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our opponents represent the miraculous conception to be. Still it is said "forged writings under the names of the Apostles were in circulation, almost from the Apostolic age:" and one of the enemies of our Lord's divinity has not scrupled to assert, that from the spurious Gospels of "the infancy," "of Nicodemus, &c." the narrative in Matthew and Luke is taken.* Few assertions can be more glaringly false than this: and it requires nothing more than a perusal of those forgeries to be convinced of its falsehood. It is true "forged writings" were in circulation in the second, third, and fourth centuries, but the existence of such forgeries is no proof of the falsehood of the narration. It would be a strange argument against the genuineness of a piece of money, to say, there is a quantity of base coin in circulation, therefore, the piece which you have is not a good one.” The question is not, were there forged writings in circulation? but, is the account before us one of those forgeries ?+
It will be seen that the whole of the objections against the narrative, consist of doubts without certainty; and of probability without proof. "The narrative is of doubtful authority." It is "suspected to be a marginal note crept into the text." "It is probably the fiction of some early Gentile convert.”‡ But there is no proof offered that it is so, nor can such proof be found. While in its favour, there is the universal consent of manuscripts,—the improbability of such a general interpolation as must have taken place, if the tenet be false; and the absence of all evidence that it ever did take place; as well as the belief of the best and purest portion of the Christian church, in its best and purest age.
Was Jesus Christ divine? Leaving for a time the miraculous conception, let us look at a few other passages. "By Him" says the Apostle, "were all things created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers, all things were created by him and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. Now as an acute reasoner of the present day has observed, "He that is before all things, is not a thing; and he that is not a thing is not a creature; and
Rev. Geo. Harris's Lectures.
See Hare's Preservative against Socinianism, Clowes's Letters to Grundy, and Hindmarsh's reply to Dr. Priestley.
Notes on the Unitarian New Test. Matt. and Luke,
he that is not a creature, is the Creator; and he that is the Creator is God."*
Creation requires the possession of omnipotence. No being less than omnipotent can create, but Christ created all things, therefore Christ is omnipotent; and he who is omnipotent is God. For omnipotence is a power which can never be transferred to another. If He who is omnipotent, that is possessed of unlimited and infinite power, gives that power entirely to another, he ceases from that moment to be infinite or powerful. God therefore cannot deliver this power to another, without undeifying himself; and if Christ possesses it, it must be by inherent right. None however but God does so possess it. Yet the apostle, by ascribing the creation of all things to the Saviour, proves that he is omnipotent. Therefore since omnipotence can belong to none but God, yet Christ possesses omnipotence, the conclusion is evident, that Christ is God.
It has however been said, that the creation referred to, is not a natural, but a moral creation; the establishment of new principles and feelings in the mind. Even if we allow this, the conclusion will be the same; since it requires as much power to create one moral feeling, or to call into existence one good principle, as it does to create a world; nothing short of unlimited power can effect either. And if Christ had sufficient power to perform either the one or the other, he must have possessed the power of omnipotence.
But again, it is not only declared that he created all things, but that he preserves and sustains them, "By him all things consist." Now preservation is not a negative act whereby creation is prevented from falling to decay, but it is the exertion of positive power, the continual communication of the principles of life. No agent however can act where he is not present; if therefore the Saviour preserves all things; the most distant world and the smallest atom-the angels of heaven, and the insect of the earth; he must be equally present in all places, and with all things. But if he is thus equally present with all, he is endued with omnipresence; and he who is omnipresent, is God.
Refer the passage to a moral creation, and the conclusion will be the same. If the Saviour, preserves and sustains in the
* Rev. Samuel Drew.
mind all those moral feelings which constitute religion; he must have access to the mind of each individual at all times and in all places. He must be present with all those who are tempted-with all those who are wavering-with all those whose minds are but beginning to receive the influence of christianity. For if in the case of one solitary individual he is not present, he cannot sustain the moral feelings of that person, and it cannot with any truth be said that by him, and through his power all moral feelings subsist, since there will at least be one over whose mind he can exert no power. But if he is there present, sustaining the minds and supporting the feelings of all, he must necessarily be omnipresent, and he who is omnipresent is God.
