« הקודםהמשך »
prevail in the world; and make it perfect by charity, which is the true character of thy disciples; that by believing in thee, and loving thee in this life, I may see and enjoy thee eternally in thy heavenly kingdom, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my only Lord and Saviour. Amen.
TRINITY SUNDAY. A MOVEABLE feast.
Q. What Festival does the church celebrate this day?
A. The mystery of the Blessed Trinity
Q. What is meant by the Trinity in the Christian church?
A. That there is one God in three distinct persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Q. What is God?
Q. An eternal incomprehensible Spirit, infinite in all perfections; who made all things out of nothing, and who governs them by his wise providence.
Q. Why do we believe the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, to be three distinct persons in the divine nature?
A. Because the Holy Scriptures in speaking of these Three, do distinguish them from another, as we use in common speech to distinguish three several persons.
Q. What instances have we in the Holy Scriptures to this purpose?
A. Several; more particularly the form in administering the sacrament of baptism, which is in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. And that solemn benediction with which St. Paul concludes his
Second Epistle to the Corinthians: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost." And the three witnesses in heaven, mentioned by St. John, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost.
Q. How does it appear that each of these persons is God?
A. Because the names, properties, and operations of God, are attributed to each of them in the Holy Scrip
Q. What are the names, properties, and operations of God, attributed to the second person in the blessed Trinity, the Son?
A. St. John says, The word was God; St. Paul, that God was manifest in the flesh.. That Christ is over all, God blessed for ever. That the word of God is sharper than a two-edged sword, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Eternity is attributed to him, the son hath life in himself. He is the same, and his years shall not fail. Perfection of knowledge, as the Father knoweth me, so know I the Father. The creation of all things, All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. And we are commanded to honour the Son as we honour the Father. And the glorified saints sing their hallelujahs as to God the Father, so also to the Lamb for ever and ever.
Q. Where are the names, properties, and operations of God attributed to the third person in the blessed Trinity, the Holy Ghost?
A. Lying to the Holy Ghost is called lying to God.
b 2 Cor. xiii. 14. 1 John v. 7. a John i. 1. 1. Tim. iii. 16. Rom. ix. 5. Heb. iv. 12. John v. 26. Ch. i. 3. Ch. v. 23. Rev. vii. 10.
Heb. i. 12. John x. 15.
And because Christians are the temples of the Holy Ghost, they are said to be the temples of God." His teaching all things; his guiding into all truth; his telling things to come; his searching all things, even the deep things of God; his being called the spirit of the Lord, in opposition to the spirit of man, are plain characters of his divinity. Besides, he is joined with God the Father, who will not impart his glory to another, as an object of faith and worship in baptism, and the Apostolical benediction. And the blasphemy committed against him is said to be forgiven neither in this world nor in the world to come.* Which although it be not therefore unpardonable because he is God, yet unless he was God, it could not be unpardonable.
Q What are we obliged to believe concerning the Holy Trinity?
A. That there is but one living and true God everlasting, without body, parts or passions, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness, the maker and preserver of all things both visible and invisible; and in the unity of this godhead there be three persons of one substance, power, and eternity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
Q. Wherein consists the mystery of the blessed Trinity?
A. In that we are not able to comprehend the particular manner of the existence of the three persons in the divine nature.
Q. Is it reasonable to believe things concerning God which we cannot comprehend?
A. The perfections of the divine nature are infinite,
Mat. xxviii. 19. 2 Cor. xiii. 14.
1 Cor. iii. 16. *Mat. xii. 22.
and consequently above our reach; and therefore if there be such divine perfections, which our faculties are not sufficient to comprehend, and yet that we have all imaginable reason to believe them; there can be no ground from reason to reject such a doctrine which God hath revealed, though very mysterious, and the manner of it incomprehensible to us; since natural light did always acknowledge the divine nature to be incomprehensible.
Q. But though the doctrine of the Trinity is above reason, in that we cannot comprehend the manner of it; is it not also contrary to reason? And does it not imply a contradiction to say, the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God, and yet there are not three Gods, but one God?
A. No: because we do not affirm they are one and three in the same respect. The divine essence is that alone which makes God; that can be but one; and therefore there can be no more Gods than one; but because the Scriptures, which assure us of the unity of the divine essence, do likewise with the Father join the Son and Holy Ghost, in the same attributes, operations, and worship, therefore they are capable of number as to their relation to each other, but not as to their essence, which is but one.
Q. Are there any footsteps of the doctrine of the Trinity among the Jews and Gentiles?
A. There has been a very ancient tradition concerning three persons in the divine nature. The Jews did distinguish the word of God, and the Holy Spirit of God, from him whom they looked upon as the first principle of all things.
Q. What use may we make of this?
A. That neither the Jews nor Gentiles have any
reason to object this doctrine to us Christians, especially since they have only their own reason or tradition to ground it upon; whereas we have express divine revelation for what we believe in this matter, and do believe it singly upon that account.
Q. What may we learn from the observation of this Festival?
A. To submit our reason to the obedience of faith. To believe what we are sufficiently assured God hath revealed, though we cannot comprehend it, because the incomprehensibility of a thing is no concluding argument against the truth of it; the perfections of the Deity being in their own nature infinite. To contain ourselves within the bounds of sobriety, without wading too far into abstruse, curious, and useless speculations. To admire and adore the most glorious Trinity, as being the joint authors of our salvation. To acknowledge the transcendant love of God towards us, in giving his only begotten Son, by an eternal generation, to die for us sinners; and the wonderful condescension of our dear Redeemer, the merits of whose sufferings were enhanced by the dignity and excellence of his person. Never to grieve that eternal Spirit, by whose gracious influences we are made partakers of everlasting salvation.
Q. If we are bound to believe such doctrines of Christianity as we cannot comprehend, is there any use of reason in religion?
A. Yes, certainly; for nothing can be a greater reflection upon religion, than to say it is unreasonable, that it contradicts that natural light which God hath fixed in our minds, and that it declines a fair and impartial trial, and will not bear the test of a thorough examination. Therefore the ancient fathers, the great pillars of our faith, in all their apologies for the Christian