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SUBSTANCE OF A DISCOURSE

ON

THE DOCTRINE

OF

THE TRINITY IN UNITY,

Preached extemporaneously,

AT

THE HIGH-STREET CHAPEL,

EXETER,

On the 27th MARCH, 1825,

BY

ROBERT HARKNESS CARNE, À: B.

Late of Exéter College, Oxford,

AND NOW

MINISTER OF THE SAID CHAPEL.

LONDON: Sold by HAMILTON & Co. No. 33, Paternoster-Row, London;

and C. UPHAM, Bookseller, High-Street, Exeter.

1825.

1243.6.7

SUBSTANCE of a DISCOURSE, Sc.

« THERE ARE THRSE WHO BEAR RECORD IN HRA.

VEN, THE FATHER, THE WORD, AND THE HOLY
GHOST; AND THESE THREE ARE ONE.”

1 JOHN v. 7.

WHAT I propose on the present occasion, is to submit to your consideration a plain scriptural statement respecting Goda My aim will be, to exhibit to you just what Revelation developes relative to the Divinity.

That a God exists, you require no proof. You have proof enough, both in yourselves, and in every existing thing included in the vast circle of the creation. That is to say, you see in the effects produced, a standing demonstration of some universal cause adequate to their production. Conscious of our own existence, and of the real entity of all the objects with which we are encompassed, we seem to feel equally conscious of

possessing an existence which is not self-originated, but which is derived from some superior Being, and dependent on him for its continuance. We entertain the same opinion of all other things; namely, that they are none of them self-existent, but that they are all indebted for their origin to some great Eternal, whose power is without limit, and whose understanding is infinite, as his being is without date. This opinion the Scripture countenances, when it declares the heathen to be without excuse, because they did not retain God in their knowledge, notwithstanding that “the invisible features" of the Divinity were developed in the creation of the world; even his Eternity, Power, and Godhead."

But whilst we confess his existence, what God is we know not. He dwells in light inaccessible.' He himself is light, and in him is no darkness at all. But he is light of such a splendour as puts our eyes out. When we would investigate the Deity, it is as though we would rush into the bosom of the sun, and penetrate to the centre of that orb of fire. Our mercy is, to be satisfied at a distance, and through the medium of the atmosphere encircling our globe, with the solar rays, which impart to us their light and heat. It is likewise our mercy to contemplate God through the medium of his word. A somewhat of him is legible in the book of nature; we there read his wisdom, goodness, and power. But we must shut up that volume, and fasten the

of faith on the more luminous page of inspiration, in order to arrive at a satisfactory knowledge of the true God. A brute might as well undertake to give a description of man, as for a man to pretend to describe God. The attempt always betrays his folly. The world by its wisdom never knew God. The brightest display of its wisdom was the confession of its ignorance, when, in the centre of science and on the favourite spot consecrated for ages to philosophy, it erected an altar to " the unknown God". Him, whom the Gen

eye.

• Romaos, i, 19-21

6. For

tiles ignorantly worshipped, the scriptures declare to us ; but in such terms as the pride of human reason quarrels with, and such as faith only will embrace as correct. there are three who bear record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one”.

I design, in the first place, to make some remarks on the particulars contained in this text of holy writ.

In the second place, I shall endeavour to confirm and illustrate the doctrine taught us in it, by the concurrent testimony of the inspired writers in the old testament.

I shall conclude my discourse with proofs and illustrations from the new testament.

Ist. We have to investigate the contents of our text.

But it will be proper to obviate an objection frequently raised against this scripture. It is said, by some, to be an interpolation. That is, they contend for its having been, at some period or other, superadded to the written word by a trinitarian hand. But though this has often been asserted, for want of a more plausible objection, it has never been proved, and never will. We are therefore bound to receive it as a component part of the sacred volume. It seems indeed impossible for an addition of such importance to have been made to the oracles of God without detection at the moment. : Besides, the objeotion is not peculiar tò this

very offensive passage. Tlie opposers of the doctrine inculcated in it, level the same shaft at other passages, particularly at those in the first chapters of Matthew and Luke, which preserve the account of the incarnation of the Son of God. In fact, the deistical part of the world, if they are compelled by the irresistible force of overwhelming evidence to admit the scriptures to be a Revelation from God, instantly takerefuge from all its mysterious tenets in the convenient excuse, that the scriptures are corrupted, and no longer exist in their original purity. But still we have no proof, nay quite the re: verse. And to talk about the corruption of revelation, as the adversaries of its peculiar sentiments are fond of doing, is either virtually denying it to be a revelation at all, or else passing a severe reflection on its author. When the Creator determined on investing this globe with light as with a garment, be called a suitable luminary into existence to be the ruler of our day. And does not the sun continue to this instant to run its destined race and cheer us by its beams? But did God also design to impart the light of truth to the minds of his children? And for this purpose has he given us his word? And is this word proposed to us as a lamp to our path to guide our feet into the

way

of life and peace? Has God said to Zion by the prophet Isaiah, All thy children shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be the

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