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Is creation a work of God? By Jesus Christ were all things CREATED, that are in heaven, or that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dorninions, or principalities, or powers, all things were created by him, and for him.*
Is PRESERVATION a work of God? Jesus Christ UPHOLDS all things by the word of his power.t By him all things CONSIST. I
Is THE MISSION OF THE PROPHETS a work of God? Jesus Christ is THE LORD GOD OF THE HOLY PROPHETS; and it was THE SPÍRIT OF CARIST, which testified to them beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.g.
Is the SALVATION of sinners a work of God? Christ is the Saviour of the world; the AUTHOR OF ETERNAL SALVATION to all them that obey him.! · IS THE FORGIVENESS OF SIN a work of God ? The son of man hath power to FORGIVE SINS.
The same might be said of the illumination of the mind; the sanctification of the heart; the resurrection of the dead; the judging of the world ; the glorification of the righteous; the eternal punishment of the wicked; all which works in one part of scripture are ascribed to God, and all which in another part of scripture are ascribed to JESUS CHRIST.
* Col. i. 16. + Heb. i. 3. I Col. i. 17: $ Neh. ix. 30. Rev. xxii, 6, 16. 1 Pet. i. 11. John iv. 42. Heb. v. 9. Mat.
Consider now into what contradictions these'writers must fall if Jesus Christ be not God. They contradict one another, they contradict themselves. They degrade writings, which, they pretend, are inspired, below the lowest scribbling of the meanest authors. In the beginning, said Moses, God created the heavens and the earth.* It is a mistake, says the Apostle John, In the beginning THE WORD THAT WAS MADE FLESH, made all things, and without him was not any thing made, that was made.t
Elihu asks, Who hath disposed the whole world? Jehovah asks out of the whirlwind, Who laid the measures thereof? Who stretched the line upon it? Who laid the corner stone thereof?All the old Testament writers reply, THE LORD OF Hosts founded the heavens, the earth, the world, and the fulness thereof. No such thing, says the Apostle John, THE WORD, that was made flesh, and dwelt among us, made the world. I
Hezekiah looks up to heaven, and says, O LORD GOD of Israel, thou art THE GOD, even THOU ALONE, of all the kingdoms of the earth, thou hast made heaven and earth.* Paul lifts up his eyes to Jesus, and says, THY THRONE, O GOD! is for ever and ever. Thou LORD in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of the hands.† This is Paul's language to his countrymen : but, behold! when the same Paul arrives at Athens, he contradicts him
self, and tells the Athenians, that God made the world and all things therein; HE is Lord of heaven and earth; he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things.* If Jesus Christ and the Father be ONE f God, all these seeming inconsistencies vanish: if not, it ill becomes such writers to say, as God is true, our word toward you was not yea. and nay. I
There have been enthusiasts in England; there was a Hacket in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and there was a James Naylor in the time of Cromwell, who assumed the names and titles of Jesus Christ, and arrogated to themselves those works, which are peculiar to him: one was executed, the other was imprisoned, set in the pillory, and had his tongue bored through for blasphemy, and in vain did he plead that the honours were not paid to him, but to Jesus Christ, who dwelt in him. God forbid we should justify such shocking severities. We are sorry that the religious history of our country is stained with blood: but if these men were guilty of a high misdemeanor, (and that they were the most moderate must allow,) in arrogating to themselves the honours of another man, how much more guilt must they accumulate, who ascribe to any man, to Moses or to Christ, the names, the titles, and the works of the ineffable God? If Jesus be a mere man, the distance between Hacket and Jesus is trifling in comparison of the distance of both from the infinite God. The apostles ought to have kept up an idea of
this distance. They have not done so: on the contrary, they have ascribed the glories of God to Jesus Christ. Either Jesus Christ is God, or their conduct is unaccountable.
V. Consider that worship, which the scriptures claim for Jesus Christ. It is a command of God, repeated by our Saviour, thou shalt worship THE LORD THY GOD, and HIM ONLY shalt thou serve.* Yet these very scriptures command all, the angels of God to worship Christ.† They say, at the name of Jesus every knee in heaven, and in earth, should bow. They command all men to honour the Son even as they honour the Father. Twenty times in the new testament, grace, mercy, and peace, are implored . of Christ, together with the Father: Baptism is an act of worship performed in his name. Swearing is an act of worship, a solemn appeal in important cases to the omniscient God; and this appeal is made to Christ. The committing of the soul to God at death is a sacred act of worship; in the performance of this act Stephen died, saying, Lord Jesús receive my spirit.* The whole host of heaven worship him, that sitteth upon the throne, and the Lamb, for ever and ever.t
The reverend Mr. Lindsey, who says, “that religious worship is appropriated to God;" that “it is incommunicable to any other person whatsoever;" “that it could not be given to any other without the guilt of idolatry;" yet adds, “unquestionably, Stephen made this request, [Acts vii. 59.] addressed this prayer to the Lord Jesus." Was Stephen then guilty of idolatry? “No,” adds Mr. Lindsey, “the blessed martyr saw Jesus with his eyes, and called him the son of man; but this can be no precedent for directing prayer to him unseen, or addressing him as God."* I have a profound respect for this conscientious apologist; but I cannot help astonishment at this reasoning. According to this reasoning, idolatry does not consist in worshipping a creature; but in worshipping an unseen creature. The guilt does not lie in the transfer of my worship; but it lies in my not seeing the object, to whom the transfer is made. Had all the apostles, had the whole Jewish nation, prayed to Jesus Christ during his abode on earth, nothing, according to this reasoning, could be inferred from it to direct our worship now; because they saw him with their eyes, and to us he is unseen. According to this, when blind Bartimeus said, Jesus! thou son of David ! have mercy on me; he was guilty of idolatry; for he addressed an unseen Jesus; but when, having received his sight, he followed Jesus in the way, † and praised him, he ceased to be an idolater; and had he heen stoned in the exercise, he would have been a blessed martyr. St. Peter spoke more to the purpose, when he said to those strangers, who had never been blessed with a sight of Christ; whom having
* Matt.iv. 10. Deut. x. 20. + Heb. i. 6. Phil. ii. 10. § John v. 23. !! Matt. xxviii. 19. 9 Rom. ix. 1. * Acts vii. 59. Psa. xxxi. 5. + Rev. v. 13. 14.