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scholar will deny) the passage furnishes no proof that Christ is God.
For referring the latter clause to God the Father, the following considerations are submitted.
1. “God over all,” and “God blessed for ever," are both the appropriate and peculiar designations of God the Father. * Neither of them is once given to Christ in the Bible. Now it is quite incredible that St. Paul should thus abruptly, and without note, comment, or explanation, couple together and apply to Christ two well-known appellations of God the Father; and still no use be made of the doctrine.
2. A difficult or ambiguous text is to be explained according to the known sentiments of the writer. Now as we have no evidence that St. Paul believed Christ to be “God over all blessed for ever, we ought to refer the phrase, as he has in other places, to God the Father.
3. By referring the latter clause of the verse to God the Father, it expresses an important fact which the Apostle could not have overlooked in describing the prerogatives of the Jews that God had, in a peculiar manner, presided over all their interests and concerns,
4. Such ascriptions of praise to God are of very frequent occurrence, not only in the Scriptures but in other Jewish writings; and, as in the passage under consideration, in most cases we find the ellipsis of the substantive verb.
5. For referring the latter clause to God the Father, we have the authority of learned authors in general who are not Trinitarians, and also of many of the most eminent critics of unsuspected orthodoxy; among whom are Erasmus, Bucer, and Le Clerk.
6. According to Griesbach, Wetstein, and Whitby, many of the Christian Fathers denied in the most decided terms
* See Rom. i. 25. 2 Cor. xi. 31. Eph i. 3. iv. 6. 1 Tim. i. 11. vi. 15,
that Christ could be called “God over all;" referring the latter clause to God the Father. *
7. Those of the Christian Fathers who referred the latter clause to Christ, did not believe him to be God Supreme, but understood the term in its inferior sense, according to the views of the early Christians relative to the subordination of the Son to the Father.t
*“ There is no one of the Fathers, more eminent than Origen. "Supposing,' says Origen, in his work against Celsus, 'that some among the multitude of believers, likely as they are to have differences of opinion, rashly suppose that the Saviour is the God over all; yet we do not, for we believe him when he said, : The Father who sent me is greater than I.'[Origen cont. Cel. Lib. VIII. $ 16. App. I. 752.]
“Even after the Nicene Council, Eusebius, in writing against Marcellus, says:
"As Marcellus thinks, He who was born of the holy virgin, and clothed in flesh, who dwelt among men, and suffered what had been foretold, and died for our sins, was the very God over all; and for daring to say which, the church of God numbered Sabellius among atheists and blasphemers.'- [Euseb. Eccles. Theol. II. 4.)
“ Now it is incredible that the text in question should have been overLooked. But the early Fathers in making these, and a multitude of other similar declarations, concerning the inferiority of the Son to the Father, never advert to it. It evidently follows from this, that they had not the same conception, as modern Trinitarians have, of the meaning of uie passage. They had read tlie words of the Apostle in which he speaks of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed for evermore ; [2 Cor. xi. 31.) and the mystery of the Trinity being as yet but ill understood, they had not made such an advance in Orthodoxy as to believe, that Jesus Christ was the same being as his God and Father."
+ Tertullian says ; “We never speak of two Gods or two Lords, but following the Apostle, if the Father and Son are to be named together, we call the Father, God, and Jesus Christ, Lord.' • But when speaking of Christ a'one, I may call him God, as does the same Apostle ; Of whom is Christ, who is God over all blessed forever. For speaking of a ray of the sun hy itself, I inay call it the sun ; but when I mention at the same time the sun, from which this ray peoceeds, I do not then gire that name to the latter."- Norton's Stutement of Reasons, p. 149, 150.
Mr. Norton, in the same eonnection, mentions a writer under the name of Hippolytus, who, he says, “ explains it in reference to the declara
1 John v. 20. “We know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we might know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life."
There is nothing in the Greek corresponding to the word 'even,' which is improperly inserted in the Common Version. The preposition ev should be rendered through,' as it is in Rom. vi. 23, and in
passages. The clause thus corrected would read—“We are in him that is true, through his Son Jesus Christ.”'
" According to the Trinitarian exposition of these words, the true God is the Son of God, and the two persons, who are so clearly distinguished by St. John, are one being." To justify their exposition they maintain that "the pronoun * this' ought to be referred to the nearest antecedent, which is Jesus Christ”—making Jesus Christ to be the true God. According to this rule of interpretation Jesus Christ may be proved to be a deceiver and an antichrist. For John says, “ Many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” 2 John 7th verse. The pronoun is not always to be referred to the nearest antecedent. Other examples of its referring to the more remote antecedent may be seen in Acts, iv. 11, and vii. 19.
PASSAGES INTERPOLATED AND CORRUPTED. Acts vii. 59. “And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
There is nothing in the Greek corresponding to the word God.' tion of Christ thus rendered in the Common Version, · All things are delivered to me of the Father ;' conceiving the dominion over all things pot to have been essentially inherent in Christ as properly the Supreme God, but as assigned to him by the Father."
Acts xx. 28. “— the church of God, which he has purchased with his own blood.”
The true reading is, “— the church of the Lord, which he has purchased with his own blood.” See Griesbach.
1 Tim. iii. 16. “ God was manifest in the flesh.”
“The word 'God' is not found,” says Belsham,“ in the earliest and most approved manuscripts, nor in any ancient version of credit; nor is it cited by any early Greek writer, nor by any Latin writer whatever; and, what is decisive in the case, this text was never appealed to in the Arian controversy before the sixth century, when the word God is said to have been introduced into the Greek copies by Macedonius, bishop of Constantinople. The word is, therefore, most certainly spurious."*
Griesbach has corrected this text thus: “He who was manifest in the flesh."
1 John iii. 16. “Hereby we perceive the love of God, because he laid down his life for us."
There is nothing in the Greek corresponding to the words of God.'
1 John v. 7. This celebrated verse has been considered, Seetion X.
CHRIST IS EQUAL
QUOTED TO PROVE THAT
Zech. xiii. 7. “Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of Hosts."
The word “ fellow'' does not necessarily imply an equal. In Heb. i. 9, Christ is said to be anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows, that is, other messengers of
* Calm Inquiry, p. 144.
God. If the application of the term to Christ implies that he is equal with God, its application to mere men implies, that they are equal with Christ, and consequently equal with God.
John v. 18."— making himself equal with God." See
John x. 30. [ and my Father are one." See page 48.
John xiv 11. " Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me."
This passage is explained by verse 20. “At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you."
Phil. ji. 6. “ Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God."
Whatever may be the true import of this passage, no one, I think, will pretend that it is either desirable or necessary for God to have an equal — if by the word “equal" be meant absolute or perfect equality. To say nothing of the discordance of such a doctrine with the Scriptures, which plainly teach that God has no equal, it would evidently imply imperfection in Him who is infinite in every perfection. If any being in the universe were in all respects equal with God, he must necessarily be another God. If Christ were equal with the Triune God, he must, of course, be Triune himself. To assert that Christ, who is but one person, is, in all respects, equal with God who is three persons, would be absurd and false.
A form, as well as an image, is visible. Christ being the image of the invisible God, may be said to be in the form of God: that is, as God; or, in God's stead; or, like God; or, equal with God.- the terms being properly un. derstood. The Greek word here rendered equal properly signifies 'as.'
See page 49.