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Curate of Burnham, Norfolk.

MAY 21, 1842.

THE doctrine of the Trinity is unquestionably the highest of the mysteries, which holy scripture proposes as the object of our faith. How it can be, that, while there is but "one living and true God," there should yet be "in the unity of the Godhead three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity," we know not: it is altogether inexplicable; yet none who have searched the scriptures with an ordinary degree of attention, and in singleness of mind, will hesitate to admit that thus it stands revealed, line upon line, in the inspired


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To the members of the church of England it is matter of thankfulness and congratulation, that she has in her various services so clearly and beautifully illustrated such of the leading doctrines of Christianity as are capable of explanation; and, where they cannot be explained, has so judiciously stated them, as to prevent our running into extravagant and dangerous theories. Such an epitome as she affords in her articles, creeds, and collects of sound practical religion, as a chart and scale of the truth, can never be without its value-a value which is ten-fold increased in times when new and strange opinions are being daily broached; when empiricism, in things spiritual as well as temporal, is the ruling passion of the day, and every man thinks himself qualified to search into-to interpret-yea, to question or deny "the deep things of God," with as much confidence and as little solemnity as he discusses matters of mere human experience.


The creed of St. Athanasius, while it does not attempt to explain the great doctrines it treats of, gives in small compass an admirably clear and lucid statement of them, as we find them revealed in the sacred oracles. grave and solemn language, befitting the mysteriousness and loftiness of the subject, it presents to us at once a compendious body of divinity, and an authentic record of the sense of the church for centuries, on points not merely of considerable interest or importance to the cause of Christianity, but essential to its very existence-points, on the establish18, 22; Philippians iii. 3; 2 Thessalonians ii. 13, 14; Titus iii. 5, 6; Hebrews ix. 14; 1 Peter i. 2; 1 John iv. 13, 14; Jude 20, 21; Revelation i. 9, 10. A A

[London: Joseph Rogerson, 24, Norfolk-street, Strand.]

ment or the rejection of which every thing
dear to us in our religion, every thing noble
and animating and consolatory, for the pre-
sent or the future, must altogether and
entirely depend. It proclaims boldly and
uncompromisingly, yet with all truth and
soberness, that we are to "worship one God in
trinity, and Trinity in unity;" inasmuch as
scripture everywhere ascribes the same attri-
butes of deity to the Father, the Son, and
the Holy Ghost, while it assigns to each a
distinct personality and difference of office.
Thus we are taught to acknowledge every
Person by himself to be God and Lord, yet
are forbidden to say there be three Gods, or
three Lords:" and the accuracy of this and
other declarations of this creed can be ques-
tioned by none who take the trouble of
comparing it with the testimony of scripture.
The incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ is
no less clearly stated, and firmly maintained
than his divinity-that, as he is "God of the
substance of the Father, so is he man of the
substance of his mother"-" perfect God, and
perfect man; of a reasonable soul and human
flesh subsisting." The principal design in-
deed of this creed is to give clear ideas of
the union of the divine and human natures in
the Saviour. Compiled soon after the pro-
mulgation of some of the most destructive"
heresies which have agitated and distracted
the church in early or in modern times, it
embraces all the subjects which were the
ground of discussion in the first four general
councils, and embodies their respective de-
cisions upon them. The divinity and the
humanity of Christ had been respectively
questioned by the Arians and Apollinarians;
and the councils of Nice and Constantinople
were assembled, the one A. D. 325, the other
A. D. 381, to put an end to their pernicious
and heretical tenets. In the former Christ
was vindicated as perfect God-in the latter
as perfect man; and these decisions we see
fully embodied in the Athanasian crced.
Subsequently sprung up two dangerous
errors-that of Nestorius, who rightly ac-
knowledged the distinct existence of the
divine and human nature in Christ, but erro-
neously held that, with the two natures, he
had two persons; and that of Eutyches, who,
holding his existence in one person, main-
tained there was but one nature, the human
being confounded with the divine. The
councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon were
called in consequence of these heresies, A. D.
431, and A. D. 451, respectively; and what
they determined upon these points is thus
summed up in that passage of our creed
which declares, "Who, although he be God
and man, yet is not two, but one Christ; one,
not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh,

