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JESUS CHRIST WROUGHT 289
already instituted between the miracles of Christ, and those of the ancient patriarchs and prophets. In order, however, to complete our view of the present subject, it is necessary for us to take some notice of the miracles of the apostles. These servants of Christ were endued with supernatural qualifications of a very exalted kind, and the miraculous effects which they were the means of producing, appear to have been sometimes consequent upon their authoritative command. Yet was that command issued not in their own name, but in the name of Jesus, and it is distinctly inculcated in the Holy Scriptures, that although these gifted persons were the instruments, through whom were displayed many mighty signs and wonders, yet they were only the instruments. It was their Lord and Master—it was Jesus Christ himself—it was the Son as well as the Father—by whose power those signs and wonders were actually effected. "So then after the Lord had spoken unto them," says the evangelist, " he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God: and they went forth and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following:" Mark xvi, 19, 20. Thus, after the sudden cure of the lame man in the temple, when the question was addressed to the apostles Peter and John, "By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?" Peter was filled with the Holy Ghost, and answered, " Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole:" Acts iv, 7. 10. And what were the words of the same apostle, when he was the
290 THE MIRACLES OF THE APOSTLES.
means of miraculously healing the palsied Eneas, who had been confined to his bed for eight years? "Eneas, JESUS CHRIST Maketm Thee Whole:" Acts ix, 34; comp. xiv, 3; Rom. xv, 19.
It was the Son of God, therefore, who bestowed sudden health and strength on the withered Eneas— who caused the lame man in the temple to leap for joy—who wrought all the miracles of his servants— who wrought his own miracles. And since this power of actually effecting miracles is equivalent, in various instances, to the power of creating—since it is frequently described in the New Testament as one of the attributes of God—we may, I believe, depend on the safety of our conclusion, that when Jesus Christ (in concert and cooperation with the Father) performed all these wonderful works, he displayed that authority over nature, and that power of controuling its order, which are characteristic only of Jehovah.
As these observations apply to the miracles of Jesus Christ in general, so do they bear with an especial degree of force and precision on the most remarkable of them all—his own resurrection from the dead. That God raised Christ from the dead, is a fact frequently stated in the New Testament, and one which affords a conspicuous evidence of divine love and power. When, however, it is considered, that between the Father and the Son there subsists a perfect unity of counsel and of action; that " what things soever the Father doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise"—it will be allowed, that Scripture is still in harmony with Scripture, when, on the one hand, it declares that Christ was raised by the power of the Father, and, on the other hand, that he rose by his own power. We have already found occasion to ob
ROSE, BY HIS OWN POWER, FROM THE DEAD. 291
serve, that our Lord claimed a power of raising the dead, equal to that which was possessed by his Father: John v, 21. Now, that this power extended to the quickening again of his own mortal body, he expressly asserted on a subsequent occasion; "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and / have power to take it again:" John x, 17, 18. And further, that Jesus Christ actually brought this power into exercise, and so raised himself from the dead, it is impossible for those to doubt, who believe that all his words were true, and that what he promised to do, he did. "Destroy this temple," said he to the Jews, "and in three days / will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But, adds the apostle, "he spake of the temple of his body;" John ii, 19—21. This saying of our Lord's was notorious, even among his enemies; and we read, that " when he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them, and they believed the Scripture, and the words which Jesus had said:" ver. 22.
Now, what were the circumstances under which the Son of God wrought this stupendous miracle? They were these: that he had given up the ghost— that he was lying a lifeless corpse in the sepulchre— that his human agency was suspended in death. Since, therefore, this wonderful work cannot possibly be attributed to the faculties of his humanity—since reason and revelation alike declare that it was a divine work—I cannot but conclude, that when the Messiah of Israel burst asunder those bonds of death, wherewith
292 RECEIVED DIVINE HOMAGE.
it was " not possible" that he should be " holder);" (Acts ii, 24 ;) when he quickened again that prepared body in which he had been born, conversed, and died; and when he presented himself alive to his followers —he displayed a conspicuous proof of his eternal Sonship, of his actual and unchanging deity.
III. Jesus Christ, during his abode on earth, received the homage which belongs only to the Supreme Being.
Our Lord's frequent, though sometimes indirect, assertions of a claim to the divine character, procured for him, from the blinded Pharisees, no other return than the accusation of blasphemy; and the wonderful works by which those assertions were substantiated, they impiously attributed to the prince of the devils: but among those persons who believed in his name, the words and actions of Jesus were met by a corresponding disposition and conduct. Their Lord and Master was the object of their worship.
The examples of worship addressed to Jesus, must be familiar to every reader of the New Testament. He was worshipped by the magi,— by the leper,— by the ruler of the synagogue,—by the Canaanitish woman,—by the man who had been born blind,— and frequently by his own disciples. The act addressed to him by these persons was the prostration of the body on the ground; and so generally was this act understood to be a sign of spiritual adoration addressed to Jehovah, that in the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures, the terms which denote the act, are also currently employed for the purpose of expressing simply that spiritual adoration.8
8 Heb. nntwirr Gr. Wjowumw.
WAS WORSHIPPED 293
It is, indeed, probable, that the prostration of the body on the ground was occasionally practised among the Jews, as well as among the other inhabitants of the East, as an indication of merely civil homage addressed to their superiors among men. But that the worship of which Jesus Christ was the object, was not in general civil in its nature, but religious and spiritual, and such as could be rightly addressed only to the Supreme Being, we have reason to believe for the following reasons:
In the first place, although the prostration of the body on the ground might be a ceremony sometimes performed by the Jews, as a token of submission to their fellow-creatures, vet it appears to be one of the principles of Christianity—a principle indirectly recognized in the New Testament,—that an act which so usually designated the spiritual worship of God, could not be rightly addressed either to men or to angels. Thus, when Cornelius fell down at the feet of Peter and worshipped him, that apostle, eminent as he was as a teacher and leader in the early Christian church, instantly refused to receive such a mark of reverence, and for this plain reason, that he was man and not God. "Stand up," said he to Cornelius, "/ myself also am a man:" Acts x, 26. Just so also, when the apostle John, stricken with the glory of the angel who showed him so many wonderful things, "fell at his feet to worship him" the angel, as we read in the Revelation, forbad and even resented such conduct, eagerly exclaiming, "See thou do it not; I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus:—Worship God:" Rev. xix, 10.
Now, the act of worship which, when offered to