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the lise, such an agonizing and sincere cry for deliverance as will not be left unheeded or unanswered. This theme, human depravity, holds clustered influences, in the opening of which upon mankind, the mind's whole attainable skill and power may be vigorously employed.
There is another theme embracing many subjects which rich and powerful intellect is capable of investing with a vastly aug. mented power on mankind. We refer to the great object of religion, Jehovah himself. Minds of the most exalted powers shrink from such an immense, incomprehensible Being, as a subject for communication and impression. Is not the infinite, they instinctively inquire, incapable of statement, and the perfect of illustration ? The fool in every population has said, “There is no God.” The majority of even Christian communities, though in words they acknowledge the Supreme Ruler, live almost as unawed, disobedient and undevout as if he had either no existence or no manifested attributes or claims. But however men may disregard, deny, withdraw from, the great Builder and Maker, He is, as was to have been anticipated, very largely revealed by the things that are made. Largely should he be recognized. It is a great service on the part of superior mental endowments to interpret the Divine exhibitions and present the Almighty truly and competently to the practical atheism which prevails. This service is rendered the more valuable and important by the fact, that many developments and traces of God are, to careless observation, partially out of sight. In the outward world of matter, are laboratories and elements and combinations; in the interior world of mind, capacities and workings and energies; in Providence and the Bible, depths and riches and perfections, which, because a little underneath the surface, are much overlooked by the unthinking and unstudious, although bearing exquisite and crowded traces of a Divine goodness and skill. Into these covert wonders of the infinite Author of all things, gifted, searching and curious minds are able to enter and read out to mankind glorious lessons of God, which had not been heard; and reveal a constant and irresistible Divine contriving and accomplishing within, around, above, beneath, of which there had been no consciousness. This would be in effect to remove clouds and darkness, and startle and impress men by a sight of the Deity right about their pathway, their bed, their going out and coming in, their down-sitting, their up-rising, their thoughts, their heart-movings.
There is a service of superior minds no less needful in presenting the Deity from those portions of nature, Scripture and providence which palpably reveal Him. Men fail to observe what one that runneth might read ; they fail to understand what the wayfaring man though a fool need not err in. There are a thousand voices speaking of God which, though audible, multitudes do not hear: there are a thousand things visible, bearing graphic memorials of him, which they do not see. Everything moving manifestly evinces a Divine mover : everything occurring has written upon it, in most readable characters, Thus saith the Lord:' the Bible is one universal remembrancer of the great Eternal, and yet people neither know nor consider. It is within the province and power of the gifted teachers of religion to present the grand scene of things created, things transpiring, things revealed, as one mighty mirror of God, and then turn the eye
and the heart of man full upon the great, Divine character imaged to them there. Such an introduction of families and individuals into the actual presence of the Infinite One when his holy attri. butes are all visibly about him; when his eyes as a flame of fire are felt to be piercing into the heart and the life, must tend to awe, and ameliorate the most reckless and obdurate generation. Great impressiveness may be gained by selecting some single feature of the Divinity and making a special representation. All the excellencies of the Divine Being concentrated into one vast glory, are likely to dazzle rather than to impress and influence. As an illustration of this individualizing method of making a strong impression, suppose the other attributes to be neglected, and the great Eternal to be offered to contemplation in the character and relation of a Father. To assist in comprehending this grand and delightful idea of Jehovah a Father, let an earthly parent be thought of, in whom are united all possible excellencies which can be supposed capable of ennobling and adorning. Then let every element of his great, venerable, pure character be conceived to be exalted and enriched to the perfect and the infinite in the person of the supreme Ruler. This Being, gracious, munificent, affectionate, almighty, presented to the child and the man, to the afflicted and the prospered, to the sinning and the penitent, presented as a universal Father, at every step and hour of life close at hand, provident, observant, uplifting, guiding, needfully rebuking, forgiving, conducting to an everlasting home--this condescending, ever-blessing, ever-living paternal One so exhibited must be supposed to exert influences for good of incalculable and inconceivable power, influences better understood in heaven than on earth. The character of God as the compassionate and infinite Redeemer is kindred to that of Father, just referred to, and is of even higher and holier influence in the hands of competent intellectual abilities. There is no one of the Divine attributes which is not capable of being so unfolded and exhibited as to become the source of regeneration and the nutrition of the sublimest and most blessed piety. By means of these several practicable revelations of the Deity united, there may be exerted a still more mighty influence over human worth and human welfare. It is almost the action of the infinite upon the finite, of the omnipoTHIRD SERIES. VOL. V., NO. 4.
tent upon the impotent, for it is exerted by taking the things of God and showing them to men. Who can overvalue or overstate the contributions of intellect to religion in thus offering to view the King to his subjects, the Benefactor to his beneficiaries, the Redeemer to his ransomed ones, the great Author to his own world?
The judgment day is another subject which, though in its simple announcement impressive and awful, in discussion by superior mental faculties, may be made far more effectively so. Its developments and consequences may be so truthfully and solemnly opened, that men shall almost seem to themselves to hear the call of the archangel, to see the eventful morning break, to feel themselves witnesses and partakers in the dread transactions that follow. A scene like this of the final judgment, pertaining not to one isolated population but to every kindred, nation, tongue and people; not to a single age but to every generation over which the stream of time shall have swept; a scene in which are settled the interests of Divine justice, and revealed the depths and mysteries of Divine love; a scene in which are present three worlds, the throne of the Eternal and the Judge of quick and dead; a scene embracing a solemn audit before the Almighty that knoweth the heart, the acquittal or condemnation of every human being, the reception of one part to heaven never more to weep, and the dismissal of the other to perdition never more to smile ; a scene including the world in flames, the sea turned to blood, the elements melted, the heavens rolled together as a scroll, the close of the great drama of time, life and probation-such a portentous omnipotent scene, furnishing action for even angelic powers, in the hands of suitable and exalted human faculties, may be made to produce in a reckless, ungodly world, results truly incalculable, infinitely important. So may these faculties reveal the last day, that the deepest slumberers in all the domain of spiritual death can sleep no longer, and the most hardened victims that Satan ever deceived or bound, no more refuse instant supplication for mercy from the heart of infinite Love.
