« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
" both Christ and God,”_our Great God and Saviour," “ God, blessed for ever."
in closing our remarks on this extensive subject, it may be well for us briefly to advert to a well-known scriptural statement respecting the termination of that vast scheme of divine mercy and providence, which revelation has unfolded to us, and of which Christ, in his mediatorial capacity, is the appointed conductor : “ As in Adam all die,” says the apostle Paul to the Corinthians, “ even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order, Christ the first fruits, afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father, when he shall have put down (or subdued) all rule, and all authority, and power. For he must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet.....But when he saith, All things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued under him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all :" 1 Cor. xv, 22–28.
The Mediator, Jesus Christ, uniting in his own person the human with the divine nature, exercises, as has been already observed, a derived dominion over all the creatures of God; and in this capacity he must continue to reign until all his enemies are destroyed : “ The Lord said unto my Lord,” cried David, “ Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool :" Ps. cx, 1. The last enemy which shall be destroyed is death : and death will be destroyed when all men shall be raised or changed, and shall thus become incorruptible and immortal. When this mighty event has taken place, when the retributive purposes of the Almighty are effected, there will be an end-a full conclusion and accomplishment—of that economical dispensation which is committed in trust to the Messiah ; and he, who throughout the various stages of his mediatorial agency, was always subject to the Father who put all things under him,” will confirm and make manifest that subjection in the sight of the universe, when he delivers up his kingdom to him from whom he received it.
But, although the mediatorial economy, and that vice-regal authority of the Messiah, which forms an essential part of it, will thus be brought to its conclusion, let it always be remembered, that “ Jesus Christ is THE SAME yesterday, and today and FOR EVER :" Heb. xiii, 8. He will never lose his distinctive character, as the Lamb of God—the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world--the Saviour and Redeemer of his
people. When, under the figure of the New Jerusalem, the apostle John, in the Revelation, depicts the glorified condition of the church of Christ after the great day of final retribution,
“ I saw no temple therein; for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof :" Rev. xxi, 22, 23. Again, it was “out of the throne of God, and of the Lamb,” that he then beheld proceeding, “a pure river of the water of life, clear as crystal. And there shall be no more curse," says the apostle, “but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it: and his servants shall serve him!” xxii, 1–3.
Lastly, as Christ is himself unchangeable and eternal---unchangeable and eternal also, in the largest and most important respects, is his reign in glory. His dominion is an erlasting dominion,” which shall not be destroyed :" it is established for ever :" it shall have " no end :" Dan. vii, 14 : Luke i, 33. When we regard our Saviour in his human nature, we may rest assured that the immortal Son of David will never lose the reward of his sufferings, nor resign his authority over that church universal which he has purchased with his own blood. But, in a far more exalted sense, Jesus Christ will reign forever, as he is God. The Son or Word of the Father, by whom all things were created, “ that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible," cannot cease to retain an uncontrolled dominion over the works of his own hands. In perfect oneness with the Father, and with the Holy Spirit, he will, to all eternity, reign over the universe, and dispense to the innumerable company of saints and angels, by whom his throne is surrounded, the unsearchable riches of his wisdom, his power, and his love. Thus shall the one true and living God—the eternal ELOHIM—be ALL IN ALL FOREVER.
