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blance of plausibility this might be alleged against Justin and others of the fathers; yet it is a mere semblance, for Justin himself expressly declares that on this point he is solely indebted to Scripture: we shall find it no very easy matter to establish a connection between the unlettered Hebrew apostle and the school of the Greek philosopher. In fact, St. John merely uses a title, which perpetually occurs in the Old Testament as a descriptive name of the Angel of Jehovah, and which is constantly used for the same purpose by the authors of the Targums. Hence his countrymen would fully understand his meaning: and, when they found, that he declared Christ to be the Word, that he pronounced him at the same time to be God, that he spoke of him as appearing under the familiar aspect of a man, and that he described him as the organ by which the invisible Godhead reveals himself to the world; when (I say) they found all this, they could not but suppose him to intimate, that Christ was the Word or Voice who spoke to the ancient prophets, and that he was that identical Word, who (according to the Chaldee Paraphrasts) created the world, and gave the Law to Moses on mount Sinai, and spoke to him face to face, and brought Israel out of Egypt, and marched before the people in the fiery column, and appeared to Abraham and Jacob in Mamre and at Beth-El. St. John speaks the language of his nation : and, by that language, his phraseology ought assuredly to be interpreted. Most irrelevant therefore is the gloss of those Socinians, who
are constrained, with whatever reluctance, to acknowledge the authenticity of the passage before us. They contend, that the Word is only said to be a god, in the same sense that the mere human delegates of Jehovah are sometimes called gods : and they assert, that the world created by him is not the material world, but the dispensation of the Gospel. But would any Hebrew, accustomed to the writings of the Old Testament and to the Targums of the ancient Paraphrasts, have thus understood the apostle? Such a person might indeed charge him with blasphemy for teaching that Jesus was the Word ; just as the high-priest charged our Saviour with blasphemy, for appropriating to himself the character of that Son of man, whom Daniel beheld coming in the clouds of heaven, and whom they well knew to be the Divine Angel of Jehovah :' but he would never imagine, that the Word, who (according to the Paraphrasts) communicated the Law to Moses from the blazing top of Sinai, was a god, not by nature, but by mere delegation like the man Moses himself;^ he would never imagine, that the Word, who (according to the same Paraphrasts) created the world, was, under this description, set forth, not as the creator of the material world, but as the promulgator of a new. dispensation. On the contrary, he would evidently perceive, that both the inspired writers and the Targumists speak of
Compare Matt. xxvi. 62 - 65. with Dan, vii. 13, 14. % Exod. vii. 1.
the Word or the Angel, as being essential God and very Jehovah. Hence, when he observed St. John to declare, that the Word was both God and with God, that the Word created the world, and that this Word became incarnate in the person of the man Jesus as the organ of communication with the invisible Father : whatever he might think as to the propriety of identifying this august character with the lowly Nazarene, he could not but see, that Christ was indeed set forth, as the sent Jehovah, as the anthropomorphic Angel-God, of the Patriarchal and Levitical dispensations. With the Targums, in short, and the Old Testament in his hand, the Socinian gloss, I should conceive, would offer the very last sense, which he would think of ascribing to the perfectly familiar language of St. Johu.
(3.) But, as if this were not sufficient, we have the most positive assurance, that Christ is indeed the Jehovah of the Hebrew Church and the AngelGod who conducted the Israelites through the wilderness.
St. John asserts, that Isaiah foretold the judicial blindness of Israel, when he saw the glory of Christ and spake of him. The language of Isaiah himself on that occasion is, Mine eyes have seen the King, Jehovah of hosts. Hence it follows, that, in the judgment of the apostle, the Jehovah seen by Isaiah was Christ the Lord.' But the comparison of the two passages will do more than prove our Saviour to be Jehovah. Isaiah declares, that the person, respecting whom he spoke, was
actually seen by him. No man however hath at any time seen Jehovah the Father. Therefore Jehovah the Father could not have been the
person seen by Isaiah. Such being the case, the person, whom he saw, must have been the Angel of Jehovah, visible, as at other times, in a human form, and acknowledged to be the national God of Israel. But, according to St. John, the person, whom he saw, was Christ. Therefore Christ is the Angel of Jehovah, now permanently, as before occasionally, vested in a substantial human form.'
The same doctrine is no less explicitly taught. by St. Paul. Speaking of the Israelites in the wilderness, he says : Neither let us tempt Christ ; as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. The person then, whom the Israelites tempted in the wilderness, was Christ. But, according to the Psalmist, they tempted and provoked the Most High God: and, according to Moses, the person, who upon this occasion sent fiery serpents among them, was Jehovah.. Christ therefore, in the judgment of St. Paul, is Jehovah the Most High God. The divine being however, who was with the Hebrew Church in the wilderness, is explicitly declared to be the Angel of Jehovah, or the Angel in whom is the Name of Jehovah; that is to say, the Angel whom Jacob adored as the acknowledged God of his fathers. Hence it will follow, that the Word incarnate in the person of the man Christ is that anthropomorphic Angel of
! John xii. 37-42. Isaiah vi. 1--10.
Jehovah who was with the Hebrew Church in the wilderness.'
(4.) Agreeably to these deductions, we find St. Paul, if I mistake not, bestowing upon our Lord the ancient title, which he bore under the two first dispensations.
Speaking of the affectionate zeal of the Galatians, who despised not his temptation which was in the flesh, he remarks, with a bold hyperbole, Ye received me, as the Angel of God, as Christ Jesus.” The structure of this passage seems plainly to require, that we should understand Christ Jesus to be the Angel of God mentioned by the apostle. But the Angel of God or the Angel of Jehovah is the special appellation of the often incarnate and visible God of the two first dispensations. Therefore Christ is that incarnate and visible God.
(5.) With this opinion the ordinary language, used both by him and of him, perfectly accords.
He always describes himself, and is described by others, as being sent by the Father, as descending from his original abode in heaven, and as taking upon himself our human nature. Now the import of his official title, the Angel of Jehovah, both in Hebrew and in Greek, is simply the Messenger of Jehovah or the person whom Jehovah sends. When Christ therefore is declared to be sent by the Father, he is in effect pronounced to
1 Cor. 8. 9. Psalm lxxviii. 56. Numb. xxi. 6. 2 Gr. Ωs Αγγελος Θεου εδεξασθε με, ως Χριστον Ιησουν. Galat. iv, 14.