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you ! uncomfortable amidst all the comforts of life, and O how uncomfortable in the day of your affliction ! what a refuge you have in God under all your troubles, what a calm within in the most tempestuous seasons, what a peace, passing all understanding, in all your tribulations, while you look up and see it is your loving Father, your eternal Guide, your almighty Friend, that appoints and orders every
affliction ; while you look up and see his countenance bespeaking all love, while you look up and hear him say, “ It is I, be not afraid !" Happy, happy difference! How you once trembled at death ; were filled with horror in the prospect of judgment, and looked upon heaven without hope ! “ Alas !" you said in the anguish of your heart, “heaven is not my home, I have no part in the blessed inheritance of the saints; hell, hell, I fear, is my portion ; I shall be cast into the bottomless pit, and howl through the ages of eternity from amidst the fire that shall never be quenched. But now God is my God; Jesus died for me ; Jesus has interceded and prevailed; the eternal, almighty, living God, permits me to call him Father; he hath taken me among his children ; he hath given me the spirit of a child, and I love him ; I call him my Father, and he answers me; I cast all my care upon him, and he careth for me; he doth not, he will not leave nor forsake me, he is mine for ever and ever; I shall see his face; shall live at his right hand ; I shall come with singing, and everlasting joy shall be upon my head. How is the bitterness of death passed! What is become of the King of Terrors? How is his visage changed ! Blessed messenger of heaven, to bring me home to my God! Where is thy sting? And how are the wonted horrors of the judgment-day vanished ! I shall meet my Lord in the air, I shall be for ever with my God." There were no end of displaying the difference there now is between the state of him who is alive from the dead, in comparison of what he was in the days of his unbelief.
And what! will none of these things move the unbeliever ? That unhappy soul, who lies before God as often as he says “I believe in God,” neither believing that God is what he is, nor believing in Jesus Christ as the only Mediator between God and man, nor accepting God to be his God; but, notwithstanding all these outward professions of believing in God, yielding
himself daily to sin, and refusing God and his service ! Will none of these things move him? My dear brother, what the believer once was, all that you still are, unpardoned, unholy, unhappy, hopeless, trembling at death.- What! do not you tremble at death? No. What! do you defy Death? Do you say to him, “ Come on, here am I, ready to meet thee; come now, come this night, while I sleep, this night come and take me?” What! can you say so? Alas ! I know you do not like to hear of that ugly word, death. The very word makes you uneasy—you would be glad I should mention it no more. Death, death, death and damnation ; you have been often angry with me in your hearts for using such terrifying words. What! will the man never have done? Must we never hear of anything else but hell and damnation ? You have been
angry for this, you know you have.
have. And why so? Was it because I did anything amiss, anything contrary to duty or contrary to charity, in telling you of these things ? or was it not solely because you were made uneasy by the hearing them? Ah, there lies the truth of the matter. Had you thought your state good, you had not been a jot displeased with my utmost freedom ; but your conscience was against you; and so it is now; it is pressing home upon you this moment, and forcing you to say, “ I know I am in that very state he has been just describing the believer to have been formerly in. He has been speaking the plain truth of my case; as he says, I am neither easy, nor happy. It is true enough, I am dreadfully afraid of death, and horribly afraid of judgment; and if he had said further, that I wish I were in the condition of that believer he has been speaking of, he would not have said a word more than is true ; for I should think myself the happiest man in the world to be in the state that he is. But then he does not know what trials, and troubles, and difficulties are in my way. I would do something, but how can I ? Were he in my place, he would speak another language.” Why, my dear friend, bear witness for me, did I ever say, either you, I, or any one, could go to heaven without difficulties and troubles ? And yet I would needs have you go thither; I would not have the severest trials, the most formidable difficulties, to hinder you, because I am sure heaven would make you amends for all. In short, all that I have said is but what you knew if I had never said it, and which you knew to be so true, that you would have counted me a liar if I had said otherwise ; for the sum of all that I have said is, that if you do not believe, and leave your sins, you cannot be saved. Here lies the plain truth, and I earnestly pray God to stir you up to the consideration and practice of it. For, O! how happy should I be to see you all in heaven! Believe me, I do not give one of you over.
And I must and will beseech you, every soul, to lay hold on everlasting life, while I have yet the power of begging any favour of you. Return, return, my dear brethren, why will ye die! Ah! cease not, give not yourselves rest day nor night, until you can truly say, “I believe in God.”
Acts xvi. 30, 31.
What must I do to be saved ? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus
Christ, and thou shalt be saved.
After having shown you the nature of divine faith, I proceed to set before you the object thereof, to wit, God in Christ, as expressed in the first words of the Creed, “I believe in God.” We must now go on to explain more at large what is included in these introductory words. And this is the doctrine of the three Persons in the divine nature, distinguished by the relation they bear to each other, and by their respective offices towards us, together with the happy effects on our parts resulting from our true belief in this Trinity.
Though there is but one God, yet the Scripture teaches us to own three Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, subsisting inconceivably together in the divine nature; as is sufficiently manifest by the form of baptism, and by the apostolical benediction, as well as by a large variety of Scriptures which declare this great mystery with incontestable plainness to the humble and unprejudiced mind.
Wherefore we are taught by our church to worship one God in trinity, and trinity in unity, neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the substance.' Whereby is understood, that God is the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost ; and again, that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are one God. Concerning which it is needful to observe, that there is both an union and a distinction in the Godhead. The union is, that the three Persons are one in nature, one in the same undivided Godhead; that is, though the Father be God, the Son God, and the Holy Ghost God, yet they are not three distinct Gods, neither have they three different or separate parts of the Godhead, but one with another and one in another they are one and the same God. Nevertheless, although not separated and divided, yet are they distinguished ; the Father is not the Son nor the Holy Ghost, neither is the Son the Father or the Holy Ghost, nor the Holy Ghost the Father or the Son. They subsist distinctly, though undividedly, in the same Godhead, the whole three Persons co-eternal together and co-equal.'
In speaking of the three Persons in the divine nature, we are to consider the relation they bear to each other, and their respective offices towards us.
The first Person in the Godhead is the Father.
Now Father, being a relative term, hath reference to a Son, without which there could not be a Father. The property of the first Person, considered as subsisting in the Godhead, is to beget, to wit, the second Person, who is therefore called the Son. When you read in Scripture of the Father's begetting the Son, you must not conceive thereof as you do of one creature's begetting another, for there is an utter difference. Creatures beget their offspring in time, the Father the Son from eternity. The Father begets the Son by communicating to him his whole essence; which cannot be done by creatures, because so they would be themselves reduced to nothing. When the Father begets the Son, that Son is not a Being separate from the Father, as is the case in all other generation, but they subsist together in the same undivided essence.
*Thus you see what relation the first Person bears to the second,' and 'for what reason he is most eminently entitled the Father. But because of this relation he bears to the Son, who hath assumed our nature that he might redeem us, the Father also is the Father of those who believe in the name of his onlybegotten Son. For although God be in one sense the Father of us all, inasmuch as we are made by him, yet that peculiar interest in him, which is implied in the title Father, we forfeited by sin, and it is only restored to us by grace, so that he is the Father of those only who believe.' And to all these he is a Father, “for as many as received him (Christ), to them gave he power
to become the sons of God.” The meaning of the words therefore is, ' I believe in God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, as my Father in him.' Wherein these several things are implied.