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of Zion, for, lo! I come, (comp. Ps. xl, 7) and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith JEHOVAH. And many nations shall be joined to Jehovah in that day, and shall be my people, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that JEHOVAH OF HOSTS hath sent me unto thee. And Jehovah shall inherit Judah, his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again. Be silent, O all flesh, before JEHOVAH; for he is raised up out of his holy habitation:" ii, 10-13. We can scarcely fail to trace in this divine effusion a delineation of the Messiah--that anointed Person, who was to inherit Judah as the governor of the Lord's people, and whose coming in the flesh was the appointed signal for the conversion of many nations to God and his truth. Who, then, was this Messiah? Jehovah raised up out of his holy habitation--Jehovah sent by Jehovah to dwell among his people Israel: comp. John i, 14.*
Before we close the page of prophecy, we may advert to Zech. xii, 10—a passage which appears to declare the deity of Christ in connexion with his sufferings and death. “And I (saith Jehovah) will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and supplication, and they shall look upon ME whom they have pierc ed, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him as one that is in bitterness for his first-born." This prophecy is applied to Jesus Christ, by his apostle John, indirectly in Rev. i, 7, and positively in John xix, 34-37. We may therefore receive it as affording an evidence that, when the inhabitants of Jerusalem persecuted their Messiah, and when, in yet more literal accomplishment of the prophecy, they pierced his hands, his feet, and his side, they persecuted and pierced him who, although the subject of their cruelty only in his human nature, was nevertheless their divine Lord and Governor-Jehovah himself.† Thus it was that they "crucified the LORD OF GLORY :" 1 Cor. ii, 8.
* Vide Calvin and Gill, in loc.
† Zech. xii, 10. 1727 708 na 1b8 12. "And they shall look upon me whom they have pierced." For me, in this passage, about fifty MSS. (a very small proportion of those which have been collated, and not of the better sort) read him. This reading has been adopted by some commentators, under the notion of its being supported by the apostle John, who quotes it as follows: forras eis öv ižexÉVTNσav, "they shall look on whom they have pierced:" but, as the apostle has expressed no antecedent to his relative pronoun, he may be considered as merely neutral in the present question. Not so the ancient versions, that is, the Septuigent, Syriac, Arabic, and Vulgate, with the Chaldee
Here I can scarcely refrain from reminding the reader of the words of the apostle Paul, according to the commonly-received reading of 1 Tim. iii, 16-" Great is the mystery of God liness; GOD WAS MANIFEST IN THE FLESH," &c. Although, in substituting, for the word here rendered God, the pronoun signifying who or he who, Griesbach (whose useful labors have so largely contributed to the settlement of the sacred text) has always appeared to me to have formed an erroneous decision,* yet I would not press into the evidence of divine truth a passage which is certainly the subject of reasonable dispute. I must, however, be allowed to remark that, on the highly probable supposition of the genuineness of its commonly-received reading, this passage does no more than promulgate, in a concentrated form, a doctrine which is with equal clearness revealed in these several ancient prophecies.
And now, in conclusion, we may turn to a passage in the Gospel of John, which narrates one of the most interesting circumstances in the history of Jesus, and which fixes the doctrine of his deity in connexion with his resurrection. That this last and most wonderful of the miracles of the Son of God afforded a sure indication of his divine power, I have al
Targum, all of which, as well as Theodotian, and probably Aquila and Symmachus, read the pronoun in the first person, ME; vide De Rossi, Var. Lect. Vet. Test. tom. iii, p. 217.
The rapid change, in this passage, from the first to the third person, is not inconsistent with the genius of Hebrew poetry. It is, however, well avoided in the excellent version of the passage proposed by the learned Dathe: "Intuebunter me quem transfixerunt, atque eâ de re lugebunt, quemadmodum de filio unico lugetur: plangent de eâ re amarissime, quemadmodum de filio primogenito."
* The various readings of this passage, which have been so largely the subject of discussion and controversy, are OC (Deòs) God—OC (ös) who-O () which. O is the reading adopted, with little exception, by the whole Latin church, and this reading is supported by most of the ancient versions. "Os is a reading which recommends itself, chiefly as the most probable foundation of the more common reading ; but, the direct and ascertained authority by which it is supported is extremely slender indeed; that is, two or three manuscripts, a very few, if any, fathers, and no versions.* The reading as is supported by two versions, (not of the most ancient date) by many fathers, and, with scarcely any exception, by the whole mass of manuscripts of every date and class.
* The Coptic, Sahidic, and margin of the Philoxenian Syriac versions, are quoted by Griesbach, as authorities for s; but Lawrance has proved it to be entirely doubtful whether their reading was ös or %. He has also shewn, that the Erp. Arabic, the Ethiopic, and the two Syriac versions, are clear authorities, not for os, but for : see his Remarks on the Systematic Classification of Griesbach's MSS.
ready found occasion to remark; and we plainly learn from the Gospels, that the apostles were exceedingly slow to believe that their Lord and Master, whose death appeared for a time to have suspended their faith and hope, had really burst the bonds of death asunder, and had raised again" the temple of his body," according to his promise. When Jesus, by submitting himself to the personal examination of his disciples, condescended to demonstrate to them the reality of this event, (John xx, 20) the apostle Thomas, "called Didymus" was not of their company; and we find that he refused to be convinced on the subject, even by the united testimony of all his brethren. "Except," said he, "I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again, his disciples were within, and Thomas with them. Then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then said he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless but believing :" 25-27. In the fresh proof which was thus afforded him of that knowledge of the secrets of men which ever distinguished his divine Master, as well as in the stupendous and now ascertained miracle of the resurrection, Thomas was furnished with an ample practical evidence of the real divinity of his Lord. No wonder, therefore, that, under the powerful influence of his renewed convictions, he "answered and said unto him, MY LORD AND MY GOD. . . . . . "Then Jesus said to him," Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed:" 28, 29.
