Page images
PDF
EPUB

with whom He reigns one God, blessed for evermore, and was ordained to become incarnate, in the child predicted to be born? The everlasting Father, one with the everlasting Father, and himself the everlasting Father of the whole creation; as by him were all things created that are in heaven and that are in earth. The everlasting Father not only of the material creation, but the intellectual one; dominions, principalities, and powers in heavenly places; and who in counsel with Omnipotence made man in the image of God ;* who came unto his own though his own

* As God is a spirit, the similitude here spoken of must be a spiritual similitude; and the subject to which it relates, must be the spiritual part of man, his rational, immortal soul. To discover wherein such image and likeness consisted, what better method can we take than to inquire wherein consists that divine image and likeness which, as the Scriptures of the New Testament inform us, were restored in human nature through the redemption and grace of Christ, who was manifested for that purpose. The image restored was the image lost —was that in which Adam was created. The expressions employed by the penmen of the New Testament, plainly point out to us this method of proceeding. We read of the new man, which after God is created, (Eph. iv. 24,) and of man being renewed after the image of him that created him, (Col. iii. 10,) and the like. The use of the term created naturally refers us to man's first creation ; and leads us to parallel that with his renovation or new creation, by which he re-obtained those excellencies possessed at the beginning, but afterwards unhappily forfeited ; and whose are these, renewed in knowledge, after the image of him that created him? Put on the new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness, (Eph. iv. 24,) the holiness of, or according to, truth. The divine image then is to be found in the understanding which knows the truth, and in the will which loves it: for when the understanding judges that to

received him not. (John i. 11.) The Prince of peace; not only the mighty former of all things, who was before all things, by whom all things consist, but the Head of the church, the beginning, the first-born from the dead ; that in all things He might have the pre-eminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; and (having made peace through the blood of his cross) by him to reconcile all things unto himself: by him, I say, whether they be things in earth or things in heaven. Of this more particularly hereafter.

be true which with God is true, the man is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him; when the will loveth the truth, and all its affections move in the pursuit and practice of it, the man is new created after God in righteousness and holiness.

CHAPTER IV.

We will now proceed to the object of inquiry, from which the foregoing comments on the passage in Isaiah have somewhat led us to deviate. In the gospel according to St. Matthew, St. Mark, and St. Luke, record is given that at the baptisın of Christ a voice from heaven proclaimed, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” “ And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not : but He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw and bare record, that this is the Son of God;" adding, I indeed baptize with water, but there standeth one among you whom ye know not; He it is, who coming after me, is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose.”

In this recital, we have the concurring testimony of each evangelist to the divinity of the Saviour; for we may fairly conclude, a voice from

VOL. II.

100

was

n

heaven would never have proclaimed him the Son of God, in any sense short of his being a full participator of the divine nature; as no such proclamation was ever given respecting angels; and our blessed Lord himself has told us, that among those that are born of women, there never was a greater than John the Baptist; therefore, had the appellation of Son of God been ever conferred on any other human being than the man Christ Jesus, as a mark of distinction and pre-eminence, none could have been more worthy of this title than John the Baptist. But on the contrary, He it is who most specially disclaims all pretensions to equality with the Lamb of God; for when Jesus came to be baptized in Jordan, John forbad him, saying, “ I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?” He commenced his ministry by declaring, there cometh one mightier than I after me; He must increase, but I must decrease. No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father: He hath declared him. The taunting attestation of the infernal chieftain we often find repeated, “ If thou be the Son of God,” &c.; for it is written, “ He shall give his angels charge concerning thee.” (Matt. iv.) And again, “ What have we to do with thee, Jesus thou Son of God? I know thee who thou art, the holy one of God.” “ Then they that were in the ship, came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth, thou art the Son of God.” (Matt. xiv. 33.) This is far from being a solitary instance of Jesus Christ accepting and receiving homage from men on earth.

ve

Had not the fulness of Divinity dwelt incarnate in the man Christ Jesus, (but it did please the Father, we are assured, that in him should all fulness dwell,) He would doubtless have reproved such homage being paid him, as did the prophetic angel from the apostle John; “See thou do it not: for I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book : worship God.” (Rev. xxii. 9.) Nothing but Deity can be entitled to worship. “Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ the Son of the living God.” (Matt. xvi. 16.) “ Last of all he sent unto them his Son.” (Matt. xxi. 37.) Thus speaking of him as completely pre-eminent to all other messengers. Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross, and we will believe. He trusted in God, for He said I am the Son of God:” (Matt. xxvii. 40–43:) while suspended in torture He still asserted that He was the Son of God. “And there came a voice from heaven saying, Thou art my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” (Mark i. 11;) “ And there was a cloud overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him." (Mark ix. 7.) At this illustrious juncture Elias and Moses appeared unto the apostles, and talked with Jesus, but no such attestation was given respecting them. “And the high-priest said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of the Blessed ? And Jesus said

su

« PreviousContinue »