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thousands of angels, and the Lord is among them, as in the holy place of Sinai. Thou art gone up on high, thou hast led captivity captive, and received gifts for men. He is our God, even the God of whom cometh salvation—the Lord, by whom we escape death; who shall wound the head of his enemies: who gave the word, [on the day of pentecost,] and great was the company of the preachers," insomuch that the armies of his enemies were scattered, and they of his household divided the spoil? Psalm lxviii, 11-21.
A Jew might be convinced from the bare comparison of those psalms; but the conviction will admit of no shadow of doubt for those who receive the New Testament, where St. Paul, after quoting these words of David: "Thou [O God, who 'of thy goodness hast prepared gifts for the poor'] hast ascended up on high, and led captivity captive," &c, applies them to our Lord, and concludes thus: "Now, that he [the Messiah] ascended, what is it [but a demonstration] that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth. He that descended [as the child bom unto us] is the same who [after his resurrection] ascended up far above all heavens, that [as the mighty God] he might fill all things." And to prove that he was this gracious God, " out of whose fulness the poor [humble believers] receive grace for grace, he gave them [beside his Holy Spirit] apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers," that they might all come to the stature of a perfect man, or "to the measure of Christ," considered as the Son of man, Eph. iv, 8, 13.
The last Psalm I shall produce in vindication of our Lord's divinity, is the 110th, where David, still considering him as that mighty God who became the wonderful seed of the woman, and the Son given unto us, expresses himself thus: "The Lord [God the Father*) said unto my Lord, [to the Son whom he had commanded the Church to worship, see the 45th Psalm above quoted,] Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. Rule thou in the midst of them," with the rod of thy power, that rod of iron which will dash them in pieces " like a potter's vessel," Psalm ii, 9. "The Lord [who made the decree, Psalm ii, 7, and at whose right hand thou sittest, as sharer in his supreme dominion] hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedec."
The Father compares here his only begotten Son to Melchisedec for five reasons. (1.) That monarch was king of Salem, where stood Mount Sion, a well-known type of that mountain which is to command all other mountains, or (to speak without metaphor) of that kingdom which is to swallow up all other kingdoms: see Isa. ii, 2, and Dan. ii, 44. (2.) Because that prince's name, signifying both King of righteousness, and King of peace, was the most proper name to give the Jews a true idea of the kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy, which the Messiah, "the Lord our righteousness," was to set up. (3.) Because sacred history throws a mysterious veil upon the genealogy of Melchisedec, that he might be a proper type of that "wonderful Prince of Peace," whom Isaiah describes, when he asks, "Who shall declare his generation V Who shall show how he is David's Son, and David's Lord? A deep mystery this, of which the apostle gives us an idea, when, speaking of the king of Salem, he says, Consider how great this personage was [the word man is not in the original] unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the portion of the high priest, and the capital share of the spoil, as unto his own king. This prince of peace, "without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life, but made like unto the Son of God, and abiding a priest continually," blessed Abraham himself, in whom all the families of the earth were to be blessed; and, without contradiction, the less is blessed of the greater, Heb. vii, 3, &c. (4.) Because as Abraham and his righteous servants, strengthened by Melchisedec's pious wishes, smote the ungodly kings, who had carried away righteous Lot, so the sons of Zion, (to use the words of Zechariah,) shall smite the sons of Greece when under the influence, and by the blessing of our Melchisedec, they shall do the strange, but necessary work, described in Psalm cxlix, and in Rev. xix. (5.) Because the joyful manner in which they were met, refreshed, and blessed by Melchisedec, was an emblem of those times of refreshing, which, after the overthrow of all wicked powers, will come from the presence of the Lord, when all the prisoners of hope, turning to the strong hold, shall be more than conquerors, through him that loved us; shall reap the fruit of the victory described in Zech. ix, 12, 17, and in 2 Thess. i, 5-10; and shall enjoy the blessing pointed out in Isa. Ixv, 13, 25; Dan. vii, 27; 2 Pet. iii, 13, and Rev. xx, 1.
