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are too many who are almost come to be Heathens without knowing it. For there is a fashionable notion propagated by most of our moral writers, and readily subscribed to by those who say their prayers but seldom, and can never find time to read their Bible, that all who worship any God, worship the same God; as if we worshipped the three letters of the 91 ord God, instead of the Being meant and understood by it. The Universal Prayer of Mr. Alexander Pope was composed upon this plan ; wherein the Supreme Being is addressed as a common Father of all, under the names, Jehovah, Jove, and Lord. And this humour of confounding things, which onght to be distinguished at the peril of our souls, and of comprehending believers and idolators under one and the same religion, is called a catholic Spirit, that shews the very exaltation of Christian charity. But God, it is to be feared, will require an account of it under another name ; and though the pret could see no difference, but has mistaken fore or Jupiter for the same Father of all with the Lord Jehovah; yet the Apostle has instructed us better; who, when the Priest of Jupiter came to offer sacrifice, exhorted him very passionately to “turn from those va“ nities unto the living God';" well knowing that he whom the Priest adored under the name of Jupiter, was not the living God, but a creature, a nothing, a vanity. Yet the catholic spirit of a moralist can discern no difference; and while it pretends fome zeal for a sort of universal religion, common to believers and infidels, betrays a fad indifference for the Christian religion in parti. cular. This error is fo monstrous in a land enlightened by the Gospel, and yet so very common amongst us at preseni, that I may be pardoned for speaking of it in the manner it deserves. And let me beseech every serious person, who is willing to have his prayers heard, to consider this natter a little better, and use a more correct form ; for God, who is jealous of his honour, and has no communion with idols, will certainly reject the petition that sets him upon a level with Baal and Jupiter.

The true God is He that was “ in Christ reconciling the world to himself;" there is none other but He; and if this great characteristic be denied, or any other assumed in its stead, a man is left without God; after which, he may call himself a Deist, if he will; but his God is a mere idol of the imagination, and has no corresponding reality in the whole universe of beings.

1 Acts xiv. 15.

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The modern Jews, by denying their God to have been manifest in the flesh, are as effectually departed from the true God, as their forefathers were, when they danced before the golden calf, and called their idolatrous service “ a feast to the Lord.” For the being of God is not an object of fight, but of faith; it enters first into the heart; and if it be wrong there, the first commandment is broken: if a figure of it be set up before the eyes, then the second is broken likewise. The first forbids us to have any other God; the second, to make any graven image of him. Now though we make no image, yet if with the heart we believe in any God different from the true, the idolatry indeed may be less, but the apostacy is the same. And this feems to be the case of the few.

The Mahometans are another set of infidels, who abhor idols, but have in express termɛ denied the Son of God, and set up an idol of the imagination, a God in one Person. They inveigh bit. terly against the Christians for worshipping three Gods ; for so they state the doctrine of a Trinity in Unity, as some others have done beside them.

In answer to all these abominations of the Deift, the Jew, and the Mahometan, and to shew that no unbeliever of any denomination can be a servant of the true God, it is written-" whosoever " denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father," and again“ whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of

Chrift, hath not GOD 2." And let the Socinians, who have not only vindicated the religion of Mahomet, but preferred it to the Christianity of the church of England, which with them is no better nor other thun a sort of Paganism and Heathenifm *,let them consider what a share they have in this condemnation.

And to bring this matter home to the Arians ; it is to be observed, that every article of the Christian faith depends upon the doctrine of a Trinity in Unity. If that be given up, the other doctrines of our religion must go with it, and so it has been in fact, that the authors who have written against the Trinity, have also disputed away some other essential parts of Christianity, particularly the doctrines of the satisfaction and of original fin,

1

2 2 John 9.

1 John ii, 23. * See Leslie's Theological Works, Fol. Vol. I. p. 218, where the reader may find a great deal more to the same purpose; and particularly an Epistle of the Socinians, to the Morocco Embassador, in the time of Charles II. a great, curiosity, wherein their whole fcheme is laid open to the bottom by tbemselves.

The whole Bible treats of little else but our creation, redemphion, fanctification, resurrection, and glorification, by the power of Christ and the Holy Spirit : and the reader will find hereafter, that there is neither name, act, nor attribute of the Godhead, that is not shared in common by all the persons of the Trinity. If, there- , fore, the persons of Christ and the Spirit are not God in the Unity of the Father, then the prayers and praises we offer to them, as the authors of every blessing, will not be directed to the supreme Lord and God, beside whom no other is to be worshipped, but to his creatures and instruments: which overthrows the sense of our whole religion ; and drives us upon a sort of second-rate faith and worship, which, beside the blasphemy of it, can be nothing but confusion and contradiction. It is no wonder then, that the Arians and Socinians, with their several under-sects and divisions, who have fallen into this snare, and departed from the divine Unity, while they pretend to be the only men who assert it, have never yet been able to agree in the forms of religious worship. Soipe of them allowing that Christ is to receive divine worship, but always with this reserve, that the prayer tend ultimately to the person of the Father. So that Christ is to be worshipped, only he is not to be worshipped: and if you should yenture, when you are at the point of death, to say with St. Stephen--" Lord Jesus, receive my spirit?”—and confess the person of Jesus to be “ the God of the Spirits of all flesh?,” by committing your own spirit into his hands; you are to take case not to die without throwing in fome qualifying comment, to assure him you do it only in hypocrisy, not meaning him but another. Others, again, knowing this distinction to be vain and indefensible, and the same for substance with the Latria and Dulia, by which the church of Rome excuses her adoration of the blessed Virgin, &c. have fairly got rid of it, by denying to the person of Christ any divine worship or invocation at all, which is the case with our Socinian Unitarians here in England; for those of Poland are quite of another mind.

