Page images
PDF
EPUB

esfectual means of our supporting our christian warfare. This power, of which Christ speaks, is that which he, in other words, calls the holy spirit; and, therefore, the Father is mentioned as the giver of that power, and the son as the person to whom it is given. This seems to be the true scriptural account of this passage, about which there have been so many angry disputes, but concerning which you, and every one, must judge for himself.

The other text you mention, (2. Cor. xiii. 14.) is no more than a solemn wish of the apostle Paul, that the favour of Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the holy spirit, or joint partaking in the divine assistance, might be and continue with the Corinthians. But I reser you to every thing relating to this text, fairly discussed in the Appeals before mentioned.

As to any doxology, or the ascribing of glory to the person of the holy spirit, it is not even pretended, by learned men, that one instance of it can be produced from scripture. The new Testament lies open before you, and you may see with your own eyes, whether the common church-doxology be there or not,—Glory be to the Father., and to the son, and to the holyghsl. The scripure-doxologies are to this effect: Glory to God through Jesus Christ.Blejfmg, &c. be unto him that Jitteth upon the throne, (viz. the one supreme God) andunto the lamb, (that is, God's holy and innocent creature, and great instrument employed

B 3 ^

by him, for the salvation of mankind,) for ever and ever. (Rom. xvi. 27. Rev. v. 13.)

Again; with respect to the worship of Father, son, and holy spirit', as being one God, it is a notorious fact, not to be overthrown, by all the subtle inventions of learned men through the whole christian world, that this form of worship is so far from being commanded, or authorised by the sacred writers, that the worship required in the scriptures is absolutely inconsistent with it; the one supreme God, who is generally described by the character of Father, being constantly set forth, as the only object to whom all religious invocation should be directed. Nothing is more easy than for you, or for any other common christian, to determine this plain question, whether the worship of three persons and one God, be in the new Testament, which you have in your hands, or whether it be not.

Athanasian. To speak impartially, your observations upon this article of religious worship appear to me of considerable weight. If the matter of fact be as you have represented it, (and you very fairly reser me to the scripture kself, for my complete satisfaction,) I shall be obliged to give up the athanasian worship, as what cannot be desended by the word of God.

But as worship is paid to Christ in scripture, and glory is expressly ascribed to him, is not this a very

strong

strong and conclusive argument, that Christ is equally divine, or one God, with the Father?

Unitarian. My good friend, as you begin to see some light and evidence, which you had not observed before, I shall take a particular pleasure in employing my best endeavours to give you every possible satisfaction upon this important article of religious worship. The argument usually urged, by learned men, to prove Christ's supreme divinity, is clearly and solidly answered, by the plain scripture account of the honour and worship which is to be paid to him, and which surely will be found to be very short of divine worship. From scripture then we learn, that we must honour the sen, because the Father hath committed all judgment unto him; (John v. 22. 23. J that we must confess Christ to be lord, to the glory ofGod the Father, i. e. acknowledge his high authority from God. (Philip, ii. 10. 11.)

More particularly in the Revelation, (ch. v.) where in an heavenly vision exhibited before the apostle John, our lord is emblematically described as a lamb, receiving honours and worship. Be pleased, however, to observe, that the ground of these honours and worship, was not, his being God, equal to the Father; was not, because he was employed by God as an inserior instrument in the creation of the world; but because he was thought worthy to receive this tribute of blessing and praise, as a reward for his faithful attachment to the cause of God, and his

willing

willing safferings in confirming the truth of the gospel, for the benesit of mankind. But this worship paid to this lamb tfaat was flain, (/'. e. to a creature, and to a mortal creature, capable of dying,) cannot be divine worship ; the worship to be paid to God, cannot be construed into an invocation of the holy Jesus in prayer; especially when there is no command in the scriptures for it, given by Christ himself, or, by al'mighty God: but it must be, that worship, reverence, and respect which we pay to sellow-creatures, our superiors in worth and excellence; worship proportionate to the highly virtuous and pious character of the blessed Jesus, and his benevolence towards us, whenever we think or speak of him; but not to make him almighty God by praying to him.

Athanasian. My good friend, it does not become a sincere christian to withstand the evidence you have, I think, fairly produced from the word of God. The objection I made, is satisfactorily answered, more especially that in the fifth chapter of the Revelation; and I really wonder at myself, and many others, who have not been so convinced before.

Unitarian. My dear christian friend, we ought to make great allowances for each other's insirmities, mistakes, and prejudices, naturally arising from various causes. Nothing is more common in human lise, than even for thinking persons to receive information about things seemingly plain and obvious, and which may have escaped their notice. But the

rea.liness

readiness you shew to submit to evidence, when sairly

laid before you, upon religious subjects, proceeds

from an excellent temper of mind, which naturally

qualifies you to receive the truth, as it is in Jesus.

As you freely grant that the athanasian forms of wor-'

ship must be given up, if the sact be, as I have stated

it, I am willing to put the whole cause upon this

short and important issue. If, upon inquiry, you can

point out, by any one plain instance or precept in

scripture, that it is the duty of christians to worship

Christ and the holy spirit, as being each of them

Qod: and three persons as one God, in prayer, or

praise: I shall then freely acknowledge myself to be in

a religious error, and shall think myself obliged to

return to the church-worship, which I have caresully

avoided since the time of my conviction. On the

other hand, if you cannot point out any such worship,

in the scriptures, you will judge yourself obliged, by

your own consession, to abhere to scripture-forms of

worship, notwithstanding the authority of even wise

and learned men; it being an express duty required

of Christ's disciple?, to obey God rather than men.

Let it be observed, that this argument, drawn from the consideration of the term " worship," is adapted to all capacities, and absolutely demolishes the athanasian doctrine, with respect to the worship of the holy spirit; it being impossible to conceive that this holy spirit, who is supposed by the athanasians to be of equal dignity with God, the Father, should never

have

« PreviousContinue »