« PreviousContinue »
doctrine of the Trinity is, that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, distinct in personal offices, are the one living and true God. Do you comprehend what I mean to propose ? Yes. You mean to state the proposition, that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, distinct in personal offices, are the one living and true God. I should be a fool, if I did not comprehend
your proposition. Do you believe it? No. Why not? Because it is incomprehensible. What is incomprehensible? It is incomprehensible, how the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost, personally distinct in office, can be the one living and true God! Have I asked you to believe how they are ? I have only asked you to believe that they are. I bring you proof from Scripture. If you reject the doctrine, you reject it not because it is incomprehensible. I want you only to believe the fact, not the mode. You reject it, not because it is incomprehensible, but because you deny the evidence which I bring; and when the evidence which I bring is from the word of God, and you deny that evidence, you deny the word of God; and when you deny the word of God, you are an infidel. This is a summary process, and it is a stand of the deepest importance to take, because it places the denier of these essential doctrines on the defensive. You carry the war into the camp; you, not he, become the assailant. When then you strip the denier of the doctrine of the Trinity of every disguise, and force him to make the ground of his objection, the evidence which you bring; when you force him from the corners and the walls, and make him stand on the open plain, then you are no longer at a loss how to answer him. You are to discuss the matter with him as he is—an unbeliever;
and to press upon him the necessity of belief in the word of God: you are to begin at the beginning, and not in the middle of the subject. You are to prove the word of God to be true : and then, if he will not be persuaded, it is because he puts himself in an open and avowed opposition to God; and when he is there, and his eyes are no longer blinded by his supposed condition, he may be made to see his real condition; and then, perchance, be constrained to flee for refuge to the hope of the Gospel. There is nothing of such advantage to the truth of the Gospel, as that the real nature of opposition should be dicovered. It sometimes happens, my friends, that a stately vessel, crossing the broad blue wave of the Atlantic, meets with an iceberg floating down the current from the cold regions of the polar
When is that stately vessel in danger of shipwreck upon the floating mountain of the ocean? Only when some deep dense fog hides it from the view. When the atmosphere is clear, the vessel rides on, and all the evil which is felt is the chill which the iceberg breathes upon the air. So with infidelity: clear the atmosphere about it, and you are more secure; dispel the fog, and you can avoid it. This is just what I have sought to do in relation to the doctrine of the Trinity. I will no longer suffer him who denies it, to surround himself with a fog; clear the atmosphere, and we shall see what he is, and as the fog moves off, it gradually becomes more apparent what he really is; and when it is all gone, he stands before you an infidel.
These are the practical inferences drawn from the discussion. These, with the inferences drawn from the doctrine itself, constitute the amazing importance of our subject. I commend it to your candid and careful consideration, and I commend it for the blessing which none other can bestow, to the Triune Jehovah, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to whom be the praise for ever and
THE RECORD OF ETERNAL LIFE.
1 Joun v. 11, 12.
And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life; and this life is
in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life ; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
THERE is remarkable force in the term here used, “this is the record,” when we connect it with what before had been said. The same thing is alluded to, a few verses before, under the title of a testimony or witness, when it is said—“This is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son." Here God the Father is represented as giving in his testimony, or as being a witness examined in open court as to the reality of certain claims which are made in behalf of his Son. Now in the text, this witness or testimony given by God the Father, is represented as written down, and thus a record made of it, which may be used as a permanent kind of evidence to all succeeding generations, precisely as the testimony of a witness put on record is evidence when the individual who made it is dead, or cannot be reached.
The text, therefore, is the recorded, written, permanent testimony of God the Father, as to the validity of a claim, that eternal life is in his Son Jesus Christ, and through him alone to be dispensed.
On any subject which we are anxious to establish by the force of human testimony, we in all cases, and by a kind of moral necessity, measure our belief by the number and credibility of the witnesses by whose instrumentality such matters are attempted to be established. If men would act in this simple and natural manner towards the holy Scriptures, there would not be such a being as an infidel in existence; for if ever there was a matter, the credibility of which could be sustained by the number and moral weight of the witnesses, it is the divine authority of the Scriptures, and the way of salvation revealed in their pages. Infidelity does, in relation to the religion of Jesus Christ, what it never does, and never would dare to do, in relation to any other subject respecting a fact which has the most wonderful accumulation of evidence, arising from the number and credibility of witnesses, of any fact on record.
In relation to the assertion contained in my text, we have all the concurrent testimony of the Prophets of the Old and the New Testament. But in the text and context we have the testimony reduced to a record of one whose means of information cannot, by any sophistry, be questioned; and whose veracity cannot, even by impiety itself, be impeached. And this witness is no other than the Eternal Father, the Great Jehovah—“If we receive the witness of 'men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the