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any propriety be considered as exceptions ; in the for-
From the first Epistle of St. Peter we have not
thepherd is God, for otherwise the flock is not the flock of the chief shepherd. In the like manner, in the preceding chapter, the Apostle calls the Gospel of Christ the Gospel of GOD, “What shall be the “ end (faith he) of them that obey not the Gospel of “God?” which is often likewise the language of St. Paul. Now, when the sacred writers. use indiscriminately the terms “ Gospel of Christ ” or “ Gospel “ of God," what must the reader think, but that either there is a double Gospel, the one distinct from the other; or, if they are not distinct, that CHRIST and God are one? Let Sophistry evade this as it will, such nevertheless will be the opinion of the bulk of mankind ; if Christ is God, there is no difficulty at all in understanding this language of the facred writers; but, if he is not, we shall be unable to give any tolerable account of it without a strange jumble of positions and inferences, and such as will still leave us at a loss to reconcile the loose careless manner in which the Apostles have expressed themselves with their inspiration; if they knew that CHRIST was not God, why should they term that, which we all know to be emphatically and exclufively the Gospel of CHRIST, the Gospel of God? This is opening such a door to mistake and misapprehension as it is impossible they could have been guilty of. If the historian, in speaking of any particular tract of country, should call it the territory of Philip, and afterwards speaking of the very fame tract of country should call it the territory of the : 3
lit) King, could you hesitate a moment in pronouncing Philip to be a King ? Now what is the difference between these two cases ? absolutely none; the territory is the territory of Philip, and is called also the territory of the King, and therefore Philip is King. The Gospel is the Gospel of Christ, and is called also the Gospel of God, therefore Christ is God. He that can fhew any difference between these two cases may be allowed to offer it as a plea for himself in the misinterpretation of the sacred writers; but, if he can shew no difference between them, it will not be easy for him to justify himself in putting an interpretation upon the plain words of the facred writers, different from what he would put upon the plain and similar words of any other writer. Again our Lord fays, Matt. xvi. 18. «Upon this rock will I build my Church,” Επι ταυτη τη πετρα Orrodouniw MOU THU EXXA15 IX. But where in the New Testament is the Church spoken of and distinguished other than as the Church of God? I do not know that it is even once mentioned under the terms Church of CHRIST; where then are we to look for the Church of CHRIST ? Μου την εκλλησιαν is a limiting and exclusive expression; therefore the Church of CHRIST and the Church of God are one and the same, or there are two distinct Churches, which no. one will say; but, if they are one and the same, then muft Christ and God be one and the same. Hence the facred writers, by characterising the Church un-, der the terms Church of God, affix the character of
God to Jesus Christ, whose the Church is from its very origin.
The second Epistle of St. Peter with some perhaps will be thought to be of little authority, as its aus thenticity has been doubted; the style, I own, differs from that of the first Epistle, but I do not see that this is a sufficient ground of objection, as there are a thousand circumstances which may occasion a variation of style; and this Epistle, as we understand, was written under the disconfolate circumstances of a prison. However, I believe there is sufficient evidence that it was written in the Apostolic age ; and, as the writer expreflly speaks of himself under the name and character of “ Simon Peter, a Servant and Apostle of Jesus CHRIST,” and as there is no other positive proof, that he was any other than Simon Peter, and, moreover, as it is not conceivable that any one in that age would have afsumed to himself a name which was not his own, and wherein his forgery and falsehood would have been so certain of being detected, I think we need not hesitate a moment about acknowledging the Epistle to be his, whose name it bears. The Apostle then thus expresses himself, ch. i. 1, TOIS 10 OTIMO Mere λαχουσι σιςιν εν δικαιοσυνη του Θεου ημων και σωτηρος Ιησου Xusou ; " To them that have obtained like precious faith with us, through the righteousness of our God, and Saviour Jesus Christ.” There is a various reading (I own) of Kypsou instead of sov; but,
what is the proof that Kuprou is the true reading? Are the Apostle's words unintelligible except it is substituted in the room of Osov? Is the doctrine of the present reading inconsistent with the general doctrine of the other parts of the Scripture ? No: nothing of the kind. Therefore, as there is no manner of call for a various reading, in order to make us understand the Apostle's meaning, or to render him consistent with the other Apoftolical and Sacred Writers, I make no scruple in pronouncing, that the various reading is of no consequence; and that, as it is wholly unnecessary, so would it be very absurd to adopt it.
Ch. iii. 10, “Hệse da vi nuspce Kupiou as ra:7]ns, &c. “ But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in “ the night, &c. Seeing then that all these things “ shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye “ to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking “ for and hasting unto the coming of the day of GOD!" Προσδοκώντας και σπεύδοντας την παρουσιαν της του Θεου quepas. Here the day of the second coming of our
LORD is decidedly and unequivocally called, the · day of God; it was before called the day of our
LORD, and so it is frequently called ; and, as there cannot be a doubt but that the day of Christ is thereby meant, therefore the day of CHRIST is equivalent to the day of God; and, therefore, CHRIST is God.