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Francis Cheynell on the Practical Necessity of Being Trinitarian

31 January, 2009

This Grand Mystery of Faith hath an Effectual Influence into the Practical Mystery of Godliness and Power of Religion

It is the great design and faithful endeavour of sincere Christians to attain unto all the riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ (Col 2:2). They who have but a form of godliness, a kind of painted powerless shadow of piety, may look upon the doctrine of the Trinity as a School-point, a mere speculative doctrine which men receive by tradition from their forefathers. But they who live in the Spirit and walk in the Spirit (Gal 5:25), have a life that is hid with Christ in God (Col 3:3) — hid from formal men, as colours are hid from blind men. And these Spiritual Christians do account the love of the Father, the grace of Christ, and the communion of the Spirit to be their heaven upon earth; they receive Jesus Christ so as to live by him, walk in him, and live to him (Col 2:6; Phil 1:21; 1 John 5:12; 2 Cor 5:15).

What is a godly life, but a life of faith and love, of joy and thankfulness, of self-denial and devotion — of patience and obedience, hope and perseverance, victory and triumph? ‘This is the life of God’, or that godly life, to which the Ephesians were all strangers till they had learned the truth as it is in Jesus (Eph 4:20-21). And how come we to be quickened to this godly life, but by being begotten of the Father (Jas 1:17-18), born of the Spirit (John 3:6), and hearing the voice of the Son of God (John 5:25-26)? When we have learnt of the Father, and are drawn by the Spirit, we come unto the Son, who is the way, the truth, and the life (John 6:44-45). And how is this Spiritual life maintained but by the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Phil 1:19)?

From The Divine Triunity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit (1650), ch. IX.

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