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Character of the Son of God.
We have read with considerable pleasure a pamphlet which we lately received, entitled An Examination of the Divine Testimony concerning the Character of the Son of God. By HENRY GREW, minister of the Gospel. The author appears to be a man of an inquiring and independent mind, a devout heart, and a christian spirit. The tract begins with a solemn address to the Supreme Being, the latter half of which we will transcribe.
"O my God, what thou hast been pleased, in thine infinite love, to reveal concerning thy 'beloved Son,' that mortals may have a glimpse of thy glory, grant me to know, I desire not to look into those 'secret things' which belong to Thee alone. It is my highest felicity to acknowledge, to love, and to adore Thee as the incomprehensible source of all perfection, and to feel, that in thy sight I am less than nothing and vanity. But, O my Father, is it not my eternal life to know thee, 'the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent?" Thou seest me encompassed with mine own infirmity, and with the diverse systems and traditions of erring men. Oh, call me away from these polluted streams to thine own pure fountain. Pity a poor worm of the dust that looks towards thee to direct his path, and
thine infinite condescension and mercy, grant me an understanding of that wisdom of God' which the redeemed multitude shall celebrate to eternity, for thy dear Son's sake, Amen,"
The writer's collection of scripture testimony to prove the inferiority of the Son to the Father, and consequently the opposition of the trinitarian scheme to the word of God, appears to us ample and conclusive. We can only allow room for a table, which is introduced in the last chapter of his work, in which he has exhibited in parallel columns a few texts of scripture contrasted with parts of the trinitarian creed. He
justly observes "that error as well as truth may receive apparent support by this method; but this is only when the most obvious and literal import of a passage is not according to the general analogy of the scriptures. Whether that is the case or not with the fol
lowing, the candid reader will judge.”
JESUS CHRIST AND HIS APOSTLES.
To us, there is but one God, the Father. 1 Cor. viii. 6.
To us, there is but one God, the Father, Word, and Holy Ghost. The Son is as great as the Father,
Who is the invisible God, the uncreated Jehovah.
The Son is omnipotent.
The Son is omniscient, and knew of that day as well as the Father.
No given power can qualify the Son of God to give eternal life to his people.
Jesus Christ created all things by his own independent power.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ from his own omniscience.
There is one. Mediator between God and man; who is also supreme God and man in one person.
and our Jude 4.
Denying the only Lord God, Denying the only Lord God, Lord Jesus Christ. and our Lord Jesus Christ, who is also the only Lord God, and a distinct person.
Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles, and signs, and wonders, which God did by him. Acts ii. 22.
For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself. John v. 26.
I live by the Father. John vi. 57. This is my beloved Son. Matt. iii. 17.
That they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. John xvii. 3.
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow-and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Phil. ii. 11.
Jesus performed his miracles by his own omnipotence.
The Son is self-existent.
The Son lives by himself. This is the only true God, the same numerical essence as the Father.
That they might know thee, who art not the only true God, in distinction from the Word whom thou hast sent.
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow-and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to his own glory.
We cannot speak so highly of some of the first chapters, in which he endeavours to prove the preexistence and superhuman nature of Christ. We think that he sometimes mistakes the true state of the question, and often runs into the error which he condemns in trinitarians, by quoting insulated passages of Scripture, with too little regard to the context, and too great a dependence on the common version. With regard, for instance, to the worship which is to be rendered to the Son, his views seem to labour under some obscurity. He says, "it is remarkable that many Unitarians and Trinitarians have wandered so far from what appears
to be the truth, as to meet at the same point of error. Both refuse to imitate the heavenly worshippers, who worship the Lamb in distinction from the 'most high God' who sitteth upon the throne."-Now this question, about which so many words have been wasted, appears to us exceedingly simple, and to turn entirely on the meaning which is annexed to the word worship. As significant of supreme religious homage, worship can be rendered to the Son by Trinitarians alone, because they alone believe him to be the supreme God; and when they bring forward such a text as that alluded to above, to prove the divinity of the Son, we answer them, that the word translated worship is often used in the Bible to express inferior degrees of homage, and that naming the Lamb in the same ascription with "Him that sitteth upon the throne," no more proves that the same degree of homage was rendered to both, than the passage 1 Chron. xxix. 20, where it is said, "all the congregation worshipped the Lord and the king," proves that equal homage is due to God and to king David. This will be readily allowed by Mr. Grew. He insists indeed more than once, that our worship of the Son should be an inferior worship to that which we render to the Father. Why then does he charge any Unitarians with refusing to imitate the heavenly worshippers? We do not know a single Unitarian who professes not to feel the utmost gratitude for the blessings conferred on mankind by the Saviour, or who would on any occasion hesitate to ascribe to him blessing and praise. If any of us dislike the word worship, in reference to Christ, it is merely because it has acquired a precise meaning in our language, and is very seldom used but in connexion with
the Supreme Being. We wish to be definite in our acts of religion. Confusion has reigned long enough over this subject. Every liberal teacher should do all in his power to clear up the mist, instead of hiding himself behind it. We wish to conform our language to the great principle which we cherish, that religion is too important a subject to be made in any way unintelligible, or to be presented to men in such a manner as to create an opposition of discordant notions. When therefore we have lifted up our voices and hearts to the "most high God," and sung
Worship to THEE alone belongs,
we would avoid exciting questions and doubts, by professing immediately afterward to worship Christ; because every one would not make the same mental distinction which we should. But we assure Mr G. that as far as our knowledge extends, there are no Unitarians who do not deeply reverence their ascended Master, or who would "refuse to imitate the heavenly worshippers," in ascribing "blessing and honour and glory and power unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever."
We do not mean at present to discuss the question, whether there are any texts of Scripture which are conclusive on the subject of Christ's preexistence; but we cannot but remark that Mr. Grew has adduced many passages as having reference to the exalted nature of the Saviour, which seem to us to be more properly applicable to his character, and expressive of the high relations which he sustains, by being made the messenger of a new covenant from God, and appointed the head of a perfect dispensation.