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recommend it to the Unitarian congregations, as the very reason of their distinct assembling, to be particularly mindful of, and zealous for, the article of the Unity: to cause it to be so explained in their assemblies, catechisms, and books, that all men might easily and readily know in what sense the Unity of God is to be believed. He feared that, without such assemblies, the continual use of terms, viz. a trinity of divine persons, which, in their ordinary signification, are confessed by all to imply three Gods, would Paganize, in some time, the whole Christian church, which is Heathen already in the majority of its members by occasion of those terms; and that no sufficient care is taken to interpret them to the people."*
This plan of Mr. Firmin's did not take effeet, probably by his being soon after removed away by death. Nor does it appear to have been put into execution by any of his friends. And near fourscore years have elapsed since his time, whilst our church, and its form of worship, remain the same: no alteration made in its unscriptural language on this article; but all the unlearned, and some of better account, too generally conceiving of the Trinity of Divine persons, as of three equal Gods equally to be worshiped.
“ Since then there is not a plurality of Gods, says our late metropolitan, and yet the Son and
* An Account of Mr. Firmin's Religion, pp. 50,51.
Spirit are each of them God, no less than the Father; it plainly follows, that they are, in a manner by us inconceivable, so united to him, that these three are one; but still in a manner equally inconceivable, so distinguished from him, that no one is the other.
From this description, plain ordinary minds would hardly be able to gather, that there is but One God. We should be unavoidably led to conclude that there are three Gods. For the Son and Spirit are declared each of them to be God no less than the Father. And though it be in words disowned that there is a plurality of Gods, yet in common arithmetic, the Son and Spirit, each of them God no less than the Father, do certainly count three Gods.
In the Dean of Gloucester's Sermons, very lately published, at page 54, we meet with the following doxology: “ To him therefore, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, let these miracles of divine mercy be ever ascribed; and to them be glory; praise, majesty, and dominion, both now and for evermore.”
The personal pronoun him, evidently points to One person, One individual intelligent agent. So that how it can relate to three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and they be called him, is
* Archbishop Secker's Lectures on the Church Catechism, Vol. I. p. 199.
hard, to say, or to reconcile with grammar or notation of numbers; and for the latter clause of ascription of equal glory to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, it is assuredly without precedent in the Holy Scriptures.
Such fraternities as those now mentioned, i. e. churches or societies of Unitarian Christians, would by degrees contribute to the removal of such unscriptural language and worship as this, by holding forth a better pattern, and to many other valuable ends of true religion. I have often thought that if the members of Mr. Whiston's Society for Promoting Primitive Christianity,* such among them as were of the church of England, the late Speaker, Mr. Onslow, and others, had formed such a fraternity or church as we are here treating of, the influence of such an example might have had great and lasting good effect on their families, their friends, and many others in succession, and we should at this day have perceived and enjoyed many singular advantages to true Christianity resulting from it; instead of which, by continuing in constant communion with the church established, the benefit of their example and testimony is almost entirely lost.
It must, nevertheless, be always confessed and acknowledged, that different persons see the
* Historical Memoirs of the Life of Dr. S. Clarke, p. 67.
same thing in different lights, and form contrary conclusions from it; and no one ought to condemn another that differeth from bim. What has been here offered, is only applicable to those who are persuaded from Holy Scripture, that religious worship is to be paid to God, the Father alone, in the name of Jesus Christ, and who may esteem it unlawful to join constantly in the use of trinitarian forms of worship, as thinking that by so doing they give their seal of approbation to them; which, surely, to those that are so persuaded, is no indifferent matter.
But, however things may appear to those who occupy the place of hearers, who have no office or authority in the church, and may not suppose themselves to give their assent to any thing they hear, any farther than it is inwardly approved by them ; it can hardly be reckoned a matter of indifference to those who lead the devotions of the congregation, and thereby make them much more their own, to put themselves to the necessity of continual double meaning and collusion, in addressing prayer sometimes to the Son, sometimes to the Spirit, as cqually Gods with the Father, all the while that they are convinced, that there is but one person, the object of prayer, the One God the Father, to whom alone it is to be addressed. And this brings the matter home to the particular case and situation of the writer.
TLN IIEPI' 'EATTOT.
MAY I have leave to say, without blame, that as far as memory goes back, I was impressed from early youth with a love of truth and virtue, a fear of God, and a desire to approve myself to him; which have never left me to this hour, though not always equally governed by them, nor improving so great a favour and blessing from God as I ought to have done.
After the usual time spent at school and in the university, I entered into the ministry of the gospel, out of a free and deliberate choice, with a full persuasion, that it was the best way in which I could serve God, and be useful to man, and with an earnest desire that I might promote these the great ends of it.
Some things in the xxxix. articles of our church I always disapproved. And I remember it struck me at the time, as a strange unnecessary entanglement, to put young men upon declaring and subscribing their approbation of such a large heterogeneous mass of positions and doctrines as are contained in the liturgy, articles, and homilies; especially, as I had observed, that none but those called Methodists, who were then