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in the old Testament, but personally distinguished to us by three different ones in the new, where this matter is referred to."
In the fourth and last Chapter, the passages of the Scripture have been laid together, and made to unite their beams in one common center, the Unity' of the Trinity. Which unity is not metaphorical and figurative, but strict and real: and there can be no real unity in God, but that of his nature, essence, or substance, all of which are synonymous terms: this unity confidered in itself, is altogether incomprehenfible: but it is one thing to read and to know that there is a divine nature, and another thing to describe it. That it is proved to be an unity of essence ; ift. because the three persons are all comprehended under the same individual and supreme appellation. They are the one Lord absolutely so called “, the Creator of the world, and the God of Israelb. 2dly, because they partake in common of the name Jehovah', which being interpreted means the divine Essence; and what it fignifies in one person, it must also signifie in the others; as truly as the singular name Adam, in its appellative capacity, expresses the common nature of all mankind. And this name neither is nor can be communicated, without a contraa Chap. IV. Art. I. III. b IV. c II.
diction, diction, to any derived or inferior nature, as well on account of its signification as its application, which is expressly restrained to one only. 3dly, It is farther proved, in that the authority', the secret mind" or counsel, and the power by which all things are established and directed, is ascribed to Christ and the Spirit in common with God the Father; and that in the same exercise of it, and upon the same occasions. 4thly, because there is a participation of such divine attributes a as cannot subsist but where they are original. Our understanding, if it be moderately instructed, will satisfie us there can be one only who is eternal, and poffefsed of holiness, truth, life &c. in and from himself. Yet the whole Trinity is eternal, holy, true, living and omnipresent: therefore these three were and will be one God from everlasting to everlasting. 5thly and lastly, because there is a concurrence of the whole undivided Godhead in all those acts o, every one of which have in them the character of a divine wisdom and omnipotence; and express such an intimate union and communion of the Holy Trinity, as the understanding of man cannot reach, and which no words can explain. For though it is and must be one God who doth all
these things, yet it is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who gave us our being, instruct and illuminate us, lead us, Speak to us, and are present with us; who give authority to the church, raise the dead; sanctifie the elect, and perform every divine and spiritual operation..
This is the God revealed to us in the holy Scripture ; very different from the Deity so much talked of in our systematical schemes of natural divinity ; which with all its wisdom, never yet thought of a Christ or an Holy Ghost, by whom nature, now fallen and blinded, is to be reformed, exalted, and saved. The Bible we know to be the infallible word of God; the rule of our faith and obedience. I find this doctrine revealed in it ; therefore I firmly believe and submit to it. And as the Liturgy of the Church of England hath affirmed the same in all its offices, and contains nothing contradictory thereto; I believe that also: and hope the God whom we ferve will defend it against all attempts toward reforming Christianity out of it: that the Church militant here in Earth, may continue to agree in this fundamental doctrine with the Church triumphant in heaven. For there the Angels reft not day and night, praising this Thrice-Holy blessed and glorious Trinity. They have neither a Chap. III. Art. XIX.
time nor inclination to dispute against that Glory, which they cannot stedfastly behold. And had we a little more humility and devotion, we should not abound so much with disputation. If, in such a subject as this, we trust to our own reason, and it should prove at last to have betrayed us into error, irreligion, and blasphemy; what shall we have to say in excuse for ourselves? we shall not dare to plead the dignity and strength of our rational faculties before the tribunal of Him, who came into the world to bring the wisdom of it to nought. And if the Religion of Jesus Christ is to be corrected and softened till it becomes agreeable to the natural thoughts and imaginations of the human heart, then in vain was it said — Blessed is he whosoever Shall not be offended in me.
As for him, who is convinced that God is wiser than himself; who believes as he ought, and as the Catholic Church of Christ hath given him an example from the beginning; his danger lies on the other side: and while I venture to give him warning of it, I beseech him to Juffer the word of exhortation, and to take in good part the faithfull wounds of a friend. Let him take care then, that while he values his orthodoxy, he be not led unawares to overvalue it, by drawing false conclusions from it, and con
ceiting himself to be already perfe&t. If he knows and believes in the true God, he doth well: but let not that which is an honour to him be any encouragement to dishonour God; the knowlege of whom will only serve to encrease our condemnation, if we live in any luft of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles who knew him not. And though it be the faith of a Christian, and not his morality, that distinguishes him from the rest of mankind; yet that faith must appear in the conduct of his life; even as love to a friend is best witnessed by a readiness to do him service. It is true, the service is not the love, nor of equal value with it; yet the love that refuses the service will be accounted as nothing. The mystery of faith is an invaluable treasure ; but the vessel that contains it must be clean and undefiled; it must be held in a pure conscience ; as the manna, that glorious fymbol of the word of faith preached to us by the Gospel, was confined to the Tabernacle, and preserved in a vessel of gold. A mind that is conformed to this world, and given up to its pleasures, though it repeat the Creed without questioning a single article of it, will be abhorred in the sight of God, as a vessel unfit for the master's use; and unworthy, becaufe unprepared, to stand in the most holy place. It is the great excellence of faith, that it