« PreviousContinue »
omnipotent, and therefore the object of our adoration and our trust. Now, can their be a louder lie than this? Can God command us to attribute that to a creature, which it neither does nor can possess? Let it not be said, that Christ is adored for what he hath done, and not for what he is. We cheerfully grant that what he has done lays us under new obligations to worship him. Hence the apostle says, “ Unto him that loved us.” Nay, adoring multitudes around the throne are represented as feeling the force of the argument arising from what he has done, “ Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thon wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood," Rev. v. 9. “ Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing,” verse 12. But to say, that our worship is founded only on what he has done, and not at all upon what he is in himself, is absolutely false. What he has done, shows, in a most convincing manner, what he is. His washing us from our sins in his own blood, redeeming us unto God by his blood, are incontestable proofs that he is God. While we thank him for what he has done for us, we rejoice and adore at thought of what he is in himself: or as the Psalmist more emphatically expresses it, Psal. cl. 2. “ We praise him for his mighty acts, we praise him according to his excellent greatness.” Thus from the words of our text; from the relation he bears to the Holy Ghost; from the fulness dwelling in him; from the names given him; from the attributes ascribed to him; from the works he hath done; and from the worship he receives; from each of these apart, and from all of them in connection, it appears with irresistible evidence, that our Lord Jesus Christ is God equal with the Father.
The doctrinal part of the subject being now finished, it remains that we attempt some practical improve. ment. And in the
First Place, What can be more natively inferred from
all that has been said, than that we should have holy and honourable thoughts concerning Christ? What a striking precedent is there of this in our text and context, Christ being in the form of God, thought it no robbery to be altogether equal with God. The apostle having spoken of him as the God of glory, immedi. ately makes mention of his astonishing grace, viz. that he made himself of no reputation, taking upon him the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, humbling himself, and becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Having mentioned what he was by nature, and what in grace he did, the apostle next carries our thoughts to those mediatory honours to which he is now exalted. Wherefore, says he,“ God hath also highly exalted him, and given him a name above every name.
every name.” In these three views wherein the apostle considers him, a pattern is given to all the saints. In the first we see him as in the heights of uncreated grandeur; in the second, we behold his unpreccdented grace; and in the third, we contemplate these glories which he has acquired by his astonishing condescension. The apostle has taught us in effect where we must begin if we would conceive aright concerning Christ. And indeed if we never contemplate him as the true, the self-existent God, we can have but very crude conceptions of him as an exalted man. it we believe not his supreme Deity, we shall but little admire what was done by him. Unless we see the heights whereon he originally sat, we shall not much wonder at the depths wherein he lay.
It is remarkable that the scripture seldom speaks of him as man, without first representing him as the mighty God. « The Word was God. The Word was made flesh and blood, and dwelt among us,” John i. 1, 14. “ Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that through his poverty, ye might be rich," 2 Cor. viii. 9. If we see nothing but the man, how imperfect our view, and how cold must be our feelings! For as the one is, so must be the other. Our eye must
affect our heart. If we rise no higher in our views than the human nature in which he appeared, instead of ascending the top of Jacob's towering ladder, we lie grovelling as at its foot. It is far from being sufficient to conceive or speak of Christ as an extraordinary man, for so were the prophets and apostles. An extraor. dinary man may be a mere man; but as for our Jesus, he was more than a man. He was “the child born,” and at the same time, “ the mighty God," Isa. ix. 6. " The Word made flesh," John i. 14. “ God manifested in the flesh,” i Tim. iii. 16. “ Though the son of Adam with respect to his human nature," Luke iii. 23-38. “ Yet in his divine he was the Son of God," Rom. i. 4. How justly therefore is he called wonderful! It is observable, that scripture speaking of him, either as to his person or his office, generally adds some mark of distinction, to point out his supereminent dignity. For instance, is he a Son? he is the only Son of God. Is he a brother? he is the First-born among many brethren, Rom. viii. 29. Is he fair? he is Fairer far than the children of men, Psalm xlv. 2. Is he a plant? he is the Plant of Renown. Is he a rose? he is the Rose of Sharon, Cant. ii. 1. Is he a star? he is the Morning Star, Rev. xxii. 16. Is he a sun? he is the Sun of Righteousness, Mal, iv. 2. Is he a messenger? he is one among a thousand, Job xxxiii. 23. Is he a priest? he is a great High Priest, Heb. iv. 14. Is he a prince? he is the Prince of Peace, Isa. ix. 6. Is he a king? he is a King of Righteousness and of Peace, Heb. vii. 2. Is he a captain? he is the Captain of Salvation, Heb. ii. 10. So true is it that in all things he ever has the pre-eminence, Col. i. 18.
