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art and man's device. Acts xvii. 29. But wherever Christianity came, reason began to open its eyes, and to feel its way; so that a Christian is as unfit to settle the religion of nature as a Pagan is to discover that of revelation.
The Jews held out this in the front of their law, that the Lord their God is one Lord. Christains in all the parts of the earth, are at a point about this, as a maxim in nature, that there can be no more than one supreme eternal cause, who gives to all life, and breath, and all things. He to the Heathen was an. unknown God. Acts xvii. 23.
(2.) The doctrine of three Gods is, what the whole revelation of the Old Testament is leyelled against. When the Lord called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees, he drew him away from inferior Deities, and took care that his posterity should never relapse into idolatry. And therefore had we been baptized into three names, our Saviour had destroyed the law, which he came to fufil. Matt. v. 17. But his appeal to Moses, his improvements upon him, his connexion of doctrine with him, declare that they both acted according to the pattern in the mount; the one in giving images of things in the heavens, and the other in the heavenly things themselves. Heb. ix. 23.
A Jeu, would never dare to be a convert among us, if we put new Gods upon him, Gods whom his fathers knew not. Deut. xxxii. 17. They seemed to shake off their idolatry with their last captivity; and does Christianity bring them back to it again? No, no; they.
had got enough of subordinate and originated Deities already. The scribe knew that our Lord had taught no such doctrine, when he told him, master, thou hast said the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other God but he. Mark xii. 32, 34. And in this consession he answered discreetly, as one not far from the kingdom of God.
(3.) The notion of three Gods, would make our religion a very wrong one, for the converșion of the Gentiles ; and yet they are to come to our God from the end of the earth, say, ing, surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit; they had made themselves Gods which were no Gods. Jer. xvi, 19, 20. It was their practice and their crime to worship those, who by nature were no Gods. Gal. iv.8. They had Gods many and Lords many, 1. Cor. viii. 4. and would it have signified any thing to tell them, that Christianity reduced the whole number to three?
The prophets of old, used to declare against Gods who made not the earth and the heavens, let them be never so few, or never so great. Jer. x. 10. The apostle followed the same clue of argument, that there was but one who created all things by himself. Our gospel calls people from their idols, to the only living and true God. !. Thess. i. 9. When they were baptized, it must have been in the faith of David, " among the Gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord thou only dost wondrous works: thou art God alone." Psalm lxxxvi. 10.
If they were not able to deliver this form of words in my text, from the notion of one supreme, and two subordinate deities, they had as good have stayed where they were, and never been baptized at all. The dispute was not between Jupiter and Jesus ; who was the mediator; who should have the name of a ti, tular God, or who should have the honour of inferior worship; but whether there was any more than one God. Whilst they were Gentiles, they were carried away to dumy idols; 1. Cor. xii. 2, at that time they knew not God. Gal. iv. 8.
(4.) The very form of baptism itself, dashes down all the notion of three Gods. For had there been so many, their different names must have born some proportion to their different natures; but here it is said to be all in one name. As Jehovah is one, so his name is one. Thus God tells the Jews, “ behold I send mine angel before thee; beware of him and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your iniquities, for my name is in him; thou shalt obey his voice, and do all that I speak." Exod. xiii. 20, 21, 22.
It is against all the rules of talking, to say we are listed in the single name of the king, the chancellor, and the general of the army. The plurality of characters, under which they are so much distinguished, would have been expressed in another way. But when we read of one name only, we must tear the words asunder, and empty them of all their
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sense, if we conceive of any more than one being.
(5.) This is contrary to the profession of God's people in all ages. They have never owned the Tritheistic scheme. Though the Arians have charged them with it, I believe it is more than ever the Heathens did. Such perverse things were only to be spoke by men that arose from among themselves. Acts xx. 30. Their confessions, creeds, and catechisms, that are so much condemned, will clear them of this charge. It is no great argument of modesty, for any to say of them, that they did not understand themselves.
When Christianity, like the day-star from on high, visited the world so long ago, and the reformation, as a light, sprung out from a cloudy and dark day, were they both conducted by a company of fools, who worshipped three Gods, and did not know it. It is strange that both learned and wayfaring men, who do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with their God, should mistake their way in every act of devotion. What would the most illiterate believer say, if you told him he was resting his soul upon more than one God? He has no hard words to defend his faith; no 'scholastic dreams to open it; but you would amaze bim, to say there is any more than one Jehovah spoken of in the bible. This is what I would offer to you, against one extreme of interpretation, that men put upon those words. We are baptized into the name of three, but the whole generation of the faithful, declare with one voice against three Gods.
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2. As this notion makes too much difference between them, so another makes too little. The Sabellians said, that Father, Son, and Spirit, were but three names for one person; that the Father was incarnate, and in that condition took the title of Son. It is but giving new rags to an old rottenness, to say that the Son and Spirit are two powers of the Father; and that, though these are spoken of, in all the language that belongs to persons, yet their personality is only figurative and analogical. But,
Are the realities of our faith to be shammed, and the great substantials of the Christian doctrine licked up in a figure? When some are robbing Christ of his worship, shall others take away his very being? The Arians allow him no more than a titular deity, and another scheme brings him down to a titular existence ? Whither will men go, who do not refrain their feet, but love to wander? Here observe,
(1.) I have as much argument to prove that the Son and Holy Ghost are persons, as we have to prove the Father so, in the language of the bible. There was an old foolish piece of philosophy and vain deceit, called anima mundi, the soul of the world, of which they who wrote against it, and they who wrote for it too, could make nothing. But it seems, as if they would ascribe no personality to the Creator of all things. We in opposition to them, say, that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost made the creation. Now suppose they tell us, that these are not names of persons, but mere fi