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me with blasphemy in assuming the title in its highest sense; whose claim to it was announced on my conception in the womb, and ratified by a voice from heaven at my baptism ; and who have since by my own words and works given proof incontestable of my Divine authority? When again, in answer to the High-Priest's solemn question, “ I adjure “ thee by the living God that thou tell us “ whether thou be the Christ, the Son of “God ?” “ Jesus answered, I AMk;"—in what sense was it possible for those around him to understand this answer, but in the same sense in which the question was put; as affirming, without hesitation or ambiguity, the very point on which they were most solicitous to condemn him ?
Another evidence of the same kind arises from the frequent intimations given by our Lord of his preexistent state of being. This is implied in every declaration he made of his coming from God, and having been sent into the world by the Father; expressions essentially distinguishing him from
human being of human parentage only. In his conversation with Nicodemus, who was slow in apprehending the spiritual truths communicated to him, our Lord uses language of a still higher cast, to indicate his heavenly character: “If I have told you earthly things, " and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if “ I tell you of heavenly things ? And no man “ hath ascended up to heaven but he that
k Matt. xxvi. 63, 64. and Mark xiv. 61, 62.
came down from heaven, even the Son of “ Man which is in heaven';” implying, that unless he had himself been in heaven, had come down from heaven, and were still there with respect to his divine nature, such revelations could not have been made by him as those which he delivered. To his chosen disciples, perplexed in like manner by some of his mysterious doctrines, he uses similar, or even more definite expressions ; “ Doth this offend you? What and if ye 66 shall see the Son of Man ascend
where “ he was before" ?” enforcing their belief in his doctrine by an assertion of his preexistent condition not to be misunderstood. Still stronger are the terms he adopts on another occasion. Contending with the Jews who indignantly reviled him for setting himself above Abraham and the Prophets, he terminates the dispute in these memorable words, “ Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before “ Abraham was, I am";" language only paralleled in dignity and sublimity by Jehovah's own designation of himself to Moses, “I AM " THAT I AM."
1 John iii. 12, 13. m John vi. 62. n John viii. 58.
In the same consciousness of an inherent authority above all created beings, he recites prophecies from the Old Testament characterizing him by the title, Lord, in a sense applicable to the Deity alone. In one instance particularly, the argument from this coincidence was found irresistible. 6 While the “ Pharisees and Scribes were gathered toge“ ther, Jesus asked them, saying, What think
ye of Christ? Whose son is he? They say
unto him, The Son of David. He saith “ unto them, How then doth David in spirit “call him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto “ MY LORD, Sit thou on my right hand un“ til I make thine enemies thy footstool ? If “ David then call him Lord, how is he his “ Son P?The reasoning turns upon this divine title being applied to Christ, the Son of David ; and so inevitable was the inference to be drawn from it, that “no man,” adds the Evangelist, “ was able to answer him a word, “ neither durst any man from that day forth “ ask him any more questions.”
Further; our Lord suffered acts of adoration to be paid to him, and forbade them not. We read of persons who in asking or receivo Exod. iii. 14.
p Matt. xxii. 41-45.
ing his miraculous aid, addressed him in expressions of direct supplication or thanksgiving. Is it to be imagined that he would accept homage of this kind, homage never allowed to Prophets or other messengers of God, had not his pretensions to it been altogether dissimilar to their's ? Even of his own disciples, St. Matthew has recorded that twice they worshipped him; and St. Luke relates, that on his Ascension they did the same. St. John has more distinctly narrated the memorable confession of the apostle Thomas, on being permitted to identify his body risen from the grave, “My Lord and my God!" a confession, which, far from his discouraging or repelling it, drew from our Lord the remarkable declaration, that blessed were they who though they had not seen what Thomas had seen, should yet believe as he had done, and be ready to testify their belief with the same ardour and devotion.
In many other instances did he, by implication at least, assert powers and prerogatives exclusively appertaining to God. He wrought a miracle on the paralytic, to prove that he had power to forgive sins. He declared that he had power to lay down his life, and power to take it again. He foretold that the general resurrection was to be the act of his own
omnipotence in union with the Father ;—“ as “ the Father raiseth up the dead, and quick“ eneth them, even so the Son quickeneth “ whom he will 9.” The same he affirms of his coming to judge the world : “ The Father
judgeth no man, but hath committed all “ judgment unto the Son "."
His disciples ascribe omniscience to him, and he reproves them not;—“ Lord, thou knowest all things s." His omnipresence he thus asserts; “Where “ two or three are gathered together in my name,
there am I in the midst of them ";" and again, in his last interview with his Apostles, “ Lo, I am with you always, even unto the “ end of the world“.” By uniting also his own name with the Father and the Holy Ghost in the form of Baptism, he has left a perpetual testimony of his equality with them in the Godhead, which from age to age has baffled and refuted every impugner of his Divinity.
To give additional force to these and many similar testimonies that might be collected, it is of importance to observe that there was no greater stumblingblock to the Jews in general, than his thus assuming a divine character; and that they held in the greatest
9 John v. 21. * Matt. xvii. 20.
r John v. 22. s John xi. 17.
u Matt. xxviii. 20.