Deuteronomy 6:4

Attention is summoned for the reception of central truth, viz. the unity of the Godhead. At that period, this doctrine was in great peril. All the Orientals believed in "lords many and gods many." Science here confirms Scripture. The unity of design, running through all natural law and force, indicates clearly unity of the Creator. To know the true God is, for honest minds, to love him. But rebellion of heart has engendered repugnance towards God - dislike, hatred, enmity.


1. He is sole Monarch, incomparable and unapproachable. He dwells alone, higher than the highest creature. The disparity between him and an archangel is immeasurable,

2. He is absolutely perfect. Every attribute and quality that is essential to perfection is found in him. "He is light," having no dark shade anywhere.

3. He is the Source of life: Jehovah - the Living - the Life-giving. All we have, and are, and hope to be, is derived from him.

4. He has deigned to come into intimate relation with us. He has made a voluntary compact with us. He calls us his people. He allows us to call Lira our God. We have a proprietorship in him.

II. THIS GOD DESERVES THE CENTRAL PLACE IN OUR HEARTS. Because of the moral beauty and essential goodness of our God, he is incomparably most worthy of human love. To give to any other a higher place in our affection than we give to God, would be an outrage against righteousness, fitness, and self-interest. For all these faculties and susceptibilities of the human heart have been fashioned by God himself, and have been fashioned for this very purpose, viz. that we should bestow our worthiest love on him. If this eternal design be frustrated, there is violence, disharmony, misery within. Such love is commanded. It is a duty as well as a privilege. Though we cannot instantly and summarily command our love, we can indirectly. We can fix our thought on the worthiest object of love. We can contemplate his charms. We can appreciate his goodness. We can assure ourselves of his love. It is to be an intelligent, reasonable, practical love.

III. THE LOVE OF THE LAWGIVER PRODUCES LOVE TO HIS LAW. Law is a projection of God's thought, a mirror of his mind, an overt act of love. The true child will highly esteem every known wish of its father. To have practical direction from an unseen father will be treasured as a choice token of that father's regard. If children, we shall hide every word of our father in our memory and in our love. Every wish of his heart will be a visible feature in our life. It may be painful to the flesh, but it will be pleasant to the soul. To the dutiful child, obedience is a luxury, a banquet of joy. "Oh! how I love thy Law!" exclaims the pious Psalmist. "Thy Law is within my heart." Thy Word is to me as honey, as the droppings of the honeycomb.

IV. LOVE IS THE MOTIVE-POWER OF SPEECH. The tongue is the servant of the heart. We speak freely and fluently of that which is dear to our hearts. The child will speak freely of its toys anti games, the farmer of his crops, the artist of his works. If men esteemed and valued God's Word, they would spontaneously converse of it, morning, noon, and night. It would be a painful restraint upon our desire if we withheld our speech. This precept of Moses need not be an external law imposed upon us from without; it may become the living law within, "the law of the Spirit of life."

V. LOVE CONSTRUCTS ITS WHOLE LIFE ON THE MODEL OF GOD'S LAW. The hand will become the instrument of righteousness. On it will be written God's Word, viz. industry, honesty, restraint, generous kindness, helpfulness. God's Word will be our ornament. Instead of gold and jewels upon the forehead, "our adornment will be" modesty, chastity, cheerfulness, moral beauty. God's Name will be indelibly inscribed upon our foreheads. Oar domestic affairs will be ordered by the Divine will. We shall write his Word on the posts of our houses. Every home in which love dwells will be a temple. Order, active piety, frugality, peace, mutual service, will be the principles conspicuous in godly homes. And our municipal and political life will be conducted on the same line of obedience. Legislation, justice, taxation, commerce, literature, art, will all be consecrated to God's glory. As the flowers of earth send their fragrance heavenward, so from every act of ours a fragrance of homage should ascend to God. - D.

The Lord our God is one Lord.

1. In opposition to, and to distinguish Him from, dead idols (Psalm 115:4-6; 1 Thessalonians 1:9).

2. Because God is the fountain of life, having all life in Himself (John 5:26), and giving life to all things else. All life is in Him and from Him.

(1)Natural life (Acts 17:28; 1 Timothy 6:13).

(2)Spiritual life (Ephesians 2:1).

(3)Eternal life (Colossians 3:4).

II. WHY GOD IS CALLED THE TRUE GOD. To distinguish Him from all false or fictitious gods (1 Thessalonians 1:9). There is a two-fold truth.

1. Of fidelity or faithfulness. Thus God is true — that is, faithful But that is not the truth here meant.

2. A truth of essence, whereby a thing really is, and does not exist in opinion only. The meaning is, that there is a true God, and but one true God.


