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kingdom, Phil. ii. 9-11, that GOD may be all in all, 1 Cor. xv. 28,] according as thou hast given him authority over all flesh, [or mankind, to raise them from the dead, John v. 27-29, and] to give eternal life to all [the disciples] that thou hast given Him," John xvii. 2.
"And this is [their way of attaining] eternal life: To know Thee THE ONLY TRUE GOD, and JESUS CHRIST, whom Thou didst send forth," [to shew them the true way to eternal life, John xiv. 6; to instruct and save mankind, as the APOSTLE and HIGH-PRIEST of our profession," Heb. iii. 1,] John xvii.
This saving knowledge of THE FATHER and THE SON, which we owe entirely to THE SON, John i. 18, Matt. xi. 27, is not merely speculative, but practical, producing obedience. For "CHRIST became the author of eternal salvation to all that obey Him," [and to them only,] Heb. v. 9.
When THE FATHER is styled THE ONLY TRUE GOD," it is not to be understood by way of exclusion of the Son, as if the Son also was not truly God; but only by way of eminence or precedence, кar' ¿oxnv. For the Son, in a parallel passage, is expressly styled "THE TRUE GOD, and ETERNAL LIFE," or, the God who is the true author of eternal life, 1 John v. 20. And in reference to both passages, it seems, the Nicene Creed styles CHRIST, "TRUE GOD of TRUE GOD," or in old English," VERY GOD, OF VERY GOD." And the epithet Movos, "only," is frequently used in this latitude of signification, to denote " pre-eminent *." Thus, when the Father is styled
The terms μovoç and ɛiç, Solus and unicus, are frequently used in the Greek and Latin Classics, to denote "excellent," "pre-eminent," "extraordinary," "singular," &c. as may be seen in the copious collection of examples, furnished by Wetstein, N. T. in his valuable Note on John xvii. 3, from which these are selected.
1. Ὑπερεφίλουν τον Λευκομήδην, και μονον ανδρα ήγουντο.
"They extolled Leucomedes, and reckoned him the only hero." Xenophon Res. Græc. VII.
2. Εφεροντο -προς τον Μαρκιον, ένα στρατηγον και μονον αρχοντα ἑαυτων γινώσκειν εκεινον λεγοντες.
"They burst forth into praises of Marcius Coriolanus, saying, that they acknowledged him for their sole general and only ruler." Plutarch. Coriolanus.
3. Του δε μηκετι των αλλων επεφανη τινα και λαμπρον εξω του ένος τουδε ανδρωθεντος γενεσθαι, ταυτην παραστήναι τοις πολλοις την δόξαν, ότι μόνος εκείνος εκ του Φαβιων γενους εστι λοιπος, ουχ ώς μηδενος αλλου οντος, αλλ' ὡς μηδενος εκείνοις όμοιου, αρετή τεκμαιρομένοις το συγγενες, ου φύσει.
"Since there was no longer any of the rest of the Fabian family that did any thing remarkable or splendid, except this single person, after he had arrived at manhood, the
Μονῳ σοφῳ Θεω, "THE ONLY WISE GOD," Rom. xvi. 27, Jude 25 ; τον μονον δεσποτην Θεον, THE ONLY SOVEREIGN GoD, Jude 4 *; Ὁ μακαριος και μονος Δυναστης, THE
generality were induced to be of opinion, that he alone was left of his family; not that there was no other, but that there was none like them; the people judging of kindred by merit, not by birth." Dionysius Hal. ix. 22.
4. Τον Δημητριον οἱ Αθηναιοι εδέχοντο - ηδον ορχούμενοι και επαΐοντες, ὡς ετη μονος θεος αληθινος, οἱ δε αλλοι καθεύδουσιν, η αποδημούσιν, η ουκ εισιν γεγονως δε ετη εκ Ποσειδωνος και Αφροδίτης.
"The Athenians received Demetrius with songs and dances, celebrating him as their only true God, while the rest were either asleep, or travelling, or not in being; and that he was the son of Neptune and Venus." Demochares ap. Athen. vi. 253.
