« PreviousContinue »
th give a history of the birth, life, and death of Jesus Christ. In these books he inculcates, upon his own
lite authority, a system of the most sublime and interesting truths, demands assent; and by the same authority
ITE he lays down a system of rules for the regulation of human life. He exhibits himself in union with the Father; doing the same works, which the Father did;
IN and claiming the same honors. He exhibits himself Savior of the world; requires faith in his name; requires
Wa supreme love; requires the relinquishment of every thing for his sake. Upon his own authority, and by XE virtue of his own merits, he promises forgiveness of ang sin, upon conditions, which he proposes. He holds allent authority in heaven and on earth. He sends the peau Holy Spirit into the human heart, to prepare a people for himself. He magnifies the divine law, and makes on it honorable, by making a propitiation for sin. He is pre
the the foundation of the church; and his word secures it against every attack. He will raise the dead; judge the world, and distribute retribution.
To confirm these truths he exhibited a holy life; and in his own name he performed works, which in almighty power alone could perform. To confirma the faith of his followers, as well as to make expiation
reli for sin, he suffered what he had predicted. He commissioned apostles to spread and inculcate the religion, which he had taught. He vested them with authori- ja ty to work miracles in his name. In their writings they illustrated and enforced his doctrines. The most prominent feature of their epistles was Jesus
THE Christ crucified; and the remission of sin through faith in his name. If they gloried, they gloried in Christ. They gloried in tribulation for his sake. They rejoic-po ed that they were accounted worthy to suffer for Jesus Christ. The revelation which Jesus Christ made to St. John,
the completes the sacred Scriptures; and it completes the history of the world. The leading subject of this book is Christ and his church. This subject
through the whole New Testament. It is its life and
Who is this personage that appears so often in the Old, and breathes in almost every line of the New Testament? Is it a man, a mere man? Was it for a man, that a series of prophets during four thousand years predicted his coming, and longed to see his day? Was it in allusion to a man, that during this long period, beasts without number were consumed upon the altar? Was it to represent a man, that, during this long period, types and shadows were used? Or was it for a superangelic creature, or for a temporary, limited dependent son, that the vast preparations of four thousand years were made? Was it to introduce either of these into the world, that the wheels of providence rolled on undisturbed during this vast length of time? The preparation would then be vastly disproportionate to the dignity of the personage.
The representation would far exceed the reality. Infinite wisdom decides against this disproportion. Would the divine Being employ a second volume to give the character, and record the doctrines and precepts of any of his most exalted creatures? Would he give to the world a religion formed by created wisdom?
Extraordinary characters are left upon sacred record, which represent Jesus Christ. So illustrious was Abraham, that he was called the father of many nations; the father of believers. But Christ was King of kings and Lord of all. In him all nations of the earth were blessed. He is the Head of the church. His union with believers is more intimate, supporting and endearing than was Abraham's. Moses was appointed to be as God unto Pharaoh. He delivered a nation from bondage. He wrought miracles. He covered Egypt with plagues. He was admitted to the mount where God was; and when he returned, the skin of his face shone. He is a lively representation of the Messiah. But the Messiah suffers no diminution of character by contrast with this illustrious
Christ was with God not a few days only; but from the beginning he was with God. He came not for the deliverance of one nation only; but for the deliverance of all the nations of the earth, not from temporal calamities, but from spiritual bondage. When he wrought miracles, he wrought them not to plague the land; but to do good to the people; to confirm his authority; to display the mighty power of God; and he wrought them in his own name and by his own might. At the time of his transfiguration, splendor was not confined to his face; nor was his brightness reflected by beholding the glories of the Deity. But his divinity, as if impatient of confinement in a human body, burst through the vail, and covered his whole body with light. Not like Moses did he conceal his glories by wrapping them in a vail lest people should pay undue respect. But he suffered his disciples to gaze, admire, and pay him homage. Moses never communicated power to others to work miracles; for his power was from God, and he could not transfer it. But Christ commissioned apostles to work miracles in his name; and he commissioned them upon his own authority. When Moses died, the Lord buried him, and suffered no man to know the place of his sepulchre, lest people should
divine honors to that illustrious man. But such precaution was not used at the interment of the body of Jesus. What is the conclusion? There was no danger that people would pay too high honors to the Savior.
Other patriarchs and prophets represented Jesus Christ. But they represented only some individual trait in his character. They were but obscure representations. If such and so many illustrious characters were employed to prefigure the Messiah, very great must he be, who was thus represented. As God made a visible distinction between those miracles, which were wrought by his servant upon Egypt, and those, which the magicians did by their enchantments, so he has made a visible distinction between the
Messiah and all those illustrious characters, which prefigured him.
Christ suffers no diminution of character in contrast with the highest orders of created intelligences, of which we have knowledge. Angels are his ministering servants. At his birth, an angel was sent to announce the joyful event; and a multitude of the angelic host sang praise to God in the highest, on that important occasion. Angels afforded Christ their ministering aid while he suffered the hardships of life; and especially while he suffered agony in the garden. They will wait upon him in the clouds of heaven at the last day. When he came into the world, diyine authority required that all the angels of God should worship him. To none of the angels did God ever say, sit thou at my right hand. But to the Son he said, “Thy throne, o God, is for ever.” It is evident that Christ is a being of more exalted nature and character than the angels. To whom then shall he be likened; or with whom shall he be compared?
He is far above all creatures. He is their Creator. By him all things consist. He is the Author, he is the Substance of our religion. He is the believer's hope.
The representations, which the sacred Scriptures give of Jesus Christ are calculated to convince mankind that he is a divine character. He is the leading subject; he is the most prominent character of our system of religion. The Scriptures attribute to him the qualities, the works, the names, the honors which they give to God. When people called him divine; when
they worshipped him as if he were divine, he never charged them with error. He indulged, he encouraged the deception, if deception it was. Moses used caution to prevent a superstitious people from venerating him as a Deity. John the baptist, to prevent people from mistaking himself for him that should come, declared that he was not the Christ; that he was not worthy to unloose the latchet of his shoes. When the apostles, by signs and wonders excited the admiration of the people at Lystra; and they reputed them as gods, and would have offered sacrifice to them, they corrected the error, and forbade the idolatry. When the angel, whom Christ sent to testify unto the churches, had finished the work of his mission with John, he fell down to worship the angel; but the angel said, "See thou do it not; for I am thy fellow servant.— Worship God.” When the patriarchs, the prophets, the apostles, and the angel, excited the veneration of people, they were cautious to disclaim all pretensions to divine honors. They suffered not their idolatry. Christ excited the veneration of men more than they. Through belief of his divinity they rendered him divine honors. Had he been only a created being; and had he been a holy being; and had he been jealous for the honor of God's name, like them he would have refused their worship; he would have forbidden their impiety. But when worship was offered him he received it with complacency.
If the Scriptures are true, there appears to be decisive evidence that Christ is divine; and they are calculated to convince mankind of this truth. They ascribe as much excellence, and as much honor to Christ as they ascribe to the Father. The Christian church has, from its first establishment; ascribed divinity and divine honors to the Son of God. If some, with the Scriptures in their hands, have attempted to rob Christ of divine glory; others, with the same Scriptures, have attempted to do the same to God the Father. These are exceptions, which prove the darkness of the understanding and the obduracy of the human heart. In
every age of the world, people have manifested a strong propensity to idolatry. They were not less prone to this impiety when Christ was ‘upon earth, and when his system of religion was committed to writing. Would God set his seal to a system of relig