Sunday, May 12, 2024

Human Beings: Created To Advance! [#JesusFollowers]

  

Improvement is a law of the Universe. All things, great and small, are made to improve and progress. Human beings are no exception.

We must not allow everything else to move on, while we remain stationary. When the insensible earth and the irrational animals obey the commandment of Nature, let not us, who alone are capable of voluntary obedience, alone be unfaithful.

When even the all-wise Creator, in unfolding His ways and purposes to His children, observes this rule of constant progression, let not us, with wisdom only of yesterday, children in understanding, think that we may rest where we are, and refuse to move forward.

Our very capacity of progress is itself a further reason for striving after perpetual improvement. The plants and animals around us have limits set to their advancement which they can never pass.

They go forward by a prescribed course to their maturity, and there they necessarily stop. The voice which spake to the sea, “Thus far shall you go, and no farther,” has spoken to all things terrestrial except us.

From that mandate our spirit is exempted. The tree has its growth, and the bird its instinct, and they can add to themselves nothing beyond it. Human beings, reasoning, immortal, immaterial beings, to whom the inspiration of the Almighty has given understanding, has received the power of expansion. Our souls may grow - not like the body, which is to perish in about a hundred years, and therefore becomes perfect in twenty; but, as it is never to perish, it never reaches a perfection beyond which it may not pass.

If the soul's duration were bounded by a thousand years, or a hundred thousand centuries, then we might anticipate the day when its growth should be completed. But since it shall exist through eternity, since it can never approach the termination of its existence, neither can it approach the termination of its progress. It must enlarge, extend itself, and continue to advance.

So, other creatures may stop growing, and become stationary; for they are to come to an end. But not human beings, for we are to know no end. Others may be satisfied with a perfection which earth can understand and contain; for they are of the earth, and shall return to its bosom.

But human beings are children of the Most High, our spirit a ray from the fountain of unquenchable light, made capable of attainments which earthly beings cannot hardly imagine. Let us not dream that any present attainment is our perfection; let us press forward to that mark - that something immense and infinite -  which Jesus has set before us as the prize of our high calling.

For us to be stationary would be rebellion against our nature, a willful forfeiting of our birthright, and should subject us to the harsh reproaches of our own minds, and to the deserved scorn of all higher and lower beings.

This great progress of the human soul is only begun upon earth. But it is begun. The desire of purity, the love of excellence, the habits of holiness, the relish for spiritual pleasures, are begun here below; and ones who have made the greatest advances in these during their mortal lives, are doubtless best fitted for entering into a future state. This thought suggests to us another reason for improvement.

The degree of happiness and glory to which the soul shall be admitted at death, must depend on the progress which it has made on Earth. In our Father's house are many mansions; differing unquestionably in order offense. And how are they to be assigned? What says the Scripture? “According to their works,” for “He that has been faithful in little, shall be placed over few cities; he that has been faithful in much, shall be placed over many cities.” (Luke 16:10; Matt. 25:23)

Happiness and honor shall be rendered to every person according to their preparation for them and their capacity to receive them. And our capacity to receive will be just in proportion to the state of advancement at which we have arrived on leaving the present scene.

And the soul that issues from its mortal tabernacle a trembling, anxious penitent, - just "assured" that its sins are forgiven, but without any confirmed religious experience, or spiritual maturity of character - cannot enter into the fulness of bliss which awaits the faithful servant of God, who has toiled for duty during a long life, and become almost spiritualized before laying aside the body.

Therefore let us strive to be found, at our death, so far advanced in holiness, that we may join the company of those who stand nearest to the throne; that we may be ushered into the light of the highest heaven.

(Adapted from a Sermon by Henry Ware, Jr.)

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Some False Doctrines Churches Teach [#JesusFollowers]


If you hear sermons from the pulpits of Western Christian "Churches," or if you've ever picked up a "fundamentalist tract" on the ground or in a public bathroom, you may be hearing many falsehoods that Jesus never preached as part of his Gospel. Here are a few of them, and wh you ought to reconsider basing your faith on them. (Or on anything other than the words of Jesus.)

1. "Jesus teachings are 'for the Jews' but not for us, Today." 

This was debunked by Jesus, himself, who said his words would never pass away, and sent the Jerusalem Apostles out into the world in his Great Commission to tell people to obey his teachings. That's Not "just for the Jews." He did say for the Apostles to go to the Jews FIRST, which they did. 

