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plication to the Almighty : but when applied to David, they must be compared with the usual method in which he is described; which obviously restricts them to the knowledge attaioable by an erring mortal.* When applied to the Saviour, we should in like manner compare them with the usual phraseology employed concerning him, and not with that employed about other beings. If we find that such phraseology instead of limiting our views, heaps appellation on appellation to expand our conceptions of his nature, then we are not acquainted with any circumstance which restricts the literal meaning of the words. Nay, since we find other expressions of an extraordinary kind applied to him without restrietion, we are following the analogy of scripture in applying to him this language also it its full import.
4. The great question to be determined is, what views of the Godhead, particularly of the person of the Saviour, embrace most fully all the variety of statements in the Scripture, including facts as well as doctrines; and give to each its natural import.
The Saviour is not only the author, but the great object of revelation : “to whom all the Prophets gave witness.' His character is exhibited not at once, but gradually-not in one portion of scripture, but throughout the whole-not merely by plain statements, but by types and emblems—by the works ascribed to him by the government with which be is invested by his glory in the Heavens, and his relations to the Church on earth—by the sentiments of angels concerning him, and the devout affections of his saints. His character too is very complicated. It is surrounded with majesty, and clothed with humility; possessing all the attributes of power, combined with the weaknesses and sympathies of humanity ; fitted at once for universal government, and for obedience and abasement; for directing the great concerns
* This reasoning would meet an objection sometimes urged from the application of such words to David, supposing them to be exactly similar to those applied to Christ. But the slighest inspection of the passage shows them to be essentially different. 2 Samuel xiv. 20. “My Lord is wise, according to the wisdom of an Angel of God, to know all things that are in the earth.” Besides other modifications implied in the phraseology, one is contained in the latter expression—the earth or the land, that is, David's own kingdom.
both of judgment and of mercy; for being Lord of all, and the first born among many brethren. The question still recurs, What view of his person embraces all these varieties, and unites all these extremes : swelling out to the full dimensions of his majesty, while it meets the accounts of his humiliation and infirmities.
Those who ascribe to him true Divinity and Humanity, do so from a conviction, that no other view does justice to the varied exhibitions of his character in the Scriptures. They think that even the Arian hypothesis, which has been often recommended, particularly in a late publication,* as avoiding all the difficulties of other schemes, and “having none of its own, except such as must attach to any supernatural interposition," is essentially defective in two respects : not only as falling short of the majesty ascribed to him—but as opposed to the most obvious accounts of his humanity. The latter circumstance deserves particular attention. Many do not seem to be aware, that, on such a hypothesis, the humanity of the Saviour is as completely rejected as his divinity. According to this fashionable view of his person, he was not Man. He had merely a human body, but not a human soul. The only intelligent principle connected with the body was a pre-existent spirit, of a distinct and superior order, who condescended to adopt it as a frame or residence:t and who thus possessed only the outward form, the shell of humanity. Now it may be asked, What constitutes a human being ? Dr. Bruce says, by Man “ we mean only a human body, inhabited by a rational soul. The origin, or peculiar properties of that soul, excepting reason, does not come within our consideration." But were a person of plain common sense asked, whether an Angel connected with a body like ours, was really a Man_ would he not feel that there was a trifling with common and obvious language in the very question? Does not the term Man, primarily refer to the intelligent principle connected with the body; and to some peculiar properties of that principle, by which it is distinguishable from other orders of intellectual existences ? It is surely not any ra.
* Dr. Bruce's Sermons, p. 110–114. + Ibid.-p. 111.
tional principle connected with a human body, that constitutes humanity. The general principle of reason may exist, while the laws to which it is subjected in different beings, may vary so much as to form distinct orders of intelli. gences. To constitute a human being, therefore, requires a rational principle, having all the faculties and capacities, and all the laws of thought, that are common to the species, and form their distinguishing characteristics. Such is the accuracy of Dr. Bruce's definition of Man; to which he says, " Jesus conformed in every thing." According to such a definition, could it be said of him, That “ he was in all things made like unto his brethren ?"
Even if this supposition were made, it would still be a question whether it is consistent with possibility. Have we any reason to believe, that the organization of the
human body could be adapted to an intelligence of a different nature from the human mind; or could be the means of awakening in it sensations, ideas, and emotions ? Every thing about our constitution shows, that there is the nicest and most delicate adaptation of the corporeal frame, to the peculiarities of the rational principle which we possess; whilst we have reason to think that a change in either, would disturb the whole economy, and derange all the laws of thought. It should thus be seriously considered, whether the Arian hypothesis does not involve difficulties and mysteries, as great as those which it proposes to avoid : and whether it is more consistent with the known laws of human thought, than with the plainest declarations of Scripture.
