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AN incarnate God, whose bleeding wounds have paid our ransom, is one of those mysteries that stuns and disconcerts human reason, liable to firay through the winding paths of roving error, if the 'clew of saith do not direct our steps and minister its affistance. He appeared on earth to cancel our crimes ; to nail to the cross the sc'hedule of our condemnation ; to la' cerate and tear the woful hand-'writing that gave us over to rebel-angels ; to snatch 'sinful man from the hands of divine justice ; and to unlock? the awful gates of the eternal sanctuary, whither no mortal has access, but through the blood of the spotless pontiff. He appeared, in fine, to raise, through his merits, all those who fell by Adam's guilt ; to form a faithful and holy people,-a_ faithful people, " by cap" tivating their understanding to the yoke of " faith,"-and a holy people, whose conversation, according to St. Paul, ought to be in
Heaven ; and who are to follow no longer the Our ignorance of his nature would expose us to the satal alternative-either of becoming idolaters in worshipping a man, which is the case of all Christians, if your opinion be well g'r0unded,-or of refusing God the homage that is due to him, which is your case, if you mistake and err. ls Christ be not God, the Christians are in the same case with the idolatrous Tartars, who worship a living man: and if he be God above all, and blessed for ever, you may as well believe the Alcoran, as believe the scriptures ; and invoke Mahomet, as invoke the Son of Mary; He declares, V that lise eternal consists in the a knowledge of Himself, and of the Father " who sent him." In such an important article, it is too hazardous to plead ignorance, in hopes of impunity: for the scripture says, that " there " isa way which man thinks to be the right " one: and the end thereof are the ways of " death." The Divinity of Christ, evidenced by the accomplishrnent of so many oracles, and supported by the concurrent testimonles of all nations and ages, since his appearance on earth, has so many apologists, that the doctor can easily meet with some os them in every library, and, I doubt not, in his own ; and that it were presumption in me to attempt going over the same ground ; especially, after what Abadie and Houteville have said on this important subject. Moreover, sir, you acknowledge the authentL
dictates of the flelh. Our
city city of the scriptures ; and found your doubts, either on the obscurity of' some passages, or the misapplication of some prophecies, or the numberl'ess texts, relating to Christ's humanity. In this walk, Itake the liberty of attending you,
' step by step ; and shall avoid, as much as pos
sible, any long digrefflon ; lest we may stray too far from the path.
You affirm, that the first chapter of St. John, in which the Divinity of Christ is asserted, " In " the beginning was the Word ;' and the a Word was with God ; and the XVord was " God .," is intricate and Obscure. It is quite the reverse; and Christ's Divinity cannot be read in more legible characters. You understand by the Word, " the Manv Jesus, whom " God raised up in time, and to whom God im
' " parted extraordinary gifts." In understanding
by the W'ard, the Man 7csus, you are in similar circumstances with king Agrippa, who said : " Paul, Paul, you have made me almost a *t Christian." You would be entirely a Christian, if you added to a the Man Jesus, whom " God raised up in time," the God Yesur, 'who was hegotten from cterm'zy : according to the saying of the psalmist, " Before the morning " star I have begotten thee : *'-words which
Christ applies to himself. Or you understand by . the the foregoing words, " In the beginning was the " Word," &e. truth and rrghteausnrss, ca.eternal with the Divinity. Permit me to tell you, that you explain one obscurity by another ; and that, notwithstanding all your shifts, either the
evangelist did not know what he was saying, or * _you must absolutely allow an eternal and pre-v
existent principle, united to human nature, " in " the fulness of time."
To prove what I advanced, I shall adopt your interpretation, and place Truth in the room of Word. " In the beginning was the " Truth : and the Truth was with God : and " God was the T ruth." Remark, here, that God and the Truth are. identified :-G0d 'was the' Truth. In the same chapter, it is said : " The ** Word was made flesh, and dwelt amongst " us." In adopting your interpretation, it will be-" The T ruth was made flesh, and dwelt a amongst us," viz. the' same T ruth of, which he said before, that it was God himself,--and then the entire sense will be-God, the Truth', way made flesh, and dwelt amongst us. Upon the' whole, you are to acknowledge an eternal, pre-existent principle, assuming human nature 3 or to reject this chapter as suppositious, which no Arian or Socinian ever did.
-_ You accuse the English translators of
some design, in i transposmg these words, ' .. an
a Kal ons; Z'iv a A67©-," " And God was the " Word," which they have Englished, a And " the Word was God," as if they intended to promote the Christian cause by an artful transposition.
Isee no advantage you can derive from so severe and injurious an intimation. Whether we say, " Godwas the Word," or " the Word
" was God," the sense is'the same : for, in all .
languages, it is the nature of the copulative verb (is) to identifyv the predicate and the subject, if it be not followed by some exclusive particle or negative word. Peter was ar is that man : transpose the words, and such will be the result of the transpofition : that man 'was or is Peter. The sense is the same in both cases : and the same may be said, and is true, whether we say, " God was the Word," or " the Word " was God."
This chapter is as clear as the first chapter of St. Paul's episile to the Colosiians, wherein he sets forth and extols: the qualities of our divine Redeemer, " by whom were made all " things in Heaven and on earth, visible and " invisible , whether thron'es, or dominations, " or principalities, or powers : all things were " created by him and in him ; and he is before " all : and all things subfifl in himfljf
. I'S'Vfttsev 16, 17' ' . If