Sayfadaki görseller
PDF
ePub

ly belong :-We say that God alone is to be worshipped; they confess he is chiefly to be worshipped: but then they say, the blessed Virgin Mary, angels, and saints, are to be worshipped also ; which additions we deny :-We say, Christ is our only Mediator and Advocate; they confess he is principally so, but add, that saints and angels are so in an inferior manner; which we utterly deny :We say Christ is really present in the sacrament of the altar; this they confess, but add, he is corporally there by the transubstantiation of the bread, &c. and this we deny:-We say the Scriptures are the rule of faith, and they will not absolutely deny it, but add their own traditions, which we reject :We say there are twenty-two books of the Old Testament canonical; and they confess these all to bé so, but they add divers, and call them canonical, which we affirm to be apocryphal. I could give more instances; but these may suffice to shew, that the Protestant doctrines look most like the ancientest, as being received by both parties; but the Roman opinions are novel enlargements added to the old Catholic truths."*

* Dr. Comber's Friendly and Seasonable Advice to the Roman Catholics of England, p. 133, 134, 135, 12mo. 1685.

PREVAILING

DOCTRINES AND OPINIONS,

IN REGARD TO

THE OBJECT OF DIVINE WORSHIP,

THE MEANS AND MEASURE OF THE DIVINE FAVOUR,

AND

THE SUBJECT OF CHURCH GOVERNMENT.

Though Christianity be now found in its purest state, as to doctrines, worship, and ceremonies, among Protestants, it must notwithstanding be admitted, that some branches of this division of Christians have widely departed from the primitive doctrine, in regard to the object of worship; and also from that primitive form of church-government which universally prevailed in the Christian Church till the era of the Reformation; or, at least, it is evident that Protestants widely differ on these heads, as well as on the subject of the means and measure of the divine favour. And, as reference will often necessarily be made, in the course of this work, to the prevailing opinions on all these points, it will be proper that I give the reader some account of them, before I proceed to consider the

several Protestant Churches and denominations of the present day.

In regard to the Object of Divine Worship, the different opinions which now prevail in the world may be reduced to these four, viz. that

1. Of the Trinitarians and Athanasians;
2. Of the Sabellians;
3. Of the Arians; and,
4. Of the Unitarians.

As to the Means and Measure of the Divine Favour, the prevailing doctrines are these three, viz. that

1. Of the Calvinists;
2. Of the Arminians; and,
3. Of the Antinomians.

And, on the subject of Church-Government, three different opinions are now found to be prevalent, viz. that

1. Of the Episcopalians;
2. Of the Presbyterians; and,
3. Of the Independents.

Of all these in their order.

TRINITARIANISM,

TRINITARIANS, AND ATHANASIANS.

NAMES.—The term Trinitarian is applied to all those that profess to believe the doctrine of the Trinity,* in opposition to Arians and Socinians, who style themselves Unitarians and Anti-Trinitatarians. A great proportion of the Trinitarians receive the creed that goes under the name of Athanasius; and to these only should the term Athanasian be applied, and not to all Trinitarians, as is sometimes the case.

The Presbyterians in Scotland, and the three classes of Protestant dissenters in England in general, with many others, both at home and abroad, are Trinitarians, but do not receive the Nicene or the Athanasian creeds, although they hold the substance of the doctrine which they contain ; they therefore cannot properly be called Athanasians.

1

* Trinity is not a scriptural term, but was introduced into the church in the 2d century, to express the union of the three persons in the Godhead.

By the Toleration Act, subscription was indeed required of the dissenting teachers in England, to the Apostles', Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds, as received by the Church of England; but from this they are now relieved by 19th of George III.

Notwithstanding the strongest evidence that is constantly given them to the contrary, the Jews and others, still insist that Trinitarians destroy the Divine Unity, and worship three Gods, and, of consequence, are Tritheists; a name which is not, perhaps, applicable to any class of Christians in our day.* Even Crellius, who has been reckoned the most acute of the Socinians, is candid enough to acknowledge, that they who hold the Trinity, are not justly chargeable with believing more Gods than one, because of the strict unity

* Some are of opinion, that it may be applied to those who make the Son essentially inferior to the Father, and yet call him God.-That the Son is subordinate to the Father, is what, says Dr. Eveleigh, “no sound member of the Catholic Church has ever denied." Yet Christian divines seem to have widely differed as to the nature and extent of this subordination; but most Trinitarians, I believe, maintain, that, with respect to our Lord's divinity, he is in no sense subordinate to the Father. 66 The subordination of the Son, admitted by Pearson, Bull, Waterland, Bishop Horsley, and others, implies no inferiority in the divine nature of Christ, but a difference of crder and office.”—Mr. Gray's Bamp. Lect. p. 134. Note, where the author refers his readers to “ Defens. Fid. Nicæn. cap. 11.; Pearson on the Creed ; Waterland on the Athanasian Creed, and Preface to eight Sermons on the Defence of the Divinity of Christ ; Bishop Horsley's 15th Letter to Priestley; Tertull. Advers. Prax. c. 9. 12. 13."

« ÖncekiDevam »