2dly. What has been said, may serve for reproof to such as doubt or deny the Divinity of Christ, and consequently speak of him in terms not the most honour. able. Arianism and Socinianism have come in like a flood, and thereby many are carried away. They consider Christ either as an inferior kind of God, or as a mere, though extraordinary man. Such are false teachers, bringing in damnable heresies, denying in effect the
Lord who bought them, 2 Pet. ii. 1. They may at times, and to serve a turn, affect to speak highly of him. But after all, they are a voice, and nothing else. Fair as their speeches may appear, and specious their piety, their doctrine is poisonous. The author * more than once alluded to, may but too, too justly be rank. ed among their number. Of the many prayers interspersed through his book, there is none to the Lord Jesus Christ. Dying Stephen prayed more to him in his last moments, than that Doctor has done in the progress of 500 pages. And no marvel that he was so sparing, seeing he considered him not as the great God, but ås an extraordinary man: a martyr, who in his testimony could scarcely be mistaken. How criminal in the professors, the very teachers of Christianity, to deny, or to conceal the Godhead of the Son! How contrary such a conduct to that of the wise master-builder! i Cor. iii. 10. He taught that Christ was in the form of God, and thought it no robbery to be altogether equal with him. If all the angels of God worship our Jesus, Heb. i. 6, how inexcusable the men who deny him divine honours! If it be the Father's will, " That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father,” John v. 23. what must be their guilt who pay greater honours to the one than to the other! If the Father himself acknowledge that the Son is God, Heb. i. 8. how accumulated their guilt who say that he is only a man. They make the God of truth a liar. And doing so, shall they escape the vengeance of his arm? Do they know the Son better than the Father does? He has called him God, and the most that they assert is, that he is an extraordinary man.
O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united!
3dly. From what has been said, we may see that it is our indispensible duty to contend for the divinity of the Son. If we should earnestly contend for the faith
which was once delivered to the saints, Jude 3. then surely for that which is one of its capital articles. The Godhead of the Son, is no matter of doubtful disputation, like many things which are litigated amongst the divided parties in our Zion. No:it is written so very plainly in scripture, that he who runs may read. It is not extrinsical to Christianity, but so essential to it, that whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father, 1 John ii. 23. To expunge it from the Christian creed, is as if men should go about to strike the sun out of the firmament. The natural sun does not more certainly diffuse his benign influences through the mate. rial system, Psalm xix. 6. than the Sun of Righteousness does his through the whole of revealed truth. All the rays of evangelic truth issue from him, and all its lines centre in him. His divinity denied, we may drop our tear, and with better reason than Mary say,
They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him," John xx. 13. If he be only a man, we may hang our harps upon the wil. lows, for we are yet in our sins. But certain, as his own and his Father's testimony can make us, 6 that he is the true, the eternal God," let us agonize for this precious, this foundation truth. If there be a precious stone in all the temple, this, this is it. While therefore pretended builders openly reject it, let us in a declarative manner keep it where God has laid it. While they in their wisdom treat it as a stone of stumbling, let us regard it as more precious than the golden wedge of Ophir. Let us not be ashamed of the truth, but contend for it as heaven's precious depositum committed unto us. Let the zeal of the adversaries serve as a whetstone to ours. Shall they be more eager to 'propagate error, than we to preserve and promote the truth? God forbid. Only while we contend, let us do it with temper, well knowing that “the wrath of man worketh not the righte. ousness of God.” Let the edge of our indignation be directed, not against the persons, but the errors of men.