Page images

also taught bis disciples. (Luke xi. I.) Now, the grand question is, what answer our lord made to this reasonable inquiry? For surely it is the duty of every christian to pay a very solemn regard to the determination of Christ himself.—And he (viz. Christ) said unto them, when ye fray, say, Our Father, who art in heaven; &c. (v. 2.) This is exactly agreeable to the precept he gave in his sermon on the mount; after this manner pray ye: Our Father, who art in heaven, ike. (Mark vi. 9.) It appears then, that our Lord has plainly commanded all his disciples to worship the one God and Father of all, without any mention of himself, or of the holy spirit of God, as objects of worship.

Athanasian. Your producing the lord's prayer is, I think, unnecessary, as all christians are uniformly agreed in it; and this prayer frequently occurs in every part of our public service.

Unitarian. But it is proper to begin with a point universally agreed upon, in order to proceed in a regular manner, to the examination of those points wherein we differ. Though the lord's prayer is so samiliar to you, by frequent use, yet it is very possible that you, and thousands' of others-, might not have attended to the consequences, naturally arising from this divine and compiehensive prayer.

In the next place, I recommend to your serious consideration; part of a discourse our lord delivered to his disciples, just before he was going to suffer a


painsul and scandalous death.—In that day ye sball ask me nothing: Verily, verily, I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye a/ked nothing in my name. At that day ye shall ask in my name, (John xv. 23, 24, 26). Be pleased to take particular notice, that our loid hath, in these declarations, plainly set forth the true christian form of worship, which is no other than to worship the one God and Father of all, in the name, » and as the disciples, of Jesus Christ.

But here I must earnestly defire you to consider, -what foundation there is for the worship of Jesus Christ, or the holy spirit of God, or three persons in one God. 'Tis impossible for the art of man to find it out, in these plain declarations of our lord, when he was prosessedly speaking of the duty of his disciples, with regard to the true object of religious worship.

Athanasian. I freely grant you that the churchworship does not appear in this discourse of Christ. But does he not promise his disciples to send the holy spirit to guide them into all truth? From whence it is not improbable that some particulars were to be revealed to them aster the descent of the holy spirit, which our lord did not think proper to communicate to them in person; so that if the church-worship be rightly deduced from the declarations of the inspired apostles, it will yet stand upon a scripture-foundation.

B Unitarian

Unitarian. Let us, for the present, confine our argument to our lord's last discourse to his disciples. If the true character of God be, a Being consisting cf three co-equal persons, and it be our duty to worlhip him under this character, is it possible to imagine, that our Lord should take no notice of such an essential part of our religious service? As no such worship can be deduced from this, or any other discourse of our lord, it must certainly be given up, as false and unscriptural, unless the apostles, after the descent of the holy spirit, have made it our express duty, by clear precepts and example.

But the matter of fact is demonstrated, even to the eye-sight, that the apostles offered up their usual and stated devotions to God only, through Jesus Christ. They list up their voice to God, saying, Lord, thou art God,grant thatwonders may be done by the name of thy holy servant Jesus. (Acts iv. 24, 30.) Thanks le to God, whogiveth us the victory, through our lord 'J'esus Christ. (1 Cor. xv. 57.) The precepts relating to worlhip, in the epistles, are to this effect—Whatsoever ye do, in word or deed, da all in the name of the lord Jesus, giving thanks to God, and the Father by hint. (Coloff. iii. 17.) In the review of all the forms of worlhip in the new Testament, will appear demonstrative evidence that the worship of Christ, and the holy spirit, is no where warranted by the practice or pr.icepts of the apostles: ani so gross and absurd is the


worship of three persons and one God, that they have not left us the most distant intimation of .any such religious practice; whfch you will readily perceive, when you have caresully examined all their declarations relating to the duly of worship. If it had been the will of God, that the disciples of Christ should have worshipped one God, under the character of three persons, it would have been as plainly set forth in the new Testament, as it is in the liturgy of the church of England: and consequently, the athanasian forms of worship must appear, to all sincere Bereans, false and unscriptural, as being destitute of all support from the directions of Christ and his apostles.

Athanasian. But surely the great power and authority of Christ, who is so frequently joined together with the Father, as also the high offices which the holy spirit sustains; and both of them being sometimes mentioned, together with the Father, as concerned in the great work of our salvation, afford good grounds for the direct invocation of them in prayer or praise; particularly, as we are commanded to be baptized into the name of the son and holy spirit, as well as of the Father. (Mat. xxviii, 19-) And the apostolical benediction (2 Cor. xiii. 14.) seems to imply worship to the son and holy spirit.

Unitarian. That the son is employed by God

in very high offices for the salvation of mankind,

every christian must readily grant, with joy and

gratitude: and the promised assistance of the holy

B 2 spirit spirit is also deserving of our thankfulness. As almighty .God empowered Christ to preach and make known the terms of salvation to the world; so after he had compleated the gracious work assigned him, he received a commission to send down the holy spirit upon the apostles, to enable them to propagate the gospel through die world: the comfortable assistance of the same holy spirit of God, (that is, his guidance and protection) is likewise promised to all sincere christians in the discharge of their most difficult duties. Upon this account, the disciples of Christ are commanded to be baptized into the name of the son and holy spirit, as well as of the Father. To be baptized into the name of the holy spirit, or into the belief of the extraordinary guidance and direction of the holy spirit, which was given to the apostles, cannot be of the like import, with addressing ourselves to the fame in prayer and praise. When this famous text in Matthew's gospel is cited, the words immediately foregoing should always be added, as being necessary to complete the sense: all power, (that is, all power relating to the gospel-dispensation,) is given unto me in heaven, and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the son, and of the holy spirit: (Matt. xxviii. iS, 19.) and consequently, the Father is mentioned as the giver of that power, the son as the person to whom that power is given, and the holy spirit, as the bleffing of God, accompanying our endeavour?, and the ^i "" effectual

« PreviousContinue »