« EdellinenJatka »
tirely as to that of their opposers, Christ used this declaration, in the very sense in which they allege it, with the most perfect propriety.
4thly. Christ, as the Unitarians allege, exhibits his inferiority to the Father by praying to him.
How, if it be admitted, as Trinitarians universally admit, that he was a man, could he with propriety do otherwise? He was placed under the same law, and required, generally, to perform the same duties demanded of other men.
5thly. Christ declares himself to be inferior to the Father, in express terms; My Father is greater than l; and my Father is
I greater than all.
These declarations are perfectly consistent with the doctrine of the Trinity, in two ways. First, as Christ was a man ; secondly, as in the character of Mediator he acted under a commisesion from the Father. He, who acts under a commission from another, is, while thus acting, inferior to him, from whom he received the commission.
But it is further objected, that Christ is exhibited as inferior to the Father by the Prophets and Apostles.
It will be unnecessary, under this head to mention more than a single instance. I shall select that instance, which seems to be the favourite one among Unitarians. It is contained in the following words, taken from the 24th and 28th verses of 1 Cor. xv, Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the Kingdom, to God, even the Father : and When all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.
To comprehend the Apostle's meaning in these declarations, it is necessary to remember, that Christ, as sustaining the office of Mediator, received from the Father a kingdom, according to the Scriptures; and that when his Mediatorial office ceases, because the purposes of it are accomplished, that kingdom, as we should naturally expect, is exhibited in the Scriptures as ceasing also; there being no end, for which it should be any longer retained. Christ will, therefore, deliver it up to the Father, when, at the Consummation of all things, He presents to Him the Church, as a glorious Church, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; and makes his final, triumphant entry into the Heavens.
Concerning the latter article, here objected; That the Son shall then be subject to the Father, it can scarcely be proper, that I should attempt to determine the exact import. It is perfectly evident, however, that this must be true of the human nature of Christ. It is also evident, that the act of rendering up the Kingdom which he had received is an act of subjection to the Father; nor does the passage demand any other interpretation.
That these declarations do not intend what the objectors allege, we certainly know. For unto the Son the Father saith, (Heb. i. 8,) Thy throne, O God! is for ever and ever. His dominion, (says Daniel,) is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away; and his kingdom that, which shall not be destroyed. He shall reign, (said Gabriel to Mary,) over the house of Jacob, for ever, and of his kingdom, there shall be no end. The throne of God and the Lamb is, as we are informed by St. John, the throne of eternal dominion in the Heavens; out of which, proceeds the river of the water of life, or the endless felicity and glory of all the happy inhabitants. To God and the Lamb also are equally addressed, those sublime ascriptions of praise, which constitute the peculiar and everlasting worship of saints and angels. In this superior sense, therefore, the kingdom of Christ will literally endure for ever.
It ought here to be added, that the same Apostle, who here says, that, the Father put all things under Christ, informs us in the same paragraph, that Christ himself put all things under his feet: and, elsewhere, that Christ is able to subdue all things unto himself, and that he is head over all things. Phil. Eph. i. How plain is it, that He, who is able to subdue all things unto Himself, is able to do any thing? that He, who puts all things under his own feet, does it by his own agency; and that He who is now
head over all things, is of course qualified to be head over all I things for ever?
DIVINITY OF CHRIST.
OBJECTIONS TO THE DOCTRINE OF UNITARIANS.
1 CORINTHIANS iii. 20.
The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.
In the preceding discourse from these words, after observing, that the reasonings of mankind, when employed in devising and establishing a scheme of Theology, or attempting to amend that, which is taught by God, are vain ; I mentioned, that in my own view, the Arians and Socinians, were fairly included within this declaration of Scripture. For this assertion I considered myself bound to give my reasons, and proposed to do it under two heads :
1. Answers, to their Objections against the doctrine of the Trinity; and,
II. Objections to the Doctrines, which they hold concerning Christ; and their Conduct in the management of the controversy. The former of these was the subject of the preceding discourse; the first part of the latter shall furnish the materials of the present.
