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Scriptural Testimony to the Trinity

The Old and the New Testament alike, assures us that in the trustful knowledge of One God,—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost,—is the spiritual life of man now and for ever. The Lord grant that we may continue to bring to the study of his word, that humble spirit which prays “That which I see not teach thou me” (Job 34:32). To one who receives with meekness the engrafted word which is able to save our souls, the Scriptures already adduced prove beyond contradiction that as the Father is God, so is Jesus Christ God, and so the Holy Spirit is God. This truth, however, must be combined with another, which is revealed with equal clearness and enforced with equal solemnity:—“I am Jehovah, and there is none else, there is no God beside me” (Isa 45:5). The combination of these truths establishes the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, for “these Three must together subsist in one infinite Divine essence, called Jehovah or God; and as this essence must be indivisible, each of them must possess not a part or portion of it, but the whole fulness or perfection of the essential Godhead forming, in an unity of nature, One Eternal Jehovah, and therefore revealed by a plural noun as the Jehovah Elohim, which comprehends these Three; but with this solemn qualification, that the Jehovah Elohim is in truth but one Jehovah, Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.” This supreme mystery must transcend all the powers of human thought; and the question must recur again and again, What saith the Scripture? Our imaginations must be counted as the small dust of the balance. Thus do you conceive that the very names “the Father the Son” imply a certain point in duration beyond which the Father inhabited eternity alone? Your conception cannot countervail the assertion of Scripture, that the goingsforth of the Saviour have been from everlasting (Micah 5:2); or the words of Christ himself, adopting the formula which declares the Divine self-existence from eternity to eternity, “I am the first and the last” (Rev 1:11).

The illustration, before adduced, of the sun, its beams of light, and its vital heat, may offer some faint resemblance of this great mystery; for the beams of light are generated by the central orb; and yet the sun could not have existed, so far as we know, for a moment without emitting its radiance, nor the radiance have existed without diffusing its warmth: so that “one is not before another, but only in order and relation to one another.” But no creature can adequately image forth the Creator, who asks, “To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?” (Isa 40:18). Again, do you imagine that the name of him who is alone Jehovah, cannot comprehend a Trinity in Unity? Your imagination is as nothing in contradiction of the words of Christ revealing the one Divine name, as “the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Do you asseverate the impossibility of three subsistences in one eternal essence? Remember, I pray you, the words, “Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?” (Job 11:7). What do we know of the essence of created things? The pure white light seems indissolubly one; an unscientific man would, without hesitation, pronounce it uniform, and would utterly deny any plurality subsisting in its transparent simplicity. The colours of the rainbow seem evidently manifold; and the same man might refuse to credit their unity. Science stoops to analyze light; and we are told that— “The prismatic spectrum consists in reality of three spectra of nearly equal length, each of uniform colour; superposed one upon another; and that the colours which the actual spectrum exhibits, arise from the mixture of the uniform colours of these three spectra superposed. The colours of these three elementary spectra, according to Sir David Brewster, are red, yellow, and blue. He shows that by a combination of these three, not only all the colours exhibited in the prismatic spectrum may be reproduced, but their combination also produces white light. He contends, therefore, that the white light of the sun consists, not of seven, but of three constituent lights.”— “Lardner’s Museum” vol. 7 p. 78. 19 The unlearned man then, in his incredulity, would have denied an established fact. The unity of that pure white light was not so simple as he affirmed. More constituents than one subsist in its ethereal essence. But has science now fathomed the mysteries of light? So far from it, we read—“Light is now proved to consist in the waves of a subtle and elastic ether, which pervades all space, and serves to communicate every impulse, from one part of the universe to another, with a speed almost inconceivable. In this luminous ether, matter seems to emulate the subtlety of thought. Invisible, and yet the only means by which all things are made visible; impalpable, and yet nourishing all material objects into life and beauty; so elastic, that when touched at one point, swift glances of light tremble through the universe; and still so subtle that the celestial bodies traverse its depths freely, and even the most vaporous comet scarcely exhibits a sensible retardation in its course— there is something in the very nature of this medium which seems to baffle the powers of human science, and to say to the pride of human intellect, “Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further; and here shall thy proud waves be stayed.” Here, indeed, the most brilliant and profound analysts have continually to guess their way, when they would trace out a few of the simplest laws resulting from the existence of such an ether, and unfold their application to the various phenomena of reflected and refracted light. It is a great deep of mystery. Science grows dizzy on its verge when it strives to explore the nature of this subtle, immense imponderable ocean, which bathes all worlds in light, and itself remains, by its own nature, invisible for ever.”