Page images

To these testimonies for the Divinity of the Son and Holy Spirit I shall add only one observation more, namely, that in a great number of instances, the very same things are said, in different places of Scripture, of all the three divine Persons, and the very same actions ascribed to them. The whole Trinity is said to be eternal, holy, true, living, and every where present; to have made man; to instruct and illuminate him; to lead us, to speak to us, and to be with us; to give authority to the church; to sanctify the elect; to perform every divine and spiritual operation; and to raise the dead. Therefore, these three were, are, and will be, one God, from everlasting to everlasting".

Having now considered the doctrine of the Trinity as implied in the words of the text, and confirmed by the declarations of the Scriptures at large, I am to show, in the

Third and last place, the interest we all have in the doctrine thus established; or, in other words, we

* See the conclusion of Mr. Jones's Catholic Doctrine, &c. y Such being the fact, all disputation concerning the manner of the Distinction, the manner of the Union, the manner of the Generation, and the manner of the Procession, is needless and fruitless needless, because if we have divine authority for the fact, it sufficeth; that is all we are concerned to know: fruitless, because it is a disputation without ideas; after a long, tedious, intricate, and perplexed controversy, we find ourselves—just where we were-totally in the dark. Such has been the case respecting this and other questions. God is pleased to reveal the fact; man insists upon apprehending the mode: in his present state hé cannot apprehend it; he therefore denies the fact, and commences unbeliever.

have endeavoured to show what the three divine Persons are in themselves, and what relation they bear to each other, let us now inquire what they are, and what relation they bear to us, and what are the duties on our side resulting from that relation; the benefits conferred by them, and the return, in love, honour, and gratitude, due from us.

Many apprehend the doctrine of the Trinity to be what is called a SPECULATIVE doctrine only, that is to say, a doctrine, concerning which men may think, and conjecture, and reason, and dispute, for their amusement, but of no effect or importance in a religious life. This is a considerable mistake in judgement; and to prove that it is so, let us only ask one question, What is the doctrine of most importance to man, in his religious concerns? Undoubtedly it is that of his redemption from sin and sorrow, from death and hell, to righteousness and joy, immortality and glory. But of such redemption what account do the Scriptures give us? By whom was the gracious scheme originally concerted, and afterwards carried into execution? Was it not by the three Persons of the ever blessed and adorable Trinity?

It was not an afterthought, a new design, formed upon the transgression and fall of our first parents. That event was foreseen, and provision made accordingly. For upon the very best authority we are informed, that Christ was "the Lamb slain from the "foundation of the world";" that is (for it cannot be otherwise understood), slain in effect, in the divine

z Rev. xiii. S.

purpose and counsel. It is likewise said, that

grace was given us in Christ Jesus, before the "world began." The words intimate, that previous to the creation of the world, something had passed in our favour above; that the plan of our future redemption was then laid; that some agreement, some covenant, relative to it, had been entered into;

grace was given us," not in our proper persons, for as yet we were not-we had no being-but in the person of him who was afterward to become our representative, our Saviour" in Christ Jesus." Now the plan must have been laid, the covenant entered into, by the parties who have since been graciously pleased to concern themselves in its execution. Who these are we cannot be ignorant. It was the Son of God who took our nature upon him, and in that nature made a full and sufficient oblation, satisfaction, and atonement, for the sins of the world. It was the Father who accepted such oblation, satisfaction, and atonement; and in consequence forgave those sins. It was the Holy Spirit who came forth from the Father and the Son, through the preaching of the word and the administration of the sacraments, by his enlightening, healing, and comforting grace, to apply to the hearts of men, for all the purposes of pardon, sanctification, and salvation, the merits and benefits of that oblation, satisfaction, and atonement.



Say no more, then, that the doctrine of the Trinity is a matter of curiosity and amusement only. Our

a 2 Tim. i. 9; Tit. i. 2.

religion is founded upon it. For what is Christianity but a manifestation of the three divine Persons, as engaged in the great work of man's redemption, begun, continued, and to be ended by them, in their several relations of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier, three Persons, one God? If there be no Son of God, where is our redemption? If there be no Holy Spirit, where is our sanctification? Without both, where is our salvation? And if these two Persons be any thing less than divine, why are we baptized equally in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost? Let no man, therefore, deceive you: "This "is the TRUE GOD, and eternal life"."

And while you suffer no man to deceive you, do not, I beseech you, deceive yourselves. Benefits conferred require duties to be paid. Remember what the three divine Persons have done for you, and forget not what they expect that you should do in réturn. For how little will it avail you to believe aright concerning the Trinity, if you live so as to displease the Trinity?-You know and believe in the true God; you do well. But let not that which is an honour to you, be any encouragement to dishonour God; the knowledge of whom can only serve to increase your condemnation, if you live in the practice of pride and malice, envy and hatred, lust and intemperance, even as the Heathen who know him not. And though it be the faith of a Christian which distinguishes him from the rest of mankind, yet that faith, to profit him, must appear in the 1 John, v. 20.

conduct of his life; as love to a friend is best witnessed by a readiness to do him service. It is true, the service is not the love, nor of equal value with it; yet the love that refuses the service will be accounted as nothing. "The mystery of faith" is an invaluable treasure; but the vessel that contains it must be clean and undefiled: it must be "holden in a "pure conscience;" as the manna, that glorious symbol of the word of faith preached to us by the Gospel, was confined to the tabernacle, and preserved in a vessel of gold. A mind that is conformed to this world, and given up to its pleasures, though it repeats the creed without questioning a single article of it, will be abhorred in the sight of God, as a ves-sel unfit for the master's use, and unworthy, because unprepared, to stand in the most holy place. It is the great excellency of faith, that it can produce such a transformation in the life and manners, as no other principle has any power to do. But many are possessed of this truth, without applying it to their own advantage. Let them, however, bear in mind, that, "without holiness no man shall see the Lord :" none of the world's dross or impurity will be suffered to continue in his sight. And in this he is no hard master, reaping where he had not sown, and requiring the fruit of good works, without giving us strength and ability to bring them forth. He has provided for us the precious blood of the Lamb, and offered to us the assistance of his Holy Spirit, that we may be enabled to serve that true and living God in whom we believe. If we are purged by HIM, we 1 Tim. iii. 9.

« EelmineJätka »