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had been taught all this in their holy scriptures. But when Jesus appeared, born and brought up among them, growing in wisdom and stature, like other children and youth, in a low grade of life, and perhaps laboring as a mechanic ;-it seemed to the haughty Jews impossible, that this should be that “ Mighty God, and Everlasting Father,” expected as the Messiah! This, together with his administration's, being so diverse from tbeir fond preconceived notions of their own temporal aggrandizement under the reign of the Messiah, led them to “ stumble at that stumbling stone." They would not believe that this was the Messiah. Hence this became the very question of the day. And those who properly received Jesus as the Christ, received him in the very character, in which he had been held up in the Old Testament. Christ said to the Jews, 66 Search the scriptures : for-they are they that testify of me." And they did testify, that he was one with God, and was God; the I AM; the Jehovah of Hosts; the God of Israel, as will be shown under the section on the Divinity of Christ.
The Jews had been abundantly taught, through the law and the prophets, that they must " worship the Lord their God, and him only.” “ Thou shalt have no other Gods before me," was a priine article in their law. Yet when one and another embraced the sentiment, that Jesus was the Christ, they made no scruple of paying him divine honors.
This shows, that they understood their scriptures to teach, that Christ is one with God, included in the pronoun ME in the first command, before whom no other, under the name of God, was to be admitted ; and that he was thus included in the Lord their God, whom only they should serve. This accounts for even the most incredulous of
the apostles warmly acknowledging him, “My Lord, and my God." But no account could be given of all this, if the Jews had viewed the Mes. siah to be a distinct Being from the one only liv, ing and true God.
The Jews, it is believed, held to a Trinity in the Godhead. The idea that they did not, can by no means be admitted; notwithstanding all that infidel Jews, of later date, have suggested. Their scriptures did teach a Trinity in the Godhead :---God, the Prince of Peace, and the Spirit of the Lord. We may safely presume, that the pious Jews did believe their own scriptures in this point, as well as others.
The celebrated Bishop Horsley, (in answer to the idea in Dr. Priestly, that the doctrine of the Trinity is an obstacle to the conversion of the Jews, says, “ In their most ancient Targums, as well as in allusions in their sacred books, they, (the Jews at the time of their restoration) will find the notion of one Godhead in a Trinity of Persons. And they will perceive that it was in contradiction to the Christians, that later rabbins abandoned the notion of their forefathers.”_ Hence the bishop speaks of it, as a “ wretched expedient,” to deny the doctrine of the Trinity with a view to encourage the restoration of the Jews. And he adds, 6 the Unitarian scheme of Christianity is the last therefore, to which the Jews are likely to be converted; as it is most at enmity with their ancient faith." This author a. gain says, “ the deification of the Messiah, was not that, which gave offence to the Jews; but the assertion, that a crucified man was that divine Person." And again. “The Jews in Christ's day had notions of a Trinity in the divine nature. They expected the second Person, whom they
called the Logos, to come as the Messiah. For the proof of these assertions, (he says) I will refer you to the works of a learned Doctor Peter Allix, entitled, The Judgment of the ancient Jewish church against the Unitarians. An anonymous work, (the Bishop further adds) entitled, Histori. cal Vindication, or The naked Gospel ; supposed to have been written by Le Clerc, printed in 1690, in vindication of Unitarians, acknowledged, that the Jews were Trinitarians : But says, they derived it from the Platonic philosophy ;-as did the first Christians from the same Platonism of the Jews."* The fact, that the Jews were Trinitari. ans, is all we wish. We shall form our own opinion relative to the source, whence they, and the first Christians, derived the sentiment.
The evidence I conceive to be very ample, that the great point in dispute, when Christ appeared in the flesh, was, Is this the Messiah ? Is this Je-, sus, that sacred Person, who is to be known under the divine designation of the Son of God ? If the affirmative were granted, they had no further dispute who he was. He was the Logos; the second Person in the Trinity of heaven; one with God. Hence the Jewish rulers charged him, that he being a man, made himself God: And again, - making himself equal with God.”
No declaration then, of Christ, or of others, at that day, that Christ was the Son of God, affords the least evidence in favor of a literal derivation of his Divinity from God, as a son from a father ; nor of his inferiority to the Father. And all attempts to obtain evidence in this way, in favor of sach a derivation, are illusory and vain.
Tracts, p. 216:
ON THE SONSHIP OF CHRIST. , Jesus Christ is called the Son of God. Much we read of his Sonship, and of his divine Father. Are we not hence taught, that Christ, in his divine nature, was derived from God, as really as was Isaac from Abraham ? Answer. Merely Christ's being called the Son of God, leads to no such conclusion. There are children constituted, as well as children derived. Yea, there are children in figures as well as literal children. God is the father of the rain, and begets the drops of the dew," -because he produces them. Angels are called the sons of God, because he formed them in his own image. Adam for the same reason is called the son of God. Men are said to be God's offspring. Christians are peculiarly the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty, because they are adopted into his family ;--possess his Spirit;cry Abbe, Father; and he is making them meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.
The circumstance then, of Christ's being called the Son of God, no more necessarily implies that his Divinity was derived from God, than the term when applied to other beings implies that 'they were literally derived from the divine nature. No doubt there is a peculiarity in Christ's relation to God, as a Son. He is hence called God's own Son ;-his only Son ;-his only begotten. But those phrases do not necessarily enforce the idea, that the Divinity of Christ was derived from God. Aud other scriptures utterly forbid such an idea, as I shall endeavor in future pages to make appear. The Divinity of Christ is “ without father, without mother, without descent; having neither beginning of days, nor end of time.”
What sentiments then, does the word of God furnish, relative to the Sonship of Jesus Christ? It teaches that Christ is a Son (in a sense) literally; and also he is figuratively the Son of God. He has two natures in his one Person. One of them was begotten of God, in the womb of the virgin Mary ;-which is a reason, expressly assigned by God himself, why Christ is called the Son of God. And Christ in both his natures, Divine and human, was, as our Mediator, inducted-constituted-begotten-into his mediatory office, in which he was perfectly obedient to God, as a pere fect son obeying a father. And Christ was begotten (raised) from the dead, to his inheritance in glory; as I shall endeavor to show.
The Sonship of Christ clearly originates in his being begotten of God. This is decided by inspiration : Psalm ii. 7; “I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” Find the fulfilment then, of this passage, and we infallibly find the true origin of Christ's Sonship. It is evi. dent that this passage in the second Psalm was a prediction of something then future. The event predicted existed at the time when David wrote the Psalm, only in the divine counsel; It was in the eternal counsel of God, that the second Person in the Trinity should become a Mediator, and be