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good of his church and people, is plainly and expressly revealed to us.' Matt. xxviii. 18, 20. John xiv. 14. Eph. i. 22, 23. 1 Cor. xv. 24. Philip. ii. 9, 10, &c. &c.
How and in what manner he exercised this power is wholly unrevealed, and therefore unsearchable by us, as much as the way and manner of God's providence, under which Christ acted, and which superintends and overrules all things.
To many, however, this high trust from God, and great power and dominion have seemed sufficient to warrant prayer to the Lord Jesus, although he be not the Supreme God. But this ground of invocation seems overturned.
1. By what hath been above shewn, that Christ directed prayer to be made only to God, the Father, and forbade it to himself.
2. There is no authority for it in the writings of the apostles.
3. It is setting up an inferior object of worship without warrant, when God invites and
Testament cited by me, and others of the like kind, do not relate to any power or dominion at present exercised by Christ; but either to that extraordinary power with which he was invested during the apostolic age, and which terminated with the last miraculous interposition in favour of the gospel; or they signify only the obedience and submission to his doctrines, to the laws of God delivered by him, by which he may be said in a very proper and scriptural (Luke xxii. 29,) sense to reign, and all Christians to bow the knee at the name of Jesus.
commands us to address ourselves upon all occasions immediately to himself; and he is able to do more abundantly for us than any other being though ever so great and perfect.
4. It is destroying the proper office of Christ as mediator, high priest, and intercessor.
5. It distracts the mind of the worshiper, who will be in doubt and uncertainty, when to pray to God, when to Christ; when it is right, when amiss to do it: a state of mind, surely, that ought to have no place in so important a duty.
Love, honour, reverence, duty, confidence, gratitude, and obedience are, and will be certainly for ever due from us of mankind, to the Lord Jesus for his immense love to us, and on account of his perfect holiness, excellency, power, dignity, and dominion whatever it be: but religious worship is the incommunicable honour and prerogative of God alone.
Those who first obtained the name of Soci. nians, generally held, thạt Christ, although no more than a man invested with divine powers, was to be prayed to and worshiped. And there is extant a dispute on the subject between F. Socinus himself, and Francis Davides, superintendant of the Unitarian churches in Transylvania, who opposed the invocation of Christ. The latter died in prison, in consequence of this opinion of his, and some offence taken at his supposed indiscreet propagation of it from the
pulpit. I wish I could say, that Socinus or his friend Blandrata, had done all in their power to prevent his commitment, or to procure his release afterwards.*
Mosheim has some remarks on this dispute, which it is but fair to produce, and they will not take us out of our way. “It is worthy of observation, that the motive which engaged Socinus and his friends to bestow so much pains and labour in the suppression of this faction, was not a persuasion of the pernicious tendency of its doctrines or peculiar notions. On the contrary, Socinus himself acknowledges, that this controversy turns upon matters of very little importance, by declaring it as his opinion, that praying or offering up divine worship to Christ is not necessary to salvation. Thus in his answer to Wujeck,
The following little history of a contrary behaviour, being not commonly known, and shewing the excellent person to whom it relates in a most amiable point of view, will be acceptable to some, * Dr. Clarke, a short time before his death, began his solicitations at court for the releasement of Mr. Woolston, declaring that he did not undertake it as an approver of his doctrines, but as an advocate for that liberty which he had through his life defended. He looked on Mr. Woolston as one under persecution for religion, which he thought inconsistent with the liberties of England, and the doctrines of Christianity: and on this laudable principle Dr. Clarke solicited the relief of the oppressed, but was hindered from proceeding in his virtuous design by death, soon after Mr. Woolston's commitment." -Life of Mr. Woolston, p. 18.
he expresses himself in the following manner : The Christian whose faith is 'so great as to encourage 'him to make 'his addresses habitually 'and directly to the Supreme 'Being, and who'standeth not in need of the comfort that flows from the invocation of Christ his brother, who was 'tempted in all things like as he is, that Christian is not obliged to call upon the name of Jesus by prayer or supplication. According, therefore, to the opinion of Socinus, those who lay aside all regard to Christ as an intercessor, and address themselves directly to God alone, have a greater measure of faith than others. But if this be so, wly did he oppose with such vehemence and animosity the 'sentiment of Davides, who in 'effect did no more than exhort all Christians 'to address themselves directly and immediately to the Father? From all this then it appears manifest, that Socinus and his followers were more artful than ingenuous in their proceedings with respect to Davides. They persecuted him and hís followers, lést, by tolerating his doctrine, they should increase the 'odium under which they say, and draw upon themselves anew the resentment of other Christian churches, while in their private judgment they looked upon this very doctrine, and its professors, as worthy of toleration and indulgence." **
Mosheim, Vol. IV. p. 200, note.
Archbishop Tennison's reproof of these elder Socinians, for their inconsistency in holding such a doctrine as this of praying to Christ, whom they took to be only a man, endued with divine power, is very observable; and points out the wrongness of praying to him at all, if he be not the Supreme God.
“ To say that Christ is a creature, yet made such a God who can hear all prayers, supply all wants, give all graces needful to his body the church, know all the secrets of all thoughts not directed to him, govern and judge with wisdom all the world, and to worship him under this divine notion; what is it else than paying an homage to a presumed creature, which is due only to the One very God! For what apprehena sions greater than these do we entertain concerning the true God, when we call upon him, confide in him, or revere him ?"*
The opinion and practice of the ancient Christians, before the council of Nice, has been often shewn from their writings, and will hereafter be pointed out. But I cannot better close this head, than with a passage out of Origen de Orat. p. 48, which I remember not to have seen cited by any
“ But if we would learn, says that excellent person, what prayer is, we must take care not to
* Tennison of Idolatry, chap. ix. p. 174.