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It is not revealed. It is a secret. It therefore belongs to God. The more we contemplate the Divine Being, the more thoroughly we are convinced that all which is revealed respecting him does deeply concern us in our highest capacity, and that we have no concern with that which is not revealed. It is a secret, and belongs to him who is incomprehensible in his existence and adorable perfections.

The perfect unity of God, is a doctrine to which we give our unqualified assent. The dictates of reason and the indications of nature give their testimony in favor of it. In the Holy Scriptures, it is plainly revealed, and incontrovertibly established. In the same Scriptures, it is asserted, and we believe the assertion, that the one God exists in three persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the same in essence, and equal in every perfection. In representing the threefold distinction in the divine nature, the term person is employed, because it is the best term that can be selected for the purpose. It coincides with the phraseology of the Sacred Scriptures. It is in perfect agreement with the language which the Father uses in speaking to and of the Son, which the Son uses in speaking to and of the Father, and which the Father and Son use in speaking of the Holy Spirit. Now, if we look into the Scrip tures, we may learn from them that each of these three persons is God. For the perfections, works and titles are ascribed to the Father which, can be ascribed to no other being than the only living and true God; the perfections, works and titles are ascribed to the Son, which can be ascribed to no other being than the only living and true God; and the perfections, works and titles are ascribed to the Holy Spirit, which can be ascribed to no other being than the only living and true God. But if the Scriptures authorize us to believe that each of the three persons is really God, why must we not believe that there are three Gods? Because the same Scriptures teach us plainly and unequiv ocally that there is but one God. They do not teach us that three Gods are one God, or exist in one God; but that one God exists in three persons. When we speak of the unity of God, we speak in reference to his essence; and when we speak of the Trinity, we speak in reference to the mode of his existence. It may be asked, How can three persons, and each God, be united in one God? I answer, I do not

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know. It is revealed that there is one and but one God. It is revealed also that the Father is God, that the Son is God, and that the Holy Spirit is God. But how the Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit are united in one God, is not revealed. It is a perfect secret. It does not belong to us. It belongs to Gud. We believe the fact, that they are united. We rejoice in the fact. It is now, and ever will be, a source of unspeakable consolation to all holy and benevolent beings. But how they are united, is a mystery.so profound that an attempt to explain it would be irreverent. The doctrine that asserts the fact, does essentially concern us; and we have reason to lament that its excellence and glory have been greatly marred by efforts made to explain it—that a doctrine so essential to the glorious scheme of redemption should be involved in such obscurity by tne numerous analogies and similitudes which the ingenuity of even good men has einployed to illustrate it. The honor of the Christian religion, and our most precious interests, demand that we love and defend the doctrine. But let us love and defend it as it stands on the bright page of inspiration.

That God governs all mankind in all their actions, is doctrine of divine revelation. But men are free mora) agents, and are accountable to God for all their moral actions. How, then, can he govern their actions? It may be said that he governs their conduct by placing motives before their minds. But motives, in themselves, have no efficiency; and, of course, they cannot govern actions. It may be said that God causes the motives to operate on the mind so as to produce action; or, in other words, he causes men to act in view of motives. This asserts the fact that God governs mankind, and lays open the process which he adopts in governing them. But still we do not know how he causes us to act by means of motives, any more than how he causes us to hear by means of our ears, or to see by means of our eyes. The fact that he does


all men, in all their actions, is revealed. It belongs to us. Jlow he governs them is not revealed. It does not concern us. It is a secret, and belongs to God.

That the Lord Jesus Christ, the second person in the Trinity, assumed human nature into a union with his divine nature, and died to make an atonement for the sins of the


We are

world, is plainly revealed in the Holy Scriptures. There is no ground to question whether the second person did assume our nature. It is revealed as a fact. capable of understanding it, and we readily believe it. But why the second person, rather than the first or third, assumed our nature, is not revealed. It is a secret, and does not belong to us. It belongs to God. That the divine nature and human nature are united in one person, is a fact of which we have no doubt. But how they are united is a mystery. It is no more contrary to reason that they should be united, than that a human soul should be united with a human body. It is above reason, and above our comprehension. It is not revealed. It is a secret which belongs to God. It is evident, that God could not pardon the sinner, unless some method could be adopted by which he could make the same display of his character in pardoning him which would be made in his eternal punishment. But why he did select and adopt the plan which involved the death of his beloved Son, in preference to all other plans which lay perfectly open to his view, is wholly concealed from us.

