« ПредишнаНапред »
(said Gabriel to Mary) over the house of Jacob, for ever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end. The throne of God and the Lamb is, as we are informed by St. John, the throne of eternal dominion in the Heavens ; out of which, proceeds the river of the water of life, or the endless felicity and glory of all the happy inhabitants. To God and the Lamb also are equally addressed, those sublime ascriptions of praise, which constitute the peculiar and everlasting worship of saints and angels. In this superior sense, therefore, the kingdom of Christ will literally endure for ever.
It ought here to be added, that the same Apostle, who here says, that the Father put all things under Christ, informs us in the same paragraph, that Christ himself put all things under his feet: and, elsewhere, that Christ is able to subdue all things unto himself, and that he is head over all things. Phil. Eph. i. How plain is it, that He, who is able to subdue all things unto Himself, is able to do any thing! that He, who puts all things under his own feet, does it by his own agency; and that He who is now head over all things, is of course qualified to be head over all things for ever!
DIVINITY OF CHRIST.-OBJECTIONS TO THE DOCTRINE OF UNITA
1 CORINTHIANS iii. 20.— The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are
In the preceding discourse from these words, after observing, that the reasonings of mankind, when employed in devising and establishing a scheme of Theology, or attempting to amend that, which is taught by God, are vain ; I mentioned, that in my own view, the Arians and Socinians, were fairly included within this
claration of Scripture. For this assertion I considered myself bound to give my reasons, and proposed to do it under two heads :
I. Answers, to their Objections against the doctrine of the Trini
II. Objections to the Doctrines, which they hold concerning Christ; and their Conduct in the management of the controversy. The former of these was the subject of the preceding discourse; the first part of the latter shall furnish the materials of the present.
To the Doctrines of the Unitarians, I make the following objections :
1st. The Arians hold, that Christ is a super-angelic being, so much greater than all other creatures, as to be styled a God; and to perform the various divine offices, ascribed to him in the Scriptures by delegaied power and authorily.
To my own mind, this doctrine is utterly inconsistent both with the Scriptures and Reason.
The only argument, which, so far as I know, is derived directly from the Scriptures to support this opinion, is, that Angels are sometimes called Aleim, and that Magistrates have once this name given to them. That neither of these facts will warrant the doctrine in question will, I trust, be evident from the following reasons.
1st. Angels and Magistrates are called by this name only in the aggregate, gods; no Angel, or Magistrate, being ever called God. It is well known to my audience, that the same name is also given to the Idols of the Heathen; to animals, vegetables, the souls of departed men, or demons; and to all the other objects of Heathen worship. The term, Gods, is here evidently used in a figurative sense ; natural and obvious, because the beings, to whom it is applied, sustained, or were supposed to sustain, some attribute, or character, resembling those, which belong to the true God. Thus God says to Moses, (Exodus vii. 1) See; I have made thee a God to Pharaoh: that is, “I have given thee authority over him, and armed
thee with power to control, and punish him.” In the same manner Magistrates are called Lords, and Kings, because they rule with subordinate power and authority.
But the term, God, in the absolute, is never given to any created being, unless Christ can be proved to be a creature: a thing which, it is apprehended, cannot be done. To Him, however, it is applied, in many instances, without any qualification; or any notice whatever, that it is not applied in the highest sense. At the same time, it is, when applied to him, connected with other objects, attributable only to the Deity. Thus in Romans ix. 5, when Christ is said by the Apostle to be God, He is also said to be over all things, and blessed for ever. Thus, when St. John informs us, that the Word was God, he informs us, also, that the Word was in the beginning, or eternal; was in the beginning with God, or co-eternal with God; and that all things were made by him, or that he was the Creator of all things. The attribution, therefore, of these things to Christ, when he is called God, (viz.) that he exists from eternity; is co-eternal with God, or the Father; and is the Creator and Ruler of all things; marks in the most definite, as well as decisive, manner, the meaning of the word God, when applied to him; and proves that it is applied in the highest sense. Nothing, parallel to this, or distantly resembling it, is found in any application of this term, to any other being, except God.
2dly. Christ is called by all the other Names of God, except one ; (viz.) the Father.
It has been shown in a former discourse, that Christ is called the true God, the great God, the mighty God, Jehovah, &c. The application of these names to Christ is clear evidence, that, when he is called God, this application is given to him, in the same sense in which it is given to the Father; to whom, and the Holy Spirit, exclusively, these other names are also given.
3dly. The Attributes and Actions, universally, of God, are ascribed to Christ. It is plain then, that the Scriptures, which give this name to Christ, connect with it all the other appellations, together with all the Attributes and Actions, which make up the Scriptural character of God.
In all these respects, the application of the term Gods to Angels and Magistrates differs totally, and I apprehend infinitely, from that of God to Christ. The application of the term Gods to Angels and Magistrates, therefore, furnishes not the least reason to believe, that Christ is called God in the sense alleged, or that Christ is a delegated God.
