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passages; many of which, as you must have observed, cannot be predicated of any being, except the one living and true God.
If it be admitted, then, that the Scriptures speak language, which is to be understood in its customary sense, the only sense, in which it can be intelligible to those to whom it was addressed, and to ninety-nine hundredths of those, for whom the Scriptures were written; if it be admitted, that God has chosen the most proper terms to communicate true ideas of himself to mankind ; it cannot be denied, that Jesus Christ is truly, and perfectly, God.
For what the Law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned Sin in the flesh; That the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
For God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and
of a sin-offering, hath condemned sin in the flesh, (the thing impossible for the Law because it was weak through the flesh:) That the righteousness of the Law may be fulfilled by us, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
Dr. Macknight's Translation.
In the preceding discourse I observed, that the great and commanding doctrines of Christianity are briefly declared in this passage of Scripture; and, as such, recited the following;
1. That the Law could not destroy Sin in Man :
II. That God has accomplished this work by sending his own Son into the world :
III. That this was done, in order that the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled by Christians.
As the first of these propositions had been sufficiently discussed; I proposed, in a series of Sermons, to examine the second; and to commence the examination by inquiring into the character of him, who is here called God's own Son. After reciting several scriptural comments on this phrase, I asserted, that it contains the following important Doctrine,
That Jesus Christ is truly and perfectly God.
This doctrine I proposed to illustrate under several heads of Discourse, then specified; the first of which was,
That Christ is spoken of, in the Scriptures, as the True and Perfect God.
The argument, contained in this proposition, I proposed to exbibit by showing, that the
Relations, which he sustains to his creatures are in the Scriptures ascribed to Christ; and, That divine worship is in the Scriptures required to be rendered, and by persons inspired was actually rendered, to him.
The first of these subjects, viz. the Names of God, I then showed, at sufficient length for my design, to be abundantly applied to Christ in the Scriptures. I now propose to exhibit this truth concerning the Attributes.
1. The peculiar attributes of God are ascribed to Christ in the Scriptures.
Revelation i. 10, 11, &c. I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day, and heard behind me a great voice as of a trumpet, saying, I am Alpha and Omoga, the First and the Last, and I turned to see the voice that spake with me ; and, being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; and, in the midst of the seven candlesticks, one like
; -unto the Son of Min: and when I saw him I fell at his feet as dead: and he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not, I am the First and the Last, I am he, that liveth and was dead, and behold, I am alive for ever more, Amen.
Revelation ii. 8, These things saith the First and the Last, who was dead and is alive.
Isaiah xliv. 6, Thus saith Jehovah, King of Israel, and his Redeemer, JEHOVAH or Hosts, I am the First, and I am the Last, and beside me there is no God.
Isaiah xlviii. 12, Hearken unto me, O Jacob, and Israel my called; I am he; I am the First; I also am the Last. Mine hand, also, hath laid the foundation of the earth, &c.
In the two first of these passages, it will not, for it plainly cannot, be disputed, that the person, spoken of by St. John, and afterwards speaking of himself, who was like unto the Son of Man who was dead, is alive, and liveth for ever more, was Christ; and this person in four instances declares himself to be the first and the Last : the strongest assertion, that Eternity past, and to come, belongs to himself. If he is the First, none can have been before him : if he is the Last, none can be after him.
In the two last passages, from the Prophet Isaiah, (the latter of which has in the preceding discourse been clearly proved to be written concerning Christ;) Jehovan of Hosts, who declares, that beside himself there is no God, declares also, that He is the Pirst, and that He is the Last. This language, with mathematical certainty, is attributable to but one being; and that being is the only living and true God.
Proverbs viii. 22, 23, The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
That the Person, here spoken of under the name of Wisdom, is Christ cannot be rationally questioned by any man, who reads this chapter with attention ; especially, if he compares it with the account, given by the same Person, of himself, in the first chapter of the same book; where he exhibits himself as the Judge, and Rewarder, of mankind. To place the matter out of doubt, ,
, St. Paul informs us, that Christ is the Wisdom of God. But this Person says, he was set up from everlasting.
Micah v. 2, And thou, Bethlehem Ephrata, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me, that is to be Ruler in Israel ; whose goings forth have been from of old, from Everlasting : In the Hebrew, from the days of
eternity. This passage was, in a sense, proverbially, acknowledged by the Jewish nation to be a prophesy of Christ. See Matt. ii. 6, where it is quoted, as such, by the Pharisees, in answer to Herod's inquiry concerning the birth-place of the Mes. siah. Besides, God, speaking in the passage itself, says, Yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me, &c. Here He, whose goings forth have been from the days of Eternity, is said by another Person to come forth unto the Person speaking ; that is, unto God the Father.
John i. 1, 2, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.
1 John v. 20, This is the True God, and or even, the Eternal Life.
The names Jehovah, I am, and I am that I am, already proved to belong to Christ, are also the strongest expressions of original and eternal existence. The phrase, I am, Christ in a peculiar manner applies to himself. John viii. 58, And Jesus said unto them, Verily derily I say unto you, before Abraham was I am. John viii. 24, If ye believe not that I am, ye shall die in your sins. Matthew xxviii. 20, Lo, I am with you alway, &c. Here Christ does not say, Before Abraham was, I was; or I will be with you alway; but I am, teaching us explicitly, that past and future are perfectly present to himself; and that his own existence is one
2dly. Both by these names, and by other ascriptions of Eternity to Christ, he is declared to be underived, or self-existent.
He who is the First, he whose existence is one present time, necessarily exists only of himself.
3dly. Omnipotence is directly ascribed to Christ.
Rev. i. 8, I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, saith the Lord, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty. In the 11th verse of this chapter Christ utters these words of himself. Either, then, there are two persons, who truly say these things, each of himself; or Christ declares them of himself in both these verses. The choice in this alternative I willingly leave to the Unitarians : for, either way, the great question in debate is determined with equal certainty. If Christ