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oj himself. Our Lord again says, “ I will pray the Father, and " he shall send you another comforter." Here is now one person praying, a second prayed to, and a third to be sent. It would be 2 strange interpretation to say, that Christ prayed to himself, that he would send himself as another comforter.
Further, a Trinity of persons is taught in the most express mans "per at the baptism of our Saviour. « Jesus when he was baptised
went up straightway from the water, and lo, the heavens were « opened, and he saw the spirit of God descending like a dove, " and lighting upon him; and lo, a voice from heaven saying, < this is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.” Here is one going up from Jordan, one descending in the likeness of a Dove, and one speaking from heaven. Surely if the most High had not designed to reveal to us a Trinity of persons, there would never have been such a representation made unto us. Wherefore it was wont to be a common saying among the primitive christians, " Go to Jordan, and you will see the Trinity." Attend to this exhibition_here is God the Father, speaking in a voice of thun. der ; behold God the Son, cloathed in all the humiliation of hu. man nature, and see God the Holy Ghost, resting upon him in the form of a dove.
*The saine thing is confirmed from the institution of christian baptism. This is commanded to be performed in the Name of ti the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Nothing has a higher tendency to lead us into the belief of a Trinity, than this divine institution. If there were not three personal distinctions in the Godhead, surely they would never be so explicitly mentioned in such a solenın act of worship, as our consecration to God in the holy ordinance of baptism. This ordinance is a standing monument in the church, that there are three persons in the Godhead. And to deny the Trinity, seems to be drawing nigh to renouncing christian baptism. Sure I am, did I disbe- . lieve this doctrine, I never would baptise more in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
This doctrine is likewise established from this declaration " When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from " the Father, even the spirit of truth which proceedeth from the “ Father, he shall testify of me.” In this passage, we have the distinct personal conduct of three, strongly expressed : the Holy Ghost, or Comforter, as coming and testifying of Christ; Christ as sending him, and being witnessed of by him ; and the Father as the person from whom he comes, and from whom he proceeds
The same thing is clearly evinced from the apostolic benediction, which St. Paul gave to the Corinthian christians, “ The “ grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the " communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all.” This benea diction, comprehends all the graces and blessings necessary for the salvation or eternal life of guilty man--therefore, the Apostle particularly addresses the three persons of the Trinity. But St. Paul, in another place, most directly and explicitly declares this doctrine. “ There is one Spirit, one Lord, one God and Father “c of all.” What can be more clearly or plainly expressed than this? Here is the Holy Ghost, the Lord Jesus Christ, and God the Father, each of them declared to be one. It is remarkable that the word one, is here three times repeated, and with great beauty and force applied to the three divine persons; so that with the utmost propriety, we may declare the God of the bible to be the three one God.
Lastly, to all these testimonies in support of three personal dis. tinctions in the Godhead, may be added the words of our text. " For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the “Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one.” .
You will please here to observe, that I have quoted only a few of those scriptures where the three persons are distinctly mentioned. Time would fail me to produce all those passages wliich relate the personal conduct of the Father, the personal characters of the Son, where he is called Redeemer, Mediator, Son of God, &
and the personal actions of the holy Spirit, as being a witness, sending forth the Apostles, forbidding them to preach in certain places, speaking in them, and dwelling in true believers. Every one who attentively reads his bible without prejudice or prepos-session, must be effectually convinced, that there is a Trinity, three distinct subsistences, having communion in the same essence, or that there are three divine persons, and yet but one God.
