« AnteriorContinuar »
he sent me.” And in numerous passages Jesus declares, that, before he assumed the office of the Messiah in this world, he was entirely subject to and obedient to the Father, from whom he received the commission to come to this world for the salvation of mankind. But apparently with the very view of anticipating any misapprehension of his nature on the part of his disciples, to whom he had declared the wonderful extent of the powers committed to him by the Father, he tells them, John, ch. xiv. ver. 28, “ The Father is greater than I.” It would have been idle to have informed them of a truth, of which as Jews they would never have entertained the smallest question, that in his mere corporeal nature Jesus was inferior to his Maker; and it must therefore have been his spiritual nature, of which he here avowed the inferiority to that of God.
“ The Son” is a term which, when used without being referred to another proper name found in the context, implies invariably the Son of God throughout the whole New Testament, especially when associated with the epithet “ The Father ;” so the latter epithet, when it stands alone, signifies “ the Father of the universe.” Matthew, ch. xxviii. ver. 19: “Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Ch. xi. ver. 27 : “ No man knoweth the Son but the Father," &c. Vide rest of the Gospel.-It is true, indeed, that the angels of God and some of the ancients of the human race, as
well as the children of Israel, are honoured in the sacred writings with the name of “ Sons of God.” Job, ch. i. ver. 6: “ There was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord." Genesis, ch. vi. ver. 2: “ The sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were fair.” Hosea, ch. i. ver. 10: “ Then it shall be said unto them, ye are the sons of the living God." Yet the epithet“ Son of God;" with the definite article prefixed, is appropriated to Christ, the first-born of every creature, as a distinct mark of honour which he alone deserves.
The Saviour having declared that unity existed between the Father and himself, John, ch. x. ver. 30, “ I and my Father are one," a doubt arose with regard to the sense in which the unity affirmed in those words should be accepted. This Jesus removes by defining the unity so expressed as a subsisting concord of will and design, such as existed amongst his Apostles, and not identity of being : vide ch. xvii. ver, 11, of John, “Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are." Ver. 22: “ The glory which thou gavest me I have given them ; that they may be one, even as we are one." Should any one understand by these texts real unity and identity, he must believe that there existed a similar identity between each and all of the Apostles ;—nay, even that the disciples also were included in the Godhead, which in that case would consist of a great many times the number of persons ascribed to the Trinity. John,
we are one.
ch. xvii. vers. 20—23: “ Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word—That they all may be one ; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us.—That they may be one, even as
I in them, and thou in me : that they may be made perfect in one." I know not how it is possible for those who profess obedience to the word of Christ to overlook the explanation he has here so clearly given of the nature of the unity existing between him and the Father, and to adopt a contrary system apparently introduced by some Heathen writers to suit their polytheistical prejudices ; but I doubt not the Editor of the Friend of India will admit the necessity of giving preference to divine authority over any human opinion, however prevailing it may be. .
The Saviour meant unity in design and will by the assertion also, that he was in God, or dwelt in God, and God in him. John, ch. x. ver. 38: “ That ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him," as evidently appears from the following passages :-John, ch. xiv. ver. 20: “At that day ye shall know,” (addressing his Apostles,)“ that I am in my Father, and
and I in you." Ch. xvii. ver. 21 : “That they all may be one ; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also
be one in us." John, ch. vi. ver. 56 : “ He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in
and I in him." 1 John, ch. iy. ver. 15 : “ Whosoever
shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” There
but three modes in which such passages are capable of interpretation. Ist, As conveying the doctrine that the Supreme Being, the Son, and the Apostles, were to be absorbed mutually as drops of water into one whole; which is conformable to the doctrines of that sect of Hindoo Metaphysicians who maintain, that in the end the human soul is absorbed into the Godhead; but is quite inconsistent with the faith of all denominations of Christians. 2dly, As proving an identity of nature, with distinction of person, between the Father, the Son, and the Apostles ;-a doctrine equally inconsistent with the belief of every Christian, as multiplying the number of the Godhead far beyond what has ever been proposed by any sect: or 3dly, As expressing that unity which is said to exist wherever there are found perfect concord, harmony, love, and obedience, such as the Son evinced towards the Father, and taught the disciples to display towards the divine will.—That the language of our Saviour can be understood in this last sense solely, will, I trust, be readily acknowledged by every candid expounder of the sacred writings, as being the only one alike warranted by the common use of words, and capable of apprehension by the human understanding. Had not experience, indeed, too clearly proved that such metaphorical expressions, when taken singly and without attention to their contexts, may be made the founda
tion of doctrines quite at variance with the tenor of the rest of the Scriptures, I should have had no hesitation in submitting indiscriminately the whole of the doctrines of the New Testament to my countrymen ; as I should have felt no apprehension that even the most ignorant of them, if left to the guidance of their own unprejudiced views of the matter, could misconceive the clear and distinct assertions they every where contain of the unity of God and subordinate nature of his messenger Jesus Christ. Many of these have been already quoted; to which may be added the following : John, ch. xvii. ver. 3: “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” Here Jesus in addressing the Father declares, that the means to be afforded for eternal salvation, were a knowledge of God, and of himself as the anointed messenger of God. Also, ch. xix. ver. 17, Christ saith, “Why callest thou me good ? there is none good but one, that is God.” Here Jesus, pure as he was and without reproach, thinks it necessary to check the man who applies to him an epithet justly due to God only. Ch. xiv. ver. 1: “Let not your heart be troubled : ye believe in God; believe also in me.” In these words Jesus commands his disciples to put their trust in God, and further to believe in him as the Messenger of God; and thus plainly distinguishes himself from the Godhead. Nor can it for a moment be understood by the following passage, John, ch. xiv. ver. 9, “ He that hath seen me hath