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it would swallow up every other thought in every reasonable creature. Allow me only this, "Thou art on the brink of either a happy or miserable eternity; thy Creator bids thee now stretch out thy hand, either to the one or the other;"—and one would imagine no rational creature could think on any thing else. One would suppose, that this single point would engross his whole attention. Certainly it ought so to do: certainly if these things are so, there can be but one thing needful. Oh let you and I, at least, whatever others do, choose that better part whick shall never be taken away from us !

20. Before I close this subject, permit me to touch upon two remarkable passages in the Psalms, (one in the 8th, the other in the 144th,) which bear a near relation to it. The former is, When I consider thý heavens, the work of thy fingers; the moon and the stars which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man, that thou visitest him ?” Here man is considered as a cipher, a point, compared to immensity. The latter is, “ Lord, what is man, that thou hast such respect unto him ? Man is like a thing of nought: his tine passeth away like a shadow !" In the new translation the words are stronger still : “What is man that thou takest knowledge of him; or the son of man that thou makest account of him ?" Here the Psalmist seems to consider the life of man as a moment, a nothing, compared to eternity. Is not the purport of the former, " How can he that filleth heaven and earth, take knowledge of such an atom as man? How is it that he is not utterly lost in the immensity of God's works ?" Is not the purport of the latter, "How can he that inhabiteth eternity, stoop to regard the creature of a day, -one whose life passeth away like a shadow ?" Is not this a thought which has struck many serious minds, as well as it did David's, and created a kind of fear lest they should be forgotten before him, who grasps all space and all eternity? But does not this fear arise from a kind of supposition that God is such a one as ourselves ? If we consider boundless space, or boundless duration, we shrink into nothing before it. But God is not a man. A day, and mil lions of ages, are the same with him. Therefore there is the same disproportion between him and any finite being, as between him and the creature of a day. Therefore, whenever that thought recurs, whenever you are tempted to fear lest you should be forgotten

before the immense, the eternal God, remember that nothing is little or great, that no duration is long or short before him. Remember that God "ita præsidet singulis sicut universis, et universis sicut singulis :" that he presides over every individual as over the universe; and the universe, as over each individual. So that you may boldly say,

« Father, how wide thy glories shine,

Lord of the universe and mine!
Thy goodness watches o'er the whole,
As all the world were but one soul;
Yet counts my every sacred hair,
As I remaind thy single care !"

SERMON LX. On the Trinity.

ADVERTISEMENT. Some days since, I was desired to preach on this text. I did so yesterday morn. ing. In the afternoon, I was pressed to write down and print my sermon, if possiblo, before I left Cork. I have wrote it this morning; but I must beg the reader to make allowance for the disadvantages I em under; as I have not here any books to consult, nor indeed any time to consult them.

Cork, May 8, 1775.

“ There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and lne Holy Ghost: and these three are one," 1 John v, 7.

1. Whatsoever the generality of people may think, it is certain that opinion is not religion: no, not right opinion; assent to one, or to ten thousand truths. There is a wide difference between them : even right opinion is as distant from religion as the east is from the west. Persons may be quite right in their opinions, and yet have no religion at all; and on the other hand, persons may be truly religious, who hold many wrong opinions. Can any one possibly doubt of this, while there are Romanists in the world ? For who can deny, not only that many of them formerly have been truly religious, (as Thomas à Kempis, Gregory Lopez, and the Marquis de Renty,) but that many of them, even at this day, are real inward Christians? And yet what a heap of erroneous opinions do they hold, delivered by tradition from their fathers ! Nay, who can doubt of it while there are Calvinists in the world, assertors of absolute predestination ? For who will dare to affirm that none of these are truly religious men? Not only many of them in the last century were burning and shining lights, but inany of them are now real Christians, loving God and all mankind. And yet what are all the absurd opinions of all the Romanists in the world, compared to that one, that the God of love, the wise, just, merciful Father of the spirits of all flesh, has, from all eternity, fixed an absolute, unchangeable, irresistible decree, that part of mankind shall be saved, do what they will, and the rest damned, do what they can !

2. Hence, we cannot but infer, that there are ten thousand mistakes, which may consist with real religion ; with regard to which every candid, considerate man will think and let think.