2. The late theologian John D. MacArthur infamously said, "Christianity has nothing at all  to do with the teachings of Jesus."

What he meant as a statement of theology is actually true of modern Christianity, but that's a fact we should mourn, not celebrate. Denying Jesus or putting his life story first, which MacArthur taught, and most Christians believe, is false.

3. "We Inherit Adam and Eve's "Original Sin" at Birth and it means we are Cursed, Cannot Obey God, and Are Totally Depraved, unable to do any good."

Variations of this is taught in churches, but not often said out loud or in these words. None of this is consistent with Bible teaching. God told Adam's own son that he would be rewarded if he did what was right, but he would be punished if he did what was wrong. Catholic "Church Father" Augustine of Hippo wrote of Cain, and us, saying it is, "non posse non piccare" (not possible (for us) to not sin." And this became Catholic Doctrine in the early Fifth Century, despite contradicting God's  very words in Genesis. Who will You believe? 

4. "The Bible's High standards of morality, especially in Jesus's teachings, were simply meant to "convict" humans and aren't meant for us to obey, because we are morally unable." 

This man-made nonsense turns the entire Bible on its head and makes Jesus and the Prophets into liars. If we are unable to do these things, calling on us to do them is sadistic of God, His rules would be pointless, and his punishments for failing would be unjust, if his words were impossible to obey. Of course, this isn't the case.  

5. "Jesus Forgot To Teach That He Was Part of a Godhead or that he was a Person in it, Equal to God.

 Jesus told the Apostles that everything he heard from God, his Father, he told to them. He didn't forget to mention these things about a Godhead, or that he had actually created the world. Why wouldn't he tell them outright that he had created the world? Clever men today may twist his words, just as the religious teachers of God's day tried to do,  or use other men's words to imply otherwise, but we follow Jesus, who said he had a God, and prayed to God, Whom is his God? Our Father. And his.

EVERYTHING.

Yet, Jesus said not one word of being part of a Godhead in which he shared the "substance of the Father " and a "person" called the Holy Spirit nor was this written by the Gospel book writers, because this definition of a Godhead wasn't invented until the 4th and 5th centuries by clever philosophers, turning spiritual and theological phrases into literal ones. Jesus said he was one with the Father, but also that he wanted his disciples to be one with him,  just as he was one with the Father. 

6. "Make war With Your Prayers. Be "Prayer Warriors " for Christ."

That phrase never occurs in the Bible, nor is it a strategy suggested by Jesus. But many "Prayer Warriors" today use prayer as a weapon.  Jesus calls us to pray FOR our enemies, and bless those who curse us, not use prayer against them. Adversaries of Good are defeated by our Good deeds in the world, not hateful vibes sent out to God, directing Him to do our bidding.

7. "Jesus Was Born Of A Virgin on December 25th as a star moved over his stable and God Was His Father, Not Joseph. Jesus Was the Legitimate King Of The Jews. God Impregnated Mary, A Virgin, Became A Man  Jesus Was The God-Man: Both Man And God."

Sorry to ruin Christmas, but... Propagated by Catholic Second Century Christians, this collection of pagan stories are recited every Christmas as if they are Historically accurate. But it's all based on a false translation of a line in the Old Testament (Isaiah 7:14) that didn't apply to a future Messiah figure, it certainly did not apply to Jesus, the Hebrew word, "Almah" used by Isaiah simply means "young woman," but was mistranslated in the Greek Septuigaint version as "virgin" and subsequently "Matthew" and Luke spun the yarn of a virgin conception and birth.

8. "Jesus' Death Gave God Permission To Forgive Human Beings." 

This silly and blasphemous statement is made by Televangelists of our own age, but not by Jesus, our only teacher, who said we must forgive 70x7 times. 

These same men teach, "Only God Can Forgive Sins, " just as the Jewish opponents of Jesus also said about him.  While it's true that we can't forgive sins others commit against God, Jesus says we must forgive others IF we wish God to forgive us. 

9. "The Devil Is the Ruler Of The Earth."

 A false and foolish saying, refuted by Psalm 24: The earth is Yahweh's and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it." False teachers of darkness preach this today as a way to put Jesus higher above humans, and make God seem more aloof. They don't need the help and God is spiritually alive in us, here on the dirty, filthy old earth of His.

10. "The Bible has been Preserved by God Just As It Was In Jesus' Time." 

