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the high priest rent his clothes, in pretence of horror at the blasphemy; and not froin any idea that Christ asserted a literal Sonship of his Divinity. The Jewish rulers suid, and were vexed, that Christ's claim * made himself equal with God." And ågain; " Because that thou, being a mang makest thyself God.? Christ told them, * If ye believe not that I am he (the true Messiah) ye shall die in your sins." He did not mean, if ye believe not that I am a derived, dependent being, ye shall die in your sins : But, if ye believe not that I am the true Messiah, ye shall die in your sins. He said again; “If any man will do his will, he shall know the doctrine, whether it be of God; or whether I speak of myself.” Did Christ mean, that such an one should know, at once, that is Divinity was derived? Or that he should know, that his doctrine was the doctrine of God ? The latter, most certainly! As John xx, 31, “ These are written, that ye might believe, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.”
Now therefore, when we read of Christ's being a declared to be the Son of God with power;" and of the confession of some of the primitive converts, “ I believe that Jesus is the Son of God;" we must conclude that the passages do not relate to a derivation of Christ's Divinity from God, as from a Father; but to the real Messiahship of Jesus of Nazareth; and to there being salvation in
him, and in him only. They relate to the same point, which Paul felt, when he was i “ pressed in spirit, and testified, that Jesus is the Christ." The evidence of this truth is ample.
John says, “ Hereby know ye the Spirit of God. Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God.” Here was the great external criterion of that day. It was not to believe in a literal Sonship of Christ's Divinity ; but to believe, that Christ had come in the flesh; or to believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah ; in opposition to the clamours of Jews and infidels, that Jesus was an impostor. The proper manifestation of this belief, at that day, was far more unpopular and dangerous, than is the support of any point of Christian doctrine, at this period. Hence, duly to maintain that profession, at that day, was viewed as the best external evidence of a gracious state. Accordingly, the same apostle says again, “ Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God.”
But when I remark, that a derivation of Christ's Divinity from God, as a son from a father, does not appear to have been any question at the commencement of the gospel day; but that the point in debate was, whether Jesus was the true Messiah? I do not mean to suggest, that this point, whether he was, or was not really God, was a matter of
any degree of indifference; or was not undlerstood and decided. I do not mean to admit, that the Arian, or Socinian, may receive any degree of countenance from the views of the people of that day. For this I do not believe. When the people were then taught, that Jesus was the Christ, the reference was immediately bad to the Old Testament, to decide who the Christ was, as to his being and character. And this, in the question of that day, (uchether Jesus was the Christ,) appears to have been taken as a point decided, that Christ was included in the true and living God. This appears to have been the case, from the remarks of the Jews, that his claiming to be the Messiah, was “making himself God”; also from the testimony of Thomas, when convinced of his Messiahship, “ My Lord, and my God !”' and from the tenor of the Old Testament language concerning the Messiah ; as I shall have occasion to show. I see no room to doubt, that the general opinion at that day concerning the Messiah, was, that he is the “ Mighty God; the Everlasting Father; the Jehovah of Hosts; the I AM; one with God; and really God. For they had been tanght 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 bis administration's being so diverse from their fond preconceived notions, of their own temporal ag grandizement, under the reign of the Mes. siah, 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, re. ceived him in the very character, in which he had been held up in the Old Testament. Christ said to the Jews, " Search the scrip tures ; 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 Hosté ; 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 prime 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 hon
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 Messiah to be a distinct Being from the one only living 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 Godbead ;-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 Per
And they will perceive that it was in contradiction to the Christians, that later rabbins abandoned the notion of their fore. fathers.” Hence the bishop speaks of it, as a “wretched experiment,” to deny the doctrine of the Trinity with a view to encourage the restoration of the Jews. And