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spoken, about to return to him again. Thus it is necessary we should understand them, whether we consider the approaching departure of Christ as man, which
gave occasion to them, or the many other places of Scripture wherein he is, in the strictest sense of the word, called God.
The last objection I shall here take notice of, is, that which our opponents draw from the fifteenth chapter of the first epistle to the Corinthians, where we are told, Christ shall deliver up the kingdom to God,' ver. 24 ; ' after having put every thing else under his feet,' ver. 25-27; “and when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all ;' ver. 28. Here, say they, the name and title of God is given to the Father only; and the subjection of Christ, from the consummation of all things, to all eternity, is predicted; which, in their judgment, could not be, were Christ God, equal with the Father.
We readily acknowledge, that the name and title of God is, in this place, given to the Father only; and that the subjection of Christ, as urged in the argument of our opponents, is foretold: but we think it cannot be concluded from hence, that the Son, in respect to his superior nature, is not God, equal with the Father, since he hath a lower nature, whereof all this, we insist, is said. At ver. 24, it is said, Christ shall deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father.' Here'the Father' is added only to denote a distinction between him and the Son, which had been needless, were not the Son God also; for, had the apostle said simply to God, and not by way of distinction, subjoined the Father,' it might have been apprehended, that none was God but he to whom the kingdom is to be delivered up. But, to decide the present question, it will be necessary to consider what this kingdom is which the Son shall deliver up, and how it came to be peculiarly his.
The kingdom of the Son is an absolute dominion over every thing in heaven, in earth, and under the earth ;' Phil. ii. 10. This kingdom he acquired by donation from the Father, on account of his death;' ver. 8, 9. •The right of judging this kingdom accrues to him as the Son of man;' John v, 27. It was by the sacrifice of his blood that he became the Mediator between God and the subjects of this kingdom ;' Heb. ix. 14, 15. It was through his death that he destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil,' Heb. ii. 14; and thereby finished his conquests, “and reduced the kingdom to perfect obedience;' 1 Cor. xv. 26. Hence it appears, that, in the passage objected, Christ is spoken of purely as that man whom God had highly exalted, and to whom he had given a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow,' &c. Phil. ii. 9, 10. It is true, indeed, that, had not Christ been God as well as man, he could neither have acquired, nor exercised, this boundless empire. However, we see it is as man that he dies, that he conquers, that he reigns; and as man, therefore, that he resigns his power, when all the ends of his commission are answered, 'that God,' whether as the Father, as the Son, or as the Holy Ghost,' may be all in all,' without the interposition of a created delegate, just on the same footing as before the worlds were made. Be the superior nature of Christ what it will, it hath nothing to do with our debate on the passage before us; for, as man only, Christ acquires a kingdom, resigns it, and it is subject to God, from the final judgment, the last act to be done by him, in consequence of his commission, to all eternity.
But what would our Arian adversaries infer from this passage? Is it not, that the whole person of Christ shall be subject to the Father, from the last day, to all eternity ? And shall not we also have as good a right to infer, that now, and till that period, his whole person possesses an absolute dominion over all things, and is not subject? What does the change or resignation imply but this ? And surely this is a great deal too much for either the Arian or Socinian system of subordination; too much indeed for reason itself to digest, because reason will not suffer us to suppose, that a mere creature should be intrusted with an unlimited, unsubordinate, uncontrollable, dominion over all things, during any space of time. But, in the midst of this, it should be considered, that God was all in all' before Christ was a man; that, in some sense or other, he is so still; that Christ, 'by whom, and for whom, all things were made,' was possessed of an unlimited empire over all things antecedently to his incarnation; and that David, quoted by St. Paul, says to him, “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever;' Heb. i. 8. The title to dominion, conferred on him as man, and on account of his death, he is to resign; but that which he holds as God, he keeps for ever and ever ; ‘for he shall reign for ever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end ;' Luke i. 33; Rev. xi. 15. This last text was uttered by the seventh angel, • When the time of the dead was come that they should be judged;' ver. 18; so that Christ's kingdom is to last for ever, from and after the day of judgment. Accordingly, power, as well as 'honour and glory,' are ascribed to him, in conjunction with the Father, ‘for ever and ever,' in the hymn of the whole universe, Rev. v. 13.
