Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

promised, ver. 4, in these words : `Behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense, he will come and save you.' Our Saviour, having wrought the miracles here predicted, does not call himself God, because it was not his way to bear witness of himself, neither does he even say he was the Messiah; he only appeals to the prophecy, wherein the wonderful things he had done in the sight of the messengers were foretold, wherein his coming is promised, and wherein he is twice called God. This now is the same, in effect, as calling himself God; it is the same as saying, Let John compare what you have seen me doing with the prophecy of Isaiah, and then judge for himself whether I am not he that should come, who is expressly called God in that very prophecy.

St. John, Rev. i. 7, says, Behold, he [Christ] cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him; and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.' This is a quotation from Zech. xii. 10, where he who was pierced, and who, you see, can be no other than Christ, after being called the Lord [Jehovah], ver. 1, says, “I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace, and of supplications; and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one that mourneth for his only son.-The land shall mourn, every family apart,' &c. In this passage both the divine and human nature of Christ, together with his conferring the Holy Spirit, with his death, and with the compunction of those who slew him, are fully and clearly represented in his own words. St. Paul, in the twelfth of his Epistle to the Hebrews, having stated a comparison between the law and the gospel, and likewise noting the different manner of introducing them, comes at length to compare Christ and Moses as lawgivers; and prefers the former, as of greater authority ; quoting those remarkable words of Haggai, wherein he alludes to the shaking of Mount Sinai, at the delivery of the law, ver. 25, 26, 'See that ye refuse not him that speaketh ; for, if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall we not escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven; whose voice then shook the earth : but now he hath promised, saying,

Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.' You perceive here, that he who 'speaketh from heaven, whose voice shook the earth,' and who promises 'to shake both earth and heaven,' is Christ. Now look back to the words in Haggai himself, chap. ii. 6, and you will find Christ uttering these very words by the prophet, and calling himself the Lord of hosts : Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens and the earth.' Five times in this short speech he calls himself by the awful name of the Lord of hosts. Farther, if you compare the words of St. Paul, His voice then shook the earth,' with those of Moses, Exod. xix. 18. you will perceive the apostle speaks of Christ as that very God who gave the law on Mount Sinai.

The same apostle, in the second chapter of his Epistle to the Philippians, says, that Christ, ‘being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; yet humbled himself, and took on him the form of a servant; and in this form became obedient to death, even the death of the cross.

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.' • As I live,' saith this same Lord, Rom. xiv. 11,' every knee shall bow to me, as it is written.' Written, where? Why, Isaiah xlv. 21. 23. * There is no God else beside me. I have sworn by myself, that unto me every knee shall bow. You see, he sweareth by himself; and St. Paul gives the reason, in reference to a like instance, Heb. vi. 13. namely, because he could swear by no greater.' When St. Thomas called him · his Lord, and his God, he took what was said as his right, otherwise he would have reproved the apostle, as the angel did St. John, Rev. xix. 10, for paying him the respect that was due only to God. But, instead of this, our Saviour plainly intimates an approbation of his faith, thus confessed, and tenderly blames him for not having believed on less evidence. We all acknowledge, that the Father is God : and Christ says, 'I and the Father are one being.' Does he not, in this, call himself God? It is the first article of our faith to believe in one God only, who called himself by the peculiar name of Jehovah, which being interpreted, signifies I Am. This proper, this incommunicable, name of the one only God, Christ takes to himself, John viii. 58, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am.' How comes it to pass, that the Jews should take up stones to cast at him, for thus making himself God; and that so many of his pretended disciples should now insist he meant no such matter by it, furnishing him with an excuse, whereby, in their opinion, he might have easily refuted the imputation of this seeming blasphemy? And how came it also to pass, that Christ offered neither their excuse, nor any qualification of his own, but immediately hid himself from their fury, and went out of the temple? Our adversaries will say, the Jews did not give him time. What then! was this prophet, greater and wiser than Solomon, this searcher of hearts, who knew what was in man, so weak as deliberately to say a thing that so much needed an excuse, or qualification, to an audience, which, he ought in common prudence to have foreseen, would not give him time to make it? Let all who hear me judge whether taking liberties, like these, with Christ, and the Scriptures, tends either to the honour of Christianity, or of those who take them; and whether any book, that may be warrantably thus interpreted, is worth the reading.