We must consider it as one of those secrets that do not concern us, that belong entirely to God. It is revealed, that the atonement consists in the sufferings and death of Christ. We are assured that his sufferings in the garden and on the cross were very great.

Some suppose

that he suffered as much pain as sinners would suffer were they consigned over to the never-ending miseries of hell; that he actually suffered the whole penalty of the divine law. But this supposition appears to be wholly unfounded, and in opposition to the admirable scheme of salvation disclosed in the Gospel. That he suffered amazingly, beyond human conception, is evident from Scripture. But how much he suffered we are wholly unable to determine. We believe the revealed fact, that the Father laid upon him the iniquities of us all; that, by his sufferings, he made a complete atonement, by which the Father can be just to himself and the universe, and, at the same time, justify him that believeth. But the precise quantity of pain he caused his dear Son to endure is not revealed. It does not concern us.

It is a secret, and belongs to God.

We learn from the Scriptures that God, in the ages of

It is easy

eternity, gave to his Son, in the covenant of redemption, a certain portion of mankind, to be redeemed by his blood, and made eternally happy in heaven. This doctrine is contained in that memorable prayer which Christ offered but a few hours before his crucifixion. It runs through the Bible, and lies at the foundation of the great work of redemption. There is nothing in the doctrine which is arbitrary or unreasonable. It appears to be perfectly consistent with divine wisdom and benevolence. It allows man the entire possession of liberty and moral agency. It secures to no one an inheritance in heaven, who has not a holy heart, and does not obey the divine commands; and it deprives no one of the inheritance who complies with the terms on which it is offered in the Gospel. The doctrine, so far as it concerns us, is perfectly intelligible. to conceive of God's choosing a certain number to be happy; of his bringing them into the world; of his working in them to will and do of his good pleasure; and of their working out their salvation with fear and trembling. We can conceive of all these things taking place without any partiality or compulsion on the part of God, and with the entire freedom and moral agency of all who are the happy objects of divine choice. But how many of the human race God gave to his Son, and who they are, and why he should give to him certain individuals, and not others, are questions which we cannct solve. They are secret things. They do not concern us. They belong to God. It belongs to us to understand, believe and love the doctrine to which they relate, as it is revealed in the word of God, and to give diligence to make our calling and our election sure.

Regeneration, by the special influence of the Holy Spirit, is a doctrine of divine revelation. Man, in his natural state, is destitute of holiness, at enmity with God, and in a state of moral ruin. It is the office of the Holy Spirit to renovate him, make him friendly to God, and raise him from his ruined state. Regeneration, which effects this great change, consists in holy love. The Holy Spirit, then, in regeneration, causes the sinner to exercise holy love. But the sinner is commanded to love God, which is the same thing as to make himself a new heart. It seems, then, that the Spirit employs his agency in respect to the very exercise which man is commanded to perform,

and which he does actually perform when he becomes a new creature. How is this to be understood ? In order to understand it, we must distinguish between the agency of the Spirit and the agency of man. The Spirit works within man to love God; man loves God. The Holy Spirit causes the sinner to love; the sinner loves. The agency of the Spirit is employed in causing the sinner to love; the

agency of the sinner is employed in loving. All this is a matter of fact. But how can the Spirit cause the sinner to act, since the sinner is a free moral agent? I do not know. It is revealed that the Holy Spirit does officially subdue the will of the sinner, and cause him to make himself a new heart; and it is a fact, of which the sinner is conscious, that he acts freely and voluntarily in making himself a new heart. But how the sinner does this under the causing energy of the Holy Spirit, I do not know. It is a secret. It does not belong to man.' It belongs to God, who worketh all things according to the counsel of his own will.

Another doctrine of revelation is the general resurrection. This doctrine is favored by enlightened reason, and the analogy of nature displayed in the vegetable, and many parts of the sensitive world. If we had not, however, stronger evidence to support it than what can be derived from such sources, our prospects as Christians would be dark and cheerless. Though we have no doubt in respect to the fact involved in the doctrine, there are many difficulties, connected with it, which it is impossible for us to solve. It is evident from Scripture, that the bodies of those who are raised from the grave, will be, in an important sense, the same which they had while alive, and which were deposited in the dust. Unless the same be raised, the resurrection body will be entirely new. If it be entirely new, the body will not be raised up again, but created as really as any thing was ever created; which would necessarily imply that, instead of a tion, there will be a new creation. Admitting it to be a fact, that every individual will have the same body after the resurrection, that he had before, it is difficult to show in what the sameness or identity consists. It cannot consist in the same particles of matter that belong to it in the successive periods of its existence. For, while we


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