« PreviousContinue »
15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This Written at Ephesus.
could be quoted to prove the same point if accumulative evi-
dence, were essential to conviction.
In addition to the argument derived from this source, we
might mention the manner in which the writers of the New Tes-
tament allude to those passages in the Old Testament which
refer to the Jehovah Angel (hh). Thus Isaiah saw in a vision
the glory of Jehovah in the temple. In John xii. 41. John de-
clares that the glory which the prophet saw, was the glory of
Christ, plainly affirming thereby that the Jehovah of the Old
Testament, the Christ of the New, was the common God
of both dispensations (ii). St. Paul alludes to this doctrine
also, when he refers to Christ the expression of David (Ps.
lxxviii. 56.) they tempted and provoked the most high God.
Neither let us tempt Christ, says St. Paul, as some of them also
tempted (kk). On such passages as these, and on the application
by our Lord to himself of many of those phrases by which both
Philo and the Chaldee paraphrases were accustomed to de-
signate the Word of God, or the Angel Jehovah, the primitive
Christians founded this opinion. Their principal reasons per-
haps, in addition to these, were derived from the manner in
which St. Paul still more decidedly applies to Christ, such ex-
pressions as the image of God, the glory of God, the image of
the invisible God, God manifest in the flesh. Reasoning from
these and similar expressions, the primitive Christians justly
concluded that the Logos of the Targumists and Philo, and the
Christ of the New Testament, were the same Angel Jehovah of
the Jewish Scriptures.
The fourth class of persons whom St. John may be supposed to have addressed, were the unconverted heathen. Of these the more ignorant were familiar with the doctrine of the incarnations (I), and the Evangelist might desire, when any of them should become converts to the Christian religion, that they should have correct ideas of the only available incarnation; that of God manifest in the flesh. The more educated of the Heathen were of course well acquainted with the popular philosophy of their day (mm), and would learn also, should they ever be brought to a knowledge of the truth, that the only real doctrine of the Logos was that which was maintained by the Christian Church, and is so satisfactorily set down by St. John in the commencement of his invaluable Gospel.
Thus does it appear, from a careful investigation of the principal authorities that can be now collected, that the preface to St. John's Gospel is the most important passage in the whole of the New Testament. It is the passage which is the foundation of the Christian doctrine of the divinity of Christ-the point where the Jewish and Christian Churches meet and divide-the record which identifies the faith of the Mosaic Church with that of the Christian (nn). As the preface to a book is generally the last part written, this passage may be considered as the last of the inspired writings, and as a sacred seal placed on the whole of the Old and New Testament. The government of the Jewish Church was consigned by the Supreme Being, the Father, to that manifested Being who assumed the titles and excrted the powers, and declared himself possessed of the attributes of the most High God. Without the consent of this Being, the Jewish Church could not have been overthrown. He was accustomed repeatedly to appear. He called himself the captain of the Lord's host (Josh. v. 14, 15. and vi. 2.) the angel in whom the name of God was (Exod. xxiii. 21.) and to this angel, or Jeho
was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is pre- Written at ferred before me: for he was before me. Ephesus.
vah, are attributed all the great actions recorded of God in the
Old Testament. We do not read any where in the Old or New
Testament, that this Being ceased at any time to protect the
Jewish nation, and its Church. The prophet Malachi, in a
passage (Malach. iii. 1-6. iv. 3-6.) which has been uniformly
considered by the Jewish as well as Christian commentators to
refer to the Messiah, declares that this Angel Jehovah, the Je-
hovah whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple-to the
temple which had been rebuilt after the return from the cap-
tivity, and which was destroyed by the Roman soldiers. But
we have no account whatever, neither have we any allusion in
any author whatever, that the ancient manifested God of the
Jews, appeared in the usual manner in the second temple be-
tween the time of Malachi and the death of Herod the Great.
The Christian Fathers, therefore, were unanimous in their opi-
nion, that this prophecy was accomplished in the person of
Jesus, and in him only. They believed that Christ, even Jesus
of Nazareth, was the Angel of the Covenant, that be and he
only was Jehovah, the Angel Jehovah, the Logos of St. John,
the Memra Jah of the Targumists, the expected and predicted
Messiah of the Jewish and Christian Churches. This is the
doctrine rejected by the Unitarian as irrational, by the Deist as
incomprehensible, by the Jew as unscriptural-but it is the
doctrine which has ever been received by the Christian Church
in general with humility and faith, as its only hope, and conso-
lation, and glory.
