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mirable piece of reasoning, and eloquent at the same time in a very high degree. I verily believe there is not in the world a piece of writing equally elegant and argumentative, equally persuasive and conclusive." Deity, p. 258. Dr. Buchanan told me, many years since, that, whilst tra. veling in India, he heard of a learned Jew who had commenced writing a refutation of this epistle, but, before he had proceeded far in his work, he dropped his pen and exclainned, “ The Benjamite is too strong for me," and embraced the Christian religion. To return to our subject.
§ 10. The passage to which I refer is chapter the first, 1-3. “God, who at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; who, being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high." Upon these words Dr. Whitby remarks, “ I believe it is as impossible to understand how a man should have this empire over all things in heaven and in earth, and over death itself, and yet be a mere man, as it is to understand any mys. tery in the sacred Trinity.”
Now, my dear Benjamin, from the account which is here given of the Son of the Highest, we may well say that human language wants terms to convey ideas of a more exalted kind. What could have been said to elevate his character that is not said ? We can know of nothing higher, nothing greater, nothing better, nothing more sublime than this description. Every thing is said that implies equality. He is the Son of God; the heir of all things; the constitutor of all ages; the brightness of his Father's glory; the express image of his person; the sustainer of the universe. From all these considerations united, it is very evident we cannot think of our blessed Savior too highly, love him too intensely, or expect too much from his fullness.
$ 11. From what has been observed in the whole of this paragraph, am I not justified, my dear Benjamin, in draw. ing the conclusion that if Jesus Christ be not essentially God, then the Bible is either unintelligible, even in its plainest expressions, or it contains the most inconsistent scheme that was ever invented. If our Savior be not, in the highest sense, God, those writings must lead us into the most fatal errors; for no words can be plainer, as has been shown, and there are many others which affirm him to be 50. Besides, it was foretold, that in the days of Messiah idolatry was to be abolished. “The loftiness of man shalt be bowed down, and the haughtiness of man shall be made low; and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day; and the idols he shall utterly abolish; in that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats.” Isa. 2: 17, 18, 20. Idolatry is the reverse and direct opposite to Christianity, or the day of Christ. To destroy this was the great end of Christ's coming into the world, 1 John, 3:8; and the design of Paul's commission to the Gentiles. Acts, 26:17, 18. But unless Christ were God, the true, living, and eternal God, of one substance with the Father, his religion would be so far from destroying idolatry, that it would only be a more refined and dangerous species of it.
$ 12. My conclusion on this subject is corroborated by many of the most pious and learned writers. I will select but one from the pen of Dr. Macknight.“ I would observe here, once for all, that if the Socinian explication of the texts which attribute unto Jesus the names, perfections, and actions of the true God is admitted, it will be very difficult to clear the evangelists and apostles from the imputation of having laid in men's way a violent temptation
to idolatry. For it is well known that as in all ages men have been exceeding prone to worship false gods, so it was the prevailing vice of the world when the New Testament was written, that the grossest corruption of the morals of mankind had ever flowed from this poisonous spring, (Prov. 1:14;) and that to destroy idolatry, and to bring mankind to the worship of the true God, was the great end proposed by God in all the revelations he made of himselt to men. This being the case, is it to be imagined that either Christ himself, who brought the last and the best revelation of the divine will, or his apostles, who committed that revelation to writing, would, on any occasion, have used such expressions as in their plain and obvious meaning could not fail to lead, at least the bulk of mankind, to think that the names, perfections, and actions of the true God were ascribed to a creature, and that the worship due to the true God was due to him, (Heb. 1 : 6,) while in reality they mean no more than that he was miraculously formed, was commissioned to deliver a new religion to the world, was endowed with power of miracles, and in consideration of his exemplary death, was raised from the grave and had divine honors conferred upon him ? Instead of reforming the world, this was to have laid in their way such a temptation to idolatry as they could not well resist. Nor has the effect teen any other than was to be expected, for the gene. rality of Christians, moved by these expressions, have all along considered Christ as God, and honored him accordingly.” Harm. sec. 2, p. 5, note.
Having now pointed out a few of the awful and pernicious consequences which must inevitably follow if Christ be not the true and living God, I will, in my next letter, mention a few of the happy results if Christ be truly God.
CONSEQUENCES IF CHRIST BE GOD.
My Dear Benjamin,
Agreeably to my promise, I will now proceed to show, Secondly, the happy consequences if Christ be truly God.
§ 1. We see then that God is love. The incarnation, obedience, sufferings, and death of Christ are, every where in the sacred Scripture, mentioned as the highest manifestation of God's love, and of the compassion of the Savior to man. When our blessed Savior, in his conversation with Nicodemus, had mentioned the fact that the Son of man should die, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life, he exclaims: "For God so loved the world,” &c. John, 3: 14, 15, 16. Here is a sic with. out a sicut, i. e. a love without a parallel, a love that surpasses all understanding. What an astonishing act of love was this, for the Father to give the delight, the darling of his soul out of his very bosom for poor and miserable sin. ners ! All tongues must needs pause and falter that attempt the expression of his grace. Who would deliver a child, the child of his delight, an only child, to death, for the greatest inheritance in the world ? what tender parent can endure the parting with such a child? When Hagar was taking her last leave (as she thought) of her Ishmael, “ And she went and sat down over against him a good way off, as it were a bow-shot, for she said, Let me not see the death of the child; and she sat over against him and lifted up her voice and wept." Gen. 21:16. O! it was painsul 10 part. How
heart-piercing was the language of David, even for a rebellious son: “And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept, and as he wept. thus he said : O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom, would God I had died for thee! O, Absalom my son! my son!" 2 Sam. 18:33. What a rent has the death of some children made in the heart of some parents, which will never be closed up in this world! Yet surely did ever any child lie so close to any parent's heart as Christ did to his Father's, and yet he willingly parts with him and delivers him up to death, a cursed death for sinners, yea, even the chief of sinners. Millions of angels were nothing compared with the Son of God. The nearer the relation was between God and Christ, the greater was his love shown to us. Christ, God's own Son, his first born, his only begotten Son, the Son of his love, who lay in his bosom, and had been his delight from everlasting-for him to be sent to recover and save man, vile, sinful, and undone man--the Son to be employed for the servant, the slave, the enemy! O, my dear Benjamin, how astonishingly great is the love of God! Jehovah himself declared that it was the highest manifestation of Abraham's love to him when, upon his command, he was willing to offer up his only son Isaac; but O how infinitely short did that come of his own love, in sending his only begotten Son to suffer and to die to save guilty men. Well might the apostle say, “ Hope inaketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die, yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die; but God commendeth his love towards us, in that, when we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Rom. 5: 5–8. Again says the same apostle, praying for the Ephe. bians that they might "be able to comprehend with all