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In commencing this our second Lecture on the principal doctrines of Christianity, I cannot resist the opportunity of expressing the high gratification I experienced in witnessing your profound attention to the first. I do not hesitate to confess that I felt no small degree of agitation in first rising to address an audience, one half of whom, I had reason to suppose, differed from me in opinion, upon subjects, certainly the most important which can occupy the human mind, and which have been discussed with the greatest violence of contention. From that attention I augur well. It gave me encouragement to
proceed in the performance of a task, to which I feel myself quite unequal to do justice, though with the most perfect conviction of the truth of that cause in the defence of which I have embarked. From that attention I augur well. It is a proof that you assemble with those dispositions which become the disciples of Jesus, a spirit of candour, a spirit of inquiry. I infer from it that truth is your object. If it be, whatever is the result, whether you are confirmed in the opinions you before professed, or see reason to change them, good will be done. In the former case, you will profess from principle, what before was the effect either of education or habit or indifference; in the latter you will experience the delightful sensation arising from a conviction, that your minds are not biassed by prejudice, but can listen to, and appreciate, evidence adduced. In either case you become men of principle and advocates of truth.
Having on the last evening introduced, as an inference from the Unity of God, the opinion that there could not be in existence an omnipotent malicious being,
such as the devil is considered, I find that I shall be expected to notice the scripture account. I wish therefore that I had delivered one entire lecture upon the subject, but I am now compelled to introduce it in our next lecture. This evening I shall therefore confine myself to the explanations which have been given of the Trinity by its advocates, and the texts of scripture adduced to prove it.
But before we enter upon the explanations which the most learned advocates for the Trinity have given, it may be well just to imform ourselves, what is this doctrine which they profess to explain. There is in existence a celebrated creed, which is, and has been for some time, considered as the standard of orthodoxy, called the Athanasian. Members of the Established Church, every week, give it their sanction, by attending those places of worship where it is ordered to be read, and believed as the test of true faith. Dissenters, in general, do not profess to differ from their brethren of the Establishment upon this point, but merely on points of discipline. As it is probable
that many have not seriously and minutely attended to what it is which they profess to believe, particularly Dissenters, who may not have had an opportunity of frequently hearing or reading this creed, it may be useful, before we proceed to its explanation, to read it at the present time.
"Whosoever will be saved: before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith.
"Which faith, except every one do keep whole and undefiled: without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.
"And the Catholic Faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity.
Neither confounding the Persons: nor dividing the Substance.
"For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son: and another of the Holy Ghost.
"But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one: the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal.
"Such as the Father is, such is the Son and such is the Holy Ghost.
The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate: and the Holy Ghost uncreate. "The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible: and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible.
"The Father eternal, the Son eternal: and the Holy Ghost eternal;
"And yet they are not three eternals: but one eternal.
"As also there are not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreated: but one uncreated, and one incomprehensible.
"So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty: and the Holy Ghost Almighty.
"And yet they are not three Almighties: but one Almighty.
"So the Father is God, the Son is God and the Holy Ghost is God ;
"And yet they are not three Gods: but one God.
"So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son is Lord and the Holy Ghost is Lord; And yet not three Lords: but one