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sense, eternal and immutable, of the same power, nature, and perfections with God the Father. . $ 7. It is proper to observe in this place, that the writers of the New Testament frequently quote passages from the Old, either in proof of their doctrine, or to show that the predictions of prophets are fulfilled. Whenever this is their point in view, the passages they quote from the Old Testament must, in their literal sense, signify what they are alledged to signify. It is inexcusable in interpreters of sacred Scripture to pretend " that the apostles cite the authority of the Old Testament in the Jewish way of draw. ing conclusions, which in sound logic would have been rejected." If they were under the influence of the Spirit of God, we cannot suppose their writings to contain any false reasoning, however common it might have been among their countrymen to argue absurdly. To say that Christ and his apostles applied quotations merely by way of accommodation, is most ridiculous and profane. The following quotation is from the learned Bishop Sherlock: “Our blessed Savior," says he," claims to himself that awful name, I Am, which belongs to the Supreme Being. Before Abraham was, I Am. Had our Savior only said, before Abraham was, I was, thus much at least would have been the consequence, that he had an existence before Abraham; but, now that he says, before Abraham was, I am, something more is implied, something that peculiarly belongs to the expression I am; and what that is, we may learn from the original use of the words. They are the words which God made. choice of to express his own eternity and power. When Moses inquired after the name of God, he answered him, I am that I am. Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am has sent me unto you. Exod. 3 : 14. What now could tempt our Savior to use and apply this expression to himself? He knew that it had never been applied to any but God, and
would have been, in the man so applying it in the highes! degree to commit the robbery of making himself equal with God." Disc. 1, fo. 4..
it is evident, from the context, that the Jews understood our Savior as asserting his own divinity, for they immediately took up stones to stone him for blasphemy; and Christ, instead of making the smallest apology for what he had said, or attempting in the least to explain himself in any other sense, exerted his supernatural power and escaped out of their hands, leaving them in full possession of the opinion they had formed concerning him.
$ 8. I pass on to the next title ascribed to the Messiah in the Old Testament, and applied to Jesus Christ in the New, which is that of the “ First and the Last.” Isa. 44 : 6; 48 : 12, compared with Rev. 1:8, 11; 2:8. In the first of these passages, viz. 1: 8, the Lord Jesus Christ is called Jehovah, or what is equivalent, He that was, is, and is to come; and the incommunicable attributes of omnipotence and eternity are ascribed to him.
$ 9. I will close this part of our subject by noticing the title of the “Son of God," by which Jesus Christ is so fre. quently called.
We have already seen that the Messiah was expected to be the Son of God. Psa. 2:7; 89: 26, 27. Isa. 9:6. As the expression “Son of man' refers to and expresses the reality of his human nature, so the phrase “Son of God" refers to and expresses the reality of his divine nature. On two different occasions Peter confessed him to be the Son of God, where it is evident he must have reference to his divinity. The first is recorded, John, 6 : 69, and the second in Matthew, 16 : 17. They read thus: “ We believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God." Again, “ And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar. jona, for flesh and blood has not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” Now these confessions consist of two parts, viz. that Jesus is the Christ, and the Son of God. With respect to the first, Peter declares his conviction that Jesus was the illustrious person pointed out by the prophets, as the Lord's anointed to the work of salvation; and with this he subjoins his other character as the Son of God, because no one was to be the anointed of Jehovah but he to whom he had said, “ Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee." Psa. 2:7, Now, as he is denominated that Christ, to distinguish him from all the anointed prophets ; so he is denominated that Son, to distinguish him from believers, who are sons by regeneration and adoption ; from all the Jews, who, because of their lawful descent from Abraha.n, said that God was their Father, John, 8: 41, and to whom, in a natural respect, belongs the adoption; and from angels, who by creation are the sons of God. Now, if these expressions, viz. thou art that Christ, and the Son of the living God, were synony. mous, and meant no more than that Jesus is the Messiah, then the apostle's confession would have been no more than that which the carnal Jew's had frequently made, John, 6 : 14, 15, and would therefore by force make him a king; but when Christ asserted his divinity, they were offended, and forsook hiin; which led to the confession of Peter. Besides, it is evident, from our Lord's observation, that Peter's confession referred to his divinity, and not 10 his office as Messiah. The miracles which Jesus wrought were sufficient evidence to convince the carnal Jew that he was the Messiah ; but that he was the Son of God, was revealed to Peter by the Father. For you know, my dear Benjamin, that nothing is more frequent with our Rabbins than the phrase flesh and blood, as denoting men in distinction from God. Hence they say “the first man vras the work of the blessed God, and not the work of flesh and blood.” Zohar. Gen. fo. 43. c. 3. Hence the sense is, that Peter had not received this knowledge from men, but from God. The doctrine of the deity of Christ is of pure reve. lation. That there is a God, is discoverable by the light of nature; but that he has a Son of the same nature with himself, and equal to him, which is the Messiah, the Savior of lost sinners, could never have been found out by flesh and blood; "for no man knoweth the Son but the Father, and he to whom he reveals him." Matt. 11:27. Happy are they who are blessed with the outward revelation of Jesus Christ in the Gospel, but more blessed they to whom the Father reveals Christ in them the hope of glory.
DIVINE CRITERIA ASCRIBED TO JESUS.
Having shown that the incommunicable names and titles of Deity are applied to Jesus Christ,
§ 1. I proceed to show that the incommunicable attributes of Jehovah are also ascribed to him. As he who wants one of these attributes cannot be God; for God is infinitely perfect; so he who possesses but one infinite perfection, must possess all the rest; for none but a true God is infinite. Now, of Christ it is said, that “in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." Col. 2: 9.
Eternity is an incommunicable perfection of Jehovah. Psa. 90 : 2, and is ascribed to the Messiah by the prophet Micah, 5:2; and to Jesus Christ, Matt. 2:6. Christ was not only before Abraham, but long before Adam; for his goings forth have been Meolamim, i. e. before time commenced. Micah, 5 : 2. Hence he is called the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the Ending.
Immutability is another divine criterion, Psa. 102: 2527, and is applied to Jesus Christ, Heb. 1:10-12. 13:8.
Omnipresence, which is the peculiar property of Deity, is claimed by Jesus Christ himself; who declared that he was in heaven at the same time whilst he was on the earth conversing with Nicodemus, John, 3 : 13; and he promised his presence wherever two or three are met in his name, Matt. 18:20, and whererer his Gospel is preached.
This was the great encouraging promise of Jehovah, under the Old Testament See Deut. 23 : 14. Joshua, 2 : 4, 5. Isa. 12 : 6. 58 : 9. Jer. 14 : 9. Joel, 2 : 27. Haggai, 1:13. Zeph. 3 : 16.
Omniscience is another attribute of Deity. The knowledge of men's thoughts is a divine prerogative. This knowledge God expressly claims as his own. Isa. 66 : 18. “I know the heart.” Nay with this he puts all creatures to defiance. Jer. 17 : 9, 10. " The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruits of his doings." The faith of the saints under the Old Testament corresponded with such declarations; hence David assigns this work to God, saying, “Shall not God search this out ? for he knows the secrets of the heart." Psa. 44:21. Again he says, “Search me, o God, and know my heart ; try me, and know my thoughts." Psa. 139: 23. And Solomon says, “ Then