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God, enlightened indeed with supernatural wisdom, and gifted with miraculous powers, yet, like other prophets, fallible and peccable, not having existed before his human birth, and after death merely a human spirit still, more excellent perhaps, and more highly rewarded, than any other human soul, but merely human still; limited in power and knowledge, and perfection and glory, as the highest of the sons of men must necessarily be limited ? Is this reconcilable with his possessing the powers, of creating and of restoring to life; of searching the hearts of men; of forgiving sins, of exercising dominion over all people, and nations, and tongues; of raising from death the entire human race; of sitting as judge of their eternal destiny-discerning the inmost thoughts and motions, and deciding on the real merits of every human soul; and finally by his irreversible sentence, fixing their eternal doom? Can any other be competent to this, all this, than the CREATOR AND RULER OF THE WORLD, THE ALL-WISE, ALL-JUST, ALMIGHTY JUDGE ETERNAL, THE TRUE, ALL-PERFECT God?
Surely this last great consummation will display to an adoring world, the all-perfect justice and mercy, the infinite majesty and dominion of Christ; to whom, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, be all honour and glory, now and for erer. Amen.
JOHN, V. 22, 23.
* The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son ; that all men should
honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father which hath sent him."
In my last Discourse on those words, I endeavoured to show, that the Scriptures declare that our Lord possessed and exercised the powers of CREATION, OF DIRECTING AND CONTROLLING ALL THE ELEMENTS OF NATURE, OF CONFERRING AND RESTORING LIFE, OF SEARCHING THE HEART, OF FORGIVING SIN, and, above all, OF JUDGING THE ENTIRE RACE OF MAN -powers so stupendous in kind, and exercised in so unlimited an extent, and with such uncontrolled authority, as prove that he PARTOOK OF THE NATURE, THE ATTRIBUTES, AND THE DOMINION, WHICH ARE PECULIAR TO THE GREAT FIRST Cause, the supreme and universal Lord, and that He was therefore truly God; as certainly as his appearance in the flesh, and his feeling, acting, and suffering like other human beings, prove that he was truly man.
I shall, in this Discourse, attempt to point out the confirmation which this conclusion derives, from its being required by the unquestioned authority of the divine word, that “ all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father” — which it were impious and idolatrous to demand, if he were not one with the Father. Or to express the same truth more plainly and fully, I shall endeavour to direct your attention, my fellow-Christians, to the heartfelt faith and humble adoration which the Scriptures perpetually inculcate as due to the Redeemer; the total dependence on him for salvation; the fervent gratitude, the unreserved obedience, the surrender of the whole heart to him, every where required—feelings and affections, which it were irrational and impious to suppose due to any other being than God him
self-for who but God can be the legitimate object of such faith, such gratitude, such obedience, and such adoration ?
It is unnecessary to bring forward any detail of proofs, to show how exclusively, nay, how jealously, all honour due to God was confined to the one Jehovah. - Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and him only shalt thou serve,”* was the grand principle of the law, and was sanctioned by our Lord as the primary truth of religion, under the Gospel.
God distinguished himself amongst the Jews, by the name of “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob;”+ and the prophet Ezekiel selected the names of Noah, Daniel, and Job, as the most illustrious examples of righteousness, as secure of salvation, and high in the favour of God. Yet not a shadow of religious reverence was ever paid to any one of these great patriarchs ; the very thought would have been rejected with abhorrence, by the well-instructed Jew, as impious and idolatrous.
Thus also, it is scarcely possible to conceive, that any human being should rank higher than the Jewish lawgiver did with his own nation, for private virtues, for public services, and for disinterested patriotism ; as the teacher of their law, the founder of their religion, and the parent of all their national institutions; as exalted not only by divine approbation, but by direct converse with the Deity, of whose glory, as it were, some rays were permitted to rest upon him; and as illustrious for miracles the most stupendous, and authority the most extensive. “And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, in all the signs and the wonders which the Lord sent him to do, in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants, and to all his land ; and in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moses showed in the sight of all Israel.”|| Yet whether living or dead, never was a single act of religious homage permitted to be so much as thought of towards him. On the contrary, lest theregard his bodily remains might naturally attract, should degenerate into any thing like religious homage, lest they should excite any feeling or affections connected with such homage, Divine Providence, by a special
* Matt. iv. 10.
