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amen, the faithjul and true witness, the beginning (or the most excellent ) of the creation of God; which plainly implies that, how excellent soever he may be, he is but a creature.
Matt, xxviii. 29. And lo I am with you always,
even to the end of the world. Christ, who is constituted
head over all things to his church, undoubtedly takes
care of its interests, and attends to whatever concerns
his disciples; and being with a person, and taking
care ps him are, in the language of scripture,
equivalent expressions. See Gen. xxi. 20. 22.
xxviii. 15. xxxix. 2. Besides, Christ, having a
near relation to this earth, may even be personally
present with his disciples when they little think
of it. But it is by no means necessary that he be
personally present every where at the same time;
since God may communicate to him a power of
knowing distant events, of which he appeared to be
possessed when Lazarus was sick. This is certainly
no greater a power than God may communicate to
any of his creatures.
Another passage which seems to suppose the omnipresence of Cirrist is, Mat. xviii. 23. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am 1 in the midfl of them; but if we consider the whole of this passage, in which our Lord is speaking of the great power of which his apostles would be possessed, and especially of the efficacy of their prayers, we shall be satisfied, that he could only mean by this fjrm of expression to represent their power with
God, God, when they were assembled as his disciples, and prayed so as became his disciples, to be the fame as his own power with God; and God heard him always. That our Lord could not intend to speak of himself as the God who hearethprayer, is evident from his speaking of the Father, in this very place, as the person who was to grant their petitions, ver. ig. Again I fay unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth, as touching any thing that they stall ask, it shall he done for them of my Father who is in heaven.
III. Considering the great power with which Christ was invested on earth, and more especially the authority lo which he is exalted now that he is in heaven, it is certainly right that a very high degree of respect should be paid to him; and from the manner in which this is expressed, and especially because the word worship is made use of on those occasions in our English translation, some persons have been confirmed in their opinion, that he is the proper object of supreme or divine worship, and is therefore truly and properly God; but any person, . who will consider the real import of the following passages, must see that they afford no-foundation for such a conclusion.
Heb. i. 6. When Godbringeth in the first-begotten into the world, he faith, Let all the angels of God worship him. Also the leper, Mat. viii. 2, the ruler, Mat. ix. 18, the woman of Canaan, Mat. xv. 25, the poor people in the ship, Mat. xiv. 33, and
his disciples, Mat. xxviii. 9 17, are all said
to have worshipped him. But the very circumstance* in which this worship was paid to Christ sufficiently prove that divine worship was not intended ; because it is well known that the jews had no expectation of any other person than a man for their Messiah; and when Nicodemus was convinced of the miraculous power of Jesus, he concluded, not that he was God, but that he must have been impowered by God; for he fays, John iii. 2. Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from Gsd; for no man can da these miracles that thou doesl, except God be with him. Besides, it is well known that the Greek word, which, in the above-mentioned passages, is rendered worship, is frequently used to express a very high degree of respect; but such as may be lawfully paid to men of a proper character and rank. And indeed our word worship, though it is now appropriated to that worship which is due to God only, was formerly used with greater latitude, and even in our translation of the bible; as when a servant, in one of our Saviour's parables, is said to have fallen down and worshipped his master, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all: where certainly divine worship could not be meant. It is also an evidence of this use of the word, that in our marriage-service the man is. directed to fay to the woman, With my body I thee worship; and the terms worship, and worshipful, are still applied to several of our magistrates, and bodies of men.
h . Also,
Also, in the Greek translation of the Old Testa* ment, the same word that we render worship in the New is frequently used where supreme worship could not be intended. Otherwise Abraham must be supposed to have intended to pay supreme worship to the angels, when he took them to be men; and to the sons of Heth, when he was making a bargain with them for a piece of ground to bury his dead.
IV. Arguments have been brought to prove the divinity of Christ from the names and titles, which are given to him, as well as from the powers ascribed to him, and the worship that is paid to him; but if we consider the proper meaning of other scripture-names, and the occasions on which they were conserred, we must be satisfied, that very little stress is to be laid on such an argument as this. ,
Isaiah vii. I4_ Behold a virgin shall conceive, and hear a son, and shall call his name Emanuel, Mat. i. 23. Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bear a Jon, and shall call his name Emanuel, which is, being interpreted, God with us. These texts have been thought to imply that Christ is a compound-being, or that he is God incarnate; but if we consider other instances of names imposed by the divine direction in the scriptures, we shall find that they do not always express any thing characteristic of the person on whom they are imposed, but that they were intended to be a meraofial of some divine promise or assurance, respecting things of a public and genera)
concern. Thus the prophet Isaiah, vii. 1, Sec. was directed to call his son Shear-Jashub, which signifies a remnant /hall return, to express to the jews, that only a small number of their enemies should return from the invasion with which they then threatened them, or that a number of their own people who had been carried captive should return. Another child he was directed to call Mahershalal-hash-baz, on a similar account; and of Jerusalem it is siid, This is the name wherewith she st>all be called, the L»rd our righteousness, to express that God would appear in that character to his people. In like manner the divine beinii, admitting that hz appointed Christ to be called Emanuel,. might do it to engage to manisest his own presence.with his people, by protecting and blessing them, and inflicting vengeance on their enemies and oppressors. For this prediction was given upon the occasion of an invasion by the Israelites and Syrians.
Isaiah ix. 6. Unto us a child is born, unto us a fort is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name fo all be called wonder/ul, counfeller, the mighty God, the everlasting father, the prince of peace. In this, as in the former case, these titles may not express what Christ is, but what God will manisest himself to be in him, and by him; so that, in the dispensation of the gospel, God, the wise and benevolent author of it, will appear to be a wonderful counsellor, the everlasting father, and the prince o£ L 2 peace.