5. O omnium quantum est qui vivunt homo hominum ornatissime, Nam sine controversia, a Diis solus diligere.
"O most excellent of all men living, for unquestionably you are the only favourite of the gods." Ter. Phormio. v. 6.
6. An Deus immensi venias maris, ac tua nautæ Numina sola colant. Virg. Georg. i. 30, where Servius explains sola, by 66 magna, præcipua, id est, supra alios deos marinos."
7. Archimedes is erat unicus spectator cœli et siderum. Here Archimedes is celebrated as a consummate astronomer. Livius xxiv. 34.
8. Mirati sumus unicum magistrum, summum grammaticum, optimum poetam, omnes solvere posse quæstiones. Suetonius. Grammat. II. Here unicum is ascertained to have the same meaning, by its synonymes.
9. Vulgus et cæteri unum virum ducemque, spretâ aliorum segnitiâ, laudibus ferunt. Tacitus H. iii. 3. Here unus is taken in the same sense as unicus.
These instances seem sufficient to shew the popular use of the word μovos in the sense of excellent, &c. as expressly stated, No. 3; and of the phrase in question, μovos ɛoc aλnoivos, No. 4, which evidently was not applied to Demetrius Poliorcetes by the Athenians, in exclusion of their other gods, especially his supposed parents, Neptune and Venus, but only denoted his pre-eminence, as their tutelar god and protector, according to their blasphemous adulation.
This is the received application of the passage to THE FATHER. But those learned and ingenious critics, Mr. Granville Sharpe, and Dr. Middleton, apply it to CHRIST, and render the whole passage thus: "And denying the only Sovereign God and Lord of us, JESUS CHRIST," or "our only Sovereign God and Lord, JESUS CHRIST." See Sharpe's Remarks upon the Definitive Article, p. 46, second edit and Middleton's Doctrine, &c. p. 658.
The rule upon which their construction is founded, is the following: "When two personal nouns of the same case are connected by the copulative kat, if both have the definitive article, they relate to different persons; if only the former has the definitive article, they relate to the same person." And the accuracy of this general rule, as it respects both diversity and identity, is fully established by Middleton, p. 79, &c. p. 571, from the usage of the sacred and profane classics.
But Sharpe himself allows, that "the rule may sometimes prove rather too much; and, in this instance especially, may be liable to favour the Sabellian heresy, followed by the Swedenborgians, that Jesus Christ is the only God," p. 51. And Middleton too, has proved that the rule requires limitations, especially in the case of proper names, which often form an exception to its latter part. Thus τον Αλεξανδρον και Φιλιππον, (Esch. cont. Ctesiph. § 81,) "Alexander and Philip" are clearly distinct persons; and
BLESSED AND ONLY POTENTATE,” Ο μονος εχων αθανασίαν, WHO ONLY HATH IMMORTALITY," 1 Tim. vi. 15, 16.
when OUR LORD, modestly disclaiming the title of "Good
the article Tov, is applied to the former only, by way of eminence, as "the (well known) Alexander;" while it is understood in the latter, but not expressed; for "the Philip" meant, is sufficiently ascertained, as the father of Alexander, by being thus associated with him. Compare Middleton, p. 82, 83, 86, 109, 112, 117, 118. This exception
is precisely in point, and warrants the received interpretation of the passage. 2. The context confirms it also. The Apostle Jude addresses his Epistle to the "called," or elect Christians, "who are sanctified in GOD THE FATHER, (Oɛy waтρi,) and preserved in JESUS CHRIST;" (Inσov Xplory) he exhorts them to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints; and he warns them against reprobate Infidels, who perverted the grace of OUR GOD into licentiousness; denying both THE ONLY SOVEREIGN GOD, and OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST." (Kai тov povov deoπότην Θεον, και κυριον ήμων Ιησουν Χριστον αρνούμενοι,) ver. 1—4,
Here the last clause, " OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST," is in apposition, not with the second, THE ONLY SOVEREIGN GOD," but with the first, rov Oɛov pov, OUR GOD," whose "grace" these Infidels perverted. And Jude's doctrine critically corresponds with John's,-" Who is the liar, but he that denieth that JESUS IS THE CHRIST? this is the Antichrist that denieth THE FATHER and THE SON," (ò aρvovμεvOG TOV TаTEра Kaι Tov viov,) 1 John ii. 22. The speculative Antichrist of John, and the practical of Jude, equally denying both THE FATHER and THE SON.
