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APPEAL TO THE READER ON THE shippers.e Saints and angels in heaven worship him. This worship is similar to that which they pay to God him. self,
$ 6. Now, as if placed in the presence of God, let me call upon you to give a faithful verdict on this great questionIs Jesus Christ God over all; or is he merely man? or at most an exalted creature ? Can a man or an angel bear the exalted titles of God; God with us; God over all; the true God; the great God; the mighty God; Jehovah? Can a man or an angel be the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last; the Creator of all things visible and invisible? Can such a being be the Searcher of hearts; present in all places at the same moment, wherever two or three are gathered in his name? and this to the end of the world? Can a man or an angel be the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever? the Preserver and Sovereign of the universe ? and the end for which all things were created? Could it be said of a man or an angel, that all should honour him, as they honour the infinite God ? that even all the angels of heaven should worship him? To adopt the words of an able writer :
“ Can a creature be the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express Image of his person; the Light of the world, the Propitiation for sin, the Saviour of mankind, or the Object of religious worship? Can any religious man, on a death-bed, say, “ Gabriel, receive my spirit?" or, “ Lay not the sin of my murderers to their charge .?” Can Gabriel give life, raise the dead, or bestow inimortal life? Can he judge the world, reward the righteous and the wicked, or be the glory, light, and temple of heaven ? What would be the impression, were a minister of the gospel to say, I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of Gabriel, and of the Holy Ghost? or, The grace of Gabriel, the love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen? Would not these things beyond measure shock the minds of a Christian assembly, as the most palpable blasphemy? Was there ever a minister, even an Arian, or a Socinian, who could bring himself thus to speak in such an assembly ? Would not this be, not merely comparing, or likening, one of the angels to Jehovah, but placing him on the same level ? Yet these things are said of Christ. (e) 1 Cor. 1. 2. (1) Rev. v. 8–13. () Rev. vii. 9, 10. Rev. iv. 10, 11. EVIDENCE OF CHRIST'S DIVINITY. 43 “Why are they said of him, if his nature be like that of Gabriel ? Why are they seemingly said ? Was it not perfectly easy for the Omniscient God to have said, if he chose to say it, that Christ was a mere man, or a mere creature? and so to have said this, that it would not have been misunderstood even by the plainest man ? Did he not understand language sufficiently ? Has it not been said in such a manner, as to be intelligible to all men, by Arius, Socinus, Zuicker, Price, Priestley, Belsham, and many others ? Did any man ever mistrust, that they have not said it ? Was not Jehovah more interested to say it, if it is true, than they were? and so to say it, as to be easily, generally, and certainly understood ? Was he not more able? Did he not foresee all the doubts, difficulties, errors, misconstructions, and consequent sins and idolatries, if they have indeed been misconstructions and idolatries, arising from unhappy language used in the Scriptures ? Have not the prophets, who spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost; have not the apostles, who spake the things freely given to them of God, not in the words which man's wisdom taught, but which the Holy Ghost taught; expressed the mind of God on this subject, and every other, in the very manner chosen by God himself? Has not his infinite faithfulness and mercy, then, sufficiently guarded every honest mind against this erroneous sin ?
“But if Christ be not the true God, the great body of Christians have, in every age of the church,wholly misunderstood the Scriptures concerning this most important doctrine, and mistaken, infinitely, the real character of their Saviour. Of course the Scriptures have been so written, as that the natural interpretation of them is a source of total and dreadful error; even of that, which they themselves denounce in terms of the highest reprobation ; viz. idolatry. For the interpretation, which has been given them by the great body of Christians, in every age and country, in which they have existed, is beyond a controversy the natural interpretation. That men, who first make a philosophical system of religion, and then endeavour to reconcile the Scriptures to it, should understand them falsely, cannot be wondered at; but that they should be falsely understood by the great body of mankind, who for their religion come to them only, and yet the way of holiness be still a highway, in which wayfaring men,
44 SCRIPTURE TESTIMONIES TO CHRIST'S HUMANITY. though fools, shall not err is a position, which is yet to be explained."*
In your progress through the world you may probably hear objections started to the all-important truth maintained in these pages. Bear in mind, however, that there is no truth against which cunning men cannot start puzzling objections. One plain assertion of God's, on subjects known to him, should do more to confirm your belief, than a thousand perplexing cavils, to shake your confidence. Some bring forward objections against the being of God, others against the existence of matter ; some will argue that you have no soul, others that you have no body. Perhaps the sophistry of their arguments may perplex you. Will you therefore believe them? Will you not rather scorn their fancied wisdom ?
