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and did it under the immediate guidance of that divine Spirit who had expressly promised to the apostles, to bring all things to their remembrance, and to guide them into all truth.
The doctrine of the Trinity has ever been considered a fundamental doctrine of our holy religion. It was taught and believed by the holy prophets of God, it was taught and established by the Lord Jesus, it was uniformly inculcated by his faithful apostles, and has been received and held, ever since, in the Christian church. It is true, it has been denied. Like all other of the important doctrines of divine revelation, that of the Trinity has usually had its opposers, and, at times, numbers, within the pale of the visible church, have refused to receive it as the truth of God. This doctrine was opposed by certain heretics at an early period of the christian chnrch, and has had its enemies more or less, in almost every period since. Yet the number of those who have denied the doctrine of the Trinity to be taught in the scriptures, compared with those who have received it, has always been small. And it may be said with confidence, where the other great doctrines of the gospel have been received and taught in their greatest purity, where the practical duties of religion have been most extensively observed, where the renewing and sanctifying influences of the divine Spirit have been most richly experinced, the doctrine of the Trinity has been most faithfully held.--The
great question on the doctrine of the Trinity regards the divinity of Christ. All that have held that there is more than one person in the Godhead, have allowed that there are three. The evidence of the divinity of the Holy Spirit, though as we believe, most ample and irresistible, is not so great as that of the divinity of the Son. If then it can be shown that Christ is not truly divine, the deity of the Spirit is not likely to be maintained. And if Christ is admitted to be a di. vine person, there can be no great difficulty in allowing a divine character to the Spirit of God. It is evident, then, that the great doctrine of the Trinity of God rests, substantially, on the question of the divinity of Christ. This is enough to show the high importance of this subject, though some further observations to evince its magnitude, and to exhibit some of the consequences depending upon it, may be made hereafter.
We shall now proceed to the object of this discourse, which is,
То prove and illustrate the doctrine of the Divinity of Christ Jesus, our Lord and Saviour.
Our Doctrinal Proposition is, Jesus CHRIST IS A BEING TRULY DIVINE. He is, IN ALL RESPECTS, VERY GOD.
Whatever comes from God, is in a certain sense,divine. Itis divine with regard to its source or author. The word of God we call divine, the commandments are divine, the work of creation is a divine work. That is, all these have proceeded from the Deity and are the production of his own divine mind. The prophets are called divine prophets, to distinguish them from persons 'calling themselves prophets, who were not sent from God. The apostles are called divine, as being inspired of God, and commissioned to make known to men the way of salvation which he has provided. Religious ordinances are called divine. Heb.ix. 1. “Then verily the first covenant had also or'dinances of divine service. They are divine, as appointed by God, and as designed for his worship. In such a use of the term, many persons speak of Christ as a divine Saviour, who do not admit his personaldivinity. Christ is divine, not on account of his work but because he possesses in his own nature, all the attributes of God.
The proofs of thedivinity of Christ are many and various ; and, in an attempt to exhibit them, though in a summary manner, it is necessary that they be arranged in distinct classes. In this manner we shall
FIRST--Endeavour to mention some of the most plain and satisfactory proofs that our Lord Jesus Christ is truly a divine person.
SECONDLY_We shall take notice of some of the objections to this doctrine, and the arguments urged against it.
THIRDLY-We shall mention some of the consequences which naturally result from the truth of this doctrine, as well as some of those flowing from the opposite sentiment.
FIRST-We shall endeavour to mention some
of the most plain and satisfactory proofs that our Lord Jesus Christ is truly a divine person.
These proofs will be drawn, of course, principally, from the scriptures. I am aware there are many attempts, at the present day, with great pretensions to superior learning, to alter and correct the reading of the scriptures. And no class of people have done so much at this, as those who oppose the divine character of the Saviour. On this subject, which does not belong to the present discussion more than to that of any other scripture doctrine, I shall make only a passing remark. The scriptures were not designed, principally, for philosophers, or eminent scholars, but for all orders of men, for the learned and the unlearned, the old and the young, for every description of needy immortal sinners. And no reasonable person will suppose that any important doctrine, especially one of such magnitude as that of the assential character of the Redeemer, would be left by the Holy Spirit in such a state of obscurity, as to be determined only by the power of acute criticism, or extensive learning. And further, if we are to suppose that there has been no watchful providence of God, to preserve the holy scriptures from loss and corruption, through such a long course of ages, we can have but little confidence in their di. vine authority. If God has been pleased, in his great wisdom and goodness, to give to mankind a revelation of his will, designed for the benefit
of his people in all periods of time, we may rest satisfied that he would not suffer any material alterations of his truth ever to take place. We may observe, further, the integrity of the scriptures may certainly be included in the special promises of his presence and favour which God has given to his church. One of the principal ways in which he has promised to be with his people is in his word. But, on this they cannot rely, unless they can be sure that the scriptures, as they have them, are in truth, the holy testimony of God. We therefore rest with confidence, trusting in the truth and faithfulness of Jehovah, that the Bible, as we now have it, is truly the word of God.- These scriptures testify, in a variety of forms, as we believe, that Christ Jesus is truly divine.
This testimony may be given after the following method.
I. The names given to Christ by the inspired writers.
II. The attributes ascribed to him in the scriptures.
III. The works which are uniformly ascribed to him.
IV. The worship which the scriptures inform us of having been paid to Christ, and which they require for him.
1. Jesus Christ must be divine from the names given him by the inspired writers.
Of these there are several which are the peculiar names of the divine Being. These will be mentioned in their order. And