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Roman empire could be understood. In like mana ner, when all things are said to be created by Christ, or for him, and also when all things are said to be subject to him, or put under his feet, nothing can be meant but such things as can properly come under his guvernment as the Meffian, and be fubfervient to him in the conduct of it, including probably the visible powers and kingdoms of this world, and the invisible administration of angels; and therefore the. apostle, with great propriety, concludes and sums up the whole of Christ's authority, by saying that ke is the head of the body the church.
Before often fignifies before in point of rank, and pre-eminence', and not in point of time; so that when Christ is said to be before all things, the meaning is, that he is the chief, or most excellent of all. And when it is faid that in him all things confift, we are to understand that in him all things are completed, and compacted ; since the christian difpenfation is the last, and most perfect of all, compleating one great and regular scheme of revelation, continually advancing from the more imperfect to the more perfect. I would further observe that the things here said to be created by Christ are not material things, as the heaven and the earth, but things in heaven and earth, as thrones, principalities, &c. and therefore are naturally interpreted, of that power and dignity to which he is advanced, and N. 2
which is denoted by God's giving him all power in
The origin and extent of the power of Christ are also most distinctly expressed, Phil, ii. 8. ---- 11. He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross; wherefore God also hath bighly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jefus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth ; and that every
tongue frould confess that Jesus Cbrif is. Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
To the same purpose also, 1 Pet. i. 20, 21. Wha (Chrift) verily was fore-ordained before the foundation" of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory, that your faith and hope might be in God. I should think it hardly poffible to read this single passage with attention, and not see that the writer of it considered Chrift as a being distinct from God, and subordinate to: him; that all his glory was subsequent to his refurre&tion ; and also, that, though he was foreordained before the foundation of the world, he was not manifested, or brought into being, 'till these laft times, or those of the gospel.
There are some other passages in the New Testament, which are similar to those which I have quoted above, and may serve to illustrate them, John xvi. 15. All things that the Father hath are mine, xvii. 10. AN mine are thine, and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them. I Cor. viii. 6. To us there is but: one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. · That there is nothing, in any of the passages which I have now quoted, that implies any proper divinity in Christ, is sufficiently evident, even without the addition of such expressions as directly
N 3 . affert
affert the contrary; as when the apostle Paul says, that to us there is one God, even the Father; and our Saviour calls his Father the only true God. To signify that the authority of Christ is not underived, like that of God; and at the same time to inform us from whence it does proceed, the apostle says, that it pleased the Father, that in him Ahould all fullness dwell. In the very same language our Saviour speaks of his disciples, Fear not, little flock, it is the Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
V. OF THE DOCTRINE OF ATONEMENT.
The death of Christ being an event of the greatest consequence to the end of his coming into the world, and being, at the same time, the great flumbling-block both to the jews and the gentiles, who could not easily reconcile themselves to the notion of a suffering saviour, it is no wonder that the writers of the New Testament speak much of it, and represent it in a great variety of lights, and especially such as would appear the most favourable to the christian converts. In this case we naturally expect bold comparisons and allusions, espe- . cially considering how much more figurative is the style of the books of scripture, and indeed of all oriental writings, than ours. But in whatever lights the sacred writers represent the death of
Chrift, there is resemblance enough fufficiently to juftify the representation, at the same time that this event being compared to so many:hings, and things of fuch different natures, proves that the resemblance in all of them is only in certain reSpects, and that they differ considerably in others. · For example, the death of Christ is compared to a sacrifice in general, because he gave up his life in the cause of virtue and of God, and more especially, a sacrifice for fin, because his death and resurrection were necessary to the confirmation of that gospel, by which finners are brought to repentance, and thereby reconciled to God. It is called a curse, because he died in a state of sufe pension, which was by the jews appropriated to thofe persons who were considered as reprobated by God; and it is called a passover, because it may be considered as a sign of our deliverance from the power of fin, as the paffover among the jews was a sign of their deliverance from the egyptian bondage. It is also called a ransom, because we. are delivered by the gospel from fin and misery. On the same account, he is said by his death ta bear, or take away our sins, fince his gospel delivers us from the power of fin, and consequently-from the punishment due to it.
These are all bold, but fignificant figures of fpeech, the death of Christ really corresponding to them all to a certain degree, but they differ so very