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coolness, and the phlegmatic temperament of their boasted rationality?
My dear friends, if the subject of which I have been speaking were a matter of mere abstract speculation, I should reckon myself ill employed in touching it in public at all;— far more so, in entering into any detailed discussion of it. Such themes as these become not him, whose office calls him to
-But feeling, as I do, my own hopes for eternity at stake, with the doctrine whose truth it is my object to vindicate; and satisfied, that your hopes must rest on the same foundation(for if this be the right one, there is not another);—I cannot but feel it my duty, to press it upon your most serious and earnest attention.-In next discourse, I intend, if God shall give ability and opportunity to prosecute the subject, to enter on the direct proofs, that the peculiar NAMES, ATtributes, WORKS, and WORSHIP of the true God, are distinctly ascribed in the Bible to Jesus Christ. And all that I request of you, is a patient and candid hearing; and a seriousness becoming the high importance of the point under discussion.
As to any practical improvement of what has been delivered in this discourse, I have only to say, (for it would be quite unseasonable to enlarge,) that if the spirit of the different Scripture quotations, expressive of Christian principles and Christian feelings, in the latter part of the discourse, be imbibed, and cherished, and practically displayed-this will be of all effects the most desirable; the most conducive to your happiness, and to the glory of God our Saviour.-May He graciously grant this effect, for his name's sake! Amen!
ON THE SUPREME DIVINITY OF JESUS CHRIST.
1 JOHN V. 20.
his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God."
HAVING called your attention, in last discourse, to certain general, but to my mind highly interesting and important views, of this momentous subject, I shall defer recapitulation for the present, as it is my intention to give a brief summary of the whole evidence, when I have brought my illustration of it to a close :-and shall now immediately proceed, agreeably to the method which I announced, to lay before you such direct proofs as appear to me most conclusive, that the NAMES AND TITLES, the ATTRIBUTES, the WORKS, and the WORSHIP, belonging exclusively to the true God, are expressly, and without qualification, ascribed, in the Scriptures, to Jesus Christ.
This is a field so very extensive, that I should feel myself fully justified, in devoting to each of the four divisions of it a distinct discourse. It is not my design, however, to enter thus minutely into detail. I mean not to bring forward into prominent view, every particular which might, with propriety, be illustrated; nor to adduce, on those particulars which are brought forward, every text which might fairly be cited;nor even on the texts which are adduced, to say all that, with strict relation to the subject, might be said. With some of these texts, indeed, there are connected certain minute critical discussions, which to a popular auditory could hardly be made
clearly intelligible; and which could not therefore, be introduced without palpable impropriety, and without an appearance of pedantry, and of ostentatious display, such as ought, on all occasions, to be sedulously shunned. Such discussions I shall, therefore, as much as possible avoid.—It is, besides, my object, to abridge, and to concentrate, rather than to present a full and extended view of the subject:-not to collect all the scattered light that could possibly be brought to bear upon it; but to catch a few of the more powerful and vivid rays, and to draw them into a focus;-to present the argument in a condensed, and, I would humbly hope, also in a somewhat luminous point of view.
I. Let me begin, then, with the NAMES and TITLES peculiar to Deity.
And here, agreeably to the plan of selection which I have prescribed to myself, I shall confine your attention to the two most obvious and important of these,-GOD and Jehovah.
1. We argue, that Jesus Christ is called GoD, in the absolute or unqualified sense of the name, in the following, amongst other passages of Scripture.
1st, The text itself.-The whole verse runs thus :— 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 (or he) is the true God, and eternal life."-I am quite aware of the ambiguity arising here, from the appearance of a double antecedent. By "him that is true," it is said, we are to understand the Father: and to this appellation, which is the remote antecedent, the expression "this is the true God" may refer, as well as to "his Son Jesus Christ," which is the immediate antecedent.
On this subject, let me request your attention to the following brief remarks. It is the established general rule,
that the personal, or the demonstrative pronoun, should be considered as referring to the immediate antecedent.-To this general rule there are two cases of exception: 1st, When obvious and indisputable necessity requires the contrary.*. But in the instance in our text, no such necessity can be pleaded, except on the previous assumption of the certainty that Jesus Christ is not the true God. Were this antecedently demonstrated, it might justify a deviation from ordinary practice. But to proceed on such an assumption, is to beg the question in dispute.-2dly, When the immediate antecedent holds no prominent place in the sentence, but is introduced only incidentally, the remote being obviously the chief subject, having the entire, or greatly preponderating emphasis, in the mind of the writer.-It requires only the reading of the verse, to satisfy any candid mind, that this is not the case here; and that no reason exists on this ground, for any departure from the general rule. The Son of God stands first and last in the part of the verse which precedes
These observations are not at all affected by the difference
• Thus, when Peter, addressing the Jewish council, respecting the man that had been cured of his lameness, says, "Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,-even by him, doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is now become the head of the corner:" Acts iv. 10, 11.-no one ever imagines, that, because the lame man is the immediate antecedent, "This is the stone" must be interpreted as referring to him. The same impossibility of mistake exists, as to the reference of the demonstrative pronoun, in the following verse of the second epistle of John :"For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver, and an antichrist,"-In showing that the pronoun in the words of our text should be understood as referring to the remote antecedent, Mr. Belsham introduces this latter passage, and he mentions no other, as 66 a similar case!" Of the degree of parallelism, and of the candour evinced in such a reference, I may safely leave the reader to form his own judgment.-Belsham's Calm Inquiry into the Scripture doctrine concerning the person of Christ; pp. 232, 233.
in the translation of the verse, as given by our opponents in their "Improved Version of the New Testament." They render the words thus: " and we are in him that is true, through his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and everlasting life"-a translation to which I should not be disposed to make any very material objection; and in which, it is obvious, the relative positions of antecedents and pronouns remain unaltered.
On the supposition that the words "this is the true God" refer not to "Jesus Christ," the immediate, but to "him that is true," the remote antecedent; and that the translation "through his Son Jesus Christ," is correct; we are tempted to ask, Was there any occasion for the explanation? Could it ever have entered into the imagination of any reader, that in the sentence "we are in Him that is true, through his Son Jesus Christ," the apostle could mean by "him that is true" any one else than the true God? Is it very likely, think you, that after speaking of "Him that is true," in a connexion where Jesus Christ is represented as "his Son," he would feel it necessary to subjoin the explanation,-" He that is true is the true God?" And can that principle of interpretation be just, which thus renders the apostle's explanation pleonastic and nugatory?
Another circumstance which, in my mind, places the matter beyond dispute, is, that the same person is plainly and unequivocally spoken of, as "the true God, and ETERNAL LIFE." It will be granted, that a writer is the best interpreter of his own phraseology. Observe, then, the expressions which he uses in the beginning of the epistle: "The Life was manifested, and we have seen it, and show unto you that ETERNAL LIFE, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us." In these words, it is admitted by Socinians themselves, that "the eternal life," or, as they render