but by taking of the manhood into God; one altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person:" the former part of which condemns, with the council of Ephesus, the opinions of Nestorius and his followers; and the latter part, with the council of Chalcedon, the opinion of the Eutychians. It is of importance to mark these points, because it enables us to account for a certain formality and preciseness in the phraseology of this creed, and to understand many portions of it, for the reasons of the introduction of which we should otherwise have been in the dark. That they are the errors of former times which are here condemned, can in no respect detract from the value of this creed in the present day, or afford any valid grounds for our church's ceasing, on the recurrence of her festivals, to rehearse it. "The thing which has been is the thing which shall be;" and we know well that, among the many crude and undigested fancies which year by year are attempted to be palmed upon the world, not a few of them are little more than the revival of old and long-forgotten heresies. Let us be thankful then that we still have such a standard, by which to test doctrines new and old; for, to use the language of the noble-minded and judicious Hooker, within the compass of these heads, we may truly affirin that all heresies which touch but the person of Jesus Christ, whether they have risen in these latter days or in any age heretofore, may be with great facility brought to confine themselves."

An objection has sometimes been taken to this creed, even by those who are far from disavowing a belief in any of its articles, as being deficient in that Christian charity inculcated in the gospel, and strictly enjoined upon the followers of the cross. The sages at which offence is taken, and on or calen of which some members of our own chut high in the ministerial office, and, w eminent talents and many estimable qualities in public and in private life ce tainly claim for their opinions a calm and respectful consideration, are reported to have expressed a wish that we were well rid of it, are these:"Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith; which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly." Having described minutely and in strict accordance with scripture, what this faith is, the creed again adds-" He therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity. And again, "This is the catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved." Now, strong as these expressions are, so far from their * Lib. v. § 54.

nity or incarnation of Christ-that he is "God and man in one Christ"-does disbelieve the most essential part of Christian doctrine, and so renders himself liable to condemnation, can be contravened by no mode of reasoning with which we are acquainted. Nor is it more difficult to perceive how he who denies the personality and divinity of the Holy Ghost, can escape the charge of "speaking against him," and the consequent punishment denounced against such blasphemy. And with these express declarations and proofs of holy writ before us, how could our church, grounding as she does all her doctrines on scripture, express herself on this subject more charitably, and with greater moderation, than when she says, "He therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity?" "This is the catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved." How else should she maintain her character for truth? Would there not be a greater want of charity in suppressing the truth, and in permitting her members to indulge their own fancies-to give way to the workings of a deceitful heart

to flatter themselves that all is right with them, till suddenly they awake to a sense of their infatuation, but too late to avoid its consequences?

There is much truth in the sentiments of an eminent living divine, with which, as they bear on our subject, I shall take leave, so far as memory serves me, to conclude these remarks. "It is an important part of Christian charity, which we shall do well never to forget, to avoid all hostile feelings towards those who differ from us, and fiery zeal in maintaining our own principles; but equally far from us be that false and mistaken charity which degenerates into apathy and indifference-which, for the sake of conciliation or a temporary expediency, would drive us from our own stedfastness-which would teach us to yield, one by one, the articles of our faith as things merely speculative-which would first seize upon the outposts, and, last of all, would undermine and demolish the citadel itself."

appearing to be uncharitable, may we not assert that they are dictated in a spirit of universal love and good-will to man, and seem rather to fall short of, than to go beyond, what scripture affirms to be the end of unbelief, and of contemptuous treatment of the triune God? For what is charity? Is not a constituent part of it to declare uncompromisingly and undisguisedly the great gospel truths, and in the spirit of the same gospel to warn mankind of the danger of disregarding them to persuade them to repent-to flee from the wrath to come, and to cling to the hope that is set before them, that they may save their souls? And this is all that our church does here. She judges no man. She proclaims the scripturai doctrines to be believed, and then simply declares the consequences of disbelief, and leaves every man to judge for himself. Knowing that it makes no part of Christian charity to inspire false and deceitful hopes, considering that a truth, whether disagreeable or incomprehensible to us or not, is still a truth, and as such must not be kept back, and indifferent as to what the world may think or say, she is guided only by revelation, saying with Balaam, "That only which the Lord putteth in my mouth, that can I speak."

