« AnteriorContinuar »
and the · Shepherd of God, the Man that is the fellow,' or compeer, of Jehovah of Hosts. We are farther informed, that there is one Shepherd to the flock; that he is the final Judge of the quick and the dead : that Jehovah is the Shepherd' of David, one of the righteous, and therefore, by irresistible consequence, of all the righteous; that the Lord God will feed his Rock • like a shepherd, will gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom. If therefore Christ be not Jehovah, if he be not the Lord God, then there are two Shepherds instead of one, of whom Christ is still the chief' and the 'great Shepherd ;' and, although the Shepherd of David was Jehovah, yet Christ is the Shepherd of all other righteous per
This character Christ recognizes, when he informs us that at the great day he will separate the sheep from the goats;' and this character he will for ever sustain in the future world; for there, we are taught, he will feed them, and lead them to living fountains of waters.'
3. Christ sustains the character of the Possessor of all things.
At his entrance into this world it is said, · He came unto his own things, (tæ 'idiæ ;) and his own men, or kindred (or id.o.,)
(7 received him not;' that is, he came into the world, but mankind, or the Jewish nation, received him not. John i. 11.• All things,' saith Christ, which the Father hath, are mine,' or, my things. John xvi. 15.—Again, in his intercessory prayer, he says to the Father, · All things that are mine, are
‘ thine, and the things which are thine, are mine.' John xvi. 10. It will be needless to add any farther passages to texts so perfectly explicit and unambiguous as these. It is proper however to remark, that the possession of all things is inseparably connected with the creation and preservation of all things. All things are necessarily the property and possession of Christ, because he made them, and because he upholds them in being, as saith the Psalmist, « The earth is Jehovah's, and the fulness thereof, the world, and they that dwell therein ; for he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon. the floods.'
But the possession of the universe involves in the Possessor, to say the least, an absolute knowledge of every thing that is thus possessed. No mind can possess any thing, to which its comprehension does not extend. Entitled to it, it may
be; in the actual possession of it it cannot be. But no mind except the Omniscient can comprehend, or aver discern, more than a little part of the universe ; and therefore none but the Omniscient Mind can possess any more than this little part.
There is indeed a humbler and totally different sense, in which it may be figuratively said, and in which it is said in the Scriptures, that the saints shall inherit all things ; and in which
i all things are said to be theirs ; viz. “ that all things shall work together for good to them. In this manner all things cannot with propriety be said to belong to Christ; because; being ' the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever,' bis enjoyment is like himself, unchangeable ; and cannot in any sense be the result of the changes of wbich created things are the subjects. The happiness of created beings results only and necessarily from bis government of all things for their benefit; but his happiness existed before the things themselves, and can be dependent on nothing but his own mind.
Farther : The possession of all things involves, inseparably, the controul over them, in such a degree as to direct them immediately to the use and purposes of the possessor. That which we cannot command for our own use, we do not in the proper sense possess. But the power and the knowledge necessary to the possession of all things are in this view plainly infinite.
4. Christ sustains the relation of supreme Ruler to the universe.
Revelation xix. 11, &c. · And I saw Heaven opened ; and behold a white horse, and he that sat on him was called Faithful and True, and his name is called the Word of God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.'—Rev. xvii. 14. • These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them; for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings:'1 Tim. vi. 15. · Which in his times the blessed and only putentate shall show, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.'--Acts x. 36.- Jesus Christ : this person is Lord of all things.'--Romans ix. 5. • Christ who is over all things, God blessed for ever, Amen.'— Philippians ï. 10, 11. 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.' In these passages Christ is directly exhibited as the Lord or Ruler of the universe, in the most absolute sense; the Lord of all things; whom things in heaven, and things in earth, are respectively required to confess as their Lord.
But the government of the universe requires, if any thing requires, the attributes of an infinite mind : goodness to prompt, justice to direct, knowledge to discern, and power to execute, whatever is right, wise and good to be done ; and to prevent the existence of whatever is not. It demands also existence everywhere present and eternally enduring throughout the boundless and everlasting kingdom of God. Without these attributes Christ must be the Lord only in name, and rule only in pretence ; and such must undoubtedly be the character attributed to him in these and the almost innumerable other passages of Scripture, in which he is styled Lord, and said to hold the dominion over all things, unless he is essentially possessed of these attributes. The Scriptures are not thus deficient in their own scheme ; for, when they attribute universal dominion to Christ, they teach us that he is qualified for such dominion, by declaring, that in him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead. We are not, therefore, left at a loss by the Scriptures themselves concerning his perfect qualifications for the exercise of this government; nor can we wonder that he who made and preserves should also govern all things.
