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may be “ more than conqueror ?" And where is the unmercifulness of calling him to endure temptations, in the conquest of which he is supereminently “ blessed," and after which he shall - receive the crown of life ?”
IV. There is as much danger from the breech as from the mouth of Mr. G.'s cannon: its recoil is as destructive as its shot. He has just been complaining of the injustice and cruelty of the divine dispensations in exposing us to the temptations of the devil; and yet, if you do not grant omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence to the devil, Satan falls beneath his contempt.
Then “ all his superhuman powers are futile. A malicious human agent would answer every purpose.'
(Vol. i, p. 21.) This argument may serve for an answer to the preceding. They destroy each other. In the meantime, Mr. G. and his readers are requested once more to consider, whether, with finite creatures, every thing be matter of indiffer. ence which is not absolutely infinite.
Should the impossibility of a finite being tempting many persons, in different places, at one time, leave an apparent difficulty on this subject; it must be noticed, 1. That the devil has many demons under his direction. 2. That we do not precisely know what relation a spirit has to place. 3. That though the power of Satan is not infinite, it may be very great. 4. That we are not sure that evil spirits may not produce effects which often remain when those spirits are no longer immediately present. We know that a moral principle, once imbibed, often produces effects for a long period after the departure of the person from whom it has been imbibed.
V. Mr. G. thinks, however, that the doctrine of the existence of the devil cannot be “ a fundamental article in the Christian religion.” (Vol. i, p. 96.) What is meant by “ a fundamental article” has not yet been agreed. It is enough that this doctrine enters so far into the essence of Christianity, that all who deny the existence of the devil must (as they actually do) deny all the peculiar and prominent doctrines of the New Testament. No man is properly acquainted with the condition of human nature until he know that “the whole world lieth in (tw Tovmpw) the wicked one,” 1 John v, 19. Only the existence, operations, and success of the devil, can properly account for the incarnation and death of the Son of God, who came to bruise the serpent's head. " For this purpose the Son of God was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil,” 1 John iii, 8. “ When the children were partakers of flesh and blood, be also himself took part of the same, that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil,” Heb. ii, 14. We cannot pray as we ought, unless we make it one of our petitions, “ Deliver us from (Tov Tovnpov) the wicked, or evil one,” Matt. vi, 13. The preachers of the gos. pel do not execute their commission unless they turn men “ from the power of Satan to God,” Acts xxvi, 18. The encouraging promise of the gospel is, that “the God of peace shall bruise Satan under our feet shortly,” Rom.. xvi, 20. And it is the glory of a Christian to “have overcome (Tov Tovnpov) the wicked one,” 1 John ïi, 14.
VI. “What! does virtue depend upon the belief of a devil ?” (Vol. i, p. 101.) Not Socinian virtue; but Chris. tian virtue depends much upon it. Christian virtue in. cludes the duties of “ believing" the truths and warningsof God; of “watchfulness and prayer, that we enter not into temptation;" of "resisting the devil, that he may flee from us ;” and of “overcoming the wicked one.” Be. cause of the wiles of the devil; because we are opposed, not merely by “flesh and blood,” but also by “ principalities and powers, and by the rulers of the darkness of this world, by spiritual wickedness in high places.” Christian virtue consists much in being “ strong in the Lord and in the power of his might,” in “ withstanding in the evil day," in having our loins girt about with truth, in having on the breastplate of righteousness, in having our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
above all, in taking the shield of faith, wherewith we shall be able to quench all the fiery darts (Tov Tovnpou) of the wicked one, in taking the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God; and in praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance, Eph. vi, 10-18.
VII. Nor does this doctrine, which teaches many Christian duties unknown to those who deny it, take off from man his responsibility. We, as well as Mr. G. warn thee, Christian, not to ascribe thy crimes to the influence of an infinitely malignant, irresistible, omnipo. tent being, because we tell thee no such being exists in the universe.” (Vol. i, p. 102.) And we say more than Mr. G. will care to say; viz., that mankind may over. "come “that old serpent, called the devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world,” but only “ by the blood of the Lamb.” “ Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he hath visited and redeemed his people, and hath raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began; that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant, the oath which he sware to our father Abraham, that he would grant unto us, that we, being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.”
