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Writings, can any weight be allowed to the exclamation of the astonished disciple, John, ch. xx. ver. 28,
My Lord and my God;" especially as the apostle who relates the circumstance, within a few verses concludes by saying, ver. 31, “ These are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God;" but nowhere desires the readers of his Gospel to believe that Jesus is God? Does not common sense point out the inferiority and subordination of a Being, though called God, to one who is at the same time declared to be his God, his Father, his Sanctifier, and his Promoter to the state of exaltation ?
The passage, John, ch. i. ver. 1, “ The Word was God, and the Word was with God," which contains the term God twice, may, according to such use of the term, be interpreted without involving inconsistence with itself, or the contradiction which it apparently implies with another most decisive passage in Deut. chi xxxii. ver. 39, where Moses representeth God as declaring, that with him there is no God: “ See now that I, even I am he; and there is no God with me;" if it should be understood to signify in both instances the Supreme Deity. 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
and said, Father,
up his eyes
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
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 porform 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 the
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 iž. ver. 13: “ No man has 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
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 disci