The second clause, 66 THE ONLY SOVEREIGN GOD," is rather in apposition with "THE ONLY WISe God our SavIOUR," ver. 25; but this relates to GOD THE FATHER, (0ɛy warρı,) ver. 1, for "THE ONLY WISE GOD," is appropriated to Him, Rom. xvi. 27; and He is expressly styled "GOD OUR SAVIOUR," in the first instance, as distinguished from "JESUS CHRIST OUR SAVIOUR," in the second, Tit. iii. 4-7. Middleton's conjecture is unfounded, that this expression, "GOD OUR SAVIOUR," Tit. iii. 4, should be understood rather of CHRIST, p. 573.
And in every other instance, povog "only," indicating pre-eminence, (as shewn in the foregoing note,) is applied to THE FATHER, as THE ONLY TRUE GOD," "THE BLESSED AND ONLY POTENTATE," &c. which last is plainly parallel with this.
3. The epithet dεoñoτng ô Beog, is applied to THE FATHER, Acts iv. 24, and also by Justin Martyr, in the following express passages: ὁ ἡμέτερος διδασκαλος, και του πατρος παντων και δεσποτου Θεου υἱος και αποστολος ων, Ιησου Χριστου. "JESUS CHRIST, who is our Teacher, and Son and Apostle of THE FATHER Of all, and SOVEREIGN GOD." And again, describing the Trinity; ' ovoμатɩ тоv жатроs των όλων και δεσποτου Θεου, και του Σωτήρος ήμων Ιησου Χριστου, και Πνεύματος ἁγιου. "In the name of THE FATHER OF ALL, and SOVEREIGN GOD, and of OUR SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST, and of [THE] HOLY SPIRIT." In this last clause, the article is understood, though not expressed, as being unnecessary, on account of the notoriety of the association of these three proper names.
N.B. The necessity of rectifying the mistakes of eminent critics, and acquiring clear, distinct, and correct ideas, on a subject of such high theological importance, must apologize for the length and minuteness of these and the following philological notes.
• Thus Paul has combined them, κατα την χάριν του Θεου ἡμων και κυρίου Ιησού XOTOU," According to the grace of OUR GOD AND LORD, JESUS CHRIST," 2 Thess. i. 12, whom Thomas styled, o kupios μov кai d Оɛоç μov, "MY LORD AND MY GOD," John xx. 28.