The Bible in Jesus's time was just the Hebrew Scriptures, and even that collection of books wasn't canonized (collected and approved by a council of Rabbis) until the Second Century, AD. And think about this: no one carried around printed Bibles until modern times. The New Testament contents weren't finalized until AD 367 by a Catholic Council. The Eastern Orthodox Church, to this day,  uses a Bible with several books that were never in the Catholic Canon.

And several books used by all churches today (including Jude and Hebrews) were almost left out of the Canon, while others (like 1 Clement and Shepherd of Hermas) were widely used by many churches in the first century, but were eventually dropped. During the Reformation, Martin Luther wanted to leave the Revelation of John and the Letter of James out of his German translation, but was convinced to leave them both in. 

In England, the books of the Apocrypha were quietly dropped from the King James Bible in its 1750s revision. Why didn't God keep all these books in? This doctrine is clearly false.

Sunday, April 28, 2024

When You Pray. [#JesusFollowers]

 

 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” (Matt. 6:7-8)

The reasonableness of our worship, and of prayer to God, prompts us most naturally to look to Him Who made us, in the fitness of acknowledging His continual favors, and the assurance we have that He is present with us.

God attends to and directs those who seek to recommend themselves to Him in the best way they are able.

The power, wisdom and goodness displayed in bringing us into being, and the various ways and methods to make it happy to us, are a just foundation for this our application to our Maker.

Nor can He ever be absent from us, so as not to hear and attend to us. For the same divine energy by which he first made us and all nature is necessary to support us in being. We cannot divest ourselves of the idea that His continual presence is with us.

We need never fear our being overlooked or disregarded by God. Our attention indeed can only be fixed on one object at once, and we are soon disturbed and perplexed with a multiplicity of affairs. But, as the sacred writer speaks, “Yahweh’s eyes are everywhere, keeping watch on the evil and the good.” (Prov. 15:3)

These natural grounds of the duty of prayer and thanksgiving to God appear plain and obvious, and afford much satisfaction to the pious mind.

Nevertheless it is a great privilege, that we have the express encouragement from God to offer up our prayers to Him, which He has given us by holy men, His prophets; and last of all by our Savior, Jesus.

And in that part of our Master’s sermon which is before us, he is giving some cautions to his followers concerning this duty, and directing them how to perform it in the way most acceptable to God and useful to themselves.

After severely condemning many in those days, who, by their holy outward appearance of great devotion, sought to give the inpression to the world that they were better and more trustworthy than others,Jesus’ cautioned against those who thought they were religious because of the frequency and length of their prayers, or who thought so poorly of their Maker, as if He, the all-knowing God, needed to be told often about their needs, as if He had forgotten them!

Our prayers and thanks to Him are not needed for any information or satisfaction that He can derive from them, they are in the highest degree serviceable to ourselves, and therefore are fitly and most kindly enjoined by Him who seeks our good.

Everything in us, good or bad, is the effect of habit. To keep up a due sense of God, it is necessary to think of Him frequently, to bring Him, His goodness, His greatness, freshly to our minds. And this is done most effectually in prayer, which puts us into His presence.

To pray with any degree of fervor or earnestness, one must have some persuasion that it will be of service to him to procure what he prays for.

The Scriptures therefore uniformly represent Almighty God as listening to the prayers of human beings, and disposed to bestow upon them everything they ask that is good for them.

However, as we ourselves are creatures so shortsighted and unknowing what might be good for us, and our heavenly Father, who is ever most kindly disposed toward us, as our Master here tells us, knows what things we have need of before we ask him, we should never pray for anything but only so far as His wisdom may see it best for us.

The great subject of our prayers to God undoubtedly ought always to be for our virtuous improvement, and to be assisted to do his will in all things, and that we may be assisted in watching over ourselves where we are most likely to fall; giving us such a great love of wisdom and goodness it will keep us above the narrow gratifications of our appetites and every unlawful desire, and make all the temptations of the world lose their power over us.

The great goal of prayer is to bring us to live under a habitual sense of the divine presence, with which it will be impossible for any to live or continue in any known evil or dishonest practice.

Far from interrupting or taking us away from our worldly pursuits, prayer furnishes us with a greater ability to go through the necessary duties of life, and spread continual comfort, cheerfulness, and joy all around us.

