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nature to Jesus Christ, we mean by it, that he is of the same essence and existence with the Deity.
The text represents the Savior to be “the brightness of his Father's glory.” The conception is highly sublime, and the allusion peculiarly happy. The relation of Christ to God the Father is compared to the relation which exists between the outbeaming light of the sun, and that inherent brightness from which these rays are sent forth. Socinians affirm, that the Son of God was a created being, and that all his dignity and authority were delegated. We concede that the Father gives existence to Christ, just as the sun gives existence to its rays; yet, that existence is so entirely the nature of the essence from which it proceeds, as of necessity to be co-existent with it. The sun can no more exist without shining, than its light can exist without the essence from which it proceeds. Precisely so is it in regard to the relation of Christ and the Father. There is such a complete oneness in the two, as to be inseparable. A God cannot exist in the dark retirement of his own being withoout being manifested; nor can there be any manifestation without the Son, who is the outbeaming of the Divinity. .
To call Christ a created being, implies a time when he did not exist. The figure of the text, however, admits no such a supposition. The sun and its rays are co-eval. It was no sooner made than it shone. This is in accordance with its nature; nor is it possible for it ever to cease shining until its nature is changed, or it is itself destroyed. Thus it is in the relation between Christ and God. They are co-equal and co-existent. One is the outbeaming of the other—the brightness of the other's glory. The Father is not the Son, nor the Son the Father; no more than the rays of the sun constitute the sun itself. Yet, there is such a unity of essence and existence, and they are so intimately and inseparably connecta ed, that both partake of the same Divine eternal nature.
The apostle further declares Christ to be s the express image of his Father's person ;” or as in a parallel passage : "the form of God." These expressions embody nearly the same idea. The allusion is to that of a child bearing a perfect resemblance to its parent, or that of wax retaining the perfect image or impress of the seal applied to it. In the same way Christ bears the perfect resemblance of his father. All the lineaments and characteristics of
Divinity are in him. The perfections of God are in him, the whole nature of God is in him; and consequently he is Divine.
I will now proceed to adduce a few scriptural facts and circumstances which go on to confirm these statements, and which to my own mind very conclusively prove the proper Deity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
1st. It is a matter so clear as to admit of no dispute, that the scriptures ascribe to Christ the sublimest works of God. Is creation the work of Divinity ? Who but the Omnipotent could rear the lofty pillars of this vast edifice? Who but God could build the stupendous amphitheatre of heaven, or hang out those brilliant and enduring lamps of the universe ? Everywhere are these things appealed to as the work of an Almighty hand. “I am the Lord,” says Jehovah," that stretcheth forth the heavens alone ; and spreadeth abroad the earth by myself.” And yet it is said, “all things were made by Jesus Christ, and without him was not anything made that was made,"—that “by him 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.”
Is preservation the work of Divinity? Who but God can uphold, preserve and keep the many worlds with all their multiplied and varied inhabitants? In Nehemiah it is said unto God, “ Thou, even thou art Jehovah alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and Thou preservest them all.” Yet the text assures us, and the same is declared in other places, that Jesus “upholdeth all things by the word of his pówer,” and that “ by him all things consist."
Is resurrection the work of Divinity ? Who but the great God can break
open the massive doors of the grave, or wake the slumbering dead from the sleep of ages ? The scriptures declare it is “God who quickeneth the dead.” And yet the language of Christ is, “I am the resurrection and the life,” “the hour cometh when they that are in their graves shall hear the voice of the Son of man, and shall come forth.” And he also proved his power to accomplish this mighty work, by raising the son of the widow of Nain, and by restoring Lazarus to his weeping sisters.
'I am somewhat' indebted for part of the following illustration of this subject to a Bermon by the Rev. D. Baker, of Savannah, Ga.
Is the final judgment the work of Divinity? The Bible says that “God himself is judge, « that Jehovah is our judge;" and yet the same authority declares, that " we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.; that every man may receive the things done in bis body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."
In what other way can these facts be explained, than by admitting that Jesus Christ is one with the Father?
2nd. It is also very clear, that the Scriptures ascribe to Christ the sublimest attributes and perfections of God.
