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THE great object of the scriptures is to teach the
in which a sinner may be saved. The means of salvation they have declared to be, "the knowledge of God, and of Jesus Christ whom he hath sent ;" and the necessity of this revelation is most solemnly pressed upon our attention, because "without faith it is impossible to please God."
The apostle Paul counted all things but loss, for "the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus the Lord." If the knowledge of Christ then is to be preferred to all other objects, surely it must be of the first importance to ascertain who and what he was, in person, dignity, and office! It is the avowed opinion of some, that our opinions concerning Christ are not of any great importance to the Christian; and that other matters, especially those relating to moral practice, are the only objects worthy our serious regard. We would not undervalue morality. Heaven and earth shall pass away; but the moral law of God shall remain the rule of Christian duty. But whilst we would not undervalue one part of the revelation of God, we should feel equally averse from undervaluing any other. Above all things, we cannot see on what ground it can be supposed, that our opinions relating to the Lord Jesus Christ can be matters of indifference. He is the only foundation which any man can lay; and to know the nature of our foundation for eternity, must un
doubtedly constitute a most essential part of the knowledge of salvation. To us it appears then a matter of the first importance to search the mind of the Spirit concerning the nature of our Saviour.
Was he the Word that was with God, and was God? Was he "God manifest in the flesh," and that in the plain and obvious meaning of the words? Or was he merely a created being of exalted order-an Angel, who came into this world to exercise a delegated authority ? Or was he a Man, and no more, "in all respects, as to nature, like to his brethren ?" These are three leading questions that appear to us of the highest importance amongst the subjects of faith.
If he was truly God manifest in the flesh, the sinner's hopes have a resting place, founded by the arm of Omnipotence. If he were an Angel, of however high an order, there is room for fears and doubts; and doubting will not do for an awakened sinner. And if he were a Man, in all respects like ourselves, the man who best knows his own heart will best be able to say, how little confidence he could place in a Saviour whom he believed to be no better than himself.
The great object of the ensuing pages is to demonstrate, 1. that Jesus was truly God manifest in the flesh; counting it no robbery to be EQUAL, and no falsehood to be ONE, with the Father 2. To show that, as Man, he offered himself a sacrifice for sins; and that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have eternal life.
The first point, which establishes the deity of Christ, establishes his power to save; and thereby affords the assurance of pardon, and the hopes of salvation, calculated to meet the wants of the sinner. The second point, which establishes the justification of the sinner through the free grace of God-by faith as the way-by Christ's life, death, and resurrection, as the meritorious cause,
affords not only a way of salvation, calculated for sinners, but the one only way by which a sinner could be saved, and the only efficient motive to obedience and holiness.
We say it affords the only way by which a sinner could be saved; because it is contrary to experience and scripture that ever repentance and amendment could obliterate what sins are past. It is contrary to human experience: for the man who is in debt does not pay that debt by contracting no additional one. It is contrary to the scriptures for they have declared, "that by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified." We also say it affords the only efficient motive to obedience and holiness ; and that because the scriptures have declared, that where much is forgiven there will be much love; and that what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, that the deeds of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Now, wherein consisted the power of the law? that we may see whence arose its weakThe power of the law was twofold: First, a promise annexed to doing-Do, and thou shalt live: Second, a threatening annexed to disobedience-Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law. Now here are reward and punishment, surrounded with all the sanctions of almighty power; and yet an Apostle declares, the law, thus accompanied, was too weak to work in us righteousness. What other way then remained? Only one. The way of free grace-of unmerited favour. And what neither reward nor punishment could effect, the Spirit performs, by showing the soul the offer of free pardon; and the love of Christ, who sealed that pardon, constrains the sinner to judge, that as one died, because all were dead, we should therefore no longer live unto ourselves, but unto him that loved us, and gave himself for us.
Those who overlook the great importance of free grace, as apprehended by faith, and who consider it injurious to the interests of holiness, should, before they condemn the doctrine, pause and consider whether the analogies of human experience do not abundantly illustrate and confirm its sole efficiency.
There are, as we have already stated, three motives to obedience and holiness: reward,-punishment,-love. Now let us take these three principles, and try their efficacy in human affairs. Let us take the example of the soldier. A country is to be defended; an army is to be provided; the enemy is in view; the hour of battle arrives; and what will then make the soldier brave, victorious? Promise him reward: it may go far, but cannot convert a mercenary coward into a brave man. Punish for cowardice: it may go far, but cannot make a brave But find the man attached to his country, his general, his comrades, his glory; and in those complicated attachments you produce a feeling of courage that money could not purchase, and that punishment could but des troy. This feeling of courage is produced by the soldier's attachments, independent of any influence of reward or punishment. They have their place; but are not his fundamental motives. Just so is a Christian produced. Reward and punishment conjoined are yet too weak; attachment to his Saviour is the principle by which the Spirit works within him; and that attachment finds its origin in the free grace of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. We love him, because he first loved us.
Amongst the reasons which have produced the following publication, the vast importance of the subjects treated of, claims a prominent place. But there is an additional reason, which we would beg to notice the necessity of such Works being published, to suit the days in which we live. Whilst the opposers of the Divinity of Christ