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THE FATHER THE ONLY OBJECT OF WORSHIP.

As prayer.is one of the great means for our religious improvement, it becomes an important question: To whom are we to pray? On this subject there exists a diversity of opinion among christians. The Unitarian addresses his prayers exclusively to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The orthodox Protestants, and among these markedly, those of the Protestant Episcopal church, worship severally, a God the Father, a God the Son, a God the Holy Ghost, and a compound Deity (a) called Trinity, or a Triune God; and to these latter objects of worship, the Roman Catholic adds the Virgin Mary, and a numerous host of Saints and Martyrs. Now the question arises, which of these worshippers is right? To the investigation of that question I intend to devote the present article, and if I mistake not, there is an abundance of the most conclusive evidence, to lead us to a satisfactory solution of it.

When a christian is at a loss how to decide as to a point of duty, he can have no safer guide than the example of our Saviour. Now that example is explicit and undisputed as to the subject under consideration. The prayers of Jesus were always addressed to his and our God and Father, and never to any other being. At the grave of Lazarus we hear him exclaim, “Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me." (6) His intercessory prayer for his disciples, previous to his sufferings, is exclusively directed to his Heavenly Father. (c) It is to the same Being that he addresses himself in his agony in the garden, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” (d) To Him is addressed that sublime and touching prayer on the cross, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do ;” (e) and it is into His hands that the expiring Saviour commends his spirit. (f)

But we have, in regard to the subject under consideration, more than the example of Christ.

We have his express precepts and directions.

When his disciples ask him, “Lord

(a) In using the term, a compound Deity, it is not my wish to treat, either with disrespect or levity, the sentiments of others. I merely use this term as the only one capable of expressing my ideas of a God, composed or consisting of three persons, each of whom is God and a separate object of divine homage.

(6) John xi. 41. (c) John xvii. (d) Matt. xxvi. 39. (e) Luke xxiii. 34. (f) Luke xxiii. 46.

teach us to pray,

» he tells them, “When ye pray, say, Our Father who art in heaven,” &c. (g) At another time he says, “Pray to thy Father which is in secret, and thy father which seeth in secret, will reward thee openly." (1) In the discourse with the woman of Samaria, Jesus says to her, “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth.” (i) And when consoling his disciples concerning his approaching departure, with the promise that he would send them another comforter, he adds, “In that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.” (k)

These directions appear to me to be plain and positive, and perfectly decisive of the subject under consideration. We have nothing here of praying to a God the Son, a God the Holy Ghost, or a blessed and glorious Trinity: and the inference is irresistible, that our Saviour knew of no such objects of religious worship.

The truth, that the God and Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, is the only true object of religious homage, is still further established by the uniform precepts and practice of the Apostles and early Christians. I feel a reluctance in referring to this evidence. It appears to me to be almost a species of profanation—a want of due reverence for the Saviour, to attempt to establish by evidence of a lower grade, a point on which his precepts and example are so perfectly decisive. But the importance of the subject under consideration must be my apology. In reading the book of Acts, and the Apostolical epistles, we shall find, that the prayers noticed in them, were all made, or directed to be made, exclusively to our Heavenly Father. It would lead me too far to notice all the passages which have a bearing on this point, and I shall therefore content myself with noting some of them, to which I refer the inquiring reader, namely: Acts iv. 24–30. Rom. i. 8. 1 Cor. i. 4. 2 Cor. i. 2, 3. Eph. i. 3. Eph. v. 20.

Phil. i. 3. Col. i. .3 2 Thess. i. 3. 2 Tim. i. 3. Philem. iv. 1. Peter i. 3.

In all these passages the prayers are recorded to have been made, to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. But this would not have been the case if the Apostles had considered their ascended Saviour to be the Supreme God, and as such, the object of religious worship. It is natural for man, when he has a favor to ask which more than one person can grant,

(g) Luke xi. 1, 2.

(h) Matt. vi. 6.

(i) John vi. 23.

(k) John xvi. 23.

to address himself by preference, to the one with whom he was personally acquainted, and of whose friendship he had received previous proofs. Now the Apostles of our Saviour had lived with him for a length of time in habits of the strictest intimacy. Of his friendship for them, and his tender solicitude for their welfare, they had received a thousand tokens; and if therefore, they had considered him as the object of prayer, their prayers would, if not exclusively, at least most generally, have been addressed to him. But they never were so, and this is most conclusive evidence, that they did not consider him to be an object of religious worship.

