Journal — 1833

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Preached at the opening of the same, in Christ Church, on Sunday,
APRIL 21st, 1833.



W. T. Williams,










Monday, April 22d, 1833.
In accordance with the resolution passed at the last Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the Diocese of Georgia, appointing this day and place for the next annual meeting of the same, the several delegates attended at 10 o’clock at Christ Church.

Morning prayer was conducted by the Rev. Ed. E. Ford, Rector of St. Paul’s Church, Augusta, and a discourse delivered by the Rev. Seneca G. Bragg, Minister of Christ Church, Macon: the Convention Sermon having been preached yesterday, according to appointment, by the Rev. Ed. E. Ford.

The Right Rev. Bishop Bowen, in accordance with the rule adopted at the last Convention, was invited to take the chair, and Wm. P. Hunter, Esq. acted as Secretary pro. tem.


The following certificates of Lay-delegation were presented, examined and approved:
Dr. J. Bond Read, \
Wm. B. Bulloch, > From Christ Church, Savannah.
Anthony Barclay, /

John F. Lloyd, \
Thos. I. Parmelee, > From St. Paul’s Church, Augusta.
Artemas Gould, /

Dr. Ambrose Baber, \
Wm. P. Hunter, > From Christ Church, Macon.
W. T. Williams, /

From Christ Church, St. Simon’s, no delegates appeared, nor were any appointed.
The following members appeared and took their seats:

Rev. Edw. Neufville, Rector of Christ Church, Savannah.
Rev. Edw. E. Ford, Rector of St. Paul’s Church, Augusta.
Rev. Seneca G. Bragg, Minister of Christ Church, Macon.

Dr. J. B. Read, \
W. B. Bulloch, > From Christ Ch. Savannah.
A. Barclay, /

John F. Lloyd, From St. Paul’s Ch. Augusta.

Wm. P. Hunter, \ From Christ Church, Macon.
W. Thorne Williams, /

Wm. P. Hunter was unanimously elected Secretary; and Dr. Jas. Bond Read, unanimously elected Treasurer.
On motion, it was Resolved, That the same rules


of order, adopted by previous conventions of this Diocese, be made the rules for the present convention.
Resolved, That any Clergymen of the Church, not members of this Convention, who may be in the city, and any candidates for orders, be admitted to the sittings of the Convention.
On motion of Wm. P. Hunter,
Resolved, That the Thanks of this Convention be presented to the Rev. Edw. E. Ford, for his able and appropriate sermon delivered yesterday, and that he be requested to furnish a copy of the same, for publication with the Journals.
The following parochial reports were then made.
Baptisms, (infant 25—adult 3) – – – – – 28
Marriages, – – – – – – – – 6
Burials, – – – – – – – – 11
Communicants, (added 15—died 3) – – – – – 150
Confirmed, – – – – – – – – 40
Communicants, added since last Convention, 3—Died 1—Withdrawn 1—Present number 69.
Baptisms—Adult 1; children 12, one of them a colored child—total 13.
Funerals—14, of which 6 were of persons not belonging to the congregation.
There is a Sunday School in regular and successful operation, consisting of about ninety-five children, under the direction of a superintendent, assistant super-


intendent, three male and twelve female teachers. The very young children, to the number of about thirty, are organized as an Infant School, under the charge of three female teachers. The average number in attendance, including both departments, is about fifty. To the Sunday School is attached a well selected library, consisting of about two hundred and twenty volumes. The system of instruction pursued, is, for the most part, that recommended by the Episcopal Sunday School Union.
A parochial library has been commenced, consisting, at present, of one hundred and twenty volumes, mostly of very valuable works.
The Female Missionary Society of the Congregation has evinced, during the past year, a more than usual degree of zeal and activity; and it is sincerely hoped, that the happy results of their operations will, at no distant period, be manifested, in the extension of our church to those points within the State where, heretofore, she has scarcely been known, and in the salvation of many precious and immortal souls.
Burial 1; Communicants 12.
There has been neither Baptism nor Marriage since the last report, and but one addition to the communion.
To the Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church, in the State of Georgia.
The Rector of Christ Church, Macon, respectfully reports—


