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Christians are bred up to thoughts elevated far l above all creatures, and might very justly disdain to worship any of them. The like he remarks of the Jews, “ that they “ were taught to m ascend up to the uncreated nature of 6 God; to fix their eyes upon him only; and on him alone “ to rest all their hopes and expectations.”
I might add many more testimonies, to the same effect, from the Ante-Nicene writers; but these are sufficient to give us a just idea of their principles, in relation to the object of worship. This we shall find run through them all, that God alone is to be worshipped; the Creator, in opposition to all creatures whatever; the tò Oeñov, (as Clement of Alexandria and Origen sometimes accurately express it,) which also Tertullian seems to intimate, in the words, quod colimus, above cited. The sum then of the case is this : if the Son could be included, as being uncreated, and very God; as Creator, Sustainer, Preserver of all things, and one with the Father; then he might be worshipped upon their principles, but otherwise could not. What their practice was, shall be considered in its proper place. For the present, let it be a rule and maxim with us, fixed, as far as Scripture and the concurring judgment of antiquity can fix it, (besides what might be justly pleaded from the reason of the thing,) that no kind or degree of religious worship is due, or can be lawfully paid, to any creature. The conclusion from all is; if our blessed Lord is a creature, n he is not to be worshipped; if he is to be worshipped, he is not a creature. Now we may pass on. .
1 Τούς διδαχθέντας μεγαλοφυώς υπεραναβαίνεις πάντα τα δημιουργήματα, &c. p. 237.
τη 'Αναβαίνειν επί την αγένησον του Θεού φύσιν κακείνω μόνη ενοράν, και τας απ' autoū póvou invidas a goodoxấv, p. 189.
Compare p. 160. where Origen insists upon the necessity of elevating our thoughts and devotions above and beyond all created being, é, TITOTOūv yine Tòv, in one place, tartós yevntoũ in the other. See also Clem. Alex. p. 809, 816. Ox. ed.
η Κτίσμα γαρ κτίσματι ου προσκυνεί, αλλά δούλος δεσπότην, και κτίσμα Θεόν. Ath. Orat. ii. p. 491.
and in buted
Query XVII. Whether, notwithstanding, worship and adoration be not
equally due to Christ; and consequently, whether it must not follow, that he is the one God, and not (as the Arians suppose) a distinct inferior Being ?
YOU answer, that “ equality of divine honour is never “ attributed in Scripture to the Son with the Father;" and then, in proof of a matter of fact, you assign a reason of your own devising; “ for then the Son would be abso“lutely equal with the Father, which is contrary to “ Scripture and reason,” (p. 94.) But why do you not keep close to the words of the Query, and to the point in question? Worship and adoration are my words; not divine honour, which is ambiguous, and leads us off from the argument in hand. Suppose it had been said sacrifice: would you answer thus? Equality of divine sacrifice is never attributed, &c. Do not you see the impropriety? Well, but, as it is, you must say, equality of divine worship is never attributed, &c. And then, pray tell me, what you mean by equality or inequality of worship; whether you mean longer or shorter prayers, more or less frequent addresses, or any thing else. Be that as it will, worship, religious worship, greater or smaller, longer or shorter, has the same import and significancy; and speaks the Person addressed to, to be divine: just as sacrifice, whether offered once a year only or once a day, or whether it were a lamb or only two young pigeons, carried the same acknowledgment with it of the divinity, sovereignty, and supremacy of the person to whom it was offered. Now, worship being, as hath been said, an acknowledgment of the true God, in opposition to all creatures whatever, which are by nature no gods; and being offered to the Father, not for the recognizing his personal properties, as he stands distinguished from the Son and Holy Spirit, but his essential perfections, common to all, and by which he is distinguished from the creatures; it is very manifest, that if the Son is to be worshipped too, he is equally God, and true God, with the Father; has all the same essential excellencies and perfections which the Father hath, and is at as great a distance from the creatures; in opposition to whom, and as a mark of his superior and infinitely transcendent excellency, he is worshipped. If then honour consists in the acknowledgment of his essential perfections, equality of divine honour is attributed in Scripture to the Son with the Father ; because worship is attributed to both, and is always of the same import and significancy, by God's own order and appointment. But then you will say, the Son will be absolutely equal with the Father; which you think inconsistent with Scripture and reason. If you mean by absolutely equal, that the Son must be the first Person, as well as the Father, I deny your inference: if any thing else, I allow it. to be true. The Son will be equal in all those respects, for which worship is due to the Father himself. He will be equally divine, equally eternal, immutable, wise, powerful, &c. in a word, equally God and Lord. As to the subordination of Persons in the same Godhead, that is of distinct consideration; and we may never be able perfectly to comprehend the relations of the three Persons, ad intra, amongst themselves; the ineffable order and economy of the ever blessed coeternal Trinity. You have many things to say, in hopes to lessen the honour and worship attributed to the Son in holy Scripture. But unless you could prove that no worship at all is to be paid him, you prove nothing. However, that I may not seem to pass any thing slightly over, I shall take the pains to examine your exceptions.
