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sacred writings. This being the case, the Trinitarians have not been under the necessity, in any age, of forging such a passage. If a man be confident that a cause in which he is concerned in a court of justice, can be supported by sufficient testimony, he will not have recourse to bribery, to obtain the addition of false witnesses; for that would. injure his cause, instead of supporting it. We may, therefore, be well assured, that the text which has been so powerfully controverted, was never forged by any one; and that it is the real word of God. To fabricate this passage to support a doctrine, which beams forth from the Scriptures like the unclouded sun, would really be a needless undertaking. We have no right to suppose this, unless our opponents can prove that it was actually done; and if the. text under consideration were an interpolation, it would be in their power to do the thing. That cause which labors the most, has the greatest need of wicked efforts to give it plausibility. In relation to the doctrine of the Trinity, and the passages which support it, we need not fear. The glorious truths of the Trinitarian system will be supported and believed, down to the burning day, in defiance of opposition.
3. If the Personality, Deity and Offices of the Holy Ghost have been supported, then it will follow, that there is an ample foundation in the mysterious mode of the divine existence, to save sinners, in a perfect consisteney with the purest justice.
This is an unspeakable consolation, and therefore, the tenets which support it, merit a faithful vindication. If God were only one in Person as well as essence, he could not sustain and execute the offices in which his own glory and our salvation are included. His glory could not be displayed, unless there is one in the divine essence to maintain the rights of the Godhead-men could not be saved, A A
unless there is one to atone for sin, and intercede for thera in heaven; and that there should be one to form them by his operation for holiness and happiness, is equally necessary. The mystery of a Triune God, is, therefore, a glorious truth, and it secures to us a consistent way of eternal life.
4. If the Personality, Deity and Offices of the Holy Ghost have been supported, then it will follow, that those who deny these doctrines, are barring against themselves the door of heaven. If God is only one in Person, there can be no possibility of our standing before him in Judgment, unless we shall be able to make it appear, that we have always been as holy as the angels of light, or he shall consent to approve of sin, and so cover his own glory with an eternal shade. If He is not a Trinity in Unity, we may, with propriety, abandon ourselves to eternal despair. On such ground, annihilation, or endless misery, must be our portion. To take any other stand, as the foundation of our hope, would be giving up a Redeemer and a Sanctifier, forever. If these doctrines are true, God can never save one who continues to deny them through life. To contend against them is, therefore, the sealing of our souls to an everlasting death! It would be doing the work of the Lord deceitfully, to take any other ground in the instruction of my hearers. In saying this, I am not conscious of possessing any malice towards those people, who differ with us in principle. In these great doctrines of the Bible, my mind has been fully settled for many years. As it has been proved that the Holy Ghost is God, may you all, my hearers, obtain an experimental acquaintance with this truth, through his renewing and sanctifying operations. AMEN.
ISAIAH VIII. 20.
To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
A variety of opinions prevail in the world, concerning the doctrines that relate to God and eternity, and also about the duties which we owe to him, and to each other. There is no way of settling these things, unless there is an unerring standard to which we may resort. There is a great propensity in human nature to decide upon these questions by rules unauthorised from above. The heathen world, in all ages, have resorted to gods formed by their own hands; and by their own imagination, for information concerning truth and duty. It is therefore said, in the verse preceding the text, "They say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards, that peep, and that mutter." Blind prophets, lying oracles, and false deities, were the sources on which the Pagan world have relied for their knowledge, from the commencement of time. But in this era of refinement and science, these things are justly discarded by many, who refuse to abide by the decisions of a divine standard, as much as by the unenlightened heathen. They are constantly appealing from the Holy Scriptures, to that tribunal which they call Reason. Right reason, however, is never
in opposition to the word of God. It is not reason, but our reasoning, that contradicts that glorious standard, from which there is no propriety nor safety in fleeing.
The excellent Dr. Fuller justly remarks, that "there is a great difference between reason and reasoning." The first must accord with the reason and fitness of things; but the last may be very fallacious, growing entirely out of our depraved feelings. When the reasoning of men is in opposition to the Bible, we may justly conclude that it is mere sophistry, and a decided testimony of their moral corruption, opposition to God, and to his word. It is a consolàtion, however, to know that there is a standard of truth and duty, on which we may rely; a rule that is not liable to perpetual change, like the capricious imagination of men, and the slippery grounds on which their various and contradictory opinions appear to rest. In matters of faith and practice, we are directed by the Lord of hosts to have recourse "to the law and to the testimony." Time need not be spent to convince this enlightened auditory, that by "the law and the testimony," is meant those inspired writings called the Old and the New Testament. When men speak in opposition to these Oracles, our text says, “It is because there is no light in them." The marginal reading is, "There is no morning in them." No; their hearts are as dark as that eternal night which preceded the morning of time; when "the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep." In the Holy Scriptures, sinners are represented universally as being in a state of total moral darkness. A refusal to submit to their decisions, is a certain evidence of such a state of mind.
On entering into an investigation of this sacred passage, it is designed to show,
I. That the Holy Scriptures are the only certain standard, which we are to decide on matters of faith and practice.
II. The various ways in which our opponents refuse to speak according to this rule.
III. The reasons of their resorting to other grounds of decision.
These points are of high importance. Your close attention, therefore, is required, while an attempt is made to support and illustrate them. We are,
I. To show, that the Holy Scriptures are the only standard by which we are to decide on matters of faith and practice. In doing this, let it be observed,
1. That such a standard is really necessary. There are many things relating to God and eternity, which we could never know, without a revelation from on High. The situation of the heathen world may teach us that the light of nature is not a sufficient guide to the human mind, beclouded with sin, enfeebled by disease, deceived by the senses, and incapable of acquiring much information by experience, on account of the shortness of life. Even the unity of God, which appears to be one of the first principles of reason, has been universally overlooked by mankind, when destitute of divine light. Polytheism, or a belief in a multiplicity of gods, has prevailed in every Pagan. land, and through every period of time. If it should be said, however, that some of the heathen philosophers did believe in the Divine Unity, we may reply, that some oblique rays, emitted from that grand source of light, the Bible, glanced upon their minds; and yet they were not so confirmed in the doctrine, as to avow and teach it at the risque of life, and in opposition to the reigning superstition of the times. In relation to the doctrines of the Scriptures in general, they have always been in darkness. As to the immortality of the soul, they have rather wished it to be true, than really believed the doctrine. They were wholly in the dark, how to worship God acceptably,