+ Exod. iii. 15. Ezek. xiv. 14.
Ş Exod. xxxiv. 29.
| Deut. xxxiv. 10, 11, 12. ,
interposition, removed them beyond all human sight. “The Lord buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, and no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day,”* says his historian; nor was any human research ever permitted to discover it.
The New Testament displays, as perpetually as the Old, this constant vigilance to exclude every mere human being, however distinguished by piety or zeal, by miraculous powers or spiritual gifts, from sharing any part of that honour due only to God, or being regarded with the same feelings or affections, which ought to terminate in God alone. When Cornelius, revering Peter as the delegate of God, fell down at his feet and worshipped him, instantly the apostle checked the misdirected reverence, saying; "stand up, I myself also am a man.”+ When the people ran together on the miracle of the man lame from his birth, restored to perfect soundness by Peter and John, instantly they directed the attention of the multitude from themselves to its true object. “ Ye men of Israel,” said they, “why look so earnestly on us, as if by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk ?” †
When the people of Lystra, on a miracle performed by Paul and Barnabas, exclaimed, “ the gods are come down to us in the likeness of men,” and would have done sacrifice to them, instantly they ran in among them, and rent their clothes, exclaiming, with a pious indignation, “ sirs, why do ye these things ? we are also men of like passions with you, and preach unto you, that ye should turn from those vanities unto the living God.”||
When different parties formed in the Corinthian Church, extolled, each their chosen leader, as entitled to peculiar reverence, and distinguished themselves by his name, raising them, as it were, to a participation of honour with Christ himself, while they severally said, “ I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ;" how indignantly does St. Paul rebuke the impious error! “ Is Christ,” he asks, “ divided, was Paul crucified for you, or were ye baptized in the name of Paul ?”'S
Nor is this exclusion from any share in the honour due to God
• Deut. xxxiv. 6. || Acts. xiv. 11, 14, &c.
. 4 Acts, iii. 12. Acts, X. 26..
$ 1 Cor. i. 12, 13; and chap. iii. the entire.
peculiar to man alone; it extends to the highest order of angelic beings; as when St. John fell at the feet of the angel, employed to reveal to him the secrets of divine providence, and the glories of the eternal world, he is instantly checked and rebuked : “ See thou do it not: I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren who have the testimony of Jesus : worship God.”*
Here then, of all existing beings, whether men or angels, Christ Jesus stands, the single exception to this eternal and universal law. He, and He only, shares that honour which is due to God, to him alone piety bows with a homage, which far from being checked and repressed, is received and encouraged. “ All men are to honour the Son, even as they honour the Father,”ť to him alone adoration was offered, by St. Peter, by St. Thomas, by St. Paul,, by St. Stephen, by the glorious company of the apostles, the noble army of the martyrs, and the holy assembly of the prirnitive Christian church throughout all the world ; nay, by the glorious spirits which surround the throne of God: in a word, every creature in heaven and in earth are represented as proclaiming, in joyful adoration,“ blessing, and honour, and glory, and power be (not only) unto Him that sitteth on the throne, (but) and unto the Lamb—who is in the midst of the throne, for ever and ever.”
All this has, I trust, been proved before: and surely this alone were sufficient to establish beyond controversy the divinity of Christ. But how strongly is this conclusion confirmed, when we observe, that every part of the Christian scheme is conformable to the same principle ; || that every feeling and affection, which can be conceived to form part of the honour paid to God, has also Christ for its object; and that every kind of obedience and submission, required as due to God, is also required as due to the Redeemer. Let us consider a few examples of this, separately and distinctly.'
And first as to FAITH. Faith in the great Jehovah is the leading principle, the essential foundation of all religion. “ Without faith, (said St. Paul,) it is impossible to please God, for he who cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is the
. Rev. xix. 10. t Vide supra, Discourse II. See additional Note, page 139. i S Rev. v. 13, & vii. 17.
| Vide Note 19, page 136,