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21 : Rev. i, 5. 7. 13, &c. " There is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus ;" (1 Tim. ii, 5;) and this man Christ Jesus, the Son of Mary, the rod out of the stem of Jesse, “was dead, and is alive :" Rev. ii, 8. He is the first-born from the dead," (Col. i, 18) the "firstborn among many brethren,” (Rom. viii, 29) “ the first fruits of them that slept,” (1 Cor. xv, 20) “the Captain of our saldation" made "perfect through sufferings :" Heb. ii, 10. Herein, therefore, the children of God, who are led by his Spirit, may rejoice with unspeakable joy, even that Christ is “ not ashamed to call them brethren,” (Heb. ii, 11) that they are “ heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ,” (Rom. viii, 17) and finally, that they have a merciful and faithful High Priest, who is “touched with the feeling of their infirmities,” and who, having himself “ suffered being tempted,” is able to "succour them that are tempted :" Heb. ii, 18 ; iv, 15.
But, while we acknowledge that Jesus, in his reign, is still clothed with the human nature, and that he is therefore in all things subject to God the Father, “ of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,” yet, on the other hand, from a variety of particulars recorded in Scripture, in connexion with this glorious division of his revealed history, it will by no means be difficult to prove that Christ, the head of the Church, and the Lord of all things, is also God. The analogy of divine truth, and the comparison of Scripture with Scripture, will be found, I believe, very plainly to evince, that no one can possess the authority, exercise the powers, or rightly receive the honours, which are severally attributed to Christ in his reign, who does not himself participate in the nature and essence of the Supreme Being.
I shall now proceed to unfold these evidences of the deity of Christ our King, in the order which, after due consideration, I deem to be the clearest.
I. That Jesus Christ, in his reign, is the Shepherd and Bishop of souls ; (1 Pet. ii, 25 ;) the supreme Head of that church of God, which is gathered out of every kindred, and tongue, and people ; (Eph. iv, 15;)--that he has bought his followers with a price ; (i Cor. vi, 20 ;) and that they are now his absolute possession ;-is a doctrine which is clearly stated in various parts of Scripture, and which forms, more especially, one of the most conspicuous and distinguishing features of the apostolic Epistles. Now, in this point of view, Jesus Christ is to be regarded as occupying a position infinitely superior to that of any of the patriarchs, or prophets, or indeed of any of the mere creatures of God, however powerful their nature, or ex
alted their station. They are nothing more than servants the mere subordinate agents of the Father's will. He is the Son of that Father, and, in his own power and authority, he forms, possesses, and regulates, the Father's household. Such a distinction between Christ and the prophets was clearly indicated by Jesus himself, in his parable of the servants and the son, who were successively sent to receive the fruits of the vineyard; (Matt. xxi, 33–41;) and is powerfully maintained and elucidated in the following comparison between Jesus and Moses: “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; who was faithful to hiin that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. For this man (or this person*) was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. For every house is builded by some man, but he that built all things is God. And Moses, verily, was faithful in all his house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; but Christ as a Son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end :” Heb. iii, 1 -6. It is generally allowed, and is indeed quite evident, that the word “ house,” here signifies “household”-the household, or church, of God. Moses presided as a servant over the ancient Israelitish church, which was, in his day, the house of Jehovah. Jesus Christ, as a Son, governs that larger family of God, the Christian church. Nor does he merely govern that church; he actually possesses it. It is his own house, because he “ builded” it. And, in building this spiritual house, he displayed his divine nature and attributes,-for “ he that built all things is God.”
But it is not merely over the Church that Jesus Christ exercises his dominion. All the creatures of Godare, for the church's sake, made subject to his reign. All power is given unto him in heaven, and in earth : Matt. xxviii, 18. He is able, by his working, to subdue all things unto himself : Phil. iii, 21. He is the “ heir of all things :" Heb. i, 2. Angels, authorities, and powers,
“ made subject to him:" 1 Pet. iii, 22. God “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 put all things under his feet, and gave
him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all :" Eph. i,
20—23. He ascended
6 far above all heavens, that he might fill all things :" Eph. iv, 10.