The prophet Micah says of him who was to come out of Bethlehem, “his going forth have been from old, from everlasting." Concerning himself, he says, “before Abraham was, I am.” John says “in the beginning was the Word—before anything was made -before all things—with the Father before the world was." In Revelations he is declared the. “Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending—the First and the Last”—“the Living One." Is not this Eternity ?.
The Savior promises, “ where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Again : “Lo! I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Is not this Omnipresence ?
The apostle in one place speaks of Christ in this wise, “Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” “Peter saith unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things.” The Evangelists speak of him as perceiving the thoughts of men—knowing all men, and what was in man—and as searching the hearts of men. And on one occasion his apostles exclaimed, “now are we sure that thou knowest all things." Is not this Omniscience ?
The apostle declares Christ“ able to subdue all things unto himsell.” He himself says, “I have power to lay down my life, and I have power to take it again.” He is called “the head of all power-far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come”-yea, the Almighty.” Is not this Onnipotence ?
In Hebrews we find it written, “ Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, and forever.” Is not this Immutability?
And so we might go on, finding passage after passage, and cir.
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cumstances abundant, which ascribe to Jesus Christ all the perfections which adorn the character of God.
apostle, “ dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” All that the Old Testament aflirms of Jehovah, the New affirms of Jesus Christ. How then shall this difficulty be reconciled ? Is it not clearly revealed that there is but one living and true God? What other lesson then do these facts teach us, what other lesson can they teach us, but that Christ is really of the same essence with God the Father—that he was God manifest in the flesh? If Christ be God, then it is proper and right to ascribe unto him all the perfections of God; but if not, the sacred writers are to be charged with mistakes, or designed misrepresentations, and therefore have no valid claims to inspiration. There is no stopping point between the Deity of Christ and downright deism.
3d. The Scriptures also ascribe to Christ the sublimest names of God. In numerous places he is emphatically called God. John declares “the Word was God." Paul calls him "God manifest in the flesh.” David sang, “Unto the Son, he saith, Thy throne O God, is forever and ever.” Isaiah in the prophetic annunciation of his Advent calls him “the mighty God.” Paul in Romans designates him as “God over all, blessed for evermore.” Thomas addressed him as his " Lord and his God."
Jehovah is another name used in the Scriptures to designate the Deity. " Seek ye him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night, that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth ; Jehovah is his name.” But this name is also given to Christ. In Jeremiah (xxiii. 5, 6.) we find this prophecy: “Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute justice and judgment in the earth. In bis days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely ; and this is his name whereby he shall be called, Jehovah our Righteousness.” (See also Isaiah vü. 13, 14;. xl. 3 ; vi. 3, compared with John xii. 41.) Christ is also called the Lord God of the Holy prophets—the Lord from heaven-the Lord of lords and King of kings—the Lord creator of heaven and earth—one with the Fa. ther, &c. All this goes on to show that Christ really did possess a Divine nature.
4th. It is also very clear to every reader of the Bible, that it ascribes to Jesus Christ the sublimest honors of God.
Reason and Revelation concur in appropriating religious worship to God, who alone is possessed of those perfections which our veneration and prayers presuppose. Its conferment upon any other object, is downright idolatry, and is the most severely threatened in the Scriptures. It was on a most memorable occasion the most solemnly enjoined upon all and every one, " Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”. And yet we find Jesus Christ in numerous' instances the object of the holiest reverence and the highest adoration. Twenty times in the New Testament, grace, mercy, and peace, are implored of him together with the Father and the Spirit. Baptism is an act of solemn worship, yet it is performed in the name of the Son. Swearing is an act of worship when done in sincerity. But this solemn appeal is made to Jesus Christ. The committing of the soul to God at death, is an act of sacred worship; and the dying address of the martyr Stephen was, “ Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
But hark, peans are ringing in glory to the honor of the once crucified, but now risen and exalted Son of God! “I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever."
Such is the language of those who worship on high ; nor is the song of those who worship below any the less sublime. John, the exile of Patmos leads off the lofty shout of adoration, “ Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood-unto him be glory and dominion for ever and ever, Amen.” Were ever songs of sublimer praise sung by created lips !
Nor was such Divine honor ever given with the approbation of heaven to a mere creature. Creature-worship is everywhere denounced in this holy Book as idolatry-as hateful to God, and ruinous to the soul. Nor did any holy creature ever consent to re