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ment, I find Almighty God introduced, and speaking concerning himself, (Rev. i. 8,) “ I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending." A little after, however, (ver. 11,) Jesus Christ is brought in, and says, “ I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last;" and again, ver. 17, 18," I am the first and the last; I am he that liveth and was dead.” Are not here the same titles given to Jesus Christ as to Almighty God? Must not he therefore be some way or other, the Almighty God?
Artemon. What great necessity is there, Eusebes, for a new translation of the Bible? That part of the eleventh verse, [“ I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last; and”] is known, and acknowleged by all learned men, not to be the writing of the apostle, being not found in the most and the best manuscripts, or in the ancient versions of the New Testament; and is therefore justly left out of several editions of the Greek Testament. The words then ought not to be retained in our English Bibles. As to ver. 17, 18, 56 I am the first and the last, and I am he that liveth and was dead ;" it is plain these words cannot be spoken of God, but of a creature, who was made subject to death and mortality. men made any use of their understanding, they must see that such things can never be ascribed to the living and true God.
Eusebes. There remains only one passage more,
Artemon, relating to our Saviour Christ, concerning which I am desirous to have your sentiments. It is in Revelation ii. 23, where Christ is ushered in speaking concerning himself: “ All the churches shall know that I am he that searcheth the heart and the reins." Does not this seem to imply that the person who speaks is the omniscient Being, is God; for it is the peculiar attribute of God to know the beart?
Artemon. A little attention will convince you, Eusebes, that nothing of this sort will be found to be deducible from our Saviour's language in this place. For you must consider it in connexion with other parts of his character, and the account which the writer of this book gives of him. Now St. John thus prefaces his work: “ The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass.” From which it is evident, that the book contains a revelation, or discovery of such things as Jesus did not know of himself, but had them communicated to him from Almighty God. And consequently, this searching of the heart and reins, which he attributes to himself, must be such a degree of knowledge of what related to those apostolic churches, as was imparted to him in that first age of our religion, when it was thought proper that an extraordinary divine power should be exerted in the direction and government of the infant chris
tian church; and in this latitude, and no farther, it is to be understood. With the same restriction we are to take the apostle Peter's reply to his divine Master, (John xxi. 17,) " Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.” He only meant, that by the great power he had received from God, the Lord Jesus was acquainted with the secret thoughts and dispositions of those he conversed with, and especially of himself and his fellow apostles. This interpretation is illustrated and confirmed by those words of the apostle John, to the persons to whom he sent his first epistle: “ Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things." 1 John ii. 20. None will imagine him to intend to describe these Christians as gods, omniscient. What he therein tells them is, that they had the full knowlege of the christian doctrine divinely communicated to them; especially in what related to the persons he had immediately before been speaking of, whose grievous errors concerning Christ, he specifies immediately after, ver. 21, 22.
Of the Sentiment and Doctrine of Christ and his Apostles, concerning the Spirit, or Holy Spirit.
Eusebes. You have convinced me that our Saviour Christ never intimated, in the least de
gree, that he was the most high God; and that neither his apostles, nor the evangelists, ever taught any thing of the kind, but the contrary. I must now beg leave to trouble you with my inquiries, what it is that the Scriptures really teach concerning the Spirit, or Holy Spirit. For many Christians look upon this to be God, the most high God, equal to the Father: and accordingly pray to him and worship him. Do our Saviour, and his apostles, teach that there is any such person who is God, and to be worshiped by us ? :
Artemon. Our Saviour and his apostles appear utterly unacquainted with any God, or Divine Person, called the Spirit, or Holy Spirit, distinct from the heavenly Father of all, whom they style the only true God.
Eusebes. Upon what grounds do you say this?
Artemon. Upon this sure ground, that we never find that either Christ or his apostles either prayed themselves, or directed others to pray and give thanks, or pay any religious acknowledgments to any such Divine Person, called the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, as they do to God the Father, continually ; and which assuredly they would not have neglected here, had there been any such person who was God, equal to the Father. And, moreover, although they make mention of the gifts of the Spirit, these gifts are never described as asked of, or given by the
Spirit; which unquestionably would have been at least sometimes done, had there been any such person,*
* who was God, and equally with the Father, to be acknowledged and worshiped.
Eusebes. But does not Christ speak of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, as a sin never to be forgiven? And does not this argue, that he must be God, against whom this sin is said to be committed ?
Artemon. The passage you allude to is in Matthew xii. 31, 32, and runs thus: “ Wherefore I say unto you, all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy of the Spirit shall not be forgiven unto men; and whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven : but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” You here perceive that there is no such language used as that of sin against the Holy Spirit, but only blasphemy of the Spirit, or speaking against the Holy Spirit, And it is
* " Some things in the prescribed form of Ordination of Priests and Deacons in the church of England, he did not approve, and could not use, particularly the hymn,
“ Come Holy Ghost, eternal God,
Memoirs of the Life of Dr, Sam. Clarke,
by Mr. Emlyn, p. 493.