In this relation Christ gave the law to the Israelites and to mankind at Mount Sinai ; and in this character, as the rightful lawgiver, he directed his own Spirit to inspire the prophets and apostles with the knowledge of his word, as the aniversal law to mankind. • But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, He will guide you into all. the truth; for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things which the Father hath are mine; therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and show it unto you.' John xv. 26; xvi. 13-15.--. Of which salvation the prophets have inquired, searching what or what manner of time the Spirit
of Christ, which was in them, did signify. Accordingly the Scriptures are called the word of Christ ; . Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom ;' and the law of Christ ; · Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.' The law here referred to is no other than the second command of the moral law, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself;' or that branch of this command which, respecting Christians peculiarly, is called the new commandment ; “A new commandment give I unto you, that
love one another,' John xü. 34. In this character Christ, when he began to preach, expounded, altered, and annulled the law of Moses, in his own name, and at his own pleasure. All the prophets who came before him introduced their messages to mankind under the name and authority by which they spoke ; prefacing them with • Thus saith the Lord ;' • Thus saith Jehovah;' and Thus saith Jehovah of Hosts.' Christ on the contrary, when altering and annulling these very things, uses no name but his own, and speaks directly by his own authority, introducing his own laws with · Verily, I say unto you;' plainly intended to be equivalent to · Thus saith the Lord ;' because the things which were prefaced with this latter phrase, were openly altered and revoked by him.
In this character also he disposes of the present and future allotments of all beings, opens and shuts at his pleasure the world of death, and departed spirits ; consigns whom he pleases to endless suffering, and bestows on whom he pleases immortal life. In this character, he is ' the head of all principality and power,' Col. ii. 10.—Who having gone into heaven,' saith St. Peter, is on the right hand of God; angels, authorities, and powers being subjected to him. In this relation it is obvious that all intelligent beings are bound to render bim their supreme and ultimate homage and obedience; that the law is the rule of all their conduct, from obeying which nothing can excuse them; the law by which they will be tried, and approved or condemned ; that his word is the only rule of life and salvation to mankind ; that bis dominion is the supreme and universal controul, to which, in this and every other world, intelligent beings are rightfully required to bow, to which every one of them in this and all other worlds will ultimately bow, and by which all things are, and will for ever be, regulated at his pleasure ; that he is the
Judge, who will finally acquit or condemn, reward or punish, every intelligent creature. I scarcely need to ask, who can sustain this stupendous relation to the universe, except Jehovah ?
5. Christ is the last end of all things. Collossians i. 16. 'All things were created by him, and
i for him :' that is, they were all created for his use, that he might destine them to such purposes, and conduct them to such an issue, as were agreeable to his pleasure. In the same manner as it is said, Prov. xvi. 4. • Jehovah hath made all things for himself.'
It will I suppose be granted, as I do not see how it can be questioned, that the end for which any thing exists, under the controul of divine wisdom, is more important than the thing itself; or, universally, that the end is more important than the
I suppose it will also be granted, that the end for which all things exist is the most important of all ends. I suppose it will farther be granted, that Jehovah, in making all things for himself, regarded himself, and in this design proved that he regarded himself, as more important than all things clse ; and his glory or pleasure, for which they were created, as the most important of all the ends, discerned by his omniscience, and perfectly worthy to be preferred to every other. But this plainly could not be, unless he who thus proposed himself as the end of all things, was in the view of his omniscience a more excellent, great, and glorious being than any other. If there were any other being superior to himself, such being ought plainly to be preferred to him; otherwise that which was of inferior importance and worth, would be preferred to that which was superior; a preference obviously unfounded, and unjust. Jehovah therefore, in making all things for himself, hath testified in the most solemn and forcible manner possible, that himself is more important, great, and excellent than all other things whatever.
But all things are declared in the passage quoted from Collossians, to have been created by Christ for himself. Christ, therefore, in this act of making himself the end of the creation of all things, has declared that himself is, in his own view, the most important, great, and excellent of all things. This declaration is either true, or false. If false, it proceeded from ignorance or from sin. It could not be from sin; for