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foundation in his own Nature, for the most pure and perfect blessedness. Society is the source of the highest felicity. And that society affords the greatest enjoyment, which is composed of persons of the same character, of the same disposition, of the same designs, and of the same pursuits. The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, who are three equally divine Persons in the one living and true God, are perfectly united in all these respects; and therefore God's existing a Trinity in Unity, necessarily renders him the allsufficient source of his own most perfect felicity. We cannot conceive of any other mode of existence so absolutely perfect and blessed. Besides, this most perfect and blessed mode of God's existence, lays the only possible foundation of the happiness of his sinful and perishing creatures. If the God, whom we had offended, had not existed a Trinity in Unity, we cannot conceive how he could have formed and executed the present, plan of our redemption. Had there been but one Person in the Deity, there could have been no Mediator between God and men. But as God existed in three Persons, the Father was able to send his Son to redeem us, and his Spirit to sanctify us, and make us meet for the inheritance of the saints in light. Hence we are naturally led to see and admire the allsufficiency of God, which ultimately results from his existing in three equally divine and glorious Persons.
REMARK 3.What has been said, in this discourse, may show us the importance of understanding and believing the Scripture doctrine of the ever blessed Trinity. Unless we understand and believe this great and mysterious doctrine, it will be extremely difficult to answer the objections of the Deists against the Bible, which plainly represents the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as three equally divine Persons, and yet as
Werts there is but one God. And this doctrine is so interwoven with the whole scheme of the gospel, 'that we cannot possibly explain the great work of Redemption, in a clear and consistent manner, without adopting and believing the personal characters and offices of the three divine Persons in the sacred Trinity. This is evident from the peculiar phraseology of Scripture; and no less evident from observation. AH who have exploded the mystery of the Trinity from the Bible, have shaken, if not destroyed, the fundamental doctrines of Christianity. The gospel is so absolutely and obviously founded on the doctrine of three Persons in one God, that whoever denies this great and fundamental truth, must, in order to be consistent, deny all the peculiarities which distinguish revealed religion from natural. And if this be true, every friend of divine Revelation must feel the importance of understanding, believing, and maintaining the first principle of his religion.
REMARK 4.-The joint operations of the ever bless. ed Trinity, lay a foundation for the most perfect and blessed Union, among all holy Beings. Each divine Person bears a distinct part in the work of Redemption; and each will be infinitely well pleased with the conduct of each. They will mutually rejoice in the great good, which will be the fruit of their united exertions. And saints and angels will join in their communion. There will be the same kind of holy union and communion between saints and angels, and the three divine Persons in the sacred Trinity, that there will be between the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. And such a union and communion between all the inhabitants of heaven, will afford the most consummate felicity. This glorious hope and prospect Christ exhibited before his sorrowful disciples, just be
fore he left them, and ascended to his father and to their Father; to his God and to their God. His words are memorable; and 0! that they might be written on the heart of every one of his followers, as with the point of a diamond; and become a perpetual source of divine consolation and support. “Neithet pray I for these alone, but for them also that shall believe on me through their word. That they all may be one; as thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one." Amen.
AFFECTIONS ESSENTIAL TO THE MORAL PERFEC.
TION OF THE DEITY.
1 JOHN iv, 8. Por God is love.
WHILE Simonides resided at the court of Syracuse, the king had the curiosity to ask him—What is God? The poet desired a day .to consider the question; on the morrow he requested two days; and as often as he was called upon for an answer, he doubled the time. At length the king grew impatient, and demanded the reason of his conduct. It is, replied Simonides, because the more I consider the question, the more obscure it seems. Though creatures cannot comprehend the essence of their Creator, yet they may form some clear and just conceptions of his great and amiable attributes. The text exhibits the brightest part of his character. “God is love.” This is a just and full description of his moral perfections. His holiness, justice, goodness, and mercy, are but so many modifications of divine love. But in order to understand the full import of the text, we must still further inquire, what is meant by love, when ascribed to an absolutely perfect and immutable Being. Here analogy is our only guide. We are obliged, in this case, to reason from love in man to love in the Deity. We all know by experience, that love belongs to the heart, and not to the intellect. This naturally leads us to conclude, that Jove in the Deity denotes a moral, and not an intellectual exercise, or that it belongs to his heart, and not to his understanding. Hence the declaration in the
text, that God is love, plainly supposes, that God is possessed of Affections.
This doctrine needs both illustration and proof.
Many suppose, that all propensities, inclinations, dispositions, or affections, are incompatible with the perfection of the divine nature. Some eminent divines, as well as metaphysicians, maintain this opinion; in which they seem to approach nearer to the sentiments of Epicurus, than to those of the sacred Writers. Epicurus said, “The Deity could neither be infløenced by favor, nor resentment; because such a being must be weak and frail; and also, that all fear of
anger of God should be banished, because anger and affection are inconsistent with the nature of a happy and immortal Being.” But in direct opposition to this sentiment, our doctrine asserts, that God has real and proper affections, that he is pleased with some objects, and displeased with others; that he feels and exercises love, pity, compassion, and every affection which can flow from perfect benevolence.
It must, however, be observed, that God is a pure Spirit, who has no affections, which resemble those bodily instincts and passions, which are to be found in the present state of human nature. The best of men, here on earth, carry about with them some remains of selfishness, pride, envy, and other sinful passions. But God is perfect love, and all his affections are pure and clear as the crystal stream. There is a foundation for fear, and faith, and hope, and confidence, in the very nature of finite dependent beings; but there is no foundation for these affections in the Supreme Being, whose power and knowledge are independent and unlimited. God is infinitely above all instincts, passions, or affections, which proceed from either