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ality respecting each of them, even in plain commands and promises: and as there can be but one infinite and eternal God, we infer, that He is revealed as sul«isting in tlaree Persons; being Three in one sense, and One in another. But how these things are, we cannot comprehend, and should not attempt to explain, further than the oracles of God have done it. The doctrine is an article of faith; the motlus is not. We do not say that one is three, or three one, which is a contradiction: but as man consists of a material body, an animal life, and a rational soul; and is thus threefold in some sense, though strictly one individual: so the Deity is One in essence; but in some mysterious manner is Triune. This allusion is not meant as an illustration of the subject, for it cannot be illustrated; but it shews, that there is no contradiction in saying that the same Being may be threefold in one sense, and one in another.
A Trinity of gods would certainly weaken the belief of one God; but a Trinity of persons in the Deity cannot have this effect. Rather it helps and directs the confidence of the believer in the Father's mercy, through the mediation of the Son, and by the sanctification of the Holy Spirit.*
The Deity of Christ is another view of this mystery: and Mr. P.'s testimony to this doctrine, as certainly contained in Scripture, is not unworthy attention; though his representation of it be dis
torted and erroneous. Even Voltaire would scarcely honour with his hatred such professed christians as denied it. Many other mysteries might be considered; but these alone need be mentioned in this place.
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]VxR. P.'s objections to redemption by the bhod of Christ, constitute a plain proof that no man can help seeing this doctrine in Scripture, if he have not some previous bias on his mind respecting it.
Unless we understand the morul character of God, and the perfect holiness required by his righteous law, and are convinced of our own sinfulness and desert of \vrath and condemnation; and unless we allow that "the world lieth in wickedness," and perceive the utter insufficiency of all that we or any other men can do to remedy the numberless evils which fill the earth: it is impossible we can receive, in a proper manner, the scriptural doctrine oj redemption. But when these things are clearly discerned, and a correspondent disposition of heart is produced: the whole appears to be the plab of infinite wisdom, to display the honour of the divine law, justice, and holiness, in shewing mercy to the vilest transgressors. The Lord, in this wonderful manner, most emphatically shews his hatred of sin, and his judgment of its desert; while '«s and saves sinners: and thus he makes way ^sin£ in our hearts deep humiliation, dread
and hatred of sin, cheering hope of mercy, and livelylove and gratitude, in entire harmony. At. the sametirne, all intelligent beings in the universe, how many soever there are or may hereafter be, will to-eternal ages learn from this subject the whole character ofGod; and receive such instructions concerning his .Harmonious perfections, as must prove a vast accession to their felicity, and redound exceedingly to his. glory.
With these sublime thoughts before us, to what do Mr. P.'s objections amount? Would Satan's exhibiting himself on a cross, in the shape of a serpent, as a- punishment for tempting our first parents, have displayed the evil of our sins, the justice of God in condemning the wicked, and his mercy in saving believers? Would it have answered one single end, for which the Scriptures inform us the Son of God was manifested?* And in what respect does Satan now-triumph; when by the death of Christ his kingdom is subverted, his cause ruined, and his eternal shame and misery increased? The whole of Mr. P.'s argument on this head implies the supposition, that sin does not deserve punishment, that man is not a sinner, or that it is not proper God should regard the i^lory of his justice and holiness in shewing mercy.—The shocking charge of suicide brought against Christ, if he willingly died for our sins, would at least equally fall on every one, who determined to die, rather than deny the truth, betray a good cause, or desert his friends and: country.—The bounty of providence ought indeed to
•P. i. p. 12, 13.
awaken our gratitude: but unless conscious of our unworthiness, we are not apt to be very thankful; and if we know ourselves, we shall not be animated to cheerJul gratitude, till confidence of forgiveness and salvation be inspired. Did we think ourselves so good, as to be worthy that the Son of God should come and die for us, we should be justly chargeable with gloomy pride; but all true believers admire the love of God in this great transaction, because they know themselves unworthy of the least of his mercies. To suffer, though sinless and in the vigour of manhood, as a condemned person, numbered with malefactors, by an ignominious and torturing execution, in the manner marked as accursed in the Old Testament, was far more suited to the idea of an atoning sacrifice, than any kind of natural death could have been. The pain and shame of crucifixion, with the anguish of spirit expressed by Christ in the garden and on the cross, far better illustrated the wrath of God he endured for us, and which we must otherwise have born for ourselves to etermity, than the common circumstances of death could have done. Being perfectly holy, he was incapable of remorse and stings of conscience; with firm expectation of the joy set before him, he was not liable to despair; and his divine nature, giving infinite value to his temporary sufferings, rendered eternal du. ration needless. In all other respects, it behoved him as our Surcty to suffer all that our sins deserved, and not merely the punishment due to Adam’s first trans. gression. If men have abused the doctrine of the cross, and de.