That she does not here exceed her authority, and speak without scriptural warranty, one or two texts may suffice to prove. No Christian will maintain that that man can be safe who denies the existence of a God as the Creator and Preserver of the universe"in whom we live, and move, and have our being;" and it is therefore needless to quote from scripture in proof of his danger. With respect to the second Person in the Trinity the eternal Son-it is expressly written, "He that believeth on him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemaed already, because he hath not believed on the name of the Son of God" (John iii). "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; and he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark xvi.).

And in reference to the third Person of the Trinity-the Holy Ghost-it is as distinctly asserted by the Saviour himself: "I say unto you, all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men; but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him ; whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven unto him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come" (Matt. xii. 31). There is no mistaking language such as this. It is clear and explicit. "He that believeth not is condemned." And that he who denies the divi


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No. 1.


Assistant Curate of Monkstown, in the diocese of


IT is a strange and melancholy fact that the miraculous gifts conferred upon the early Christian church, for the purpose of establishing the divine origin of a religion, the distinguishing character of which is love to man, became, in many instances, an occasion for

the display of the worst feelings of our nature-for | may be. Actions derive their value with God from the motives by which they are influenced; and, if liberality to the distressed proceed, as it does not unfrequently, from ostentation or caprice, or the desire to make out a meritorious righteousness and title to eternal life, thus degrading and despising the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ; however useful that liberality may be to others, it is not the effect of love, and will leave its author without any advantage. And though I give my body to be burned” as a martyr," and have not charity," it profiteth me nothing. Whether such a case as this has ever existed, it is not necessary to determine: it is neither impossible or improbable. The love of fame or the desire to establish our own righteousness, might produce such an act; and the apostle would have us to learn that sacrifices, however great, on account of religion, unless they have their origin in love to God, and are accompanied by love to man, and a simple dependance upon the death of Christ for the pardon of sin, may find a reward in the praise of men, and may thus minister to our pride and self-righteousness, but are wholly valueless in the divine estimation: "Their praise will be of men, but not of God." The word rendered in this chapter, and in some other passages, charity, would be more properly translated love or good-will, and signifies here a delight in the happiness of others, accompanied by the desire to communicate and increase it by every means in our power. This grace, it is to be observed, is always united with love to the divine Being; for they have the same source-faith in the work of Christ. Christian love is cultivated and exercised from a desire to please God, and has its source in the knowledge of the love of God in Christ. The believer has been made to feel the force of the apostle's reasoning-" If God so loved us, we ought also to love one another." And thus, it will be perceived, there is a clearly marked difference between this grace and the natural tenderness of disposition which it would be useless to deny is to be found among the unconverted. The latter has no better source than natural feeling, or at the most a regard for the claims of our fellow-men: it is exercised without any consideration of the divine will and pleasure. The former, while it acknowledges the claims of man upon man, has higher and holier motives to exertion, respect for the divine authority, and gratitude for the divine love, and has its source in that faith which the Spirit of God communicates; and, since faith is essential to our acceptance, and the obedience which proceeds from faith is that alone which God will reward, while it would be useless to dispute the existence of natural tenderness among the unconverted, or to deny that society is benefited by its exertions, it ought to be described as it deserves, and pronounced, as God would teach us to pronounce it, a wild and worthless plant in his estimation, though not unlovely in itself, and not without its use to society-a plant in whose growth his Spirit has had no part, which has not been watered and fostered by the dew and sunshine of heaven, and upon which God cannot look with pleasure, and which, unlike charity, is not to be removed to the paradise above. It is of importance also to remark that the grace described in this chapter ought not to be taken only for love of the brethrenfor love for those who are united with us in bonds of Christian fellowship. The exercises and actings of both are nearly the same, but they differ in the extent of their objects. Brotherly kindness regards those who have been brought into the family of God by faith in Jesus Christ: charity takes a wider range, and embraces the whole family of mankind. Brotherly love views men as Christians: charity is benevolence to mankind in general. The apostle Peter makes this the last link in his chain of graces, and distinguishes it from brotherly kindness, to which, says he, add charity. It is the same state of heart

