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He have accepted of this title and this homage, if they had not of right belonged to Him ?
A very remarkable instance of the same nature occurs in the man born blind, whose cure, recorded by St. John, was so singular in its manner, and so publicly and severely scrutinized by our Lord's enemies, the Pharisees—a scrutiny which the grateful object of this miracle sustained with firmness, establishing, with manly and irresistible argument, the divine power and authority of Him who wrought the cure. “Since the world began was it never heard, that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind ; if this man were not of God He could do nothing." Our Lord rewarded his honest and firm faith, by revealing His own true character and dignity; he questioned him, “ Dost thou believe on the Son of God ? He answered and said, Who is He Lord, that I might believe on Him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen Him, and it is He that talketh with thee! and he said, Lord, I believe, and he worshipped him.” Was not this an act of religious adoration, produced by our Lord's avowing clearly His divine nature and character, and accepted by him as an homage, which to that nature and character, when known, was strictly due ?
Various other examples might be collected from the Evangelic history, in which the nature of the mighty works wrought by our Lord, combined with the circumstances attending them, evidently tended to produce a strong impression on the minds of the spectators, that the power thus displayed was inherent in our Lord Himself, exercised according to His own choice, and so stupendous in its nature, so unlimited in its extent, that it could not belong to any being less than the God of Nature, the Creator and Ruler of the world.
The same examples also tend to prove, that our Lord did not correct this impression as exaggerated and erroneous, or check the expression of it, as unwarrantably transferring to him the honour due only to God-a precaution which every other prophet so vigilantly observed, and which was so peculiarly adapted to our Saviour's pious and humble character. But, on
• John, ix. 1
the contrary, it appears, He received the homage thus paid, as clearly due to Him, and encouraged the faith which dictated it, as consistent, rational, and praiseworthy.
Such impressions as these, seem to me to form a powerful argument in favour of the divine nature of the Son of God; an argument much less liable to error, and much more difficult to, refute than proofs derived only from the interpretation of isolated texts. But I shall rest satisfied with the examples on this subject already adduced; and will now proceed to examine how far. the nature and extent of some other most signal powers, attributed to our Lord, establish His divinity.
We have already noticed,* that the power of CREATION is ascribed to our Lord, with such an unlimited extent, as cannot for a moment be supposed to belong to any other being, than the all-wise Almighty God. And surely, this is a most decisive proof of His divinity. “He by whom all things were made,”tso accurately all, that the apostle repeats, “ without Him was not any thing made which was made; He by whom all things were created, that are in heaven and in earth, visible and invisible; whether they be thrones or dominions or principalities or powers all things were created by Him;" and not only by Him, but for Him, that is, to gratify His beneficence, and display His glory-He can be no other than God.
Still more; the same power, which was exerted to create, is still employed to maintain them. “By Him all things consist;"I “ He upholdeth all things by the word of His power.”$ Surely the being, to whom all this is ascribed, must be united with the Great First Cause in nature, in attributes, in dignity; He must be one with God, He must be God.
Another power, which the Scriptures unequivocally ascribe to our Saviour, to such an extent as appears exclusively applicable to the all-powerful God, is that of restoring life. Single instances of resurrection from the dead had, it is true, previously been effected by divine power: one had been granted to the prayers of Elijah, and another to those of Elisha; but these were avowedly the work, not of the prophets, but of God, interposing to
* Page 48.
+ John, i. 1.
Col. i. 16, 17.
S Heb. i. 3.
establish the authority, and gratify the benevolent desires of His faithful servants. In a similar manner the apostles frequently obtained from God, the same convincing proof of divine co-operation. But in all these instances the prophets and the apostles disclaimed all power in themselves to effect this mighty work. Far different, however, was the case with our Redeemer. The POWER OF ORIGINALLY COMMUNICATING, OR OP RESTORING LIFE, it is expressly affirmed, existed in Him as constantly, as unlimitedly, as permanently, as in the great First Cause. “As the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself; and as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom He
Now, is it possible to conceive, that this power in this extent, should be communicated to any other being than God-to any being not clearly entitled to share with God the Father, that gratitude, obedience and adoration, which the original grant of existence, or its restoration must attract, from every creature on whom such existence is conferred ? What an irresistible temptation to bestow on a creature, the honour due only to the Creator, if that creature possessed and exercised the power of bestowing life and all its enjoyments, or of restoring them when lost ! Reason cannot form any distinction, more exclusively appropriate to the great First Cause, than the power of originally creating any being, or recalling to existence any which had been blotted from the creation. How expressly does the Jewish Lawgiver declare this power to belong exclusively to God, whom he describes as thus claiming it to Himself; “ See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no God with me; I kill and make alive; I wound and I heal; neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand."* But in the passage of Scripture to which I have this day directed your attention, our Redeemer affirms, “that He can make alive,” not merely one or two, “but whom He will."
