Abbildungen der Seite

shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.' Now it is plain, beyond all question, that he who thus appeared and spoke was the same with him, who, in the first chapter of this book, twice calls himself Alpha and Omega, and once the First and the Last, which two expressions differ not in signification. It is also as plain, that, in saying these things, he does but translate and quote what he had said of himself in Isa. xliv. 6, Thus saith the Lord, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer the Lord ofhosts, I am the First, I am the Last, and beside me there is no God;' and ver. 8, Is there a god beside me? Yea, there is no god, I know not any.' It is worth observing, that, in the same passage of Isaiah, the First and the Last saith, among other things, not pertinent to our present purpose, that he will pour water on him that is thirsty;' and that, in the parallel passage from the Apocalypse, he saith, 'I will give unto him that is athirst, of the fountain of the river of life freely ;' which may farther serve to demonstrate the congruity of the two places. Can there be stronger terms found, throughout the languages of men, than those in which Christ here denies the being of any other god but himself.

It hath appeared in this Discourse, if you have observed it, by a passage or two taken from the New Testament, and compared with the Old, that Jesus Christ is that one God, the God of Israel, who brought the Israelites out of Egypt, led them through the Red Sea and the Wilderness, established them in the Land of Promise, spoke to them by all the prophets; and set himself forth as the only, the universal, object of divine worship. I shall now proceed to a farther proof of this great point, in order, by that means, to shew that he hath denied the being, and forbid the worship, of any other god but himself.

I have already shewn you, that our blessed Saviour took to himself that incommunicable name of God, Jehovah, John viii. 58; that the Scribes and Pharisees, who heard him, understood by this, that he had called himself the true and only God; and that he left them, the multitude, and many of his own disciples, then present, in that opinion, without in the least offering to explain or qualify what he had said. Either, then, he was what I forbear to name, or

that only true God who appeared to Moses at the bush, and distinguished himself, by the peculiar name of Jehovah, from all other beings.

That this name was better fitted than any other to express the distinction mentioned, will appear to any one who knows it signifies I am, that is, Existence, or The Being; intimating, that God is the only absolute, eternal, self-existent Being; whereas all other beings are dependent, relative, derivative, and, in comparison of him, not deserving the name of being. The Jews of old held this name in such veneration, that they durst not pronounce it; and the ancient eastern paraphrasts and translators, instead of either writing down the name itself, or rendering it by another, usually put various words for it which signified no more than 'the name;' as much as to say, Here should stand the dreadful name, if we durst write or translate it. The Chaldaic Paraphrast almost every where, as Galatinus testifies, set the word memar, that is the name,' in the place of it. All the other names of God, as El, Elohim, Jah, Shaddai, Adonai, they pronounced freely; from this only they abstained. And this distinction they made, because the other names were either given sometimes, by the scriptural writers, to inferior beings, or did not so peculiarly express the one infinite self-existent Being.

Now here we must recollect what was fully proved from Scripture, in the Discourse on the Unity of God, that there is but one Jehovah; and that the one only God is that one Jehovah. It was there observed, that the proofs for this unity of Jehovah are negative and exclusive; so that the other passages, which seem to intimate two Jehovahs, but do by no means, directly or indirectly, affirm it, are to be explained by these, and not these by them. Indeed the aforesaid seeming intimation is easily accounted for by the personal distinction between the Father and the Son; inasmuch as Jehovah, signifying God, is applicable to both. By this we may understand that expression, Gen. xix. The Lord,' or Jehovah, rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord,' or Jehovah, 'out of heaven;' and that other, Zech. x. 12, I will strengthen them in Jehovah, and they shall walk up and down in his name, saith Jehovah;' that is, Jehovah, or God the Son, rained fire from Jehovah, or God the Father; and Jehovah, or God the Father, saith,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

I will strengthen them in Jehovah, or God the Son, and they shall walk about glorifying, as the Septuagint, and hoping, as the Syriac, in his name; which is literally true of us, who glory in the name of Christians, and hope in the name of Christ. Thus we see there is but one Jehovah; and that Jesus Christ is that Jehovah, or Lord. So he is every where called in the New Testament by that Greek word KupLoç, from kuow, I am, which the Septuagint always puts for Jehovah; so he styles himself, John xiii. 13, Ye call me Master, and Lord; and ye say well; for so I am.' So St. Thomas styles him, in the confession of his faith, My Lord, and my God;' John xx. 28. That, by the word Lord, applied in these, and so many other places, to Christ, we are not to understand that common title of masters, or princes, is every where plain at the first sight; nay, that it signifies the great, the only Lord, or Jehovah, is manifest from the second of the Epistle to the Philippians, where we are told, that, ‘although he thought it not robbery to be equal with God,—he took on him the form of a servant, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross;' on account of which God the Father bestowed on him the sole government of that kingdom which he held in partnership before, highly extolling him, and giving him a name which is above every name; 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,' that is, the only Lord, or Jehovah, 'to the glory of God the Father.' That the word Lord is to be understood here in this high sense, appears from the import of the whole passage, which represents Christ exalted to the monarchy of the universe with two views; first, that the whole creation might adore him; and secondly, that every tongue might confess him to be the Lord.'

