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grasp of created understanding. To know all that is externally done in one day by angels and men: all the temptations of the one, all the murders, adulteries and lies of the other, seems to lie quite beyond the most enlarged capacity of a creature. But what are exter. nal actions to those of the mind? What is all the wick. edness which has appeared in the world, to that which has been perpetrated in the heart? Now, in order to do justice, not a thought has ever arisen in angel or man, from the beginning to the end of time, but must be perfectly known to the Judge. And is not such : knowledge too high for any creature? Is it not the prerogative of Deity to know the thoughts of the heart? “ I know, says Job, that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee,” Job xlii. -2. And concerning himself, God declares, “ I Jeho. vah search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings,” Jer. xvii. 10. The wards of one created mind are impenetrable to another.
But he who made them, has a key which fits them all, Psalm xciv. 9-12. It is evident, therefore, that the Judge of men and angels must be infinitely superior in nature to them both. Though a man, he must be also God. Accordingly it is written, “God is judge him. self," Psalm 1. 6.
7thly and Lastly. That the Son is God equal with the Father, appears from the worship which is given him. That divine worship is due to God, and to him only, is the dictate of reason and of revelation. That a being of infinite perfection is entitled to all possible honours from the creatures, is one of those truths which is as self-evident, as that two and two make four. And that divine honours are due to God only, is as obvious as the distinction between creature and Creator. To deny to God what of right is his, or to give to i others what belongs to him alone, are equally impious
1 and absurd. The one is depreciating God to the rank of a creature, the other an exalting a creature to the dignity of God: both which must be an abomination
in his sight, who will not give his glory to another, Isa. xlii. 8. If therefore it be certain that divine worship is in scripture given to Christ, it must be equally so that he is a divine person. But the former is true, and therefore the latter. Into his name we are equally baptized, as into that of the Father and the Holy Ghost, Matt. xxviii. 19. His death we shew forth in the Sacrament of the Supper, 1 Cor. xi. 26. Grace and peace are asked, not only from the Father, but al. so from him, Rom. i. 7. 1 Cor. i. 2. In the apostolic benediction he is joined with the Father and the Spirit, for thus it runs, “ The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,
" and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all,” 2 Cor. xiii. 14. John in his address to the seven churches of Asia, wishes them peace, not only from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits, i.e. the sevenfold working Spirit, which are before his throne; but also from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth.
Having mentioned the Saviour, the apostle immedi. ately launches out into a sacred doxology, “ Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God even his Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever: Amen," Rev. i. 4–6. He proposes himself as being equally with the Father the object of his people's faith. 6 Ye believe in God, believe also in me,” John xiv. 1. “ It is the Father's will that all men honour the Son, even as they honour the Father," John v. 23. And it is known in all our Israel, that he hath said, all the angels of God worship him," Heb. i. 6. Let it not be retorted, that God may enjoin us to worship a creature, and that therefore in so doing, we yield obedience unto him. He can no more do this, than he can command us to lie. For what is it to worship a creature, but to ascribe divine attributes to it, asserting in effect, that it is infinite, eternal, unchangeable, 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 thou 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 abso. lutely 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 is, 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 improvement. 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 ho. nours to which he is now exalted. Wherefore, says he, “God hath also highly exalted him, and given him a name above 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 unprecedented grace; and in the third, we contemplate these
; glories which he has acquired by his astonishing con. descension. 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. If 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, Rer. 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 conscqucntly 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 damınable heresies, denying in effect the