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scripture the apostle describes the counsel or covenant of God to save sinners, and this was confirmed by an oath; and the reason of the oath was for the sake of the heirs of promise, that they might have two immutable things to rest their faith upon, namely, the immutable counsel and the immutable oath of God, and these ought to silence all doubts in the heirs of pro• mise, because it is impossible that either of them should be broken.
These authorities may suffice to determine the meaning of the divine name Alehim. It is expressive of the personality in Jehovah, and denotes what the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the three Alehim, have covenanted upon oath to do for the salvation of sinners. Alehim signifies the Trinity in covenant, and particularly expresses the oath, which was the binding act of the covenant, and thereby it denotes the most mérciful relation in which divine love could manifest itself; a relation productive of the richest blessings of time and of eternity. Jehovah is a name of majesty and greatness. Alehim is a name of grace and mercy. Jehovah expresses the self-existence of the Godhead, and the infinite difference between his manner of existing and that of his dependent creatures, and after they had sinned it was to them a name of terror. Whereas Alehim expresses nothing but tender love and abundant mercy to returning sinners: for the covenant was made for such, and it was confirmed by an oath, that they might place their whole trust and confidence on what the Trinity had covenanted to do for them and their salvation : for the Father,, although he be the avenger of sin, yet has been satisfied with the obedience and sufferings of his co-equal and co-eternal Son, and will be satisfied with all those who submit to be saved by his righteousness, and the Holy Spirit will influence them to accept the righteousness of God for their justification, and he will work mightily in them to enable them to bring forth the fruits of righteousness, until he bring them safe to glory. These are the mercies promised
in the covenant of grace, and expressed by the divine name Alehim. How greatly then should this name encourage convinced sinners to come and ask the covenant mercies? And what strong consolation does it give them, when they flee for refuge to Jesus Christ, to lay hold of the hope set before them in him?
From what has been said, it appears that the first part of the commandment relating to God is the right knowledge of him, and what we are required to believe concerning his essence and personality is described in these words: “ Hear, O Israel, Jehovah, our Alehim, is one Jehovah.” Jehovah, the self-existent essence, who is our Alèhim, our Trinity bound by the oath of the covenant to save sinners, these three in covenant, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are not before nor after other, greater or less than another, but they are of one and the same self-existent essence; these three are one Jehovah, the holy, blessed and glorious Trinity are one Jehovah.
This, my brethren, is the doctrine of the text, which the Lord God himself calls upon you to hear
_“ Hear, O Israel.” And have you heard him? have you
received his account of the divine essence and personality? If not, why do you reject it? Is not his command a law, and are you not bound to believe what the Lord has revealed concerning himself?
Perhaps you think the revealed account is not established upon sufficient authority. This point does not come under consideration at present. We are only treating of the doctrine, and what can you object against it, as it has been now stated? Why, say some, I still think, after all that you have said, the doctrine is inconsistent; for you are forced to maintain that three are one. Nay, we maintain no such contradiction : for the Trinity is not three and one in the same respect, but three in person and one in essence. The air which is reduced to atoms in the action of fire, and the light which comes from it, and
the gross spirit of the air which feeds the fire, these three conditions of the air are one in essence; and is it any contradiction to
these three are one ? No, surely. Just so we speak of the essence as one, and of the persons in it as three.
Supposing this to be a good illustration of the doctrine, yet still we cannot receive it, say some, because it is unintelligible. What is unintelligence? The proposition itself is plain; in the self-existent essence three are three persons. You cannot object to the difficulty of the terms, or of your forming a clear idea of what they convey. But you cannot conceive how there can be three persons in one essence. And this is the cause of your unbelief? If you will not believe the doctrine of the Trinity until you comprehend the manner of the divine existence, consider how absurd. ly you act: for do you know how a spirit exists? No: and yet you believe the existence of a mortal spirit within you. Can you comprehend how an infinite spirit exists ? No. You know not how your own spirit exists, and yet, while you are confessedly ignorant of a finite object, you pretend to be so well acquainted with the mode and manner of existence of an infinite spirit as to reject what is revealed in scripture concerning it. Whether this be not acting an absurd part, I leave it to yourselves to judge.