1. The Scripture is very express and pointed on this head (chap. Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 44:6; Mark 12:32; 1 Samuel 2:2; Psalm 18:31; Isaiah 46:9; 1 Corinthians 8:4, 6).

2. This truth is clear from reason.(1) There can be but one First Cause, which hath its being of itself, and gave being to all other things, and on which all other things depend, and that is God; for one such is sufficient for the production, preservation, and government of all things; and therefore more are superfluous, for there is no need of them at all.(2) There can be but one Infinite Being, and therefore there is but one God. Two infinites imply a contradiction.(3) There can be but one independent Being, and therefore but one God.(a) There can be but one independent in being; for if there were more gods, either one of them would be the cause and author of being to the rest, and then that one would be the only God; or none of them would be the cause and author of being to the rest, and so none of them would be God, because none of them would be independent, or the fountain of being to all.(b) There can be but one independent in working. For if there were more independent beings, then in those things wherein they will and act freely they might will and act contrary things, and so oppose and hinder one another; so that, being equal in power, nothing would be done by either of them.(4) There can be but one omnipotent.(5) The supposition of a plurality of gods is destructive to all true religion. For if there were more than one God, we would be obliged to worship and serve more than one. But this it is impossible for us to do, as will appear if ye consider what Divine worship and service is. Religious worship and adoration must be performed with the whole man.(6) If there might be more gods than one, nothing would hinder why there might not be one, or two, or three millions of them. No argument can be brought for a plurality of gods, suppose two or three, but what a man might, by parity of reason, make use of forever so many. Hence it is that when men have once begun to fancy a plurality of gods, they have been endless in such fancies and imaginations.

(T. Boston D. D.)

I. The Scriptural Trinity implies THAT GOD IS ONE. So far from being against the cardinal truth of God's unity, it actually assumes it. The Trinity of our faith means a distinction of persons within one common indivisible Divine nature. If we ask, What is the chief spiritual benefit which we derive from the knowledge of the unity of God? the answer is this: The unity of God is the only religious basis for a moral law of perfect and unwavering righteousness. It is a unity of moral character in the Ruler, and therefore of moral rule in the universe. It is such a unity as excludes all conflict within the Divine will, all inconsistency in the Divine law, all feebleness in the Divine administration.


1. To this question we answer, that the doctrine of the Trinity has heightened and enriched our conception of the nature of God.

2. This doctrine affords a basis for those gracious relations which it has pleased God to sustain towards us in the economy of our salvation.

(J. Oswald Dykes, D. D.)

I. The belief in one GOD GIVES REST TO THE ACTIVE MAN; it satisfies his intellectual, his moral, his emotional, his spiritual being.

II. In the field of scientific research this faith INSPIRES US WITH A CONFIDENT HOPE OF REDUCING ALL PHENOMENA TO LAW, since all proceed from one hand, and express one creative will. This faith supplies that which physical science lacks and yet requires — namely, a prime mover and a sustaining power.

III. In morals this faith ACTS MOST POWERFULLY UPON OUR WILL, and rouses us to exalt the higher nature and repress the lower. Polytheism deifies the human passions. But if there be only one God, then our highest aspirations must give us the truest image of Him.

IV. Faith in one God BRINGS PEACE TO THE MOURNER AND TO THE SUFFERING, for we know that He who now sends the trouble is the same God whose kindness we have felt so often. Having learned to love and trust Him, we are able to accept suffering as the chastisement of a Father's hand. If there were gods many, we could regard the troubles of life only as the spiteful acts of some malevolent deity; we must bribe his fellow gods to oppose him.

V. UPON ONE GOD WE ARE ABLE TO CONCENTRATE ALL THE POWERS OF THE SOUL, our emotions are not dissipated, our religious efforts are not flittered away upon a pleasing variety of characters, but the image of God is steadily renewed in the soul, and communion with God grows ever closer.

(F. R. Chapman.)

I. THE SUPREMACY OF THE LORD. The one Being — incomparable, unrivalled.

1. As regards His existence. Alpha and Omega. Uncreated. Independent. From everlasting.

2. As regards His decrees. Consummate wisdom.

3. As regards His operations. Needs no assistance. Makes no mistakes.

4. As regards His faithfulness. The one immutable God.

5. As regards His love. Admits no rival. Has no equal.

6. As regards His claims. The only Being who has a right to our praise, service, love.


1. Has made a covenant with us (Exodus 6:4-8; Hebrews 8:6).

2. Has adopted us.

3. Has endowed us. With Himself. His power, wisdom, etc., are all at our service.

4. Has owned the relationship.

III. THE COMMAND OF THE LORD. "Hear, O Israel." God would have us think much on this two-fold theme — what He is, and what He is to us —

1. To cheek presumption.

2. To stimulate faith.

3. To increase devotedness.

4. To dissipate fears.

5. To impart comfort.

6. To fire love.

(R. A. Griffin.)

