Imagens das páginas

io stone him. They accuse him of making himself God. It was a charge which he might well have passed in silence. appeals to their own scriptures. Is it not wrillen in your law, I said ye are gods? It is so written in the 82d Psalm, where God says of magistrates, I have said ye are gods and all of you children of the Most High. And again, in Exodus, thou shalt nol revile the gods,-that is, the magistrates,-nor curse the ruler of thy people. And yet again, says God to Moses concerning Aaron, he shall be ihy spokesman unto the people; and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God. If magistrates, then, are called gods; and if Moses was appointed by Jehovah to be instead of God to Aaron; say ye of him whom the Father hath sanctified, and hath sent into the world, thou blasphemest, because I said, I am the SON OF GOD? If I do not the works of my Father, believe not. This reasoning seems to be as conclusive, as any reasoning of the kind can be. And it illustrates, I think, the whole meaning, as distinctly as it proves the truth of the expressions, I and my Father are one thing.

But we may well advance yet one step further in this illustration, You will find in the old Testament, that angels, when sent on particular embassies from God, were called God, and were considered as one thing with God; as an ambassador among men is considered, in the country to which he is sent, as one thing with the government, or the sovereign that sent him. They were so considered, because they acted by the authority, and executed the designs of God. In the 18th of Genesis we read of three men, who conversed with Abrabam in the plains of Mamre. And not only is it said on this occasion, that the LORD appeared to Abraham, but also, that the LORD said, shall I hide from Abraham the thing that I do? Read this chapter, and say if you have any doubt whether be who is here called the Lord, was indeed any other than the angel, or an angel of the Lord ?--And when Jacob went from Beersheba toward Haran, in the way he laid down to sleep. And he dreamed; and lo, a ladder set upon the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God ascended and descended on it. And behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am THE GOD OF THY FATHER, AND THE GOD OF Isaac; and thy seed sball be as the dust of the earth. And Jacob took the stone that he had put for his pillow, and set it up for a pillar, and pour

This is in the 28th of Genesis. And in the 31st chapter, Jacob says, and THE ANGEL OF THE LORD spake unto me in a dream, saying, I AM THE GOD OF Bethel where thou anointedst the pillar. And, to cite but one other similar example, we

ed oil upon il.

read in the 3d of Exodus, that the angel of the Lord appeared to Moses, in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. And this angel said to Moses, I am the God of thy Fathers; the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his fuce, for he was afraid to look upon God.--These angels were appointed to particular services; and in these services, they were representatives of God. As therefore they acted directly by his authority, and in execution of his designs, they were also called by the name of God. And surely, for the same reasons, and in a far higher sense, might our blessed Lord say, I and my Father are one thing.

We add one other illustration; and if satisfaction were want. ing on the subject, it seems to be impossible that this should not

give it.

were one.

In the very remarkable prayer recorded in the 17th of John, Jesus said, Neither pray I for these alone,--my apostlesbut for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they may be ONE IN US; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me, I have given them; that they may be ONE, EVEN AS WE ARE ONE. The word one is here neuter, and as in the expressions, I and my Father are one, it signifies one thing. This prayer was offered to God for us ; for all christians in succeeding times. Our Lord prayed that we might be one in himself and the Father, as he and the Father

And are we not one with our Lord, if we do his will; and thus execute, to the extent of our power, the great and glorious designs of his religion concerning us?

Jesus received his authority from God. The words of Jesus were therefore the words of God. And the works of Jesus, in proof of this authority, were the works of God. And when he sent out his apostles, he invested them with authority like his own. They were to execute his will. And in the duties of their office, they were one wilh him, as he was one with the Father.

Hence he said tothem, He that heareth you, heareth me ; He that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me. To language so simple, it would be useless to add any comment.

We are not greatly surprised, that the Jews should have accused our Lord of assuming equality with God, or of assuming to be God; because, in almost every possible manner, they abused his language, deriving from it the most unjustifiable inferences, that they might either accuse him of sedition to the Roman government, or of blasphemy to the people. But it is indeed

very wonderful that, distinctly and fully as he has denied the charge; and repeatedly and explicitly as he has asserted, that he was sent by God; that he could do nothing of himself ;

and that all power was given to him ; distinctly as he has said, my Father is greater than l; and constantly as he called bimself, either the son of God or the son of man ; directly as he taught his disciples to pray to God in his name ; frequently as he prayed with them to God; and unequivocal as was bis language to them, • I ascend to my Father, and to your Father, to my God, and to your God;" with all these, and far more numerous evidences, contained in his own teaching, of bis subordination to the Father, and dependence on him, it is indeed very surprising that so many christians should still assert his equality with God.

Other observations on this subject we will submit to our readers in the next number.


