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being opened, our prejudices removed, and our wills renewed, we may be enabled to perceive the glory of Jesus Christ, and cheerfully to embrace the truth as it is in him.
It will be easily perceived, that as the doctrine above-mentioned is entirely a doctrine of revelation, a doctrine not to be discovered by the light of nature, so all the arguments in its favour are to be scriptural, and derived from that revelation in which this doctrine is supposed to be asserted. In short, the grand question is this; is the doctrine of Christ's divinity revealed in the word of God-is it a scripture doctrine? And therefore it must be obvious that the following discourses are addressed to those only who believe, or profess to believe, the holy scriptures.
We suppose it will be granted that all the attributes of God are, in the sense they are ascribed to him, incommunicable; that they are essential to the Divine nature, inseparable from it, and can neither belong nor be ascribed to any other nature; and therefore it would be blasphemy to ascribe the Divine attributes and perfections to a finite being-to one who is not really and truly God. If, then, it can be demonstrated that the divine, infinite, and adorable perfections are in scripture ascribed to the Son Christ Jesus, this conclusion must necessarily follow-that, if the scriptures are the
not lie, Jesus Christ. Word of that God who can
the Son of God, is our Lord and our God, really and truly God.
It is proposed, in the first place, to show that the Divine attributes are in scripture ascribed to the Son Christ Jesus.
Secondly, we shall show that the glorious and incommunicable name of God, Jehovah, is ascribed to the same person, and that he is called by this name.
Thirdly, we will quote and illustrate some passages of scripture in which Jesus Christ is expressly called God.
In the fourth place, it will be proved that Jesus Christ is the object of adoration and religious worship.
Lastly, we will give a general answer to objectors, and point out the practical use of the doctrine.
First, then, let us show that the Divine perfections, the essential attributes of God, (and all his attributes are essential,) are ascribed to Jesus Christ the Son of God. And to begin with the attribute, Eternal, we find it ascribed unto the Son of God; not merely because he shall exist for ever, but because he really did exist from all eternity. The prophet Micah (v. 2,) asserts the eternity of the Son, when he says, "his goings forth have been froin of old, from everlasting," for he that acts from everlasting, that is, from all eternity, exists from all eternity, because action supposes existence. But do these words of the prophet relate to the Son of God? The evangelist Matthew will answer the question, and show us that the words of the prophet relate to Christ.
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the king, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, "where is he that is born king of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him." Herod made the same inquiry, but not with the same view: he demanded of the chief priests and elders where Christ should be born?" and they said unto him, in Bethlehem of Judea; for thus it is written by the prophet,
and thou, Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda, for out of thee shall come a Governor that shall rule my people Israel.'"-(Matth. ii. 1, 6.) It is evident that the prophet and the evangelist speak of one and the same person, who should be ruler in Israel, even the great Messiah, whose goings forth, says Micah, have been from everlasting; therefore, he that came out of Bethlehem Ephratah, that is, Christ, was from everlasting.
This same attribute is ascribed to the Son, by the evangelist John, and he wrote his gospel at a period when the mystery of iniquity had begun to work; for the divinity and incarnation of the Son of God
was denied by some, even in the days of the apostles. We consider it as a wise and well ordered dispensation of Providence, that many truths of the everlasting gospel were controverted at a time when the enemies of the truth could be contradicted and refuted by some of the apostles in person; by which means we have an apostolical decision in favour of these doctrines, which is as valid this day as ever it was. St. John sets his face against the errors of the times, and refutes them in his epistles and in his gospel, which he begins with an express declaration of Christ's eternity. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God: the same was in the beginning with God: all things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made." Let us exercise our reason upon these words of the evangelist. If by the beginning, we should understand the commencement of time, then it is plain that the Logos, or Word, did not begin to exist when time began or commen ced; he existed before time, before creation, before any thing was created, and enjoyed glory with God before the world was. As the evangelist asserts that the Logos made all things, so of necessity he must have had an existence prior to the things that were by him created and made; he must have existed before the creation of all things, and of course he is not a created being; the Creator of all things is uncreated and eternal. We shall have occasion hereafter to speak of the Son as Creator of all things, visible and invisible, and of his "eternal power and godhead," demonstrated by the works of creation; and therefore I shall at present only insist upon a few passages of scripture which are sufficient to prove the eternity of the Son of God.
I think there can be no doubt but the eternity of God is clearly asserted in these words of the prophet: "thus saith the Lord, the king of Israel, and his Redeemer the Lord of Hosts, "I am the first, and I am the last, and besides me there is no God."-Isa.
xliv. 6. It is of no moment, as to the present quèstion, whether these words are spoken by the Father or by the Son; it is sufficient if these words, the first and the last, are expressive of the attribute eternal; and that they are so need not be proved. Now the same words are used by the inspired writers, when they speak of the Son of God. Jesus is "Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end;" Jesus is "the first and the last," (Rev. i. 8, 18, ii. 6,) and therefore the attribute of eternity belongs to him; he claims it as his undoubted right.
Jesus asserted his eternity in a conversation with the Jews, who were offended at him, because he said that Abraham saw his day and rejoiced: Jesus said unto them, "verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am."-John viii. 58. He does not say, before Abraham was I was, but I am; and thus he claims the attribute of eternity, and asserts his eternity in assuming the name of the eternal God, the great I am. This is the name of God, I am that I am. "Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I am hath sent me unto you."-Exod. iii.
As God is eternal, so also is he unchangeable. He that exists from all eternity must exist for ever unchangeably the same; wherefore the psalmist, singing the praises of the true God, the eternal and unchangeable God, addresses him in the following sublime and beautiful language "Of old hast thou laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure; yea, all of them shalf wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed. But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end."-Psalm cii. The apostle, in his epistle to the Hebrews, shows us that these words of the psalmist relate to the Son of God; and though in the mouth of the prophet they may be considered as praise addressed to the Son of God, yet the apostle shows us that they are the words of the Father
addressed to the Son, as a full declaration of his godhead. The psalmist, in spirit, repeats the words of the Father to the Son, and in these words sings the praises of the eternal and unchangeable Creator, "who is the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever? -Heb. xiii. 8. If Jesus is the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever, he is the unchangeable God; and that he is the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever, is asserted by the apostle.
The next attribute of the Divine nature to be considered is that of Omnipresence, and it belongs to the true God, and to him alone. "Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him, saith the Lord? Do not I fill heaven and earth, saith the Lord ?" Now Christ asserts his omnipresence in his discourse with Nicodemus: "No man, saith Jesus, hath ascended up to heaven but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man, which is in heaven." The body of Jesus could not be in heaven and on earth at one and the same time, and therefore we must understand these words, which is in heaven, as relating to that nature which fills heaven and earth, and is every where present; and we conclude that Jesus is possessed of this nature, and that he is really and truly omnipresent. The glorified body of Jesus is in heaven; his body is not omnipresent; yet Jesus is present with his church on earth, and with his church in heaven; the whole church is the mystical body of Christ-"the fulness of him that filleth all in all."-Eph. i. 23. Here the apostle says that Christ filleth all in all. Compare this expression with what God says of himself, by the mouth of the prophet, " do not I fill heaven and earth, saith the Lord ?"
It was the promise of God to Israel, that he would be present with his people. "In all places where I record my name, will I come unto thee and bless thee." And if this be a good proof of God's omnipresence, as it certainly is, then the promise of the