« PreviousContinue »
Q. 17. What is meant by the mercy of God? and how is it proved?
A. Mercy in God means a disposition to pity the miserable and to bestow good upon the ill-deserving. *
-That God possesses this perfection, we have abundant proof from the gift of His Son; from His forbearance with sinners; from His provision of the means of salvation; from His proffers of eternal happiness; and from express declarations of His word.(m)
Q. 18. What is meant by the truth of God? and how is it proved?
A. Truth in God means His perfect veracity of disposition, and the accordance of His declarations with the real state of things, His faithfulness in fulfilling His promises, in executing His threatenings, and in accomplishing His predictions. -This perfection of God may be proved from His other moral perfections; from His conduct, and from His word.(n)
Q. 19. Is God incomprehensible?
A. He is not so to Himself; but he is so to us. His incomprehensibility arises solely from our incapacity to comprehend Him. God is infinite; we are finite; and it is impossible that finite beings should comprehend the infinite God. He must, therefore, of necessity, be incomprehensible to us in His nature, purposes, and works.(o)
Q. 20. In what does the greatness of God consist?
A. In his moral perfections. His natural perfections derive their real glory from His moral perfections,
(m) Eph. ii. 4, 5. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith be loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ.-Ps. ciii. 13. As a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.
(1) Num. xxiii. 19. God is not a man, that he should lie, neither the son of man, that he should repent; hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
(0) Job xi. 7. Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?—Rom. xi. 33. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearch. able are his judgments and his ways past finding out.
* Mercy is frequently used as synonymous with grace; though in their strict and natural sense these words differ. in this sense, mercy means good shown to the miserable, and grace, good shown to the ill deserving.
the former being exercised under the influence of the latter.(p)
Q. 1. What do the Scriptures teach with respect to the mode of the existence of God? A. They teach, that there is one God, numerically
in essence, and that, in this one God, there is a threefold subsistence or distinction, or three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, possessing numerically the same essence, and the same perfections. This mode of existence is peculiar to the great Jehovah. In the one self-existent Being, there is a something, which is the ground of His existing as a Trinity in unity.(a)
Q. 2. Why is the term person used in reference to the Trinity in the Godhead?
A. Because distinct personal attributes or properties, and acts, are ascribed to the Father, to the Son, and to
(P) Exod. xxxiii. 18, 19. And he said, I beseech thee show me thy glory. And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee; and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee, and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy
(a) Matt. xxviii. 19. Go ye, therefore, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. -2 Cor. xiii. 14. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. - 1 John v.7. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one.—2 Thess. iii. 5. And the Lord direct your hearts unto the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.-Gal. i. 7.
Grace be to you, and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.-1 Pet. i. 2. Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.-Gen. i. 26. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.—Gen. iii. 22. And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us to know good and evil.Gen xi. 7. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.—Isaiah vi. 8. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?—Isaiah xlviii. 16. And now the Lord God and his Spirit hath sent me,
the Holy Ghost; and because the three personal pronouns I, Thou, and He are in Scripture applied to them. This lays the foundation for using the term, though its meaning, when applied to the Trinity, is not the same, in all respects, as when applied
But no better term can be found to convey our ideas of the threefold subsistence or distinction in the Godhead, and therefore it may and should be used.(6)
Q. 3. Is the doctrine of the Trinity taught in the Sacred Scriptures only?
A. It is—they only reveal it.
Q. 4. Are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, each, truly and essentially Divine!
A. They are. In the Scriptures, to each Person Divine names and titles are given, Divine attributes, prerogatives and works are ascribed, Divine offices are assigned, and Divine worship and honors are paid. Surely, then, the Father must be God,(c) the Son must be God.(d) and the Holy Ghost must be God.(e)
(b) John xiv. 16. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.-Heb. i. 8. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy Kingdom.
(c) Jude 1. Jude the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father.-John iv. 23. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship him.-Luke xi. 2. And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, hatlowed be thy name.
(d) Isaiah ix. 6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. and ihe government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.-John i. 1, In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.-John X. 13. I and my Father are one.-John xx. 28. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.—Heb. i. 8. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; a sceptre of righteous. ness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.- 1 John v. 20. And we know, that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true; and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and elernal life.-Rom. ix. 5. Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.-Tit. ii. 13. Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Savior Jesus Christ. Rev. i. 8. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.—Heb. xiii. 8. Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever.—Matt. xxviii. 18. And Jesus camo,
Q. 5. Is God one and three in the same sense?
A. He is not. God is three in personality, but one in essence or substance~ three in one respect, but one in another. The three Persons in the Godhead do not constitute one Person, neither does the one God constitute three Gods: but the three Persons exist in one God, and the one God subsists in three Persons. God is really, as well as nominally, three in Person; but not in any such
and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earih.—Matt. xviii. 20. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.- John xxi. 17. And he said unto him, Lord thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee.-Heb. iii. 4. For every house is builded by some man, but be that built all things is God.—Col. i. 16, 17. For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him, and for him. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.-John v. 23. That all men should bonor the Son, even as they honor the Father.—Heb. i. 6. And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.--Rev. v. 13. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteih upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever.-Acts vii. 59. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
(e) Acts v. 3, 4. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Saian filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost?--Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.-John iii. 5. Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.--John i. 13. Which were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.-2 Tim. iii. 16. All scripture is given by irspiration of God.-2 Pet. i. 21. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.--1 Cor. iii. 16. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?--1 Cor. vi. 19. What! know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?—Luke xii. 12. For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.--1 Cor. ii. 10. For the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.--Ps. cxxxix. 7. Whither shall I go from thy Spirit, or whither shall I flee „ from thy presence?-Job xxvi, 13. By his Spirit be garnished the heavens.--Job xxxiii. 4. The Spirit of God hath made me.-Elsewhere the Holy Ghost is called the Spirit of wisdom and knowledge, the Spirit of promise, the Spirit of power, the Spirit of holiness, and the Holy Spirit.--2 Cor. xiii. 14. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.
sense as to be inconsistent with His being one in essence.(f)
Q. 6. May not the Trinity in the Godhead be illustrated by man, considering him, as some have considered him, a tripartite being, composed of body, the earthy part, the soul the animal or sensitive part, and the spirit the rational or immortal part?
A. Certainly not; for these three parts in man, supposed to be possessed by him, make but one person, and this one person can speak of himself only in the first person, unless by a figure of speech.
Q. 7. May this doctrine be explained by considering God as one Person, agting in three different characters, as Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier?
A. This theory cannot be admitted; for then the distinction in the Divine essence would be merely nominal, and not real. God could not then speak of Himself by the three personal pronouns. But we find the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, speaking of each other as distinct Persons, and considering each other as distinct agents, having power to understand, to will, and to act.(g)
Q. 8. Are the three Persons in the Godhead separate, as well as distinct?
A. They are not. Things which are distinct are not always separate. This is the case with the soul and body of man, while he is alive in this world. This is the case with the faculties of the mind. They are distinct, but not separate. So it is in regard to the Persons in the Godhead.
Q. 9. Are the three Persons in the Godhead equal by nature?
A. They are the same in essence, and equal in every Divine perfection.(h)
($) John v. 7. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one.-2 Cor. xiii. 14. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.
(8) 1 Pet. i. 2. Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.—Jobn xiv. 16. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.
(h) 1 Johu v. 7. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one.-