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word to their understandings, and has shown what he wishes their notion of the Deity should be.
To speak summarily, God either is, or is not, such as he represents himself to be. If he be really such, why should we think otherwise of him 2 If he be not such, on what authority do we say what God has not said 2 If at least it be his will that we should thus think of him, why does our imagination wander into some other conception ? Why should we hesitate to conceive of God according to what he has not hesitated to declare explicitly respecting himself? For such knowledge of the Deity as was necessary for the salvation of man, he has himself of his goodness been pleased to reveal abundantly. Deut. xxix. 29. the secret things belong unto Jehovah, but those things which are revealed belong unto us...... that we may do them.
In arguing thus, we do not say that God is in fashion like unto man in all his parts and members, but that as far as we are concerned to know, he is of that form which he attributes to himself in the sacred writings. If therefore we persist in entertaining a different conception of the Deity than that which it is to be presumed he desires should be cherished, inasmuch as he has himself disclosed it to us, we frustrate the purposes of God instead of rendering him submissive obedience. As if, forsooth, we wished to show that it was not we who had thought too meanly of God, but God who had thought too meanly of us.
It is impossible to comprehend accurately under any form of definition the divine nature, for so it is called, 2 Pet. i. 4. that ye might be partakers of the divine nature—though nature does not here signify essence, but the divine image, as in Gal. iv. 8, which by nature are no Gods, and 9eorijs Col. ii. 9. 6etoris Rom. i. 20. To 6elov Acts xvii. 29. which words are all translated Godhead. But though the nature of God cannot be defined, since he who has no efficient cause is essentially greatest of all, Isai. xxviii. 29. some description of it at least may be collected from his names and attributes.
The NAMEs and ATTRIBUTEs of God either show his nature, or his divine power and excellence. There are three names which seem principally to intimate the nature of God, Tn. Jehovah—or Jah— Tris Ehie. Even the name of Jehovah was not forbidden to be pronounced, provided it was with due reverence. Exod. iii. 15. Jehovah, God of your fathers......this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial. xx. 7. thou shalt not take the name of Jehovah thy God in vain. Again, it occurs pronounced, 1 Kings xvii. 12. as Jehovah thy God liveth, and so in many other places. This name both in the New Testament and in the Greek version of the Old is always translated Koptos—THE LORD,-probably for no other reason than because the word Jehovah could not be expressed in Greek letters. Its signification is, he who is, or, which is, and which was, and which is to come, Rev. i. 4. Jah, which is a sort of contraction of the former name, has the same signification. Exod. xvii. 16. Jah hath sworn—and in other places. Exod. iii. 14. This Ehie, I am that I am, or will be;’ and if the first person be changed into the third of the kindred verb, Jave, who is, or will be, meaning the same as Jehovah, as some think, and more properly expressed thus than by the other words; but the name Jave appears to signify not only the existence of his nature, but also of his promises, or rather the completion of his promises; whence it is said, Exod. vi. 3. by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them. And with what vowel points this name Jehovah ought to be pronounced, is shown by those proper names into the composition of which two of them enter, as Jehosaphat, Jehoram, Jehoiada, and the like. The third, or final vowel point may be supplied by analogy from the two other divine names, ofts and Fr.
* The original of this passage presents considerable difficulty. It is thus written in the manuscript: “Cap. iii. 14. To Ehie, qui sum vel ero, et persona prima in tertiam affinis verbi mutatur Jehovae, qui est vel erit, idem quod Jehova, ut quidam putant illisque vocabulis rectius prolatum.” In the translation I have considered Ehie qui sum vel ero, as an absolute sentence; and conceiving the next clause to have been incorrectly transcribed, I have rendered it as if it had been written—et si persona prima in tertiam affinis verbi mutatur, Jave, qui est, vel erit, &c. Simon in his Hebrew Lexicon has the folłowing remark on the word mn: ‘mm. nomen proprium Dei, a Mose demum introductum, eum qui re prestiturus sit, quod olim promiserit, ex ipsa loci Mosaici authentica explicatione, Exod. iii. 14. significans, adeoque IT vel TNT proprie efferendum, ut ex veteribus Theodoretus et Epiphanius Jahe, h. e. Jave scripserunt. If the sense of the passage has been rightly conceived, the kindred verb will be To sidit, fuit vel factus est. See Simon in voce. See also Buxtorf's Lexicon ad Rad. To and Cappelli Windic. Arcani Punctuationis, lib. 1. §. 20.
I. The first of the attributes which show the inherent nature of God, is TRUTH. Jer. x. 10. Jehovah is the true God. John xvii. 3. that they might know thee the only true God. 1 Thess. i. 9. the living and true God. 1 John v. 20. that we may know him that is true.