That he entered on his ministerial duties, in this Parish, the first week in January last.
The comparatively few persons, who still retain their attachment to the Protestant Episcopal Church, have manifested a firm resolution to unite their efforts, with a view to its revival, and permanent establishment in this city. No stronger evidence of their intention could be given, than is furnished in the proceedings of the Vestry. The members of that body have promptly assumed the responsibility of contracting for the erection of a Church Edifice, which is to be completed in October next. This step has been taken in full confidence, that many friends of our Zion, throughout the Diocese, will feel a pleasure in aiding their operations, according to their ability. Without such assistance, the zeal of our little band may fail of accomplishing their desire to render this feeble outpost a future stronghold of primitive faith and piety.
It is expected of the Rector and Delegates, representing this Parish in Convention, that they will frankly state the circumstances, under which a pledge has been given to raise necessary funds, for providing a suitable house for public worship, adapted to the peculiar services of our Church. They would hope, however, that the exhibition of such real, not imaginary wants, already made, together with the exertions of certain friends, who have generously anticipated a direct application, will result in a substantial proof of the strength and purity of those principles, which form an endearing bond of union between brethren of the same christian household.
The number of Episcopal families, attending our Services, is eight.


There are three male and five female Communicants; four having been added (two of them by certificate from another denomination,) since the commencement of last February.
One adult has been recently baptized.
Marriages, none; Funerals, none.
Circumstances have hitherto prevented any attempt to organize a Parish Sunday School.
In conclusion, the Rector begs leave to commend that portion of the moral vineyard, included in his charge, to the fostering care of the Convention; especially of the Clerical Members, and the Right Rev. presiding Bishop; and to acknowledge, with gratitude, the numerous mercies bestowed, by the Divine Head of the Church, on his “unprofitable servant.”

Macon, April 10, 1833.
The Standing Committee report that the Rev. Edw. E. Ford, has been canonically transferred to this Diocese, from that of New-Jersey, and that he was recommended to the Right Rev. Bishop Bowen for Priest’s Orders, which he has accordingly received.
Mr. Dunbar Morel has been admitted as a candidate for orders.
The Committee also communicated the following notice of matters submitted by the last General Convention, to the consideration of Diocesan Convention:–
Resolved, The House of Clerical and Lay Deputies concurring, that it be made known to the several Diocesan Conventions, that it is hereby proposed for adoption at the next General Convention, to insert the following Rubric after the “Prayer to be used at the Meetings of Convention:”—


“During the period of the session of any General or Diocesan Convention, the above “here assembled in thy name and presence,” being changed to “now assembled in thy name and presence;” and the clause “govern us in our present work,” to “govern them in their present work.””
Resolved, The House of Clerical and Lay Deputies concurring, that it be made known to the several Diocesan Conventions, that it is hereby proposed for adoption at the next General Convention, to insert the said Prayer and Rubric at the end of the “Prayers upon several occasions to be used before the two final prayers of morning and evening service.”
Journal General Convention of 1832—pp.92, 57.
Resolved, That, with the concurrence of the House of Clerical and Lay Deputies, it be made known to the Conventions of the several Dioceses, that it is hereby proposed to alter the Rubric before the “Selections of Psalms,” so as to read, “The following selections of Psalms, or any one or more Psalms, or any portions of the 119th Psalm in the Psalter, may be used instead of the Psalms for the day, at the discretion of the minister.” And that the fourth paragraph of the “Order how the Psalter is appointed to be read” be erased.
Resolved, The House of Clerical and Lay Deputies concurring, that it be made known to the Conventions of the several Dioceses, that it is hereby proposed to alter the last Rubric before the Communion Service, by substituting the work “right” for the word “north.”
See Journal of General Convention, 1832—pp. 93, 94.
The report of Dr. J. Bond Read, Treasurer of the Convention, was received and read as follows:–
“The Treasurer of the Diocese of Georgia, reports a balance in his hands of $47.00.”
On motion of Rev. Edw. E. Ford,
Resolved, That the cause of Christ Church, Macon,


as a point of great importance from which to extend the interests of our Church, be earnestly commended to the fostering care of the Right Rev. Bishop, having the provisional care of this Diocese, and to the friends of the Church generally, in this and the neighboring Diocese.
Resolved, That the next annual Convention be held in St. Paul’s Church, Augusta, on the second Monday after Easter Monday, in the year 1834, and that the Rev. S. G. Bragg, Minister of Christ Church, Macon, be, and he is hereby appointed to preach the usual sermon, at the opening of the same.
Resolved, That the Treasurer be authorized to collect the sum of fifteen dollars from each Church in this Diocese, for defraying the incidental expenses of the Convention, agreeably to the provisions of the fourth canon of the Protestant Episcopal Church in this Diocese.
Resolved, That the Convention adjourn until tomorrow morning at 10 o’clock.
N. BOWEN, President.
W. P. Hunter, Secretary.

