« PreviousContinue »
To take such an imperious stand, is wicked, and leads to broad infidelity. It is the very same thing as to fall on the stumbling stone. It is said of such people, that they “shall be broken;" and that, if this stone “ fall” upon them, “it will grind them to powder.” It is sufficient for us to know, that God saith the thing is so, without our arrogantly calling upon him to explain to our feeble understanding the mode of it. To be wise above what is written, is nothing short of opposition to God. The union of the divine and human nature in the person of Christ, is a sublime mystery, into which the very angels desire to look, and which eternity will never fully unfold. It is a bright display of God's glory--the only foundation of safety to penitent sinners; and a subject that demands eternal praise from men.
2. If Christ is the first and the last-was dead and is now alive, then we may infer, that he is a distinct Person from the Father, and yet one with him in essence, perfections and glory. It is never said of the Father, that He " liveth and was dead ;” and no being but God, can be " the first and the last;" and, therefore, these divine persons must be one in essence. This deeply interesting truth was declared by the Redeemer himself," I and my Father are one.
John 10. 30. “He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father." “I am in the Father, and the Father in me. Chap. 14, 9, 10.
There may be different divine Persons; but there can be no more than one God.
3. If Christ be “the first and the last, and yet a distinct Person from the Father, then we may infer, that the Holy
Ghost may likewise be a distinct Person in the Godhead. • Those who admit the supreme divinity of Christ, and His
distinct Personality, will never dispute this point. No such inconsistent person was ever known in any generation.
It must be allowed, that every argument in favor of the Deity of Christ, is an equal proof of the Trinity in Unity. This doctrine irresistibly includes the personality and supreme divinity of the Holy Spirit. As the holy Scriptures abound with evidence in favor of the proper Deity of the Spirit, the same arguments evince the supreme Divinity of Christ. When we take into view the different classes of testimony, they form a vast weight of evidence in favor of the whole Trinitarian system. A Triune God is the object of real faith, the foundation of solid hope, and the true ground of holy consolation to the followers of “the Lamb -who taketh away the sins of the world.” · In renouncing the belief of a Trinity of Persons in God, we close against ourselves the door of eternal life. It is an indispensible duty, therefore, to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once delivered to the saints." Notwithstanding the great subtility, and unwearied exertions of our opponents in relation to these grand truths of the
gospel, we feel that our feet stand on ground that cannot be shaken. The Lord of hosts has defended this ground in all ages, and he will continue to vindicate it to the close of time. His church is built upon the rock of ages,” and we have his glorious promise, that “the gates of hell shall never prevail against it."
4. If Christ is “ the first and the last,” and yet a distinct Person in the Divine Essence, then we may infer, that applying Rev. 1. 8, to the Father, and urging the spuriousness of these words in the 11th verse, “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last," answers no valuable purpose; for, independently of these proofs, the supreme Deity of Christ is fully established, in the sacred writings. It is settled by the very same kind of testimony which these rejected passages furnish ; and, therefore, the rejection of them amounts to nothing. We have no reason, however, to doubt, but that Rev. 1. 8, ought to be applied to Jesus Christ; neither have we any reason to believe, that any part of the 11th verse is an interpolation. There is a part of it, indeed, not contained in the Greek manuscripts; and, therefore, Griesbach has left it out of his Testament; but the probable cause of this defect has been largely shown. When we take into view the nature of St. John's composition in his Apocalypse, this deficiency gives the 11th verse of the 1st chap. a very had—a very mutilated appearance. As the Arians applied the eighth verse to the Father, no doubt, they clearly saw, that the 11th verse must be applied to the Son; and that, if it remained in the form in which it appears in our translation, nothing would be gained by their application of the eighth verse; and, therefore, to alter it, became necessary. If wicked hands have not been laid on that verse, I am fully satisfied, that its mutilated state in the Greek manuscripts, must have been the effect of carelessness in the transcribers. But happily for the cause of truth, the 17th and 18th verses, in their present form, prove all that could be supported by the 11th verse. The eighth verse of the second chapter, and the thirteenth verse of the twenty second chapter, fully establish the doctrine in debate; and they have complete evidence of their authenticity.
“ Alpha and Omega,” are only one way of expressing " the first and the last," and this phraseology remains in the 13th verse of the 22d chapter. The text on which this discourse is founded, settles the point which the 11th verse, as it is in our New-Testament, would support. We have, therefore, nothing to fear from the situation of the Greek
manuscripts, in respect to the Divinity of Christ ; nor from * the celebrity of Griesbach's Testament, which is only the
reverberation of their voice. Neither have our opponents any solid ground to triumph, on the account of these ihings.
Rev. 2. 8, standing in every version and manuscript, solemnly announces, that “Jesus Christ is the first and the last;"> and, for this decisive testimony in favor of the foundation of our hope, we have reason to bless the Lord.
5. If Christ is "the first and the last,” He “is the true God, and eternal life;" and, therefore, we have nothing to fear from the reading which the famous Griesbach gives to Acts 20. 28, in his purified Greek Testament. In our translation, that text reads thus_" Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” The text in this form, is an invincible evidence of the Supreme Deity of Jesus Christ.
Our opponents call this passage, one of the main pillars of the Trinitarian system; and triumphantly say, that Griesbach has thrown it down. What he has done is this-instead of “ Feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood,” his reading is, feed the church of the Lord, &c. This reading, however, is very suspicious; and it is even doubted by some of the Anti-Trinitarians themselves. Mr. Wakefield is a sanguine Anti-Trinitarian ; yet, he contends for the propriety of the word “God," instead of “the Lord.” If he felt himself under the necessity of abiding by our translation; surely, we may concur with him in opinion. But even allowing Griesbach to be correct in this case ; there is nothing gained by our opponents, por lost on our part. Doubtless, it was Jesus Christ, whose blood was shed for sin ; and, if he is called “the Lord" instead of“ God,” in Acts 20. 28, our text declares, that he is “ the first and the last;" and therefore, He is God, and is so called in other parts of Scripture, whose reading cannot be disputed. It has been shown that He is called God, in Heb. 1. 8, and that our opponents have been forced to acknowledge it.
He is called by that name in the 1st chap. of John, and criticism has been baffled, in attempting to alter its reading. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” He is called the mighty God,” in Isa. 9. 6, and every effort to vary its reading, has proved abortive--mere şubterfuge-the expiring groans of a wounded system. In Rom. 9. 5, St. Paul says of the Israelites——“Whose are the fathers, and of whom as conconcerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever.”. This important passage has often been put upon the rack of criticism, to silence its voice; but every attempt has failed ; and its enemies have been obliged to allow, that it stands fair in the English translation. To what has been said, 1 John 5. 20, may be added, “And we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” To introduce the word “ Lord," into Acts 20. 28, instead of the word " God," effects nothing, seeing that Jesus Christ is so expressly called God, in the highest sense of the word, in so many parts of the Scriptures. As He is “the first and the last,” his Supreme Deity is sufficiently established.
6. If Christ is the “the first and the last,” then we may be assured that He is the true God;" and, therefore, we have nothing to fear from the reading which Griesbach gives to 1 Tim. 3. 16. In our translation, that text reads, “Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh.” Griesbach makes it read" Great is the mystery of godliness: he who was manifested in the flesh.” This, the Anti-Trinitarians say, is another pillar of the Trinitarian system, which that learned critic has cast to the ground. The justice of making the text read in this manner, is, however, very questionable. But allowing its accuracy, there is very little gained by our adversaries; for even on this ground, Christ must be more