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ther and the Lamb FOR EVER.-God grant to us all, such a real faith in these truths, that we may so live now, as to experience them hereafter, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, our gracious Master and Redeemer. To whom, &c.
CHRISTIAN OR GOSPEL OBEDIENCE.
HEBREWS, v. 8, 9. Though he were a son, yet learned he obedience,
by the things which he suffered ; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal
salvation unto all them that obey him. The next question that presents itself in the order of our Church Catechism, being only an inquiry concerning the heads of what has been so fully explained to you in the course of the last twelve Lectures upon the Creed, or Belief; the short answers therein made are very sufficient to refresh the mind with the principal subjects contained therein : to dwell further upon them, would only be to repeat what has already been delivered to you: therefore, upon being asked, What it is that we chiefly learn from these articles of our Belief? a shorter, more comprehensive, or more intelligible reply, cannot be returned, than that as to the first part of the Creed, which treats of God the Father, and the faith we are to hold concerning him,
We learn to believe that it is “he who hath made “ us, and all the world.” Respecting the next important part of the Belief, as it treats of Jesus Christ, his mission and offices, we very properly comprise him in saying, 2dly,“ We be“ lieve in God the Son, who hath redeemed us “ and all mankind.” And with regard to the third principal head of the Creed, which relates to the Holy Ghost, or Spirit of God, his divine nature, personality, and office, we answer well, in confessing our faith in God“ the Holy Ghost, “ who sanctifieth us, and all the elect people of " God:” that is, in acknowledging, that it is through the influence of that good Spirit upon our souls, that all who are willing to become good Christians, are made holy. We may also make another observation on these three answers, very suitable to their general meaning ; which is, that they contain in a few words our faith in the ever-blessed doctrine of the Holy Trinity in unity, and unity in Trinity, which is taught by our Church, as absolutely necessary to be believed by every Christian, for the salvation of his soul. As the holy and wonderful nature of the eternal God, respecting this great mystery, must necessarily be incomprehensible to finite understandings, to the notions of such poor, shallow, sinful creatures as mankind, who are often unable to account for the most common operations of nature; so, the less we pretend to say upon it further than the doctrine is plainly supported in Scripture, as an object of our faith, the more we show our becoming humility, by paying an awful reverence to this part of God's holy revelation in particular. It will be abundant information, therefore, on this profound subject, to refer you to the Scriptures themselves, where you will plainly see what we are required to believe upon
this head. The doctrine of the Trinity is most undoubtedly held forth and maintained therein, though God hath not vouchsafed to relate the particulars of the mystery, which, indeed, it is impossible for us to comprehend with our present contracted capacities, and under trial for the exalted state when we shall receive powers for every knowledge that is necessary to our greatest happiness. So that, while it is thus with us, were the most learned man that ever lived, to labour at the task ; though he might advance innumerable objections that would both surprise and entertain his hearers, and convince them of his own industry, and the improved powers of the human mind; yet at last his labour would profit no more than did that of a famous philosopher of old time, who, after haranguing his disciples many hours with all the pomp of learning, on a point that surpassed the reach of human knowledge, addressed them with this simple question, Whether
any of them understood him? “ For, in truth," says he, “as to myself, however fairly I may have seemed to speak upon the subject, I am very conscious I am now more ignorant than when I first attempted to discover it.” In truth, the deep things of God require proportionate increase of wisdom to perceive them.
But it may be objected, that this particular word, THE TRINITY, is not to be met with in Holy Scripture: no more is the word HUMANITY, which, at first sight, may seem as strange; no more are many other words, which nevertheless, as they are the growth of particular languages, are absolutely necessary to illustrate and explain what is implied in Scripture, under other terms. I shall close, therefore, all I think necessary to observe to you on this article, with informing you, that the word TRINITY has long been used in the study of divinity, to signify the incomprehensible union of the three Persons of the Godhead. We are plainly told in God's holy word, that there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word (or Son), and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one. (1 John, v. 7.) And to assist man's understanding, so as to render it a sufficient object of his faith, it is added, And there are three that bear witness on earth; the Spirit, and the water, and the blood; and these three agree in one : so, therefore, as these three are positive essentials