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works, with his father, at the trade of a carpenter, till he is thirty years of age ; he then steps forth into the world as the Messiah ; he selects twelve persons to be his friends and followers; he admits them into all his secret councils ; imparts to them his commission and design ; yet he never tells them he is God; he lets them continue in a gross deception ; he passes with them for a man all the time of his continuance; and as a man he dies !!
4th, After the resurrection, after the ascension of Jesus, the apostles continued in the same opinion, and taught this doctrine to others. It has been urged, I know, that this mystery was kept secret from the Apostles, during the life of our Saviour ; (vindicate this, who can, without making Jesus a hypocrite !) but that after the descent of the Holy Ghost, it was fully revealed to them. Well then, how did they act ?
Immediately after the descent of the Holy Ghost, when now the whole truth was disclosed to the Apostles ---Peter arises and tells a vast multitude of people, (Acts ii. 22.) “ Ye men of Israel, hear
these words ; Jesus of Nazareth, a man, approved of God among you, by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him, in the midst of you.” He continues, “ David, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, aecording to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit upon his throne.”
“ This Jesus hath God raised up.” “ Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath inade that same Jesus whom ye crucified both Lord and Christ.” What are we to understand by this first harangue, immediately after the mystery had been fully disclosed to the Apostles ? Can any language be more positive as to the simple humanity of Jesus Christ?
How did they proceed? Shortly after, Peter having been taken up for the cure of a lame man, declares before all the rulers and elders of the people, that, by the name of Jesus of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, (making a marked distinction between God, and Jesus of Nazareth,) was this miracle performed.
What is the language of Paul upon the same subject ? In his first public address, he says, speaking of David (Acts xiii, 23.) “ Of this man's seed hath God, according to his promise, raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus.” " Be it known unto you, therefore, men and brethren, that through this man, is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins.” In a solemn address to the senate of Athens, he informs them that “ God had appointed a day in the which he would judge the world in righteousness, by that man, whom he had ordained.” Acts xvii. 31. In short, throughout the whole preaching of the apostles, as recorded in the book of Acts; not a single hint is given in any of their harangues that Jesus was God. Now let us take the alternative. Did the apostles believe Jesus to have been a mere man? Then let my faith be the same as theirs. Did they believe him to be God ? Then they practised a system of gross deception throughout their lives, for they always called him a man, and their hearers must have understood the word in its common signification. For,
5th, We have not the slightest reason for supposing that the apostles used the word man in any other than the common
I am aware that in explaining passages where the word man so frequently occurs, you have recourse to the following method: That in Christ there were two nátures, one human and the other divine, and that the apostles in the use of such phraseology as we have quoted, alluded merely to his human nature, knowing at the same time, that this was only one half of the whole being. Tell me candidly, does not this appear very much like the answer of a person hard pressed with a great difficulty ? Is it not evidently a resource, applied to by a person who wishes to defend a system, and to which nothing but necessity would have induced him to appeal ? But, my friends, such a thing is not to be taken for granted, upon the bare assertion of any persons. It is an assertion which demands proof, and which we are in duty bound, not to believe, until it has been plainly proved.
The question may be comprised in a very narrow compass. Difficulties are al
lowed to exist. How are these difficulties to be solved? You take one method of solving them, we another. Our method is the following: We endeavour to ascertain the general sense of the scriptures as a whole ; judging from those passages which are most simple ; which least abound in metaphor and particular allusions; which are addressed to Christians in general, not to a particular church, or person, or nation ; especially from those doctrines which our Saviour himself taught; judging from these passages, what may, and must, be the sense of others more obobscure, more abstruse, more metaphorical, containing more particular allusions, more suited to private occasions.
You explain these simple passages, these words of our Saviour, these unmetaphorical assertions, by saying that they mean not what they obviously denote, but that one half is to be deducted. Thus, in the last Lecture, I assigned twenty scriptural arguments, to shew that Jesus Christ was not the true and Supreme God. Under most of these I could have adduced at least four or five examples, but I con