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our Lord, Art thou greater than our father Abraham which is dead; and the prophets which are dead; whom makest thou thyself? he answered, Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him...John vïïi. 53, 58, 59. for they clearly understood this expression as agreeing with the sense in which he had called God his Father.
And we find the converts to the religion of Christ, expressly declaring their faith in terms, which not only directly acknowledged their belief, that Jesus was the Christ, but that he was also the Son of God. Nathaniel, that true Israelite, confessed Jesus to be the Messiah in these words : Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel...John i. 49, And Martha said, I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God...John xi. 27.
St. John in the beginning of his gospel, speaks of Christ under the name of the word. In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. The expression, In the beginning was the word, must mean that the word existed from all eternity ; that is, the word of the Father was begotten from everlasting of the Father, since St. John is referring to times not only prior to the birth of Christ, but also to the creation of the world. And the word was with God, that is, the word was united with the Father, or was of one substance with the Father. I and my father are one... John x. 30, was a declaration of Christ himself, recorded by this same evangelist. And the word was God, or the very and eternal God. The same was in the beginning with God, that is, the word was united with the Father from all eternity. All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. This proves that by the word St. John means Christ,* since the creation of the world is in scripture repeatedly attributed to Christ, t and consequently the word being made flesh, was Jesus Christ. It is also a farther proof of the divinity of Christ, since none but God can create : He that built all things is God...Heb. iii. 4. We have before seen that the creation of the world is attributed to God the Father, which is an additional proof of an incomprehensible identity, or unity of substance between the Father and the Son.
What has been already stated concerning the sense in which we are to understand the title of the Son of God, and the assertion of St. John in the beginning of his gospel, concerning the word, may be considered as a sufficient illustration of the former part of this article; “the Son, which is the word of the Father, begotten from everlasting of the Father, the very and eternal God, of one substance with the Father.”
The article in the next place states, that Christ took man's nature in the womb of the blessed virgin of her substance. Isaiah foretold that the Messiah should be born of a virgin : A virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call his name Emanuel... Isaiah vii. 14. and St. Matthew informs us, that when Mary was espoused to Josepih, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost...Mat:
* St. John also calls Christ the word of God in Rev. iii. 5. + See Heb, i, 2 and 10. i Cor. viii, 6, Col. i. 16, and Ephes. iii. 4.
i. 18. It appears from the history of Christ's life and ministry contained in the Gospels, that, except his miraculous conception and his freedom from sin, he was in all things like unto man; he was born and grew up like other infants ; he increased in wisdom, as he increased in stature. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same...Heb. ii. 14. In all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren... Heb. ii. 17. There is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus...1 Tim. ii. 5. The complete nature of man being thus assumed by the eternal word of God, it follows that by this incarnation, two whole and perfect natures, that is, the godhead and manhood, were joined together in one person.
This consideration of the union of the two natures, divine and human, in Christ, can alone enable us to reconcile many passages in the New Testament, which are apparently contradictory. Christ is said to have existed before Abraham, and yet to have been of the seed of Abraham: He is called the Lord of David, and also his son or descendant: He is said to know all things, and yet not to know when the day of judgment will be. Christ says, My Father is greater than I; and again, My Father and I are one. These and many other passages of a similar nature become perfectly consistent and intelligible, by referring them respectively to the divine and human natures of Christ. The essential properties of one nature were not communicated to the other nature; Christ was at once Son of God, and Son of Man ; he was at the same time both mortal and eternal ; mortal as the Son of Man, in respect of his humanity; eternal as the Son of God, in respest of his divinity; each kept his respective properties distinct, without the least confusion in their most intimate union. Christ has ascended up into heaven, and is there to remain until the final restitution of all things... Acts iii. 21-he ever liveth to make intercession for us...Heb. vii. 25. And indeed is it reasonable, that the personal glory of Christ should cease, when the happiness which he purchased for fallen man by his , incarnation and passion is eternal ? Upon these grounds the article asserts that the two natures, the godhead and manhood, whereof is one Christ, are never to be divided. The godhead and manhood of Christ having been both proved, it follows that he was very God and very man.
That the Messiah was to suffer, was foretold in a variety of passages in the Old Testament: It was written of the Son of Man, that he must suffer many things...Mark, ix. 12. and, the spirit of God, which was in the prophets, testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ... 1 Peter i. 11. He was to be a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; oppressed and afflicted; wounded and crucified; brought to the slaughter, and cut off out of the land of the living...Isaiah liii. and therefore those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath fulfilled...Acts xi. 18.
And as Christ truly suffered, so likewise he was crucified and dead. The particular mode of Christ's death was predicted by Zechariah, They shall look upon me whom they have pierced...Zech.
xii. 10. and again by David, they pierced my hands and my feet... Psalm xxii. 16. alluding to the practice of nailing to the cross the hands and the feet of the person crucified. That Jesus really ex. pired on the cross, was evident both to his faithful friends, who out of regard to their Lord and Master, were present at his crucifixion, and also to his implacable enemies, who fancied that they then saw the accomplishment of their wicked purpose. And even the Roman soldiers, who probably felt little either of affection or malice, seeing him already dead, forbore to break his legs; but one of these soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water...John xix. 34. which is a known sign of actual death in human bodies.
