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fyllable about absolute and relative, Jupreme and inferior prayer. We are commanded to pray fervently and incessantly, but never fovereignly or absolutely that I know of. We have no rules left us, about raising or lowering our intentions in proportion to the dignity of the objects. Had this been the case, I make no doubt but a God, jealous of his honour, would have given us directions on this important matter, so as to make our worship either high, higher, or highest, as occafion should require, but He has given us none. Nay
The whole tenor of Scripture runs against it. Let us, in order to prove my assertion, consider such acts and instances of worship, as are laid down, whether under the old or new difpenfation.
Sacrifice was one instance of worship required under the law; and it is said; He that sacrificeth unto
any God, fave unto Jehovah only, He shall be utterly destroyed a.
Now upon the famed instance of the Israelites making and worshipping the golden calf, they had but to alledge, they meant only that image as a medium through which they worshipped the Deity, with supreme, it, only with relative adoration; as Aaron caused to be proclaimed, that it was a feast to Jehovah b. But the Supreme Majesty admitted no such distinctions; and notwithstanding he was prevailed upon by Moses, to spare their utter extirpation, he declared, that in their future visitations for their fins, This their idolatry, he will still remember against them c.
The case was the same with religious vows, Swearing by God's name, was of the fame nature; but we find no distinction, or degrees of solemnity,
a Exod. xxii. 20.
6 Exod. xxxii. s.
< Ch. xxxii. 34
with which men were to perform those acts of religious worship.
In the New Testament, where the Lycaonians would have done sacrifice unto the Apostles, Paul and Barnabas, these holy men did not tell them that sacrifice was of equivocal meaning; and that they might proceed in it, provided they would rectify their intentions, and consider them as Apostles only; but run among them, and forbade them to sacrifice to them at all. The Angel, in the Revelations, did not direct
John to consider him only as an Angel, and proportion his adoration accordingly; but strictly forbidding him to do it at all, faid, Worship God. To this I may add, that the Martyrs, when required by their Pagan persecutors, only to throw a few grains of incense into the fire, and pay their Deities what degrees of worship they pleased, and so save their lives, ho- . nours, and estates, at this easy rate; yet these brave servants of the living God, scorned to divide even the smallest degree of worship between the true God, and dumb Idols á.
We conclude then, that no medium however significant, no man however holy, no angel however intelligent, nay, even the Son of God, should he poffefs ten thousand times more holiness and excellency than all the hosts of heaven, if he is considered only as a creature, can be worshipped; and, for once, we agree with the Socinians, in accounting the Arians chargeable with idolatry, since they worship the Son and Spirit, whom they consider only as creatures.
We see then on whom the charge of Tritheism justly falls; as also the danger of forsaking the good
a This was the grand reason why the antient Fathers so zealously opposed Arianism, because that Christianity, which was intended by God Almighty, for a means to extirpate Pagan Idolatry, was thereby itself Paganized and Idolatrized; in as much as they workipped the Son of God Himself, supposed by them to be no more than a Creature. Cudworth's Intell. System. Page 628.
old way, and in avoiding imaginary inconsistences, to run into errors of the moft fatal tendency.
But to avoid every appearance of Tritbeism, with which We apparently, and the Arians really were chargeable, Sabellius, and the Socinians, took more decitive fteps, and boldly cut, instead of troubling themselves to loose the knot; and at once ftruck out the Son, and Spirit from the economy of the Persons in the Godhead.