Tuesday, April 23d, 1833.
The Convention met pursuant to adjournment. Divine service was performed by the Rev. Mr. Ford, and a discourse delivered by the Rev. Mr. Bragg.
The Bishop being absent, the Rev. Ed. Neufville, as senior Presbyter of the Diocese, took the chair.
The Minutes of the last meeting were read and approved.


The Convention then proceeded to elect a Standing Committee; when were chosen—
Rev. Edw. Neufville;
Rev. Edw. E. Ford;
Rev. T. B. Bartow;
Edw. F. Campbell, \
G. McLaughlin, > of Augusta.
Dr. Lewis D. Ford, /
The following Preamble and Resolutions were offered by Mr. Williams, and unanimously adopted:
The visit of the Right Rev. Bishop Bowen, to this Diocese, during the session of this Convention, for the purpose of presiding at, and participating in its deliberations, having been highly gratifying to the members, be it, therefore,
Resolved, That the thanks of this Convention be respectfully and cordially tendered to him for this, as well as many other evidences of his solicitude for the interests of the Church in this Diocese; and that a copy of this resolution be furnished to the Bishop by the Secretary.
Resolved, That two hundred and fifty copies of the Minutes of this Convention, and of the Sermon of the Rev. Mr. Ford, be printed, and that the Rev. Edw. Neufville and Mr. Williams, be the Committee to superintend the publication.
The report of the Treasurer of the Society, for the advancement of Christianity in Georgia, a copy of which follows, was read and accepted.
“The Treasurer of the Protestant Episcopal Society, for the general advancement of Christianity in Georgia, reports that there is now in the Treasury, the sum of $35.90.”


The following resolution, adopted by the “Protestant Episcopal Society, for the general advancement of Christianity in the State of Georgia,” was, by request, ordered to be inserted in the Minutes of the Convention:
Resolved, That the Rev. Edw. Neufville and Dr. Wm. Parker, of Savannah, and Rev. Edw. E. Ford and Edw. F. Campbell, Esq. of Augusta, be, and they are hereby appointed a Committee to ascertain the number of members belonging to the Society for the advancement of Christianity in Georgia, and to obtain additional subscribers to said Society, and to report to the next Convention.
On motion, Resolved, That the Rev. Ed. E. Ford be appointed a Trustee of the Protestant Episcopal Theological Seminary of the United States, for the Diocese of Georgia.
After prayer, by the President, the Convention adjourned.
Wm. P. Hunter, Sec’ry.

The following remarks should have been inserted in the report of Christ Church, Savannah, at page 5.
“The Sunday School contains six male and eleven female teachers; forty-five male and sixty female scholars, and is in a prosperous condition. The library connected with it, has been considerably increased during the last year.”

The Trinity
(Typist note: the above title was handwritten)




ISAIAH—Chap. VI. 3 Verse.
“And one cried unto another, and said, holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts.”
Our text forms a part of the description of a sublime vision vouchsafed to the Prophet Isaiah. He was just about to be deputed as the messenger of God, to denounce his threatenings against the Jewish nation: and it is probably that the purpose of his being favored with these sublime representations was, the more deeply to impress his mind with the majesty and glory of the dread Being whose ambassador he was constituted, and thus to inspire him, not only with an awful sense of his high responsibilities, but also with a becoming indifference to the enmity and opposition which he was destined to encounter from that rebellious people. Among the many other lofty and imposing objects described in the prophet’s account of this vision, the sublimity of which, it appears, well nigh overwhelmed him, he represents the Seraphim standing above the throne, high and lifted up, on which was seated the King, the Lord of hosts, and crying responsively to one another, “holy, holy, holy,


