Matthew 28:19
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
Sermons
A Plea for MissionsR. Glover.Matthew 28:19
Belief in the Trinity not Against Reason Though Beyond ItJ. E. Vernon, M. A.Matthew 28:19
Christian BaptismH. March.Matthew 28:19
Christian BaptismJ. Jortin.Matthew 28:19
Christian UnityS. Baring-GouldMatthew 28:19
Doctrine of the Trinity: God a Mystery to ManJ. E. Vernon, M. A.Matthew 28:19
Each Church Contributing to the Mission-Plan of GodH. W. Beecher.Matthew 28:19
Mystery no Bar to ConvictionMatthew 28:19
Practical Missionary ZealC. H. Spurgeon.Matthew 28:19
Public Use of the VersionC. J. EllicottMatthew 28:19
Significance of the Form of BaptismEdward Calamy.Matthew 28:19
The Distinctions in the GodheadJ. Burns, LL. D.Matthew 28:19
The Doctrine of the Trinity Considered in Relation to PraW. F. Adeney, M. A.Matthew 28:19
The Doctrine of the Trinity Practically ConsideredJ. O. Dykes, D. D.Matthew 28:19
The False and the True UniversalismA. L. R. Foote.Matthew 28:19
The Form of BaptismBishop Horne.Matthew 28:19
The Great CommandL. Abbott.Matthew 28:19
The Great CommissionW. Cadman, M. A.Matthew 28:19
The Great CommissionJ. Oswald Dykes, D. D.Matthew 28:19
The Great CommissionA. L. R. Foote.Matthew 28:19
The Mystery of the Most Blessed TrinityBourdalone.Matthew 28:19
The Mystery of the TrinityT. Adams.Matthew 28:19
The Mystery of the TrinityS. Baring Gould.Matthew 28:19
The Slow Progress of ChristianityJ. T. Stannard.Matthew 28:19
The Threefold NameR. Tuck Matthew 28:19
The Work of the ChurchA. A. Southerns., J. R. Thompson.Matthew 28:19
Threefold Manifestation of DeityH. B. Haweis, M. A.Matthew 28:19
On the MountainA. Raleigh, D. D.Matthew 28:16-20
The CommissionMarcus Dods Matthew 28:18-20
The Great CommissionW.F. Adeney Matthew 28:18-20
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Sometimes the Name of the Lord Jesus only is mentioned in the formula. Here our Lord gives one Name with three sounds. Each separate Name giving a distinct relation of the one Being to men. Our Lord did not say, "in the names," but "in the Name." However we may present the threefoldness, we must keep it manifestly consistent with the Divine unity. "The union of the three names in one formula (as in the benediction of 2 Corinthians 13:14) is in itself a proof at once of the distinctness and equality of the three Divine Persons." The apostles were to go forth, and disciple all nations, that is, bring them all into the full joy of sonship with God, into which they had themselves been brought; and they were to receive their pledge and seal their sonship by baptizing them into the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The significance of the threefold Name is seen in the light of this recovered sonship of men.

I. THE NAME OF THE FATHER, WHO CLAIMS THE SONSHIP. It is the relation to himself in which God set his creatures. They are his children. He designed to give them fatherly care; he expected from them sonlike obedience. Men are sons of God, and they ought to have lived and served like sons. Man's sin lay in refusing his sonship. But man's wilfulness could not affect God's claim. God still demands sonship of every child born in his image.

II. THE NAME OF THE SON, WHO SHOWS THE SONSHIP. In his own earth life of trust and obedience. Men who, in their wilfulness, refused their sonship, came at last to lose their sense of sonship; they needed to have the very idea recovered; they needed to see it as an actual realized fact, and that is the meaning of Christ's living through a Son's life here on earth.

III. THE NAME OF THE HOLY GHOST, WHO WORKS THE SONSHIP. For the sonship must not he a mere external fact, a formal ordering of the conduct and relations. True sonship is a cherished spirit, which finds expression in outward relations. And the Holy Ghost is God working within us, in the spheres of thought, Of motive, and of feeling. He ever freshly inspired the spirit of sonship. One Name - God who asks response in sonship. - R.T.







Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations.
There are many lessons in these words.

1. A lesson as to the result of death. Some thought that death had taken all "power " from Christ. They that follow Christ as well as the Master are not robbed by death; but on the other side of it they say, "Power is given unto me in heaven and in earth."

2. The reward of labour. The reward of toil is a call to a wider task, to conquer the world for Christ.

3. The cure of doubt. "But some doubted. And Jesus said, Go ye, and preach the gospel."

I. THE LARGENESS OF THE SAVIOUR'S PURPOSE — "GO ye, and teach all nations." What an amplitude there is in the gaze of Christ. What a reach in His merciful design. Calvary has not robbed Him of His love. With the freshness of the resurrection power upon Him, He bids men to look at mankind and conquer the world for Him. Our hearts are wofully small, and the little heart projects its littleness into everything at which it looks. From this littleness of hope and faith lift up yourself to the dream of the Saviour. His eye has never rested upon the man of whom He despaired.

II. THE LOWLY METHODS WHICH CHRIST ADOPTS — "GO ye, therefore." The instrumentality is weak only in our conception of it. Christ knows what the gospel will effect. Christ is a true force, and can touch the heart. He knows the power of the cross in its very gentleness. He chose men to preach it. He knew the weakness of the twelve; He also knew the power there is in each one of us; He knew the power of sympathy to enter the soul.

III. THE ENCOURAGEMENTS TO OBEY THE SAVIOUR'S CALL — "All power is given unto Me." "Lo, I am with you always." Error says, "All power is given unto me." Sin, death, say the same. But truth says, "All power is given unto Christ." All things work together on behalf of the gospel.

IV. How THIS CHARGE HAS BEEN OBEYED.

(R. Glover.)

It has been a constant joy to me that from year to year this church has been one of its affluents; and as the Amazon does not disdain any side-stream which rolls its treasure into the bosom of that ocean river, so every single church, every sidestream, is not disdained that rolls its golden sands into this great movement which is the river of God that is fertilizing the whole globe.

(H. W. Beecher.)

I. The NATURE of the work which Christ has entrusted to His Church.

1. Work of spiritual enlightenment.

2. Work of ingathering into His Church. Manifold, yet one. Let us arouse ourselves to the duty of gathering all suitable persons into its fellowship.

3. Work of incitement to holiness. As holiness is characteristic of God, so it ought to be of His people. Thus the work is rapidly sketched by the Redeemer.

II. The EXTENT of the work Christ has committed to His Church. Christ's preaching prepared the way for the doctrine of universal brotherhood. No people, near or remote, are to be neglected. This distinguishes Christianity from all other systems of religion. It is not let them come if they will and receive the gospel, but go forth, leave all, and proclaim the gospel, etc.

III. The ENCOURAGEMENTS to the work which Christ has entrusted to His Church. There are many discouragements in the execution of this commission. "The kings of the earth have set themselves together," etc.

1. The power of Christ. We have might as well as right on our side.

2. The presence of Christ.

(A. A. Southerns.)

I. A great TRUTH was revealed — "All power," etc.

II. A great TRUST was imparted.

1. They were to make disciples of all nations.

2. They were to administer the ordinance of Christian Baptism.

3. They were to instruct their converts in the mind and will of the great Master and Saviour. "Who is sufficient for these things?"

III. A great promise.

(J. R. Thompson.)

I. THE NATURE OF THE COMMAND.

1. It gives authority for missionary undertakings.

2. Obedience to it is a test of a disciple's love.

3. Connected with the Saviour's promise — "I am with you."

4. It is binding until Jesus comes again.

II. WHAT ENCOURAGEMENT IS DERIVED FROM IT?

1. Encouragement as to God's purposes concerning our fallen world.

2. That human instrumentality is appointed for the furtherance of God's purposes.

3. This explains the opposition we meet with in doing God's work: Satan is the god of this world.

4. We may reckon on our Master's sympathy.

5. We have a certain hope of final success.

(W. Cadman, M. A.)

