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*

"Church" were graffed upon a Jewish stock; baptifm being a rite which the Jews obferved with the exactnefs of fuperftition; and that of the Lord's Supper being transferr'd from their practice of eating bread and drinking wine, in an euchariftical way, at the celebration of the Paffover. The great Apostle to the Hebrews feems to fet the matter before us in the cleareft light. He, fays he, that defpised Mofes's law, died without mercy, under two or three witnesses: of how much forer punishment fuppofe ye, shall he be thought worthy,(not who hath broken the law of the Gospel, but) who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and bath accounted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was fanctified an unholy thing, and hath done despite to the Spirit of grace. Immoralities, it is true, and those of the groffeft kind, are implied in these words; but they are fuch as are most provokingly aggravated by fingular contemptuoufnefs; and the leaft that can be inferred from this paffage is, that a greater than

*See Patrick's Difc. on Baptifm. p. 8. Allix's Reflect. V. 2. p. 177. Potter's Ch. Government. + Heb. x. 28. Mofes

Mofes is here.

How does Socinianifm fhrink before fuch confiderations as these!

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But it is little material which of two errors may be moft plaufible, when both are equidiftant from the centre of truth. Our bleffed Saviour is no more half-God than he is all man, if I have leave so to exprefs fo myself; nor will Arianism fix a firmer bafis of faith by its chimerical expedient of a fecondary worship, and a gradation of Deity. For this at best will be found to be neither more nor less than Paganism improved, and contracted within a smaller circle. It must be equally idolatrous, equally injurious to the honour of the Supreme Being, to acknowlege Gods many, or Gods few, or only one God befides him. Infinite almost as the number of fubaltern deities was among the Heathens, there is no doubt but the wisest of them at least acted nearly upon Arian principles; viz. under a perfuafion of the existence and properties, and with a reseryation of the prerogatives of the one Supreme God. According to universal tradi

tion

tion, the notion of a fupreme power, a selfexiftent, independent Being, a first cause of all things, prevailed more or lefs every where in the world.* The doctrine of divine Supremacy was no fecret even among people whofe religious rites and ufages were filly and extravagant enough to render them obnoxious to the fcorn and laughter of mankind, thro' all ages. The fuperftitions of the Ægyptians were grofs and numberless ; and their worship of the meanest animals, and indeed of things inanimate, was beyond measure contemptible. And yet they had an opinion with refpect to God, that erred even on the fide of fpirituality. For they held that he is not to be addressed by mortals fo much as in vocal prayer. This is at

once an inftance of ftrong belief, and miftaken veneration. The great attributes of the Deity are afferted by writers of all forts, by philofophers, and by poets, and in terms of the fulleft fignificancy. His fpirituality, omnipotence, omniprefence, independence, invifibility, and incomprehenfible nature, are *See Shuckford's Sac. and Prof. Hift. connec. Vol. 1. B. 5. + See Parker on Idolatry, p. 43.

fet

fet in a very strong light by Pagan authors; particularly by Pythagoras, Plato, Anaxagoras, Cicero, Porphyry, Seneca, Homer, and the Greek Dramatifts. (x) I have not time or occafion to produce my authorities here. The truth is, many goodly pearls of speculative doctrine are to be found amongst the rubbish of Pagan antiquity; and they ftrikingly contrast an enormous farrago of traditionary error, radical prejudice, vulgar folly, and popular fuperftition. They are the fentiments of minds that feem to have been enlightened beyond the conceptions of the bulk of mankind. If we separate the carnal dross from the spiritual bullion of heathenifm, we shall be able to extract a body of theoretic divinity from the old Pagans, little if at all inferior to the fineft unitarian fyftem. In short, if Arianifm be not strictly polytheism, it is not much better; it is maintainable only on much the fame ground, and by a fimilar mode of reasoning.

Surely a Tully, or a Plato, had as admiffible an apology for his conformity to idolatrous fervices,

fervices, in general prepoffeffion, and national eftablishment, as the modern unbeliever has for his fecondary worship, in any distiction he may affect to make between Pagan and Arian theology. For unless the holy Scriptures direct us in the plaineft manner, and with all poffible cautioufnefs of expreffion, NOT to honour the Son even as we honour the Father; if they do not clearly and uniformly diftinguish between Jefus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, and the Supreme God, in point of nature, or effence; or, in other words, if Arianifm has not a moft firm foundation in the facred pages, and in apoftolical and primitive worship, we cannot honestly refolve it into any thing but the pride of human reason, fabricating its own theory, and refifting the Holy Ghoft. Now the invalidity of its pretences has, I perfuade myself been fufficiently fhewn already; and therefore we are to reject its hypothefis, together with that of Socinianifm, as refpectively aiming to establish another doctrine than that we have received; as fundamentally erroneous, and absolutely repugnant to the genius and fpirit of Christianity.

But

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