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St. James,) with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." And is not this attribute also ascribed to Christ? We have already seen that the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews applies to him the 25th, 26th, and 27th verses of Psalm cii; and surely no words can more strongly express immutability. "They shall perish, but thou remainest: and they all shall wax old, as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years fail not." And, chap, xiii, 8, of the same epistle, he assures us, that "Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever;" and on this his unchangeableness, grounds an argument against our being "carried about with divers and strange doctrines." But why should I dwell upon particulars? He himself assures us, John xvi, 15, "All things that the Father hath, are mine:" all the names, titles, and attributes of the Father. And no wonder, for the Father himself is his, and dwells in him in all his fulness; and their union is perfect, indissoluble, and eternal; so that the Son is never without the Father, nor the Father without the Son.
That the apostles represent Him as the immediate author of all the Divine works, even of the creation and preservation of all things.
1. WE have already seen, in that remarkable passage quoted at large from the beginning of St. John's Gospel, that he represented the Word, who was "in the beginning with God," as the immediate Creator of all things. His words are very express: "All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made," ver. 3. And again, ver. 10, "The world was made by him." St. Paul, it is well known, taught the very same doctrine: "By him (sv aulu) 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."
2. It is true, the Father, who is the fountain of Deity and of Divine power, is also the primary cause of all the Divine works. But it is plain, from these passages, that the apostles considered the Word that was in the beginning with God, as the immediate author of them, the operative Creator, (if I may so express myself,) the real and proper framer of all things, visible and invisible, temporal and eternal. Hence it is that they apply to him (as we have seen) the words of David in Psalm cii:"Thou, Lord, in the beginning, hast laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of thine hands:" which words certainly represent the person of whom they are spoken, not as an instrument in the hands of another, but, in a true and proper sense, the Maker of the world. And this was certainly the opinion of the ancient fathers, as innumerable passages in their writings show. For the illustration of the subject, I shall quote two or three pages from Bishop BuWs Defence of the Nicene Faith; in which, it will generally be allowed, he fairly represents the sentiments of these eminently holy men, who, living so near the apostolical age, (some of them being disciples of the apostolic fathers,) and being so constantly conversant with their writings, could not easily be ignorant what the doctrine of the apostles was upon this subject.*
3. The following passage the bishop gives us (vol. i, p. 128) from Justin's Epistle to Diognetus, (p. 498:) "He, the Almighty, the Creator of all things, the invisible God, hath implanted among men, and engraven in their hearts, the heavenly truth, the Word, holy and incomprehensible : not sending, as any one would conjecture, a servant, an angel, a prince, an earthly potentate, or one to whom he had intrusted the administration of heavenly things; but the Artificer and Maker of all things, by whom be formed the heavens, and shut in the sea in its proper bounds: whose mysteries all the elements faithfully observe; from whom the sun has received his charge to measure out the day; whom the moon obeys when he commands her to shine in the night, and the stars which follow the course of the moon; by whom all things are ordered and bounded, to whom all things are subject, the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all that in them is; the fire, the water, the abyss; what is in the heights and depths, and between them: him he hath sent to them. For what end? As a man would think, to tyrannize over them? To awe and terrify them? No: he sent him as a king sends a king, his Son, in clemency and meekness: he sent him as a God: he sent him to man; he sent him to save."
4. The bishop quotes Athenagoras to the same purpose, (p. 131:) "The'Son of God is the Word of the Father, in idea, and energy. All things were made by him, and for him: the Father and the Son being one; the Son in the Father, and the Father in the Son, by the unity and power of the Spirit. The Son of God is the Mind and Word of the Father." And (pp. 143,144) produces from Irenseus,disciple of Polycarp, a passage still more explicit: "Nor shall any thing made, and -in subjection, be compared with the Word of God, by whom all things were made, who is our Lord Jesus Christ. Because, whether they are angels or archangels, or thrones or dominions, they are made by him who is God over all, by his Word. So St. John hath told us. For when he had said of the Word of God, that he was in the Father, he added, 'All things were made by him, and without him was nothing made.' David also, when he had particularly enumerated his praises, added, 'For he commanded, and they were created; he spoke, and they were made.' Whom did he command? The Word, by whom the heavens were made, and the host of them by the breath of his mouth. Now the things that are made, are different from him that made them; and those appointed, from him that appointed them. He is unmade, without beginning, without end; he wants nothing, is self sufficient, and gives to all other things their being. The things made by him had a beginning, and, as such, may have an end; are subject, indigent. It is altogether necessary they should have a different name, especially among men of any discernment in such things; so that he who made all things with his Word, be justly and alone called God and Lord; but not that those which are made should participate, or justly take to themselves the me of their Creator."