It is vain and iinpertinent to object, that this doctrine is too deep and incompreh-nsible for created minds. Is not God himself, and every attribute and perfection of his nature, far beyond the comprehension of any mortal creature ? Who can explain the existence of God without a beginning ; the eternity of God without succession, an eternity past, and an eternity to come ; the immensity of God without extension ; that he loves without pas. sion, repents without change; with whom that which is past is not gone, and that which is future is not to come? Three persons, in one indivisible essence, is not more mysterious and incomprehensible, than these branches of the divine character. He who would attempt the explication of the nature and mode of existence of these things, would he not darken counsel by words without knowledge? Would he not prove himself a vain man, knowing nothing? God, in all respects, and in every view, is “ As high as heaven, what canst thou do? Deeper than hell, “ what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the “ earth, and broader than the sea,''
Wherefore, my brethren, though we cannot comprehend, perfectly understand, or strictly explain any of these matters; though we cannot describe how far the Godhead is one, or say where the personal distinction in the divine essence takes its origin, yet being fully assured, that there are three persons and but one God, let us with our whole hearts believe and adore ; as what is revealcd is abundantly sufficient to make us wise to salvation.
I shall not at present detain your attention to a farther confir
mation of this glorious doctrine, or point out to you how it is absolutely certain, that the Son and Holy Spirit are very God, in all respects co-equal with the Father, the same in essence, substance and glory. Perhaps these will be the subject of some future discourses,
I shall conclude at present, with a few obvious inferences from what has been said.
First, we infer from this doctrine, the unhappy, dangerous, and awful condition of all anti-trinitarians, however they inay shine in human literature, or be distinguished with honors by men. Truth itself declares, “He who honoreth not the Son, honoretha 66 not the Father. And he that believeth not the Son, shall not st
see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.'' Dreadful denunciations indeed. He who worships not the Son, nor believeth on him for eternal life, is not a worshipper of the Father ; and, therefore, must perish forever from the presence of God, and by the glory of his power. How dangerous is the condition, to stand exposed to all the terrors of Jehovah's wrath? Who can know or conceive the
“ If he that despised “ Moses' law died without mercy, of how much sorer punishment
suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under “ foot the Son of God ?" Oh, my hearers, let us be careful how we treat Christ Jesus, the Son of God, and the Saviour of the world! We must give him equal love, honor, faith and worship with the Father. Let us beware of setting at naught, deny. ing, or despising any of the adorable persons of the Godhead.
Secondly, we infer the nature and proper manner of christian worship. In order to offer an acceptable worship to God, two things are requisite. First, that we know and have some just apprehensions of the object of divine worship. Secondly, that we' understand the manner of it, and perform the same, agreeably to the Gospel. The only object of worsliip is the supreme God, who is Father, Son and Spirit. Hence we are directed in worship to
address ourselves to the eternal Tliree ; to approach unto the Father, through the Son, by the aids of the holy Spirit. “Whatsoever ye
shall ask the Father in my name," says Christ, “he “ will give it you. Pray always with all prayer and supplication “ by the Spirit. Through Jesus Christ we have access by one Spirit " unto the Father." Here in the sacred Trinity, the scriptura! plan of religious worship is taught us. We must direct our worship, and have access to God the Father, through the atonement and mediation of the Son, by the influences and aids of the holy Spirit. Let us in all our worship, daly attend to this divine order ; and then shall we worship God in spirit and in truth. Let us see in all our approaches to the throne of grace, that we be paying proper honor to all the persons of the Trinity ; that we be lionor. ing the Son as we are honoring the Father; and that we be honoring the Holy Ghost, “ who maketh intercession for us with groan. “ings which cannot be uttered.”
Thirdly, we infer the transcendent excellency and glorious suitableness of the gospel, to secure all the rights and honors of the Godhead, and to recover to perfection and felicity, the sinful children of men. Is the divine government injured by sin ? It is Cumpleatly repaired by a divine person. Is the holy law of eternal righteousness violated by transgression ? The law is magnified and inade honorable by Jesus Christ.-Is God infinitely offended with the rebellion of sinners? Behold the lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world.Have we lost the holy image of our creator by our fall and apostacy? The blessed Spirit descends to convince of sin, to form in us a new nature, and to create us again after the image of God in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness.-Are we become blind and ignorant, through the corruption of our hearts? We have an unction from the holy one, whereby we may know all things.- Are we condemned and guilty in law and equity? There is an all sufficient righteousness provided, so that there is rio condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus.---Thus the doctrine of the Trinity displays the divine clia