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the Gospel dispensation, (the admission of Gentiles into its glorious privileges) t: He who was manifested in flesh, (that is, perhaps ", was evidently a real man, and not, as the Gnostics taught, a man in appearance only,) was declared to be the Christ by the attestation of the spirit, in his resurrection from the dead; was seen by his Apostles"; was preached among the Gentiles; was believed on in the world at large; was gloriously received by multitudes in every region where the sound of the Gospel was heard."—If ¿ be the true reading, and its claims are somewhat preferable to 980s, the passage may be thus interpreted. "Confessedly important is the gracious dispensation of the Gospel, the
t This is obviously spoken of in the following clauses, and is expressly called the mystery of Christ,' in Eph. iv. 4.
u Or, he who appeared to the world (that is, came forth among men to execute his divine commission,) in circumstances of great humiliation, and at last underwent death itself. -This interpretation (which now appears to me the more probable,) is accordant with the style of Paul; and it receives some illustration and confirmation from 2 Cor. iv. 10. 11. That paragow of itself has no connexion with the mystery of incarnation, see John xxi. 1. 2 Cor. v. 10. Col. iii. 4. and many other places in Paul's writings. That rags, flesh, signifies the whole human frame, not unfrequently conveying the idea of mortality and infirmity, ce Schleusner 3. See also p. 64, note (*).
The word agyskos, angel, as every Greek scholar knows, every where significs messenger, and is often applied to men: see Luke vii. 27. ix. 52. Was seen of angels, that is," says Macknight, "of the apostles and of the other witnesses, "who were appointed to publish and testify his resurrection "to the world." Apostle has nearly the same meaning as angel. In 1. Cor. xv. 5-8, the fact here referred to is stated, with the use of the same verb ogen, in the same connexion, four times.
doctrine according to godliness, which was revealed to us by one who was a many of sorrows and acquainted with grief;' which was shown to be of divine origin by the attestation of the spirit; which was viewed with astonishment and delight by those who were authorized to communicate it to others; which was preached among the Gentiles, &c." as before.-If 90s had been the true reading, it appears clear to my mind, that the Apostle by saying, God was manifested' or made known in or by man,' could have meant no more than the Apostle John when he said, the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, hath declared Him,' or than our Lord himself when he said, he who hath seen me hath seen the Father:' God by the Man Christ Jesus manifested his gracious purposes to men; and thus He was indeed manifested in flesh.' The remainder of the passage would however have been very harsh upon this reading; and the common interpretation of the common reading, only serves to increase its difficulty, and seems to me full of absolute inconsistencies. According to this. interpretation, HE who is at all times present in every part of the universe, was circumscribed by a human body: HE who ALONE hath immortality, was raised from the dead by the spirit; HE who dwelleth in light inaccessible, whom NO ONE hath seen or
Musngiov, mystery, in Paul's writings often denotes, those principles of the Gospel which before had been unknown to men, see Rom. xvi. 25. 1 Cor. iv. I. xv. 51. Eph. i. 9, &c.
y See note (u) in the last page.
2 OrTopal, to be seen, "is usually connected with the idea, not only of admiration and amazement, but also of splendor, majesty, and excellence."-Schleusner.
CAN SEE, was seen by men; HE who is the BLESSED GOD, and consequently ever and infinitely happy, was received up into glory.-The doctrine of incarnation, (that an infinite, eternal, and unchangeable Being, entered into a human frame, and by his union with it became truly man, susceptible of all the sufferings and wants of humanity,) is in itself considered so confounding to the imagination, and throws such a weight upon the evidences of Christianity, that every one who holds it up as Christian doctrine, owes it to his religion to satisfy himself decisively that it is really revealed in the Scriptures.
[For the passages which, according to Mr. Sharp's canon, apply the appellation God to Christ, see No. 7. p. 136.] 17.] Hebr. i. 8. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever,' &c.1. The passage is taken from Ps. xlv. which was assuredly addressed to Solomon, and of which the Writer to the Hebrews applies a part, (the whole he surely could not apply,) to Christ. The Writer also appears to represent it as being said by God himself, whereas it obviously was spoken by the Psalmist himself (whoever that was) ; and this adds to the proof that it is quoted by this Writer merely in the way of accommodation. 2. The Hebrew allows of the rendering God is thy throne,' equally
a What the orthodox South said, I believe, of the doctrine of the trinity, may with equal truth be said of the doctrine of incarnation; "Were it not to be adored as a MYSTERY, "it would be exploded as a CONTRADICTION." Serm. vii. vol. III. p. 240, 3rd edit.
with the common rendering; but the idiom of the Greek better suits the latter, which is therefore to be preferred. 3. Agreeably to the latitude of the Hebrew language, the Psalmist addresses Solomon as Elohim, a God: "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever-therefore GOD, even THY GOD," &c. There could surely be no reason why the Writer of the Epistle, a Jew, familiar with the Hebrew idiom, writing to the Hebrews, should hesitate in applying to the Man Christ Jesus, an appellation which the Psalmist applies to Solomon. 4. Since the Writer vs. 9, speaks of the Supreme Being as the GOD of him to whom he before gave the appellation God, he has left no reasonable ground for doubt, that he did not use the appellation in reference to nature, but merely to dignity and office.
18.] 1 John iii. 16. Hereby perceive we the love "of God," because he laid down his life for us.'-The words TOU SEO, of God, are not even in the Received Text. Their authority is scarcely worthy of notice; and in all tolerable editions of the Public Version, of God is found in italics, to intimate that these words are not in the original. The Apostle appears to have meant, Hereby we know what love is, for Christ laid down his life for us.' He is holding up the voluntary death of Christ for our good, as a motive to benevolent exertion for the good of others.
1 John v. 20. See No. 9. p. 141.
From the foregoing citation of passages. it pears that, at most, there are only two instances in
b See p. 147..
which the appellation God is applied to Jesus by the New Testament writers themselves, and only one other instance in which it is known to have been applied to Jesus by an Apostle; and yet if he were truly and properly God, it could be known only by his own declarations, or by those of the Apostles. But he never called himself God; and in the most unqualified nanner he called himself a MAN who declared the truths which he had heard from GOD: see p. 71; and also P. 106.
SECT. II. Passages in which it is supposed that the CREATION OF THE NATURAL WORLD is ascribed to Jesus Christ.
Before considering the passages separately, I wish
In this last instance (No. 14.) a Jew, using the Jewish language, addressing a Jew, in the presence of Jews, employs an appellation, the application of which to those to whom the word of God came,' his Master had lately shown (John x. 34.35) to rest upon irrefragable authority, that of the J wish Scriptures. In one of the former (No. 17.) a Jew, writing to Jews, in an epistle whose object peculiarly respected the Jewish dispensation, applies to Jesus a passage addressed by the Psalmist to Solomon. Surely no difficulty can possibly exist as to these instances; it cannot be imagined to be in any degree unreasonable, to suppose that the appellation God is there employed in the manner in which it is employed in the Jewish Scriptures, in reference to beings of the human race: and I do not perceive how any difficulty can reasonably exist as to the remaining instance (No. 12). Here a Jew who had probably heard, and who at any rate records in the saine book, his Master's remarks respecting the scriptural use of the appellation God,-writing among, and probably for the use of, those who were either Jews (see Acts xviii. 28. xix. 10. 17.) or at any rate familiar with the Jewish scriptures (see various parts of Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians), applies an appellation to Jesus, in the application of which he was fully borne out by the phraseology of the Scriptures (both in the Hebrew original and the Greek translation), and by the declaration of