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cessarily refer to any but the then present tiine; • Who is also on the right hand of God, who also interposeth, evtuy Xaves, for us,' apparently referring to the obvious and supernatural interposition of Jesus in behalf of bis religion. (5) The most important office assigned to Jesus is that which will conclude his sovereignty, and be the grand consummation of the purposes of God in the moral constitution of this world,--the awarding unto every man according to his works. It is probably impossible for us to know precisely what will be the nature of the awful proceedings of the day of judgement, and of the agency which Jesus will employ on that allimportant occasion; but one thing is clear from the Scriptures, that the office was assigned to him as man. Independent of the reason given by our. Lord himself (John v. 27,) for the appointment, which may be regarded as of somewhat doubtful import, the declaration of the Apostle Paul (Acts. xvii. 31,) expressly proves this assertion ; for he says that God hath fixed a day, in which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He hath appointed.' This I regard as a complete proof that the Man Christ Jesus is to be our judge, and of course, whatever is requisite to enable him to be the agent of God in judging ihe world, will be communicated to him by the mighty
power of God.
I have now, I believe, examined all the leading passages which can be considered as affording any proof, that titles, perfections, and powers, are ascribed to Jesus in the N.T. which are inconsistent with his simple humanity. If these are not sufficient to prove this point, I am persuaded that none will be found which are. I cannot hope that every explanation which I have offered will be satisfactory even to those who fully accord with me as to the person
of our Lord; but I trust I have suc; ceeded in showing, (which is my own most firm conviction,) that those inferences derived from detached passages, but which are in direct opposition to the general tenour and explicit declarations of the N. T. are in no way required either by the connexion or by the phraseology.
SECT. IV. Passages which are supposed to teach the natural superiority of Jesus over the Angels.
These passages may be classed under two heads: such as are supposed to intimate that our Lord, after his exaltation, was superior to the angels, and such as are supposed to imply that he was so before his exaltation.
Respecting the former class I have nothing to say; it is a point of little consequence in itself, and of no consequence as far as the Unitarian controversy is concerned. What, however, I regard as the extent of the Scripture declarations, respecting our Lord's state of exaltation, I have already specified in p. 199–202.
The little difficulty which attends the other class of passages, arises principally from the ambiguity of the original word*, which, signifying messenger
* If the word ayyidos had been uniformly rendered meso senger, as it sometimes is, (or even uniformly angel, so as to give the latter word nearly the same extent as the former,) the English reader would have felt the unavoidable ambiguity of
generally, is not unfrequently used to signify a messenger of God, and sometimes, (still more particularly,) those superior intelligences whom the Supreme Being employs as the special messengers of his designs.
That Jesus was superior in nature to the angels has been inferred from Mark xiii. 32: but as much has already been said respecting this passage as the weight of it in the controversy requires; (see p. 24. note (). The same inference has been also made from Gal. iv. 14, “ Ye received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus;" but it must, I think, be obvious to any unbiassed person, that at most it only represents Jesus upon a footing with angelic beings. The fact however I believe to be, that the word should here have been rendered messenger; and that the Apostle clearly means, that the Galatians had received him as a messenger of God, as though he were Jesus Christ himself. And when it is recollected that the Apostle certainly declares that the Galatians received bim as though he were Jesus himself, it may lead to the conclusion that the Galatians did not regard Jesus as a being infinitely superior in nature to man, still less as truly God.
The passage however which has given chief support to the doctrine of the natural superiority of Jesus to angelic beings, is,
47.] Heb. i. 4.." Being made so much greater the original, and yet have ofien gained clearer ideas of its meaning in some instances. To enable him to gain them, inost adviseable plan, perhaps, wouid be, of the two words, angel and messenger, to place that in the margin which is deemed loss preferable for the text.
than the angels."--If this had been rendered (as with strict justice it might have been,) ' Having become so much superior to the messengers, the mind would at once have been led back to vs. 1, 2, where the prophe:s are spoken of, who assuredly were the angels or messengers of Jehovah. (See Mark i. 2, where angel is used in reference to the Baptist.)– The Writer's object is to show the superiority of the Christian dispensation over every other; and he begins by showing the superiority of the Mediator of it. The preceding communications of the Supreme Being had been made, he says, by the Prophets; He now spake to men by a Son. The former were simply messengers of God, and though this was honourable to them, yet it was not exclusively so, for the Scriptures represent even inanimate objects as sharing that honour, (vs. 7); but God had not given to any of thein the title of Son, as He had to him by whom He now spake to mankind, (vs. 5). This parallel the Writer continues at least as far as ch. ii. 5, where be takes up a different view of the subject. “ The Writer having already proved that Christ was superior to angels, viz. to all preceding prophets and messengers from God, now proceeds, through the remainder of this chapter, to prove that he is. in his nature inferior to angels considered as beings of an order, superior to mankind, for that the nature of his commission required that he should be a proper human being." See Impr. Vers. on this verse; and the whole of the notes on ch. i. ii. are particularly deserving of attention. It seems to me clear, that the Writer to the Hebrews having
endeavoured in ch. i. 1-ji.5, to impress his readers with the high dignity of the Apostle and Highpriest of our profession, proceeds in the following part of ch. ii. to obviate a natural suggestion,-if his office were so dignified and important, why was not a being of superior nature appointed to fill it?
Sect. V. Those passages in which it is thought that Jesus is represented as an object of religious worship. (see p. 103, &c.)
When I consider the frequent and express injunctions in the Jewish Scriptures, against worshiping any other being than God, who throughout the whole is spoken of as one person,--the express injunctions and examples of our Lord, directing his followers to worship his God and Father, and the striking fact that not one injunction occurs throughout the whole of the Christian Scriptures, to offer religious worship to Jesus,-I feel unfeigned astonishment, that any who make them their rule of faith and practice should consider prayer to Jesus as a duty; still more, that any believers in the proper humanity of Christ, should have thought the religious worship of Jesus justifiable. The latter was the case with the early Socinians; and the
y lf Jesus could not have prayed to himself, (see however p. 102, note(t), he might have prayeď to the holy spirit; and that he did not, is very unfavourable to the Trinitarian system. The Liturgy of the Church of England contains prayers addressed to the holy spirit ; I should have asked if this too be supposed to be justified by the Scriptures, if I had not met with a citation in favour of it, in the Christian Observer, July, 1809. It is this, 1 Cor. vi. 19, “ Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God