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into heaven; and they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy (r)." The worship therefore of Christ is justified by the example of the Apostles themselves, who thus worshipped him after his ascension. St. Paul declares that, "at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth (y);" and St. John, in the account of his vision says, Every creature which is in heaven and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever (z)."—" Here the two persons in the Godhead, the Father and the Son, are distinguished from each other, as they have distinct parts in the œconomy of our salvation; but the very same degree of religious worship, the same honour and glory, are in the same words ascribed, unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb,' the partner of his throne and dignity, to signify that their essence is the same, and that they worshipped and glorified one and the same God, for ever and

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(x) Luke, c. 24. 51 and 52. (y) Phil. c. 2. v. 10. (z) Rev. c. 5. v. 13.

and ever equally divine and equally eternal (a).

Our blessed Saviour, when expiring upon the cross, cried out, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit (b);" and he had just before prayed for his murderers in these words, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do (c)." In like manner the first martyr, St. Stephen, at the moment of his being stoned to death, prayed to Christ, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit;" and for his murderers he added, "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge (d)." These prayers of Christ, addressed to his Father, and of St. Stephen, addressed to Christ, are in substance the same, and are recorded by the same evangelist, St. Luke. "It seems very evident," says bishop Burnet, "that if Christ was not the true God, and equal to the Father, then this Proto-martyr died in two acts that seem not only idolatrous but also blasphemous, since he worshipped Christ in the same acts in which Christ had worshipped his Father." But to re move all doubt concerning the lawfulness of St. Stephen's worship of Christ, and to give decisive authority

(a) Knowles's Primitive Christianity.
(b) Luke, c. 23. v. 46.

(c) Luke, c. 23. v. 34.

(d) Acts, c. 7. v. 59 and 60.

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authority to his example, St. Luke tells us, that Stephen was full of the Holy Ghost (e)."


Paul " besought the Lord (f)," that is, prayed to Christ, to remove a heavy affliction under which he laboured; and that it was the general practice of the primitive Christians to pray to Christ, appears from the First Epistle to the Corinthians, which is addressed" to all that call upon the name of Christ;" upon which passage Origen observes, that "by these words the apostle declares Christ to be God (g);" and in the Acts it is said, that Paul had authority from the chief priests to bind all "that called upon the name of Christ (h);" to call upon the name of Christ was therefore the common description of the disciples of Christ in the apostolic age; and this not only proves that the primitive Christians believed in the divinity of our Saviour, but it also accounts for the charge of blasphemy so frequently urged against them by the Jews in their early persecutions. The worship of Christ would naturally appear in that light to those who did not allow him to be the Messiah, and who were zealous for the worship of the one true God; and we learn from the early apologists for Christianity, that the Heathen objected to the Christians,

(e) Acts, c. 7. v. 55.
(g) Orig. in Rom. 10. B, 8.

(f) 2 Cor. c. 12. v. 8. (h) Acts c. 9. v. 14.

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Christians, that they worshipped a crucified man, to which Minutius Felix answers, "that they were mistaken;" for that he whom they worshipped was God, and not a mere mortal man (i); and Tertullian, arguing against the same charge, says they worshipped Christ, because they knew him to be the true natural Son of God by spiritual generation, and therefore called God; and the Son of God, because he was of one and the same essence or substance: he was begotten of God in such a manner as to be God, and the Son of God, and they were both one (k)." We learn from Origen, that Celsus, in his book written against the Christians, ridiculed the idea of the wise men worshipping the infant Christ as God, and represented his flight into Egypt, and other circumstances of his life, as inconsistent with his being a God. "He objects against us," says Origen, " I know not how often, respecting Jesus, that we consider him as God, with a mortal body (1)." Indeed the principal objection urged by Celsus against Christianity seems to have been the union of the divine and human natures in the person of Christ. In the parts of his work preserved by Origen, he repeatedly speaks of Christ as the God

(i) Minut. Dial. p. 88. (1) Lib. 3. p. 135.

(k) Tert. Apol. cap. 21.

God of Christians, alludes to the account of his miraculous conception, observes that he is called the Word, says the place is shewn where Christ," who is worshipped by Christians," was born, ridicules their inconsistency in blaming the worshippers of Jupiter, whose tomb was shewn in Crete, while they worship as God a man who was buried in Palestine. " If these men," says he, "worshipped but one God, they might perhaps have reason to inveigh against others; but now they act superstitiously towards him who lately appeared, and yet they think that God is not neglected, if his servant also be worshipped." He also represents the Christians as censuring the Jews for not admitting that Christ was God; and he every where speaks of the divinity of Christ as the common doctrine of Christians, and the worship of him as their established practice (m); and surely such a testimony, coming from a professed enemy of the Gospel in the second century, and allowed to be a true statement by a Christian writer in the beginning of the third, must be considered as very valuable. Lucian, who was contemporary with Celsus, mentions also the worship of Christ, and in a manner which shews that it was a thing not recently adopted: "The Christians still worship

(m) Orig. contra Cels. passim.

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