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of calling any much-loved friend by the title of life, or part of our life, as a term of endearment in familiar discourse.
But the passage which is considered most important of all, is 1 John v. part of the twentieth verse—for if the whole be taken, it will not prove what it is adduced to support. We know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, (even) in his Son Jesus Christ: this is the true God, and eternal life. For we are in him that is true in his Son, that is, so far as we are in the Son of him that is true:—this is the true God; namely, he who was just before called him that was true, the word God being omitted in the one clause, and subjoined in the other. For he it is that is he that is true (whom that we might know, we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding) not he who is called the Son of him that is true, though that be the nearest antecedent, for common sense itself requires that the article this should be referred to him that is true, (to whom the subject of the context principally relates,) not to the Son of him that is true.” Examples of a similar construction are not wanting. See Acts iv. 10, 11. and x. 16. 2 Thess. ii. 8, 9. 2 John 7. Compare also John xvii. 3. with which passage the verse in question seems to correspond exactly in sense, the position of the words alone being changed. But it will be objected, that according to some of the texts quoted before, Christ is God; now if the Father be the only true God, Christ is not the true God ; but if he be not the true God, he must be a false God. I answer, that the conclusion is too hastily drawn; for it may be that he is not he that is true, either because he is only the image of him that is true, or because he uniformly declares himself to be inferior to him that is true. We are not obliged to say of Christ what the Scriptures do not say. The Scriptures call him God, but not him that is the true God; why are we not at liberty to acquiesce in the same distinction? At
* This is the interpretation of Benson, Wetstein, Schleusner, Macknight, &c. In support of the other construction, see Beza, Whitby, and particularly Waterland, Works, Vol. II.
all events he is not to be called a false God, to whom, as to his beloved Son, he that is the true God has communicated his divine power and
They also adduce Philipp. ii. 6. who being in the form of God— But this no more proves him to be God than the phrase which follows— took upon him the form of a servant—proves that he was really a servant, as the sacred writers nowhere use the word form for actual being. But if it be contended that the form of God is here taken in a philosophical sense for the essential form, the consequence cannot be avoided, that when Christ laid aside the form, he laid aside also the substance and the efficiency of God; a doctrine against which they protest, and with justice. To be in the form of God, therefore, seems to be synonymous with being in the image of God; which is often predicated of Christ, even as man is also said, though in a much lower sense, to be the image of God, and to be in the image of God, that is, by creation. More will be added respecting this passage hereafter.
The last passage that is quoted is from the epistle of Jude, v. 4. denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. Who will not agree that this is too verbose a mode of description, if all these words are intended to apply to one person? or who would not rather conclude, on a comparison of many other passages which tend to confirm the same opinion, that they were spoken of two persons, namely, the Father the only God, and our Lord Jesus Christ? Those, however, who are accustomed to discover some extraordinary force in the use of the article, contend that both names must refer to the same person, because the article is prefixed in the Greek to the first of them only, which is done to avoid weakening the structure of the sentence. If the force of the articles is so great, I do not see how other languages can dispense with them.
The passages quoted in the New Testament from the Old will have still less weight, if they be produced to prove anything more than what the writer who quoted them intended. Of this class are, Psal. lxviii. 17–19, the chariots of God are twenty thousand, &c....... the Lord is among them, &c. thou hast ascended on high...... thou hast received gifts jor men. Here (to say nothing of several ellipses, which the interpreters are bold enough to fill up in various ways, as they think proper) mention is made of two persons, God and the Lord, which is in contradiction to the opinions of those who attempt to elicit a testimony to the supreme divinity of Christ, by comparing this passage with Eph. iv. 5–8. Such a doctrine was never intended by the apostle, who argues very differently in the ninth verse—now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?—from which he only meant to show that the Lord Christ, who had lately died, and was now received into heaven, gave gifts unto men which he had received from the Father.
