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God,' say our opponents, “because he was worshipped.” But this argument is quite trivial; and rests solely upon the present acceptation of the word worship in our lan. guage. This term in the original languages in which the scriptures were written, has a relative signification and mean. ing; and is indifferently applied to denote homage, respect, and obedience, both in regard to God and man.
See 1 Chron. xxix. 20. • And all the congregation blessed the the Lord God of their Fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshipped the Lord and the king. Here we find this word used both of God and King David at the very same time. In like manner, Matth. xviii. 26. the servant that was not able to pay his Lord, fell down and worshipped bim.' In short the worship which was given to our Lord Jesus Christ was not divine or supreme ; but in. ferior and subordinate worship, somewhat equivalent to the respect and homage that was paid to kings and magis. trates.* The Magi worshipped Christ,as St. Matthew informs us, as the native king of the Jews: the man born blind and the Apostles, as the Christ, the anointed Son of God: and the Angels being commanded to worship him, denotes nothing more, than their subjection to his authority after his resurrection, as head over all things to his church; to which station he was advanced by the free and voluntary gift of God the Father; as a reward for his sufferings, and obedience into death. Phil. ii. 9, 10. - Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him; and given him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,' &c.
Matth. ix. 2. • Jesus seeing their faith, said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, be of good cheer, thy sins be for. given thee.' Ver. 6. • But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins,' &c. Mark ii. 7. “ Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only ?" Christ forgave sins on earth, in the same manner as he performed miracles by a power received from God. John v. 22. “The Father
* The word worship, was once used in this inferior acceptation in our own language; although now almost grown obsolete. In the mar. riage service of the Church of England, the husband is directed to say “ with my body I thee worship; and the chief magistrates in public corporations in England are styled worshipful.
judgeth no man; but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.' And we find him praying for forgiveness even for his own murderers, Luke xxiii. 34. ' Father forgive them, for they know not what they do ;' which shews, that the power of pardoning sin did not naturally or inherently reside in himself. As God had imparted to him a know. ledge of the human heart, he knew well, whether the faith and repentance of the persons with whom he conversed was genuine and sincere or not: and when he found them to be so, could pronounce with certainty that the persons were proper objects of forgiveness, and that their sins were actually forgiven by God. The Scribes (as their usual practice was) put a false and invidious construction upon our Lord's manner of speaking : but the multitude judged much more truly and candidly, and marvelled, and glorified God who had given such power unto men.' Matth. ix. 8. It is not wonderful that Christ should pos. sess the power of forgiving sins, when we find the same power afterwards conferred on the disciples, Joho xx. 23.
Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them ; and whose soever sins ye retain they are retained.'
Matth. xi. 27. All things are delivered unto me of my Father, and no man knoweth the Son but the Father; nei. ther knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. The all things here mentioned, appeared from the tenor of our Lord's discourse to relate to the doctrines of the Gospel ; and the knowledge of God's dealings and intentions with re. spect to mankind ; even those things which were hid from the wise and prudent, and revealed unto babes. If any thing else is included under the word all here, yet as it is said to be delivered to the Son of the Father : it marks the supremacy of the latter, and the dependency of the former. If the Son were the true God, he would possess all things in himself and could receive nothing from another. What follows denotes, that none is acquainted with the office or destination of the Son, and what he is to do and suffer for the benefit of mankind; but the Father only: and on the other hand, that none knows the counsels or designs of the Father, respecting the salvation and redemption of the human race; but the Son to whom the Father has imparted them; and who alone is qualified and authorized to reveal or communicate them to others.
