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Ess. x.]

He claimed Divinity.


It may, in the first place, he observed, that he frequently presented himself to his followers as the personal and proper object of religious faith, and of such faith as was to result in their everlasting salvation. "God so loved the world," said he, "that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned, but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God:" John iii, 16-18. "I am the resurrection and the life he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die :" xi, 25, 26; comp. vi, 40, 47, 54; vii, 38; xvii, 20-22; xx, 31, &c.3 In these and similar passages a faith is enjoined, totally different in its nature from that which can be rightly demanded by any mere servant or messenger of God. It was, indeed, the duty of those persons to whom the prophets and apostles were sent, to believe the words of the prophets and apostles. But those to whom Jesus Christ was sent were required, not merely to believe his words, but to fix their faith upon him as upon its legitimate object-to rely upon him as the Son of God, the Redeemer of men, the Resurrection, and the Life-and this on the avowed principle that "there is no salvation in any other"-that "there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved:" Acts iv, 12. And let it be observed, that while our faith in Jesus Christ must necessarily have respect to his mediatorial offices, yet it is required to be of no secondary or subordinate character. It is unto his name, equally with the name 3 Vide Schleusner, Lex. in voc. TIOTEúw, No. 3.


Object of saving Faith.

[Ess. x.

of the Father and that of the Holy Spirit, that the Christian must be baptized: it is by coming to him that we are to find rest unto our souls: and, while the Son is described as reconciling us to the Father, the Father is also represented as drawing us to the Son,' that from him we may receive peace in this world, and eternal happiness in the world to come. When the Jews inquired of Jesus, "what shall we do that we might work the works of God?" he answered and said unto them, "This is the work of God, that ye believe in him whom he hath sent:" John vi, 28, 29. Again, "no man can come to me, except the Father, which hath sent me, draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man, therefore, that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me......Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on ME hath everlasting life :" ver. 44-47.


Now, in thus declaring himself to be a personal and final object of saving faith, Jesus Christ, appears, indirectly indeed, yet clearly, to have assumed the divine character. For, although the mere servants and ministers of God may justly claim at our hands both a ready credence and a respectful deference, it is utterly inconsistent with the scope and tenor of scriptural truth, that men should be required to place their reliance for salvation on any creature, however gifted or exalted-on any being but Him who is alone from everlasting, almighty and supreme: "Trust ye in the Lord for ever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength:" Isa. xxvi, 4. "Cursed is the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord......Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is :" Jer. xvii, 5, 7. "KISS THE SON," cried Da

Ess. x.]

The Saviour of the World.


vid, "lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in HIM :" Ps. ii, 12.

While our Lord presented himself to the disciples as the proper object of their faith, he also declared in plain terms that he was himself the Saviour of the world. "I came not to judge the world but to save the world:" John xii, 47; comp. Luke xix, 10. And, that he is a Saviour in the highest and most comprehensive sense of the expressions, appears from his promise that he would "give" unto his followers "eternal life" John x, 27, 28. Now, although our fellow-creatures may sometimes be the instruments of our spiritual deliverance, the Scriptures declare that it is God, and God alone, who actually saves us. "I, even I, am Jehovah," says the Almighty by his prophet, "and besides me there is NO SAVIOUR:" Isa. xliii, 11. "There is no God else beside me: a just God and a SAVIOUR: there is none else beside me. Look unto ME, and be ye SAVED, all the ends of the earth, for I am God, and there is none else:" xlv, 21, 22; comp. Tit. i, 3, 4.

2. When John the Baptist preached repentance unto the people, he proclaimed the near approach of the kingdom, or reign of heaven: and the king who was to exercise the celestial dominion, thus alluded to, was no other (as appears by the united testimony of prophets and apostles, see Isa. ix, 6, 7; Jer. xxiii, 5, 6; Eph. i, 21, &c. &c.) than the Messiah of Israel, the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, it is generally allowed by Christians, and is abundantly evident from the whole tenor of the New Testament, that this reign of the Messiah was to consist, not in any thing temporal or worldly, but in a moral and spiritual government over the souls of men, for Jesus Christ is "the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls:" 1 Pet. ii, 25. He is


He to whom we are Responsible.

[Ess. x. exalted to be a Prince, and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins:" Acts v, 31. Since, therefore, according to the dictates of sound reason, as well as of Scripture, this highest species of dominion-a dominion over the spiritual part of man -can be truly exercised only by one who partakes in the attributes of the Deity, we cannot be surprised that an absolutely divine authority appears to have been often asserted by Jesus, when his own kingdom-his moral and spiritual lordship over men-was the subject of his conversation. There are two of his parábles which are, in this point of view, very instructive and explicit. In the parable of the talents, the person who, under the figure of "the man travelling into a far country," is represented as the sole author of our various endowments, and as the Being to whom, in a day of awful retribution, we shall be called upon to render an account of our use, disuse, or abuse, of these his own gifts, can be no other than Jesus Christ; for it is evidently the same person who, immediately before, is described as the bridegroom, comp. John iii, 29; Eph. v, 28, 29; Rev. xix, 7; and, immediately after, as the Son of Man, coming in his glory, as the judge of all flesh. And yet who is He, from whom we receive all our talents, and to whom we are morally responsible for a profitable use of them, but God only? Again, in the parable of the wheat and tares, it is the Son of Man (i.e. Christ) who possesses the field of the world-who sows in it the good seed of righteousness -who regulates and directs all the duties of his servants-who sends forth his angels as the messengers of his will-who consigns the wicked to their fiery punishment, and who bestows on the righteous their meed of eternal glory: Matt. xiii, 24-30, 38-42. And of whom can such things be predicated with any degree of truth and exactness, except of the Supreme Being?

Ess. x.]

The Lord of David.


The account which, in these parables, our Lord has given of his own regal attributes will be found to derive illustration and confirmation from various other passages of his discourses. Thus, when he spake to the Jews of their Messiah, as of one who not only sprang from the stock of David, but was also the Lord of that most favoured and celebrated of the monarchs of Israel, he appears to have alluded to a doctrine which his hearers were probably unwilling to avow, rather than unable to comprehend-namely, that their long-expected Deliverer, the descendant of David, according to the flesh, was, in his divine nature, that WORD OF JEHOVAH, by whom the church of God, in all ages, is possessed, protected, and governed: Matt. xxii, 41-46.4

Since all sin is an infraction of the law of God, and is in its nature an offence against the Supreme Being, it is plain that God alone has power to forgive it.

4 "Jehovah said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, &c. :" Ps. CX. We are assured by Galatinus, (de Arcan. Cath. Verit. lib iii, 4) on the authority of a rabbinical writer, that in the Targum of Jonathan (now lost) the words, "Jehovah said unto my Lord," are paraphrased by "God said to his Word." And as it is plain, from our Lord's conversation with the Jews, that Ps. cx was understood by that people to relate to their Messiah, such a paraphrase is to be regarded as an important Jewish testimony to the personality and Messiahship of the Word of God: comp. John i, 1, 14. The first four verses of this remarkable psalm are evidently addressed by the Father Almighty to his Son, the Messiah. On the other hand, the three last verses are most easily explained, as containing the address of David to the Father, respecting the Son. When David says to Jehovah, in ver. 5, "The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath," he has obviously the same picture in his mind, as when he says, "Jehovah said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool, &c." If this point be acceded to, it may further be remarked, that the title Adonai, THE LORD, by which David describes the Messiah, in verse 5, is one which uniformly represents the Deity, and the Deity alone. So all the ancient versions: see Walton's Polyglott, and comp. Ps. xlv, 6, 7.

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