Abbildungen der Seite

some churches upon his principles in distant countries, have occasion to write to these churches upon subjects relating to their own private concems. Some of these letters, as well as the histories, have been handed down to you. I ask, where would you look for the principles and doctrines of Calvin? Most assuredly to the histories of his preaching. In aid of the histories the letters might be adduced, and they would be useful, as far as the occasions of their being written were understood. This would be a proper mode of proceeding in the case of Calvin, and it is the proper mode of proceeding in the case of Jesus Christ.

It is scarcely possible that the Epistles should, throughout, be intelligible to us. In a letter, for instance, written to the Romans 1800 years ago, must there not, of course, be many expressions intelligible to them, and many

directions suitable to them, which are not suitable to a Briton 1800 years after, and which, without a good deal of study and inquiry, he cannot understand? Who, then, in the name of common sense, would found his creed upon such expressions ?


· Without any further preface, I proceed to the first series of arguments in proof of the humanity of Jesus Christ.

1st, The prophecies of the Old Testament predict the Jewish Messiah, as a human being. Most of them speak of him as a Son of David, being of the seed of David, of the loins of David. Moses expressly told the Israelites that the Messiah would be a prophet like to himself

2d, The Jews, in consequence, expected their Messiah to be a man. Sufficient proof of this is given in the universal supposition, that their Messiah would, like David, be a temporal king ; that he would deliver them from the Romans, by whom they were held in bondage, and restore to them, all their ancient pomp and pride and splendour.—You will perhaps grant this, and allege that what the Jews expected is no argument. True, in itself considered, it is not; because they mightbedeceived in their expectations. But take the consequences ; Jesus Christ never undeceived them in this expectation ! ! What an imputation is this upon his character? What! Was our Saviour guilty

of deception ? Did he come as a man into the world ; suffer himself to be considered as a man ; lay claim to the character of the Messiah as a man ; in order to accommodate himself to the prejudices of the Jews, and to deceive them, whilst, all the time, he was God! ?

Indeed he was once charged with making himself God and uttering blasphemy. But he positively denied the charge. "Your own scriptures', says he, call Moses a God, and your magistrates gods; I am surely equal to them, yet I did not call myself God, but only Son of God,-is this blasphemy? (John X. 34, 35.). What, Christians, was this only a trick of our Saviour's to get rid of the Jews ? Was he cheating and deceiving them; and was he, who said this, the true God? Away with this insinuation upon the sin . cerity and veracity of the blessed Jesus !

3d, The apostles and disciples of Jesus, who conversed with him during his life, held the same opinion of him with the rest of the Jews. No one has attempted to deny, that, previously to their becoming the followers of our Saviour, they

were only upon an equality with some of the lowest of the Jews. They were all placed in humble stations in life, and engaged in lowly occupations. They therefore entertained all the opinions and prejudices of the Jews, and became the followers of Jesus, under the full conviction that he was a man; but entertaining the hope that he was the Messiah, and that if they assisted him in the great work he was about to ondertake, namely, the liberation of the Jews, they would be made some of his chief ministers in his new kingdom. Will it be again urged, that, in the former as well as in the latter opinion, they might have been mistaken. We answer, True they might; but the great difficulty is, that they were suffered to continue in this opinion. Jesus Christ, throughout the whole of his ministry, allowed them to continue deceived as to the

person of their master, for he never told + them that he was more than man.

If he had told them that he was God himself, would they have been so familiar with him, have argued with him, and treated him as one of their own species ?

Would not all of them, in the narratives they left behind them, have distinctly and positively stated, It is true, when we joined Jesus the Christ, we took him to be a mere man, as all our brethren did, but, judge of our astonishment, judge of our confusion, when we found that he was no other than the Almighty himself! How were we electrified when he gave us this information! Struck with awe, how respectful, how submissive, how distant ever afterwards ! But no, he never gave us a hint of the kind. So far were we from believing him to be God, at the very last, when he was seized in the garden, we all ran away from him, and left him to be dragged to the cross.'

I appeal to any candid Trinitarian who hears me; If you were to convert a heathen to the belief of Christianity, what is one of the first doctrines you would teach him ; would it not be the deity of Jesus Christ ; his Unity with the Father? How different is this from the conduct of

your Saviour! A God comes into the world; he is suckled at his mother's breast; he undergoes all the discipline of a boy; he

« ZurückWeiter »