Matth. xviii. 20. “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.' This place has been urged, as a proof of the ubiquity and omnipresence of Christ, and consequently of his supreme godhead. But if we look back to the verse immediately preceding, we shall see reason to interpret it in a different
Christ says, ver. 19. ' Again I say unto you, that if two of yon shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my
Father which is in heaven.' If our Lord Jesus Christ had been an omnipresent being, he would have been erer at hand to have assisted his disciples, and to have granted their re. quests : whereas he refers them here to the Father, as the person who could alone answer their prayers : and assigns it as a reason that their prayers would be accepted, that he himself should be in the midst of them. This leads us to suppose, that our Lord's- meaning was only to signify to his disciples, that when they met together as his followers and servants, and offered their requests in his name, their prayers should be as favourably accepted and answer. ed, as if he himself were personally present and praying along with them. It is in this sense that this passage is taken in the following ingenious explication of it. “ If we consider the whole of this passage, in which our Lord is speaking of the great power of which his Apostles should be possessed, and especially of the efficacy of their prayers, we shall be satisfied that he could only mean by this form of expression, to represent their power with God, when they were assembled as his disciples, and prayed as became his disciples, to be the same 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 heareth prayer is evident, from his speaking of the Father in this very place
person who was to grant their petitions."* Christ may also be said to have been present with his disciples and first followers in their religious assemblies, in consequence of the gifts of the spirit which he received of the Father and shed forth upon them. John xiv. 16, 17, 18. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter, that he may abide with you for ever,
Familiar Illustrations of Çertain Passages of Scripture, p. 26, 27,
even the spirit of truth ; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him : but ye know him, for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you.' Here Christ is figuratively said to come to his disciples, on account of the effusion of the spirit, which he was to pro. cure for them from the Father by his prayers. Grotius takes notice that a person is said to be present with another in Latin, when he favours or assists him; and that there was a common sentence or proverb 'among the Jews, very like to the words of Christ we have been considering. " Where two persons meet together and discourse concern. ing the law, the Shechinah is among them.”* Possibly, < our Lord may have alluded to this proverbial saying, and if so, it will still more confirm the interpretation of his words above given. For the Shechinah or visible symbol of the divine glory, was not really present when two Jews met together in religious conference : but is only figura. tively said to have been so, to denote the divine approbation of such meetings. In like manner our Lord was not really present with two or three of his disciples, assembling in his name, but only represents himself as being so, to signify that their requests would be granted by Almighty God."
Matth. xxii. 45. “ If David then call him (Christ) Lord how is he his Son ? See this explained, Dis. viii.
Matth. xxviii. 18, 19. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Ġo ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.' These words of our Lord have been frequently alleged, in proof of a 'Trinity of co-equal and consubstantial persons in the godhead; and are thought by some to be a clear and irrefragable demonstration of it. This conclusion however is entirely assumed and arbitrary, and has nothing in the words of our Lord to countenance or support it. Three are here mentioned, but it is not said that these three are one God, that they are equal, or
* “ Sic Latine adesse alicui dicitur qui ci favet auxiliumque præbet. Est autem hoc Christi dictum simillimum tritæ inter Hebræos sententiæ -Ubi duo concident Sermonem habentes de lege, Shechinah est inter ipsos,” Grotius in loco.
that they are of the same essence or substance. In regard to our Lord Jesus Christ, it may be proved from the very words he uses concerning himself in this place; that he is a person absolutely dependent upon, and inferior to, the Father. All power (says he) is given unto me in heaven and in earth. And can a person who receives all power from another, be God? Can the receiver be compared with the giver? Our Lord tells us, that it is more blessed to give than to receive.' As sure then as our Lord Jesus Christ received all power from the Father, (and that he did so, we are certain from the testimony of many scriptures) so sure is it, by his own maxim, that he is a person inferior in dig. nity and excellence to the Father. The Divine Being was from eternity possessed of boundless and unlimited power, and cannot receive an addition or accession to his power,
Who hath first Given to him, (says St. Paul) and it shall be recompensed to him again ? For of him, and through him, and to him are all things,' &c. Rom. xi. 35, 36. “But our Lord Jesus Christ has had power, has had All the power he possesses, given him, or confer. red
upon him ; and therefore cannot be that God, or equal with that God, who gives to all but receives from none.'
But two questions are here put by our opponents. 1st. Why should Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, be join. ed with the Father in a solemn act of religious worship, if they are not divine persons equal with him, in power and in glory? 2dly. How can we be commanded to be baptized in the name of a person, if he is not God? To both of these questions, we shall give a distinct and explicit an.
To the first we reply, “ that the form or cere. mony of baptism itself, is not properly an act of religious worship. Neither prayer nor praise are contained or im. plied in the institution itself, although they may be very properly annexed to it. Baptism is an initiating ordinance, or ceremonial observance, that has an instructive moral meaning in it; and the form of words that are prescribed to be used, contain a short summary of the principal doc. trines of the Christian religion, but do not imply any appeal or address to the Deity. But further, it is no un. usual practice in the sacred writers, to join God and the creature together in speaking of them, and that even on very solemn occasions, as will appear from the following