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walk. But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power (ovríav authority) on earth to forgive sins (then saith he to the sick of the palsy) arise, take up thy bed, and go into thine house." From this account, it is inferred by some that the forgiving of the sins of the paralytic man was nothing more than the removing of his disorder; and that the power Christ exercised on this occasion, did not belong to his nature; but it was given him. In answer to this, let it be observed, that the cures, which Christ wrought upon invalids, appear to have been generally accompanied, or followed by a spiritual cure upon the subject. Admitting this to be fact, it would be generally of the same import, whether Christ said to an impotent person, thy sins be forgiven thee, or to say, arise and walk. Besides, Christ sometimes declared forgiveness of sins, when no bodily disease existed in the object; at least, when no bodily disease was named. Ã certain woman, who was a sinner, went to Christ; washed his feet with tears; and wiped them with her hair. She kissed his feet and anointed them. Christ said unto her, "Thy sins are forgiven. Thy faith hath saved thee." This is not a solitary case of forgiveness for sin through faith in Christ. Pardon of sin through faith in the Lord Jesus is a prominent doctrine of the New Testament. When Jesus met Saul of Tarsus on his journey to Damascus, he commissioned him to be a minister to the Gentiles, "that they may receive forgiveness of sins and inheritance among them, which are sanctified by faith that is in me." It would seem strange that faith in Christ should be a condition of forgiveness, if he had not power in himself to forgive. It is the office of Christ to pronounce sentence upon the human race in the day of judgment; as it is his prerogative to give reward to the righteous, it appears rational that he should forgive their sins. There is no intimation given that he depends on foreign power for assistance in performing the duties of this high and important office. When he forgave sins here upon earth, he spoke not the language of dependence. When he awards retribution to the human race at the great last day, he is represented a King, speaking the language, not of borrowed power, but the language of divine sovereignty.
DIVINE HONORS ASCRIBED TO JESUS CHRIST.
"THAT all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father," John 5:23. Christ has performed and will perform works, which require almighty power. Divine titles, even the highest, are given to him. He possesses divine attributes. He exercises divine authority. These things are revealed. These are articles of belief. These produce a practical effect. These demand divine honors. The sacred scriptures ascribe the same kind of honor to the Son, which they ascribe to the Father, i. e. divine honor. It is of importance to form correct ideas of all the doctrines of the scriptures. But it is peculiarly important to form correct ideas of those doctrines, which directly affect the practice. It is of the first importance to render supreme honor to whom it is due, and to avoid idolatry.
The sacred scriptures are a safe and sure guide on this subject. They ascribe divine honors to the Son, in connexion with the Father. Christ's commission to his apostles, when he sent them to evangelize the world was, "Go ye and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Whether this text signifies that the apostles, in administering the ordinance of baptism, acted in the name, and under the authority, of the sacred Three; or whether it signifies that by this rite they initiated persons into Christianity; and united them to Christ's visible kingdom, it has the same bear
ing upon the subject under consideration. In either case, it connects the Son with the Father, and gives to each the same authority and honor. If it is divine honor to the Father to have control over ministering servants, and to have persons formally introduced into his kingdom, the same acts give the same honor to Christ.
The Son of God, speaking of his power and authority to raise the dead, and judge the world, draws this conclusion, "they should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father." As these works require divine perfections, it is a just and natural inference that they should give him divine honor.
Paul in his salutations to the churches, repeatedly says, "Grace to you and peace from God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ." If divine honor is due to the Father for giving grace and peace to the world, the same honor is due to Christ; for they come from him no less than from the Father. God has given to Christ a name, "which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus, every 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." To bow the knee to Jesus, signifies to worship him. That the knee of every thing in heaven, in earth, and under the earth, should bow to him, implies the universality of his worship. To confess Jesus Christ to be Lord, is to acknowledge his sovereignty; and this acknowledgment will be to the glory of God the Father. This acknowledgment would not be to his glory, if his Son were not divine. But a confession of his Son's divinity, implies the divinity of the Father. In the book of the Revelation of St. John, it is written, "And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, blessing and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him, that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever. I
beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, salvation to our God, which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb." In one of these texts, all creatures are brought to view, giving divine honors to him that sat upon the throne; and giving equal honors to the Lamb. In another of these texts an innumerable multitude of saints, ascribed the same glory to Christ, which they ascribed to the Father. Divine honor, or worship, was given to Christ, without naming the Father. By the Psalmist it was predicted of Christ, "blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord." This ascription of honor was actually made to him by the multitude, who went before and followed him, when he was riding up to Jerusalem.
When it was known abroad that Jesus was born, wise men came from the East to do him honor. Their design of going, was to worship him, See Matt. 2:2. When they saw him, they fell down and worshipped him. At a time when Christ was on his way to Jerusalem, "The whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice, saying, blessed be the King, that cometh in the name of the Lord, peace in heaven, and glory in the highest." Their praising God consisted in giving blessing to the King, i. e. Christ; and they gave him glory in the highest. When the Pharisees called upon him to rebuke his disciples for giving him this divine homage, he replied, "If these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out." Christ could not have expressed his approbation of their homage, nor his claim to divine honor, in stronger language. One of the malefactors, who was crucified with Jesus, addressed him by prayer, "Lord, remember me, when thou comest into thy kingdom." Christ approved and answered his petition. When Christ was about to
leave the world and ascend to the Father, he blessed his disciples. "And it came to pass while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him."
When Stephen was stoned he offered up a petition, "saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." This was a prayer addressed to Christ; and it was addressed to him, when he saw him on the right hand of God. He continued his petition to his Lord and said, "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.'
The primitive Christians called upon the name of Christ; which was an act of prayer or worship. When the Lord commanded Ananias to go and heal Saul of his blindness, he replied, "I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem; and here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all, that call on thy name." When Paul began to preach, his hearers inquired, saying, "Is not this he that destroyed them, which called on this name in Jerusalem?" "Be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling upon the name of the Lord. The same Lord is rich unto all that call upon him." Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. When he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, let all the angels of God worship him. St. John heard many of the inhabitants of heaven, "saying with a loud voice, worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing."
The pagans reproached the primitive Christians for giving divine honors to Christ. "Pliny, a Roman proconsul celebrated for his works, giving an account to the emperior Trajan of their morals and doctrine, after being forced to confess that the Christians were pious, innocent and upright men, and that they assembled before the rising of the sun, not to concert the commission of crimes, or to disturb the peace of the empire, but to live in piety and righteousness, to detest frauds, adulteries, and even the coveting of wealth of