Page images
PDF
EPUB

tion to be decided is this: Do the Scriptures, interpreted according to the ordinary principles of language, teach, that in the divine nature there is the distinction of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; three in the distinction which we call person, and yet but one in essence? It is this which I think I have proved beyond all rational objection. It is this, I say, which I have proved, not explained. If the Scriptures do teach this, there is no alternative but to admit the fact, or to deny the Bible.

By the course of reasoning which I have pursued, therefore, in relation to this matter, I gain this advantage-I merely hint at it here, because I mean to follow it out, God willing, in the next discourse—by this method of reasoning, I gain this advantage. I throw all unbelief in this doctrine on the naked ground of infidelity, where it ought to lie, and, therefore, allow no one to say, I do not believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, because it is incomprehensible. What is incomprehensible is the mode, and I ask no one to believe the mode, any more than I ask him to believe the mode of his own existence. I require him to believe the fact—because proved to be a fact—that he can comprehend ; and if he will not believe a fact proved to be a fact, by sufficient evidence, then he places himself just where every disbeliever in the doctrine ought to be placed, on the ground of infidelity. His unbelief of the doctrine is his unbelief of the word of God; and there is just the position where they ought to be driven. We can then see what they are.

And then, when the mysteries of the Scriptures are concerned, such as the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, the atonement,

4

VOL. I.

instead of any bush-fighting, we shall have the battle for the truth, on the plain, where there are no trees, or fences, or any thing to skulk behind, and then the whole contest will be between those who are for, and those who are against God.

SERMON III.

THE FACT OF THE TRINITY IN THE GODHEAD.

MATTHEW xxvül. 19.

You are already aware, that the prominent topic to which this text directs our attention, is the doctrine of the Trinity; and in drawing the subject to a close, as is my intention in the present discourse, a word of recapitulation becomes expedient. In my first discourse on this text, the object of my preliminary observations was to show, that it was not required of any

individual to believe that which he could not comprehend; and I think that I was enabled to show, by a variety of illustrations, that all that is incomprehensible in a mystery, whether of nature, of providence, or of religion, is the mode, or manner, in which that subject exists about which the proposition to be believed is made. And I conceded the point, that no one is required to believe any thing about the mode or manner of existence of a subject, the proposition relating to which applies only to a fact. I stated then, that the doctrine, like any other proposition, was to stand or fall by the evidence

which was brought to support it; that it was a simple question of fact, which was concerned only with proof, not with explanation. I then went on to prove, that the doctrine of the Trinity was the doctrine of the Bible, and by a course of argument which I cannot now repeat, because I condensed it in the last discourse as much as possible, I established this sylogism :

There is but one God.

But the Father represents himself, and is represented as God.

The Son represents himself, and is represented as God.

The Holy Ghost represents himself, and is represented as God.

Therefore the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, are the one God of the Bible.

III. I take up to-day the third general division of my subject, which was, to state the immense importance of the practical inferences.

These practical inferences are divided into two distinct classes.

1. Those which are to be drawn from the doctrine itself. And

2. Those which are to be drawn from the discussion. I shall notice these in their order.

The first practical inference to be drawn from the doctrine of the Trinity, is one which relates to the object of our worship. I am amazed that any persons should possibly suppose, that the doctrine of the Trinity was one of those speculations about which it was lawful for Christians to differ. The truth is, my friends, that if there is one subject in the whole circle of theology about which erroneous notions are fatal, it is this : for it appears to me, that any one in the exercise of his senses, must be fully aware that the doctrine is one which relates to the character of the true God. What can there be of more solemn and appaling moment, than a doctrine which involves the nature and character of the object of our worship? There is but one living and true God, and of course there can be but one object of legitimate worship. He who does not worship this one living and true God, and worship him in his true character, is guilty of the crime of idolatry, and of course chargeable with a guilt which is stamped in the word of God with a reprobation which is not only tremendous, but unequalled for its terrors. There are a variety of opinions, my friends, upon which I am aware it is lawful to differ, because they involve no consequences which peril the salvation of the soul; but the doctrine of the Trinity is not one of these opinions. Indeed, I am wrong in using the word opinion, as at all connected with the doctrine of the Trinity. It is not an opinion, it is a fact stated on the authority of God; and an indifference to the subject is most awfully criminal. You must be aware that there is a large body of persons who deny the doctrine of the Trinity. The distinctive, though incorrect appellative by which they are known, is that of Unitarians. I say this is an incorrect appellative : for those who believe most firmly the doctrine of the Trinity, are, in the strict sense of the word, as much believers in the unity of God, as it is possible to imagine. Those who believe the doctrine of the Trinity, are sometimes censured if they deny to the other the claims of a common

« PreviousContinue »