While this view of our Saviour's person destroys bis humanity, those who embrace it ought seriously to consider, whether it really ascribes to him all that dignity which they believe him to possess. Many are apt to deceive themselves with profuse but vague ascriptions of glory and majesty to him, without having any definite ideas of his nature : averse to the belief that he is the true God, yet unwilling to regard him merely as a Creature ; desirous, perhaps, rather to avoid the one alternative, than ready to embrace the other. Such would do well to consider the consequences of this aversion : especially whether it does not lead them to adopt views different from those which they would otherwise embrace. Let them seriously ask themselves, whether they are really convinced that the Saviour is merely a created being, having all the
attributes that necessarily belong to a creature however ex. alted. Is this plainly asserted in Scripture? Is it compatible with the whole scope and tendency of Scripture language? Does it really express the ideas they would form of his nature, after reading the bible, if they were not averse to other views ? On the other hand, let them ask, If he is not a Creature, what must he be? Is there any medium between the Godhead and a created nature? If there be, what is it; and where is it described ? If there be not, still the question recurs, Are they really prepared to regard their Saviour as simply and merely a created being ?
This simple but important inquiry should be pressed home, not merely on the judgment, but on the heart and the conscience of every serious inquirer, after the perusal of the Scriptures, and a survey of the whole plan of salvation with all its blessings. Let us seriously consider all the consequences of ascribing to him the peculiar properties of a Creature. Let us read the language in which this Creature is described, and say in what other terms can we speak of the Supreme Being. Let us consider the attributes ascribed to this Creature, and consider what are the distinguishing attributes of Deity. Let us survey the works and operaa tions of this Creature, and then say, what are the works which belong exclusively to God-What can we think of a Creature creating all things-a Creature governing all things; a Creature sitting on the throne of Jehovah; the object of universal homage and obedience--a Creature to whom men are indebted for existence, and for redemption, the blessings of which constitute what is emphatically called Life. In short, let us seriously cultivate all the holy affections, and practise all the duties which this Creature demands from us, and consider what besides these is the service which we can render to the Almighty !
We thus see the practical importance of this great subject; which merits particular attention, because many are indif.. ferent or averse to all serious inquiry concerning it, from the supposition that it is merely speculative, or is confined to one solitary and detached point. On the contrary, we should consider whether it is not interwoven with the whole system of Christianity. It will be found, accordingly, that among those who reject the Divinity of Christ, other doctrines usually denominated evangelical, are seldom retained; or at best sink down to vague and ill defined generalities, amounting to little more than a system of natural religion, with none of those peculiarities about them which are found to have a powerful influence on vital religion, and to be adapted to the circumstances of a guilty and depraved race. If therefore we are convinced of the truth and value of these other doctrines, and yet are willing to reject this, let us seriously reflect on the consequences; and consider whether we are not about to relinquish that which imparts to them their principal value and efficacy. Above all, let us observe how frequently the Scriptures refer to the personal dignity of the Saviour; and what importance they invariably attach to it. To be sensible of this, when we peruse the Scriptures, let us substitute for the name of Christ wherever it occurs, the phrase-a mere creature, and observe what an effect it would have on the whole tone and tendency of the language. Let us try this in one well-known passage: “ He that spared not a mere creature, but delivered this creature up for us all, how shall he not with this creature also freely give us all things?" Would there be any force in such reasoning; any pathos or sublimity in such an address to Christian hope ? Let us apply the same test to all the rapturous language in which the Saviour is mentioned ; to all the gratitude and astonishment expressed at the Gift of Himself; and to all that is said about the breadth and length, the height and depth of his love which passeth knowledge; and observe what a chilling effect would be produced by the simple statement, that after all-it was but a creature that was given, and a creature amply rewarded for all his exertions! In like manner, when we read the sublime descriptions of the Economy of Redemption, and all the stupendous arrangements connected with it, as the chief of the ways of God, and the object of the highest wonder throughout the intelligent creation-is it possible to separate the glory of these arrangements from the personal dignity of Him in whom they all centre? By exalting his dignity, does not the whole system expand with it, swelling out to the full dimensions of his Majesty ; by di. minishing that dignity, does not the whole system instantly contract with it, sinking down to the humble level of created excellence ?