(a) Lightfoot, vol. i. p. 391. (b) Dr. Lardner's Works, 4to. vol. iii.
p. 229. (c) Marsh's Michaelis, vol. iii. part i. p. 321. (d) Horne's
Crit. Introd. 2d edit. vol. iv. p. 329, and Jones on the Canon, Svo
1726, p. 139. (e) Vide Schortgenius-Pref: Hor. Talm. et Heb. p. 2,
when replying to the objections proposed by some against the course
of study he was adopting--duo sequentia mihi a Lect. ben. concedi petó.
1. Christum et omnes N. T. Scriptores Judæos fuisse, et cum Judæis
conversatos, et locutos esse. II. Eos cum Judæis illo sermone, illis-
que loquendi formulis locutos esse, quæ tunc temporis, ab omnibus
intellectæ sunt. (f) A learned and laborious friend has collected much
valuable information on the subject of the controversies which prevailed
among the Jews at the time of our Lord and his Apostles. Though he
has withheld his MSS. from the world, I trust they will be given to
the Christian student at an early day. They will not detract from the
well-earned fame of their respected author. (g) Vide Dr. Pye Smith's
valuable work on the Scripture Testimony to the Messiah. Dr. Smith
prefers translating the phrase mb, by the latter epithet. Mr.
Faber, too, in his Hora Mosaicæ, vol. ii. p. 48. (one of the most use-
ful books published by this eminent writer) translates it in the same
manner. Both these authorities, however, strenuously defend the di-
vinity of the Being who was thus manifested to mankind as a messenger
from one Jehovah, who himself bore also that incommunicable name.
The term the Angel Jehovah, or the Jehovah Angel, seems to express
more accurately the meaning of the phrase: though this interpretation
cannot be established by such evidence as approaches to certainty.
Smith's Scripture Testimony to the Messiah, vol. i. p. 333. Faber's
Hora Mosaicæ, vol. ii. p. 48. 2d edit. 1818. See also Bishop Hors-
ley's Notes on Hosea-Biblical Criticisms, vol. iv. (h) Knowledge of
Jewish Tradition essential to an Interpreter of the New Testament, p. 6.
(i) Pearson on the Creed, vol. ii. p. 123. Oxf. edit. note. (j) Vide
Archdeacon Blomfield's Knowledge of Jewish Tradition essential, &c.
&c. p. 9, 10. (k) Smith's Messiah, vol. i. p. 400. (1) Archbishop
Lawrence. (m) Smith's Testimony, vol. i. p. 409, 410. (n) They are
selected from the Abridgment of Bryant's Work on the Logos, by
Dr. Adam Clarke, in his note on 1 John i. 15. Both Lightfoot, and Dr.
16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace Written at for grace. Ephesus.
Pye Smith have given copious extracts from Philo; each has added
also a summary of Philo's peculiar opinions. (o) See Vitringa de
Synag. veteri p. 634. I have extracted this account of the opinion of the
German critics, on the twofold nature of the Logos from Dr. Pye
Smith's Testimony to the Messiah, vol. i. p. 452. (p) The propriety of the
term used by the Targumists, of the term 27 Psalm xxxiii.
6. (rendered by the Septuagint as in other places by the term o Xóyos,
used by St. John in his preface,) and of Logos by St. John and the Plato-
nists (Obs. Ps. xxxiii. of the Hebrew, corresponds with Ps. xxxii. in the
Sept.) appears from the connection, or the analogy, or relation which speech
bears to an act of the mind. As language may be called an embodied
thought, or the manifester of the acts of the understanding, so may the
divine Personage, which bears the above names, be considered as the
manifester of the designs of Deity. Language, in another sense, may
be said to be the same, the self, the same very self as thought, or any
act of the mind. So may the Logos be called by the like analogy, what
it is represented in Scripture, the same, the self, the same very self, as
God. It must in all these cases be remembered that we cannot com-
prehend God: we cannot by searching find Him out. But he is re-
vealed to finite beings, through the medium of language, which is sel-
dom able to express adequately the efforts of the human mind, when it
would endeavour to understand, in this stage of being, subjects so much
beyond us; to this imperfection of language may be principally
ascribed much of the varieties of metaphysical opinions, both in ancient
and modern times. (4) Tillemont, Mem. Ec. Tom. ii. ap. Lardner,
vol. iv. 4to. p. 567. (r) Introd. Evang. Joan. vol. i. p. 67. (s) Mi-
chaelis, vol. iii. part i. p. 280. (t) Mosheim's Commentaries, vol. i.
p.337-347. Dr. Lardner's Works, 8vo. vol. ix. p. 325-327. 4to. vol.
