... for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?—Canticles 1.7.
I CORINTHIANS II. 10.
"But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit, for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God." - 1 COR. II. 10.
NEITHER do the faithful preachers of the gospel, nor its conscientious hearers, make any doubt of this matter of mourning, - that the frame of men's minds who are exercised about these things, is sadly unsuitable unto their greatness and importance. For convincing you of this, if not the curing of this distemper, we have made choice of this scripture.
Two things are main causes of this distemper; and the due faith of them would be the cure. 1. Men's not pondering with whom they have to do in the preaching of the word. Little do the careless hearers of the gospel dream that it is God the Holy Ghost that is dealing with them in the preached word. 2. Ignorance of, or not adverting unto the greatness and importance of the truths delivered unto them. Few think that they are the depths of God.
We shall take a view of the preceding part of the chapter which is needful for understanding the apostle's scope, and so for getting and reaching his mind. We have an account of his way of behaving in his ministry amongst them; and that, we may branch out into these heads:
1. That he came not with a vain flourish of worldly rhetoric and carnal wisdom (verse 1), because this, he hints, had been unsuitable unto the grave work he had to do amongst them - even the testimony of God: a testimony that had abundance of majesty and truth for its convoy, and had been but disparaged with carnal paintings of words.
2. That his behaving thus was according to his settled resolution, (verse 2). He had laid down this brave resolution to preach Christ and him crucified amongst them, though there was no want of worldly wisdom amongst that people; which even many of them, after conversion, and who were ministers, did too much follow; whom also he is probably reflecting on, as afterwards in chapter iv. verse 18, he doth it more expressly.
3. We have a positive account of his humble behaviour (verse 3), in words that may astonish us, that even a holy fear of miscarrying in so great a work, and a deep sense of his weakness, as of himself for this great work, was deeply lodged in the spirit of this eminent apostle; so that if we compare this with the wonderful assistance that he had, and large measure of all gifts given him, it is a rare proof of grace and humility in him.
4. We have a further account of his way of preaching, both in enlarging on the former negative, and in asserting the positive, wherein he states an opposition between the two; teaching, in the first place, that a faithful minister should hide man and human parts, and wisdom, as much as may be, in dispensing the gospel; and in the second, that ordinarily there is most of the power and demonstration of the Spirit attending such ways of dispensing the gospel, wherein all carnal wisdom is most denied. That you may not mistake this, I shall clear up what is this evidence of the Spirit that attends preaching, and what there is of man contrary to it.
The evidence and demonstration of the Spirit and of power, is the efficacy of the word on consciences, produced by the influences of the Holy Ghost: this efficacy is, by a displaying of the authority of God, and a forcible bearing in of the light of truth on the mind, and its power on the heart and conscience. "We have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth, commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God," (2 Cor. iv. 2). In these times, we confess, that this evidence of the Spirit was sometimes conveyed by the means of miracles: but these did only confirm the truth as God's, while the making it effectual on the heart, was by another and nearer operation of the Spirit on men's hearts. And what is that which is opposite unto it? In general, it is when men think to do this, and work such an effect on people's hearts, without the Spirit's help. As, first, When they propose with such clearness of forcible reason what they think is enough to persuade any rational man to yield his assent unto it, that they think no man can shut out the light. Secondly, When they use such forcible motives to persuade, that they think no man can resist them. Now, though this way be in itself very lawful, if scripture light and arguments be made use of, yet its fault is, when the Holy Ghost is not duly depended on, as the only bearer in of light and life upon the soul, and men give too much to the means in themselves.
5. We have the end he aimed at in this way, - that their faith might not be seen to be wrought by, and to stand upon man's wisdom, but God's power, (verse 5), intimating clearly, that the faith of the hearers is much according to the way of the preachers. A false unsound profession may be begotten by a carnally-wise way of handling the things of God, and so, they may be said rather to gain disciples, than the Lord's true believers, by such ministrations.
