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interpolation, so far from strengthening the doctrine they maintain, has excited great doubts as to the accuracy of other passages generally relied upon for its support. We have already, I trust, seen distinctly that none of the lessons taught by Christ to his disciples teach us to believe in him as God ; but as most Trinitarian authors assert that this doctrine was fully revealed by his Apostles speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, it may be worth while to examine whether it be included by them amongst the doctrines of the Christian religion. This question may be immediately determined by referring to the history of the Acts of the Apostles; for if the doctrine of the Trinity had been considered by them as an essential part of what they were commanded to teach, we should certainly find it insisted upon in the discourses they addressed to their converts. But we shall look in vain for any expression amongst those reported by Luke, that indicates the profession of such a belief by the Apostles themselves; far less that they exacted an acknowledgment of its truth, from those whom they admitted by the rite of Baptism into the faith of Christianity. Acts, ch. ii. ver. 22: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know;” 32: “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.” 36: “Therefore let all the house of Israel know as

suredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Ch. iii. vers. 22 and 23: “For Moses truly said unto the Fathers, a Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things, whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul which will not hear that Prophet shall be destroyed from among the people.” Ch. iv. ver. 12: “Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Wers. 26, 27: “The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed,” &c. Ch. v. ver. 31 : “Him has God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” Ch. vii. ver. 56: “And said, behold I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God.” Ch. viii. vers. 37, 38: “And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.” Ch. x. ver. 38: “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power.” Wer. 42: “And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he who was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.” Ch. xiii. ver. 38: “Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins.” Ch. xvii. ver. 3: “Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead: and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.” Thus we find the Apostles never hesitated to hazard their lives by declaring before the Jews, that their master was a Prophet, the expected Messiah, the Son of the living God; which was equally of fensive to their countrymen, as if they had called him God himself; yet in none of the Sermons do we ever find them representing him as the true God. In the same manner, Jesus himself never assumed that character to himself, although he repeatedly avowed that he was the Messiah, the Son of God, whereby he knew that, according to their law, he would draw the penalty of death upon himself. As to the nature of those doctrines of Christianity deemed essential in the earliest times, I shall content myself with making a few extracts from the Ecclesiastical History of Mosheim, a celebrated author among Trinitarians, which will prove that the doctrine of the Trinity, so zealously maintained as fundamental by the generality of modern Christians, made not its appearance as an essential, or even a secondary article of Christian faith, until the commencement of the fourth century; and then it was introduced after long and violent discussions by the majority of an assembly, who were supported by the authority of a monarch. Mosheim, Vol. I. p. 100: “Nor in this first century was the distinction made between Christians of a more or less perfect order which took place afterwards: whoever acknowledged Christ as the Saviour of mankind, and made solemn profession of his confidence in him, was immediately baptized, and received into the Church.” P. 411 : “Soon after its commencement, even in the year 317, a new contention arose in Egypt, upon a subject of much higher importance, and with consequences of a yet more pernicious nature; the subject of this fatal controversy, which kindled such deplorable division throughout the Christian world, was the doctrine of three persons of the Godhead; a doctrine which in the three preceding centuries had happily escaped the vain curiosity of human researches, and been left undefined and undetermined by any particular set of ideas. The Church indeed had frequently decided against the Sabellians and others, that there was a real dif. ference between the Father and the Son, and that the Holy Ghost was distinct from them both; or, as we commonly speak, that three distinct persons exist in the Deity; but the mutual relation of these persons to each other, and the nature of the distinction that subsists between them, are matters that hitherto were neither disputed nor explained, with respect to which the Church had consequently observed a profound silence:—nothing was declared to the faith of Christians in this matter, nor were there any modes of expression prescribed as requisite to be used in speaking of the mystery. Hence it happened, that the Christian doctors enH

tertained different sentiments upon this subject without giving the least offence, and discoursed variously concerning the distinction between Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost, each one following his respective opinion with the utmost liberty.” On this quotation I beg leave to remark, that if, in the first and purest ages of Christianity, the followers of Christ entertained such different opinions on the subject of the distinction between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, without incurring the charge of heresy and heterodoxy, and without even breaking the tie of Christian affection towards each other, it is a melancholy contrast that the same freedom of opinion on this subject is not now allowed, nor the same mutual forbearance maintained amongst those who call themselves Christians. Mosheim, p. 412: “In an assembly of Presbyters of Alexandria, the Bishop of that city, whose name was Alexander, expressed his sentiments on this head with a high degree of freedom and confidence, and maintained, among other things, that the Son was not only of the same eminence and dignity, but also of the same essence with the Father: this assertion was opposed by Arius, one of the Presbyters, a man of a subtile turn, and remarkable for his eloquence.” Page 414: “The Emperor Constantine, looking upon the subject of this controversy as a matter of small importance, and as little connected with the fundamental and essential doctrines of religion, contented himself at first with addressing a letter to the contending parties, in which he admonished them to put an end to their disputes; but when the

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