This being premised, I return to the psalm where "Jehovah our righteousness" is pointed out to us, under the glorious emblem of Melchisedec. David, foretelling the victories of the Messiah, and the destruction of his enemies, says: "The Lord at thy [the Father's] right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath: he shall act the part of a judge among the heathen; he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries." But the heel of the woman's seed shall be bruised, the Prince of Peace shall suffer in his human nature, which is represented by the inferior part of his person: "The floods shall overflow him" for three days and three nights, as they did Jonah, "the waters shall come in, even unto his soul," he shall drink of the cup of affliction, or as David expresses it, "he shall drink of the brook by the way, therefore shall he lift up his head:" his Divine nature shall make him emerge from a sea of sorrow; having saved himself, he will save his people; and as "he bowed his head," saying, "It is finished," when he had finished his atoning work, as our great high priest; so shall he triumphantly "lift up his head" and reign. Then will the Church, with all the nations in her bosom, sing the psalm where David describes the works, and foretells the glory of Emmanuel: "The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, [or as Zechariah expresses it, "The Lord God blew the trumpet," chap. ix, 14, | and the earth melted away: come, behold the works of the Lord, [of Emmanuel, our Melchisedec, executing judgment among the heathen, and striking through kings in the day of his wrath," Psalm ex, 4,] see what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, cutteth the spear in sunder, and burneth the chariots in the fire." Emmanuel, Messiah, the mighty God, and Prince of Peace, lifting up his head, as an almighty Conqueror, and vouchsafing to enter into the universal song of triumph, says: "Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen ; I will be exalted in the earth." And ravished with admiration, the Church, joining in a grand chorus, bursts into this joyful exclamation, "The Lord of hosts is with us, Emmanuel reigns, and the God of Jacob is our refuge," Psalm xlvi, 1,11.
Some persons, who mistake an unrighteous weakness of mind, and an efleminate softness of temper for mildness and charity, will be ready to think these terrible descriptions of our Saviour's judicial work inconsistent with the gentleness of our Lord; but St. John speaks of the righteous wrath of the Lamb, and when he represents the Messiah as the bruiser of the serpent's head, he does not scruple to call him "the Lion of the tribe of Judah;" alluding to Jacob's prophecy, which foretold that Judah, from whose tribe Shiloh was to spring, would be like the lion, whom none should rouse without imminent danger.
As for St. Paul, he was so far from thinking this judicial work of our Lord incompatible with his character, that, speaking of the great tribulation of the wicked, and of the righteous judgment which shall make way for the Messiah's glorious kingdom, he says, "It is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble the righteous, and to give rest [even in this world] to those who are troubled by the wicked." And he observes, that this rest, these times of refreshing from the Lord, will take place "when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, [the wicked heathen,] and on them who obey not the Gospel, [wicked Christians,] who shall be punished with an everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power, when he shall come, [in that day of tribulation,] to be glorified in his saints, and admired in all them that believe."
This work of the mighty God, before the setting of his glorious empire, as King of Salem, and Prince of Peace, is thus farther described by a prophet: "The Lord [Jehovah our Saviour] shall go forth and fight against those [ungodly] nations: and his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem, on the east." Then shall be fulfilled the saying of the two angels, on the day of our Lord's ascension, "This same Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner [in a visible, human, and glorious form] as ye have seen him go into heaven." And, it is remarkable, that this prophecy was delivered on that very mount of Olives, whence our Lord gloriously ascended, and where, according to Zechariah, he will alight at his return from heaven. See Acts i, 12, and Zech. xiv, 4.
The prophet, continuing his description of those times of refreshing, consequent on the return of our Melchisedec, observes, that many wonderful interpositions, of a judicial and kind providence, will be displayed for the preservation of the righteous, and for the destruction or conversion of the wicked; and then sums up his prediction, by saying, "In that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts. Holiness unto the Lord shall be written upon the very bells of the horses;" and their drivers, who are now stupid, and profane to a proverb, will be among the saints of the Most High. In a word, "the living waters," the streams of truth, righteousness, peace, and bliss, which gladden the city of God, the city of the great king, "shall go out from Jerusalem," and gladden the whole world; for the Lord [that very Jehovah mentioned just before, whose feet shall stand on the mount of Olives] shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one," Zech. xiv, 3, 8, 9, 20, 21.
Methinks, Rev. sir, I hear you triumph, and say at these last words of the prophet: "We, Unitarians, shall then win the day at last, and the worship of God in trinity will be abolished for ever." Not so, sir; Zechariah, and the Holy Ghost who inspired him, do not contradict themselves. Read again the whole chapter, and you will see that Jehovah who will be King over all the earth, is Jehovah manifested in the flesh, whose "feet shall stand in the mount of Olives;" so that whoever is excluded from the dominion, it cannot be the Son, who is so described as to leave no doubt that he is to be "King over all the earth." Thus your unscriptural unity, which rejects the Son's divinity, is completely overthrown by Zechariah. The truth which he wants to inculcate is, that when Christianity shall have removed all Atheism and all idolatry, the one Divine essence will be known and worshipped every where. And if you please to call the Father Jehovah invisible to his creatures, the Son Jehovah visible, and the Holy Ghost Jehovah sensible to his rational creatures, we will not contend with you. Grant us that in the Supreme Being there is an ineffable and adorable trinity, and we will readily grant you that this trinity is such as by no means breaks the ineffable unity which we adore as well as you, though we do not, with the Jewish zealots, take up stones to throw at the Son, under pretence of asserting the Father's glory: such a defence of the Divine unity appeating unto. us as unnatural as it is unscriptural.
