« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
But the very name of Savior is, on the Socinian view, as applied to Christ’s relation to mankind, a hollow mockery.
Another tendency of Unitarian doctrine is to weaken the vigor which rightly should characterize that essential manifestation of Christianity,——the missionary spirit. Such is the result logically consequent upon the interpretation, (noticed in the last number of the Review,) which is given by Unitarians to the command and promise of the Savior, in connection with the propagation of the gospel. “ Go ye, therefore,” are his words, “ and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost ; teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you : and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”—(Matth. xxviii : 19—20.) We have seen that to receive this, as Trinitarians do, for a command, accompanied by a promise, which is addressed through the apostles to his disciples in all time, is virtually to acknowledge the omnipresence of Christ. This, of course, Unitarians cannot do, and hence are forced to interpret the passage as applying solely to those directly addressed, and the promise as holding only until the destruction of J eru— salem. Thus is lost to them the command upon which especially is founded the obligation, on the part of Christians, to propagate the gospel. Without direct command to sustain it, the missionary spirit, though essential to the nature of Christianity, cannot be supported among a people. The Unitarians of the United States do, we believe, maintain one or two missions, but their zeal in this cannot be that of one obeying the last command of a parting Saviour. Only a belief in the brotherhood and common destiny of man, or an attempt to fulfil prophecy, or a conviction that such is a requisition arising out of the very nature of Christianity, can prompt them to the work. Neither the missionaries nor their supporters, can be sustained by a sense of acting in obedience to a direct command, and of being placed in a position to appropriate a positive promise of the Saviour of the world ; and inevitably, the missionary spirit among them must languish always, and may wholly expire.
Furthermore, Unitarianism must ever, as opposed to the belief of the vast majority of professed Christians, present itself, in the consciousness of each of its disciples, under the form of a disputatious theology. This must be so, even in the very unusual case, where the person holding it does not enter actively into any discussion of his creed. Thus, then,-——as, also, because it must for the same reason be one of the main employments of their preachers,——every Unitarian must make it a prominent part of his meditations to collect arguments and develop modes of reasoning, for the purpose of depreciating the dignity of one whom they acknowledge to be the Lord and Christ; and of proving his lack of any just claim to the title of Savior. This tendency and its results are rankly displayed in the following words of one of their ministers :—“Whether the perfection of Christ’s character, in public life, (as recorded by the evangelists.) combined with the general declarations of his freedom from sin, establish, or were intended to establish the fact that Jesus, through the whole course of his private life, was completely exempt from all the errors and failings of human nature, is a question of no great intrinsic moment, and concerning which we have no sufficient data to lead to a satisfactory answer !” *
Doctrines such as these are utterly incompatible with Trinitarianism, as we believe they are with the Scriptures. No hope of Christian union between these antagonistic beliefs can exist; they are subversive of each other ;—one or the other is radically and fatally wrong. We have striven to present, as best we could, what we believe to be God’s truth ; if it is truth, may this advocacy of it, in some humble way, redound to his glory ; if it be error, may it fall powerless. Earnestly the truth should be sought after ; one or the other doctrine, we repeat, is fatally false ; either the Trinitarian is guilty of idolatry, or the Unitarian of blas
* Belsham, apud Dr. Gregory, Letters on the Evidences; let. l5.
THE great and leading object of the author of the above work appears to be, to show that JEHOVAH or YAHVEH, the Memorial Name of God as proclaimed in the Old Testament, was intended to represent the future Deliverer of our race, Christ the Savior, as announced in the New. ,
To this proposition he attaches very grave importance. Both Jews and Christians, he thinks, have failed to recognize the high significance of the name, and to preserve its due honors ; the former by permitting it, in a manner, to fall into disuse, and covering it with superstition ; and the latter in that they have not, with their superior advantages, drawn aside the vail, and re-asserted the Memorial Name with its true import and bearings.
His position is simply this : that fallen humanity having the promise of a. future Deliverer in the “ seed of the woman,” the name Jehovah, as prophetic of One who will be, was applied to that Deliverer in the original Scriptures.
“Who is prepared to find,” says he, “that this Memorial Name, instead of being the announcement of a God ‘afar ofl',’ is the announcement of Christ himself, the Deliverer of the Old, as he is the Redeemer of the New Testament? That the name Jehovah is a proclamation, a. promise, and a prophecy of Christ, throughout all time ?”