But there are some truths more important than others. It seems there are some which are of deep importance. I do not term them fundamental truths; be cause that is an ambiguous word : and hence there have been so many warm disputes about the number of fundamentals. But surely there are some, which it nearly concerns us to know, as having a close connection with vital religion. And doubtless we may rank among these, that contained in the words above cited, “ There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."

3. I do not mcan, that it is of importance to believe this or that explication of these words. I know not that any well judging man would attempt to explain them at all. One of the best tracts which that great man, Dean Swift, ever wrote, was his Sermon upon the Trinity. Herein he shows, that all who endeavoured to explain it at all, have utterly lost their way; have, above all other persons, hurt the cause, which they intended to promote; having only, as Job speaks,“ darkened counsel by words without knowledge." It was in an evil hour, that these explainers began their fruitless work. I insist upon no explication at all; no, not even on the best I ever saw ; I mean, that which is given us in the creed commonly ascribed to Athanasius. I am far from saying, he who does not assent to this, "shall without doubt perish everlastingly.” For the sake of that and another clause, I, for some time, scrupled subscribing to that creed; till I considered, 1. That these sentences only relate to wilful, not involuntary unbelievers; to those who, having all the means of knowing the truth, nevertheless obstinately reject it: 2. That they relate only

to the substance of the doctrine there delivered ; not the philosophical illustrations of it.

4. I dare not insist upon any one's using the word Trinity or Person. I use them myself without any scruple, because I know of none better : but if any man has any scruple concerning them, who shall constrain him to use them ? I cannot : much less would I burn a man alive, and that with moist green wood, for saying, “ Though I believe the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God, yet I scruple using the words Trinity and Persons, because I do not find those terms in the Bible." These are the words which merciful John Calvin cites as wrote by Servetus in a letter to himself. I would insist only on the direct words, unexplained, just as they lie in the text : • There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."

5. “ As they lie in the text:"-But here arises a question : Is that text genuine ? Was it originally written by the apostle, or inserted in later ages ? Many have doubted of this; and, in particular, that great light of the Christian church, lately removed to the church above, Bengelius,--the most pious, the most judicious, and the most laborious, of all the modern commentators on the New Testament. For some time he stood in doubt of its authenticity, because it is wanting in many of the ancient copies. But his doubts were removed by three considerations : 1. That though it is wanting in many copies, yet it is found in more; and those copies of the greatest authority :2. That it is cited by a whole train of ancient writers, from the time of St. John to that of Constantine. This argument is conclusive: for they could not have cited it, had it not then been in the sacred canon :-3. That we can easily account for its being, after that time, wanting in many copies, when we remember, that Constantine's successor was a zealous Arian, who used every means to promote his bad cause, to spread Arianism throughout the empire ; in particular, the erasing this text out of as many copies as fell into his hands. And he so far prevailed, that the age in which he lived, is commonly styled, Seculum Arianum, the Arian age; there being then only one eminent man, who opposed him at the peril of his life. So that it was a proverb, Athanasius contra mundum: Athanasius against the world.

6. But it is objected : “ Whatever becomes of the text, we cannot believe what we cannot comprehend. When, therefore, you require us to believe mysteries, we pray you to have us excused.”

Here is a twofold mistake: 1. We do not require you to believe any mystery in this; whereas you suppose the contrary. But, 2. You do already believe many things which you cannot comprehend.

7. To begin with the latter : You do already believe many things which you cannot comprehend. For you believe there is a sun over your head. But whether he stands still in the midst of his system, or not only revolves on his own axis, but "rejoiceth as a giant to run his course;" you cannot comprehend either one or the other: how he moves, or how he rests. By what power, what natural, mechanical power, is he upheld in the fluid ether? You cannot deny the fact: yet you cannot account for it, so as to satisfy any rational inquirer. You may, indeed, give us the hypothesis of Ptolemy, Tycho Brahe, Copernicus, and twenty more. I have read them over and over : I am sick of them; I care not three straws for them all.

“ Each new solution but once more affords
New change of terms, and scaffolding of words :
In other garb my question I receive,

And take my doubt the very same I gave.” Still I insist, the fact you believe, you cannot deny; but the manner you cannot comprehend.

