Imágenes de páginas


[The Author to whom the Compiler is indebted for the following valuable Article is a well-known and equally respected member of the Society of Friends. The treatise whence the passages are derived is entitled "A Letter to a Friend, on the Authority, Purpose, and Effects, of Christianity, and especially on the Doctrine of Redemption." It is said that the "friend" to whom the Letter was originally addressed remained, until nearly 80 years of age, a cold unbeliever in the great truths it unfolds; but that there is reason to believe that the perusal of this able and Scriptural production proved the means, under the Divine blessing, of inducing saving faith and lively hope in his Redeemer.]



THERE is nothing by which the Scriptures are more eminently distinguished, nothing by which their importance and divine origin are more clearly evinced, than by the information which they impart respecting the nature and character of GOD. Much light indeed, on this great subject, may be derived from the works of the Deity which surround us on every side, and which proclaim, in intelligible language, his wisdom, power, and goodness; and also from that moral sense of his own existence and authority, which however it may, in numberless instances, be depraved and perverted, he appears to have impressed universally on the mind of man. But the knowledge which we derive from natural religion respecting God is, in a wonderful manner, augmented and completed in the records of his revealed will. We learn from the Scriptures that there is no other God but JEHOVAH-that he exists from eternity to eternity-that he is the creator, governor, and preserver of the uni

verse-that he is omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly wise-that in him we live, and move, and have our being-that he is the author of the Moral Law-that he is the source of every good and perfect gift, and more especially of everlasting life-that he is holy, just, true, faithful, righteous, longsuffering, and merciful-that he is love; a tender and compassionate Father to those who walk in his fear and obey his law-that, eternal and infinite as he is, he graciously extends his immediate care to the most minute interests of his creatures-that not a sparrow falleth to the ground without him, and that he numbers the very hairs of our heads. It is more particularly to our present purpose to observe, that the Deity is ever described in the Bible as a Being of absolute purity; so that in his sight every species of iniquity, whether in thought, word, or deed, is abominable. Hence it follows, that he will by no means acquit his guilty creatures while they continue in sin; and it is plainly declared, that without holiness none shall see God.

Here I would remark, that while the inspired writers bear the most ample and decisive testimony to the unity of the supreme Being-while the great principle, that God is one, lies at the very foundation of their scheme of religion, and pervades it in every part-we nevertheless learn, from many of their declarations, that in that

great scheme of mercy which he has ordained for our salvation, the ONE GOD has manifested himself to mankind (with reverence be it stated) as the FATHER, the SON, and the HOLY SPIRIT.

The mode of that distinction and of that union which we believe to subsist in the divine nature is placed far beyond the reach of our limited comprehension, and can never be a fit subject either for speculation or for definition; but the doctrine, that there is such a distinction, and that there is such an union, will never cease to be highly prized by those persons who are aware of its practical influence and operation. I may confess that it has long appeared to me to be a sound and necessary deduction, not only from the passages of Scripture in which the Creator, the Redeemer, and the Comforter, are upheld to view as the common sources of our spiritual good, and the common objects of our faith and allegiance, but from all those also in which there is a distinct reference to the divinity either of the Son, or of the Spirit. See Matt. xxviii. 19; John xiv. 26, xv. 26, xvi. 13-15; 2 Cor. xiii. 14. Comp. John i. 1—3, &c.; Acts xiii. 2; 1 Cor. xii. 11; 2 Cor. iii. 17.

Respecting ourselves, the Scriptures reveal many truths of the highest importance to us. From various declarations contained in them, we plainly learn, that man is endued not only with a frail body, but with a soul; and that when the

« AnteriorContinuar »