If in the Godhead there be but one, not three, then the Father, the Son, or the Spirit must needs be that one, if any one only; so then the other two are nothing. Again, if the reality of a being be neither in the Father, Son, nor Spirit, as such, but in the eternal Deity, without consideration of Father Son and Spirit as three, then neither of the three are any thing but notions in us, or manifestations of the Godhead, or nominal distinctions, so related by the word; but if so, then when the Father sent the Son, and the Father and Son the Spirit, one notion sent another one manifestation sent another. This being granted, it unavoidably follows there was no Father to beget a Son, no Son to be sent to save us, no Holy Ghost to be sent to comfort us and to guide us into all the truth of the Father and Son. At most it amounts to hut this: a notion sent a notion, a distinction sent a distinction, or one manifestation sent another. Of this error these are the consequences: we are only to believe in notions and distinctions, when we believe in the Father and the Son; and so shall have no other heaven and glory than notions and nominal distinctions can furnish us withal.
If thou feel thy thoughts begin to wrestle about this truth, and to struggle concerning this, one against another, take heed of admitting such a question, “How can this be?” for here is no room for reason to make it out; here is only room to believe it is a truth. You find not one of the prophets propounding an argument to prove it, but asserting it; they let it lie for faith to take it up and embrace it.
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.” (2 Corinthians 13:14)
In a word, if you would see it altogether, God’s love was the cause why Christ was sent to bleed for sinners. Jesus Christ’s bleeding stops the cries of divine justice. God looks upon them as complete in him, and gives them to him as by right of purchase. Jesus ever lives to pray for them that are thus given unto him. God sends his Holy Spirit into them to reveal this to them, sends his angels to minister for them, and all this by virtue of an everlasting covenant between the Father and the Son. “Happy the people that are in such a case.” He hath made them brethren with Jesus Christ, members of his flesh and of his bones, the spouse of this Lord Jesus; and all to show how dearly, really, and constantly he loveth us who by the faith of his operation have laid hold upon him.
The doctrine of the Trinity! that is the substance, that is the ground and fundamental of all, for by this doctrine and this only the man is made a Christian; and he that has not this doctrine, his profession is not worth a button.
You must know that sometimes the church in the wilderness has but little light, hut the diminution of her light is not then so much in or as to substantials, as it is as to circumstantial things; she has then the substantials with her in her darkest day.
The doctrine of the Trinity! you may ask me what that is? I answer, it is that doctrine that showeth us the love of God the Father in giving his Son, the love of God the Son in giving himself, and the love of the Lord the Spirit in his work of regenerating us, that we may be made able to lay hold of the love of the Father by his Son, and so enjoy eternal life by grace.
The Father’s grace saveth no man without the grace of the Son, neither do the Father and the Son save any without the grace of the Spirit; for as the Father loves, the Son must die, and the Spirit must sanctify, or no soul must be saved.
Some think that the love of the Father, without the blood of the Son, will save them; but they are deceived, “for without shedding of blood is no remission.”
Some think that the love of the Father and blood of the Son will do, without the holiness of the Spirit of God; but they are deceived also, for “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Romans 8:9)
There is a third sort, that think the holiness of the Spirit is sufficient of itself; but they are deceived also, for it must be the grace of the Father, the grace of the Son, and the grace of the Spirit, jointly, that must save them.
But yet, as these three do put forth grace jointly and truly in the salvation of a sinner, so they put it forth after a diverse manner. The Father designs us for heaven, the Son redeems from sin and death, and the Spirit makes us meet for heaven: not by electing, that is the work of the Father; not by dying, that is the work of the Son; but by his revealing Christ, and applying Christ to our souls, by shedding the love of God abroad in our hearts, by sanctifying our souls, and taking possession of us as an earnest of our possession in heaven.