« PreviousContinue »
washed souls shall pillow securely beneath the sheltering wings of his Divinity.
“Let mountains from their seats be hurled
Down to the deep, and buried there;
Our faith shall never yield to fear!"
How encouraging too, is the doctrine of Christ's Divinity for sinners to venture unreservedly upon him for salvation. Surely, if there be deliverance from sin any where, it is in Jesus, Being Divine, he is infinite in all those qualifications which we need in a Savior. Infinite in wisdom-infinite in power—and infinite in goodness, he is just such a helper as poor sinners need. May I not with the most unbounded confidence invite and exhort every unregenerate man and woman to venture upon him. Sinner, come to Jesusbelieve in Jesus—rely on Jesus. Commit yourself entirely into his hands—receive his teachings—obey his commandments, and you shall be saved. Heaven shall be your home, and eternity the uncircumscribed theatre of your rejoicing.
And may the Lord add unto these remarks his blessing, and bring us all finally to surround his throne in glory, where we will ascribe unto him “ blessing, and honor, and glory, for ever and ever. Amen."
CHRIST'S SUPER-ANGELIC DIGNITY.
Heb. j. 4-14. Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheri
tance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thec? And again, I will'e lo him a Father, and lie shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the first-begotten into the world, be saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. And of the angets he saith, Who maketh bis angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son, he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptie of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and bited iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. And, thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth : and the heavens are the works of thine hands : They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they shall wax old as doth a garment; And as a vesture sbalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fall. But to which of the ange is said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy foolstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth 10 inivister for them who shuil be heirs of salvation?
This passage might with propriety be considered another argument for the Savior's Deity. The Jews had the most exalted conceptions of the excellence of angels. As we learn from some of the Rabinical writings, they even associated them with God in the creation, and interpreted that passage in Genesis, “Let us make man in our own image” as being addressed to them. The angels were the highest orders of created being of which they could form any conception. Every thing beyond angelic was considered eternal, worshipful, and Divine. When therefore, the apostle enters upon the proof that Christ is superior to angels, just so far as he succeeds in establishing this point, to the Jewish mind at least he also proves him to be the adorable God himself.
But though this is a legitimate bearing of the argument, we have no means of determining positively whether this thought weighed anything upon the apostle's mind or not. If it did, it was not the only idea. The very obvious purpose for which Paul was writing, was to dissuade his countrymen from their blind devotion to Judaism, and to raise in their minds a higher appreciation of the religion of Jesus. In order to this, his first attempt was to show that the chief minis
ter of the Gospel was of a superior dignity to the prophets, who were the principal instrumentalities of all God's former communications to mankind. Upon this point the Jewish zealots might have confounded his argument by recurring to the fact, that prophets were not the only agencies employed in the Old Testament dispensation. Beings of a far nobler order had been engaged in delivering the Law. The voices even of celestial visiters were heard occasionally proclaiming sacred messages, and the feet of angels themselves had trod the earth to communicate the will of God to the fathers. In the words before us this objection is anticipated and fairly met. The apostle here proceeds to show from their own authorities, that Christ is even superior to the angels.
1st.“ Being made so niuch better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” This more excellent name was that of “Son,” or “Son of God.” Several passages in the Old Testament are referred to, to show that this is a name which peculiarly and properly belongs to Christ. The first quotation is from the second Psalm, from which he also quoted as referring to the Messiah in his address in the synagogue at Antioch. Here God the Father is represented as addressing Christ thus_" Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.” The next is made from the Lord's promise to David, recorded in second Samuel, of the son who should spring from his house, who should be so exalted in person, that Jehovah says of bim-"I.will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son." From these texts it is clear, that the ancient Scriptures did designate the Messiah as the Son of God. And he is the Son of God in several striking respects. • He is the Son of God by actual generation as respects his appearance as God-man. He was really begotten to God without the intervention of any other agency. It was by an extraordinary and miraculous manifestation of Divine energy that he was conceived by the Virgin Mary, and was brought forth hy her at Bethlehem the real and immediate Son of God.
