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104. (Heb. iv. 5, 6.) “Moses indeed was faithful in all His house (God's house) as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were afterward to be spoken; but Christ as a Son over His house (i.e. God's house).' Why should Moses be spoken of simply as
a servant' and Christ as 'a Son,' if they were both equally human beings, equally prophets, equally sincere and faithful in doing the work which it was given them to do? Moses was as really raised up by God to be the leader of His people Israel as was Jesus of Nazareth, and only on the hypothesis that the nature of Jesus was in some respects different from that of Moses, and higher, would the use of these two terms, a lower and a higher, seem to be justified.
105. (Heb. v. 9.) “And having being made perfect, He became unto all them that obey Him the Author (or cause) of eternal salvation.' Of what man,-mere man,-however highly exalted, would it be right to use such terms as these ? That Christ should be in any fundamental sense the Author or cause of man's eternal salvation, places Him out of the category of persons human, and among persons Divine.
106. (Heb. vii. 25.) “Wherefore also He is able to save to the uttermost(orinviolable) them that drawnear unto God through Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.' Apply such language as this to the saintliest of all the Old Testament saints, to the saintliest man or woman whom you have ever known or of whom you have heard, and would you not think the language inflated, exaggerated, bordering, in fact, upon profanity? And yet it is applied, without the slightest guard, without the least hint that it is improper, or that it is anything but perfectly sober language, to the Lord Jesus Christ.
107. (Heb. X. 26.) 'But now once at the end (or consummation) of the ages hath He been manifested, to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself (or by His sacrifice).' No such language as this was ever used in reference to any Jewish high priest, however eminent in personal character ; and certainly no Christian apostle, or minister at a Christian altar, has ever dreamed of applying such words to himself. To put away sin by His own
sacrifice, or the sacrifice of Himself,' is what no Jew or Christian ever attempted to do, ever claimed to do, ever supposed himself capable of doing. And yet why not? Why should language like this be applied exclusively to Jesus, if He were but a man who died the death of a martyr ?
108. (Heb. x. 28, 29.) 'A man that hath set at nought Moses' law dieth without compassion, on the word of two or three witnesses. Of how much sorer punishment, think ye, shall he be judged worthy who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified an unholy (or, a common) thing, and hath done despite unto the spirit of grace ?' Here again the great Jewish lawgiver and Jesus are brought into juxtaposition,-Moses and the Son of God. Why should it be a greater sin to disobey and reject Christ than to disobey and reject Moses, if Christ were only a man, as it is admitted Moses was ?
109. I now ask attention to the paragraph in the 13th chapter, beginning at ver. 18, and ending at ver. 29, in which there is so vivid a contrast presented between the two dispensations, the two covenants, the Old and New. Is there not in the tone of the whole paragraph an immediate and strong suggestion, not only of the superiority of Christianity over Judaism, but of Christ over Moses, a suggestion of the heavenly, the Divine, in the case of Christ, as there is not in the case of Moses? They did not escape who refused him that warned them on earth,that is, as I take it, Moses, -much more shall not we escape who turn away from Him that warneth, or, that is from Heaven. The one was the voice of a man, a divinely-inspired man, but still a man only; the other voice was the voice of the Son of God, out of His own native heavens.
110. (Heb. xiii. 20.) 'Now the God of peace, who brought again from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep, with (or, by) the blood of the eternal covenant, even our Lord Jesus, make you perfect in every good thing (or, work), to do His will, working in us (or, you) that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever and ever (or, unto the ages of the ages). Amen.' This is not quite the language that one human being would be justified in using of another. Easterns do use what to us are extreme figures of speech, but neither John, nor Paul, nor any of the most mystical of Christian writers or members of the Christian Church of whom we have ever heard or known anything, have permitted themselves an indulgence in such a form of speech as is here found, because they have felt that the words could apply to the Lord Jesus, and to Him only, in their full sense, and that applied to a merely human being they would be unreal and mischievous.