pride and envy and malice. This result is, of course,
to be attributed to the natural sinfulness of the heart,
which often perverts the choicest spiritual as well as
natural gifts of God. In the church of Corinth,
which enjoyed these gifts in a remarkable degree, it
was fiercely disputed which were the most honourable,
and entitled their possessors to the largest share of
respect and distinction. Those, who were favoured
with the most distinguished endowments, boasted of"
their superiority to those who possessed the humbler
gifts; while those, who enjoyed the latter, were ex-
cited to envy and malice. This unhappy state of
things, which went far to drive Christian love out of
the church, and grievously disturb its peace, and gave
occasion to the enemy to blaspheme, the apostle
endeavours to correct by various considerations. He
tells them in the preceding chapter, that these gifts,
however they might differ, all came from one and the
self-same Spirit, and therefore were equally honour-
able as to their source. That the members of the
church, although employed in various offices, of which
some were more distinguished than others, all serve the
same Lord, and therefore were on a level as regarded
the dignity of their Master. He reminds them that
these gifts were conferred for mutual advantage, and
not for personal glory; that this variety, which had
become the occasion of evil tempers, was requisite for
the edification of the whole body; that the gifts,
which were less highly prized by them, were the most
valuable to the church; and he concludes by introduc-
ing that most excellent gift of charity, which he has
afterwards described with singular beauty, and exalts
in value above the most coveted miraculous powers:
"But covet the best gifts, and yet I shew unto you a
more excellent way.'

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In the three first verses of the thirteenth chapter, the apostle has stated, in the most decided language, the necessity for this grace, and the folly of resting satisfied with the most extensive and correct acquaintance with divine truth, which does not produce this fruit. He supposes a very remarkable case, which combines the possession of the most admired gifts and great apparent zeal for religion, but was deficient in the grace of charity. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels"-though I possess in the highest degree the miraculous gift of speaking with strange tongues, and though I could convey my ideas after the manner of angelic beings"and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal." If the allusion in these words be, as some have supposed, to the music which formed a part of the idolatrous worship of the heathen deities, they will convey this strong sentiment, that the exercise of these miraculous powers, unless accompanied by charity, is as little acceptable to God as the idolatrous worship of the gentiles. "And though I have the gift of prophecy"-though I can foretell events with unerring accuracy, and understand all mysteries, the deep things of the gospel revelation, and have all knowledge, a perfect acquaintance with the mind of the Spirit in the Old Testament, and understand the hidden meaning of all its types, and could explain and prove the fulfilment of all its predictions; and though I have all faith, the strongest persuasion of the power of God to enable me to perform the most wonderful works, even to remove mountains, and" have not charity, I am nothing;" for I am destitute of true religion, and therefore of no account in the sight of God. "And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing." This to some may appear a strange assertion; for it supposes that one might expend all his substance in acts of apparent benevolence, and be yet withal destitute of Christian love, and therefore without the divine approbation of his conduct: but a moment's consideration will shew us how this


which is spoken of by Christ, as containing the second table of the moral law-"Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself;" and the extent of the term neighbour may be learned from the parable of the good Samaritan; for we are there taught the latter term includes the whole human race, without reference to the distinctions of country or religion, our enemies also as well as friends. Love, then, may be called a delight in the happiness of the whole human race-a desire to remove the curse of sorrow which sin has brought upon this world: it is a fellowship with the nature of the divine Being, who is loving unto every man, and whose mercy is over all his works. But it may be useful to observe, that this desire to produce universal happiness does not waste itself in mere wishes for the universal good: it will not make its inability to benefit the whole human race an excuse for doing good to none of its members. Christian love will put forth its energies, and devote its services to those whom Providence has placed within its reach it has a heart as capacious as the world: it would not leave one want without relief, one sorrow without comfort. But, as Providence with- The importance of this subject makes it a duty to holds a field of usefulness equal to its wishes, it will speak of the various modes in which an unforgiving direct its attention to those who are brought under spirit may be displayed with much particularity and its influence: towards all there is a feeling of good-plainness. I pray myreader then to consider, that there will, a readiness for kindly exertions; while towards are numerous petty acts of spite and ill-will in which those who are brought within its reach, it will go a revengeful spirit may show itself: For example, if forth in the exercises and doings of benevolence. we refuse to speak to another by whom we have been Charity has, in this respect, been happily compared injured, and pass him with silent or open scorn; if to the eye of the body, which can survey the whole we find pleasure in speaking of his failings, and lowerexpanse of the widely-extended scene, or contract its ing him in the opinion of others; if opportunities of view, and fix its attention upon some one object. annoyance are sought for, and pleasure is found in the thought that we have given him trouble or pain: all this is done in the spirit of retaliation, and is as truly, though not so dreadfully, the actings of revenge. The spirit of revenge simply means returning evil for evil, and finding pleasure in doing so: and this spirit may go to the extremes of calumny or murder, or confine itself to the infliction of less serious injuries. The exercise of a forbearing spirit is unquestionably difficult-in many cases impossible to the natural man; but with God all things are possible; and by his grace we may have imparted to us the mind of the Saviour, and say with him of our enemies, and act in the spirit of the prayer, "Father, forgive them ;" or with the first martyr, upon whom the mantle of his Master's gentle spirit fell-"Lord, lay not this sin to their charge." This is difficult; but, by the power of Christ, practicable. It is commanded, and therefore must be within the compass of our obedience as the children of God; and let it be remembered that the difficulty of the duty will not excuse its neglect. The cultivation of this temper is essential to the Christian character. No amount of injury will justify the indulgence of revenge. The spirit of revenge and the spirit of Christ are as much opposed as light and darkness; "and, if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his."