How far such differences as thefe must needs affect a Liturgy, it is very easy to foresee: and that it will for ever be as impossible to frame a Creed or a Service to please all those who bear the name of Chriftians, as to make a coat th: . Thall fit men of all fizes*. Prayer and divine worship and religious confession, are the fruit and breath of faith; and “ out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh* :" so that until we are agreed in matters of faith, there is neither hope nor possibility of our agreeing in any

| Acts vii. 59.

? Num. xvi. 22.

form of worship. God is the fountain-head, and religion the stream that descends from it. Our sentiments as to religion, always flow from the opinion we have forined of the divine nature; and will be right or wrong, sweet or bitter, as the fountain is from whence they are derived. It is the having a different God, that makes a different religion. A true God produces a true religion ; a false God, a false religion. Jews, Turks, Pagans, Deifts, Arians, Socinians, and Christians, all differ about a religion, because they differ about a God.

These few observations will be sufficient, I hope, to raise the attention of the reader; 'and persuade him, that a right faith in God is a much more serious affair than soine would make it; that it is of the last concern, and hath a neceilary influence upon the practice and holiness of our lives; that as no other devotion is acceptable with God, but that which is seasoned with love and charity and uniformity, the very mark and badge whereby his disciples are to be known from the men of this world, it is the principal duty of every Christian to know in whom he ought to believe, that " with one mind and one mouth we may glorify God? :" for a right notion of God, will as surely be followed by a found faith and an uniform profession in all other points, as a fülse faith and a discordant worship will grow from every wrong opinion of him.

All that can be known of the true God, is to be known by Revelation. The false lights indeed of reason and nature are fet up and recommended, as necessary to assist and ratify the evidence of Revelation : but enquiries of this kind, as they are now mapaged, generally end in the degradation of Christ, and the Christian religion *: till it can be shewn therefore that the Scripture neither does nor can fine by a light and authority of its own, the evidence we are to rest in, must be drawn from thence; and as we all have the fame Scripture, without doubt we ought all to have the same opinion of God.

• Matt. xii. 34• Hales of Ern, in his sarcastic and malicious Tract upon Schism, proposes it as a grand expedient for the advancing of Unity, that we should “ consider all the Liturgies, " that are and ever have been; and remove from them whatever is scandalous to any

party, and leave nothing but what all agree on." He should have closed this sen. tence a little fooner; and advised us fairly and honestly to leave norbing ; for that will certainly be the event, when the objections of all parties are fuffered to prevail; there being no one page of the Liturgy, wherein all, who pretend worship God as Cbriftiaris art agreed.

2 Rom. xv. 6.

But here it is cominonly objected, that men will be of different opinions; that they have a right to judge for themselves; and that when the best evidence the nature of the case will admit of is collected and laid before them, they must determine upon it as it appears to them, and according to the light of their own consciences : so that if they adhere as closely to their errors after they have consulted the proper evidence as they did before, we are neither to wonder nor be troubled at it.

This very moderate and benevolent way of thinking, has been studiously recommended by those, who found it neceflary to the well-being of their own cpinions, that not a spark of zeal should be left amongst us. And surely it is no new thing that the advocates of any particular error, next to themselves and their own fashion, should naturally incline to those who are softest, and stand least in the way. Hence it is, that however magisterial and infolent they may carry themselves in their own cause; they always take care to season their writings with the praises of this frozen indifference : calling that Christian charity, which is nothing but the absence of Christianity: and any the least appearance of earneftness for some great and valuable truth, which we are unwilling to part with, because we hope to be saved by it, is brow-beaten, condemned, and cast out of their moral system, under the name of heat, want of temper, fire, fury, &c. They add moreover, that articles of faith are things merely speculative ; and that it is of little signification what a man believes, if he is but hearty and sincere in it: that is, in other words, it is a mere trifle whether we feed upon bread + or poison f; the one will prove to be as good nourishment as the other, provided it be eaten with an appetite. Yet some well-meaning people are so puzzled and deceived by this sophistry, that they look upon concord among Christians as a thing impracticable and desperate ;

* You may have a proof of this from the Elay on Spirit, hy comparing the book with its title, which runs thus--The Doctrine of the Trinity confidered in ebe Ligbt of Reafox and Nature, &c.

+ See and compare Deut. viii. 3. Amos viii. 11. Acts xx. 28. # James iii. 8. 1 Tim, iv. I.

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