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Its practical importance is exhibited in my text, which represents our access unto God as effected through Jesus Christ, by the agency of the Spirit *.
Considering man as under the dominion of error, of sin, of sorrow, and of death; the points most interesting to him are
His redemption from error,
And his deliverance from death, by his translation to an immortal existence.
In reference then to these points, let us consider the value and importance of the practical efficacy of the Trinity of persons in the God, head.
1. With regard to man's redemption from error.
God makes known his will to man by Jesus Christ, whom he has sent. If Christ be a Divine person—then God does not convey his instructions, through a human organ, nor in the celestial voice of the most perfect of angelic creatures ; but he speaks the words of Divine truth by his eternal Son ; "the brightness of his glory and the express image of his person.” What clearness, what certainty, what majesty, what force and what interest does this give to the truths delivered. When God indeed speaks even by the humblest of his creatures, it is our duty to hear and to obey. But still, the dignity of the agent gives clearness and majesty and interest to the instructions which he delivers.
* On the practical importance of the doctrine of the Trinity much useful matter is contained in an excellent treatise entitled, “The Scripture Doctrine of the Trinity stated and defended." By Thomas Hartwell Horne, M.A. And valuable information on the Divinity of Christ will be found in a volume of Tracts by Dr. Burgess, the Bishop of St. David's. The whole subject of the Trinity is discussed with admirable perspicuity and force in the treatises of Dr. Waterland.
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners, spake in times past unto your fathers by the Prophets, hath spoken unto you by his Son. Lips, touchedwith a coal from the altar,poured forth divine strains to God's people of old. Theyheard the declarations of a Lawgiver and Prophet whom Jehovah distinguished above all others, by conversing with him face to face. But now, Christians --the voice of him “who spake as never man spake®” addresses you. “ God manifest in the flesh ” is your instructor. He, who is the Lord of heaven and of earth, proclaims laws to you. There must be clearness and certainty in instructions thus delivered. Infinite Majesty surrounds an Instructor in whom s dwells the fulness of the Godhead.” With awful force and interest must his instructions impress the heart.
There was tremendous guilt and dreadful punishment incurred by rejecting the laws proclaimed by Moses, who, however distinguished by familiar converse with Jehovah, still bore the imperfections of human nature. What then must be the guilt and punishment incurred by those who reject the counsel, and refuse to hear the voice of him who“speaketh from heaven;" and speaketh with authority, as the Son of God, " in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge'."
Christians, of what immense practical importance is the doctrine that your Instructor is not a man like yourselves, but the second Person of the adorable Trinity, the Son of God, who was from everlasting, “from the beginning, or ever the world was 8 !”
II. With regard to man's release from the guilt and dominion of sin, the doctrine of the Trinity, which proclaims to him a Divine Saviour, is of the highest practical importance.
If pardon were proclaimed by a mere man, even though he bore the commission of Jehovah, would it come with as much force and interest as when the Son of God leaves the courts of heaven, and addresses to us this message of
i Col. ii. 3.
* Proverbs viii, 23.
mercy? If our exemption from the punishment of the violated law of our Almighty Sovereign were announced without any vindication of his offended authority, any exhibition of his just displeasure against sin ; would the heart of the penitent be assailed by no doubts and fears, when, contemplating the purity and the rigour of the law which he had transgressed, and the holiness and the justice of the Sovereign whom he had offended, he beholds no reparation of this violated law, no vindication of this holiness or justice ? Or, would the mercy and the love of God the Father so sensibly affect the heart as when we behold him so loving the world as “ to give his only-begotten $on,” so delighting in mercy as to lay on him the iniquities of us all, and to bruise him, that by his stripes we might be healed ? It is the doctrine that a Divine personage has rendered perfect obedience to the violated law of God, sustained its penalties, and thus vindicated the authority, and established the holiness and the justice of the Ruler of the universe, which exhibits his attributes in perfect harmony, arms with the most powerful force the denunciations and the invitations of his Gospel, and conveys to the penitent the fullest assurance of pardon.
But, in the doctrine of the Trinity, we thus find not only the sure pledge of release from the guilt of sin, but the most effectual provision for our redemption from its dominion,
The offices of enlightening our darkened understandings, of sanctifying our corrupt natures, of aiding us in the discharge of duty, of leading us “in the ways of God's laws and in the works of his commandments,” of “putting into our minds good desires, and enabling us to bring the same to good effect;" of carrying us through all difficulties, and strengthening us to overcome all temptations, are operations assigned in Scripture to the Holy Ghost. Now, if the Holy Ghost be not a Divine person, what is the security that all these important offices will be discharged ? What pledge have we for our release from the dominion of sin? Can any but Divine power cast light into a darkened understanding, rectify a depraved will, change corrupt affections, break man's bondage to his lust, and conquer the formidable temptations which constantly assail him?
It is in vain to plead as those do who reject the Divinity of the Holy Ghost, that the work of illumination and sanctification is performed by God the Father. He has transferred this work to the Holy Ghost. “ When he, the Spirit of truth, is come,” said Christ, “ he will guide you unto all truth";" “ He will convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgmenti.” “ Ye are sanctified,” said an inspired Apostle, “by
John xvi. 13.
i John xvi. 8.