[ocr errors]

If, while the respect for this incommunicable name was at the highest, our Saviour assumed it to himself before an audience made up of disciples, and unconverted Jews, we must conclude he was that very God who revealed himself, and the law, to Moses, and who spoke by all the prophets. It is in vain to say he called himself at the bush, and was elsewhere called, an angel. We have already seen, that the word angel implies no particular nature, but only an office.

As such, it might be well applied to Christ, who was the angel or messenger of his Father, in all he did, and who therefore in that sense, and that only, is styled 'Messenger of the covenant,' Mal. iii. 9, whereof he was also the Mediator,' Heb. viii. 6, in which very Epistle he is more than once styled God. May not a son, who is of the same nature with his father, be nevertheless his messenger? Christ, then, having called himself by the name Jehovah, and being often so called by the writers of the Old Testament, and by those also of the New (for the word curios, there used, is put for Jehovah by the Septuagint, which the apostles, for the most part, quoted), we must believe in him as the God of Israel, who gave the law, the first moral commandment whereof is this, 'Thou shalt have none other gods before me; that is, Thou shalt neither believe in, nor worship, any other god with me, nor in my sight; or, Thou shalt worship me, and me only; for the negative implies and contains in it the positive. But the commandment is worded negatively, because God knew his people were in much greater danger of falling into the worship of subordinate gods in conjunction with him, according to the custom of all the Gentile nations, who adored one supreme and many inferior gods, than of totally relinquishing his service.

Is Christ, then, who wrote these words with his own finger on the table of stone, who delivered them to his people, and, through them to all men, with such pomp and terror from mount Sinai, who denounces such dreadful judgments against the transgressors of this law; is he but a subordinate god? Is he but a deified creature? And, having so absolutely prohibited the worship of all other gods but himself, hath he actually forbid the worship of the one true, eternal, supreme God? Can a man be a Christian-can a man have common sense, and believe this? The Arians of old and the SemiArians of our own times, compelled by the citations concerning Christ in the New Testament from the Old, whereof I have given you but a specimen, have always acknowledged Christ to have been the God of Israel, who delivered the law; yet held him to be an inferior, a delegated god. But you see in what their shocking hypothesis terminates. This angel, this creature, this inferior god, forbids, absolutely, with dreadful threatenings, forbids, the worship of his Almighty

Master, of the true God, of his God! Horrible indeed! But these refining adversaries of the truth tell us, he spoke not in his own name, but in the name of him who sent him; and that the worship he demanded was not to terminate in him the representative, but in God his principal. How could he have so absolutely forbidden the belief or worship of all other gods, whether superior or inferior to himself, by words so totally excluding all shadow of representation, subordination, delegation, or even co-ordination? If he was a son only by creation and favour, how came he so positively to forbid the worship of his father? If he was a God only by delegation, and to be worshipped merely as the representative of the real and true God, why did he, instead of transmitting the worship he demanded, stop it, and centre it wholly in himself, by expressly prohibiting all other objects of worship, and consequently his great supreme constituent? On the contrary, why did not he, so ready on all occasions to express his duty and fidelity to the Father, as the Arians, ever watchful to turn those expressions to his dishonour, very well know; why did he not, I say, on this great occasion, when the object of all worship, all duty, all morality, was to be fixed, give an Arian preface to his commandments? Why did he not say, 'O Israelites, I am appointed to act between God and you; and, as the representative of God, in my own proper person to receive those sacrifices, devotions, and obedience, wherewith you are to honour him? Or why this puzzling, this amusing subtlety, tending to the worship of a creature? Why did he not rather say, 'I, your fellow-creature, and your fellow-servant, am commissioned by the great Creator and Master of us all, to forbid you, under the severest penalties, the worship of any being but him?' This, surely, was necessary, if Christ was not God himself. How different was his conduct from this! Mark his awful words: I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. Thou shalt have none other gods before me;' no concomitant, no subordinate, no delegated gods. There is but one God. I am that one God; and thou shalt worship me alone. Thus he speaks himself; and Moses, who speaks his words, delivers what he had received precisely to the same effect: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord [Jehovah].

« ZurückWeiter »