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streams, or the whole be divided into parts, is easy to conceive; but these similitudes do not touch the case of a strict and proper creation. For in creation, God does not diffuse himself; since created objects are no part of the Deity: nor does he divide himself; since the Creator is not capable of a division into a multiplicity of parts. God neither made the world of pre-existent materials, nor of Himself; but he made it out of nothing, that is, gave it a proper and real existence, distinct from his own. Creation is the effect of nothing but mere Power. But of that Power which is able to create, or produce something out of nothing, we can form no manner of conception. This attribute of the Deity, therefore, is as really mysterious and incompre. hensible, in its operation, as the doctrine of the Trinity. Or it is a mystery that looks as much like an absurdity, as that of God's existing in three Persons. There is nothing in the doctrine of the Trinity, as represented in this discourse, which is more repugnant to the dictates of sound reason, than the doctrine of a strict and proper creation, the doctrine of the divine omnipresence, or even the doctrine of the divine existence. And we must be extremely inconsistent, if we believe the Being, and works of the great Creator; and, at the same time, disbelieve that he exists one God in three Persons, according to the general representation of the sacred Scriptures.
I shall now close the subject, with a few brief remarks.
REMARK 1.-If the doctrine of the sacred Trinity has been properly stated in this discourse, then there seems to be no just foundation for the doctrine of the Eternal Generation of the Son, and of the Eternal Procession of the Holy Ghost. Many have supposed, that the Son, the second Person in the Trinity, is, in
some mysterious manner, begotten of the Father; and the Holy Ghost, the third Person in the Trinity, is, in the same mysterious manner, eternally proceeding from the Father and Son both. They found this opinion upon several passages of Scripture, which I have not time to consider; but without a particular consideration of them, we may safely conclude, that they do not contain sentiments so plainly contrary to our clearest apprehensions. To suppose, that the Son, with respect to his divine nature, was begotten of the Father, and that the Holy Ghost proceeded from the concurrence of the Father and Son, is to suppose, that a Trinity of Persons is not founded in the divine Nature, but merely in the divine Will. For, on this supposition, if the Father had not pleased to beget the Son, and the Father and Son had not pleased to produce the Holy Ghost, there could have been no Trinity of Persons in the Godhead. Besides, this opinion sets the Son as far below the Father, as a creature is below the Creator; and sets the Holy Ghost as far below the Son, as he is below the Father, or rather it makes the Holy Ghost, a creature of a creature! There are no ideas, which we can affix to the words, beget, produce, or proceed, but must involve in them an infinite inequality between the three sacred Persons in the adorable Trinity. On this ground, we feel constrained to reject the eternal generation of the Son, and the eternal procession of the Holy Ghost, as such mysteries as cannot be distinguished from real absurdities, and as such doctrines as strike at the foundation of the true doctrine of three equally divine Persons in one God.
REMARK 2.-The doctrine of the sacred Trinity, as represented in Scripture, gives us a clear and striking view of the Allsufficiency of God. Since he exists in three equally divine Persons, there is a permanent
foundation in his own Nature, for the most pure and perfect blessedness. Society is the source of the highest felicity. And that society affords the greatest enjoyment, which is composed of persons of the same character, of the same disposition, of the same designs, and of the same pursuits. The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, who are three equally divine Persons in the one living and true God, are perfectly united in all these respects; and therefore God's existing a Trinity in Unity, necessarily renders him the allsufficient source of his own most perfect felicity. We cannot conceive of any other mode of existence so absolutely perfect and blessed, Besides, this most perfect and blessed mode of God's existence, lays the only possible foundation of the happiness of his sinful and per ishing creatures. If the God, whom we had offended, had not existed a Trinity in Unity, we cannot conceive how he could have formed and executed the present, plan, of our redemption. Had there been but one Person in the Deity, there could have been no Mediator between God and men. But as God existed in three Persons, the Father was able to send his Son to redeem us, and his Spirit to sanctify us, and make us meet for the inheritance of the saints in light. Hence we are naturally led to see and admire the allsufficiency of God, which ultimately results from his existing in three equally divine and glorious Persons.
REMARK 3.—What has been said, in this discourse, may show us the importance of understanding and believing the Scripture doctrine of the ever blessed Trinity. Unless we understand and believe this great. and mysterious, doctrine, it will be extremely difficult to answer the objections of the Deists against the Bible, which plainly represents the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as three equally divine Persons, and yet as
serts there is but one God. And this doctrine is so interwoven with the whole scheme of the gospel, that we cannot possibly explain the great work of Redemption, in a clear and consistent manner, without adopting and believing the personal characters and offices of the three divine Persons in the sacred Trinity. This is evident from the peculiar phraseology of Scripture; and no less evident from observation. All who have exploded the mystery of the Trinity from the Bible, have shaken, if not destroyed, the fundamental doctrines of Christianity. The gospel is so absolutely and obviously founded on the doctrine of three Persons in one God, that whoever denies this great and fundamental truth, must, in order to be consistent, deny all the peculiarities which distinguish revealed religion from natural. And if this be true, every friend of divine Revelation must feel the importance of understanding, believing, and maintaining the first principle of his religion.
REMARK 4.-The joint operations of the ever blessed Trinity, lay a foundation for the most perfect and blessed Union, among all holy Beings. Each divine Person bears a distinct part in the work of Redemption; and each will be infinitely well pleased with the conduct of each. They will mutually rejoice in the great good, which will be the fruit of their united exertions. And saints and angels will join in their communion. There will be the same kind of holy union and communion between saints and angels, and the three divine Persons in the sacred Trinity, that there will be between the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. And such a union and communion between all the inhabitants of heaven, will afford the most consummate felicity. This glorious hope and prospect Christ exhibited before his sorrowful disciples, just be
fore he left them, and ascended to his Father and to their Father; to his God and to their God. His words are memorable; and O! that they might be written on the heart of every one of his followers, as with the point of a diamond; and become a perpetual source of divine consolation and support. "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also that shall believe on me through their word. That they all may be one; as thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one." Amen.