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If you ask, How can St. Paul assert the divinity of Christ, when he writes to the Corinthians that Christ is the "image of God?" Is there no difference between God and his image? Will you worship God's image as if it were God himself? I reply, That there is an imperfect image, which expresses only a part of the external form of its original, and a perfect image, which expresses its whole nature, in a perfectly adequate and living manner. Thus four-footed beasts bear a resemblance to men in some things; but a son who looks, thinks, speaks, and acts like his father, is a perfect image. Adam was an image of God in the first sense, and our Lord in the second sense. That Christ is this living and perfect image of the Father, I prove, (1.) By his own words, "He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father." And (2.) By these words of the apostle, which follow the text on which the objection rests: "God [the Spirit, by the light of the Gospel, and by the light of faith] hath shined in our hearts, to give us the light of the knowledge of God [the Father] shining in the face of Jesus Christ, who is the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person," 2 Cor. iv, 6, and Heb. i, 3. And our Lord's being such an image of God, does not any more cut him off from divinity, than a human son's being the express image of his father deprives him of the human nature. Therefore this objection also affords us a new proof of our Lord's divinity. * * * *
THE REV. MR. WESLEY,
ON THE WANT OF
COMMON SENSE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT WRITERS,
If surpoaBo To Hold The
DOCTRINE OF CHRIST'S MERE HUMANITY.
RY THE LATE REV. JOSEPH BENSON.
Vol. III. 36
THE REV. MR. WESLEY.*
Rev. Sir,—The Rev. Mr. Fletcher, whose unfinished letters, at your desire, are laid before the public in the preceding pages, has just observed to Dr. Priestley, that if he will not allow St. Paul wrote by inspiration, he ought at least to allow he wrote with common sense. And most professors of Christianity will suppose, that if Mr. Fletcher had extended the observation so as to include the other sacred writers, his demand would not have been unreasonable. They will be of opinion, that the doctor ought to allow they all wrote with common sense. And yet to desire him to allow this, is to desire him to give up his favourite doctrine of Christ's mere humanity. For only let this doctrine, to say nothing of other points, be supposed to have been held by these holy writers, especially by the penmen of the New Testament, and let their writings be read under that supposition, and I will be bold to affirm that any person, who has himself common sense, will pronounce that, in a multitude of instances, the apostles and evangelists wrote without it. And to this test one may venture to submit the matter in dispute between Dr. Priestley and his antagonists.
The sacred writers, he affirms, considered our Lord in no other character than that of a mere man. Well, sir, let us for the present take this for granted, and let us make experiment how those passages of their writing, which relate to Christ, read according to this hypothesis. If they appear to contain common sense, we will allow he has the truth on his side; but if not, methinks it would be no unreasonable demand to require him to own himself in an error. I begin with St. Paul, whose epistles are now under consideration, but shall pass slightly over the epistle to the Romans, and the first to the Corinthians, because Mr. Fletcher has already reviewed these epistles. I shall, however, refer to a few passages. From the others I shall quote more largely.
In the beginning of the Epistle to the Romans, according to Dr. Priestley's doctrine, we must understand the apostle as follows:—
Chapter i, 1 :—" Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ," that is, a servant of a mere man, "called to be an apostle, [not of men, as he informs the Galatians, chap, i, 1, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ," a mere man!" and God the Father, who raised him from the dead] separated
* Though the aged and truly reverend minister of Christ, to whom these let. ters are addressed, is now no more; yet, as they were written and presented to him many months before his death, it is judged best to give them to the public in their original form.
unto the Gospel of God,—concerning his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord," a mere man, " made of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead, by whom," though a mere man, " we have received grace and apostleship: among whom ye are also the called of Jesus Christ,"—that is, the called of a mere man, once indeed on earth, bulfnow confmed to heaven, and whom, therefore, ye Romans never saw, nor heard, nor could have any access to, or intercourse with, or be called by,—" to all that be at Rome,—grace be unto you, and peace from God our Father," the self-existent, independent, supreme, and everlasting Jehovah, "and from the Lord Jesus Christ," a mere man, who had no existence till about forty and fifty years ago, but who, nevertheless, is the source and fountain, the author and giver of grace and peace, conjointly with the supreme God!
Now, sir, would any man, who believed the mere humanity of Christ, have expressed himself in this absurd manner? Would he have spoken of being called to be an apostle, not of man, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, if he had believed Jesus Christ to be no more than a man? Would he, in mentioning his being of the seed of David, have added the words, according to the flesh, thereby manifestly intimating that Christ had a nature which was not from David? Would he have spoken of receiving grace and apostleship, through this mere man, and have looked up to him, in conjunction with the eternal God, for grace and peace to be conferred upon the Churches to which he ministered? I think, dear sir, the doctor himself would hardly affirm it: but if he would affirm it, then I ask why his own practice and that of his brethren is so very different from this apostolic pattern? Why do they never express themselves in any such manner as this, either in their prayers or sermons, nor apply to Christ, in union with his Father, for grace, or peace, or any other blessing?
I shall give another instanon nut of the fifth chapter: "When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ," a mere man, says the doctor, "died for the ungodly. God commended his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ," a mere man!" died for us," viz. one mere man for the whole human race!"Much more, then, being now justified by his blood,"—the blood of one mere man!" we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled unto God," many millions as we are!" by the death of his Son," viz. the death of one mere man!" much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved [from everlasting damnation] by his life, the life of the same mere man!" If by one [mere] man's offence, death reigned by one, much more they who receive abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness, shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ," although also but a mere man!
Pass we on to the eighth chapter. "There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus," that is, that are in a mere man! "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus,"—that is, the law of the spirit of life in a mere man!" hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh—God hath done, sending his own [i&ov, proper] Son in the likeness of sinful flesh," that is, if Dr. Priestley be