A church, even of five hundred, represented by eleven unknown and inexperienced workmen, looked a very poor engine with which to convert the world, but the least thing became a mighty thing in the service of a mighty agent.

I. The first point to be considered in this great charter of missionary enterprize was THAT THE CHURCH'S MISSIONARY WORK REPOSED UPON CHRIST'S ELEVATION TO SUPREME COMMAND.

1. On the eve of His mortal shame, when His feelings seemed to lie at the lowest, He still knew that the Father had given all things into His hands; and after the resurrection, within a few days of His ascension, He claimed it as a gift given to His crowned mediatorship — all power in heaven and in earth. The sphere in which He had been thus constituted rightful Master was the whole universe; as stated by the eloquent apostle, it extended " far above all principalities, and powers," etc. It is on this universal range of lawful control held now by Jesus in virtue of His office, that the world-wide missionary activity of His Church depends. Christ's rule was the basis of their mission. It was only when He was on the point of ascending to the throne above the heavens that He revoked His former restriction, which was, "Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not;" but now, in the room of that revoked restriction, He issued His commission to His ambassadors in the widest terms, "Go ye now and convert all the nations." This gave the legal authorization to their missionary enterprize, justifying the missionary in setting aside the edicts of magistrates, and braving their threats of persecution.

2. What was the work to which Jesus committed His Church in this authoritative fashion? The word translated "teach" in the text would read better "disciple"; the apostles were to be the representation to other men in other lands of that same spiritual process which had passed upon themselves. The two processes which made up conversion were discriminated as baptizing and teaching. Christ first brought His disciples to that point at which they were willing to accept Him by a public profession and a symbolic sacrament, and then built up their Christian life in knowledge and service. What he had done for them He desired them to do for others. To do the work of baptizing and teaching required a combination of qualities which were very rarely blended in a single character. It was necessary to combine enthusiasm with patience, faith with labour; the former for the first, the latter for the second, stage in the Christianizing process. In the glorious warfare in which we are engaged there is room for every temperament. All are soldiers.

II. THE CHURCH'S MISSIONARY SUCCESS DEPENDS UPON THE SPIRITUAL SUPPORT AND PRESENCE OF THE LORD JESUS.

1. The results of mission labour ought to be less discouraging than they sometimes seem to be. The friends of missions are too prone to credit the disparaging representations made by their enemies. They speak of this great enterprize, more than they need do, in a tone of apology.

2. We are living near the beginning of what might be called the third great missionary era — and what might prove to be the last age of Christian propagandism.

3. The conversion of the world is the task for which the Church of this country has girt itself. Much has already been accomplished, and on the ground of natural likelihood alone — to say nothing at all of Divine promises-the conversion of the world to Christianity began to appear to the candid eye of an onlooker but a mere question of time.

4. The promised presence of Christ has not failed.

5. Let us throw ourselves with new heart and soul into this most cheering and hopeful of all enterprizes.

(J. Oswald Dykes, D. D.)

The command to teach all nations implies —

1. That Christianity is a universal religion; not merely one of the religions of the world from which, with others, we, in this later day, are to select an eclectic or universal religion.

2. That it is adapted to all nations and all classes (Romans 1:6), a claim which history has abundantly justified, but which was urged by early opponents as a conclusive objection to

3. That not a natural development, but obedience to the principles inculcated by Jesus Christ, constitutes the secret of true civilization among all nations, and thus that Christian missions are the mother of civilization.

4. That from all nations the members of Christ's Church triumphant are to be gathered to God by obedience to this commission.

(L. Abbott.)

I. The time of it, or the occasion and circumstances under which it was given.

II. The obligation of it, or the authority by which it is enforced.

III. The extent of it, or the sphere of its operation.

IV. The nature of it, or the message to be communicated.

(A. L. R. Foote.)

