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and days of humiliation, fasting and prayer, or because you have been indulged in walking in the ways of your heart and in the sight of your eyes; but his spirit will not always strive with man, nor his patience always continue. God is angry with you every day. If you turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow and made it ready. He hath prepared for him the instruments of death ; and he will hew you in pieces.--Let not the old man say, “the bitterness of death is past,” because he has been preserved so long, for death may be near.
Let not the strong man say, “the bitterness of death is past,” because he is strong ; for death may be near. Let not the young man say, “the bitterness of death is past,” because he is young; fordeath may be near. Behold, now is the accepted time, behold, now is the day of salvation. Therefore, "as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you, in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.” And in order to be reconciled to God, you must condemn yourselves and justify God in your condemnation to everlasting punishment.
THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY,
II. CORINTHIANS, XIII. 14.--The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you,
This apostolic benediction has been more constantly and universally used by Christians in their public worship, than any other passage in the New Testament, for nearly two thousand years. And they have used it,not to express their belief, that there are three Gods, but that there are three distinct divine persons in the one living and true God. This common practice of Christians is a presumptive evidence of their common belief of the doctrine of the sacred Trinity ; and of its practical importance to promote true devotion and vital piety. Admitting this to be true, there is no occasion, perhaps on which it is more proper to illustrate the truth and importance of this doctrine, than on a day of communion at the table of Christ, when his cordial friends unite to celebrate the memorials of his death. In treating upon this mysterious doctrine, in the present occasional discourse, I shall not attempt to discuss it fully, but only endeavor to set it in a plain, scriptural, useful light. Accordingly, I propose agreeably to the language of the text,
1. To show, that there is not merely a nominal, but a personal distinction in the one living and true God; And,
II. To show that Christians ought to exercise affections towards God, corresponding to this personal distinction in the divine essence.
I. I am to show, that there is not merely a nominal, but a personal distinction in the Godhead.
Though all.denominations of Christians profess to believe, that there is one only living and true God, yet they do not all profess to believe that he exists a Trinity in Unity ; or, that there is something in his essence which:lays a foundation for three equally distinct and
The Sabellians suppose, that God is one person acting in three distinct offices ; and for that reason is called Father, Son and Holy Ghost ; which is only a nominal distinction of persons. The Arians suppose that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are three distinct persons, but that the Son derives his existence from the Father and the Holy Ghost derives his existence from the Father and the Son. And the Socinians, who are more appropriately called Unitarians, suppose, that God exists in but one person ; and that the Son is a mere man and the Holy Ghost is no person at all, bút a mere divine energy, or influence. Those, therefore, who are called Trinitarians are the only denomination of Christians, who profess to believe that there is a real and not merely a nominal distinction in the divine essence ; and that there are three equally distinct and divine persons in the Godhead, who, on account of the different parts they act in the work of redemption, are called Father, Son and Holy Ghost.But though these three divine persons are distinct, yet they are not separate. Things may be distinct, which are not: separate. The soul and body of a living man are distinct, but not separate. The powers and faculties of the human mind are distinct, but not separate. So the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are three distinct persons in the Codhead, but not separate, because they are inseparably united in the divine essence. And in this union of three distinct persons in the one living and true. God, consists the mystery of the sacred Trinity. It is universally acknowledged by those, who maintain this doctrine, that it is a profound mystery, which cannot be explained. But though we cannot explain how three distinct persons exist in the Godhead ; yet we can state the scripture evidence, that there is a real persaid,
sonal distinction in the divine essence, and explain what the scripture reveals concerning the agency of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost in the work of redemption ; which is all that is necessary and useful for us to know about this great aud incomprehensible doctrine.
Now this doctrine, in the sense, which has been mentioned, is implicitly, or expressly taught both in the Old and New Testament. But like many other important truths, it is more clearly taught by Christ and the apostles in the New Testament, than by the inspired writers in the Old Testament. I shall therefore confine myself in this discourse to what we find said in the New Testament, concerning the real personal distinction in the Godhead. Our Savior, just before his ascension to heaven, came to his apostles and
" Go ye and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. And lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Here Christ distinguishes himself from the Father and Holy Ghost, whom he represents as two distinct and equally divine persons, in whose names the divine ordinance of baptism is to be administered to the end of time. I will now read to you what the apostles either implicitly or explicitly say concerning the personality of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, in the beginning and end of their epistles. The apostle in his epistle to the Romans, begins thus :--“ Paul, the servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David, according to the flesh and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead : by whom we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for his name : among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ, to all that be at Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints : Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” In this passage, the apostle represents Christ as the Son of God and
the son of David; or as both a divine & human person and a distinct person from God the Father. And he closes his epistle in these words, “To God, only wise, be glory, through Jesus Christ, forever.” Who can doubt, whether he meant to distinguish the person of the Father from the person of Christ ?
His salutation in his first epistle to the Corinthians runs in similar language. “ Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, unto the church of God, which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” Here he plainly expresses the personal distinction between the Father & the Son. And the conclusion of his epistle implies the same distinction, when he says, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” His second epistle begins in this form, "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God whieh is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia; Grace be unto you and peace from Godour Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ." And he closes his epistle in the words of our text ; “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all.” In this short sentence, he expressly mentions each distinct person in the Trinity, by bis appropriate name.
To the Galatians he writes in his usual strain.---“Paul an apostle (not of man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead) and all the brethren that are with me, unto the churches of Galatia, Grace be to you and peace from God the Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ.” In the conclusion he says in the spirit of the salutation,"Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”
He is careful to use the same phrascology in his salutation to the Ephesians. “Paul, an apostle of Jesus