Of the Unity of God. The first chapter of this work will serve to show how little dependence is to be placed on the deductions of hu. man reason, unaided by divine revelation. Mr. Go's arguments on the divine unity amply confirm those which have been there adduced. Through every paragraph of his lecture on that subject, while he professes to deduce his doctrine from the light of nature, he either takes for granted the thing to be proved, or borrows his doctrine from the Scriptures; and sometimes he does both at once. An examination of his ridiculous reasonings will, however, answer no purpose, since we are ready to grant what he contends for that there is but one God. But we place this great truth on the ground of revelation only. The following passages may suffice to demonstrate it : “ Thou shalt have no other gods before me," Exod.
66 The Lord he is God, there is none else beside him." “ The Lord, he is God in heaven above, and upon
the earth beneath ; and there is none else," Deut. iv, 35, 39. “ Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no god ; I know not any. They that make a graven image are all of them vanity.” “Before me there was no god formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no Saviour. I have saved, and I have showed, when there was no strange god among you," Isa. xliv, 8, 10–12. “ The Lord thy God is one Lord,” Deut. vi, 4.
Such are the declarations of Scripture that there is but one God.
The candid reader will observe, however, that these testimonies uniformly go to evince the oneness of God in contradistinction from the plurality of the gods of the heathen. But the metaphysical unity of God, a unity which excludes the possibility of any kind of distinction in the divine nature, is not in any of them, or in any other part of the sacred books, asserted.
As we do not look into the book of nature for the proof of the divine unity, we do not expect to learn from thence the doctrine of the trinity. We confess to Mr. G. that we have no plea from reason for the supposition that one must direct, a second execute, and a third influence.” (Lect. vol. I, p. 11.) All that we know of God, we know only from his own revelation; and from that very source from whence we learn that God is one, we learn also that God is three; one in one sense, three in another, not in. compatible with the first. While therefore we agree with Mr. G. in that grand proposition that there is one God, we differ from his metaphysical doctrine of divine unity. Thinking that he perfectly comprehends that unity, and that, without the aid of revelation from which, in point of fact, he has learned it, he can argue conclusively upon it, he accordingly sets himself to the metaphysical task. We are aware that we do not perfectly apprehend the metaphysical ideas of spirit and its unity ; and as we cannot be sure that we reason conclusively on a proposition which we do not distinctly and perfectly apprehend, like children under the instruction of a teacher, we submit ourselves to the direction of our infallible guide, and learn the doctrine of the trinity from the same source from whence we have learned the divine unity. It is from thence we gather that the one God is the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit.
It is enough, in this place, to state that our Lord, in giving a commission to his disciples, commanded them, < Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” Matt. xxviii, 19.
The baptism of Christian believers is an ordinance obviously designed to initiate them into the church of Christ, and intended, like circumcision, as a dedication of their persons to God. It implies on the part of the person baptized that he take the Christian God for his God, and that he devote himself to that God as his servant; and thus that he enter into covenant with him.
When the apostles of Christ baptized the Jews, who, dedicated to Jehovah by Jewish baptism and circumcision, had already been initiated into the church of God, and had received from the Old Testament “ the promise of the Father,” viz., the promise of the gift of his Holy Spirit, they baptized them in the name of Jesus. In vain, there. fore, does Mr. G. cite the cases of Cornelius and of the believers at Ephesus to prove that the apostles did not baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, but in the name of Jesus ; for Cornelius was probably a Jewish proselyte, (Acts x, 22,) and the Ephe. sians had already been baptized “unto John's baptism,” Acts xix, 3. The commission which our Lord gave to his apostles was “to all nations,” i. e., to the Gentiles, to whom the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit had been equally unknown. These were to be baptized according to the commission which Jesus Christ had given; and the apostles undoubtedly observed the charge which had been committed to them.
This form of baptism was connected with the first in. structions which the Gentile converts were to receive, and therefore implies the doctrine which they were to learn. That they whom the apostles had called from the worship of idols to the worship of the one God who made heaven and earth, should, by a religious act, a reception of the seal of the covenant of grace, be dedicated to any being less than God, would, the Socinians being judges, have been only a change from one form of idolatry to another. But this was not the case. They were baptized not in the names, but in the one name of the Father, the Son, and