As in the next Discourse, I intend to prove the divinity of our blessed Saviour, sometimes from passages, which, in this, I have shewn to have been spoken of him as a man; to prevent your thinking I contradict myself in so doing, give me leave to observe to you here, that the same passage, which, in one part of it, speaks of him as God, in another speaks of him as man; or, at the same time that it speaks of him as man, necessarily leads us, by a verbal quotation, to other passages where the name or attributes of God are expressly given him. I need not trouble you with instances of this now, because they will be sufficiently apparent to the attentive, in the prosecution of my design.
They who are acquainted with the controversy concerning the divinity of Christ must see, that I have singled out those objections from Scripture, to that divinity, which are of the greatest weight and moment; indeed, which are of any weight at all; and they see, I hope, that there is nothing in them, nothing, I mean, when set in opposition to the many express and positive passages that prove our blessed Saviour to be truly and properly God. Had the objected texts been accompanied by no such passages, although some of them might have stood for us, rather than our adversaries, on a fair and natural construction, yet I must own there are others, from which it must have been inferred, that he was only a creature. But what are the inferences of human reason, so apt to err in every branch of knowledge, when placed over against the clear and positive assertions of God himself ? He tells us, “There is but one God.' He says, • To us there is but one God.' He commands us ' to worship and serve him alone.' He also often assures us, that Christ
is God; and orders the very angels to worship him.' Christ, therefore, is the one only true God. This, surely, with men of reason and candour, who believe the Scriptures, is sufficient to decide the controversy about our Saviour's divinity, come what will of the conclusions and deductions drawn from the darker passages of Scripture, which no where says, that he is not God, or that he is but a mere creature.
Although every real Christian must be concluded by this short decisive summary of the merits, whereon both the learned and illiterate ought to found their faith in Christ's true and proper divinity; as, nevertheless, something farther may be requisite to the conviction of men already prejudiced against it, I shall, God willing, in the next Discourse, lay before you the scriptural proofs of that doctrine, which, I trust, will appear too full and satisfactory to leave any doubts about it in the mind of him who takes the Scriptures for the word of God, and knows they can neither contradict him, nor themselves.
In the mean time let us earnestly beseech God so to direct our inquiries, that we may find the truth, and that the truth may set us free from all our doubts and divisions concerning our blessed Saviour; to whom, with the Father, and the Holy Spirit, be all might, majesty, dignity, and dominion, now and for evermore. Amen.
THE DIVINITY OF CHRIST PROVED.
Phil. III. 8.
I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of
It is no wonder the apostle should esteem all other gains as losses, in comparison with the knowledge of Christ, since to know Christ, is to know God, and all the means of salvation;
• for in him dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily;' Coloss. ii. 9. “And with him God shall freely give us all things;' Rom. viii. 32. “This is life eternal, to know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent;' John xvii. 3. . Thus, therefore, saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might; let not the rich man glory in his riches;- but let him that glorieth, glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me;' Jer. ix. 23, 24. It was for these reasons that St. Paul, speaking of his visit to the Corinthians, says, I, brethren, when I came unto you, came not with excellency of speech, or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God; for I determined not to know any thing among you save Jesus Christ, and him crucified ;' 1 Cor. ii. 1, 2.
To know Christ, therefore, is infinitely better than all other knowledge; and the most excellent part of this knowledge is, to know that which is most excellent in Christ, namely, his divine nature, which gave dignity to those sufferings whereby we are redeemed, and majesty to that dispensation whereby we are reclaimed and governed. If he is God, we must believe in him, depend on him, and worship him, as such. As he is the way, and the truth, and the life,' so that no man cometh to the Father but by him,' John xiv. 6. to know who he is, must be the prime article of knowledge; for ‘he that hath seen him, hath seen the Father ;' ver. 9.
But whereas about this there are infinite disputes in the world, some insisting, that Christ is the one only eternal God; others, that he is only an angel, and raised to the dignity of a god; and others again, that he is but a mere man; I endeavoured, in the preceding Discourse, to answer the chief objections brought against his true and proper divinity ; and shall now, in this, lay before you the principal proofs of that divinity, as they are found in holy Scripture, which alone can determine the question either way, this being a point above the investigation of reason, and not to be decided but by God himself. And that I shall do by shewing,
First, That as he is the Messiah, the Word, and the Son of God, he must be God: