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Christ's Divinity

Christ's Divinity

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Published by glennpease
BY THOMAS ARNOLD, D.D.




Exodus iii. 14.
And God said unto Moses, I am that I am,

St. John viii. 68.

Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you. Before Abraham
was I am,
BY THOMAS ARNOLD, D.D.




Exodus iii. 14.
And God said unto Moses, I am that I am,

St. John viii. 68.

Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you. Before Abraham
was I am,

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Published by: glennpease on Oct 05, 2013
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CHRIST'S DIVIITYBY THOMAS AROLD, D.D.Exodus iii. 14.And God said unto Moses, I am that I am,St. John viii. 68.Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you. Before Abrahamwas I am,Besemblances in words merely between one part of Scripture and another, and especially when those wordsare looked at by themselves without any reference to thecontext, cannot be insisted upon as proving any thing.But when the passage in St. John from which I was justquoting was chosen for the Gospel of this day, the chapterin Exodus from which I have been also quoting, havingbeen chosen for the first lesson, the resemblance betweenthem to which it was intended to draw our attention wasnot verbal only but real. Verbal indeed it is not, as faras the Greek version of the Old Testament is concerned ;for the expression there wliicli answers to the ' I am that Iam ' of our Engliwsh Bible, is not the same with that inSt. John's Gospel, which is translated in English by thesame words. But the resemblance is real notwithstand-ing ; for He who redeemed His people out of Egypt, andwhilst revealing Himself in a visible form describedHimself as essentially and eternally existing, is the sameCHRIST'S DIVIITY. 157with Him who redeemed His people from their sins, andwho, whilst again revealing Himself in a visible form,
 
again declared that His existence was not measured bytime, that He was the same yesterday, to-day, and forever.Those who are acquainted with controversial theologywell know that the words of our Lord are made to beara lower sense by those who do not acknowledge HisDivinity. By them they are interpreted as meaning only,' Before Abraham was, it was determined in the counselsof Grod that I should be, and as to GK>d all things areeternally present, so I may say that in God's sight beforeAbraham was, I am.' Many persons who would withoutany scruple reject such an interpretation in this case, yet donot hesitate often, in explaining the prophecies, to adopta similar rule <5f interpretation there ; that is, they givethe words a meaning as far below their simple and obviousmeaning, as the interpretation, ' Before Abraham was, Iwas present to God, inasmuch as he had determined thatI should be,' falls below the simple meaning of the words' Before Abraham was, I am.' But the fault in both casesconsists not in giving such partial interpretations of thewords of Scripture as a meaning of them, but as themeaning ; as their highest meaning or their only one. Itis true that our Lord's incarnation was determined, so theScripture tells us, from the beginning of the world ; it istrue, therefore, that our Lord was present in the mind of God, if we may so speak, before Abraham was bom ; andif any Jew who had heard Him say these words and whoknew nothing of His divine nature, had imderstood themin this sense, and therefore, seeing in them nothing whichhe would think blasphemous, had not joined his country-men in taking up stones to cast at Him, such a Jew wouldhave understood them well according to his light, andwould have gained &om them the knowledge of a truth.168 CHRISrs DIVIITY.
 
And so when the Apostles preached the resurrection, theywere not wrong who said that the rising from the death of sin to a life of righteousness, was a part of the Christian'sresurrection. But those were very wrong, who said thatthis figurative and partial interpretation of the doctrineexpressed the whole of it. And so should we be wrong, if,taking only the lowest sense which our Lord's words willbear, that sense of which they are a highly hyperbolicalexpression, we were to say that this is all which they con-tain ; that he who has learnt without offence to embracethem fully, to take them in their length and in theirbreadth, in that sense in which they are no longer hyper-bolical but literal, has extracted from them more thanthey were intended to supply.And thus with respect to the interpretation of prophecy.We do often very right in taking a lower or partial sense ;it is that sense which according to the particular viewbefore us may happen to be the true one. For instance,in taking the prophecies in the simple and historical viewof them, as relating, for example, to Babylon or to Jeru-salem literally, we should then do wrong if we were notto understand them in a sense much lower than the literalone ; everlasting destruction, perfect happiness and perfectglory, belong neither to the one city nor to the other.But then it would not be right to say that this lowermeaning is all that the words bear ; there is a spiritualBabylon, there is a spiritual Israel, to which the strongestexpressions of misery and happiness apply without anyhyperbole ; nor is it till we have ascended to these, thatwe can be said to have entered fully into the mind of theprophecy. So again, many persons in the Old Testamentare commonly said to be types of Christ ; there are point*in which they resemble Him ; and language is often usedconcerning them, which as understood of them, is hyper-bolical and hjrperbolical only ; but which when understood

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