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New Testament the most ancient and the most authentic Christian writings in all the world ? It matters' not much to inquire when this doxology was first used, or how long it has been used, if it is not in the New Testament."*
Religious Worship to be paid to God, the Father
only, and not to our Lord Jesus Christ. The law of God, given to the Jews by Moses and often confirmed afterwards by the same divine authority, invariably taught the Unity of God, Deut. vi. 4. Exod. xx. 2, 3, &c. &c.
In consequence of this, the Unity of his worship was most strictly enjoined, and inviolably to be observed.
* Lardner's Letter on the Logos, p. 176. See also a fine passage, pp. 161–171.
Some may be curious, however, to know when it first came into use.
In the fourth century, after the coupcil of Nice, there were great contentions about the form of their doxo. logies, those of holy scripture being too plain and simple for the several contending parties. Jerome is then first said to have composed this versicle, Glory be to the Father, &c. at the request of Pope Damasus ; and at his request to have afterwards added the other, As it was in the beginning, &c. And the cause of this addition was, because, without it, crafty heretics might still have gone on with their blasphemy, in understanding the Son of God, not to have existed always with the Father, but to have had a beginning of existence.Non semper cum Patre fuisse, sed à tempore coepisse.”Dallæus de cult. Lat. religios. p. 1193.
Ifthis be a true account, it must be owned that this famous doxology had but an unchristian and uncharitable origin.
110 Isaiah xlii. 8: “I am the Lord; that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” See also that fine prayer of King Solomon's at the dedication of the temple, 2 Chron. vi. and the book of Psalms, &c. This being then the Mosaic law, that religious worship was to be appropriated to God, and incommunicable to any other person whatsoever, every Jew was bound to give divine honour to God, and could not give it to any other without incurring the guilt of idolatry. Jesus, therefore, and his apostles, were obliged by this law to worship no other being but God, unless it : can be proved, that Christ by his divine authority or his apostles by his direction, did in any shape repeal it. But that they themselves conformed to it, and gave fresh sanctions to its authority, is now to be shewna
Our Saviour Christ himself always prayed to God, the Father, his Father and our Father,
his God and our God. John xx. 17.
Luke x. 21: “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth-even so, Father, for so it seemeth good in thy sight."
Luke xxii. 42: “Father, if thou be willing, (or, oh, that thou wouldst) remove this cup from me: nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done.”
John xvii, throughout.
but also directed prayer to be made only to God the Father.
Luke xi, 1, 2, Matt. iv. 10. John xv. 16.
It were needless to multiply authorities for so plain a point.
Our Saviour Christ seems, in words as express as can be used, to forbid men's offering prayer to himself. John xvi. 23: “In that day ye shall ask me nothing: verily, verily, I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.” Hitherto he had been all along present with his disciples, as it were in God's stead in some respects, with a divine power to heal bodily diseases, to instruct in the divine will; to forgive sins, and to comfort and establish them in his faith. In consequence of which they had recourse to him in all their wants and distresses. Matt. viii. 25: “Lord, save us, we perish." Luke xvii. 5: Lord, increase our faith.” But as he was now soon going to be withdrawn from them, he acquaints them that, when that event took place, they were no more to apply to him for any thing, but to God the Father, (the common Father of him, and of them all,) in his name, that is, as his disciples, relying on his authority, and in virtue of those assurances and promises from God which he had given them.
I shall need no apology for producing the following important and apposite passage from Lactantius.
" When God saw the wickedness of men, and that the worship of false gods prevailed over the whole earth, (for his own people the Jews had not been true to him, he sent his Son on an embassy to men, to convert them from their various impious and false worships, to know and to worship him the true God, and also to turn them from folly to true wisdom, from iniquity to righteousness. * These are the ways of God in the which he commanded him (his Son) to walk : these the precepts which he gave him to keep. And he was faithful to God: for he taught that God is One: that he only is to be worshiped, Nor did he ever say that he himself was God; because he would not have been found faithful, if, when sent to destroy the worship of many gods, and assert the worship of one alone, he had brought in another besides that One. This
* Hæ sunt viæ Dei, in quibus ambulare eum præcepit. Hæc præcepta, quæ servanda mandavit. Ille vero exhibuit Deo fidem : docuit enim quod unus Deus sit; eumque solum coli oportere; nec unquam seipsum Deum dixit: quia non servasset fidem si missus, ut Deos tolleret, et unum assereret, induceret alium præter ununi. Hoc erat, non de uno Deo facere præconium ; nec ejus, qui miserat, sed suum proprium negotium gerere; ac se ab eo, quem illus. tratum venerat, separare. Propterea, quia tam fidelis extitit, quia sibi nihil prorsus assumsit, ut mandata mittentis impleret; et sacerdotis perpetui dignitatem, et regis summi honorem, et judicis potestatem, et Dei nomen accepit.”Lanctantius de vera Sapeintia et Religione, L. iv. p. 198.
would not have been preaching the one God, and doing the work of him that sent him, but his own work, and withdrawing himself from him whom he came to make known. And because he was so faithful, and assumed nothing to himself, intent only on fulfilling the commands of him that sent him; therefore he was rewarded with the dignity of an everlasting high priest, the honour of a supreme king, the authority of a judge, and the name (or title) of God.”
One would hardly think it possible, by any device, to evade and set aside the force of our Saviour Christ's own example of praying always to the Father, and his frequent intimations that the Father was the only true God, who only was to be worshiped, and no other person whatsoever. But nothing is too hard to be got over by those who have once warmly espoused a religious system, and are unwilling to relinquish it. Hence it has been ingeniously invented by some, though without any authority from holy scripture, that the word Father, besides signifying the first person of the Trinity, as they speak, does also stand for the divine essence or nature, comprehending the whole Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost; and that therefore, when Christ prays, or bids us pray to the Father, he is to be understood of prayer to the whole Trinity. But what a chain of absurdities and contradictions follows from such a supposition !
1. It would be making our blessed Saviour,