is the Lord of hosts!” This threefold ascription of praise on the part of the Seraphim, has ever been held by the Christian Church, from the earliest period, to be expressive of the three sacred Persons in the ever adorable Trinity. But, lest this construction of the language of the Seraphim, so far as it proceeds simply upon the peculiar mode of expression, might seem to rest on insufficient grounds, there is other proof of its correctness, which few, it is presumed, will be disposed to question. Thus, in the next verse but one, of the chapter from which our text is taken, the prophet informs us that, in this same vision, he beheld the Lord of hosts. “Then said I, wo is me! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live in the midst of a people of unclean lips!—for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” Now, let it be remarked, that it is in reference to this very vision of the prophet, that St. John, in his gospel, affirms, that the exalted personage then seen by the prophet, was Christ, the Son of God. “These things,” he declares, “said Esaias, when he saw his (Christ’s) glory, and spake of him.” But, furthermore—the holy person whom the prophet beheld in this vision was the Holy Ghost. This is expressly declared in the 28th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, where the Apostle Paul is represented as holding the following language:–“Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet, unto our fathers, saying, go unto this people, and say, hearing ye shall hear and not understand, and seeing ye shall see and not perceive.” Now, this language is precisely that which, in his account of the vision Isaiah ascribes to the Lord of hosts, as addressed by


Him, through the prophet, to the Jewish people; yet the Apostle Paul here says, this same language was uttered by the Holy Ghost. The conclusion is irresistible. Either the Apostles St. John and St. Paul, must here “be found false witnesses,” or else, the august personage beheld by Isaiah, in his vision, was at once, the Lord of hosts, or the Eternal Father—Christ the Son of God—and the Holy Ghost. Let those escape from this conclusion, who will have the hardihood to adventure upon the only possible mode of escape; which is, to maintain the irreverent position that two Apostles have here testified to matters about which they were in utter ignorance.
In the further prosecution of this discourse, we propose to adduce a few of the leading passages of scripture in support of the important doctrine of the Trinity, thus disclosed in our text.
This doctrine is thus stated by our Church, in the first of her articles of religion—“that in the unity of the Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
As to the divinity of the Father, there is no question made. What we are required to prove then is, the divinity, first, of Jesus Christ the Son, and secondly, that of the Holy Ghost, the second and third Persons respectively, of the Godhead.
And first, we are to shew from the plain language of the word of God, that Christ the Son, is of the same divine nature and substance with God the Father.
In the prophecy of Isaiah, then, we find the fol-


lowing passage:–“Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself, and he shall be for a sanctuary: but for a stone of stumbling and rock of offence to both houses of Israel.” Now compare with this, the following passage in the 1st Epistle of St. Peter—“This stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling and rock of offence.” According to the first of these texts, the stone of stumbling and rock of offence, is the Lord of hosts himself—but according to the latter of them, this stone of stumbling and rock of offence is none other than Christ, that stone which the builders refused. Therefore, Christ is the Lord of hosts himself.
Again, in the prophecy of Isaiah, it is written—“Thus saith the Lord of hosts: I am the first and I am the last, and besides me there is no God.” But Jesus Christ has expressly assumed these very titles to himself. Thus in the Book of Revelation, he says, “I am alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” Therefore, Jesus is that God, besides whom there is no other.
Again; Christ permitted Thomas, without censure or rebuke, to call him in the way of worship, “my Lord and my God!” and the first martyr Stephen, commended his departing soul to him, as God, in the ejaculation, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
The attributes of Deity are frequently ascribed to Christ in the sacred scriptures. In several places in the gospels, the prerogative of forgiving sins is expressly asserted by himself. The high attribute of knowing the hearts of men, is asserted by him. Thus, in the Book of Revelation, “All the churches shall


know that I am He which searcheth the reins and hearts:” an attribute which belongs to God only: as in the book of Kings, “Thou, and thou only, knowest the hearts of the children of men.”
But not only the attributes, but the very names of God are, in numerous passages, applied to him in the most direct terms. Of this, let the following instances suffice:–“Of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came; who is over all, GOD blessed forever more,” “The Word, (that is, the Son,) was GOD.” “Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and he shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty GOD.” Again; in the Revelation, Christ is introduced saying, “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.” In the first Epistle of St. John, we read as follows: “We are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” In St. Paul’s second Epistle to the Colossians, it is thus written—(and we may remark, by the way, that this is a most emphatic passage, not only for the immediate purpose for which we quote it, but also as revealing the fruitful cause of much of the error which prevails on this subject,) “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ: for, in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” I feel, my brethren, that after such a clear and explicit declaration from the word of God, as this, it were to attribute to you the grossest irrever-


