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haft created all things, nnd for thy pleasure they are and were created.
Thus we fee, in this Vifion of St. John, a Trinity of Perfons in' the Unity of the Godhead, with a Direction to acknowledg the one, and to adore the other. To which end, our Church teaches us,
In the Third place, to pray for Grace to keep us ftedfaft in this Faith, and evermore defend us from all Adverfities and Oppofition we may meet with in it. And this we fhould the rather do, becaufe this great Article of the Trinity hath met with no fmall Oppofition from the Atheists, Hereticks, and Scepticks of all Ages. The Arians of old were great Enemies and Oppofers of this Doctrine, and fo were the Sabellians, Eunomians, and many others and 'tis ftill ftruck at and fought to be undermin'd by the Deifts, Socinians, and Senfualifts of our days, who fet up their fhallow Reafon above Divine Revelation, and deride all thofe Truths which they cannot comprehend. And because the Contagion of these evil Principles feems to fpread too far, let us pray that our Faith fail not, but that we may be kept ftedfaft in the Belief of the Holy Trinity, who have each had their fhare in the Work of our Redemption; let us take heed that we forget not God that made us, nor deny the Lord that bought us, nor refift the Holy Spirit, that can alone fanctify and fave us. Let not the feeming Difficulties that attend this great Truth, any way stagger or fhake our Faith, in a matter of fo great Concern and Comfort to us. Our Reafon is puzzled about the daily Objects of our Senfes, and can fcarce know the Nature of any thing that is before us; how then can we dive into the Ef fence of God, or comprehend that which is incomprehenfible? This Mystery of the bleffed Trinity being reveal'd to us by all the Perfons of it, we know enough of it for our prefent State : and tho Reafon alone cannot teach, and fo may not prefume to judg of it, yet we have all the reafon in the world to believe it; being made known to us by him who is Truth it felf, and cannot deceive any. Our Knowledg here is but in part, and we cannot fee to the bottom of any thing; and much lefs may we hope to fathom this unfearchable Depth. And yet God hath imparted to us Knowledg enough to make us magnify him, and leffen our felves: We know enough to learn Humility, and to discover to us our own Ignorance; and if we are modeft
and contented, we fhall e'er long know much more. In the mean time,
Our Faith in this Article of the Trinity will be more noble and great, when it makes our Reafon to ftoop to it, and overcomes all its Doubts; and we fhall better celebrate the Holy Trinity by a profound Silence and Adoration, than by difputing about it, or prying too curioufly into the Manner of it. And therefore inftead of faying with Nicodemus, How can these things be? let us pray with hini in the Gol pel, Lord I believe, help my Unbelief.
Wherefore, in the laft place, from what hath been faid, let us all learn firmly to adhere to this great Truth against all Oppofition, holding faft the Profeffion of this Faith without wavering, and not be warp'd or drawn from it by the Smiles or Frowns of any. To this end, let us con
1. That this is what we have all promis'd in our Bap tifm, viz. to believe all the Articles of the Chriftian Faith, whereof this of the Holy Trinity is the prime fundamental one, upon which all the reft are founded. To keep to that, is a good means of being ftedfalt and immovable in all the reft, but if we waver and fall from that, we endanger the whole Fabrick of our Faith, and run into Infi delity. So that the Socinians and Scepticks of our Age, that call in queftion this or any other Article of the Chrif tian Faith, are guilty of a manifeft Breach of their Baptifmal Vow they are Deferters and Renegadoes from the Faith, in forfaking that, which they engag'd to ftick to to their Lives end. And fuch Fugitives and Revolters from the Faith fhall e'er long receive the heavy Punishment of their Apoftacy: which fhould teach us to beware of an evil Heart of Unbelief, in departing from the living God.
2. Know that this Doctrine of the Trinity hath not only Divine Revelation to fupport it, which is the chiefeft of all Props; but likewife the concurrent Teftimony and Confent of the Catholick Church in all Ages to confirm it, which is an additional Strength or Motive to our Belief of it: for he must be highly conceited of his own Wisdom, that will fet it up above the Wifdom of God, and the Faith of the whole Catholick Church. And having this Evidence, let us continue ftedfast in this Faith without any Wavering or Doubtfulness. Moreover,
3. Our Church minds us, in the Service of this Day, to pray for Grace fo to do, that we may ever acknowledg the Gâ
Glory of the eternal Trinity, and likewife persevere in worshipping the Unity. There may be many Allurements and Temptations to draw us from this Faith, fome endeavouring to difcourage, and others to difpute us out of its and therefore it will be requifite to call in the Affiftance of Divine Grace, to keep us firm and fteady to it. And as the three Perfons of the Trinity are one in Nature, fo let them be united in our Devotion; ftill praying to the Father, in the Name of the Son, and through the Affiftance of the Holy Ghoft, that as long as we live we may praise them toge ther, and magnify them in this manner. So the Apostles were wont to join them in their usual Salutation; The Grace of our Lord Jefus Chrift, the Love of God the Father, and the Fellowship of the Holy Ghoft, be with you all. Amen. And the Church teaches the fame in that devout Doxology, Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghoft. More particularly, let us this day efpecially bless God, for his gracious Difcovery of this fublime Mystery, and thank our heavenly Father, that the Mystery that was hid in former Ages from the Wife and Prudent, is now revealed unto Babes; even fo Father, for fo it feemed good in thy fight.
