« הקודםהמשך »
think, sufficient to convince an unprejudiced mind, that it must be improper to offer up prayers to Jesus Christ, to the holy ghost, or to the trinity : but let us consider each of them separately.
First. Of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, says an apostle to the Jews, “ was 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: him, being “ delivered by the determinate counsel and fore“knowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wick66 ed hands have crucified and slain : whom God “ hath raised up, having loosed the pains of “death ||.” Again, “ this Jesus hath God raised
up, whereof we all are witnesses); and, there
fore, let all the house of Israel know assuredly, 6 that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye “ have crucified, both lord and Christ. I” There is a clear distinction between God and Christ: Christ performed wonders, but it was by the power of God; by God's permission, he was delivered into the hands of the Jews and slain; it was God that raised up Christ from the dead; it was God that made him lord and Christ.
How then say ye, in express contradiction to scripture and to common sense, that Jesus Christ is God? Consult common sense.
Could God lie in the womb of a woman? Could God expire on the cross? Could God be buried in the grave?
|| Acts ïi. 22-24.
Acts ii. 36.
☺ Acts iï. 32.
Shocking suppositions ! Brethren, examine for yourselves. Let no man deceive you by a specious humility, to give worship to any, but the one true God, for “ thou shalt worship him alone*."
Secondly. Of the holy ghost. Our forefathers supposed, and, at the present day, ignorant people in many countries suppose, that a man consists of two different substances; one which we can see and feel; the other a substance not to be felt. When a man died, they supposed that these two substances were separated one from the other. The body was conveyed to the ground; and the ghost, for so they called the other substance, ho. vered about the place. Hence a number of idle tales are told about ghosts in church-yards; and it was said of a man dying, that he gave up the ghost. The Greek word in the scriptures, which
spirit,” or “ wind,” or “ breath,” is frequently translated by this word “ ghost.” But wherever it is so translated, it is applied to God in the same manner as the spirit of a man is to a
When you say, such a man's spirit is gentle or untameable, you do not mean that the man and his spirit are different persons. Neither ought you, when speaking of God, to say that God and his spirit are different persons. Your addresses to the holy ghost have no foundation in scripture, and they are strictly prohibited by the first commandment, “ thou shall have none other gods but me.”
Thirdly. Of the trinity. Trinity is a Latin
* Matt. iv. 10.
word, not to be found in the scriptures. The notion, annexed to it in your creed, of three persons, each of whom is God, making but one God, is rank nonsense. And will you, my brethren, enter into the presence of God, pretend to worship him, and yet give him a name, the invention of idle and wicked disputers ? Reflect—there is but one God, and his name is one, and his glory will he not give to another.
Perhaps you will reply to me, that I have selected those passages only, which favour my opinion, and have neglected others, which prove Jesus Christ to be God. It is sufficient for me to observe, that the scripture cannot contradict itself. The passages by which you have been deluded to believe Christ to be God, will be found, on examination, to convey no such meaning. Search the scriptures. Point out one single passage, in which Jesus Christ declared himself to be God. Point out one, in which the apostles declared him to be God. In a matter of such importance, it is not proper for you to infer from this or that passage, ill explained, that he is God; but as he expressly declares himself to be inferior to God, believe his words; and, as he commands, worship the Father, in spirit and in truth.
Perhaps you think it sufficient to follow, without inquiry, the religion of your fathers. Had your fathers in succession done the same, what would now be the religion of this country? Three cen. turies ago they were immersed in ignorance and popery; some centuries farther back, they were
idolaters. On this principle, Jesus Christ and his apostles would have had no hearers. Be not deceived, brethren ; religion is a personal concern, the bible is open before you, from thence you are to form your opinions, not from the notions of your fathers, or the customs of the times.
Perhaps you will say, you are ignorant, and these things are mysteries.
Remember that mystery means something hidden; revelation means the discovery of that which was hidden and unknown*. There are no mysteries in the religion of Jesus Christ : his gospel is plain, simple, and clear. Even the “ mystery of iniquity,” which began to work in the apostles' time, and now works, and keeps in bondage the nations of Europe, is sufficiently known to every inquiring mind.
Brethren, I call you from false objects of worship, to the worship of the living God. If any one, who reads this address, believes with me, that there is one God only, the God and Father of our lord Jesus Christ, I call on him to forsake the tem. ples, where they have set up other objects of wor. ship. To the rest, I say, with the apostle, examine yourselves, prove your ownselves, whether
be in the faith ; and if your inquiry leads you to this great truth, that the God and Father of our lord Jesus Christ is the only true God, I say to you with the scriptures, Worship him alone.
► Mark iv, 22. Col. 1, 26.
THE NATURE AND DISCIPLINE
BY R. WRIGHT,
OF WISBEACH, CAMBRIDGESHIRE.
Brethren, ye have been called unto liberty ; only use not li
berty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
CHRISTIANS continue divided not only on points of doctrine, but also in matters of church discipline. A perfect agreement is not to be expected, but it is presumed more union may be effected, not by the sacrifice of liberty, but by the extension of charity. The lordly spirit of former ages still retains a degree of influence in many churches; nor is it easy to bring christians to the simplicity of the gospel. The nature of a christian church has been much mis. taken ; the principles of christian liberty not sufficiently considered, and still less regarded in practice than in theory; it has been taken for granted that a precise form of church government and discipline, to be maintained in all ages, was instituted by Jesus and his apostles. From these