Knowledge as to the fact that there is one God is of high importance to its possessor. In connection with this statement, as to its importance, it may be predicated that evidence has never been adduced to prove that there is more than one God — the one Jehovah. Evidence upon evidence, however, can be adduced to prove that there is one God, the Creator of the ends of the earth, the Upholder and Proprietor of all things. In evidence of this, we have only to look around us upon the things that exist; for they all speak of God as the Great First Cause of their existence. For the sake of argument, however, let it be supposed that the proposition is submitted that there are more Gods than one, how could this proposition be supported? How could there be any being equally high with the Highest, or equally excellent with the Most Excellent — two super-superlatives? The idea is not tenable. Not so, however, is it with the idea that there is one God, one Supreme Ruler in the universe; and from whom the universe itself had its origin. This idea has manifold support; and, from among the many evidences that might be adduced in support of it, reference may be made to that unity of design which is manifest throughout all the works of God: as in these works, so far as they can be surveyed by the human mind in present circumstances, this unity, embracing simplicity, testifies to the infinite wisdom and power of a Designer. The extent to which this truth might illustratively be carried out can only be glanced at in present circumstances. New countries, for example, are constantly discovering themselves to the eye of the traveller; and yet, go where he may, he still finds that the old laws of nature, by the appointment of Heaven, come into view. Many new plants may be found on foreign shores; yet all of them indicate the necessity of their continuance to exist in the adhesion of the pollen of the stamens to the gummy stigma of the pistil. Yes; and new animals may be found in different parts of the globe. Whatever their variety, however, they are all maintained by the same earth, cheered by the same sun, invigorated by the same breath, and refreshed by the same moisture. Go where we will the elements act upon each other, the tides uniformly fluctuate; and true to its index is the instrument, when properly adjusted, by which the ship may be steered. Man, too, go where we may, has the same origin, the same general external construction, and the same characteristics by which he is distinguished from creatures of a lower grade. Now whence, or for what purpose, does this uniformity of design exist? The text replies — "The Lord our God is one Lord," one self-existent, all-wise, and independent Jehovah, and of whose existence and attributes there is incontrovertible evidence, not only in things that exist, but in the unity, simplicity, and harmony of those principles which operate, with marvellous uniformity, throughout every department of the material world. In Him, as thus revealed, we have a God to adore, worthy of our worship, worthy of our confidence, and whose goodness may well captivate with thrilling emotions every affectionate impulse of the soul. But an awful question here comes into my mind. Is this one Jehovah, so plainly revealed, my God? How can I, without arrogant presumption, cherish the thought that I may find acceptance in the sight of Him, compared with whom I am as "nothing; less than nothing, and vanity"? His greatness, and my insignificance; His holiness, and my impurity, seem to repel every ground on which the hope of acceptance with Him would seek to rest. Through what medium, honouring to God, can His favour ever reach this poor heart of mine? How can condescension, in God, to take notice of me, ever accord with His own infinite purity, justice, and dignity? The case transcends my reason: it is too great for me. I am as one utterly out at sea in a frail bark, without a rudder or a hand to guide it. Here, in this labyrinth of perplexity, the great Jehovah might have left me to the guidance of my own mental wanderings till the long night of death had closed over my head. But in great goodness He has not left me thus! With a condescension upon which created intelligence, of itself, never could have reckoned, He has unfolded to me the mystery, that, while there is only one God, there are yet, in the essence of this one God, or Godhead, three distinct personalities — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost — each of them fulfilling a separate department in the economy of human redemption; and that, while thus separate in their gracious manifestations, they are nevertheless one as to undivided essence. The day now begins to dawn somewhat upon my hitherto benighted soul; and though its light be dim amid the darkness through which it comes, there is in it an intimation that, like the dawn of morn, its light shall increase. Be it borne in mind, however, that the revelation indicated is only intended to suit the infancy of our existence in the life that now is; and that while it does not tell us all that in due time we shall be made to know, it tells us all that our present circumstances require.

(Thos. Adam.)