$ 7. That holy volume which thus clearly asserts the divi. nity of Jesus Christ, also declares that he was strictly and properly man. The Holy Spirit, speaking by the apostle Paul, unites in one passage, Phil. ii. 6. 8. the two views, and in others speaks of the latter only. As man he was born of a virgin ;h was the reputed son of a carpenter ;i was subject to his parents ;k increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and with man;' was himself a carpenter;m was wearied in hungered;" thirsted ;P wept ;9 prayed ;r was poor and destitute;s was rejected of men, and a man of sorrows;' was in an agony;" was betrayed, judged, condemned; was crucified;" complained of his Father forsaking him ;* died and was buried.
How wonderful was the union thus subsisting between God and man! How was human nature exalted, when Chirist appeared as God manifest in the flesh! But the subject grows in wonder as we advance. Jesus, in his exalted state, though God, still is asserted to wear the glorified human nature. This subject is referred to by the apostle when referring to the Christian's future glory; “ We look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”z (H) Matt. i. 23–25. (i) Luke iii. 23. (k) Luke ii. 51. (1) Luke ii. 52.
(m) Mark vi. 3. (n) John iv. 6. (0) Matt. iv. 2. (p) John xix. 28. (9) John xi. 35. (r) Matt. xiv. 23. (s) Matt. ix. 20. xvii. 24. (t) Isa, liii. 3. (u) Luke xxii. 44. (v) Luke xxii. 48. xxiii. 24. (w) Luke xxiii. 23. () Mark xv. 34. (y) Mark xv. 37, 46. (2) Phil.iii. 20, 21.
THE OBLIGATIONS OF CHRISTIANS TO CHRIST. 45 The Lord himself also speaks of this subject: “ I am the first and the last, I am he that liveth and was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore." It is only as God that he could assert, “I am the first, and the last.” And it is only as man, that he could declare “ I am he that liveth and was dead.” The subject is wonderful, above the reach of our powers, but not of our praise.
$ 8. The Christian is represented as under the greatest obligations to the adorable Saviour, and as sensible of those obligations.
" While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”b “When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son." “ Who gave himself for our sins, to deliver us from the present evil world."d " Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us."e “ Jesus, who delivered us from the wrath to come."f“ God hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ; he hath made us accepted in the Beloved. We have redemption through his blood; are made nigh by the blood of Christ; are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow. citizens with the saints, and of the household of God."8 “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father ; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever."i “ And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy, for thou wast slain, and hast redeem. ed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing."
With what union of heart and voice do the disciples of Jesus thus ex press their obligations to him! The grateful acknowledgments of earth become the theme of heaven; the song of praise begun by men below, is carried on by saints and angels in the realms above; and the Lamb that was slain is the boast and theme alike of earth and heaven. Christians (a) Rev. i. 17, 18. (6) Rom. v. 5,7. (c) Rom, v. 10. (d) Gal. i. 4.
(e) Gal. iii. 13. () 1 Thess. i. 10. () Eph. i. 3-7. . (h) Rom, v. 1, 2, 9.
(6) Rey, i, 5, 6. (k) Rev, v. 9, 12.
REFLECTIONS ON THE LOVE OF CHRIST are described not as anticipating, but as actually possessing, blessings of inestimable value. And all this multitude of blessing flows from no superiority or virtue of theirs, nor from the mere mercy of their God, but all is enjoyed through the blessed Jesus. Are they reconciled to God ? it is through his death. Have they peace with God ? he made it through the blood of his cross. Have they redemption ? it is through his blood. Are they delivered from this present evil world ? he gave himself for their deliverance. Have they received the atonement ? it is through the Lord Jesus. Are their sins forgiven ? he is their propitiation. Are they delivered from the curse of the law ? he was made a curse for them. Are they saved from the wrath to come ? he died and delivered them. Are they rich ? it is through his poverty. Are they accepted? it is in the Beloved. Are they complete ? it is in him. Have they hope ? Jesus Christ is their hope. Are they made divinely righteous ? he was made a sin-offering to render them so. Are they made nigh to God? it is by the blood of Christ. Have they all spiritual blessings ? they have them in him. His atoning blood has done so much for them, as to justify the expression of a pious minister, “ We are floating to heaven in the blood of the Deity."
$9. The subject of this chapter displays in the most amaz. ing manner the love and condescending of the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle represents this love as incomprehensible; “ that ye may be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge."! We have reason to believe the Saviour's incarnation the most amazing event that ever happened, even in the records of eternity; and to believe that through an eternity to come, it will never have an equal. Had Gabriel, from benevolence to insects, left the presence of God, to assume an insect's form, such condescension and love might have excited astonishment in every angel's breast; but with what astonishment must they have beheld the incarnation and the sufferings of Jesus.
They saw him the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person. They worshipped him as the King of kings, and the Lord of lords. He had created the heavens and the earth, and upheld them in being for four
(1) Ephes. iii, 18.