd propositions the additional difficulty arising from the opinion that those three Persons are after all to be [P. 279] acknowledged as one Person. Were a philosopher to tell us that the sun, the moon, and the earth are one he would have as full a claim to our belief of this sentiment upon the plain principles of the human understanding as those divines who assert that there are three persons in the Godhead. Man is a being, it is true, of limited capacity; and it would be expecting too much of him that he should fully comprehend all the mysteries of God and nature. It would be equally absurd that he should refuse his assent to the truth of fundamental principles, because he did not fully comprehend them. There are principles which though they may be above his reason, yet do not contradict it, and in which it is proper for him to have faith, however impenetrable they maybe to his understanding. Such is the first principle of all religion, the being of God--that anything should exist without a cause, and that anything should be the cause of its own existence, are propositions that exceed our reason. We are utterly incapable of penetrating this secret, and yet we must believe that one of them is true or nothing could ever have existed. We see therefore that it is not for us to understand all the principles by which the universe is governed. But if a statement is made of principles contradictory to our reason, .here we have a right to doubt, and cannot be required to give our assent--such for instance, as that two things can at the same time be one. Happy for the cause of Christianity, it involves no such absurd requisitions. Ii is: plain in its principles and easily comprehended. With this view I shall confine myself to the testimonies of the scriptures, and show that they contain no personal doctrines on the question. The evangelist John has [P. 280] said that "in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. All things were made by him, and without him there was not any thing made that was made." By this testimony we are informed that God created all things; and it clearly conveys the idea, that the Almighty and his creative power operating to the production of all things, are as cause and effect. That is, that the Creator was entire, having in himself the fullness of all existence; and therefore his will to create must be subsequent to that of his power and wisdom. But when he determined upon creation, his wisdom, his power; and will to create, came into action. The moment, therefore, in which creative power began to operate, an effect proceeded from himself: and as it was God, so it was also an effect of God, and therefore one with him. In this sense the creative power of God is spoken of in the revelations;--where the Son is said to be the beginning of the creation of God; and Paul mentions that by him the worlds were made--consequently the power and wisdom of God when it came into action in the production of a universe, is an effect of God, and in this sense is clearly the offspring of God. But though it is the offspring of God, it is nevertheless in the nature of God, and cannot be separated from him. In this view of the doctrine of Father and Son we have a most happy conviction of the simplicity of another testimony of the scriptures, where it is said that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself. This implies that the same creative power which was in the beginning and by which the worlds were made, is still operating for the restoration of man. That is to say that the perfect man can only be formed now as  [P. 281] at the first by the all-creative power of God. Viewing therefore the doctrine of Father and Son as containing the idea in a qualified sense of cause and effect, we are by this conclusion entirely freed from the absurd opinions which enjoin the belief that two beings are one. Nor do we find from a rational construction of the testimonies concerning God and Christ which the scriptures contain, any evidence to contradict or oppose the foregoing construction--from the time in which Jesus Christ began his ministry until his ascension, we find the constant dependence upon his Father acknowledged,--and we have the same proof that he always maintained that he and his Father were one, that his: outward manifestation in the flesh was an effect of the all-creative power will not be denied. This was manifest in the testimony delivered by the angel to Mary, when he said to her, "Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favor with God; and thou shalt conceive and bring forth a son and shall call his name Jesus." But Mary adverting to the common course in nature, could not reconcile this testimony with her knowledge of facts: and when she doubted she was informed that the Holy Ghost should come upon her and the power of the Highest should overshadow her. Consequently the creative power and offspring of God was manifest in the birth of Christ.