Page images
[ocr errors]


LORDS, and King OF KINGS.—1 Tim. vi. 15, Which in his times the blessed and only potentate shall shew, the KING OF KINGS, and LORD OF LORDS.--Acts x. 36, Jesus Christ : this person is Lord of all things.-Romans ix. Christ, who is over all things, God blessed for ever, Amen.-Philippians ii. 10, 11, That at the name of Jesus edery knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth: And that every tongue should confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. In these passages Christ is directly exhibited as the Lord, or Ruler, of the Universe, in the most absolute sense; the Lord of all things, whom things in Heaven, and things in earth, are respectively required to confess as their Lord.

But the government of the Universe requires, if any thing requires, the attributes of an Infinite Mind: goodness to prompt, justice to direct, knowledge to discern, and power to execute, whatever is right, wise, and good to be done; and to prevent the existence of whatever is not. It demands also existence every where present, and eternally enduring, throughout the boundless and everlasting kingdom of God. Without these attributes Christ must be the Lord only in name, and rule only in pretence; and such must undoubtedly be the character, attributed to him in these, and the almost innumerable other, passages. of Scripture, in which he is styled Lord, and said to hold the dominion over all things; unless he is essentially possessed of these attributes. The Scriptures are not thus deficient in their own scheme; for, when they attribute universal dominion to Christ, they teach us, that he is qualified for such dominion, by declaring, that in him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead. not, therefore, left at a loss by the Scriptures themselves concerning his perfect qualifications for the exercise of this government; nor can we wonder, that he, who made, and preserves, should also govern, all things.

In this relation Christ gave the Law to the Israelites, and to Mankind, at mount Sinai ; and in this character, as the rightful Law. giver, he directed his own Spirit to inspire the Prophets and Apostles with the knowledge of his Word, as the universal Law to mankind. But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the FATHER, even the SPIRIT OF TRUTH ; He will guide

We are

[ocr errors]

; ܐ

you into all the truth; for he shall not speak of himself ; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shezo it unto you. All things which the Father hath are mine ; therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shew it unto you. John xv. 26. xvi. 13—15. Of which salvation the Prophets have enquired, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ, which was in them, did signify. Accordingly the Scriptures are called the Word of Christ; Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom; and The Law of Christ; Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the Law of Christ. The Law, here referred to, is no other than the second command of the moral Law, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself; or that branch of this command, which, respecting Christians peculiarly, is called the New commandment ; A new commandment give I unto you, that ye love one another. John xiii. 34.-In this character, Christ, when he began to preach, expounded, altered, and annulled, the Law of Moses, in his own name, and at his own pleasure. All the prophets, who came before hiin, introduced their messages to mankind under the name, and authority, by which they spoke; and prefaced them with Thus saith the Lord; Thus saith Jehovah ; and Thus saith Jehovah of hosts. Christ, on the contrary, when altering and annulling these very things, uses no name but his own; and speaks directly by his own authority; introducing his own laws with Verily, I say unto you; plainly intended to be equivalent to Thus saith the Lord; because the things, which were prefaced with this latter phrase, were openly altered and revoked by him.

In this character also, he disposes of the present and future allotments of all beings; opens and shuts at his pleasure the world of death, and departed spirits ; consigns whom he pleases to endless suffering; and bestows on whom he pleases immortal life. In this character, he is the head of all principality and power. Col. ii. 10.--Who having gone into Heaven, saith St. Peter, is on the right hand of God: Angels, Authorities, and Powers, being subjected to him. In this relation, it is obvious, that all Intelligent beings are bound to render him their supreme and ultimate homage and obedience: that his Law is the rule of all their

conduct; from obeying which nothing can excuse them; the law, by which they will be tried, and approved, or condemned: that his Word is the only rule of life and salvation to mankind: that his Dominion is the supreme and universal control, to which in this and every other world, Intelligent beings are rightfully required to bow; to which every one of them in this and all other worlds will ultimately bow; and by which all things are, and will for ever be, regulated at his pleasure: that he is the Judge, who will finally acquit or condemn, reward or punish, every Intelligent creature. I scarcely need to ask, Who can sustain this stupendous relation to the Universe, except Jehovah ?

5thly. Christ is the Last End of all things.

Colossians i. 16, All things were created by him, and for him: that is, they were all created for his use ; that he might destine them to such purposes, and conduct them to such an issue, as were agreeable to his pleasure. In the same manner as it is said, Prov. xvi. 4, Jehovah hath made all things for himself.

