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If this be not spiritual worship—and if Christ be not the object of it here; I am unable to produce a case, where worship can be called spiritual and divine. * The apostles and primitive martyrs worshipped Christ; and # they recognize the practice of worshipping him among other Christians. Acts vii. 59,60. “And they stoned Stephen, making invocation (orixaxovoevor) and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” Now here is a dying martyr, who is expressly said to “be filled with the Holy Ghost,” and to enjoy the vision of the heavenly world, and of the Saviour who was there ; in his last moments, too—on the very verge of eternity; here is such a martyr, committing his departing spirit into the hands of the Lord 'esus, in the very same language and with the same cenfideuce, with which Jesus, when expiring upon the cross, committed his spirit into the hands of the Father. This expiring disciple also, implores forgiveness for his murderers. Of whom does he implore it? Of the same Lord Jesus. Can a departing spirit be entrusted to any being, and the forgiveness of sin be expected of him, who has not omnipotence and supreme authority? And can a dying martyr, with his eyes fixed on the very vision of God, and his soul filled with the Holy Ghost, ask and pray amiss? 2 Cor. xii. 8, 9. “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” - : The Lord, whom Paul here besought, is plainly Christ; for this same Lord, in answer to the apostle's supplication, says, “My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength (; *wants wav) is perfected in weakness.” Then the apostle immediately subjoins; “Most gladly then would I rejoice in my infirmities, that the strength of CHRIST (; ovauis Xprerev.) may rest upon me.” A clearer case that Christ was the object of the apostle's repeated prayer, cannot well be presented. * 1 Thes, iii. 11, 12, “Now, God himself, and our Father,
and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you. And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward ou.” y Can any distinction be here made, between the rank of those, who are addressed by the apostle 7 And does not the twelfth verse plainly show, that the supplication of the apostle is specially directed to the Lord, i.e. to Christ? 2 Thes. ii. 16, 17. “Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation, & good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and stablish you in every good word and work.” - Here the order of the persons, to whom supplication is made, is the reverse of that in the last instance quoted; which shows that nothing depends on the order, but that it was a matter of indifference with the apostle, which was placed first; the supplication being equally addressed to the Father and to Christ. “Rom. i. 7. “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God; called to be saints; grace to you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Here the same blessings are solicited and expected, from Christ and the Father, See the same formula repeated 1 Cor. i. 3. 2 Cor. i 2. Acts i. 24. “And they prayed and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of - these two thou hast chosen.” That Lord here means the Lord Jesus, seems evident from ver. 21, and 22. It is the usual appellation, moreover, which the book of Acts gives to the Saviour. (See above, p. 96.) 2 Tim. iv. 14. “The Lord reward him according to his works P” . Again, vers. 17 and 18; “Notwithstanding, the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom : to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Compare iii. 11.) Usage hardly admits a doubt here, that Lord means Christ.