This incident — the concluding one of Christ's earthly sojourn — is extremely valuable, among other reasons, as bringing forward what may be called the universal element in Christianity. There is a false universalism, and dangerous as false, and common, too, as dangerous. How to meet it? Not, surely, by running into an opposite extreme of exclusiveness, but by exhibiting the true universalism. For there is a valid universalism in the gospel, and what is it? Not Christ in every man — which is the latest form of error in this matter — but Christ for every man. Not Christ at the root of human nature, in some inexplicable way, waiting only to be developed, but Christ at the root of the gospel, waiting only to be received by a simple faith.

(A. L. R. Foote.)

The heathen are perishing; they are dying by millions without Christ, and Christ's last commandment to us is, "Go ye, teach all nations:" are you obeying it? "I cannot go," says one, "I have a family and many ties to bind me at home," My dear brother, then, I ask you, Are you going as far as you can? Do you travel to the utmost length of the providential tether which has fastened you where you are? Can you say "Yes"? Then, what are you doing to help others to go? As I was thinking over this discourse, I reflected how very little we were most of us doing towards sending the gospel abroad. We are, as a church, doing a fair share for our heathen at home, and I rejoice at the thought of it; but how much a year do you each give to foreign missions? I wish you would put down in your pocket-book how much you give per annum for missions, and then calculate how much per cent. it is of your income. There let it stand — "Item: Gave to the collection last April... ls." One shilling a year towards the salvation of the world! Perhaps it will run thus — "Item: Income, £5000; annual subscription to mission, £12" How does that look? I cannot read your hearts, but I could read your pocket-books and work a sum in proportion. I suggest that you do it yourselves, while I also take a look at my own expenditure. Let us all see what more can be done for the spread of the Redeemer's kingdom.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Now one of the laws which God has arranged, and which He observes is this — the higher the form of life, the longer it is in coming to the fulness of its power, to maturity and perfection. For instance, a child continues helpless longer, and takes far more time and care to rear and train than does the offspring of any one of the lower animals. It is even so among these lower animals themselves, for "the lion has a longer infancy than the sheep, and the sagacious elephant than either." Take, again, a more abstract illustration. For example, how rapidly does a man's physical life grow and develop compared with his mental or moral. So, too, with society: shops grow faster than schools, and a nation, as our own has done, may progress in a most marked manner in the region of politics or commerce, and yet, like our own again, lag sadly behind in the matter of education. Besides, how much more is education than the diffusion of information or the quickening of intelligence? Is there not the difficult task of upbuilding character, and, alas! how marked often is the discrepancy between the intellectual standard and the moral tone? Thus the law runs: the higher the goal to be gained or the good to be sought, the slower is the race or the individual in its pursuit, the longer in its attainment. In the light of this law, we at once see that it is just what might be expected, that Christianity, as the highest possible form or principle of life, should be, speaking of it as a whole, the most gradual in its progress and realization, and, further, that it is according to all nature and analogy that Christianity, as the grandest and most delicate order of life, should be at once the most sensitive to the unfavourable touch of man, as well as the soonest subject to the prejudicial effects of his mistakes or defects.

(J. T. Stannard.)

Baptizing them.
I. THE COMMAND — to make disciples of all nations.

1. They preached the gospel.

2. They baptized the proselytes.(1) Proselytes were baptized without delay — "that same day" (Acts 2:41; Acts 8:26, 40).(2) They administered baptism with water. This was symbolical of the renewing influences of the Holy Ghost.(3) Apostolic baptism was administered " in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost."

3. The apostles taught the baptized persons to observe all things whatsoever Christ had commanded them.

II. THE ENCOURAGEMENT. "Lo, I am with you," etc.

1. This encouragement was intended primarily and especially for the apostles.

2. It was intended also for all other ministers and teachers in every age.(1) Ministers still need the gracious assurance of their Lord.(2) Baptism teaches parents what things they should teach their children.

(H. March.)

I. This form of baptizing in the name Of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost may refer to their authority as giving rise to this institution.

II. It may refer to the whole scheme of Christian doctrine, which centres in the discoveries that are made us concerning the sacred Three.

III. It refers to the distinct dedication to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, that is required as to all that are baptized, which the ancients reckoned to be signified by the triune immersion that was commonly used among them.

