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either to the other two portions of supreme Deity, to Demi-Gods or God's-men like himself; or lastly, to similar beings of the merely maternal species produced from the wombs of virgins, without the previous generating instrumentality of men, - ,
When we meet these excellent scriptural exhortations to moral perfection and purity, "* be ye perfect even as your father who is
in heaven is perfect," and " he, that hath "this hope," the Gospel-hope of an happy immortality, "in him," God, "purifieth "himself, even as he is pure," it is selfevident they are to be understood of relative, not of absolute, perfection and purity, of perfection and purity in kind, not in degree, of perfection and purity to the extent of finite human ability. Man, being not possest of the infinite attributes of the divine nature, cannot be all-perfect, in the strict literal fense, in which God himself is; no, not even that accomplished sinless man, the man Christ Jesus, who expressly disclaims, the epithet 'good,' when applied to him in this improper unwarrantable acceptation of it, rebuking in strong interrogative terms the young man, who salutes him with the appellation of "good master;" "why "callest th ou me good? There is none "good but one, that is God."
But, when Christ fays to his disciples, "I. have given you an example, that ye "mould do as I have done to you," and his apostle reminds us, that "Christ left '* us an ensample, that we should follow "his steps," it is plain, that absolute perfection, and a complete imitation of his obedience to God, beneficence to man, and spotless innocence, are here implied and recommended. The man, who can entertain a doubt, that this is not the meaning of these passages, need only consult i John iii, 16. to satisfy himself in this point. Here from the well attested fact, that 'he,' Christ, 'laid down his life for us,' not in our stead, but on account of our sins, an inference is deduced, that 'we ought to lay 'down our lives, for the brethren,' or on account of the brotherhood of Christians, if urgent necessity should require us to give this most signal testimony of our unfeigned love for them, and of our steady adherence to the Christian cause.
Hence, as we are required to imitate Christ in that highest instance of his obedience to God, and love for man, his death, it is plainly a duty incumbent upon us to become, like him, absolutely perfect in the discharge of every moral obligation whether of the religious, social, or personal species. The absolute moral perfection therefore of Christ must be absolute human perfection; for to suppose that Christ expected, that men mould equal him in moral perfection, who, on the Athanasian and Arian hypotheses, are represented to be an order of beings, not his equals, but his inferiors, in intellectual ability, is an absurdity so glaring, that to mention it is to confute it. In that cafe his apostles, who, like him became obedient unto death, would have more than equalled him, would have excelled him; and, to adopt a well known scriptural comparison, would have delivered the same tale of bricks, with
L 4 the the scanty materials of stubble, which he produced from plenty of straw.
Jesus therefore was plainly a man, in the ordy true acceptation of the word, viz. the male offspring of a man, begotten upon the body of a woman. This man and this woman were husband and wife of the house and lineage of David. By the Mosaic laws the Jews were injoined to marry into their own respective tribes and families; and though their pedigrees were probably lost in the confusion, which necessarily attended the Babylonish captivity, yet, as the other prophecies respecting the Messiah were . literally fulfilled, we may take it for granted, that the divine providence so ordered it, that both the parents of Jesus should be lineally descended from David, so that the prophecies, which represent the Messiah as * the branch of * David,' should receive their completion as well as the rest; and in /act, genuine Christian Scripture harmonizes with the Jewish prophecies in this particular, a circumstance, which I hope will induce you,
my Jewish friends, in process of time, to acknowledge the Jesus of the Christians for the promised Messiah. ,
I enjoy the heart-felt satisfaction of thinking, that, by vindicating the intire perfect manhood of Jesus against the Athanasian, Arian, and Socinian hypotheses, I have contributed to the extent of my ability, to remove the veil from your hearts, and to prepare the way for your clear perception of this great truth, the past first advent of your Messiah. If in treating this subject I have used repetitions, I hope they will not be deemed! vain repetitions, as they proceed from a benevolent desire to convince you, on the grounds both of reason and prophecy, that the misunderstood Jesus was, like his fellow-men, a very man of the feed of David, a point necessary to be fully established, before it can be expected you should believe this Jesus to be your Messiah. Hence I trust, you will excuse me, if here also I repeat what I formerly urged, namely, that the predictions of God's prophets to your ancestors