The religious teacher, with a vivacious and gifted intellect, thus taking up the great things of God and dispensing them to men, seems clothed almost with omnipotence. Certainly revealed truth, such as he announces in the ear of the world, God has often made almighty. All the subjects of religion are invested with influence partly' at least in proportion to the intellectual energy and skill with which they are urged upon the consciences of mankind. Under the elucidations and conduct of such mental vigor and wisdom, more broad, pure, spiritual, will appear the law of God: more dreadful and glorious its sanctions : eternity be farther penetrated: more of its volumed ages be made to unroll their realities to the astonished hearts of men: hell be opened into lower depths of corruption, thicker blackness of darkness, more intolerable woes: heaven be discovered to possess richer crowns, fuller glories of the eternal, more of the fruit that droppeth every month,
a deeper river of life, a profounder holiness, a more perfect peace. Precious ore can intellect, studious and penetrating, bring up from the deep mines imbedded in the heart of religion: open refreshing waters from her abundant fountains to pour
abroad upon vegetation. Who can measure the power which such intellect may add to the inculcations of religion ! Edwards, Whitefield, Wesley, Chalmers, and great spirits like them in the same calling, through their superior powers, have moved the human mind, wrought on the human character, left permanent impressions on the general current of human affairs, contributed enlargement and power to the kingdom of Christ, to an extent which God only can fully comprehend. The influence over the world in quantity, to say nothing of quality, effected by Chatham, Burke, Fox, Johnson, Addison, and other orators and writers of kindred eminence and fame, bears no comparison to that which has been exerted by the great and sanctified intellects which have spoken to their age in behalf of the Christian religion. We do not assert or intimate, that piety, deep, fervent, constant, consistent, does not render a much larger and a more essential assistance in giving Christianity power upon mankind. We have discussed here another subject, the contributions of intellect to this vast and important design. If sincere godliness is a warm inspirer, lofty mental power is a great executor. If the former be the life within, the latter is the light abroad.
The whole preceding discussion, if just views have been taken, exhibits superior intellectual endowments, the high honor of our nature in every sphere, in that of religion where they act as contributors to its proofs, its purity, and its power, as charged with truly illustrious duties and an immense responsibility. Save truth and moral goodness, which they here subserve, there is nothing attainable or conceivable which confers so ennobling and desirable a distinction. And, in this ministry of holy beneficence, intellectual powers seem almost to partake of the pure spirit which they task themselves to inspire and build up in the heart of men. To enriched and invigorated ninds, consecrated to the service of religion, as indicated in the present discussion, there is due a love and appreciation which they have certainly not always, not generally, received. There is within the church of Chrisť a vast mass of intellect, lying inactive, like precious ores in the heart of the earth, and almost as unwrought and unnoticed. The duty of bringing up much of it and working it into such form and power that it may serve well in establishing the character and aiding the great mission of Christianity seems immediate and imperious. That mission is worthy of the highest and best cultivated mind which Heaven ever bestows. Brilliant will be the day when the powerful and the gifted generally shall be the sincere lovers of truth, and shall bend their great endeavors to the cause of human progress and human redemption.
THE DOCTRINE OP TRE TRINITY, RATIONAL AND SCRIPTURAL.
By Rev. EDWARD BEŁCHER, D. D., Boston.
In the very forefront of practical Christianity, stand certain words, which have in all ages not only originated, but rendered necessary a discussion of the doctrine of the Trinity. Those words are these. BAPTIZE IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE Son, and of the Holy Ghost. This cannot be done intelligently till it is understood who or what the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are. The discussion of the doctrine of the Trinity then is not theoretical, secondary, and incidental, but practical, primary, and fundamental.
The public mind has of late been particularly directed to it. We avail ourselves of the existing interest to make it the subject of a few remarks.
Many objections we know are alledged against it. Some deny its practical utihty, if true. What can it effect more than the unity ? Others affirm that it is absurd and incredible. Others, less confident on these points, do not feel satisfied that it is fully taught in the Bible. It is so important, if true, that they wonder that it has not been taught more clearly.
In order fully to discuss the doctrine, we should accordingly attend to these points : its rationality—its Scriptural evidence-its utility. We propose, however, in this discussion to attend to its rationality and its Scriptural evidence. We consider first, its rationality, because it may remove from the minds of some, difficulties which diminish or destroy the force of Biblical evidence. For the doctrine has always been opposed by many as so irrational in itself as to be incapable of proof or belief.
Under this impression some have denied the inspiration of the Bible, because they seemed to see that the doctrine was there taught, and were unwilling to resort to the pitiful expedients adopted by many to evade its meaning. Others, unable to resist the evidences of inspiration, have either done violence to language, in order to escape its obvious sense, or else have rejected parts of the Bible as unreasonable.
While the minds of any are in this state it is of little use to quote the Bible. Priestly after trying to explain away the proof of the pre-existence of Christ, contained in John 3: 13, is not satisfied with his own solution ; yet rather than believe the obvious import of the passage, on an article of faith of such magnitude, he prefers to call in question the correctness of John's recollection and representation of our Lord's language. So strange and in