Noah Worcester.

Bible news, of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit : in a series 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 online

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Online LibraryNoah WorcesterBible news, of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit : in a series 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 → online text (page 17 of 19)
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only- On the whole, then, instead of one perplexing text,
I should have to encounter many thousands, each of which,
according to the natural import of language, would be op-
posed to the doctrine that I should profess to believe. If
you will show me how those numerous classes of texts can
be fairly reconc ; led to your doctrine, and how the repre-
sentations of DIVINE LOVE in the Gospel can be consistent
with your views of the Son of God, you will easily reclaim
me from my supposed error. For whatever may have been
your views of my feelings or my motives, this is a fact, that
it is far from being a pleasant thing to me to be obliged to
dissent in opinion from such a multitijde of worthy charac-

There is one consideration which will probably have in-
fluence against the admission of the sentiments of these
Letters, viz. That the writer is a person obscurely situated^
of private education, and unpromising advantages. All this
pnay, in truth, be said. But sometimes God has " chosen'*
weak and unpromising instruments to carry on his work,
?' that nojlesh should glory in his presence" Besides, if
f l the Scriptures were inspired to instruct common readers^
by using words according to their common acceptation" it


is possible that a person, under all my disadvantages, may
investigate the truth, by making the Scriptures his only
guide. It has been no part of my object to invent a NEW
THEORY. My aim has been to investigate, represent, and
support, such sentiments aa are revealed in the BIBLE, ad-
mitting words to be used u according to their common ac-
ceptation," comparing Scripture with Scripture. If, on
due examination, it shall be found that any sentiment, in
these Letters, may be properly ascribed to me as the au-
thor, let it be rejected. But you will allow, that senti-
ments, of which God is the Author, should not be reject-
ed, whoever may be the writer. " Can there any good
thing come out ot Nazareth ?" This, you will remember,
was a question which once arose in the mind of an" Israelite
indeed ;" and, perhaps, on the same ground, thousands
of others, to their own ruin, rejected the SAVIOR OF THE
WORLD. On no better ground, it may be, that thousands
will reject the SENTIMENTS contained in these Letters, even
if they are sanctioned by the ORACLES OF GOD.



THIS series of Letters has already been extended be-
yond my original design. It shall now be closed. I am
not insensible, that publishing mv views exposes me to at-
tacks from every denomination of professing Christians.
Yet you will not doubt my sincerity in saying, that no man
can have less desire to be engaged in public controversy.-
But being not my own, it would be wrong to suppress what
to me appears honorary to Christ, for the sake of private
ease, quiet, or popularity.

Freedom has been used in examining your opinions, and
the opinions of others ; but, at the same time, it has been
an object of my rare to cultivate, in my heart, feelings of
tenderness and respect for my fellow Christians of different
opinions. In writing, it has been my aim not to wound
your feelings, or the feelings of any other man. While
writing this last Letter of the series, my conscience bears


me witness, that not one sentence in the whole has been
dictated by the feelings of displeasure against any one of
my fallow creatures.

These Letters are addressed to you, in hope, that if
there must be an opponent, it may be one who is able and
willing to invest igate ; and one who has learned of Him
who was meek and lowly in heart. This being your cha-
racter, should you see cause to answer my Letters, you
\vill look thoroughly and prayerfully into the subject, and
not write -at random. You will not shelter yourself under
the popularity of your own theory, and on that ground think
yourself justified in treating with contempt the views of
your friend. You will not sneer at arguments which you
cannot refute by fair reasoning ; nor substitute sarcastic
and censorious declamation, for argument. You will not
misrepresent my real views * for the sake of having something
before you which you can easily refute.*-'But if you view
me in an error, you will pity and pray for me ; and, in the
spirit of meekness and love, you will endeavor to show me
my mistakes and errors. And you will write as one who
expects to give account. And if I am in PU error, be as-
sured, Sir, that it is my cordial desire that you may be
enabled to detect it, and to set it before me, and before
the world, in a convincing light.

