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Hebrew, and the apostle John uses it where the other New Testament writers einploy ayatentos (beloved), shewing plainly that they are used syonymously. As referring to the Deity, indeed, it is impossible that the literal sense of it can be understood: It must be taken figuratively; and as God has, and represents himself to have, many sons, it is fair to conclude, that the word was used to denote the superior love, which God, had for this particular son, and the higher honours, with which he had invested him, having given him a name above all other names-an expression nevertheless which good sense must limit ; it being manifest that it could not be above the name of him who had given it, and who of course might have withheld the gift, if he had thought fit.
You say that “when you find both divinity and humanity ascribed to this one person (meaning our Saviour) in innumerable passages of Scripture, you cannot refuse to admit this doctrine, that in the unity of the Deity there is a grand distinction, that admits the incarnation of one who claims true deity, and who therefore claims your worship.”- shall reply to this passage, which embraces many points, as distinctly as I can. In the first place, I am utterly at a loss, where to find the innumerable passages of Scripture, which ascribe divinity to our Saviour, and am strongly inclined to believe, that if you were to set about making a collection of all such passages, you would not only not find them innumerable, but be
surprised to perceive, like others who have undertaken the same task before you, how few there are, which any person, not a trinitarian, would consider as even doubtful: and with respect to the latter class of passages, common sense, as well as common prudence, would forbid us to build any important doctrine upon such foundations. To possess any weight for this purpose, a passage must not only admit of, but require, the construction that will establish the point contended for, especially if it be, primą facie, extraordinary and improbable.--As to the incarnation you
allude to, I can see no proof of it in the Scriptures ; and can only say with Sir Isaac Newton, that I believe the time will come, when the doctrine of the incarnation, as commonly received, will be exploded as an absurdity equal to transubstantiation. This most extraordinary doctrine is usually supposed to be taught in the first chapter of St. John, and also, together with the miraculous conception, in the reputed two first chapters of St. Matthew and the reputed two first chapters of St. Luke, in which four last, as being supposed to contain authentic accounts of our Lord's genealogy, and birth, we should most expect to find both. The first chapter of St. John I have already remarked upon, and shall here only add, as to the expression “and the word was made flesh,” that supposing the verb yeropean could fairly be rendered in this place to create or make, which I think I have shown it cannot, yet neither interpretation would suit the trinitarian hypo
thesis, and still less the doctrine of the incarnation, Let us see what can be made of the translation “and the word was created flesh.” It will be objected immediately upon the trinitarian scheme, that the Word, or the divine Logos, was not created at all, but was uncreated in the strictest sense; and besides, upon the principle of the incarnation it will be further urged, that in that sense he could not be said to have entered into the flesh, and to be in it, or incarnate, but to be flesh itself, flesh altogether. If the word 'made' be adopted, not in the sense of created, but as having existed before as one substance or being, and having been subsequently made another, this suggests no other idea than that of transmutation, like that of water being made wine, or 'stones bread, and not at all that of entering into, and being in another unchanged, as the doctrine of the incarnation requires. The supposed assumption of the manhood into the godhead is the reverse of the incarnation, which supposes the entering of the divine nature into the human nature, and remaining there incarnate. Alas! that the great Creator of the universe, whom the heavens, the heaven of heavens cannot contain, who fills the boundless regions of space with his presence, should ever have been imagined to have entered wholly, and entirely, into a human embryo, and to have shut himself
for nine months in a narrow cell ! I shall now proceed to consider the accounts given of the supposed miraculous conception, and incarna
tion, in what is called the first chapter of St. Matthew. It is there said, that the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: “When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was mínded to put her away privately. But, while he thought on these things, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife; for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost: and she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Then Joseph, being raised from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and' took unto him his wife; and knew her not, till she had brought forth her first-born son; and he called his name Jesus.” Now it is remarkable, that not a single word in this passage alludes to any thing like the incarnation, or even the pre-existence, of our blessed Lord. If it prove any thing, it proves that our Lord was, as Adarn had been before him, not formed according to the ordinary course of generation, but without the intervention of a human fathe, though
upon, it would
by the instrumentality of a human mother; in which last respect he differed from Adam. It would be, if the account were correct, a case of miraculous conception; but there is not the most distant hint of
any superior being having 'entered into him, and become incarnate in him; much less the supposed divine Logos; for all that took place is ascribed to the Holy Ghost, Mary being stated “to have been found with child of the Holy Ghost,” and that which was conceived in her, it is said, was of the Holy Ghost. Now if this statement ever proceeded from the pen of the evangelist Matthew, and was therefore to be depended
that our Lord, at least as to his human nature, was begotten, not by the Father, but by the Holy Ghost; and is not (as those parts of the Scriptures which are universally received as genuine represent) the son of the Father, but of the Holy Ghost. I think, however, that we have proofs sufficient, both external and internal, (but especially the latter,) that what are supposed to be the first two chapters of this Gospel are spurious. I shall advert to a few of them, after just hinting, what almost every one knows, that the division into chapters is quite a modern invention.
In the first place, they are entitled “The Book of the Generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David;" a title not at all fit for the whole work; which gives them much the appearance of having been a separate trea. tise, not originally belonging to the Gospel, but which,