« EelmineJätka »
bring forward the many passages of Scripture wbich prove him to be man. Vain is it, for them to put these passages in array against those, which assert his divine nature-io bring one set of them as it were, against the other, and to fancy their proof complete, if they can find a tolerable number of these passages at their side of the question ; in accordance with their principle, they collect their favourite texts, and having found enough as they imagine for their purpose, they immediately proceed to judgment, undeify our Lord, and strip the regal diadem from his headwhereas, if in the Bible, there were for every ninety-nine passages, which tended to shew his inferiority to the Father, but one passage which proved his equality to him, this alone would be sufficient, because then, all the passages might be true, and all consistent with each other, the ninety-nine passages referring to his human nature, and the one to his divine, and thus his Divinity still be fully established.
Their plan, on the contrary, cannot be true, if even one passage prove liis divinity, whilst the argument of those, who maintain the Godhead of our Lord, is unaffected, however numerous the passages they may bring forward, in support of theirs ; one passage as I said before, being sufficient to prostrate their whole edifice, however high, like that of Babel, they may have reared it. Though as the Prophet Isaiah writes concerning Our Lord, that his name shall be called “ Wonderful Counsellor," that he was the
Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace,”. yet, though he was all this though this was his real character, yet for a time, he divested himself of all his dignity and of all his splendour--yos, he came into the world, veiling his glory, appearing as a worm” and “no man”. “ a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief,” as humble, as meek and lowly.” If he came in majesty supreme, in the splendour of the Godhead, the object of his mission to our world would then have been frustrated; for he came, not to reign in power on a throne of glory, but to suffer as a malefactor on a cross-he came to lay down his life, a ransom for the sins of all those for whom he died. Yet, notwithstanding all this humiliation, he was as I said before the “Everlasting Father”- the Mighty God,” “the Prince of Peace" -all this he was, and this he will be found to be, when he, " the King,” shall sit in judgment, judging the nations, decreeing sentence, in Majesty Supreme, Mat. xxv. Who can know all things but God ? who can penetrate the heart and register all that therein passes ? and if Christ could not do this, how could he sit on the judgment-seat, how could be pronounce a righteous judgment on all who shall appear before him, if he knew not the hearts of all there assembled, and how could he do all this, if he was not God, if he was not the Lord Jehovah the Great“ I am." Some indeed in modern times, witli a design to fritler away the Divinity of Christ, have put a fancied construction on the meaning of the word, “Son of God”-“Son of Man,” as if implying inferiority to the title “ Supreme Jehovab;" but in the days of our Lord when the meaning was well known, no such difference was recognised, and we have no right to put any interpretation on the words, but what they were acknowledged to have when our
Lord was manifest in the flesh;. That these words implied Deity. in the fullest and highest sense of the phrase, is evident from the conduct of the High Priest, when he questioned Jesus, whether he was “the Christ” the “Son of God;" and on his making for answer“ hereafter shall ye see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of Power, and coming in the clouds of heaven," the high priest hearing the words, "rent his clothes, saying, he hath spoken blasphemy, what further need have we of witnesses.” That in fact, by so saying, he was making himself God, and therefore, that he was guilty of death. Now if Jesus did not mean that his expression “ Son of Man” was equivalent to making himself God, he would, nay, he must in common fairness have disclaimed the charge, and denied having any such intention as assuming a divine character, or as being God, but his acquiescing in the charge, was admitting the High Priest's interpretation of the words, and acknowledging himself to be God indeed.
