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not to be apprehensive of delusion in our consolations, nor doubt whether they are derived from God the Holy Ghost. The effects of fancy bear no resemblance of these sanctifying consequences which always result from Divine communications.
We pray for the perpetuity of joy and peace in believing; that we may evermore rejoice in the holy comfort of God the Holy Ghost. The fountain is inexhaustible. The death of Christ for sin is a full atonement—His righteousness an impregnable basis of hope. The promises of God are " all Yea in Him, and in Him Amen,"—subject to no change. But we are mutable creatures, exposed to temptations, liable to the influence of unbelief, and in danger of being seduced or frightened from "the fountain of living '* waters." "If we have tasted that the Lord "is gracious," we long for more than a mere taste, dread a deprivation of our comforts, and unite heartily in praying that we may be enabled "evermore to rejoice in them."
We must not omit to observe that the glorious doctrine of the Trinity is sweetly recognized in the conclusion of our collect, though it is so very concise. Indeed it cannot be recalled to mind nor avowed too often, for it is the hinge on which our salvation, both in its execution and application, turns. If Jesus be not Jehovah, our hope in His blood is vain; we are yet in our sins. If His Spirit be not " with "Him and the Father, one God, world without "end," our expectation of enlightening, converting, comforting, sanctifying, and persevering grace, is unfounded. For no power short of Omnipotence can prepare the fallen soul for the heavenly inheritance and the vision of God.
Let the reader inquire whether he be conscious of any Divine illumination which has been shed on his mind, or of any comfort which he has derived from the gospel through the power of the Holy Ghost. Or, if this be a doubtful matter, let him ask himself, Do I feel the absolute need of these blessings, and is my prayer for them, while I unite my voice with that of the Christian church, the language of sincerity? If he suppose that he is made a partaker of the grace which God the Holy Ghost communicates, let him bring that supposition to the test of Scripture, and see whether his consolations bear the marks of a Divine origin. If they came from God, they, lead to Him. If God be the author of them, they are "holy comforts;" they sanctify, while they refresh. It is "through sanctification of the Spi"rit'and belief of the truth" that present peace is enjoyed, and a meetness for- everlasting life attained.
Almighty and everlasting God, who hast given unto us thy servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of the Divine Majesty to worship the Unity ,• we beseech thee, that thou wouldest keep us steadfast in this faith, and ever-r more defend us from all adversities; who livest and reignest one God, world ivithout end. Ameiu
"TN the ancient liturgies we find that this day JL was looked upon only as an Octave of Pentecost, the observation of it as the feast of the Trinity being of a later date: for since the praises of the Trinity were every day celebrated in the doxology, hymns, and creeds, therefore the church thought there was no need to set apart one particular day for that which was done on each. But afterwards, when the Arians, and such like heretics, were spread over the world, and had vented their blasphemies against this Divine hrtystery, the wisdom of the church thought it convenient, that, though the blessed Trinity 'yiras daily commemorated in its public offices of devotion, yet it should be the more solemn subject of one particular day's meditation. So that from the time of Pope Alexander III. if not before, the festival of the Holy Trinity was observed in some churches on the Sunday after Pentecost, in others, on the Sunday next before Advent; until VOL. II. 2 C
in the year 1305 it was made an established feast, as it stands in our present Calendar."*
The day thus chosen for the celebration of the glory which is due to the Triune Jehovah seems peculiarly proper. For as on the foregoing festivals each person in the Godhead has been acknowledged to be God and Lord, and as by the teaching of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost "aright "judgment in all things" was conferred on the church, and particularly in this important doctrine, it seems to be congruous with propriety that the day on which the Trinity in Unity is adored with special regard, should follow those on which the Son and Holy Ghost have been particularly honoured and the descent of the Spirit is celebrated.
But though the festival of the Holy Trinity is, comparatively with the other festivals of our church, of a modern date, we are not to suppose that the doctrine which it recognizes is modern, or that the worship which it requires was unknown to the primitive church. These we can clearly trace to the time of the Apostles, and sanction by their paramount authority. Nay, we can justify our practice by that of a church which is subject to no errors, in whose services there are no flaws. For among the innumerable company of angels, and the church of glorified saints, as we shall presently see, the glory of the eternal Trinity is acknowledged, and the Unity worshipped.
The practice of the Christian church in the apostolic age, when men full of the Holy Ghost conducted her worship, may be gathered from the Acts of the Apostles, their Epistles, and the Revelation of St. John. And.though no public
„* Wheatly, p. 224, Oxford edition.
liturgy of that early sera hath been preserved, at least none that can be absolutely proved to have been composed during -the Apostolic period (though there are several which the testimony of high antiquity ascribes to it), yet the evidence on record is all-sufficient for our purpose. To a believer in the plenary inspiration of the Scriptures (and in this argument we have nothing to do with Deists) the testimony or practice of one man, declared to be taught and led by the Spirit of God will be equivalent to the testimony or practice of the whole church, since the former could no more be deceived than the latter.
"For the first age the Scripture is sufficient evidence of the Christian practice. For, not to insist on the precept of honouring the Son as they honoured the Father; or the form of baptism in which they are commanded to join the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost in one act of worship; or the injunction to believe in the Son as they believed in the Father; with many other acts of internal worship peculiar to God alone: I only argue from their example and practice. St. Stephen the protomartyr, when he was sealing his confession with his blood, breathed out his last breath in a prayer to Christ, "Lord Jesus, rer "ceive my spirit;" and "Lord, lay not this sin "to their charge." (Acts vii. 59.) St. Paul professes he never baptized any but in the name of Christ. (1 Cor. i. 13.) And his common forms of blessing were with invocation of the name of Christ. "Grace be to you, and peace, from God "the Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ." And "The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and "the love of God, and the communion of the "Holy Ghost, be with you all:" as the solemn forms run almost in all his epistles, both in the