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it cannot be estimated by reason ; it is a subject with which reason cannot grapple, because reason can only define justly or probably upon the presumptions of experience; and with respect to the character of the Deity, experience must be altogether out of the question.
We see, then, that whether we regard Him simply in his abstract unity, or as combining three persons in the one Godhead, he is alike inaccessible to our understandings. There is, therefore, no more difficulty, no more incongruity, in “putting our whole trust and confidence in Him," as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, one God, than in believing Him to exist under any other character of Divinity, since, as I have already shown, under whatever character, in whatever position we contemplate Him-however constituted, however acting-He is equally mysterious, equally beyond the reach of our understandings. We can have no excuse where we have no reason for denying; and if reason only is to decide for us, we have just as strong grounds for disbelieving the existence of a Being infinite and eternal, as for discrediting that hypostatical union of three in one, the foundation upon which the grand edifice of the Christian Religion has been reared. In everything that regards our faith, we must be guided, not by the demurs of an overweening and captious reason, but solely and unremittingly by the word of God. That we can have no rational grounds for disbelief, will be evi
dent; because, if we can conceive the nature of the Divinity in no way whatever, what ground from reason can we have for rejecting the belief of Him, under any form of revelation which He, in His ineffable wisdom, may think fit to deliver to us, merely because we cannot, by any process of our mental faculties, unravel the mystery? What really is there, I will again ask, more repugnant to the understanding in a Trinity of ing in and constituting the single uncompounded Godhead, than in an infinite nature, under any view whatever of its immensity? Absolutely nothing! Is it more difficult to conceive the Trinity than the God of the Deists, who is just as unapproachable by their understandings, as a triune God is by ours ? What can there be incredible that a God, of whom we can form no proportionable, no distinct conception, should be such as only makes Him what He must be, however we contemplate his attributes and perfections—namely, unintelligible? And, therefore, whether as three persons in one God, or as one God subsisting without such an union, He is still uniformly and only incomprehensible. “As the Heavens are higher than the earth, so are His ways than our ways, and His thoughts than our thoughts.”
Now, although we can comprehend so little of the Divine Nature here, it is readily supposable that we may arrive at a much more enlarged knowledge of Him hereafter. If we would only take time to reflect, we might easily imagine that what appears to us above the investigation of human intellect, in the present confined state of our mental perceptions, may be clearly understood, when their powers shall be enlarged in a future condition of things. If we were only to fancy that, in the resurrection, the soul were to have an additional sense of perception* bestowed upon it, only equal, for instance, to the sense of sight, what a prodigious capacity would be thus given to it, of receiving an accession of divine light, of which we can neither now ima
* This is offered merely as an illustration, not as assuming a fact. On the contrary, I do not conceive it at all necessary, that any additional faculty should be imparted to us in the world of spirits, where the perceptions will be so infinitely enlarged as to supersede such a necessity. “We now see through a glass darkly;" we shall then look through no opposing medium. The Scripture expressly refers to our being clothed upon, that is, to an improvement of our present faculties to an extent as unlimited as our souls shall be capable of, in a state of unqualified fruition. The difference in the powers of human perception, are sufficiently great to afford us some notion of what that perception may be, when the spirit is released from the shackles of the flesh, and enrolled among the glorious company of Heaven. Take a rude untutored countryman and compare him with Sir Isaac Newton; we shall then see what exists even in this life. The condition of the human soul is at all times an awful subject of contemplation. Gambold has a fine thought, which may be applied here. "A tame and feeble bird, which has accidentally hatched an eagle's egg, and is afterwards affrighted at the strength and impetuosity of what has been fostered under its own wings, cannot find itself in a more critical case, than a man, when holding dialogue, like Adrian, with his own soul."
gine the extent nor fulness! What amazing capabilities would be thus imparted to the immortal soul, of contemplating that Divinity, in whom all its happiness will be centered!. For in the life future, though we cannot know God in all the immeasurable amplitude of His glory, we shall, nevertheless, have our knowledge of Him as a Saviour and a God of mercy, heightened in a very transcendant degree; so that what appeared to us here mysterious, will there be perfectly intelligible, and we shall know enough to make us everlastingly happy. God will be in all our thoughts, and though there shall not be in Heaven a fulness of knowledge, there will at all events be a “fulness of joy."
As you will perceive, my main design has been to show you, that however high above the reach of our understandings, the mysteries of religion may be, they are nevertheless by no means inconsistent with a rational belief. I shall now conclude the subject with a few brief reflections, upon the peculiar blessings which the Deity, in his several characters of Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier, conveys to us.
As our Creator then, He has brought us into the world, with the design that we should be glorified in another, after we have, through His blessed assistance, rendered ourselves fit, in this, to be so glorified. He has prepared a habitation for us, exactly adapted to our condition, and furnishes to all mankind the liberal supplies of his bounty. “He giveth rain from Heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” He has endued us with capabilities for enjoyment, which He will not disappoint, provided we only so act as not to place ourselves beyond the influence of his mercy. He will infallibly exalt us to happiness, if we do not thrust ourselves into remediless misery. He has framed us for immortality, although upon ourselves must depend whether we attain to that state hereafter, for which he designed us when he brought us into existence here. He is a kind and beneficent Master, tender towards our infirmities, “gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness," who “ willeth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he should turn from his wickedness and live.” He condescended, at the creation of man, to enter into covenant with him; that covenant was broken; He again entered into covenant “ with the transgressors;" that covenant is again perpetually broken, and as often renewed upon their contrition. We are every day rebelling against Him in thought, word, or deed; and yet his anger slumbereth when we earnestly repent. The greatest offender obtains His pardon, where he sincerely and reverently seeks it. Oh! the mercy of God! who can estimate it? “The measure thereof is longer than the earth and broader than the sea.” “Thou, Lord, art ready to forgive, and plenteous in mercy to all them that call upon thee.”