(Edward Calamy.)

I. By being baptized in the name of God, can be meant no less than entering into covenant with a person, as God; professing faith in Him as such; enlisting one's self into His service; and vowing all obedience and submission to Him.

II. What has Scripture revealed at large concerning the Divinity of the three names into which we are baptized?

1. Concerning the Divinity of the Father there is no dispute.

2. Divine titles are given to the Son in Holy Scripture.

3. The Holy Spirit is described as the immediate author and worker of miracles. The very same things are said in different places of Scripture of all the three Divine Persons, and the very same actions are ascribed to them.

III. What interest have we in the doctrine of the Trinity?

1. Many regard this as a speculative doctrine only.

2. Our religion is founded upon it. For what is Christianity but a manifestation of the three Divine persons, as engaged in the great work of man's redemption, begun, continued, and to be ended by them, in their several relations of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier, Three Persons, One God? If there be no Son of God, where is our Redemption? If there be no Holy Spirit, where is our sanctification? Without both, where is our salvation?

(Bishop Horne.)

Baptism is a religious rite, which was generally practised before our Saviour instituted it; for the Gentiles, in their solemn acts of devotion, made use of sprinkling and ablutions, and the Jews baptized all proselytes to their religion. To explain this part of our religion we must consider —

I. What that belief is which qualifies persons for baptism.

II. What is the end and design of baptism.

III. What is meant by being baptized in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

IV. How baptism is to be performed.

(J. Jortin.)

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
I. Let me remind you that the scriptural Trinity implies THAT GOD IS ONE. The trinity of our faith means a distinction of persons within one common indivisible Divine nature. It implies, therefore, at its base, that the Divine nature is one and indivisible. For this reason God revealed the essential oneness of His being first; and it was only after many centuries that Jesus could disclose to His disciples the "name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." On polytheistic soil no such revelation could have been intelligible; it was to monotheistic Israel that it was made. The new revelation of a Trinity in God left quite unaltered the faith of the apostles that God is one. What is the chief spiritual benefit which we derive from the knowledge of the unity of God? It is the only religious basis for a moral law of perfect and unwavering righteousness. Rival gods, who care each for his own separate interests, and for no other, must neglect moral law in pursuit of their partial ends. You have no central power raised above the contention of inconsistent passions, whose only care is to make for righteousness and the common weal. Throughout the Old Testament there runs a stern denial of all secondary divinities, stern insistence upon one only true God, to whose single will all the wide fields of creation lie subject, and all the nations of men. The single will is righteous. It is the sole source of law; religion becomes the basis of virtue. Thus the Christian doctrine of the Trinity has preserved to us in undiminished power all the moral advantages which Hebrew religion drew from its revelation of the one God.

II. WHAT RELIGIOUS ADVANTAGE DO WE REAP FROM THE FRESH CHRISTIAN DISCOVERY OF A TRINITY WITHIN THIS UNITY OF THE DIVINE NATURE?

1. The doctrine of the Trinity has heightened and enriched our conception of the nature of God. Such a Trinity as this leaves room in the Divine nature for the play of such moral affections as would be quite impossible to a mere single or solitary divinity. The lonely Deity whom human intellect, untaught by revelation, is able to fabricate for itself, is one utterly without passion or love till He has externalized Himself m a created world. The outcome of this is pantheism.

2. It affords a basis for those gracious relations which it has pleased God to sustain towards us in the economy of our salvation. These are facts of experience.

(J. O. Dykes, D. D.)

I. IS THE GREATEST HOMAGE OF FAITH.

1. By believing in this mystery we believe in the most incomprehensible of all mysteries, and consequently, we pay God the greatest homage. For I can have no sublimer conception of God than by professing Him absolutely incomprehensible. What else do we know respecting this adorable mystery but that we know nothing?

2. We sacrifice to God the noblest faculty of our nature, our intellect, by believing a mystery, of which we could not have the least idea, before God revealed it to us.

