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in regard to different events. The laws and ordinances of the Divine Being, might be an occasion of offence or a stone of stumbling, to those who were not disposed to put them in práctice under the old dispensation ; and in like manner the doctrines of the gospel might be equally offensive to persons who had no relish for them under the new.' But we are not warranted to infer from this, that these different causes of offence were one and the same. The sacred writers however have fully explained their own meaning, by distin. guishing betwixt the stumbling block and him that laid it. • Behold." says St. Paul, (referring to Is. xxviii. 16.) I lay in Sion a stumbling stone,' &c. In like manner having the same passage in his eye St. Peter says, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, preciotis, &c. and afterwards he remarks, % that he shall be a stone of stumbling and rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient.' From the manner in which these two apostles express themselves, it fully appears, that the person who laid the stumbling block is the Lord of hosts; and that Christ himself is the stumbling block that was laid by him, or the occasion of offence that was given, and consequently, that the conclusion of our opponents, that Christ is the Lord of hosts, is not fairly drawn from the Apostle's words.
Isaiah ix. 6. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given ; and the government shall be upon his shoul. der; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace,
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it, with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever : the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.'
The learned Grotius considers this prophecy as applica ble to Hezekiah king of Judah ju its primary sense, and interprets it accordingly; although he grants that there is a far more excellent sense in which it relates to the Messiah. I have no doubt myself that this prophecy respects the Messiah ; and there is no difficulty in explaining it upon Unitarian principles. Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.' Jesus Christ was given by God as a benefit to mankind, he was produced in a singular manner, and
appeared amongst men as the messenger of God. And the government shall be upon his shoulder,' that is, the government of the Christian church, at the head of which he is placed by God. And his name shall be called Won: derful.' Our Lord Jesus Christ was, indeed, a very singu. lar and wonderful person, distinguished from all others by his supernatural birth, the number and variety of his mira. cles, his resurrection from the dead, and bis exaltation in heaven. Counsellor. This character of the Messiah, may respect either his being intimately acquainted with the counsels or intentions of the Father, in regard to mankind, or it may signify, that he should give them the best and most salutary instructions for the regulation of their moral con. duct. The mighty God. In the original Hebrew it is ELGIBBO R, which is more properly rendered a mighty God, than the mighty God. If we consider the latitude in which the word God is used in scripture, and also the glorious dignity to which our Lord Jesus Christ was advanced by the Father being appointed head over all things to his church, and the Judge of all mankind; angels, authorities, and powers also being made subject unto him: it will not appear at all surprising, that he should be called, a mighty God, especially, in the bold, figurative, and highly poeti. cał language of Isaiah. Moses was made a God unto Pha roab.' Exod. vii, 1. See I have made thee a God to Pharoah.' Angels are styled Gods. Psal. xcyii. 7. 6 Wor. ship him all ye Gods.' Kings and Magistrates are also called Gods, John. x. 34, 35. ' Jesus answered them, is it not written in your law, I said ye are Gods. If he: called them Gods unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken,' &c. These quotations. make it evident, that there is an acknowledged inferior sense in which the word God is used in scripture; as deno. ting power, dignity, dominion, and authority. It is in this sense that the prophet Isaiah declares, that the Messiah would be called a mighty God, which means nothing more, but that he should be a mighty ruler or potentate ; and is. equivalent to what the prophet says before, that the government should be upon his shoulder. The everlasting Father. This is an erroneous translation. In the Hebrew text it stands, ABIGNAD,' the Father of the age everlasting, and
is rendered in some copies of the Septuagint; matmete HEAWYTOS QIWYOs* and by the Vulgate in the same manner; 6 Pater futuri sæculi, the Father of the age to come;" or the author of the gospel dispensation. This is agreeable to what, the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews says Chap. ii. 5. "For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.' In the conclusion of this prophecy, it is added, the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this ;' which indicates, that the child of whom the Prophet speaks, is a dıtferent being from the Lord of hosts. These words also
prove undeniaa bly, that the title of a mighty God, is to be taken in the inferior acceptation, seeing, it is not the child himself, but the zeal of the Lord of Hosts that is to make him, Won. derful, Counsellor, a mighty God, the Father of the age to come ; and which is in short to perform every thing that is here prophecied concerning him. When these last words are taken in connection with the rest of the prophecy as they ever ought to be, this passage instead of weaken. ing will be found strongly to confirm the Unitarian doc: trine. t
* The Vatican copy of the Septuagint, wants the expressions 'wonderful, counsellor, mighty God,&c. and reads in place of them, his name shall be called, the angel or messenger of the great council, or. the messenger of the great design.' -The Alexandrian MSS. also, wants the word God, (though it has 10 xupos mighty,) but the Frankfort edition of the Septuagint, 1597, which follows Aldus' edition reads, Seos ir Xypos a strong or mighty God, and all the other versions in Walton's Polyglot Bible have something equivalent to it.
