Page images

ity of equal and distinct agents ? Nothing but contemptible and groveling stupidity would dare make the suggestion.

After making the above statements in order to divest the mind of the reader of prejudice and false positions; and to induce him to take the attitude of a pupil of God's word instead of a judge; we shall show,

1. That the Scriptures teach as a fact, that there is but one true and living God.

“ Hear, O, Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.” Deut. vi. 4. “I am the Lord and there is none else, there is no God besides me." Is. xlv. 5. “And this is eternal life, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” John xvii. 3. Though the Scriptures do not attempt to explain the manner of the divine existence, yet they are very decisive in announcing its reality.

2. In the Supreme Divinity, or Divine Essence there is a distinction of three, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, who possess the same nature, and the infinite perfections of God —of each of these the Scriptures authorize the use of the personal pronouns, I, thou, he; and the name, attributes, and worship of the Supreme Deity. These are revealed as facts, and no attempt is made to show the manner of God's existence, or how such an existence is consistent with reason. We acknowledge it an ineffable mystery, yet we deny and challenge the proof that it is contrary to reason. We believe it above reason. To prove that the Scriptures teach such a distinction in God, we need quote but few passages. Matth. xxviii. 19. “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.To make a profession of God in Christian baptism, we are to recognize the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost as equal and possessing the same nature, attributes and essence. 2 Cor. xiii. 14. “ The .

grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all.” This benediction of Paul recognizes a distinction of three in the divine nature. Since the Lord declares these things to be so, we should bow with submission to the divine authority and, believe what God hath said without gain-saying. His word is sufficient evidence to sustain and prove the doctrine, although we cannot define the manner of such an existence.

3. The Supreme Divinity of Christ.

Those who agree to reject the Supreme Divinity of Christ, but illy agree among themselves, what the nature and true character of Christ actually is. Some consider him a divine being in the sense that he is superior to the angels, nevertheless that he is a created being. Others profess to believe that he is a mere man, possessed of body and soul as a man, and that the only sense in which he is superior to man, is because of the gifts of God, his office and resurrection from the dead. Others believe that Christ was not in the possession of humanity. There is some difference, as to what Christ actually is, his pre-existence, &c. among Unitarians, Socinians, Universalists, and Christians; but they all agree in disavowing the proper divinity of Christ as God. To prove that they are in error, great and dangerous, in denying the Godhead of Christ, for thereby they are led to deny the vicarious sufferings of Christ and his atonement for man, we shall now endeavor to show:

That Christ is God, is evident from the fact, 1. That he is equal with God, the Father.

The Apostle Paul seems to be clear and decisive on this subject in Phil. ii. 6. “ Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, &c.” This passage seems decisive. Two points, however, are necessary to be understood. What we are to understand by

“ being in the form of God;" and what by being “equal with God.” The criticisms which have encumbered this text, have been put forth by such men as were desirous to do away the relevancy of the passage to prove the Divinity of Christ. :

“ Being in the form of God.” By this expression, we presume, the Apostle intended to convey the idea, that Jesus Christ was verily and essentially God, for the following reasons : 1. It declares his pre-existence; that he was in the form of God before he took upon himself the form of a servant, before he made himself of no reputation, and was made in the likeness of men. Whatever that was which he laid aside, one thing is certain, that he had an existence prior to his becoming a man, therefore he could not have been a mere man, but above a man. 2. It means. that the form of God, in which he was before he was made in the likeness of men, did not consist in the glory of his external appearance, the goodness and benignity of his life and works, nor in the power of working miracles, for the .. obvious reason, that, instead of laying these aside, he re- tained them and manifested them throughout his earthly · existence. 3. It must therefore imply that the certain mode in which God manifested himself, whatever it be, was laid aside previous to his entrance upon earth, and thenceforward he no more displayed the peculiar manifestation of God, but showed himself as a man. He did not lay aside his Divinity, but the glorious manifestation of the Godhead; for the Savior and Paul more than intimate this. Col. ii. 9. “For in him all the fullness of the Godhead dwelt bodily.” This, of course, means, that in him all the divine attributes of God centred, therefore these he did not lay aside. But Christ says, in John xvii. 5. "And now, Father glorify thou me, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” Therefore, there was a glori

Cous manifestation of God, which Christ had before the world

was, but which he laid aside when he was made in the likeness of men, and which he resumed after his ascension to glory. Indeed, if to be in the form of a servant is to be in the likeness of men, then to be in the form of God must make him God. This is evident from Paul's subsequent remark, that he was “equal with God," because he was in the form of God.

" Equal with God.” This phrase does not mean, that he was like God in any moral quality of his character ; but that he was the equal of God in nature, attributes and rank. One thing may be like another in some respects, and yet not be the equal. To express a mere similarity, the Greeks used the term omoios, and when they expressed equality, they used the term isos, which is the singular nominative of the word of the text. Whenever any godlike majesty was ascribed to man, the phrase used : was omoios theo, but the phrase isa theo, was never applied to man but always expressive of a being who was actually God. Therefore it was, when the Savior used expressions of himself to denote his true character, and which the Jews esteemed as exalting himself to an equality with God, and consequently guilty of blasphemy, that they said, she made himself equal (ison to theo,) with God.” John v. 18. This shows that Paul used literal language, and meant to express what the people would naturally understand, that Christ was truly and essentially God. Christ and the Father were one-oné in essence and harmonious in all their works.

2. The Scriptures apply the name of God to Christ. We are well aware, that the name of God is a few times given to created beings in order to express some high rank or dignity among men, but then it is used figuratively and not literally. It only expresses a quality, but when applied

to Christ it is used literally. It expresses all that it does when it is applied to the Father; this it must, unless it is used figuratively. If it is used figuratively when applied to Christ, the opponent of the Divinity of Christ is under the necessity to prove it and not we. We say, that it is applied literally and describes him as God. We read in, Rom. ix. 5. “Whose are the Fathers, and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever.” The fathers and patriarchs were claimed by the Jewish people as their honorable progenitors, and as conferring upon them peculiar favors and distinguished merit. But Christ, as concerning the flesh, so far as he was a man was a lineal descendant of the fathers; while in another respect, he was God over all. If Christ was nothing more than man, it would seem surperfluous to speak in reference to him, as concerning the flesh, as a man, that he was a descendant of the fathers. As a man, he was not “over all, God blessed forever.” In this passage the appellation of God is given to Christ, not in his human nature, but in his divine. In his human nature, he was the Son of Mary but in his divine, he was God, or the Son of God. The various criticisms which have been brought forward to disprove the relevancy of this passage to fortify the Divinity of Christ, have been as ineffectual and abortive as the dashing waves to sweep away the everlasting rocks of Gibraltar.

* And Thomas answered and said unto him, my Lord, and my God.” John xx. 28. This was not a mere exclamation of surprise, for the Jews did not make use of the name of God with such irreverence. Though many of the Jews were wicked, yet the name of God was pronounced with the greatest solemnity and reverence. This we may presume was the case with Thomas. Indeed, his language was the deliberate and logical conclusion of reason. He

« PreviousContinue »