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worship of the only living and true God; when such heavy denunciations had been uttered against every appearance of idolatry; would the introduction of two new objects of worship, seemingly at least so inconsistent with this great truth, have drawn from our Lord no word of explanation ? In the whole course of his preaching would he have given no hint of such a doctrine? When he gives us so many examples of prayer, would they all have been directed to his father alone ? Would all his numerous and express precepts for prayer, too, have led us to the same object alone, and in the same name, or as the disciples nierely of his Son? Then, too, if he were really existing on the earth in a double nature, would he have never given the slightest intimation of it ? would neither he nor his apostles have ever hinted that any one thing was said or done by him, in his nature as Almighty God, and others, in his nature as a mére man? would they have uniformly, through the New Testament, spoken of him as a distinct being and a distinct person from his father, without the least caution or limitation? Would he have declared, that his father was greater than he ? that of himself he could do nothing, that his doctrine was not his own, but his that sent him—that he was ignorant of the day of judgment—that he was the embassador of his Father-that he was his minister-that he obeyed him—was taught by him was anointed by him—received all his authority, fulness or sufficiency from him? And final
ly would it be said, that he is to deliver up his kingdom to God even the Father, that he alone may be all in all ? Would such representations as these be given in every page of the New Testament, leading, as they evidently do, necessarily to such conclusions, and not one word of caution be given to us, not a syllable of explanation or comment—not a line to guard us from an error, which, it is said, is fatal to our eternal salvation? “ Hadst thou,” we may say in the language of the venerable Watts, “ hadst thou informed me, gracious Father, in any place of thy word, that thy divine doctrine is not to be understood by men, and yet they were required to believe it, I would have subdued all my curiosity to faith. But I cannot find that thou hast any where forbid us to understand it or to make these inquiries—thou hast called the poor, the ignorant, the mean and the foolish things of this world to the knowledge of thyself, and thy Son. But how can such weak creatures ever take in so strange, so difficult, so abstruse a doctrine ? in the explanation and defence of which multitudes of men, even men of learning and of piety, have lost themselves in infinite subtilties of disputes and endless mazes of darkness.” And can this strange and perplexing notion be so necessary and important a part of Christian doctrine, which, in the Old and New Testament, is represented as so plain and easy, even to the meanest understandings ? I should not be surprised, therefore, if, in considering these things, some of you, who have taken your christianity only from the Bible, should suppose, that
, the representation I have given of the doctrine of the Trinity must be a mistaken one; and that it is impossible that any should be found who really believe that our Lord's declaration in the text, of the Unity of God, means in fact, that the divine nature comprehends three distinct, supreme, self-existent persons, one of them possessing, at the same time, the nature of a man, and the nature of the eternal God.
But this is the exact doctrine I do assure you; for I should abhor myself, if I could, in the least, exaggerate it. It is this and nothing else—and is it an inexpiable crime not to find this doctrine in the holy scriptures ? And do we deny the Lord who bought us, if we are unable to understand and preach it? And have we forfeited our christianity, nay, our integrity as men, because we have not so learned and so preached Christ? Will this accusation be repeated by our brethren, think you, when we all stand together before the judgment seat of Christ ? O far, far rather would I
appear before my Judge, at that solemn hour, with all the accumulated errors and absurdities which the human mind in its most pitiable weakness has ever engendered, than with the tremendous responsibility of having made such charges as these against my
brethren, on light and insufficient grounds. I have thus endeavoured fairly to represent to you what this doctrine really is. I do not say that no argument can be alleged in favour of it; for what is there for which ingenious men cannot find arguments? If you wished, for instance, to prove that Solomon is an object of divine worship, you might reason thus ;-at the dedication of the temple, it is said, “ And all the people worshipped God and the king." Or if you desired to find the divinity of Moses, you might quote the declaration of Jehovah, “ I will make thee a God unto Pharaoh.” In short, if you will not take the first principles of reason with you to the study of the sacred scriptures, there is no imaginable contradiction so great that you cannot find for it the semblance of support.
If you will search the sacred scriptures with a meek and reverent application of
powers to understand them, you will find, no doubt, many strong descriptions of a being so dignified as is our Lord in himself, so perfect in his character, so great in his office, so supernatural in his powers, and now exalted so high by God, as our Prince and Saviour; but
will find nothing, I am persuaded, inconsistent with the truth, that the God whom we love and adore, is one God in one person only.
To this examination of the scriptures, I would solemnly exhort all who entertain any anxieties on
But in order that this examination may be made without too much solicitude for the result, I will attempt, very briefly, to show how
little this doctrine is connected with any thing essential to our faith and our hope.
Let it then be observed, in the first place, that this is not a question which involves the divine origin of the christian religion, and cannot, therefore, with propriety, be called a question as to the divinity of our Saviour. Those who believe that God is one, in the most absolute sense, believe as fully as any other christians, that our religion is from Heaven, and that he who revealed it, came from God and went to God. There is no character in which they find him unfolded, in which they do not most cheerfully, reverently, and gratefully acknowledge him; they own him as the interpreter of God's will, as the visible representative of God's glory, as the angel of God's grace; and they take all his words-being, as he himself declares, not his own, but his Father's who sent him—as the words of God himself.
A great obstacle to calm and unprejudiced examination of this subject, is produced by an idea that it affects the divinity of our Lord, which, when we consider that the divine origin of our religion, the divine commission of our Saviour, and his possession of divine powers, are left on every theory unquestioned and entire, will appear to have no just foundation.
All this, surely, it is possible to believe, in the fairest meaning of the words, without supposing that our Saviour is himself that very God in whose name he tells us he spoke; without believing that he is at