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shall raise the dead at the last day (o). When all these things are laid together, in that variety of expressions in which they lie scattered in the New Testament, it is not possible to retain any reverence for those books, if we imagine that they are written in a style so full of approaches to the deifying of a mere man, that, without a very critical studying of languages and phrases, it is not possible to understand them otherwise. Idolatry, and a plurality of gods, seem to be the main things that the Scriptures warn us against ; and yet here is a pursued thread of passages and discourses that do naturally lead a man to think that Christ is the true God, who yet, according to these men, only acted in his name, and has now a high honour conferred on him by God (p).”
It will be acknowledged by all who believe in revealed religion, that the one true God is the only proper object of adoration; and therefore, if we can show that the New Testament authorizes the worship of Christ, it will be a sufficient proof of his divinity. A woman, whose daughter was grievously vexed with a devil, came and worshipped Christ (9); and when the eleven
(0) John, c. 24. v. 23. c. 5. 25 v. and 26. c. 6. v. 39 and 40. (P) Burnet.
(9) Matt. c. 15. V. 25.
Apostles first saw him after his resurrection, they worshipped him (r). Upon these, and several other occasions, Christ permitted himself to be worshipped ; but when the same worship was offered to Peter by Cornelius, he forbade it, and assigned as a reason, that“he was a man(s);" and if Christ had been a mere man he would have refused the worship offered him upon the same principle. There is also a passage in the Revelation, which shows that the worship spoken of in the New Testament, was not barely the prostration common in eastern countries towards superiors, but a species of adoration which was due to God alone: “ And I fell at his (that is the angel's) feet to worship him : and he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus; worship God (t).” And our Saviour himself said to Satan, when he was tempted in the wilderness, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve (u).” And it is further to be observed, that the Apostles worshipped Christ when he was no longer present with them : “ And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up
into (r) Matt. c. 28.v.16&17. (s) Acts,c. 10.v. 25 & 26. (t) Rev. c. 19. v. 10. (u) Matt. 6. 4. 1.10.
into heaven ; and they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy (x).” The worship therefore of Christ is justified by the example of the Apostles themselves, who thus worshipped him after his ascension. St. Paul declares that, " at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth (y);" and St. John, in the account of his vision says, “ Every creature which is in heaven and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever (2).”—“ Here the two persons in the Godhead, the Father and the Son, are distinguished from each other, as they have distinct parts in the economy of our salvation ; but the very same degree of religious worship, the same honour and glory, are in the same words ascribed, 'unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb,' the partner of his throne and dignity, to signify that their essence is the same, and that they worshipped and glorified one and the same God, for ever
· (~) Luke, c. 24. 51 and 52. (y) Phil. c. 2. v. 10.
(2) Rev. c. 5. v. 13.
and ever equally divine and equally eternal (a).
Our blessed Saviour, when expiring upon the cross, cried out, “ Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit (b);" and he had just before prayed for his murderers in these words, “ Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do (c).” In like manner the first martyr, St. Stephen, at the moment of his being stoned to death, prayed to Christ, “ Lord Jesus, receive my spirit ;” and for his murderers he added, “ Lord, lay not this sin to their charge (d).” These prayers of Christ, addressed to his Father, and of St. Stephen, addressed to Christ, are in substance the same, and are recorded by the same evangelist, St. Luke. “ It seems very evident," says bishop Burnet, “ that if Christ was not the true God, and equal to the Father, then this Proto-martyr died in two acts that seem not only idolatrous but also blasphemous, since he worshipped Christ in the same acts in which Christ had worshipped his Father.” But to re move all doubt concerning the lawfulness of St. Stephen's worship of Christ, and to give decisive
(a) Knowles's Primitive Christianity.
(d) Acts, c. 7. v. 59 and 60.
authority to his example, St. Luke tells us, that “ Stephen was full of the Holy Ghost (e).”
Paul “ besought the Lord (f),” that is, prayed to Christ, to remove a heavy affliction under which he laboured; and that it was the general practice of the primitive Christians to pray to Christ, appears from the First Epistle to the Corinthians, which is addressed '“ to all that call upon the name of Christ;" upon which passage Origen observes, that “ by these words the apostle declares Christ to be God (g);” and in the Acts it is said, that Paul had authority from the chief priests to bind all “that called upon the name of Christ (h);" to call upon the name of Christ was therefore the common description of the disciples of Christ in the apostolic age; and this not only proves that the primitive Christians believed in the divinity of our Saviour, but it also accounts for the charge of blasphemy so frequently urged against them by the Jews in their early persecutions. The worship of Christ would naturally appear in that light to those who did not allow him to be the Messiah, and who were zealous for the worship of the one true God; and we learn from the early apologists for Christianity, that the Heathen objected to the
Christians, (e) Acts, c. 7. v. 55. () 2 Cor. c. 12. v. 8. (g) Orig. in Rom. 10. B, 8. (h) Acts c.9. v. 14.