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"Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." These are individual instances of Christ's presence on earth, while he is in heaven. If these instances do not prove his universal presence, it proves his presence to a great extent. If his presence is extended to a great proportion of his creatures, there is no reason why it should not be extended to all. By him all things were created, and by him all things consist, i. e. are supported. His presence must have been as extensive as his works; and it must now be as extensive as that influence of his, which upholds all things. It is true, all this only proves his presence to be as extensive as the works of creation. The scriptures cannot prove the presence of God the Father to be more extensive. It is not important to prove that divine presence is where nothing feels its influence, nor beholds its glory.
There is abundant evidence from scripture that Christ is omniscient. The apostle Paul says he is before all things. Whether he be before all things in respect to duration or dignity, or in respect to both, he undoubtedly has a capacity for this extent of knowledge. As he made all things, he perfectly knows their natures, and the effects, which would arise from any particular combination of things. As he is omnipresent he knows all events, which take place. Nothing is concealed from his view. The word of inspiration confirms this sentiment. His disciples said unto him, "Now we are sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee." When Peter was interrogated concerning his love toward his divine Master, he replied, "Lord, thou knowest all things." Jesus did not commit himself unto them; because he knew all men; and needed not that any should testify of man; for he knew what was in man. Jesus knew from the beginning, who they were, that believed not. When prayer was made to the Lord Jesus for direction in filling a place among the apostles, which had been vacated by Judas, he was addressed
thus: "Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen." "The Word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature, that is not manifest in his sight." Christ, sending word by his servant John, unto the church in Thyatira, says, "all the churches shall know that I am he, which searcheth the reins and hearts." To these may be added another testimony "In whom (i. e. Christ) are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." The sacred scriptures do not ascribe a greater extent of knowledge to God the Father. The office of Mediator between God and man, which Christ sustains, renders it necessary that his knowledge should be adequate to the work. If he was not perfectly acquainted with his Father's will, he would not be capacitated to treat, in his stead, with the human race. If he was not perfectly acquainted with the thoughts, desires, and conditions of the human race, he would not be capacitated to mediate between them and their offended Sovereign. He needs to be perfectly acquainted with both parties, in order to fill the Mediator's office. In addition to this, he has a knowledge of all the works of his hand; and of course he possesses the highest degree of knowledge which can be conceived.
But there are texts of scripture which appear to limit his knowledge; and these texts have been eagerly used for the purpose of robbing Christ of his divine nature. Christ saith, "I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things." From this it is inferred that he derives his knowledge from the instruction of his heavenly Father. In this discourse with the Jews, Jesus taught them his union with the Father, and his subordination to him. He taught them that he was not alone; that his Father
was with him, and that he acted in perfect coincidence with his will. In the same manner that he was from God, so was his knowledge from God, or he was taught of God. The scriptures represent perfect order, subordination and agreement subsisting in the Trinity, in the work of redemption. If it is the place of the Son to do his Father's will, it is proper to say the Father teaches, or communicates to him his will. This appears to be a correct method in official transactions, although the Son knew all his Father's purposes. It is true Christ knoweth nothing of himself, and he doeth nothing of himself. He is in concert with the Father; and the Father is with him in all his operations. The order of offices justifies the mode of expression, which gives priority to one, and posteriority to the other.
Christ speaking of the day of judgment says, "Of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels, which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father." From this text has been inferred the limited knowledge of the Son. It has been suggested that so much of this text as relates to the Son was an interpolation by the Arians. But it is not necessary to make this resort in order to explain the passage consistently with the omniscience of the Son. There are various passages, in which Christ in which Christ expresses his inferiority to the Father; and there are various other passages, in which he expresses his equality with the Father. It is impossible to account for this difference of representations of himself without admitting the union of two natures, the human and divine. He might speak of his humanity in a limited degree. He might also speak of his divinity in an unlimited degree; and in both instances adhere to the truth. In his capacity as Son of man he might not know the time of the day of judgment; but as Son of God he might have a perfect knowledge of it. It is reasonable to suppose that he, who is to raise the dead and pass sentence upon them, should foreknow the day of these
important events. It can be said with truth that man is mortal. It can be said with equal truth that he is immortal. Our Lord said at a certain time, "Now I am no more in the world." Again he said, "Ye have the poor always with you, but me ye have not always." In another place he says, "Lo I am with you always." The fact was, his bodily presence was soon to be removed from them; but his spiritual presence was to be continued. Of course, what he denied respecting his humanity he might with propriety and sincerity assert respecting his divinity. If he could make this distinction in one point of view, there is no reason why he might not make the same distinction in another point of view. This mode of speaking did not probably convey distinct ideas to the minds of his disciples. He often taught them in obscure figures. He did not design to make a full revelation of himself till after his resurrection. A full disclosure of himself while he was upon earth would have had a tendency to frustrate the object of his coming into the world. "We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory; which none of the princes of this world knew; for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory."
Goodness or holiness is attributed, in an eminent degree to Christ, in the sacred scriptures. In his incarnate state he was "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners. He did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth." The object of his coming into the world and the works, which he performed while he was upon earth, indicated, in the highest degree, the holiness of his nature. If it was an act of divine goodness to create the world; form man upright and place him in paradise, it was an act of equal goodness to make a propitiation for sin; to pay a ransom for sinners; and to prepare mansions for them in Paradise above. Those particular acts of goodness, which characterize the nature of God, are also ascribed to
Christ. Is God called merciful? Of the Son it is said, "Looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life." Is God called gracious? Of Christ it is said, "If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious." Is God called long-suffering? The apostle Paul says, "I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all long-suffering." Is righteousness ascribed to God? Christ is called the righteous Judge; the Lord our righteousness. It is by his righteousness that sinners are justified. St. John heard the angel say, "Thou art righteous O Lord."
When the rich young man addressed Christ by the title, good Master, he seemed to check him by saying, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but One, that is God." By this interrogation and assertion, Christ did not design to deny his claim to goodness, not even to divine goodness. It appears that the young man was not apprehensive that Christ was divine; that he viewed him only as a man of more than ordinary endowments; that he viewed him as a prophet. According to the young man's apprehension of Christ he gave him a title higher than he deserved; though not higher than he really deserved. On this ground Christ made his reply.
The Jews formed their ideas of God from the same titles, attributes, or characters, which are applied to Christ. If they had evidence from this source that there was a God, there is the same evidence that Christ is God. Had only a single divine title or attribute been ascribed to Christ, there would have been ground to suspect that they were applied to him figuratively, or applied to him as they have been applied But when it is considered that all divine titles and attributes, except those which distinguish the Father from the Son, in their relationship or in their distinct offices, are applied to Christ, it is impossible to account for their just application without admitting that he is divine. It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell. In him dwelt