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baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. And lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Here Christ distinguishes himself from the Father and the Holy Ghost, whom he represents as two distinct and equally divine persons, in whose names the divine ordinance of baptism is to be administered, to the end of time. I will now read to you what the apostles either implicitly or explicitly say concerning the personality of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in the beginning and end of their epistles. The apostle, in his epistle to the Romans, begins thus: “ Paul a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God — concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David, according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: by whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name; among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ; to all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." In this passage,
. the apostle represents Christ as the Son of God and the Son of David ; or as both a divine and human person, and a distinct person from God the Father. And he closes his epistle with these words: “ To God, only wise, be glory, through Jesus Christ, for ever.” Who can doubt whether he meant to distinguish the person of the Father from the person of Christ? His salutation in his first epistle to the Corinthians, runs in similar language. " Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ — unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord — Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”' Here he plainly expresses the personal distinction between the Father and the Son. And the conclusion of his epistle implies the same distinction, when he says, “ The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” His second epistle begins in this form: “ Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia : Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ." And he closes his epistle in the words of our text: “ The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all.” In this short sentence, he expressly mentions each distinct person in the Trinity, by his appropriate name. To the Galatians he writes in his usual strain. “ Paul, an apostle, (not of
that Iulti Jesus
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men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead,) and all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia : Grace be to you, and peace, from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.” In the conclusion he says in the spirit of the salutation, “ Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” He is careful to use the same phraseology in his salutation to the Ephesians. “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus : Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. And he concludes his letter thus: “ Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ." The love of the Father is here distinguished from the love of the Lord Jesus Christ, which implies that they are two distinct persons. At the beginning of his epistle to the Philippians, he says, “ Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” The end of this epistle corresponds with the beginning. “ Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. The
of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen." The apostle begins his letter to the Colossians by saying, “ Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ;- to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ, which are at Colosse : Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” He begins his first epistle to the Thessalonians, in the same manner: “ Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ ;” and closes it in
" these terms: " And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly: and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The
grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. Amen.” He begins and ends his second epistle, by saying, “ Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ;" and, The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen." His salutation in his first epistle to Timothy, is: “ Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith : Grace, mercy and peace
from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord." And he addresses him in precisely the same style in his second epistle. “ To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” And he adds at the end : “ The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit.” In writing to Titus, he uses similar expressions in the beginning of his letter. “ To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.” Peter in his second general epistle to christians uses the same mode of salutation
that Paul so uniformly did. He says, “ Grace and peace be multiplied unto you, through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord.”
Thus Peter in one epistle, and Paul in twelve epistles, wrote to the churches of Christ in the spirit and language of this doctrine, though not in so many words. They do not always mention God, and the Holy Ghost, the three persons in the Trinity; but they mention two persons distinctly; and all who allow that there are two, will acknowledge that there are three distinct persons in the Godhead. In the passages that have been cited, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are represented in a manner which plainly implies that each of them possesses personal properties; and in a vast many other places in the New Testament, their personal properties are expressly mentioned. The Father is said to send the Son; the Son is said to send the Spirit. The Father speaks of the Son, and the Son speaks of the Father. And the Father and the Son speak of the Holy Ghost. The Father is said to act of himself, the Son is said to act of himself, and the Holy Ghost is said to act of himself. These are plain representations of the personal properties of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. We know, therefore, that they are three distinct persons. Their personality is plainly and intelligibly revealed; though their unity is not and cannot be revealed. I have dwelt the longer upon this point, because some, who allow that there is a real distinction in the divine nature which lays a foundation for God to exist, a Trinity in Unity, are unwilling to allow that he exists in three distinct persons; and because all that we can know or need to know about the mysterious mode of the divine existence, is the proper personality of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and not their unity. I now proceed to show,
II. That christians ought to exercise affections towards God corresponding to this personal distinction in his peculiar mode of existence. This seems to be the import of the apostle's benediction in the text. “ The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen." We are to understand this as a petition, rather than a precept. The apostle prays that the Corinthians might enjoy the grace of Christ, the love of God, and the communion, or rather communication of the Holy Ghost. He used the form of a petition for them in the seventh verse of the context. “ Now I pray to God that ye do no evil.” And
I his benediction, in the close of his first epistle to the Thessalonians, is a proper petition. “ The very God of peace sanctify you wholly ; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord VOL. IV.
