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jection to his will : to breed in us patience under our sufferings, as knowing, that he, who is absolute Lord, cannot abuse his power, which should make us dumb and not open our mouths at his doings : and to make us thankful for mercies received, as knowing, that they justly might have been denied us; we having no manner of right to claim them, as a debt from our Creator.
IX. The whole world, both the heavens and. The creation the earth of the world." on the earth, and all things that are therein, were
and all th created and made by this fame God, and this, through the operation of his Son, that divine Word, or wifdom of the Father, by whom, the scripture fays, that God
made the world, and all things that are in heaven, By whom.
om. and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities or powers; &l things were created by him and for him, and he is before all things, and by him all things consist; and without him was not any thing made that was made: all this likewise
is very agreeable to found and unprejudiced reason. Agreeable to For that, neither the whole, nor any part of the reason.
world ; neither the form, nor motion, nor matter of the world, could exist of itself, by any necessity in it's own nature, can be sufficiently proved from undeniable principles
of reason; consequently, both the whole world, and all the · variety of things that now exist therein, must of necessity
have received both their being itself, and also their form and manner of being, from God, the alone supreme and self-existent cause; and must needs depend upon his good pleasure every moment, for the continuance and preservation of that being. Consequently,
The learned of all ages, have unanimously Opinion of condiment was aos, have unamuony pimedemen agreed that the world evidently owes both it's be
ing and preservation to God, the supreme cause and author of all things: and then, that God made the world by the operation of his Son; though this could not indeed be known certainly without express revelation ; yet it is by no means incredible, or contrary to right reason. God's provi X. And this all-wise and almighty Creator who dence. made all things by the wordof his power, and up
holds holds and preserves them by his continual help, docs also by his all-wise providence perpetually govern and direct the issues and events of all things; takes care of this lower world, and of all, even the smallest things, that are therein ; disposes things in a regular order and succession in every age, from the beginning to the end of the world; and inspects, with a more particular and special regard, the moral actions of men : this, as it is far more expressly, clearly, and constantly taught in scripture, than in any of the writings of the most learned men; so it is also highly agreeable to right and true reason.
For, that a being which is always present and infinitely wise, cannot but know every thing that is done in every part of the world, and with equal ease take Founded on
reason. notice of the very least things as of the greatest ; ** that an infinitely powerful being, must needs govern and direct every thing in such manner, and to such ends, as he knows to be best and fittest in the whole ; so far as is consistent with that liberty of will, which he has given to all rational creatures; and that an infinitely just and good governor, cannot but take more particular and exact notice of the moral actions of all mankind, and how far they are conformable or not conformable to the rules he has set them; all this (I say) is most evidently agreeable to sound reason. And, · XI. We believe the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, to be three distinct persons in the divine nature; because the holy scriptures in several places distinguish them Three perfrom one another, as we use in common speech to Godhead.
fons in the distinguish three several persons: this is recorded in the form of administring the facrament of baptism, which is in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; and in the solemn blessing with
srith Proved by
scripture. which St Paul concludes his second epistle to the Corinthians; the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost: and also the three witnesses in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, prove that each of these persons is God: be fides the names, properties, and operations of God, are at tributed to each of them in holy writ,
That the names, properties, and operations of God, are attributed to the second person in the blessed Trinity, the Son, is plain from St John, the Word was God; St Paul says, that God was manifested in the flesh: that Christ is over all, God blessed for ever, and that the Word of God is sharper than a two-edged sword, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Eternity is attributed to him; the Son hath life in himself: he is the fame and his years shall not fail. Perfection of knowledge, as the Father knoweth me fo know I the Father. The creation of all things, all things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made: and we are commanded to honour the Son as we honour the Father. And the glorified saints fing their hallelujahs as to God the Father, so also to the Lamb for ever and ever. And
We ascribe the same names, properties, and operations of God, to the third person in the blessed Trinity, the Holy Ghoft; for, lying to the Holy Ghost, is called lying to God. oled And, because the christians are the temples of the Holy Ghost, they are said to be the temples of God: his teaching the all things ; his guiding into all truth ; his telling things to come ; his searching all things, even the deep things of God; his being called the Spirit of the Lord, in opposition to the spirit of man; are plain characters of his divinity. Besides, he is joined with God the Father, (who will not impart his glory to another) as an object of faith and worship in baptism, and the apostolical blessing. And, the blaspheiny committed against him, is said to be forgiven neither in this worid, nor in the world to come.
