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will crumble into atoms; and by which an answer is given in full to the substance of what Dr. Priestly has advanced in the first Sect. of the Introd. to bis History of EARLY OPINIONS, with respect to the filence of the Old Testament, and the incompetency of a great part of the New.
This is life eternal, says our blessed Lord, that they may know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast fent. * Our Lord, speaking here in his human capacity, and with reference to his mission, very naturally avows his Father to be the only true God, in contradistinction to all false Gods; but cannot be supposed to exclude bimself and the Holy Ghost, who are partakers of one essence with
So again : who is the first born of every creature, and the beginning of the creation of God. + As to the latter of these expressions, it implies no more, according to some interpretations, than the Father of the Christian
• John xvii. 3.
+ Col. i. 15. Rev. iii. 14.
Church, &c; or, if the original word had been rendered the cause, or the origin, instead of the beginning, as with very sufficient warrant it might have been, this text. is so far from affirming Christ to be a creature, that, in effect, it avers him to be the Creator; or, if it be precisely equivalent to the former expression, it will in course be reducible to the same signification. Now literally, and in his human character, Jesus Christ was not the first-born of every creature ; and in his divine -character he was not born or begotten at all, except in a transcendent and incomprehenfible sense; but he was, and is styled in a few verses below, the first-born from the dead, and in his own resurrection ascertained ours, &c. And in this just sense he is the first-born of every creature, the beginning of the Creation of God, or of the new creation and constitution of things, not only without disparagement to his divine nature, but in direct confirmation of it.
So again : Of that day and bour knoweth no man, no not the angels which are in heaven,
neither the Son, but the Father. * In our Saviour's human capacity, or in his mediatorial character, the final and general judgment was a matter that did not concern him ; but in his divine character he cannot but know the time of his own visitations.
So again : Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and
Father, and to my God, and your God. + These words contain a proper and natural commillion given to Mary Magdalen by our blessed Lord in consequence of his resurrection, and agreeably to what he had spoken unto his disciples when he was yet in Galilee. I It was his intention to signify by her the speedy accomplishment of what he had frequently foretold and promised them under the character of the Mefiah ; but it was neither necessary nor expedient to discover to her singly the fulness of his Godhead.
So once more: When all things shall be subdued unto him, THEN Mall the Son also
* Mark xiii. 32.
+ John xx, 17.
I Luke xxiv. 6.
himself be subject to him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. § In other words ; when the great scheme of man's redemption shall be completed, Cbrift shall resign his commission into his hands from whom he received it, and his mediatorial kingdom be succeeded by the eternal kingdom of God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, with whom the Saints, and Spirits of just men made perfect, shall live in fulness of bliss and glory. This is the obvious and indeed necessary construction. For if we attend 'to the letter of this paffage, and not to the Spirit and scope of it, when all things shall be fubdued, &c. Then shall the Son be subject, &c. we shall assert that Jesus Christ will be subječt to the Father AFTER the consummation of all things, but was not fo BEFORE ; or, that he was greater in his human character than in his divine : which is absurd. He must reign, says the Apostle, just before, till be bath put all things under his feet. Now it is not literally true that he shall reign fo long, and no longer than this, as the words
import. For though his reign over the Church militant shall cease, of his reign over the Church triumphant there shall be no end. The truth is, with the Evangelical plan, with the commission of Jesus Christ, the idea of subordination, or subjection, is connected; but with regard to absolute perfection of essence and attribute, the complement of the Godhead, the Trinity in Unity, ever was, and for ever will be ALL IN ALL.
Lastly: with respect to such expressions as the following, which appear inconsistent with personality, be filled with the Spirit ; quench not the Spirit ; of the Spirit which be bath given us ; I receive ye the Holy Ghost ; &c. it is obvious to remark, that, agreeably to a common figure, the cause and its effects are promiscuously used; and accordingly by the Spirit in all these places, and in all parallel ones, we are to understand the gifts and graces
of which the Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost is the dispenser. If this interpretation
• Ephef v. 18.
+ i Thess. v. 19.