You will readily perceive, that there may be mistakes in
explaining some particular texts, and yet the theory may
be correct. In attempting to explain so many texts, it is
very possible that there are instances of incorrectness. For
one so fallih e, it is enough to say, that my labor has been
to investigate the real truth, without perverting or misap-
plying the Scriptures ; and that it has been my sincere de-
sire to make the theory square with the Scriptures as a
DIVINE STANDARD, and not to make the Scriptures bend
to the theory.

Should you think it to be your duty to express your dis-
approbation of the theory, by way of a REVIEW in some
periodical work, you will give an impartial representation
of my real sentiments, that those who read the REVIEW
may have some opportunity to judge as to the correctness
of the opinion you may express.

After you shalt have written your objections by way of
REVIEW, be pleased to turn to John xvii. and review the
prayer of the Son of God ; examine the natural import of


every sentence distinctly : then ask yourself these questions
Does not every sentence in this prayer perfectly harmonize
with the sentiments against which I have been writing ? -
Yea, does not this prayer clearly contain the principal sen-
timents which the writer of the Letters has aimed to estab-
lish ? If he had forged a prayer for the Son of God, in
support of his own theory, could he have written any thing
more to his purpose than that which really proceeded from
the lips of Christ ? - Are not, then, my objections to his
views as really objections to the sentiments contained in
the prayer of the Son of God ?

And may that DIVINE LORD, in whom is our hope,
lead us to a more perfect knowledge of himself; and grant,
that not only you and I, but all who may read these Letters,
may experience the truth of the declaration which he made
in his prayer to the Father, " And this is life eternal, to
thou hast SENT." And while it shall be our lot to differ in
sentiment, let us daily unite in the prayer of Christ, that
-we all may be one, even as HE and the FATHER ARE ONE.



Page 5, line 36, for mind read hand/A^P? *-*-'
35, /me 25, /or are read or.
44, /me 36, for sa retfdf as.

46, line 9, Jfcr by things read by the things,

47, line 1 7, /or reject read respect.
49, line 21, for as reartf is.

59, line 32, *fe/e f/re word to.
Ill, line 25, for pay rea^/ pray.
126, /me 16, for So far refl</ For.
133, /me 25, for there rawf these.
158, line 4, for any other read another



On the Unity of God.


Introductory Statements and Observations. - PAGE $

Personality defined and illustrated. -.. - - 12


772? Scripture use of Pronouns and Verbs in relation
to God. if


The Language of good Writers in favor of what they
mean to deny. - - - - - - 26


The Mystery of the Trinity m Unity unfolded. - - 29


On the real Divinity and Glory of Christ.

Jesus Christ truly the Son of God. , - - - - 33


Additional Evidence that Christ is truly the Son of God. 41


No Absurdity in the Hypothesis that Christ is truly

the Son of God. ..... ^ - - - - 46

The Divine Dignify of the Son of God. - - * - 53


How the Son of God became the Son of Man. - - 68


The preceding Doctrines all implied in Phil. ii. 5 1 1 . 76


Thoughts on the Majesty of the Son of God; his sim-
ple and his complex Character. - - - 92



Divine Honors due to the Son of God. - - . . gf


The two Theories compared, in respect W Christ, con-
swered as a Sufferer on the Cross, as the Savior of
the World, and the Lord of the Universe. - - - 114


On the Character of the Holy Spirit.

By the Holy Spirit is intended the same as the Ful-
ness of the Godhead. - - - . . 1-1 , . 137


Some Passages considered, which have been supposed

to support the Personality of the Holy Spirit. - - 132


Other Considerations, to show, that by the Holy Spirit

is not intended a distinct Person. - - 1 - . 133


An Examination of difficult Passages of Scripture.

Rules of Interpretation stated and applied. - - - 145

-4 ffth Rule of Interpretation stated and applied. - 149

Other "Texts considered. - - - - 153


The Son of God not the same Person as the God of
Israel. ..... ........