Having removed the only Scriptural argument, on which I suppose any serious reliance to be placed, as a proof, that Christ is a delegated God; I proceed to observe, that this scheme is utterly inconsistent, with the things which are said of him in the Scriptures. It is utterly inconsistent with the ascription to him of the Names, Attributes, and Actions, which have been just now mentioned.
Particularly it is inconsistent with the declarations, that He made all things, and that He upholds all things, by the word of His power. In the account, given us by St. John and St. Paul of the Creation of all things by Christ, both Apostles use phraseology, which, with an exactness scarcely paralleled, denotes an absolute universality. By him, says St. Paul, were all things created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers : all things were created by him, and for him. All things, says St. John, were made by him; and without him was not one thing made, which hath been made. If these two passages do not denote an absolute universality ; language cannot express it. Every possible, as well as actual, thing, is either visible or invisible. Every actual thing, which is either visible or invisible, it is here expressly said, Christ created. Without him, it is expressly said, was not one thing made, which hath been made. Unless therefore something has been created, that is neither visible nor invisible ; unless there is something existing in the creation, which has not been made; there is nothing, which was not created by Christ.
The interpretation of these passages by the Unitarians, which makes them mean no more, than, that Christ published the Gospel and constituted the Church, is a violation of common sense, and common decency. Let us try the same mode of construction with another passage, to which it must be acknowledged to be equally applicable. In the passage, quoted from St. Paul, it is said, that Christ created all things, that are in heaven, and that are in earth. This
the Unitarians say, means no more, than that Christ published the Gospel, and constituted the Church. In the first verse in Genesis, it is said, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. This, I say, and, upon their plan of construction, am certainly warranted to say it; means no more than, that in the beginning God published the Gospel and constituted the Church. Ought not any man to be deeply ashamed of the prejudice, and strongly to censure the confidence, which has led him to use such licentious freedom with language in any case; especially with words, which were taught, not by man's wisdom, but by the Holy Ghost?
Dr. Price and other Arians attempt to evade the force of these and the like passages, by introducing a distinction between forma tion and creation. In this, however, they must be acknowledged to be unhappy. The words, used by St. John, are sysvɛco, and yeyovsv ; the proper English of which is existed. Toomad, of which they are derivatives, signifies also to be born, to spring up, to be brought into being, and to be caused to ecist. No word, therefore, more comprehensive or more appropriate to the object in view, can be found either in the Greek, or, so far as I can see, in any other, language. The word used by St. Paul is extit; from xrigw; the appropriate meaning of which, as you well know, is to create. As, therefore, the act of creating all things in the most absoluté sense is, in the most express and unequivocal language, ascribed to Christ by these Apostles; by what authority or with what decency, can it be denied by any man?
The work of creating all things Christ performed by his command. All things, also, he upholds by the same word of his power. If these acts, and this manner of performing them, are not proofs of infinite power; such proofs have never existed. It is to be remarked, that the Apostle asserts directly, that Christ upholds all things by the word of his own power, wenuari sns duvanews aura. This act, therefore, is not performed by delegated power; and neither of these acts could possibly be performed by any being, except One, whose power is without limitation.
Among the numerous other things, ascribed to Christ, which are utterly inconsistent with the supposition of his being a delegated God, I shall mention only two: as the mention of more would demand a longer time, than can now be devoted to this part of the subject. The first is, that Divine worship was rendered to him by inspired persons on earth, and is also rendered to him in heaven. This, it is presumed, has been proved beyond controversy. Stephen prayed to him. Paul prayed to him: and the whole Christian Church was, at its commencement, distinguished by the appellation of those, who invoked the name of Christ in prayer. The anthems of praise in the heavens, sung by Saints and Angels, ascribe to him, both separately, and jointly with the Father, that peculiar glory and honour, which is expressive of the highest worship of the heavenly inhabitants. But Christ himself says, quoting Deut. vi. 13, and x. 20, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and him only shalt thou serve. No creature, therefore, can be lawfully worshipped; but Christ is lawfully worshipped; for he is worshipped by Apostles, Angels, and glorified Saints.
The second and last thing of this nature is, that Christ is immutable. Jesus Christ the same, yesterday, to-day, and for ever. If Christ were only the exalted creature, the super-angelic being, the delegated God, whom the Arians declare him to be, he would of all virtuous beings be the most changeable ; because, with his superior faculties and advantages, he would advance more rapidly in knowledge, and virtue, and in power also; for the increase of knowledge is in itself the increase of power. Such a being can. not possibly, therefore, be the Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. At the same time it is further to be remarked, that a wonderful instance of change is asserted of Christ, if he be this Super-angelic being, in the Scriptures themselves. St. Luke declares, that when he was twelve years old, he increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. According to the Arians, this Super-angelic being, the greatest of all created minds, brought into existence antecedently to every other creature, was united to the body of an infant, and born of the virgin Mary, and thus constituted the Person, named Jesus Christ in