ence, to suppose you could possibly demand farther evidence on this point. We proceed, therefore, to the scripture proofs in support of our next position, that the Holy Ghost is also possessed of the divine nature.
And first, we would observe that the spiritual birth is, in scripture, ascribed equally to God the Father, and to the Holy Ghost. Thus our blessed Saviour, in his discourse with Nicodemus, speaks of “that which is born of the Spirit:” whilst St. John, in his 1st Epistle, in reference to the Spiritual birth, says, “Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world.”
Again—in the 9th chapter of St. Matthew’s gospel, our blessed Lord says, “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.” But this Lord who is to send forth laborers to the work of the gospel ministry, and to whom Christ himself here authorizes us to pray, is the Holy Ghost, as is evident from the following passage in the Acts of the Apostles: “So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost.”
According to St. Luke, “it was revealed unto Simeon by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” But in the very same chapter, this Evangelist also informs us that “Simeon blessed God, and said, Lord now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word.” Here the same word, let it be observed, which was referred to in the former of these two passages, and there expressly ascribed to the Holy Ghost, is in the latter as expressly affirmed to be the word of God.
In the last discourse of Christ with his Apostles,


he says, “The Spirit of truth, (meaning, unquestionably, the Holy Spirit,) dwelleth with you, and shall be in you:” yet St. Paul says to the sincere followers of Christ at Corinth, “God is in you of a truth.”
St. Paul says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God.” But St. Peter says, “Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
Peter said to Ananias, “Why hath Satan filled thy heart to lie to the Holy Ghost?” reminding him, in immediate connexion, that He to whom he had lied was none other than God.
The Apostle Paul, in different places of one and the same Epistle to the Corinthians, says, “The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are”—and, “Know ye not that your bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost?”
It was foretold by the angel that Christ should be called the son of the Highest. But mark the reason assigned why he was to be so called—“The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee,” says the Angel to Mary, “and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore, that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” Consequently the Holy Ghost is God, and the Highest.
We have thus, it is hoped, proved, most abundantly from the explicit declarations of sacred Scripture, that the Son and the Holy Ghost respectively, equally with the Father, are possessed of the divine nature.
But it might well be expected that we should not be left to infer so mysterious a truth exclusively from the fact, (strong and conclusive as it is,) that each of the three Holy Persons in question, are spoken of, sepa-


rately and apart, as possessing the divine nature: but that, for our entire satisfaction, the word of God should contain some express representations of the divine nature as subsisting under a threefold form: and accordingly such passages are frequent in the sacred volume. We have selected the following, which we cannot but think must be deemed conclusive.
And, first—There is a very common mode of expression, pervading the books of the Old Testament, in the original Hebrew, in which this idea is clearly inculcated. The word which, in that language, more clearly than any other, expresses the Supreme Being, the most High God, is a word in the plural number: but which, by an anomaly fully as striking in that language as it would be in any other, is frequently used in connexion with verbs in the singular number: thus clearly conveying the idea that, though the action referred to be attributed to one agent, yet that agent consists of more than one person. But this argument rests not alone upon what might, perhaps, be called a mere grammatical nicety: for in several places, this same idea of a plurality in the Godhead, is expressly conveyed in the language attributed to the Deity, when speaking of himself. Thus, in the first chapter of Genesis—“And God said, let us make man in our image.” But why this mode of expression, unless the divine nature consisted of more than one person? Probably every one knows the popular answer to this argument: which is, that this is a mere mode or form of expression, borrowed from the usual style of earthly Kings and potentates, who, it is well known, habitually speak of themselves in the plural number.


Now it is true, that the sacred writers, when using their own language, as also the Deity himself, when speaking through them, do, in general, conform to those modes of expression to which the ears of men are familiarized by custom: but this admitted fact has nothing to do with the present question; for it is certainly not very easy to see why the Deity should here have employed what is called the royal style, when, as yet, there was neither king nor potentate, nor indeed a single human being in existence. But even though, we should concede to this specious argument all the weight which can be asked for it, what shall the objector say to the following expression, found in the 3d chapter of Genesis? “And the Lord said, behold the man is become like ONE OF US.” Did ever King or potentate use such language as this? “We decree”—“It is our royal will”—are expressions sufficiently in form—but who ever read a royal proclamation containing such language as—“One of us decrees—It is the royal will of one of us?”
Again; this idea of a plurality, and in the particular passage which we shall now adduce, a trinity of Persons in the Deity, is clearly inculcated in that threefold form of benediction, in which, under the Mosaic system, the High Priest was directed to bless the congregation of Israel, and of which we have the account in the 4th chapter of the Book of Numbers. “The Lord bless thee and keep thee—the Lord make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee—the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee and give thee peace.” The force of this passage consists, not exclusively in the circumstance that the name of the


