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had been speaking should be accomplished. But to this interpretation it is objected, that it would make the answer of Christ to his disciples quite equivocal, and of course altogether unworthy of him. It will be remembered however, that when he and the disciples who are spoken of, arrived at Emmaus, it is said, he made as though he would have gone farther; and it will be remembered also, that John answered negatively to those who inquired of him whether he was Elias, though he certainly was the person promised as the forerunner of Christ under the name of that prophet.
But if we adopt an opinion for which we may plead the human authority inferior perhaps to none, the difficulty attending this passage vanishes at once. As the Son is mentioned between the angels and the Father, it is thought that what is said of him could not apply to him as the Son of man, because as a mere man, he must be inferior to the angels, and therefore would not have been mentioned after them, but must regard him as the Son of the Father; as in his divine nature. Accordingly, the meaning is, not that the Son himself, did not know the day, and hour, in which the events described would take place, but, that it did not belong to him to make known to others more upon the subject than might be gathered from the circumstances. That this opinion puts no strain upon the passage is evident from this, that the same Greek word is used in this place, that St. Paul uses where he says to the Corinthians, I determined not to know any thing among you save Jesus Christ and him crucified. Every one is sensible, that the Apostle could not divest himself of the knowledge which he had upon subjects in general, and that his intention was only, that he should confine his preaching to what he considered to be of principal importance, Christ and the atonement made for sin by his death.
Whether therefore, we think with some persons that Christ was discoursing with his disciples only concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, or with others, that he connected the solemn scenes of the last judgment, with the typical scenes of Jerusalem's ruin, it is quite consistent with other declarations for him to say, that no man, nor
angel, nor even he himself, knew, that is was commissioned to make known, the time with so much particularity as to name the day, and hour.
Almighty power is clearly an attribute of God, and possessed, and exercised by Christ. The cure of diseases; the stilling of the winds; the casting out of devils; the feeding of multitudes upon the food created for the purpose; and the raising of the dead; are miracles, for the performance of which, no limited ability is sufficient, such miracles, we know, are recorded among the things which make up the history of the life of Christ. If the miracles of Moses compelled the magicians of Egypt to cry out, This is the finger of God, must we not be more stupid, and hard of heart, than these idolatrous jugglers, if we are not sensible of the finger of God in the miracles of Christ?
Divine power is visible in the miracles of Moses as well as in those of Christ; and therefore, we cannot argue, that Christ had Almighty power, merely, from this, that he wrought miracles, but when the circumstances are taken into consideration, particularly the manner in which they were wrought, the case appears to be clear. But whether any power exists in the universe which is not possessed by Christ, cannot be doubted by any one who believes, that he created all things, and, that by him all things consist. All the manifestations of power which are possible, are surely to be seen in creation, and preservation.
Immutability is an attribute of God. He says by Malachi, I am the Lord; I change not. But is not Jesus Christ said to be, The same, yesterday, to-day and forever? Of course he has an unchangeable nature, though as a man, he increased in wisdom, and stature, and in favor with God and man. Creatures of every rank, change, in a variety of ways, and must be every moment changing, while to God alone it belongs to continue the same.
It must be clear to every one that the rewards of the righteous will be bestowed upon them by God, and with reference to the service which he will condescend to own as rendered to himself. This was undoubtedly very clear to St. Paul, and he did not mean to contradict it when he wrote to the Colossians, Of the Lord ye shall receive the
reward of the inheritance, for ye serve the Lord Christ. The reward of the inheritance is all that the righteous can expect; and as this reward stands here connected with the service of Christ, this service must be the work of faith and the labor of love, or the whole business of the christian life. If the Apostle's declaration means any thing, it means every thing in relation to this point.
It is the prerogative of God to forgive sins; and we know that the Jews were exasperated at Jesus Christ for claiming, and exercising this right. This was what the scribes said in their hearts, when Christ healed one sick of the palsy. Why doth this man thus speak blasphemy; who can forgive sins but God only?
Though by worship is sometimes to be understood nothing more than a manifestation of great respect, it can hardly be thought that this is all which is intended, in every instance in which it is said, Christ was worshipped. When he appeared in ancient times as the angel of the Lord, he was worshipped in the sacrifices which were offered to him. No one can doubt whether he ought to be worshipped who attends to what took place in the particular instances of Gideon and Manoah; or who attends to the several accounts which we have in the gospel history, and in other parts of the scriptures.
