Imágenes de páginas

whenever he prayed to the Father, pray to himself.

2. To use Bishop Pearson's words“ if the Son were included in the Father, then were the Son the Father of himself." Exposition of the Creed, p. 32. And,

3. Dr. Clarke (Reply to Mr. Nelson, p. 237), shews another strange consequence of such a supposition. “ If (saith he) the word God, which always signifies an intelligent and powerful agent, were ever made use of in Scriptụre to signify what this learned author calls the divine nature, viz. the whole three persons, who are each of them also in Scripture always spoken of as intelligent agents; it would follow unavoidably, that the divine nature was a fourth intelligent agent, distinct from, and constituted of those three intelligent agents. Which is the utmost confusion imaginable.”

It is from this confused language concerning the Deity, and a worship no less confused grounded upon it, that Christians have been charged with holding four Gods,

The four invocations at the beginning of the litany, can but ill be defended against such a charge.

Our Lord's apostles, as may be presumed, were far from going contrary to their divine Master's practice and directions on this most important article of worship.

They direct men to pray to God only. Rom.

[ocr errors]

xv. 6, 30. Philip. i. 3, 4, 6. Col. iii. 16, 17. Eph. v. 19, 20, &c. &c.

They prayed only to God themselves. Acts iv. 24, 30. Rom. i. 8. xvi. 27. 1 Tim. i. 17, &c. &c.

Christ's Character of Mediator and High Priest

utterly incompatible with his being the Object of Worship.

But that language concerning our Saviour Christ, which his apostle Paul in particular makes use of, i. e, styling him the mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 1 Tim. ii. 5; the mediator or minister of the new covenant, Heb. xii. 24, as Moses is called the mediator of the old covenant, Gal. iii. 17, 18; and his dwelling so much on his being our high priest, in allusion'to the office of the Jewish high priest, so largely insisted on in the epistle* to the Hebrews, must

* In this epistle, as St. Paul is writing to the Jews, to reconcile them to the gospel, he is continually making references and allusions to their ritual, and labours to shew them that every thing they might hope for under their. law was effected in a better manner under the new dispensation, Their high priest being their most conspicuous and dignified character, he styles Christ Jesus the high priest of our profession, (iii. 1,) or of the new institution of religion given by him, because several parts of his conduct in reconciling men to God, in a moral way, might bear an allusion to several acts of the High Priest in the discharge of his office. But then, these allusions, in like manner as our Saviour's parables, are not to be too strictly taken. See “ A Sequel to the Apology," pp. 87-91.

for ever exclude the thought and practice of making him the object of religious worship.

He cannot therefore be the God to whom prayer is to be offered, when he is the high priest of that God, his minister, to appear in the presence of God for us, ix. 24—to make intercession for us, vii. 25. What a strange thing would it have been for the Jews to have worshiped Aaron their high priest, instead of the great Jehovah, whom Aaron served! The idea exhibited to us of our Redeemer in this epistle is this, and it is full of consolation, that, by his love and friendship for us, joined to his power and interest with God, and the divine promises by him, we are encouraged to ask of God in prayer the supply of all our wants; and are therefore exhorted to come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Heb. iv. 16.

But different conclusions having been formed from other parts of the writings of the apostles and evangelists, and a very contrary practice founded thereupon for many ages, we must consider how far it is really warranted by them.

The principal Texts alleged to authorize Prayer to

our Lord Jesus Christ. Acts i. 24: “And they prayed,

And they prayed, and said, Thou Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen."

This prayer is. addressed to God, the Father, and not to Christ. i. Because in a similar passage that follows soon after, the same apostles address their prayer in the same terms to God, the Father. Acts iv. 24, 29: “Lord, thou art thé God-and now Lord, behold their threatenings, and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word.” 2. For the reason given by Grotius upon the place, who quotes Jeremiah xvii. 10, “ I the Lord search the heart:" and observes, that it is the prerogative of God only to search the heart of man. It may be said that, Rev. ii. 23, Christ saith of himself, “I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts." But then, this is a derived power, as plainly appears from the frequent acknowledgments of his receiving every thing from God, and particularly, Matt. xxviii. 18, “ All power is given me in heaven and in earth:" i. e, bestowed upon him, and entrusted with him, for the particular purpose immediately after mentioned by him, (ver. 19,) to enable his apostles to make disciples of all nations, to preach the gospel with effect throughout the world; but not surely to erect him into an equal object of worship with God who gave it him.

Acts vii. 59. Our translation has inserted the word God, when it was not in the original, as is easily perceived by its being put in italics. Mr. Purver translates, “ Thus they stoned Stephen,

who was calling on invoking) and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."

It cannot be doubted but that Stephen addressed this request to the Lord Jesus. But then this can be no precedent for directing prayer to him unseen or addressing him as God, whom the blessed martyr declares he saw with his eyes, and calls him, ver. 56, “ the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God;" calls him the Son of Man, in that his highest state of exaltation. Son of Man, and God most high: what a space between!

Revelation i. 5, 6 : “ Unto him that hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father ; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."

The very different readings of this disturbed passage in the MSS. shew that it has suffered by the negligence of transcribers, which may easily be observed in Mill and Wetstein; and therefore no certain conclusions can be formed from it.

“ Dr. Mill observes (saith Dr. Clarke, Scr. Doct. pp. 146, 147), that, in one ancient Greek manuscript, the words unto him are wanting; the reading being, τ8 αγαπήσαντος και λέσαντος, instead of τω αγαπήσαντι και λέσαντι : in which case the doxology will be, not to Christ, but the Father; and the passage would be read And from Jesus Christ (who is the faithful witness, the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the king's

« AnteriorContinuar »