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consulted his Bible, might confute the ablest divines, who should take upon thein to prove from any thing dropt in the epistles of Paul, or of the other apos, tles, that Jesus Christ was God, and to be wore shipped.
For he might say to them, “ Sirs, I am persuaded that with all your learning, you must be exceedingly mistaken, in pretending that the apostles in their epis. tles teach Jesus Christ to be God.
“ For the apostle Paul, who wrote so many episa, tles, could by no means intend to teach
such doc. trine in them, because, in his speech to the Athe-, nians, he declares, that God, who made the world, was one single person; and that Jesus, who was ordained to be the future judge of the living and dead, was a human creature, most highly honoured by Almighty God, You must be mistaken therefore in your interpretations, and your learning misleads you, in making Jesds to be God. For, be assured, St. Paul was an honest man, and a man of sense, and could not so flatly contradict himself, in saying any thing of the kind of one, whom he himself describes to the learned people of Athens as a man only.
“ And so also a person the most unlearned might confute the greatest divines, who should attempt to prove Jesus Christ to be God, from any of the epistles that remain of the other apostles; of James, Peter, Jude, and John : and Inight say; “ Sirs, these apostles joined with the rest in that solemn prayer to God, in which they twice call Jesus, God's servant : therefore you must inisapprehend their meaning, or
their words must have been wrongly put down, if you would from them prove Jesus to be God. In little things, the apostles might mistake, and vary from theinselves; 'but not in a matter of such vast importance, so as to say in one place, that Jesus was the servant of God, and in another, that he was the most high God himself.”
After the survey of this prodigious accumulation of evidence, from both the Old and the New Testamerit, against my foriner opinions, I declare to you, my friends, I could scarce believe my senses, that things were really such as I had found them: but that rather all was a dream.
So plainly did it appear to be laid down in the scriptures throughout, that even a child of any tolerable understanding might easily be taught to see, that God is strictly One, one person; and the blessed Jesus nothing but his favoured creature and servant.
And yet, all the Fathers as they call them, almost from the first, i. e. all the great divines and christian writers of all countries, with some few exceptions, whose writings have been suffered to remain ; popes, patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, all the councils and synods, the great churches in every country, the Greek church, the church of Rome, the church of England, all of them, in all ages, to the present, have held and maintained, and still hold and maintain, that the single person of the Father of the universe is not God by himself alone, but that there are three divine persons, who are each of them Gods, and each
of them equally to be worshipped, and that Jesus Christ is one of them.
And thus all these great and learned of the world, have been so blind in all ages, and continue so to this day, and of course all christian people, who are influenced and governed by their example, so as not to have seen, or yet to see, what I have seen and hope to have in some measure demonstrated, to lie upon the very
surface, and to be visible, literally speaking, in every page of the Bible, where the name of God is mentioned ; viz. that there is but one single person, who is God alone, and creator of all things, Jehovah, the supreme Father.
I knew not at first what to make of such amazing defection from the true doctrine of the scripture, in this important point, and of so long duration, nor could I gain any composure of spirit about it; till I considered, that many at first, and all in these latter ages, might, through the force of education, have taken this tritheistic doctrine upon trust; and have been under the common delusion which I was ; that it was a mysterious subject, to be settled by learned men, and not to be pryed into with too-curious eyes, but believed : and they had not the good fortune to meet with those gentle hints and friendly admonitions, which I have formerly as well as lately received from you, my friends, at different times, although they inade little impression to any purpose till now.
If I am in any thing mistaken, I desire some one will in charity slew me my error; will point out to me, if there'be any but one single person, Jehovah,
the Father, who is God, and to be worshipped, mentioned either in the Old or New Testament. But indeed, taking the whole evidence of revelation, from the beginning to the end, it appears to me, from the few particulars I have summed up, such an absolute demonstration of the Divine Unity, as is not to be resisted. And when superstition, prejudice, power and interest, shall lose their hold on men's minds, in this article, all must see this evidence : and I am willing to hope, that the world is coming to that point. But I feel myself agitated by this total change of my sentiments, with respect to the Being I am to worship, to a degree which I cannot describe; and many thoughts crowd in upon me, which I have not had time to digest, and in which I must hereafter beg your kind assistance. But still, however wrong, I cannot look upon myself to have been an idolater in the worship, which 1 have hitherto paid to Jesus Christ. Though a mistaken, I cannot look upon myself to have been a wicked man in what I did, and therefore not under the condemnation of God, as that language implies. However, as you have asserted, that Jesus Christ being a creature, the worship of him is idolatrous, I confess this disturbs me much, and I shall not be at rest till I have an opportunity of hearing you farther upon the subject, if I have not already tired your patience quite out. The fervour and force of argument, with which Volusian gave this account of the alteration of his E 3 Opinions, opinions, with respect to the object of Christian worship, from the mere reading of the scriptures, moved every one present ; and they declared themselves interested as much as himself, that the conversation might be renewed at as early a day, and short an interval, as possible. *
with no small impatience, was waiting to have the subject
resumed, he was much mortified by the arrival of a large
company, who came to pay a visit of several days, and were composed of persons by no means of a speculative turn ; who would have taken it ill to have had their amusements interrupted by grave discourses about religion, and especially by any the most distant censures upon that which was established in the country; which they held sacred,and not to be touched or altered on any account. They were, however, not a little disconcerted in this respect, by a very innocent incidental remark that was
made the morning they went away; when, the discourse
happening to turn upon Sumday-schools, and a very general commendation being given of them, a blunt gentle
man (a) present said, that he hoped among other good
(a) ******, whom you well know, and whom I shall call Synesius; learned, of a singular turn of mind, a professed admirer of the church,
t; ough seldom seen within its walls ; but of a life better regulated than
that of many who are more ficquent in their attendance. t regulations,