And this leadeth us to the words which are brought in as an answer to another objection, - How came you then to know such a mystery? He answers, by revelation of the Spirit. In the words we have, 1. The way whereby the apostle and the godly come to the knowledge of the mystery hid from the world - God's revealing them by his Spirit. 2. The sufficiency of this way and mean proved - "for the Spirit searcheth all things, even the deep things of God."
For the explaining of these things, there is great heed to be taken of the words. We must know what is meant by "GOD." It is specially here meant of the Father, who, as he is the "father of lights," so also in a special manner, of all the knowledge of himself and his will that is to be found amongst men.
Revealed, that is, hath taken off the hiding veil that was on them. "Unto us," to me, Paul, and Sosthenes, and other faithful servants of Jesus Christ. "By his Spirit," by the special efficacy of the Holy Ghost, whereby what we of ourselves could never come unto the knowledge of, by his working are clearly discerned. Next, as to the sufficiency of this mean - this revealer is the great searcher of all things; that is, he is well acquaint with all, even the depths of God, as a man is, with such things as he hath searched out unto the bottom, and unto perfection: which, by the way, is a solid proof that the Holy Ghost is God.
Our main design in pitching upon this verse, was for the last words of it; yet we shall speak somewhat also unto the other things in it, but more briefly, and for preparing our way unto the other principal thing.
OBSERV. 1. All discovery of the saving truths of God flows from his gracious revelation thereof by his Spirit.
In handling of this we shall, first, Show what this revelation is; secondly, Prove it by the insufficiency of any other mean to attain such a discovery.
1. What is this revealing of divine truth by the Spirit? We are, for understanding of this aright, to distinguish the several revelations that the Lord hath given to his church. And these are, 1. The revelation made unto the fathers and prophets of old, varied in circumstances, until Moses' time, by visions, and oracles, and tradition from father to son; thereafter, by the lawgiver Moses; and thereafter unto the prophets - all which were but more clear breakings forth of the same divine truth, consonant to itself, and harmonious as to the matter, though with different circumstances; and this by the Spirit of Christ, (1 Pet. i. 11). 2. That rare and matchless revelation by the Lord himself, who had the Spirit without measure, (Heb. i. 1). Which albeit for the authority of the Messenger it was matchless, (so is he called in Mal. iii. 1), yet in that dispensation, there were for wise reasons many truths then kept back. 3. The revelation unto the Apostles, and by them to the Church; who had the greatest measure of the Spirit of God attending them, that ever mere men had - according to the promise in John xiv. and xv., and its fulfillment in Acts ii. 4. The revelation that is made unto the church by the sealed and complete canon of the Holy Scriptures, the native product of the Holy Ghost, (2 Pet. i. 21; 2 Tim. iii. I6). This is the great revelation; and by this, the Spirit revealeth now unto the church the deep things of God. And there needs no more but what the godly obtain - the same Spirit that did indite them by his penmen, - to make them plain and powerful on our hearts.
In the second place, we shall prove the insufficiency of any other means to attain the knowledge of these things. And this is evident from, 1. The gross ignorance of them that have had nature's light most refined; the Greeks and Romans before Christ's time. Not only supernatural truth was not reached by them, but any ordinary Christian may now discover how lame they were, even in pursuing after and attaining the knowledge of truths accessible by nature's light - as in their multitude of gods, and gross sins in practice. 2. The lamentable blindness of the world, and all nations everywhere that want this revelation altogether, or have it let out unto them by little, and unfaithfully, as in the Popish church. 3. The sad ignorance of them that have this revelation read by and to them, and explained and expounded daily unto them. Surely it saith, that men, by themselves, can never attain the knowledge of these things. 4. The main truths are evidently out of the reach of nature's light. There are many that nature's light revealeth, such as the being of God, the unity of the Godhead; his power, wisdom, and spiritual nature, (Rom. i. 20; Acts xvii.) the immortality of the soul, a life of retribution and rewards - and that there is another world of spiritual inhabitants, as many apparitions have proved even to the heathen. But the Trinity of persons,1 the union of two natures in the Son of God, and the whole continuance of salvation, and several other things about the two covenants, are undiscoverable by nature's light.
