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3. Divine Worship paid to Christ

Antiquities of the Christian Church
CHAPTER X. Of the Prayers and Psalmody of the Church

3. Divine Worship paid to Christ

It is a peculiar characteristic of the christian religion, that it offers divine honors to Christ. It teaches not merely that prayer should be offered in the name of Jesus, but directly to Him. Every prayer, and every hymn, while it honors the sacred Trinity, has also another design. It distinctly recognizes the divinity of Christ, and shows what views the christian church had of the person of the Saviour. Pliny says, A. D. 107, that "they were wont to meet together on a stated day (the Lord's day) before it was light, and sing alternately, among themselves, a hymn to Christ, as God. To sing a hymn, carmen dicere, may imply, either that they offered to him a sacred song, or a prayer; but in either case it was the offering of divine honors to him.

Polycarp, in his epistle to the Philippians, 1:12, says, "Now the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and he hi77iself who is our everlasting High Priest, the Son of God even Jesus Christ, build you up in faith and in truth, and in all meekness, and lenity." The Church of Smyrna, in their circular epistle respecting the death of Polycarp, say, "Neither is it possible for us ever to forsake Christ, who suffered for the salvation of all such as shall be saved throughout the whole world, the righteous for the ungodly; nor to worship any other besides him. For him indeed, as being the Son of God, we adore." 

Origen against Celsus says, "All supplications, prayers, and intercessions, are to be offered up to the most high God through this High Priest, who is above all angels, who is the living Word and God. He further says, "we pray also to the Word himself, and make supplication." This he vindicates at length against the charge, on the one hand, of worshipping more Gods than one; and on the other, against the imputation of worshipping him as a subordinate and created being, showing that he is one with God, and our Mediator and Intercessor with the Father. He concludes this discussion by declaring, "We worship the Father, whilst we admire and adore the Son, who is his word, and wisdom, and truth, and righteousness; and whatever else we are taught to believe of the Son of God, begotten of such a Father." 

This interesting passage fully illustrates the sentiments of the primitive church on the subject. A multitude of other passages, to the same effect, may be found in the authors quoted in the index. 

Euseb. h. e. lib. iv. c. 15.

Contra Celsmn. Hb. v. p. 233. lib. vii. p. 385.

Bingham, bk. xiii. c. 2: Jo. Fried. Cotta. De Gloria raultus religiosi Christo asserta. Tubing. 1755. 4: C. W. Thalemann, Jesum Christum eodem quo Patrem modo colendum atque adoraudum.


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