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presence, by which he sees and observes all things. Or, if we take the Hebrew word Elohim, God, it conveys the idea of that dominion, power, authority, and energy, which he exercises over the universe : and still more, it gives an idea of plurality in the Deity, for Elohim is plural ; and it also represents the Deity as engaged and bound in a covenant to his creatures, for the root of the word signifies an oath. And as Covenants are often ratified by an oath ; so the word Elohim shews that the Deity is related to man by a most solemn covenant. So that the word God is relative, and refers to us as servants. For, as Sir Isaac Newton observes, we say, my God, your God, the God of Israel, the God of Gods, and Lord of Lords. But we do not say my eternal, your eternal, the eternal of Israel, the eternal of Gods ; nor do we say, my infinite, my perfect; for these appellations have no relation to us as servants. 1
5. But if the word God conveys to us the idea of relations ; viz. that we are servants subject to his dominion ; that he is always present to observe us, and is engaged to us in solemn covenant; much more do we perceive the mutual relations between him and man, when we consider the Deity as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Christianity not only shews us the relation in which we stand to God, according to what is called, though perhaps improperly, natural religion; but it also discovers new relations in which we are placed by the plan of salvation through the Son and Spirit. Since the Father sent the Son to be our Redeemer ; and since the Son is our Mediator ; and the Holy Ghost our Sanctifier ; there arise fresh duties and obligations to duty, from the offices which these divine persons sustain in the Gospel dispensation. As reason teaches us the relation in wbich God the Father stands to us, and hence the obligations of our duty to him ; so also, “ in Scripture are revealed the relations in which the Son and Holy Spirit stand to us; and hence arise the obligations of duty which we are under to them. Let it be admitted, that God is the governor of the world, upon the evidence of reason; and
| See Schleusner ; Leigh's Crit. Sacr.; Newt. Prin.
upon the evidence of revelation, that Christ is the Mediator between God and man, and the Holy Ghost our guide and sanctifier; and then, it is no more a question, why it should be commanded that we be baptized in the name of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, than that we be baptized in the name of the Father.... The obligation we are under of paying religious regards to each of these divine persons respectively, arises from the respective relations in which they each stand to us. How these relations are made known, whether by reason or revelation, makes no alteration in the case ; because the duties arise out of the relations themselves, not out of the manner in which we are informed of them. The Son and Spirit have each his proper office in that great dispensation of providence, the redemption of the world : the one as our Mediator, the other as our Sanctifier. Does not then the duty of religious regards to both these divine persons as immediately arise to the view of reason, out of the very nature of these offices and relations, as the inward good-will and kind intention, which we owe to our fellow-creatures, arises out of the common relations between us and them ?” Admitting, then, the doctrine of the Trinity to be true, it is of the most practical nature ; for it involves all those duties which we owe to God as Father, Son, and Spirit : for if we owe duties to God the Father, as we most certainly do, then also must we owe duties to the Son as our Mediator, and to the Spirit as our Sanctifier.
1 Butler's Analogy, p. 190.
6. The doctrine of the Trinity is then of necessity a practical doctrine ; and applies to worship, to our affections, and to our morals. That God should be worn shipped, will be admitted by all who believe in his existence : if then he is to be worshipped, it follows that our worship should correspond to his nature and attributes. And since he has revealed himself as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost ; then divine and proper worship is due to each of these divine persons. Now the worship which we owe to God is internal and external. Internally we owe him the worship of trust, prayer, fear, reverence, love, and gratitude : and exterally we are bound to honour and adore him. Now the manner, in which external worship should be offered to God, must depend much upon time, place, and circumstances. But the internal worship which we owe to God, is of necessity always a duty, arising from the relation in which he stands to us: in like manner, the internal worship which we owe to the Son and Spirit, is of necessity always a duty arising out of the relations in which they stand to us; and the obligations to such internal worship are obligations of reason, as well as of Revelation. And as we are bound to worship the Father in Spirit and in truth ; so also are we bound to worship the Son and Holy Ghost; and to exercise trust, prayer, fear, reverence, love, and gratitude towards them. And in our external acts of worship, we are bound to adore the Son
and Spirit, as well as the Father. Since, in the plan of Redemption, the Son is our Redeemer and Mediator, and the Holy Ghost our Sanctifier, it follows that we should possess and publicly exercise feelings of mind towards them corresponding to the offices which they sustain. The Mediation of the Son, and the sanctifying and comforting influences of the Spirit are subjects for constant love, trust, and gratitude. And as the doctrine of the Trinity is practical as it refers to God, so also is it practical in its application to morals. If the Son of God dies for man, it is to save him from his sins. If the Spirit sanctifies his nature; this sanctification is proved, by meekness, gentleness, goodness, long-suffering, and all those other fruits of the Spirit, of which many are strictly moral, and apply to that conduct which is due from man to man. Does the Son of God take our nature upon him? By so doing he unites all men in stronger ties of love and benevolence towards each other. And does the Holy Ghost, which is the Spirit of truth, influence the minds of men ? It is that they may be sincere and upright towards each other, as well as pious towards God. In the doctrine of the Trinity we find the strongest and the most powerful motives to religious and moral duty : for it not only presents God to us, as our Creator and preserver, but as our Redeemer from sin, guilt, condemnation and death ; and as the Sanctifier and renewer of our nature, so as to prepare us for future happiness in Heaven. And from all this arise the strongest motives of obedience to God, and kindness to our fellow-creatures.
7. Admitting then, the doctrine of the Trinity to be true, it is evidently practical in the highest possible degree, as involving duties which we owe both
to God and man. But this will
still evident, by a more particular detail of a few instances. Now Faith, and God, as the object of that Faith, is evidently the foundation of all religion; “ for he that cometh to God musi believe that he is.” (Heb. xi. 6.) So also, Faith in the Son, as our Redeemer and Mediator, is an essential duty: for if he be our Redeemer and Mediator, as is here taken for granted, we are equally bound to believe in him, as in the Father. And hence Christ says to his disciples : “ Let not your hearts be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me.” (John xiv. 1.) And to the Jews he
If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die
sins.” (John viii. 24.) In like manner John the Baptist says, (John iii. 36.): “He that believeth on the Son hath everlastivg life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life : but the wrath of God abideth on him.” And if the Spirit be our Sanctitier, as is here taken for granted, then is faith in him equally a duty, as in the Father, and in the Son ; because of the absolute relation in which he stands unto us. And, if we are bound to have faith in God, so also we are bound to love him, with all our heart, and soul, and mind, and strength. Now who does not see that we are equally bound to love the Son as our Redeemer and Mediator, and the Spirit as our Sanctifier ? If we are bound to love the Father as our Creator and Preserver; so also are we bound to love the Son and Spirit, for our Redemption and Sanctification. And hence says St. Paul, (1 Cor. xvi. 22.):
If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema-maranatha.” In the doctrine of the Trinity, we see in the strongest possible light the love of God to man; and consequently