said no more if he be only a mere man, our opponents can shew no reason why he said so much.

Page 50. Some of the scribes pretend, that he who sent Moses was a created angel.

1. The doctrine of foreappearances is to be determined by scripture alone; we must compare spiritual things with spiritual. The opinions of men are only counsel on both sides of the question.

2. The opinions of men are very much divided on this article; however, all are reducible to three. In the first class we put those, who thought the person appearing either a created angel, or the pre-existent human soul of Jesus Christ. The first is an ancient opinion of some Jews, the last is a mo ́dern comment of some christians. The same objections lie against both. The appearance took the name, by which the Supreme Being was distinguished, and suffered himself to be worshipped, contrary to the practice of appearing angels, who said to those, who would have worshipped them, see ye do it not, we are your fellow-servants; worship God."

In a second class I put Maimonides, Augustine, Hilary, Ambrose, Bishop Patrick, and others, who thought the appearance God. The Jews thought him Jehovah simply, the christian commentators thought him Jehovah-Jesus. If I have adopted this opinion, it is because I think this has fewest difficulties, and most evidences; and if I have put it into the mouth of John, it is because I perceive it was the opinion of Stephen, and therefore an opinion known in John's age, and, if the true one, probably received by him. The prophet like Moses was in the church in the wilderness with the angel, who spake to Moses in Mount Sinai, &c. However, the force of the argument stands independent on John, although not on Stephen.

A third class of interpreters take the appearance for, I know not what, delegated created god. A strange unnatural idea, invented, it should seem, to get rid of a difficulty in the history. A poor exchange, a mystery for an impossibility!

* Rev. xix. 10. xxii. 9. † More Nevoc. p. ii. cap. 42. Pat. in Gen. xxxv. 1. xxxi. 3. Vide Pelarg, in Exod. iii. 6. Acts vii. 38.

The opinions of uninspired men, as we have said, are respectable as advice, but not as law. The great difficulty is taken from St. John, who calls Jesus Christ λoy.* He says, Aoy was with the Father in the beginning, and created the world. Now some writers had spoken of a λoy, as a kind of secondary god, before St. John's time. The question is, did he use the word in their meaning? Mr. Le Clerc asks,† did Plato take the word in the sense of St. John; or did St. John take it in the sense of Plato? We reply, neither. We account for the matter thus.

1. Some of the ancient Jews, not caring to deny the divinity of the appearance, nor daring to apply what was said of him to a man or an angel, left the matter. He was God; he was God's chief angel or messenger; quis ille esset vere intelligere Moses et Israelitæ non potuerunt. They could not tell is a fact therefore Moses could not, is not a fair conclusion.

2. Some of the ancient Jews, catching the idea of speaking or revealing the will of God, which was the end of the appearing, ventured to call the appearance 'p, the word of the Lord, and hence, probably, the word of God became an idiom for God.§

3. The Jews, who lived out of Judea, translated the term into the Greek tongue, and the person, who appeared, obtained the name of y. The term logos, while it retained its original Jewish idea, was determinate and proper; it stood for that singular being God the medium, that great supreme, whose manner of existence was unknown, and who would some time appear in the likeness of a man to redeem mankind. Chaldæo Paraph. Messias Verbum Dei dicitur. Hos. vii. |

4. The term Memra, not signifying merely Jehovah, but Jehovah under the peculiar idea of holding communion with men, by appearing in the form of a man, was adopted by the Targumists, or Chaldee paraphrasts. These paraphrases were

* John i. † Ars Crit. de Sectar. Sermone, 1. 2. 1. 14. ↑ Rabbi Moses Nehem. fil. apud Grot de Verit. v. 21. § Prideaux's Connect. ii. chap. 8. || Grot. ubi supra.

in the common dialect of the Jews in the time of Jesus Christ.* They were read in the synagogues as explanatory of the text, which was read first in Hebrew. Jesus Christ expressed the first verse of the twenty-second psalm, when he hung upon the cross, not in the Hebrew words of the text, but in the Chaldee paraphrase of it. The apostles often adopted their style, and St. John took the word from those books, retaining in it only its old idea.

5. Plato, who travelled into Egypt to improve his knowledge, learnt the Jewish notion of Memra, or logos, and, affixing ideas to the term, of which the ancient Jews had never thought, returned it to the Jews, in his writings, full of dark, pagan, enigmatical ideas. All things were new except the It was Moses Atticised indeed!+


6. It became fashionable in time for men of science to speak and think as Plato spoke and thought; and Philo the Jew, and after him many christian divines, took up the Platonic logos, and thus brought the Memra of the old Targumists, and the logos of St. John, into obscurity and disgrace, although it does not appear that St. John knew any thing about Plato's ideas of it.

