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Even where gross vices and open ungodliness are avoided, how greatly are persons of all ranks, endowments, and professions, “ careful and trou“bled about many things;" instead of attending simply and diligently to the “ one thing needful,” and decidedly “ choosing that good part, which “ could never be taken from them !" Men's thoughts, contrivances, hopes and fears, joys and sorrows, maxims, wisdom, assiduity, and conversation, are almost wholly engrossed by the perishing vexatious trifles of time. Every vague, strange, and uninteresting report is more attended to, than “ the 'glad tidings of salvation;" every science is deemed better worth cultivating, than the knowledge of God; every question is thought sufficiently important to set the ingenuity of men at work to give it a satisfactory answer, except it be enquired, “ What must we do to be saved?”—Such topicks as this excite only astonishment, disgust, and a short silence, till some more congenial subject is started! If a man pretend to teach the way to health, to riches, to the enjoyment of life, or how to appear to advantage in company, assiduous attention and liberal compensation will not be withheld: but they, who would instruct men in the way of eternal life, must not expect great or general regard, even when they desire no other recompence.
But time and room would fail should we attempt te enumerate the proofs of man's fully and maciness in this respect. Even the very messages of
God, respecting judgment, eternity, and the great salvation of the gospel, instead of meeting with a serious regard, are frequently set to musick, and profanely employed to vary the species of pleasurable dissipation! Nay, they are often preached, out of ostentation, avarice, envy, or strife; heard as a matter of curiosity or amusement; or contended for in pride, virulence, and furious anger! The grand business of most men seems to be, to avoid the burden of reflection, to cause time to glide away as imperceptibly as possible, and so, apparently, to shorten the span allotted them to prepare for eternity! Well might the Psalmist then say, “rivers of water run down mine eyes, because
men keep not thy law."-But, ye giddy sons and daughters of Adam! what will you think of your present pursuits, when death shall summon you to God's tribunal? What will then your riches, pleasures, decorations, elegances, bonours, or dig. nities avail you? What comfort will the knowledge of all languages, and arts, and sciences then afford? What will you think of your present anxious cares, covetings, envyings, repinings, and disputes ; when the " night cometh in which no man can “work?”. “ Seek,” then, “the Lord while he may be found, call
him while he is year; “ let the wicked forsake his way and the unrigh
teous man his thoughts; and let him return to the “Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and ta
our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”
The doctrine of a Mediator, through whom a just and holy God deals mercifully with believers, is the grand peculiarity of revelation: it must therefore be of the greatest importance for us, to form a proper estimate of the personal dignity of this Mediator. The doctrine, which I shall here attempt to establish from Scripture, may be thus stated: “That Jesus Christ is truly and really . God, one with and equal to the Father; being from eternity possessed of all divine perfections, and justly entitled to all divine honours; yet personally distinct from the Father, and so called his own Son, and his only begotten Son. But ' that in order to the performance of his mediato‘rial office, he assumed our nature into personal 'union with the Deity: and became One with us, 'truly Man, like us in all things, sin alone ex
cepted: and that he is thus God and Man in one 'mysterious incomprehensible Person; so that "all the fulness of the Godhead dwells in him
No argument can properly be brought against the doctrine of our Lord's essential Deity, as here stated from those Scriptures which speak of his human nature, his mediatoriai oflice, or his inferiority to the Father in both these respects: for our doctrine implies this, and even absolutely requires it. We need not therefore insist on this part of the subject: it is generally allowed by all, except deists and atheists, that “ Christ is come in the “flesh:” though numbers contend that he could not have come in any other way; and others deem him a mere creature, though of a supra-angelick nature, and maintain that he is called God only in consequence
of his mediatorial exaltation. But the idea of a creature, however exalted, being advanced to divinity, is so repugnant to all rational principles, as well as to the declarations of Jehovah, that “ he knows no God besides himself, “and will not give his glory to another,” that it will not be necessary to discuss the subject before us, with any particular reference to these distinct opinions. It will fully answer the purpose, if we can evince that our Redeemer is by nature “ God
over all, blessed for evermore.” At present I shall adduce a few select arguments in direct proof of this point; leaving some other things, that belong to the subject, to be considered in the next Essay.
I. The reader will naturally turn. his thoughts to those Scriptures, in which Jesus Christ is expressly called God, and LORD.
" Without con“troversy,” says the apostle, “ great is the mys
tery of godliness, GOD was manifest in the “ flesh."" He allows that the doctrine which he advanced was very mysterious, and that this could not be controverted or denied; but he seems to glory in it on that very account, because he considered it as THE GREAT MYSTERY OF GODLINESS, We may therefore be sure that they, who would so interpret the words as to render his doctrine scarcely mysterious at all, do not understand them: but all who suppose him to mean that Jesus was Emmanuel; GOD WITH US; that the child born at Bethlehem was 'THE MIGHTY God, as the prophet foretold:' consider this proposition both as a great mystery, and as the source, centre, and support of godliness.---It would be superfluous, in this brief attempt, to do more than refer the reader to the well known passages which are commonly brought forward in this argument;} and to intreat him to read them with attention, as the word of God, and with earnest prayer to be enabled to understand and believe them: for it seems impossible for human language to express any sentiment more strongly than they express the Deity of Christ. He " who was in the beginning with God, and
was God; who made all things,” so that “ with
'1 Tim. ii. 16.
2 Is. vii. 14. ix. 6. 3 John i, 1-18. Phil. ij. 5-8. Culi, 15–17. Heb. i.