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force of these words is not affected by the passage quoted by Mr. Bickersteth in a parallel column; “He (the Son) is the head of the body, the Church.” Col. i. 18.
"All are yours, and ye are Christs, and Christ is God's.”—1 Cor. iii. 23. In connection with this Mr. Bickersteth quotes John xiv. 10. “I am in the Father, and the Father in me." I will simply add the rest of the verse, “ The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself, but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works.”
The mother of Zebedee's children, with her sons, went to Jesus and asked the chief places in his kingdom, one on his right hand and the other on his left; but Jesus answered .... “To sit on my right hand and on my left, is not mine to give, except to those for whom it is prepared of my Father,” Matt. xx. 23.
I take the rendering preferred by Mr. Bickersteth, which does not seem to me materially to alter the sense of the passage in any way. He quotes in a parallel column, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne;" here again I will finish the
verse, even as I also overcame and am set down with my Father in His throne."
“And behold one came and said unto him, Good master, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good ? There is none good but one, that is God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments,” Matt. xix. 17. Here we are told to lay stress on the “Why,” for the question was asked in order to awaken in the young man a sense of
Christ's divine nature. The reader must choose for himself between this meaning and the one which I think would naturally present itself, viz., that by saying, “Why callest thou me good? There is none good but One, that is God,” our Lord intended to lift up the young man's thoughts to that only true God, to know whom is life eternal.
“My Father is greater than I," John xiv. 28. For this reason our Lord tells his disciples they ought to rejoice that he was going to the Father. In the 10th chapter of the same gospel he says, “My Father is greater than all.” He had promised eternal life to his ep, whom, he said, no man should pluck out of his hand. Then he gives his authority for making such promises : “My Father who gave them me is greater than all ; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.” In other words, you may rely on this assurance as if it were made directly by the Father. Contrast this with the interpretation, to which we should be forced, if we were to set out with the proposition that Christ is God in the same sense as the Father. We must conclude, in that case, that when our Lord said, "My Father is greater than I,” he meant by I, not himself in his fulness, but only a part of himself, hiding from view that divine part by which alone he could possibly be in any way brought into comparison with the Supreme Being. Yet we are asked to believe that our Lord spoke here only of “his inferiority of rank as man, as mediator, as the apostle and servant of his Father.” And we are told to compare, “My Father is greater than I,” with the Jewish accusation that Christ made himself
equal with God, John v. 18. In this, with what follows, is said to be proved "equality of nature as to co-operation, self-existence, infinite knowledge, universal trust.” But turning to the Gospel itself we find, as has been more fully pointed out in pp. 65, 66, the exalted attributes associated with our Lord expressly ascribed to the Father. We are asked, “ How could a mere man without absurd presumption solemnly announce that God the Father was greater than he ?” But such questions it is not necessary to answer because they betray a misapprehension of the point at issue in this particular instance, which is not whether Christ was a mere man or the Supreme being. And indeed I might refer back a few lines to where Mr. Bickersteth himself says that it was "inferiority of rank as man" which Christ did assert, when he said, “My Father is greater than I.” Origen speaks of the want of consideration of those who would “ call our Lord Jesus the God over all;" “ but we,” he says,
" will not do so, being obedient rather to his own word, who said, 'My Father (who sent me) is greater than I.'" Contra Celsum. The argument in connection with religious worship has been already treated at considerable length; and I will only add here, that had Christ been God, and the Holy Ghost God, we should surely have had repeated and unmistakeable directions to worship them as such, and we should not have had simply the declarations, “The true worshippers shall worship the Father,” and “When ye pray, say
Our Father.” Our Lord might have used the title
case it might be said, “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” were included ; but the expression is not “God in Heaven,” but “Our Father who art in Heaven," not “Worship God in spirit and in truth, for God seeketh such,” etc., but “Worship the Father, for the Father seeketh,” etc.
Those passages in which the simple unity of God is declared, and many others, which are to me evi. dence against the deity of Christ, I pass over, because I see how the Trinitarian may, according to his own theory, evade their force. But the principal passages I have adduced, are, it seems to me, of such a kind as to admit of no interpretation but the pla one, which would naturally and at once suggest itself to the reader. And I confess that if our Lord had said, “I am not the Supreme God, but the Father is,” I do not see how his witness would be more direct or conclusive than it is in some of the declarations which form the substance of the present chapter.
INDIRECT EVIDENCE OF THE SUPREMACY OF THE
It is manifest that no one can read the sacred volume without finding many instances in which divine epithets and most exalted language are applied to Christ. How, indeed, could it be otherwise, if, as our teacher, he be in the place of the Father to us, if the Father's character shine in him, and if the Father's spirit dwell in him without measure. Yet the way in which he himself speaks of the source of his strength, wisdom, knowledge, authority, leads us to believe that the Father is the supreme God. Suppose the doctrine of the Trinity to be true, and that there are two natures in Christ; in his divine nature surely he would speak of his power as underived, but in his human nature it would be represented as derived from his divine, or surely he would sometimes at least speak of God the Son, or God the Holy Spirit; or, at all events he would say God's power was operating in him, leaving the term indeterminate as to persons. Yet he refers all to his Father. There are upwards of three hundred passages in which this kind of derivation is expressed, and some of which I shall now specify. Think of them in connection with the Trinitarian hypothesis and in connection with the opposite doctrine, that the Father is the supreme God, and that He taught, worked, and revealed His character, His will, His love to mankind in and through Jesus Christ. It is often said that we do not believe in the divinity of Christ. We believe him to be divine because the Father dwelt in him; Trinitarians believe him to be in himself God the Son. Which do the following statements teach?
Jesus is said to receive honor and glory from God the
Father. “Lo, a voice from Heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” Matt. iii. 17. A similar declaration from Heaven was made at the Transfiguration. Compare these with 2 Peter i. 17. “For he received from God the Father, honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the