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with the Father. This inference is a plausible one; and, in words, this doctrine possesses a decided superiority over the High Arian scheme, (at least over Dr. Clarke's Arianism,) by preserving, in appearance, the proper unity of God; but if ideas are attached to the words employed, Trinitarianism is, in reality, either Tritheism or Sabellianism : if the Father, Son, and Spirit, are three persons, that is, three intelligent agents,* and each God, there must be three Gods; if Father, Son, and Spirit, are one God, they must also be one intelligent agent, or more accurately Father, Son, and Spirit, must be names merely for one intelligent agent, one God. That Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, is not the same person with the Father, is so completely forced upon the mind by the language of the Scriptures, that it is much to be feared that a large proportion of those Trinitarians who do connect ideas with their language respecting the Father, Son, and Spirit, really think of them as three " distinct infinite minds,” and of course as three Gods. Those who satisfy themselves with regarding the doctrine of Trinity in Unity as a mystery, without attempting to realize the language which they employ, would do well to examine the Scriptures, and see whether this mysterious doctrine was really taught by the Son of God, directly, or through his Apostles. My own conviction respecting the scriptural grounds of the doctrine of the Equality of the Son with the Father, I have already stated in p. 92; and in p. 106—109, I have adduced specific passages which are expressly contradictory to it.
* Sherlock, in his Vindication, (p. 66,) adopts decisive language. “ To say that there are three distinct persons, “and not three dis. tinct infinite minds is both heresy and nonsense.” And in p. 105, “ Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are as really distinct persons as Peter, James, and John."
Consideration of the Passages which are supposed to support the Doctrine of the PROPER DEITY of Jesus.
THESE passages may be conveniently examined under five heads : (1) Those in which Jesus is, or is supposed to be, called God; (2) Those in which it is supposed that the Creation of the natural world is ascribed to him ; (3) Those which ascribe to him other Titles, Perfections, and Powers, which are thought to be inconsistent with his Proper Humanity ;(4) Those which are supposed to teach his Superiority to Angels; and (5) Those in which it is thought that Jesus is represented as the object of Religious Worship.
Before entering on the explanations offered in this chapter, I solicit the Reader's attention to the evidence adduced in the third, (if he have not already examined it;) and especially in the sections beginning in pp. 93, 99, and 117. This evidence often forms the basis of the conclusions advanced.
Passages in which Jesus is, or is supposed to be,
Matt. i. 23. "They shall call his name IMMANUEL, which being
interpreted, is, GOD WITH us.'
I have already stated my conviction respecting the Introduction to Matthew's Gospel, (see p. 20, note); and with that conviction, cannot allow that any inference from this passage can weigh in the argument: but if Jesus had been called Immanuel, (which is not stated in any subsequent part of the New Testament,) the name* would have implied no more than those expressions imply which are recorded in Luke vii. 16. 'a great Prophet hath risen up among us, and, God hath visited his people.'-It is not said, ' Jesus shall be God with us, but they shall call his name, GOD IS WITH us:'and God was indeed with us by Jesus; He was with us by those wonderful works which Jesus wrought because God was with him ;I and He was with
* See p. 23. note (I).
+ Mr. Yates, in his Vindication of Unitarianism, p. 170—173, shows that the proper rendering of Immanuel' is 'God is with us.' In Is. viii. 16, the same words in the original are rendered God is with us,' “ In order," he says, p. 170,“ to perceive the true meaning of IMMANUEL, it is necessary to consider the singular manner in which proper names were formed and applied by the ancient Hebrews. It was common among them to give to their children names which were in reality short sentences, expressive of some divine favour conferred at the time of the child's birth. Thus Hagar called her new-born son ISHMAEL, which is, being interpreted, GOD HATH HEARD !-an exclamation expressive of her joy that God bad heard her affliction. (Gen. xvi. 11.) Agreeably to the same idiom most other Scripture dames are to be understood.”
# Acts x. 38.
us by Jesus, since by him He fully revealed His own gracious purposes to mankind. Jesus was the mercy-seat, where the God of love manifested His love to men ; and if our Saviour had been called Immanuel, I, for one, would have said that he was called so most justly.
Luke i. 16, 17. And many of the children of Israel shall he
(John) turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias.' As the Baptist went before Jesus, it has been inferred by some, that Jesus is intended by the words ' the Lord their God.'—This inference is contrary to the analogy of the Scriptures in general, and of the writings of Luke in particular; nor does the original justify it. The literal English is, ' And he shall go forth in His sight, προελεύσεται ενωπιον αυτου.* The Christ is in no way mentioned in the Angel's speech to Zachariah; nor does the construction in any way require such a reference here. John i. I. And the Word was God,'or,
a God.' If by the Word the Apostle meant Jesus Christ, he here gives the appellation God to him. I believe that he does this; and if, as I also believe, the Apostle did not regard his revered Lord as
II poepxouai is used nine times in the N.T. in three of which it signifies to proceed; diz. Matt. xxvi. 39. Mark xiv. 35. Acts xii. 10. If it be translated precede, an ellipsis must be supposed of TOV Xplotov, and the passage rendered, ' And in His sight shall be go before the Christ in the spirit and power of Elias. '--EVW TLOV very frequently occurs in Luke's writings, (see among other instances, Luke i. 15, where it is said, that the Baptist would be great in the sight of the Lord,) and is usually and properly rendered in reference to place.
a being possessed of a nature superior to that of man, he was fully justified in so doing, by the Jewish 'use of the appellation.* Jesus was the representative of God to mankind; and, as such, he was, in the Jewish phraseology, a God.f
Waterland, after urging against Clarke that he who is not supreme God cannot be properly God, says, that “ if by any way of allusion and “ resemblance, any thing be called God, because
resembling God in one or more particulars,
we are not to conclude that it is properly and “ truly God.” Again, “ Part of the complex “ idea which goes with the word God, is, that
* See pp. 62, 73. “ Schleusner on the word geos, sense 4, remarks, that it is used metaphorically, to denote one who acts by the order, command, and authority of God, and in the stead of God upon earth.” Simpson's Essays, Vol. II. p. 12. " The two espressions, the Word was a God, and, the Word was a Man, being both used concerning the same person, cannot both be taken in the plain obvious meaning of these terms to us, because this involves several palpable contradictions.” Ibid. p. 10. 6. If in the Introduction to his Gospel, Jolin bad asserted that Jesus was truly God, he would have proposed to his readers a Messiah, whose very nature and properties were totally different from those of the person whom the Prophets predicted, and whose advent the Jews eagerly expected. He would also bave contradicted the assertions of Moses, of John the liarbinger of the Messiah, of Jesus himself, and of his Apostles and Disciples that he was a man. Ibid. p. 17. But " in the first chapter of the Gospel of John, there are several characters which obviously prove the proper humanity of the Logos;" see o. 14. (comp. p. 85); 0. 30, 0. 41. 45. compared with Deut. xviii. 18, 19.) and v. 51. Ibid. p. 19.
+ If any object to this interpretation, that it supposes two meanings of the word geog in the same 'sentence, I refer them to John X. 34, 35. and Psalm xlv. 6, 7. for a complete removal of the difficulty.
I The following extracts were made, I believe, from the Vindication of the Divinity of Christ, p. 49–53. I cannot however pledge myself for the accuracy of the reference, or of the quotation itself as to words ; since I have not now the means of examining either.