That the Jewish people, understood the expressions "Son of God” “ Son of Man” in the same sense, that the High Priest did, and each of them as equivalent to that of being God, or equal with God, appears hence also, from their noted reply to Jesus, when he asked them, for what deed of his, they sought to stone bim, “ for a good work said they, we stone thee not, but for blasphemy, and because thou being a man, makest thyself God.” And oh ! are there not to be found in this day, and in this city, those who now (and who, strange to say, yet call themselves Christians) use the very same expressions as these Jews of old, who deem it blasphemy, to say, Jesus is the Lord, the Supreme God of heaven and of earth. Yes, dreadful, though it be, to say it, there are to be found such men, and I have heard and am fully persuaded, that some of the very same expressions have been used by them as by the murderers of our Lord. And oh ! that one, whom I so highly regard, should still be found a member of their Society I do not accuse you indeed, nay I am persuaded that you could never join in the foul expression; but if their creed be right, how can they who condemned the Lord be wrong-surely, surely if they had lived in the days when he appeared on earth, and if they acted in consistency with their present principles, they must have joined in the horrid cry,
away with him," crucify him.” In sober truth, if Christ was not really God, he was justly liable to the punishment of death, nor can I see how those who deny his Divinity, can still profess to honour him as a righteous person, for if he was not God, he must (Lord pardon me the expression) have been an impostor, and that in the foulest sense of the word. I have now, my dear Sir, finished these few observations on this most important, most awsul, most tremendous subject : oh ! may they be brought home to your heart with power, and as I am persuaded they are the truths of the triune God, may it be given you to see them, so to be, and may they be your comfort, not only now, but at the hour of death (so near to all at hand) and in the day of judgment. Yes, my dear friend, death indeed is at hand, and after that the judgment, we shall both of us shortly appear at the tre, mendous bar of God, and there I am fully persuaded, that my eternal doom is bound up with the belief, that Jesus is indeed the
Mighty God, and though awful to say it, yet truth compels me, to add, so is yours-Oh! that against neither of us may be brought the dreadful charge of denying his Divinity-of denying bis Godhead-of being ashamed of him, to rule over us, as King" and Lord of all; may both of us ever remember his most blessed words “he that is ashamed of me and my words; of him shall the Son of Man be ashamed when he cometh in the glory of his father with the holy angels." My dear friend, I have now done, and I trust that these few lines, which I have written, may be so blessed, as that they may find admittance to your heart with credence. At any rate, I pray you be not offended with them, for however you may receive them, be assured they are kindly meant, and that the sincerest friendship has alone dictated them. Farewell, may God in heaven, even our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, for ever bless you.
to LOOK BEYOND LUTHER."
(Continued from Vol. V. Page 260.) TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHRISTIAN EXAMINER. S1R.-In answering the Romanist as to where our religion was before Luther's time, we contended for its antiquity, and asserted three several arguments by which that antiquity was to be deduced ; viz.-I. The authority of Canonical Scripture ; II. a succession of living witnesses;
and III. writings extant of inen who professed it as taught in Holy Writ. Having in our former article traced its consonance with Scripture, and this 1) by the authorized formularies of our Church, agreeing with, and founded on Scripture-2) by the witness of the Holy Spirit who furthers our religion by means of Scripture-3) by the progress made by it wherever the Scriptures get entrance and are read -and 4) by the means used by it for further extension, being such alone as Scripture enjoins--having thus proved our religion to be that taught by Scripture, we concluded it to have existed anterior to Luther's time, even from the Apostolic days; and we now advance to establish the same conclusion by our
(Drawn from the witness of the martyrs in all ages.) That Religion which was written by God in the hearts of his people, and for which, from the beginning down, they suffered, was before Luther's time. This cannot be denied.
But, our present religion was, from the beginning, written by God in the hearts
of his people, and is that for which they ever suffered, And, therefore, this our present Religion was before Luther's time,
The minor is thus confirmed, both as to the religion written in martyrs' hearts, and its being that for which they suffered. The latter point manisestly proves the former ; for they who faithfully and constantly obey the truth, even to persecution and suffer
ing death for it, without doubt have the truth written in their hearts. If religion was not imprinted in the hearts of martyrs, in whose heart it is written? They bad the Spirit of the living God, saving knowledge and remission of sins: they received the word gladly, walked in God's statutes, and kept his judgments sincerely, all which are evident signs that God's truth was written in their hearts, as these Scriptures witness, 2 Cor. iii. 3. Jer. xxxi. 33. Ez. xxxvi. 27. 2 These: i. 4. This will not be doubted; but the question remains, whether these martyrs suffered for our present religion or no ? to answer which,– all the martyrs of Christ may be ranked in four sorts, every one of which suffered for such truths as arein the religion professed and followed by us at this day.
1.-“ Martyrs" were they who suffered by the hands of the unbelieving Jews, such as Stephen first, then James, and many more. Acts vii. and viii. 1. ix. 1. xii. 2.Now, all these suffered for that religion which Christ and bis Apostles taugbt; but they taught out of the Scriptures, and not from tradition, as the Evangelists and Acts of the Apostles shew; and, to suffer for that religion which is only taugbt in Scripture is to suffer for our religion, as is proved by the former argument; therefore, it was for our religion they suffered,
II.—" Martyrs” were such as suffered by and amongst the Heathen, especially during the ten persecutions under the Roman tyrants; among which martyrs were most of the Apostles; for we read not in Scripture that any save James the brother of John fell by the hands of the Jews. Now, the Apostles being the planters of our religion, (as before proved from their writings,) and being also martyrs for the same, they must needs be our martyrs, suffering for our religion, as must all the rest who followed the Apostles in the samefaith and trod in their steps.
III.-" Martyrs” were such as suffered by the furious rage of heretics, when the Arians held sway through Arian Emperors and Kings. But those Orthodox Confessors suffered for no other doctrine than our religion teaches ; for, we bold the faith of the Council of Nice, and the Athanasian Creed : in our Liturgy they are registered, and by appointment are publicly confessed in our assemblies; and therefore did these suffer for our religion and are our martyrs.
