Billeder på siden

2. And if it be further considered that this glorious man Jesus Christ even in his pre-existent, as well as in his incarnate state, is intimately united to his divine nature, that is, to the same godhead that belongs to the Father, or to the eternal Word or wisdom of God; then the very perfections of God himself shine through the human nature of Christ, in a most resplendent manner : Christ as God-man is indeed the brightness of his Father's glory, and the most express image of his person : and in this sense it may be granted that Christ is such an image of God as to be also God himself, God manifest in the flesh; 1 Tim. jii. 16. God over all blessed for ever. ; Rom. ix. 5. Thus far we have seen in what sense Christ may be called the image of God the Father, in the very constitution of his person : Let us also now consider him,

3. In his character of Mediator; and so he becomes the image of the invisible God in yet a farther sense. He is the Father's ambasador to us, and in that sense he is the image of God, since he represents God among men. He is also King of kings and Lord of lords, vested with a sovereign dominion over all things by the appointment of the Father ; and therefore he may be called the express image of bis Father's person, as he is appointed beir and Lord of all things : And as Adam was the image of God, in his dominion over creatures in this world, so Christ is a much more glorious image of God the Father in his dominion over the upper and lower worlds. Thus, though our blessed Saviour considered in his pure godhead or divine nature cannot be so properly called the image of the invisible God, or the express image of the Father, yet considered, 1. as man, 2. as God-man, or 3. as Mediator, those ascriptions may very properly belong to him.

Note, In another treatise which will be published in a few months, concerning the glory of Christ as God-man,* and the pre-existence of his buman soul, there will be an abridgment of a larger discourse of the Rev. Dr. Goodwin's, concerning “ the Glories and Royalties of Jesus Christ considered as God-man, and of his being the express Image of the Father.”

Quest. VI.- Are the Worship of God and his Son Jesus

Christ consistent with one another ? 1. GOD is a Spirit, that is, a being who has understanding and will, infinite in knowledge, and in power, and in every perfection.

2. There is but only living and true God, that is, one infinite Spirit. And I express myself thus, lest if we suppose more

* This was published 1746.

infinite spirits than one, we should give occasion to say, webelieved more gods than one. Tbree infinite spirits seem to me to be three gods.

3. This one true God is the only proper object of divine or religious worship. This doctrine was asserted by Moses, supported by the prophets, and confirmed by the Lord Jesus Christ himself.

4. In scripture Christ expressly calls God the Father the only true God, as distinct from himself'; John xvii. 3. And the apostle Paul confirms it, To us there is but one God, even the Father, of whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things; 1 Cor. viii. 6.

5. Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God, is evidently represented in scripture as another distinct Spirit different from God the Father, both before and after his incarnation. Before his incarnation he had a distinct consciousness or understanding, whereby he knew and was conscious of his own appointment to various services and his own mission by the Father; he knew all the offices he himself was to sustain, the flesh and blood he was to take upon him, and the work that he was sent to do by the Father's appointment. These personal consciousnesses of Christ are all different from the personal or individual consciousnesess of God the Father. Christ had also a distinct will, different from the Fa. ther, whereby he consented to what the Father's will ordained concerning bim, he accepted of the mediatorial office at the Father's liand, and by his own will submitted to that incarnation which the will of the Father appointed for him : All this before he was actually incarnate. Lo, I come to do thy will 0 God; a body thou hast prepared for me; Psal. xl. 6. Heb. x, 5. As for his appearance after his incarnation, it is sufficiently evident he is another distinct spirit, different from the true and cterpal Gud the Father; for he was conscious of his wearing flesh and blood, and of all the sensations of hunger, thirst, and pain, which he derived thence: He was then complete man in body and soul, who knew and worshipped and obeyed his Father and his God. His own words confirm this : I came not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me ; John vi. 38 Father, not my will, but thine be done ; Luke xxii. 42.

6. Yet this Son of God often appears in scripture as the object of divine or religious worship. It is thus in some places of the Old Testament, when he appeared as the angel of God's presence; for Abraham, Moses and Joshua worshipped him as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and as Jehovah, and as the captain of the host of the Lord : and in Psal. xls. 11. we are required to worship him; He is thy Lord, and worship thou him. And that we have several examples of worship paid to our Lord Jesus Christ in the New Testament, especially after his resurrection and his ascension, is evident froin the writings of the evangelists and the apostles. St. Stephen worshipped him, Lord Jesus receive my spirit ; Acts vii. 59. avd St. Paul, 2 Cor. xii. 8. For this i besought the Lord thrice. And all the saints and angels in heaven do worship him ; Rev. v. 12, 13.

7. Thence it must follow that Jesus Christ the Son of God, though he be a distinct Spirit, yet he must be some way one with the true and eternal God, that he may be a proper object of religious or divine worship. Thus he expresses himself ; Jolin x. 30. I and my Father are one. He must be some way the same God, or the same infinite Spirit with the Father, while he is also another distinct inferior Spirit, different from the Father.