This introduces me to consider the UNITARIAN Scheme. It would be well in all disputes of moment, if we could fix the precise meaning of the Terms. And as this of Unitarian, is capable of several definitions, I shall shortly consider each. Candour obliges me to suppose that by the appellation these Gentlemen have assumed, they mean that the Divine Unity, is alone the object of worship; and so far they are perfectly right. Let us now see how far we go along with them, and where and when we muft part. And here we agree with them that the object of all divine worship is one God; and to give it to any other being, however exalted, is Idolatry, and will be punished as such, “ Hear, o Ifrael, the Lord our God is one Lord a. The Anti-Trinitarians, of all forts, maintain that this Unity in the text, is that of Person; and that the Father alone, is here intended ; but the words literally rendered are, Jehovah, out God, is one Jehovah. Now, if it only respected the Person of the Father, exclusively of the other Two, it would run thus: The Father, our God is one Father; just as if we should say, David, our King, is one David. And where would be the propriety of such phraseology? But, Jehovah, which always includes in it the idea of the Eternal, Immutable, and Infinite Being, is One, in opposition to Gods many, and Lords many, is here deligned. Thus the
Scribe, a Deut. vi. 4.
Scribe, who quoted this very text a, understood it, and whom our Lord commends, as answering so far discreetly. Yet it is carefully to be noted, that although he commends him for acknowledging one God, he wanted something farther, He was not far from the Kingdom of God, that is, to be a subject of Meffiah's Kingdom. And that one thing that he wanted, was to acknowledge the Son to be God and Lord, as well as the Father; for, He, in common with the Jews, had very imperfect notions of the Divinity of the Mefliah. And it is remarkable that both the Evangelists, Matthew and Mark b, after relating this conference of our Saviour with the Scribe, immediately subjoin the history of his putting a question to the Pharisees, How the Messiah could be both David's Son, and David's Lord, quoting Psal. cx. 1. The. Lord said unto my Lord, &c. It is exceedingly probable that the intention of our Lord's question, was to correct the Jewish construction of Deut. vi. 4, and to intimate, as far as was proper at time, that the Father is not eis Kúpsos, one Lord, in such a sense as to exclude the Son, who is also Kúpros, or Lord, and tacitly included, as often as the Father is ftiled the only God or Lord c.
But still it may be urged, from such texts as the following, There is no God before me, neither shall there be any after me :-I am God alone, and besides me there is none else, &c. In the New Testament To us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him: And are not these exclusive texts? They are so, in a certain sense, and yet they do not affect the doctrine of the Bleffed Trinity. It is a rule and maxim in all writings, that exclusive terms are not always to be rigorously interpreted, so as to leave no room for tacit exceptions, such as reason and good fense will easily supply. It may be needless, and, on fome occasions, improper to mention every exception, but to leave them to the intelligent reader. For example, it is said, No one knoweth the Father, but the Son, and no one knoweth the Son but the Father a. It would seem from this text, that the Father does not know himself, nor the Son himself. But no man of common sense can think so of either. Paul the Apostle says, I determined nit to know any thing among you, - save Jesus Chrift, and him crucified. Did he, by this pallage, resolve to take no notice of either the Father, or the Spirit, in his doctrines? No body will say it. If then God intended equal honour to the Son and Spirit, as to the person of the Father, why did he not give some cautions to mankind? I answer, such cautions were unnecessary. For none of those declarations, concerning the Unity of God, and the worfhip due to God alone, were made at the beginning, or before idolatry was grown into practice. The intent and design of these declarations was to be a remedy against it, and to root it out of the world; and so were always made in opposition to all other Gods, opposite to, and different from the God of Ifrael. Thus the end of them was fully answered, and there was no occasion explicitly to mention the Person of the Son, before the proper time came to reveal his distinct person and character to the world. They might have been hurtful, in religion. Had the First Commandment run thus, Thou shalt have no other Gods besides me, except my Son and Spirit; it had been plainly making these two other Gods, and fo confirmed idolatry, instead of destroying it. These cautions were also unnecessary, after the in
a Matthew xxii. 35.
6 Mark xii. 23. c Dominus ipfe præcipuum mandatum Legis, in Unius Domini confeflione and dilectione docens effe, non fuo ad Scribamsed Propheta testimonio usus est, effe re Doninum. Dominum unum ita ex lege docens, ut le quoque Dominum Propheta Tefte confirmat. Hilar. Page 1001.