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iii. 1. which is a name proper to the true God only, Psal. Ixxxiii. ult.
2. The attributes of God, which are one and the same with God himself, are ascribed to him; as eternity, Micah v. 2. Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting ; independence and omnipotence, Rev. i. 8.-The Almighty ;'omnipresence, John iii. 13. where he is said to be in heaven,' when bodily on earth; and Matth. xxviii. 20. 'Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world :' omniscience, John xxi. 17. 'Lord thou knowest all things,' says Peter to him; and unchangeableness, Heb. i. 11, 12. • They shall perish, but thou remainest: and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.'
3. The works proper and peculiar to God are ascribed to him ; as creation, John i. 3. 'All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. Conservation of all things, Heb. i. 3.—' upholding all things by the word of his power.' Raising the dead by his own power, and at his own pleasure, John v. 21, 26. 'The Son quickeneth whom he will. The Father 'hath given to the Son to have life in himself.' The saving of sinners, Hos. i. 7.—-I will save them by the Lord their God.' Compare chap. xiii. 4. “in me is thine help. Yea, whatsoever the Father doth, the Son doth likewise.
4. Divine worship is due to him, and therefore he is true God, Matth. iv. 10. The angels are commanded to 'worship him,' Heb. i. 8. All must give the same honour to him as to the Father, John
We must have faith in him, and they are blessed that believe in him, Psal. ii. 12. compare Jer. xvii. 5. We are to pray to him, Acts vii. 58.; and we are baptised in his name, Matth. xxviii. 19. Nay, he is expressly said to be equal with the Father, Phil. ii. 6. and one with him.' John x. 30. Now, seeing God will not give his glory to another,' Isa. xlviii. 11. because he is true and cannot lie, and he is just, it follows, that though Christ be a distinct person, yet he is not a distinct God from his Father, but one God with him, the same in substance equal in power and glory. And it is no contradiction to this doctrine when Christ says, ' My Father is greater than I,' John xiv. 28.; for he is not speaking there of his nature as God, but of his mediatory office; and hence he is called the Father's 'servant,' Is. xlii. 1.
Thirdly, That the Holy Ghost is true God, or a divine person, appears, if ye consider,
1. The scripture expressly calls him God, Acts v. 3, 4. 1 Cor. iii. 16. Isa. vi. D. compared with Acts xxviii. 25, 26. 2 Sam. xxiii. 2,
3. He is called 'Jehovah, or the Lord,' Num. xii. 6. compare 2 Pet. i. 21.
2. Divine attributes are ascribed to him; as omnipotence, he worketh all in all,' 1 Cor. xii. 6, 9, 10, 11.; omnipresence, Psal. cxxxix. 7.; and omniscience, 1 Cor. ii. 10.
3. Works peculiar to God are ascribed to him; as creation, Psal. xxxii. 6; conservation, Psal. civ. 30.; working miracles, Matt. xii. 28.; raising the dead, Rom. viii. 11.; inspiring the prophets, 2 Tim. iii. 16. compare 2 Pet. i. 21.
4. Divine worship is due to him. We are baptised in his name, Matth. xxviii. 19. ; we are to pray to him, 2 Cor. xiii. 14. Acts iv, 23, 25. compare 2 Sam. xxiii. 2, 3.
Hence it appears,
1. That the Godhead is not divided, but that each of the three persons hath the one whole Godhead, or divine nature.
2. That it is sinful to imagine any inequality amongst the three divine persons, or to think one of them more honourable than another, seeing they are all one God.
V. I proceed to consider the weight and importance of this article. It is a fundamental article, the belief whereof is necessary to salvation. For those that are
without God, Eph. ii. 12. and ' have not the Father,' cannot be saved; but whoso denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father,' 1 John ii. 23. Those that are none of Christ's cannot be saved; but he that hath not the Spirit, is none of his,' Rom. viii. 9. None receive the Spirit but those that know him. John xiv. 17. This mystery of the Trinity is so interwoven with the whole of religion, that their can neither be any true faith, right worship, or obedience without it. For take away this doctrine, and the object of faith, worship, and obedience is changed; seeing the object of these declared in the Scripture, is the three persons in the Godhead; and the Scriptures know no other God. Where is faith, if this be taken away? John xvii. 3. This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.' Here it is to be observed, that our Lord does not call the Father only the true God, exclusive of the other persons of the Trinity ; but that he (including the other persons who all subsist in the same one undivided essence) is the only true God, in opposition to idols, falsely called gods. 1 John ii. 23. · Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father.' There is no more true worship or fellowship with God in it: 'For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father,' Eph. ii. 18. And there is no more obedience without it, John xv. 23. 'He that huteth me,' says Christ, 'hateth my Father also.'
John V. 23, 'He that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. We are debtors to the Spirit, to live after the Spirit, and are bound by baptism to the obedience of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. .
