« AnteriorContinuar »
was the younger' man, yet John assigned as the reason why he was preferred before him, “that he
was before him ;” which is absolutely decisive in respect of his pre-existence. To such a degree did this most excellent servant of God abase himself, and exalt the Saviour! And in this he was a perfect contrast to those who manifestly exalt themselves and degrade him.—The words of Gabriel to Zacharias concerning John are also very remarkable; “ Many of the children of Israel shall he turn “ to the Lord their God; and he shall go before “him” (even before the Lord their God,)“ in the “ spirit and power of Elias.” John was the forerunner of Christ, and was sent“ to prepare his way “ before him:” who then can doubt that the angel considered the Messiah, who was about to appear, as Emmanuel ? as the Lord God of Israel? This the prophets had foretold ; and one of them says, “ The Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to “ his temple, even the Messenger,” or Angel, “ of " the Covenant.”2 We find Jehovah of Hosts repeatedly saying to another prophet, “ Thou shalt o know that Jehovah of Hosts hath sent me to 6 thee.” And, when the Word “ became flesh, “and dwelt among men,” all his true disciples, “ beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."4
IV. The works which Christ hath undertaken, or performed, evince his Deity. He “who created “all things, and upholds them by the word of his
Matt. iii. 11-14, John, i. 15, 16. iii. 27-36. ? Luke, i. 16, 17. Isa. xl. 3, 4, 9–12. Mal, iii. 1.
Vech. 1.8--11. vi. 12-15. xi. 7. John, i. 14,
power, “ came a light into the world,” “to be “ the Light of the world,” and to “enlighten every “man that cometh into the world."!
66 That eter“nal Life, which was with the Father," was manifested to be the life of men. He has engaged to give eternal life to all his true disciples, notwithstanding the opposition of their enemies ; to prepare mansions in heaven for them; to receive them to himself; to raise the dead by his word; to judge the whole world; and to destroy all his adversaries “ with everlasting destruction from his presence, “ and from the glory of his power,” by which “he “ is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”3 But can any thing except omnipotence and omniscience fulfil these engagements ?—The apostle speaks of Christians as “looking for the glorious
appearance of the great God, and our Saviour “ Jesus Christ :"4 now “the great God” will not appear at the day of judgment, in his essence, (for
no man hath seen or can see him ;") but Christ will appear as “the great God,” our Saviour, and Judge, in his own glory as Mediator, and in the glory of the Father ; exercising all divine perfecions, with sovereign authority, before the whole world. Indeed his language respecting that decisive season is uniformly majestic beyond expression, as every attentive reader must perceive.—He is likewise “ exalted to give repentance :” he is “the author “ and finisher of our faith ;” and, even when he was “in the form of a servant,” he had power on “ earth to forgive sins.” “He has the keys of
John, i. 3–9. viii. 12. xii. 46. 3 2 Thess. i: 7-10. Phil. üi. 21.
? 1 John, i. 1-3. 4 Tit. ii. 13,
“ death and the invisible world :” “ Angels, prin
cipalities, and powers, are subject to him ;” nay they are “ the angels of his power ;” and “ all crea“tures serve him."—Who then is this Son of David?' is he not the “Son of God?" is he not “ the root" as well as “the offspring” of David? who, for that reason, “in Spirit called him his Lord,” many ages before he became his Son : for he is “the Lord of all,"
.".“ the Lord of glory,” and “the Prince of life.”
It must évidently be absurd to ascribe all this to a derived and delegated power; for how can omnipotence, omniscience, or omnipresence be communicated or exercised by a mere creature? Indeed Jehovah expressly declares that “He made “ all things by himself,” and “ will not give his
glory to another;" and that “ there is no God " and Saviour besides him.” The manner likewise in which Christ wrought his miracles, in general without the least appearance of relying on any power but his own, was very different from that of prophets or apostles: for, while they took great care to have it understood, that they were merely the instruments of Him in whose name they spoke, lest the honour should be ascribed to them; he authoritatively issued his mandates in his own name, acted evidently by his own power, and manifested forth his own glory.2
V. This appears still more conclusively in the behaviour of our Lord towards those who honoured him. The servants of God have always decidedly refused every kind and degree of honour shewn to them, which seemed in the least to interfere with
Is. xliii, 10, 11. xliv. 8, 24.
? John, ii. 11.
the glory of God. The scriptures referred to, must put this beyond all doubt. Yet it is obvious that Jesus did not object to similar honours ; nay, that he most “honoured those" who thus “honour“ ed him ;” and approved of men in exact proportion as they had high thoughts of him, and large expectations from him. Nor is there a single exception to this rule in his whole history; for his answer to the young ruler, who called him “good “ Teacher," was in fact an intimation that he did not think highly enough of him, and misapplied the epithet good in giving it to one whom he deemed a mere man like himself. When the centurion compared our Lord's power over all diseases, even in such persons as were at a distance, to his own authority over his soldiers and servants ; Christ highly commended the greatness of his faith.3 When the afflicted parent besought him “ to help “his unbelief ;” and when the disciples desired him to “ increase their faith ;” no intimation was given that their language was improper : but who can believe that apostles would have approved of such requests being made to them 4 He received without reserve that prostration, or worship, against which prophets, apostles, and angels resolutely protested when it was offered to them :5 and, when various opinions were formed of him, he always countenanced those which atttributed the highest dignity to him, and even suggested still more ex
* Gen. xli. 16. Dan. ii. 28–30. Acts, ii. 12, 13. x. 25, 26.
xvi. 14, 15. Rev. xix. 10. xxii. 9. ? 1 Sam. ii. 30.
3 Matt. viii. 8-10. Mark, ix. 24. Luke, xvii. 5. 5 Matt. viii. 2. xv. 25. Luke, xvii. 16. John, ix. 35-38.
alted apprehensions of his glory. Now how can we account for this? Must we not conclude, either that the servants were more humble, and more jealous for the glory of God, than his beloved Son; or that Christ was conscious that “all men ought “ to honour him, even as they honour the Father?" for it is manifest that he readily accepted of those honours which they most strenuously rejected.
VI. The undeniable instances of divine worship, paid to Christ, constitute another most conclusive argument.—Worship, properly so called, is an ascription to any being of the peculiar honour of the Deity. To supplicate a creature, though visibly présent, for those blessings which God alone can bestow, is idolatry; because it ascribes omnipotence to that creature. It is the same to pray to any being, when not sensibly present, even for such deliverances as a creature might afford; because it ascribes to that creature omnipresence or omniscience ; which proves all the prayers of papists to saints and angels to be idolatry, The petitions before mentioned, for “increase of faith,” were acts of worship paid to Christ : as was the address of Thomas, “My Lord, and my God!" nor would any holy man or angel have received them. The form of baptism, " in the name of the Father, " and of the Son, and of the, Holy Ghost,” must be considered as an appointed adoration of the Son and Holy Spirit, equally with the Father; or we must admit the greatest absurdities. No doubt Stephen worshipped Christ when he prayed to him to “receive his spirit,” and not to impute his death
'Matt. xvi. 13-16. John, xi. 22—27.