« ElőzőTovább »
lousy which God exercises on occasion of his professing people worshipping other beings.
In addition to what has been observed of the works and worship of God, the following sayings of Christ are worthy to be observed. John v. 17. "My father worketh hitherto, and I work.” Verse 19. “What things soever the Father doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise." Ver. 23.
6. That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father.” It is plain, God is jealous in that respect, that no other being may share with him in honour, that he alone may be exalted. It is expected that other beings should humble themselves, should be brought low, should deny themselves for God, and esteem themselves as nothing before him. And as he requires that they should abase themselves, he would not set up others to exalt them to a rivalship with himself. If men may pray to Christ, may adore him, give themselves up to him, trust in him, praise him, and serve him ; what kind of worship is due to the Father, entirely distinct from all this in nature and kind ?
When Satan tempted Christ to fall down and worship him, as one that had power to dispose of the kingdoms of this world, and the glory of them ; Christ replies, " It is written, thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” But the Arians must suppose, that we are required to worship and serve some other being than this Lord God which Christ speaks of, as the disposer not only of the kingdoms of this world, but of the kingdom of heaven and the glory thereof. On the supposition of Christ's being merely a creature, he would much more properly be ranked with creatures exclusively, and never with God, as being called by his name and titles, having ascribed to him his attributes, dominions, &c. However great a creature he might be, he would be infinitely below God.
$ 51. Concerning the grand objection from that text, “Of that day and hour knoweth no man, nor the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father :" I would observe, that even the Arians themselves, with regard to some things said of Christ, must make the distinction between his power or knowledge, as to his inferior and his superior nature; or, if they do not allow two natures, then, at least, as to his humbled 'state, and his state both before and after his humiliation : as Mark vii. 24. " And would have no man know it, but he could not be hid." This cannot mean, that the person who created the whole world, visible and invisible, &c., and by whom all things consist, and are governed, had not power to order things so, that he might be hid.
$ 52. It is observable, that Christ is frequently called God absolutely, Osos and Otos; by which name even the heathens themselves always understood the Supreme God. Dr. Cudworth, in his “Intellectual System," abundantly shows, that the heathens generally worshipped but one supreme, eternal, universal, uncreated Deity ; but that their best philosophers maintained, that this Deity subsisted in three hypostases: though they had many created gods. And in page 627, he says, “ It now appears, from what we have declared, that as to the ancient and genuine Platonists and Pythagoreans, none of their trinity of gods, or divine hypostases, were independent; so, neither, were they creature-gods, but uncreated, they being, all of them, not only eternal, and necessarily existent and immutable, but, also, universal, i. e, infinite and omnipotent causes, principles, and creators of the whole world. From whence it follows, that these Platonists could not justly be taxed with idolatry, in giving religious worship to each hypostasis of their trinity. And one grand design of Christianity being to abolish the Pagan idolatry, or creature.worship, it cannot justly be charged therewith, from that religious worship given to our Saviour Christ and the Holy Ghost, they being none of them, according to the true and orthodox Christianity, creatures, however the Arian hypothesis made them such. And this was, indeed, the grand reason why the ancient fathers so zealously opposed Arianism. We shall cite a remarkable passage out of Athanasius, fourth oration against the Arians, to this purpose, as follows:
". Why, therefore, do not these Arians, holding this, reckon themselves amongst the Pagans, or Gentiles, since they do, in like manner, worship the creature, besides the Creator?τη κτισει λατρευσι παρα πον κτισαντα.' Athanasius's meaning here, could not well be, that they worshipped the creature more than the Creator ; forasmuch as the Arians constantly declared, that they gave less worship to the Son than to the Father.
“For though the Pagans worship one uncreated, and many created gods; but these Arians only one uncreated, and one created, to wit, the Son, or Word of God; yet will not this make any real difference betwixt them; because the Arians one uncreated god, is one of those many Pagan gods; and these many gods of the Pagans, or Gentiles, have the same nature with this one, they being alike creatures."
$ 53. It is remarkable, that in so many places, both in the Old Testament and New, when Christ is spoken of, his glory and prerogatives represented, and the respect due to him urged, that the vanity of idols, in the same places, should be represented, and idolatry warned against. See Psalm xvi. 4. It is manifest, that it is the Messiah that there speaks. See, also, many prophecies of Isaiah, and other prophets. 1 John v. 20, 21. 1 Cor. x. 19_22.
- There is not the least intimation, where Christ is styled God, either in the texts themselves, or contexts, that this is to
be understood of his office, and not of his person ; as is the case where magistrates are styled gods, where the very next words explain it, and tell us what is to be understood by it. And when Moses and angels are called gods, no one who attends to the whole discourse, could easily mistake the meaning, and not see, that this term God, was there used in an inferior and metaphorical sense." Letter to the Dedicator of Mr. Emlyn's Inquiry, &c., p. 7, 8.-Matt. xix. 17. “Why callest thou me good ? there is none good but one, that is God.". “Mr. Emlyn affirms it to be evident, that Christ here distinguishes himself from God, and denies of himself what he affirms of God But the truth of his interpretation, entirely depends upon the opinion which the young man had of Christ, who received this answer from him.” Ibid. p. 17, 18.
$ 54. That Christ had divine omniscience, appears from his own words; Rev. ii. 23. " And all the churches shall know that I am He which searcheth the hearts and the reins.” Now Solomon declares, 1 Kings viii, 39 : “ Thou, even Thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men. And Jer. xvii. 10. God says, “ [, the Lord, search the heart; I try the reins.” And Christ does not say, The Churches shall know that I search the reins and the heart; but that “I am he," &c., which, if words have any force in them, yea, if the expression is not altogether unintelligible, implies, “I am He who is distinguished by this character ; or, the Churches shall linow that I am the God who searcheth,” &c. Ibid. p. 43, 44.
