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When we compare this evidence with the declarations of Scripture, respecting his preexistence in the divine nature, we are compelled to allow, that when the Word was made flesh, he who before had been God only, became God and man—a doctrine which more especially distinguishes those parts of the New Testament which describe the original deity and incarnation of Christ, in connection with each other, and in the order of their succession.
Jesus Christ, uniting in himself the human with the divine nature, is one person, one Mediator, one Lord. Nevertheless, when we read of his actions and discourses, it is important that we should distinguish those particulars which were the consequences of his humanity, from others which resulted from his deity.
The consequences of the humanity of Jesus Christ, detailed in the histories of his abode on earth, could not have contradicted or overturned the doctrine of his deity, as it is elsewhere declared in Scripture, even had those consequences formed the only subject of the Gospel narrations. But in point of fact, these narratives, together with other parts of the Bible which relate to our Lord's incarnation and human existence, abound also in the evidences of his deity.
When the Lord Jesus declared himself to be the Saviour of the world, and a final object of that faith which ensures, to those who possess it, the gift of eternal life—when he presented himself to the notice of his followers, as the moral and spiritual governor of mankind, the pardoner of sin, the authoritative repealer of parts of the divine law, the Lord of the Sabbath, greater than the temple, the giver and sender of the Holy Spirit—when he said to the Jews, "Before Abraham was, i Am"—when he spoke as one
omnipresent—above all, when he described the reciprocity, the even fellowship, and the equal community of works and attributes, which subsisted in the divine unity between his Father and himself—he indirectly, but indubitably, asserted his claim to the nature and character of God.
When he manifested an intuitive knowledge of the thoughts and secret murmurings of men, and thus, in conformity with his own declaration, evinced that he is the Searcher of the reins and the hearts—when he effected his own miracles (as well as those of his apostles) and thus controuled or altered, by his powerful fiat, the established order of nature—more especially when he burst asunder the bonds of death, and quickened again his own mortal body—he brought into exercise the attributes, and displayed the powers, of deity.
When that act of worship was addressed to him, which was indignantly rejected by an apostle, and by an angel, because they were creatures, and was so addressed to him, as plainly to indicate religious faith and spititual adoration, he was the object of those honours which are due to God only; and when, notwithstanding his acknowledged humility, he freely admitted such honours, he again bore a virtual testimony to the truth of his own divinity.
When many glorious collateral circumstances accompanied the several parts of his human history— when the multitudinous chorus of angels hallowed his nativity; when the greatest of human prophets ushered in his ministry; when men and devils, and the very winds, were subdued by his presence; when darkened and agitated nature owned his death: these things were all in harmony with the stupendous fact, that God was manifest in thefiesh.
Lastly, when the prophets, with reference successively to the birth, the life, and the crucifixion, of the Messiah, describe him as God with us, as the mighty God, as the Lord coming to his own temple, as Jehovah whose ways were prepared by Elijah, or by " the voice crying in the wilderness," as Jehovah sent by Jehovah to dwell among his people, as Jehovah whom the Israelites persecuted and pierced—when the writers of the New Testament, without reserve or hesitation, apply some of these prophecies to our Saviour —and when the apostle Thomas, after witnessing the truth of his resurrection, calls him his Lord and his God: these inspired servants of the Almighty confirm and fasten the whole preceding series of evidence; and place on the doctrine of the eternal divinity of Jesus Christ, as it is connected with his abode on earth, an intelligible and irrefragable seal.
ON CHRIST IN HIS REIGN.
Among the numerous prophecies of Scripture, which declare the coming, and depict the character and offices, of our Lord Jesus Christ, there are few which do not make some mention of his reign in glory. The very name by which he was known among the ancient Jews, was indeed immediately connected with his regality. The Messiah—the anointed One—who was to sit for ever on the throne of David, proclaiming restoration to Israel, and dispensing judgment and righteousness to the world at large, was the object of their fondest expectations; and these expectations were founded on the declarations of hoty men
of old, who " spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" I Pet. i, 21.
In many of the predictions alluded to, the description of the reign of the Messiah is combined with various details respecting the prior circumstances of his mission: as in Mic. v, 2, 3; Zech. ix, 9. Others of them, however, relate to Christ solely in his character of a monarch. "I will declare the decree," said the Messiah, in the second psalm, "Jehovah hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron: thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. Be wise now, therefore, O ye kings! be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him:" 7— 12; comp. Acts xiii, 33; Heb. i, 5. In another of the Psalms, a sublime description of Israel's Messiah is presented to us under the type of the "king's son:" "He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass, as showers that water the earth. In his days shall the righteous flourish, and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth. He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the rivers to the ends of the earth. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him, and his enemies shall lick the dust.
Yea, all kings shall fall down before him; all
nations shall serve him. For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth, the poor also, and him that hath no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy,
318 RESPECTING THE REIGN
and shall save the souls of the needy His name
shall endure for ever. His name shall be continued as long as the sun; and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed:" Ps. lxxii, 6—9. 11—13.17.
The " Prince of Peace" was one of the most distinguishing titles of the child who was to be born of the virgin. "Of the increase of his government and peace," exclaims the prophet, " there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it and to establish it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth and even for ever:" Isa. ix, 6, 7. Again, " He shall not fail, nor be discouraged, until he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law:" Isa. xlii, 4.
"Therefore will I save my flock," said Jehovah by his prophet Ezekiel, " and they shall no more be a prey, and I will judge between cattle and cattle. And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David a
prince amongst them And I will raise up for
them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more:" ch. xxxiv, 22—29.
In the vision of Nebuchadnezzar, recorded by Daniel, the kingdom which the " God of heaven" would "set up"—that is, doubtless, the kingdom of the Messiah—was represented by the little stone cut out without hands, which "became a great mountain and filled the whole earth " and that eminent prophet has recorded the particulars of another glorious revelation, which was made on the same subject, to himself: "1