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These are all practicable renderings of the passages referred to. I quote them together, be, cause they depend upon the same grammatical canon : and I introduce them in this head, bę, cause Tit. ii. 13, if it must be so rendered, is a direct evidence of the equality of him whom the Apostle calls the MẠN Christ Jesus, with Him whom he calls the ONLY GOD, the ONLY WISE God, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ..
The full examination of the canon on which these renderings are founded, would lead into investigations which would be inconsistent with my present object. I refer the critical reader with great satisfaction to the pamphlet before mentioned (p. 55, note), for proof that these renderings are unnecessary, and the common renderings fully justifiable.* The latest defenders of Mr. Sharp's renderings (viz. Dr. Middleton and Eclectie Reviewer,)t seem to lay little or no stress upon any except Eph, v. 5.
5. Tit. ii. 13. 2 Pet. i. l; and of these Dr. M. con. siders the first as the least questionable.' The least questionable, however, in a grammaticali point of view, is the second, Tit. ii. 13; and if it be admitted that the canon need not be applied to it, still more must this be admitted in the other cases. Now that Mr. Sharp's ren
* In Appendix III. I have thought desirable to give a brief view of the critical arguments.
t I leave this as in the Second Edition (1811), because I am not aware that any additional light has been since thrown on the subject. (3d. Ed.)
On account of the position of ruwv.
dering, “ The glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ," ought not to be adopted, I infer from the following considerations taken together. (1) Though accordant with the Greek idiom, it is not required by it.* (2) If the Apostle had intended to give the epithet GREAT GOD to the Man Christ Jesus, he might have done it unambiguously by saying, the appearing of Jesus Christ our great God and Saviour,' or of our great God Jesus Christ,' &c. (3) The Apostle calls Jesus Christ Man, and reasons from his being man, but in no instance calls him God, much less the GREAT GOD. (4) He uniformly speaks of God and Christ as two distinct beings. (6) He speaks of the Father as the God of Jesus, as the ONLY GOD, as the ONLY WISE GOD; and twicet he declares, as explicitly as words can do, and in a manner which necessarily confines his declaration to the Father, to the exclusion of Jesus Christ, that there is ONE GOD.
After these statements, I assert, without a moment's hesitation, that Mr. Sharp's rendering of these words of Paul is totally unscriptural, expressly contradictory to the plain and obvious assertions of the Apostle himself.* To do justice to the Apostle, the genuine readings in question should be rendered as follows. Eph. v. 5. 'In the kingdom of Christ and of God.' 2 Thess. i. 12. According to the grace of our God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.' 1 Tim. v. 21. • I charge thee before God and (the Lord] Jesus Christ.' 2 Tim. iv. 1. 'I charge thee before God and Jesus Christ.' Tit. ii. 13. · The glorious appearing of the great God and of our Saviour Jesus Christ.' 2 Pet. i. 1. By the justification of our God and of our Saviour Jesus Christ.' Jude iv.. Denying the only Sovereign and our Lord Jesus Christ.'+
* For the proof of this I refer to Blunt and Winstanley, particu. larly to the latter. He has proved, that where the signification of the nouns renders farther mark of personal distinction unnecessary, the second article is not unfrequently omitted, as in the cases under consideration : and before any one adduces these texts as proofs of the Deity of Christ, he ought to prove, 1. That the words not only may but must be so rendered, or %. That the signification of the nouns does not render farther mark of distinction unnecessary. That Dr. Middleton and other learned advocates for the canon of Mr. Sharp, do not refute Mr. Winstanley's temperate but decisive statements (if known to them) may reasonably be attributed to ina ability. (See Appendix III.)
