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CHAPTER III.

THERE IS BUT ONE GOD, THE FATHER: RELI

GIOUS WORSHIP TO BE OFFERED TO THIS ONE GOD, THE FATHER, ONLY.

THAT God is One, and consequently, the objeet of worship, One only, is of first importance in-religion. The wretched state of morals in the Heathen world flowed from their polytheism. And no one can remain many hours in a Popish country without seeing the pernicious effect of their idolatrous worship, * on their streets and on the high roads. Nor can we Protestants be cleared from some fatal mistakes here, the source of great unhappiness and distraction in the breasts of many, and of much wrong practice. For it is obvious, from the conversation and writings of many amongst us, that they are far gone into the doctrine of Three equal Gods, whom they figure and represent to themselves under different and very opposite characters. Hence they conceive of God the Father, always with dread, as a

Erasmus, in his Colloquies, has finely ridiculed this depraved superstition of the Papists. See particularly his Naufragium.

being of severe, unrelenting justice, * revengeful, and inexorable without full satisfaction made to

* « Is there no shelter from the eye

Of a revenging God ?
Jesus, to thy dear wounds I Ay,

· Bedew me with thy blood.
Those guardian drops my soul secure,

And wash away my sin;
Eternal Justice frowns no more,
And conscience smiles within."

Watts's Lyric Poems, p: 84. Rich were the drops of Jesus' blood,

That calm'd his frowning face,
That sprinkld o'er the burning throne,
And turn'd the wrath to grace.

atts's Hymns, p. 229. This pious and excellent person lived to see his error and changed his sentiments entirely on this point, before he died. Towards the close of his days, but before his faculties were impaired, by a long, serious, dispassionate attention to the sacred writings, he was brought to that sentiment concerning the person and character of Christ, which seems to have been that of his apostles and first followers, before philosophy had corrupted the faith. For this he was rudely attacked from the press after his death, by a famous champion of orthodoxy of the times, but did not want defenders of his fair unspotted name. • The character of the gentle, the ingenious, the pious Dr. Watts (says one of them), must be sacrificed by the fury of two or three sermons that are filled with aqua fortis. And why ? truly, because the Doctor had once believed a Trinity in Unity. Afterwards his judgment altered, and he published two tracts, in which he seems to

him for the breach of his laws. God the Son, on the other hand, is looked upon as made up of all compassion and goodness, interposing to save men from the Father's wrath, and subjecting himself to the extremest sufferings on that account. And God the Holy Ghost is described in characters of the utmost love and kindness, ever waiting, and ever ready to bestow his gracious communi. cations and assistances for the salvation of men.

But how contrary is this language to the Holy Scriptures, and how injurious to the “God of all graçe,” (1 Pet. v. 10,) the heavenly Father and God over all, whom we are there taught alone to look up unto in prayer, to expect all from him, to ..refer all to him; “who (John iii. 16), so loved the world, that he gave his well-beloved Son to save men from perishing for ever; and who (Luke

favour the Sabellian or Socinian hypothesis. So far from being a reproach to Dr. Watts, that he changed his sentiments, it will be looked upon by all sober, judicious, consistent Protestants, as reflecting much glory upon his character, though Mr. Bradbury happens to think it a mark of his own steadfastness, that he receded not from his education-principles. Notwithstanding this, he should allow .it natural for men to have more light open upon them, who are not afraid of free inquiry; whilst the steadfastness of others may be owing to the inveteracy of their prejudices, that will not suffer them to make any further discoveries.”—Extract from. a pamphlet, entitledThe Character of the Reverend T. Bradbury, taken from his own pen in his Discourses on Baptism.” Printed for Cooper, 1749.

xi. 13), giyeth “ the Holy Spirit to them that ask him”!

It was in much mercy, that this gracious Parent of mankind, when he first made man, did not leave him to the slow process of reason to find out his maker and benefactor, whom it was his chief happiness to know and to adore. For although speculative, inquiring minds may, in a course of time, arrive at the discovery and knowledge of a first great cause and benevolent author of all things; yet, as few have leisure, or are born to be philosophers, some more simple and striking evidence of the being and providence of God was to be desired. He therefore gave our first parents a sensible and immediate knowledge of himself, his will, their duty and happiness. This could not fail of being handed down in some degree to their posterity. And we find it actually was so: for the best Heathen authors profess to build much of their knowledge of God on tradition, to which our modern philosophers owe more than they will confess ;. and in the multiplicity of false objects of worship into which mankind have been led, the persuasion of One Supreme over all, has still secretly and universally prevailed.

In the Bible, which contains an authentic account of the Divine interpositions, and commu. nications to men, one would naturally expect the great point, whether there be One God or

room for

more, to be settled so as to leave no doubt or uncertainty. And indeed, an unprejudiced person, of ordinary understanding, that took that book in his hand, would never apprehend that it was designed to teach him to philosophize and make nice distinctions about some unknown essence or substance of God, and three persons in that essence, equally God, and equally to be worshiped, and yet all three but one God. He would see that there was but One God, without any such perplexity and refinement, as clearly as he would see that he existed at all.

Accordingly * the Hebrews, who were the depositaries of these divine revelations, and above all other people favoured with them, never had any different doctrine, or disputes on so clear a point. They never dreamed of a plurality in the Deity, as we Christians have affected to speak,

* The following declaration of Bishop Beveridge will carry weight along with it, especially as he himself thinks he can see the mystery of the Trinity in the Old Testament, though he owns the Jews have never been able to see it. “ The great mystery of the Trinity, (saith he,) though it be frequently intimated in the Old Testament, yet it is a hard matter rightly to understand it without the New : insomuch, that the Jews, though they have had the law above three thou. sand, and the prophets above two thousand years among them, yet to this day they could never make this an article of faith; but they, as well as the Mahometans, still assert, that God is only One in person as well as in nature.--Private Thoughts, Part ji. pp. 36, 37.:

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