I pass on to the second property of charity"Charity is kind." Love makes its possessor to look beyond the boundary of his own wants and gratifications: it will not allow him to be satisfied with his own comforts. That he is himself free from misery is not sufficient: he would gladly relieve others from its pressure. Love is universal in its objects. It feels indeed that the brethren of Christ have the first, but not an exclusive, claim to its exertions. Its enemies, also, are not excluded from its affectionate embrace; and love will seek to relieve all their wants. It views them in a twofold character-as creatures of time and of eternity. It would relieve the wants of the body, but it will not forget the more serious wants of the soul. Love, instructed hy divine truth, from whence it has its source, knows that the soul, though often in painful ignorance of its true condition, has distresses which demand the most attentive and

Let us now proceed to consider the description which the apostle has given of this most excellent gift of charity, the very bond of peace and of all virtues, without which (may the solemu truth sink deeply into our hearts) whosoever liveth is counted dead before God. "Charity suffereth long." The apostle intends, by this expression, the forbearance and meekness of love. In a world which has so many of the proud and injurious and unkind, and where even Christians are still imperfect, it must needs be that offences come, and many occasions will offer for the exercise of a meek and forbearing spirit. The natural inclination of the heart is to return evil for evil, railing for railing, to inflict injuries on those who have done us wrong. To this spirit of revenge, the charity which suffereth long is directly opposed: under its influence the Christian becomes patient of injuries and forgiving he returns not evil for evil, but contrari-wise, blessing. Like his heavenly Master, whose mind he has in some measure imbibed, he is disposed to bless them which persecute him, and pray for them which despitefully use him. His natural corruption says, Revenge the wrongs you have sustainedrecompense evil for evil. The new and heavenly principle of charity says-Overcome evil with good; avenge not yourselves; if your enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink; imitate your heavenly Father," who maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust."


these may be) in which he is placed. And they will do well to consider also, whether they are not in danger of deceiving themselves; and whether it is likely that those, who can indulge an unforgiving temper under such circumstances, would be disposed to display the forbearance and meekness of charity, when the provocations were of a more serious kind. And I would also observe, that, when the sacred book forbids the indulgence of a revengeful spirit, it would be a serious mistake to confine the prohibition to open and violent expressions of ill-will. There may be much malice in the heart, which is seen only by the searching eye of God; and, though men may not proceed to acts of ill-will, there may be a holding back from the performance of kindly deeds: the evil temper may be exhibited in many minor ways, and by various smaller and less remarkable actions, which, though they may escape the censure of the world, and may not shock the conscience equally with more flagrant and open acts of malice, prove with sufficient power that the heart is not under the influence of Christian love.

It seems not unimportant to observe that the opportunities and occasions for the exercise of this grace, which occur in the ordinary and common intercourse and occurrences of society, ought to be carefully improved. Some, it is possible, may deceive themselves with the idea that it is only or chiefly on occasions when the injuries and provocations are of a very serious character, that the exercise of this temper is required; and most persons have little disposition to seize and improve the less remarkable, though more frequent, occasions for forbearance which arise in the intercourse of families and society. It will be useful for such persons toremember that the sphere of a Christian's duty are the circumstances (whatever

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