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Him. Such knowledge necessarily supposes the possession of all the attributes of Deity. But in Heaven, though we shall attain the transcendent beatitude of “saints made perfect,” we shall not, however, be advanced to the inaccessible majesty of the Godhead. Nevertheless, if we obtain the blessed boon of spiritual life, we shall there know Him familiarly, as a kind, loving, and merciful Ruler, delighting in the happiness of his beatified creatures, and keeping that happiness alive by the rich communications of his everlasting love. Still his complete and indivisible glory is incommunicable. He cannot make a creature equal to himself. The perfections of Deity can only belong to one. Omnipotence cannot be divided, for, if divided, it must necessarily cease to exist. The idea of two omnipotent beings is an absurdity, because, omnipotence implies dominion over every other being. Such dominion then, cannot be exercised by two: there can, therefore, be but one God. There is but One who presides “eternal in the heavens," where assembled myriads of rejoicing spirits everlastingly adore him in the supremacy of His power, and the ineffable mystery of His being.
If we apply the limited faculties of our nature to form any approachable apprehensions of the Almighty Sovereign of the Universe, how miserably do we find them fail us. Is there one idea of our minds that we feel to be worthy of Him? Can we form one single conception of Him which brings Him before us in any positive shape of identity ? Do we ever think of Him but our minds sink under the vastness of the object ? All we know and feel of Him is—and of this, indeed, we are deeply sensible, in spite of our infirm nature being insufficient to apprehend him—that He is a Being infinite and eternal, capable of all things, and by “whom all things consist;' but still we cannot know how he acts. His operations are all inscrutable to us, “ and his ways past our finding out.” “He is wise in heart and mighty in strength;" "with Him is terrible majesty."
Now, from what has been said, the following conclusion naturally arises, that if we cannot even comprehend God in the simple essence of his Divinity, and still believe that He is, we may, with like credibility, maintain his existence in the union of the blessed Trinity, because He is equally incomprehensible in both. It is no more repugnant to our reason to believe Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, to be three distinct persons, and yet one God, than to believe in the existence of a Being single and uncompounded, but of which we are not at all more capable of imagining the nature. And this is the case with Deity, however we consider it; wherever we ascribe to it those attributes which especially and alone belong to God; whereever we consider it as a power utterly independent, omnipotent, omnipresent, infinite, combining within itself all possible perfections; unoriginated, incapable of dissolution, the Cause of all things, except its own existence, which alone was without cause. And, indeed, it may be here observed, by the way, that the very absence of a cause is as incongruous to reason as the greatest mystery which religion can offer to our belief. Yet, no one who acknowledges the existence of a God will deny that He derived his existence from no cause; otherwise the cause which originated Him must have been greater than Himself, and God would thus have a superior. This view of the subject will come more fitly under the second division of our text, to which I now proceed-namely, that as under whatever mysteries the Divine Nature may be brought before us, it is uniformly incomprehensible, being, in every view of it whatever, equally beyond the reach of our reason, we can, therefore, have no rational grounds for disbelief.
Touching the Almighty, we cannot find Him out.” All that we know of Him, reaches not to the minutest fraction of His perfection, who “ hath founded the earth upon the seas, and prepared it upon the floods." We, nevertheless, know that “He is excellent in power and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: men do therefore fear Him.” As then we can form no proportionate notion of Him, it is clear that we can have no reasonable ground for withholding our assent to any representation which his holy Scriptures may give of Him, because nothing, however incomprehensible,
can be incompatible with His character. He is throughout a mystery; consequently, everything belonging to Him, and all that He is concerned in, must naturally partake of mystery. To disbelieve, therefore, anything concerning Him, only because it is unintelligible, would be just as unreasonable as to disbelieve that the rational man is composed of body and soul, merely because we cannot understand how this mysterious union is carried on. Do we understand even that process of vegetation, by which the oak towers into life and beauty from the small and homely acorn? Are there not everywhere mysteries in the animal and vegetable economy, which the most subtle skill of human wisdom has never been able to unravel ? We talk of the mystery of the Trinity, but is it really more a mystery than Deity ever is, however we consider it? I ask again, how can we imagine any being never to have had a beginning? We do not, indeed, question the fact, still it transcends our conceptions. Let us go back how we will, the mind unavoidably pauses at some imagined beginning; let us go forward as we may, it alike rests at some imagined end. When we think of the Almighty, we are lost in the immensity of the object. “ The thunder of his power, who can understand!" Eternity we can have no conception of; ubiquity we cannot the better conceive; infinity is an idea which all the faculties of the mind are employed in vain to grasp. And why is this?
Because we derive all our ideas from experience, either direct or analogous, and experience cannot approach the skies, because they are beyond the limits of its operation.
By analogous experience, I mean what we obtain by similarity of knowledge. That I may be the better understood, I will illustrate my meaning by a familiar example. For instance; though I never had an arm cut off, I have some knowledge of the pain which such an operation must induce, from experience of the pain I suffered when that arm sustained some trifling injury. This may suffice as an example of what I desire to be understood by analogous experience. And thus it is that we have, if not a proximate and direct, at least an indirect and remote experience of every thing in nature. Of the Deity, in his essence and perfections, we can have no experience, either positive or analogous, and consequently can form no adequate conceptions of Him. The mystery and incomprehensibleness of the Trinity, are, therefore, no argument against its credibility. To doubt its truth, only because we cannot understand it, is just as unreasonable as to question the presence of a shadow, merely because we cannot grasp it. Its being contrary to reason, can be nothing against it, because with it reason can have nothing to do, further than as it is the medium through which our minds are elevated to the contemplation of divine things. It transcends reason;