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ON THE SUPREME DIVINITY OF JESUS CHRIST.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE ARGUMENT IN THE THREE PRECEDING
1 JOHN v. 20.
-his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God."
I HAVE now, in three discourses, endeavoured to establish, by a direct appeal to the Scriptures, the great doctrine of the Supreme Divinity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It is my design, in this discourse, briefly to recapitulate their contents, and to conclude the subject with a few additional general observations.
In the first of these discourses, I began by pointing out the vast importance of the doctrine in question;-as apparent, 1st, in its own nature: it is a doctrine of which the simple statement is of itself sufficient to show, that if it be a truth, it must necessarily be one of essential consequence :-2dly, in its connexion with the first and highest class of our duties; the admission of it, if false, implying the guilt of direct idolatry; and the denial of it, if true, the refusal of divine honours to the true God:-3dly, in the intimate relation which it bears to other truths; as forming one in a harmonious system of doctrines, which must stand or fall along with it.
I then proceeded to observe, (as on the subject of the Trinity in general) that, with regard to this momentous
doctrine, the fact alone is revealed, and not the mode of the fact; and that the former alone is, therefore, the object of our faith. That the fact is mysterious, was fully admitted :—but there is nothing in it, I observed, more incomprehensible, than in the mystery of the Divine omnipresence ;-in the nature of that relation, which we affirm to subsist, between an infinite Being and any limited portion of space, when we say of such a Being, He is HERE.-All that we affirm, I noticed, is;-not that any change whatever took place, or, indeed, possibly could take place, in the Divine nature, either in order to its union with the human, or in consequence of such union; but that, in some way unknown to us, the human nature is so united with the Divine, in the person of Jesus, as to have itself no distinct subsistence apart from that union.
I next adverted to the proper state of the question.-It is not whether Jesus Christ was A MAN; for on this point those who affirm and those who deny his Divinity are agreed; and his real humanity is as essential to the system of the former as to that of the latter:-it is simply, whether "the Man Christ Jesus" be not, at the same time, GOD.
This is a question, I remarked, which cannot be determined in any other way, than by an appeal to the holy Scriptures; these being the only source of information on the subject:— and in making this appeal, it is of immense consequence, that our minds be deeply impressed with the sacredness of the Divine word; and with the guilt and danger of wilfully wresting it from its legitimate sense.
I then proceeded to show, by the simple citation of a considerable number of passages and expressions, what seemed to be the current phraseology of the New Testament, on this important subject. Respecting those various texts, I mentioned, before quoting them, that I could have rehearsed them with the very same confidence, as to the impression they were
fitted to make, to an assembly of Greeks, in the original language, as to you in yours:-and afterwards stated, the great and obvious improbability, that all these passages, together with all others of a similar complexion, that might have been quoted, were either interpolated, or mistranslated, or misinterpreted; and that, through ignorance, or prejudice, or carelessness, no critics, translators, or interpreters, had made this discovery, excepting those who can find in none of them the doctrine which they have so generally been understood to
I took particular notice of the objection, derived from the frequent occurrence, in the New Testament, of language of a different and apparently opposite complexion;-in which Jesus is represented as inferior to the Father,-as sent by him, -receiving a commission from him,-obeying and serving him,—and receiving from him his reward.-On this point I illustrated one general observation, of prime importance in the great question, and in its principle applicable to others of a similar nature:-namely, that while all the art of criticism has been expended, in explaining away those passages which assert his Divinity, and the pains which the attempt has cost sufficiently evince the superlative difficulty of the task;-the only key to the easy and consistent interpretation of these apparently contradictory passages,-the only principle of interpretation which reconciles these seeming contrarieties in the scripture testimony, is the ordinary opinion of the union of two natures in the one person of Christ, and of his having acted, as Mediator, in the voluntarily assumed capacity of the Father's servant :-and that the principle of interpretation, of which this can be truly affirmed, certainly derives from this circumstance a very strong presumptive evidence of its correctness and legitimacy.
In the latter part of the discourse, it was my endeavour to
show, that there are various and important general considerations, in which the dignity of Jesus Christ is very strongly, although indirectly, implied;-and which, on the supposition of his being a mere man, or even a mere creature, however highly elevated, are bereft of all their peculiar beauty, and force, and propriety.-I illustrated this remark in five particulars:-1st, The views which are uniformly given in the Scriptures of the unparalleled and inexpressible love of God, in the gift of his only-begotten Son:-2dly, The marvellous condescension and grace of Jesus Christ himself; which the strongest possible terms are employed to express: -3dly, The depth of interest, the warmth of admiring transport and adoring gratitude, excited in the bosoms of the New Testament writers, by the contemplation, and even by the passing thought, of the love of Christ, or of God in Christ:-4thly, The representations given of the height of glory and honour, dominion and power, to which Jesus is exalted, at the right hand of God, as the consequence and reward of the work finished by him when on earth:-and 5thly, The singular claims of Jesus on the love and obedience of all his followers.-The language used on all these subjects, I endeavoured to show, is utterly extravagant and unaccountable, on the hypothesis that our blessed Redeemer was no more than a mere human prophet, who was commissioned, like other prophets, to impart to mankind the will of God, and who sealed his testimony by his death.
In the second and third discourses on this subject, proof has been adduced from the Scriptures, that the Names, the Attributes, the Works, and the Worship, belonging exclusively to the only true God, are ascribed to Jesus Christ.
Adopting, throughout, the principle of selection, I confined myself, on the first of these heads, to the two names, GoD, and JEHOVAH.
I.-1. GOD.-John i. 1. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God:"John i. 14. "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the onlybegotten of the Father) full of grace and truth:" compared with Isaiah ix. 6. "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and his name shall be called-the mighty God:"Rom. ix. 5. "Of whom, as concerning the flesh, the Christ came, who is over all, God, blessed for ever:"-Heb. i. 8. "But unto the Son he saith, thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever!"-2 Peter i. 1. "Who have obtained like precious faith with us, through the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ;" a reading justified by the established principles of Greek syntax, and by the precise parallelism of the expression in the 10th verse of the same chapter,—" An entrance shall be ministered to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ:" -Titus ii. 13. to which the same general principles of syntax most clearly and decidedly apply; "Looking for that blessed hope, even the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ."-To these passages, a number of others might have been added.
2. JEHOVAH.-This is the incommunicable name of the true God, the God of Israel.-He calls it "My name Jehovah," Exod. vi. 3. and the Psalmist says, "That men may know, that thou, whose name alone is Jehovah, art the Most High over all the earth," Psalm lxxxiii. 18.-It is given to Jesus in the following passages.—Luke i. 16, 17. "And many of the children of Israel shall he (John the Baptist) turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias-to make ready a people prepared for the Lord:" compared with Isaiah xl. 3. "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of Jehovah, make straight in