Imágenes de páginas


Of whom were the Fathers ; of whom was the Christ according to the flesh; of whom was God, who is over all, blessed for

Amen. “ Where,” asks Wakefield, who has given us this version, “ shall we find a more striking selection of the principal circumstances, (one great source of the sublime) or a more just and majestic gradation ?-_What? Is it possible then, that Paul, himself a Jew and proud of his descent, in enumerating the exclusive privileges of the Jewish nation, and setting forth the vast superiority, which their Theocratic polity gave them over the communities of the earth ; is it possible, I say, that he should overlook their pre-eminent distinction, the very characteristic of their constitution that is, the peculiar relation in which they stood to their king Jehovah ? He was their God, and they were his people; he was their Father, and they were the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty.Such an omission is equally incredible and unaccountable.

Supposing the original text not to be corrupted, the passage may be rendered thus: “God who is over all; or He, who is God over all, be blessed for ever, Amen. The words ó shayntos THE BLESSED are applied so exclusively to the Father, that the High Priest when interrogating our Saviour, did not employ the word God, but said, “ Art thou the Christ, the Son of THE Blessed."-Mark, xiv. 61. The word blessed is used in praising the Father, or as an epithet peculiarly his own ;-Luke, i. 68.Rom. i. 25.--2 Cor. i. 3. and xi. 31. Also in Ephes i. 3. and 1 Peter, i. 3. but in not a single instance is it applied to Christ in all the New Testament. In four of the places referred to, the Greek 677w be is understood—and accordingly our English version has the word be printed in Italics, to indicate that it is supplied. We are led by a principle of fair criticism, to conclude that the last clause of the verse under discussion, supposing it to contain the ipsissima verba, the very words which the Apostle wrote, should be translated with the aid of the same supplementary verb. Some critics allege that the Amen at the end of the verse, proves the last clause of it to be a doxology ; similar to that which occurs in the 25th v. of the 1st chap. and elsewhere. Whiston observes truly, that there is no instance of such a doxology to any but God the Father in all Scripture. Hopton Haynes says, that the grammar, and the style, and the sense of the whole New Testament is against the Tritheists in this place; and he might have added, in every other place. Had the words been intended to apply to Christ, they would have been 6, eru instead of , wy. For so the Apostle “ uses the relative os.-Rom. i. 25, and three times just before this passage, referring his readers to the Israelites of whom he had been speaking."

But laying aside Greek criticism, though the farther it is pursued, the more it betrays the weakness of the supports on which Trinitarianism leans, let us for a moment, attend to another

argument which may be deemed of superior force. It is put to the good sense of the reader to consider, whether it is at all probable that the Apostle in writing to the Jews, endeavouring to overcome their prejudices and reconcile them to the Christian dispensation, would designate as the Supreme Deity, a person who came to them in the flesh, or by natural descent. Would he call a descendant of the house of Navid-the everlasting Father? -a crucified man--the ever-blessed God? Even supposing the doctrine to be as true, as we contend that it is false, is it consonant to his usual mode of introducing an obnoxious subjeet, to bring it forward in a style that to a Jew would be so offensive? Is it in such a mode that the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews exalts Christ above Moses, and the other angels or inspired messengers of God? So great a master of the art of persuasion would bave said nothing about natural descent, had he wished to inculcate a belief that the Messiah was Jehovah. The very idea would have exasperated the Jews, and crushed the whole structure of the Apostle's reasoning. As for the usual subterfuge, that Christ had two natures, and that the expression, “as concerning the flesh," intimates this, we might as well be told that Paul had two natures, since he speaks only two verses before this, (v. 3.) of his own “kinsmen according to the flesh.” But where it is applied, (v. 5.) to Christ, the κατα σαρκος

bas the article to before it, and the use of this, it seems, is to remind us that Christ had a higher nature ! Of what prodigious importance are articles to the arcana of theology! Dr. Carpenter justly observes, that “the employment of the article here is obviously founded on the fact, that Jesus was of the Israelites as to natural descent only, and that as to spiritual descent he was the Son of God that he had his commission, his doctrine, and his miraculous powers by immediate communication from his God and Father."*

