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Thus ends the old dragon power which arose in superstition some 750 B. C. and which endured in one form or another, with one great break, until after the close of the 2000 years. A thousand years later, the seven hills may bristle again with hostile weapons, but this is doubtful ; Gog and Magog may arise with aims similar to those which ever characterized the dragon, but their time will be short ; the world will roll on in its majestic course, counting off the centuries of Christ's everlasting kingdom until the great white throne appears and the years of the world are ended.
A misapprehension of the import of this symbol has led to the wildest vagaries and the most unscrupulous distortions of many portions of the Bible. So much time and space have already been consumed in the discussion of this matter that other topics of vital importance, standing in immediate connection with it, must be left to some future time. Suffice it to say, that the immediate results of the binding of the dragon will be to remove effectually all barriers to the evangelization of what are called the Catholic countries of Europe; and it will probably break all connection between church and state. Thereafter the church will be married to the Lamb instead of being forced into an unholy wedlock with the state. The great deception which Rome has practised upon the Christian world, that the church could not exist independent of the state, will have passed away; the dragon will deceive the nations no more.
The motives for keeping the mass of the people in ignorance, will have disappeared ; while the overwhelming proofs which these contests shall afford that intelligence and cultivation among the masses are the greatest bulwarks of national strength, will cause the nations of Europe to vie with each other in affording facilities for the acquisition of knowledge, and the largest liberties consistent with personal safety. The reconstruction of Europe which shall follow this great revolution in her affairs may well be symbolized by the reign of the Martyrs.
ART. V. JESUS CHRIST.
“ Was Jesus of Nazareth identical with the Almighty Creator ??'
Such is the question found on the title-page of a pamphlet before us, written by Rev. A. P. Peabody, D. D., published by the American Unitarian Association of Boston.
The name of the author of this work, a name of wide celebrity, is a sufficient guarantee for its flowing and attractive style, its chaste and beautiful diction, its persuasive and convincing tone, its originality of thought, and apparently logical deductions. And if any thing more than the name of the writer were needed to seal it with high authority as a Unitarian work, it is supplied by the fact that it comes to the world from the press of the Unitarian Association. Our review of this pamphlet, and the frequent mention of the doctrinal views of our Unitarian neighbors by ourselves and others of a Trinitarian creed, need no other apology than the fact that we are acting in self defence. Trinitarianism is attacked daily and hourly by the Unitarian press and pulpit and social circle. We do not complain of these attacks. We do not see why any one should. In truth we like them. As a general rule (to which there are, of course, not a few exceptions) they are made good naturedly, and we doubt not sincerely. Whether made with argument, satire or ridicule, there is, so far as our observation extends, a good humor pervading them which disarms resentment, and a sincerity and ingenuousness which invite rather than repel discussion. We like this kind of investigation, and its earnestness and warmth add to its interest. We have no fellowship with a stiff, morose orthodoxy, however orthodox it may be, which is too good to be examined, too conceited to reply, or which has many
windows to dare throw a stone when a stone is needed. If our doctrine is not susceptible of defence it ought to fall. If it is, it will suffer nothing in the end by being attacked, examined, investigated. We hail these investigations as a harbinger of good. If the leading doctrines of the Christian church, now hoary with the frosts of eighteen centuries, are not immutable and eternal, let them fall, and let their places be supplied,
like false theories of science, by sounder doctrines and better creeds. If they are true and enduring, instead of sustaining loss they will come forth from their present ordeal, as they have done from all former ones, more vigorous and more resplendent than ever. “Come let us reason together, SAITH THE LORD."
We concede, in the outset of this discussion, that there are some things connected with the doctrine of Christ's divine character and mission, which we are not competent to explain; but this does not weaken the fact, provided that fact is stated and sustained on good authority. It would be wholly unreasonable to suppose that the limited dimensions of man's intellect, even the greatest man's, could fully comprehend this infinite truth; especially as Christ himself insists that we are to receive him by faith, and on the testimony of God. “The Father himself that sent me hath borne witness of me.” John 5: 37. 66 Blessed art thou Simon Bar-jona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” Matt. 16: 17.