Lord is three times invoked, but in the further consideration, that the three distinct functions of the one Lord here successively brought to view, correspond, with no inconsiderable accuracy, with the appropriate offices ascribed, in the New Testament, to the three sacred Persons respectively, who, as we are taught to believe, compose the Godhead: the act of preservation being that habitually attributed to the Father—the illumination of the understanding, that which, though not habitually, yet frequently is, imputed to the Son, while peace, we know, enters into the Apostle Paul’s enumeration of the peculiar gifts of the Holy Ghost, the Comforter.
Of similar import is the injunction left by our blessed Saviour with his Apostles, to “baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.” Now the exalted blessings and privileges connected with baptism are such as cannot be supposed to be conferred by any being short of the eternal God. Yet in this charge of Christ to his Apostles, the bestowment of these blessings is ascribed equally to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Ghost.
Lastly; it may be proper, with a view to its methodical arrangement under its proper head, in this discussion, here to repeat the passage selected as our text, and upon which we have already remarked, in the opening of this discourse.
This brings us to another view of our subject, in which we shall endeavor to guard your minds against an inference which would be most unfriendly to the truth, but which is freely, though most unjustly charged upon those who hold the mysterious doctrine in-


culcated in our text: the inference, to wit, that there are three separate and distinct Gods. My brethren, we repel the charge of holding any such revolting doctrine, with the holy indignation which the imputation deserves. For, although, as we have abundantly shewn, there are attributed, in the word of God, to the Son and to the Holy Ghost respectively, not only the acts and the attributes, but in express language, the very name too of God; yet that same word as clearly and explicitly teaches the all important truth that there is but one only God: and, therefore, it is in connexion with the most religious reception of this great and fundamental principle of all true religion, that we hold the equally important truth which we have been laboring to establish. While, therefore, we faithfully adhere to that truth which, since the days of our blessed Saviour and his Apostles, has ever stood forth, the pre-eminent doctrine of the Christian faith, that truth for which saints have suffered and martyrs shed their blood, and agreeably to which, in the language of the collect for Trinity Sunday, “We acknowledge the glory of the Eternal Trinity,” yet as implicitly do we, (to use the venerated language of that same collect,) “in the power of the divine majesty worship the Unity.” In other words, we hold, what the Christian Church held in her earliest and purest days, and has ever since continued to hold, that in the three sacred Persons of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, there is an entire unity of nature or essence, constituting one only Godhead.
And why do we believe this? Because it can be


fully comprehended within the feeble grasp of human reason? No—but upon far safer grounds—the explicit declarations of the God of eternal truth. We dare not follow the puny taper of our reason, that fallible, delusive guide, which, in its proudest period but led the human mind into the gloomy absurdities and impious abominations of paganism; we dare not trust to such a guide, in our speculations upon the divine nature, while we have the unequivocal word of Him who was the wisdom of God, and of those holy Apostles who were, by his sacred inspiration, guided into all truth, in composing those sacred records which they left behind them. We will freely exercise that reason within those limits where she may be safely trusted: and, therefore, we will faithfully and thankfully avail ourselves of her aid, in examining the genuineness and authenticity of those histories, and the inspiration of those doctrines contained in that precious volume which purports to be a message to the world from the fountain of all truth and wisdom. Here she may be safely trusted, and here she shall have ample scope: but with us, my brethren, hitherto may she come and no farther. We thankfully acknowledge her guidance in conducting us, satisfactorily, to the conclusion that these records contain a genuine message from God to his creatures; but she shall not impiously sit in judgment upon the propriety of that message. That God has spoken, shall be enough for us. From that point, we acknowledge no other guide; nor will we take upon our souls the tremendous responsibility of saying, which of two truths, acknowledged to be revealed with equal ex-


plicitness, we will reject, because our imperfect reason cannot, at present, exactly comprehend the manner in which they are to be reconciled: and that too, when the propositions regard the particular mode of existence of that Being, that eternal Spirit, who, inaccessible to mortal ken, sits enwrapped in deep and impenetrable concealment upon the throne of the universe. In every thing connected with such a Being, and most of all in a matter so utterly inscrutable, as must be the precise nature and mode of his sublime existence, we look for mystery: nay, we consider mystery as one of the most authentic badges of truth, in all accounts connected with such a subject. But, moreover, we cannot understand our own nature. We cannot comprehend the mysterious union of matter and spirit within us. We cannot even comprehend the growth of the blade of grass that we tread beneath our feet: and it shall not be, until our reason can pilot us successfully through this region of minor mysteries, that we will adventure ourselves with her into such an untrodden, aye, into such a forbidden field of speculation, as that of the intimate nature, the particular and precise mode of existence, of that divine and essentially mysterious being, whose days mount back into eternity; convinced, as we are, that “we cannot, by searching, find out God unto perfection.” There are hidden things here which we are willing to acknowledge belong only unto God. In reference to these, the mystery which we cannot comprehend, we will devoutly adore. “Our language shall not be—“Speak Lord—and thy servant shall set his reason to examine the propriety of they mes-