* I make use of the translation ofFran. Holland,' A. M., rector of Sutton, WilU,
5. In the two following pages, the bishop quotes two more passages from Irenseus to the same purpose. "The Son, who is the Word of God, laid out these things from the beginning, the Father not standing in need of angels for the creation of the world, and the making of man, for whom the world was created; nor again wanting a ministerial power for making these things that are made, and the disposing the affairs of the world, after the formation of man, but having a sufficient and ineffable one. For his own offspring, and impress, ministers to him in all things, that is, the Son and Holy Spirit, the Word and Wisdom, to whom angels are subject, and minister." Again: "' All things were made by him, and without him was nothing made.' Here is no exception; but the Father made all things by him, whether visible or invisible, sensible or intellectual, temporal, for a certain purpose, or eternal. He made all things, not by angels, or powers different from his mind; for the God of all things wants nothing, but by his Word and Spirit makes, disposes, and governs all things, and gives being to them."
6. The same doctrine Irenauis delivers in another place, (p. 214:) "There is only one God, the Creator, who is above all principality and power, and dominion and dignity. He is the Father, the God, the Creator, the Builder, the Maker, that made those things by himself: that is, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all that in them is, by his Son and Holy Spirit." Again, (p. 369, of Irenams' Works:) "The angels then did not make, did not form us: they could not make the image of God, nor any but the Word of God: no power distinct (separate) from the Father. Nor did the Father stand in need of them to make what he had before designed, as if he had not hands of his own. He has always with him his Word and Wisdom, the Son and Spirit, by whom, and in whom he freely made all things, and to whom he spake, saying, Let us make man after our image and similitude."
7. To these testimonies of Justin, Athenagoras, and Irenams, disciples of the apostolical fathers, I shall add from the bishop, (p. 197,) a passage of Origen, which the bishop defends as perfectly orthodox. "The Word, the Son of God, is the immediate, and, as it were, the very framer of the world: the Father of the Word, in that he ordered the Word, his Son, to make the world, is primary Creator." (Origen, p. 317.)
8. The fathers, therefore, at least in these passages, (which it will not be doubted Bishop Bull has fairly represented,) approve this doctrine, that though the Father is primary Creator, yet that the Son, his Word, is the immediate creator and framer of the world. But that he did not act in this work as a being separate from the Father, but in such a sense one with him, that the Father, creating the world by him, might be said to create it by his own hands, as Irenams' phrase is, or by himself; according to the words of Isaiah, chap. xliv, 24, "I am Jehovah that maketh all things, that stretcheth forth the heavens alone, that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself." For as the Holy Spirit, who is undoubtedly of a nature properly Divine, is the "Spirit of the Father, and proceedeth from the Father," but though sent forth, is never separated from him; so, in like manner, the Word is the Word of the Father: and though he says he " proceeded forth, and came from God, and that he came not of himself, but the Father sent him," John viii, 42, yet he is still united to him, and one with him; is still "in the Father, and the Father in him."
9. What I have said of the creation, must also be said of the preservation of all things. "By him," St. Paul assures us in the abovementioned passage, "all things consist," ffuvEsi)xs, are upheld or supported: "Upholding all things," says the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, chap. i, 3. Both passages are designedly and professedly spoken of Christ, but not of him as a being separate from the Father, but in, and with him; for, in and through the Son, all creatures, as St. Paul declares, Acts xvii, "live, move, and have their being" in the Father, who, we are assured, "is above all, and through all, and in all;" creating, preserving, governing, and pervading the universe, and giving life and energy to every thing through his Son, and by his Spirit. Nay, as all things acknowledge the Son as their Creator and Preserver, so also as their Owner and Lord; for nil tiiings were created for him, Col. i, 16, and he is said to be heir of all, as being the " first begotten, and only begotten of the Father, and Lord of all." See Heb. i, 1, and Acts x, 36.
