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Liturgy and Articles
CHURCH OF ENGLAND.
By Mr. R. LITTLEHALES.
PRINTED BY AND FOR
WILLIAM JACOB, WINCHESTER;
AND LONGMAN, HURST, REES, ORME, AND BROWN, PATER-
Price One Shilling.
A REVIEW, &c.
Na small Tract, entitled an Appeal to Scripture, or the Doctrine of the Godhead restored to its Primitive Simplicity, which I published in the beginning of the present year, I endeavoured to bring back the Doctrine of the Godhead to its original Dignity, as we find it explained in the New Testament, and to destroy the long prevailing opinion of the Eternal Generation and Procession of the Son and Holy Ghost. I shall now pursue the inquiry into the Doctrine of the Divinity further, and attempt, by an examination of the Bible, to establish fully the Unity of the Divine Nature. After this some remarks will follow on our Liturgy and Articles, which seem to require improvement and correction.
The Christian Faith delivered in the New Testament is this there is one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in all: and there is one Lord Jesus Christ, who is one with the Father, and over all, God blessed for ever; who came down from Heaven to do the will of his Father, and was made Man, being begotten by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary. He suffered and died for the Salvation of Man; arose the third day from the Dead, for his Soul was not left in Hell, neither did his Flesh see Corruption; ascended into
Heaven after forty days; and sitteth for ever, to make intercession for us, at the right hand of God, who putteth all things in subjection under his feet. At the last day he shall come in the Glory of his Father to judge both the quick and the dead, and his Kingdom shall have no End. After his Ascension, the Promise of the Father, the Holy Ghost the Comforter, was sent by the Father in his Son's name to lead the Disciples into all truth, and to sanctify all those that believe and are baptized. The Christian Faith is summed up in these words: "there is one Body and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. God was manifest in the Flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of Angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the World, received up into Glory: We are commanded to be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and to eat the Flesh of Christ and to drink his Blood in remembrance of his Death and Passion; and following the Commandments of God, we shall obtain forgiveness of our Sins, and inherit everlasting Life."
That there is one God, and one Mediator between God and Men, the Man Christ Jesus most Christians, I believe, will allow; the Bible throughout the Old and New Testaments uniformly asserts that there is but one God; concerning the Divine Nature however, whether the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost are three Persons, or one, and the same Being under three Names or Powers, there is a difference of opinion. In this treatise I purpose to examine this point, and ascertain which opinion coincides with the Doctrine of the Bible.
As this work is particularly addressed to the consideration of the Clergy, and the quotations of Scripture will be numerous, I shall not think it necessary to point out the chapter and verse of each, as those who are conversant with Scripture will easily refer to them either by memory or the help of a Concordance.
The Unity of the Godhead is beyond controversy: it also appears that there is but one Spirit, and one Hypostasis or Person in the New Testament. We are not therefore authorised to say that there are three Persons in the Godhead. If we say there are three Persons, we thereby make them distinct, and can scarcely escape the charge of holding three Spirits or tritheism, but in truth there is but one Spirit. God is a Spirit, and the Lord is that Spirit, consequently they are one and the same. It is the Father's own Spirit, as we read in Scripture, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all Flesh; this spirit was dwelling and still dwells in his Son our Lord Jesus Christ. He had not a distinct Spirit, for in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead, and the Spirit is not given by measure unto him, and he himself teaches us, the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. He is called by Isaiah, "the mighty God, the everlasting Father;" and in the Revelations we read; "I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty." In the Epistle to the Hebrews he is represented as "the brightness of God's Glory, and the express Image of his Person;" and St. Paul, in his Epistle to Titus, writes "the appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." In the Book of Genesis God is represented saying, "my Spirit shall not always strive with Man :" in Isaiah we find,