Christ is the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead. By his resurrection the Lord declared him to be his Son. It will be borne in mind that Jesus was crucified and slain by the Jews as an imposter and blasphemer, because he had said that he was the Son of God. Now it was entirely impossible that God should work a mir
acle to raise froin the dead a wicked man. When therefore, he did raise him up, he demonstrated the Savior's innocence, and confirmed the account which he gave of himself previous to his crucifixion. But the simple act of his resurrection entitles him to sonship. He was born unto God from the dead.
He is moreover the Son of God “by inheritance.” Paul had just declared him to be “heir of all things." The lawful inheritor of every thing can be none other than the Son-the only Son. None else are entitled to so magnificent a legacy. As Jesus therefore is the heir of all things, so is he also the Son of Him who possesses all things.
But he is more strictly and emphatically the Son of God by “eternal generation.” He is declared in the Scriptures to be the Son from all eternity. There is no period in the past, however distant, when he was not the Son of God. How this can be, is a matter too deep for finite man to solve. Such knowledge is too wonderful for us, it is high we cannot attain unto it. And without darkening truth with an abundance of senseless. words. or subtle speculations, it is for us cheerfully to acquiesce in what revelation says, and reverently adore the Savior as the eternal Son of God.
The Sonship of Christ then, is the first point of his superior excellence to the angels. “For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?” And though it is true the angels have been called “the sons of God,” it was in an inferior and common sense, as the offspring of his creating power. Never has it been said of those heavenly orders, that they were begotten of God; never have they been proclaimed the sons of God by such a stupen-lous demonstration as the raising of Christ from the deail; never has it been said that angels are heirs of all things; and nowhere las eternity of sonship been ascribed to them. The highest name which they can justly claim, is that of ministers, or messengers. “And concerning messengers he saith, Who maketh the winds his messengers and flaming fire his ministers.” (Campbell's rendering.) The title conferred upon them, is one conferred in common upon the tempest and the lightning. But whilst they are called messengers and servants, Christ is called the co-eternal Son of God. * 2nd. Christ is also superior to the angels in honor. He is even presented as an object of religious reverence, and that also for the
angels themselves. V. 6. “And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.” This text does not occur in its literal form in our version of the Scriptures, though the substance may be gathered from the 97th Psalm. The quotation is verbatim from the Septuagint version of Deuteronomy xxxii. 43. though not very clearly translated into English. The Septuagint was the venerable Greek translation of the Old Testament made by order of Ptolemy Philadelphus, and was the Bible mostly used in the time of Christ and his apostles. It is from this Paul quotes, “ And when he bringeth again (or a second time) his first begotten into the world, (or land of the living, i. e. by his resurrection,) he saith, Let all the angels of God worship him.” So infiniiely more honorable is Christ than the angels, that even they are commanded to worship him.Never were the angels presented as ohjects of sacred reverence or adoration, nor was their worship even by the inferior creation ever tolerated in the Divine administrations.
3d. Christ also fills a higher office than the angels. The apostle quotes from the 45th Psalm, where he is addressed by the Almighty as possessing a throne which is eternal in its duration, and holy in its nature. “ Unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, o God is for ever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." From this we learn that Christ possessed a regal dignity, and that more honorable than had ever before been enjoyed. He was “anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows." As mediator he combined in himself the three offices of prophet, priest, and king. Two of these had previously been united in a few instances in the same person,
but never three. Nathan was a prophet, and Nathan iras a priest, but Nathan was no king. David was a prophet, and David was a king, but David was no priest. But Christ held them all. He is our prophet to teach-our priest to atone for our sins—and our king to govern and reward us. And it was in this respect that he was exalted beyond all that had borne the regal, prophetic, or sacerdotal offices.
The office of the angels, when compared to this, is low and mean. While it is the undisputed -prerogative of Christ to reign, it is for them to serve and obey. While Christ, unaided and alone,