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persons; which the primitive Christians were so strict in the observance of, that it was enjoined, that all persons to be baptized should be plunged three times into the water, first at the name of the Father, and then at the name of the Son, and lastly, at the name of the Holy Ghost; that so every person might be distinctly nominated, and so our Saviour's institution exactly observed in the administration of this sacrament.
Hence also it was, that all persons to be baptized were always required, either with their own mouths, if adult, or if infants, by their sureties, to make a public confession of their faith in the three persons into whose names they were to be baptized for this indeed was always looked upon as the sum and substance of the Christian religion, to "believe in God the Father, in God the Son, and in God the Holy Ghost;" and they who believed in these three persons, were still reputed Christians; and they who did not were esteemed infidels or heretics.
Yea, and our Saviour himself hath sufficiently declared, how necessary it is for us to believe this great mystery; as also how essential it is to a Christian, seeing that he requires no more in order to our initiation into his church, but only that we be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.' In which words we may observe:
First, A trinity of persons, into whose names we are batized, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. This is that mystery of mysteries which is too high for human understandings to conceive, but not too great for a divine faith to believe; even that although there be but one God, there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost,
every one of which is that one and the self-same God and therefore it is that baptism is here commanded to be administered in the name of all three.
Now to confirm our faith in this great mystery, whereinto we are all baptized, I shall endeavour to show in few terms, what grounds we have in Scripture to believe it. For which end we must know, that though this mystery hath received great light by the rising of the Sun of righteousness upon the world, yet it did not lie altogether undiscovered before; yea, from the very foundation of the world,' the church, in all ages, hath had sufficient ground whereupon to build their faith on this great and fundamental truth: for in the very creation of the world, he that created it is called Eloim, in the plural number: and in the creation of man, he said, 'Let us make man in our own image;' from whence, though not a trinity, yet a plurality of persons is plainly manifested; yea, in the beginning of the world too, we find both Father, Son, and Spirit concurring in the making of it.
For, first, It is said, 'that God created heaven and earth;' and then, that the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.' There are two persons, God, and the Spirit of God. And then we read how God made the world by his word: 'He said, let there be light, and there was light. From which expression St. John himself concludes, 'that all things were made by the Son of God,' or his Word," and so does St. Paul,
Col. i. 16.
Thus we read afterwards, The Spirit of the
1 Gen. i. 1, 2.
2 John, i. iii.
Lord spake by me, and his word by my tongue,' 2 Sam. xxiii. 2, where we have Jehovah, the Spirit of Jehovah, and the Word of Jehovah, plainly and distinctly set down. As also in Psalm xxxiii. 6, and Isa. lxii. 1, where there is the Lord speaking of his Son, and saying, 'That he will put his Spirit upon him;' and this also seems to be the reason why the holy angels, when they praise God, say, Holy, holy, holy, Lord of hosts,' saying holy thrice, in reverence to the three persons they adore. Thus we might discover this truth in the Old Testament; but in the New we can scarce look over it. For when Jesus was baptized, Matt. iii. 16, had we, who know nothing but by our senses, been present at this time with Jesus at Jordan, our very senses would have conveyed this truth to our understandings, whether we would or no. Here we should have heard a voice from heaven; whose was it but that of God the Father? Here we should have seen one coming out of Jordan; who was that but God the Son? Here we should have seen something else too, in the form of a dove; who was that but God the Spirit? Thus was God the Father heard speaking; God the Son was seen ascending out of the water; and God the Holy Ghost descending from heaven upon him. The first was heard in the sound of a voice, the second was seen in the form of a man, and the third was beheld in the shape of a dove.
"Voce Pater, atus corpore, flamen ave."
But there are many such places as this all the
1 Isa. vi. 3; Rev. iv. 8.
New Testament over, where the three persons of the Godhead are distinctly mentioned, as Luke, i. 35.; John, xiv. 16, 26; xvi. 7. Gal. iv. 6. But the words of St. Paul are very remarkable too, 2 Cor. xiii. 14. And yet that all these three persons were but one God' St. John expressly asserts, saying, 'There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, and the Word, and the Spirit, and these three are one,' Which certainly are as plain and perspicuous terms as it is possible to express so great a mystery in. But I need not have gone so far to have proved that there are three distinct persons in the Godhead: the words I am treating of being a sufficient demonstration of it: for as all the three persons met together at our Saviour's baptism; so doth our Saviour here command, that all his disciples be baptized in the name of all three and therefore I cannot but admire how any one should dare to profess himself to be a Christian, and yet deny or oppose the sacred Trinity, into which he was baptized when he was made a Christian: for, by this means, he renouncing his baptism, blasphemes Christ, unchristians himself, blotting his own name out of the catalogue of those who were made Christians only by being baptized" in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
II. Here is the Godhead of the Trinity, or of every person in the Trinity, that one as well as the other is God for here we see divine worship is to be performed to them all; and all that profess the true religion must be baptized in the name of the Son and Holy Ghost, as well as of the Father;
1 Gen. xviii. 2, 3; John, x. 30.
2 1 John, v. 7.
which certainly would be the greatest absurdity, yea, the most horrid impiety imaginable, were not they God as well as he. For, if they be not God, they are creatures; if they be creatures, reason as well as Scripture forbids the same honour and worship to be conferred on them, which is given to God himself, and only due to him; which here, notwithstanding, we see is given to them, and that by our Lord himself, commanding baptism to be administered in his own name and in the name of the Holy Ghost, as well as in the name of the Father, and so making himself and the Spirit equal sharers in the same honour that is given to the Father. So that, was there no other place in the whole Scripture to prove it, this alone would be sufficient to convince any gainsayer, that the Son and Spirit are God as well as the Father, or rather the same God with him. But that I may unveil this mystery, and confirm this truth more clearly, we will consider each person distinctly, and show that one as well as the other is really God.
That the Father is God, none ever denied it, and therefore we need not prove it. But, if the Father be God, the Son must needs be God too; for the same names, properties, works, and worship, which in Scripture are ascribed to the Father, are frequently ascribed to the Son also in Scripture; the Father is called Jehovah in Scripture, so is the Son, Hos. i. 7; Jer. xxiii. 6; the Father is called God, so is the Son, John, i. 1 ; In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God;' with God, as to his person: God as to his nature. So also, John, xx. 28; Acts, xx. 28, &c. Moreover, is the Father Alpha and Omega, the first and the last? So is the Son, Rev. i. 8. Is