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ŞECT. IV, What Evidence they gave of
believing his true Deity. THE fourth thing I proposed was to fhew
what Indications the Disciples may be fupposed to give tending towards a Belief of his Godhead.
1. Upon some special Occasions they worshipped him. The Leper that was cleansed worshipped Cbrisi, Matth. 8. 2. The Ruler that sought the Life of his Daughter, wor, shipped him, Matth. 9. 18. The Woman of Canaan worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me, Matth. 15. 25. But all this was before he wrought the Miracle in their favour ; and probably it significs no more than a great degree of Humility in the manner of their Petition, perhaps a bowing the Knee, or falling on the Face ae his Feet.
The blind Man, who was healed, worship ped him also, when he profest himfelf to be the Son of God, John 9. 38. and his Disciples that were in the Ship worshipped him, when he walk'd on the Water and supprest the Storm, Matth. 14. 32, 33.
But it may be doubted whether all this arises to the Notion of Religious and Divine Wormip, since this Word is sometimes used in Scripturę, referring to moral or civil Honours paid to our Fellow-Creatures, i Chron, 29. 20. They bawed their Heads and worshipped the Lord
and the King, Matth. 18. 26. The Servant fell down and worshipped bis Lord. Rev. 3. 9. where Christ himself says to the Church at Sardis, I will make them to come and wormip before thy Feet. And perhaps some that knew not that Christ was God, might pay this fort of Worship to him hçre on Earth, i.e. å meer high degree of Reverence and Obeị. fance under the surprizing Influence of the Miracles which they heard of, or which they saw.
When one of the ten Lepers which were healed, came back, Luke 17. 15. it is said, with a loud Voice he glorify'd God, and fell down on his Face at the Feet of Chțist, giving him Thanks, and he was a Šamarit an. Now it may be observed here, that the cleansed Leper first glorify'd God, as the great Author and first Cause of his healing, and then fell down on his Face in a worshipping Posture at the Feet of Christ to give him Thanks, as the glorious Means and miraculous Instrument of bis Deliverance, not knowing that Christ who healed him, was himself the true God.
Thus these Persons did not seeni to worship our Lord as the true and eternal God with proper divine IVorbip. Yet it fecnis probable that he would have scarce accepted of any such Imitation of divine Worship, or indulged any thing that had the Appearance of it, if he had not been true God. Many Persons might pay Christ this high Degree of
Honour and Proftration without Belief of his Deity, tho' perhaps he would have refused it, had he been a meer Creature; even as Cornelius worshipped Peter, Acts 10. 25. when we have no reason to believe that he thought Peter was the true God : Yet Peter forbid it, left it should have any Appearance of asuming divine Dignity to himself.
2. Simon Peter was greatly surprized at the multitude of Fishes taken at once, when he let down his Net at the direction of Christ, Luk. 5. 4, &c. When he saw it, He fell down at Jefus Knees, laying, Depart from me, for. I am a sinful Man, O Lord. Which Exprcffion may seem to import, “ Thou art só ho.
ly and pure, O Lord, and haft fomething ” so divine in thee, and so much like God, “ who hates all Sin, that such a poor sinful “ Wretch as I ain, have too much Defile
ment in me to come so near thee, and may have just reason to dread thy Pre
sence." Whether he might at this Season have an overwhelming Glimpse of his Divini
ty, it is not easy to say : But it may be casi. ly said, that this Miracle alone was not suf
ficient to give a just convincing Proof of his Godhead.
3. The Apostles seem to make a Petition to Christ for spiritual Mercies in a way of divine Worship, Luke 17.5. and the Apostles said to the Lord, Increase our Faith; which Address seems to have more of the Appearance
of Religious Worship paid to him by them, than any other Expression I know of beforç the Resurrection of Christ.
Yet some would question whether this petition did evidence their firm Belief of his Godhead : For when they had seen him put forth his miraculous Power on the Bodies of Men in such a glorious manner, when they found that he knew the Thoughts of their Hearts*, and had an inward acquaintance with their Souls, which appeared in several Instances, and when they had seen and heard him forgive Sins, Matt. 9. 2. and Luke 5.20. perhaps they might imagine that God had given him this spiritual Power over their Souls, and that he was commiflioned to exercise this Power (even as he commissioned his Disciples to beal the Sick, to raise the Dead, &c. Matt. 10. 8. and to forgive Sins, John 20. 23.) tho he were not in his own Nature the true and eternal God. For it is remarkable, that when he forgave the Sins of the Man whom he
• The meer Knowledge of their Tbaughts was not sufficient to prove the Divinity of Christ, since God has been pleased in former times to communicate this Knowledge to his Prophets ; fo Ahijab knew the Thoughts of Jeroboam's Wife, for God had told him. 1 King 14. 5,6. The Lord faid to Ahijab, Behold the Wife of Jeroboam cometh to ask a thing of thee;" &c. And much less can we suppose the Disciples in that day of Darkness and Ignorance did from thence inter his Deity. Yet I think that Expression of Chrift, Rev. 2. 23 re all know that I am be whicb searchetb the Reins and the Hearts, compared with Jer. 11. 20. & 17. 10. gives us a good Argument for his Deity, or that he is one with that God who searches the Heart, as his peculiar Prerogative; but this was long after his Ascent to Heaven,
healed of the Palsy, tho the Scribes and Pharisee's said, who can forgive Sins but God? and so charged him with Blasphemy ; yet the Multitude only marvelled and glorified God who had given such Power unto Men, Matt. 9.8. Now the Multitude spoke honestly the Sense of their Hearts, but the Scribes stretched his Conduct to an Accusation of Blasphemy.
There is a parallel Case in Mark 9. 22. where the Man brought his Son who was por Seft with the Devil
, to our blessed Lord Master, says he, if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us and help us. Here it is evident that the Man had not so much as a firm Belief whether Christ could work this Miracle or no, much less can he be supposed to believe that Christ was the true and eternal God: then presently afterwards he cryed out, Lord, I believe, belp thou mine Unbelief. Now the utmost that we can reaso, nably imagine his sudden Faith arrived at, was a Belief that Christ was able to cast out the Devil and cure his Son ; yet he desires Christ to help his Unbelief. Now the mecr sudden Expression of this Request will hardly
Man was convinced of the Godhcad of Chrift; for tis possible he might mean
only, Shewthy power, and give some further Testimony to alift my Faith. But if he did believe Christ's Deity, then we must suppose him transported by a sudden divine Impulse