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Son is inferior to the Father in his divinity, but only in his humanity. And a fourth cannot mean the whole of the Christ, but only a part of his nature.' This is the mode of arguing throughout the whole; it must be so, because it is so.
In explaining the passages which you adduce, we shew either how they will bear a different translation so as to convey a different sense, or that they are not fair inferences from the context, or have been either proved, or on very reasonable ground suspected, to be spurious; or else we adduce similar passages in which you yourselves deny your own inferences.
Another circumstance ought to be noticed. You agree with us as far as we go, only you go much farther. You acknowledge that Jesus Christ possessed a human nature. This we believe. If, then, in addition to this, you also assert that he was a Deity, the whole of the proof rests with you. We have not to prove a negative; you acknowledge our proposition. If you cannot bring clear and convincing evidence, such evidence as the importance of the subject demands; if the arguments
be inconclusive, and serious doubts naturally arise; you must fall back into our opinions. We cannot (and we conceive you ought not to) offer supreme adoration to a being, whilst there is upon the mind a single doubt whether he be the true God.
Having considered those passages in which the word God is introduced, and in your opinion applied to Jesus Christ, I proceed now to the consideration of a few others which are said to teach the divinity or pre-existence of our Saviour.
1st, His oneness with the Father. "I and my Father are one," &c. To these expressions great weight is attached, and they are continually urged as almost positive demonstrations. It is a little surprising, that no notice should be taken of the explanations given of this phraseology, in the very chapter in which the phrase is most frequently introduced, John xvii. 11, 21, 22, &c. "Holy Father, keep through thine own name, those whom thou hast given me, that they may be ONE as we are." "That they all may be ONE, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee,
that they also may be one in us.” they may be ONE even as we are one." Whatever explanation, therefore, you give of the oneness of God the Father and of Jesus Christ, the same explanation must apply to the oneness of Christ and of the apostles. Does it mean one person with the Father? Then were the apostles one person with the Father. Does it mean one God? Then were the apostles one God. Is it not evident that it must mean one in design, in intention? The word is in the neuter gender, "one thing," effectually excluding any reference to the nature, either of God, or of our Saviour, or of his apostles.*
* "The following, I think, are all the expressions in the New Testament, which seem to assert a unity between God and Christ; and all of them agree in a unity of will and testimony; but cannot possibly, all of them relate to person or substance.
"1 John v. 7, "These three are one.' (ev, one thing) Now, supposing this text to be genuine, the meaning is, that they are one in testimony; for to this purpose they are spoken of, and not in regard of substance or person. Not unity of substance, for then the word ousia, or hypostasis, or some other word signifying substance would have been expressed; and not person, for then it would not have been ɛv, but ɛ15. But most proba
2d, If our Saviour was not absolutely one with God in person, is it not declared
bly the text is spurious. See Sir Isaac Newton's Letter to Mr.
"Second, John xvii. 21, Christ prays that his disciples may be ev, one thing; and this unity is so explained in the context, as can only mean a unity of will, consent, glory, &c. and not of substance or person. ' Neither pray I for these alone, but
for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one, (ɛ, one thing, not one substance) as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee; that they also may one (ɛ) with us; that the world may believe that thou hast And the glory which thou gavest me have I given them; that they may be one (ɛ), even as we are one (ɛy). I in them and thou in me; that they may be made perfect in one (ɛ), that the world may know thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me.'
"Third, John x. 30, 1 and my Father are one (ev, one thing). This means an agreement in power, will, and consent. So Rom. xii. 5, 'We are one body in Christ;' and Rom. xv. 'that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God;' and 1 Cor. iii. 6, 8, He that planteth and he that watereth are one,' (ɛy, one thing) that is in consent, testimony, and will. So x. 17, 'one body.' Ephes. ii. 14, 'who hath made both (that is, Jews and Gentiles) ev, one thing.'
"Now nothing can be more plain through the whole gospel, than the perfect unity between God and Christ, in carrying on the same design in the same manner. So that God and Christ are one, (ɛv) one thing, in the very same sense in which Christ prays that his disciples may be (E) one thing, which is not capable of being understood either of substance or person, and must be understood of will, or design, or glory."
Ben Mordecai's Apology, Let. I. Note 31.
that he was equal with God? Philip. ii. 6, Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God." Contrasted with this, I present only the three following passages; "My Father is greater than I." "I can of mine own self do nothing, but my Father doeth the works." "Of that day and that hour knoweth no one, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only." Here is positive evidence from our Saviour's own mouth, that he was not equal to God. Many other passages similar to these might be adduced.
To which of these passages then shall we call in the aid of reason? Shall we say the expression of Paul to the Philippians must be literal, and that all these of our Saviour do not fully explain his meaning, that we must reason with minuteness and subtlety upon them, before we can understand them, for that they have a diminutive sense and mean only half of Christ? Or, shall we use our understanding to both, and try to discover the sense from the context? With this disposition let us look at the words of the apostle, verse 3,