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where, resistless, illimitable, and uncontrollable by aught save the Divine will. Well might the Psalmist, contemplating the wonders of this Omnipotence, say, 'O Lord how manifold are thy works, in wisdom thou hast made them all.' Well might he call upon those works to glorify their Maker, in the pious exhortation, 'Praise ye him all his angels, praise ye him all his hosts. Praise him ye heaven of heavens and ye waters that are above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he spake and it was done, he commanded and they were created.' Yea, well may the same hymn have its full response in the realms of bliss, where the prophet 'beheld the four and twenty elders fall down before him that sitteth on the throne, and cast their crowns before him, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honor, and power, for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.'
Such is the understanding, and such the devotion, with a measure of which the Christian worshipper should say,' 1 believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.' My beloved brethren, how do your minds and your affections correspond to them? Can you with your hearts believe, and with your tongues confess the sublime and momentous truths connected with this short but solemn sentence? Can you respond to it in the language of the text, ' Lord I believe?'
The belief which God requires is a full and perfect assent of the whole intellect and soul to the truth of all his blessed word without exception. Is it thus that you believe? Do you receive it all with humble thankfulness, apply it all to your own lives, use it all as a light to your feet and a lamp to your paths, so far as it can be so used, and unhesitatingly yield obedience to its Divine authority in all respects, without cavil, doubt, or disputation?
To dissipate the awfitl darkness of sin and death, which overspread our guilty world, the Lord, the Mighty God, condescended to testify the truth, and ' bring life and immortality to light by his Gospel.' How has the heavenly witness been received ?' God, who at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in times past to the fathers by the Prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son.' O, who ha^h believed the report, arid to which of you hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?
But is it true, my brethren, that you believe in God— God, the good, the only good? For 'there is none good but one.' If so, do you seek him as your only good, do you love him, do you follow him with intense devotion, do your affections turn to him and cling to him as your chief happiness and joy? Are there none among you who prefer what you acknowledge to be evil; are there none am6ng you who worship your follies and your sins, and say to the perfection of goodness, 'depart from me, for I desire not the knowledge of thy ways ?'.
Is God the Father, and is he willing to call you his children? Where are the hearts that throb with fervent gratitude at this offer of his love? Where is the faith that can rest with placid confidence and holy trust upon his parental character, and look up to him with filial affection and reverence in return? Alas! may we not imagine him saying to us, as of old to the Israelites, ' If I am a father, where is my honor ; if I am a master, where is my fear?'
And is this God Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth? O thou, who art yet impenitent and careless, remember that he who created thee, can also destroy. And shall we, the beings of a day—we, whose life is as th« flower of the grass, over which the wind but passeth and it is gone—we, who are unable to resist the lightest attack of disease, or misfortune, or sorrow,—shall we resist the Almighty? Shall we provoke the Holy One of Israel, despise the King of Kings, and dare the vengeance of him whose throne is the heavens, and the earth his footstool? Shall we slight the messages of mercy from the Majesty of the Most High, and treasure up to ourselves wrath against the day of wrath, when the awful omnipotence, which called us into being, shall be exerted again to wrap the world in flames and cast the wicked into everlasting ruin? O, the folly of impenitence, the madness of unbelief! May God, the Father Almighty, for Christ's sake, open all eyes and soften all hearts, until every soul amongst us shall be able to exclaim, with deep humility and earnest devotion, 'Lord, I believe.'
John Xiv. 1. .
The belief in Christ Jesus, which presents to our consideration the second article of the Apostles' Creed, and the fundamental doctrine of our holy religion, leads us to the discussion of the Trinity, one of the most controverted topics of our day ; and we have thought it best, my brethren, in placing this subject before you, to consider the whole in connexion, rather than to postpone any part of it to the third division of the Creed, which commences by declaring our belief in the Holy Spirit. But since there is no doctrine of our faith, against which greater use is made of the supremacy of reason, we shall premise a few remarks upon the true use of reason in the things of God, in order to avoid mistake and misapprehension.
We are free to enrol ourselves amongst the warmest advocates for the application of reason to every subject, without exception. We are free to confess, that no proposition, contrary to right reason, ought to be embraced by any human being. And all we ask of any man is to settle, carefully and wisely, the principle on which reason exerts her powers, and then he may be allowed, nay, he must be allowed, to follow her decision.
Is it announced to mankind that there is a God? Reason is called upon to examine the evidence of the proposition. Is it proclaimed that this Almighty Being has revealed his will to his creatures? Reason is called upon to examine the proofs of this revelation. And when it is found that these proofs are sufficiently convincing, and it is decided that the Scriptures contain the record of the Divine communications, reason is bound to examine it with the most diligent and unceasing care, in order to understand its true construction. In this examination, it is the office of reason to act on the same principles as the judge who settles the meaning of human law, in which the whole must be reconciled, so as to stand together, and every word, if possible, be taken as having some consistent meaning. Now this can only be effected by a careful comparison of every part, in which no single expression is to be rejected or construed away, unless from the plainest necessity, and to avoid a palpable contradiction.
It seems perfectly manifest, that in this process, the task of reason is nothing more nor less, than the settling of construction. Without revelation, reason can do nothing in the pursuit of religious truth; specially is she incapable of knowing any thing of the' nature and attributes of God, beyond what this revelation presents to her. The distitnce between the Deity and us is awfully vast, as we may readily admit, when we reflect on the difference between ourselves and the work of our hands. It passes the power of our whole race to form and animate the meanest insect; and yet how should we deride the attempt of such an insect to' speculate concerning our nature. Nay, if the most sagacious of the brute creation, who are in habits of constant personal intercourse with us, were to theorize about our essence, we should smile at the arrogance of the undertaking. And yet such an attempt would be humility itself, in comparison with our bold dogmatism, about what can or cannot belong to the incomprehensible majesty of the Most High God. Nor can there be a greater insult