sage,” but, “Speak Lord, for thy servant heareth.” What we can comprehend we will humbly embrace, and it shall exert its appropriate influence upon our lives: even what may, at present, be beyond our powers, we will yet not the less humbly receive, looking forward, with joyful anticipation to that better and more perfect state, when, throughout eternity, our enlarged powers shall find their appropriate exercise in fathoming the depths of those dark mysteries, which now baffle and confound our puny faculties.
But it is frequently asked, why press so pertinaciously a doctrine acknowledged to be attended with serious difficulties, while it presents to the mind only a set of cold, abstract and uninfluential propositions, which can have no possible bearing upon the life and practice of its advocates? To this question it ought to be deemed a sufficient answer to say, it is so written. We find this doctrine explicitly set forth in the word of God: and what He, in his infinite wisdom and goodness, has seen fit to reveal, we cannot, without danger, think it unworthy of us to receive. But furthermore, we say that the objection proceeds upon a false assumption: and that, in point of fact, so far are the several truths which make up this doctrine from cold and uninfluential abstractions, that they constitute emphatically the very life and soul of Christianity, considered as a system designed to inculcate and enforce practical obedience and holiness. I appeal to you, my brethren of the congregation, who around this altar commemorate from time to time the dying love of a crucified Redeemer, I appeal to you to say, to what degree are your conceptions of the


love of that precious Redeemer enhanced on those solemn occasions, by the consideration, that the great propitiatory victim in whose atoning blood you humbly trust your sins are blotted out, was He who, from the beginning was in the bosom of the Father; whose almighty hands laid the foundations of the earth; who thought it not robbery to be equal with God; and yet that such a being, enjoying the ineffable bliss of the divine nature, consented to disrobe himself of his glories, to assume, into mysterious union with his own, the degraded nature of humanity, to lead a life of poverty and contempt, of toil and suffering and ignominy; and finally, to pour out his blood unto the death, that guilty sinners might be restored to pardon and favor at the hands of their offended Maker. I call upon you who have felt the grievous burden of sin pressing upon your consciences, to say what it was which ever opened your eyes to the deep malignity of sin, but a view of its so great odiousness in the sight of a pure and holy God; that nothing in the universe would He account an adequate atonement for it, short of the sacrifice of his own eternal Son, the coequal with himself, and the second Person in that adorable Trinity which we have been contemplating. I appeal to you, who, in humble dependence on the grace of the Holy Spirit, the third sacred Person in that adorable Trinity, are working out your salvation with fear and trembling, who, deeply conscious of that law in your members bringing you into captivity to the law of sin, are maintaining a daily struggle with the remaining corruptions of your nature; I appeal to you to say what could sustain you in this conflict, but the


conviction that that Holy Spirit, to whose aid you look, and upon whose consolations you rely, is a divine being, and one fully able to respond to your largest requisitions? and whether you could be content to look for strength and direction in this spiritual warfare, to any power short of Omnipotence? Away, then, with the unwarranted assertion, that, in contending for that precious article of our faith which has ever characterized the purest periods of the religion of Christ, we are merely cavilling for a set of barren and unprofitable abstractions. No, my brethren, no—your bosoms, I trust, will furnish you with an overwhelming refutation of this charge; for I cannot think I use language too strong when I say, that if, on those occasions when you surround this holy altar you experience one appropriate movement of devout affection, it is from a view of those great vital truths which enter into the doctrine we have now been contemplating.
To this cardinal doctrine of the Christian faith then, let us cling with unwavering constancy, unseduced by “the great swelling words of vanity” with which poor vaporing human reason is perpetually assailing it. “To the law and to the testimony” be our standing appeal: and increasingly precious in our sight be that devout petition, in which our venerable church teaches us habitually to pray, “O holy, blessed and glorious Trinity, three Persons and one God, have mercy upon us miserable sinners!”
My brethren of the clergy:
Assembled as we are, to “take counsel together,” concerning the interests of that portion of Zion upon


