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sons in one self-existent, independent, eternal Being The three Persons are not one Person, but one God. Or the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are three in respect to their personality, and but one in respect to their nature and essence. I now proceed to show,

II. That the Scriptural account of the mysterious doctrine of the sacred Trinity, is not repugnant to the dictates of sound reason. Those, who disbelieve, that God exists a Trinity in Unity, suppose, that such a mode of existence is not only above reason, but contrary to its plainest dictates. They consider the doctrine of three Persons in one God, not as a profound mystery, but as a gross absurdity. And it must be granted that any doctrine is absurd, and ought to be exploded, which is really contrary to the dictates of sound reason. The only wise God can no more require us to believe that, which is absurd, than he can command us to do that, which is sinful. If we can clearly perceive, therefore, that there is a real absurdity in the doctrine of the Trinity, we ought not to believe it. But, perhaps, if we candidly attend to what may be said, under this head of discourse, we shall be convinced, that the Scriptural doctrine of the Trinity is no absurdity, but a great and glorious mystery; which lays a broad and solid foundation, upon which we may safely build our hopes of a blessed immortality. Here it may be proper to observe,

1. The doctrine of the Trinity, as represented in Scripture, implies no contradiction. Any doctrine, which necessarily involves a contradiction, is repugnant to reason, and demonstrably false. For it is out of the power of the human mind to conceive, that a real contradiction should be true. We cannot conceive, that two and three are equal to ten, nor that ten and five are equal to twenty. We cannot conceive

that a part should be equal to the whole; or that a body should move east and west at the same time. As soon as these propositions are understood, they instantly appear to be plain contradictions. And did the doctrine of the Trinity, according to Scripture, imply that three Persons are one Person, or three Gods are one God, it would necessarily involve a plain contradiction. But the Scripture speaks more consistently upon this subject. It asserts, that there is but one God, and yet three divine Persons. This only implies, that three divine Persons are one God; and who can perceive a contradiction in this representation of a Trinity in Unity? We find no difficulty in conceiving of three divine Persons. It is just as easy to conceive of three divine persons, as of three human persons. No man, perhaps, ever found the least difficulty, in conceiving of the Father as a distinct Person from the Son, nor in conceiving of the Son as a distinct Person from the Holy Ghost, nor in conceiving of the Holy Ghost as a distinct Person from both the Father and the Son. But the only difficulty, in this case, lies in conceiving these three persons to be but one. And it is evident, that no man can conceive three divine Persons to be one divine Person, any more than he can conceive three Angels to be but one Angel. But it does not hence follow, that no man can conceive, that three divine Persons should be but one divine Being. For, if we only suppose, that Being may signify something different from Person, in re spect to Deity; then we can easily conceive that God should be but one Being, and yet exist in three Persons. It is impossible, therefore, for the most discerning and penetrating mind, to perceive a real contradiction, in the Scriptures representing the one living and true God, as existing in three distinct Persons.

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There may be, for aught we know, an incomprehen. sible SOMETHING in the one self-existent Being which lays a proper foundation for his existing a Trinity in Unity.

2. If it implies no contradiction, that the one living and true God should exist in three Persons, then this mysterious mode of the divine existence is agreeable to the dictates of sound reason. We cannot suppose, that the uncreated Being should exist in the same manner, in which we and other created beings exist. And if he exists in a different manner from created beings, then his mode of existence must necessarily be mysterious. As creatures, we must expect to remain forever unacquainted with that mode of existence, which is peculiar to the great Creator. To suppose, that God does not exist in a manner absolutely mysterious to creatures, is virtually to deny his existence. And if his existing a Trinity in Unity does not involve a plain contradiction, then it amounts to no more than a profound mystery, which we might reasonably expect to find in his mode of existence, had the Scripture been silent upon the subject. Though, perhaps, the bare unassisted power of reason would have never discovered, that God exists in three Persons; yet since the Scripture has revealed this great mystery in the divine existence, reason has nothing to object against it. Reason can see and acknowledge a mystery, though it cannot comprehend it. Hence the Scripture doc. trine, that the one living and true God exists in three Persons, is as agreeable to the dictates of sound reason as any mystery can be, or as any other account of the mode of divine existence could have been. If the Scripture had given any true account of the mode of God's existence, that mode must have appeared to such finite, imperfect creatures as we are, truly mysterious,

or incomprehensible. And whoever now objects against the Scripture account of the sacred Trinity, would have equally objected against any other account, which God could have given of his peculiar mode of existence. I may add,

3. The doctrine of the Trinity, as represented in Scripture, is no more repugnant to the dictates of sound reason, than many other doctrines, which all Christians believe concerning God. God is truly incomprehensible by creatures. "Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?" All, who believe the existence of the Deity, must believe mysteries, which no human understanding can fathom. Here permit me to mention several things respecting God which are commonly believed, and which are as mysterious as his existing in three Persons.

It is generally believed, that God is a self-existent Being, or that there is no cause or ground of his existence out of Himself. But who can explain this mode of existence, or even form any clear conception of it? There must be some ground or foundation of God's -existence; and to say that this is wholly within Himself, is to say something, of which we can frame no clear, or distinct idea. It is only saying, that the ground of God's existence is mysterious, And is it not as repugnant to the dictates of sound reason to say, that the ground of God's existence is mysterious, as to say that the ground of his existing in three Persons is mysterious? These two cases are exactly parallel. There is a certain SOMETHING in the divine Being, which renders his existence absolutely necessary. This all must believe, who believe that God exists.. And so there is a certain SOMETHING in the divine Being, which renders it equally necessary, that he should exist in three Per

sons. It is, therefore, easy to see, that there is nothing more repugnant to right reason, in the doctrine of the Trinity, than in the doctrine of God's self existence. Again,

It is generally believed, that God is constantly pres ent in all places, or that his presence perpetually fills the whole created universe. But can we frame any clear ideas of this universal presence of the Deity? It seems to be repugnant to reason, to suppose that his presence is extended, because extension appears to be incompatible with the nature of a pure Spirit. And if his presence be not extended, it is impossible for us to conceive, how it should reach and fill all places, at all times. The moment we attentively consider the universal presence of the supreme Being, we are involved in a mystery, as profound as that of three Persons in one God. Once more,

It is generally believed, that God is the Creator, who has made all things out of nothing. But it was a maxim with the ancient atheistical philosophers, that it is a contradiction to say, that God made all things out of nothing; that is, without any pre-existent materials. And it is supposed by many, who have had more light upon this subject, that creation is no more than an emination of the Deity, or that God only diffuses his own existence in giving existence to other beings. Indeed, a strict and proper creation of all things out of nothing, has appeared to many great and learned men, as contrary to every dictate of reason. They have considered it, not merely as a difficulty, or mystery, but as a real absurdity. And whoever will critically attend to the subject, will probably find it as difficult to reconcile the doctrine of a strict and proper creation to the dictates of his own reason, as the doctrine of three Persons in one God.

That a fountain should be diffused into

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