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they say, are no where to be found in Scripture; they are only parts of a visionary system raised by the superstition of the dark ages; but of these we take no notice at present; to heretical errors of this sort we reserve our reply for a future part of our subject; for the present we rather wish to notice those persons who will not undertake indeed to disprove the doctrine of the Trinity, yet think it of no importance whether it be believed; and while they will not undertake to decide whether it be true or false, they imagine, that even on supposition of its truih, it need not be insisted on as absolutely necessary to be believed: that is, in other words, they hope, that if God should really appear at the last day subsisting in more persons ihan one, the mistaken Unitarian shall yet find a gracious introduction to each of those two other sacred persons, whose worship he scoffed at, and whose existence he denied. Let the impossibility of such a supposition be one argument for proving, that if the doctrine of the Trinity be true, it is not an indifferent matter whether we believe it. Let us judge of this matter in a parallel instance.
Persons from a mistaken charity would fain have us persuaded that Socinianism and Atheism are venial errors; but we have the same reason for believing that paganism and idolatry are excusable. The same argument for proving that the worship of many gods is hateful to Jehovah, will also prove that the worship of God in one person is equally so: and that if the former is idolatry, the latter is atheism. However, we know how the Scripture decides on the subject of idolatry, notwithstanding the palliations advanced by enlightened moderns. Looking round to observe the different religions that prevail in the world, we see each worshipper performing his adorations in his own way: one offering his sacrifice to Jehovah, another to the statue of Jupiter-one prostrating himself to the sun, and another to the devil. Now the reflections the man of reason makes are, “All these men are in reality worshipping the same true God; they do not indeed, exactly discern the proper object of their worship, but this is for want of a better information; so far as they are sincere, they are all adoring the same supreme being, whether they call him Jehovah, Jove, or Lord.”
Thus far reason: but what says the Scripture? That to mistake the person whom we worship is a fatal mistake-that idolatry is not a venial error, but a cursed abomination which involves the subjects of it in everlasting perdition. Cursed be all they that worship graven images. In this instance you see reason and Scripture are at variance. Now may we thus argue from what we have said, If there be one true God, then we see that the idolater, who does not worship him as such, perishes for not doing it. Now I ask, if there be three persons in the Godhead, each claiming divine worship, why shall not the Unitarian, for the same reason perish under Atheism? Why shall he not
perish for only worshipping one person in the Trinity when he ought to have worshipped three? He may not, peradventure, see the doctrine in Scripture, but so many do not see the Gospel itself to be true; but what then, are they excused for not believing it? Hear! He that believeth not shall be damned. These all perish; not because they had a defect in their understandings, or their reasoning powers, but because of their proud hearts; they would not submit their reason to the word of God, though convinced of the divinity of it.
Remember that we are not now proving the doctrine in question, but only we beseech you to remember that if the doctrine of the Trinity be true, it is at the peril of our souls if we disbelieve it. One of the direct evidences of this doctrine is found in a part of our text, and this we shall notice in its proper place.
The words we first read to you are the farewell charge of Christ to his disciples, before he ascended into heaven. We shall consider first, Christ's command to them; and secondly, their encouragement to obey it.
I. Christ's command: Go ye, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.
Formerly, during his life time, while his work was yet confined, his commission to the twelve was couched in this form: Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the
Samaritans enter ye not; but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.* But Jesus had now died, not for that nation only, but that also, he should gather in one the children of God that were scattered abroad: now therefore, the glorious hour was arrived in the counsels of God--the middle wall of partition, between Jew and Gentile, was broken downthey who were afar off, were to be made nigh by the blood of Christ--peace was to be preached to them that were afar off, as well as to them that were nigh—that through him, both might have access by one Spirit unto the Father; when Christ was to be given as a covenant to the people, to be God's salvation to the ends of the earth. Now was the dawn of the Gospel day when the Gentiles were to be made fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the Gospel. Now must the promises be fulfilled which declared, that Christ should see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied; therefore he had poured out his soul unto death. Now instead of the thorn must come up the fir-tree, and instead of the briar must come up the myrtle-tree; and the time must begin when the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth, as waters cover the sed. Go ye
and teach all nations, was the word. He does not specify the particulars of what they were to teach, but blessed was the message which they had to deliver. It was our
Matt, x, 5, 6.
Lord's manner to be reserved on those topics which reflected honor on himself: even on the subject of his precious death, he never enlarged much: little more than that he should give his life a ransom for many.
Greater love than this hath no man than that a man lay down his life for his friends. Instead of descanting at length on the particular subjects on which they were to preach, he rather chose to leave it to their own feelings; and they no doubt, as sinners saved by grace, would not wait to be informed on what theme they were to dwell, nor were slow to deliver their message. They were to tarry at Jerusalem indeed for the
promise of the Father, the gift of tongues from the Spirit; but they would not, like Jonah, fee from the presence of the Lord, when they had received his message, nor like Moses say, I am not eloquent but slow of speech, and of a slow tongue: for who could fail to be eloquent on a subject so sweet, on a theme so divine! No; they would say, having tasted that the Lord is gracious, we have to preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. Does he command us to go and teach all nations? We will go and teach them that faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; that God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life; that the Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost; and that all might come unto