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THE TRINITY IN UNITY.
MATTHEW, XXVIII. 19.
Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing
them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
Such is the solemn form of baptism, prescribed by our blessed Lord himself, as a perpetual standing law to his church. Having redeemed mankind, and thereby acquired a new and special claim to their homage and service, he entered upon, and took possession of, his purchased inheritance. And for what end? Plainly, that he might bring all nations, thus made his own by right of redemption, to the know, ledge and worship of the true God. And how is this done? Why, by making them acquainted, in the very first instance, with the obligations conferred upon them by three ever blessed Persons, called by the names of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. These three Persons, therefore, thus related and thus named, constitute that one true God, into whose name, faith, and profession, people of all the nations of the earth, and, among them, we who are here assembled, have
been baptized. In this consisted the sum of Christianity : on this foundation were the apostles to erect a church throughout all the world. Here, if any where, a right understanding, upon so important a point as the nature of God and the manner of his existence, would be bighly necessary; nor could any one mistake more dangerously and fundamentally, than in such an article as this.-- Let us then consider, if you please, how inuch is implied in the form of baptism thus prescribed by our Lord to the universal church, and by that church retained and observed from its first foundation to the present hour; how this is confirmed by the declarations of Scripture at large; and the interest we have in the doctrine that shall be thus established.
I. Now by the being baptized in the name of God, can be meant no less than entering into covenant with a person, as God; professing faith in him as such ; enlisting oneself into his service; and vowing all obedience and submission to him. Such is the natural, the obvious import of this rite, by which we are admitted into the church of Christ, this soleinn form of baptizing in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; that is, into the faith, service, and worship, of the Holy Trinity.
For let us reflect a little
The nations were to be baptized in the name of three persons, in the same manner, and therefore, surely, in the same sense, as in the name of one. Whatever honour, reverence, or regard is paid to the Father in this solemn rite, the same we cannot but suppose paid to all three.
Is he acknowledged as the object of worship? So are the other two persons likewise. Is he God and Lord over us? So are they. Are we his subjects, servants, and soldiers, eorolled under bim? So are we equally under all. Are we hereby regenerated and made the temple of the Father? So are we likewise of the Son and Holy Ghost. “We will come,” says our Lord, “and “ make our abode with him." The outward act respects all the three; the inward meaning and sig. nification must do the same. We may
consider likewise, that in the very names of Father and Son, a near relation, alliance, and unity, between two of the persons, is intimated; and in reason, we must infer something of a similar kind for the third, so closely joined with them. It is not said, “ in the name of God and his two faithful ser“ vants;” nor “of God, and Christ, and the Holy “ Ghost;" which might have suggested a thought, that one only of the three was God; but, “in the
name of the Father and of the Son,” a style perfectly equal and familiar, without any note of distinction more than that of a personal relation, carrying with it the idea of a sameness of nature; as, among men, every father and son are of the same human nature with each other. From the very wording of the form of baptism, therefore, most reason. ably might it be presumed, that the first two Persons named were equally divine: and the inference from thence would fairly, and indeed unavoidably, reach
• John, xiv. 23.
to the third, to make all suitable and consistent; besides, that the terms Holy, and Spirit, evidently point the same way.
But it is yet farther to be considered by usmand a consideration it is of very great weight indeed upon the subject—that a new religion was to be introduced with this solemn form of words. And among whom was it to be introduced ? Among Gentiles, or Heathen nations. These were to be taught to turn from their vanities to the living God; to renounce their idols and false gods, and so to be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Now, what must occur to THEM, upon this occasion, but that, instead of all their deities, to whom they had before bowed down, they were in future to serve, worship, and adore, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as the only true and living God? From the pompous and solemn proclamation of these three Persons in opposition to all other gods, what could They conclude; but that these Three possessed in reality that Divinity which was falsely presumed with respect to the gods of the nations; that they had a natural right to all that homage and service, which men should pay to a Divine Being? We may add, that the circumstance of the form running in the NAME-not NAMES, but in the singular number, NAME of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, might and did, in the strongest manner, intimate that the authority of all the Three was the same, their power equal, their persons undivided, and their glory
The last consideration under this head shall be,
that nothing can appear more unreasonable, or unnatural, than to suppose that God and two CREATURES are here joined together in so solemn a rite of admission into a new religion into the service of the living God, in direct opposition to all CREATURE
For no rational account can be given, why the Son and Holy Ghost should be thus closely and equally joined with the Father, in an act so public, and of so high importance to the salvation of all men, unless it be, that all men are required to be. lieve in, to worship, and to serve THEM also, as well as the Father: neither can it be reasonably imagined, that they are recommended to us in any such capacity, as Persons to be believed in, served, and adored, if they be CREATURES only; much less, if Christ be no more than a mere man, like one of us; and the Holy Spirit a property, or quality only, of the Father-in short, if the three, taken together, be any other than THE LIVING AND TRUE GOD.
Thus far we have been arguing on the words of the text, and the doctrine implied in them, without taking in what the Scripture has revealed at large concerning the Divinity of the three Persons, which
was, in the
Second place, proposed to be done.
Concerning the Divinity of the Father there is no dispute. Respecting that of the Son, you shall judge for yourselves, when I have laid before you what the Scriptures teach relative to his titles, his attributes, and the actions ascribed to him.
The divine titles given to the Son in the holy Scripture are as follow : He is called “ the Word