But though there may be inexplicable mysteries and real difficulties in harmonizing this doctrine with the Bible and reason, it is, we think, still more difficult to harmonize reason and revelation with any other view of the character of Christ. Indeed we think that those who deny the divine character of our Lord, are forced to some pitiable shifts in the support of their doctrine, or else compelled to deny the divine authority of the writings of the Evangelists and Apostles altogether. On the 19th page the following language occurs; “ Those who maintain the supreme divinity of our Saviour, rest for this doctrine, if I am not mistaken, solely on single texts. They draw no argument from the general tone and spirit of the New Testament. They admit that the argument from this source, so far as it has any
bearing goes against them. . But they deem it overborne by the clearness and weight of the single texts, which they quote in behalf of their dogma.” What right the author has to say that Trinitarians admit all this, we do not know. We do not now remember any Trinitarian, prominent or obscure, who has said this; nor do we see how it could be said in truth whether it would damage the argument of the Trinitarian or not.
This work contends that it is not proper to offer prayer to Christ as an act of divine worship. The writer says:
“I know not what could be more explicit than the following passage, where, speaking of the time when he should no longer be with his disciples, he says to them, 'In that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name he will give it you. That the writer does not know any thing more explicit, we think is proved from the fact that this is the only passage he presents in support of this part of his theory. He mentions that Christ uttered these words while speaking of his departure from his disciples. This is true, and it is also true that he appears to have been discoursing of the blessings they should receive as a result of his departure from them. The whole narrative with which this text is connected, shows that the disciples were distressed about some difficult questions, and almost feared to ask the Saviour in regard to them. In answer to their suppressed inquiries, he speaks to them of the blessing of the gift of the Holy Spirit, which should so till them with joy and so quicken their memories, that all these abstruse and difficult matters would be rendered perfectly plain to their understanding. In addition to these instructions, he also enjoins it on them to present their petitions in his name an injunction which those who deny his divinity often very consistently neglect to heed. That the disciples did not regard the instructions of the Saviour as a prohibition to pray to him, we think will appear when we come to consider their practice. But why, it is asked, did not the apostles enjoin the offering
prayer to Christ, and enforce the command by example? We answer-If the doctrine of the Trinity be true, then all prayer to God is as really prayer to the Son as to the Father ; and so the Trinitarian understands it when he prays; and so he interprets the New Testament commands to pray. There are comparatively few instances in which prayer is offered to the Father in
* John 16: 23.
fComp. John 14: 26 and 15: 26.
distinction from the Son, and we almost marvel to find so many offered exclusively to Christ. But these words of the Saviour also plainly indicate a change in the practice of the apostles. “In that day ye shall ask me nothing”—is an admission that in this day ye do ask me some things at least. But were these questions prayers? We think not.
We think not. Evidently the writer of this work would deny that those questions which they had been accustomed to ask the Saviour were prayers, for he does not admit that the disciples had ever prayed to Christ. If those askings were not prayers, then nothing is said in this passage about praying to Christ, and therefore it proves nothing.
Where God said to Ananias concerning Saul, “Behold he prayeth”* and when Ananias said to Saul, “Be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord,” here is prayer offered to Christ. The proof is that Saul was a zealous devoted Pharisee, living according to the straitest practices of that sect that were celebrated for their numerous and long prayers to God. Saul, while one of them, walked in all good conscience, and was exceedingly zealous toward God. Of course he offered much prayer to God. When Jesus said to Ananias, “ Behold he prayeth," there could have been only one thing new in this announcement, viz., that Saul prayed to Christ. And this the whole narrative shows. Lest these passages which we deem entirely incontrovertible, should not be duly considered, we beg leave to reproduce them. " Who art thou, LORD? I am JESUS of Nazareth. .
LORD, what wilt thou have me to do ? · And the LORD said unto him, Arise and go into the city and it shall be told thee what thou must do. .. And there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias. And to him said the Lord in a vision; Ananias, And he said behold I am here LORD. And the LORD said unto him arise and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold he prayeth. Then Ananias answered, LORD I have heard, by many, of this man, how much evil he hath done to THY saints at Jerusalem; and here he hath authority from the
*Acts 9:11 and 22: 16.