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him when on earth, as his God and Father, as well as the God and Father of his disciples ?* He does indeed use language respecting himself, which must have delighted the heart of his faithful disciple; since it manifested the glory and happiness with which he was rewarded for his perseverance and victory, and proved that he had power to give like glory and happiness to those also who were faithful unto the endet John saw him too receive the homage of those who, by his endurance unto death, had been redeemed to God; and though the whole was a vision, yet, for the time, its effect upon the mind of this favoured disciple, must have been that of reality, and must have been transporting beyond conception: but even in heaven he represents the Lamb as among the worshippers of Jehovah, the · Lord God Almighty.' In the latter part of the vision, he sees an august personage, called the Word of God, who is usually considered as Jesus himself;? and though this opinion seems to me attended with some difficulty, on the whole it is perhaps the most probable. If it be the case, as the passage refers to some awful period, when the judgments of God will be on all those nations which have not feared God and worked righteousness, the full explanation of it must be left to the event; but it obviously contains nothing inconsistent with Unitarianism. On the whole, since this sublime
• John xx. 17. 1 Ch. xv. 3.
+ See particularly Rev. iii. 21, &c. & Ch. xix. 11-16,
representation of the exalted state of Jesus contains nothing in any way inconsistent* with the belief of his simple humanity, and in no way indicates that his nature was superior to that of man, -as he speaks of God as his Gon,--and as the distinction is most strictly and uniformly observed between him (the grand subordinate agent in the Christian scheme, and therefore, in reference to the kingdom of the Messiah, the greatest of all beings under God, and that Great Being who, throughout the whole, is alone called God, and who alone is represented as truly and properly God, I consider it a very strong corroborative proof of the doctrine of the proper or simple humanity of Jesus: for it is to me almost inconceivable, that such a vision should contain no intimation, for even no positive proof,) of his superior nature, if he possessed such nature; and absolutely inconceivable, that it should contain no positive proof that he was truly and properly God, God over all blessed for ever, if such were the fact.
As I have extended my view of the evidence for these doctrines far beyond my original intention, I shall now briefly recapitulate it in the order which I have followed, requesting my readers to interpret any expressions which, from their conciseness, may appear ambiguous, by the paragraphs to which reference is made; and premising the following explanation of terms. 1. By the Equality of Jesus with the Father, I refer to the doctrine so extensively adopted by the Christian world, and expressed in the Articles of the Church of England, viz. that he was the very
* The words, 'I am Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, and, (ch. i. 11,) are rejected by Griesbach as spurious; and in ch. i. 8, le reads, saith the Lord God, who is' &c.-Some interpret the expression the root of David,' ch. v. 5. xxii, 16, as referring to the pre-existence, or even the creating power of Jesus; but I am not aware that any consider it as a proof of those doctrines. That the expression means a rod from the stem of David, a scion from his roots,' is obvious from Isa. xi. 10, compared with v. 1. of the same chapter, and I think that it farther implies such a shoot, as itself takes root and becomes a tree,-a root arising from the trunk of David. That the word õisa root is several times used in the Apocrypha in the sense of offspring, see Schleusner, No. 6.
and eternal God,” 66 of one substance, POWER, and eternity,” with the Father. 2. By the Proper Deity of Jesus, I refer to the opinion that our Lord, though inferior to the Father, was very greatly superior in nature to man, that he possessed attributes which rendered him truly and properly God, and that he was the Creator of the world. 3. By the Pre-existence of Jesus I mean the opinion that he existed before he came into this world, in a state of great glory and happiness, without supposing that he possessed any of the essential attributes of Deity.* And 4, by the Simple or Proper Humanity of Jesus, I understand the opinion, that this Representative of the Most High, this illustrious Revealer of his gracious purposes to mankind, was striciy and properly a human being, having no existence before his human birth.
* Many of those passages which the Arian can fairly adduce, in favour of his opinion of the proper deity (and consequently preexistence,) of our Lurd, either prove the proper deity, or are in no respect contrary to the simple humanity. The evidence appearing to favour the simple pre-existence, is very slight indeed; and, while those who maintain it, agree with the Unitarian in the opinion, that the evidence for the proper deity of our Lord is totally inadequate to prove a doctrine so inconsistent with the general tenor of the New Testament, they do not seem to be aware, that it is, in a great measure, on the same evidence, (which proves more or nothing,) that their own doctrine rests,
The doctrine of the equality of Jesus with the Father is favoured indirectly by the general evidence for the proper deity of our Lord; but it is opposed by much of what is contained in this evidence. On the other hand, whatever opposes the doctrine of the proper deity of Jesus, still more opposes that of his equality with the Father. The reader is therefore requested to refer to the second column as well as to the first, for the evidence against the last mentioned doctrine.
If the evidence for the proper deity, or preexistence of our Lord, be inadequate, the doctrine of his proper or simple humanity follows of course. Hence where Jesus Christ is spoken of, silence as to any supposed superior nature, is positive evidence in favour of his simple or proper humanity.
The six following pages contain, I trust, a faithful SUMMARY OF THE EVIDENCE OF EACH SEPARATE BOOK IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, IN FAVOUR OF THE PRINCIPAL OPINIONS RESPECTING THE PERSON OF JESUS CHRIST. I believe no explanation will be found necessary respecting the plan adopted.
Equality with the Father.
MATTHEW Nothing in favour of it ; Favoured by obscure inA.D. 64. and directly opposed by ferences from ch. xi. 27.
cli. xxiv. 36. xxvi. 42. i. 23 ; but directly opxxvii. 46, &c.
posed by the general tenor of the whole.
MARK A.D. 64.
Nothing - Absolutely can- Inferences from xiii. 32 ; tradictory to xiii. 32. but directly opposed by
the general tenor of the whole,
LUKE Nothing.- Directly op- Inference from š. 22;
Gospel posed by s. 22. xxii. 29, but directly opposed by A.D. 03 or 43, 44.
the general tenor of the 64.
Acts Nothing; unless it be in- Inference from the comA.D. 63 or ferred from the common mön rendering of ix. 14. 64. rendering in ix. 14. 21. 21, and a false reading
- Absolutely contradic- | in xx. 28.- Directly optory to ji. 22, 36. x. 38, posed by the general te&c.
nor of the whole.
PETER A.D. 64.
Nothing.–Direetly op- Nothing but an unjustifiposed by 1 Pet. i. 3.
able rendering of 2 Pet. i. 1.
PAUL Thess. A.D. 52.
Nothing.–Directly op- Nothing.–Directly opposed by i. 10.
posed by i, 9, 10.
Gal. Nothing.- Directly op- Nothing. A.D. 52 or posed by i. 1. iv: 4, &c.
1 Cor. A.D. 56.
Nothing-- Absolutely con- Inference from the com-
1 Tim. Nothing-- Absolutely con- False reading of iii, 16.A.D. 56 or tradictory to i, 17. ii, 5. Absolutely contradictory vi. 15, 16.
to i. 17; and directly opposed by i. 1, 2. ii, 5. vi, 15, 16.