« הקודםהמשך »
54 The true One, a distinguishing title of God.
who hath sent me:' by which words, I think, it is plain, that Jesus Christ by the words, . It is the true one,' not only meant ' the true God,' but used the words,'true one, as a descriptive character, or a known periphrasis for the true God.
Jesus Christ in his well-known prayer to his father, John xvii. 3, says, 'This is life eternal, that they (his disciples) may know thee, O Father, the only true God, and him whom thou hast sent,' i. e. thy messenger Jesus Christ, or thy messenger Jesus to be the Christ, or Messias.
In this text it is evident there are three propositions, viz.
1. That it is eternal life, i. e. the doctrine of eternal life, to know (own) the Father to be the only true God, and Jesus Christ to be him whom the • Father had sent.'
2. That the Father is the only true God,' or the Father alone is the true God.
3 That Jesus Christ is he whom the Father sent.
Now, it is most evident, that in the two last propositions there are two distinct subjects, and two distinct predicates in the same sentence, viz. The Father is the "only true. God;' and Jesus Christ was sent by the Father. Now as these two subjects, viz. the Father and Jesus Christ, are always fully distinguished throughout the New Testament; so the two predi. cates, viz. the ' only true God,' and sent by that only true God;' as plainly and strongly distinguish the two subjects to which they belong, as any words can do: and by these two characters the judgment of every candid and considering person must be determined*.,
• The unfair dealing of the Athanasian heretics, our modern tritheists, is very ob: ervable in their attempts to pervert this text : for instance, they will not admit the word only to be joined with the word true God, and to exclude Jesus Christ, &c. This is evidently corrupting the original, where the order of the terms, and the sense of the passage, plainly demonstrate the word only to be conjoined with the pronoun thee; i, e. the Father,
1 John v. 20, "We know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know the true God,' (as it is in the Alexandrian and other copies) that is, the Father, John xvii. 3, 'whom to know is life eternal.'
N. B. This verse rightly translated runs thus, • We know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know the true God, and we are in, or belong to him, that is,
to the true God, by or through his Son Jesus Christ.' Then St. John adds this short clause : The persons I have been mentioning, are the true God, and his son, whom I have before called the life,' John xiv. 6, and eternal life' in this epistle, for he is the preacher or teacher of eternal life. And then when he had told them whom they were to regard as the true God, and the true teacher of eternal life, he closes his epistle with this necessary caution, because his readers lived among the Gentiles, possibly the Parthians; • Keep yourselves from idols.'
CHAP. XVIII. God a Being of eternal eristence, O QN KAI O HN
ΚΑΙ Ο ΕΡΧΟΜΕΝΟΣ. ANOTHER character, and an appropriate character of
And this interpretation introduces threc gross absurditics ; ), That the Father and Jesus Christ are the only true God, which leaves out the Holy Ghost, the third person in their trinity. 2. The Athanasians make the Father, and one sent by him to be the only true God. 3. They are obliged to suppose that Jesus Christ, when he prayed to the Father only by name, meant Father, Son an Holy Ghost, and so prayed to himself in all the petitions in this chapter.
How little did Jesus Christ imagine. or St. John the evangelist, that those plain words should be so strangely tortured an. misapplied by the pretended orthodox in succeeding ages! Are the critics upon human writers so unskillul, so vucandid, so unmercifui ? Ave Chris. tian critics and commentators so daring, so unmerciful co the sacred writings! What disdain, what indignation is due to such bold attempts of pretenders to orthodoxy !
God, used by St. John in the Revelation five times, and in no one place besides, is that here prefixed, which we translate ' him which (rather who) is, who was, and who is to come.' So it is worded three times, Rev. i. 4, 8, xi. 17, and twice with a little variation, chap iv. 8, and xvi.-5.
Here Rev. i. 4, 5, St. John introduces this character in a prefatory form of salutation thus, Grace be to you, and peace from him, who is, and who was, and who is to come; and from the seven spirits ; and from Jesus Christ,' whose characters are added, "the faithful witness, or martyr; and the first-born from the dead.' So the Alexandrian. By those characters Christ is plainly distinguished from him," who is, and was,' &c.
This appropriate character is again repeated, ver. 8. in the Alexandrian and other MSS. thus, the Lord God, who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.' Where the two characters, namely, the Lord God, and the Almighty, confine the application of the middle character who is, and who was,' &c. to God alone, or to him, whom Christ himself calls the Father, the only true God.' John xvii. 3.
