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his new religion. That imposter arrogated to himself the 'title of the prophet and messenger of God, sent to reclaim mankind from idolatry, and restore the true worship of the Divine Being. He borrowed his just notions of the Divine Unity from the sacred scriptures of the Old and New Testament, which he owned to be true revelations from God; but blamed Christians for departing from them. He had either the sagacity or good fortune to discover in the Bible, what many Christian divines have not found, or affected not to find there. Amidst all the rubbish and extravagance with which the Koran abounds, the Divine Unity is a truth that shines there with distinguished lustre ; and, in the opinion of some, contributed not a little to forward the rapid progress of Mohammedanism in the world. The Moham medans particularly value themselves upon this one article of their creed; and style themselves Mostems, or believers, on account of it. Christians they make no scruple to call infidels and idolaters; nor is ther smallest hope that ever they will renounce their attachment to their pretended prophet, until Christianity is exhibited to them under a very different form than what prevails in most Christian countries, and the belief of one only God, or divine person, is fairly and unequivocally acknowledged. Nor can the conversion even of Pagans be expected, while this doctrine
As a proof of what has been advanced above, of the aversion and irreconcilable antipathy of the Mohammedans, to the doctrine of the Trinity, the following passages from the Koran may be selected. Sura. 4. "O ye who receive the scriptures, exceed not the proper bounds of your religion, and say nothing of God unless the truth. Undoubtedly Jesus Christ the Son Mary is the ambassador of God, and his word which he sept into Mary, and a spirit from him.—Believe therefore in God and his ambassador, and say not there are three Gods. Forbear this assertion, it will be the better for you." Sura 5. "They were infidels, who affirmed that Christ the Son of Mary is God."- "They were infidels who said, 'certainly the Messiah the Son of Mary is God.' For the Messiah's words were these, ' O children of Israel worship God, my Lord and your Lord.' Certainly those who assign to God a companion, God will exclude them from Paradise; and they shall be lodged in a habitation of fire: and those who act wickedly shall have none to protect them. They are infidels who say certainly God is three persons;' For there is only one God, and none else besides him. And if they forbear not such as ertions, it is most certain, that God will punish them with grievous torments Let them therefore return to God and solicit his forgiveness: for he is indulgent and merciful.” Alkoran. Ed. Maracci. Patavii, 1693. The authors of the
continues to be held and taught by Christians. Every ar gument by which we would attempt to convince them of the absurdity of a multiplicity of Gods will be found to militate equally strong against a Trinity of divine persons. "One may read (says Emlyn) in Le Compte's history of China, how the heathens derided the Christians' doctrine of a mortal God; and upon that account esteemed Christianity as fabulous as their own religion. And Dr. Cansabon in his book of credulity and incredulity says, he could prove by many instances out of history, that this doctrine has kept more people from embracing the Christian faith, than any other thing he knew of.” * One memorable in stance of the truth of this assertion, out of many others, I shall just now mention. About the beginning of the present century, the king of Denmark sent some Lutheran divines as missionaries to the province of Malabar in the East Indies; in order to convert the inhabitants of that country from idolatry to the belief of Christianity. These missionaries had many conferences with the natives, on various theological topics; and were at very great pains to shew them the absurdity of their own religion; and induce them to change it. The following quotation, is part of a conference betwixt a Malabarian physician from Nagapat nam, and one of these Missionaries. "Missionary. God does not appear in bodily shape, said I; for he is a spirit: but he has appeared and revealed himself by his Son Jesus Christ, who clothed himself with the garments of mortality,
Universal History give account of the following profession of the Divine Unity, by Mohammed. "God is great. There is no God but God; he has no companion: he is the only supreme Governor: he only ought to be praised: he is powerful above all things. There is no God but God, he has no companion: he only is strong: he has suc. coured his servant; and he alone has put to flight legions of his enemies." The same authors give us the following prayer, offered up by two Mohammedans, before engaging in battle. O God help us, we beseech thee, against these wretches, (viz. the Christians) who pray with idolatrous expressions, and take to themselves another God besides thee. Help us, O God, who acknowledge thy Unity, and affirm that there is no other God but thou alone, for the sake of thy prophet Mo hammed against these idolaters." Modern Universal History, vol. i. p. 214, 289. It is evident, that Mohammed and his followers derived these sublime ideas concerning the Divine Unity from the scriptures, particularly the book of Psalms and that of Isaiah.
