Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

every intelligent man in their kingdoms knew this worship to be a mere farce, to answer 'political purposes; and it is another, and a very different thing, for the Almighty Lord Jehovah to suffer an apparently mortal being (if an impostor) to declare himself to be equal to God, and to conduct himself with so much wisdom, as to speak as never man spake, and to divulge such precepts of vir

and piety as were never promulgated by man ; 'to possess so much power as to work miracles, and so much goodness as to exhibit the express image of God's own person ; for in this sense I apprehend the Apostle's meaning is to be understood, namely, that the conduct of our blessed Saviour was exactly the same whilst on earth, as to be quite worthy of God himself. This is not conceivable; and accordingly, if our Saviour had not been the Son of God, which prophecy, miracles, the excellency of his mind, doc-* trines, and conduct, and the declaration of God himself, all join to induce us to believe him to be, he never would have affirmed himself to have been so; and if he had affirmed this without being so, às Gamaliel observed, his affirmation and impious pretences would have come to nought. God

[ocr errors]

himself, in his jealous providence, would never have suffered the general prevalence and establishment of such an opinion in an enlightened age, among enlightened men; for, being a jealous God, and abhorring every species of idolatry, if he reprobated an idolatry capable only of imposing on the minds of the mere unlettered vulgar, what jealousy must we not suppose he would entertain against an idolatry, of a nature so constituted as to deceive the wisest and most learned men that ever appeared on earth for a course of 1800 years; and this without giving man the least reason to apprehend he was displeased at this idolatry, or at our Saviour's assumption of the honour he claimed; but, on the contrary, giving man every reason to believe he approved of his so doing, and himself confirming that claim in these words, “ This is my beloved Son, “ hear him;" and suffering the evidence of his divine mission to be so very strong, that it not only convinced his friends and disa ciples, but even his enemies, who both directly and indirectly acknowledged it in these words: “Rabbi, we know thou art a • Teacher come from God; for no man can “ do these miracles that thou doest ex

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

cept God be with him.” . Thus the Herodians; “ Master, we know that thou art

true, and teachest the way of God in “ truth.” And likewise the people; “ And

many of the people believed on him, and " said, When Christ cometh, will he do more “ miracles than these which this man hath “ done?--And they were astonished at his “ doctrine ; for he taught them as one that “had authority, and not as the Scribes.---Now “ when the centurion, and they that were “ with him, watching Jesus, saw the earth

quake, and those things that were, done,

they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was 66 the Son of God.”

The ablest commentators on the Bible universally agree, that the mysteries of Scripture can only be interpreted and explained by their reference to Jesus Christ, as the Messiah, as the Son of God; and that otherwise they are wholly unintelligible. For example, how entirely incomprehensible to the human mind is the present state of man, unless we advert to the traṇsgression of Adam, as the origin of that evil, and the cause of that imperfection he finds to exist in his nature! and how can we account, consistently with our ideas either of the good

ness or wisdom of God, that man, the noblest created being on earth, should be formed the most imperfect; and whilst all other creatures perform the will of God, and the duty enjoined them, man, in the whole creation, should be the only being that rebels against that will and his duty! How entirely unintelligible is God's declaration to Adam, that “the seed of the woman should “ bruise the serpent's head,” unless this is alJusive to our Saviour's divine mission, for the purpose of destroying the power of our ghostly enemy, the Devil! How unintelligible God's ordering Abraham to offer up his son Isaac, but as a type of the sacrifice of our blessed Saviour on the cross! And how unintelligible are these words in the prophecy of Hosea; “ I will ransom them from the power of the grave;

I will redeem them from death: 0 « death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I “ will be thy destruction !” unless. referable to our Saviour's resurrection; with a variety of similar instances and predictions, which, if it were necessary, might be enumerated. In short, every thing in the Scriptures, their promises, prophecies, sacrifices, ceremonies, and events, have all an evident and natural relation to our Saviour: he is the object, the

66

substance, the end of all their types and shadows, of their whole economy and apparatus; an apparatus and ceconomy infinitely too great, too complicated, too pompous, too important, to have been invented or constructed by any man or set of men. Thus Scripture, as the intellectual system of God with respect to man, and as a system calculated to promote, on a sure basis, his temporal and eternal happiness, and containing infallible proofs of proceeding from God, (because the proofs of its doing so are such as it is impossible to conceive any man or men could give,) like all his other systems, whether animal, vegetable, or solar, is entirely perfect: but if it were possible to conceive our Saviour to have been an impostor, and that God had never shewn any disapprobation of such imposture, there would then appear to the reason of man an imperfection in this system, of a nature so great and unaccountable, as to make him doubt the authority of Scripture; because that Scripture gives every reason to believe that neither angel nor man shall oppose or degrade the name or power of God with impunity.

Here, perhaps, the Sceptic may observe, why should there be any more ostensible

R

« PoprzedniaDalej »