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It appears strange to me, that the word of any being should, because personified in figurative language, at last be supposed to designate one person, whilst the Being whose word it was, was considered to be another. In the fourth chapter of the first book of Samuel, ver. 1, are the words, “And the word of Samuel came to all Israel,” which is a parallel expression to that alluded to. But it seems to me, that it would be most absurd to conclude, that Samuel was one person, and his logos (or word) another person. Independently of the decisions of
and councils, I should understand the word of God came to a person' to mean, that his command, or precept, or some revelation of his will, was communicated to that person, and nothing more. This appears to me to be a plain and rational interpretation, such as the words not only warrant, but evidently require ; and therefore there seems to me to be no reason why we should travel out of the record in quest of another. Though I consider it to be clear from our Saviour's answer, that the Jews had totally misapprehended his meaning, or wilfully misrepresented it in the passage in question ; no stress whatever could have been laid upon their using the word 'blasphemy, had they understood him to mean, as he states he did, that he was the Son of God; it being apparent according to Scripture phraseology, that blasphemy might not only be spoken of God, and of his holy prophets and messengers ; but also of kings and other persons in high stations. Thus in the twenty-first chapter of the first book
of Kings, ver. 13, And there came in two men, children of Belial, and sat before him : 'and the men of Belial witnessed against him, even against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, Naboth did blaspheme God and the king.” This was a public accusation before all the people, and consequently it is evident that it was well understood, not only by the men of Belial but by all the people, that: blasphemy might be spoken not only of God, but of the king also; and that the word was at that time used merely in the sense of speaking evil of God or of any exalted persons among men, whatever notions we in modern times have been accustomed to annex to it,
If we are content to interpret Scripture by Scripture, and will admit that we cannot have a better guide than our Saviour himself, as to what he means by the expression of he and his Father being one' (év), we shall not be long at a loss : for in the seventeenth chapter of the same evangelist, ver. 11, we have this petition offered up by our blessed Lord himself :
Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.”. From this.
conception, it is undeniable, that our great Master designed to pray, that his disciples might be one in the very same sense that he and his Father were one. And in i what sense could this be—but that as he and his Far ther were one in sentiment, were united in the same grand scheme for the salvation and benefit of all man. kind, so might also his disciples ?
Some of the following verses explain with equal clearness, as it strikes me, what our Saviour meant in these and other places, by his Father sending him into the world ;' and that it did not mean sending him into this material world from some other place, but merely sending him with a divine commission among the people to preach to them. The words aré, ver. 18, “ As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world;" shewing that he had sent them into the world, as he had been sent into the world himself by his Father.
So the 21st and 23d verses shew most plainly, that when he declares that he is in the Father and the Father in him,' he does not mean to identify his being with that of the Father ; but that his disciples might also be in him and he in them, in the very same manner. And as it could not have been his design to represent that his disciples were one being with himself, so neither are we entitled to conclude, when he makes use of parallel expressions, that he meant to denote that he was one being with his Father.
Having no books to consult, but an English Bible and a Greek Testament, I have not perhaps done so much justice to the subject, as most other men would. My principal object has been to evince, that I have not hastily taken up opinions without weighing and considering them; and that if I have adopted such as are erroneous, it has not been for want of diligently searching for, and endeavouring to discover, the truth:—but here we see as through a glass darkly;
the time will arrive when we shall obtain more complete information, and whose opinions will then be found to be correct God only knows. In the mean time, let all who acknowledge the same great Master obey his divine precept of loving one another. Whatever sect they belong to, let them consider themselves as Catholics in the proper sense of the word members of that universal church which he has established, doing each other all the good they can, though their sentiments in many respects may differ, and thinking and judging candidly and kindly of each other. This I am persuaded is the case with yourself: I wish it were so with all. It was, I am sure, a very friendly wish for my welfare that dictated your letter, and I am much obliged to you for it; though I cannot help thinking, that neither those who are of your opinion, nor those who agree with me in mine, will be in any danger, if they use due diligence in the pursuit of truth, and live up to that share of it, which God, in the exercise of their honest endeavours to know his will and to please him, shall think fit to favour them with. I find but onecreed in the New Testament~That Jesus is the Christ. All that has been added to it is mere human invention: and we all know what a mass has been superinduced, partly by mistaken, and partly by mischievous, and wicked, characters, since the first promulgation of the Gospel.
I am, my dear sir, yours, &c.
MY DEAR SIR,
he nature of our respective avocations is such, aş necessarily to subject our correspondence to very long intervals. Your last letter did not reach me, till a yery considerable time had intervened after the wri. ting of mine, to which it was an answer; and unfor tunately this, from unavoidable accidents, follows it at a still greater distance, notwithstanding I have frequently proposed to myself to reply to it long before this time.
Though I happen to remain unconvinced by the arguments you have favoured me with,—that my construction of the passage, John x. ver. 27-36, is erroneous,—it has afforded me much gratification to learn what could be advanced upon the subject, by learning and ingenuity such as yours. I am aware, that some of the Greek fathers, after the doctrine of the Trinity had made considerable progress, pressed into their service the words of the 30th verse, “I and my Fa. ther are one” (fv), to shew that they were one being, or one God; and you say that they must have under