But some persons; and some very respectable too for general information, undertake to assert that Jesus Christ twice forbade John to worship him, when he appeared to him in the Isle of Patmos. The matter deserves attention, and requires all the light, that can be thrown upon it. No one will deny, that the angel spoken of in the nineteenth and twenty-second chapters, of the book of Revelations, said to John, when he fell at his feet to worship him, See thou do it not. Prove this angel to be Jesus Christ, and you prove Jesus Christ not to be the proper object of worship. But how does this matter appear, when all things relating to it are taken into consideration? All the angels of God are commanded to worship the First begotten, who is Jesus Christ. When we are told that nothing more is intended by this passage than, that all the prophets are required to pay respect to this greater prophet, we feel sorry,
that a person undertaking to say any thing by way of interpretation, should be able to say nothing more to the purpose. If an angel means a messenger, and of course, may mean a prophet, surely the expression, all the angels, must include those invisible messengers whose residence has always been in heaven.
If any one is at a loss to determine whether Jesus Christ is worthy of worship, let him attend to the testimony of St. Stephen; or let him hear what the ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands say, in regard to this matter, in the fifth chapter of the Revelations.
Since a created angel is spoken of, in more than one place in this book, as interpreting things to St. John, it is but reasonable to conclude, that it was before such an angel that the Apostle, transported by the scenes exhibited to him, and not knowing what he did, as had been the case before with him, when he was sore afraid upon the mount of transfiguration, fell down in an attitude of worship. It is acknowledged that no formal notice is given of the appearance of Jesus Christ after the angel refuses to be worshipped; and from this circumstance some have concluded Jesus Christ and the angel to be the same; but this conclusion is inadmissable, for instead of reconciling scripture with scripture, it produces a contradiction, very apparent, and goes to the destruction of the whole.
Whoever has carefully read the book of Psalms must be sensible, that the Redeemer speaks in many instances, and the inspired writers also in the same Psalm, while we are left to determine what was said by the one, and what by the other, without any thing to guide us more than we have in this case in the Revelations. Let the fortieth psalm be examined, and it will be found that though much of it is applicable to David, some of it belongs to David's Lord, and is quoted and applied to him by St. Paul in his tenth chapter to the Hebrews. There is no more reason to think that the angel who speaks in the ninth verse of the last chapter of the Revelations, speaks also in the twelfth and thirteenth verses of the same chapter, than there is to think, that he who says in the sixteenth psalin, Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see
corruption, says the other things which stand in connection with this declaration. That worship therefore which if rendered to any one but God, would be idolatry, is rendered to Christ, and thus it is made evident, that it belongs to him. Independence distinguishes God from all other beings. This attribute however, can not be claimed in stronger terms than those which are used by Jesus Christ concerning himself. He denied that any man, or any one, as it is in the original, took his life from him, and asserted his own power to lay it down, and to take it up again. When he wrought miracles he invoked no higher being; he made mention of no higher authority; but expressed his will, and that was enough, to cure diseases, and to raise the dead.
There are however persons who acknowledge, that Christ existed before the world was, and that he possessed every divine attribute, who yet deny his deity, and maintain, that he acted only by delegation. But such an opinion seems to have nothing to support it. If we admit this opinion, we must maintain, that the incarnation of Christ was not his state of humiliation, though it is so represented in the scriptures; but, that great glory was put upon him when he appeared here in the flesh. God, it may be added, declares, that he will not give his glory to another. We can think of no glory belonging to God, which is not ascribed to Christ. If this is not the glory of Christ himself, has not God given his glory to another, contrary to his own declaration, made, and repeated? If we suppose Christ to be God as well as man, our way is clear of difficulties; but upon any other supposition, the scriptures abound in language which we cannot understand. To positive declarations, to be found in the word of God we may add, that so far as we are capable of judging, it is utterly impossible for infinite attributes to be communicated, or to be possessed by two beings, strictly, and altogether distinct. Among all opinions can there be one attended with more difficulties than this, that a creature dependant for his very existence, with all that appertains to him, can be made independent, as he must be to whom no limits can be set, over whom no control can be exercised? Those who oppose the doctrine of three persons in one God offer as their reason that they believe in one God;