USE 1. - Be deeply thankful for this revelation. Alas for the sin of ingratitude and unthankfulness, and that, for this greatest mercy! To move you to a deep thankfulness, consider, that this is the most gracious revelation that God ever gave to mankind. It is of the greatest things in themselves, and of things of the greatest usefulness even for eternal salvation. And consider, that it is a most full and clear revelation. Even they that had extraordinary ways of revelation, had but a little of that revealed, that is plentifully now revealed unto us all in the word. It is a most sure way of revelation, not exposed unto those doubts and mistakes in which even extraordinary ways did leave men. "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts," (2 Pet. i. 19). It is every way sufficient for the end designed, (2 Tim. iii. 15): the Spirit's going along with it, makes it sufficient for saving knowledge. It is a revelation given unto a small part of the world - and what are you better than the Indians that dwell in the shadow of death?
USE 2. - Oh! labour to make a good use of it. Improvement is all and the main thing this matter calls for. It stands, 1. In opening your eyes, and lending your ears to what is revealed, and in studying it. The study of the word, as the great revelation of the Holy Ghost, is rarely practised. Shall the Holy Ghost reveal, and men not open their eyes, and lend their ears? 2. In studying and taking heed thereunto, as his revelation. Many study and read the word, without this sanctifying qualification of all such endeavours. It is just with the Lord, that when men in a careless and profane contempt slight this aid, he should give them up unto blindness and erring mistakes. 3. In seeking humbly and fervently the help of the Holy Ghost in this search. Little profiting by it is to be hoped for without this. 4. And in all, driving at that end that the revelation is made for, to make you wise unto salvation; and unto all the means that lead unto it, and fit and prepare you for it. Unsanctified aims in studying divine truth, have led many into woful error.
The next thing is, concerning the omniscience, and perfect knowledge of God the Holy Ghost; of which we shall not speak, save for clearing of the matter, "for the Spirit." And that you may know, saith the apostle, how sufficient this is, it is a revelation from him who is all-knowing; who "searcheth all things," not for increase of knowledge, as a man searcheth out unknown things, but to shew the perfection of his knowledge of them; even as a man doth, of what hath cost him a most narrow and exact search. The Holy Ghost is fully and perfectly acquaint with all the great and deep things of God. Being one in essence, and all essential perfection, with the other two blessed persons, it cannot be otherwise. This serves to prove, that the Holy Ghost is God, and that the scriptures are a true, safe, and wise revelation of God's will unto men, since they come from one so well acquaint with all. But that which we intend mainly to insist on is the last.
The mysteries of the Christian religion are "the deep things of God." And that this is the meaning of the expression "deep things of God," is clear from the following words, "For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so, the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual," (verses 11, 12, 13). Here he proves by a clear similitude, that the Holy Ghost only is fully acquaint with these; that all the godly have this spirit revealing those things to them; and that those things thus revealed, were the subject of his preaching. And the following words, "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned," (verse 14) prove, why they are called "deep things" - even because they are not obvious to a "natural man."
In handling of this great and grave truth, we shall show, 1. What are these deep things of God. 2. Why they are thus called; and, 3. Prove it in some particular truths.
1. What they are. Not to speak of any depths not revealed, for this were to darken counsel by words without knowledge, they are - scripture truths, such as we owe the knowledge of only to revelation, and which are no other ways attainable - gospel truths, or such as broke up mostly with the manifestation of Jesus Christ in the gospel - and such as have the closest reference unto God's glory and the salvation of man. This is from their end, the great end of God's manifestation of himself unto the world.
2. Why are they called the deep things of God? Because of their own great depth: they are profound deep things, because of their relation unto God, and that, as being the author of the revelation of such truths, and the author and framer of the truths in themselves, and their relation to him, as the main matter and subject of them. They are the deep things that God hath made and revealed, and mainly, are depths about God, and to him, as the great end, even his glory and praise.
