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in representing Cbrist as inferior to the Father with respect to His human nature, yet equal to Him with respect to the Divine ; for the different representations and seeming contradictions in the scriptural character of our Saviour plainly prove, that His compound person partook of natures essentially different from each other. We use a similar manner of speaking with regard to ourselves, and on a similar account. When a writer calls mankind sometimes mortal, sometimes immortal; at one time corruptible, at another incorruptible; instead of charging him with contradictions, we immediately perceive that he has a reference to those totally different substances, a material body and immaterial soul, which are, in an inexplicable manner, united in us. Let us use the same degree of common sense with regard to the scriptures, and all the difficulties concerning the character of Christ will vanish. There will then appear no contrariety in calling Him the Son of Man, and get the Lord of Glory. (Luke xix. 10. 1 Cor. ii. 8.) But it lies upon those who deny the divinity of Christ, to reconcile those passages of scripture which attribute Divine perfections to Christ, and speak of Him as God, with those that are expressive of His inferiority to the Father; and till this is satisfactorily done, they must give us leave to think, that the former refer to His original nature, and the latter to His assumed manhood and mediatorial character, wbich is the only way of reconciling those scriptures that otherwise would be quite contradictory.

II. There are certain attributes or perfections which solely belong to and characterize the Supreme Being: these cannot be ascribed to any creature. Wherever we find these perfections ascribed to any being in the scriptures, we have the fullest assurance that such being is God; both because they are incommunicable in their own nature, and because God hath declared He will not give His glory to another. (Isaiah xlii. 8.) But these perfections are ascribed to our Lord Jesus Christ in the scriptures, therefore He is very and eternal God. This I shall prove by the most clear testimony of God's word, and then take notice of the principal objections which are made to this doctrine.

1. The eternal existence of the Supreme Being is one of those incommunicable perfections which can be ascribed to no creature whatever. Thus saith the Lord, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the Lord of Hosts, I am the first, and I an the last, and beside me there is no God. (Isaiah xliv. 6.) This glorious attribute of the Deity is repeatedly ascribed to Christ: When I saw Him (says the beloved disciple) I fell at His feet as dead; and He laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I AM THE FIRST AND THE LAST. (Rev. i. 17.) Again, I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, THE FIRST AND THE LAST. (Rev xxii. 13.)

It is the character of the immutable and self-existent God that He was, and is, and is to come. (Rev. i. 4.) And this is the true character of Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever. (Heb. xiii. 8.) He, who in the fulness of time was to take our nature upon Him, is thus described by the Prophet Micah, Thou Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me, that is to be Ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from EVER. LASTING. (Micah v. 2.) Hence our blessed Lord speaks of the glory which He had with the Father

before the world was. (John xvii. 5.) And claims to Himself that awful pame I AM, which belongs only to the Supreme Being; Before Abraham was I AM chap. vii. 58. “Had our Saviour only " said, before Abraham was I was, thus much at « least would have been the consequence, that He “ had an existence before Abraham: but now that " He says, before Abraham was I am, something “ more is implied, something that peculiarly belongs “ to the expression I AM, and what that is we may « learn from the original use of the words. They “ are the words which God made choice of to ex. “press His own eternity and power, when Moses " inquired after the name of God: He answered “ him, I AM THAT I AM. Thus shalt thou L" say to the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. (Exod. iii. 14.) What now could “, tempt our Saviour to use and apply this expres“sion to Himself ? He knew it never had been “applied to any but God, and would have been in o the man so applying it in the highest degree “committing the robbery of making himself equal with God: besides, according to analogy of lan“ guage, the words (without this construction) express nothing; no idea belongs to them; for a “ man cannot in his mind carry the present time “ back, and make it antecedent to the time already “ past; and therefore to say, before a thing was I “am, is shuffling ideas together, which can bave “no place in the understanding. If therefore you “admit the expression to have any meaning, you “must allow the I am to belong to Christ, in its “proper apd peculiar use, as signifying eternity " and permanency of duration."* It is plain the

• Bp. Sherlock's Discourses, vol. iv. disc. 1.

Jews understood our Lord in this sense, for they immediately took up stones to cast at Him for His blasphemy, as they thought it; and our Lord, instead of attempting to show them that they misunderstood Him, confirmed their apprehension by escaping out of their hands.

The eternal existence of Christ is likewise pointed out to us in that eminent type of him Melchisedeck: who, in order that he might prefigure Him in this as he did in otber respects, bad no beginning of days recorded of him : Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but MADE LIKE UNTO THE SON OF God, abideth a priest continually. (Heb. vii. 3.) Our Lord was the root as well as the offspring of David. (Rev. xxii. 16.) David's Lord as well as David's son. (Matt. xxii. 45.) Which clearly shows, that whatever the Jews did, they ought to bave “expected more than a “ man for their Messiah.” It was owing to their ignorance of the scriptures in this respect that they were not able to answer our Lord's question which He put to them, with a view no doubt to lead them to the knowledge of His true character.

2. He that built, or created all things is God. (Heb. iii. 4.*) But the Word, whowas made flesh and dwelt among us in the person of Jesus Christ, created all things. We are assured that the Almighty did not make use of any inferior being, as an instrument in the great work of creation: I am the LORD that maketh all things, that stretcheth forth the heavens ALONE, that spreadeth abroad

* If the reader will compare this passage with its context, he will find, that these very words are spoken of Christ; though they are introduced here in that sense only, in which no one will dispute their meaning.

the earth BY MYSELF. (Isaiah xliv. 24.) I have made the earth, and man upon it: I, even MY HANDS, have stretched out the heavens, &c. (Isa. xlv. 12.) And therefore, when the apostle says that God created all things by Jesus Christ, (Eph. iii.9,) it is the same as if he had said, he created all things by himself, by his word, or with His own hands. The solemn address which the Psalmist makes to the Almighty, (Ps.cii. 25,) Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth : and the heavens are the work of Thy hands, &c. belongs to Christ: Unto the Son he saith, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the work of Thine hands. They shall perish, but THOU remainest : and they shall wax old as doth a garment, but Thou art the same ; and the years shall not fail. (Heb. i. 10, &c.)

In the beginning, says the Evangelist, was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew HIM not. (John i. 3, 10.)

The chapter from whence this passage is taken so clearly sets forth the divinity of Christ, that the greatest force must be put upon it, and the most unnatural construction made use of, to evade its testimony to this important truth. The Evangelist assures us, that by the Word is meant God Himself, and it is plain that the Word was Cbrist, for it was He of whom John the Baptist was sent to bear witness, and whose glory the Evangelist saw, as the only begotten of the Father; from whence it necessarily follows that Christ is God and therefore this glorious person, whose messenger and

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