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But the title Lord is not the only divine name which Paul has applied to Jesus Christ : twice incidentally, and once by a positive assertion, has this apostle confessed that Jesus is GOD.
In our common English version of the Epistle to the Ephesians, we read that no “ covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God :" v, 5. Now, according to a common rule of Greek construction, which, within its true limits, is constantly observed by the wri. ters of the New Testament, and amongst the rest by the apostle Paul, the words here translated “the kingdom of Christ and of God," ought clearly to be rendered, “the kingdom of him who is Christ and God;” and in this sense the passage appears to have been uniformly understood by the persons who were the most competent to form, in such a case, an accurate estimate of the apostle's meaning-I mean those early ecclesiastical writers, to whom Greek was both a living and a native language.
Another passage, to the same effect, forms a very striking part of the Epistle of Paul to Titus : “ For the grace of God, that bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world : looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ:" ii, 11-13. Whether it was the intention of our translators, in this passage, to separate the titles God and Saviour, or to introduce them as the joint epithets of Jesus Christ, is quite doubtful ; but, in the original Greek, there does not appear to be any ambiguity; for, according to the same rule of construction, and the known customary phraseology of this apostle, both terms must be considered as applying to Jesus Christ; and the passage ought therefore to be rendered, “ the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.” In the present instance, this version of the apostle's words is confirmed, not only by the concurrent and unhesitating testimony of both the Greek and Latin fathers, but also by the words“ glorious appearing."* It would, I think, be plainly at variance with the harmony of Christian doctrine, as it is revealed in the New Testament, and particularly in the Epistles of Paul, to speak of the “glorious appearing” of the Father, that “ blessed and only
Potentate,” whom no man hath seen, nor can see: 1 Tim. vi, 15, 16. The Father is made manifest to mankind only in the Son, who is the “ Image of the invisible God ;" (Col. i, 15;) and, as it is the Son alone who hath already " appeared," to bring “ life and immortality to light through the Gospel,” and " to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself;" (2 Tim. i, 10; Heb. ix, 26 ;) so, from various passages of Scripture, are we led to conclude, that it is the Son alone who, in the great day of retribution, “ shall appear the second time without sin (i. e. without a sin-offering*) unto salvation :" ver. 28. Accordingly, the word here rendered “ appearing,” is uniformly employed by this apostle, (who alone, of all the writers of the New Testament, has made use of it) to denote either the first or the second coming of Jesus Christ : and the comparison of 2 Thess. ii, 8; 1 Tim. vi, 14; and 2 Tim. iv, 1, in particular, with the passage now before us, will be found to afford a strong confirming evidence, that by “the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour,” is here intended the visible coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in glory, for the salvation of his people, and for the judgment of all mankind.f
* xoogis åpagtids, sine victimâ pro peccatis : Schleusner in voc., No. 11: comp. 2 Cor. v, 21.
