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himself certainly sanctioned this idea, and was frequently addressed by the appellation Son of David; and the Apostle Paul expressly asserts that his Master was the descendant of David, and obviously lays great stress upon the fact k. If it be said that Jesus, though not the son of Joseph, might have been the son of David, -I admit the possibility, but cannot see how the probability of it can be maintaired. If Luke had known that Jesus, though the son of Mary only, was still the son of David, he could not, as far as I can perceive, have done otherwise than give Mary's genealogy up to David, at least as well as that of Joseph, which in this case would have been nothing to the purpose '; and it is scarcely conceivable that he should so distinctly declare, as he twice does m, that Joseph was of the family of David,
i See Matt. xxi. 41-46. Independently of which he frequently employed an appellation by which he appears to have meant to imply that he was the soif of David. See note (8)
☆ Acts xiii. 23. Rom. i. 3. 2 Tim. ii. 8. See note (n) p. 47
1 It is reasonable to suppose that Luke meant by his geneaIngy, to prove that Jesus was of the seed of David, ex omiquecoTos Aceid. Now, if Heli uvere the father of Joseph, Luke's genealogy proves nothing to this purpose, unless Jesus were ihe son of Joseph; and that Heli was not the father of Joseph, we have litile inore than the assertion of later writers made to explain the dissonance between the genealogy of Luke and that prefixed to Matthew's Gospel. It appears to me next to impossible, that Luke, knowing that Jesus was not the son of Joseph, and that Heli was not the natural father of Joseph, should assert, that Jesus was the son of Joseph, who was the son of Heli.' If his opinion liad been what was generally supposed; he must surely have said, that Jesus was the son of Mary, who was the daughter of Heli.'
m Ch. i. 27, to a virgin espoused to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. Ch. ii. 4, And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth into Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, (because he was of the house and family of David,) to be enrolled with Mary his espoused wife, who was great with child.'
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and yet never intimate that Mary was also a descendant of David, if Jesus were the son of Mary only. Indeed it appears to me that the words of the Writer of the Introduction (that is, as I see little room to doubt, Luke himself,) are scarcely consistent with the supposition that Jesus was not the son of Joseph. At the time of the annunciation, Mary is spoken of as poused to a man named Joseph ;' liefore the birth of our Saviour, Mary is spoken of as being his espoused WIFE :' in ch. ii. 33, we read, his FATHER and mother n wondered at those things which were spoken of him:' in vs. 41, Joseph and Mary are spoken of as ' his PARENTS ;' and in vs. 48, Mary is represented as saying to him, “Thy FATHER and I have sought thee sorrowing. And if we proceed into the universally acknowledged writings of Luke, we find expressions of the same import. He records the words of Peter', implying that Jesus was the descendant of David ; and those of Paul, expressly asserting it P: le records also the words of the people of Nazareth, 'Is not this the son of Joseph 9,' without any where informing us that Jesus was not so: and he does himself expressly declare, that Jesus was the son of Joseph', and through hiin traces up his descent to David.
This is Griesbach's reading; the Received Text has 'Joseph and his mother.' This last is the mode of expression in vs. 43; which shows that the Evangelist could, 'if he had held the opinion generaliy maintained, have employed a sufficiently appropriate mode of expression. In vs. 43, however, Griesbach marks, as a somewliat probable reading, his paTents did not know it,' further making his parents' as somewhat probably to be omitted. • Acts ii. 30. 32. P Acts xiii. 22, 23.
a Luke iv. Luke iji. 23. I am aware that the words wv ús evoje Soto ijos Iwong, being as was supposed the son of Joseph,' are; when taken separately from their connexion, somewhat ambiguous : in their connexion, however, they can scarcely have inore than one meaning, viz. that Jesus really was the son of Toscph; for it is highly improbable, indeed next to impossible, that such a judicious writer as Luke should give a genealogy
When the idea was first suggested to me, that Luke's Introduction would not, by itself, authorize the doctrine of the miraculous conception, I could not but regard it as improbable. Further examination, however, has led me to the conclusion, that though the narrative in ch. i. 26-38 of Luke's Introduction, admits of a suitable interpretation agreeable to the assertions of the Writer of the Introduction to Matthew, yet of itself it neither declares, nor necessarily implies, that Jesus was not the son of Josephı; and that as the remainder of Luke's Introduction, and various other parts of the N. T. (and even of Luke's writings,) plainly imply, or directly declare, that he was the son of Joseph, every solid principle of interpretation should lead us to reject the doctrine of the miraculous conception, unless it can be proved that the Introduction to Matthew formed a part of the original Gospel. That there is great internal presumption against that doctrine must be obvious to all; and I have no doubt that it has been, in the minds of many, one of the greatest stumbling-blocks with respect to Christianity : but I must repeat, that, true or false, it scarcely affects the question as to the nature of Christ. To give the fullest efficacy to his example, and particularly to give full force to the pledge which his resurrection affords, that all men shall be raised from the dead, it was, perhaps, expedient that he should be like his brethren in this as well as in all other respects : but whether be were conceived by the miraculous agency of
of our Lord's descent from David, tbiouzh Joseph, if Joseph were only supposed to be his father. The force of ws Evopa SETO appears to me to be this. It is far from improbable, that some Gentile converts had taken up the idea that Jesus was not the son of Joseph, but had been conceived by the imme. djate interposition of God, (see note () p. 47). If Luke knew that such an opinion had ever been entertained, he weuld naturally say, in reference to our Lord, óbeing, as he was considered, the son of Joseph,' i. e. being not what some have imagined, but what he was generally believed to be, the son of Joseph. If the meaning of ropes Sopean given by Pearce be adopted, (see Improved Version) the expression was svour Soto does not require this reference.