In support of this conclusion, we may adduce the words in the former verse, "all things were created by him, and for him :" language which, spoken of a creature, is in the highest degree improper. Was the material universe, with all its inhabitants—were the heavens, with all their glory, created by a mere man, and for a mere man? Or, again, were all the moral feelings-the love of God, the perception of truth, and the obedience springing from them, intended to be dedicated to the service of a creature? Is this consistent with the declaration of JEHOVAH, "cursed is the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm"? If either the natural or the moral creation were brought into existence by and for the Saviour, then that Saviour must be divine. For " he who created all things is God;" and he only, who "caused light to shine out of darkness," "shines into the heart." It is to God alone that we are to offer up our body, soul, and spirit," and for the glory of God alone were "all things created."
To evade the force of these conclusions, which spring evidently from the words of the Apostle, it has been conjectured, that by "all things," in this passage, are meant all things in the Christian dispensation. Allowing that Christ was only man, let us for a moment look at this interpretation. The chiefest thing in the Christian dispensation, was the authority and mission of the Saviour: did he then create and supply his own mission and authority? This authority was given previous to his appearance on earth; therefore if he gave himself his own authority, he must have given it before he himself had any existence! Nor is this all: the birth of the Saviour was the very
first thing in the system of Christianity,- did he then create himself? The power and ability by which he wrought his miracles, was another thing in Christianity :-did he create this power, and give himself this ability? His resurrection from the dead set the seal of heaven to his commission;-did he raise himself? The establishment of the gospel, by the infusion of light and love into the mind, is a principal thing in the Christian system :- did he himself create and infuse these Christian feelings? To these questions, the enemies of his divinity will unanimously reply in the negative: therefore it is not true that all things in the Christian system, nor even the greater part of them, were created by the Saviour, unless he was, as we have declared him to be, "God over all, blessed for ever."
Once more, St. John in the commencement of his Gospel declares, "He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not;" which words, if they assert any thing, most clearly assert (as the Apostle has done) the creation of all things by his own divine power. To rid themselves of this interpretation, the enemies of his divinity, have had recourse to the same argument as was used on the former passage. They tell us that by the world in this passage, is to be understood, not this visible earth, but a dispensation, whether the Jewish or the Christian, they know not, and that it is in reference to his appearance under such dispensation, that the evangelist says "He was in the world." Keeping in mind. the doctrine that Jesus is only man, let us examine this a little more closely. "He was in the Jewish dispensation." When? At his birth, most certainly if at all, for before this he had no existence. He was then in the Jewish world, at his birth : that is about two thousand years after its commencement; and this world, this dispensation, which existed two thousand years before him, was made by him! If this is not an absurdity there is no such thing to be found. If he made this dispensation (or even communicated the light which it possessed,) he must have had an existence at least two thousand years before his birth! As truly might we ascribe the building of a house, to a child who was born in it, fifty years after it was built; as ascribe the foundation, or light of Judaism, to one who was born two thousand years after it was founded.
Nor is the case bettered by exchanging the Jewish, for the Christian dispensation. For it cannot be said that this world,
the christian church,-" received him not:" nor can it be said (as we have already noticed) that he was the creator of either the law or the Gospel, unless he was essentially divine. “The law" though "given by Moses,' was framed and created by God: and the Gospel was not the production of any mere human being, but was "the power of God." The Saviour then, if only man, was not anything more than a humble instrument in the hands of the Creator; and very far from being a creator himself.
Aware of the inconsistency of this explanation, some have endeavoured to substitute another, by reading" enlightened " in the place of "made." "The world was enlightened by him." But if the world was enlightened by him, then the world knew him; for all those who were enlightened "received of his fulness;" and so far were those that were enlightened from receiving him not" that the reception of him, was a previous step to that illumination. The reason why the world of men in general, knew him not (as the Saviour) was, because they could not be enlightened, their perverse inclinations, and foolish prejudices having closed their minds against the truth. It cannot be said therefore that "the world was enlightened by him," and that the same world "knew him not." For the very effect of this light, when received into the mind, or in other words, the very first thing produced by this illumination, was a knowledge of the Saviour; and before such illumination could be received, the mind must be willing to accept of him. When therefore it is said, that "the world was made by him," we cannot avoid understanding it of the material world, with its rational inhabitants. And this agrees strictly with the commencement of the chapter; "In the beginning," previous to the existence of material nature, "was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word." "All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made."
Still, however, to support a failing cause, a new translation of the whole passage has been given. "In the beginning was wisdom, and wisdom was with God, and God was wisdom. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by it, and without it was not any thing made that was made.— In it was life, and the life was the light of men.”—“ It was in the world, and the world was made by it, and the world knew