II. Is THE MOST SOLID GROUND OF OUR HOPE. Without faith, no salvation. The most necessary article of faith is the belief in the most blessed Trinity. No one can be saved, except he knows and believes

(1)that there are three Persons in one God; and

(2)that the second Divine Person became man for us.

III. Is THE MOST URGENT MOTIVE OF CHARITY.

1. It is the bond of brotherly love — "keeping the unity of the Spirit," etc. (Ephesians 4:1).

2. It is the model of brotherly love (John 17:11; Psalm 132:1). Peroration: Oh, most adorable Trinity, unite us in this world, that we may be united in heaven," etc.

(Bourdalone.)

ctical religion: — Let us see what simple facts are apparent in this revelation of God, and what service they may render to us in real life.

I. THE FATHER

1. He is the Creator of all things. As such He reveals His wisdom, etc.

2. He is the preserver of all things.

3. He is King of all, bending all to His will, and overruling all by His providence.

4. He is in a peculiar sense the Parent of His spiritual family.

II. THE SON. God with us. This is a revelation of the humanity of God, and serves great purposes. It helps us to know and love God, and makes the redemption of man possible.

III. THE HOLY GHOST. God within us. His presence is proved by its fruits (Galatians 5:22, 23).

(W. F. Adeney, M. A.)

Divine revelation makes known to us one living and true God, and prohibits all worship being paid to any being except Jehovah. But the phraseology employed obviously presents the one Jehovah under certain distinctions, involving the idea of a plurality in the Godhead. This distinction has been generally denominated the Trinity — Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The doctrine has been controverted in all ages, and numerous are the theories which men have endeavoured to maintain on this deeply profound, and confessedly difficult subject.

I. It is obvious that a threefold distinction in Deity is not impossible. We have many symbols of this in nature: the sun — the light and heat thereof; man — body, soul, and spirit.

II. The Old Testament writings lead us to this conclusion (Genesis 2:22, 7; Numbers 6:24; Psalm 14:6, 7; Psalm 110:1; Psalm 136:1-3; 2 Samuel 23:3; Isaiah 6:8; Isaiah 42:1; Isaiah 48:16; Isaiah 59:19, 20).

III. The writings of the New Testament exhibit this triune distinction (Matthew 3:16, 17; John 14:16; John 15:26; Acts 1:4, 5; Acts 5:30-35; Acts 10:38; Acts 20:27, 28; Romans 5:5, 6).

IV. The Divine works are ascribed to each of the triune persons.

1. Creation.

2. Inspiration.

3. Holiness.

4. Raising the dead.

V. That the essential titles and attributes are given to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

1. Eternity.

2. Omnipresence.

3. Omniscience.

4. Power.

5. Wisdom.Observations:

1. With what reverence and profound veneration we should study the nature and character of God. How awfully sublime is the theme — how utterly incompetent we must be to find it out to perfection- how essentially requisite holy fear and humility of mind in its investigation.

2. We should labour to ascertain the connection between the Divine Persons in the Godhead in the exercise of devotion and worship. We are to come to God through the Son and by the Holy Spirit. We are thus, also, to praise God, and to pray to Him. The Father is chiefly the object of worship, Christ is the way, and by the Spirit we worship Him in spirit and in truth. God our Father — God our Redeemer — God our Comforter and Guide.

3. Divine honours are to be equally given to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Let us labour to attain and enjoy love of the Father, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the fellowship and communion of the Holy Spirit.

(J. Burns, LL. D.)