It is always of great importance to distinguish between what concerns us and what does not, even in the most common busi. ness of life. We sball else be in danger of neglecting our own proper employments, and involving ourselves in needless responsibility without praise or thanks. There is enough to engage us that really belongs to us and has claims on our diligence. No one who is faithful will find bis time too long for his work. The attention that would be accurate must be undivided. The endeavours that would be effectual must be cumbered with no superfluous weight. The same is true of all the objects of thought and examination that can be presented to the mind. The first exercise of the judgment must be to separate from them carefully whatever has been unnecessarily or improperly connected with them; whatever is adventitious or mistaken or of no regard. They should be set before us in their simplest state, and expressed in their plainest terms. Any thing that is permitted to adhere to them, which yet makes no part of them, will tend to embarrassment and error. Is it otherwise when religion is the subject of inquiry? It is one, which is of the highest personal interest. It involves truths, on which all are New Series-ool. IV.


to meditate, commandments which all are to obey, means and assurances which are of no partial application. Men should therefore bring to it discriminating minds, that they may have clear views of it, and not perplex it with questions that have no necessary connexion with it; that they may discern what it is, and what it is not; what it insists on, and what it leaves ; where it gives information, and where it is silent. They are thus to learn what is to be received on its authority, attending to what it directs, and to nothing more. They will not then, on the one hand, follow opinions merely because they are prevalent; nor, on the other, neglect the whole subject, because some things affirmed of it are irrational, and some that seem contained in it are hard to be understood. A few thoughts will be offered in this paper, designed to show the points of discrimination which are most important to be kept in view.

We should distinguisti between what is certain, and what is uncertain. It is with the first that we are chiefly concerned; while the other must be set apart and considered in a different light entirely. Whatever is most valuable, whatever is needed for security, direction and solace, is plain. There is no room for doubt as to the way of obedience and its reward : and it cannot be supposed that God has made the well-being of any one to depend on what is ambiguous, so that he cannot penetrate it, or remote and abstruse, so that he can attain it with difficulty if at all. In nature about us, what is requisite for our support and comfort is precisely that, with which creation is full: the earth abounds with springs of water; and heat, the all-bounteous element, pervades the universe. So it is with those truths which are the sustenance of the moral life. They are within the reach of all. They come to the aid of every one who will seek them. The glow of devotion may be elicited from all the works of God's hands, and the fountains of salvation are perennial in his appointments and his word. Religion was not given to exercise the acuteness of the ingenious, or the laborious studies of the secluded, or the zeal of the controvertist. It does not address itself to the few inquisitive who are eager, and the unoccupied who are at leisure, to pursue deep researches: but to the ignorant, the poor, the weak, the busy, those who have few means of knowledge and little time for meditation. Its appeal is to mankind as they are ;-of or. dinary capacities, of limited opportunities, driven to toil, and immersed in cares, To be adapted to the condition and wants of such a race, its declarations must be clear, and its benefits offered on terms with which all oan comply. The way of re

demption must be such a one as the prophet describes,-in which the simple sball not err. When Christ entered on his ministry, he did not call round him the men of learning and of rank. His disciples were not sought from among the elders, the rabbis, or the priests. The toll-gatherer was summoned from 'the receipt of custom ;' and the poor fishermen at Tiberias left only their nets, when they left all, to follow him. There were no studied refinements, no abstract speculations, no mys. tical doctrines to be wrought into artificial systems, contained in that direct and powerful teaching of his, which was to renovate the world. He did not dispute against the theories of an empty philosophy, nor even against the superstitions of the vulgar, except so far as the immediate object of his mission was concerned. The multitude whom he instructed, the sinners whom he called to repentance, the publicans who received him to their hospitality, the women who ministered to him with such humble affection, and the twelve whom he had chosen to accompany him, would have but ill understood the subtile metaphysics and captious distinctions and mysterious tenets, which have since taken the name of Christianity : yet we cannot suppose

that the lessons which they received, simple as they were, were not fully adequate to their spiritual needs. Religion is a light, and not meant therefore to be hidden; and to revela. tion we can surely be indebted for nothing but for what it manifestly reveals.

We should distinguish what is intrinsic in our faith from what is only accidental to it. Much will then be found to fall away from our conceptions of it, which had made them before vague and confused. Some persons are prevented from giving it the thought which it requires, by the apprehension that it is a very complicated theme, embracing a great variety of remote particulars, and including much which they are little disposed to search out and might be unable to admit. They perceive that there are a great many questions and controversies relating to it. They hear many things asserted as belonging to religious belief, to which they cannot assent; and to religious practice, which they cannot approve. They have great doubts on points where they cannot escape from doubt; and are made uneasy perhaps at a scepticism, which they would find it a long labour to learn away. But what is it on which they are thus sceptical? Is it the being of God, or his righteous government of the world, or his care for his creatures, or the conditions of acceptance forever the same, or the revelation of immortality ? Then indeed they might well fear; being without a founda

« AnteriorContinuar »