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Son of God, designed to represent that he was the very God whose Son he had declared himself to be, or that he was one and the same Deity, or Being with him.
Though you state that some of the fathers shew, from the use of the word ły, that the doctrine of the Trinity is not a contradiction,-inasmuch as he does not say two persons are sis (one), but fv, that is to JELOM, (one divine Being,) as they are pleased without a tittle of evidence, to explain it, I must take the liberty of affirming, that to say that two persons are one being is a flat contradiction. I suppose it will not be denied, that a person is a being; consequently two persons must be two beings, and to say that two persons are but one being is a palpable absurdity. So it would be to say that two persons are one thing; except in figurative language, in which sense it may be affirmed with great beauty and propriety; and in this way it . was evidently used in the passage in question, which, as I have remarked already, is demonstrated by the context, and by a similar use of the same form of expression by our Saviour himself twice in a subsequent chapter, with an allusion to his former use of it. It would be easy to make such a collection of most curious and ridiculous illustrations of the doctrine of the Trinity from the writings of these good fathers, shewing it likewise to have been, in their apprehension, so different a thing from the Trinity of modern divines, as must convince every reflecting mind, that they were by no means better qualified to explain the
doctrines of that religion which they contributed so largely to corrupt, than their successors in modern times; or than they were to lay down what institutions and discipline, rites and ceremonies, it was the design of our Lord and his apostles to establish, in which we are all agreed that they completely failed.
I cannot by any means agree with you, that what you term the English mode, meaning the mode adopted in the common version, of rendering the word 9sov, in the 33d verse, entirely anarthrous, God, is a fairer interpretation of the Greek than mine of a God, for the reason you mention, that it was the intention of the Greek writer to express a meaning different from the God, that is the God of some particular people : and I am rather surprised that you did not perceive that your argument is felo de se; for it is quite clear, that the word ó 9os (the God) is not used in any part of this, or of the preceding or following chapter of St. John to denote, or allude to, any God, but the God of the Jews, with some of whom our Saviour was then conversing. If therefore it was, as you represent, the intention of the Greek writer to express a meaning different from the God, that is from the God of a particular people, it was his design to express that the Jews, when they charged Jesus with the making himself geov, (God, or a God,) meant that he made himself something different from ó 9805, the God of the Jewish nation; and if he did, then the rendering, that he made himself a God, meaning a God different from
the God of the Jews, is, it appears to me, by far the best, if not the only proper, rendering into English. But, as I have already remarked, these Jews were entirely mistaken in their supposition, whatever it amounted to, as our Saviour himself informed them; and it would be destructive of the trinitarian hypothesis, as far as their opinion went, to have it believed, that they considered our Saviour as representing himself to be God different from ó geos, that is the God of the Jews. In fact, there is not a shadow of evidence for supposing, that any heathen god was in the contemplation of any of the speakers in this dialogue. Not only is no such God mentioned, or alluded to, in this conversation, or in the preceding or subsequent two or three chapters, so as to afford a colour of probability that a similar allusion was intended here; but I know not where to find any such allusion in the whole of this writer's gospel ; added to which, our Saviour's reply shews, that he did not consider them as having alluded to any heathen god; for he refers immediately to some of their own prophets, who had been called gods, saying, “Is it not written in your law, I said ye are gods? If he called those gods to whom the word of God came, and the Scripture cannot be broken, say ye
of him whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest, because I said I am the Son of God ?” meaning evidently, as I have remarked already, that if he had made himself Jeov, (God, or a God,) he should have been justified by their
own Scriptures in so doing, there being an inferior sense of the word, in which the prophets of old, to whom the word of God came, were called G804 (Gods). Now as these holy prophets are here called 9801, (Gods,) when spoken of collectively in the plural number, each considered separately must have been called geos, which would in English naturally, if not necessarily, be translated by every English writer having no previous bias upon his mind, with the indefinite article prefixed, “a God,' and not anarthrous, as you say, 'God;' for where ten or more persons are called gods, no Englishman writing of one of them would
that he was God, but that he was a God; and so of each of the others, that he was a God also, as has been actually done in the passage in Exodus, chap. vii. ver. 1, where the supreme Being, speaking to Moses, says, “See, I have made thee a God unto Pharaoh.” After all, it is in reality of little importance in what sense the Jews supposed our Lord to have made himself God, or how the word Isov, which they made use of, is to be rendered; as our Lord intimated to them, in language too plain to be misapprehended, that they had been utterly mistaken, for that he had never made himself geov, (God, or a God,) at all; but that they had charged him with blasphemy, because he had said that he was the Son of God.
It is a most singular fact, that there is scarcely any part of this celebrated passage, so often quoted by trinitarians in support of their doctrine, which will
not be found, when attentively considered, to be in direct opposition to it. I shall give one more instance of it from the conclusion. Our Lord says, that he was sanctified and sent into the world by the Father. His sanctification and mission, we perceive, are mentioned together; as if both took place at the same time, or the former immediately, or shortly, preceded "the latter, and took place with a view to it, in order to qualify him for it. But what occasion could there be for him to be sanctified, who, according to the trinitarian hypothesis, was from all eternity most holy, wise, just, and good ? If he was sanctified at, or just before, his mission, or at any other time whatever, it follows, that during the whole of an antecedent eternity he must have been unsanctified. If it should be said by the trinitarian, contrary to our Lord's words, (who never speaks of himself by parts and parcels, but as one entire being,) that it was only his human nature that was then sanctified, -this, though it agrees perfectly with the unitarian system, that at a certain period of his life he was by the Father sanctified and sent into the world—that is, sent among the people to preach the Gospel to them,-will not correspond at all with the trinitarian doctrine, which represents the divine Logos, the second person in the Trinity only, as having been sent from heaven into this world to unite with the human nature, which previously to the supposed miraculous conception had no existence. Supposing it however to have been the divine Logos,