To the Doctrines of the Unitarians, I make the following objections ;
1st. The Arians hold, that Christ is a super-angelic being, so much greater than all other creatures, as to be styled a God; and to perform the various divine offices, ascribed to him in the Scriptures by delegated power and authority.
To my own mind, this doctrine is utterly inconsistent both with the Scriptures and Reason.
The only argument, which, so far as I know, is derived directly from the Scriptures to support this opinion, is, that Angels are sometimes called Aleim, and that Magistrates have once this name given to them. That neither of these facts will warrant the doctrine in question will, I trust, be evident from the following
1st. Angels and Magistrates are called by this name only in the aggregate, gods; no Angel, or Magistrate, being ever called God. It is well known to my audience, that the same name is also given to the Idols of the Heathen; to animals, vegetables, the souls of departed men, or demons; and to all the other objects of Heathen worship. The term, Gods, is here evidently used in a figurative sense; natural and obvious, because the beings, to whom it is applied, sustained, or were supposed to sustain, some attribute, or character, resembling those, which belong to the true God. Thus God says to Moses, (Exodus vii. 1,) See; I have made thee a God to Pharaoh: that is, “ I have given thee authority over him, and armed thee with power to control, and punish him." In the same manner Magistrates are called Lords, and Kings, because they rule with subordinate power and authority.
But the term, God, in the absolute, is never given to any created being, unless Christ can be proved to be a creature : a thing which, it is apprehended, cannot be done. To Him, however, it is applied, in many instances, without any qualification; or any notice whatever, that it is not applied in the highest sense. At the same time, it is, when applied to him, connected with other objects, attributable only to the Deity. Thus in Romans ix. 5, when Christ is said by the Apostle to be God, He is also said to be over all things, and blessed for ever. Thus, when St. John informs us, that the Word was God, he informs us, also, that the Word was in the beginning, or eternal; was in the beginning with God, or co-eternal with God; and that all things were made by him, or that he was the Creator of all things. The attribution, therefore, of these things to Christ, when he is called God, (viz.) that he exists from eternity ; is co-eternal with God, or the Fa. ther; and is the Creator and Ruler of all things; marks in the most definite, as well as decisive, manner, the meaning of the
word God, when applied to him ; and proves that it is applied in the highest sense.
Nothing, parallel to this, or distantly resembling it, is found in any application of this term, to any
other being, except God.
2dly. Christ is called by all the other Names of God, except one ; (viz.) the Father.
It has been shown in a former discourse, that Christ is called the true God, the great God, the mighty God, Jehovah, &c. The application of these names to Christ is clear evidence, that, when he is called God, this appellation is given to him, in the same sense, in which it is given to the Father; to whom, and the Holy Spirit, exclusively, these other names are also given.
3dly. The Attributes and Actions, universally, of God are ascribed to Christ. It is plain then, that the Scriptures, which give this name to Christ, connect with it all the other appellations, together with all the Attributes and Actions, which make up the Scriptural character of God.
In all these respects, the application of the term Gods to Angels and Magistrates differs totally, and I apprehend infinitely, from that of God to Christ. The application of the term Gods to Angels and Magistrates, therefore, furnishes not the least rea. son to believe, that Christ is called God in the sense alleged, or that Christ is a delegated God.
Having removed the only Scriptural argument, on which I suppose any serious reliance to be placed, as a proof, that Christ is a delegated God; I proceed to observe, that this scheme is utterly inconsistent, with the things, which are said of him in the Scriptures. It is utterly inconsistent with the ascription to him of the Names, Attributes, and Actions, which have been just now mentioned. Particularly it is inconsistent with the declarations, that He made all things, and that He upholds all things, by the word of His power. In the account, given us by St. John and St. Paul of the Creation of all things by Christ, both Apostles use phraseology, which, with an exactness scarcely paralleled, denotes an absolute universality. By him, says St. Paul, were all things created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers : all things were created by him, and for him. All things, Vol. II.