Слике страница
PDF
ePub

in this manner, These things, saith the Lord God, who is and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty ;' for who is the Almighty to come, except Christ?” Origen supposed IpXoluevos to indicate the coming of Christ at the day of Judgment. Psalm xlv. 3. ·Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty. He, who is most mighty, is plainly all mighty. Matthew xxviii. 18. “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.'

The Greek word here is anoia; the most proper meaning of which is authority, controul, or dominion. But he who has the authority, controul, or dominion over all things, unquestionably possesses all power, in the original or absolute sense.

This controul was manifested by Christ in the obedience of diseases, life, and death, the elements of this world, and angels both good and evil, to his command. The manner in which he exercised his controul over all these things was, it should be remembered, the same which he used at the creation. In both cases he spake and it was done. The bread, with which he fed the two companies of four thousand and five thousand men, came into existence, just as the heavens and the earth had before done, in obedience to his mere pleasure. To the leper he said, “I will, be thou clean :' to the deaf ears, ‘Be opened :' to the blind, · Receive thy sight :' to the demons, • Come out of the man :' and to the winds and waves, · Peace, be still :' as he had before said, Let there be light;' and was in the same manner obeyed. The most proper mode, however, of exhibiting the omnipotence of Christ is to appeal to those acts by which it is peculiarly displayed. When we read John i. 3, All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made which was made ;' and Hebrews i. 2, Upholding all things by the word of his power;' we are presented with the strongest possible proof that his power is unlimited. He who created and who upholds the universe, plainly can do every thing which in its nature is possible ; and is, in the absolute sense, omnipotent.

4. Omniscience is also ascribed to Christ.

John xxi. 17. • Peter saith unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things.' To this ascription of omniscience, Christ makes no reply, and therefore admits it in its full latitude. If it had not been true, it is impossible that he should have permitted Peter to continue in so dangerous an error.

Matthew xi. 27. • All things are delivered unto me of my Father, and no one knoweth the Son but the Father ; neither knoweth any one the Father, save the Son; and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. In this passage both the omniscience and incomprehensibility of Christ are declared by himself. He who knows the Father, is 'omniscient. He who is known only by the Father, is incomprehensible.

No exercise of omniscience is more peculiarly declaratory of this perfection than 'searching the heart, and none more peculiarly challenged by God as his sole prerogative. Accordingly, 1 Kings vii. 39, Solomon, addressing himself to God in his prayer at the dedication of the temple, says, ' For thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men.' Yet, Revelation i. 23, Christ says, “And all the churches shall know, that I am be, who searcheth the reins and the hearts :' and St John, chapter ii. 23, 24, says, ' Now when he was in Jerusalem, at the passover, on the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men.' Accordingly, in Matthew ix. 4, it is said, • And Jesus, knowing their thoughts :' in Matthew xii. 25, “And Jesus knew their thoughts :' in Luke v. 22, · When Jesus perceived their thoughts :' in Luke vi. 8, · But he knew their thoughts :' in Luke ix. 47, And Jesus perceiving the thought of their heart :' and in Luke ix. 17, But he, knowing their thoughts.' In all these passages we have the most absolute proof that it is the prerogative of Christ to search the heart; and that, therefore, he is the God to whom Solomon prayed. The same truth is also declared in the fullest manner by Christ, in each of his messages to the Seven Churches, in the verses beginning with, “I know thy works, &c.' See Rev. ü. ii.

5. Omnipresence is ascribed to Christ.

Matthew xvii. 20. Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.' This fact, the gathering together of persons in the name of Christ, has, from the times of the apostles, yearly existed in many thousands of places. Yet Christ, according to his own declaration, is in the midst of all these assemblies.

Matthew xxviii. 20. · Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.' Here Christ declares, that he is with

the apostles and succeeding ministers alway, unto the end of the world. But Ministers are in a sense scattered throughout the world. With all these Christ has promised alway to be present.

Unitarians object against the interpretation of this passage, that śws ths ourtshaias to äiwvos ought to be rendered unto the end of the age. To this I answer, First, that this phrase is used three times in the Gospel of St. Matthew by Christ himself: Matthew xii. 39, 40, and 49, . The harvest is the end of the world; as therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of this world :' and again, • So shall it be at the end of the world: the angel shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just.' These, if I mistake not, are the only instances in which the phrase is used at all; and in all these, except the passage now in dispute, it certainly signifies the end of the world at the general Judgment. There is no warrant for supposing that Christ, who used it in this sense in three instances out of four, totally varied his meaning in the fourth instance, without giving any notice of such variation.

