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intelligible, that it may truly be said not to admit of explanation—the attempt would only darken what is in itself pure and eternal light. I do not say that it was discoverable by the mere force of natural reason, unassisted by revelation; this is highly improbable when it is considered how prone mankind have been, in all ages and nations of the world, to run into the notion of a multiplicity of Gods, and how strangely even those who have been more recently instructed in this important particular (I mean both Jews and Christians) have turned aside from it. Nevertheless, there is not any one point upon which their respective codes have been more positive and express; both alike wear this mark of their origin, impressed by the hand of the Great Author himself; and to the truth of the proposition thus revealed, reason, when disembarrassed from the fetters of prejudice and error, yields its immediate assent. Nay, so powerfully does it operate upon the mind as an irrefutable axiom, that it is held by many, however unaccountably, even in connexion with opinions by which it is directly contravened. Here, indeed, reason is laid aside, and professedly treated with contempt. An appeal is made to the scriptures; but alas! what becomes of the authority of scripture, when it is made to speak a language inconsistent not only with reason but with itself? Reason tells us that every operation in the material system of things, whether in the heavens above or the earth beneath, is easily and satisfactorily referable to One all-efficient cause; for the power of one infinite almighty Agent must be equal to every imaginable effect that does not imply an absolute impossibility or contradiction; and there appears a perfect coincidence of reason with scrip
ture, when we find such passages as the following, of which there are many—“, I am the Lord that maketh all things, that stretcheth forth the heavens alone ; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself.” Now can ideas, as clear and definite as language can make them, receive any elucidation from the notion that a plurality of persons was comprised in this one being who speaks in the singular number, and that these had each his several office in the work of creation, when no such thing is intimated? In like manner when our obedience is required to the precept in the text, under the authority of the Lord our God as One Lord, does it render the duty more intelligible or practicable to consider this One Lord as compounded of several persons, each of them bearing the title and attributes of God, and so claiming our equal reverence and affection? Can it possibly be collected, from any thing that Christ ever said, that such was his meaning on the present occasion, or that he intended to hold forth the idea that himself was the second of these persons ? Such a doctrine, therefore, being in direct contradiction both to the letter and spirit of the first commandment of all, we must necessarily conclude, that, however distinguished a place it may hold in articles and confessions of human composition, it is not one of the weighter matters of the law. It could not be meant by our Lord that the scribe should so understand him. Nothing like such an understanding is implied in the scribe's answer, nor did our Lord take such to be his view of the matter, when he told him--6. Thou art not far from the kingdom of God." The foundation, there. fore, of the first and great commandment standeth sure. He whose name alone is Jehovah is the Most
High. He is the Lord, even he only, and this his glory will he not give to any other. To none other belong the titles of Lord our God-only true GodKing eternal, immortal and invisible-blessed and only Potentate, with others of a like import. There is but One Being in the universe (and HE IS THAT ONE) who can rightfully command our love, with all our heart, and soul, and strength, and mind. And we shall be convinced with what propriety the duty is enjoined when we attend,
2. To those unrivalled excellences of his nature which render him the object of our supreme' regard and affection.
Here, as in the case already considered, revelation having made the discovery, reason accepts and rejoices in it; and, in every right exercise of its powers, is convinced of the fitness and accuracy of what it hath pleased the Father of lights thus to communicate. It exults in being enabled to trace to their proper source, the effects of that power, wisdom, and goodness so abundantly manifest in the works of creation; and while thus experiencing the delightful feelings of gratitude and admiration, to improve them into love. It is in the sacred volume alone that we are to look for the sublime and glorious combination of the natural and moral attributes of the Deity; and for that which places him infinitely above every other being, however excellent and dignified. Other beings may in their degree, be comparatively perfect, but his only is that original, independent, and absolute perfection which excludes all competition or comparison. Besides him there is, strictly speaking, none good, none wise, none holy. If it were possible for the language of mortals to convey adequate ideas on
a subject so far above even angelic conception, it must be in some such lofty style as the following“ From everlasting to everlasting he is God” "The Lord is the true God; he is the living God and an everlasting King" Honour and majesty are before him”-66 He hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with a span, and comprehended the dust of the carth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance”-" He layeth the foundations of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him”-He filleth heaven and earth,” yea, “ the heaven of heavens cannot contain him”-66 He fainteth not neither is weary"-" He doth according to his will in the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth”. “ His counsel shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure." These are some of the sublime descriptions of the divine attributes found in the Old Testament; nor does the New speak a different language. He is the « Lord of heaven and earth, who dwelleth not in temples made with hands, neither is worshipped with mens' hands as though he needeth any thing"-He is “ a Spirit, whom no man hath seen or can see". 66 Known unto him are all his works from the beginning of the world” — With him is no variableness or shadow of turning"-He is “ the Father of glory" -He “ dwells in light which none can approach unto"_" He is light, he is love," the original and inexhaustible fountain of both.
You cannot but have perceived, my friends, that in all these various definitions of superlative excellence the idea of unity is strictly preserved—it is thus that these bright and beautiful rays are, as it were, collected into a focus-present a clear and distinct
image to the mental eye-and evince the practicabi. lity of obedience to the first and great commandment. It is thus that we are to love the Lord our God (as the scribe expressed himself in bis answer to our Saviour) with all the understanding ; but liow we are to do this when the understanding is professedly to be set aside as of no value, I own myself unable to discover.
I persuade myself that none of my audience will suspect me of an intention to keep out of view, or in the least to depreciate that character which far tran- ,' scended every other that had appeared on earth in its approaches towards, and resemblance of the divine, and in which the image of the invisible God shone most conspicuous, when I remark that none of these excellences or attributes are, either in terms, or by any fair and natural construction, ascribed to our Saviour Jesus Christ in the scriptures; but that the distinction between original and derived glory and dignity is either as clearly expressed as by words it can be, or as satisfactorily and consistently inferrible as a sober and unprejudiced judgment can desire. Thus, if Jesus be Lord of all, it is because . God hath made that same Jesus both Lord and Christ." If he were great, he expressly declared that the Father was greater than he.” If he were good, he disclaimed all competition on that account with Him, to whom alone that title is exclusively applicable. If he were the Lord of glory, it was because he “ received honour and glory from God the Father.” If he was holy, he was « the holy one of God”—he o whom the Father had sanctified and sent into the world.” If in him were hid all the treasures of wisdom, of knowledge, of power, it was “God whe