As to what you say, to weaken the force of Joh. v. 23. the answer to it will properly fall under a distinct Query; which is entirely upon it. You a cite Phil. ii. 11. Joh. xiv. 13. against the Querist; as if it was any question betwixt us, whether God was glorified in his Son; or whether the honour of either did not redound to both. “ It was,” you
a Page 90.
xvi. OF SOME QUERIES. say, “ the prayer of Christ to glorify his Father, and the “ Father only.” But read that part of the prayer again, and believe your own eyes, Joh. xvii. 1. “ Father, the “ hour is come, glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may “ glorify thee.” How familiar, how equally concerned, as well for his own, as his Father's glory. So again, a little after; “ I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished " the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Fa“ ther, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory “ which I had with thee, before the world was,” Joh. xvii. 4, 5. See also Joh. xiii. 31, 32. and then tell me whether it was Christ's design, or desire, that his Father only might be glorified. How could you miss such plain things?. You go on; “ The Father is the object, to which “ he commands us to direct our prayers.” What! Will you dispute whether Christ is to be worshipped, or invocated ? Consider, I beseech you, Joh. v. 23. mentioned above; recollect with yourself, that he is sometimes distinctly and personally b invocated. Grace, mercy, and peace, or grace and peace, or grace only, are frequently, in twenty places of the New Testament, implored of him, together with the Father. He is to be worshipped and adored, as well as the Father, by men, by d angels, by the e whole creation. Glory and dominion for ever and ever are fascribed to him, as well as to the Father. This is the sense of Scripture: I need not add, it being a thing so well known, the sense also of the earliest and best Christian writers, who unanimously declare for the worship of Christ; and their practice was conformable thereto. And now, that you may see how consistent those good men were (suitably to their strict sincerity) with Scripture, with themselves, and with each other; I shall step a little aside, to show you upon what principles they might, and did give religious worship to Christ.
b Acts vii. 59. 1 Thess. iii. 11. Rom. x. 13. 1 Cor. i. 2. c See Clarke's Script. Doctr. ch. ii. sect. 4. d Hebr. i. 6.
e Rev. v. 8. f 2 Pet. iii, 18. Rev. v. 13. See also Rev. vii. 10.
We have heard Justin Martyr, before, declaring that “ God alone is to be worshipped.” Very true: but then he constantly teaches us that the Son is God; and therefore might consistently say, that the Son is to be f worshipped, and, in the name of the whole Church, “ we & worship “ Father, Son, and the prophetic Spirit.”
Athenagoras has before intimated that nothing less than the h Creator of the world is to be worshipped. But then he tells us too, that all things were i created by the Son: and therefore no wonder if, giving account, to the emperor, of the God whom the Christians worshipped, he kjoins the Son with the Father.
Theophilus declares, as before seen, for the worship of God only; and says, the king is not to be worshipped, because he is not God. But then, as to the Son, he lowns him to be God; and therefore of consequence must suppose worship due to him.
Tatian teaches that God only is to be worshipped; not m man, not the elements, not the creatures, ônusspyla. Very good: but the Son who n created matter, and is ayyénwr Enucoupy's, might be worshipped notwithstanding.
Tertullian is so scrupulous, that he says, he will not so much as call any other, God, but the God whom he worshipped, and to whom alone he pronounces all worship due. But he must certainly include the Son in that only God; as every one knows who ever looked into his writings: and accordingly he admits the worship of him.
Clement of Alexandria, as we have observed above, P protests against the worship of creatures; and allows no worship but to the Maker and Governor of all things.
f II pooruinTÒS, Apol. i. p. 94. Apol. ii. 35. Ox. Dial. pag. 191, 209, 231, 365. Jebb. :
και 'Εκείνόν τε, και τον παρ' αυτού υιον ελθόντα--πνεύμα τε το προφητικόν σεβόpeta xrà a Poo x uvoõusv. Apol. i. p. 11.
b See the passage above, p. 176. i See above, p. 134. k Θεόν άγοντες τον ποιητής τούδε του παντός και τον παρ' αυτού λόγον, p. 122. | Pag. 130. m Pag. 17, 18, 79. n See above, p. 134. o Apol. c. 21. Ad Uxor. I. ii. c. 6. Adv. Jud. c. 7. P Pag. 176.