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at the have and yet,"; to
that he suffered." These words might be better translated, “though he was Son.” Now if his obligation to obedience was founded in his sonship, the above words would, I presume, be absurd; for instead of the adversatives though and yet, the words because and therefore would have been proper. Let it be remembered that the Jews understood these, names, Father and Son, to signify the equality of the persons so denominated : for when Christ called God his Father, the Jews said that he made himself equal with God. And when he said, I and my Father are one, they again took up stones to stone him for blasphemy, because," said they, “ that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” Jesus was so far from retracting what he had said, or explaining himself to the satisfaction of the Jews, that his last words on this occasion, viz. I am in the Father, and the Father in me, were as offensive as the former: “therefore they again sought to take him, but he escaped out of their hands.” The sonship of Christ is a great mystery: his generation is eternal and incomprehensible, there fore ineffable. But this we know, that Jesus is the only begotten of the Father; that he is the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person; and that he and his Father are one.
Divinity of Christ.
* And Thomas answered and said unto him, my Lord and
my God!”—John, xx. 28.
M HE sacred scriptures were written for our in
struction, and to make us wise unto salvation. The doctrines of the everlasting gospel are sacred, sublime, and saving truths, every way worthy to be received and believed: they are faithful sayings, and worthy of all acceptation; and, under the influence of Divine grace, will make us wise, religious, and happy.
Among these doctrines the great mystery of godliness appears with peculiar glory; and from its high importance, and its connexion with other doctrines of revelation, and with true practical religion, may be justly considered as the main pillar of our most holy faith.
The doctrine of Christ's divinity is a practical doctrine; and to show its connexion with practical religion, or its practical use, is the design of the fol, lowing discourse.
First, this doctrine is connected with practical religion, and is of practical use, because it is connected with the most solemn exercises of devotion : at all events, it deserves our most 'serious consideration, that, if it be true, we may receive and embrace it as the truth of God, or if it be false, we may reject it. But it is of infinite importance to be rightly informed in this matter; for religious principles are of the highest importance; and to be mistaken as to the object of our faith and worship, is at least awfully dangerous, The doctrine of Christ's divinity is either true or false: if it be true, as it certainly is, then we must believe it, and exercise our faith and hope ae. cordingly, that is, we must believe in Jesus, we must trust in him, and love and serve him in the obedience of faith; yea, we must honour him as we honour the Father: but if Christ is not God, then we must not believe in him, nor trust in him, nor worship him, nor pray to him, nor honour him as we honour the Father. This makes a great difference in practical religion, in faith and practice. Principles are intimately connected with practice; yea, religious principle is religious practice in several instances, where no outward act of religion is exercised. The seat of religion is in the heart, in the thoughts, purposes, and affections of the mind; and the outward acts of religion spring from the affections of the soul. Thus for instance, our religious principles are our religion, when, under the pressure of great afflictions, we consider them as coming from the hand of God, as a fatherly chastisement; from the hand, I say, of that God who loves and pities his children, does not afflict them willingly, and has promised that all things shall work together for good to them that love God. Upon these principles, namely, our firm persuasion and conviction that there is an over-ruling Providence, and that God doth always that which is right, that he is good and gracious, and that he can and
· will cause all things to work together for good te them that love him, our minds quietly submit to the dispensations of God, hope in his mercy, and confide in his promises. These acts of religion are all acts of the soul, and movements of the heart towards God.
The doctrine we have been defending is no specu. lative doctrine. It contains principles intimately connected with the religion of the heart, which is practical religion. And these principles are also connected with the outward acts of religion, if inward religion and the outward exercises of devotion and worship are or ought to be connected. If this doctrine be false, they that believe it to be true, and, in consequence of this persuasion, address one prayer to Christ, or sing his praises, or exercise towards him any act of religious worship, are idolaters; and of consequence the apostles were idolaters, and the saints and the angels are idolaters, or the scriptures are not the word of God, nor given by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. But if the doctrine be true, what are they that reject it, and will not give glory unto the Son of God, the glory due unto his holy name? what are they that will not acknowledge the Son of God as their Lord and their God? They are unbelievers, and children of disobedience.
Again, to show the connexion of this doctrine with practical religion, we observe, that it is intimately connected with an act of practical religion, namely, our drawing nigh to God through a mediator, by whom we have access to a reconciled God and Father. If the doctrine of Christ's divinity is not true, then there is no access to God, no way of drawing nigh to God, no opportunity to exercise this religious duty. For if Christ is not the Redeemer, the Mediator, the way, the truth and the life, then there is no Redeemer, no Mediator, no access to the Father; for no man, saith the scripture, cometh to the Father but by him. Now if there is no access by him, then there is no access at all. But if Christ is not that Redeemer, that Mediator, which the scripture declares him to be, then he is not the Mediator by whom we should have access to the Father; that is, if he does not answer the exact account and description given of him as the Mediator by whom we are to have access to God, then the access to God is not by him, but perhaps by another. However, we know that there is but one Christ, one Mediator, one Redeemer; and if Jesus is not this Christ, this Redeemer, then all our hope in him is lost and perished. Christ Jesus is not the Redeemer spoken of in scripture, if he is not God manifest in the flesh. He is not the Redeemer, if he is not “ the maker, the husband of his church, the Holy One of Israel, the Lord of hosts, the God of the whole earth.” He is both God and man who mediates between God and man: the Mediator must be able to lay his hand upon both parties, and reconcile them to each other. I mention this to show that if we give up the doctrine. of Christ's divinity, we give up our hope of salvation by Jesus Christ. The intercession of men and angels is utterly insufficient to save us: let none lean upon that broken reed: the true intercessor is he who can save to the uttermost, wliose arm can bring salvation, whose intercession can never fail, and who is the Lord our righteousness.
Secondly, let us practically improve this doctrine for the strengthening of our faith in the Son of God: let us say, with the saints of God, we know whom we have believed: we do not trust in an arm of flesh for salvation, but our trust, hope, and confidence, is in the living God. The mighty God of Jacob is our refuge, our strong rock and fortress. Let each of us say, with David, “the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in the green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." Is our faith weak? or ·