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pray to any creature, no not even to Christ himself ; but to the God and Father of the Universe alone : to whom this our Saviour himself offered up his prayers, as we have shewn before; and also teaches us to offer up ours: for being once asked, teach us to pray, (Luke xi. 1,) he teacheth not to pray to himself, but to the Father, saying, Our Father, who art in heaven," &c. Religious Worship to be paid to God, the Father,
and not to the Holy Ghost. I find not any example of prayer to the Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit, as the third person in the Trinity, as it is called, either in the Scriptures of the Old or New Testament; or any countenance given to such a practice.
But it is most singular and remarkable, that St. Paul's epistles in particular, and those of the other apostles, commonly begin with devout wishes of blessings from God, and from the Lord Jesus Christ ; but the Holy Spirit is never named at all at such times; as in the following instances: Rom. i. 7. I Cor. i. 3. 2 Cor. i. 2. Gal i. 3. Eph. i. 2. Phil. i. 2. Coloss. i. 2. 1 Thess, i. 1. 2 Thess. i, 1. 1 Tim. i. 2. 2.Tim. i. 2. Tit. i. +. Philem. i. 3. 2 Pet. i. 2. 2 John i. 3. It is also farther to be noted, that in the Revelation of St. Johil, where we have several representations of the worship paid by the Christian church, and the inhabitants of the beavenly world, we have no mention there
made of the Holy Spirit, as a distinct agent, person, or object of worship, but the whole is directed to God, with blessing and honour, &c. to the Lamb that was slain. v. 12.
These omissions must strike a serious observer. They had such an effect upon one person, as to convince him of the utter wrongness of the received doctrine concerning the Holy Spirit. “ It cannot be," said he, “if the Holy Spirit be a person, and God equal to the Father, that he should be thus passed by, and left out unnoticed by the apostles of Jesus."
The only text that can be said directly to favour prayer to the Holy Spirit, is 2 Cor. xii. 8, the communion of the Holy Ghost be with
all. But to what hath been above suggested concerning this text, I take the liberty to add what is said by an able writer, in answer to one who had brought this as a proof of prayer being made to the Holy Ghost.
“ The text contains but a pious wish of spiritual gifts; and it may as well be said, when St. Paul writes, Col. iv. 18, Heb. xiii. 95, Grace be with you all, that it is a prayer made to Grace. And therefore, if the Holy Ghost never be called God; be never prayed to in Scripture; if we are never called the servants, nor church, nor kingdom, nor people of the Holy Spirit; if never required to pray, nor give thanks, nor praise to the Holy Spirit, (but to God, for and by his Spirit,) and
only até bid to be suided by, and not to quench, nor grieve the Spirit; - as may be said also of out own conscience: if so, then what ground is there for all these inferences of prayer and givitis thanks for all to the Holy Ghost, and joining him with the Father in all our devotions? If any suchi things night justly be inferred ftoń Christian principles, surely the apostles were as much concerned as any to make such inferences, and to have put them in practice for our imitation.”*
The practice of Christians for a long time was in strict conformity with the Holy Scriptures on this point. We do not find that the Holy Ghost was admitted into the Christian church, as a separate and distinct person of the Deity, until after some ages had passed over. Not in the year 325, at the time of composing the Nicene Creed: for that part (the Lord and giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spake by the prophets) which we have now adopted into the Nicene Creed, was not originally in it, but an addition made to it at the latter end of the fourth century at the second coincil at Constantinople.
Emlýn, Vol. 11. pp. 447, 448. f This addition to the Nicène Creed, made at the second general council of Constantinople, was confirmed by that of Ephesus which followed, when it was decreed unlawful to make any additions to it. And yet, not long after, Pope Some would account for this general silence of the early fathers, by alleging, that the distinct deity of the Holy Spirit was not opposed before the time of Macedonius, on whose account the council at Constantinople was held, and therefore not particularly specified. The real truth is, it was never in their thoughts. They had hitherto satisfied themselves with the plain language and doctrine of the Scripture itself, which we have seen does not favour such a strange worship. “And what is farther a proof of this, the ancient fathers, when they mentioned the objections of the Heathens on this subject, (viz. of Christians holding more Gods than One,) do not speak of them as levelled against the notion of three Gods, but of two only; whereas, if the notion of the divinity of the Holy Ghost had been then fashionable, they would have made the same objection as is now made by the Jews and Mahommedans ; not against two Gods, but against three.".
I shall only quote Lactantius, Inst. L. iv. c. xxix. “Here some may per hapsask, how the Christians profess to worship but One God, yet we seem to believe and hold two Gods, God the Father and God the Son. This doctrine hath been a great
Nicholas I. added, and the Son, (so that the Creed became as we now read it, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son,) which was the cause of schism betwixt the Greek and Latin church, which continues to our time.--Pearson on the Creed, vote, pp. 325,326.
stumbling-block to many, who confess, that in other points of doctrine we speak what is probable, and fit to be embraced; but in this they think we stumble, that we hold a second God, and him also a mortal one, as one who could
The Unitarian doctrine therefore is no novelty; namely, that religious worship is to be addressed only to the Onc true God, the Father.
For it was the doctrine our blessed Saviour taught, and always practised, and his apostles after him: and it was also the universal practice of the Christian church, with little or no yariation, for the first three centuries.
Mons. Jurieu saw this, and fairly owned it; but then he maintained, in his sixth pastoral letter, that the mystery of a Trinity of persons in the same essence; was not understood or fully explained until the two councils of Nice and Constantinople had moulded it into its right shape and form, and settled it, towards the end of the fourth century. This, however, is a method of defend ing this doctrine which few will openly, adopt, as it must deprive them of the assistance of the whole list of the primitive fathers: and yet it is
* Ben Mordecai-Letter I: note, p. 207, where, and also throughout the whole work, may be found a great deal of important information coucerning this point, and the subject
of these papers.