Page images
PDF
EPUB

Your conception of the sense of this passage appears to proceed partly upon the supposition, that the Jews, to have charged our Lord with having been guilty of blasphemy deserving of death, must have thought he made himself equal with God (to use your own expression): but it is undeniable, that it is not at all necessary to make this supposition ; for Naboth was adjudged to be guilty of blasphemy deserving of death, upon the false charge that he had blasphemed God and the king, though no one ever supposed, that he intended to make himself equal to either; and our Saviour was held by the high-priest to have been guilty of blasphemy worthy of death, because he had informed him that he was the Christ, the son of the Blessed, and that hereafter they would see him, the son of man, sitting on the right hand of power, and coming with the clouds of Heaven. (Mark xiv. 61,&c.) In this there is no allusion at all to any equality with God, but rather the contrary; for he at whose right hand, or left hand, others have the honour to sit, is always considered the principal, and superior. So it is said in the same evangelist, (chap. xvi. 19,) that our Lord was taken up into heaven, and sat at the right hand of God; which would be an extraordinary expression upon the trinitarian scheme, as it would be declaring, either that he sat at his own right hand, or that he was not God. Why are we without any necessity to raise and encounter all these difficulties and absurdities ? Upon the unitarian system there is

nothing difficult in it. Whether our Saviour be represented as sitting on the right hand of power, on the right hand of God, or on the right hand of the Father, the whole is perfectly clear, rational, and intelligible. Moreover, it does not appear, that the Jews at any time had the least conception, that the Messiah was to be equal to Jehovah their God: Moses declared that the Messiah should be a prophet like himself, whom the Lord their God should raise up unto them from the midst of them of their brethren :' and at the time of our Lord's coming, they all thought, that he was to be a great conquering prince, whose kingdom was to be of this world, and who was to deliver them out of the hands of the Romans, -and had no idea of his spiritual kingdoin ; an error which was not corrected till after his resurrection, éven amongst his own disciples, and continued to prevail amongst the rest of his countrymen who were not converted to Christianity, till the destruction of Jerusalem, and their final dispersion by the Roman power.

In short, there is not a particle of evidence to be found in the Scriptures, that the Jews expected their Messiah to be equal to God. The word

The word son of God' does not imply equality ; but on the contrary, and particularly according to the ideas of the Eastern nations, inferiority and subjection : and our Lord himself, with great modesty and humility, used to be frequently inculcating his own inferiority to, and entire dependence upon, the Father, by expressly declaring,

that of himself he could do nothing; that his Father who dwelt in him did the works; that his Father was greater than himself; that to sit on his right hand, and on his left, was not his to give ; that he knew not the day of judgement (Mark xiii. 32). And if any one should be weak enough to suppose, (though according to the trinitarian hypothesis his divine and human nature were so united, as to constitute one and the same person,) that nevertheless there is a complete union, and yet no proper union at all ; so that the one nature might know what the other nature was quite ignorant of, and the human nature might not have been intrusted by the divine nature with this great secret; which is in fact not only the most ridi. culous of all subterfuges, but is also quite unworthy of the character of our blessed Lord, in whose mouth there was no guile,-he takes away all pretence for such a forced, and unnatural construction of his words, by adding, that his Father only knew of that day (Matt. xxiv. 36): thereby excluding from all knowledge of the day of judgement both his own divine nature, (supposing he had any such,) and also the Holy Ghost, supposing the latter to be a person.

I am aware, that a very learned and ingenious trinitarian writer of the present day has attempted to explain this text, with a view to prevent the fatal effect which it obviously has upon the trinitarian system ; in which it seems to me, that it is impossible to read what he says with ordinary attention, without being

convinced, that he has totally failed. He appears hirself to have been fully sensible of the difficulty he had to encounter, and tells us that it is a solitary text; but considers it probable (for he expresses himself very tenderly upon the subject) that the ignorance of which our Lord speaks was not absolute; but that he spoke in his official capacity; and that this was not amongst the things communicated to him as the commissioned messenger of the Father. After noticing a very unsatisfactory interpretation of Dr. Macknight, (which he disapproves of,) he says, “ Would it not be simpler to say at once, that not to know, signifies not to have official commission to make known ?" He says “ that the Son did not know the day in this way, He knew it not in his official capacity as the commissioned ambassador of Heaven to men. It formed no part of the divine communications to him in this character.” This view, he says, “had always appeared to him to be much more rational and satisfactory than that which is commonly given, that he was ignorant of it in his human nature, although he knew it in his divine nature :” a mode of explanation with which, he candidly admits, he had never been well satisfied. But will such of his attentive readers, as are disposed to think for themselves, feel satisfied with either, or think either the one or the other,' to be at all satisfactory? The learned writer's own mode of explanation may appear to himself to be extremely plausible, but unfortunately it will not bear the touch of

[ocr errors]

Ithuriel's spear ; for on applying to it one of the plainest, and most obvious, of all, critical tests, namely, that of putting the words he makes use of, instead of those used by our Saviour, into the text, and considering how the whole passage will read with them, the true and genuine features of the author's new mode of explanation will start up immediately. Doing this, the passage will read as follows: “But of that day, and that hour, no one hath an official commission to make them known, no not the angels which are in heaven, neither the son, but my Father only.” According to this reading the Father would, for the first time, be represented as commissioned; and we should naturally feel the utmost anxiety to be informed by what superior, that greatest, wisest, and most excellent of beings, whose name is not to be pronounced without the most profound awe and reverence, who is original, self-existent, is over all, above all, and in us all, the only true God, to whom we are indebted for sending his son Jesus Christ to deliver us from sin and death, could by any possibility be supposed, for one moment, by any of his erring creatures, to have been commissioned. This would be a discovery most marvellous, most wonderful, reserved for the nineteenth century, and for a protestant divine. At the very first glance, we perceive it to be big with absurdity. The learned writer perhaps will contend, that the words may be aken in different senses, as applied to different members of the same sentence; and that as applied to the

« PreviousContinue »