8. Scripture does not teach us to conceive how this can be, but by so near an union between this supreme or infinite Spirit and the inferior or finite Spirit, as may constitute one compounded person, one complex agent or principle of action, one complex object of honour, that is, God and man. And thus the Son of God seems to be represented often in scripture as a complex person, or as two distinct spirits or beings in a personal union. In the Old Testament he is the man who con versed with Abraham and who wrestled with Jacob; he is the angel of the covenant, the angel in whom the name of God is, the angel of the presence of God, or a messenger sent from God, and yet he is also the Jehovah, the God of Abraham and Isaac, the I am that I am. He is spoken of as the child born, the Son given ; and yet the mighty God, and the holy one whom the angels adore. He is represented also in the New Testament as the man that died, rose, and ascended to heaven; and also as the Jehovah or God of Israel, who is described in the Ixviii. Ps. compared with Eph. iv. 8. as ascending on high, leading captivily captive, and receiving gifts for men. He is God manifest in the flesh; 1 Tim. iii. 16. or a man in whom dwells all the fulness of the godhead bodily ; Col. ii. 9. He is the Word who was with God, who was God, and who was made flesh, and tabernacled among men; John i. 1, 14.

Now this near, intimate and unspeakable union between the man Jesus and one eternal God lays a sufficient foundation for divine names, titles, attributes, worship and honours to be as. cribed to Jesus Christ the Son of God. He and the Father are one; John X. 30. that is, so united, that one godhead is in both by this union. He is in the Father, and the Father in bim. It is the Father in him that doth his wondrous works. John xiv. 10. He was in the beginning with the Father : The Word was with God, and the Word was God; John i. 1.

9. With regard to the blessed Spirit of God, though I think true godhead is ascribed to bim, and personal actions are some

times attributed to him in scripture, yet as we are not expressly, plainly and particularly informed, whether he be a really distinct principle or power in God or has a proper distinct personality of himself, so neither are we expressly required to worship him in any text of the bible that I can find. Nevertheless, as divine attributes and actions, and sometimes personal characters are ascribed to the Spirit of God in the language of scripture, I think the reason of things sufficiently authorises and allows religious or divine worship to be paid to him, though we may not precisely know the manner how he is God, or how far he is a distinct person.

10. What particular distinctions inay be in the godhead or divine nature itself, and how great these distinctions may be, scripture does not so evidently assert, nor so clearly explain them to us. And in this place I would not on the one hand go beyond scripture, nor on the other hand would I talk without ideas. But so far as I have represented this matter of divine worship, I think there are ideas, and those borrowed from scripture too, which go along with my words all the way; and I must acknowledge this is the clearest conception I can arrive at in representing this subject, after many years study of the scripture, and much prayer for divine instruction.

11. If we could once persuade ourselves to try to read every scripture that relates to the doctrine of the Tripity as placed in this light, without any prejudicate opinions derived from other human schemes, I think that doctrine would be found much more easy and intelligible than it is generally made ; and the worship of the only true God would stand ascertained and confirmed ; and yet Jesus Christ the Son of God being one with the Father, or being God and man in one complex person, might become the object of religious worship, according to the representations of scripture, and without any offence to huinan reason.

12. If this be the true state of things, then the one eternal God abides still the only object of worship; whether he be considered as absolute in himself under the character of the Father of all, or as united to the man Jesus Christ, and dwelling in him by a personal union. Thus the Father and the Son are both worshipped, but when the Son is worshipped, it is as one with the Father and to the glory of the Father ; Phil. ii. 11.

And among other reasons this is one, why it has pleased the Father that all the fulness of the godhead should dwell in him bodily; Col. i. 19. ii. 9. that being so nearly united to God, or one with him, he might be a proper object of divine worship together with the Father. Rev. v. 14. Blessing and honour, and glory and power be to him that silleth on the throne, and to the Lamb for ever.

Quest. VIII.-What is the Worship paid to our blessed Savi

our, who is the Image of God? Proposition I. THERE is something in the reason and nature of man that directs and inclines him to own and worship some God, or some superior Being, from whom himself and all his enjoyments are derived, and on whom his expectations depend.

II. Reason and revelation conspire to teach us that there is but one true God.

III. This one true God has required expressly in his word, that be alone should be the object of our worship or religious homage : and it is several times repeated with much solemnity in the Old Testament and in the New.

IV. There is something in the nature of man that inclines him to reverence and respect the image of that Being which he worships: And the reason is evident; because the image is supposed to be something more within the reach of bis senses, and therefore more suited to his bodily nature, than God who is the spiritual and unseen object of his worship: or at least, because he can have the image sensibly present with him when he has not the original: and the image being supposed to have the likeness or resemblance of the original object of worship, it refreshes the memory and brings to mind the excellencies of the divine original.

If we love or honour a friend, a father, or a king, we desire to have their pictures or images near us, we pay a sort of esteem, love and veneration to those pictures, upon the account of their likeness to the original persons : and we also pay our esteem, love and veneration to the absent original by the means or medium of these pictures. It is from this principle that the heathens in all nations, who have worshipped the sun, moon, and stars, or their kings, heroes and ancestors, have generally made pictures and images of them, and either reverenced and wor. shipped the images or worshipped the originals in and by those images, or both. And for this reason, in the corrupt antichristian state, they did not only worship the beast with seven heads and ten horns, but they made an image thereof and worshipped it; Rev. xiii. 14, 15.

V. God has expressly forbidden men to make any image of bimself and worship it, or even to make it a medium of paying their religious homage and worship to himself. The second command is most express in this matter ; and this is in general esteemed by all protestant writers to be the plain sense of that commandment: And one chief reason of the command is because mankind is so prone by nature to worship images which they have inade themselves.

VI. God himself has never shewn or given us any express

« ForrigeFortsæt »