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“ Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and “ uphold me with thy free Spirit.” The communication of comfort to the penitent soul is the act of God. Those who have “a right judgment « in all things” discern clearly their need of the comforting grace of God. . “If the whole of the
interposition of God consist in the clear pro, " posal of the gospel, opportunely made, why is « Omnipotence required for it? Why are those “magnificent expressions applied by St. Paul to
describe the Omnipotence which God exerts in " us?! “ The eyes of your understanding being “ enlightened, that ye may know what is the ex
ceeding greatness of His power to usward who " believe, according to the working of His Almighty power.”.....“
To assert that the power “ of God working in us differs not from the or % dinary powers of man,-is not this to extenuate " the Almighty energy of God, and almost to re“ duce it to nothing ?”*
The “comfort” in which the Holy Spirit enables His people to rejoice,” is “holy comfort." It is holy in its source, and in its tendency; and hereby it may easily be distinguished from the reveries of imagination, from the flights of enthusiasm, and from the more odious pretensions of designing falsehood. If a hatred of sin be excited, and a desire after conformity to God be kindled in the soul-if a resolution of resisting temptation, of practising self-denial, and of obeying all the will of God as it is revealed to us, be formed within us—if humility be deepened and spirituality promoted, while we are enabled to embrace the hope of the gospel so as to be “filled with “all joy and peace in believing;" then we need
* Turretin, quoted by Mr. Knox in his Christian Philosophy, p. 161.
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 ori, gin. . 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
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, more defend us from all adversities ; who livest and reignest one God, world without end. Amen.
N the ancient liturgies we find that this day
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, hyinns, 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 mystery, the wisdom of the church thought it convenient, that, though the blessed. Trinity was daily commemorated in its public offices of devotion, yet it should be the more solemn subject of one particular day's meditation. So thať 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.
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 "a right “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,