Page images
PDF
EPUB

to Christ. When they are applied to creatures, they are applied with such restrictions and qualifications, and with such evident relation to creatures, that they are not calculated to lead people into the belief that they are divine.

When they are applied to Christ, they are applied without limitation. No intimation is given that these names are not literally applied. If Christ had not been divine, there is no doubt that some qualification or restriction would have been added to his titles to prevent people, naturally prone to idolatry, from giving him divine worship: As no such restriction is annexed to the divine titles of Christ, the scriptures are sadly calculated to mislead, if he be not divine. It seems that the frequent application of divine names, even the highest divine names to Jesus Christ, would prevent all objection to his divinity. If there were but one source of evidence to prove his Deity, if but one characteristic feature of divinity were attributed to him, there might be, perhaps, some ground to doubt his divinity. Such explanation might be given by deniers of his divinity, which would seem to take from him his divine claims.

But the divinity of Christ does not rest on one source of evidence. He has more than one divine feature. What is a name, a high name, unless it be appropriately given? What is a divine name, unless it designate divine nature. The same scriptures, which give divine titles to Christ, also ascribe to him divine attributes. Duration, knowledge, wisdom, presence, and power, are attributed to Christ in no less degree than to the Father. Sometimes a single divine attribute is hyperbolically given to a creature, not to designate divine nature, but to express some extraordinary quality. But this bears no proportion to the literal application of the whole assemblage of divine qualities to Jesus Christ. If divine attributes had been given to Christ only in a figurative sense, it would have been necessary that some notice should be given of the figurative allusion. But as no such notice was

given; as no limitations of number or degree were made to those divine attributes, which were ascribed to Christ, it is a natural inference that his nature is divine. If any should not admit that divine titles applied to Christ proved him to be divine, it seems that the additional evidence of divine attributes applied to him, would decide the question.

In addition to these evidences, the same works are attributed to Christ, which are attributed to God. He is the Author of creation. He was in concert with the Father and Spirit, when it was said, “Let us make man." He performed miracles by his own power and authority. He will raise the dead and judge the world. Greater works are not attributed to the Father than those, which are attributed to the Son. If the divinity of the Father is argued from his works, it is equally conclusive, to infer Christ's divinity from his works. If Christ was merely an instrument in the hand of the Father in the work of creation, and in the performance of miracles; and wrought only .by the communication of his power, it would not be proper to attribute these works to Christ, excepting under certain restrictions. But as no such restrictions are applied to him, it is a fair conclusion that he wrought by his own power. It is impossible that almighty power should be transferred from God the Father to a creature; and it is also impossible that the operation of almighty power should be the act of a creature. If Christ be properly the Author of the works of creation and of miracles, he of course possesses divine

power. If he be not properly the Author of the world and of miracles, the Scriptures are calculated to mislead, and they have misled the human mind.

The sacred Scriptures represent the knowledge and wisdom of the Son in as high degree as they represent the knowledge and wisdom of the Father. By way of eminence, the Son is called wisdom. By his works and dispensations he has proved that this name is

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

WE

110

DO

10

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

significant and appropriate.

When he was upon earth, he had an intuitive view of transactions where his bodily eye could not penetrate. He knew what is was in man. When his enemies meditated evil against in him, he knew their thoughts. “No one knoweth the Father but the Son.” This declaration implies that the Son had a knowledge of the Father. It requires an unlimited capacity to have knowledge of an infinite subject.

There is evidence from Scripture that the presence of the Son is as extensive as the works of creation. He represented himself to be at the same time in heaven and on earth. To his disciples, who were going into different parts of the world' he said, "Lo, I pr am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." er His office as Intercessor implies that he is present with

div all his suppliants and hears their petitions.

The divine goodness of the Son is inferred from his works before his incarnation; from his dispensations on earth; from his official acts, which he will perform at the last day; and from his system of religion, whose tendency is of the most salutary nature. If the works, the dispensations and the religion of God

prove divine goodness, the same, being the works of the Son, prove with equal decision his divine goodness. If it was an act of goodness in the Father to send his Son into the world to redeem mankind, it was no less goodness in the Son to come into the world for this purpose.

The sacred Scriptures attribute no less authority to Christ than to the Father. He has authority over his ambassadors. He has authority over his church. He has authority to forgive sins. "He has authority to judge the world and dispense retribution. He has

de all authority in heaven and in earth; all authority, which is essential to the office of Redeemer.

The Son is entitled to no less honor than the Father. This is inferred from the worship he has received

.

llo Immediately after he came into the world, wise men

his

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

u went and worshipped bim. The divine command be was, “Let all the angels of God worship him.” His a disciples and others worshipped him; and he forbade

them not. His own language was "that all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father.” If he had not been entitled to divine worship, he would not have required it; nor would he have countenanced it when it was offered him. These evidences unite their force to prove

the a divinity of Christ. There are as great evidences in

favor of the divinity of the Son, as there are in favor of the divinity of the Father. If these evidences do

not prove the divinity of the former, neither do they 1. prove the divinity of the latter. If we ask for more

evidence, than the Scriptures afford, to prove the divinity of Christ, we must, to be consistent, ask for more evidence of the existence of God; and of the infinitude of his attributes. If the testimony of Scrip

ture on this subject can be explained away, or be for

made to signify any thing or nothing, the testimony of Scripture on other subjects can be explained away, or be perverted with equal ease. If the cloud of evidences, which the Bible offers to prove the divinity of the Son, does not prove it, it is impossible to name evidence or evidences, which will prove it.

Each evidence, which has been adduced in favor of Christ's divinity, appears to be conclusive. But they appear with increased strength, when they are viewed together. Like the pillars of an edifice standing individually on their own basis, they stand more firm by their connexion.

The sacred Scriptures were designed to enlighten, not to confound the human understanding. They were designed to exhibit the divine nature and character; and the nature and condition of man. If the Scriptures take the characteristic traits of divinity and apply them, in all their extent, to humanity, they confound the Creator with the creature. They darken the human mind. They lead mankind directly into

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

idolatry. When the magicians copied with great precision the miracles, which God wrought by the hand of Moses, God saw fit to give a visible superiority to his own works, lest people should give that honor to the magicians, which was due only to himself. If Christ be a mere creature, and God applied so many divine properties to him, and did not manifest a decided superiority of himself, it might well be expected that people would esteem and honor him even as they esteemed and honored the Father. As the Scriptures attribute as great excellence of nature and as great dignity of character to the Son as to the Father, it is a just inference, that he is divine and is entitled to equal love and veneration. Those passages of Scripture, which represent Christ to be inferior to the Father, cannot be reconciled with those, which represent him to be equal with God, without admitting that he has two natures of unequal excellence; and that the former class of texts are applied to his inferior, and the latter class to his superior nature. If it be admitted that Christ has two natures, it is natural to expect that the Scriptures would sometimes speak of one nature; sometimes of the other; and that sometimes they would speak of him in both natures. As there are two classes of texts applied to Christ, one of which imports an inferior and the other a superior nature, there is the highest evidence that he possesses two natures. As these two classes designate human and divine nature, it follows that Jesus Christ is both human and divine.

If we contrast Jesus Christ with the most illustrious personages, that ever appeared on earth, personages

, who by divine communications performed miracles and exhibited the most distinguished traits of character, we shall find an infinite superiority on the side of Christ; and we shall find an argument in favor of his divinity: “One reflection, which I beg you to make in finishing this part of my discourse, is that, if only one extraordinary and divine trait were to be found

« PreviousContinue »