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Should we follow, on the other hand, the interpretation adopted by Trinitarian Christians, namely, that the Godhead though it is one, yet consists of three persons, and consequently one substance of the Godhead, might abide with the other, both being equally God; we should in that case be forced to view the Godhead in the same light as we consider mankind and other genera, for no doubt can exist of the unity of mankind :-the plurality of men consists in their persons; and therefore we may safely, under the same plea, support the unity of man, notwithstanding the plurality of persons included under the term mankind. In that case also Christians ought in conscience to refrain from accusing Hindoos of Polytheism ; for every Hindoo we daily observe confesses the unity of the Godhead. They only advance a plausible excuse for their Polytheism, which is, that notwithstanding the unity of the Godhead, it consists of millions of substances assuming different offices correspondent to the number of the various transactions superintended in the universe by Divine Providence, which they consider as infinitely more numerous than those of the Trinitarian scheme.
The Saviour in his appeal, “If I do not the works of my Father believe me not,” (John, ch. x. ver. 37,) meant of course the performance of works prescribed by the Father, and tending to his glory. A great number of passages in the Scriptures, a few of which I have already cited, and the constant practice of the Saviour, illustrate this fact beyond doubt. In raising Lazarus after he had died, Jesus prayed to the Father for the power of bringing him to life again, and thanked him for his compliance. John, ch. xi. ver. 41: “And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.” Besides, in declaring that whosoever believed in him would do not only the works he performed, but even works of greater importance, Jesus can never be supposed to have promised to such believers equality in power with God, or to have exalted them above himself. John, ch. xiv. ver. 12: “ Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also, and greater works than these shall he do." Ch. vi. ver. 29: “ Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”. It must be admitted that one who can perform works of God independently of the Deity, is either greater than or equal in power to the Almighty. The wonderful works which Jesus was empowered to perform drew a great number of the Jews to a belief in Jesus as the promised Messiah, and confirmed his apostles in their already acquired faith in the Saviour, and in the entire union of will and design that subsisted between him and the Father, as appears from the following passages : John, ch. vi. ver. 14, “ Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that Prophet that should come into the world.” See also John, ch. x. ver. 21.
The Scriptures, indeed, in several places declare, that the Son was superior even to the angels in heaven, living from the beginning of the world to
eternity, and that the Father created all things by him and for him. At the same time, I must, in conformity to those very authorities, believe him as produced by the Supreme Deity among created beings. John, ch. v. ver. 26: “For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.” Colossians, ch. i. ver, 15: “ Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.”
Separate Consideration of the Seven Positions of
In attempting to support his first position, that Jesus was possessed of ubiquity, the Reverend Editor has quoted two passages. The first is, St. John, ch. iii. ver. 13: “ No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man who is in heaven;" wherein Jesus, as the Editor conceives, declares his location both in heaven and on the earth at one time. The Editor rests entirely the force of his argument upon the term “is,” in the above phrase " who is in heaven,” as signifying the presence of Jesus in heaven while he was conversing with Nicodemus on earth. This argument might perhaps carry some weight with it, were not the frequent use of the present tense in a preterite or future sense observed in the Sacred Writings, and were not a great number of other passages to determine that the term “ is,” in this instance, must be understood in the past sense. John, ch. viii. ver. 58: “ Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” Here the same verb, though found in the form of the present tense, must obviously be taken in a preterite sense. John,
ch. ix. ver. 8: “ His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee,” &c.; that is, His disciples said unto him. Ver. 38: “Jesus, therefore, again groaning in himself, cometh to the grave,” i. e. he came to the grave. Matthew, ch. xxvi. ver. 2: “ Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of Man is betrayed to be crucified;" that is, the Son of Man is to be betrayed and to be crucified. Vide the remainder of the chapter. John, ch. xiii. ver. 6: “ Then cometh he to Simon Peter,” &c., that is, he came to Simon Peter, &c. Again, John, ch. xvi. ver. 32: “ That ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: yet I am not alone :" i. e. yet I shall not be alone. So in all the prophecies contained in the Old, as well as in the New Testament, the future tense must frequently be understood where the terms used are those grammatically appropriated to the preterite ; as Matthew, ch. ii. ver. 18: “In Rama was there a voice heard,” that is, will there be a voice heard. Ver. 15: “Out of Egypt have I called my Son :" i. e. I will call my Son. After a diligent attention to the following passage, no one will, I presume, scruple to conclude that the Son was actually absent from heaven during his locality on the earth, and consequently the phrase quoted by the Editor is applicable only to the past time. John, ch. vi. ver. 62: “ What and if ye shall see the Son of Man ascend up where he was before.” The verb was, accompanied with the term before in this passage, positively implies the absence of Jesus from heaven