77*e> Import of 1 JOHN 7. 7. ...... l6o


The Apostles* Commission considered. - - - - 168

CONCLUSION. - - ' ....... .. 175






NOVEMBER 12, 1837,






The circumstances, under which the following discourse has
been requested for the press, forbid the author to withhold it ;
and yet he is aware, that it must disappoint those who may look
to it for some extended notice of the life and character of the ex-
cellent man, by whose death it was occasioned. In preparing it,
the author had time to give only his 6rst recollections and impres-
sions ; nor does he think it worth his while to make additions
now, as he trusts, that an autobiography, left by Dr Worcester,
will be given to the public, in which case all other notices will be
of little value.




It was the great purpose of Christ to create the world
anew, to make a deep, broad, enduring change in hu-
man beings. He came to breathe his own soul into
men, to bring them through faith into a connexion and
sympathy with himself, by which they would receive
his divine virtue, as the branches receive quickening in-
fluences from the vine in which they abide, and the
limbs from the head to which they are vitally bound.

It was especially the purpose of Jesus Christ, to re-
deem men from the slavery of selfishness, to raise them
to a divine, disinterested love. By this he intended
thatdiis followers should be known, that his religion
should be broadly divided from all former institutions.
He meant that this should be worn as a frontlet on the
brow, should beam as a light from the countenance,
should shed a grace over the manners, should give tones
of sympathy to the voice, and especially should give en-
ergy to the will, energy to do and suffer for others'
good. Here is one of the grand distinctions of Christi-
anity, incomparably grander than all the mysteries which


have borne its name. Our knowledge of Christianity
is to be measured, not by the laboriousness with which
we have dived into the depths of theological systems,
but by our comprehension of the nature, extent, energy
and glory of that disinterested principle, which Christ
enjoined as our likeness to God, and as the perfection
of human nature.

This disinterestedness of Christianity is to be learned
from Christ himself, and from no other. It had dawn-
ed on the world before in illustrious men, in prophets,
sages and legislators. But its full orb rose at Bethlehem.
All the preceding history of the world gives but broken
hints of the love which shone forth from Christ. Nor
can this be learned from his precepts alone. We must
go to his life, especially to his cross. His cross was the
throne of his love. There it reigned, there it triumph-
ed. On the countenance of the crucified Savior there
was one expression stronger than of dying agony, the
expression of calm, meek, unconquered, boundless love.
I repeat it, the cross alone can teach us the energy
and grandeur of the love, which Christ came to impart.
There we see its illimitableness ; for he died for the
whole world. There we learn its inexhaustible jjlaca-
bility ; for he died for the very enemies Whose hands
were reeking with his blood. There we learn its self-im-
molating strength; for he resigned every good of life, and
endured intensest pains, in the cause of our race. There
we learn its spiritual elevation ; for he died not to en-
rich men with outward and w r orldly goods, but to breathe
new life, health, purity, into the soul. There we learn
its far-reaching aim ; for he died to give immortality of
happiness. There we learn its tenderness and sympa-

thy ; for amidst his cares for the world, his heart over-
flowed with gratitude and love for his honored mother.
There, in a word, we learn its Divinity ; for he suffered
through his participation of the spirit and his devotion
to the purposes of God, through unity of heart and will
with his Heavenly Father.

It is one of our chief privileges, as Christians, that we
have in Jesus Christ a revelation of Perfect Love. This
great idea comes forth to us from his life and teaching,
as a distinct and bright reality. To understand this is
to understand Christianity. To call forth in us a cor-
responding energy of disinterested affection, is the mis-
sion which Christianity has to accomplish on the earth.

There is one characteristic of the love of Christ, to
which the Christian world are now waking up as from
long sleep, and which is to do more than all things for
the renovation of the world. Fie loved individual man.
Before his time, the most admired form of goodness was
patriotism. Men loved their country, but cared noth-
ing for their fellow-creatures beyond the limits of coun-
try, and cared little for the individual within those lim-
its, devoting themselves to public interests and especial-
ly to what was called the glory of the State. The leg-
islator, seeking by his institutions to exalt his country
above its rivals, and the warrior, fastening its yoke on its
foes and crowning it with bloody laurels, were the
great names of earlier times. Christ loved man, not
masses of men ; loved each and all, and not a particular
country and class. The human being was dear to him
for his own sake ; not for the spot of earth on which he
lived, not for the language he spoke, not for his rank in
life, but for his humanity, for his spiritual nature, for the