II. Secondly, God considered in his most simple nature is a SPIRIT. Exod. iii. 14, 15. I am that I am. Rom. xi. 36. of him and through him are all things. John iv. 24. God is a spirit. What a spirit is, or rather what it is not, is shown, Isai. xxxi. 3. flesh, and not spirit. Luke xxiv. 39. a spirit hath not flesh and bones. Whence it is evident that the essence of God, being in itself most simple, can admit no compound quality; so that the term hypostasis Heb. i. 3." which is differently translated substance, or subsistence, or person, can be nothing else but that most perfect essence by which God subsists by himself, in himself, and through himself. For neither substance nor subsistence make any addition to what is already a most perfect essence; and the word person in its later acceptation signifies any individual thing gifted with intelligence, while hypostasis denotes not the ens itself, but the essence of the ens in the abstract. Hypostasis, therefore, is clearly the same as essence, and thus many of the Latin commentators” render it in the passage already quoted. Therefore, as God is a most simple essence, so is he also a most simple subsistence.
* xapaktrip rms Urograoréas avrov. the express image of his person. Authorized Transl. exact image of his substance. Macknight. ‘Concerning the word Urograoréws, rendered in our Bibles, person, it hath been observed by commentators, that it did not obtain that signification till after the Council of Nice. Our translators have rendered Urdatagis, Heb. xi. 1. by the word substance.’ Mackn. in loc.
* Imago essentiae ejus. Tremellius.
III. IMMENSITY and INFINITY.' I Kings viii. 27. the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee. Job xi. 8. it is as high as heaven......deeper than hell. xxxvi. 26. God is great, and we know him not.
IV. ETERNITY. It is universally acknowledged that nothing is eternal, strictly speaking, but what has neither beginning nor end,” both which properties are attributed to God, not indeed in each of the following passages separately, but as a plain deduction from the several texts when compared together. Job xxxvi. 26. neither can the number of his years be searched out. Gen. xxi. 33. the everlasting God, literally, the God of old time or ages. Psal. xc. 2. from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God, or from age to age. cii. 12, but thou, O Jehovah, shalt endure for ever. v. 24. thy years are through all generations. v. 27. but thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end. Psal. cxlv. 13, thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. Isai. xliii. 10. before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. xliv. 6. I am the first, and I am the last. Habak. i. 12, art thou not from everlasting, literally, from old time.
The evidence of the New Testament is still clearer, because the Greek word signifies to exist for ever." Rom. xvi. 26, according to the commandment of the everlasting God. , 1 Tim. i. 17. unto the King eternal. Rev. i. 4. from him which is, and which was, and which is to come.
* Thee Father, first they sung Omnipotent,
Eternal King. Paradise Lost, III. 372.
As if they would confine the Interminable,
* The disputes among the schoolmen respecting the proper definition of eternity could not have been forgotten by Milton. It appears therefore that at this time the famous definition of Boëthius was generally rejected—atternitas est interminabilis vitae tota simul et perfecta possessio. According to these terms God would not necessarily have been without a beginning.
* “Sic etiam Deus dicitur qui est, qui erat, et qui futurus est, Apoc. i. 8. et iv. 8. Deo tamen aevum sive aeternitas, non tempus, attribui solet: quid autem est aevum proprie, nisi
duratio perpetua, Graece aidv, quasi de ów, semper existens.’ Artis Logical plenior Institutio, &c. Prose Works, VI. 224.
But all the words used in Scripture to denote eternity, often signify only of old time, or antiquity. Gen. vi. 4. mighty men which were of old. Job xx. 4, knowest thou not this of old, or from eternity, since man was placed upon earth? Isai. xlii. 14, I have long time holden my peace. David also seems to have understood that the term for ever only intimated a great while to come. 2 Sam. vii. 13. I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever, compared with v. 19. thou hast spoken also of thy servant's house for a great while to come. . See also 1 Chron. xvii. 12, 14, 17. John ix. 32. since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. Acts iii. 21. which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. 2 Tim. i. 9. and Tit. i. 2. before the world began ; and in Heb. xi. 3. the word is also used to signify this world, where the Syriac version translates it, before the worlds were framed. From these and many similar texts it appears that the idea of eternity, properly so called, is conveyed in the Hebrew language rather by comparison and deduction than in express words.
V. The IMMUTABILITY of God has an immediate connection with the last attribute. Psal. cii. 27. but thou art the same. Mal. iii. 6. I am Jehovah, I change not. James i. 17. with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
VI. His INcoRRUPTIBILITY is also derived from the fourth attribute. Psal. cii. 26. thou shalt endure. Rom. i. 23. the uncorruptible God. 1 Tim. i. 17. unto the King immortal.”
VII. The next attribute of God, his om NIPRESENCE, arises from his infinity. Psal. cxxxix. 8, 9. if I ascend up into heaven, thou art there, &c. &c. Prov. xv. 3. the eyes of Jehovah are in every place.
‘dq6aprig. incorruptibili. Tremellius, qui non corrumpitur. Beza.