But still you cannot think the scripture doctrine of the Trinity is rational. If you go to try it by reason, you forget that the world by reason knew not God. It did not know him formerly in the learned ages of Greece and Rome. And if, then, this enlightened age has discovered how Jehovah exists, let our reasoning infidels demonstrate that he exists in such a manner as absolutely excludes all personality. But this they cannot demonstrate; they know they cannot; and yet they pretend the scripture-doctrine of the Trinity is not rational, although they have no reason against it; ng good reason however, none that they' dare publicly own. The cause of their unbelief must be ascribed chiefly to their sins. While they live in wilful sin they cannot know God, because their minds are in total blindness, and will continue so, as long ai they continue alienated from the life of God. They must be convinced of sin, and humbled under the sense of it, and sue for mercy, and receive it, and then they will know the blessed Trinity is Jehovah; for no man knoweth the Son, but the Father, neither knoweth any man the Father, but the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him, by the teaching of his good Spirit. May he who has the residue of the Spirit send him to take away ignorance from all unbelievers, hardness of heart, and contempt of his word, that they may be converted, and believe to tl saving of their souls !
But, besides these more open deniers of the doc trine, we have several of our own people, who atteno upon the ordinances of the church, and yet are ignorant of this fundamental doctrine. For their sakos we ought to insist upon it, and to explain it as taught in scripture, and in the liturgy of our church, with which the state of the doctrine, as now laid down, is perfectly consistent. The first of the thirty-nine articles treats of faith in the Holy Trinity, and says, that in the unity of the Godhead there be three persons of one substance, power, and eternity, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost: and the proper preface in the communion service for Trinity-Sunday is mor cléar and determinate" It is very meet and right that we should give thanks to thee, who art one God one Lord, not only one person, but three persons
ir one substance; for that which we believe of the glor: of the Father, the same we believe of the Son, and o the Holy Ghost, without any difference or inequality." These are the testimonies of our church, and the are very full in confirmation of the doctrine whicl you have now heard. Consider them carefully, my brethren, and beg of God to enlighten your under standings with the knowledge of the truth. O tha he may manifest it so clearly, as that you may kno the Father to be your reconciled Father, the Son to
be your almighty Saviour, and the Holy Spirit to be your counsellor and comforter, your strengthener and sanctifier unto the end !
Happy are they who thus know God, or rather are known of God. 'You, my Christian brethren, enjoy this happiness, for you know in whom you have believed. By faith you have come to God, believing that he is Jehovah, the self-existent essence, and that he is the rewarder of them who diligently seek the mercies of the covenant, which was made by the blessed three in Jehovah, and which is expressed by the gracious name Alehim. You know Jehovah your Alehim, and thus you keep the first part of the great commandment of all-Hear, O Israel, Jehovah our Alehim is one Jehovah. You believe in and worship Jehovah, one in essence, and three in person. You are thankful for what is revealed concerning the per- . sonality, and the merciful offices sustained by the divine persons in the covenant of grace. With your lips and with your lives you are ready to show forth the thankfulness of your hearts, and to follow me to the next part of my text, which treats of the love of Jehovah Alehim. But this I must reserve for the subject of another discourse, only desiring you at present to look up to that Lord and God of whom we have been speaking, and to beseech him to render useful what has been said to all of us. O that he would enable us all to make use of the words of our church upon the occasion, and with the prayer of
faith to say,
Almighty and everlasting God, who hast given unto us, thy servants, grace by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of the divine majesty to worship the unity, we beseech thee that thou wouldst keep us steadfast in this faith, and evermore defend us from all adversities, who livest and reignest, one God, world without end-Amen.