Owing to the imperfection and limitation of our powers, we are obliged to deal with fragments of the universe, and to exaggerate their differences. But the more profound and varied our study of the objects of Nature, the more remarkable do we find their resemblances. And we cannot occupy ourselves with the smallest province of science without speedily becoming sensible of its intercommunication with other provinces. The snowflake leads us to the sun. The study of a lichen or moss becomes a key that opens up the great temple of organic light. If we could understand, as Tennyson profoundly says, what a little flower growing in the crevice of a wayside wall is, root and all, and all in all, we should know what God and man are. And the same unbroken gradation or continuity which we trace throughout all the parts and objects of our own world pervades and embraces the whole physical universe — so far, at least, as our knowledge of it at present extends. By the wonderful discoveries of spectrum analysis, we find the same substances in sun, moon, and stars which compose our own earth. The imagination of the poet is conversant with the whole, and sees truth in universal relation. He attains by insight the goal to which all other knowledge is finding its way step by step. And the Christian poet and philosopher, whose eye has been opened, not partially, by the clay of Nature's materials, worked upon by human thought so that he sees men as trees walking, but fully and perfectly, by washing in the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness, whose pure heart sees God in everything, and in God's light sees light — he stands at the shining point where all things converge to one. Wherever he turns his inquiring gaze, he finds "shade unperceived so softening into shade, and all so forming one harmonious whole," that not a link is wanting in the chain which unites and reproduces all, from atom to mountain, from microscopic mass to banyan tree, from monad up to man. And if the unity of the tabernacle proved it to be the work of one designing mind, surely the unity of this greater tabernacle, this vast cosmos, with its myriads of parts and complications, proves it to be no strange jumbling of chance, no incoherent freak of fortuity, but the work of one intelligent Mind having one glorious object in view.

(Hugh Macmillan, LL. D.)

1. Here religion and philosophy are in accord. The saints and the scientists alike maintain the unity of God. Authority and reason go thus far together. God must be one; cannot be other than one.

2. The revelation of God is of necessity progressive. All education is progressive, because all knowledge is conditioned by the mind of him who knows. You may take a whole ocean of water, but you can get only two pints of it into a quart cup. The water is conditioned, limited, by the cup. Thus is knowledge conditioned by the mind.

3. The highest truth which the mind can touch is truth about God. The supreme knowledge is knowledge of God. But this, like all other knowledge, is conditioned by the mind of him who knows. God changes not; but year by year in the life of a man, and age by age in the life of the race, the conception of God changes. It is like the ascent of a hill which overhangs a plain. The plain does not change, does not get wider, mile by mile, as the beholder climbs. No, the beholder changes. The higher he gets, the more he sees.

4. Thus religion grew out of belief in God as many, into belief in God as one. Some see a trace of this old change out of the polytheistic into the monotheistic idea of God in the fact that in the beginning of the Bible the Hebrew name of God is plural, while the verb which is written with it is singular. Men began to see that the gods of their imperfect creed were but personifications of the attributes of the one God.

5. It was a hard lesson to learn. It is evident in the Old Testament that faith in the unity of God won its way little by little. The best men held it, but the people in general were slow to believe it. Even in the Psalms, God is often spoken of as the greatest of the gods.

6. All religion, however imperfect and mistaken, is an endeavour after a better knowledge of God. And as men grows they are able to know more — to know more about everything, even about God. God is able to reveal Himself more and more. At first, every tree is a god. Then there is a god of the trees, and then of all the universe and of man included in it. God is known as one.

7. We have not yet learned all the truth of God. We are not universally sure, e.g., that God cares more for deeds than creeds. But we have learned that God is one; we have abandoned polytheism.

8. We believe in God the Father, and we believe in God the Son, and we believe in God the Holy, Ghost. But there is one God, and there is none other. The word "person," which the old creed-makers used to express these different ideas of God, has given rise to endless confusion. With us a person is an individual. But this word "person" comes into English out of Latin, and in Latin was a blundering translation of a wiser word in Greek. It means "distinction." There is one God in threefold distinction. The Divine nature is complex as our human nature is. And there are three ways of thinking about God, corresponding to the being of God, ways which are not only true but essential, so that if we are to think of God aright we must think of Him in all these three ways.(1) God is the source of life, the infinite, the eternal — the Father.(2) God has manifested Himself to us — so that we may know Him and love Him, and know that He loves us — in the plainest and most universally understood of all possible manifestations, in a human personality; the Word become flesh — the Son.(3) And God is ever present with us, speaking to all men everywhere, in the past and in the present, teaching, warning, inspiring — the Holy Spirit.

9. Thus the Christian doctrine, taking that old truth that "God is one," and holding to it, draws new truth out of it. It is an advance upon monotheism, as that was upon polytheism. It meets the longings of the heart. It answers the eager questions of the race.

(George Hodges, D. D.)

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