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disregard his threatenings, but the hour is hastening when he will call them to his bar, and justice will take its course and have all its demands.--Oh the appalling thought!
But those who are washed in the Redeemer's blood have nothing to fear even from the justice of God. All its demands have been satisfied by the atonement of their surety Saviour; and it unites with mercy in demanding the acquittal of all believers—“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our
6. Finally-Let the goodness of God fill the hearts of his people with gratitude; especially for the blessings of redemption, of which they have been made the partakers—for the unspeakable benefits which result from their adoption into the family of Christ; for the rich consolations that they derive from this high privilege on earth, and for the incorruptible inheritance and glorious crown which it assures to them in heaven.
And knowest thou not, O man-0 impenitent sinner!-that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance! Consider that every act of sin which thou committest is an act of direct insult and rebellion against the best Being in the universe; against the source of all the good there is in the universe; against thy own first and greatest Benefactor; against the God who is upholding and preserving thee, and crowning thy life with loving kindness and tender mercy-at the very time thou art returning Him evil for good, by rebelling against Him. Where is any sense of duty? Where is any sentiment of gratitude? Where sleeps every worthy principle and feeling of which thy heart is capable, if the goodness of God leadeth thee not to repentance?-if it do not fill thy soul with shame and confusion, by showing thee thy baseness; if it do not break thy heart with grief and contrition for thy guilt; if it do not melt thy whole soul into penitential sorrow for all thy vileness; if it do not lead thee to break off thy sins by repentance, and to return unto the Lord that he may have mercy upon thee, and to our God who will abundantly pardon. Amen.
ARE THERE MORE. GODS THAN ONE?
Having considered the being and attributes of God, the next point that claims our attention is his Unity. This is expressed, in the answer to the fifth question of our Catechism, thus—“ There is but one only, the Jiving and true God.”
Call to mind that all the arguments which have been adduced to prove-and which I think do most conclusively prove-the being of a God, go also to prove as clearly, that he is infinite and perfect in his being and attributes. Keep this in view, and then observe attentively, that one infinite and perfect being is sufficient to give existence at first to all other beings, and to uphold and govern them afterward. In a word, there is no need, in accounting for the universe, to suppose more than one supreme cause. Nor is this all. One infinite and perfect being, absolutely and necessarily precludes a second. If two beings be supposed of equal or similar attributes, neither can be infinite, or perfect: because it is manifest that if to either were given the powers and prerogatives of the other, there would be an increase of what was possessed before. But what is infinite and perfect admits of no possible increase; and therefore, as we have seen that God is infinite and perfect, there is and can be but one God. This appears to me perfectly conclusive, as a matter of reasoning: and all that we see, even without the aid of Holy Scripture, goes to confirm the conclusion as a matter of fact. When we contemplate the visible universe, we every where behold, not only power, wisdom and goodness, but in the perfect harmony and order of all, we see a unity and simplicity of design and end, which most powerfully impress the conviction that one, and but one glorious being, created it at first, and upholds and governs it continually.
But my young friends, although this important truth, that there is but one God, is so clear to us that it seems unnecessary to spend much time in its proof or illustration, yet you ought to remember, and to be very thankful while you remember, that your belief of it is to be attributed to your being blessed with the light of revelation. Infidels may say what they will of the uselessness of the Bible, and of the sufficiency of the light of nature without it. the truth is, that very much of what they call the light of nature they borrowed from the Bible, and they most unjustly and ungratefully refuse to acknowledge their obligation. When a point is clearly revealed and taught, it is often easy to show that it is agreeable to reason and nature, and yet reason and nature left to themselves, would never have taught it. This is peculiarly true in regard to the subject before us. The unity of the Deity appears plain to us; and it is so in reality. But for this we are entirely indebted to the Bible; for as heretofore observed, mankind in every age and nation of the world in which the light of revelation has not been enjoyed, have been Polytheists and idolaters. The grossness of idolatry in the heathen world, even in those nations that were the most improved in other respects, was shocking in the extreme.
It presents, when seriously contemplated, one of the most humbling views of the weakness and depravily of our nature that can possibly be taken. There was scarce an animal however mean or loathsome; scarce a vice or passion however detestable, which was not deified and worshipped. It is to point our attention distinctly to the difference between the divine object of Christian worship and the impure rabble of heathen deities, that the answer of the Catechism calls
VOL. I. -10
Jehovah,"the only one living and true God” _“The gods of the heathen are vanity and a lie."
It may appear a strange infatuation to us, that the ancient Israelites were so strongly and obstinately prone to the worship of idols, as the Scriptures represent them to have been. But this arises from not conceiving justly of the state of the world at that time. The present state of India may best illustrate it. There idolatry still prevails, as it did among the heathen who surrounded Palestine and were intermingled with the Hebrews, in the time of their judges and their kings. In India, at present, all descriptions of the people are idolaters; their false gods amount to many thousands; their temples are splendid, and the whole service is calculated to inflame and gratify unhallowed appetites and passions.
It was to guard the chosen people of God against the various abominations of idolatry, and at the same time to establish for the church in every successive age, the most fundamental article of all true religion, that so much was said and done to retain among the ancient Israelites the practical belief of the unity of God. It would consume more than the time alloited to this lecture, only to read over the passages in which this great truth is taught and inculcated, either directly or collaterally; for all that is said against worshipping images, or creatures of any kind, is directed to ihis point. It will therefore be sufficient to remind you, that the very first precept in the decalogue has for its subject this essential truth-" Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
I would willingly insist the more on this topic, because there are those who are fond of intimating, and who sometimes directly assert, that what we are presently to consider-lhe doctrine of the Trinity-is a virtual denial of the unity of God. But we repel the imputation with the most perfect abhorrence, and the answer of our Catechism, which we have just been illustrating, is a proof that the charge is groundless, false, and base. With this remark I proceed to the next answer, which is thus expressed—“ There are
three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory.”
It is worthy of remark, that not only is the unity of God exclusively taught in the preceding answer, but that it is repeated in this, in which the Trinity of persons is asserted—“ these three are one God.” careful has our church been, to prevent any misapprehension on this great article of religion.
In considering this answer, in which is contained, at once a great mystery and an essential article of Christian faith, it may be proper to explain to you two terms which are used in the answer. The first is the word Godhead—“there are three persons in the Godhead." This is a translation of the Greek words το θειον, and θειοτης (to theion and theiotes,) which are used in the New Testament, to denote the essential Deity, or the divine essence.
The answer, then, is—there are three persons in the divine es
The word persons is the other term in the answer that I would explain. Person is a translation of the Greek word úrootaois (hypostasis.) This word is a considerable number of times used in the Greek New Testament; and is the term employed in Heb. i. 3, where it is said of the Son of God, our Saviour, “that he is the brightness of his (the Father's) glory, and the express image of his person.". From this probably, the fathers of the Greek church were led to use this term in the plural number, to express the distinctions in the adorable Trinity.
We translate the word nootaois (hypostasis) person, because our language does not contain a better term; although the meaning of it is not, we admit, exactly correspondent to the Greek word of which it is the translation. But by person, with reference to this subject, we mean an intelligent agent, to whom is applied the personal pronouns I, thou, he; and who is represented in Scripture as willing and acting, as an individual wills and acts. MARK, in his outline of theology entitled Medulla, defines person