Nor can I separate from religious invocation, trust, and confidence, such expressions as these; (Acts iii. 6.) “Then Peter said, Silver and gold have 1 none; but such as I have give I thee : in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” Nor can I see how the solemn adjuration by Christ, (sy zpurrey,) which the apostle uses, Rom. ix. 1, 1 Tim. ii. 7, san be separated from religious invocation, or appeal. We must add to all these instances of worship, the fact that Christians were so habituated to address their supplications to Christ, that “They who invoke Christ,” became, it would seem, a kind of proper name, by which they were in primitive times designated as Christians. Thus Paul (1 Cor. i. 2.) addresses himself to all, who invoke the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, in EveRY PLACE. That the verb exixaxia is an appropriate one to designate the act of prayer, will not be questioned. The literal translation of it is to invoke. The simple meaning of the passage is, “I address myself to all Christians.” But instead of using the name Christians directly, the apostle uses a periphrasis, and says, to all the invokers of Christ, i.e. to those who pray to him, meaning the same as aylois, x*xrots &c. in the context. He has signified too, that the practice of invoking Christ, was not confined to Corinth. He addresses “those who pray to Christ, in every place,” (sy warra rowe.) Exactly in the same manner, does Ananias describe Christians, when the Lord Jesus bade him go to instruct and comfort Saul. Acts ix. 13, 14: “Lord,” said he, “I have heard of many concerning this man, what things he has done, (rels &ylets row,) to thy saints at Jerusalem; and even now, he has a commission from the high priest, to bind all (rows artzaxovietyevo re overta, os) those who invoke thy name,” i.e. Christians. See the same thing repeated, verse 21st. The very heathen, in the primitiveage of Christianity, little as they knew about Christians, discovered that they made Christ an object of worship. Says Pliny, in writing to Trajan, “Carmen Christo, quasi Deo, soliti essent, (i.e. Christiani,) dicere secum invicem. (Lib.x. Ep.97.) “They, (Christians) sing in social worship a hymn to Christ as a God.” Eusebius too, (Ecc. Hist. v. 28,) in writing against the Artemonites, appeals to the ancient songs of Christians, thus; “Whatever psalms and hymns were composed by faithful brethren, from the beginning, praise Christ the word of God.” Can any example of a church in the apostolic age, who did not practise thus be produced ? Did not the Saviour give his disciples a general precept and encouragement, to make him the object of prayer? “If ye shall ask any thing in my name,” i.e. as my disciples, on my account, said he to the apostles, “I will accomplish it,” (sya wouzoa.) John xiv. 13, 14. They appear to me to have understood this, as directing that he should be regarded by them as the special object of prayer. Hence, instead of finding few or no examples of prayer to Christ, in the history of the primitive Christians as exhibited in the . IN. Test., I find more of this nature than of any other. When I have contemplated the precepts, which encourage prayer to Christ and the worship of him, both by the inhabitants of the heavenly world, and by the churches on earth; I then compare these things with the exclusive worship and trust, which Jehovah claims to himself. Is. xlv. 22, 23. “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word has gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.” Is. Xlii. 8. “I am the Lord; that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” Jer.” xvii. 5–7. “Thus saith the Lord, Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, & shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.” Matth. iv. 10. “Then saith Jesus unto him,Get thee hence, Satan; for it is written, Thou shall worship the Lord thy God, and HIM only shalt thou serve.” I am ready now to ask, whether I can, avoid coming to the conclusion, either that Christ is truly divine, in as much as he is so often represented as the object of worship; or that the sacred writers have mistaken this great point, and led us to that, which must be considered as idolatry. And yet the worship of Christ is placed, as it would seem, in op
position to that of idols, 1 Cor. viii.4–6. That Christianity utterly and forever renounces all idolatry—all polytheism, in a word, every thing inconsistent with the worship of one only living and true God, is a point so plain and so universally conceded, that I shall not dwell for a moment upon it. Were it not that I fear becoming tedious, by detailing my reasons for believing in the divine nature of Christ, I should add a great number of texts, which require us with all the heart to love him; to obey him; to confide in him; and to commit ourselves to him; in such manner as I can never persuade myself to do, with respect to any being, who is not God. The New Testament tells me that my consolation, my privilege—my happiness must be derived from trusting in Christ. But can I trust myself to a finite being, when I have an infinite, almighty, all-afficient GOD, to whom I may go 2 Shall I be satisfied with a mite, when I can have the mines of Peru ? - I should also add those texts, some of which are very striking ones, where, in the New Testament, the very same
things are applied to Christ, which in the Old Testament
are affirmed of Jehovah. Some of these follow. Is..vi.5—10.—Then said I, Woe John xii. 37–41. But though is me ! for I am undone, because I he had done so many miracles beam a man of unclean lips; for mine , fore them, yet they believed not eyes have seen the King, the Lord on him; that the saying of Esaias
of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me,having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar. And he laid it upon my mouth, & said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips, & thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, & who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I, send me. And he said, Go & tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; & sce ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and under
stand with their heart, & convert,
and be healed.
the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath
believed our report? -& to whom
hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their
eyes, and hardened their heart;
that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. . These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory and spake of him.