 (Adapted from a sermon by Rev. Theophilus Lindsey, given in March, 1778)

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Evidence for The Truth of #Jesus's Gospel [#JesusFollowers]

The study for many years of the internal evidence of the truth of the Gospels has resulted in a conclusion as to their truth, which my aim now is to set before you to the best of my ability.


I confidently trust that it will be accepted by you all, however skeptical you may be, as to the truth in regard to the contents and origin of the four Gospels. This most satisfactory conclusion is simply this:

The Religion for which Jesus lived and suffered death was, in all respects, perfectly natural, as natural as the rising of the sun. 

What he is recorded in the Gospels to have said is in close conformity to the laws of Nature. His works were extraordinary natural facts. He declared they were done by God. And as explicitly he said that they were wrought as God always works, by a law of Nature, by the highest law of Nature, the law of the Supremacy of mind over matter, of Spirit over the flesh.

Humans are naturally possessed of reason and conscience, enabling us to know the right from the wrong, to hate the one, and to love the other. He is possessed also of instinctive sympathies, which bind men to mutual help by the ties of kindred, of family, and of a common nature.

Thus are we provided with the instruments and opportunities for that Humane Spirit: the Spirit of Love, for which Jesus lived and died, the Holy Spirit of God, the Divine Force, present in us as in everything that exists.

But in this world, we are in our infancy. In the earliest times, although the highest and best in us was only feebly developed, he saw, indeed, that there were invisible Powers over all. 

The manifold evils of life, physical, moral, intellectual; earthquakes, inundations, evils terrible in their consequences, sweeping away thousands of creatures, appalled him, and his startled imagination saw in these convulsions of Nature and in the devastation of the mystery of death, the power of unseen gods, expressing their wrath and cruelty, just as men do. Thus what was named religion was polytheistic and anthropomorphic.

Amidst the teeming mysteries of Being, one thing, however, is discernible. Throughout the Universe there is apparent a purpose, or tendency, out of good to evolve a better, even the worst working to the same end, slowly, indeed, but in the Supreme Power's own good time. 

Accordingly, it has come to be thought that man has descended (or rather ascended) from well-nigh the lowest forms of being-from the ascidian and the ape. In the primitive, prehistoric ages, reason and conscience being very feebly developed in them, men became the victims of an inflamed imagination.

And they saw in the terrible mysteries of suffering and death, the agency of a multitude of invisible Powers, wreaking upon man their wrath and vengeance. Thus he created gods after his own likeness.

Among the ancient nations the Hebrews believed in only one Supreme God, the Sovereign Power over all. Prophets and seers among them caught flashes of great truths of the duties of man. In their Scriptures a sense of justice and humanity appears.

At last, two thousand years ago, there appeared the Man of Nazareth. The religion of his country had then become a thing of childish rites and traditions, passing over Justice and the Love of God. 

It was insisted that eating with unwashed hands, or with people of other nations, was sinful in the sight of God. It taught that it was a more sacred duty to give money for the support of the temple worship and of the priests than to honor and support one's aged parents.

Jesus had penetrated to the heart of the old Hebrew faith, and had found in it the two great Commandments, enjoining the supreme love of the Highest and Best, and the love of one's neighbor as of oneself.

He was thus enabled to distinguish what he conceived to be the essential soul of the religion of his country, not by any miraculous illumination from Heaven, but by his native, original insight into the human soul. 

Human beings are variously gifted, in greater or less degree. Jesus was thus endowed by God with an extraordinary religious genius, so to speak. He saw the Spirit of God in every human being the undying Life of the Creator, distinguishing humanity from every other created being of which we have any knowledge.

-Adapted from, "A Washington Address," (1895) by Rev. William Henry Furness (1802-1896)

Sunday, April 14, 2024

How Can We Know What Is Good? #JesusFollowers

 

On the first day of his class, a college professor announced all students would be tested that very day. The subject of the test would be all the material they were going to learn.

Not only would the test cover material from the upcoming semester, said the professor, but these freshmen students would be tested on senior-level material - four years of information, none which they had been taught.

Now, clearly, such a test would be unfair, and the results of such a test would be predictable - most students would be unable to answer most of the questions. Why should a student without knowledge of a subject be able to know enough to pass such an advanced test?

One might also ask why babies are not able to read or write, or why no eight-year-olds aren't experts in constitutional law.

The answer to all of these, as well, is that they lack the knowledge and experience to do so.