image of God in which he was mpde. Nothing out-
ward in human condition engrossed the notice, or nar-
rowed the sympathies of Jesus. He looked to the hu-
man soul. That he loved. That divine spark he de-
sired to cherish, no matter where it dwelt, no matter
how it was dimmed. He loved man for his own sake,
and all men without exclusion or exception. His min-
istry was not confined to a church, a chosen congrega-
tion. On the mount he opened his mouth and spake
to the promiscuous multitude. From the bosom of the
lake he delivered his parables to the throng which lin-
ed its shores. His church was nature, the unconfined
air and earth ; and his truths, like the blessed influences
of nature's sunshine and rain, fell on each and all. He
lived in the highway, the street, the places of concourse,
and welcomed the eager crowds which gathered round
him from every sphere and rank of life. Nor was it to
crowds that his sympathy was confined. He did not
need a multitude to excite him. The humblest individ-
ual drew his regards. He took the little child into his
arms, and blessed it ; he heard the beggar crying to him
by the wayside where he sat for alms ; and in the an-
guish of death, he administered consolation to a male-
factor expiring at his side. In this shone forth the di-
vine wisdom as well as love of Jesus, that he understood
the worth of a human being. So truly did he compre-
hend it, that, as I think, he would have counted himself
repaid for all his teachings and mighty works, for all his
toils, and sufferings, and bitter death, by the redemption
of a single soul. His love to every human being sur-
passed that of a parent to an only child. Jesus was
great in all things, but in nothing greater than in his


comprehension of the worth of a human spirit. Before
his time no one dreamed of it. The many had been
vsacrificed to the few. The mass of men had been trod-
den under foot. History had been but a record cf strug-
gles and institutions, which breathed nothing so strongly
as contempt of the human race.

Jesus was the first philanthropist. He brought with'
him a new era, the era of philanthropy ; and from his
time a new spirit has moved over the troubled waters
of society, and will move until it has brought order and
beauty out of darkness and confusion. The men, whom
he trained and into whom he had poured most largely
his own spirit, were signs, proofs, that a new kingdom
had come. They consecrated themselves to a work at
that time without precedent, wholly original, such as
had not entered human thought. They left home, pos-
sessions, country, went abroad into strange lands, and
not only put life in peril, but laid it down, to spread the
truth which they had received from their Lord, to make
the true God, even the Father, known to his blinded
children, to make the Savior known to the sinner, to
make life and immortality known to the dying, to give
a new impulse to the human soul. We read of the mis-
sion of the apostles as if it were a thing of course. The
thought perhaps never comes to us, that they entered
on a sphere of action until that time wholly unexplored;
that not a track had previously marked their path ; that
the great conception,which inspired them, of converting
a world, had never dawned on the sublimest intellect ;
that the spiritual love for every human being, which car-
ried them over oceans and through deserts, amid scourg-

o ' o

ings and fastings and imprisonments and death, was a


new light from heaven breaking out on earth, a new
revelation of the divinity in human nature. Then it
was, that man hegan to yearn for man with a Godlike
love. Then a new voice was heard on earth, the voice
of prayer for the recovery, pardon, happiness of a world.
It was most strange, it was a miracle more worthy of
admiration than the raising of the dead, that from Judea,
the most exclusive, narrow country under heaven,which
hated and scorned all other nations and shrunk from
their touch as pollution, should go forth men to proclaim
the doctrine of human brotherhood, to give to every hu-
man being, however fallen or despised, assurances of
God's infinite love, to break down the barriers of nation
and rank, to pour out their blood like water in the work
of diffusing the spirit of universal love. Thus mightily
did the character of Jesus act on the spirits of the men
with whom he had lived. Since that time the civiliz-
ed world has been overwhelmed by floods of barbarians,
and ages of darkness have passed. But some rays of
this divine light break on us through the thickest dark-
ness. The new impulse given by Christianity was nev-
er wholly spent. The rude sculpture of the dark ages
represented Jesus hanging from his cross; and however
this image was abused to purposes of superstition, it still
spoke to men of a philanthropy stronger than death,
which felt and suffered for every human being; and a
softening, humanizing virtue went from it which even
the barbarian could not wholly resist. In our own times
the character of Jesus is exerting more conspicuously
its true and glorious power. We have indeed little
cause for boasting. The great features of society are
still hard and selfish. The worth of a human being is