I shall conclude with a few inferences.
1. How much ought we to prize divine revelation, wherein we have a discovery of this incomprehensible mystery! This is a truth which nature's light could never have found out. It is above reason, though not contrary to it; for reason, though it could never have brought it to light, yet when it is discovered, it must needs yield to it; for as the judgment of sense must be corrected by reason, so the judgment of reason by faith.
2. See here that God whom you are to take for your God, to love, trust in, worship and obey, even the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. This is that God who offers himself to you in the gospel, and whom you are to take for your God in Christ. This is that Father who elected a select company of sinners unto salvation ; this is that Son that redeemed them unto God by his blood; and this is that Spirit that renews and sanctifies them, making them meet for the inheritance of the saints in light.
3. Lastly, Take this Father for your Father, who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; and be obedient children, if ye would be reckoned of his seed. Receive the Son, and slight him not. Give your consent to the gospel-offer, seeing it is your Maker that offers to be your husband. And grieve not the Holy Spirit, lest ye be found fighters against God.
OF THE DECREES OF GOD.
Ephes. i. 11.- According to the purpose of him who worketh all things
after the counsel of his own will.
The apostle here gives an instance of the sovereign freedom of divine grace through Jesus Christ in the believing Jews.
1. There is here the high privilege they were advanced to, a right to the heavenly inheritance, which had been forfeited by the sin of
2. Through whom they had obtained it, in him ; by virtue of the merits, the obedience and satisfaction of Christ.
3. Why they obtained it, while others had not. Not that they were more worthy than others, but because they were predestinated, elected, or fore-ordained to salvation, and all the means of it.
4. There is the certainty of the efficacy of predestination. It is according to his purpose ; that is, his firm purpose and peremptory decree to bring such things to pass. And this certainly in particular is evinced by a general truth, Who worketh all things according to the counsel of his own will. Wherein we may notice.
(1.) God's effectual operation, he worketh. The word signifies to work powerfully and efficaciously, so as to overcome all contrary resistance, and all difficulties in the way; which is exactly God's way of working. And this working takes place in the works of creation and providence.
(2.) The manner how God works. The plan and scheme according to which his works are framed, is the counsel of his will, His will is his decree and intention; and it is called the counsel of his will, to denote the wisdom of his decrees, his most wise and free determination therein. As God's decree is an act of his will, and so most free, considered in relation to the creatures; so his decree and will are never without counsel; he willeth or decreeth things to be done with the greatest reason and judgment, most wisely as well as freely.
(3.) The object of his working after this manner, all things. This cannot be restricted to the blessings which the apostle had been speaking of immediately before, but must be understood of all things whatsoever, and of all their motions and actions as such ; which therefore are the object of God's decrees.
The text plainly affords this doctrine, viz. Doct. 'God hath fore-ordained, according to the counsel of his own
will, whatsoever comes to pass.'
Here I shall,
I. I am to explain the nature of a decree. The text calls it a purpose, a will. For God to decree is to purpose and fore-ordain, to will and appoint that a thing shall be or not be. And such decrees must needs be granted, seeing God is absolutely perfect, and therefore nothing can come to pass without his will; seeing there is an absolute and necessary dependence of all things and persons on God as the first cause. But there is a vast difference betwixt the decrees of God and men; whereof this is the principal: Men's purposes or decrees are distinct from themselves, but the decrees of God are not distinct from himself. God's decrees are nothing else but God himself, who is one simple act; and they are many only in respect of their objects, not as they are in God; even as the one heat of the sun melts wax and hardens clay. To say otherwise is to derogate from the absolute simplicity of God, and to make him a compound being. It is also to derogate from his infinite perfection; for whatsoever is added to any thing argues a want, which is made up by the accession of that thing, and so introduces a change; but God is absolutely unchangeable. Neither could God's decrees be eternal, if it were not so; for there is nothing eternal but God.
II. I proceed to consider the object of God's decrees. This is whatsoever comes to pass. He worketh all things, says the text. God has decreed whatsoever comes to pass; and nothing comes to pass but what he has decreed to come to pass. We may consider the extent of the divine decree under the three following heads.
1. God has decreed the creation of all things that have a being.
2. He has decreed to rule and govern the creatures which he was to make.
3. He has decreed the eternal state of all his rational creatures.
First, God decreed to rear up this stately fabric of the world, the heavens and the earth, the sea and the land, with all the great variety of creatures which inhabit them. There are myriads of holy angels in heaven, cherubim and seraphim, thrones and dominions, principalities and powers, angels and archangels. There are many shining luminaries in the firmament, the sun, and the moon, and innumerable glittering stars. There is a great variety of creatures on the earth, animals, plants, trees, and minerals, with various forms, shapes, colours, smells, virtues, and qualities. The sea is