Page images

from those principles which, on all other occasions, regulate their belief, and reject doctrines sublime and consolatory in their tendency, because they transcend the comprehension of our finite minds?

IV. For, lastly-Though certain - truths of religion be incomprehensible, their practical use and value are not thereby impaired.

Our sole business with the doctrines of revelation is to make them the guide of our principles and the rule of our conduct. Beyond these limits all is conjecture and speculation-speculation often presumptuous, and always fruitless. A survey of all the truths of God's word, would prove that the mystery which envelopes them, affects not their practical use and value, and that as far as they are designed to influence our principles and our conduct, they are simple and clear. Take, for instance, the corruption of human nature. The existence of evil in the works of an infinitely powerful, holy, and good Being, is an inscrutable mystery. But satisfaction on this point is not necessary to the discharge of our duty; the mystery in which this truth is involved, does not affect its practical importance. All that is necessary for us to know in regard to this truth for the regulation of our conduct, is clearly revealed. Revelation teaches us, that though man is fallen and corrupt, God has provided a way for his recovery, and that every one who in an humble sense of his unworthiness, turns to God by sincere repentance, and with faith in the merits of him whom God hath set forth as the Saviour of the world, shall be redeemed from the dominion of evil passions, and restored to yirtue and to holiness.

In like manner with regard to the doctrine of the Trinity. The union of three persons in one eternal essence is utterly incomprehensible. But still all that is necessary to our duty in regard to this truth, is clearly revealed, and may be easily understood. The distinction of persons in the Godhead, their respective attributes, their relations to each other and to us, and the offices which they sustain towards us, are all which it is necessary for us to know, for the regulation of our faith and our conduct; and these are plainly revealed. That God the Father is the fountain of the Deity that God the Son is eternally be

-gotten of the Father, deriving his nature from the Father in an incomprehensible manner and that God the Holy Ghost proceedeth from the Father and the Son, are propositions which we can understand ; though we cannot comprehend the mode in which the Son is begotten of the Father, and in which the Holy Ghost proceedeth from the Father and the Son. Mystery, let us not forget, necessarily involves every truth concerning the adorable nature of God. His infinity and his eternity are truths which

the objectors to the doctrine of the Trinity admit. But are they not as inscrutable as the eternal generation of the Son, and procession of the Holy Ghost? Who can conceive of a Being existing every where, without beginning and without end!

The practical nature and efficacy of the Trinity of persons in the Godhead, are plainly set forth. We are taught that God the Father sustains to us the office of Creator and Preserver---that God the Son is our Saviour and Intercessor and that God the Holy Ghost is our Sanctifier and Comforter. We are enjoined to adore the Father, and to supplicate his protection and blessing ; to trust in the Son, and to implore his mediation and intercession; and to invoke the sanctifying and consoling influences of the Holy Ghost. We are unable to comprehend the mode by which the power of the Father is exercised in our preservation; by which the mediation of the Son is rendered available to us; and by which the Holy Spirit influences our hearts. The mode of operation of the Divine Mind cannot be comprehended by any creature. But the distinctive offices of the three persons of the Godhead towards us, and our consequent duties, are brought down to the level of our understanding.

Let us not inconsistently reject these consolatory truths, because they are incomprehensible. Would it not be considered as the extreme of folly, to refuse to apply the bodies around us to our comfort and advantage, because we cannot ascertain the causes of their respective properties and

qualities? Shall we refrain from the use of food, because we cannot ascertain why it should nourish and support us ?

Shall we abstain from the pursuit of knowledge, because we are unable to ascertain the mode by which the mind receives ideas, and afterwards applies them, by the powers of induction and reasoning, to the purposes of truth and science ? Let us not then absurdly and criminally reject the exalted blessings assured to us by the Trinity of persons in the Godhead the protection and favour of the Father, without which we shall be miserable in time and in eternity; the mediation of the Son, through which alone we can escape the punishment due to our sins, and attain the joys of Heaven; and the sanctifying and comforting influences of the Holy Ghost, by which we are established in holiness and peace--Let us not reject these inestimable blessings, because we cannot comprehend the essence or existence of the divine agents from whom they proceed, or the mode by which they are conveyed to us.

My brethren-though the mode of union and existence of the Trinity of persons in the Godhead be incomprehensible, the practical truths and duties, connected with this doctrine, are infinitely important. They involve the means of our deliverance from the guilt and punishment of sin, and of our restoration to holiness, to the favour of God, and to the happiness of Heaven. Ever then (and this day we have implored God for grace to do so) may we keep “ stedfast in the faith of the eternal Trinity, and in power of the Divine Majesty worship the Unityo.” The essence of the Godhead, the mode of existence of three persons in one God, these are not for us to knowfor “ it is as high as heaven, what can we do? deeper than hell, what can we know p.”

“ Who can by searching find out God ?" But the offices and relations which the persons of the Trinity sustain towards us, and the exalted blessings which they dispense to us, these may be clearly understood. It is our duty, and it will prove our eternal perfection and happiness, to adore and serve God the Father; to take refuge in the mediation of God the Son; and to implore the sanctifying influences of God the Holy Ghost.

In that language which the Church hath provided, and it is the hymn of adoration with which the cherubim extol the infinite and eternal persons of the Godhead, and which will be the everlasting song of the redeemed when exalted to the Heavenly courts, let us now profess our

• Collect for Trinity Sunday.

P Job xi. 8.



« PreviousContinue »