Emlyn's Works, vol. i. p. 129, 130. Lond. 1740.
to the end he might suffer for our sins, reconcile us to God, and bring us to him, and do his will; which is our salvation. If you believe in Christ the Redeemer of mankind, your mind will be more and more enlightened in the knowledge of the Supreme Being. Who is his Son, said he? (viz. the physician,) And is he also God? I answered, he is God, blessed for ever. But pray Sir, recollect your self, said he, have not you been just now inveighing against plurality of Gods. And now I find, you have yourselves more than one; the Father is God, and the Son is God; then you have two Gods. I answered, we do not believe two Gods, but one only God; though at the same time we firmly believe, that there are three persons in one divine essence; and yet these three persons are not three, but one God: and this we believe as a great mystery, transcending our weak, finite faculties. We are satisfied, that it is a revealed truth in Scripture; and God who knows himself, has enjoined us to believe a Trinity of persons in one divine essence; which we call Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. If God has a Son, said he, then your God as well as some of ours, must have a wife, and is, by consequence, a material being. God is a Spirit, said I, and, therefore, has no bodily shape, and consequently, could not have a son in the ordinary way of generation; but, without any knowledge of a consort, he begat his Son from eternity, by generation not to be paralleled in time; and from Father and Son proceeds the Holy Spirit, the third person in the blessed Trinity, which, though to us mortals incomprehensible, yet the possibility thereof may be shadowed forth by an easy familiar comparison. Out of the immaterial soul of man proceeds, and is born the understanding, and from the essence of the soul and the understanding emanes or proceeds the will, and yet the soul, (as to its essence) the understanding, and the will, are really but one and the same thing. The application thereof is easy to the doctrine of the Trinity, as far as divine things may be compared to things created, that are within our ken. I find, said he, that you with subtle ways of arguing can make a Trinity consistent with Unity; and if your explication is absolutely necessary to make others understand what you mean, pray allow us the same advantage of explaining the doctrine of our religion, and putting it in
the favourablest light we can for the excluding of the absurdities imputed to us. And this once granted us, it will follow that our plurality does not destroy the Unity of God, no more than your Trinity does. We worship the Gods upon no other account, than because they are the Vicegerents of the Almighty, whose administration he employs in governing the world, as he did employ them at the beginning in creating and forming the same. And our God appearing among men at sundry times under different shapes, had at every apparation a different name given him, which contributed very much to the multiplying the number of our images; whereas in truth, they are but different representations of the same God, under different aspects and. appearances,
This passage is too plain to need any comment; and it is, evident from it, that Pagans may and do justify themselves in the faith and worship of any number of Gods whatever, by the same arguments that a Trinity of divine persons is defended. They can easily invent comparisons and fallacious modes of reasoning; and may with the same propriety make a specific Deity out of their numerous Gods, or divine persons, as the Trinitarians do out of three: or may have recourse to other metaphysical subtleties, and talk of personalities, subsistencies, modes, and, relative properties: and thus any system of idolatry may be contended for, upon the same principles by which a Trinity of divine persons is maintained. The Papists harden themselves in the belief of Transubstantiation, by comparing it to the doctrine of the Trinity; and when the absurdity of the former opinion is charged upon them by Protestants, declare, that the one is not less contrary to reason than the other. And it is no difficult matter to trace the rise of the whole system of Popery, from this one article alone. When men once went the length to exalt Christ to a proper equality with God Almighty, they were naturally led to pay religious honours. and worship to his mother Mary in the next place; and from thence proceeded to the invocation of saints and angels, and the adoration of a breaden God.
*Thirty-four Conferences between the Danish Missionaries and the Malabarian Bramans, translated from the High Dutch by Mr Phillips, London, 1719.
These are the dismal effects that have followed, from a departure of the faith and worship of the Father, the one only living and true God; and it is only by the restoration of this capital and original article of the Jewish and Christian Revelations, that the downfal of Popery may be expected, and the general reception of Christianity in the world at large can be secured. May the Divine Being bring it speedily about, that the Gospel may become a common blessing to all the nations of the earth, and have that proper influence on the minds and actions of men, which its genuine and uncorrupted doctrines are so well calculated to produce. The Unitarian system has of late years made a considerable progress in the southern part of this United Kingdom, and has now many able and zealous advocates, who openly profess it, and employ their learning and talents in its defence. From the continued exertions, and repeated efforts, of these excellent persons, it is to be expected that this great and good cause will prevail more and more, and that the prejudices of those who oppose the truth, will be gradually mitigated, and at last effectually removed. Some of these advocates for Unitarianism have given the most unequivocal proofs of sincerity, by resigning church preferments, and submitting to great temporal inconveniencies, for the sake of enjoying that inestimable treasure, a good conscience.
And this brings me naturally to speak of the conduct of those, who being convinced of the one sole Godhead of the Father, do yet continue to conform to Trinitarian worship; and remain in churches, wherein religious sentiments diametrically opposite to their own are the standard of doctrine; and constantly taught and inculcated. A conduct of this kind is justly censurable, particularly in laymen, who have little to sacrifice by acting up to the dictates of truth and sincerity. The fidelity we owe to God and his truth, re quires us to bear an open and consistent testimony to it, which we can never be said to do, while we statedly fre quent those churches, in which error is openly enforced and recommended. To speak in favour of the truth is no doubt highly commendable, and tends to diffuse the knowledge of it in the world. But example has still a far more powerful effect. The edifying example of one or more persons, retiring from conscientious motives from the communion of a corrupt and erroneous church, will be far more efficacious,