But, here our adversaries will assert that these three sorts of martyrs were theirs, for they boast and brag to simple people as if they had really suffered for the dogmás now professed in the Latin Church ; that the truth, therefore, may appear, whether these martyrs be theirs or ours, we must consider them both as martyrs and believers ; they were properly martyrs in those things for which they suffered ; now, this suffering was for the common truths held by our adversaries and by us ; so, the cause stamping them martyrs, and this cause holding equally of both, they are our martyrs as well as theirs. Again, if we view them as believers also, holding other points of
for which they never suffered nor were questioned, we may claim them more rightly than our adversaries; for, with wbich religion of the two they most held and agreed, tu that religion they must be addressed; for determining wbich point it must be well conceived what each party mean hy “our religion;" upon that religion we stand on either side, not as we agree in points of Christianity, but as differences exist therein the one from the otber; and upon this rests the issue to try whose martyrs they be, by their greater or less disagreement with either side in our röspective differences. Wherefore,
1st.-If the main points of difference in their religion from ours be such as none of these three sorts of martyrs-(who suffered by and amongst the Jews, by and amongst the heathen, or by and amongst heretics) ever made profession of, much jess suffered for, then, in respect of these differences, are they not their martyrs, they cannot be appropriated by them to themselves, they are still martyrs in common.
But the antecedent is most true, (as is proved by the 30 reason below,) for the space of 600 years after Christ, during which period were all three sorts of martyrs; and, therefore, the consequence cannot be denied.
2Uly. If these differences in religion be nothing but human inventions, without authority from Holy Writ- and if the martyrs professed and believed those things only, which expressly, or by necessary conclusion, are contained in Holy Writ, then in respect of these differences they are not their martyrs.
But the former part is true, and, therefore, must the latter be granted.
The antecedent is true touching the unwarrantableness of their differences, and their want of Scripture evidence for their basis; for let Romanists tell us what Scripture-ground they have for these things wherein we and they differ.
(1.) Of God.-What Scriptures have they for picturing the Holy Trinity; a representation forbidden to be made in any way whatsoever ? (Deut, iv. 15. 16.)
(2.) of the Scriptures.- Where is it written that the Scriptures receive their authority from the Church, and the sense thereof only subject to her ? 'That the Vulgate translation is alone to be received as authentic ? That the Scriptures are imperfect, dumh, and no certain rule of faith? that there are traditions besides for perfecting the Scriptures and to be received as of equal authority with the Scriptures ?
(3.) of the Church.—That the Catholic Church is any other than the Company of God's elect? That the Church of Rome is infallible and cannot err?
(4.) of the Pope,- Where is Scripture to prove that Peter was Bishop of Rome? That he was ever at Rome at all ? That he was to be appointed Vicar of Christ? That he is universal Bishop ? That be alone was to be Peter's successor? That be cannot err ex Cathedra ? That he is above Councils ? That be may depose Kings from their temporal estates and dispose of their kingdoms ? That he can dispense with sins against the plain law of God ? That be can set souls free from torments endured by them after tbis life?
(5.) Of the Clergy and Ecclesiastical persons.-In wbat place of Scripture is it taught that there are Popes, Cardinals, and Prelates, like Princes ? That there are now Priests to whom a special office of Priesthood is assigned ? That there are seven degrees thereof? That under this Gospel dispensation a man is appointed to offer sacrifices daily for the quick and dead ? That the Clergy must live unmarried ? That a monastical life is the best estate ? That Ecclesiastical persons are exempt from secular authority ?
(6.) Of the Sacraments. Where does Scripture enjoin Baptism to be administered with a mixture of chrism, oil, salt, and spittle ? and say that the intention of the Priest is necessary to its validity. Where teaches it that Jesus Christ is bodily and wholly, as He is man, born of the Virgin Mary, in the Sacrament of the Supper, the bread being turned into his flesh ? That it is a sacrifice for the quick and the dead? That the wafer is to be boxed up and carried about in pomp, while the ige porant fall down to, and worship it? That the laity must partake in but one kind ? tbat they must not touch it but devoutly gape and swallow it ? That the Priest who says Mass must have such changes of pretended holy vestments ? That he must use such duckings, crossings, turnings, wbisperings, listings, lickings, and all other variety of stage-like gestures to give efficacy to bis work?
(7.) Of worship and Prayer.—That it must be in Latin ? That not the Almigbty only, but Saints may, and must be prayed to ? That the dead are to be prayed for ? That vain repetitions in prayer, reckoning them on beads by scores, are lawful and pleasing to God? That relics are to be adored? That images and pictures are for adoration's sake to be in Churches, as laymen's books ?
(8.) -Of the Virgin Mary.—That she was born without sin? That she is the