111. Having completed my remarks on the Epistles of St. Paul, I now come to those of St. Peter. I am bound to admit that the two Epistles of Simon Peter do not bear upon their faces any of the direct, or indirect evidences to the personal divinity of Christ, such as are to be found in the Epistles of St. Paul. I have no doubt in my own mind—but this is, of course, subjective evidence, and ought to be taken only for what it is worth—that Peter did really believe in the Divine nature of his Lord; but that belief does not come out in vivid unmistakeable phraseology in his writings, as it does in the writings of St. Paul. Simon Peter's references to our Lord dying, or suffering for sin ; to His bearing our sin on, or to the tree; the phraseology by which he refers to Jesus, phraseology which the modern humanitarian would never dream of using, were it not already supplied to his hand; and the entire tone of his Epistles,-carry with them, to me at least, an irresistible suggestion that the man who wrote them was writing, not of a brother man, born under the law of sin and death,' an imperfect, fallible, sinful creature, but of a Divine Being, who had entered into the conditions of our humanity, and who was Lord of all men, as no mere man is or can ever be. St. Peter, unlike his brother Paul, was not a great theologian, while much of the phraseology he used was determined by the fact that he was the apostle of the circumcision, or to the Jews, even as St. Paul was the apostle of the uncircumcision, or to the Gentiles. Possibly, had their official positions been reversed, their language would have differed.
The general Epistles of St. James and St. Jude are next in order of time. To those who desire to study these Epistles carefully and exegetically, I would most strongly recommend Dr. Plumptre's notes on them in the Cambridge Bible for Schools. That divine is a most scholarly, sober, Christian man; of no particular school in the Established Church, but full of generous sympathy with truth wherever it may be found, and far too thoroughly grounded in Biblical and other knowledge to speak or reason flippantly or inexactly. Dr. Plumptre treats exhaustively the question of the relation between the Second Epistle of St. Peter and the Epistle of St. Jude, and to his remarks I refer my readers.
112. In ver. I of St. Jude's Epistle, he speaks of those who are called, as not only beloved in God the Father,' but as ‘kept for Jesus Christ ;' in ver. 4, of Jesus Christ as our only Master and Lord,' or, the only Master and our Lord Jesus Christ; and in ver. 21, the persons to whom the apostle is writing are not only besought to keep themselves in the love of God, but to
look for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.' I find myself unable to understand how a Jew, believing in every fibre of him in Jehovah as One, could use language of this kind of a mere man, without feeling that he was treading upon dangerous ground, and subjecting himself to the imputation of forgetting the eternal distinctions between the Creator and the creature.
113. With respect to the Epistle of St. James, just as there is no controversial element in it, such as appears, for example, in Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews, so there is no special reference to the writer's belief as to the divinity of his Lord. In the opening verse he speaks as 'a servant (or bond servant) of God, and of the Lord Jesus Christ.' In 5th chap., vers. 1o, II, he refers to the prophets who spake in the name of the Lord,' and to what he calls 'the end of the Lord,' in the case of Job, the Lord' in the New Testament being uniformly a phrase referring, not to God as God, but to Jesus Christ. One-fails to see how 'the prophets could speak in the name of the Lord,' or in what way the Lord could be associated with Job's case, if He had no existence prior to His appearance on earth, if, indeed, He were only a man, sharing our common nature, and of like passions with ourselves.
Modern critics—whether in the Christian Church, or out of itare agreed that the Epistles of the New Testament bearing the name of John were written by 'the beloved disciple. I would refer such persons as are interested in the authorship of what is called “the Revelation of St. John the Divine,' or the Apocalypse, to the Speaker's Commentary on the New Testament, vol. iv. p. 405, in which they will find a most elaborate introduction to the 'Revelation' by Dr. Lee, Archbishop King's Lecturer in Divinity in the University of Dublin. The learned professor comes to the conclusion that the writer of the Apocalypse was the Apostle St. John, and that the Apocalypse and the Fourth Gospel, together with the three Epistles which bear St. John's name, were written by one and the same author. This question of authorship is also discussed in Ellicott's New Testament Commentary, vol. iii. p. 523 ; in Sear's Fourth Gospel (Boston: Noyes & Co).; and in Westcott on the Canon of the New Testament.
114. (1 John i. 1-4.) The paragraph is too long for quotation. But it will be seen that the writer is referring not to an ideal, not to an abstraction, but to a person, who had been heard, and seen, and handled. The writer is thinking of the Eternal Life which was with the Father. This Eternal Life, he says, was manifested to himself and to his brother disciples. In the manifestation was life, the life, the Word of Life, to which he would bear witness, and show, by this word of testimony. God was like the Word of Life (or Word), that very Word they themselves had known, and which brought them into fellowship with itself, and with the Father, which gave them fulness of joy, and which joy he desired that those to whom he wrote should share. Now when John wrote these words, and gave forth these teachings, what was his thought of the personality of his Master ? It may be said that I have arrived at a foregone conclusion, and therefore that my witness is of little value. Let me then introduce