Jesus Christ." There is an ellipsis in the text which our translators have supplied with the word be ; and which they might have supplied so as to have given it the very form of prayer. The apostle is to be understood as praying that the Corinthians might feel and express their peculiar obligations to each person in the Trinity, for what he had done for their salvation. And this they might and ought to do; because they knew that the Father was a distinct person from the Son, and the Son was a distinct person from the Father, and the Holy Ghost was a distinct person from the Father and Son, and that each of these divine persons had done that for them which laid them under distinct obligations to himself. This is a duty which was not peculiar to the Corinthians, but is common to all christians at this day. They all ought to feel and express their peculiar obligations to each of the divine persons in the Godhead, for what he has done to save them.
In the first place, they ought gratefully to acknowledge their peculiar obligations to the Father, the first person in the Trinity, for his love to them in providing a Saviour for them. They know that it was he, who 7 so loved the world that he gave
his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life;" and that he “commended his love towards them, in that while they were yet sinners, Christ died for them.” It was the love of the Father that sent the Son, and not the love of the Son that sent the Father, to die the just for the unjust. Christians are indebted to the love of the Father for forming the gracious design of redeeming them from sin and misery, and restoring them to perfect and perpetual holiness and happiness, at the infinite expense of the death of his Son. This great and distinguishing expression of the Father's love to them, lays them under distinct obligation to feel and express peculiar gratitude to him, as the prime mover and actor in promoting their eternal salvation.
In the second place, they ought gratefully to acknowledge the astonishing grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the second person in the adorable Trinity, in what he has done to atone for their sins and open the door of mercy for them. He entered into the covenant of redemption with the Father, and engaged to perform the part of a mediator between him and his revolted subjects. And in his mediatorial office, he performed the most marvellous acts of condescension and grace. He left his Father's bosom, came into the world, took upon him human nature and the form of a servant, became a man of sorrows, and finally poured out his soul unto death on the cross, to make atonement for sin. He said, “ The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister; and to give his life a ransom
for many.” It was inconsistent with the justice of God to par
" don sinners without an atonement for sin; and therefore he set forth Christ“ to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins.— that he might be just and the justifier of him that believeth.” Again we are told, that without shedding of blood is no remission.” Again we read, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace." It was an act of astonishing grace in the Lord Jesus Christ, to make himself a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice and open the only possible way for God to exercise pardoning mercy to penitent believers. Hence says the apostle to the Corinthians, “ Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich." Christians are under the strongest and most endearing obligations to feel and express the warmest gratitude to Christ in particular, for what he has done and suffered, in his mediatorial character, to save them from the wrath to come and make them for ever happy.
In the third place, they ought gratefully to acknowledge their obligations to the Holy Ghost, who condescends to perform his official work, in preparing them for the kingdom of glory. They were once dead in trespasses and sins, and under the entire dominion of a carnal mind, which is enmity against God, not subject to his law, neither indeed can be. They must have pined away in their iniquities and perished for ever, notwithstanding the love of God in sending Christ to die for them, and notwithstanding the grace of Christ in dying to atone for their sins, unless the Holy Ghost had undertaken to enlighten their minds, awaken their consciences, and renew and sanctify their hearts, and make them willing in the day of his power, to accept of pardoning mercy through the atonement of Christ alone. They are indebted to the person of the Holy Ghost, for all the love, repentance, faith, submission and every other christian grace they have ever exercised. It belongs to him as Sanctifier, to communicate holiness to the hearts of those whom the Father has given to the Son. And it belongs to them who have received his gracious communications, to feel and express peculiar gratitude to him in particular.
1. If there be a real distinction in the divine nature which lays a foundation for God to exist in three equally divine persons, then we may see how it was morally possible for him to form and execute the plan of salvation. "He could not have