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'he surprised to find that such a doctrine and worship ever prevailed in the christian world. But, (to give a direct answer to your objection, drawn from the high titles and attributes ascribed to the son and holy C 2 spirit)
knowledge of the English language) was in England. about fifty years ago, and was asked, aster reading the new Testament, if he found three Gods there: he replied, " No, No! One Great God, One Great "Good God."
It is also observed, by one who lived several years samiliarly with the Indians «f North America, " The "great article that they stick most at, is this, they *' exclaim against the supposition, that the divine word *' was shut up for nine months in the womb of a "woman: and say, that it is a thing unheard of, "that for the expiation of Adam's sin, God mould "put God to death to satisfy himself: or that the "peace of the world should be brought about by the '• incarnation of God, and his shamesul death.—They "affirm that reason ought not to be controled by any
"law, or put under a necessity of approving what it *' does not comprehend; and, in fine, that what we ," call an article of saith, is an intoxicating potion to
*' make reason reel and stagger out of its way; for as
*' much as the pretended faith may support lies, as "well as truth, if we understand by it a readiness to
"believe, without diving to the bottom of things."
La Honton's New Voyage to North America, v. ii.
cited in Cardale's True Doctrine of the N.T. ad.
edit. p. 360.
spirit) it is no wonder that great things are ascribed to Christ, and to the operation of the spirit or power of God, since they are frequently concerned in, or connected with, the grand work of man's salvation. But, the sacred writers have taken all imaginable care to secure the supremacy of the one God and Father of all, when they speak in the highest strain of the one mediator, the man Christ Jesus, and the holy spirit the comforter. With respect to the title of God, in some sew passages ascribed to our blessed lord, it is extremely plain, from the old and new Testament, that such title is sometimes used in an inserior sense; Moses, magistrates and angels being filled gctls, consistently wiih the acknowledgment of the supreme God; and Christ-himself, in his answer to the jews, when they charged him with blasphemy, expressly contends for the use of the word God in an inserior sense. (John x. 34—36.) But, it is sufficient for my present purpose, to observe in general, that when this, and other high titles and attributes ascribed to Christ, (for the holy spirit is never expressly stiled God, or lord,) are collected together, and presented to the reader with all possible advantage, which is frequently done by athanasian writers; our lord himself, and his apostles, have assured us, in the most solemn manner, that he, (viz. Chri(t) ReCeived his being, high title?, and attributes from God the Father; that God advanced him to high dignity and honour, upon account of his persect
righteousness, righteousness, and obedience unto death: (see Philip, ii. 8, 9, &c.) and that the whole redounds to the glory of God, the Father.
This plain and solemn account effectually overthrows the argument usually drawn from the most pompous recital of our lord's high titles and attributes: it being absolutely impossible that the supreme God should have any thing given him by any being whatever. For, according to the unanswerable declaration of the apostle Paul; Who hath first Given to him (viz. God,) and it shall be recompensed to him? For of him, and through him, and to htm are all things; to whom be glory for ever. (Rom. ii. 35, 36.) From whence it follows, with demonstrative evidence, that Christ, who was given by almighty God, who received his all from God-, is a person, in his most exalted state, inserior to the one supreme God and Father of all. And the argument holds still stronger with regard to the holy spirit; which was bestowed and sent from heaven, according to Christ's promise, and the commission he had received from his God and Father, to surnish the apostles with extraordinary gifts, and to render them qualified for their important wort.
Add to this, that there are, in the new Testament, about two hundred and forty passages, wherein Christ is declared to be inserior to almighty God. The expressions relating to this point are plain and clear, incapable of any other sense, without violence and C 3 distortion.
distortion. On the other hand, there is only the found of one text, which seems to set forth Christ's equality with the Father, and the found is intirely owing to a false translation; (viz. Philip, ii. 6.) JVho being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; the words should be rendered thus, who being in the form of God, (i. e. endowed with divine powers) was not eagerly desirous to be Hke unto God; (i. e. to display those powers.) Be pleased to read the eleventh verse, and then determine, by the principles of common sense, whether a person equal to the supreme God, can be raised to higher dignity than he was before?
Again; what demonstrates the falsehood of the athanafian doctrine, beyond a possibility of doubt is, that there are about forty passages, wherein the three persons of the trinity are mentioned together, who are sometimes stiled the Father, son, and holy spirit; or, the Father, the son, and the spirit;—the living God, Christ, the spirit; God, the son of God, the holy spirit;—God, the lord, the spirit: but not one passage appears, where the Father,,the son, and the holy spirit, are said to be the one God, as determined by the athanafian creed. On the other hand, the Father is called God, the living God, and sometimes the one God, expressly distinguished from the son and holy spirit. You must, in this place, either give up the plain declarations of scripture, or the athanafian doctrine, they being, when fairly com■v , t pared pared together, absolutely inconsistent with each other.
I will conclude with a plain scripture sact, relating to the character of the supreme God. There are in the new Testament four hundred and forty one paflages, wherein God, the Father, is stiled the one, or only God, or God absolutely by way of eminence and supremacy; or God with some peculiar high titles, epithets, or attributes. Upon the whole, the sacred writers have taken all imaginable care to maintain the supremacy of the one God, and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in us all; it proceeding entirely from his boundless love and mercy, that our lord was appointed to teach his mind and will to mankind, and that he bestowed his spirit, or extraordinary power, upon him for that purpose.
Athanasian. I heartily thank you, my good friend, for the pains you have taken to set me right on this important point. I cannot help acknowledging that you proceed in a rational way, and that your arguments seem justly drawn from scripture, interpreted by reason. If there be such a number of texts in the new Testament, clearly setting forth the sense you have contended for, under the three last heads of your discourse, the athanasian cause is certainly demolished. Surely it must have cost you a vast deal of time and labour to collect such a number of texts, and range them in proper order.