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II. ON THE REAL DIVINITY AND GLORY OF CHRIST.
III. ON THE CHARACTER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
IV, AN EXAMINATION OF DIFFICULT PASSAGES OF
THE WHOLE ADDRESSED
TO A WORTHY MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL
BY NOAH WORCESTER, A. M.
“But to us there is but One God, the FATHER.”—$T. PAUL,
and with Power."-ST. PETER.
DISTRICT OF NEW-ĦAMPSHIRE---T0 WIT.
BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the thirtieth day of November, in the thirty-fourth year of the Independence of the United States of America, (in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and nine) Noah Worcester, of the said District, hath deposited in this office, the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as author, in the words following, to wit :
“ Bible News, of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In a seu ries of letters. In four parts. I. On the Unity of God. II. On the real Divinity and Glory of Christ. III. On the Character of the Holy Spirit. IV. An Examination of difficult Passages of Scripture. The whole addressed to a worthy minister of the Gospel. By Noah Worcester, A. M. pastor of the church in Thornton. • But to us there is one God, the Father'-St. Paul. • This is my beloved Son'Jehovah. •How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with Power'-St. Peter."
In conformity to the act of the Congress of the United States, entitled, « An act for the encouragement of learning, by secure ing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned ;' and also lo an act, entitled, “ An act supplementary to an act, entitled, “An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned,' and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving and etching historical and other prints.'
RICHARD CUTTS SHANNON,
Clerk of the District of New-Hampshire
ON THE UNITY OF GOD.
Introductory Statements and Observations.
IN solemn prayer to his Father, our Divine Redeemer
“ This is life eternal, to know THEE, the ONLY TRUE God, and JESUS CHRIST whom thou hast sent." It must hence appear, that no inquiries can be more justifiable nor more interesting than those which respect the true character of the Father and the Son. So far as we are in darkness respecting these characters, we must necessarily be in darkness respecting the Gospel of Divine Grace. To obtain clear and scriptural views of the Father, the Son, and the Holy SPIRIT, has long been a principal object of my study and pursuit.
From my infancy, I was taught to believe the Athanașian doctrine of three distinct co-equal and co-eternal Persons in one God. And I do not recollect that I had any doubts of its correctness, until several years after I began the work of the ministry. Believing it to be both true and important, according to my ability I taught it to others.But even while I believed and taught the doctrine, I wis often embarrassed by it both in prayer and in pr aching. In giving thanks to God for his astonishing love in giving his Son to die for our offences, the theory has occurred with a chilling and confounding influence. These thoughts would unavoidably rusii into my mind-God and his Son are one
and the selfsaine Being; the Son could not in reality die or suffer any more than the FATHER; it was only a mere man that: soffered to whom the Son was mysteriously united. In my preaching; while expressing the love of God in SPARING NOT HIS OWN Son, the same theory and the same train of thoughts would occur; and, in some in-. stances, both in prayer and in preaching the influence of
, these thoughts has been so great as, for a time, to obstruct my utterance.
Such embarrassments had a natural tendency to excite suspicions in my mind that there must be some defect in the theory which I had adopted. But the doctrine had been so long and so generally believed by great Divines and good people, that I almost trembled at the thought of indulging my suspicions. At length I became acquainted with the views of Dr Watts, as exhibited in connexion with the Memoirs of his life. These I read with care. He supposed the Son of God not to be a self-existent Person, but a human Being created before the worlds, and intia mately united to the Father, so that in him dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead, and that from this union his Divinity resulted.--His reasonings, to prove that the union of the Man Jesus was with the Father, and not with a second self-existent Person, appeared to me conclusive and unanswerable. And as a union with the Father must imply as great fulness and dignity as a union with another Person just equal with the Father, I was unable to see why his theory did not support the Divinity of Jesus Christ in as ample a manner as the Athanasian theory.
Another consideration, which greatly recommended to my acceptance the theory of Dr. Watts, was this, it freed me from those distressing embarrassments which I had formerly felt in prayer and in preaching. For on his theory, the real Person, who is called the Son of God, was the real Sufferer on the cross.
Having obtained this relief to my mind, I rested pretty quietly for several years as a believer in Watts's theory of the Trinity. But my apprehensions and ideas were so indistinct, that I indulged no thought of writing on the subject with any view to publication, until the year 1807. In the course of that year, my attention was in a peculiar manner arrested by the natural import of this text, " But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and
we in him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.”* I noted, that in this verse the apostle was exhibiting the faith of Christians, in contrast with the faith of Heathens. In the preceding verse he had said, “ For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many and lords. many.") Such is the faith of the Heathen world. With this he contrasts the faith of Christians, “ But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and ONE LORD, JESUS CHRIST, by whom are all things, and we by him." The ideas which appeared to me to lie plainly on the face of this text, were these :
1. That the one SELF-EXISTENT God is ONE PERSON, viz. the FATHER.. The apostle does not say, But to us there is but one God, yet this one God is three Persons. His language is, " But to us there is but one God, the FATHER. He distinctly names the Person whom he stiles the ONE GOD, and calls him the FATHER.
2. That this one God is the Fountain or Source of all things~" Or whom are all things.
That Jesus Christ, the one Lord, is a Person as distinct from the Being of God as he is from the Person of the FATHER.. After the apostle had distinctly told who is the one God, he then proceeded to say, " and one LORD, JESUS CHRIST." As he had named the one God, so he also named the one Lord.
4. That Jesus Christ, the one Lord, is the MEDIUM or A GENT, through whom or by whom God displays his. finess in the production of events" BY whom are all things, and we BY HIM.”
Such being the views I had of the text, a field was open, ed which appeared clear, spacious, and delightful. This field I entered, and began to write on the doctrine of the Trinity, in a great measure conformable to the views of Dr. Watts. Nearly two years my mind was absorbed in these inquiries, and my mind employed in writing on the time subject. I wrote pretty largely, and thought I had pro-, duced something which might be useful to the public.
But while writing for the press, it frequently occurred to my mind that the definitive and emphatical language used. in Scripture respecting the Son of God, did import a higher character than is implied in Watts's theory--that the
* I. Cor. viii. 6.