« PreviousContinue »
Son but the Father ; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” Matth. xi. 27. This asserts that Christ has the same knowledge of the Father, that the Father has of the Son, therefore if it requires infinite wisdom and knowledge to comprehend the character of the Father, then Christ was in the possession of such knowledge, and must necessarily be God.
“But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.” John ii. 24, 25. Again, 1 Cor. iv. 5. “ Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the heart.” Who besides God can answer the doctrine of the above passages ? Is Christ mere man notwithstanding the Scriptures speak thus of him ? Let candor and reason reply.
We need not carry the argument any further and prove each separate attribute of God as belonging to Christ, for if we could prove that he possesses only one attribute, the argument would be sound, provided we first showed that God is indivisible in essence and character. The apostle Paul asserts in Col. ii. 9. “ For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." By this, we understand, that in Christ centres and resides the sum total of the attributes of God. Is this decisive testimony to prove that Christ is God? If not, what divine testimony do we require to convince the judgment ? . 5. Divine worship is ascribed to Christ..
The worship ascribed to Christ is not of an inferior character, but it is the same as that rendered unto the Father. This is evident from the following passage : “ That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Fa
ther. He that honoreth not the Son, honoreth not the Father which hath sent him.” John v. 23. We should pay the same homage to Christ that we do to the Father; and so requisite is this, that whoever withholds from Christ supreme worship, is guilty of withholding due worship from the Father ; therefore his religion must be vain and false. The apostle declares the sentiment, that it is not only proper and necessary for men to pay religious worship to Christ, but that all the angelic host should worship him. “ And let all the angels of God worship him.” Heb. i. 6. Again, “ That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Phil. ii. 10, 11. “ And I beheld and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the beasts, and the elders : and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands ; saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the lamb forever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshiped him that liveth forever and ever.” Rev. v. 11–14. The above passages inculcate the principle, at least, that the whole animate creation shall acknowledge the supremacy of Christ, and extol him as high as the eternal God, which, if Christ be not very God, would be at violence with the character of God and the great principles of his moral government. We cannot conceive how, within the bounds of just interpretation, the passages of the Bible
which ascribe worship to Christ, can be applied to anything else than to sustain and defend the doctrine, that Christ is God. Upon the ground of testimony, excluding all metaphysical and abstruse speculations, this doctrine is amply proven. And every judgment qualified to weigh evidences, and feeling disposed to admit a position thus sustained, will feel very little hesitation in embracing the doctrine and in worshiping the Savior as God.
There is a strong reason in the philosophy of the institution of religion, through Christ the Mediator, that would demand that Christ should be the God of heaven and earth. The institution and requirements of religion can be harmonized on no other ground than upon the admission that Christ is God. It is an obvious truth in the philosophy of things, that the person who makes great self-denials, and labors with unwearied diligence to procure good, and a deliverance for those who are in suffering and desperate extremities, that he will gain the ardent affections of the saved. Thus the Almighty secured to himself the affections and supreme devotion of the people of Israel. He delivered them from bondage and the grasp of death, and in return, they sang the high praises of God, and extolled his name abroad. Thus Jesus Christ, by his advent, voluntary humility, suffering and death, drew the affections of all who were saved upon himself. The love of Christ constrains the people, and the thanks, gratitude and supreme love of the believing heart are rendered to Christ. Christ is the sun of light, the centre of attraction, the joy and praise of all who bow the soul in humble submission to God. The very position Christ assumed, and the labors he performed in the plan of salvation, had a powerful and uniform tendency to secure for himself the affection and supreme love of his people. Therefore, if Christ be a mere man only, he destroys all true worship and establishes nothing but
idolatry ; but if he be God, then every pity of his heart, every pang of wo, every act of self-denial, every magnanimous work, and the sum total of his sufferings unto death for the salvation of a fallen world, was conducive to elevate, concentrate and strengthen powerfully, the worship of God as rendered to Christ. The writer of a small book, titled, “ Philosophy of the Plan of Salvation," speaks and reasons in the following strain.
“ Now, suppose that Jesus Christ was not God, nor a true manifestation of the Godhead in human nature, but a man, or angel, authorized by God to accomplish the redemption of the human race from sin and misery. In doing this, it appears, from the nature of things and from the Scriptures, that he did what was adapted to, and what does, draw the heart of every true believer--as in the case of the apostles and early christians-unto himself, as the supreme or governing object of affection. Their will is governed by the will of Christ; and love to him moves their heart and hands. Now, if it be true that Jesus Christ is not God, then he has devised and executed a plan, by which the supreme affections of the human heart are drawn to himself, and alienated from God, the proper object of love and worship: and, God having authorized this plan, he has devised means to make man love Christ, the creature, more than the Creator, who is God over all, blessed forevermore.
“But, is it said, that Christ having taught and suffered by the will and authority of God, we are under obligation to love God for what Christ has done for us. It is an- . swered, that this is impossible. We cannot love one being for what another does or suffers in our behalf. We can love no being for labors and self-denials in our behalf, but that being who voluntarily labors and denies himself. It is the kindness and mercy exhibited in the self-denial that
moves the affections; and the affections can move to no being but to the one that makes the self-denials, because it is the self-denials that draw out the love of the heart.
“Is it still said, that Christ was sent by God, to do His will and not his own; and therefore we ought to love God, as the being to whom love and gratitude is due, for what Christ said and suffered ? Then it is answered: if God willed that Christ, as a creature of his, should come, and by his sufferings and death redeem sinners, we ought not to love Christ for it, because he did it as a creature, in obedience to the commands of God, and was not self-moved nor meritorious in the work; and we cannot love. God for it; for the labor and self-denial was not borne by him. And further; if one being, by an act of his authority, should cause another innocent being to suffer, in order that he might be loved who had imposed the suffering, but not borne it, it would render him unworthy of love. If God had caused Jesus Christ, being his creature, to suffer, that he might be loved himself for Christ's sufferings, while he had no connection with them; instead of such an exhibition, on the part of God; producing love to him, it would produce pity for Christ, and aversion towards God. So that neither Christ, nor God, nor any other being, can be loved for mercy extended, by. self-denials to the needy, unless those self-denials were produced by a voluntary act of mercy upon the part of the being who suffers them. . . And no being, but the one who made the sacrifices, could be meritorious in the case. It follows, therefore, uncontrovertibly, that if Christ was a creature—no matter of how exalted worth—and not God; and if God approved of his work in saving sinners, he approved of treason against his own government; because, in that case, the work of Christ was adapted to draw, and did necessarily, draw the affections of the human soul to himself, as its spiritual Savior, and