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the whole circle of theology about which erroneous notions are fatal, it is this : for it appears to me, that any one in the exercise of his senses, must be fully aware that the doctrine is one which relates to the character of the true God. What can there be of more solemn and appaling moment, than a doctrine which involves the nature and character of the object of our worship? There is but one living and true God, and of course there can be but one object of legitimate worship. He who does not worship this one living and true God, and worship him in his true character, is guilty of the crime of idolatry, and of course chargeable with a guilt which is stamped in the word of God with a reprobation which is not only tremendous, but unequalled for its terrors. There are a variety of opinions, my friends, upon which I am aware it is lawful to differ, because they involve no consequences which peril the salvation of the soul; but the doctrine of the Trinity is not one of these opinions. Indeed, I am wrong in using the word opinion, as at all connected with the doctrine of the Trinity. It is not an opinion, it is a fact stated on the authority of God; and an indifference to the subject is most awfully criminal. You must be aware that there is a large body of persons who deny the doctrine of the Trinity. The distinctive, though incorrect appellative by which they are known, is that of Unitarians. I say this is an incorrect appellative : for those who believe most firmly the doctrine of the Trinity, are, in the strict sense
of the word, as much believers in the unity of God, · as it is possible to imagine. Those who believe the
doctrine of the Trinity, are sometimes censured if they deny to the other the claims of a common
Christianity. I neither intend to defend or to censure this; but I will put it to the reason of any thinking man, whether there is not between the two a distance as great as the ends of the universe ? Both cannot be right; on the one side or on the other there is a fatal error: an error which involves the soul. If the doctrine of the Trinity is untrue, I hesitate not to say, that the Christian world, called Trinitarian, does not worship the true God. If the doctrine of the Trinity is untrue, every Trinitarian is an idolater. Now, can that be a matter of small moment about which it is lawful to differ, which involves so awful a consideration as this? If the doctrine of the Trinity is untrue, this temple in which we worship, dedicated to the Triune Jehovah, stands only on equality with the Roman Pantheon. Can that be a matter of indifference, therefore—the character of the God we worship? Now take the opposite side. If the doctrine of the Trinity be true, then those who do not worship the Triune God, are idolaters: for they do not worship the true God. If the doctrine of the Trinity be true, every temple which is not dedicated to the Triune God, is the temple of a false God, and contains an altar to an unknown God. The difference, you perceive at once, is a difference which is irreconcilable. The subject renders every thing like compromise impossible. The distinction is not, as is generally supposed, between two modes of the same religion, but the distinction is between two religions which have nothing in common. They do not worship the same God; either we or they are in an error which is fatal. Of what amazing and eternal importance, therefore, is the doctrine of the Trinity. Indeed, it settles the ques
tion of the God you worship; and when it settles the question of the God you worship, it settles the question of your destiny in the eternal world.
The second practical inference to be drawn from the doctrine of the Trinity is the infinitely important connexion which it has with other doctrines which we hold to be essential. Any individual who takes the trouble to reflect, will perceive at once, that in the doctrine of the Trinity are involved the doctrines of the true and proper deity, of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and that just so far as we fall short of a correct idea of the one, we fall short of a correct idea of either of the others; they stand or fall together. To take these two points as matters of illustration, it must be perfectly apparent, that according as men believe or disbelieve the doctrine of the Trinity, their views will be modified as to the doctrine of the deity of Jesus Christ; and it is just as apparent, that according as they believe or disbelieve the deity of Christ, will their views be regarded as to the character of his mediation. If they believe him truly God, they will of course attach the greatest possible value to that sacrifice of himself which he made for the sins of men; and the whole circumstances of his character and life will be invested with a correspondent impression : for every view which affects the dignity of Christ's person, affects in the same degree his qualifications to make an atonement for the sins of men. This is the theory of the subject, that is, this is what every thinking man would naturally suppose to be the consequence of the two methods of viewing the same subject; and what is true in this theory, is found to be true in experience: for it is a fact, that
among all those who deny the doctrine of the Trinity, the doctrine of the proper deity of Christ is denied; and both the fact of his making an atonement for sin, and his qualifications to make an atonement for sin, are denied.
So also of another essential doctrine. It must be perfectly apparent, that according as the doctrine of the Trinity is believed, or disbelieved, will the views of men be regulated as to the deity of the third person—the Holy Ghost; and according as the doctrine of the deity of the Holy Ghost is believed, or denied, will the views of men be regulated as to his agency in the change and sanctification of the heart. This also is the theory, so far as this point is concerned, and what is true in the theory, is also discovered to be true in point of experience : for wherever the doctrine of the Trinity is denied, the doctrine of the deity of the Holy Spirit is denied, and his power to change the heart is denied, and it is also found, that the very necessity of the change is denied. Here then, my friends, is the deep practical importance of the doctrine of the Trinity ; it is inseparably connected with the divinity of Christ and the merit of his sacrifice, and his ability to save sinners. It is inseparably connected with the divinity of the Holy Spirit, and his power to change and purify the heart. It cannot, therefore, be a small matter. It cannot be a matter about which the least indifference is excusable. It cannot be a matter about which it is lawful to have an erroneous idea, because every error lies at the root of an essential doctrine of the faith of the Gospel, and tramples upon eternal truth.
These then, my friends, are the reasons which, as
practical inferences from the doctrine of the Trinity, show the infinite importance of the subject. Its denial strikes at the foundation of our hopes as immortal beings. A mistake here, is or may be fatal. As the denial of the doctrine of the Trinity denies the deity of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, it denies the peculiar worth and offices of both. It thus shuts the trembling, anxious sinner, from that divine refuge which is provided for him; and it bids him trust in an arm of flesh. Miserable refuge this : for Scripture says, “ Cursed is every man that trusteth in an arm of flesh, or maketh man his confidence." You hush the voice of the Spirit, whether of conviction, or of comfort, or of sanctification, and you leave the sinner without a guide and without a comforter. Where the doctrine of the Trinity is denied, with its correlative doctrines, no breath of spiritual life passes through the valley of death, no star of Bethlehem guides the inquiring mind to Jesus.
But, my friends, I stated to you that there were not only practical inferences to be drawn from the doctrine, but practical inferences from the discussion. I have noticed those drawn from the doctrine. I now take up, for a few moments, those drawn from the discussion; and
1st. No article of our holy religion has any thing to fear from the spirit of deep and earnest investigation. This is confessedly an age in which the spirit of deep investigation has been most remarkably awakened; and some have feared that truth might be injured by the boldness of man's speculations. Of this there is no danger. Many a man may lose his soul, led on to ruin by the boldness, or rather rashness of his own speculations; but if milVOL. I.