Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Messiah, the sacred Scriptures describe him in the clearest and fullest manner possible, as the true and living God. We have already seen that they attribute to him all the divine criteria ; and I will, in my next letter, select but a few plain scriptures on the subject. Farewell.

Letter IT.

THE SUBJECT CONTINUED.

Beloved Benjamin,

I will now invite your attention to a few select scriptures, to show to what fatal errors they lead, if Christ be not God.

§ 1. Our blessed Lord, in his solemn prayer just before his death, says, “ Now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." John, 17: 6. “Were there no intimation," says Dr. Harwood, “in the whole New Testament of the pre-existence of Christ, this single passage would irrefragably demonstrate and establish it. Our Savior here, in a solemn act of devotion, declares to the Almighty that he had glory with him before the world was; and fervently supplicates that he would be graciously pleased to reinstate him in his former felicity. The language is plain and clear. Every word has great moment and emphasis. Upon this single text I lay my finger. Here I rest my system.” Of the Socinian Scheme, p. 47.

$ 2. The next passage is that in 2 Cor. 8: 9. "Yę know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be made rich.” Now, my dear Benjamin, if Christ was not the true and living God, but a mere creature, with what propriety can this be said of our Lord ? When and where was our Savior rich in this world? His whole history contradicts this assertion. (in the contrary, he was so poor that he was obliged to work a miracle to satisfy the demands of some tax-gatherers. He lived solely on the benevolence of his friends: he had no place where to lay his head. But upon the hypothesis that our Lord enjoyed the most exalted station before his incarnation, every thing is consistent and natural. In his preexistent state, he was rich in glory, honor, and happiness, with a greatness and benevolence of soul that can never be sufficiently exalted. He abdicated all this and became poor, that we, through his poverty, might become rich. The apostle's argument, to excite the liberality and benevolence of the Corinthians, from this stupendous act and instance of our Lord's condescension and benevolence, upon this scheme only, is cogent and apposite, and very elegant and persuasive.“ This passage is, in my opinion," says Dr. Hawker, “no inconsiderable argument to prove that the earliest Christians, and in the days of the apostles themselves, were not unbelievers in our Lord's divinity, but orthodox in the great article of our faith; for the apostle writes to the Corinthians with all the confidence of one who was mentioning, not a novel thing, but a truth long since received and acknowledged. For had this point been at all questionable, or not fully credited, he surely would not have said “ye know" what they absolutely did not know, had never heard of before, or perhaps denied. A presumptive evidence at least is this, that the Corinthians were believers in this important doctrine. It is impossible to reconcile the apostle's expression in this passage, even

with common sense, upon any other terms than the suppo. sition that he was writing to a body of men who were believers in the divinity of Christ.” Serm. p. 55.

$ 3. Further : the apostle, in writing to the Galatians, begins his epistle thus: “Paul, an apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead." Now, if Paul did receive his apostleship neither of man, nor by man, but by Jesus Christ, then Jesus Christ must be superior to man and equal with the Father. . 4. Again, in chap. 4: 4, 5, he says, “ When the full. ness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." Now this language is perfectly proper on the supposition of Christ's pre-existence, but very improper on the contrary supposition ; for how could a mere man be otherwise made than of a woman, and under the law ?"

$ 5. In the Epistle to the Ephesians, chap. 3: 19, the apostle speaks of the love of Christ, which passes knowledge; but where was the extraordinary love of Christ, if he existed not before he was born of the virgin, and had no nature higher than mere humanity ? To talk of this love as surpassing knowledge, is to burlesque it-seeing many of our fellow-mortals have displayed equal affection with motives infinitely inferior.

$ 6. Permit me, my dear Benjamin, to call your atten. tion to another scripture testimony in favor of the true divinity of my dear Lord and Savior. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and be. ing found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Wherefore, God also hath highly exalted hiin, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Phil. 2 : 5-11. In the introduction to this celebrated text the apostle is exhorting to unity and brotherly love, with various other christian graces, among the most conspicuous of which are humility and self-denial. And in order to prevail with the people to whom he wrote more effectually, he sets before them the example of Jesus; showing them how great he was originally ; how low he condescended for the salvation of mankind; and what were the happy consequences respecting himself. So that Jesus Christ is evidently spoken of, in these words, as existing in three very different conditions_before his. incarnation, in his state of humiliation, and his state of exaltation. And these three conditions of our blessed Redeemer are essentially necessary to the apostle's argument. Take away any one of them, and the propriety of the ex. ample is destroyed, and the force of the argument utterly enervated. If we take away his natural and original dig. nity, then there was no humiliation in becoming man, nor was there any propriety in God's bestowing upon him a reward so infinitely superior to every thing he could have deserved. But if he was by nature the Son of God, if he was originally in the form of God, and then humbled himself to the lowest pitch of poverty and distress to work out salvation for the sons of men, then there was the strictest propriety and decorum in exalting him to the head of the universe.

67. “ I have often considered carefully,” says Dr. Price, “the interpretation which the Socinians give of these words, and the more I have considered 1, the more confirmed I have been in thinking it forced and unnatural.

Indeed, the turn and structure of this passage are such, that I find it impossible not to believe that the humiliation of Christ, which St. Paul had in view, was not the exchanging of one condition on earth for another, but his exchanging of the glory he had with God before the world was, for the condition of a man, and leaving of that glory, to encounter the difficulties of human life, and to suffer and to die on the cross. This was, in truth, an event worthy to be held forih to the admiration of Christians. But if the a posile means only that Christ, though exalted above others by working miracles, yet consented to suffer and die as other men; if, I say, St. Paul means only this, the whole passage is made cold and trifling; no more being said of Christ ihan might have been said of St. Paul himself, or any other of the apostles.” Simpson. Deity of Christ. 249.

$ 8. Another author says, “I have taken the pains to examine nearly all the fathers of the three first centuries who referred to this text; and now I declare, upon the whole, I have not the smallest doubt remaining upon my mind that it is justly translated in our English Bible.” Burgh's Eny. &c. p. 299; see also pp. 9 and 144-156. “I believe," says Dr. Doddridge, “this scripture may be left to speak for itself. The being, of whom all these things are predicated, must be divine. To suppose otherwise, is to throw an impenetrable cloud over all language, and to render the Bible the most dangerous book in the world. How any serious and honest mind can be satisfied with the Socinian interpretation, is hard to conceive.”.

$ 9. The last passage to which I would invite the attention of my dear Benjamin, is that in the Epistle to the Hehrews; an epistle originally addressed to our beloved people. The pious and learned Dr. Simpson says, “ There is no part of the writings of this apostle which speaks more excellent things of our Savior than the first chapter of his most learned Epistle to the Hebrews. The whole is an ad

« AnteriorContinuar »