a mystery still hid from an immense majority, and the
most enlightened among us have not looked beneath the
surface of this great truth. Still there is at this moment
an interest in human nature, a sympathy with human
suffering, a sensibility to the abuses and evils which de-
form society, a faith in man's capacity of progress, a
desire of human progress, a desire to carry to every hu-
man being the means of rising to a better condition and

o o

a higher virtue, such as has never been witnessed be-
fore. * Amidst the mercenariness which would degrade
men into tools, and the ambition which would tread
them down in its march toward power, there is still a
respect for man as man, a recognition of his rights, a
thirst for his elevation, which is the surest proof of a
higher comprehension of Jesus Christ, and the surest
augury of a happier state of human affairs. Humanity
and justice are crying out in more and more piercing
tones for the suffering, the enslaved, the ignorant, the
poor, the prisoner, the orphan, the long-neglected sea-
man, the benighted heathen. I do not refer merely to
new institutions for humanity, for these are not the most
unambiguous proofs of progress. We see in the com-
mon consciousness of society, in the general feelings of
individuals, traces of a more generous recognition of
what man owes to man. The glare of outward distinc-
tion is somewhat dimmed. The prejudices of caste and
rank are abated. A man is seen to be worth more than
his wardrobe or his title. It begins to be understood
that a Christian is to be a philanthropist, and that in
truth, the essence of Christianity is a spirit of martyr-
dom in the cause of mankind.

This subject has been brought to my mind at the


present moment, by an event in this vicinity, which has
drawn little attention, but which I *could not, without
self-reproach, suffer to pass unnoticed. Within a few
days, a great and good man, a singular example of the
philanthropy which Jesus Christ came to breathe into the
world, has been taken away ; and as it was my happi-
ness to know him more intimately than most among us,
I feel as if I were called to bear a testimony to his rare
goodness, and to hold up his example as a manifestation
of what Christianity can accomplish in the human mind.
I refer to the Rev. Noah Worcester, who has been just-
ly called the Apostle of Peace, who finished his course
at Brighton during the last week. His great age, for
he was almost eighty, and the long, and entire seclusion
to which debility had compelled him, have probably
made his name a strange one to some who hear me.
In truth, it is common in the present age, for eminent
men to be forgotten during their lives, if their lives are
much prolonged. Society is now a quick-shifting pa-
geant. New actors hurry the old ones from the stage.
The former stability of things is strikingly impaired.
The authority which gathered round the aged, has de-
clined. The young seize impatiently the prizes of life.
The hurried, bustling, tumultuous, feverish Present,
swallows up men's thoughts, so that he who retires from
active pursuits, is as little known to the rising genera-
tion as if he were dead. It is not wonderful then, that
Dr Worcester was so far forgotten by his contempora-
ries. But the future will redress the wrongs of the
present ; and in the progress of civilization, history will
guard more and more sacredly the memories of men,
who have advanced before their age, and devoted


themselves to great, but neglected interests of human-

Dr Worcester's efforts in relation to war, or in the
cause of peace, made him eminently a public man and
constitute his chief claim to public consideration; and
these were not founded on accidental circumstances or
foreign influences, but wholly on the strong and peculiar
tendencies of his mind. He was distinguished above all
whom I have known by his comprehension arid deep feel-
ing of the spirit of Christianity, by the sympathy with
which he seized on the character of Jesus Christ as a
manifestation of Perfect Love, by the honor in which he
held the mild, humble, forgiving, disinterested virtues of
our religion. This distinguishing trait of his mind was
embodied and brought out in his whole life and conduct.
He especially expressed it in his labors for the promotion
of Universal Peace on the earth. He was struck, as no

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Online LibraryNoah WorcesterBible news, of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit : in a series 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 → online text (page 17 of 19)