7. Nothing is more common than to run mad for a term, without examining its value. The history of this terms proves that it has had different values in different hands; it has gone for more or less, as the exigencies of its owners required.‡ As St. John used it, it stood for God, who foreappeared to the patriarchs, and gave the law to Moses. It described a divine human being, anciently known to the Jews by the name of Jehovah Memra, and since to the world by the name Jesus

I must check, I perceive, this lawless pen, and I will conclude with one article more.

Page 84. Happy for christians, had they rested without philosophical explications!

I have not attempted to EXPLAIN THE MANNER of the divine existence. I do not know it. Wise and good men have uttered many absurdities in attempting to explain it ;

* Gill's Preface to New Test. Exp. + Valerius Maximus, vii. 7. Euseb. Præp. Evan. xi. 9. xiii. 12. Clem. Alex. Strom. i. Clerici Ars Crit. capite de sectarum sermone.

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and wise and good men have run into an absurd extreme, when they have rejected a plain clear declaration of an inspired writer, because they could not reduce every idea in it to their own comprehension. Is there not a middle way ? May I not be allowed to go on the principles of one, who was not fond of mystery, where he could obtain clear ideas but who, however preferred a sober rational faith before unscriptural conjectures? I speak of Le Clerc. Nemo mortalium adæquatum notionem Dei perfectionum sibi unquam effinxit Nil igitur tutius esse, quam cohibere judicium, cum de re ipsa, tum de sententia scriptoris, quem legimus.* There never was a man in the world, who succeeded in attempting to explain the modus of the divine existence. The wisest of men never made the attempt. Moses began his writings by supposing the being of a God; he did not attempt to prove it; and although many of the inspired writers asserted his existence, and to discountenance idolatry, pleaded for his perfections, yet no one of them ever pretended to explain the manner of his being. On the contrary a holy awe covered their minds, all inspired as they were, and they declared, they could not find the Almighty out. Why should we affect to be wise above what is written?

St. Epiphanius complains, Originem, qui Adamantius et συντάκ]ικῶ· nuncupatur, εκ συλλογιςμων Αριστοτελικών καὶ γεωμετρικων DεOV Taleρα Tapesava, astruere voluisse, et ideo fœde lapsum esse. I fear, too many have fallen by the same mean into


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Before we deny the divinity of Jesus Christ, what if we were to try to deny the principles, on which the asserters of it go? We lay down one from a Master in Israel. Certainly we do not know the essence of the Supreme Being, not knowing the real essence of a pebble, or a fly, or of our own selves."† We lay down a second in the words of a learned prelate. "Where the truth of a doctrine depends not on the evidence of the things themselves, but on the authority of him that

* Ars Crit. de notionibus adæquatis. † Locke's Essay, b. ii. xxiii. 35. See that whole excellent chapter.

reveals it,there the only way to prove the doctrine to be true,is to prove the testimony of him that revealed it to be infallible."* We lay down a third from that most learned and accurate critic, Le Clerc. "Si eâ quâ par est attentione et reverentia expendamus quæ Apostoli habent de Jesu Christo, facile intelligimus eos non putasse merum esse hominem, quandoquidem ei mundi creationem tribuunt; eosque errare, qui similia sentiunt; sed de ratione, qua æternum numen cum Jesu homine conjunctum sit, tacent; quo credibile sit arcanum illud iis, in terris agentibus, nondum revelatum fuisse. Sciverunt certe Christum esse Deum et hominem, atque ita ae eo loquuti sunt: sed MODUM rei ignorasse videntur.†

On these sure grounds we go, and on these principles we free the doctrines of the gospel from the charge of contradiction and absurdity, while we retain the rational scriptural idea of mystery. We beg leave to remark the following facts, which may more fully explain our meaning.

1. What we call doctrines of the gospel are so many facts proposed to our faith by credible testimony. The divinity of Christ is an historical fact. The resurrection of the dead is a prophetical fact.

2. They, who related those facts, never pretended to a thorough knowledge of them. We know, says St. Paul, in part. The apostle must either mean to affirm, we have an imperfect knowledge of the objects, or we have an imperfect knowledge of the evidence of their existence. He could not mean the last, consequently he meant the first.

3. The apostles did no more in proposing incomprehensible objects to our belief, than the masters of human science do. "We know but little, says one of the finest modern writers, of the nature of bodies; we discover some of their properties, as motion, figure, colours, &c. but of their essence we are ignorant we know still much less of the soul: but of the essense or nature of God, we know nothing." The great Locke sets out with requiring his readers not to "let loose their thoughts into the vast ocean of being, as if all the boundless

Stillingfleet's origines sacræ. ii. 8. ↑ Ars Crit. de notion. adæq. ‡ 1 Cor. xiii. 9. § Elements of universal erudition by Baron Biclfeld, vol. i. c. 1.

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