Page images
PDF
EPUB

and Barnabas; and the angel; they all forbid such worship to be given to them. Acts, 10 : 35, 26. 14:14, 15. Rev. 19:10. 22 : 9. Now, as nothing less than God can be the proper object of our adorations, therefore when Christ assures us that he will present all our supplications, and that he will perform our petitions, he encourages and directs us to address our prayers to him, as well as to the Father; and thereby declares himself God as unequivocally as by any appellation the most expressive of divinity.

$ 8. Further, upon supposition that Christ was no more than a mere good man, exalted by the pleasure of the Father, the sacred Scriptures abound with strange, unguarded language. There is an indecency and impropriety, an unsuitableness in such representations; for they are calculated to mislead and deceive. It has justly been observed, that neither Moses nor the prophets exhibited their testimony as the foundation of faith; they always referred to divine authority, prefacing their declarations with a • Thus saith the Lord.” But Jesus speaks in his own name; and requires faith in his testimony, on the ground of his own authority. John, 4:41. 14:11. Thus, true faith fixes on the very name of the Son of God as every way worthy to be its proper object: it is subjection of the whole soul to him; a captivity of every thought to the obedience of Christ, 2 Cor. 10:5; a submission of our will to his, Psa. 45 : 5. 110: 3; an acknowledgment of his sovereign authority over the conscience, Matt. 28 : 20, and a recognition of his right to supreme affections. Luke, 14 : 26. Faith is a fleeing for refuge to him as the hope set before us, Heb. 6:8; a firm persuasion of his ability to save to the uttermost. Heb. 7 : 25. It is a resting of the soul on him, Matt. 11:28, 29, and bounded confidence in him. Matt. 12:21. Eph. 1: 12, 13. Faith respects Jesus as its author and finisher, Heb. 12: 1; as the very spring and support of spiritual life, Gal.

an

un.

2 : 20; and as the giver of eternal life. John, 10:28. It is a commitment of the soul to him. Acts, 17 : 59. And this cannot be in well-doing, unless he be a faithful Creator. 1 Peter, 4 : 19. In a word, it is a surrender of the whole person to him as his property, and a constant proposal of his glory as the supreme end, whether in life or in death. 2 Cor. 8: 5. Rom. 14 : 8. Philippians, 1 : 20. Let any man in his senses judge if there be a creature, either in heaven or on earth, worthy of such faith and worship

9. Besides, the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper, of which Christ is the author, and in which he is the object of divine worship, prove him to be the true and living God. In baptism we solemnly dedicate our faith, worship and service to the Son, as well as to the Father and the Holy Ghost.

If there were no other foundation for the doctrine of the Holy Trinity in unity than the command of our Lord and Savior in this ordinance, what higher authority or sanction could we have for believing and obeying it? "Go," says he, "and teach all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Jesus Christ uttered these words after his resurrection from the grave, and his victory over death and hell. He is the eternal Amen; he cannot err. He spoke to poor, illiterate men, who knew there was but one God, and who naturally had an extreme abhorrence for any thing which has the least show of weakening this great truth. Yet these very men are commanded to baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Here mention is clearly made of three different persons. It is evident he does not enjoin baptism in the name of any quality or virtue; nor does he wish to confound the creature with the Creator, but rather to establish a perfect equality among the three; for he invariably taught the unity of God. Consequently it is manifest that God, in whose name alone it is lawful to adıninister baptism, is the same one Supreme who is distinguished under three characters or persons-of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. We cannot reject, therefore, this doctrine so plainly taught by Jesus Christ, under pretence that, if we receive it, we admit three gods, without impeaching Wisdom himself. Prov. 8: 22-31.

§ 10. The Lord's Supper is designed to honor our blessed Savior, by a grateful commemoration of his dying love; by the exercise of a lively faith in him; by a renewed dedication of ourselves to him, as our Lord and Savior; and by a public ascription of endless glory and dominion.

$ 11. The importance of the subject, I hope, my dear Benjamin, will be a sufficient apology for having detained you so long; and I will now close this letter with the sentiment of the pious Bishop Horne, " What shall we then say to these things? What can we say ? but that He, to the invocation of whose name salvation is promised; He whose name his disciples, before they were called Christians, invoked, and were known to be his disciples by so doing; He, in whose name the apostles were accustomed to give their benedictions, and concerning whom St. John says,

that whatever we ask of him, according to his will, we shall have the petitions we desire of him; He, who was worshiped by men on earth, without reproving them for it, and to whom in heaven all the angelic hosts, with the spirits of the redeemed, and the whole creation of God, give glory and honor; He, whom the church universal professed, from the beginning, to adore, and into whose hands the dying martyrs, from Stephen downward, committed their departing spirits; He, to whose service and worship, with that of the Father and the Holy Ghost, every Christian is dedicated in baptism ; that this person is indeed what St. Paul certainly styles him, God over all,

[ocr errors]

blessed for ever, Rom. 9 : 5, and that we all may, and ought to use the words of St. Thomas : • My Lord and my God.” John, 20 : 28. fo. 5, disc. 34.

Farewell.

When first the God of boundless grace

Disclos'd his kind design,
To rescue our apostate race

From mis'ry, shame, and sin;

Quick through the realms of light and bliss

The joyful tidings ran;
Each heart exulted at the news,

That God would dwell with man.

Yet, ’midst their joys, they paus'd awhile,

And ask'd with strange surprise, “ But how can injur'd justice smile,

“Or look with pitying eyes ?'

The Son of God attentive heard,

And quickly thus replied,
“In me let mercy be rever'd,

"And justice satisfied.

“ Behold! my viral blood I pour

" A sacrifice to God;
“ Let angry justice now no more

“ Demand the sioner's blood."

He spake, and heaven's high arches rung

With shouts of loud applause ;
“ He died !" the friendly angels sung,
Nor ceas'd their rapt'rous joys.

9

VOL. II.

PART IV.

IMPORTANCE OF THE DIVINITY OF CHRIST.

Letter I.

CONSEQUENCES IF HE IS NOT GOD.

My Dear Benjamin,

I have endeavored, in several preceding letters, to prove the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ; and cannot but hope that the variety of proofs produced will remove all doubts from your mind. For, however great and sincere your profession may be, that Jesus is the Christ, that is, the promised Messiah, and even the most exalted creature, yet, unless you believe him to be Jehovah, equal with the Father, you still labor under a most fatal error, fraught with the most dangerous consequences. I know there are not a few who consider this subject a matter of no importance; but I consider the divinity of Christ a scripture truth as much as the divinity of the Father, as has been fully shown, and the one is no more a "metaphysical speculation" than the other. Besides, it is exceedingly improper and absurd to call the principles pure speculations, which are of so great importance for the regulating our worship, that we can neither omit to worship Christ, if they are true, without the greatest impiety, nor perform it, if they are false, without being guilty of idolatry.

Let me therefore invite your most serious and patient attention, whilst I shall point out the important consequen

« PreviousContinue »