+ The rule of Greek construction, above referred to, may be stated as follows:-When two or more nouns of personal description, (whether substantives, adjectives, or participles) of the singular number, and of the same gender and case, are connected by a conjunction or conjunctions ; if the article is prefixed to the first of them, and not to the other, or others, they both or all relate to the same person. The rule, as it is thus stated, does not apply to proper names, but is, I believe, limited by no other exception. Sharpe and Wordsworth assert, that there is no instance of the infraction of the rule (within the above limits) in the Greek Testament; and if any examples of the kind exist in the works of profane authors, they must have arisen from great carelessness in composition, (or more probably from error in transcription) and are, on all hands, allowed to be extremely rare. That the apostle Paul, in parti. cular, constantly and naturally observed this rule, is evident from very many passages in his Epistles: see, for example, Rom, xv, 6: 2 Cor. i, 3: Phil. iv, 20: Col. iv, 9 : Eph. vi, 21. See Remarks on Greek Art. by G. Sharpe; Six Letters to G. Sharpe, by C. Wordsworth, D.D.; and the Doctrine of the Greek Art. by Bishop Middleton. Wordsworth's Six Letters contain references to those passages in the works of the fathers, in which the texts adduced by G. Sharpe are cited. As Greek authorities for the proposed interpretation of Eph. v, 5, he quotes Chrysos. tom, Cyril Alex. Theodoret, Anastasius, Euthymius, and Pseud. Athanasius; and, for that of Tit. ii, 13, Clemens Alex. Hyppolytus, Athanas. ius, Cryil Hieros. Epiphanius, Basil, Gregory Nyssen, Chrysostom, Cyril Alex. Theodoret, and Ecumenius. Another example of the ap. plication to Jesus Christ of the attributive Orós, may be found in 2 Pet. Thus we find that, according to the doctrine of the apostle Paul, Jesus, who now reigns supreme over his own church, and who will come again in great power and glory for her final salvation, is not only Christ, but God is the great God and Saviour of his people; and now it only remains for me to adduce a memorable passage from the Epistle to the Romans, in which the same truth is directly asserted : “I could wish,” says the apostle, “ that myself were accursed (or laid aside) from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: who are Israelites, to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service, (of God) and the promises ; whose are the fathers, and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, GOD BLESSED FOR EVER, Amen :" Rom. ix, 3-5.*
i, 1, where the words év SIXalocúrn tol bol splwr xai owrñgos 'Ingol Xglotou ought, on the same principles, to be rendered, “ Though the righteousness of our God and Saviour, Jesus Christ:" comp. ver. 11. Sharpe also adduces 2 Thess. i, 12; 1 Tim. v, 21; in which we have the phrase του Θεού και κύριου and Jude 4, where we read Θεόν και Kúglov; but, as Kúgios, when applied to our Saviour, has very much the force of a proper name, these examples are of a somewhat doubtful character.
* Rom. ix, 3–5. v oi mariges, sal se ir ó Xebotós TÒ xarà oágxx, o aver i màrtór osòs evrogntos Eis Toùs alwees. “Whose are the fathers, and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever.” It must, I think, be allowed by the careful and impartial critic, that the apostle's words are capable of no other meaning than that which our translators have attributed to them, and which appears to have been universally adopted by such of the early fathers as have cited the passage : see for example, Irenæus Adv. Hoer. iii, 16, Ed. Ben., p. 205; Hyppolyt. Adv. Nætum, sect. 2 and 6; Origen, (teste Ruffino) Com. in loc.; Tertullian, adv. Prax. bis, Ed. Seml. ii, 218, 225; Novatian de reg. fid, Ed. Jackson, p. 99; Athanasius contra Arian. orat. 2, Ed. Colon. 1, 317; Chrysostom, de Dei nat. Ed. Ben. i, 483 ; Basil, adv. Eunom., lib. iv, Ed. Ben. i, 282; Jerom, Theodoret, Theophylact, in loc. The attempt which has been made by the Socinians, to place a full stop at oágne, and to render the remainder of the verse, 6. God who is over all (be) blessed for ever!” is not only contrary to all authority, (for MSS., versions, and fathers, unite in proving, that the verse was never so divided in ancient times) but is totally at variance also with the rules of grammatical construction; for had such a blessing been intended to be expressed, the words must have been arranged in quite a different order, as is evinced by a great number of examples in the Greek Scriptures, including the Septuagint: vide Trommii et Schmidii Concc. În such case the word súaoga tis must have stood first in the series. The apostle's sentence obviously presents to us a climax of ideas, very analogous to the frequent train of this writer's thoughts. After having enumerated a variety of particulars, in which the Jews
I may now invite the reader to a brief review of our whole argument.
The Old Testament abounds with prophetical descriptions of the joyful, righteous, and eternal, reign of a mighty monarch, who was destined to arise according to the flesh from the family of David, and to rule with absolute authority, not only over the house of Israel, but over the world at large.