IV. P: 567-569. Michaelis, vol. iii. p. 285-302. Apud Horne's Cri-
tical Introduction, vol. ii. 1st edit. p. 466-468. (u) Lardner's Works,
4to. vol. v. p. 375. (x) Tracts in controversy with Dr. Priestley, 3rd
Supplemental Disquisition, p. 495. (y) Vidal's Translation of Mosheim,
cent. i. § 60. (z) Mosheim, vol. i. p.310. (aa) Mosheim, vol. ii. p. 211.
(bb) Lardner, vol. iv. p. 534. (cc) Vitringæ observationes sacræ, vol. ii.
p. 152. (dd) De occasione et scopo Prologi Evang. Joannis Apost.
(ee) Witsius comes to the same general conclusions as those adopted
in this note. He mentions also the opinion entertained by the venerable
Archdeacon Nares, that Luke i. 2. refers to the Logos, as well as Acts
xx. 32. and Heb. 4. 12. After enumerating the arguments in defence
of, and against this opinion, he hesitates to decide in favour of either.
Si mea mihi hic quoque dicenda est sententia, equidem fateor tam spe-
ciosa in utramque partem argumenta videri, ut utra eligenda foret anímo
hæsitaverim. See the treatise of Witsius IIepi r8 Aóye, in his Miscel-
lanea Sacra, vol. ii. p. 87. (ff) The Defensio fidei Nicene of Bishop Bull,
and the other works of the same great writer, edited in one volume folio,
by Dr. Grabe, are a complete collection, from which Bishop Horsley
and others, have drawn many of their irrefragable arguments. There is
little or nothing in the improved version of the New Testament, Lant
Carpenter's Unitarianism, the Doctrine of the Gospel, or in the Raco-
vian Catechism, which has not been either answered, or anticipated, by
this profoundly learned writer. The following is the title of the thesis
which he lays down and defends in his first section, the section to which
I am now alluding. Jesum Christum, hoc est, eum qui postea Jesus
Christus dictus est, ante suam iv avůρúπnow, sive ex beatissimâ vir-
gine secundum carnem nativitatem, in naturâ alterà, humanâ longe ex-
cellentiori, extitisse; sanctis viris, velut in præludium incarnationis
suæ, apparuisse; Ecclesiæ, quam olim sanguine suo redempturus esset,
semper præfuisse, ac prospexisse; adeoque a primordio omnem ordi-
nem divinæ dispositionis (ut Tertullianus loquitur) per ipsum decucur-
risse: quin et ante jacta mundi fundamenta Deo Patri suo adfuisse,-
perque ipsum condita fuisse hæc universa, Catholici doctores trium
primorum sæculorum uno omnes ore docuerunt. Defen. fid. Nic. p. 7.
(99) So I translate τὸ πρόσωπον τῷ πατρὸς καὶ κυρίω τῶν ὅλων,
on Granville Sharp's rule. When two or more personal nouns of the
17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and Written at truth came by Jesus Christ. Ephesus.
