Page images

without measure, and without termination! Shall we say then, as we are invited to do by this writer, that the Almighty, omniscient, and infinite, author of all, cannot qualify a finite being, one of the human race in an exalted and glorified state, and endued with enlarged faculties and powers, to judge a finite, and inconceivably small, proportion of the inhabitants of this diminutive speck, which is in itself an inconceivably small proportion of his immense dominions? The learned writer's statement, that if we do not consider a being invested with this power to be infinite, we cannot prove the Deity to be so, is any thing but correct for in the one case we can see no bounds, no limits, no superior; in the other, all is delegated, limited, inferior, and finite. This seems to be a most extraordinary specimen of logic, which, however it may for a moment have misled the learned writer, is not at all likely, I should conceive, to be adopted as legitimate, by any impartial, and attentive, reader.

Having shewn, as it appears to me, satisfactorily, that there is nothing absurd, or impossible, or improbable, in the position, that God will, as he has declared, judge all mankind by the man whom he hath ordained for that purpose, supposing him to be nothing more, than a highly-glorified individual of the human race, endued with supereminent knowledge and power, conferred upon him by the Almighty Sovereign and Lord of all, to qualify him for the impor

Mr. Wardlaw.

tant office to which he is destined,-even upon the supposition that he is to exercise it alone,-I should, if I had an opportunity, ask the learned writer whether, after all, he is certain, that our blessed Lord, though appearing in the character of supreme judge upon this great occasion, may not be assisted by others acting by his direction, and under his superintendance, and control, all of them eminently qualified for the sitúations they are to fill, and enabled, by the communication of power from on high, to exercise their respective offices with every requisite degree of information and ability? May he not be aided by hundreds, perhaps by thousands, possibly by millions, acting in this manner under him, to accomplish the mighty work? We have it in his own words, that his apostles shall hereafter sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Matt. xix. 28. We are informed also by the apostle Paul, 1 Cor. vi. 2, that the saints shall judge the world: and though the learned writer in question can scarcely think it possible, that our blessed Lord, unless he is infinite, can judge ordinary men, the same apostle asks his Corinthian disciples, whether they do not know, that they shall judge angels; (Ib. ver. 3.) meaning, perhaps, some of the messengers of God, who lived under the ancient dispensation. May not this be one of the reasons, why the dead in Christ are to rise first,-that a competent number of them, having been previously judged themselves by our Lord, may be qualified and appointed to act under him, in judging the world at large? and after this awful and stupendous task shall have been fully accomplished, may not our blessed Lord,


approving of all that has been done, proceed to make the final separation between the righteous and the wicked; and after having placed the former at his right hand, and the latter at his left, acting in the high character of supreme, and universal judge, to which his father has elevated him, pronounce the general and irrevocable sentence, saying unto the righteous, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom which was prepared for you from the foundation of the world ;" and to the wicked, "Depart from me, ye accursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels* ?"

The learned writer says that this text (Matthew xxiv. 36) is a solitary text: but its being solitary (if it were so) would not destroy its force, when we consider upon what high authority it stands; that it is uncontradicted and undisputed; and that its words are as express, and clear, as any in the sacred writings: but in negativing the omniscience of our blessed Lord, and of the Holy Ghost considered as a person, it is only

* The Author trusts that he shall not be thought to entertain such unworthy notions of the character and attributes of that transcendently glorious and infinitely merciful and gracious being, who is love itself, the Father of all mercies, and God of all consolation, whose anger endureth but for a moment, and whose loving kindnesses and tender mercies are over all his works, as to have intended, by irrevocable sentence, any thing more, than a sentence, which being once pronounced, will certainly be carried into effect: or that by the everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels, he understands punishment, which is, in the strict modern sense of the word, to be eternal, and never to have an end. He considers all punishment to be remedial, and therefore believes that, however long, and however intense, and dreadful, it may be, it will, when it shall have accomplished its purpose, cease. He knows that the word rendered everlasting, is in scripture frequently employed to denote spaces of very long, and indefinite duration, some of which have actually ended, and others we are informed will also arrive at their respective terminations, at some distant, though unknown periods.....

solitary, as furnishing this particular proof of it, which is not given elsewhere: but the learned writer ought to recollect, that the omniscience of both is in effect equally negatived; and upon the same authority, in John xvii. 3, where our Lord, in conformity with his previous language in the tenth chapter of the same evangelist, (shewing that he did not claim to be God at all, but only the Son of God,) says, in his prayer to the Father for his disciples, "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent:" thereby expressly affirming the Father, and the Father only, to be the true God, and excluding both himself, and the Holy Ghost, from any participation in the Godhead; which, as omniscience, as well as omnipotence, and omnipresence, are essential attributes of true Deity, and of true Deity only, negatives the possession of omniscience, omnipotence, or omnipresence, by either of them. I have no conception, my dear Sir, how it is possible, in the face of this text, that your opinion, that our Lord claims true Deity, can be maintained for a moment. To this may be added, if necessary, another text equally conclusive, which, if any one should say, that it does not rest upon the same authority, must be allowed by all, to rank the very next in order to it, and to be at all events infinitely superior to that of all the fathers, councils, and synods, put together: I mean, 1 Cor. viii. 4-6, where the apostle Paul says, "We know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one'; for though there be that are called gods, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) but unto 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 in him." Here the apostle declares to us, that there is but one God, and informs us who he is; namely, the Father; and that there is but one Lord, or master; and also informs us who he is, namely, Christ; excluding from the Godhead, (as he our Lord and master had himself done,) both Christ, and the Holy Ghost; and affirming, that the Father was that one God; which is exactly the same as saying in the words of our blessed Lord, that the Father was the only God, or the only true God; which is the same thing. Now if the Father be the only true God, as our Lord declares; if there is but one God, and that one God is the Father, as the apostle Paul declares, it follows as clearly as if written with a sun-beam, that neither our blessed Lord, nor the Holy Spirit, (that is, the Trinitarian Holy Spirit considered as a distinct person,) can be God; and that neither the one, nor the other, can be possessed of omnipotence, omniscience, or omnipresence, which are the essential attributes of God, and of God only.

[ocr errors]

It is of the greatest consequence to remark likewise in this place, that neither our Lord, in either of the texts quoted from St. John, nor the apostle Paul, in that quoted from the first epistle to the Corinthians, .can possibly be practising the double dealing, which has been so unjustly imputed to the former, of speaking of himself generally, as an entire person, and yet, without any notice or intimation of it to his hearers, saying, what he knew was only applicable to one of his two supposed natures; for the language used in all three of these passages would as effectually exclude his

« PreviousContinue »