Give me leave now to shew, that Christ not only took to himself the name of God, but actually averred there was no other God beside him, forbidding the worship of any other God, with the most dreadful denunciations of vengeance in case of disobedience.

Christ says, 'The Father judgeth no man, but hath given all judgment to the Son. From hence we must conclude, that what I am going to cite from the twentieth and twenty-first of the Revelation, is said entirely of the Son, or Christ; 'I saw a great white throne,' saith the evangelist, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away, and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God: and the books were opened :—and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books. And he that sat on the throne said unto me, It is done : I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. He that overcometh, shall inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.' Now it is plain, beyond all question, that he who thus appeared and spoke was the same with him, who, in the first chapter of this book, twice calls himself Alpha and Omega, and once the First and the Last, which two expressions differ not in signification. It is also as plain, that, in saying these things, he does but translate and quote what he had said of himself in Isa. xliv. 6, Thus saith the Lord, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer the Lord ofhosts, I am the First, I am the Last, and beside me there is no God;' and ver. 8, "Is there a god beside me? Yea, there is no god, I know not any. It is worth observing, that, in the same passage of Isaiah, the First and the Last saith, among other things, not pertinent to our present purpose, that he will pour water on him that is thirsty ;' and that, in the parallel passage from the Apocalypse, he saith, ‘I will give unto him that is athirst, of the fountain of the river of life freely;' which may farther serve to demonstrate the congruity of the two places. Can there be stronger terms found, throughout the languages of men, than those in which Christ here denies the being of any other god but himself.

It hath appeared in this Discourse, if you have observed it, by a passage or two taken from the New Testament, and compared with the Old, that Jesus Christ is that one God, the God of Israel, who brought the Israelites out of Egypt, led them through the Red Sea and the Wilderness, established them in the Land of Promise, spoke to them by all the prophets; and set himself forth as the only, the universal, object of divine worship. I shall now proceed to a farther proof of this great point, in order, by that means, to shew that he hath denied the being, and forbid the worship, of any other god but himself.

I have already shewn you, that our blessed Saviour took to himself that incommunicable name of God, Jehovah, John viii. 58; that the Scribes and Pharisees, who heard him, understood by this, that he had called himself the true and only God; and that he left them, the multitude, and many of his own disciples, then present, in that opinion, without in the least offering to explain or qualify what he had said. Either, then, he was what I forbear to name, or that only true God who appeared to Moses at the bush, and distinguished himself, by the peculiar name of Jehovah, from all other beings.

That this name was better fitted than any other to express the distinction mentioned, will appear to any one who knows it signifies I am, that is, Existence, or The Being; intimating, that God is the only absolute, eternal, self-existent Being ; whereas all other beings are dependent, relative, derivative, and, in comparison of him, not deserving the name of being. The Jews of old held this name in such veneration, that they durst not pronounce it; and the ancient eastern paraphrasts and translators, instead of either writing down the name itself, or rendering it by another, usually put various words for it which signified no more than the name;' as much as to say, Here should stand the dreadful name, if we durst write or translate it. The Chaldaic Paraphrast almost every where, as Galatinus testifies, set the word memar, that is the name,' in the place of it. All the other names of God, as El, Elohim, Jah, Shaddai, Adonai, they pronounced freely; from this only they abstained. And this distinction they made, because the other names were either given sometimes, by the scriptural writers, to inferior beings, or did not so peculiarly express the one infinite self-existent Being.

Now here we must recollect what was fully proved from Scripture, in the Discourse on the Unity of God, that there is but one Jehovah ; and that the one only God is that one Jehovah. It was there observed, that the proofs for this unity of Jehovah are negative and exclusive; so that the other passages, which seem to intimate two Jehovahs, but do by no means, directly or indirectly, affirm it, are to be explained by these, and not these by them. Indeed the aforesaid seeming intimation is easily accounted for by the personal distinction between the Father and the Son; inasmuch as Jehovah, signifying God, is applicable to both. By this we may understand that expression, Gen. xix. “The Lord,

' or Jehovah, rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord,' or Jehovah, 'out of heaven;' and that other, Zech. x. 12, * I will strengthen them in Jehovah, and they shall walk up and down in his name, saith Jehovah ; that is, Jehovah, or God the Son, rained fire from Jehovah, or God the Father; and Jehovah, or God the Father, saith,

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »