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V. That divine worship is in the Scriptures required to be rendered, and by persons inspired was actually rendered, to Christ.
In examining the relations, sustained by God to his creatures, and ascribed in the Scriptures to Christ, so copious a field is opened for discussion, that it can only be partially surveyed at the present time. I shall, therefore, confine my attention to the following particulars:
1. Christ sustains to the universe the relation of Creator.
In the passages quoted in the preceding Discourse, to prove that the act of creating is ascribed to Christ in the Scriptures, it is asserted, that he is ‘the Creator of the heavens and the earth; of thrones, Dominions, principalities, and powers; and of every individual thing which hath been made.” In the relation of Creator he stands, therefore, to every being, great and small, in the heavens and in the earth. Atoms were called into existence by his word; Angels owe to him their exalted being. This is a relation which no being but the infinite Jehovah can sustain; and is plainly that on which all the other relations of God to his creatures depend. Accordingly, God challenges this character to himself, as his character alone, sustained by himself only. ‘I,’ saith he, “am Jehovah, and none else; forming light, and creating darkness; making peace, and creating evil: I Jehovah am the author of all these things.” Whatever the Creator makes is in the most absolute sense his own; and can in no sense belong to any other, unless by his gift. Whatever connection, therefore, exists between God, as God, and creatures, as such, arises originally and entirely from the act of bringing them into being. All the rights which the infinite mind claims and holds over the 'universe, and all the duties of intelligent creatures, spring originally from this source only. It is his universe, because he made it. They are his property, because by him they were created. As their Creator, therefore, they look to him and him alone, to whom they are indebted for every thing, and to whom they owe every thing which they can do, because every thing in which they can be concerned depends upon their existence. But for this, however excellent, great, and
* Isaiah xlv. 6, 7. Lowth.
desirable he might be, and however deserving of their love and admiration, still they would not be his. This God himself teaches us in direct terms. “Remember these things, O Jacob ; and Israel, for thou art my servant. I have formed thee; thou art my servant. But now, saith the Lord, that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, fear not, thou art mine.' Out of this act of giving existence arises, then, his property in all creatures; and his right to give them laws, to controul their actions, to judge, reward, and punish them, and universally to dispose of them according to his pleasure; together with all their corresponding duties. To Christ, then, belong all these rights. But who can possess these rights, or sustain the relation out of which they arise, beside the only living and true God? . In sustaining this relation to the universe, Christ possesses also, of course, all the attributes necessary to it, and displayed in the work of creating ; particularly the power and wisdom manifested in the production of all things. This power and wisdom are plainly infinite. I know it is said by Emlyn, and other Arians, that we do not see the infinity of these attributes displayed in creating the universe; and that they may, for aught that appears to us, have existed in a sufficient degree for the production of all things, and yet not have been infinite. On this subject I observe, (1) That of creating power in the abstract, or unexercised, we have no idea at all, and therefore cannot thus discern it to be infinite. (2) We cannot comprehend infinity in any sense. The mind which can comprehend infinity must itself be infinite. When we speak of infinite power, as evident in the creation of all things, we simply declare the fact, that this power is infinite. That infinity exists with respect to duration, expansion, or any thing else which is infinite, we may perceive distinctly, and yet are perfectly unable to comprehend eternity or immensity. (3) The power of creating, or giving existence, is evidently a subject to which limits can no more be assigned in our thoughts, than to duration, or space. Plainly, he who gave existence to one atom, can give existence to atoms, and therefore to worlds, without number. He who gave intelli
gence, who formed men, and angels, and archangels, can form all kinds and degrees of intelligence which can be formed, and can raise men, and angels, and other rational beings, to any height, to any perfection of intelligence which in the nature of things is possible. To this power, therefore, no other bound can be set beside possibility. JHe who formed all things cannot create contradictions. This however is no circumscription of his power; for if it could be done he could do it. The only difference which would exist, would be in the nature of the things themselves, and not in the power of the Maker. (4) If creation and preservation be not a proof of infinite power, there is no proof that such power exists. Of this there needs no illustration but one, viz. that these are the only sources whence infinite power has been hitherto argued in the present world; for the argument a priori, I consider as of no value. (5) We plainly cannot see, that creating power is not infinite; nor can we furnish a single argument for the support of such a conclusion. The doctrine is, therefore, a mere gratuitous assumption, and merits as little consideration as any other such assumption. (6) Creating power is the source of all power that exists, except itself. If, therefore, creating power is not infinite, there is no infinite power. Christ, therefore, as the Creator of all things, possessed originally all existing power, whether we allow it to be infinite or not. (7) The Scriptures have determined this point, so far as the subject of this Sermon is concerned: for in Hebrews iii. 4. they say, ‘Every house is builded by some one; but he that built all things is God.” It will easily be discerned, that the remarks made here concerning the power displayed in Creation, are with equal force applicable to the wisdom exhibited in that work. 2. Christ sustains also the relation of Preserver. “By him all things consist,’ Coll. i. 17. ‘Upholding all things by the word of his power.” Heb. i. 3. That God is the only preserver of the universe, is unquestionably evident to the eye of reason, and has accordingly been acknowledged by all men who have acknowledged a God. It is also, in the most definite manner, declared in the Scriptures. In Nehemiah ix. 6. the Levites, at the head of the congregation assembled for a solemn national fast, blessed God in these terms: ‘Thou, even thou, art Jehovah alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their hosts; the Earth, and all things that are therein; the seas, and all that is therein; and thou preservest them all: and the host of heaven worshippeth thee. Thou art Jehovah, the God who didst choose Abram, and brought him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees, and gavest him the name of Abraham. In this passage it is declared in the most explicit terms, that he who preserves all things, is the Being worshipped by the host of heaven ; “Jehovah alone;” “the Jehovah;’ ‘the God;’ according to Parkhurst and Lowth, The Jehovah, the true, eternal, and unchangeable God; the God who chose Abram, brought him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees, and gave him the name of Abraham. In the subsequent verses we are farther informed that he is the ‘God of Israel; the great, mighty, and the terrible God; gracious and merciful:” the Author of all the wonders in Egypt, the Red Sea, and the Wilderness, and of the dispensation of the law at Sinai; the only object of prayer, supreme love, faith and obedience. Yet “all things consist by Christ,’ and “he upholds them all by the word of his power. He, therefore, is this Jehovah; this God. The relation of universal Preserver is plainly a relation incapable of being sustained by any being but Jehovah. It involves a knowledge of all beings, and all their circumstances; a power present in every place, and to every being, at every moment; sufficient in degree to hold in existence, to keep together, and to continue in order and harmony, the mighty frame of the universe; to roll the innumerable worlds of which it is composed, unceasingly, through the expansion; and to controul, with an irresistible sway, all their motions, affections, and inhabitants; and a wisdom sufficient to contrive the proper employments and destinations of this endless multitude of beings, as well as the natures and attributes necessary for them, so as to accomplish those ends, and those only, which are worthy of the incomprehensible workman. Of this power, knowledge, and wisdom, the Scriptures therefore assert Christ to be possessed, when they declare him to be the Preserver of of all things. Our ideas of the power exerted in the preserva
tion and also in the creation of the universe, they exceedingly enhance, by informing us, that both these amazing works are accomplished by his word. ‘Upholding all things by the word of his power.” “He spake, and it was done.” Of course, both are performed with perfect ease; and he who does them “fainteth not, neither is weary.’ In the character of the Preserver of the universe, all creatures owe to Christ the continuance of their blessings and their hopes. As we should have been nothing, had we not been created, so we should become nothing, were we not preserved. On this relation therefore, next after that of Creator, we depend for every thing, and to him who sustains it we owe every thing. Were it possible that he who sustains it should be any other than God, we should still, originally and continually, owe all things to him, and nothing to God. To such a monstrous absurdity does the opinion, that the Creator, and Preserver is any other than the true and perfect God, ultimately conduct, and, if they would be consistent with themselves, does in fact conduct those who deny Christ to be God. As the Preserver of the righteous, Christ is appropriately called in the Scriptures by the emphatical name of the shepherd. “I” saith he of himself “am the good Shepherd. The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. I am the good Shepherd and know my sheep, John x. 11, 14.—‘Our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep,' Hebrews xiii. 20.— “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory, which fadeth not away. 1 Peter v. 4.— “There shall be one fold, and one shepherd.’ John x. 16.— “Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd, against the Man that is my fellow,’ &c. Zech. xiii. 7.— Behold the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. He shall feed his flock, like a shepherd; he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young, Isaiah xl. 10, 11– Jehovah is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in 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.' Psalm xxiii. 1–3. In these passages we are informed, that Christ is “the good Shepherd,' ' the great Shepherd’ ‘the chief Shepherd,' VOL. II. H