Although we shall never again paint the Almighty as Giotto painted Him, as an old man with white hair in the clouds, with a young man at His side, and a dove flying from beneath His feet; and whilst we shall never again describe God as described Him, yet the doctrine of a Trinity in Unity is fundamental, and rests on an impregnable basis. The Unity, the Humanity, and the Affinity or Immanent Deity, these are the root conceptions of all true theology, and these remain. The conception of variety in unity, the many and the one, pervades all life and nature, and is presented to us in man in a trinity of body, mind, and spirit. So Trinity in Unity is in God a diversity of manifestation or function, combined with a unity of life and purpose. We can hardly think of the Almighty in any other way. It is the normal order of thought metaphysically. Let us see. First, our conception of God is vague and indefinite: Creative Force pervading, correlating, co-ordinating all things everywhere. It is the All-Father, the First Person. But the instant we think more closely, our only definite conception proves insensibly anthropomorphic. All power, wisdom, intelligence, love, is, in some sort, human, manifested and transferred to God, but still human in nature and thought; and thus, the Ideal Man, the God under the limitations of humanity, steps forth. This would be so in the order of thought were there no figure of Jesus in history. We cannot but — we always have made God in our own image, God the Son, or the Second Person. But in prayer and worship He is apprehended as a Spirit only, in communion, in sympathy with ours; then He is God the Holy Ghost, or the Third Person. God the Vague, God the Definite, God the Immanent, that is the inexorable order of thought, and that is the eternal doctrine of the Trinity in Unity. This would be true whether we call ourselves Christians or not. But if you are a Christian, you believe in addition that the Ideal Humanity of God has once in all time been realized, and realized in Jesus. You believe that the eternally human side of God — which was before the Life Divine in Galilee, and will be for ever after it, the life-giving and the love-giving One — that all of Him which could become incarnate did become incarnate — came forth and dwelt amongst us as it has never before or since; that then and there, in the fulness of time, amongst the chosen people and in the holy land 1,900 years ago, a special use of human nature was made for a special purpose, and that we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

(H. B. Haweis, M. A.)

The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost — three distinct Persons: in the Name, not names — one essence. The Holy Ghost is called the finger of God, Christ the hand of the Father. Now, as the finger is in the hand, and the hand on the body, so of one and the same most pure and simple essence is the Father, Son, and Spirit. But, as it was reported of Alanus, when he promised his auditory to discourse the next Sunday more clearly of the Trinity, and to make plain that mystery; while he was studying the point by the seaside, he spied a boy very busy with a little spoon, trudging often between the sea and a small hole he had digged in the ground. Alanus asked him what he meant to do. The boy answered, "I intend to bring all the sea into this pit." Alanus replies, "Why dost thou attempt such impossibilities, and mis-spend thy time?" The boy answered, "So dost thou, Alanus: I shall as soon bring all the sea into this hole, as thou bring all the knowledge of the Trinity into thy head. All is equally possible we have begun together, we shall finish together; save that of the two my labour hath more hope and possibility of taking effect." I conclude with, It is rashness to search, godliness to believe, safeness to preach, and eternal blessedness to know the Trinity; yet let us know to praise the Trinity in the words of the Church: "Glory be to the Father," etc. And let all answer, "As it was... Amen."

(T. Adams.)

You have seen a steam threshing-machine at work. You know perhaps how the steam acts upon the machinery, and sets the wheels in motion; but does the little insect that settles on the engine know what you know? Could it be taught? Well, when we try to understand the great God, we are like the fly trying to understand the engine. The being of God is a mystery to us; that is, it is something which we cannot understand. Man is a mystery to a dog or a horse. We can no more hope to understand how God is what He is than a dog or a horse can understand what man is, or what speech and thought and memory are.

(J. E. Vernon, M. A.)

