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THE COMMON SOURCES OF SALVATION,
On what principle can we say that it is the wisdom and grace of the Son, which the Spirit administers? this inquiry also is fully met by the information contained in our text-namely, that all wisdom and grace are from the Father, and that whatsoever the Father hath is the Son's. From whom then does the Christian derive the strength of his spiritual life, and the hope of his soul's salvation? From the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And to whom does he owe the tribute of gratitude and praise, and the return of a faithful and unhesitating obedience? to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Such was the doctrine inculcated by the apostle
AND THE COMMON OBJECTS
and from these explicit declarations it is evident, that in the covenant of light and life which God condescends to make with his fallen creatures, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, display a perfect harmony and unity of operation.
Of this harmony and unity of operation in instituting and conducting the scheme of the Gospel, a very striking indication is afforded us in the narratives given by the Evangelists Matthew and Luke of one of the most interesting circumstances which distinguished the life of Jesus. When Jesus, in order to "fulfil all righteousness," submitted himself to the baptism of John, we read that "the heaven was opened, and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him; and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son, in thee I am well pleased:" Luke iii, 21, 22; comp. Matt. iii, 15—17.
And now it only remains for us to advert to that memorable injunction respecting the evangelizing and baptizing of the nations, which appears to have formed the conclusion of our Lord's last conversation with his disciples on earth: "Go ye therefore and teach (or make disciples of) all nations; baptizing them in (or unto) the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo! I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world:" Matt. xxviii, 19, 20. On this passage it is necessary to observe, that to baptize in the name of a person, is to baptize by the authority of that person; but that to baptize unto the name of a person (and the preposition here used signifies not in, but unto) is to baptize unto the faith and service of which such person is the object. Now, in whatever manner we may here inter
OF FAITH AND ALLEGIANCE.
pret the participle baptizing-whether we understand it as denoting merely the sign of conversion, or the act of converting itself-there is one point of the doctrine contained in this passage which does not appear liable to any reasonable doubt or dispute; namely, that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, being the common sources of the Christian's hope and salvation, are also the common objects of his faith and spiritual allegiance. The converts who were about to be made, through the ministry of the apostles, among all nations, were to be turned away from dumb idols unto the living God. No longer were they to place their dependance on devils, or on the mere creatures of human imagination: they were henceforth to serve, honour, worship, and obey, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
Clear, however, as this general doctrine appears to be, the consideration of this branch of our subject cannot be safely quitted without the addition of some farther observations. When we assert, on the authority of Scripture, that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, are the common objects of the Christian's allegiance-when we recognize the principle promulgated by our Saviour himself, that all men are called upon to "honour the Son, even as they honour the Father," John v, 23; and when, from other inspired declarations, we conclude that this principle is to be yet farther extended, and that all men are called upon also to honour the Holy Spirit, even as they honour the Father and the Son-we are always to remember that the equality of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, is an equality in point of nature; for in their nature they are God, and God is one. In order to obtain a just and comprehensive view of the whole sub
ject, (as far as it is revealed to us) it is necessary also to advert to the order of that relation in which they are ever represented as standing one towards another. The Father is the first: the Son is the second: the Holy Spirit is the third. The Son is subordinate to the Father, because he is of the Father-the onlybegotten Son of God. The Holy Spirit is subordinate to the Father and the Son, because he is the Father's and the Son's: see Matt. iii, 16; Rom. viii, 9. The Father sends the Son. The Father and the Son send the Holy Spirit: John xv, 26.
Again-while, we gratefully confess that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, are the common sources of our hope and salvation, we are never to forget the distinct offices which they are respectively described as bearing, in the glorious economy of the divine dispensations. With the Father rests the unsearchable design-the hidden and eternal purposeout of which arises the whole course of circumstances and events; and more especially the scheme of Christianity, and the salvation of man: see John iii, 16; Eph. i, 1-10, &c. From him are all things, and of all things his glory is the ultimate result. His will is law. His love is the fountain of grace and immortality. The Son is the Way, by whom are all things, and "we by him." He is the Image of the invisible God, in whom the Father is made manifest. He propitiates, he advocates, he reigns over the heritage of God; he conducts the whole system appointed for our recovery and salvation. The Holy Spirit is the operative Power, through whom the Father and the Son carry on their work of mercy, and exercise their dominion over the souls of men. It is he who enlightens, converts, re
AND DISTINCT OFFICES.
news, consoles, and purifies, the heirs of salvation. The Father is, in the deepest and most comprehensive sense of the expressions, the Creator-the Son, the Redeemer-the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier. The Father originates, the Son mediates, the Holy Spirit
In order to complete our views of the scriptural evidences which bear upon the present subject, I have now to observe, that although this threefold distinction in the divine nature is the most clearly revealed to us in the New Testament, yet there are also various passages in the sacred writings of the ancient Hebrews, which appear to indicate a plurality in the one God. It is a circumstance which cannot, I would submit, be satisfactorily explained on any merely grammatical principle, that Jehovah is sometimes described in the Old Testament, as the "living ones," and the "holy ones:"1 see Jer. xxiii, 36; Prov. ix, 10; xxx, 3; comp. Ecc. xii, 1, &c. Hebrew Text.
The Father is the Creator of the uiverse. He made all things by his Son: nor are we to forget, that when "the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep, the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters:" Gen. i, 2. We may, therefore, conclude, that Jehovah was neither honouring himself, like the potentates of the earth, with the assumption of an unmeaning plurality, (as the Jews pretend) nor making the angels his counsellors, (as some Christian commentators have irreverently imagined) but speaking in his true and appropriate character, when he was pleased to express himself as follows, "Let us make man in OUR image,