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I shall now proceed to consider the three following heads of Discourse, originally proposed; viz.
II. That the Deity of Christ is the only ground of consistency in the scheme of redemption.
III. That the Jews, according to the opposite doctrine, are unjustly charged with guilt in putting Christ to death.
· IV. That the prophets and apostles, according to the same doctrine, cannot be vindicated from the sin of leading mankind into idolatry.
The last argument then proposed, I shall omit to examine, until I have considered the Divinity of the Holy Spirit; and shall now proceed to the consideration of the
II. That the Deity of Christ is the only ground of consistency in the scheme of redemption.
The truth of this assertion I shall attempt to evince by showing, that the Deity of Christ is the only ground of consistency in the things spoken of him, as the light of the world; the Saviour of the world; and, the propitiation for sin.
1. As the light of the world.
Christ is exhibited in the Scriptures as the light of the world, in two respects :
(1.) As revealing the will of God to mankind; and, (2.) As communicating spiritual or divine light to the soul.
In both respects the things said of Christ in the Scriptures. as 'the Light of the world,' are consistent only on the supposition that Christ is the true God. That the Scriptures are the word of Jehovah will not be questioned by any man who believos in a Revelation, since they are called by this title, and by others equivalent to it, in hundreds of instances, from GeDesis to the Revelation of St. John. But the Scriptures are expressly declared to be the word of Christ : • Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs. In this passage the Old Testament is in so many terms declared to be the word of Christ. The Gospel, every man knows, is appropriately entitled The Gospel of Christ.
St. Mark prefaces his account of the Gospel with these words: “ The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God.'
St. Paul informs us, that he received the Gospel immediately by revelation from Christ; and accordingly he everywhere styles it the Gospel of Christ. The greatness of the authority which it derived from this source he teaches us in the strongest manner, when he says, Though we, or an angel from Heaven, or any one whatever, preach another Gospel, let him be accursed,' Galatians i. 8, 9. This Gospel, he also says, is Christ the power and wisdom of God unto salvation.'
St. Peter teaches the same truth, in a manner equally forcible, when he says, of which salvation the prophets have inquired, searching what and what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify.' Here the Spirit which inspired the prophets, is styled · tho Spirit of Christ;' and this Spirit, the same Apostle says, is the Holy Ghost.'
For prophecy,' saith he, came not in old time by the will of man ; ' 'but holy meu of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.' The Old Testament, therefore, was revealed to the prophets by the Spirit of Christ.
Concerning the New, Christ himself teaches us the same doctrine, in the same decisive manner. Howbeit, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come; he will guide you into all truth; --for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak. He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. He shall teach you all things, and shall bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.'
All things, therefore, which Christ had said to the apostles, the Spirit of Truth brought to their remembrance. He taught them all things, and guided them into all the Truth. Yet he spake not of himself, but that which he heard, which he received from Christ, and that only, he declared unto them. The Gospel therefore is originally and only derived from Christ. Yet it is repeatedly styled by St. Paul,' the Gospel of God.'
This Character of the revealer of the will of God, St. John declares repeatedly in the introduction of his Gospel. After having declared, that the Word was in the beginning,' or eternal; 'was God;' and was co-eternal with God;' and that all things were made by him ;' he goes on to say,• In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light
shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.' He then införms us that John the Baptist came to bear witness of the light:' that he was not that light: but was sent to bear witness of that light:' Then he adds, “That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.' To all this he adds farther the testimony of John the Baptist, the very witness which he bore concerning Christ as the light.
No one,' said this harbinger of the Redeemer, who was sent for the very purpose of declaring his true character, .No one hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son of God, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. To declare the character and designs of God is plainly impossible, unless for him who knows these things intuitively, or for him to whom God is pleased to make theni known. But no other person beside the Son and the Spirit knows the things of God intuitively. This we know certainly without inspiration; but the Scriptures have determined the point, if it were otherwise uncertain. No one,' saith our Saviour, knoweth the Father but the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.' The things of God,' saith St. Paul, knoweth no one, but the Spirit of God: and the Spirit searcheth all things, even the deep things of God.' From all these passages it is, I apprehend, certain, that Christ is the sole author of Revelation; and that the Spirit has not, as the Spirit of inspiration, spoken of himself, but has received from Christ his mind, or pleasure, and declared it to the men whom he inspired. Accordingly, St. Paul says, speaking of his own inspiration, and that of the other Apostles,' We have the mind of Christ.' It is therefore true to this day, that ‘no one knoweth the Father but the Son, and those to whom the Son hath revealed him. This knowledge thus revealed, was not revealed to Christ, but was possessed by him, because he dwells in the bosom of the Father, and has dwelt there from eternity, ‘being daily his delight, and rejoicing alway before him.'