In fhort then, let us establish our Minds in a stedfast Belief of this Divine Truth, that nothing may fhake or draw us from this Faith in the ever-bleffed and undivided Trinity to which end, let us fubmit our Reafon to Divine Revelation, believing what God hath told us, tho we cannot fully understand the Manner of it, waiting for a fuller Manifeftation of this and all other Myfteries in the World
Now to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghoft, be all Honour and Praife, world without end. Amen.
The GOSPEL for Trinity-Sunday.
There was a Man of the Pharifees, named Nicodemus, a Ruler of the Jews; the fame came to Jefus by night, and faid unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a Teacher come from God; for no Man can do thefe Miracles that thou doeft, except God be with him, &c.
HIS Conference of our Bleffed Saviour with Nico demus, ferving to give fome light into the Knowledg and Belief of the Holy Trinity, is appointed to be read as the Gofpel for this Day to that end. For here we have exprefs and diftinét mention made of God the Father, whofe immediate Power and Prefence was with Jefus Chrift in all that he faid or did, ver. 2. And likewife of God the Son, who came down from Heaven, and continu'd to be in Heaven, even when he convers'd here on Earth, ver. 13. As alfo of God the Holy Ghoft, who moving upon the Waters of Baptifm, effects a new Creation, as he did by moving upon the face of the Waters in the old Creation, ver. 5, 6. The Relation of which Particulars begins thus:
There was a Man of the Pharifees, named Nicodemus, a Ruler of the Jews; one of the Sanhedrim, their great Council: The fame came to Jefus by night, not venturing to come by day for fear of the Jews; and faid unto him, Rabbi, a Title ufually given to the Jewish Doctors, we know that thou art a Teacher come from God, for no Man can do thefe Miracles that thou doeft, except God with him. Where we have
plain Confeffion of God the Father, to whofe Almighty Influence he afcribes both his Doctrine and Miracles. Qur Saviour liking well enough of this Confeflion, feeks to carry him farther, and to perfuade him to be one of his Profelytes and Followers, faying unto him, Verily, verily I
Say unto thee, Except a Man be born again, he cannot fee the Kingdom of God; ver. 3. Nicodemus, as yet grofs of underftanding, and knowing little or nothing of fuch fpiritual matters, replies to him, How can a Man be born again when he is old? Can he enter a fecond time into his Mother's Womb, and be born? Jefus perceiving the Dulness of his Apprehenfion, and how little he knew of the Christian Religion, endeavours to inform him better, and to give him a clearer Infight into heavenly and fpiritual Matters; to which end, he renews and explains his former Anfwer, fay ing, Verily, verily I fay unto thee, Except a Man be born again of Water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. Where, befide what is faid before and after of God the Son, is exprefs mention of the Spirit, or God the Holy Ghoft, the third Perfon in the ever-bleffed Trinity: adding withal, that 'tis the receiving a new Birth by Baptifm, and entering upon a new Life by fpiritual Regeneration, that can alone qualify us for the Sight and Fruition of God, for without the washing of Water, and the renewing of the Holy Ghoft, we can neither enter into the Church or Kingdom of Grace here, nor into Heaven or the Kingdom of Glory hereafter. Profelytes were admitted of old by Water into the Jewish Church, and fo they are still into the Chriftian Church by the Waters of Baptifm, but fo, that as the Waters of Bethesda were stir'd by an Angel before they became medicinal or fanative for the Health of the Body, fo the Waters of Baptifm muft be mov'd by the Holy Spirit, before they become ufeful or falutary for the Health of the Soul. And as the Jewish Profelytes were faid to be recens nati, new born, fo the Chriftian Profelytes are by the Laver of Regeneration faid to be born again of Water and the Holy Ghoft. So that Nicodemus's Error was the miftaking a natural for a fpiritual Regeneration, and taking an Entrance into the Church for a fecond Entrance into the Mother's Womb. In fhort, the Senfe of our Saviour's Words to Nicodemus was, that the owning his Doctrine and Miracles to be divine, was not fufficient for his Salvation, but he must become a Chriftian Profelyte, or a Follower of Chrift, before he could receive any Benefit by either; and that he muft enter into the Church, before he could enter into Heaven: which fhews us the abfolute Neceffity of Baptifm in order to Salvation, and the great Danger of neglecting it, where it may be had by duly qualify'd and authoriz'd Perfons,