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that was sanctified, and sent into the world by the Father, there are other unavoidable inferences which are utterly irreconcileable with the trinitarian scheme. He that sanctifies must, whilst language has any meaning, be considered as greater, or holier, than he who is sanctified by him, as our Saviour himself says, “Which is greater, the gift, or the altar which sanctifies the gift ? ” Matt. xxiii. 19. In like manner, he who sends his messenger to finish certain work which he had given him to do, (John xvii. 5,) will always be deemed to be superior to the messenger he has dispatched to perform it. How is it also upon the trinitarian hypothesis, that the Holy Ghost had no concern with our Lord's sanctification ; and that he is never represented as having been sent by the Holy Ghost, but by the Father only? I am aware that there is another meaning of the Greek word which has been rendered 'sanctified,' by trinitarian translators : but as that will, if possible, militate still more strongly against their system, they will not feel much inclined to adopt it.
It was in reply to an observation made in your former letter,—that the word of God which came to the prophets of old was the Eternal Logos, meaning the second person in the Trinity, namely, our Saviour,that I produced the parallel passage of the word of Samuel coming to all Israel, to shew that there was no more reason for considering the word of God which came to the prophets to be a person, than the
word of Samuel which came to all Israel : and I quoted the first verse of the first chapter of the Hebrews, as containing direct proof, that it was the Father who spoke by the prophets, and not the Son. This last quotation you pass over in silence; but say that you
do not conceive Samuel's word a person, because no other Scripture leads you to adopt such an opinion: neither do I for the same reason; nor do I consider the word of the Father to be a person, because in figurative language it is sometimes personified, as 'wisdom' is in the Old Testament, and as various properties and attributes are in a variety of writers, sacred and profane, ancient and modern. There have been a few instances of the passage in the Psalms, “ By the word of the Lord were the heavens made,” having been produced to prove that the Son, or Logos, made the material heavens ; till it was noticed that this was followed by the words," and all the hosts of them by the breath of his mouth;" when it became evident that, if the word of the Lord by which the heavens were made was to be taken literally, and was to denote a person, the breath of his mouth, by which all the hosts of them were made, must likewise be taken literally, and mean a person also.
Your quotation from the first chapter of St. John's Gospel depends, not only upon the supposed accuracy of the common version, but upon particular meanings which trinitarians have been accustomed to give to
certain words, without any evidence whatever, till they have at last come to think, that they can mean nothing else. In the first place they universally understand, without a shadow of proof, or even of probability, the words ev apXy in the beginning), to mean, “in the beginning of the world, the period of the creation of this terraqueous globe; but it is remarkable, that though the apostle uses this expression in more than twenty instances, in fourteen of which it is used to denote the beginning of our Lord's ministry, which there is the strongest reason to think is the sense in which he uses it here, he never once makes use of it to allude to the creation of the world. Why then are we, without any reason, and contrary to all probability, to put this construction upon it? If we reject it, (and I will venture to affirm no critic would adopt it in the interpretation of any other writings under such circumstances,) every one acquainted with Scripture phraseology knows, that being with God' does not mean being God, but being favoured with manifestations of the Divine presence, and with communications of the Divine will, in which sense Moses and other messengers and prophets of the Most High are represented as having been with God; and thus understood, the passage will be perfectly clear and rational. In the beginning of our Lord's ministry he was favoured with a manisfestation of the Divine presence, and with a revelation of the Divine will, and he is, in language common in Scripture, called the Word, which is thus
personified, because he was commissioned to declare, and did declare, the word of God to mankind, more fully, and explicitly, than any
other of God's messengers or prophets. The giving of such names in the Holy Scriptures, not only to men, but even to things inanimate, is so frequent, that it is impossible to go far without meeting with instances of it. Thus the great prophet who slew the priests of Baal in the reign of Ahab, was called Elijah, that is, ‘my god Jehovah.' The father of Elihu, one of Job's friends, was called Barachiel, meaning "the very
God.' One of Daniel's friends who was cast into the fiery furnace was called Mishael, which means, he who is God.'. If our Saviour had been called by such names, it would have been considered by trinitarians as most decisive proof of his divinity; and yet they were given to mere mortal men like ourselves, though highly favoured by the Supreme Being. It was likewise very common in former times to call men by names denoting what they did, or resembled, whether with respect to other persons or things. Thus in Exodus xxxi. 2, the Supreme Being says of a very wise and skilful workinan, “See, I have called by name Bezaleel,” which means “the shadow of God;' and in Genesis xxxii. 28, the name Israel, meaning “a conqueror of God, is given to Jacob. In Exodus xvii. 15, even an altar is called “ Jehovah my banner.” So Quintus Fabius Maximus was called “the shield,' and Marcellus the sword,' of Rome. Is it wonderful therefore, that our
Saviour; who was sent to declare God's word so fully and completelyto mankind, should be called the “Word of God?' and is there on that account any reason whatever for supposing him to be that very God, whose word he was declared to be? Is not the contrary to be inferred ?-Upon the subsequent clause of the sentence, that “the word was 9505" (God, or a God), I shall remark, that we have seen already, that the prophets to whom the word of God came (and to which I may add even magistrates and rulers) have frequently been called gods ; yet it appears, that the persons thus distinguished were mortal men, “and were to die like other men, and to fall like any of the princes.” These gods are also called upon to “worship him, who is Lord above all the earth, who is exalted above the gods.” See Psalm lxxxii. -What reason then should we have for concluding (supposing the same word to have been applied to Christ in this chapter, particularly as it stands without the article), that it denoted him to be a god in any other sense? If the word 9805 (supposing it to be applied to our Saviour) is not used in an inferior sense, as it was when applied to other messengers and prophets, who were men like ourselves, why is not our Saviour frequently called o Deos as well as the Father, who is so called in the Scriptures, hundreds, not to say thousands of times? For what reason is this distinction made without a difference? This is a curious problem, which it will be very difficult to solve upon trinitarian principles : but if we interpret