Now, although, in these and other similar descriptions of the empire of the Lord Jesus Christ, the distinctive character of the Father, who put all things under him, and who is therefore excepted from that empire, is plainly recognized, yet, I think, the more deeply we reflect on the subject, the more thoroughly we shall become convinced, that the Person who is thus possessed of supreme and unlimited authority over the universe of God--the Person who commands, controuls, and regulates, the most exalted and powerful of created essences —the Person, of whom it is declared, in the very words which the Almighty has elsewhere appropriated to himself, that at his name, every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess," (Phil. ii, 20, 11; comp. Isa. xlv, 23) cannot possibly be a mere man, or the spirit of a mere man made perfect, but must actually participate in the nature and being of the only true God. In that sublime view of his absolute and unlimited authority, which the sacred writers have thus spread before us, we can scarcely fail to perceive a clear confirmation of evi. dences already considered, that, as the Father and the Son are one in power, and one in honour, they are also one in
II. The preceding argument which rests on the authority and extent of the reign of our Redeemer, may be satisfactorily supported by the consideration of its nature and character. From the prophetical declarations of the Old Testament already considered, we plainly learn that the introduction of the Christian dispensation was to be accompanied by the establishment of a powerful and ever-enduring kingdom, over which the Messiah was to be king. The prophecy has been accomplished; the Christian dispensation has been introduced ; the Son of God has been made manifest in the flesh; he has ascended up on high; and where is it we are to look for his kingdom ? Not in temporal dignity--not, as the Jews had fondly expected, in the powers and glory of this present transitory world ; but in a dominion conducted by an invisible agency over all the creatures of God; and, as far as relates to mankind, in a moral and spiritual government over their souls. When Jesus was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come —that kingdom which the predictions already alluded to had excited them to expect, “ he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation. Neither shall they say, lo! bere, or lo! there, for behold the kingdom of God is within you :" Luke
xvii, 20, 21. The same or a precisely accordant doctrine was promulgated by Jesus, when he was standing before the tribunal of Pilate. When the Roman governor addressed bim with the question, “ Art thou the king of the Jews ?” Jesus answered, “ My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now is my kingdom not from hence :" John xviii, 36.
Scarcely any thing can be more interesting to us than the account given to us, in the New Testament, of the sudden illumination, on this subject, of the apostles themselves. Like the other Jews they appear to have conceived very eager expectations of a visible, worldly, kingdom. Such expectations were constantly discouraged by their Divine Master, who ever taught them the lesson of child-like humility, and who, for his own part, declared that he came not " to be ministered unto, but to minister.” Yet, even after his resurrection, we find them still clinging to the same hope, and inquiring of their Lord, whether he would at that time “ restore again the kingdom to Israel ?”! Acts i, 6. In his answer to this inquiry, Jesus, instead of immediately undeceiving them, prepared their minds for more spiritual views by the promise of the Holy Ghost ; and no sooner was that promise fulfilled, than the whole tenor of their thoughts respecting the kingdom of the Messiah was changed. No longer did they look for temporal victory or worldly dominion. They now comprehended that their beloved Lord and Master was already exalted at the right hand of the Father, to be a Prince and a Saviour : immediately they began to preach repentance and remission of sins in his name; and they hesitated not to explain the prophecies which spake of the Son of David, whom God was to raise up to sit upon his throne, as already accomplished in Jesus, who was “made both Lord and Christ”—who was enthroned in glory at the right hand of the Father—who had led captivity captive--and who was now shedding forth, upon all believers, the gifts and graces of the Holy
Spirit. In the Epistles, which present to us the standard of apostolic faith at a still later and riper period, not a trace is to be found of any Jewish notions respecting the establishment of a worldly kingdom. The views which the writers of these treatises entertained respecting the nature and progress of Christianity, appear to have become absolutely unconnected with prospects of such a nature; but, in Jesus, the Mediator between God and man, they recognized their eternal and celestial sovereign. They submitted themselves to the laws of his government as to a spiritual dispensa
tion; and they could now declare to their brethern, that “the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and
peace, and joy, in the Holy Ghost :” Rom. xiv, 17. When we reflect on the spiritual nature of the kingdom of Christ, we cannot be surprised that it is, in the New Testament, still more usually denominated the kingdom of heaven, or the kingdom of God. The comparison of numerous passages in that Sacred Volume, affords an ample evidence that these terms are all employed to express one and the same kingdom. It is the kingdom of heaven, because the King of heaven rules over it, and because it appertains to unseen and celestial objects: it is the kingdom of God, not only because the Father has appointed it, but because it is conducted and regulated by the wisdom and power of the Deity : it is the kingdom of Christ, because Christ is the glorious Head of it--because he is the person by whom, in the divine economy, that wisdom and power are actually exerted.
III. For the more particular elucidation of this subject, it may now be observed, that Jesus Christ in his reign, is the author of grace. The passages of Scripture, in which the gift of grace is attributed to him, are very numerous. Sometimes he is presented to our attention singly, as the bestower of it; at other times he is, in this respect, associated with God, even the Father, and is described as being in union with him, the source from which it flows. “ Grace to you, and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ,” is the salutation of the apostle Paul to the Romans : Ron. i, 7. Similar terms are employed by him at the commencement of most of his other Epistles; and the farewell, with which these apostolic letters are usually concluded, is, the “ Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,” or “ with your spirit :” Gal. vi. 18: Phil. iv, 22: 1 Thess. V, 28 : 2 Thess. iii, 18 : Philem. 25. In the conclusion of the second Epistle to the Corinthians, more especially, the grace of Christ and the love of God are evidently mentioned as joint and parallel blessings : "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all :” 2 Cor. xiii, 14. So, also, the apostle John concludes the book of Revelation, as follows : “ The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all, Amen :" Rev. xxii, 21.
The term " grace," as it is employed in the Scriptures, is one of a very extensive import. It literally signifies favor ; and, as it relates to the Divine Being, is applicable to the whole variey of blessings, but especially to those of a spiritual nature, which he condescends to impart to his dependent crea•