3. We shall prove it in particulars; and this is a most large subject, yet, because of its great usefulness, both for informing the ignorant in the sum of Christian doctrine, and convincing the careless of their depth, we shall enlarge on it, only premising, that we have deep attention, deep humility, and deep reverence in hearing these things. We cannot speak of them all without an extraordinary length, and therefore we shall pitch only on the chief of the deep things of God, under these heads, 1. Such depths as are revealed about God himself. 2. Such as have an immediate relation unto man: for saving knowledge may be comprised under these two heads, the knowledge of God, and of ourselves.
I. These depths that are about, and concerning God himself, are, 1. His nature and being. The light of nature can discover a little of the being of God, and of his nature; but that full and deep account thereof that the scriptures give, it by no means can reach. 2. His infinite incomprehensibleness. A created understanding can no more contain and comprehend his being, than a child's hand can span the heavens and earth, (Job. xi. 7, 8, 9). How great a length do men's understandings go in search of the creatures! 3. His great and deep justice and judgments, (Psalm xxxvi. 6; Rom. xi. 33), especially manifested in punishing sin with eternal vengeance. 4. His all-seeing eye; his perfect knowledge and omnipresence. It is a sad thing, that our thoughts of God are so far from what they ought to be. 5. The depth of divine patience in delaying threatened and deserved judgments.
2. The mystery of the Trinity is a great depth that many have drowned in, while they have not been humbly satisfied with the revelation of this in the word, but have offered to wade and fathom it by the force of their shallow understanding. One God in three persons is the greatest of all the depths of God; concerning which I have only to say, the light of nature could never discover it - and now that it is discovered, it is the main doctrine of all foundations of our religion, so that a denier of it, is by no means to be reckoned a Christian. And such monstrous apostates there are in the land, which should make us mourn and fear. And consider the dreadful consequents of denying this great truth. He that denieth the Son to be God, necessarily must deny his satisfaction to justice for sin, and the justification of a sinner, by a believing laying hold on this satisfaction; and accordingly he denies it. He that denieth the Holy Ghost to be God, must deny, and always doth, the omnipotency and sovereignty of his grace in converting a sinner, and in perfecting of him. And these things are so close unto one another, that the deniers of the power of grace, are ofttimes left to the denying of the divinity of the Holy Ghost, the worker thereof. Consider concerning this depth, that there is none that calls for more deep reverence and fear in thinking thereof: and you ought also to have a more exact fear of any blasphemies that are vented directly or indirectly against the same. Come not near the tabernacles of those wicked men that blaspheme the God of heaven. It is astonishing to think what sort of professors they are that fear not at the sight and report of such blasphemies; I mean mainly the Quakers, the chief leaders of whom do expressly, and in print, blaspheme these doctrines, and therefore the which society is to be abhorred, unless they disown such blasphemies.
3. The third depth, is that of the incarnation of the Son of God. "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth," (John i. 14). Here are two natures in one person. "Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory," (1 Tim. iii. 16). This is the sum of the gospel. "What the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit," (Rom. viii. 3, 4). That this is a great depth, and that no natural man can reach it by nature's light, is evident. But to take a careful view of it, consider, 1. The inequality of the natures united, and the strictness of the union - God and man in one person. Oh, wonderful! the man's blood is called God's, (Acts xx. 28). The person God-man receiveth divine worship even when born. "And again, when he bringeth in the first-begotten into the world, he saith, "And let all the angels of God worship him," (Heb. i. 6). 2. The low depth of humiliation that God in this nature underwent, without any real abasement, (Philip. ii. 6, 7). All the creation is astonished at his sufferings. 3. The design of all this - the glory of grace in saving sinners, by striking up a new and brave way to heaven, so that that song only may for eternity be sung by its inhabitants, "Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing," (Rev. i. 5, 6, and v. 9, 10, 12). The praises of such sinners, and their souls were so dear to him, that he underwent so much to purchase them.
