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be understood of his office, and not of his person; as is the case where magistrates are styled gods, where the very next words explain it, and tell us what is to be understood by it. And when Moses and angels are called gods, no one who at tends to the whole discourse, could easily mistake the meaning, and not see, that this term God, was there used in an inferior and metaphorical sense. Letter to the Dedicator of Mr. Emlyn's Inquiry, &c., p. 7, 8.—Matt. xix. 17. " Why callest thou me good ? there is none good but one, that is God." " Mr. Emlyn affirms it to be evident, that Christ here distinguishes himself from God, and denies of himself what he affirms of God. But the truth of his interpretation, entirely depends upon the opinion which the young man had of Christ, who received this answer from him.” Ibid. p. 17, 18.
$ 54. That Christ had divine omniscience, appears from his own words; Rev. ii. 23. " And all the churches shall know that I am He which searcheth the hearts and the reins." Now Solomon declares, 1 Kings viii. 39: “ Thou, even Thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men,” And Jer. xvii. 10. God says, “ I, the Lord, search the heart; I try the reins.” And Christ does not say, The Churches shall know that I search the reins and the heart; but that “I am he," &c., which, if words have any force in them, yea, if the ex. pression is not altogether unintelligible, implies, “I am He who is distinguished by this character; or, the Churches shall know that I am the God who searcheth," &c. lbid. p. 43, 44.
§ 55. That the eternal Logos should be subordinate to the Father, though not inferior in nature; yea, that Christ, in his office, should be subject to the Father, and less than He, though in his higher nature not inferior, is not strange. It is proper, among mankind, that a son should be subordinate to his father, yea subject in many respects, though of the same human nature; yea, though in no respect inferior in any natural qualification. It is proper that Solomon should be under David his father, and appointed king by him, and receive charges and directions from him, though, even then, in his youth, probably not inferior to his father.
The disciples of Christ, or those that trusted in him, when here on earth, applied to him as trusting in his ability, not only to heal all diseases of the body, and to raise the dead; but as leaving their souls in his hands, and being able to heal the diseases of their minds; as being the Author and Fountain of virtue. So Luke xvii. 5. “ The apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.” So the father of the demoniac, Mark ix. 24. “ Lord, I believe; belp Thou mine unbelief.”
$ 56. It is a good argument for Christ's divinity, that he is to be Author of the resurrection. The atoms and particles in one little finger, are capable of so many removes, and such
dispersions, that I believe it would surpass any finite understanding at two or three thousand years' end, to tell what distinct particles of the universe belonged to it. It would require a vast strength and subtilty of mind, to trace but one atom so nicely, as to know that individual atom in the universe, after so long a time; after it had been a particle of air, water, oil, or animal spirit, &c. and had been transported with prodigious swiftness from place to place, back wards and forwards, millions of times, amongst innumerable others of the same kind. Especially, would it be exceeding difficult, so narrowly to watch two of such at once. If so, what would it be, to follow every atom in a man's body; yea, of all the bodies that ever have died, or shall die? And, at the same time, to have the mind exercised with full vigour upon innumerable other matters, that require an equal strength of understanding ? and all this with such ease, that it shall be no labour to the mind ?
8 57. God would not have given us any person to be our Redeemer, unless he was of divine and absolutely supreme dignity and excellency, or was the Supreme God; lest we should be under temptation to pay him too great respect; lest, if he were not the Supreme God, we should be under temptation to pay him that respect which is due only to the Supreme, and which God, who is a jealous God, will by no means allow to be paid to an inferior being. Men are very liable to be tempted to rate those too highly, from whom they have received great benefits. They are prone to give them that respect and honour, that belongs to God only. Thus the Gentile world deified and adored such of their kings as did great things for them, and others from whom they received great benefits. So Cornelius was tempted to give too great respect to Peter, he being the person that God had marked out to be his teacher and guide in things pertaining to eternal salvation. So the apostle John could scarce avoid adoring the angel that showed him those visions: he fell down to worship him once and again. Though the first time he had been strictly warned against it; yet the temptation was so great, that he did it again : Rev, xix. 10 ; xxii. 8. This being a temptation they were so liable to, was greatly disallowed of by God. When Cornelius fell down before Peter, he took him up, saying, “ Stand up; I myself also am a man," So, when the people at Lystra were about to offer divine worship to Paul and Barnabas, when they heard of it, they rent their clothes, and ran in among them crying out, “Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men
, of like passions with you, and preach unto you, that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and the earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein ;" Acts xiv. And when John was about to adore the angel, how strictly was he warned against it ; " See thou do it not,” says he. VOL. VII.
" for I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, that have the testimony of Jesus Christ : worship God.” And God has always been so careful to guard against it, that he hid the body of Moses, that it might be no temptation to idolatry. But if any thing can be a temptation to give supreme respect and honour to one that is not the supreme being, this would be a temptation, viz. to have a person that is not the supreme being, to be our redeemer; to have such an one endure such great sufferings out of love to us, and thereby to deliver us from such extreme and eternal misery, and to purchase for us so great and eternal happiness. God, therefore, in wisdom, has appointed such a person to be our Redeemer, that is of absolutely supreme glory and excellency, that we may be in no danger of loving and adoring him too much : that we may prize him, exalt him, for the great things that he has done for us, as much as we will, nay so far as his love to us, his sufferings for us, and the benefits we receive by him, can tempt us to, without danger of exceeding. Christ has done as great things for us as ever the Father did. His mercy and love, have been as great and wonderful ; and we receive as much benefit by them, as we do by the love and mercy of the Father. The Father never did greater things for us than to redeem us from hell, and bring us to eternal life. But if Christ had not been a person equal with the Father, and worthy of our equal respect, God would not have so ordered it, that the temptation to love and respect the Son, which results from favours that we have by kindness received, should be equal with the inducements we have to love and respect the Father.