It is singular, however, that those who maintain the Father and the Son to be one in essence, should revert from the gospel to the times of the law, as if they would make a fruitless attempt to illustrate light by darkness. They say that the Son is not only called God, but also Jehovah, as appears from a comparison of several passages in both testaments. Now Jehovah is the one supreme God; therefore the Son and the Father are one in essence. It will be easy to expose the weakness of such an argument as this, which is derived from the ascription of the name of Jehovah to the Son. For the name of Jehovah is conceded even to the angels, in the same sense as it has been already shown that the name of God is applied to them, namely, when they represent the divine presence and person, and utter the very words of Jehovah. Gen. xvi.7. the angel of Jehovah found her, compared with v. 10. the angel of Jehovah said unto her, I will multiply thy seed eaceedingly, and v. 13. she called the name of Jehovah who spake unto her—. xviii. 13. and Jehovah said, &c. whereas it appears that the three men whom Abraham entertained were angels. Gen. xix. 1. there came two angels. v. 13. and Jehovah hath sent us—compared with v. 18, 21, 24. Oh, not so, ots: and he said unto him, See, I have accepted thee.... then Jehovah rained.....
from Jehovah out of heaven. Gen. xxi. 17. the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, &c.... God hath heard—compared with v. 18. I will make him a great nation. So Exod. iii. 2, 4, the angel of Jehovah.... when Jehovah saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him—compared with Acts vii. 30. there appeared to him an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush. If that angel had been Christ or the supreme God, it is natural to suppose that Stephen would have declared it openly, especially on such an occasion, where it might have tended to strengthen the faith of the other believers, and strike his judges with alarm. In Exod. xx. when the law was delivered, no mention is made of any one who gave it to Moses, except Jehovah, and yet Acts vii. 38. the same Stephen says, this is he that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina; and verse 53. he declares that the law was received by the disposition of angels. Gal. iii. 19. it was ordained by angels. Heb. ii. 2. if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, &c. Therefore what is said in Exodus to have been spoken by Jehovah, was not spoken by himself personally, but by angels in the name of Jehovah. Nor is this extraordinary, for it does not seem to have been suitable that Christ who was the minister of the gospel should also be the minister of the law: by how much more also he is the mediator of a better covenant, Heb. viii. 6. But it would indeed have been wonderful if Christ had actually appeared as the mediator of the law, and none of the apostles had ever intimated it. Nay, the contrary seems to be asserted Heb. i. 1. God who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son. Again it is said, Num. xxii. 22. God's anger was kindled... and the angel of Jehovah stood in the way for an adversary unto him. v. 31. then Jehovah opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of Jehovah. Afterwards the same angel speaks as if he were Jehovah himself, v. 32. behold I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me: and Balaam says, v. 34. if it displease thee—; to which the angel answers—only the word that I shall speak unto thee, that thou shalt speak. v. 35. compared with v. 20. and with chap. xxiii. 8, 20. Josh. v. 14. as captain of the host of Jehovah am I come, compared with vi. 2. Jehovah said unto Joshua. Judg. vi. 11, 12. an angel of Jehovah....the angel of Jehovah—compared with v. 14. Jehovah looked upon him, and said–. Again, v. 20, 21. the angel of God.....the angel of Jehovah ; and v. 22. Gideon perceived that he was an angel of Jehovah—compared with v. 23. Jehovah said unto him—although the angel here, as in other instances, personated the character of Jehovah : — v. 14. have not I sent thee? v. 16. surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites: and Gideon himself addresses him as Jehovah, v. 17. show me a sign that thou talkest with me. 1 Chron. xxi. 15. God sent an angel—. v. 16, 17. and David saw the angel of Jehovah.....and fell upon his face, and said unto God—. v. 18, 19. then the angel of Jehovah commanded Gad to say unto David....and David went up at the saying of Gad, which he spake in the name of Jehovah.
But it may be urged, that the name of Jehovah is sometimes assigned to two persons in the same sentence. Gen. xix. 24. Jehovah rained....from Jehovah out of heaven. 1 Sam. iii. 21. Jehovah revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of Jehovah. Jer. xxxiv. 12. the word of Jehovah came to Jeremiah from Jehovah, saying—. Hos. i. 7. I will save them by Jehovah their God. Zech. iii. 1–3. standing before the angel.....and Jehovah said unto Satan, Jehovah rebuke thee—and again, before the angel. I answer, that in these passages either one of the two persons is an angel, according to that usage of the word which has been already explained; or it is to be considered as a peculiar form of speaking, in which, for the sake of emphasis, the name of Jehovah is repeated, though with reference to the same person; for Jehovah the God of Israel is one Jehovah. If in such texts as these both persons are to be understood properly and in their own nature as Jehovah, there is no longer one Jehovah, but two; whence it follows that the repetition of the name can only have been employed for the purpose of giving additional force to the sentence. A similar form of speech occurs Gen. ix. 16. I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature: and 1 Cor. i. 7, 8. waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thess. iii. 12, 13. the Lord make you to increase, &c. to the end he may stablish your hearts.....before God, even our Father, at the coming