It will, I suppose, be granted, as I do not see how it can be questioned, that the End, for which any thing exists, under the control of divine Wisdom, is more important than the thing itself ; or, universally, that the End is more important than the Means. I suppose it will also be granted, that the End, for which all things exist, is the most important of all Ends. I suppose it will further be granted, that Jehovah, in making all things for himself, regarded himself, and in this design proved that he regarded himself, as more important than all things else; and his glory, or pleasure, for which they were created, as the most important of all the Ends, discerned by his Omniscience, and perfectly worthy to be preferred to every other. But this plainly could not be, unless he, who thus proposed himself as the end of all things, was in the view of his Omniscience a more excellent, great, and glorious Being, than any other. If there were any other being superior to himself, such being ought plainly to be preferred to him : otherwise, that which was of inferior importance, and worth, would be preferred to that which was superior: a preference obviously unfounded, and unjust. JEHOVAH, therefore, in making all things for himself, has testified in the most solemn and forcible manner possible, that himself is more important, great, and excellent, than all other things whatever.

But all things are declared in the passage, quoted from Colossians, to have been created by Christ for himself. Christ, therefore, in this act of making himself the End of the Creation of all things, has declared, that Himself is, in his own view, the most important, great, and excellent, of all things. This declaration is either true, or false. If false; it proceeded from ignorance, or from sin. It could not be from sin; for Christ knew no sin ; and is declared to be without spot, or blemish; the Holy One, and the Just; even the Holy One of God. It could not be from ignorance; because no Intelligent creature, who knew Jehovah at all, could possibly suppose himself to be more important, great, and excellent than JEHOVAH ; and because Christ will not be supposed, even by the Unitarians, to be capable of such ignorance. It is therefore true. But, if it be true, it is by inevitable consequence also true, either that Christ is greater and more important than JEHOVAH, or that he is Jehovah himself.

Further, as Christ is the End of all things, if he be not Jehovan, there is nothing, of which Jehovah is the End. As all things were made for Christ; if Christ be not Jehovah, there is nothing, which is made for JEHOVAH. The united tendency and result of all that has been, is, or will be, in the Universe, is the accomplishment of the pleasure and glory of Christ; and if Christ be not JEHOVAH, JEHOVAH will exist without any glory displayed ; without any interest, or concern, in the Universe.

It ought also to be added, that He, who is the End of all things, for whose glory and pleasure they are to operate, must possess Power sufficient to direct them to his glory; and Intelligence, to discern, that this purpose is accomplished by them all. When we consider the greatness and multitude of the things themselves, and their everlasting continuance and operation, it will, I think, be impossible not to conclude, that this power and intelligence must be in the strictest sense unlimited.

It is with reference to this very subject, as I apprehend, that our Saviour, in his intercessory prayer, utters to the FATHER these remarkable words : * All things, which are mine, are thine; and all things, which are thine, are mine : and I am glorified in them. John xvii. 10. Here, in two forms of expression, he declares to the FATHER the co-extension of the property, which the FATHER and the Son have in the Universe, and their mutual possession of all things ; and then adds, that he is glorified in, or by means of, them all. This may be properly styled Christ's own comment on the declaration of St. Paul, that all things were made for him; that is, for his use; his glory: for here Christ declares his glory to be actually accomplished by them all.

This doctrine is plainly, and utterly inconsistent with the Arian Notion of Christ's being a subordinate God; to whom divine power is supposed to have been delegated; and who, in this character of a delegate, is supposed to have created the Universe, and to be worshipped. On this Notion I propose to make some observations hereafter. At present I shall only remark, that He, who is the first Cause, or Creator, and the last End, of all things, is all that is, or can be, meant by the SUPREME God. All things being made for his use, and being the means of his glory; there is nothing left to a Being, higher and greater than himself; nor does it appear, that such a Being can have any material concern with the Universé, in any manner whatever.

I shall now consider the 5th, and last, particular, mentioned under this head: viz. That Divine Worship is in the Scriptures required, and by persons inspired was actually rendered, to Christ.

Divine worship is required to be rendered to Christ; John v. 22, 23, For the Father judgeth no man ; but huth committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father that sent him. In this passage of Scripture we are informed, that the infinite prerogative of judging the universe is committed by the Father to the Son, for this, as at least one, if not the only, great end, that all (that is, I apprehend, all Intelligent creatures; the word men not being in the original,) should honour the Son even as (that is, just in the same manner, as,

and in the same degree, as) they honour the Father. The Final Judg

* See the original Greek.

« PreviousContinue »