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the strue members of Christi acknowledge that God is wiser than inani is} ** In vain, then, have the adversaries of the church raised disputes and cavils as to the time when this faith was introduced into the world ; in vain have they brought its principles to the test of their infidel philosophy. -All true believers are established upon à rock. They are satisfied with the assurance that it is the faith of the Gospel; that the Son of God delivered it with his own mouth; that it was confirmed by the Holy Ghost speaking in his apostles; and that the same faith had begun to unfold itself in the very first page of the sacred volume, where we are taught, that God, the , supreme Father, sent forth his Word to call the universe into existence; that the Word went forth at his' command, saying, LeT THERE' BE LIGHT! AND THERE WAS LIGHT; and that the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters, producing order out of confusion. But it must be further observed, that the faith, which united the apostolical church, did not consist in the mere acknowledgment of names and titles, leaving their res spective import to be fixed and explained by the various judgments or speculations of
W» The conceptions of the church, relative to the persons of the Godhead, must be re gulated by the revealed word of God. It is a Christian duty to receive and admit that identical account of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which the Spirit of Truth has declared in that word to believe in God, upon his own authority. As no man knoweth the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him, (Matt. xi. 27.), it is an essential duty to receive, without contradiction or debate, that revelation which the Son of God hath given of his Almighty Father. And in this revelation we are taught, that he not only made the world, and all things, therein, and that he continually sustains them in existence, by the word of his power ;, but, also, that God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John, iii. 16.)
So also, on the other hand, as no man knoweth the Son, but the Father, the ONE FAITH of the church enjoins the belief of
that revelation, which the Spirit of the Father hath made, of the Son, throughout the holy Scriptures:--that he came down from heaven, and was made man—that, for our salvation, he suffered affliction and deaththat he rose again for our justification, and ascended to the Father--and that he shall come, in the last day, to judge the quick and the dead. - And, as the Holy Ghost is the Spirit of Truth, which guided the apostles into all truth, the faith of the church does not rest in a bare acknowledgment of his name and existence; but includes a belief of all things which he spoke, by the mouth of the apostles and prophets; and relies, with unshaken assurance, upon that sanctifying influence which he has promised to the souls of the faithful.
So that, upon the whole, the faith which unites the church of Christ that faith which it professes, in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost-embraces those great truths by which we are assured, that the three persons of the blessed Trinity concurred in the plan of human salvation, and the sanctification of true believers. It extends from the very
foundation to the highest pinnacle of our hopes, and lays hold of the immortal reward of Christian obedience.
The substance of this faith, the church from the earliest times set forth in its creeds, or compendious forms of profession. These were neither distinct revelations in themselves, nor were they systems of mere human device. They were summaries of the leading and essential articles of that one faith, which was received by all true believers, collected from the doctrine of our Lord and his apostles.
For this doctrine, as it still remains upon record in the writings of the New Testament, is the sacred and complete cànon of Christian faith, and is not to be moved by the various opinions and doctrines of men. Wherefore St. Paul thanks God, that the Rornans, who had been the servants of sin, have now obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine whereunto they were delivereda (Rom. vi. 17.)
They were, now, as much in subjection to the faith of the Gospel, to the form of apostolical doctrine, as they had been, during their unconverted 'state, in subjection to sin.
The church had no deliberative power over this doctrine; po right to add, to diminish, or distort. It was its duty to believe and obey. For the faith of the Gospel is a light from Heaven: it must be received in its native splendour; not scattered, disjointed, and discoloured, as men receive the rays of the sun through a prism.
And therefore no teachers of schism and heresy, no perverters of the faith, could be comprehended, or tolerated, in the apostolical church. Now I beseech you, brethren, says St. Paul, mark them which cause divi: şions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have received, and avoid them, (Rom. xvi. 17.)
In like manner, he had besought Timon thy, to abide at Ephesus, that he might charge some to teach no other doctrine, neither give heed to fables and : endless geneật logies, which minister questions rather than godly edifying, which is in faith. (1. Tim. i.
If the apostlę gave this charge to Timothy, we must infer, that he had not left him upon a level in the church with those false teachers whom he thus reproyes; but investy