Secondly: If the interpretation contended for be admitted, the passage will still equally declare the truth alleged from it. For, if Christ was present alway with the Apostles, only to the end of the Jewish age, he is omnipresent. They preached throughout a great part of the world. being could be present with them. alway,' in these separate and distant regions, but he who filleth all things. Ephesians iv. 10.

To avoid the difficulty, which is presented to the Unitarians by this passage, Mr. Belsham, one of the most considerable Socinian writers at the present time, informs us, that Christ was with St. Paul, (and, I presume, therefore, with the other Apostles, since the promise was made personally to them,) by his bodily presence, which yet was invisible. Accordingly, Christ must be supposed to have been constantly and most rapidly flying throughout that age, from place to place, and from apostle to apostle. I cannot but blush for human nature, to see such wretched subterfuges resorted to by a man, styled a minister of the Gospel, as serious comments on the Word of God, for the sake of escaping from the plain meaning of his direct declarations, and for the sake of retaining a system

But no

palpably contradictory to those declarations. What mind does not revolt at such a debasing representation of the Redeemer? Surely this gentleman might have recollected, that St. Peter said, that the heavens must receive Christ until the times of the restitution of all things :' that St. Paul said, 'When he had purged away our sins, by himself on the cross, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high: that Christ himself said to his disciples, And now I go my way to him that sent me:' and to the Father, in his intercessory prayer, • And now I am no more in the world; but these are in the world ; and I come to thee.'

But this interpretation will not help the Unitarians over the difficulty. He could not, on this plan, be with them alway; and therefore his promise could not be fulfilled. Besides, this promise, thus understood, would be scarcely at all applicable to the purpose for which it was given ; viz. the support and consolation of those who should disciple and baptize all nations: for these, existing in every age, as well as in many countries, unto the real end of the world, need alike the blessing which is promised.

This is one of the instances in which a meaning, laboriously contrived to make the Scriptures accord with a pre-conceived system, is substituted for the obvious and true one; and

may serve as a representative of the rest.

6. Immutability is ascribed to Christ

Hebrews xii. 8. Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.'

Psalm cii. 27, &c. quoted Hebrews i. 10, &c., ' And thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the works of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou remainest : yea, all of them shall wax old as doth a garment, and as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed; but thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.' This passage is declared by St. Paul to be spoken of Christ, as I shall have occasion to show more particularly hereafter: and in both passages he is declared to possess absolute immutability. On this subject I argue in the following manner :

If Christ is unchangeable, he is so, either because his faculties are so immensely great, and his character is so perfectly good, as to be incapable of change, either by increase or

[blocks in formation]

diminution: or, if the supposition be possible, because he possesses a mind which having originally received all its ideas, is unable, by means of its singular constitution, either to lose any of those which it has received, or to receive any more ; and which, having originally possessed a certain degree of energy and moral worth, is, by its singular nature, also made incapable in both these respects of any alteration. No words are necessary to show, that every new idea makes a real change in the recipient; and that, therefore, every intelligent creature changes of necessity every day, in the manner which we actually behold.

That Christ is not unchangeable, according to the latter of these suppositions, will I suppose be admitted without a debate. For though I have made the supposition, it is, I think, clearly inconsistent with the essential nature of au intelligent being. No such being, turning his mind to the objects by which thought is excited, can possibly fail of receiving new ideas. Besides, that Christ is not in this manner unchangeable is certain, from Luke ï. 52. • And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.'. Here it is asserted, not only that he changed when twelve years of age, but so perceptibly, as to have the change distinctly marked by those around him.

Therefore, by necessary consequence, he, concerning whom this attribute is asserted, is infinitely different in nature from the infant, which was born of the Virgin Mary; and was united to that infant by a mysterious union, so as to become one person, denominated with strict propriety by the one name Jesus Christ, or the Anointed Saviour.

II. The peculiar actions of God are ascribed to Christ in the Scriptures.

On this subject I observe,
1. That the creation of all things is ascribed to Christ.

John i. 3. • By him all things were made: and without him was not even one thing made, which hath been made.'

Colossians i. 16. For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers, all things were created by him and for him."

Hebrews i. 10. quoted from Psalm cü. 25. Thou, Lord,

« ПретходнаНастави »