Even admitting the common version to be in all respects, correct, it would not prove the Son consubstantial and coeternal, and possessed of equal power with the Father; for the same Apostle who has written this, tells us elsewhere, 1 Cor. xv. 27. that when he says all things, he is excepted who did put all things under him

Parkhurst contends against Dr. Clarke, that another of the foregoing epithets, viz: ASC ROTHS is applied to Christ, and says that the master of the house spoken of in 2 Tim. ii. 21. may

*“ Those persons manifest little regard to truth and candour wlto assert that the Unitarians (or Socinians as they are pleased to term 'us) maintain that Jesus was a mere man. We believe with the Apostle Paul, that as to nature, Jesus was a man, descended from David, but that as to the divine communications of knowledge and power which God made to him for purposes the most important, he was the Son of God; and as such we revere his authority, and own his claims upon our implicit and submissive obedience,"- Dr. Carpenter.

most naturally be referred to him.-The Lord, or master of any house, was so denominated, and Christ uses the word in conjunction with oos in that sense.Mat. x. 25. But no one is termed AISTOTNS, in the supreme and absolute sense, but Jehovah alone. Nor can the author find that our Lord is ever accosted by this title, even in a subordinate sense; for his authority over the disciples was not that of the master of a house over his slaves, but of an instructor over his pupils. When Peter II. Ep. ii. 1. speaks of "false teachers, bringing in damnable heresies, and denying the Lord ASTHoth that bought them;" • Parkhurst refers us, to learn who he is, to Gal. ii. 13. and to the Hyming Elders in Rev. v. 9. Whitby thinks it most reasonable to interpret it of God the Father, and as we profess to adopt what is most reasonable, we do not choose to follow the direction of the learned lexicographer in this matter, especially as he could have referred us to texts much more in point, which would inform us who he is without any ambiguity. We learn from Deut. xxxii. 6. that it was the Everlasting Jehovah who bought them. “Do ye thus requite the Lord, foolish people and unwise? Is not he thy Father, that hath bought thee?" And from Exod, xv. 16. “ that it was Jehovah who purchased bis people Israel." See also Cor. vi. 19, 20.

Parkburst would willingly apply to Christ toy mosos_A! TOTHY in Jude, 4, "denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Cbrist.”

He thinks that the want of the article toy before Kugro shews that Jesus Christ is there styled the only Lord; but he is refuted by Grotius and Woltzogenius; or, if, says he, with several MSS. we omit the word of God, altogether, the application to Christ will be still more evident. No doubt. But since the meaning is perfectly clear, since no good reason can be assigned for any change, since our version of it, as Whitby affirms, “ is without any exception,” since it is in perfect harmony with the great doctrine of Scripture, that God alone is Deity supreme, and, above all, since it most clearly marks the distinction which no Christian should ever forget, between the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ, the Unitarian desires that the text may not be mutilated.

When any two objects are declared to be in all respects siunilar and equal, whatever can be predicated of the one, can also be predicated of the other. Their properties, qualities, appearances must be all alike, insomuch that no difference can exist between them. A single adjunct belonging to the one and and not to the other, destroys their equality. Now let us apply this argument to the question before us. It has been just shewn that certain titles and epithets are given to the Father Almighty, which are never given to the Son. On the other hand, certain titles and epithets are given to the Son, the ascription of which to the Father would confound every believer whose belief does not. extend as far as that of the Patripassians, who maintained that the Father himself suffered on the cross; 'or' of Gregory Nyssen, who said, that there was “a whole Father in a whole Son, and a whole Son in a whole Father.” The titles which our Saviour gave himself were Katryntus guide, director, or teacher.—Kugios Lord-Andacxados instructor or master--"a man that hath told you the truth.”—John, viii. 40. The Son of God, and the Son of man. The last is the appellation by which he designates himself when speaking of his coming in all bis glory, with the celestial hierarchies, to judge the world. See Mat. xvi. 27, and xxvi. 64. None of these titles is ever given to the Father. It cannot be predicated of him that he is the Son, the Son of man, nor the Son of God, nor the receiver, nor the sent, nor the well-beloved, nor the only begotten, nor he that is in the bosom of the Father, nor the great Prophet, nor he which was dead and is alive, nor the sanctified and ordained, nor a highpriest in things pertaining to God, nor a mediator, nor an intercessor, nor the Messiah, the anointed, or the Christ. God does all things by his own sovereign will—his own undivided authority. Christ does nothing but in obedience to the will of bim who sent him. With what consistency then, can it possibly be maintained that those two Beings are one and the same, whose attributes and offices are so exceedingly distinct, and whose grand characteristics are so far from being reciprocal, that the very idea of ascribing to the one, those which belong to the other, puts reason to the blush, and shocks all common sense ?"


