« PreviousContinue »
an appellation for a mere creature to sustain. But the uncreated glory of this Angel, appears with more clearness in Exodus 23. 20, 21. There, God s ith to Moses, “Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of him, and obey his voice, and provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions; for my name is in him.” Such statements respecting his character and offices, are certainly pre-eminent marks of divine dignity. The Deity of this Angel appears with greater force of evidence, however, in Exodus, the 3d chapter. It is, with awful solemnity, stated there, “And the Angel of the Lord appeared unto Moses in a flame of fire, out of the midst of a bush ; and he looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burned. And when the Lord that is, JEHOVAH, as it is in the original-saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses : Draw not nigh hither; put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face ; for he was afraid to look upon God.” When this same Angel appeared unto Abraham, he called him “the Lord, the Judge of all the earth ;" acknowledging himself to be but dust and ashes in his presence. For an understanding of this statement, permit me to refer you to the 18th chapter of Genesis. When this Almighty Angel addressed Joshua, the commander of the armies of Israel, he styled himself the Captain of the Lord's host ; and commanded this Hebrew officer to worship him by the highest act of reverence which was then in use, viz. uncovering the feet. The account at large is recorded in the 5th chapter of Joshua. But while the supreme Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ is announced in the Scriptures which have been quoted, they sufficiently show the subordination of his office to that of the Father. Our Lord Jesus Christ asserted repeatedly, that he was sent by the Father; and that the Father, in that respect, was greater than himself. In testimony of this doctrine, citations from the Holy Scriptures might easily be multiplied. It is needless, however, to enlarge on this head ; for the thing in view is sufficiently clear. But in no other sense but that of office, is Christ, in his Divine nature, either inferior or subordinate to the Father.
2. It is necessary now to show in what sense the Lord Jesus Christ is dependent on God. It must be allowed, that in respect to his body and soul, Christ is a real man, and as dependent on the Deity, as any other created being in the universe. It is in his human nature that he was crucified; for the Divine nature could not die. Jesus our Lord, gloried in being the Son of man, as well as the Son of God. To exhibit a long list of passages in proof of this, is unnecessary to people who are in the habit of reading the Scriptures. As this is greatly labored by our Anti-Trinitarian opponents, we are fully prepared to meet them here, with our cordial assent. It would be a mournful event to us, if the humanity of Christ could not be maintained. It is distinctly stated in the epistle to the Hebrews, that “Forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death.” No mere man, can, with any propriety, be said to take “flesh and blood;" for that implies existence antecedent to the event. It appears with irresistible evidence, that each person in the Triune God, acted in giving being to the human nature of Christ. It is well
known that his conception is ascribed to the Holy Ghost; and to the Father, the Son is represented as saying, “ A body hast thou prepared me;" and we have seen that it is asserted by an apostle, that he himself “ took flesh and blood.” Thus the human nature of Christ, was evidently created by the Deity, who raised him from the dead, and will continue to support his existence through eternity. When the apostle informed the Jews, that “God had made that Jesus whom they had crucified, both Lord and Christ,” he evidently meant him, who is called “the man Christ Jesus.” In making him Lord, he laid the government of all things upon his shoulder. As man,
As man, his reign over all is manifestly derived from God. In this capacity, he is the mediator, and exercises under God, a mediatorial government; but it is at present as extensive as the universe. It is on this ground, the apostle felt himself warranted to say, “ He is Lord of all.” When he was about to ascend to heaven, he said to his disciples, “ All power in heaven and on earth, is given unto me.” Having “ poured out his soul unto death, God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow.” We are ever ready to admit, that as a man, Christ is a dependent being, and that his government in ` thạt capacity, is as dependent on God, as the human part of his person. It is on this ground St. Paul said to the saints, “Ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.” Having received his govvernment as'a mediator from the Father, he certainly exercises it in a strict dependence on the power of God; and when all its grand ends shall be accomplished, he is to resign it again into the Divine and. This doctrine is clearly illustrated in the 15th chapter of St. Paul's epistle to the Corinthians. In speaking of God, he states there, that “ He hath put all things under Christ's feet.” This
inspired writer adds likewise, “But when he saith, All things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted who did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him who did put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” In this sublime sense, “the kingdom” shall ultimately be delivered up to God; and Christ “ shall put down all rule, and all authority, and power," as a mediator between God and man. In the view of his present government, Christ saith to his faithful servants, “ He that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:-even as I received of
Father." Nothing can be more plain, therefore, than that Christ in this sense is inferior and subordinate to the Father; and as a man and a mediator, he is wholly dependent on God for his being and government. As a man and a mediator, God hath set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be head over all the things to the Church, which is his body, the fulness of him who filleth all in all.” But such a glorious exaltation, would be utterly improper for him as a man, without being one person with the Word, who was in the beginning with God, and was God.” It is by his divine power, he is able to discharge the mighty offices, with which he is clothed as a man and a Redeemer. These things cannot be accounted for on any other principle. But for the further illustration of the subject, some general remarks will be made. And,
1. From the view which has now been taken of it, we may infer, that the text under consideration furnishes no argument against the Trinitarian system. As the things
that have been mentioned, are all true in relation to the economy of redemption, and the complex Person of Jesus Christ, it must be expected that the Holy Scriptures will speak accordingly. In opposing any given scheme of theology, it is highly necessary to understand it in all its principles, bearings, and relations. If this is not the case, many things will be urged as arguments, which are wholly inapplicable to the subject in debate. If Trinitarians bea lieved in an equality of offices, as well as perfections, in the different Persons in the Godhead ; if they denied the humanity, mediatorial government, and dependence of Christ on God in all respects ; then we must acknowledge, the text which has been given to me as the theme of this discourse, would operate against them with irresistible energy. We are fully apprised, that gentlemen of Anti-Trinitarian sentiments plead, that the distinctions which have been made, are all mere art and evasion ; but we distinctly and solemnly deny the justness of the charge. If we had no such opposition to face, we should still go on in speaking of the complex Person of our glorious Redeemer, in the very same manner. It is as important for us to support these inferior views of his Person, as to vindicate his proper Deity. As he sustains our nature as well as God's, he must, like us, be subordinate and dependent. The distinctions which have been made at this time, account very fully for all the acknowledgments of inferiority to the Father, which Jesus made when he was on the earth, and for all the prayers which he addressed to his throne.
But how human nature can be united in one identical person with the Divine, we do not pretend to determine. It is a mystery, and must remain among the secret things of God, which belong to himself, and not to us. We believe the doctrine, on the authority of Him who cannot lie; readily admitting, that in this case, we have no desire