Page images
PDF
EPUB

God. It was through his mediation the saints before the incarnation inherited the promises. They believed in a Savior to come, who would make an offering for sin once for all; and this faith was accounted to them for righteousness. It was in view, and by virtue of that sacrifice, which he was to make, that he made intercession for them, and saved them from their sins.

“No man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him," Luke 10:22. This text, while it conveys an idea that the nature of the Son is no less unsearchable by finite intelligence, than the nature of the Father, confirms the sentiment that it is the Son, who, from the beginning, hath revealed the Father. He was in the bosom of the Father, and the Father was in him. He was perfectly acquainted with his nature, and with his counsels. He was, of course, perfectly qualified to declare, or manifest him to the world. Under the former dispensation, his revelations of the divine nature and will, were often seen through shadows and similitudes. He gradually disa closed the perfections and will of the Deity. By types and symbols he prefigured important realities. When the fulness of the time was come, he appeared in the world agreeably to ancient predictions and representations. He more clearly manifested the divine nature.

The Deity, who was often exhibited in plurality in the Old Testament, he revealed with these specific distinctions, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost

. The Angel, who delivered Israel from temporal evils

, and led him to an earthly inheritance, appears New Testament a Savior from sin, not a Savior of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles. The Spirit, who was represented, just after the creation, hovering over the waters to impregnate them with animal life; and to impress form upon chaos, appears in the New Testament, giving spiritual life to human nature, and restoring order in the moral world. In the Old Testament God is represented, in the relationship of Creator,

in the

[ocr errors]

as the Father of the whole human race. In the New Testament he is represented as the Father of a spiritual seed; of obedient affectionate children. In the Old Testament he is exhibited in plurality creating the world. In the New, he is represented with the peculiar distinctions of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The same Savior, the same Sanctifier were revealed under the former, which were revealed under the lat-, ter dispensation, but with less distinctness.

There is an intimate union between God and believers. John, in his first Epistle, says, “If we love one another, God dwelleth in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him and he in God.” This union between God and believers is manifestly different from the union, which subsists between God and the Angel, or between the Father and the Son. The Angel

, in whom was the name of Jehovah was called by the highest of divine names; he performed divine works; and he received divine honors. There is no intimation that he was dependent. Jesus Christ declares his union with the Father; and for a confirmation of his declaration he appeals to his works. “What things soever the Father doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.

But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works." From the union, which subsists between the Father and the Son, the same works are attributed indiscriminately to each; and people are required to honor the Son even as they honor the Father. But these consequences do not accrue to believers by reason of their union with God. Their union then is of a different kind; and forms no argument against that higher and more intimate union, which subsists between the Father and the Son

Those who disbelieve that the Angel of the covenant was the Son of God, are not agreed in their opin

We are

saine.

ions respecting him. Some suppose that he was a created angel; and personated Jehovah. If this be correct, it is hard to draw a line of distinction between the creator and a creature.

Others are of opinion that the Angel of God and Jehovah are equivalent. "Jehovah, the Angel of God, the God of Bethel, God almighty; the redeeming Angel, are all but different names and descriptions of Jehovah the one true God. (See Lindsey.) “It should seem, therefore, that in Scripture language, when describing the divine appearances, the Angel of the Lord appeared, and Jehovah appeared, are equivalent expressions.” (Lowman's Tracts, p. 99.) We are ready to admit the judgment of these learned authors as to the equivalence of these names. ready, also to admit the judgment of other learned authors of the same class, who believe that the Angel and he who sent him are not, in all respects, the

From both we infer, as we apprehend, the whole truth; that the Angel is equivalent to Jehovah, and that there is such a distinction between them, that they are not in every respect the same.

The apostle to the Hebrews contrasts the Mosaic, with the Gospel dispensation, and gives a superiority to the latter. “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things, which we have heard, lest

any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation, which, at first, began to be spoken by the Lord; and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him,” Heb. 2:1,2,3. The apostle attributes greater excellence, and requires a more earnest heed to the Gospel, than to the law of Moses, because the Gospel was spoken immediately by the Lord Jesus, and offered so great salvation; whereas the law was spoken by angels; and under that dispensation, “every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense

at

of reward.” The prime Communicator of the law, communicated the Gospel. It was the Angel, who spake to Moses in the mount Sinai and with our fathers, who received the lively oracles to give unto us. This Angel called himself, I AM. This Angel was with the Church in the wilderness and was tempted. The apostle informs us that this Angel, who was tempted in the wilderness, was Christ. If he who gave the law, and he who gave the gospel, are one and the same, it is inquired, why has the Gospel, on this ground, a preference to the law, and what is the force of St. Paul's reasoning. It is readily admitted that angels accompanied the Son of God on mount Sinai, and were subordinate agents in promulgating the law, The commandments which were given from Sinai, and all the revelations which were made under the Jewish economy, were of the same divine authority as the Gospel. But the circumstances were different. The former were communicated mediately, the latter was communicated immediately by the Son of God. Under the former dispensation he revealed the will of the Father through the medium of prophets. Under the latter dispensation he revealed his will personally: If that dispensation, which was communicated by God through intermediate hands, and whose most prominent retribution 'was of a temporal nature, demanded attention, more earnest attention does that dispensation demand, which was communicated immediately by the Lord himself, and whose rewards and punishments are of a spiritual nature, and of eternal duration.*

* “Grotius remarks, that the Angel, spoken of in the last text, (Mal. 3:1.) was allowed even by the Jewish Rabbins to be Jehovah, and copies from Masius a striking passage to this purpose, out of the comment of R. Moses, the son of Nehemen, upon the 5th chapter of Joshua. Iste Angelus, &c. i. e. “That Angel, to say the truth, is the Angel Redeemer, of whom it is written, for my name is in him. He was the Angel, who said to Jacob, I am the God of Betbel; and of whom it is said, God called to Moses out of the midst of the bush. He was called an Angel because he governs the world; for it is written, Jebovah (i. e. the Lord God,)brought us out of Egypt. It is moreover written, the Angel of his presence sared them. And, without doubt, the Angel of God's presence was he, of whom it is said, My presence shall go before thee, and I will give thee rest. In a word, He is the Angel, of whom the prophet spake. The Lord whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the Angel of the Covenant, whom ye delight in. The face, or presence of God signifies God himself, which is confess. edly allowed by all interpreters.” (Horæ Solitariæ.)

THE OPINIONS OF THE ANCIENT JEWS,

RESPECTING THE SON OF GOD.

It is of no inconsiderable consequence to ascertain the opinion of the Jews, before and after Christ's incarnation, respecting the doctrine of the Trinity. They formed their opinion of the divine nature from the writings of the Old Testament. As they were perfectly acquainted with the idiom of their own language, they were well qualified to determine the meaning of their own Scriptures. It appears that the plural name of God, which is so often used in the Old Testament, naturally conveys an idea of some kind of plurality in the divine nature.

The plural names, given to the idols of the heathen, form no valid objection to this hypothesis, when it is considered there were many of the same name.

The writings of Philo the Jew, are very full and explicit on the divine nature. That he wrote some time before the birth of Christ has been clearly proved by a divine of the church of England, in a treatise entitled, “The Judgment of the Ancient Jewish Church against the Unitarians.”

In producing testimonies in favor of the Trinity, or of the Divinity of Christ, from the writings of this celebrated Jew, we shall quote them as they are found quoted in this English author.

« PreviousContinue »