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thy hand upon her, and she shall live.” Christ
And we are told, that the heavenly hosts pay the same divine and undivided worship to both the Father and Son. St. John heard them crying in heaven, « Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever.” Such religious worship God requires both men and angels to pay to Christ. He expressly requires all men “ to honour the Son, even as they honour the Father.” “And when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, and let all the angels of God worship him.” Now if both men and angels are required to pay religious worship to Christ and have actually paid him religious worship, and he has a right to receive it, and has actually received it, with entire approbation; then it is unquestionably true, that he is a Divine Person, and possesses all the essential attributes of Divinity. Arians, Socinians, and Unitarians have felt the force of this
argument in favour of Christ's divinity, and endeavoured to evade it, by denying that religious worship was paid to him while he tabernacled in flesh. They say that those, who are said to worship him, only meant to pay him civil respect or homage. Though this might be true in some cases, yet it could not be true in the case of Stephen, who adored him with his dying breath. But though it were possible for Ste
phen, in his imperfect state, to have committed the same errour in paying religious worship to Christ that John did in paying religious worship to the angel; yet it cannot be supposed, that all the heavenly hosts are grossly deluded in paying the same religious and divine honours to the Redeemer that they pay to the Creator. The religious worship paid to Christ upon earth, and the religious worship paid to him in heaven, affords a plain, conclusive and unanswerable argument in favour of his absolute divinity and equality with the Father in all his essential attributes.
4. If no other than a divine person be a proper object of religious worship; then the Arians are real idolators in paying religious worship to Christ, whilst they deny his divinity. Though they acknowledge Christ to be a super-angelick being, yet they deny that he possesses self-existence, independence, or any other essential attribute of divinity. And so long as they view him in this inferiour light, they cannot pay divine honour to him, without being guilty of worshiping the creature, instead of the Creator, which is the essence of idolatry. Though they sincerely profess to believe, that he is the greatest of created beings, that he existed before angels and men, that he now reigns over them, and that he will finally judge them at the last day; still they have no right, on this supposition, to pay him religious homage. There is no essential difference between worshipping the highest and the lowest created objects, because they are all infinitely below the uncreated, self-existent, Supreme Being. If Papists are guilty of idolatry in worshipping the Virgin Mary and canonized saints ; or if heathens are guilty of idolatry in worshipping demons, departed heroes, and graven images; then Arians must be guilty of idolatry in worshipping Christ, who, in their
opinion, is totally destitute of every divine attribute? Socinians, who hold Christ to be a mere man, avoid this 'absurdity, by refusing to pay him religious worship. And if Arians would become eonsistent, they would become Socinians, and after
they became Socinians, they would become Unitarians, and after they became Unitarians, they would become Infidels. There is no place to stop between Arianism and Deism. The denial of the divinity of Christ, directly tends, in its genuine consequences, to subvert the whole gospel.
5. If God be the only proper object of religious worship ; then moral depravity has had a very blinding and fatal influence upon the minds of men in all ages. It has blinded the whole heathen world in respect to the being and perfections of the only living and true God, and plunged them in the grossest idolatry. They have paid religious worship to the hosts of heayen, to demons, to departed spirits, to four footed beasts and creeping things. It has blinded the minds of the great majority of the christian world, and led the Pope and his votaries to worship the Virgin Mary, and deified saints and dumb idols. It has led the whole body of Arians to pay divine honours to one whom they believe to be destitute of every divine perfection, and to blend the worship of a creature with the worship of his creator. Such great and general blindness of mankind cannot be owing to any defectin theirunderstandings, but must flow from the moral corruption of their hearts. The light of nature and the light of the gospel has shone in darkness, and the darkness has not comprehended it. The apostle ascribes the idolatry of the world to this criminal cause. It was because they became vain in their imagination, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools : And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.'
6. If God be the only proper object of religious worship on account of his supremely great and amiable perfections; then those are extremely criminal, who never worship him at all. There are a vast many of the human race, who never pay religious worship to any being in the universe. This is more common among those who call themselves christians, than among
the most savage and ignorant pagans. They almost universally pay religious worship to some being or objects which they deem divine. But how many are there in a christian land, who cast off fear and restrain prayer before God. Though they know the only living and true God, yet they glorify him not as God, either in secret, private, or publick. They live without God, without Christ, and without hope in the world. Such persons are more vile than the brutes that perish. “ The ox knows his owner and the ass his master's crib;" but such christian pagans know not their Creator, Preserver, and Benefactor, and treat him with the highest neglect and contempt. They despise his favour and defy his frowns. Hear the admonition of the prophet.“ Understand, ye brutish among the people ; and
ye fools, when will ye be wise ? He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? He that formed the eye, shall he not see? He that chastiseth the heathen, shall not he correct?" 6 Will he not pour out his fury upon those, that call not upon his name?” “Can their hands be strong, or their hearts endure, in the day that he shall deal with them?"
Finally, this subject exhorts all to renounce the idols which they have set up in their hearts. How many are setting up idols in their hearts ? All who love the world, or the things of the world supremely, are idolators in the sight of God. And these idols are as fatal as graven images and must be removed, in order to glorify and enjoy God.
THE HUMANITY OF JESUS CHRIST.
LUKE ii. 52.
And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God'
THESE words are intimately connected with the whole of the preceding chapter, which contains a large and particular account of the time, place, and circumstances of Christ's birth; of the angels who proclaimed the great and joyful event ; of the peculiar ceremonies of his dedication to God; of his early attendance on the passover ; and of his uncommon growth in wisdom and stature, as well as in favour with. God and
The text, taken in connection with all these things, naturally leads us to conclude,
That Jesus Christ was really man.
It is certain, however, that the humanity, as well as divinity of Christ, has been called in question. This was one of the first heresies that sprang up in the christian church. A sect called the Docetæ denied, that Christ had a true body and reasonable soul, or that he literally hungered, thirsted, suffered and died. To this heresy, it is supposed, the apostle John alludes in his first epistle, where he says, “ Hereby know ye the spirit of God: every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God. And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God. And this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come, and even now is already in the world.” Though few, if
any at this day, deny that Christ had a human body, yet some noted divines deny that he had a human soul,