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inferring the divinity of Christ, or his equality with the Father, that the very contrary may be proved from it. For a ray darting from a luminous body is not to be compared to the luminous body itself, which is the source or cause of the ray. All mankind may be said to be rays of God's glory, inasmuch as the glory of the creator, appears in all his works, and we derive every thing we possess from him. Much more may the Son be so called: in whom the glory of God appears more conspicuously than in any other being. When Christ is called, the very or express image of the substance of God, this plainly distin. guishes him from that God whose image he is: and by no means implies that the substance, or essence of God is in him but the contrary.
For if the substance of the Father had been in Christ, he would not have been the image of that substance: but would have been the substance itself. Adam and all his posterity are said to have been made in the image and likeness of God: it is not wonderful there. fore, that Christ in whom the wisdom and power of the Father so eminently dwelt, should be called his very or express image. It is further said of the Son, that “he upholds all things by the word of his power:” which must be understood of the Father's power communicated to the Son, by wbich Christ is qualified to govern his church and people.
In confirmation of this explication, I shall here give the words of a learned writer. 16 The common way of ex. pounding the expression, is, that the “Son upholds all Things by the word of his own power.' And accordingly our printed copies have here αυτου, and not αυτου.
And 'tis urged that the MS. copies, which have accents added, read it with an aspiration. But none of the ancient MSS, having any accents at all, every reader is at liberty to affix such spirits as appear most agreeable to the scope of any text. And it is easy to observe that our author in this
dis. tinguishes αυτου and εαυτου ; and therefore as αυτου just before relates to the Father, it is reasonable to judge it does so here also. The sense given by any of the ancient Greek commentators, can signify little in this case, because as they lived after these matters were warmly controverted, they would adapt the spirits to the serving of their own hy
pothesis : so that their reasons, and not their authority, can only be of any moment in the case."
Heb. i. 5. • For unto which of the angels said he at any time, thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee,' &c, See Dis. VIII.
113. Heb. i. 6. And again when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, and let all the angels of God worship him.' Explained, Dis. VIII. p. 116, 117, &c.
Heb. i. 8, 9. But unto the Son, he saith, thy throne O God is for ever and ever,' &c. Explained, Dis. VIII. p. 113, 114.
Heb. i. 10, 11, 12." And thou Lord in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth,' &c.
These verses relate to God the Father, and not to Christ. See Dis. VIII. p. 118, 119.
Heb. ii. 16. “For verily, he (Christ) took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.' This place is more properly rendered in the margin of the Bible;" he taketh not hold of angels, but of the seed of Abraham he taketh hold:' which some understand to signify, he helped not angels, but he helped the seed of Abraham, that is, the grace and mercy of the gospel, does not extend to the benefit of angels but only of mankind.
Heb. iji. 3, 4, " for this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house, hath more honour than the house. For every house is builded by some man: but he that built all things is God.' The house that Christ is here said to build, is not any material fabric, but the church of which he is the founder and the head : thus in ver. 6. of this chapter we are told that, Christ (was faithful) as a Son over his own house: whose house are we,' viz. the christian people. He that is said to build all things, is God the Father: who appoinied or (as the Greek word (T7017, TAYTI) may be rendered) made Christ, to whom Christ, the Apostle and high Priest of our profession, is faithful or obedient. See ver. 1, 2.
Heb. iv. 12. • For the word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword,' &c. The word of God here mentioned, is not Jesus Christ, but the gospel or law of God, which is exceeding broad; and exe
* Mr. Peirce of Exeter in loco.
tends to the inmost thoughts, as well as the external actions, and by which word, all mankind shall be judged at thre last day.
Heb. vii. 3. • Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the son of God, abideth a priest continually.' These words being evidently spoken of Melchi. sedec, have properly no connection with our present subject. Christ certainly had God for bis Father, and the Virgin Mary for his mother: and was raised to the dignity of high Priest by God the Father; Heb. v. 5. 'So also Christ glorified not himself, to be made an high Priest; but he that said unto him, thou art my Son to day have I begotten thee.'
Heb. xñi. 8. Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.' This passage from the scope of the context, evidently relates, not to the person, but the doc. trines of Christ, ver. 7. Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. » And again ver. 9.
Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines.' The true meaning of this place therefore is, that the doctrines of Christ, or the reve. lation of the gospel, continues invariably the same, and cannot be changed or altered, by the humours and caprice of men: and that Christians ought to adhere to the original standard of their religion, and not suffer themselves to be seduced from it, and led astray by the delusive arts of false and erroneous teachers. It can never be affirmed of the person of Christ, that it is the same to-day, yesterday, and for ever. For our Lord has undergone various changes, and has been in very different situations. He lived in this world as a man, suffered deaih, was raised from the dead by the Father, ascended up into heaven, was advanced to a state of the highest dignity there: and will at the consummation of all things deliver up the kingdom to the Father.
1 Peter i. 11. Searching (viz. the prophets) what or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified before hand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.' The Spirit of God the Father, or the holy Spirit, is here called the Spie
rit of Christ in a secondary sense, because it was imparted to him without measure, and by him conferred upon the Apostles, and first converts to the Christian faith. It was this same spirit, or inspiration of God, that formerly dwelt in the prophets, and which revealed to them. what Christ was to do and suffer for the benefit of mankind, and the glory that was to follow from his sufferings. But that the Spirit of God, or the Holy Spirit, properly belongs to God the Father only we have before fully shewn. * See Dis. course iX. p. 154, 155.
2 Pet. i. 1. Through the righteousness of God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ.' Some are for rendering these words from the Greek, through the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ,' and as the pronoun (ouwv) is not repeated, they will bear this translation; which if it were admitted would only prove, that Jesus Christ
may be called God, or our God, in the inferior sense. But from the words that follow in the 2d. verse, “through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord:” as well as from the uniform style of the apostolical Epistles, it is far more natural to render them as our translators have done. In two MISS. the pronoun is repeated, and the Syriac ver. sion, has in this place Lord, instead of God. $ 2 Pet. ii. 1.
• But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, &c. The original Greek word, which our translators have here rendered Lord, is not xupios but OESTOTYS, which signifies the Sovereign or absolute Lord of the universe; and is always applied to the Father, but never to Christ in the New Testament. It is the same word that is used Acts iv. 24. • Lord, (Gr. SECTOTA, Sovereign Lord,) thou art God which hast made heaven and carth,' &c: and Jude ver. 4. Toy Movov SECTIOTYY Jeov. "The only Sovereign Lord God.' The damnable heresies here mentioned, probably relate to the opinions of the Nicolaitans Gnostics, &c. who corrupted the principles of Christianity, and were
* One MS. in this place reads the Spirit of God in place of Christ, but this is too slight an authority to authorize a change in the common reading
§ See Mill and Griesbach in loco.
guilty of many immoral practices. God the Father is de. clared in scripture to have bought both Jews and Christians, Deut. xxxii. 6. 'Is he not thy Father that hath bought thee?' 1 Cor. vi. 20. Ye are bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.' Some Trinitarians misunderstanding the words, denying the Lord that bought them, and considering them as applicable to our Lord Jesus Christ, have been so weak and malicious, as to charge the Unitarians with such a denial: although they own him to be Lord, and the Son of God also, in the true sense in which these titles are given him in seripture. But as the word dECTIOTIS respects the Father, the Unitarians have here a good title to return the charge upon their opponents, and to accuse them of denying the only Sovereign Lord God of the uni. verse, viz. the Father, by giving away his peculiar glory to another, and making other gods or supreme beings besides him, who is the only living and true God. If any speculative opinion whatever may be called a damnable heresy, this horrid tenet of the Trinitarians, seems to have the best right to that appellation.
1 John i. 1, 2. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled of the word of life. (For ihe life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us, ' &c.) Jesus Christ is in this place called the word of life, because he was the revealer of the Father's will, and the author of the gospel dispensation. The knowledge of eternal life, or immortality, was before his coming with the Father, i. e. hidden as it were and concealed from the greatest part of mankind; but Jesus Christ manifested it, and brought it to light hy his gospel. This piace does not afford even the shadow of an argument in favour of our opponents.
i John iii. 16. • Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us,' &c. The word God in this text is wanting in all the Greek MSS. excepting one or two at most. It is left out by Walton, Carcellæus, Mill, Wetstein, Harwood, Griesbach, &c. in their editions of the Greek Testament; and being evidently spurious,