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a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things, put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body,” ver. 12—15.
Such, then, are some of our principal reasons for not being able to accept the doctrine which Mr. Bickersteth has so earnestly called upon us to embrace, viz., that Jesus Christ “ claims and receives without protest, yea, as his just and inalienable right, equal trust, adoration, love and service with Him who says, 'My name is Jehovah, I am jealous.'”
It has been sometimes said, you admit that Christ represents God, and if it be easier to realize his presence than God's, may it not be a practical advantage to regard Christ as actually the God whom he represents ? To some it is, no doubt, easier to realize Christ's presence than the Father's; and to some it is easier to realize the Virgin Mary's than Christ's, and a patron saint's than the Virgin Mary's; but to those who know the Father I do not think it can be easier to realize the presence of any other invisible being. Suppose, however, it were, who could rest without reaching the Father's throne, if His own voice of love call us? Who would say something else would answer the same purpose, and is less difficult ? Was it for this that Christ shewed us the Father, and bade us pray to the Father alone ? Was it for this that the Father taught him, and wrought mighty things through him, and manifested Himself in him ? Would Christ regard this as the accomplishment of the work for which he lived and died
as the success of his mediatorial office? The Father! I believe the greatest want of our times, and of all our hearts, is still to have brought home to us Christ's revelation of the Father. This would make religion and prayer indeed a reality. This would make brothers of us all, which we are not yet; would make divine Providence a safe shelter in every storm, and fill the future with glad and boundless hopes. This would call forth aspirations which would render us humble in our inmost souls, and would enable us to realize the deep meaning of those words, “ If ye, 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?"* We may apply to our Lord exalted epithets, we may call him God the Son, we may address to him our highest homage; but I still must think that we cannot know him aright, cannot behold the divine glory which is reflected in him, until he has indeed led us to the Father, until we feel the Father's tender look directly upon us, and until we make our whole lives a worship of the Father in spirit and in truth.
I close this chapter in the words of Dr. Channing: “ That there is one God, even the Father; and that Jesus Christ is not this one God, but His Son and Messenger, who derived all his powers and glories from the universal Parent, and who came into the world, not to claim supreme homage for himself, but to carry up the soul to his father as the only ultimate object of religious worship; this doctrine seems to us not to have sprung from hell, but to have descended from the throne of God, and to invite and attract us thither. To us it seems to come from the Scriptures, with a voice loud as the sound of many waters, and as articulate and clear, as if Jesus in a bodily form, were pronouncing it distinctly in our ears. We value this doctrine as peculiarly the friend of inward, living, practical religion; and we desire none to embrace it, but such as shall seek and derive from it this celestial influence.”
* That my fears lest the Father should be lost sight of by some of my Trinitarian brethren are not imaginary, is confirmed by the following passage from the pen of the Rev. H. Ward Beecher :
“ Could Theodore Parker worship my God—Christ Jesus is his
All that there is of God to me is bound up in that name. A dim and shadowy effluence rises from Christ, and that I am taught to call the Father. A yet more tenuous and invisible film of thought arises, and that is the Holy Spirit. But neither is to me aught tangible, restful, accessible.”—Letter recently published.
"God grant (what is far above all theological disputations) that the highest aim of our labors may be to produce the image of Christ in the souls of men—that to our latest breath we may keep this object in view without wavering, fast bound to it in true love, each one in his own sphere, unmoved by the vicissitudes of opinion and the collisions of party."— Neander.
I HAVE thus spoken of a controversy which has grievously divided Christendom, and often caused the angel of charity to weep, but which, I fear, has rarely contributed to the love of God or of Christ, to the effectual preaching of the Gospel, or to practical Christian endeavour of any kind. It now remains that I gather together in one concluding chapter the few considerations I have yet to add.
I cannot help thinking, that apart from all minute criticism, and from sectarian bias, a familiar acquaintance with the Scriptures would leave the general impression that there is one infinite and eternal God, who is above all; that he through whom we have access to God, is a separate beingthat he who is filled with God's Holy Spirit is subordinate to Him, and that the supreme God is, in the words of the Saviour, Himself a Spirit. Even in Trinitarian writers and preachers I have thought I could discern occasionally an unconscious testimony to this supremacy of the Father. The idea of the three persons of the Trinity sitting in conclave, and resolving to send one of their number, is of course not revolting to those who use it as an illustration; but I think it must be so to many readers, and that it will carry its own refutation to most hearts. If, moreover, of the three, one be represented as invariably the sender, and another the sent, there is difficulty in the idea of perfect coëquality. Let the reader consider these two statements, and ask himself whether the simple doctrine of Scripture does not strikingly contrast with the doctrine in the parallel column
“ For God so loved the “It is the design of the world, that He gave His only- Father, and the will of the begotten Son, that whosoever Son, with the consenting believeth in him should not pleasure of the Holy Spirit, perish, but have everlasting that the Son, for the recovery life. For God sent not His of fallen man, should empty Son into the world to con- himself, not of his Godhead, demn the world ; but that which were impossible, but the world through him might of his glory, and take our hube saved.”—John iii. 16, 17. man nature into mysterious
union with his divine nature, so that God and man make one Christ.”-Rock of Ages,
But Mr. Bickersteth quotes the words, “God is love,” as an evidence of the Trinity, for how could He be love without some one to love? This argument seems to me to savour more of German metaphysical sentiment than of Scriptural truth. Do we find it in Moses, or David, or Isaiah, in Paul or John,