10. Now have we considered these many and mighty works, of which he is declared to be the Creator, Preserver, and Lord? At least those of them that come under our observation? Has that glorious luminary, the sun, engaged our attention, so immense that the mind of man can scarce comprehend it; and so bright that no eye can steadily behold it; and the source of light to a whole system of worlds? Have we viewed the moon, walking in brightness, and marked the wonderful phenomenon of her waxing and waning glory? Have the stars of light attracted our notice, those glittering diamonds, wherewith the firmament is studded and enriched, and rendered the most grand and striking, as well as the most beautiful object that the human eye can behold? And have we considered their astonishing distances from the earth, and from each other; distances so immense, that the whole circuit of the solar system is but a point, when compared thereto? Have we reflected how probable it is, that each star is a sun, and each sun a fountain of light to revolving worlds?
11. Have we marked the planets, whether primary or secondary, that surround our own sun, and observed their different magnitudes, distances, and revolutions? And if we have not been able to determine, as to the probability of their being inhabited, and stored with sundry kinds of creatures like our earth; yet have we considered their wonderful influence upon the surrounding atmosphere of our own globe, and their use as "a horologe,—machinery Divine?" appointed for signs and for seasons, for days and for years? Dividing time into sundry periods, longer or shorter, by their different revolutions, and thus measuring it out to those, whose grand business it is, and whose chief concern it ought to be, to improve it to the glory of their great Maker?
12. Have we surveyed our own globe, that large and valuable estate, given by the Father of all, as a rich and ample inheritance, to Adam and his posterity? Have we traversed, not with a measuring line, indeed, but with the eye of the mind, the boundless tracts of land and water of which it is composed? Have we taken the height of the perpetual hills, (as Moses calls them,) the everlasting mountains, covered with eternal snows; and from bubbling fountains, pure brooks, and descending torrents, dispersing streams and rivers of clear and refreshing water, in many and meandering courses, through the largest continents? Have we fathomed the depths of the ocean, admired the flux and reflux of its waters, or ascertained the number of its scaly inhabitants, and marked their different species?
13. Have we ascended into the regions of the air, and learned the nature and properties of the particles which compose that subtile and invisible fluid? Have we observed how it surrounds the earth as a swaddling band, binds old ocean in its bed, and, by its pressure, is the spring of life to the animal and vegetable creation? Have we marked the rise of vapours, observed the balancing of the clouds, listened to the grumbling of thunder, and gazed when the forked lightning played? Have we considered the treasures of hail and snow, and viewed attentively the hoar frost of heaven? Have we admired the provision made for the ascent of waters into the air, and for their conveyance to the remotest distance over sea and land, that they may descend in dews and showers, as well to refresh the high places of the wilderness, as to water the cultivated and fertile country?
14. Have we descended below the surface of the earth, examined the diflerent strata through which we passed, and taken a full and comprehensive view of the mineral kingdom? Have we beheld the quarries of stone, the mines of copper and lead, and the immense magazines of fuel, wonderfully formed, and commodiously hid, below the surface of the earth? Has the glittering ore of silver, the admired metal of gold, and the brilliant and sparkling lustre of diamonds and other precious stones, catched our eyes, and engaged our attention?
15. From the mineral, have we passed to the vegetable kingdom? Have we noticed the innumerable kinds of grass that clothe the meadows, the diflerent species of corn that enrich the fields, the variety of flowers, of diflerent hues and forms, that beautify the parterre, and the sundry kinds and ranks of stately trees that wave in the forest? Have we considered the diflerent seeds from which they spring, the provision made for dispersing and planting them in a proper soil, and the astonishing progress of their vegetation? Have we admired the contrivance, and adored the power that causes the same spot of earth, with the same kind of culture, to produce fruits of such different tastes and qualities, and flowers so endlessly diversified in form and colour? And have we praised and glorified the wisdom and goodness which, in the warmest climes, and most sultry seasons, furnishes us with fruits of the most cooling nature, and such as are most replete with juices calculated to refresh and allay our thirst?
16. From vegetables, have we ascended to animals? And have the innumerable species and kinds with which we are acquainted, passed in review before us? Have we considered the myriads of animalcula, of different kinds, possessed of various degrees of life and activity, of all shapes and forms, too small to be discerned by the naked eye, but rendered visible by the microscope, sporting and taking their pastime in one single drop of water, like leviathan in the deep? Have we viewed the thousands of thousands of insects of a larger kind, of all forms and sizes, varied endlessly, possessed of powers and qualities most astonishingly diflerent from each other, but all suited to the state and manner of subsistence assigned them? Have the sundry kinds of creeping things and beasts of the earth engaged our attention? The subtle serpent, the