Imagini ale paginilor


are all things and we to him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and we through

Convinced as I am that the Christian church at this period was strictly Unitarian, I do not expect to see direct declarations of the proper humanity of our Saviour ;t and I expect it less in the writings of Paul than of any other, because he knew the Lord only in his glorified state, and was, from the nature of his writings, led principally to speak of him in that state: yet it is obvious that the Apostle frequently speaks of him as a man; and as in the Epistle to the Galatians (as above noticed) he lays a stress

• Ch. viii. 6. If the first ta Tavra (all things) be not more extensive than the second, and we may be allowed to interpret the latter by various other passages of Scripture, (see the Note on John i. 3.) the meaning of the passage probably is : « To us Christians, there is but one God, our Father, from whom all our christian blessings proceed, and to whom we offer up our worsbip; and one Lord, even Jesus Christ, through whom all these blessings have been communicated, and through whom we have access unto the Father.' The passage is so elliptical that its particular import is somewhat obscure; but nothing can be clearer than its general import, which, if words have any meaning, completely refutes the idea that Jesus Christ is “ the very and eternal God,” “ of one substance, power, and eternity with the Father.”

† It may be said in reply, that the deficiency of direct declarations respecting the divine nature of our Saviour, arose from the doctrine of his simple humanity being then unknown. If any lay a stress upon this argument, let them prove that the belief in a superior nature was universal among the apostolical converts; let them also shew whence it was derived ; and let them remember, that if such superior nature were not taught by the Apostles, (and if it were, the silence of Luke is unaccountable,) tbe belief of their converts must have been strictly Unitarian.— It is not sufficiently attended to by the opponents of Unitarianism, that one who lived and died as a man, would not be supposed, by any Jew at least, to be truly and properly God, or even to be possessed of a superior nature, if the fact were not taught by proper authority. If it were not taught, the belief of the apostolical converts would, as a matter of course, contain nothing inconsistent with the simple humanity of Jesus ; --in other words, they would be Unitarians.

upon his being in the same circumstances with those whom he came to redeem from the law, so in this Epistle he lays a peculiar stress upon his being man, in connexion with the doctrine of a resurrection ; for since by man came death, by man cometh also the resurrection from the dead.'* The Apostle farther speaks (ch. ix. 5.) of the Brethren of the Lord, i.e. according to the opponents of Unitarianism, of one who was the very and eternal God, or, of the highest of created beings himself God and the Creator of the world ;) and he says that he died, was buried, and rose again.t It seems to me almost incredible that the Apostle should thus unguardedly write, if he believed him to be “ God-Man,"

“ the I AM," &c.—But I must not omit to observe, that there are three passages which are thought at least to imply the pre-existence of our Saviour, and one passage which may refer to divine worship being paid to him by the first converts. It is said that the Apostle calls him


1 Cor. xv. 21. I cannot see any force in the argument of the A postle, in o. 12-21, if Jesus were not a proper human being, as to nature in all respects like his brethren. Paul maintains that the resurrection of the dead was not impossible (as some of the Corinthians appear to have asserted) because Christ had been raised from the dead : and in v. 12, 15, 16, he argues, that if the resurrection of the dead be impossible, then Christ could not have been raised from the dead. Now to infer from the impossibility of the resurrection of dead men, that a God-man, or a super-human being could not be raised up, would, as far as I can judge, be totally inconclusive. -I employ that strange, unscriptural compound, God-man, not with a view to throw ridicule on our opponents; but because it is frequently employed by them, and is very expressive of their sentiments. I think the Apostles would have used a similar appellation, if their belief had authorized it.

+ I Cor. xv. 3, 4.

• the Lord from heaven ;* that he declares that the spiritual rock which followed the Israelites was the Christ ;t that he warns the Christians not to tempt the Christ, as some of them (the Israelites) tempted him, and was destroyed by serpents ;# and that he speaks of the Christians as calling upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. I do not hesitate to affirm, that however much these passages may suit a preconceived hypothesis, they afford no proof of the doctrine of a superior nature; and that they are in no way whatever inconsistent with the proper or simple humanity of our Saviour. To prevent repetition, I refer for the proof of this assertion to Chap. IV. and V. 5. in which I shall consider these passages.

IX. The first Epistle to Timothy (A.D. 56,)|| contains the Apostle's instructions to his son in the faith; and, if Jesus Christ be spoken of, it is reasonable to expect that here also his superiority in nature to man would certainly be mentioned. Yet the truth is, that (with the exception of the noted passage, 66 God was manifest in the flesh,” which almost indisputably was not written by the Apostle as it now stands,) this Epistle in no way countenances the idea of such superiority; and it contains one passage which manifestly implies the contrary, and than which nothing more explicit could have been

1 Cor. xv. 47. + Ch. x. 4. | Ch. x. 9. § Ch. i. 2. || I prefer the later date assigned to this Epistle, viz. the close of A.D. 63.

T 1 Tim. iii. 16.

written, unless doctrines inconsistent with the proper unity of God, and the proper humanity of Christ, had already been taught, viz. · For there is ONE GOD, and one mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all.'* The Apostle has also a noble doxology, in which, as really written by him, the unity of the Deity is asserted in so express apd unqualified a manner, that, taken in connexion with the passage already mentioned, it appears to me to demonstrate that the Apostle Paul was pot acquainted with the doctrine of the Trinity, or of the proper Deity of our Saviour, or, if he were, did not believe either:

- Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory, for ever and

Amen. X. The Epistle to Titus was written near the same time with the preceding; and, as most persons will admit, contains nothing which tends to weaken the proof just spoken of: but as some of the advocates for the deity of Christ, seem disposed to adopt the singular rendering of ch. ii. 13, revived by Mr. Sharp, I shall be obliged to notice that rendering in my second Part, (see Chap V.); and I shall here content myself with remarking, that to suppose the Apostle Paul to have called Jesus Christ « our great God and Saviour," when he had a short time before declared that there was one God, (before, the only God,) to the exclusion of the man Jesus Christ, is to do common sense and the Apostle more injustice, than to suppose that he did not minutely conform to a grammatical canon in a case where no ambiguity could result from the neglect of it.


• 1 Tim. ii. 5.

+ Ch. 1. 17. 0004 wise is left out of the text by Griesbach, upon authority which must satisfy every critic,

# " Of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.”

XI. The next in Lardner's order is the Second Epistle to the Corinthians (A.D. 57.) At the beginning of this Epistle the Apostle uses the expression the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."* In various parts of this Epistle he speaks of God and Christ, without the least intimation that they are one and the same being ; and even in a manner which proves that he regarded them as two separate beings; and that he did not consider Christ as God, in the same sense at least in which he used the term in reference to the Supreme Being. He says that Christ is • the image of God,'t and it cannot therefore be supposed that Paul considered him as God himself. He speaks of the sufferings of Christ, I and says that God raised up the Lord Jesus : and there is nothing in the Epistle which, of itself, would prove that the Apostle regarded Jesus as a being of a superior nature to that of man;

2 Cor. i. 3. also xi. 31. + Ch. iv. 4. * Lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine upon them.'—Compare v. 6, from which it is evident in what sense Jesus was the image of God; diz. that by him the gracious purposes of God were made known. Thus he was to us the representative of the Most High.-In 1 Cor. xi. 7, man is said to be the image and glory of God. Ch. i. 5.

5 C. iv. 14.

« ÎnapoiContinuați »