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but on the contrary came to destroy his works, and to emancipate mankind from subjection to his tyrannical laws. According to this notion, these men maintained that it was not incumbent on the true followers of Christ to become holy and righteous, in conformity to the example and precepts of Jesus, but that they had the privilege of indulging in their vicious propensities. In opposition to this, John says, “Beloved, let no one deceive you ; he that doeth righteousness is righteous, as Christ is righteous : but he who committeth sin is of the devil : for this purpose the Son of God hath appeared, that he might destroy the works of the devil, i. e. to destroy the works of the devil, and not the works of the Creator as the impostors maintained. The apostle Paul has the same impious doetrine in view, where he says, 1 Tim. i. 15, “ The doctrine is true and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners ;” that is, to rescue them from the dominion and misery of sin, and restore them to the freedom and happiness of virtue.
According to the Gnostics, Christ, being a divine being, was entitled to divine honours; and even according to the Apostles, as he was the son of God, and the glorious instrument in the hands of God to save the world, he might be considered an object not only of gratitude and. reverence, but of religious homage. The worship of Christ was a question necessarily connected with that of his divinity, and must have been agitated in every place among the heathens, where his wonderful works had been made known, and the Apostle Paul thus sets it aside in his letter to Timothy: “The doctrine is true and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. But for this end I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might display his long-suffering, as a model for those who are about to believe in him unto eternal life. But to the king eternal, incorruptible, invisible, the only
wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever, Amen :" that is, “We owe to Jesus Christ, as our Saviour under God, the tribute of unfeigned esteem and affection. But God alone, in a religious sense, is the only proper object of honour and glory.” He then adds, “ This charge I recommend to thee, son Timothy, according to the oracles, the previous knowledge of which leads thee to the same, that holding faith and a good conscience, thou mightest wage a fair warfare, and be not like some, who, having put away a good conscience, have made shipwreck of their faith ; among whom is Hymenæus and Alexander, whom I have delivered to Satan, (excommunicated from the church, or delivered over to the power of darkness,) that they might be instructed not to blaspheme God.” 1 Tim. i. 18–20. Now what is the charge which Paul here enjoins on Timothy ? Evidently this: that he should consider God as infinite and supreme, and the only object of worship; that the respect which we owe to his son Jesus, should not be suffered to encroach on the adoration due to the Almighty alone; that the inspired writings of the Jews, in which Timothy had been previously instructed, inculcated the same solemn injunction; and that those wicked men who violated this fundamental principle of the Christian faith, were guilty of blaspheming God.
“ The spirit expressly says, that in latter times some will apostatize from the faith, giving heed to deceitful spirits, and to doctrines of demons.” 1 Tim. iv, 1. The phrase "doctrines of demons” may mean doctrines which the demons or pagan Gods, through the medium of their priests, delivered against the Supreme Being, the only true God and the only proper object of worship; and certain dogmas, such as abstaining from marriage and some articles of food, dictated by the reigning superstition, in opposition to the Gospel. Against the doctrines of demons in this sense, Paul tells Timothy, “The doctrine is true and worthy of all acceptation : for this we
labour and are reproached, that we have our hopes in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, especially of those who trust in him. These things enjoin and instruct.” But the words “ doctrines of demons” mean also doctrines concerning demons: and this is the more appropriate sense they bear here. Now we have seen that the Gnostics taught, that Christ was one of the demons; and, in support of this doctrine, they changed his name Christus into Chrestus, representing him as Pan, the son of Mercury. This last was the messenger of the celestial gods : and even the wisest among the pagan philosophers have assigned a similar office to an innumerable multitude of demons, who acted as mediators between the gods and mankind.
mankind. Paul in this epistle refers to the doctrine, and he sets it aside in the following manner : “ This is fair and acceptable before God our Saviour, who wisheth all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth : for there is one Gon and one MEDIATOR between God and man,
man Christ Jesus:" I Tim. ii. 3.--that is, there is one God and not many gods; there is one and not many mediators between God and man, and that is the man Jesus, and not the Christ said by the deceivers to be a demon.
The Antichristian System introduced into the Churches of
Philippi, Colossæ, and in Jerusalem. IN Paul's epistle to the Philippians, we have this passage: “ Brethren, I count not that I have yet reached the end : but one thing I do ; forgetting the things that are behind, and extending my views, as to a mark, to those before, I press forward to the prize which is above, and which is of God, who called me in Christ Jesus. Let those of us then, who are perfect, be of the same mind : and if in other things ye differ, God will reveal them to us. However, as far as we have reached, be it our determination to walk by the same rule, to agree in the same sentiments. Be you, brethren, together with me, imitators of him, and mark those as unworthy of your imitation, who thus conduct themselves, as ye have us for your model. For many go about, whom I have often noticed to you, and now I notice weeping, enemies of the cross of Christ. For our citizenship is in heaven, whence we expect the Saviour our Lord Jesus Christ; who will change these our mean bodies, so as to be similar to his own glorious body, according to the energy of that power which hath subjected all things to himself.” Chap. iii. 13.
Here we have the features of the Gnostic system plainly exhibited. The authors denied that Christ was crucified, pretending that he was crucified only in appearance. Accordingly, in the above paragraph, they are described 6 enemies to the cross of Christ.” They asserted that he is a God, and celebrated a festival in honour of his Godhead. But Paul says, “ whose God is their belly :" by which he means, that they solemnized this festival, not, as they pretended, to honour Christ, but to gratify their own base passions. They said, moreover, there was no resurrection of the dead, that having already taken place. See 2 Tim. ii. 18. It is to this that the Apostle alludes, when he says, “ Bre. thren, I do not count that I have reached the end,” &c. The reward at which he aimed, and to which he pressed forward, like the champions in the Olympic games, was glory and immortality through the resurrection of Jesus: and he calls upon the converts to look forward with him to this grand event, as mariners to the polar star; and if they agreed in, if they lived and acted under the influence of, this glorious hope, it was of little consequence
how they might differ on other minor points, which God one day would more fully reveal to them.
The unquestionable allusion which the apostle, in this epistle, makes to the impostors, will enable us to perceive the true meaning of the following much disputed passage: (6 Let the same mind be in
which was in Christ Jesus; who, being in a form of God, did not think his being liko God a thing to be caught at in order to avoid death : on the contrary, he divested himself of it, having taken the form of a slave, being in the likeness of men; and in frame proved to be as a man, he humbled himself, having become obedient to death, even the death of the cross.
Wherefore God has highly exalted him, and given him a name above every other name ;
that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend-of those in heaven, of those on the earth, and of those under the earth ; and every tongue should confess Jesus Christ to be Lord—to the glory of God the Father.” Phil. ij. 10. It is to be observed that Christ is here said to be in the form, not in the nature or essence, of God. The term μορφη, or the Doric μορφα, which by a transposition of its letters became in sense and sound the Latin forma and our form, signifies the external shape or figure of a material object, or any figure addressed to the fancy, such as an abstract idea personified. Schleusner, to whose labour biblical criticism is much indebted, thinks that in this place the word means nature or
He might as well have said, that a man's shadow means the same thing with the man himself: for pogon is ever used in contradistinction to Quris or ovoid.
Two instances, however, are produced, -one from Plato, the other from Josephus,—to prove that they may sometimes be taken as synonymous. Plato was in the habit of speaking of the gods as having visible appearances; his authority therefore carries no weight on this question. The words of Josephus are the following, Contra Apion. lib. ii. 22.: ο θεος εργοις μεν εναργης. . ομορφην τε ημιν αφανεστατος, God is