. Our author, throughout, instead of plucking away any of the jewels which sparkle in the Savior’s diadem, seems desirous to have him crowned with the glories of Supreme Divinity and Empire; and the work of redemption which he has achieved, is represented as among the most illustrious deeds of the Sovereign Ruler of the universe.
There are, however, at the same time, serious grounds of doubt, in some points at least, with respect to the justness of his criticisms, and the truth of conclusions thence dedu
ced. The evidence does not appear so plain, as he seems to regard it, that when God is called “ Jehovah ” in the Old Testament, the name is given with special reference to his future appearing in our nature as our Deliverer.
We propose to examine the more prominent consider— ations, by which the author aims to establish this leading proposition.
Among these may be noticed, first of all, the future tense of the verb from which is derived the name Jehovah.
“ Its true derivation,” he informs us, “is from havah,the old root of the _ Hebrew verb to be. This old root form (havah,) found its equivalent
in hayah, the ordinary form of the Hebrew verb to be; and it is in the third person singular, future, of this latter verb kayak, (to be,)— namely, in the form of its old future, yahveh, that we find the true lace and inting of the word rendered “Jehovah ” by our translators. t is this orm, yahveh, literally, (he will be,) turned into the noun or name Yahveh,—he who will be,—which God adopts as his name and memorial to all generations.”—pages 22—23 ; see, also, Ex. iii: 14—15.
But though such be the true etymology and grammatical sense of the original,*—in connection with the purpose of God to become incarnate,——yet we see not, as hence arising, any necessity for the conclusion at which the author has arrived.
1. The future tense of the Hebrew verb, so far from being restricted to the idea of futurity, is very commonly used to denote the past. It is needless to give examples when the thing is constantly exemplified. And although much the greater number of examples be found in connection with Vav Conversi've, as indicating a general historic sense, yet there is no necessary connection between the use of the Vav with the future and the idea of past time, for the future without the Vav connected with it, is sometimes employed to represent the past, especially in connection with the idea
of customary or continued action.—(See Gen. ii: 5, 6, 10, 25; Josh. x: 12; 1 Kings v: 25; Job i: 5, 8170.) Similar remarks will apply to the present time as expressed by the future. We therefore consider that the name under consid— eration not only announces One who will be, but with equalpropriety that Being who was and is.
*This, however, is by no means so universal] admitted apoint among Hebrew scholars as Mr. MacWhorter claims. hl'ichaelis maintained that Jehovah is the true pronunciation; an opinion which Gesenias admits is not without apparent grounds, (Lex. sub. v. 2d-, paragr. extr.) and Dr. Conantspeaks of such proposed changes in the pointing of the word, as “literary novelties,” “ mere conjectures, more or less probable.”— (Job, ch. i.v. 6.)—[Ens.]
2. The future tense of the verb in question, with its latitude of meaning, is, after all, the most appropriate one to be employed, even without any reference to the great fact of the incarnation. Jehovah reveals himself as the Supreme God. In this capacity, and sustaining a near relation to his people, he must needs be self-existent and all-sufficient. And that such might be the case, his existence must have been from eternity. Also, that Existence which necessarily was and is, must, for the same reason, continue through all eternity. But contemplating the Deity as the all-sufiicient Good, not eternity past, but eternity to come, is the period during which he can be fully made known and enjoyed. If, therefore, there could be a word found, giving, at the same time, great prominence to futurity, and embracing within its import the past and the present,—such is the word which, one might suppose, would be employed to represent a Being of such grandeur and goodness. Yet such, precisely, is the word under consideration.
3. Also, when, in the New Testament, the verb signifying to be is employed to represent the Son of God, either the present time is expressed, or past, present and future are all combined. Thus: “Before Abraham was, I AM,” saith the Messiah—John viii: 58. “ And he IS before all things,’ ’ saith the apostle, “ and by him all things consist.”——Ool_ i: 17. ' “ Jesus Christ (who Is) the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”—Heb. iii: 8. And saith Christ: “ I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, (that is, J ehovah,) which Is, and which WAS, and which Is To COME, the Almighty.”-—Rev. i: 8. In these declarations the Son of God seems referred to, not in his incarnation, but in his divine nature and attributes. What he was, he 18; and what he is, becomes the representative of what he WILL BE. This Supreme Deity is exhibited in its priority to Abraham, in its immutability, as it was, and