And yet, people have no problem asking why there is so much evil and even simple badness in the world. The answer, of course, is the same as in the previous examples: People act badly in many cases because they are simply unaware of what is Good. (And yes, there are others who do know, and yet, actively choose to do evil.)

The question of Good and Evil is often a religious one. And that is appropriate. God, our Creator, has standards of behavior that, if we adhere to them, will make us far better and even more spiritually perfect beings.

If one follows Jesus and believes that God chose this man to be the example of how all of us should be living, then knowledge of what he taught and preached is essential to knowing what is Good.

When we believe that this Chosen One of God is the very best example of the Good that God wishes us to pursue, we have been saved from the ignorance of what is Good. That is the first step towards the Goodness God wishes for us, but it is not the final step.

Our spiritual journey is a lifelong one. Jesus calls us to follow him, not to merely recognize him as our morally perfect example, and certainly not to simply admire his perfection.

Knowledge of the teachings of Jesus is the first step in our journey toward spiritual perfection. Committing to following those teachings is what brings us closer to the goal he sets for us.

That we cannot instantly achieve spiritual maturity does not say anything about human nature. As in the examples above, it's unreasonable to demand that we will learn any skill or even any Behavior instantly.

That is not a flaw. It is built into our Nature. The brother of Jesus, James, wrote that when we are tested with trials, we become stronger. This is because we learn from them, and they teach us.

So too, with the lessons Jesus teaches us. As a follower of Jesus, we learn not only from trials, but from the perfect example of the one God chose for us.

Having such a perfect example always before us is an amazing and beautiful gift from our Creator. That we have this example, and that Jesus himself said we may do just as he did, (and even greater things!) means that our nature is perfectible, and that we may indeed do good in a way that pleases God.

These teachings, therefore, should be our guidepost, our template, our goal in life.

To love God with all that we have and all that we are, and to love our neighbor exactly as we love ourselves, is the epitome of what it means to be a human being. This we learn from the teachings of Jesus, the one whom God anointed to be our Master and pattern.

To seek after this spiritual completeness, this maturity, this perfection, is therefore our goal in life.

That we know what is Good and what is evil means that we have an obligation to seek the Good and avoid the evil and, by our actions alone, not by our condemnation, to demonstrate this and share it with the world.

Sunday, April 7, 2024

On the Atonement [#JesusFollowers]


Notwithstanding the pains commonly taken, by those who are called orthodox, to decry human reason, and to represent their views of religion as founded exclusively on a reference to scripture, there is good reason to believe that many of their characteristic tenets are in reality derived, not from scripture, even ill-understood, but from the tacit influence of some very erroneous ethical principles, and certain notions arising from a hasty analogy between the divine and human laws, to which they have endeavored to bend the discoveries of revelation. 

They may very possibly persuade themselves that these false principles are approved by the word of God, but it is not the less true that they are originally derived from reason; or rather from vague, unfounded prejudice, and very er roneous ideas of the leading doctrines of moral science, and the constitution of human society.

Thus, it is a maxim universally assumed by them, and not infrequently, as it appears to me, very unguardedly admitted by their opponents, that, independently of the grace revealed in the Gospel, under the system of law founded on strict principles of divine justice, there is and can be, no place for forgiveness, no remission even of repented sin. 

The law, as such, we are told, is necessarily unchangeable and inflexible; providing no opening for reconciliation, no ground of pardon and acceptance to the penitent. Its language is, obey, or suffer the penalty. In the case of the divine law, this penalty is death; by which term, we are told, is to be understood, not the termination of this mortal life, but eternal existence in a state of hopeless misery. 

We are also assured that, according to strict justice, a single violation of the law, the slightest deviation from perfect righteousness, incurs, at the hands of a just and holy God, this dreadful retribution. 

We are even assured that it is essential to the perfection of the divine attributes, that the provisions of the law shall in every case be rigidly enforced in their full extent: God cannot, consistently with His justice, pardon sinners without the exaction of the legal penalty. 

He owes it, we are assured, to the perfection of his own character - to the honor of his law - to the vindication of His justice in the eyes of the universe, that every offense should be visited with its appropriate punishment, in the person either of the sinner himself, or of an innocent substitute.

At other times, this tremendous view of the moral administration of the universe, is sought to be illustrated by an imaginary distribution of the divine nature into as many persons as it is possible, according to our imperfect modes of conceiving of these things, to enumerate distinct attributes. 

