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from religious worship, by the circumstances C always, and often by the nature of the acts themselves. That burning incense to Daniel d was merely civil respect, will not be easily proved : neither will the example of an idolatrous king, who would have done as much to an image, be sufficient to justify it; though the author speaks of ite, as if both these points were indisputable. 2. Those outward acts, so and so circumstantiated, as to become religious worship, are what God has appropriated to the Jehovah, to the true God, in the holy Scriptures of the Old Testament, as exterior and visible acknowledgments of the divine sovereignty over all creatures, and of the dependence which creatures have upon their Creator: for the reasons which God insists upon, why he, and he only, is to be worshipped, are such as exclude all creatures whatever, viz. his being Jehovah, Creator, Sustainer, Preserver of all things f. 3. To pay these exterior services, once so appropriated to God, to any creature, is idolizing the creature, or deifying the creature, and is both idolatry and polytheism. 4. Therefore the paying such exterior religious services to Christ, considered as a creature, must, according to the whole tenor of the Old Testament, be plain idolatry and polytheism. 5. The same rule for religious worship obtains under the New Testament, as before under the Old: which appears, as from several other places, so particularly from our Lord's answer to Satan 8, and from the angel's admonitions to St. John in the Revelationsh.
The author of Sober and Charitable, &c. asks, why the paying worship to an invisible Being must imply its having divine perfections, and therefore must be divine worshipi? The reason is, because God has appropriated all such addresses, so and so circumstantiated, to the one Lord Jehovah; thereby making them (if they were not in their own nature before) a virtual recognition of divine perfectionsk; and therefore they interpretatively amount to divine worship. He adds, that “this is proving the “point, by taking it for granted, that none but God is to “ be worshipped.” No, but it is proving the point in the best manner, and by the strongest evidences, namely, express Scripture evidences, all the way from Genesis down to the Revelations, of such appropriation as hath been mentioned. In short then, God has so appropriated religious worship, as to exclude all creatures from any share in it: therefore all religious worship is divine worship; and therefore to worship Christ, under the notion of a creature, is idolatry and polytheism. So stands this matter, which I have but briefly hinted, to take off this author's exceptions; referring the reader, as above, to other treatises, where the subject is considered at large. Now I return to the point I was upon, the practical nature of the doctrine of the Trinity. Besides the influence which this doctrine has
· See Stillingfleet's Defence of the Discourse concerning Idolatry in Works, vol. v. p. 344, 357.
d Dan. ii. 46.
f Isai. xl. xlv. 5, 6, 7. 2 Kings xix. 15. Jer. x. 10, 11, 12. Compare my Sermons, vol. ii. p. 18, 19.
& Matt. iv. 10.
h Rev. xix. 10. xxii. 9. See those texts fully explained in Bishop Bull's Primitiva et Apostolica Traditio, c. vi. p. 388.
upon worship, it may be considered farther in a more general view, as tending to form within our minds dispositions proper for such state and circumstances as we are to expect hereafter. It is an allowed truth, that the good dispositions which men contract in this life are their qualifications for the happiness of the life to come ; and that the more refined and raised such their good dispositions are, the more fitly qualified they are for the higher degrees of blessedness in heaven. Put the case then, that the three Persons of the Trinity are equally divine, and that a man has been trained up to esteem them accordingly, it cannot be doubted but
i Sober and Charitable Disquisition, p. 8. * See preface to my Sermons, vol. ii. VOL. V.
that he goes out of the world more fitly disposed, in that respect, to be taken into their friendship, and best qualified (other circumstances being equal) for the beatific enjoyment. Consequently, the belief of the doctrine of the Trinity (supposing it true) is no slight or insignificant theory, no barren notion or speculation; since it has a direct influence upon the dispositions of our minds here, and upon our happiness hereafter. I make not this an argument of the truth of the doctrine, (for that is not the point I am now upon,) but of the importance of it, after admitting it for a sacred truth : and I add, that if it may have such influence upon us, in creating proper dispositions, that comes to the same as to say, that it raises and improves our virtues, and all virtue is practical.
