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proper and only Son of God, is still doubted by some, even after all that has been urged by the ancient fathers, and by the most learned commentators, from the time of Cerinthus to the present era. All sects, however, seem to agree, that the Scriptures alone must decide this point; but the misfortune is, that almost every one, in the present day, claims the right of interpreting and explaining Scripture according to his own ideas, and as he himself understands it, now figuratively, now literally: he first forms his hypothesis, then wrests the translation of the original to it; so that each sect maintains that its tenets are built on the basis of holy writ. By far the greater part, however, of Christian societies, acknowledge the divinity of Christ, There is, certainly, one sect that denies it, and denominates itself Unitarian, and attempts unfairly to stigmatize the others with the charge of Tritheism, than which
accusation nothing can be more unfounded. With much greater reason might the Trinitarian apply the title of Deists to those who disbelieve the Godhead of our Saviour. The unity of God, is a doctrine maintained by many in the heathen world, by the Mosaic tables, by the Jews, and even by the Mohammedans, by all Christians, and not less by the Church of England. Another groundless accusation against us seems to be, that we do not allow the proper humanity of Jesus Christ; but how can this be justly said, when we uniformly assert him to be perfect man, of a “ reasonable soul, and human flesh sub66 sisting ?” that he was “incarnate by the “ Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and “ was made man.” In our Communion service we confess him to be “both God “ and man,” and “very man,” as also in several places of our Liturgy. It shall be my endeavour, in this discourse, there
fore, as far as lies in my power, to satisfy the enquiries of my hearers on this most essential point of our faith, and to prove, from Scripture, that our Church is justified in maintaining, first, that Christ is God; and, secondly, that he is peculiarly, and solely, the Son of God. The matter is truly important, and ought to be closely and calmly argued; we do not want to revile, or to persecute, but to convince; at the same time I must be supposed addressing myself to those who believe the Scriptures. To follow the examination of the New Testament, as it is called, in regular order, let us begin with the 1st chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel, * where
* I cannot see any reason to call the authenticity of the 1st chapter of St. Matthew in question, after the pains taken by Mill, Wetstein, and others, to ascertain it. As to saying that the latter part contradicts the genealogy, that I most strenuously deny. The Evangelist begins by saying, “ Abraham begat Isaac,” &c. and goes on till he comes to
we find the history of our Saviour's birth to be, that when his mother was espoused to Joseph, before they lived together as man and wife, he was greatly surprised and chagrined to find her pregnant, knowing that the Child could not be his, yet, being an humane and benevolent man, he had compassion on her supposed frailty, did not wish to expose her to public scorn,
Joseph, when he changes the expression, and instead of saying, "Jacob bogat Joseph, and Joseph begat Jesus, who is “ called the Christ,” he says, “ Jacob begat Joseph, the “ husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus,” thereby elearly intimating that Jesus was not the son of Joseph, though he was of Mary: this being the case, how did it happen? why as we are told in the subsequent part of the chapter, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was in this man. “ ner:" &c. If Jesus was the Son of Joseph's wife, with. out any protest or objection on the part of the husband, he was by law entitled to the crown of David, or to all the rights and promises to which Joseph was entitled, but he was not to be descended in the flesh from Joseph, for the prophecy says (Gen. iii. 15), it was the “seed of the woman which should bruise the serpent's head.” As to the Jews mulling our Saviour “ The Carpenter's Son,” he was not a whit the more so for that.
but to divorce her privately, and leave her conduct to be her punishment. Whilst he was reflecting on the painful step he had to take, the doubts, and uneasiness of his mind were all removed by a heavenly vision, informing him, that God had chosen to introduce Jehovah the Saviour (for such is the meaning of the word in the Hebrew language) into the world, through the corporeal substance of his wife, so pure a virgin both in thought and deed, that she could urge before the face of an Angel her unspotted chastity. This Child, said the messenger to Joseph, shall be called Jesus, in a higher sense than any others who have gone before him, because “he “ shall save his people from their sins.” The scruples of Joseph were overcome; he knew that “with God all things are pos« sible;" he waited with pious submission 56 till God should be with us."