As these prophecies were, in general, understood by the ancient Jews to relate to a person whom they denominated the Messiah, and whose coming in temporal glory they fondly expected, so the New Testament affords abundant evidence that he of whom they testify is indeed the Messiah, the anointed one of God-the Lord Jesus Christ; and their accomplishment properly belongs to that division of his revealed history, which commenced when he ascended up into heaven, and was enthroned in glory at the right hand of the Father.
In tracing the light which is reflected from the scriptural account of the Messiah's reign of glory, on the offices, character, and nature, of Christ himself, we observe, in the first place, that God governs his people through Christ, and that Jesus, the King of Israel, the Mediator between God and man, is subject to the Father, from whom alone his dominion is derived.
This statement is in full accordance with the explicit doctrine of Scripture, that the risen and ascended Jesus is man, the glorified brother, and sympathising master and friend, of his unworthy followers.
On the other hand, the reign of Jesus Christ is in various respects, of such a description, that the impartial inquirer after scriptural truth is constrained to confess, that this “ king of glory,” by whom it is conducted, is not only man but God. For, in the first place, as the Heir and legitimate Possessor of all things, he reigns without control, not only over the church which he has himself - builded,” but over all the creatures of God. And, secondly, his dominion is not earthly, but divine :
were preeminently favored and honored, he concludes with a statement of their highest glory and privilege, viz., that, according to the flesh, he was descended from them, who is over all, God blessed for ever. The antithesis here observed between the human and divine nature of Christ is also perfectly natural, and, in point of style, as well as doctrine, corresponds with Rom. i, 3, 4, where we read of Jesus Christ, 66 which was made of the seed of David, according to the flesh, (xe Tà ságxo) and was declared (or proved) to be, the Son of God with pow. er, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.”
it is conducted by a celestial and invisible agency, and, as far as relates to mankind, consists in a moral and spiritual government over their souls.
More particularly, Jesus Christ, in his reign, is the Author of grace. He supplies all the need of the souls of his people. He forgives, converts, regenerates, and sanctifies them. He bestows those various spiritual endowments, which, under his authority and guidance, his servants exercise for the establishment, maintenance, and edification, of the church. He not only wrought the miracles of his apostles, but inspired their doctrine. With perfect wisdom, justice, and love, he orders the external circumstances of his own people; and even the universe is subject to his providence ; for, as on the one hand, all things were created by him, so, on the other hand, by him all things consist. Lastly, we learn at once, from the recorded example, and from the inspired doctrine of his primitive disciples, that Jesus Christ, in his reign, is a proper object of prayer, glorification, religious affiance, and unqualified dedication of heart.
The plain evidence of the divinity of Christ, afforded us by this scriptural view of his kingdom, is amply confirmed by the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament ascribes exclusively to God those various attributes, offices, and honors, which the evangelists and apostles as plainly attribute to Jesus Christ in his reign. And since divine truth is uniform and unchangeable, it follows that Jesus Christ, in his reign, is GOD.
In the accounts given by the sacred writers of that glorious æra of the reign of the Messiah, which is appointed for the final and universal judgment of men, Jesus is still represented as the Mediator, who receives his authority from the Father ; and it is declared, that all judgment is committed unto him, because he is the Son of Man. Nevetheless, when, at that solemn crisis, he clanges the quick, and raises to life the dead, of all generations-when he folds up the heavens and earth as a vesture—when he detects the secrets of all hearts-when he dispenses eternal rewards and punishments, (and all these acts are foretold in Scripture as the acts of our Redeemer) then will he again display the characteristic attributes, and perform the acknowledged works, of deity ; and thus it shall once more be demonstrated that Jesus, the king of glory, is truly God.
Lastly, all reasonable doubt of the truth of that doctrine is completely set at rest by the plain testimonies of Scripture, whether incidental or direct, that the Messiah, in his reign, is “Jehovah our righteousness," –"God,"_" the True God,"