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inability to love God for his own sake, and to live to his glory. The essence of religion is love; and the essence of depravity or wickedness is enmity of heart to God. And in this awful condition the sinner is, as long as he remains in unregeneracy. 4. In connexion with this representation of human nature, the apostles endeavoured to awaken the attention of their hearers to the infinite danger in which they were. Often did they thunder in their ears the terrors of the law; saying, “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema maranatha.” “When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power: when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe—in that day.” We see that they considered mankind as consisting of two classes, the righteous and the wicked; and addressed them in language adapted to their respective characters. They did not preach to a promiscuous assembly as if they were all saints; but assured the ungodly that they were in the gall of bitterness and the bonds of iniquity; and that should they die in that condition, the wrath of God would abide upon them foreyer. But if any of the people were pricked in the heart, and cried out, “Men and brethren, what shall we do P---5. They preached Christ to them as the “end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” “For I determined,” says Paul to the Corinthians, “not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ and him crucified.” This was their darling theme, and the only remedy for sin-sick souls. , Had a sermon been delivered in the apostolic age, to a Christian assembly, that had but little of Christ in it, they would at once have concluded the preacher had forgot his errand; and with the disappointed woman at the sepulchre, have cried out, “They have taken away my Lord out of his place, and I know not where they have laid him.” Where should Jesus Christ be as the object of affection, if not in the hearts and conversation of his disciples; where indeed, if not in the preaching of his ministers ? The apostles preached Christ in his true and proper Deity as essential to the Christian scheme. This great truth they had learned from his own mouth. “I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones to stone him. Jesus saith unto them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of these works do ye stone me : The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” Here was a most favourable opportunity for Christ to have disclaimed all pretensions to the Godhead. He had only to inform them, that they had mistaken his meaning; that he laid no claim to divinity; but meant to assure them, that he was one with God his Father in design and operation, not in nature. Shocked at the idea of blasphemy, would he not at once have acquitted himself of the charge 2 Would not any of his apostles, or any good man on earth, who had been so grossly mistaken, have rectified the mistake as soon as possible : Our Lord's not doing it, when every circumstance called for the frank acknowledgment, is in my judgment no inconsiderable proof that he was a divine person. If we consider him in no other light than as a teacher sent from God to instruct and to reform mankind, it seems to have been his duty to remove the prejudices which the Jews had imbibed against him, that so he might answer the design of his mission. Instead of this, he makes an appeal to his miraculous works, as proof that he was in the Father, and the Father in him. The Jews still believed that he made himself God; therefore “they sought to take him; but he escaped out of their hands.” He left them, my brethren, under the influence of a very important error, provided he was not really God. “Nor did our Lord give any intimation,” says one, “that they had misunderstood him; nor yet the evangelist, as he does in several other instances of much less importance; which silence is a strong presumptive proof, that they were not under a mistake about the sense of the words: for such a mistake, on the principles of our opposers, might have been an occasion of idolatry in them; and a mistake of that kind not remarked by the historian, would be calculated to answer the same pernicious purpose in succeeding generations. But
if he refused to correct so dangerous a mistake on their account, yet was it not necessary that he should have done it on ours ? that when we read his gospel we might not entertain the detestable thought that he equalled himself with the Most High If, however, he thought it proper not to explain himself at that time, yet it might have been expected that his disciples should have given us the true sense of the mysterious words, when they reported them.”
* Dr. Abbadie’s Treatise on the Deity of Jesus Christ, &c. in
which this important subject is handled in a most masterly man
ner; and well merits the attention of both the friends and opposers of the doctrine.
For after that, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew • not God, it pleased God by the foolithner of preaching to save them that believe.
THE language and conduct of the disciples of Christ prove, that they received him as a divine person. John tells us, (chap. v. 23.) that it is the will of God, “that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father, who hath sent him.” Compared with Heb. i. 6. “And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.” The best comment on such passages will probably be found, in the conduct of his immediate followers. If they, who were favoured with divine inspiration, actually worshipped him, we may safely believe that they received him as very and eternal God. This then really was the case with Stephen. “And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Here we see a pious martyr in the hour of dissolution, addressing himself to Jesus Christ in a solemn act of religious worship: therefore we conclude Jesus Christ is truly God.