whose sacred walls we are set as watchmen, it cannot be inappropriate to the occasion, that, in the performance of the office assigned to me, I should seek to direct your thoughts to the means which promise to give the greatest efficacy to our labors as “stewards of the mysteries of God.”
It ought not for a moment to be questioned that, among the most prominent of these means, we are, all of us, by brethren, wont habitually to regard a faithful adherence to the doctrines of our Church as set forth in her Articles of Religion, and to that admirable Liturgy which she has wisely prescribed for the public worship of the sanctuary, and for those other sacred acts in which we may be called to officiate. To such an opinion of those articles and of that liturgy, we, my clerical brethren, are bound by the solemn vow recorded by us at the period of our ordination.
Having maturely and prayerfully considered the claims of our church before we took that solemn step, it is not to be presumed that we are apt, habitually, to look for any other motives to fidelity to the church, than that which may be expressed by us in the significant terms, “what I have written I have written.” Yet it may not be unprofitable, occasionally to look beyond this obligation: to renew our consideration of those claims on the part of our church, which, even independently of our solemn ordination vows, might well suffice to engage us to a faithful adherence to her cause: and upon such an exercise, it will be impossible, methinks, to overlook the high claim which she presents, when viewed in her connexion with that vital doctrine of our religion which we have been con-


templating. For, my brethren, this doctrine she lays deep in the foundation of her system—nay, we may truly say, that her whole system is instinct and alive with it; that she binds it, as it were, for a sign upon her hand, and as a frontlet between her eyes: that she writes it, in the most conspicuous characters, upon the posts of her house and upon all her gates. She has placed it literally in the very forefront of her articles of religion; in her liturgy, it is especially prominent; her public worship it pervades throughout; and scarcely does she utter a single ascription of praise, or pour forth a confession of sin, scarcely does she breathe a single supplication, or offer a tribute of thanksgiving, but these holy acts of her devotion ascend to heaven coupled with the assertion of this great cardinal doctrine of the Christian faith. It is equally conspicuous throughout all her sacred offices: and her faithful children are familiarized with the assertion of it, from the moment when, at her baptismal font, their infant ears are made to listen to the One Name of the three sacred Persons of the Godhead, until, over their dying pillow, she commends their departing spirit to the hands of the triune God in that significant threefold benediction in which the pious of every age have recognized this high and holy mystery. Threatened, then, as this precious article of the Christian faith is, by the open, declared and unsparing opposition, which, in the present day, it has been its lot to encounter, where, I ask, is it so likely to find refuge and protection as in the articles, and especially in the liturgy, of our church? My brethren, it is here, and I think I may say (and I


do it without intending any unkind reflection,) it is here alone, that we behold this doctrine adequately guarded and secured. Over all her sacred body, our church presents a surface, bristling with holy armour, to guard untouched this brightest gem of sacred truth. The heresy which denies this doctrine, can find no space around her altars where it can so much as set down its foot. Even should an insidious enemy succeed, by base dissimulation, in gaining admittance to her ministry, even there, in possession of her very citadel, he could not harm her: for, behind the intrenchment of her liturgy would she still sit secure, and smile with holy scorn at the impotence of his efforts, as she beheld him rolling the fabled rock of Sisyphus, and perpetually doomed, by the sound and scriptural offices of the reading-desk, to counteract, with his own lips, whatever of mischief he might perpetrate in the pulpit. To our liturgy, then, as the impregnable bulwark of this doctrine, a doctrine involving those precious truths which constitute, as we have seen, the very life and soul of the Christian system, to this liturgy, let us, my brethren of the clergy, cling with the most scrupulous fidelity. At the same time, in that important and responsible department of our labors, the ministry of the word, let us carefully and faithfully enforce all those other pure and evangelical doctrines, which, throughout her articles and her liturgy, our truly scriptural church so clearly inculcates; and above all, in our daily intercourse with the precious souls committed to our charge, let it be our earnest endeavor, in humble reliance on the gracious aids of the Holy Spirit, to illustrate the power of her


doctrines and the purifying influence of her sublime devotions, in lives of practical obedience and holiness: that thus, at last, washed in the blood of our divine Redeemer, we may, together with the dear objects of our charge, be permitted, in the realms of glory, to unite with angelic choirs, in the lofty strain, “holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts!”