+ See p. 37, 40,
The unlearned reader may enter a little into the grammatical nicety in question, by the common rendering of Tit. ii. 13. 'the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.' Probably no person who had been accustomed to tbink of God and Christ as two distinct beings, could feel any doubt as to the meaning of these words; yet they certainly leave it somewhat doubiful, as to the pliraseology merely, whether the words the great God, and our Saviour, thus connected by and and preceded by of, do not refer to the same person Jesus Christ. If Paul had written in English, and had never had any idea that Jesus Christ was, or would be, considered as the great God, I suppose that he would not have hesitated in employing the phraseology in the common version : if he had been scrupulously careful to prevent it from being imagined, that he meant Jesus Christ by the great God, he would probably have written, and of our Saviour ;' if, lastly, he intended to call Jesus Christ the great God, as he never did so before, (and we have no reason to suppose that any other Apostle ever did,) in order to put such a singular appellation out of all doubt, he would in all probability have said, of Jesus Christ the great God and our Saviour,' or of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ.' The Greek is (from a similar cause) just as ambiguous as the English, and no more ; and I contend tbat no one, who allowed the Apostle to be his own interpreter, could suppose that by the great God’he meant Jesus Christ.
† The true reading of 2 Tim. iv. I, and the very probable reading 1 John v. 7,8. For there are three that bear record " in heaven,
the Father, the Word, and the holy spirit ; and these three are one (év). And there are three that bear witness in earth," the spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree in one.'
No one with any pretensions to critical knowledge can doubt as to the spuriousness of the passage. It is sufficient to repeat the assertion already made, that it was not written in Greek till at least 1100 years after the Epistle itself was written. It rests almost wholly upon the testimony and fidelity of Vigilius Tapsensis, who first cited it, about 400 years after the Epistle was written; which Vigilius was a noted forger of books under other person's names, and very probably wrote the creed called the Creed of St. Athanasius, but which Athanasius certainly did not write.*
of 1 Tim. v. 21, exclude those passages from Mr. Sharp's canon. It is deserving of notice, that, in every other of the cases, the governing word refers to God and our Lord Jesus Christ, not only equally but as one subject. It is not the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Christ, but, the one kingdom of God and Christ;' not the manifestation of the great God and the manifestation of our Saviour Jesus Christ, but the one ' manifestation of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ ; not,' denying the only Sovereign and denying our Lord Jesus Christ' separately, but both together and at once. And I consider it as at least highly probable, that it is upon this principle that the article is prefixed to the first noun, though it is not prefixed to the second. Mr. Winstanley has given the principle generally (Vindication p. 34,) and applied it to Eph. v.5. Whether he was aware that it equally applies to all the renderings in question I do not know; but he does not appear to lay the stress upon this application of it wbich it obviously deserves.
• The opinions of the Eclectic Reviewers will not be suspected of heterodoxy, and I therefore transcribe their judgment (March 1809,) respecting this passage. After giving a brief, but adequate, summary of the evidence against it, (for it, it can scarcely be said with truth that there is any,) they say, “ Under these circumstances “ we are unspeakably ashamed, that any modern divines should
1 John v. 20. «And we know that the Son of God is come, and
bath given us an understanding that we may know Him that is true; and we are in (ev) Him that is true, by (ev) His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.' The Apostle obviously means to assert that He (and He only) whom Jesus had given them an understanding to know, is the true God and the source of everlasting life ; and he accordingiy directs his disciples, in the next verse, to keep themselves from idols. That this (OUTOS) may refer to the remote antecedent must be admitted by all; for otherwise, in 2 John 7, the Apostle calls his revered Lord a deceiver and an antichrist :' that therefore it must, is obvious from John xvii. 3. where, as has been often observed, Jesus himself, praying to the FATHER calls Him the ONLY TRUE GOD.
The foregoing are, to the best of my knowledge, all the passages which can be considered as directly countenancing the doctrine, that Jesus is a person of one substance, power, and eternity with the Father. This doctrine, however, receives some support from those passages which are supposed to prove the proper Deity of our Lord; for since the language of Scripture is very express, that there is but one God, it is inferred that the Son, if God, must be one God
“ have fought pedibus et unguibus for the retention of a passage so “ indisputably spurious.” And again, “ They are in our esteem the “ best advocates of the Trinitarian doctrine, who join in exploding “ such a gross interpolation, and in protesting against its being still “ permitted to occupy a place in the common copies of the
New « Testament."