No proof of the Deity of Christ to be found in the Epistle to

the Philippians. Few texts are quoted more frequently in support of Christ's imagined equality to God, and consequently subjected to the ordeal of more rigorous criticism than Philip, ii. 6. Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God ;'a verse wbich rightly translated and properly understood, has a meaning totally different from that assigned to it by Trinitarians. The Apostle's object is to inculcate humility and benevolence by the example of Jesus.

• Let nothing, says he, be done through strife or vain glory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus : who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men : and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled him. self, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

The tritheists contend that the phrase, being in the form of God, means being really and essentially Jehovah! They might

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

with equal good sense and meaning contend, that when the Prophet describes the carpenter with his rule and line, his plane and compasses, shaping a piece of timber, "after the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man,” he makes a real human being : or that when the Apostle declares of some hypocrites, that they have the “ form of godliness," he means the substance of all piety and virtue. though he adds in the next clause,

denying the power thereof." In no other connexion, would they hetray such a total disregard to sense as to confound the shadow with the substance, or the reflection with the object that reflects. But the word being," vragxws, they affirm, implies that Christ waj, by his original nature, in the form of God. Before they rest in this conclusion, let them answer Dr. Carpenter's question, “Did the Apostle mean to represent himself as, by his original nature, ' zealous towards God, when he says, (Acts xxii. 3.) Snawani ÜTag XW Tou osoy? To what hollow and miserable expedients are they obliged to have recourse? As to the word reog pn form, Parklıurst renders it outward appearance ; and he has the honesty to say that, in his apprehension, it does not in this place refer to Christ being real and essential Jehovah. To what tlien does it refer?. Not as the sturdy tritheist affirms, to essence; nor as the anthropomorphist might, with equal reason, affirm, to outward shape ; but to his divinely delegated powers, in the exercise of which, for the benefit of others, he manifested a disposition truly godlike. Being in the form of God no more implies that he was really God, than being in the form of a slave implies that he was really a slave. The one phrase is opposed to the other, and each means that Christ was in a certain state of similitude. In the power and authority with which he was invested by his heavenly Father, and in the mode in which he employed them for the temporal and eternal good of mankind, he bore a striking resemblance to the Deity.* In his simple and precarious mode of life, in his deprivations and sufferings, he resembled one in the condition of a slave. Had he been so disposed, he might bave reigned as a king, and triumphed as a God. But such was his humility, that he did not assume even the name Elohim, though so much better entitled to that appellation than Moses and all the other Jewish legislators to whom it was given. He had none of that pride of heart which led the Babylonian potentate to boast, “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will be like the Most High." He thought his similitude to God, his To Eiye soce Jiw, a phrase evidently pa

* It was the belief of a heathen philosopher, that in no respect could men approach so near to the Gods, as in giving health to the sick. Neque enim ulla alia re homines proprius ad Deos accedunt, quam salutem homiribus dando. Cic.—How closely to God then did he approximate, who went about doing good, and healing all manner of' sickness, and all manner of disease among the people ?


« AnteriorContinuar »