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to the Trinity. But in all three instances the word is in the plural. In translating the Hebrew plural, Elohim or Aleim, into Greek, the singular cos is used. In proof of what I have stated respecting the Hebrew idiom I might adduce the testimony of the most distinguished Hebraists. I will content myself with two. Gesenius says, “ Elohim, a pluralis excellentiæ, God in the singular. It is sometimes construed (contrary to the general rule concerning the plur. excel.) with plural adjectives; but the verb is almost constantly in the singular.” And Dr. Lee says, “I must be allowed to object to such methods of supporting an article of faith, which stands in no need of such support.” (See his Grammar of the Hebrew language, art. 228, 6, note).* In like manner, the expressions, “Let us make man ;” “Who will go for us ?” import the majesty of the speaker. When king Rehoboam (1 Kings xii. 6, 9) consults the old men, he says, “How do ye advise that I may answer this people?" But to the young men he says,
* “ That the plural form of this name of the Deity was intended to denote a plurality, or a trinity of persons in the Godhead, as some modern theologians persist in asserting, notwithstanding the solemn refutation which this opinion has so frequently received, is a position which I believe was first advanced by Peter Lombard, in the twelfth century. He seems, indeed, only to have hinted at it: qui avoit touché ce sens en passant seulement dans son livre des Sentences' (Simon, Hist. Crit. du V. T., lib. iii., c. 12). The ancient Christian fathers, even those of them who understood Hebrew, as Origen and Jerome, never discovered a proof of the trinity in 'T'. And many learned moderns, both Catholics and Protestants, have declared their full conviction, that no evidence of a plurality of persons in the Godhead can be drawn from this term."—Wellbeloved's Bible, Critical Remarks, vol. i., p. 1.
counsel give ye that we may answer this people ?” The letter of Artaxerxes, as to the re-building of Jerusalem (Ezra iv. 18.), begins thus, “ The letter which ye sent unto us hath been plainly read before me.” The Mahometans maintain the strict unity of God the Father; nevertheless in the Koran He is represented as employing the words we, us, etc.†
CHRIST THE SON OF GOD.
Matt. iii. 16, 17, and elsewhere in many places. I suppose we shall all most readily admit that never does the word Son mean so much as when applied by God to Jesus Christ; but when we attempt to define just how much it means, surely we go out of our depth. The expression is just one of those which suit any creed; those who deny inspiration altogether can bring examples in which Christians and even ordinary human beings are called “ God;" others who regard Christ as the chief of angels come down on earth, can adduce their proof that angels are called sons of God; and so with the
† “The celebrated Brahmin, Ramohun Roy, whose knowledge of Oriental languages can be as little disputed, I presume, as the singular greatness and simplicity of his mind, says, “It could scarcely be believed, if the fact were not too notorious, that such eminent scholars
could be liable to such a mistake as to rely on this verse (Gen. i. 26, And God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness,) as a ground of argument in support of the Trinity. It shews how easily prejudice, in favor of an already acquired opinion, gets the better of learning.' And he proceeds to argue on the idiom of the Hebrew, Arabic, and of almost all Asiatic languages, in which the plural number is often used for the singular, to express the respect due to the person denoted by the noun.”—Yates's Vindication, p. 65.
opinion of each individual. The best way to understand what the title means, is to read in the New Testament what Christ is to God, and what God does through him. Any more distinct definition than this is beyond us.
The Trinitarian may say, “ Sonship in the case of Jesus Christ involves sameness of nature.” But the thought only leads us into a sea of speculation in which we are utterly lost; for it is God's nature to be self-existent.* Hence some Trinitarian commentators have confessed that the application of the title to Christ's nature only leads to inextricable difficulty. Dr. Adam Clarke says, “How can such expressions, begotten of the Father before all worldsbegotten, not made, be admitted, and the eternity of Christ's divine nature be credited ?" And again, “If Christ be Son of God as to his divine nature, then the Father is of necessity prior, consequently superior to him. The phrase eternal Son is a positive selfcontradiction.” God calls Jesus Son, not that we may attempt to determine exactly how God and Christ are related in nature, but that we may receive him with especial love and reverence as our Saviour and Divine Teacher.
* “The word Son in the language of men, wheresoever it means a sameness of nature, always means the same specific nature, or a nature of the same kind and species; but it never means the same individual nature, for it always denotes a distinct individual being. Therefore in order to keep this part of the idea of Sonship, and to maintain the parallel in this point, if we will have the Son of God to signify one of the same nature with the Father, it must mean one of the same specific nature; that is, a distinct individual Being of the same kind with the Father; and thus we shall be in danger of making two Gods. But it is plain that in order to support the analogy of the name Son, we can never make the word Son of God to signify one of the same individual nature or essence, because it never signifies so in the language of men; and therefore there is no necessity that it should signify one of the same nature in any sense when applied to Christ."- Watts's Useful and Important Questions, pp. 37, 38.
St. John (i. 14) calls Christ “God's only-begotten Son." But (as Schleusner says), “uovoyevńs, in imitation of the Hebrew Ihid signifies one who is beloved above others, peculiarly dear.” “ Christ, (says Dr. Parr), is so called six times in the Scriptures : it means peculiarly beloved, like an only child.” In Heb. xi. 17, Isaac is called the onlybegotten (or best-beloved) of Abraham; and Abraham had other children, though they were by Hagar and Keturah. And the corresponding word in the Hebrew is applied to David, though he was not an only son. John speaks of all true Christians as begotten of God—John i. 12, 13; and in 1 John iv. 7, and v. 1. Peculiarly beloved by God like an only child, I do not think any name we can conceive would be dearer to our Lord himself than this!
Job xix. 25—27. “I know that my Redeemer liveth.” Some translators prefer the word Avenger or Vindicator. “The word in the original is, that which in the Mosaic law is often rendered the bloodavenger, and also kinsman, or next of kin. It denotes one whose duty it was to see that justice was, in all cases, done to his nearest relation." Wellbeloved. On this text Mr. Robertson has a sermon in which he remarks, “ We must not throw into the words of Job a meaning which Job had not. Reading these verses some have discovered in them all the Christian doctrine of the second advent of a resurrection-of the humanity of Christ. This is simply an anachronism. Job was an Arabian emir, not a Christian. All that Job meant was that he knew he had a vindicator in God above: that though his friends had the best of it then, and though worms were preying on his flesh, yet at last God would interfere to prove his innocence. But God has given to us, for our faith to rest on, something more distinct and tangible than He gave to Job. There has been one on earth through whose lips God's voice spoke; and from whose character was reflected the character of God. A living person manifesting Deity. It is all this added meaning gained from Christ, with which we use these words, 'I know that my Redeemer liveth. But we must remember that all that was not revealed to Job.”
“ There are," says Mr. Bickersteth, “three texts often contended for, which the authority of this distinguished professor (Griesbach) precludes my bringing forward as evidence: 1 John v. 7, he believes to be an interpolation ; in Acts xx. 28, he prefers Kvplov to ou; and in 1 Tim. iii. 16, he would substitute ős for Ocòs. But to these three texts, that we may not be drawn into needless disputations, I have simply forborne to refer.” As the latter part of this sentence will naturally leave the reader in doubt as to the absolute conclusiveness of the evidence on which Griesbach has acted in the above instances, I must make a few remarks on the subject. On 1 John v. 7, Bishop Lowth
"I believe there is no one among us in