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Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve,” Matt. iv. 10. Now this word latpeuw occurs on twentyone occasions in the New Testament, and on no occasion in reference to Christ.*
But it is time we should ask ourselves whether our Saviour gives us no plain precepts on this important subject—whether it is the fact that he leaves us, in a great measure, to form our opinion from a careful discrimination of the exact meaning and application of two or three Greek verbs ? Not only does he declare that the true worshippers shall worship the Father, in spirit and in truth, but he also, on various occasions, directs his disciples to pray to the Father : “When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut the door pray to thy Father,” Matt. vi. 6. A little further on we read, “ After this manner therefore pray ye, " Our Father, which art in Heaven.'' On one occasion, as he was praying in a certain place, one of his disciples said to him, when he had ceased,
Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples,” and he said unto them, “When ye pray, say Our Father, which art in Heaven,” Luke xi. 1, 2. He adds, in the 13th verse, “If ye, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him." On the evening before his crucifixion he said, “In that day (the time when he should be risen and glorified) ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, whatsoever
* Dr. P. Smith thinks ratpeów "by no means the highest verb of adoration;" at all events, it is sometimes applied to public religious services.
ye shall ask the Father in my name, He will give it you,” John xvi. 23. And again, “At that day ye shall ask in my name, and I say not unto you that I will pray the Father for you, for the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved me," etc., 26, 27. . Nor are we left to Christ's teachings alone, we have also his example. Most of his prayers were uttered apart, alone; but not a few were offered in the presence of his disciples, and have been recorded in the Gospels, and they are addressed expressly to the Father. The title “God” is, I believe, used only once, and then in a quotation from the Psalms.* “I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth;
even SO, Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight.” “Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard me, and I know that Thou hearest me always.” “Father, the hour is come.” “Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom Thou hast given me.” “O righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee.” “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." "Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.” Compare this language with the declaration that the true worshippers are they that worship the Father.
“If,” says Origen,“ 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
* Dr. Lant Carpenter.
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.'” Elsewhere he says "We may supplicate the Logos himself, and make requests to him, and give thanks and pray, provided we be able to distinguish between prayer, properly speaking, and prayer in a looser sense."
In another passage he represents Christians as offering their prayers through Christ, as a high Priest, to the God over all, to his God and our God, the requests being made to the Son in order to be offered by him to the Supreme Being. *
And if we enquire what was the conduct of the apostles after our Lord's ascension, we find such passages as the following: “Now, the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded one toward another, according to Christ Jesus ; that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father (or, as in other places, the God and Father) of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Rom. xv. 5, 6. And in ver. 30, St. Paul says, “Now, I beseech you, brethren, by the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the love of the spirit,” the love which is the fruit of the spirit, or, our spiritual love for each other, “that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me.” He represents the true believers (Phil. iii. 3) as worshipping God in the spirit, and rejoicing in Christ Jesus. In the same epistle (iv. 6) he gives this explicit direction “Be careful (i. e., anxiously careful) for nothing; but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests (or desires) " be made known unto God; and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”* And in Acts iv., it is written, “They lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, Thou art God, who hast made Heaven and earth, and the sea and all that in them is; who, by the mouth of Thy servant David, hast said, etc. .... grant unto Thy servants, that with all boldness, they may speak Thy word, by stretching forth Thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of Thy holy child Jesus,” 24, 25, 30. Here Jehovah and the Father are identified; spiritual gifts are besought, not of the Holy Spirit, but of the Father of the holy child Jesus; and it is asked not of Jesus that he would perform miracles, but of the Father, that He would perform them in His Son's name.*
* Quoted in Norton's Statement of Reasons.
The doctrine that our worship should be offered to the Father as the Supreme Being, is not inconsistent with ejaculations or hymns to Christ. “For anything we can perceive," says Norton, “God might have committed the immediate government of our world, of this little particle of the universe, or the immediate superintendence of the Christian Church, to some minister of His power. Such a being might thus have become an object of prayer. Nay, in consistency with all we know of the character of God, there might have been an intercourse, very different from what now exists, between the visible and the invisible worlds. The spirits of our departed friends might have become our guardian angels, with power to confer benefits and to answer our petitions. Prayers, then, might have been addressed to them. If, therefore, it were to appear that God has revealed to us that Christ is an object of prayer, as was believed by Socinus and his followers, this would afford no reason for concluding that Christ is God.” During my childhood I was accustomed to repeat every evening the following sweet versicle learnt from the lips of Unitarian parents :
* See also Luke xxiv. 53; Acts ii. 47 ; xvi. 25; Eph. ii. 18; iii. 14. “For this cause I bow my knee unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” ver. 20. “Giving thanks always for all things, unto God, even the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Col. i. 3, 12 ; iii. 17; James iii. 9; 1 Pet. i. 17; Rev. xxii. 8, 9. -Dr. Lant Carpenter.
“Gentle Jesus, meek and mild,
Pity my simplicity.” Nor was I conscious of departing from his own teaching respecting the worship of the Father, to whom, what I regarded as my prayers, were offered up. I ought, however, to say that some Unitarians conscientiously adhere to the letter of that passage in which we read, “Henceforth ye shall ask me nothing." I respect their motives, though their interpretation seems to me too strictly literal. If we believe in the Saviour's living presence as Head of the Church, there are frequent occasions when an