« PreviousContinue »
while all those which speak of Christ, and attribute to him the name, attributes and worship of God, must inculcate the doctrine, that He is truly God. At times the Savior is spoken of as a man, possessing complete humanity though sinless and innocent; and at other times the Redeemer is declared to be the Creator of the world; as having existed before all things and upholding all things by the word of his power; as possessing all power and holding the destinies of the rational world in his hands; as infolding the infinite perfections of God in his person, and comprehending with his intellectual grasp the complicated movements of the Universe; and as combining in his being the essence and honor of the Godhead, and therefore worthy of the Supreme worship of all hearts, the loftiest praise and most devout adoration, rolling up to heaven from the smoking altars of earth's humble worshipers, or floating in melodious strains on the balmy breezes of the upper Paradise. The divine mandate of the eternal Throne rolled across the plains of glory, and along the ranks of the myriads of the heavenly host, “Let all the angels worship him;” and coming in a voice of superadded strength along the tragic scenes of bloody Calvary to the inhabitants of the earth, whispering its accents through conscience, nature and revelation, “Let all the people worship him and transfer their supreme affections upon the Lamb forever and ever.” There are a few practical thoughts, growing out of this subject, worthy of sober reflection, and of important bearing on the character of those who profess to love and worship our God. 1. The doctrine we have been discussing must be admitted as a fact and as founded upon the unequivocal testimomy of inspiration, or else, to be consistent, we must reject many of the doctrines of the Bible, and many of the phemomena of nature. It cannot be that any should be inclined to reject the doctrine of the Divinity of Christ for want of proper, decisive and substantial proof, for there is no cause more ably and convincingly sustained by testimony. The only ground assumed for a rejection of this doctrine, is, that it is mysterious and inexplicable. This charge is equally valid against many other doctrines, and natural things, as we have shown, if we are allowed to discard the one, let us throw all overboard. But this is unwise, we should submit to the authority of God, without asking the why and wherefore, in articles of faith, and doctrines of divine revelation, admitting that they must be reasonable, though above the flight of human reason, and standing on a foundation never marked with the footprints of reason liable to err, for they emanate from a Being supremely perfect and incapable of error. Admit the same evidence to have weight and conclusive force, which are of unquestionable authority to prove the law of gravitation, &c., and the doctrine we are defending, will stand triumphant, and the Bible be saved from the torture of stupid and reckless rules of interpretation and objections. 2. This doctrine has an essential connection with sound and soul-saving religious worship. The conceptions we form of the divine nature and character, will lay the foundation of our religion. To worship a created being as God, is wickedness and idolatry; and to worship God as a Being widely different from what he actually is, cannot constitute true worship, and thus our religion will be based upon an imaginary God and not upon the true God. We may be sincere, so may the Pagan and Mohammedan, yet sincerity cannot change a lie into the truth, or false devotion into true and saving religion. As principles lie at the foundation of right actions, so sound doctrines form the basis of evangelical religion. 3. This doctrine has a vital connection with many other doctrines of the Bible. Reject this, and you uproot many precious doctrines, and rend to tatters the economy of redemption. The atonement of Christ stands or falls with the Divinity of Christ. We shall not enlarge to show the vital connection of the two ; but merely cite as proof the practical results—that those who reject the divine character of Christ in its fullest extent, are equally decided in renouncing the atonement of Christ. Socinians do so; Universalists do the same, &c. The common notions of the atonement, as effected by the vicarious sufferings of Christ, and as the ground of pardon and reconciliation with God, they boastfully denounce as a system of gross injustice and consummate absurdity. Cast away the atonement, and you blot out the moral sun from a perishing world—you close up the portals of glory, and you make inevitably certain the remediless destruction of a fallen race. If you would cling to the atonement of Jesus, then admit and worship Christ as God, and thereby you will bestow equal honor on the Father, for “he that honoreth the Son, honoreth the Father likewise.” - 4. If the foregoing remarks are correct, then the doctrine is closely allied with the cheering hopes of immortal beings. Candid reader, if you would secure the favor of God, and finally bask in the beams of unremitting felicity, then build your hopes on Christ as God, and on his allsufficient atonement. Escape from the errors of Universalism as the mariner would from the rock and roaring breakers of death. Here alone is safety. And with a view to guide you into all truth, and to surround you with the everlasting arms of mercy, we have succinctly presented to your ingenuous attention the foregoing reflections. Will you ponder upon and cordially embrace the truth :
C H A P T E R IX.
“.4 man hath no pre-eminence above a beast; for all is vanity.” Ecc. iii. 19.
The language of the wise man is perfectly true, while limited to, and expressive of, the external appearance of earthly calamity and temporal death, as, doubtless, it was directly used for this purpose; but when men, who are wise above what is written, insist on Solomon's language as expressive of the sentiment that in man there is no immortality—that his life and being are as transitory, and as actually perish, as the brute creation; they are guilty of using unjustifiable license with the Scriptures, and with the uprising and throbbing emotions of the conscious soul. It is true, that many live a life of atheism, and as though they were unblessed with a nature and destiny superior to the brute; yet all this does not warrant the shocking conclusion, that man has no immortal soul. For all this, there may lie within him, though buried and debased, mental faculties, and moral powers, and latent aspirations, which rank him with immortal beings; and when brought under religious training and proper development, he will be qualified to range over the Elysian fields of immortality, and scan the ever-varying evolutions of inexhaustible glory.
To deny that the soul is immortal and repress that grand and ever-desirable attribute of man’s inner nature, is the product of deep depravity and groveling baseness. It is violence to the instincts and aspirations of the soul—it is brutish. However, there are those who reject the doctrine of the spirituality and proper immortality of the soul. Among others, are the Socinians, who profess to believe that the soul is void of spirituality, and not capable of a separate existence; “that man is wholly material, and that our only prospect of immortality is from the christian doctrine of a resurrection.” That many among the Universalists believe in the materiality of the mind, and deny that man is properly immortal, is a point easily proved. Perhaps, many of their preachers hold to the immortal and separate existence of the soul, and others believe it a doctrine of such small importance as unworthy of careful investigation; as A. B. Grosh, of Utica, declares. That many of the people adhere to the theory of the Scriptural doctrine on the subject, and others deny it, is unquestionable. The doctrine of materialism is variously modified and presents. various phases. From rank Materialism, as advocated by Priestly and others, that matter in a certain state of organization is the only mind, man is in possession of, and that there is no such thing as a spiritual and separate substance superadded to man, we find some advocating the destruction and annihilation of all the wicked after the resurrection; and others, that man will have no conscious existence from the period of death until the resurrection, and that the immortal existence of man is not dependent on anything in himself, but wholly dependent upon the resurrection of the dead. All of these positions and modifying explanations constitute a virtual denial of the spiritual, separate and immortal existence of the soul. How far Universalism, as it now is, harmonizes with the above views, will be seen, when we shall have drawn a comparison between the writings of a number of the principal advocates