8. You believe there is such a thing as light, whether flowing from the sun, or any other luminous body; but you cannot comprehend either its nature, or the manner wherein it flows. How does it move from Jupiter to the earth in eight minutes; two hundred thousand miles in a moment? How do the rays of the candle, brought into the room, instantly disperse into every corner? Again, here are three candles, yet there is but one light. Explain this, and I will explain the threeone God.

9. You believe there is such a thing as air. It both covers you as a garment, and,

" Wido interfused, Embraces round this florid earth.” But can you comprehend how? Can you give me a satisfactory accoun of its nature, or the cause of its propertics? Think only of one, its elasticity: can you account for this ? It may be owing to electric fire attached to each particle of it: it may not; and neither you nor I can tell. But if we will not breathe it, till we can comprehend it, our life is very near its period.

10. You believe there is such a thing as earth. Here you fix your foot upon it: you are supported by it. But do you comprehend what it is that supports the earth? “Oh, an elephant;" says a Malabarian philosopher, “and a bull supports him.” But what supports the bull? The Indian and the Briton are equally at a loss for an answer. know it is God that “spreadeth the north over the empty space, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.” This is the fact. But how? Who can account for this ? Perhaps angelic, but not human creatures.

I know what is plausibly said concerning the powers of projection and attraction. But spin as fine as we can, matter of fact sweeps away our cobweb hypothesis. Connect the force of projection and attraction how you can, they will never produce a circular motion. The moment the projected steel comes within the attraction of the magnet, it does not for

a curve, but drops down. 11. You believe you have a soul. “ Hold there,” says the doctor :* “I believe no such thing. If you have an immaterial soul, so have the

* Dr. Bl—r, in his late Tract.


brutes too." I will not quarrel with any that think they have; nay, I wish he could prove it : and surely I would rather allow them souls, than I would give up my own. In this I cordially concur in the sentiment of the honest heathen, Si erro, libenter erro; et me redargui valde recusem. If I err, I err willingly; and I vehemently refuse to be convinced of it. And I trust most of those who do not believe a Trinity are of the same mind. Permit me then to go on. You believe you have a soul connected with this house of clay. But can you comprehend how? What are the ties that unite the heavenly flame with the earthly clod? You understand just nothing of the matter. So it is; but how, none can tell.

12. You surely believe you have a body, together with your soul, and that each is dependant on the other. Run only a thorn into your hand; immediately pain is felt in your soul. On the other side, is shame felt in your soul ? Instantly a blush overspreads your cheek. Does the soul feel fear or violent anger ? Presently the body trembles. These also are facts which you cannot deny; nor can you account for them.

13. I bring but one instance more: at the command of your soul, your hand is lifted up. But who is able to account for this ? For the connection between the act of the mind, and the outward actions ? Nay, who can account for muscular motion at all; in any instance of it whatever ? When one of the most ingenious physicians in England had finished his lecture upon that head, he added, “Now, gentlemen, I have told you all the discoveries of our enlightened age; and now, if you understand one jot of the matter, you understand more than I do."

The short of the matter is this : those who will not believe any thing but what they can comprehend, must not believe that there is a sun in the firmament; that there is light shining around them; that there is air, though it encompasses them on every side ; that there is any earth, though they stand upon it. They must not believe that they have soul; no, nor that they have a body.

14. But, secondly, as strange as it may seem, in requiring you to believe, that “there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one;" you are not required to believe any mystery. Nay, that great and good man, Dr. Peter Browne, sone time bishop of Cork, has proved at large, that the Bible does not require you to believe any mystery at all. The Bible barely requires you to believe such facts; not the manner of them. Now the mystery does not lie in the fact, but altogether in the manner.

For instance : “God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” I believe it: I believe the plain fact : there is no mystery at all in this. The mystery lies in the manner of it. But of this I believe nothing at all; nor does God require it of me

Again : “ The Word was made flesh.” I believe this fact also. There is no mystery in it; but as to the manner, how he was made flesh, wherein the mystery lies, I know nothing about it; I believe nothing about it: it is no more the object of my faith, than it is of my understanding

15. To apply this to the case before us : “ There are three that bear record in heaven; and these thr are one." I believe this fact also, (if I may use the expression,) that God is three and one. But the manner, how, I do not comprehend; and I do not believe it. Now in this, in the manner, lies the mystery; and so it may; I have no concern

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