These plain texts shew we are obliged to believe the doctrine of the holy Trinity, and our church affirms there is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts or passions, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness, the maker and preserver of all things, both visible and invisible ; and in the unity of this Godhead, there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. See the I. Article of Religion.
This doctrine of the bleffed Trinity is a great mystery, because we are not able to comprehend the particular manner
he all th all
lief of christians, without pretending to make them clearer
of the existence of the three persons in the divine nature: And yet it is reasonable to believe things concerning God, which we cannot comprehend. For, The Trinithe perfections of the divine nature are infinite, y, a great and consequently above our reach ; and therefore, if there be any such divine perfections, which our understandings are not capable to conceive, yet if we may have reason to believe them, there can be no ground from reason to reject such a doctrine, which God hath revealed, though very mysterious, and the manner of it be incomprehensible to us ; since natural light did always acknowledge the divine nature to be out of the reach of man. Why to be And though the doctrine of the Trinity is above reason, in that we cannot comprehend the manner of it, it is not however contrary to reason, neither does it imply a contradiction to say, the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God, and yet there are not three Gods, but one God. Because we do not affirm they are one and three in the same respect, the divine being is that alone, which makes God; that can be but one, and therefore there can be no more Gods than one ; but because the scriptures, which affure us of the unity of the divine being, do likewise with the Father, join the Son and Holy Ghost, in the same attributes, operations, and worship, as proved above : therefore, they are capable of number as to their relation to each other, but not as to their being, which is but one. Con
Why difficult. sequently the difficulty, which some men pretend at they find in the belief of a Trinity, is the effect of their own
presumption and ignorance, which pretend to dive into the secret things of God by the weakness of humane capacity, and because they cannot unfold the depths of divine wisdom, they charge God foolishly with contradiction; so that when we treat upon the mysteries of the christian religion, let us prove them from the testimonies of holy writ, and the universal beby a nice explication of those things that are not revealed.
But this should teach us to submit our reason to How to be the obedience of faith. To believe what we are enquired infufficiently assured God hath revealed, though we
cannot comprehend it. To contain ourselves within the bounds of fobriety, without wading too far into abftrufe, curious, and useless enquiries. To admire and adore the most glorious Trinity, as being the joint authors of our salvation. To acknowledge the extreme love of God towards us, in giving his only begotten Son, who was in the bosom of the Father from all eternity, to die for us sinners; and the wonderful condescension of our dear Redeemer, the merits of whose sufferings were made of more value by the dignity and excellence of his person. Never to grieve that eternal Spirit, by whose gracious help we are made partakers of life everlasting. Where
Observe, in answer to a very popular argument take away against christianity, that to believe such doctrines the use of of christianity as we cannot comprehend, does not realon. destroy the use of reason in religion ; for nothing can be a greater reflection upon religion, than to say it is unreasonable, that it contradicts that natural light, which God hath fixed in our minds, and that it declines a fair and impartial trial, and will not bear the test of a thorough examination. The Berrheans are commended for enquiring into the reasons of believing that doctrine, which they were taught; and when infidelity in fcripture is charged as a crime, it is where sufficient reason and evidence was, first, offered for conviction of their unbelief. For, The wife of XII. God enlightened man with reason to disreason under cover the grounds of natural religion, and inculcate the law of the wisdom and prudence of acting according to nature. them. Reason sħews the conveniency of things to our natures, and the tendency of them to our interest and happiness; since as we are thereby convinced, that piety towards God, that justice, gratitude, and mercy towards men, are agreeable to our natures; so reason discovers to us that these duties are good, because they bring benefit and advantage to us. And,
This reason is the faculty whereby the evidence Under the and proof of revealed religion is to be tried; law of grace.
*** the proper exercise of it in a christian, is to examine and enquire whether what is proposed and required to