God, or by the agency of God operating according to the usual laws of nature, deterinines nothing as to the question whether or not he were a proper human being.
No. II. Evidence of the Old Testament. In the preceding sheets I have very little entered into three classes of arguments of some importance respecting the Unitarian controversy ; because my object was to show that Unitarianism is the doctrine of the Gospel: viz. 1. The difficulties attending the Trinitarian and Arian schemes, without reference to those derived from the Scriptures : 2. The evidence of the Old Testament: 3. The opinions of the early Christian believers. As to the first class, so far as respects the doctrine of the Trinity as maintained in the Creeds and Articles of the Church of England, I wish to refer my readers to the Summary of Unitarian Arguments, at the end of Thomas Cooper's Essays, where they will find a complete and rigid demonstration, that that doctrine necessarily involves“ contradictions and absurdities.”—With respect to the third class, I refer to Mr. Belsham's Letters to Mr. Smith, (first printed in the Universal Theological Magazine, Vol. II. III. and since published separately,) which contain a masterly summary of the progressive steps by which Christians have advanced from the sim plicity that is in Christ, to doctrines which I am satisfied no unlearned, unphilosophical, unprejudiced reader of the Scriptures could ever bave derived from the perusal even of our authorized version of them. The conclusion of that summary I shall here quote. “From “ this brief review of the rise and progress of anti-chris" tian errors, concerning the person of Christ, I “ceive that it will appear to every competent and im“partial judge, that notwithstanding the late rise of Ari"anism, the date of what now passes for orthodox Tri“nitarianism is still later; and that I was perfectly core "rect in the assertion, that from the condition of a man approved of God, which is the doctrine of the New
“ Testament, our Lord has been advanced, by the offi“cious zeal of his mistaken followers, first to the state " of an angelic or super-angelic being, which was the "error of the Gnostics; then to that of a delegated "maker and governor of the world, which was the opi“nion of Platonists and Arians; and in the end to a " complete equality with God himself, which is the doc. “trine of the Athanasian creed, and which was not “known till the latter end of the fourth century.” See Univ. Theol. Mag. N. S. Vol. III. p. 95. Or, Mr. Bel. sham's Letters, p. 67.
That the Old Testament should have been pressed to give evidence in favour of the proper deity of Jeslis Christ, might not appear very wonderful, when it is considered how little there is to the point in the New; but when we read the express and positive declarations of Moses and the Prophets, respecting the absolute unity and unrivalled supremacy of Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, then it seems almost incredible that any passages should be imagined to teach a doctrine so directly in opposition to those declarations. Cooper, in his Summary above referred to, has collected a few of the latter, and I shall here give his references. Exod. XX. 3. Deut. iv. 35. That thou mightest know that the Lord, he is God, there is NONE else besides him.' iv. 39. v. 7. xxxii. 39. 2 Sam. vii. 22. xxii. 32. 1 Kings xviii. 39. 2 Kings xix. 15. 19. i Chron. xvii. 20. Ps. xviii. 31. lxxxvi, 10. Is, Xxxvii. 16. xliv. 6. 8. xlv. 5. . I am the Lord, and there is NONE else; there is no God besides me.' xlv, 21, 22, Hos. xiii. 4.--See also p. 94, notes.
Yet there are two or three texts, which, as they stand in the Public Version, do seem to favour the opinion that there is a God besides Jehovah. And though I cannot enter as fully as I should be willing to do, into the consideration of them, it may not be amiss to state what I regard as the true interpretation of them.
The chief passage is Is. ix, 6, which thus stands in the Public Version. For unto us a child is born; unto us a son is given : and the government shall be upon his shoulder : and His NAME SHALL BE CALLED, Wonder