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We find also the following passages in John, ch. xiv. vers. 16, 17: “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever : even the Spirit of truth ; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him : but ye know him;"wherein Jesus ascribes to his disciples a knowledge of the Holy Ghost, whom the Editor considers one of the persons of the Godhead, possessed of the same nature with God. But if the Editor understands by the passage he has quoted, the incomprehensibility of the real nature of the Godhead, I admit the position, but deny his inference, that such an incomprehensibility proves the nature of the object to be divine, as being peculiar to God alone: for it appears evident that a knowledge of the real nature even of a common leaf, or a visible star, surpasses human comprehension ; how then can- a simple assertion, setting forth the incomprehensibility of an object, be considered as establishing its identity with God? In Mark, ch. xiii. ver. 32, “ But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father," we have a passage, which, though it affirms in a stronger manner an ignorance of the day of resurrection than that already quoted does of God, yet will not, I presume, be considered by any one as conveying the slightest insinuation of the divine nature of that day; though time is a common object of adoration amongst idolators. In treating of this point the Editor quotes
another text, Matthew, ch. xi. ver. 28, “ Come unto
that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest:" wherein Jesus declares his
power of affording rest, which the Editor considers as peculiar to God. All the prophets, as well as Jesus, were from time to time sent by the Almighty to afford mental rest to mankind, by imparting to them the comforts of divine revelation ; and by so doing they only fulfilled the commission given them by God : but no one ever supposed that in so doing they established claims to be considered incarnations of the Divine essence. Proverbs, ch. xxix. ver. 17 : “ Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest ; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul." Revelation guides us to a sure belief, that it is God that affords peace of mind, effects cures of the body, and bestows all sorts of comforts on his creatures. “I thank thee,” (says Jesus, Matthew, ch. xi. ver. 25, “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.” Both our perceptions, indeed, and sacred authorities point out, that he lavishes all these gifts on us through prophets, physicians, and other physical causes, that are not considered by any sect as of a divine nature.
The third position is, that Jesus exercised in an independent manner, the prerogative of forgiving sins, which is peculiar to God alone; and the Reverend Editor quotes the passage, Mark, ch. ii. ver. 5, " Thy sins be forgiven thee;" and the 9th verse,
" For whether is it easier to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee, or to say, Arise and walk ?" Taking those texts as the grounds of his position, I therefore beg to call the attention of the Editor to the passage almost immediately following, in which the evangelical writer intimates, that this power of forgiving sins, as well as of healing men, was given by the Almighty : " But when the multitude saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, who had given such power unto men.”
Does not this passage convey an express declaration, that Jesus was as much dependent on God in exercising the power of forgiving sins and healing the sick, as the prophets who came forth from God before him? The apostles, who witnessed the power of forgiving sins in the Saviour, were thoroughly impressed with a belief that it was the Almighty Father who forgave sins through the Son. Acts, ch. v. vers. 31, 32: “ Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things." Ch. xiii. ver. 38: “Be it known, therefore, men and brethrén, that through this man, (meaning the Saviour,) is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins." I know not how far religious zeal excuse them in encroaching upon the prerogatives which revelation and reason ascribe to the Divine Majesty alone ; but Jesus himself clearly avows, that the power of forgiving sins had its source and origin
in God alone, as appears from his petitioning the Father to forgive those that were guilty of bringing the death of the cross upon him, the greatest of all imaginable crimes. Luke, ch. xxiii. ver. 34 : “ Father, forgive them,” (says Jesus,) “ for they know not what they do ;” and from his directing all those that followed him to pray the Father alone for forgiveness of sins. Luke, ch. xi. ver. 4: “ And forgive us our sins.” Matthew, ch. vi. ver. 14: “ If ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will forgive you.
The fourth position advanced by the Editor is, that “ Almighty power is also claimed by Jesus in the most unequivocal manner." In endeavouring to demonstrate this, the Editor notices three passages of John, (ch. v. vers. 21—23, “As the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father.” A candid inquirer after truth must, I think, feel surprised and disappointed, that in quoting these texts, the Editor should have overlooked the force of the words, in which the Son declares that he hath received the commission to judge from the Father: “ For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son." I am ready to admit, indeed, that, taken simply as they stand, the words, “ As the Father raiseth
the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son quicken
eth whom he will,” and, “That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father,” might very readily be understood as implying an assertion of equality with the Father. But this affords one of numerous instances of the danger of resting an opinion on the apparent meaning of the words of insulated passages of Scripture, without attention to the context; for I am convinced that no unprejudiced person can peruse the verses preceding and subsequent to those quoted by the Editor, without feeling that a more explicit disavowal of equality with God can hardly be expressed by language than that which they contain. I must therefore beg permission to give the entire passage in this place, though some parts of it have been quoted before in support of arguments already discussed. It is to be observed, that the occasion of the expressions here made use of by Jesus, was the accusation brought against him by the Jews, that he had made himself equal with God. John, ch. v. vers. 19—36: “ Then answered Jesus, and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth : and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them ; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath