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Micah v. 2. ·But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me, that is to be ruler in Israel ; whose goings forth have been from of old from everlasting.' This passage has been adduced to prove the eternal existence of Christ. But it is by far too slender and precarious a foundation, to build so exceptionable a doc. trine upon. The original words are, from the days of the age, which may be understood to signify, only a long indefinite period ; but by no means a proper eternity. But further, the Hebrew word UMOTSATHA which our transla. tors have rendered, ' whose goings forth,' may respect the descent of the Messiah, or the family from whence he sprung, and is so rendered by an eminent commentator, who interprets this place of Zorobabel in its primary sense, so little did he imagine that any eternal duration was here intended. “ His descent is ancient, from distant times, that is, he derives his birth from a house of illustrious anti. quity ; who had been the reigning family for five hundred years. And this interpretation is the more natural, be. cause the prophet speaks of one who was to appear at some future period. The Chaldee paraphrase renders this place, so whose name has been told or mentioned from eternity; from the days of the age :” and Calvin interprets it in a manner somewhat similar, “ whose goings forth have been decreed from the days of eternity.” But however this place is explained, no argument can be raised, from it to prove the supreme divinity of Christ; or his equality with the Father. For the prophet affirms con. cerning the same person, ver. 4. that he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God ;' which evidently implies, what. ever the antiquity of himself or family may be, that he is a dependent being; and subject to the power of another, For if he were God he would stand and feed in his own strength ; and would not need the support or assistance of the Lord his God.
even the names of places, Jehovah Jireh, Jehovah Shammah, Jehovah Shalom, Jehovah Nissi.
Origo ipsi Zorobabeli ab olim a temporibus longis. Id est originem trahit a domo illustri antiquitus, et per quingentos annos regnatrice. Grotius,
Zech. viii. 9. For thus saith the Lord of hosts, after the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you; for he that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of his eye. For behold I will shake mine hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants; and ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me.' Some Trinitarians have asserted, that the person who spoke in this manner was Christ. But there is not the least foundation for such a supposition. It appears from the context, ver. 3, 4, that it was one angel who delivered a message to another. The angel speaks sometimes in his own character, and sometimes in that of the Supreme Being ; but declares at the same time, that he was sent by him. Arguments like these are hardly worthy of confutation.
Zec. iii. 1. And he shewed me Joshua the high priest, standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan,' &c. There is no ground whatever to authorize the supposition, that our Lord Jesas Christ was the speaker here, more than in the last article. It is expressly mentioned that it was an angel who spoke, and who is called Jehovah, because he represented him on this occasion; and this is the usual practice of the writers of the Old Testament, as we before had oc. casion to remark. That this angel was not Jehovah him. self is evident, because he prays to Jehovah to rebuke or punish Satan, for endeavouring to resist him.
Zech. xii. 4, 10. In that day saith the Lord they shall look on me whom they have pierced.' John xix. 37. • They shall look on him (Christ) whom they have pierc. ed. It is inferred from these places by Trinitarians, that Christ, who hung upon the cross and was pierced, was Jehovah. But, that Jehovah the self-existent and inde. pendent being, should suffer or die, is an idea too shock. ing and horrid to be admitted. And as St. John expressly quotes the passage in Zechariah, they shall look upon HIM, whom they have pierced ;' we are warranted by the best and most unexceptionable authority to suppose, that a mistake has crept into Zechariah, and that the original reading was the same as St. John has quoted it. A mistake of this kind might easily happen in the Hebrew text, because, the letter Vau which signifies Him, and the letter
Jod, or Yon, which signifies ME, resemble one another very much ; and thus might be confounded by an inconsi derate transcriber. But the two Greek pronouns auroy and Mee are very different, and it is not natural to suppose, that any mistake could happen in regard to them. And the words which follow in Zechariah render this con. jecture still more probable: for the prophet adds, , they shall mourn for Him, and shall be in bitterness for Him,' &c.
Zéch. xiii. 7. “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts. This text has been produced as a proof, of the en. tire and absolute equality of Jesus Christ with the Father. The original word Gnamithi however, which our translators have rendered - my fellow,' is far from denoting a proper equality. It signifies only,“ proximum meum, my neigh. bour or my friend."" The Septuagint renderit TomTYY Memy citizen, and the Syriac version has it, amicum meum, my friend.” Abraham was called the friend of God and good men are said to be, Eph. ii. 19. Fellow citizens with the Saints and of the household of God.'' Is it
wonder then, that our Lord Jesus Christ the well beloved of the Father, should be styled the friend, favourite or neighbour, of the Lord of hosts ? But it is proper to observe, that at the same time that the Divine Being calls the Messiah his neighbour, or his favourite, he calls him also, his shepherd: which marks a subordinate and dependent character, and signifies, that he hath entrusted him with the charge of his church and people.
Mal, iii. J. Behold I will send my messenger, and he shall
before me: and the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his temple: even the messen. ger of the covenant, whom ye delight in : bchold he shall come saith the Lord of hosts. There are two messengers mentioned here, and the Lord of hosts is plainly distin. guished from both. The first messenger is John the Baptist, who is said to prepare the way before Jehovah, (as we before remarked) because he was the barbinger of the Messiah, who came in his Father's name, and acted by his commission and authority. The second is the messenger of the covenant, or the Lord Christ himself, styled HAADON, the Lord or the Ruler, a title which may be aj).
plied to any Lord or Master whatever, but is peculiarly applicable to the Messiah on account of the power and do. minion the Father has invested him with. This Lord or Ruler is said to come suddenly to his temple, or that house of prayer which was solemnly dedicated to the worship and service of his God and Father, there to celebrate his name, proclaim his perfections, and publish the glad tidings of. the Gospel to the world. This place so far from being any objection to our doctrine, supplies us with a good argument in favour of it; as the Lord Christ, or the governor that was to come to his temple, is distinguished in a clear and precise manner, from the Supreme Being or the Lord of hosts,
We have now considered and replied to the objections of the Trinitarians founded on the Old Testament: or that ancient revelation which Almighty God was pleased to give his people the Jews. Although some of these objections, may appear plansible and specious at first sight to those, who have been accustomed to understand the scriptures in an erroneous sense; yet, none of them are solid-none of them are sufficient to shake the firm foundations on which the Unitarian system is grounded and established. All the passages which give rise to these objections are capable of a clear solution and satisfactory explication, without doing any unnatural violence to the language of the inspired wri.
of them, when recourse is had to the origi. nal text and the genuine reading, or when they are atten. tively compared with the context, and the scope and inten. tion of the writer, are found to confirm that faith which they were supposed to destroy. In our next discourse, we shall produce those objections of our opponents which are supposed to occur in the Evangelists; and we doubt not but we shall be able to give an equally clear and satis. factory reply to them. Now to JEHOVAH the God of the universe; the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the God of Moses and of the Prophets ; the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, be ascribed all glory and praise for ever. Amen.
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the
only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.
IN our seventh and eighth discourses, we considered and answered the objections of Trinitarians which are founded on different places of the Old Testament.
We propose at present in conformity to the plan we laid down, to reply to those objections which are supposed to occur in the Evangelists. Some of these objections being either quotations from, or references to, the Old Testament, which have been already distinctly considered, we shall just barely mention, referring the reader to the places where the pro per answers are to be found,
Matth. i. 23. "They shall call his name EMMANUEL, which being interpreted is God with us.' This place was explained, Discourse viii. page 124.
Matth. ii. 2. " Where is he that is born king of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.' Jesus Christ i declared by the Evangelists, to have been worshipped by others, besides theMagi or wise men from the east: thus, 'the man who had been born blind wor. shipped him,' Luke xxiv. 52 ; and in like manner the an. gels of God are commanded to worship him, or to be subject to him,' Heb. i. 6. An argument has been formed from these places, for the proper divinity of Christ. “He must be