—Birks’ “Treasures of Wisdom”, pp.99-106. Is such the modest confession of truth after all the triumphs of human wisdom? Is man only wading, with tremulous footstep, into the shallow waters of that unfathomable sea called into existence by the fiat of God, when he said, “Let there be light, and there was light?” Are we so soon out of our depth in seeking to understand one of his works? How much rather may we expect to be humbled as we meditate, and to be baffled if we think we can comprehend, the glorious Creator himself? Is light a mystery? How much rather he who dwells in the light that no man can approach unto! We know him only as he reveals himself. This self-revelation involves a yet greater self-concealment There will be the manifestation of God in the voluntary condescension of his love: and there will be the necessary seclusion within the clouds of his unapproachable glory. W hen a finite being seeks to understand anything of the Infinite, it must always be so. There will be the fragment of truth which the student has made and is making his own, and the illimitable expanse beneath, above, and beyond him. Thus in the field of nature we read, “The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein” (Psa 111:2). Here is our knowledge. But “No man,” says Solomon, “can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end” (Eccl 3:11). There is the limit of our knowledge. We are invited to consider his heavens, to trace his footprints, and to regard the operations of his hands. And yet after all, “Lo! these are parts of his ways; how faint a whisper is heard of him! the thunder of his power who can understand?” (Job 26:14) So, in the majestic course of his patient. providence we adoringly acknowledge, “Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints:”(Rev 15:3) and yet we must confess, “Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known” (Psa 77:19). Humble students are treading an upland path. Their horizon widens every step they take. The angels of light, standing on a higher eminence, see further than they. Still there must be a boundary line which limits angelic intuition: and whatever lies beyond that line must be a mystery to them, or, if made known to them, made known by revelation. We rebuke the want of modesty in the unlearned peasant who argues from his ignorance against the declarations of science: surely those blessed spirits would rebuke us, if we, through preconceived notions of our own, refused to credit the simple revelations of God regarding his own mysterious Being. He reveals himself by his names, his attributes, and his acts. And, therefore, if, combined with assertions that God is one, we find three revealed in Scripture to whom the same names, attributes, and acts are ascribed, the same so far as a personal distinction allows; if we look vainly for any fourth Divine one, or any intimation of more than three; if we connect with this the intimate and necessary union affirmed to exist betwixt the Father, and the Son, and the Spirit, as when the Lord Jesus says, “I and my Father are one,” and when Paul says, “The Spirit searches the depths of God;” if, then, we find that every Christian is baptized into one Name,—the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,—we are led swiftly and irresistibly up to the doctrine (call it by what name you will) of the Trinity in Unity. Hence, at the risk of apparent repetition, I shall bring together again some few Bible testimonies to the Deity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; combining them in one view; and adding a further declaration from Scripture of our sole dependence on the alone Jehovah; so that you may see at a glance, that we are compelled by the Christian verity, “to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of the Divine Majesty to worship the Unity.” I. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are eternal. 1. I am the first, and I am the last (Isa 44:6). The everlasting God (Rom 16:26). 2. I am the first and the last (Rev 1:17). Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting (Micah 5:2.) 3. The eternal Spirit (Heb 9:14). The One Eternal is our trust. The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms (Deut. 33:27). II. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost created all things. 1. One God, the Father, of whom are all things (1 Cor 8:6). The Lord.... it is he that hath made us (Psa. 100:3). 2. All things were made by him (the Word, etc. John1:3). By him were all things created, etc. (Col.1:16). 3. Who hath measured, etc. who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord? (Isa. 40:12,13). The Spirit of God hath made me (Job 33:4). The One Almighty is our trust. Commit the keeping of their souls to him,—as unto a faithful Creator (1 Peter 4:19). III. The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are omnipresent. 1. Do not I fill the heaven and earth? saith the Lord (Jer 23:24). 2. Lo, I am with you alway (Matt 28:20). 3. Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? (Psa 139:7). The One omnipresent God its our trust. He is not far from every one of us; for in him we live, and move, and have our being (Acts 17:27, 28). IV. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are omniscient. 1. No one knoweth the Father, save the Son (Matt. 11:27). Known unto God are all his works, etc. (Acts 15:18). 2. No one knoweth the Son, save the Father (Matt 11:27). Lord, thou knowest all things (John 21:17). 3. Who being his counsellor hath taught him? (Isa 40:13). The Spirit searcheth all things (l Cor 2:10). We worship the One all-seeing God. All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do (Heb 4:13). V. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are true, holy, and good 1. He that sent me is true (John 7:28). Holy Father. Righteous Father (John 17:11, 25). The Lord is good (Psalm 34:8). 2. I am...the truth (John 14:6). The Holy One and the just (Acts 3:14). The good Shepherd (John 10:11). 3. The Spirit is truth (1 John 5:6). The Spirit, the Holy One (John 14:26). Thy Spirit is good (Psa 143:10). We adore the One Lord of infinite goodness. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy (Rev. 15:4). VI. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost have each a self-regulating will. 1. Him that worketh all things after the counsel of his own will (Eph 1:11). 2. The Son wills to reveal him (Matt 11:27). Father, I will (John 17:24). 3. Dividing to every one severally as he wills (1 Cor 12:11). We rest on the will of him who alone is Jehovah. The will of the Lord be done (Acts 21:14). VII. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are the fountain of life. 1. With thee is the fountain of life (Psa 36:9). God hath quickened us (Eph. 2:4,5). 2. In him (the Word) was life (John 1:4). The Son quickeneth whom he will (John 5:21). 3. The Spirit is life (Rom 8:10). Born of the Spirit (John 3:8). We depend on one life-giving God. Love the Lord thy God,...cleave unto him,...for he is thy life (Deut 30:20). VIII. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost strengthern, comfort, and sanctify us. 1. Thou strengthenedst me with strength in my soul (Psa 138:3). I will comfort you (Isa 66:13). Sanctified by God the Father (Jude 1). 2. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (Phil 4:13). If any consolation in Christ (Phil. 2:1). Sanctified in Christ Jesus (1 Cor 1:2). 3. Strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man (Eph 3:16). The Comforter, the Holy Ghost (John 14:26). Being sanctified by the Holy Ghost (Rom 15:16). We trust in One God for spiritual power. My God, my strength, in whom I will trust (Psa 18:2). IX. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost fill the soul with Divine love. 1. Every one that loveth him that begat (1 John 5:1). If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him (1 John 2:15). 2. The love of Christ constraineth us (2 Cor 5:14). If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 16:22). 3. I beseech you for the love of the Spirit (Rom 15:30). Your love in the Spirit (Col 1:8). The love of the One living and true God characterizes the saint. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart (Deut. 6:5). X. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost gave the Divine law. 1. The law of the Lord is perfect (Psa 19:7). The word of our God (Isa 11:8). Thus saith the Lord God (Eze 2:4). 2. The law of Christ (Gal 6:2). The word of Christ (Col 3:16). These things saith the Son of God (Rev 2:18). 3. The law of the Spirit of life (Rom 8:2). Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (2 Peter 1:21). The Holy Ghost said (Acts 13:2). The word of One Legislator is the believer’s rule. There is one Lawgiver who is able to save (James 4:12). XI. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost dwell in the hearts of believers. 1. I will dwell in them (2 Cor 6:16). God is in you of a truth (1 Cor 14:25). Our fellowship is with the Father (1 John 1:3). 2. Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith (Eph 3:17). Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col 1:27). Our fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ (1 John 1:3). 3. The Spirit dwelleth with you, and shall be in you (John 14:17). The communion of the Holy Ghost (2 Cor 13:14). The contrite heart receives One Divine guest. Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, I dwell with him that is of a contrite and humble heart (Isa 57:15). XII. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are, each by himself, the supreme Jehovah and God. 1. I am Jehovah thy God (Exo 20:2). Thou, Lord, art most High for evermore (Psa 92:8). 2. Jehovah our God (Isa 40:3, with Matt 3:3) The Highest (Luke 1:76, with Matt 11:10). 3. Jehovah God (Ezek 8:1,3). The Highest (Luke 1:35). The One supreme Lord God is our God for ever and ever. Jehovah, our Elohim, One Jehovah (Deu 6:4). From this brief comparison, which might be elaborated at far greater length, Scripture assures us that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, have the same Divine attributes, concur with a mind and will and heart, personally independent but unitedly harmonious, in the same Divine acts, and are addressed by the same Divine names. And further, we learn that our trust is not dispersed or confused by this co-equal Godhood of the Sacred Three: but that (a way of access being opened in the gospel through the revelation of the Father in Christ by the Spirit) we rest on, we worship, and we love One God. Taken from the book “The Trinity” by Edward Henry Bickersteth.

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