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vered throughout the Bible; it could not fail but that the gross deviations from this doctrine, among all bodies of christians, but particularly discernible in the liturgy of the church of England, a form of devotion in other respects most admirable, must soon be descried by multitudes of that communion, and excite no small ferment and disturbance amongst them, without some proper preparation, and instruction given them relating to it.

For how much soever the point has been industriously perplexed by vain learning and philosophy, there is no kind of difficulty in deciding upon it; namely, whether there be one God, one divine person, whom we are to worship; or three divine persons, three Gods, to whom we are to offer up our prayers.

There is only one book in the world to be consulted about it; the Bible. And no learning is necessary for the interpretation of that book, in this grand article; only to take it up, to learn what it contains upon the subject, and not to bring along with us to the reading of it, what we think it ought to contain, and have before been taught by our nursesand priests, and are resolved not to give up.

To allay, or rather to prevent such religious heats and convulsions, of all others the most to be avoided, I believed it would be of use to give to the public, what presented itself on the subject, to a. select society of serious persons of good sense, conversing upon it, vix.-the strong evidence that was produced from scripture, of the absolute unity of God; and that the blessed Jesus received his existence, and all his powers from him*; that in the account of God himself and of Jesus Christ, it is idolatry to pay divine honours to a creature, and of course to worship this humble but now exalted Saviour t; that, however, this idolatry of christians, in worshipping Christ, which has been of so long duration,,

*See Second Day's Conversatiɔn..

See Thid Day's Conversation.



and is so widely extended, is of a very different nature from the heathen idolatry, so severely condemned in the sacred writings, and will not affect the future happiness of those, who are sincere in it, and who having had no opportunities of knowing better, live up to the light they have: although it be a thing much to be lamented, and a continual disgrace to the gospel, and hindrance to its reception in the world; and, after various arguments, ineffectually proposed, to take off every scruple of joining with others in prayer, where it was in part offered to wrong objects in the esteem of the worshipper; something turned up at the last, concerning what might best be done by those, who could not remain in the communion and worship of the church of England, for fear of the reproach and condemnation of their own minds, in worshiping Jesus, and the holy spirit, whom they did not believe to be the gods, or to be worshipped.

How sorely both the churches of England and of Rome, which equally embrace and hold sacred the Athanasian doctrine, and worship, have departed from the purity and simplicity, which are expressly taught and enjoined in the sacred volume, I chuse to deliver in the weighty words, and remonstrance, of a learned and venerable clergyman † of the church

* See Fourth and Fifth Day's Conversation.

This pious and excellent person, of singular integrity, humility, and a patriarchial simplicity of character, had a small benefice in Sussex; and finished a laborious and useful life, at the age of 80. For some years towards the close of it, he was in very depressed circumstances, through the ill behaviour of a very near relation, to whose wants he had been too indulgent.

He made himself easy in his continuance in the church, by omitting some things in the service, and making alterations in others. Thus in the Litany, he left out the 3d and 4th invocations, those of the holy ghost, and the holy trinity; and in the 2d, instead of O God the Son, redeemer of the world, &c. he put it, O Son of God, redeemer of the world; it being his mistaken persuasion, as of the eminent persons mentioned in the


church of England; who only a very few years ago, took leave of mortal things, anno 1786; hoping thereby to draw the more attention to it; and that, if his arguments, taken wholly from scripture, be powerful and convincing to others, as to me they appear, our country will not be the last to renounce a worship, proved to be directly forbidden by the Almighty himself.

Extracts from a translation of Exodus, with notes, By William Hopkins, B. A. Vicar of Bolney, 1784.

Note on Exodus xx. 3. p. 145, &c.

"But before I quit this xxth chapter of Exodus, 'tis highly expedient, if not absolutely necessary, to make some observations upon the first and great commandment, "Thou shalt have no other Gods but Me;" which must necessarily signify, if there be any meaning in language, one supreme intelligent Being or Person, Lord and Governor, endued with all possible perfection, power, knowledge, wisdom, goodness, and patience; or, as he is described in the New Tes tament, The one God and Father of all;" and more particularly, of our Lord Jesus Christ. Agreeably to this plain, rational, and fundamental doctrine, and that the real Unity of God might appear, not only as a truth, but a truth of great importance, Moses has in the most solemn manner determined, (Deut. vi. 4.) "Hear, O Israel, Jehovah our God is one Jehovah ;" and strongly inculcates the duty we owe to him in the verse following.

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preceding note, that prayer might sometimes be directed to Christ, not as God, but as one, empowered and commissioned by him occasionally to hear it.

Mr. Hopkins's aged Diocesan, Sir William Ashburnham, to his honour, - never listened to any complaints against him for his nonconformity; but on the contrary, sometimes distinguished him in public by his kind and particular notice.


"The Christian Lawgiver, our blessed Saviour Jesus Christ, has established, by his express authority, the same solemn determination of Moses, by citing his very words; and, in answer to a question proposed to him by one of the Scribes : "Which is the first commandment of all?" And Jesus answered him, "The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel, Jehovah our God is one Jehovah." Our Saviour likewise inculcates our duty to the one supreme Being, in very strong terms, in the verse following.

"By what rightful authority then have the greatest mortals determined, that there are two other persons equally entitled to honour, worship, and glory with the One supreme God, and that they, together with him, form one supreme Being? A doctrine absolutely inconsistent with the principles of reason, and expressly contrary to above two thousand texts in the Old Testament, and above a thousand in the New, (I speak upon examination) which either strongly set forth, or necessarily imply, the Unity of God in the strict and literal sense. I am afraid that the Athanasian doctrine and worship seem little less than a breach of the covenant established between God and the Jewish people in the Old Testament, and between God and all mankind in the New.

"The governors of the church should be exhorted, in the most earnest manner, to take speedy and effectual methods to review our public forms, and reduce them to the standard of scripture. In the beginning of the Litany, there are invoked Four distinct objects of religious worship, which form of worship has not the least foundation, or even colour of evidence to support it, from the beginning of the Old to the end of the New Testament; and the learned of all denominations are challenged to produce any acts of religious worship to four distinct objects.

"The Ten Commandments are read in the morning service of all the churches of England, and Ireland, every


Lord's-day; and at the same time, a doctrine and form of worship are kept up in express contradiction to the first and great commandment.

"Christian professors have often condemned the Jews for their prejudices and blindness, that they do not see and acknowledge the Messiah, of whom there are so many clear prophecies delivered in their own scriptures. On the other hand, the Jews, I think, may with equal justice, retort a similar charge upon great numbers of professed Christians, who, though they are perpetually reading, or hearing the ten commandments, in the first of which God is declared to be One, in words not possible to be interpreted in any other sense, yet in defiance to the clearest and strongest light, they presume to acknowledge and worship Three coequal Gods in one substance. If the New Testament really maintained this absurd and corrupt doctrine, it would be an unanswerable argument that it never came from God, it being impossible that the two Testaments should contradict each other in this grand and fundamental article, the Unity of God, on which all true religion is founded. But, to our rational satisfaction, Moses and Christ are fully agreed in maintaining this essential doctrine, as we have already seen; and it is the express duty of all churches, through every part of the globe, to remove all forms that break in upon this important point of the Unity of God.

One is sorry to have cause to remark, that it would seem, as if christians, in settling the object of their worship, had, almost from the beginning, set aside, or forgotten, this first and great commandment of heaven; to which this worthy person is so earnest to bring them back. Of what infinite moment, and how absolutely necessary it is to have an eye always to it, is seen in the course of the conversations, to which I am now to introduce my reader.



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