How plain and striking is this narration! How clearly sufficient, in itself, to prove that the doctrine of the deity of Jesus Christ is a doctrine of Scripture! Let it be observed, in the first place, that the apostle's words were not merely an exclamation, but were addressed to Jesus: “Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God :" secondly, that these words contained the apostle's confession of faith, for they were prompted by the exhortation of Jesus: "Be not faithless but believing ;" and were evidently adverted to by our Lord, when he afterwards said, "Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed:" and lastly, that on the faith which Thomas had thus confessed, the Saviour of mankind did not hesitate to pronounce his blessing: "Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." Truly it is the eternal Son of God,
one in the divine nature with the Father, and therefore an Almighty and Omnipresent Saviour, in whom his followers, though now they "see him not, yet believing, rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory!" 1 Pet. i, 8.
Such are the evidences which the Scriptures afford us of the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in connexion with his abode on earth.
We may now briefly review the several points of the whole argument.
The circumstances and qualities attributed to Jesus Christ by the prophets who foretold, and by the Evangelists who related, the events of his life and death, are many of them such as plainly prove that, after his incarnation he was man-a person endued with a human soul and a human body.
When we compare this evidence with the declarations of Scripture, respecting his preexistence in the divine nature, we are compelled to allow that, when the Word was made flesh, he, who before had been God only, became God and man-a doctrine which more especially distinguishes those parts of the New Testament which describe the original deity and incarnation of Christ in connexion with each other, and in the order of their succession.
Jesus Christ uniting in himself the human with the divine nature, is one person, one Mediator, one Lord. Nevertheless, when we read of his actions and discourses, it is important that we should distinguish those particulars which were the consequences of his humanity from others which resulted from his deity.
The consequences of the humanity of Jesus Christ, detailed in the histories of his abode on earth, could not have contradicted or overturned the doctrine of his deity, as it is elsewhere declared in Scripture, even had those consequences formed the only subject of the Gospel narrations. But, in point of fact, these narratives, together with other parts of the Bible which relate to our Lord's incarnation and human existence, abound also in the evidences of his deity.
When the Lord Jesus declared himself to be the Saviour of the world, and a final object of that faith which ensures, to those who possess it, the gift of eternal life-when he presented himself to the notice of his followers, as the moral and spiritual governor of mankind, the pardoner of sin, the authoritative repealer of parts of the divine law, the Lord of the Sabbath, greater than the temple, the giver and sender of the Holy Spirit-when he said to the Jews, "Before Abraham was I AM"-when he spoke as one omnipresent-above all,
when he described the reciprocity, the even fellowship, and the, equal community of works and attributes, which subsisted in the divine unity between his father and himself-he indirectly, but indubitably, asserted his claim to the nature and character of God.
When he manifested an intuitive knowledge of the thoughts and secret murmurings of men, and thus, in conformity with his own declaration, evinced that he is the searcher of the reins and the hearts-when he effected his own miracles (as well as those of his apostles) and thus controled or altered, by his powerful fiat, the established order of nature-more espepecially when he burst asunder the bonds of death, and quickened again his own mortal body-he brought into exercise the attributes, and displayed the powers, of deity.
When that act of worship was addressed to him, which was indignantly rejected by an apostle, and by an angel, because they were creatures, and was so addressed to him as plainly to indicate religious faith and spiritual adoration, he was the object of those honors which are due to God only; and when notwithstanding his acknowledged humility, he freely admitted such honors, he again bore a virtual testimony to the truth of his own divinity.
When many glorious collateral circumstances accompanied the several parts of his human history--when the multitudinous chorus of angels hallowed his nativity; when the greatest of human prophets ushered in his ministry; when men and devils, and the very winds, were subdued by his presence; when darkened and agitated nature owned his death: these things were all in harmony with the stupendous fact, that God was manifest in the flesh.
Lastly, when the prophets, with reference successively to the birth, the life, and the crucifixion, of the Messiah, describe him as God with us, as the mighty God, as the Lord coming to his own temple, as Jehovah, whose ways were prepared by Elijah, or by the voice crying in the wilderness," as Jehovah sent by Jehovah to dwell among his people, as Jehovah whom the Israelites persecuted and pierced-when the writers of the New Testament, without reserve or hesitation, apply some of these prophecies to our Saviour-and when the apostle Thomas, after witnessing the truth of his resurrection, calls him his Lord and his God-these inspired servants of the Almighty confirm and fasten the whole preceding series of evidence, and place on the doctrine of the eternal divinity of Jesus Christ, as it is connected with his abode on earth, an intelligible and irrefragable seal,