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THE DEITY OF JESUS CHRIST.
If I was surprised at the alarm said to have been excited at the doctrines advanced respecting the devil, as if there could be no religion, no virtue, without his existence, how much must that surprise be increased, by the little consequence which appears, by many of you, to be attached to the personality of the Holy Spirit. Have not many of you asserted that you do not believe it is a person?
If there are any present disbelieving its personality, who are in the habit of regularly attending the established church, I request an explanation of what is meant
by the following expression in the Litany: "O God, the Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and the Son, upon us miserable sinners." "O Holy, blessed, and glorious Trinity, three persons in one God, have mercy upon us miserable sinners." These are first uttered by the minister, and then repeated by the people in response.
Ye Trinitarian Dissenters, what mean ye, when ye close your prayers with the following words: "Now to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, three persons in one God, be equal and undivided praise for ever?"
When, in the solemn attitude of devotion, engaged in earnest prayer to God, you utter such expressions, are you obliged to check your feelings, to stop the devout flow of the soul by the recollection, Ah, but I believe not its personality?' Must some mental reservation be employed, some slight evasion sought? Seriously ask your own hearts whether this does not appear too much like a dreadful mockery of God. Pious Christian! that must rest between thy own heart and
Almighty God. But remember one thing, if you give up the personality of the Holy Spirit, you are no longer a Trinitarian. You are no longer a believer in Trinity in Unity, and Unity in Trinity. You have but a duality of persons in the Godhead. It is indeed to me most strange, that when the Athanasian creed is presented to you, you say, I believe it not, yet still sanction it with your presence; when an infinitely malicious being is the subject of discussion, you say, I believe not his existence, but tell it not to the world; as if there ought to be one faith for the learned, and another for the vulgar! When the personality of the Holy Spirit is inquired into you yield it, and yet continue to pay it adoration! And after all you call yourself an orthodox Christian! Can you condemn an impartial spectator, if he doubt either your sincerity, or the truth of your general creed?
I have had occasion, more than once, to advert to misunderstandings of the assertions made, and the doctrines taught from this place. Since we last assembled, the principal point, on which, it appears,
I am not yet understood, relates to the office of reason. It seems to be supposed that we maintain reason to be far superior to revelation; that reason is every thing, that the scriptures are nothing. I appeal to any one who has heard me, whether I have not constantly referred to the scriptures for the truth of opinions advanced. I trust I shall now express myself so as to be understood.
I will go as far as any amongst you can wish, in asserting, that whatever is a revelation from God must be implicitly believed. But I ask, by what means are we to know a true revelation from a pretended one? Will any one pretend that we have now the evidence of sense? How then are we to distinguish? Do you mean to argue thus: You may use your reason in judging of the evidence of a revelation in general, but as soon as you are satisfied that there is a revelation, then you must turn reason out of doors, and no longer think a moment about what this revelation contains?'
I will not impute to you such an opinion. I will only repeat, that, by our