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upon him, for spitting on him and buffeting him, for smiting and deriding him. And it is a truth which ought never to be forgotten, that, although Pilate put him to death on a false pretence of treason, the real offence for which he suffered, the fatal crime for wbich he was hated and persecuted, for which he was tried and executed, was his assumption of the divine attributes, and, as a man, claiming to be God.
May this view of the character and pretensions of Jesus, of his life and of his death, lead us to a very serious meditation on his two-fold nature, and of the guilt of the Jews in openly rejecting their King. He who denies the divinity of Christ, denies the Lord that bought him, and whatever mercy he may experience in a better world, he rejects the covenant by which that mercy comes, and rests on grounds of human merit. The divinity and the atonement are sister doctrines, standing side by side, and cannot be separated without the rejection of both. To reject the atonement is to discard the help and grace of Christ, his blood, his propitiatory office, his mediatorial intercession. In whatever sense he has died for all, he has not in that sense died for these rejecters of him, and whatever merits he may plead in heaven, and whatever benefits he may now or hereafter obtain for his faithful and obedient servants, they are lost to all those who dispute his divinity, because they neither feel the want of the one, nor desire the possession of the other. It was
the cry of the Jews in their phrenzy, “ His blood be on us and on our children.” That cry is in some sense repeated by every one who degrades him to the rank of a mere mortal, denying his sonship, and in the expressive language of the Apostle, “ crucifying him afresh, and putting him to open shame.”
O may God save us from so awful an apostacy. If we have any doubts or misgivings on this eventful subject ; if our faith is too weak to carry us through all the proofs we have of his divine origin; if we feel at all inclined to err from the commandment that has been delivered to us : let us fall down upon our knees in the profoundest humility, and stopping the ear of scepticism and the voice of debate, humbly beseech Him“ from whom all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works do proceed,” to open our minds to a right perception and consideration of the truth, and our hearts to an obedient and reverend reception of his word and commandment; and having no will of our own, and no desire to be wise above what is written, submit to the teaching of his Spirit, and never go before our guide.
“He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that
All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and show it unto you.”
ON THE MYSTERY OF THE TRINITY IN UNITY.
JOB xi. 7, 8.
CANST THOU BY SEARCHING FIND OUT GOD ? CANST THOU FIND OUT THE ALMIGHTY UNTO PERFECTION ?
IT IS AS HIGH AS HEAVEN ; WHAT CANST THOU DO? DEEPER THAN HELL; WHAT CANST THOU KNOW ?”
THE object of God in the revelations he has vouchsafed of himself to mankind, seems to have been, to disclose so much of his nature, his attributes, and his government, as was necessary for their instruction and edification, thus giving them exalted notions of his divine majesty, and awful impressions of their own responsibility. Vain curiosity and rash speculation form no part of the disposition which he intended to awaken in their breasts, nor do such become us in relation to a being of such vast and infinite perfections. When we pursue our enquiries beyond the plain bounds of Holy Scripture, and busy ourselves with subjects which lie beyond our reach; or, when we endeavour to force the Scriptures to speak a language conformable to our own views of things, we abuse the gift that is in us, and offend against that light from heaven which should "guide our feet into the way of peace.” Reason, which is the noblest faculty we possess, cannot soar to any great height in comprehending spiritual things; and to an humble mind, it must be matter of surprise, not that God has left it still enveloped in so much natural imbecility, as that he has condescended so much to its incapacity and ignorance. Reason itself might discover the existence of God, for “ the heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handywork;" but his essence, his persons, and his properties, no human wisdom could ever have been able to find out. A revelation was absolutely necessary to discover these, if their discovery was to form any part of the gracious plan of his providence in respect of the world, for as there is no natural resemblance between him and his creatures, no just inference regarding him could be drawn from the things he has made. It was, therefore, a matter of great kindness in God, so to enlighten our darkness, as to vouchsafe some distinct notices of himself, in order that we might form juster conceptions of his being and attributes, and might the better understand our relation and duty to him, and the more accurately fulfil his holy will. Nor is it to be wondered at, if, after this condescension and enlightenment, we should still stand in great difficulty even as to many things to which his communications refer. Of himself it must be observed, that we have nothing by which to compare him. “ To whom will ye liken me, or shall I be equal ? saith the Holy One.” Whenever, therefore, we think or speak of him, we are obliged to have recourse, for the most part, to language and figures, which, were the reality perceived, would be found out of all place and proportion as descriptive images of the Almighty. His likeness is inconceivable, for “no man hath seen God at any time;" and though he is spoken of as a man, it is nothing but the poverty of language, or rather the materiality of our ideas, which leads us employ such expressions in our delineations. For the same reason our notion of all spiritual things must be very vague and inconclusive, because we have no experience of them, and it is experience, which, by making us acquainted with their parts and properties, enables us to understand them aright; and correspondent to our ideas must be our expressions of God.
The nature of God consists of a Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, three persons, as for the sake of explicitness we term them, but one God.-Now, how could .man have ever made this discovery, if he had been left to himself? It is opposed to all experience; it stretches beyond the province of reason. Yet, if we consider that God is a being of a different nature to ourselves; of different attributes, different powers and capacities; there is nothing monstrous or impossible in the doctrine, nor can it be fairly objected to, because it exceeds our knowledge. Had revelation unfolded nothing but what was very easy to be understood, and had we found it a relation of persons and things only of an ordinary stamp, the wonder would have been that the Divinity was so