Though I cannot explain this mystery to you, I think I can show you in nature certain figures whereby we may get some idea of how true the mystery is, though it is beyond our understanding. If I were to shut the window of a room, and cut a slit in the shutter, and put into the slit a piece of glass called a prism, you would see on the wall on the other side of the room a streak of red, yellow, and blue light. If I take the piece of glass away, there is only a streak of white light. Now learned men have found out that all pure white light is made up of red, yellow, and blue light; and by that piece of glass a ray of light can always be separated into the parts which make it up. Now, the red ray is light, the yellow ray is light, the blue ray is light. But the three together make up only one ray of light. Then, again. In your own self you have an image of the Trinity. You are made up of spirit, and soul, and body. Your spirit thinks, it prays, and you say, "I think, I pray." Your spirit is you. If anything pains your body, you say, "I am in pain," speaking now of your body as yourself. Again, your soul is moved by some passion, fear, or love. You speak of your soul as yourself, and say, "I fear," or "I love." Well, here there is the spirit you, the body you, and the soul you; and yet you are not three different creatures, but you body, soul, and spirit, make up one being, called man. Take another illustration. You know the florin, or two-shilling piece, has a cross of shields on one side. In the corners of that cross are flowers or plants. In the first and fourth are roses, the badge of England. In the second is the thistle, the badge of Scotland. In the third is a little cluster of clover leaves. The clover leaf, called in Ireland the shamrock, is the badge of Ireland. I will tell you how the Irish obtained the clover leaf as their badge. Long ago, when the Irish were heathens, there came to their shores St. Patrick, to teach them the true Catholic faith. He was brought to the king, and he spoke before him of the religion of Christ. The king listened attentively. But when St. Patrick began to tell him that there was but one God, and yet in that Godhead there were Three Persons, the king stopped him, saying, "I do not understand you. You say the Father is God?" "Yes." "And you say that the Son is God." "Yes." "And you say that the Holy Ghost is God?" "Yes." "Then," said the king, "there must be three Gods." St. Patrick, instead of answering, stooped down and picked a little clover leaf which grew at his feet. The clover leaf, as you know, is made up of three little leaves, joined together by a slim stalk, so that the three leaves make only one leaf. St. Patrick held up only one division of the leaf, and said, "This is a leaf?" "Yes," said the king. He showed the second division of the leaf, and said, "This is a leaf?" "Yes," said the king. He showed the third, saying the same words, and receiving the same reply. Then he held up the whole leaf by its long stalk before the king, and asked, "What is this?" "It is a leaf," replied the king. "So learn from a humble plant the mystery of the Trinity," said the saint. Now all this does not make us any more able to understand the mystery of the Holy Trinity; but it at least shows us that, although it is above our reason, it is not contrary to our reason to believe that God is Three Persons and yet but One God.

(J. E. Vernon, M. A.)

An ancient writer informs us that when the Egyptians named their greatest God who was over all, they cried thrice, "Darkness! Darkness! Darkness!" In the name of the Father — Darkness; and of the Son — Darkness; and of the Holy Ghost — Darkness! for, however much the mind may strive to penetrate this mystery, it can never attain to its solution. Just as the eye, looking at the sun, sees the overpowering light as a dark ball, being dazzled by its excessive glory, so the eye of the mind perceives only darkness when looking into the infinite splendour of God in Three Persons. We may, indeed, see sundry likenesses here on earth which assist us in believing the doctrine of the Holy Trinity; but they are helps, and helps only, not explanations. Thus, the sun may shine into a glass, and the glass reflect in clear water, and we see three suns — a sun in the heavens, a sun in the glass, and a sun in the water; and this assists us to understand how the Son of God is of the Father, and the Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son, and how that each is God, and yet that there are not Three Gods but One God. But, after all, the doctrine of the Holy Trinity is a matter of faith, and not of reason. We must believe, though we cannot understand.

(S. Baring Gould.)

"Sitting lately," says one, "in a public room at Brighton, where an infidel was haranguing the company upon the absurdities of the Christian religion, I could not but be pleased to see how easily his reasoning pride was put to shame. He quoted those passages, 'I and My Father are one'; 'I in them, and Thou in Me'; and that there are Three Persons in One God. Finding his auditors not disposed to applaud his blasphemy, he turned to one gentleman, and said, with an oath, ' Do you believe Such nonsense?' The gentleman replied, 'Tell me how that candle burns.' 'Why,' he answered, 'the tallow, the cotton, and the atmospheric air, produce the light.' 'Then they make one light, do they not?' 'Yes.' 'Will you tell me how they are one in the other, and yet but one light?' 'No, I cannot.' 'But you believe it?' He could not say but that he did. The company instantly made the application, by smiling at his folly; upon which the conversation was changed. This may remind the young and inexperienced that if they believe only what they can explain, they may as well part with their senses; for they are surrounded by the wonderful works of God, whose ways are past finding out."

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