While I can say with truth, that I have not, in the course of the Essay which I am now concluding, cited a single passage either in proof, or in support, of the doctrine of the deity of Christ, which I do not conscientiously believe to have a true relation, and just application, to the subject, I by no means intend to assert, that the very numerous evidences thus adduced are all of the same kind, or all of equal cogency. On the contrary, there is to be observed in them, just that variety which is natural, and which every judicious inquirer would expect beforehand. Some of them are direct and positive; others are incidental or implied. Many may fairly be considered as
amounting to proofs; others are expressly introduced only as indications. This admission may, I conceive, be made without any
danger whatsoever to the strength of our argument; for nothing, perhaps, is more satisfactory, or more certainly indicative of truth, than the general concurrence of evidence, abundant in quantity, yet diversified in character. "Were the doctrine in question clearly stated in a very few passages only of undoubted Scripture, it would indeed be allowed by the consistent believer in the Christian revelation. But, when we find that doctrine directly promulgated, or clearly implied, in a vast number of unshaken passages—when witness is added to witness, and testimony heaped on testimony-when information is poured in upon us from a multitude of different quarters, and under a vast variety of manner and form, (and this I conceive to be no more than a just description of our present case)-then, although the evidence adduced may not all be of the same importance, our doubts are overpowered by an accumulated force, and yield without reserve to the unquestionable bearing and current of Scripture.
But it is not the mere accumulation of evidence upon which I would here insist: it is, more especially, the consistency, correspondence, and harmony, of the whole proof. Although, when we examine some particular division of a lofty and extensive temple, we may approve the workmanship displayed in its construction, yet, until we have taken a comprehensive view of the edifice to which it belongs, we form a very inadequate notion of its real value. But, when we have marked the adaptation of arches, and pillars, and towers—when we have beheld portal answering to portal, and wing to wing, and the mighty dome of the centre, rising above all, in its just and beautiful proportion--we are not only filled with admiration at the spectacle before us, but we learn to appreciate the force and significance of every single part, in the completeness and harmony of the whole. Now, this is no unfair illustration of the kind of correspondence and consistency which distinguishes the evidences of Scripture on the subject of the divinity of Christ. They present to our view a beginning, a middle, and an end. Promiscuously scattered as they are over the Sacred Volume, they naturally fall into admirable order : and in that order they are continuous, arranged, and adapted. Part answers to part, and article to article; and the result of the whole is a fabric, excellent in beauty, and indissoluble in strength.
When, for instance, we compare those passages of Scrip
ture, in which Christ is described by the divine titles, with others in which he is represented as possessing the divine attributes-or when we observe that the authority which he claimed was in precise accordance with the powers which he displayed, and with the worship which he admitted-our minds are impressed with a satisfactory sense of the uniformity and harmony of truth. This observation, however, applies with more especial force to the comparison of the various scriptural statements which relate respectively to the successive stages of his revealed history. When we read, that he who in his preexistence was " from of old, from everlasting," is for ever immutable in his reign of glory; that he by whom, in the beginning, all things were created, is yet upholding all by the word of his power, and, in an awful day to come, will fold
up the heavens and the earth as a vesture : that he who, before his incarnation, was the spiritual governor and inspirer of his people, poured forth the Holy Spirit after his ascension, and is still the author, as well as the minister, of every
Christain grace : that he, who originally thought it not robbery to be equal with God, is now a joint object of prayer and praise with the Father, at whose right hand he is for ever exaltedwhen, in perfect correspondence with these evidences, we view, as the centre of our subject, that glorious delineation, presented to us in the Gospel, of the Son of God, actually manifest in the flesh, and assuming the character, exercising the attributes, and receiving the honors of deity-when, lastly, we reflect on the interesting fact, that Jesus Christ is denoninated God or Jehovah, in connexion successively with his preexistence, his birth, his ministry, his death, his resurrection, his reign, and his judgments—when we bring all these points together, compare them, and mark their coincidencewe are obliged to confess that evidences at once so diversified, and so accordant, at once consisting of so many particular parts, and constituting so harmonious and perfect a whole, are complete and irresistible.
For my own part, I may venture to acknowledge a firm conviction, (grounded on long-continued study and reflection) that I must either give up the inspiration of Scripture, and with it perhaps, the truth of Christianity itself, or allow the absolute and eternal divinity of Jesus Christ. In choosing my alternative, I cannot for a moment hesitate ; for as, on the one hand, the inspiration of Scripture and the truth of Christianity rest on a basis which the profoundest thought and widest investigation serve only to establish, so on the oth