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support to the doctrine of the natural superiority of Jesus to angelic beings, is, Heb. i. 4. “Being made so much greater than the angels.”
If this had been rendered (as with strict justice it might have been,) · Having become so much superior to the messengers, the mind would at once hare been led back to v. 1, 2, where the prophets are spoken of, who assuredly were the angels or messengers of Jehovah. (See Mark i. 2. where angel is used in reference to the Baptist.)-The Writer's object is to show the superiority of the Christian dispensation over every other; and he begins by showing the superiority of the Mediator of it. The preceding communications of the Supreme Being had been made, he says, by the Prophets; He now spake to men by a Son. The former were simply messengers of God; and though this was honourable to them, yet it was not exclusively so, for the Scriptures represent even inanimate objects as sharing that honour, (v.7); but God had pot given to any of them the title of Son, as He had to him by whom He now spake to mankind, (0. 5.) This parallel the Writer continues at least as far as ch. ii. 5. where he takes up a different view of the subject. “The Writer having already proved that Christ was superior to angels, viz. to all preceding prophets and messengers from God, now proceeds, through the remainder of this chapter, to prove that he is in his nature inferior to angels considered as beings of an order superior to mankind, for that the nature of his commission required that he should be a proper human being." See Improved Version on this verse; and the whole of the notes on ch. i. ii. are particularly deserving of attention. It seems to me clear, that the Writer to the Hebrews having endeavoured in ch. i. 1. ii. 5. to impress his readers with the high dignity of the Apostle and High-priest of our profession, proceeds in the following part of ch. ii. to obviate a natural suggestion, if his office were so dignified and important, why was not a being of superior nature appointed to fill it?
Those Passages in which it is thought that Jesus is
represented as an object of religious worship.
(See p. 103, &c.) WHEN I consider the frequent and express injunctions in the Jewish Scriptures, against worshiping any other being than GOD, who through. out the whole is spoken of as one person,—the express injunctions and example* of our Lord, directing his followers to worship his God and Father,-and the striking fact that not one
* If Jesus could not have prayed to himself, (see however p. 104, note) he might bave prayed to the holy spirit, and that he did not, is very unfavourable to the Trinitarian system. The Liturgy of the Church of England contains prayers addressed to the holy spirit ; I should have asked if this too be supposed to be justified by the Scriptures, if I had not met with a citation in favour of it in the Christian Observer, July, 1809. It is this, 1 Cor. vi. 19. “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God ?'
injunction occurs throughout the whole of the Christian Scriptures, to offer religious worship to Jesus,- I feel anfeigned astonishment that any who make them their rule of faith and practice, should consider prayer to Jesus as a duty; still more, that' any believers in the proper humanity of Christ, should have thought the religious worship of Jesus justifiable. The latter was the case with the early Socinians; and the fact of itself affords a sufficient reason for our declining the appellation generally given us, by those who wish to hold up us and our principles to reproach.
The Liturgy of the Church of England was probably drawn up by different individuals; and though in several parts of it prayer is addressed to Jesus, and in some to the holy spirit, yet, in general, (as appears from Dr. Clarke's induction subjoined to his Scripture Doctrine of the Trinity,) the worship is scriptural, addressed to the Father only. One passage cited by Dr. Clarke (from the Collect for the 18th Sunday after Trinity,) is to me very striking, “ To follow THEE the ONLY GOD, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” It appears from Dr. Clarke's quotations, that there have not been wanting persons of high station in the Church of England, who would have rejoiced if all had been thus; and it may be thought a somewhat remarkable circumstance, that the prelates of these days are not known to express similar sentiments.
- In the “ first and best ages,” says the learned Bishop “ Bull, the Churches of Christ directed all their “ PRAYERS, according to the Scriptures, to God “ONLY, through the alone mediation of Jesus “ Christ.” And Dr. Wake, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, says, “ The Lord's prayer “ teaches us, that we should PRAY to GOD ONLY, “ and to Him as our Father, through Jesus “ Christ our Lord."* Would to God that the time, were already come, when all Christians will worship the Father, and Him only, in spirit and in truth !
No person acquainted with the original can lay any stress
of the Public Version which speak of the disciples and others as worshiping Jesus: the original word (like our own when the Public Version was made)t is alike applicable to religious worship,-to the expression of reverence due to a messenger of God, religious homage,—and to merely civil homage and respect; but it is much to be wished, that a word which was originally of ambiguous import, and which is now almost exclusively appropriated to religious worship, were changed in the authorized translation of the Scriptures, as it is in that of Archbishop Newcome, for one more suited to the present state of the language. Lest, however, any
* For these quotations see Dr. Samuel Clarke's Scripture Doctrine of the Trinity, p. 435.
I have left the above passage as it is in the 20 Ed. p. 208. It has brought down many severe animadversions upon me; and the Bishop of St. David's says, that “a grosser misrepresentation of authority never was employed to mislead the incautious Reader.” I wish this were the fact.-In my Reply to Archbishop Magee, p. 129, I have refuted the Bishop's charge, and to this I refer the Reader. The passage from Bishop Bull, however, as given by Dr. Clarke (from whom I derived it,) is out of its connexion ; and his testimony to the practice of the best ages of the Church must be regarded as unintentional, though not the less valuable. The whole passage runs thus, “ Whereas, in the first and best ages, the Churches of Christ directed all their prayers, according to the Scriptures, to God only, through the alone mediation of Jesus Christ, the Liturgy of the present Church of Rome is interspersed with supplications and prayers to angels and saints, the unwarrantableness of which I have above sufficiently shown.” (3d Ed.)
† Among other proofs that the word worship formerly referred to civil respect only, the Reader is referred to the appellation worshipful still in use, and to the clause of the Marriage Service where the man is made to declare to the woman, “With my body I thee worship."
readers should receive a wrong direction in their inquiries on this most important subject, from such expressions as “ they worshipped him," &c. I beg their attention to the following extract. “ The congregation wor
shipped the Lord and the king.* Nebuchad
nezzar fell down on his face and worshipped “ Daniel.t Abigail and Mephibosheth, accord“ing to the Hebrew, worshipped David in 1 Sam.
xxv. 23. 2 Sam. ix. 6. The word rendered bowing in the former passage referred to, and
doing reverence in the latter, in our translation, " is in the original the very same as is made use 66 of in Ps. cxxxii. 7. xcv. 6. come let us
worship the Lord our Maker.' The servant in " the Gospel fell down and worshipped his Lord. “ The man at the feast in the Gospel, was for his “humility to receive worship from all at table 6 and persons were to come and worship at the “ feet of the church at” Philadelphia. I * 1 Chron. xxix. 20.
t Dan. ii. 48. Matt. xviii. 26. Luke xiv. 10. Red. ii. 9-James's Short View, p. 78.