If from the Apostolic age we come down to later times, we shall find, that during more than three centuries, the Father continued to be the only object of christian worship. In proof of this I shall adduce but one witness, but that, one who has always stood pre-eminent among the fathers of the church. Origen, who lived in the third century, in a treatise on prayer, says: “If we understand what prayer is, it will appear that it is never to be offered to any originated being, not to Christ himself, but only to the God and Father of all, to whom our Saviour himself prayed, and taught us to pray. For when his disciples asked him, “Teach us to pray,” he did not teach them to pray to himself, but to the Father. Conformably to what he said, “Why callest thou me good ? there is none good except one, God, the Father,” how could he say otherwise than, Why dost thou pray to me? prayer, as ye learn from the holy scriptures, is to be offered to the Father only, to whom I myself pray. It is not consistent with reason for those to pray to a brother, who are esteemed worthy of one Father with him. You, with me, and through me, are to address your prayers to the Father alone." (2) It was in the fourth century that our Saviour began to be worshipped as God in the Church, and this was almost immediately followed by the introduction of the worship of the Virgin Mary, and of the Saints and Martyrs.

But though it appears to be tacitly admitted, that the Father was, in the times of our Saviour and his Apostles, the principal object of religious homage, yet Trinitarians think, that they find in the New Testament, evidence that Christ was also the object of religious worship. To the passages adduced in proof of this I shall therefore now turn my attention.

There are sundry passages in the Gospels in which it is recorded that persons worshipped Christ; and these are alleged

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(1) Orig. de Oratione.

Prof. Norton's transl. See his reasons, p. 167.

as proof of his Deity. This proof, however, is only adduced by such as are unacquainted with the Greek language, and with biblical criticism. The original word, translated worshipping, means simply the homage or reverence paid by any one to a superior. This too was the meaning which the term worshipping had in the English language, at the time the translation of the bible was made. For proof of this I would refer the reader to 1 Chron. xxix. 50, where we read, “And all the congregation worshipped the Lord and the King;" and to Matt. xviii. 26, where the servant is said to have worshipped the King.

Another class of texts, on which more stress is laid, is that in which persons are said to call on the name of Christ. This phraseology is supposed to be equivalent to praying to Christ. But the uniform practice of the Apostles, as already examined, shews that this is not the correct meaning. Yates, in his vindication of Unitarianism, (m) says, that the original phrase may, with equal propriety, be translated, to be called by the name of Christ, and this is the rendering adopted by the editors of the improved version. The same phrase occurs Acts xxv. 2, and is there rendered to appeal to. Now if, in this latter case, it signifies merely an appeal to the authority of Cæsar, why should it not in the other texts, express an appeal to the authority of Christ, without implying any religious invocation.

Acts vii. 59, we read, “And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus receive my spirit.” In this passage many Trinitarians think that they have, by the example of Stephen, a clear warrant for addressing their prayers to Christ; but it appears to me, that in this they draw a conclusion not warranted by the premises. In the first place, the word God which we find in this text, is not in the original, but is a gratuitous addition of the English translation. Stephen did not believe Christ to be the Supreme God. Of this we have positive proof in the 56th verse, when he says that he saw the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God; for it is evidently impossible that the being standing on the right hand of God, could be the same with the God at whose right hand he stood. And in the second place, the example of Stephen can only justify us in imitating him, when we shall find ourselves placed in a similar situation. To encourage and support the blessed Proto-martyr in the hour of suffering and of death, he is favored with a vision of his late, suflering, but now exalted master, and to him he recommends his spirit. When we shall find ourselves similarly blessed with the visible,

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personal presence of our Saviour, then let us imitate Stephen; but until then, let us, according to the precepts and examples of Jesus, address our prayers exclusively to the God and Father of all.

H.

GEORGE FOX AND THE QUAKERS.

[ The following admirable treatise on the Quakers, is from the se.

cond volume of Mr. Bancroft’s History of the United States. ]

The nobler instincts of humanity are the same in every age and in every breast. The exalted hopes that have dignified former generations of men, will be renewed as long as the human heart shall throb. The visions of Plato are but revived in the dreams of Sir Thomas Moore. A spiritual unity binds together every member of the human family; and every heart contains an incorruptible seed, capable of springing up and producing all that man can know of God, and duty, and the soul. An inward voice, uncreated by schools, independent of refinement, opens to the unlettered mind, not less than to the polished scholar, a sure pathway into the enfranchisements of immortal truth.

This is the faith of the people called QUAKERS. A moral principle is tested by the attempt to reduce it to practice.

The history of European civilization is the history of the gradual enfranchisement of classes of society. The feudal sovereign was limited by the power of the military chieftains, whose valor achieved his conquests. The vast and increasing importance of commercial transactions gave new value to the municipal privileges of which the Roman empire had bequeathed the precedents; while the intricate questions that were perpetually arising for adjudication, crowded the ignorant military magistrate from the bench, and reserved the wearisome toil of deliberation for the learning of his clerk. The emancipation of the country people followed. In every European code, the ages of the feudal influence, of mercantile ambition, of thé enfranchisement of the yeomanry, appear distinctly in succession.

It is the peculiar glory of England, that her free people always had a share in the government. From the first, her

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