$ 55. That the eternal Logos should be subordinate to the Father, though not inferior in nature; yea, that Christ, in his office, should be subject to the Father, and less than He, though in his higher nature not inferior, is not strange. It is proper, among mankind, that a son should be subordinate to his father, yea subject in many respects, though of the same human nature; yea, though in no respect inferior in any natural qualification. It is proper that Solomon should be under David his father, and appointed king by him, and receive charges and directions from him, though, even then, in his youth, probably not inferior to his father.
The disciples of Christ, or those that trusted in him, when here on earth, applied to him as trusting in his ability, not only to heal all diseases of the body, and to raise the dead ; but as leaving their souls in his hands, and being able to heal the diseases of their minds; as being the Author and Fountain of virtue. So Luke xvii. 5. “The apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.” So the father of the demoniac, Mark ix. 24. “ Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief."
$ 56. It is a good argument for Christ's divinity, that he is to be Author of the resurrection. The atoms and particles in ne little finger, are capable of so many removes, and such
dispersions, that I believe it would surpass any finite understanding at two or three thousand years' end, to tell what distinct particles of the universe belonged to it. It would require a vast strength and subtilty of mind, to trace but one atom so nicely, as to know that individual atom in the universe, after so long a time; after it had been a particle of air, water, oil, or animal spirit, &c. and had been transported with prodigious swiftness from place to place, back wards and forwards, millions of times, amongst innumerable others of the same kind. Especially, would it be exceeding difficult, so narrowly to watch two of such at once. If so, what would it be, to follow every atom in a man's body; yea, of all the bodies that ever have died, or shall die ? And, at the same time, to have the mind exercised with full vigour upon innumerable other matters, that require an equal strength of understanding ? and all this with such ease, that it shall be no labour to the mind ?
$ 57. God would not have given us any person to be our Redeemer, unless he was of divine and absolutely supreme dignity and excellency, or was the Supreme God; lest we should be under temptation to pay him too great respect; lest, if he were not the Supreme God, we should be under temptation to pay him that respect which is due only to the Supreme, and which God, who is a jealous God, will by no means allow to be
, paid to an inferior being. Men are very liable to be tempted to rate those too highly, from whom they have received great benefits. They are prone to give them that respect and honour, that belongs to God only. Thus the Gentile world deified and adored such of their kings as did great things for them, and others from whom they received great benefits. So Cornelius was tempted to give too great respect to Peter, he being the person that God had marked out to be his teacher and guide in things pertaining to eternal salvation. So the apostle John could scarce avoid adoring the angel that showed him those visions: he fell down to worship him once and again. Though the first time he had been strictly warned against it; yet the temptation was so great, that he did it again : Rev. xix. 10; xxii. 8. This being a temptation they were so liable to, was greatly disallowed of by God. When Cornelius fell down before Peter, he took him up, saying, “ Stand up; I myself also am a man.” So, when the people at Lystra were about to offer divine worship to Paul and Barnabas, when they heard of it, they rent their clothes, and ran in among them crying out, “ Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you, that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and the earth, and the sea, and all
things that are therein ;' Acts xiv. And when John was about to adore the angel, how strictly was he warned against it;" See thou do it not,” says he, Voi. Vil
" for I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, that have the testimony of Jesus Christ : worship God.” And God has always been so careful to guard against it, that he hid the body of Moses, that it might be no temptation to idolatry. But if any thing can be a temptation to give supreme respect and honour to one that is not the supreme being, this would be a temptation, viz. to have a person that is not the supreme being, to be our redeemer; to have such an one endure such great sufferings out of love to us, and thereby to deliver us from such extreme and eternal misery, and to purchase for us so great and eternal happiness. God, therefore, in wisdom, has appointed such a person to be our Redeemer, that is of absolutely supreme glory and excellency, that we may be in no danger of loving and adoring him too much : that we may prize him, exalt him, for the great thing, that he has done for us, as much as we will, nay so far as his love to us, his sufferings for us, and the benefits we receive by him, can tempt us to, without danger of exceeding. Christ has done as great things for us as ever the Father did. His mercy and love, have been as great and wonderful ; and we receive as much benefit by them, as we do by the love and mercy of the Father. The Father never did greater things for us than to redeem us from hell, and bring us to eternal life. But if Christ had not been a person equal with the Father, and worthy of our equal respect, God would not have so ordered it, that the temptation to love and respect the Son, which results from favours that we have by kindness received, should be equal with the inducements we have to love and respect the Father.
$ 58. I shall offer some reasons against Dr. Watts's notion of the pre-existence of Christ's Human Soul. If the pre-existing soul of Christ created the world, then, doubtless, he upholds and governs it. The same Son of God that did one, does the other. He created all things, and by him all things consist. And, if so, how was his dominion confined to the Jewish nation, before his incarnation, but extends to all nations since? Besides, there are many things ascribed in the Old Testament to the Son of God, in those very places which Dr. Watts, himself, supposes to speak of Him, that imply his government of the whole world, and all nations. The same person that is spoken of as King of Israel, is represented as the Governor of the world.
According to this scheme, the greatest of the works of the Son, in his created nature, implying the greatest exaltation, was His first work of allí viz. His creating all things, all worlds, all things visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: and this before ever he had any trial at all of his obedience, &c. At least, this work seems much greater than judging the world at the last