$58. I shall offer some reasons against Dr. Watts's notion of the pre-existence of Christ's Human Soul. If the pre-existing soul of Christ created the world, then, doubtless, he upholds and governs it. The same Son of God that did one, does the other. He created all things, and by him all things consist. And, if so, how was his dominion confined to the Jewish nation, before his incarnation, but extends to all nations since? Besides, there are many things ascribed in the Old Testament to the Son of God, in those very places which Dr. Watts, himself, supposes to speak of Him, that imply his government of the whole world, and all nations. The same person that is spoken of as King of Israel, is represented as the Governor of the world.
According to this scheme, the greatest of the works of the Son, in his created nature, implying the greatest exaltation, was His first work of all, viz. His creating all things, all worlds, all things visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: and this before ever he had any trial at all of his obedience, &c. At least, this work seems much greater than judging the world at the last
day ; which the Scripture often speaks of as one of the highest parts of his exaltation, which he has in reward for his obedience and sufferings : and, Dr. Watts, himself, supposes his honours, since his humiliation, to be much greater than before.
$59. On this scheme, it will follow, that the covenant of redemption was made with a person that was not sui juris, and not at liberty to act his own mere good pleasure, with respect to undertaking to die for sinners; but was obliged to comply, on the first intimation that it would be well-pleasing to God, and a thing that he chose.
$ 60. According to that scheme, the man Christ Jesus was not properly the son of a virgin, and so the son of man. To be the son of a woman, is to receive being in both soul and body, in consequence of a conception in her womb. The soul is the principal part of the man; and sonship implies derivation of the soul as well as the body, by conception. Though the soul is no part of the mother, and be immediately given by God, yet that hinders not its being derived by conception; it being consequent on it, according to a law of nature. It is agreeable to a law of nature, that where a perfect human body is conceived in the womb of a woman, and properly nourished and increased, a human soul should come into being: and conception may as properly be the cause whence it is derived, as many other natural effects are derived from natural causes, or antecedents. For it is the power of God which produces these effects, though it be according to an established law. The soul being so much the principal part of man, a derivation of the soul by conception, is the chief thing implied in a man's being the son of a woman.
According to what seems to be Dr. Watts's scheme, the Son of God is no distinct divine person from the Father. So far as He is a divine person, He is the same person with the Father. So that, in the covenant of redemption, the Father covenants with himself, and He takes satisfaction of himself, &c. Unless you will say, that one nature covenanted with the other, the two natures in the same person covenanted together, and one nature in the same person, took satisfaction of the other nature in the same person.
But how does this confound our minds instead of helping our ideas, or making them more easy and intelligible!
$ 61. The Son of God, as a distinct person, was from eternity. It is said, Mic. v. 2." His goings forth were of old, from everlasting." So Prov. viii, 23. “I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.” So he is called, Isaiah ix. 6. “ The everlasting Father." I know of no expressions used in Scripture, more strong, to signify the eternity of the Father himself.
Dr. Watts supposes the world to be made by the pre-existent soul of Christ; and thinks it may properly be so said, though the knowledge and power of this pre-existent soul could not extend to the most minute parts, every atom, &c.-But it is evidently the design of the Scripture to assure us, that Christ made all things whatever, in the absolute universality. John i. 33. - All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made." Col. i. 16, 17. “ For 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; all things were created by Him and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.” Now, if we suppose matter to be infinitely divisible, it will follow, that, let His wisdom and power be as great as they will, if finite, but a few of those individual things that are made, were the effects of his power and wisdom: yea, that the number of the things that were made by Him, are so few, that they bear no proportion to others, that did not immediately fall under His notice; or that of the things that are made, there are ten thousand times, yea, infinitely more, not made by Him, than are made by Him:- And so, but infinitely few of their circumstances are ordered by His wisdom.
It is said, Heb. i. 8. “Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that He put all in subjection under Him; He left nothing that is not put under Him." Here, it is represented, that God, the Father, has put every individual thing under the power and government of another person, distinct from Himself. But this cannot be true of the human soul of Christ, as it must be according to Dr. Watts's scheme, let the powers of that be never so great, if they are not infinite. For things and circumstances, and dependencies and consequences of things in the world, are infinite in number; and, therefore, a finite understanding and power, cannot extend to them: yea, it can extend to but an infinitely small part of the whole number of individuals, and their circumstances and consequences. Indeed, in order to the disposal of a few things, in their motions and successive changes, to a certain precise issue, there is need of infinite exactness, and so need of infinite power and wisdom.
§ 62. The work of creation, and so the work of upholding all things in being, can, in no sense, be properly said to be the work of
created nature. If the created nature gives forth the word, as Joshua did, when he said, “Sun, stand thou still;" yet it is not that created nature that does it: That Being that depends himself on creating power, does not properly do any thing towards creation, as Joshua did nothing towards stopping the sun in his course. So that it cannot be true in Dr. Watts's scheme, that that Son of God, who is a distinct person from