same gender, number, and case, are connected by the copulative kat, if the first, has the definitive article, and the second, third, &c. have not, they both relate to the same person. (hh) See particularly on this subject Scott's Christian Life-a treatise on the Angel Jehovah, at the end of his second book-works-folio edition-and Faber's Horæ, Mosaicæ, vol, ii. sect. i. cap. 2. The whole chapter is admirable. (i) I have not thought it advisable to enter into the criticisms of the Unitarian writers on this and many other passages which I have referred to. We are told that in some few manuscripts the reading is 0εóv, in other few kúpiov. Yet the greater proportion has the usual reading Xpisov. I have been rather anxious to exhibit the ancient, universal, and, as it appears to me the undoubted faith of the Christian and Jewish Churches, without needlessly entering into verbal criticisms, or the wilful misinterpretations of the enemies of the Divinity of Christ. I do not undervalue the minutest verbal or other criticisms. On the contrary, we are under infinite obligations to the laborious writers who have attended to this part of theological literature; but after perusing with some attention much of the Unitarian controversy, I cannot but repeat my conviction that the oppugners of the Divinity of Christ have been guilty of wilful misrepresentation, both of the arguments of their opponents, and of the plain text of the Christian Scriptures. (kk) For the manner in which the original ideas concerning an incarnation became perverted among the ancient nations into the vulgar and foolish stories related in the Metamorphoses of Ovid, and in the silly legends of the later Pagans, vide Faber's Origin of Pagan Idolatry. So prevalent were these notions among the Heathen, that Dr. Townson ingeniously supposes that St. Luke, who wrote his Gospel for the converted Gentiles, has avoided a word which was adopted without hesitation by the two other Evangelists. In his relation of the transfiguration, St. Matthew, who wrote for the Jews, has used the term (Matt. xvii. 2.) καὶ μετεμορφώθη ἔμπροσθεν αὐτῶν, &c. St. Mark, who wrote for the Proselytes of the Gate, who had embraced Christianity, and who were well acquainted therefore with the opinions of the Jews, and were not likely to be misled, has used the same phrase. But St. Luke, in describing the same event, has used a word which seems to have been cautiously selected—τὸ εἶδος το προσwπ8 dνTOV ETεpov. Townson on the Gospels, vol. i. () Though the once celebrated and highly esteemed "the Court of the Gentiles," 4 vols. 4to. by Gale, whom the author of the Pursuits of Literature, calls the most learned writer on record, is now neglected; I have never met with any arguments which militate against the opinion I have elsewhere espoused, chiefly on his authority; that Pythagoras, during his travels into Chaldæa, Syria, Egypt, and Palestine, conversed with the Jews then partly in captivity at Babylon, partly dispersed in Egypt, and partly remaining in their own land. That he learned from them much of his discipline, and many of those opinions which gave rise in their different variations to the principal schools of philosophy in Greece. Gale traces the original idea of a Logos to the times of Pythagoras. Plato, the Stoics, and others, derived their notion of a Logos, which however in the lapse of ages had become perverted and corrupted, from this primary source. Plato acknowledges that he received many mysteries from the ancients, which he did not understand, but expected some interpreter to unfold them. The reader, who would engage in the study of the ancient metaphysicians, or speculators, or philosophers, by whatever name they are called, may derive ample entertainment in Cudworth's Intellectual System. Gale's Court of the Gentiles, and Philosophia Generalis, Enfield's History of Philosophy, and their original authorities, where he may rove at will, and " find no end in wandering mazes lost." (mm) It would be an easy, useful, and pleasant task to any student who has leisure, and is interested in theological studies, to convince himself of this concurrent testimony to the divinity of Christ, as the Logos of St. John; by the Targumists, the Old Testament, the Septuagint, the primitive Christian writers, and the
18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only be- Written at gotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath Ephesus. declared him.
Year of the
Birth of John the Baptist".
LUKE i. 5-25.
5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, Temple at 'a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: Jerusalem.
New Testament, where it refers to our Lord; if he would put down in
a tabular form the evidence of the whole five. As in this manner, on
tempting the divine personage in the wilderness,
6 ON THE ARRANGEMENT OF THESE THREE VERSES. Though the Baptist is here mentioned, and the passage is consequently an anticipation of his testimony, the apparent reference of v. 16 to v. 14, has induced me to follow the authority of Archbishop Newcome, in preference to that of Lightfoot, Michaelis, Pilkington, and Doddridge. Verse 18 declares also, as Newcome has observed, the reason for which the word was made flesh; that it was to manifest the Father to the world. The circumstances of the Baptist's testimony will be mentioned below. Whiston places the whole of this preface after the events recorded in St. Luke, i. ii. Mr. Hele (a) places John i. 1-6. after St. Luke's preface. He then places John i. 6-15. after Luke iii. 2. and John i. 15-19. after the account of the temptation.
(a) Four Gospels Harmonized, Basingstoke, 1750. 8vo.
7 This section gives an account of the miraculous events that preceded the birth of the expected Messiah.
With the exception of Simon the Just (a), who, according to Jewish tradition, had received the last rays of the setting sun of prophecy, and completed the canon of the Old Testament, it is generally believed by the Jewish Church that Prophecy and Miracle had ceased since the time of Malachi. A learned writer (b), however, has attempted at great length to shew, that though Prophecy, properly so called, had ceased during this interval, yet extraordinary revelations were vouchsafed to some