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sovereignty was not to be of this world, where He was to be
despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” (Isaiah liii. 3.) This was, in fact, the reason why they so bitterly opposed the claims of Jesus of Nazareth, who shunned earthly dominion, and claimed equality with God. Wishing to convince them of their error, He asked the question, to which they returned an imperfect answer; and then He further reasoned with them, saying, “How then doth David in spirit (i.e., influenced by the Spirit) call Him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool ? If David then call Him Lord, how is He his son ? "
(Vers. 43–45.) They were silent; they were perplexed : they were entangled in a difficulty which they could not 'unravel, simply by denying the Divinity of Jesus. As we read, “No man was able to answer Him a word ; neither durst any man from that day forth ask Him any more questions." (Ver. 46.) And so precisely shall all hereafter be confounded and silent, who form unscriptural ideas respecting this Saviour. For, if we, my brethren, build our creed on some passages only, and thus suffer ourselves to look at an imperfect picture of His character (let the imperfection consist either in detracting from His glory as God, or in increasing His degradation as man), we are acting as culpably as the Pharisees did, when they forgot His heavenly nature, and gave
Him that human glory, which He wished not to
The truth is, He was both David's Lord and David's son, the Son of God and the son of man ; as the former, equal to the Father in nature and
power and dignity, which the Pharisees would not acknowledge ; and, as the latter, inferior to the Father, a man mighty in words and deeds, which these blinded men were willing to allow, because it was in accordance with their worldly ideas.
You thus perceive the occasion when my text was introduced, and what led to the inquiry ; namely, the incorrect sentiments of persons, who ought to have been better informed. Let us now pass from them, and consider ourselves; for we, like them, have opportunities sufficient to believe aright, while, like them, we may not have truly learned Christ.
“What think ye of Christ ? ” You are not Jews : you are not still looking for the promised Seed of the woman ; inasmuch as you believe that He appeared more than eighteen hundred years ago, to bruise the serpent's head, and to trample and destroy him, who first tempted man from duty into the paths of sin. This you believe; for you have read and understood the Prophets, whose predictions of the birth, life, sufferings, death, and resurrection of the Messiah have been so strikingly fulfilled--so fulfilled, indeed, that the marvel is, how any can continue to be members of the Jewish
Church. In short, we all here acknowledge (however imperfect our faith may be) that the advent of Him who was promised from the very beginning of the world has actually taken place. But, then, something more is required. We must not only believe that He has come : we ust likewise know correctly and clearly His nature, who is called The Christ. Our ideas of Him, whose advent had been long expected, and whose appearance so well agreed with what had been written of Him ages before, must be scriptural. The great object of our faith must be the true one, else our faith is vain.
It is manifest that there may be error on this point as on any other; and the Scriptures plainly
: tell us that an error in this respect is of the utmost moment. Where, then, is the truth to be discovered ? In the Bible, and nowhere else. “Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation ; so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation." (Art. vi.)
Now, perhaps (and how I fear lest my words may find too accurate an application in the breasts of some !) by omitting to search the Scriptures, or by carelessly and too presumptuously reading them, trusting too much to reason, and leaning too little upon grace, you have settled in your own minds what are the nature and offices of Christ. Though told that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, or can learn to ascribe unto Him the honour due unto His name, save by the Holy Ghost enlightening and subduing his proud and carnal heart, perhaps you have failed to cultivate as you ought this grace, so necessary for expelling error from the soul ; or perhaps, forgetting that mysteries abound in all parts of the creation, and that human nature is unable to comprehend things perfectly (a power which shall be conferred in heaven alone), you have allowed yourselves to dwell exclusively upon some only of the passages which relate to Christ. Perhaps, by so doing, you are inclined to view Him only as a mighty teacher, a man of holy and exalted character; or, proceeding somewhat further, perhaps your knowledge (I should rather say your ignorance) of the Scriptures induces you to confess that He is the chief of all created beings. God forbid that such should be your creed ! Should it, however, be so, the reason is that, like the Pharisees, you do not judge correctly of those revelations which speak of His heavenly glory as well as of His earthly humiliation.
Alas! my brethren, such defective notions of our Redeemer, if persisted in, must bring ruin to your souls. It is absolutely necessary not only to “believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ :” you must also at the same time acknowledge His full Divinity, who like the body and soul of man forming one human being) is both
“ God and man, but one Christ;” “God, of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds ; and Man, of the substance of his mother, born in the world ;" "perfect God," being equal to the Father; and “perfect man,” being "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners," "a Lamb without blemish and without spot.” I admit the mystery ; for was it not so deep that the angels of glory, before it was accomplished, stood amazed at the heavenly plan laid down for our salvation ? And why should we expect to comprehend it? Where can we turn our eyes, that an horizon does not intercept and place a limit to our view ? And, if so it is in the world of nature, why should we require religion to be without its difficulties ? It would indeed have been beyond our powers of conception, why God should be found in Christ thus reconciling the world unto Himself, if it had not been distinctly revealed. Is it not, then, our duty, since it has been so revealed, to admire the mercy, and not to cavil at the mystery, of the scheme which the Godhead planned, and which the Son in His human nature carried into execution ?
The question is now reduced to this : Are the Divinity and Incarnation of Jesus Christ so distinctly stated in that Book which is our only rule of faith, as to compel us to receive the doctrine, though it be mysterious, because it is above, not because it is opposed to, our reason ? Without delaying to quote texts, which I trust are familiar, let me state