4. The fourth deep is Predestination - that out of the same mass of fallen mankind, the Lord's sovereignty pitched on some to be the objects of his mercy, and left the rest to perish for their sins. "For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then, it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy," (Rom. ix. 15, 16). And this is a great depth, (Rom. xi. 33). Here also many stumble, by the pride of their hearts, and treacherous winning of Satan. That this is a great depth, none can question; and all that search into it, find it so to be. For the understanding whereof, these things may help: 1. This is an act of God, as a sovereign Lord, and not as a judge. 2. He oweth nothing to any of his creatures, as they are his creatures, until he engage himself graciously by promise. 3. He oweth nothing to his sinful creatures, as sinful, but vengeance, the desert of their sin. If then, in the sovereignty of his love, he pitch on some, and leave others to their desert, who can quarrel? The excellency of this depth is seen, in that he hath wisely contrived: a way for executing this decree by his son Jesus Christ, and reaps glory both to his mercy and justice eternally.
5. The fifth depth of God is, his creating and making all things of nothing. Oh, what a stately frame hath he made! That it is so, every one seeth; that God made it, any man may by reason know. Stones and earth are not likely things to make themselves, (Psalm civ. 24). How marvellous are they all! (Psalm cxi. 2, 3). The saints are frequently travelling in this deep, with wonder and adoration. This depth is the more seen, if we consider,
1st, The freedom of this great work. He might have suffered all things to have lain eternally in the womb of their mother nothing; he needed not any creation, yet gave he a being to such a huge number of creatures in the air, earth, and water, besides the celestial bodies and their inhabitants.
2d, The wonderful wisdom that is therein in compacting the creation so wonderfully and orderly, in hanging the earth in the midst of the air, and the heavens round about and above it everywhere; in the orderly motion of the heavens; in bounding the sea, and making it so useful unto man by fishes and trading - his breaking up so many veins of fountains and rivers for the inhabitants of the earth: - in the winds that purge the air, and help unto sailing; in the course and motion of the sun for distinguishing the seasons of summer, winter, spring-time, and harvest; in broaching the clouds, that their waters may refresh the earth, and in such a manner to distil, as may benefit and not hurt.
3d, The power that is seen therein. Oh, what a strong arm must it be, that settled the foundation of the earth, and gave the heavens such a whirling motion at their first creation, that they never stand still, - in making so glorious a light as the sun, and so beautifully spangled a firmament - in making so great a sea, and limiting it so, that it overflows not the earth!
6. The sixth depth, is divine providence. This is, God's sustaining and governing the world that he hath so wisely made. Oh! what a depth is here of wisdom and power. Who could guide this world, but the same arm that made it? Let us launch out a little into this depth. There is the Lord's supporting of all things that he hath made: this is like a continued creation, a keeping them out of nothing, which were lately brought forth thence, (Acts xvii.), and his wise providing of food for every thing living "These wait all upon thee, that thou mayest give them their meat in due season. The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season," (Psalm civ. 27, and cxlv. 15). What a great house doth he keep! But especially his deep acts of government are to be considered: he is the governor in the midst of the nations. Let us take notice of his providence toward the world, - 1. Sovereignly: he sheweth himself in shaking and changing nations as he pleases, and kings and kingdoms. "And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?" (Dan. iv. 35). He sits upon the floods; they have their shaking fits, even as human bodies. 2. In that he is still accomplishing his pleasure, and carrying on his wise, just, and holy designs, whatever men intend; yea, makes use of them that know him not, to accomplish his pleasure. But mainly do his depths of providence reach his church and people, 1. In making their enemies bring about their mercy. The murderers of Christ little knew what a blessing his church was to get by his death: Cyrus executes God's will, and fulfils prophecies that he little knoweth of, (Isa. xliv. 28, and xlv. 1-8). 2. In ripening them for mercy by strokes. They are humbled thereby, and fitted for receiving his deliverance. But because this leads us unto the other head of the depths of God, we shall therefore conclude with a word of application upon this branch of the subject.
Are the truths concerning God such depths? Then away with pride, and any opinion of understanding, as of ourselves to reach them, and find them out. Much humility is called for in searching into them, and much reverence, and sense of the greatness of the matter. They are the depths of God, and this should make us fear. Then, labour to know God better: there are many depths of God that yet ye little know. Only take along with you still the lamp of the word - there must be no searching without this. And study God for the increase of grace, rather than of brain-knowledge. Search till you be brought to wonder and adore. Adore him, and invoke him in holy fear, in fervent love, with high praises, and with great trust and confidence.