Should it be objected, that mankind know something of God by their reason, independently of Revelation, and therefore possess a knowledge of God which is not derived from Christ : I answer, that with some qualifications I admit the premises, but deny the consequence. The very reason of man was formed by Christ, as was man himself; as were also all those
materials from which reason derives whatever knowledge of this nature it possesses. It has, I trust, been proved beyond reasonable debate, that Christ created, preserves, and governs all things, and therefore is the author of those works of creation and providence whence reason obtains all its knowledge of this subject. Of course in this sense also, Christ is the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world.' Thus all the knowledge which exists of God is derived from Christ; and since he is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever ;' and · dwells in the bosom of the Father :' this knowledge was his originally, intuitively, and eternally. I need not say, that these things cannot be true of any mind but the omniscient.
(2.) Christ is the author of spiritual light to mankind.
The communication of spiritual light is spoken of in the Scriptures as a work peculiar to God. 2 Cor. iv. 6.
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined into our hearts, to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face (or person) of Jesus Christ.' John vi. 45. . And they shall all be taught of God.' And thus in many other places. But this office is also ascribed to Christ. Simeon
Luke i. 30. • For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people: A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. • In him,' says St. John,' was life, and the life was the light of 'men.' I,' said our Saviour, John viï. 12. • am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.' Isaiah xlix. 6. quoted Acts xii. 47. “I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation to the ends of the earth.' In all these passages it is manifest that spiritual or divine light is the light spoken of, and that it resides in Christ, as its source, and is by him communicated to mankind. All this also is completely expressed by the prophet Malachi in a word; when he calls Christ the sun of righteousness ;' the orb, in which righteousness is originally inherent; in which it dwells, and from which it emanates to mankind. In the same manner it is said by David, “the Lord God is a sun.'
2. The things spoken of Christ as the Saviour of the world, are consistent only on the supposition that he is the true God.
Psalm 1x. 16. •I Jehovah am thy Saviour.' Hosea xiii. 4. 'I am Jehovah thy God; thou shalt know no God but me ; for there is no Saviour beside me.' Isaiah xliii. 11. •I even I am Jehovah ; and beside me there is no Saviour ;' and thus in various other places in the Old Testament.
The same thing is often declared in the New Testament. 1 Tim. i. 1. The commandment of God our Saviour :' and Titus ü. 10. • adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour.'
Yet in the same absolute sense Christ is declared to be the Saviour of mankind. · Who is this,' saith the prophet Isaiah, • that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah; this, that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I saith Christ' that speak in righteousness; mighty to save.' John iv. 42. this is the Christ, the Saviour of the world.' Acts iv. 12. St. Peter, speaking of Christ, saith, · Neither is there salvation in,' or by means of, * any other; for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.' And thus in very many other places. The importance of the work of saving mankind, and the glory derived from it to the divine character, are strongly exhibited by God in Isaiah lxv. 17 18. •For behold I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered nor come into mind; But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create ; for Behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.' In this passage it is evident, that the new creation is, in the view of God, so much more glorious than the original one, that, compared with it, the original creation shall not be remembered. But the new creation is no other than creating Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy ;' that is, renovating the souls of mankind, and thus making them holy, lovely, a rejoicing, or foundation of joy, in the sight of God. This work then is, in the sight of God, a far more glorious work than the formation of the heavens and the earth. Such also it is in the eye of reason. One mind is of more importance than any number of worlds, inanimate and unconscious. The renovation of one mind to righteousness, and its reinstatement in the divine favour, is the production of eternal and by us incomprehensible worth and enjoyment in that mind. This work repeated in 'a multitude of minds which no man can uumber,' is the work which is styled the new creation. How immensely more