Teacher," given him by the self-sufficient Pharisee, answered, "Why callest thou Me good? there is none Good, but GOD ONLY *,” Matt. xix. 17, we are to understand, that THE FATHER is pre-eminently "the fountain of all wisdom," sorereignty, power, and immortality, the source of all goodness; which, in all other beings, even THE SON himself, are derived from Him, according to the whole tenour of OUR LORD'S doctrine. In this sense, CHRIST also is styled THE WISDOM OF GOD," "GOD," "LORD," " KING OF KINGS, AND LORD of LORDS," &c. as being THE ONLY BEGOTTEN Son of God," (6 THE EFFULGENCE OF HIS GLORY, THE IMPRESS OF HIS SUBSISTENCE, UPHOLDING THE UNIVERSE BY THE WORD OF HIS POWER," Heb. i. 3, &c. Therefore, "To HIM that sitteth upon the throne, and to THE LAMB, be ascribed THE BLESSING, and THE HONOUR, and THE GLORY, and THE DOMINION, for ever and ever. Amen." Rev. v. 13. That all may HONOUR THE SON, according as they HONOUR THE FATHER" Whosoever honoureth not THE SON, honoureth not THE FATHER who sent him †," John v. 23, which was also
This is the correct translation; for the same phrase, ε μn eiç ò Oɛog, is so rendered, Mark ii. 7, "Who can forgive sins but God only?" corresponding to the varied phrase, ε un μovoç ò →ɛoç, speaking of the same thing, Luke v. 21; in both cases, the synonymous terms eis and μovos, (as shewn before,) though adjectives of the masculine gender, as agreeing with the substantive Oɛog, are to be taken adverbially. This is an important correction; for the received translation of Matt. xix. 17, and of the parallel passages, Mark x. 18, Luke xviii. 19, namely, “ There is none good but one, [that is] God," besides its inaccuracy, has been produced, and strongly urged, by Arians, Socinians, and Unitarians, (running into the opposite extreme from the Sabellians and Swedenborgians,) to support their heresy, denying the divinity of CHRIST, and degrading him to a mere man; falsely supposing, that the term sic, here, denotes one person." But this interpretation proves too much, and therefore confutes itself; for it would undeify both THE SON and THE HOLY SPIRIT; because if there be only one person" who is GOD, the rest have no right to the title, contrary to the whole tenor of Scripture, which communicates the divine titles of GOD, LORD, &c. equally to them with THE FATHER.
+ From this strong declaration of OUR SAVIOUR, expressed both positively and negatively, combined with the explanation of John and Jude, in the preceding note, p. 193, we may collect the heinousness of the crime of infidelity, or denial of the divinity of JESUS as GOD THE SON; because it involves the crime of atheism also, denying God's PROVIDENCE, or superintendance of the universe, and making Him out a "liar," by disbelieving the testimony He hath so abundantly given of His Son, 1 John v. 10. It is also downright rebellion against God Himself, upon the same principle, that He formerly considered the Jews' rejection of Samuel for their judge, as rather a rejection of the THEOCRACY; because Samuel was chosen and appointed by GOD, as their chief magistrate. They have not rejected thee, but they have rejected ME, that I should not reign over them," 1 Sam. viii. 7. This furnishes an awful subject of consideration to
the doctrine of the OLD TESTAMENT, Psalm ii. 10-12, 1. 22, 23.
The true criterion of the knowledge of THE FATHER and of THE SON, is obedience to the NEW COMMANDMENT. This is finely expressed in our LORD's intercession for his present and future disciples, as their Advocate with the Father:
“HOLY FATHER, preserve them in thy name, [or religion,] whom Thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are [one, in concord and unanimity.]"
I pray not that thou wouldest take them out of the world, [in which they are to remain, in order to fulfil their commission,] but that thou wouldest preserve them from the wicked [world, Gal. i. 4.] They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
"Sanctify them [as my Apostles] in thy truth: (thy word, [or doctrine,] is truth.) As Thou sentest me forth into the world, even so I sent them into the world, [to preach it.] And for their sake, I sanctify myself, [as their High Priest,] that they also may be sanctified in truth, [or purified, to preach thy word.]
"Neither pray I for these only, but also for those who shall believe on me through their word, [or doctrine ;] that they all may be one, [in concord and unanimity:] that as Thou, FATHER, art in ME, and I in THEE, even so, they also may be one in us," [or agree together, following our concord and unanimity.]
And this unity or unanimity of the first converts, who were all of one heart and soul," Acts iv. 32, was to be the most effectual means of converting the world to the faith of CHRIST: "That the world may believe that Thou didst send me forth," ver. 11-21.
The more effectually to promote this general conversion, he promised to impart his own glory, or the power of working miracles, to the Apostles, and first preachers of Christianity.
"And the glory which Thou hast given me, (John ii. 11,) I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one; (I in them, and Thou in Me,) that they may be perfected into one, and that the world [may also be perfected in faith, and]
Deists, who are indeed pitiable subjects of OUR LORD's prayer and apology on the cross, for crucifying him afresh, and putting him to open shame- "FATHER, forgive them, for they know not what they do!"