Take a proof that Zechariah by no means wants to exclude our Lord from divinity, though he stands up for the Divine unity: a prophet says: "The children of Israel [after their rejection of the Shiloh] shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice; afterward they shall return and seek the Lord their God and David their king, and shall fear the Lord, and his goodness in the latter days," Hos. iii, 5. Now this David the king, who shall reign in the latter days over the converted Jews and Gentiles, is the same King who is described in the 2d, 45th, 46th, 110th Psalms, &c, as the Lord God of David, and of the whole world: and that Zechariah calls him Lord, as he does the Father, I prove by this Divine promise: "I will save the house of Joseph, and they shall be as though I had not cast them off; for I am the Lord their God. I will gather them, for I have redeemed them; and I will strengthen them in the Lord, and they shall walk up and down in his name, saith the Lord," Zech. x, 5, 12. From these words I conclude that Zechariah, far from overturning that unity of God, which is consistent with the divinity of the Father and the Son, teaches us that these two Divine subsistences jointly bear the name of Jehovah, in the one Divine essence. And if you ask who this Lord is, that says I will strengthen them in or by the Lord, that they may walk in his name, I answer, that the consistent tenor of the Scriptures proves that it is the same mighty God, who, when he appeared as the Son given unto us, said to the eleven apostles, "Without me ye can do nothing;" and who strengthened St. Paul by saying to him, "My grace is sufficient for thee;" and whom the apostle had in view when he wrote, "Son Timothy, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." Of all the gracious means which the Lord will use to overcome those of his enemies whom he shall not find completely obdurate, one will be attended with the greatest success; and as it is recorded both in the Old and New Testament, and affords us a strong proof of our Melchisedec's divinity, I shall describe it here.
Speaking of our Lord who punishes faithless Jerusalem, and makes her triumph when she repents and returns, Zechariah says: "Thus saith the Lord, who stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him, In that day I will make Jerusalem a burthensome stone for all people, and Judah shall be like a torch of fire in a sheaf, they shall devour all the people round about, and Jerusalem shall be rebuilt and inhabited again in her own place. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem: and I will pour upon the house of David, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and supplication, and they shall look upon me, whom they have pierced, [in the person of Messiah, the Prince, in whom dwells the fulness of the Godhead bodily,] and they shall mourn for him [the Prince of Peace pierced] as one moumeth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first born, [pierced in his sight.] In • . day [of Shiloh's return, when he shall overcome unbelieving Jews, evan wuthless Christians, in the same manner in which he overcame the >"H, i.lef of Thomas] there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the ii<. '.ning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon," from which the Israelites brought back to Jerusalem their good King Josiah, wounded to death by the Egyptians, Zech. xii, 1-11. Behold, says St. John, confirming this prophecy, "He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also who pierced him, and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him," Rev. i, 7. If you ask St . John of vi7 .}m he speaks, he immediately mentions the " mighty God of" Isaiah. As for Zechariah, he hath already told us that he means Jehovah, who "formed the spirit of man within him," the creating Logos, by whom all things were made, and who, by assuming our nature, became Emmanuel, that he might make atonement, and give himself a ransom for his sinful brethren. * * * *
LETTER VII. The evangelists and apostles bear testimony to the divinity of Christ.
Rev. Sm,—In your History of the Corruptions of Christianity, (vol. i, p. 144,) you assert, that "they [the apostles after their supernatural illumination] never gave him [our Lord] any higher title than that of a man approved of God," Acts ii, 22. Now, sir, if this assertion be true, the Scriptures are on your side; but if all the apostles, whose writings are come down to us, rise against it, you will please to remember that your doctrine is built upon the sand.
We grant you, sir, that St. Peter, considering the furious prejudices of the Jews, in the beginning of his first sermon, did not preach to them the divinity of Christ, which would have been an absurd step; because, far from being disposed to believe that our Lord was " very God of very