Moreover, in His manner of performing these most impressive of all miracles, as in others noticed before, we may observe in
* Deut. xxxii. 9
some instances the same appearance of acting altogether from His own will, and by His own power, without leading the spectators to look up to God the Father alone, and to consider himself as a mere subordinate agent in these mighty works.
Thus, when Jairus came and fell down at His feet, saying, “ My daughter is even now dead, but come and lay thy hands on her, and she shall live,"* our Lord accepts this homage; and, immediately complying with his humble prayer, follows him to accomplish the cure. When on his way, a messenger met the Ruler of the synagogue, who said, “ Thy daughter is dead; why troublest thou the Master any further ?” our Lord, at this crisis, does not desire the anxious father to rely upon the Supreme God, who could still by his hands perform this cure, but simply says, “Be not afraid, but believe;" evidently meaning, continue still to believe, (as you already have declared,) “that if I lay my hand on her, she shall live.” And when arriving at the house, he found the people bewailing her, as knowing her to be dead, and that they mocked Him when He gave a hope of her recovery; He entered in with her parents and His disciples, where the damsel was lying, and, without any further preface, pronounces His almighty fiat, “ Damsel, I say unto thee, arise : and she arose and walked.” Here the Evangelist observes, they were astonished with a great astonishment, doubtless at seeing one, who appeared as man, thus assuming and exercising a power which they had believed, (and rightly so,) belonged exclusively to God.
Thus also at Nain, when the only son of a widow was carried out to burial, and Jesus met the bier, it is said, “ When the Lord saw her he had compassion on her, and said, Weep not; and he came and touched the bier, and they that bare him stood still : and he said, Young man, I say unto thee; arise ; and he that was dead sat up, and began to speak; and he delivered him to his mother; and there came a fear on all, and they glorified God, saying, that a great Prophet is risen up among us, and that God hath visited his people ;"meaning, as appears from corresponding passages, that God had visited his
* Mark, v. 22-43.
+ Luke, vii, 11-17.
people, by sending amongst them the great Prophet, the expected Messiah ; thus known by his possessing a divine inherent power of raising the dead, even as the Father raiseth the dead, and quickeneth whom he will.
There is indeed one instance of resurrection from the dead, which illustrates and confirms the divine nature of Christ, as distinct from his human nature, and the unparalleled extent of his power, more clearly, perhaps, than all other instances combined-even his own resurrection ; which he directly attributes to his own power. “ Therefore,” says he, “ doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life that I may take it again : no man taketh it from me; I lay it down of myself ; I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.”* And he declared to the Jews, “ Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up:"t in this says the apostle, “ he spake of the temple of his body.” Thus, when his earthly part was lodged in the grave, and the union of the divine nature with it suspended, that divine nature still existed unimpaired in power, and exerted that power in restoring to life the man Christ Jesus. If then there is truth in Christ, that which he engaged to do, even to raise his own body, he most assuredly fulfilled. Now this restoration is repeatedly ascribed to the mighty power of God: “ This Jesus hath God raised up,”I says St. Peter. Can we reconcile these assertions without admitting, that Jesus was one with that God, who raised him up, and was Himself essentially and truly God ?
This conclusion is decidedly supported by our Lord on another occasion, when in proof that His faithful followers would be for ever safe under his protection, he declared, " My Father, which gave them to me, is greater than all, and none is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand; I and my Father are one.” In truth, this union in nature and power and will, can alone account for the various attributes and operations ascribed to Christ, as creating, sustaining, and restoring existence, exactly as the same powers and operations are ascribed to the great Jehovah, the supreme self-existing God.
• John, x. 17; 18.
of John, ii. 19-21, § John, X. 29, 30,
| Acts. ii, 32.