In Rev. xi. 15, 16, 17, the appropriation is clear and strong: “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ.' And • the twenty four elders before God fell on their faces and worshipped God, saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, who art, and wast, and art to come. Here the Lord is expressly distinguished from his Christ; and by the elders, who, adoring • God alone,' give thanks to him alone,' naming him by his three incommunicated characters, viz. the • Lord God,' the • Almighty,' who is, and who was, and who is to come.'
The four living creatures cease not day and night, saying, "Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come. Rev. iv, 8. Note, in this passage, and the following texts, the appropriation of these words ( who was, who is,'
&c.) is yet more full. The four living creatures style the object of their worship • holy,' that is, 1. • Most holy. 2. · The Lord God.' 3.' The Almighty.' 4. Who was, who is, &c.' 5. Him who sits on the throne,' - 6. Who liveth for ever and ever.' And the twenty four elders worship him in the two last characters ; adding another, For thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are, and were created.' ver. 11.
Lastly, this character, who was, and who is,' &c. is mentioned by the angel of the waters, chap. xvi. 5. mentioning it with two other characters, 'holy' and ‘righteous,' which very characters Jesus Christ himself ascribes to God the Fatber, in his prayer to him, John xvii. 11, 25, no doubt in the highest sense of the terms (holy, righteous).
The Blessed, ETAOTHTOE, God. This was a well known character, or title of God among the Jews; but this character is never given to Jesus Christ in any place of the New Testament.
• The high priest, asking Jesus, Art thou the Christ, the son of the Blessed? Jesus answered, I am. Mark xiv. 61, 62. The Alexandrian copy reads of the blessed God.' This style was common among the Jews; and, - Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, a common form of speech in many places of the Old Testament, with which Jesus being well acquainted, framed his answer to the high-priest accordingly: owning himself to be the Christ, and the Son of the blessed God ;' and not that God himself, as the modern tritheists believe him to be; not the blessed God,' himself.
St. Matthew's account reports the high-priest's interrogating Christ in these words: "Art thou the Christ, the son of God ;' or of the living God,' as some MSS. Mat. xxvi. 63.
This character of God is mentioned by St. Paul, who is the blessed one.' Rom. i. 25. The tritheists indeed apply this term, with others appropriate to the Supreme God, to Jesus Christ, Rom. ix. 5. But the grammar and style of the place, and the tenor of the whole New Testament is against them. 1. Because the words, 'OWY ÉTT Taytwy, should have been "Os Esi'y TW Tartwy, if St. Paul had spoken them of Christ : for so he uses the relative 'Os, Rom. i. 25, applying the words there to God, And thus be uses the relative "Os three times just before this passage, referring his readers to the Israelites, of whom he had been speaking. And when he had thrice used the relative "Os just before, there can be no doubt but he would have continued the same relative, and instead of “Ο ων would have written "Ός εςιν επι πάντων, if he intended to refer the following words to Christ, which not being his design, but intending to offer a doxology to God,* on account of the privileges of the Jews;
* Ο ων επι' πάντων Θεός ευλογητός εις τες αιώνας. Αμήν» This must certainly be a doxology to God the Father. It cannot, consistently with other express passages of scripturt, be understood any other way. St. Paul, Ephes. i. and in many other places, ad. dresses liimself to the Supreme Being as to the God of our Lord Je. sus Christ ;' the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ;' now if St. Paul be a consistent writer, or had any clear notions of the subject on which he wrote, it must be allowed, that this Supreme Being,' this “God,' this Father' of Christ, was the very • Being' whom he here styles. God over all, Blessed,' &c.
It is pretended that this text strongly and fully proves the divinity of Jesus Christ, or that he is the Supreme God, co equal, co essential, and co.eternal with the Father; and to support this notion it is alledged, that the relative particle o refers to the word Xpisós, and that the sense of the passage is that Christ is God. over,' or above all, Blessed for ever. But if the Father be the God of Jesus Christ, as John represents Christ himself speaking, John. xx. 17, • I ascend to my Father, and my God.'--and if St. Paul truly represents him (the Father) as the “God and Father of us, and of our Lord Jesus Christ. Rom í. 7, 1 Cor. i. 3, 2 Cor. i. 2, 3, Gal. i. 3, Eph. i 2, 3, 17, Phil. i. 2, and in all his other epistles:-And if St. Peter justly represents the Father under the same character; the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,' i Peter i. 3-and if a variety of other texts in all