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ces that must inevitably follow, on the one hand, if Christ be not truly God, and on the other hand, if he be truly God.
First, If Christ be not truly God, then it follows,
§ 1. That he was not the promised Messiah, but a deceiver and a blasphemer. We have formerly proved, both from the Scriptures and from the writings of our most ancient Rabbins, that the Messiah was expected to be truly God; therefore, if Christ be not truly God and equal with the Father, he does not answer the character of the Mes. siah, and consequently was a deceiver; for he repeatedly declared that he was the Christ, the Messiah, of whom it was written in the law, in the prophets, and in the book of Psalms. Further, he would have been guilty of blasphemy, as well as of deception; for he not only claimed to be the Christ, but repeatedly declared that he was equal with God.
Let me call your attention to the following passage: " Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work: therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he had not only broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do; for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth; and he will show him greater works than these,
ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. For the Father judgeth no man; but háth committed all judgment unto the Son; that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son, honoreth not the Father which hath sent him.” John, 5: 17-23. Now these words contain our Lord's
vindication of his own conduct when accused by our peo ple of having violated the Sabbath, because he had
performed a miraculous cure on that day. His vindication, however, was so little to their satisfaction, that they aceused him still further, of making himself equal with God. Our Savior then goes on to explain, but without making the least concession of his simple humanity. He claims God for his own proper Father-assumes a right of ope: rating on the Sabbath-a power of imitating God in his works of providence of quickening whomsoever he will
-the privilege and power of judging the world, and of being honored like as his heavenly Father is honored. That these are the pretensions of Jesus, is evident from the whole context; and that they are inconsistent with every idea we can entertain of mere created excellence, must be evident to the judgment of every impartial inquirer into the truth as it is in Jesus. He is either the true, proper, natural Son of God; or it is impossible to vindicate him from the most insolent and consummate imposture. There is no medi. um, (I speak it with reverence,) he must either be the real and genuine Son of God, or a most daring blasphemer.
$ 2. On another occasion, recorded John, 10: 23–39, Christ was again charged with blasphemy in making himself equal with God. To justify his claim, he quotes the Old Testament to illustrate his meaning; but, so far from being satisfied, they were proceeding to seize him, when he escaped out of their hands. Now, if he had been a mere man, accoraing to his external appearance, he had nothing to do but to tell them so, and all would have been easy. But as he used such expressions as led them to think that he pretended to be equal with God, he either was so in reality, or, to say the least, he dealt
disingenuously with them. He was to blame; they were to be pitied.
§ 3. From Matt. 26:63–66, it is very evident that Christ was charged of being guilty of blasphemy, for making himself equal with God, for saying he was the Son of the mosi Blessed: and for this, and this only, did they think themselves justified in condemning him to death. The Jews certainly understood that our Lord meant to assert that he is equal with God. They either were right in their conclusion or not. If the former, then Christ is equal with God, as we believe him to be; if the latter be the case, viz. that they were mistaken, then it certainly would have been the duty of Christ to rectify their mistake. He doubtless knew in what sense he used the appellation which he assumed, and by his acquiescence admitted the truth of their allega. lion. If they had misunderstood his pretensions, he had many opportunities of undeceiving them, both to prevent his death and the propagation of an error which his acquiescence and their charge did not fail to establish. Yet, instead of correcting their opinions, he confirmed the charge by repeating his assertion, and submitting to the sentence which the Levitical law passed on him for calling himself the Son of God. Therefore if we admit, in any degree, the truth of the Christian revelation, and believe that Christ came into the world to bear witness unto the truth, we must believe him to have been what he professed himself to be, viz. the Son of God in the literal sense of the sentences which his living witnesses imputed to them, i. e. God-equal with God-and one with God.
$ 4. Besides, I have already shown, in the preceding letter, that Christ both required and received divine worship; and in the first and second chapters of the Revelation of St. John, Christ assumes to himself the divine criteria of eternity, immutability, omniscience, omnipotence, and absolute control of the universe-killing and making alive at his pleasure. Such language ill becomes a mere creature, and is nothing less than blasphemy; and equally unbecom. ing would be the language with which he closes the sacred volume of divine revelation, chap. 22: 12, 13, 16, compared with Numb. 24:17; Mal. 4: 2.
§ 5. If Jesus Christ was not God, and consequently was guilty of blasphemy, then the Jews, in putting him to death, only executed that punishment which God himself had commanded them: for the law expressly required that a blaspherner should be put to death, Lev. 24: 15, 16. Hence, when Pilate declared that he could find no fault in Jesus worthy of death, the high priest said, “We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God." John, 19:7. The accusation, then, was blasphemy, for calling himself the Son of God in the strictest sense of the word. Pilate, therefore, when he heard that Jesus was the Son of God, was the more afraid, and asked " Whence art thou ?" that is, art thou indeed a divine person? of what deity hast thou descended ? for Pilate could not have had a reference to his natural descent or native place, for he was well acquainted with both. Now if Jesus was condemned and put to death according to God's law, the inspired apostle would not have charged the Jews with having crucified the Lord of glory, and with having done it with wicked hands. Nor could they have blamed them for not believing in a deceiver and a blasphemer. And surely a holy, just, and righteous God would never have poured out his wrath upon them to the uttermost, which we are assured he has done. 1 Thes. 2:16. Besides, I have shown already in a former letter, (p. 296,) that the unparalleled sufferings of our nation, since the death of Christ to the present day, could be accounted for upon no other principle except their rejection of Jesus of Nazareth, the true Messiah.
$ 6. If Christ was not truly God, then it follows he was not the promised Messiah, and consequently the cere. monial law is not abrogated, and no atonement is made for sin. The Mosaic dispensation was to continue until the
coming of the Messiah, who was to give a new law, as is acknowledged by our Rabbins. The types were to continue until the coming of the anti-type. The shadows were to remain until the coming of the substance. Sacrifices, which were the very soul of the Mosaic ceremonies, were not to cease until after the death of the Messiah: but sacrifices have ceased; the veil of the temple is rent from the top to the bottom, to show that the way unto the most holy place is opened for all, and the distinction between the carnal priests, Levites, Israelites, Gentiles, and women, is for ever
6 for in Christ Jesus there is no difference." Rom. 10:12; Gal. 3:28.
Further, if Christ was not God, then he could not make an atonement for sin. There are two things,” says Dr. Owen, "concerning the Messiah, which are the pillars and foundation of the Church. The one is his divine nature; and the other, his work of mediation in the atonement for sin, which he was to make by his sufferings, or the sacrifice of himself.” Now, if the foundation is removed, the pillars must fall. The blood of a mere human creature could no more atone for the sins of men than the blood of bulls and goats." The divinity of Jesus Christ,” says the pious Dr. Hawker, “I conceive to be the chief corner-stone in the edifice of Christianity. Remove this from the building, and the whole fabric immediately totters. The foundation is shaken to the very centre. There appears at once an evident disproportion between the end and the means, the importance of the object proposed, and the person by whom it was accomplished.” Serm. Div. of Christ, p.
But instead of enlarging on this subject, I will refer my dear Benjamin to what I have said on the priestly office of the Messiah, and simply observe, that if Jesus Christ is not as truly God as he is man, then the law of God is not yet magnified and made honorable; divine justice is not satisfied; and God cannot be a just God, and yet the justifier of