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Jesus, I reason thus. Isaiah speaks of works to be performed at the coming of JEHOVAH THE GOD OF ISRAEL. JESUS comes, performs the works, and claims the titles of which the prophet speaks. If there be therefore any fixed meaning in words, any credit to be given to Jesus, JESUS, is JEHOVAH, THE GOD OF ISRAEL. I am not offended. He cometh from heaven, he is above all, and he who receiveth his testimony, sets to his seal, that God is true.*
Here I break off this supposed dialogue, my brethren; but I cannot dismiss this article, without remarking one passage more, the quotation of which would give me the most contemptible idea of the writer's abilities, did I not believe that he took Jesus Christ to be God. On the contrary, if he meant to prove the deity of Jesus Christ, I admire his wisdom, for the passage invincibly proves the point. This writer is St. Paul. St. Paul,in the first of Hebrews, elevates Christ above the whole creation, and requires all the angels to adore him. We ask, by what authority do you require the celestial spirits to adore a man? Because, replies he, God saith, let all the angels of God worship HIM. We answer, there is no such passage in the genuine scriptures. There is, indeed, a passage in the ninety-seventh psalm, which saith, Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship JEHOVAH all ye gods, or angels. But
* John iii. 31, 33.
how does a command to worship JEHOVAH apply to the worship of JESUS? If Jesus and Jehovah be not the same, art thou not the least and last of all pretenders to reason?
Let us hear the psalmist. THE LORD reigneth, let the earth rejoice: let the multitudes of isles be glad thereof. Clouds and darkness are round about HIM: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of His throne. A fire goeth before HIM, and burneth up HIS enemies round about. His lightnings enlightned the world: the earth saw and trembled. The hills melted like war at the presence of JEHOVAH: at the presence of THË LORD OF THE WHOLE EARTH. The heavens declare His righteousness: and all the people see His glory. Confounded be all they, that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols; woRSHIP HIM ALL YE GODS. The natural impresssions which these passages make on the reader, are these. The psalmist describes the SUPREME GOD, and commands the angels to worship HIM. St. Paul quotes the psalm, applies it to JESUS, and commands the angels to worship HIM. JESUS is therefore, in St. Paul's account, GOD SUPREME.
VII. Examine, whether events have justified that notion of Christianity, which the prophets gave their countrymen of it, if Jesus Christ be not God. The coming of the Messiah was foretold by the prophets. The calling of the gentiles from the worship of idols to the worship of the one living and true God, is one event, which, the prophets said, the coming of the Messiah should bring
to pass. If Jesus Christ be God, the event answers the prophecy; if not, the event is not come to pass, for Christians in general worship Jesus, which is idolatry, if he be not God.
The second, third, and fourth chapters of Isaiah are one continued discourse. The first five verses foretell the advent of the Messiah, and the call of the gentiles. From the sixth verse to the end of the third chapter, the rejection of the Jews, and the destruction of idolatry are foretold. And the fourth chapter is a consolatory close to the discourse, addressed to the pious Jews. The destruction of idolatry, in the second part, is thus expressed. The day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon ATL THE HILLS, that are lifted up, and upon ALL PLEASANT PICTURES. THE LORD ALONE shall be exalted in that day. And THE IDOLS he shall utterly abolish. The prophet calls this walking in the light of the Lord; and St. Paul adopts the style, and says to the Ephesians, who had been idolaters, Ye were sometimes darkness; but now are ye light in the Lord; walk as children of light.* The prophet Isaiah was not singular in his notion. Another prophet says, JEHOVAH will famish all the gods of the earth, and men shall WORSHIP HIM, every one from his place, even all the isles of the heathen.† Another says, THE LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day there shall be ONE LORD AND HIS NAME ONE. A fourth adds, From the rising of the sun even unto † Zeph. ii. 11.
* Eph. v. 8.
Zech. xiv. 9.
the going down of the same, MY NAME shall be great among the gentiles, and in every place incense shall be offered unto MY NAME, and a pure offering: for MY NAME SHALL BE GREAT AMONG THE HEATHEN, SAITH THE LORD OF HOSTS.* The prophets then intended to make their countrymen understand, that the advent of the Messiah would be fatal to idolatry by establishing the pure worship of one living and true God. Let us see whether events justify this prediction.
The Reverend Mr. Lindsey affirms, that “all christian people, for upwards of three hundred years after Christ, were generally Unitarians, what is now called either Arian or Socinian." Mr. Lindsey is not singular in his opinion. Some eminent men in the church of Rome, and some learned divines in the protestant churches, both at home and abroad, have maintained the same opinión. On the other hand, divines equally learned, and equally credible, have maintained the opposite opinion; and this last class, I think, have embraced that side, which has fewest difficulties in it, and the best arguments to support it. It would be unfair, my fellow christians, to engage you in a question, which must receive its answer from records, that are inaccessible to most of you. The decision, too, very little concerns you; for the rule of your faith is not the uncertain style of the fathers, but the sure word of God. You have been taught to answer all questions of this kind with that well
* Mal. i. 11 †Apol. p. 24. edit. 2d.
known saying of a great man; THE BIBLE, THE
BIBLE IS THE RELIGION OF PROTESTANTS.
Our present argument does not enter into this question. We only affirm, what neither side will deny, that let the belief of the primitive christians be what it would, their practice was to wORSHIP JESUS CHRIST. However they describe his nature in their creeds, worship him they certainly did.
In proof of this I will adduce three unsuspected witnesses, who, having no share in our dispute, can have no kind of interest in deceiving us. The works of the two first you have in English; and ask any one, who is capable of answering, whether I impose on you in the last. Our first witness is Pliny. Pliny was appointed governor of the province of Bithynia by the emperor Trajan, in the year one hundred and three. There were christians in that province in St. Peter's time, and he wrote his epistles to them.* Pliny examined, and punished several christians for their nonconformity to the established religion of the empire. In a letter to the emperor, giving an account of his conduct he declares, they affirmed the whole of their guilt, or their error, was, that they met on a certain stated day before it was light, and
ADDRESSED THEMSELVES IN A FORM OF PRAYER TO CHRIST, AS TO SOME GOD. &c. The latin of the latter part of this sentence Dr. Watts has put in the title page of your hymn-books; and probably the Dr. would have rendered the words, they
* 1 Pet i. 1. 2 Pet. iii. 1. † Pliny's Epistles, book x. epist. 97.