Page images
[ocr errors]

Scripture by Scripture, and consider Christ to be called geos, like other divine messengers and prophets, because the word of God came to him, the solution is easy, and obvious. The tenth chapter throws light upon, and explains, the use of the word 960g in this chapter, and the difficulty is entirely removed. In both, the words Jf0s, and Isov, are without the article. In 2 Esdras, vii. 3, (which I do not quote as any authority, but only to shew how the word God' was sometimes used in ancient times,) it is applied to an angel who was sent, the words being, “ There was sent unto me the angel who had been with me before; and he said unto me, Rise, Esdras, and hear the word that I am come to tell thee : and I said, Speak on, my God.” We in modern times have confined the word 'God’ to the Most High, the Creator of heaven and earth ; but the ancients did not ; and whenever we interpret their writings, we must do it according to their mode of using the word, and not our own. You are aware, I have no doubt, that very learned men have denied the application of the word hoyos, as well as the word 980s, to Christ, in the beginning of this chapter, altogether ;--but with that controversy I do not meddle.

You suppose from the same chapter, that all things were made by our Saviour, and that “without him was not any one thing (Ev) made that was made." From which you infer, that he was not made or created, as he could not make himself; but for this construction

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

you rely entirely upon the rendering of the verb y noucen in the common version which is depending upon a broken reed. I apprehend that this word is made use of seven hundred times in the New Testament, but not once to denote creating,--that in this very Gospel it is used more than fifty times, signifying “to be,'' to be done, performed, or transacted,' “to come,” “to become,” “to happen;' but never to make or create. There are very few trinitarians who would not laugh at me, if I were to require them to adopt a translation which had been made unfavourable to their hypothesis, by rendering a word in a sense in which it was not used once in ten times. They must excuse me, therefore, for declining to accede to a translation, which is rendered favourable to it by translating a word in a sense in which it is not only not used once in seven hundred times, but never used at all, in the whole compass of Scripture. Had it been actually used two or three times in this sense, we should not have been justified, upon any principles of sound criticism, in so interpreting it, contrary to evidence so preponderating :but who would think of adopting such an interpretation, with all the evidence against it ? and this to support the most improbable and incredible of all doctrines, namely, that Jesus Christ, who was born of a woman, whose brethren we are admitted to be, and joint heirs with him in the heavenly inheritance who is represented as wholly dependent upon the Father, and deriving all his powers from him, as having

in his distress offered up prayers and supplications, with a strong cry, and with tears, to him, as able to save himn from death; as having been raised from the dead by the power of the Father; as having no power to appoint places at his right hand, and at his left, in the future state; as not knowing even the day of that judgment, in which he is to act so distinguished a part; as being exalted by God to a kingdom as a reward for his obedience and suffering—a kingdom, however, which is to have an end at a future period, when he is to deliver it up to the Father, and is to be subject to him ;—that this Jesus is equal to that great Being, upon whom he constantly depended, who did all this for him, to whom he is indebted for all things, and is to be ultimately subject,-credat qui vult: but I should think that few persons, not educated upon trinitavian principles, would be found among the number. The sense that is warranted by the corresponding use of the word in other parts of Scripture is, that “all things were done or performed by him, and without him was not any thing done that was done.”

i As:

you have (after assuming contrary to evidence that yvonal

here means to create) interpreted the words all things' without any limitation, and evidently considered them as including, not only the heavens and the earth, with every thing in them, but also all persons whomsoever; it will be necessary for me to make a few observations upon what appears to me, to be the most proper manner of interpreting these words

also, which I conceive ought to be done in the exer: cise of a sound discretion, with due attention to the subject matter, and also to the scope and design of the writer: and if his subject be the Christian dispensation, and the beginning of it by the ministry of Christ, the words will naturally, and easily, denote, all things per-taining to the commencement of that dispensation. If the subject had been the reign of a king, or the campaign of some victorious general, and it had been said, All things were done or performed by him ; by these words it would have been immediately understood, that all things connected with his government, or command, had been done by him, or by his authority, agency, or directions. So in the writings of the same apostle, (1 John ii: 20,) he says to certain of his disciples, “ Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and know all things;" which no one understands to mean, that he ascribed omniscience to these disciples; but, limiting it by the context, and putting a reasonable construction upon it, - understands it to signify that they knew all things belonging to the Clíristian system, which it was necessary for them to know, to guard against the misrepresentations of some deceivers, or antichrists, who had


forth into the world. Your inference, that Jesus Christ was not made, or created, because he could not make himself, rests en-. tirely upon the rendering of the word


and the sense in which the words “all things' are to be understood : but it did not happen to occur to you,

that even if the former is rendered create, and the lat. ter are taken in an unlimited sense, the inference is clearly a non sequitur; for, supposing him to have created all things, it does not follow that he created all

persons; and therefore he himself might have been created by some other person: and if it be contended, that he created all persons, as well as all things, it will follow, that he created the Father, and the Holy Ghost, and consequently, that he only, in the proper sense of the word, is God; which latter doctrine some Christians have actually held. In the remaining part of the quotation I see nothing in favour of the trinitarian hypothesis, even if the common version were correct. The words being made flesh' would denote not only that he was made, but that he was made a man, flesh being very naturally put for man in many parts of Scripture. But in fact there are no grounds for believing that the word your here means to make, but rather to be, which is one of the senses in which it is most frequently used, when the construction will be “ And the word was flesh (or a man); and we saw his glory, not as the glory of God, (tou Jecun) but as of the only-begotten son of God;" the word only-be« gotten? being used solely by way of eminence, or as denoting greater kindness, and attention, to a particular son,-as Isaac was said to be the only-begotten son of Abraham, though Abraham had other sons. I apprehend, that this word, and ayan1705, are used indiscriminately in translating the same word from the

« PreviousContinue »