Page images

name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things in earth ; and that every tongue Mould confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil. ii. 8–11. Who for the joy that was set before him, endured the crafs, despising the foame, and is now sitten down at the right hand of God. Heb. xii. 2.

Our Lord says, that he and his Father are one, John X. 30, but he sufficiently explains himself, when he prays that all his disciples may be one with him, and his Father, even as they are one, John xvii. 11. and he gives them the same glory which God had given to himg ver. 22. Besides, at the very time that our Lord says, that he and his Father are one, and in the very sentence preceding it, ver. 29, he says, that his Father is greater than all. But how could the Father be greater than ah, if there was any other, who was so much one with him, as to be, in all respects, equal to


The mere term God is, indeed, sometimes used in a lower and inferior sense in the scriptures, denoting dominion only; as when the Divine Being himself fays, that he will make Moses a god to Pharaoh, Exod. vii.. In but, surely, there can be no danger of our mistaking the sense of such phrases as these ; or if it were poffible, our Lord himself has sufficiently guarded against any misconstruction of them when applied to himself, by the explanation he has given of them; inforining us, that, if, in the language of fcripture, they are called gods to whom the word of God came, John X. 35.


B 3

(though, in fact, they were no other than mere men) he could not be guilty of blasphemy in calling himfelf only the son of God. Now if Christ had been conscious to himself that he was the true and very God, and that it was of the utmost consequence to mankind that they fhould regard him in that light, this was certainly a proper time for him to have declared himfelf, and not to have put his hearers off with such an apology as this.

But even this power and dominion, to which Christ is advanced by God his Father, who gave all power into his hands, and who made him lread over all things to his church, Eph. i. 22. this mediatorial kingdom of Christ (as it is sometimes, and with sufficient propriety, termed) is not to be perpetual. For the apof tle Paul, speaking, no doubt, under immediate infpiration, expressly says, that when the end Mall comes. that God Mall have fubdued all things to his Son (in which he observes, that he must be excepted who did fubdue all things unto him) he must deliver up the kingdom to Gods even the FATHER, and be himself fubject to him who had put all things under him, that God may be all in all. Cor. XV. 24, &c. Nay, he himself fays expressly, that he had not the disposal of the highest offices of his kingdom, Matt. xx. 23. To fit on my right hand arid on my. left is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.

So clear, my brethren, so full, and so express, iš the uniform testimony of the fcriptures to the great


doctrine of the proper unity of God, and of the fubordination of Christ, and all other beings to him, that the prevalence of fo impious a doctrine, as the confrary must be, can be ascribed to nothing but to that mystery of iniquity, whichy, though it began to cuork in the times of the apostles themfelves, was not then risen to fo enormous a height as to attack the supremacy of the one living and true God, and give his pecu. biar glory to another. This, my brethren, among other shocking corruptions of genuine christianity, grew up with the fystem of popery; and to shew that nothing is impossible to the superstition and credulity of men, when they are become vain in their imaginations, after exalting a man into a god, a creature into a creator, they made a piece of bread into one also, and then bowed down to, and worfhipped, the work of their own hands.

But though it seemed fit to the unfearchable wisdom of God, that all the errors and abufes of popery fhould not be reformed at once ; and though this great error was left untouched by the first reformers, blessed be God the bible is as open to us as it was to them; and by the exertion of the fame judgment and fpirit, we may free christianity from the corruptions which they left adhering to it; and then, among other excellencies of our religion, our Lord will be one and his name one. Zech. xiv. 9.

If you ask who, then, is Jesus Christ, if he be not God; I anfwer, in the words of Peter, addressed to


the Jews, after his resurrection and ascension, that Jesus of Nazareth was a man approved c;" God by mira, cles and wonders and signs, which God did by him. Acts ii. 22. If you ask what is meant by man, in this place; I answer, that man, if the word be used with any kind of propriety, must mean the same kind of being with yourselves. I say, moreover, with the author of the epifile to the Hebrews, that it became him by whom are all things, and for whom are all things, to make this great captain of our salvation in all respects, like unto us his brethren, that he might be made perfeit through sufferings, Heb. ii. 10. 17. and that he might have a feeling of all our infirmitiesy. iv. 13. For this reason it was that our Saviour and deliverer was not made of the nature of an angel; or like any super-an, gelic being, but was of the feed of Abraham.. ij. 16. that is (exclusive of the divinity of the Father, which resided in him, and acted by him) a mere man, as other.jews, and as we ourselves also are. .

Christ being made by the immediate hand of God, and not born in the usual course of generation, is no reason for his not being considered as a man. For then Adam must not have been a man. But in the ideas of Paul, both the first and second Alam (as Christ, on this account, is sometimes called) were equally men: By man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead, 1 Cor. xv. 21. And, cere tainly, in the resurrection of a man, that is, of a perfon in all respects like ourselves, we have a more

lively hope of our own resurrection; that of Christ being both a proof and a pattern of ours. We can, therefore, more firmly believe, that because he lives, we who are the same that he was, and who shall undergo the same change by death that he did, fall live allo. John xiv, 19.

'Till this great corruption of christianity be removed, it will be in vain to preach the gospel to jews, or mahometans, or, indeed, to any people who retain the use of the reason and understanding that - God has given them. For how is it possible that.

three .persons, Father, son, and holy ghost, should be separately, each of them, poffessed of all divine perfections, so as to be true, very, and eternal God, and yet that there fhould be but one God; a truth which is so clearly and fully revealed, that it is not possible for men to refuse their affent to it; or else it would, no doubt, have been long ago expunged from our creed, as utterly irreconcileable with the more favourite doctrine of a trinky, a term which is not to be found in the scriptures. Things above our reason may, for any thing that we know to the contrary, be true ; but things expressly contrary to our reason, as that three should be one, and one three, can never appear to us to be fo.' .

With the jews, the doctrine of the divine unity is, and indeed justly, considered as the most fundamental principle of all religion, Hear; O Israel, the Lord our God is one Loris Deut. vi. 4. Mark xii. 29. TO


« PreviousContinue »