A further consideration of like kind may be drawn from the influence which the same doctrine has tives to Christian practice. There are no two motives more affecting or more endearing, or more apt to work upon ingenuous minds, than the love of God the Father in sending his beloved Son to redeem us, and the love and condescension of our blessed Lord, in submitting to be so sent. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only “ begotten Son!,” &c. “In this was manifested the love “ of God towards us, because that God sent his only be
gotten Son into the world, that we might live through “ himm.” We see here what a stress and emphasis is laid, not merely upon this, that life, eternal life, is the benefit bestowed, but that it is conveyed in such a manner, and by such endearing means, by the only begotten Son. The Socinians, when pressed upon this article, do nothing but trifle and shuffle with us: they fall to magnifying the love of God, in giving us so high, so inestimable a blessing, as life eternal. Very true; but does not Scripture, besides that, lay a particular emphasis upon the means made use of in conveying the grant? And how is this emphasis made out upon their hypothesis, that Christ is a
1 John iii, 16.
m Jolin iv. 9.
mere man? But suppose him a creature, and the very first and highest of all creatures, before he came down from heaven; yet neither does that supposition sufficiently answer the purpose. For, considering how honourable the service was, and how unconceivably vast and large the reward for it, it might more properly be said, that God so loved his Son, that he sent him into the world, in order to prefer him to a kind of rivalship with himself, to advance him to divine honours, to make the whole creation bow before him, and pay him homage and obeisance : and all this as the reward of his sufferings of a few years; great indeed, but not apparently greater than many of his disciples suffered after him, nor“ worthy to be compared “ with the glory o” that shall accrue to every good Christian, much less with that immense, that incredible glory which was to accrue to him P. Now to me it seems, that the supposing Christ a mere creature, is a thought which mightily lessens the force of the Scripture expressions representing God's sending his Son as an act of stupendous love to man, upon account of the dignity of the Person by whom that salvation was to be wrought: so that the denying the Divinity of Christ robs us in part of one of the most endearing and affecting motives to the Christian life. Wherefore in this view also, the doctrine of the Trinity, if true, is both important and practical, as it raises the motives upon which Christian practice is built. I do not say, there would be no force in the motive considered in an Arian view, and supposing Christ to have been a most excellent creature: but the force of it would be considerably less upon that supposition; and therefore, if the doctrine be a truth, it is a truth of some moment in a view to practice, as raising and enforcing the motives beyond what the other hypothesis does.
Phil. ii. 10. Rev. v. 11, 12, 13. vii. 10. o Rom. viii, 18.
p Equidem rem attentius perpendenti liquebit, ex hypothesi sive Sociniana, sive Ariana, Deum in hoc negotio amorem et dilectionem suam potius in illum ipsum Filium, quam erga nos homines ostendisse. Quid enim ? Is qui Christus dicitur, ex mera Dei sudoría et beneplacito in eam gratiam electus est, ut post brevem bic in terris Deo præstitam obedientiam, ex puro puto homine juxta Socinistas, sive ex mera et mutabili creatura, ut Ario-manita dicant, Deus ipse fieret, ac divinos honores, non modo a nobis hominibus, sed etiam ab ipsis angelis atque archangelis sibi tribuendos assequeretur, adeoque in alias creaturas omnes dominium atque imperium obtineret. Bull. Judic. Eccl, Cathol. cap. v. p. 313,
So again, the love of Christ towards mankind appears in a much clearer and stronger light upon the Trinitarian principles, than upon the Antitrinitarian. For if Christ was in the form of God, equal with God, and very God, it was then an act of infinite love and condescension in him to become man, and die for us: but if he was no more than a creature, it was no surprising condescension to embark in a work so glorious, such as being the Saviour of mankind, and such as would advance him to be Lord and Judge of the world, to be admired, reverenced, and adored both by men and angels, God himself also glorifyir him, and sounding forth his praises through the utmost limits of the universe. Where is the condescension of a creature's submitting to be thus highly honoured? Or what creature could there be, that could modestly aspire to it, or might not think it much above his pretensions or highest ambition9 ? In short, “to become man, to suffer “ and die for the redemption of the world, and to be made “ the Lord and Judge both of the quick and of the dead, “ can be an act of condescending love and goodness only “ in God. So that to deny the Divinity of Christ alters “ the very foundations of Christianity, and destroys all “ the powerful arguments of the love, humility, and con“ descension of our Lord, which are the peculiar motives
4 Addo, neque ipsius Filii Dei unigeniti amorem et charitatem, ergo nos homines (quæ etiam magnifice passim celebratur in S. Scripturis, ac maxime in loco illo Epistolæ ad Ephes. iii. 18, 19.) clare elucere, nisi concipiamus Filium Dei qui ante sæcula ex Patre genitus est, per quem omnia facta sunt, qui propter nos homines, et propter nostram salutem, descendit de cælis et incarnatus est, &c. At vero hoc modo - Filii Dei eminentissima in figa mentum suum dilectio-, clarissime conspicitur. Bull. Judic. Eccl. cap. v.