In this way a trinity of trinities might be constructed, forming so many distinct persons, having different characters, offices, and claims, mutually checking and controuling each other, when considered separately, limited and imperfect. Mercy, justice, wisdom, and goodness are personified. And represented as putting in their respective claims, Mercy pleads for the remission of sins, and the admission of the penitent to acceptance with God, but justice is inexorable; it "stands upon a full equivalent, and will not remit one sin without it.

Nothing is more common than for theologians to argue questions of this sort, as if the divine attributes were so many separate existences; or at least were to be considered, if we may be permitted without irreverence to use such an expression, as so many separate parts of the Divine nature. But it is evident that this proceeds entirely upon what has been called the popular, in opposition to the philosophical, conceptions of these attributes, and their relation to the conduct of human beings."

Adapted from the sermon, "Remarks on the Commonly Received Doctrines of Atonement and Sacrifice" by Rev. William Turner,  Jr. (1830)

Sunday, March 31, 2024

The Proper Humanity Of #Jesus. #JesusFollowers

 


To entertain all just, honorable, and worthy notions of Christianity, as it is represented to us in the writings of the New Testament, is certainly a matter of the highest importance to humanity.

And it is no less certain, that all wrong and mistaken notions of it must be, more or less, hurtful and prejudicial to the interests of true religion.

Especially when they are received, as sacred Truths, or scripture Truths, and when those who have once imbibed them, or have been bred up in them , are afraid to examine them with the freedom and impartiality which they ought to do.

But so it is, and much to be lamented, that the scriptures have, at all events, been made to fit in with human systems, creeds and confessions, which have been taught and set up in lieu of them.

And these are not only contrary to the real meaning of the sacred writers, but in many respects absurd and inconsistent in themselves, and even repugnant to the most fundamental principles of all religion, both natural and revealed.

Such articles are consistent with human contrivance, and not the scriptures of truth, which are the only criterion by which to judge of the true, sound faith.

Now, since the doctrine of the UNITY, or of one God, is the first and chief article, and has been always allowed to hold the first place, in every creed, this will naturally introduce the immediate and present design of this paper, by leading us to make some interesting and serious reflections, which must, I think, be very plain and obvious to a common understanding.

If the Unity of God then, is the first and leading principle in religion, and the truth of this article was never once called in question by those who have been most divided in other matters, I may fairly ask, what a weak and groundless opinion must that be which many have entertained concerning "person of Christ,"  As if
 he, the man Christ Jesus, differed from all other men, in having two distinct natures, the human and the divine, or that of God and man, essentially and personally united!

This, I am truly persuaded, has led many pious, well-meaning persons, through the strength of custom and prejudice, or the lack of honest and free enquiry, to put a wrong, and often absurd sense upon many passages of the New Testament.

I would be far from entering into quarrelsome contention with any who may differ from me in their religious sentiments.

But I may be allowed to expostulate and reason a little upon the point itself, without giving reasonable or just offense to any, and especially, as I apprehend it to be a matter of moment, and what ought indeed to be maturely weighed, and well understood, if we would be ever able rightly to interpret that revelation which God has given us, or to set the doctrines of the New Testament in a consistent, easy, and amiable light.

I would therefore fain learn, where we have any ground to believe what is called the "hypostatic union," or a duplicity of natures in the person of Christ.

Was it not as man, and in that nature only, that Christ here prays to God as his Father in the Gospel of John? And had he not hereby taught us, even all his disciples and brethren, to pray in like manner to that same almighty Being, whom he expressly styles his God and our God, his Father and our Father (John 20:17)

The doctrine of his strict and proper humanity from this, as well as many other places, is very apparent to the understanding and reason of every man.

Or where it is that we are taught or instructed in any part of scripture, to speak of Jesus, as many of our divines have done, sometimes as God, at other times as man - a mere imaginary distinction this such as only tends to embarrass and confound, but it is far from conveying to the mind any one clear, rational, or instructive idea concerning, either the one God, or the one Lord Jesus Christ.

Our Savior prays, "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me." (17:20-21)

Does he then pray to himself? Reason and understanding recoils at such an unnatural perversion, such a distortion of ideas!

Let learned and inquisitive men argue and debate this matter as long as they will, this must always pass with me for an axiom, or an indubitable self-evident truth, that Jesus and his Father are two beings, two distinct natures.

("A Comment On Some Remarkable Passages Of Christ's Prayer At The Close Of His Public Ministry," by Rev. Paul Cardale, 1772)