« PreviousContinue »
§ 2. THE DIVINITY OF CHRIST,
John i. 1. In the beginning was the Word; and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
With respect to the Godhead of the Father, there is no question raised about it; as all, except avowed Atheists, acknowledge His existence and divinity. It is the Deity of the Son and Holy Ghost which infidels assault with so much malignant invective; imagining, that, if they can but shake the faith of mankind in this capital doctrine of our holy religion, they shall soon be able to subvert Christianity itself, which is built thereon, as its grand foundation and support. So long, however, as the Bible is revered amongst us, as a book containing the oracles of God, every attempt to invalidate the Divinity of Christ, or the Spirit of Jehovah, must prove utterly unsuccessful; because Sacred Writ insists upon the point with such frequency, clearness, and decision, that we are either forced to receive it as a positive truth, or to believe that it is revealed as a falsehood, in order to ensnare and deceive us. Every thing we know of God confutes a thought so impious and wicked; and therefore we ought to listen to His declarations in this respect, as undoubtedly true.
We shall endeavour to prove, by arguments drawn from Scripture, that Jesus Christ is God, not in a subordinate, but in the most absolute sense which can be affixed to the term. Indeed, the proof of his Divinity does not rest upon a few texts of a doubtful signification, but upon the whole tenor of Scripture, a great part of which is altogether unintelligible upon any other supposition. Let it however be understood, that it is not denied that Christ "is a perfect man, with a reasonable soul and human flesh
subsisting." The necessity for the union of the manhood with the Divine nature will be noticed in another place. Our present object is to shew, that Jesus Christ, who tabernacled on earth in human form, is truly and properly God.
1. He is repeatedly styled, in Holy Writ, both God and Lord. "Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace "." "In the beginning was the Word; and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." "And of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came; who is over all, God blessed for ever." "And without controversy, great is the mystery of Godliness; God was manifest in the flesh." "And we are in Him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God; and eternal life."
The term Jehovah, which is the incommunicable name of God, and never used but in reference to himself, is several times applied to Christ: consequently he must be God. The Almighty Father declared to Moses his self-existent deity, by saying, "I am that I am." Christ used a similar form of expression concerning himself to the Jews: "Before Abraham was, I am"."
Again; Jeremiah prophesying of the reign of Messiah, says, "This is His name whereby he shall be called, the Lord (or Jehovah) our Righteousness'." Isaiah was favoured with a vision of Jehovah in his temple: "Mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts." St. John, alluding to this circumstance, as- . || a See Lecture on the Mediation and Intercession of Christ. b Isai. ix. 6. e 1 Tim. iii. 16. John viii. 58.
C. John i. 1.
Jer. xxiii. 6.
d Rom. ix. 5.
Exotl. iii. 14. * Isaiah vi. 5.
serts that the Prophet then "saw the glory of Christ, and spake of him." Jehovah says by Isaiah, "I am the first and the last; and besides me there is no God"." This honour our Saviour claims to himself: "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, the first and the last"." "I have sworn by myself, that unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Surely, shall one say, In the Lord have I righteousness and strength. In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory." The first passage refers to Christ's coming to judgment; and the second relates to the method by which believers are justified through his merits.
2. God himself, in the most striking manner, attests the equality of his Son with himself: "Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of Hosts: smite the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered"." St. Matthew applies the prophecy to Christ, to whom the other part of the quotation unquestionably belongs". 3. The Lord Jesus, during his ministry, made several declarations concerning himself, which amount to unanswerable proofs of his Divinity. I and Father are one'. my "He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father. I am in the Father, and the Father in me"." "All things that the Father hath, are mine." "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine ownself, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was ".
4. He claims the same worship which is due to
Jolin xii. 41.
• Isaiah xlv. 23-25.
m Isaiah xliv. 6.
ib. xiv. 9, 11.
"Rev. i. 8, 11.
Matt. xxvi. 21. tib. xvi. 15.:
God; "that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. "He that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father, which hath sent him." Angels were commanded to worship him". Had our Saviour been merely human, he would not thus have put himself on an equality with God, nor have enjoined men to pay him that sort of Divine homage, which is idolatry when offered to any created Being, however greatly distinguished.
5. Moreover, the signal display of Divine attributes which he made when on earth, for the benefit of mankind, affords a demonstration of his Divinity. His assertions, no less than his actions, evinced his omnipotence. "All power is given unto me, in heaven and in earth**." "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth, and believeth in me, shall never die *. The creation of the world, which is sometimes ascribed to him, and the various miracles which he performed by a word or touch, proved that he was possessed of Almighty power.
He affirmed his perfect knowledge of the hearts of men, and the circumstances of their lives. "Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man; for he himself knew what was in man"." He told the Woman of Samaria all things that ever shre did. He knew from the beginning who it was that should betray him; and he foretold his sufferings, and the events connected therewith. He also avowed his omnipresence: "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am
▾ John v. 23.
Ps xcvii. 7. Luke ii. 9-14. Heb. i. 6.
** Matt. xxviii. 18.
Luke ix. 22.
I in the midst of them." "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world"." The fulfilment of these promises is necessary for the edification and existence of the Church, which would inevitably fall to the ground without His support.
The following words maintain the ubiquity of our Divine Saviour. "And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man who is in heaven"."
How could Christ be in heaven, whilst speaking on earth, except by virtue of his Deity, by which he "filleth all things," and can be everywhere present at the same moment?
6. What then is the inference justly deducible from these texts? It is precisely this, that whosoever exercises such attributes, must of course beGod; because they are not possessed by the highest created Being. But as Christ manifested that those Divine powers resided in himself, and that he was able to exert them whenever he saw fit, he must therefore of necessity be really God, possessing every perfection answerable thereto.
3. ON THE DIVINITY AND PERSONALITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
Acts v. 3, 4. Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost? Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.*
That the third Person in the Trinity is a Divine Being, equal to the Father and the Son, may be proved with the same certainty as the Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Such names are given and actions attributed to him, as demonstrate that He is a Person who partakes of every excellence which peculiarly belongs to the Deity, and is therefore to