The Statement of Faith from George Williams’: An Attempt to Restore the Supreme Worship of God the Father Almighty

Samuel Clarke’s Scripture Doctrine of the Trinity did not go unnoticed; it sparked lasting debate in the church of England and led to the acceptance of Clarke’s scriptural trinitarianism- effectively identical to that of the Homoians of the fourth century, and in keeping with the theology of the ante-nicene church fathers- among many in the Church of England, as well as within various non-conformist churches. English Presbyterianism bears a strong classical trinitarian legacy during the 18th century, and Clarke’s scriptural ideas also found a home in English Baptist churches. The following statement of faith is taken from one of many unitarian works written during this era.

Taken from George Williams’ An Attempt to Restore the Supreme Worship of God the Father Almighty, 1764. Available on Google Books here.

The doctrine of the divine Trinity as set forth in Holy Scripture.

Of the One God and Father of all Who is above all.

There is One only living and true God: Existing of himself, by the necessity of his own Nature: absolutely independent, eternal, omnipresent, unchangeable, incorruptible; without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, knowledge, and wisdom; of perfect liberty and freedom of will; of infinite goodness, justice, and truth; The God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, Mighty, and Terrible; that frustrateth the tokens of liars, and maketh diviners mad: the high and lofty One, inhabiting eternity, whose Name is holy: Who is the King Eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God; whose glorious Name is exalted above all blessing and praise: the Maker and Lord of all things, himself derived from none, made of none, begotten of none, proceeding from none: by whom all creatures material and immaterial, visible and invisible, animate and inanimate, rational and irrational, mortal and immortal, in Heaven and in Earth were made; by whom the land and waters, the air and sun and stars, the heaven and the heaven of heavens, and all things that are therein; plants, and beasts, and men; angels and archangels; were created out of nothing: from whom the Spirit of Truth, the Comforter and Sanctifier of all holy Men, proceedeth or is sent forth: of whom lastly the Son himself, the Saviour and Redeemer of the World, in an in effable manner, before all Ages was begotten. This is the supreme Father and Lord of all, who dwelleth in Light inaccessible; whose majesty no thought can comprehend; whose glory no eye can behold: whose power no strength can resist; from whose Presence no swiftness can flee; whose knowledge no secrecy can conceal itself from; whose justice no art can evade; whose goodness no creature but partakes of.  This is the God of the universe, whom even the heathen world has always acknowledged. This is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the God who brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; of whom, and through whom, and to whom are all things; to whom be glory and dominion forever.

To this God and Father of all, is to be directed that absolute and supreme worship, by which he is acknowledged to be alone, the Maker and Judge of all; by whose incomprehensible power the world was created; by whose unerring providence the universe is governed; by whose supreme authority our Lord was sent forth to redeem us; by whose good pleasure the Holy Spirit is given to sanctify us; to whose glory every tongue now confesses that Jesus is the Lord: — To him we are to pray for the remission of our sins; and that our repentance may be accepted, through the powerful intercession of Christ our great High Priest: and that our Hearts may be renewed by the inspiration of his Holy Spirit: and to Him we are to give continual thanks for his original and undeserved goodness in sending his Son at first to be the Saviour of the World, and to be unto us a propitiation through faith in his blood; and for the continuation of that goodness, in affording us the perpetual assistance of the Holy Ghost. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be glory through Jesus Christy for ever. Amen.

Of the Son.

With the First and Supreme Cause or Father of all things, there has existed from the beginning, a second divine Person, who is his Word or Son. This Divine Person, who after and by his incarnation became our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, had a Being in the Bosom of his Father, and was Partaker of his Father’s Glory. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, i. e. was with the Father; and the Word was God, that is, was Partaker of his Father’s Glory, of his divine power and authority in creating and governing the world. The same Scriptures declare, that he, by the appointment of the Father, is our Saviour, Mediator, Intercessor and Judge; that having been in the form of God, he emptied himself as that glory, and willingly took upon him the form of a servant; and died to make our repentance available; and now sits at the right Hand of God, to interceed for us; and governs the whole Church, according to the will of his Father; and searches and tries the hearts of men at present, and will finally judge them according to their Works.— That we offer up all our prayers in his Name; (whatsoever, says he, ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you, John xv. 16.) that we rely upon his merits, depend upon his intercession, obey him as our Lord, love him as our Saviour, fear him as our Judge. — Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing: and every creature— heard I saying, blessing, and honour, and glory, and power be unto him that sitteth on the Throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and has made us Kings and Priests unto God and his Father, to him be glory and dominion for evermore.

Of the Holy Spirit.

Concerning the Holy Ghost the Scripture declares, that he is a divine Person, proceeding, or being sent forth from the Father; and in other Places he is called the Spirit of the Son, and said to be sent forth from him. Into the manner of his derivation, we ought not to presume to enquire, but to be content with what the Scripture reveals to us, of his being in a singular manner, in a manner which we cannot presume to understand or explain, the Spirit of God; that we acknowledge him to be the divine Inspirer of the Prophets, both of the Old and New Testament; and the immediate Worker of all those signs and wonders in proof of the Christian Dispensation; that he is also the Sanctifier of all hearts, and the immediate Distributer of all the gifts of God, for the edification of his Church; that therefore we receive and believe his testimony, as delivered in the inspired Writings; obey his good motions; be solicitous to obtain his gifts and graces; and infinitely careful not to grieve and quench and drive him from us, lest we be found to do despite unto the Spirit of Grace, which is in Scripture represented as a more unpardonable Fault than offending against the Person of our Saviour himself.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s