+ Bishop Lowth, in his new translation of Isaiah renders, Chap: ix. 6,7. as follows. “ For unto us a child is born; unto us a son is given;
And the government shall be upon his shoulder ;
The mighty God, the Father of the everlasting age, the prince of peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end;
This translation of the learned Bishop is extremely just, excepting that the words, the mighty God, might have been more properly rendered a mighty God, as the original words are not Hael Haggibħor which occur Jer. xxxii. 18. But El Gibbor.
There are some who, laying aside the Hebrew vowel points, render the words mighty God, Father of the age everlasting, the mighty God my Father for ever; which is correspondent to the language of St. Luke, who seems to have alluded to this prophecy. Chap. i. 32, 33. He shall be great, and shall be called the son of the highest; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his Father David. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.'
Isaiah XXXV. 5, 6. Behold your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence, he will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing.' Mat. xi. 4, 5. Jesus answered and said unto them, go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see; the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear,' &c. God is said in the language of scripture to come and visit his people, when he raises up any eminent deliverer to save them; and God the Father may be said with great propriety to have come when Christ appeared, because he came in the Father's name and acted by his authority; and the Father was the author of all Christ's miraculous works. John viü. 42.
Jesus said unto them, if God were your Father, ye would love me; for I proceeded forth, and came from God; nei. ther came I of myself, but he sent me." John v. 43. I am come in Father's
ye receive me not. John viii. 16. My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.' Verse 29. 'And he that sent me, is with me : the Father hath not left me alone : for I do always those things that please him.' John xiv. 10. • The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of myself ; but the Father that dwelleth in me he dooth the works.'
Isaiah xl. 3. · The voice of him that crieth in the wilder. ness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the <lesert a high way for our God. Mat, jii. 1, 3. In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilder. ness of Judea.
- For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, the voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord make his paths
straight.' Luke i. 76 "And thou child shalt be called the prophet of the highest: for thou shalt go before the face of
the Lord, to prepare his ways.' Mat. xi. 10. Mark i. 7. Acts xiii. 25. The observations of our Lord quoted in the last article, lead us at once to the true interpretation of these passages.
God is said to come when Christ made his appearance, and John the Baptist is said to be the prophet of the highest, and to go before the face of the Lord.. For as Christ acted in the world, in the name, and as the ambassador of the Father, and as the Father was present with him in an extraordinary manner, John the Baptist in going before Christ, may be very properly said to have gone before God.
Isaiah xl. 10. • Behold the Lord will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him. Behold his reward is with him.' Rev. 88. 12. • Behold I (Jesus) come quickly, and my reward is with me.'. It is not probable, that there is any connection betwixt these passages : but admitting that there is, it will prove nothing more, thar that God will judge the world in the person of his representative Jesus Christ, whom he hath given authority to execute judgment because he is the son of man. John v. 27.
Isaiah xliii. 11. I even I, am the Lord; and besides me there is no Saviour.' 2 Pet. iii. 18. Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.' This objection, is almost too low and trivial to be taken notice of. God the Father is emi.. nently our Saviour, because, our salvation takes its first rise from him ; and neither Christ nor any other being, could have saved us, but by his permission and appointment. It was God the Father, that sent his Son to bless us in turning us from our iniquities ; and therefore St. Paul affirms 1 Cor. i. 30. “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and rightc. ousness, and sanctification and redemption, Christ, like an obedient son, came to perform the benevolent purposes of his Father; and as he is the person by whom our salva. tion was immediately executed, he is more frequently than the Father styled our Saviour in scripture. But the Father is our Saviour in the most sublime sense of the word ; and is called by St. Jude Ver. 25,the only wise God our Saviour ;' and Jesus Christ is under him our Saviour in a true but inferior sense of the word.