II. As for those depths of God which concern man, I shall first speak unto that which is already past - the covenant of works made with our first parents, (Gen. ii.), and the breach thereof (Gen. iii.), and the punishment following on it. Which depth contains these things: 1. The Lord's creating our first parents out of the earth indeed, as to their bodies, but their souls of a higher original, and placing them in a most happy condition; and as to his friendship and favour, giving them dominion over the lower creation, and endowing them with great excellencies of body and mind. 2. His free engaging with them in a covenant, by fulfilling the condition whereof, their happiness might have been perpetuated to them, and their posterity. 3. His leaving them to the freedom of their own will, and not freeing them of temptations, though furnishing them with strength sufficient for standing out against them. 4. His speedy executing of the threatened punishment upon their disobedience: wherein we see his curse upon them, his extruding them from paradise; and that all their posterity are born rebels to God, by guilt, and their own natural inclinations to ratify it.
That this is a great depth, is evident from these sad things that have followed on it: 1. That all are by nature enemies to God, and hateful to him. 2. That all the actual transgression that defiles the world, came in at this gap. 3. And all mankind that are in hell, came in hazard of it at first by this. 4. And that the Lord, though he hath provided a remedy, yet in the depth of his judgment he keeps up the knowledge of it from the greater part of mankind. 5. From men's corruption of nature, the greater part of them that hear of the remedy, receive it not.
2. The second depth concerning man, is the new covenant of grace by and in Jesus Christ, - a blessed depth! - a blessed plank for shipwrecked mankind to escape death by. This depth the angels desire to dive into, (1 Pet. i. 12, Ephes. iii. 10). This depth hath in it all the other deep things of God, to wit, the nature and attributes of God which shine here wonderfully; his wisdom, grace, justice, and mercy: - the mystery of the Trinity, - of the incarnation of the Son of God, - of predestination; - of a new creation, the greatest depth of divine providence. This is the great master axiom of divine wisdom, the brightest glass of his glory, casting the most glorious reflexions.
In this, consider 1. The parties covenanting, God the Father, and Son. It must be a stately bargain that they two make, full of majesty, wisdom, and truth. 2. The condition of this covenant - that the Son shall take on him our nature, and satisfy justice, and so save his people. 3. The fulfilling of these conditions in the Son's faithfulness to his Father, and the Father's faithfulness to the Son: the one discovers the depth of Christ's sufferings; the other, of his purchase. Here is Christ's hell and our heaven. 4. For whom all this is done, and all this contrivance made - for sinners - unworthy, vile creatures. 5. What is made the condition on their part for obtaining a right to all this - receiving Christ's offer of himself as a competent Saviour by faith - an easy way for making so great a purchase, or rather, for the appropriation of his purchase unto ourselves!
Thus have we given you a hint of the depths of God; and for these ends - that you may know and lay to heart how nearly God is concerned in gospel truth: that you may see how unfit you are for searching them unto perfection: that you may study them more and more, since they have such a relation to him: that in the search, you may employ the Spirit of God to enlighten and guide you. Proud and careless searchers into the things of God, must necessarily stumble foully. Oh that people were wise and humble in these matters, and had the fear of God in their hearts!
1. Here it ought to be noted, that although much relative to the doctrine of the Trinity, especially the work of the persons of the Trinity about our Salvation, cannot be known by the Light of Nature, yet the Light of Nature does reveal at least that there is a Trinity of persons in the Godhead, so that we may say with John L. Girardeau (in his Sermon on Family Religion) that this is one of the fundamental doctrines of the religion of nature, and [in the Scriptures] treated as a great presupposition to be universally and unhesitatingly assumed. See also Alexander Hislop's book, "The Two Babylons" regarding the knowledge of the doctrine of the Trinity among the ancient heathen. - JTK