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God (the angels, as it is in the common version,) worship him,"* or do him homage as a superior. The word translated worship often has this signification, implying not the worship due to God, but the reverence which we may properly pay to a superior in dignity or age. For instance, “ And all the congregation blessed the Lord God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads and worshipped the Lord and the king." +
The writer next illustrates our Saviour's superiority to the former messengers of God in this striking mannerhe represents the Almighty as saying to him, “ Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom ; thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity, therefore, God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." I
The use of the term God in an inferior sense is not uncommon in the Old Testament, from which this passage is quoted; and one instance has been before noticed in which it is so used in the New. It is employed to designate heathen deities, angels, princes, magistrates, and rulers. Its primitive signification is power. It is employed first to denote the eternal Source of all power, and secondly one who exercises delegated powers. Moses was to be a god to Aaron, because he was to be the organ of God's will to him. There is an instance in which wicked magistrates are called gods; "I have said, ye are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High ; but ye
shall die like men,” &c. || In this qualified sense, the name God is employed in the following 'passage from the fortyfifth psalm, “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever ; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.” This exalted praise is part of a coronation hymn, supposed to be addressed to Solomon. An earthly king is here called God, and his throne is said to be for ever and ever-an Oriental figure employed to express the permanence of his power. It may be well translated, “Thy throne, O king, stands firm and secure.” Now this passage in the original psalm has no reference to Christ, and its being quoted afterwards in this manner, evidently could not give it any such reference; the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews merely accommodated what was first addressed to a Jewish prince to the praise of our Saviour, a prince greater than all earthly princes. It is obvious then, that the term God is here used in an inferior sense-because, as it was first applied to a temporal king, it would prove him to be the Almighty, as well as it could afterwards prove our Saviour to be so. But what follows is still more conclusive on this point—"Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity, therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” If Jesus had been the Supreme God, could he have had fellows, or equals ? or could his righteousness be a subject of reward ? This famous passage, then, which has been thought to support the deity of Jesus Christ, will, if fairly examined, and understood, be found to disprove the doctrine completely!
* Heb. i. 6. +1 Chron. xxix. 20.
§ Ex. xx. 23 ; xxii. 28. &c,
| Heb. i. 8, 9. || Ps. Ixxxii. 6, 7,
Again, the passage, which we have been considering, represents our Saviour either as a subordinate agent, or as the Supreme Deity. If it does represent him as subordinate, the writer was certainly a Unitarian ; if it
represents him as Jehovah, it would be inconsistent in him to proceed next to prove that he was superior to Moses. Who ever thought that Moses was equal to God? What man in his senses could think it necessary to prove that God was superior to his servant ?
Again, if the writer had understood that Jesus was God, it is evident he would not have employed so much learning and argument to prove that his priesthood was superior to that of Aaron and the Levites. If then we still maintain that this author believed in his supreme divinity, we must think him the most absurd and inconsequent of all reasoners—a conclusion which we shall by no means allow.
Numerous texts may be quoted in support of the inferences drawn in this note, but they cannot be necessary. Such evidence as we have already presented will not be resisted by any mind open to conviction. One more pas. sage however will be noticed, because it has been misunderstood. “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.” * This must be taken in connexion with the main arguments of the Epistle, and its purpose, viz. to prevent the Jewish Christians from wavering in their faith. “The priesthood of our Saviour is unchangeable -be
ye therefore firm and constant in your adherence to his religion.” Or, “ Jesus Christ does not change," “ he is the same yesterday, today, and for ever, therefore be not carried about by divers and strange doctrines.”
* Heb. xiii. 9.