The mention of the grave of the Messiah in the following passage of Isaiah, may be considered as a prediction that he was to be buried : He was cut off out of the land of the living ; and he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death... Isaiah liii. 8, 9. And not only the burial of the Messiah, but the time he was to remain interred, was typified in the person of Jonas, for as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. It was the custom of the Romans, by whose authority our Saviour was put to death, not to allow the bodies of those who were crucified to be taken from the cross and buried; they were left to putrify, or to be devoured by the fowls of the air. But it was in the power of the magistrate to dispense with this custom ; and accordingly we find that when the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple; he went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be be delivered ; and when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed...Mat. xxvii. 57, &c. and thus it appears that Christ was buried.
The article concludes with stating, that the object of Christ's passion was to reconcile the Father to us, and to be a sacrifice not only for original guilt, but also for actual sins of men. By original guilt, is meant that guilt which was incurred by the disobedience of Adam, and transmitted to his posterity; and by actual sins of men, are meant those sins which individuals actually commit; For there is no man that sinneth not... 1 Kings, viii. 46. I shall traniscribe a part of Bishop Burnet's excellent explanation and proof of this part of the article, to which it will be unnecessary to make any addition: “ The notion of an expiatory sacrifice, which was then, when the New Testament was written, well understood all the world over, both by Jew and Gentile, was this, that the sin of one person was transferred on a man or beast, who was upon that devoted and offerred up to God, and suffered in the room of the offending person; and by this offering, the punishment of the sin being laid on the sacrifice, an expiation was made for sin, and the sinner was belieyed to be reconciled to God. This, it appears, through the whole book of Leviticus, was the design and effect of the sin and trespass offerings ainong the Jews, and more particularly of the goat that was offered up for the sins of the whole people on the day of atone. ment. This was a piece of religion well known, both to Jew and Gentile, that had a great many phrases belonging to it, such as the sacrifices being offerred for, or instead of sin, and becoming sin or the sin offering; its bearing of sin and becoming sin, or the sin offering ; its being the reconciliation, the atonement, and the redemption of the sinner, by which the sin was no more imputed, but forgiven, and for which the sinner was accepted. Christ is called the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world...John i. 29. and it is said, he suffered once for sin, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God-1 Peter, iii. 18. In these, and in a great many more passages that lie spread in all the parts of the New Testament, it is as plain as words can make any thing, that the death of Christ is proposed to us as our sacrifice and reconciliation, our atonement and redemption. The meaning of which is this, that God, intending to reconcile the world to himself, and to encourage sin. ners to repent and turn to him, thought fit to offer the pardon of sin, together with the other blessings of his gospel, in such a way as should demonstrate both the guilt of sin, and his hatred of it; and yet with that, his love of sinners, and his compassion towards them.
« There remains but one thing to be remembered here, though it will come to be more especially explained when other articles are to be opened; which is, that this reconciliation, which is made by the death of Christ between God and man, is not absolute and without conditions. He has established the covenant, and has perforined all that was incumbent on him, as both the priest and the sacrifice, to do and to suffer; and he offers this to the world, that it may be closed with by them on the terms on which it is proposed; and if they do not accept of it upon these conditions, and perform what is enjoined them, they can have no share in it.”*
To the Editor of the CHURCHMAN'S Magazine. OBSERVING with regret that no account of the Life and Character of the late excellent Bishop PARKER, has appeared in the Magazine, I have sent you Mr. Gardiner's Sermon, delivered at his funeral, which I wish you to insert in the Magazine as soon as convenient.
HEBREWS xiji, v. 7. Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto
you the word of God; whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.
THE Apostle directs us in these words, to cherish the me. mory of our spiritual guides, of whom death has deprived us; that influenced by their example, we may adhere to their faith, and imitate their virtues.
The instances of mortality among the elder clergy of this town * Burnet.
and its vicinity, within these few years, have been numerous and striking.
Five eminent clergymen of Boston,* at the head of large and re. spectable congregations, with two distinguished officers of the University, have experienced the stroke of death ; and we are now as, sembled, my brethren, to lament another victim of his power, not less to be regretted for the ardor of his piety, the soundness of his virtue, and the usefulness of his life. These events solemnly admonish us all of the frail and perishable tenure on which we hold our existence, and loudly exhort us to lead the life, that we may die the death of the righteous. In the mean time let us employ the short space al. lowed, ere we consign his mortal remains to their kindred earth, briefly to review the life and character of the deceased, that, inspired by his virtues, we may follow his faith, remembering the end of his conversation.
Bishop Parker was a native of Portsmouth, in New Hampshire, and though educated in a different communion, grew early attached to the Episcopal form of worship. This attachment increased with his years; and after he had completed his academical education, and spent nine years in the honourable but laborious employment of tuition at Newbury port, Portsmouth and its vicinity, he sailed to England, for the purpose of receiving orders as an Episcopal clergyman.
On his return to America, he entered upon the office of assistant minister of this Church, for which he had been invited by the vestry to take orders, in 1773, where he gradually won the respect and af. fections of the congregation, by the solidity of his discourses and the virtues of his life. But he had not long been thus agreeably settled, when the disputes between the colonists and parent country arose to an alarming height, and the secret fire of animosity, which had gradually been kindied, burst into an open flame.
As the Episcopal Church had shared the royal bounty and favour, and in this country had always been unpopular, among the zealots of other religious persuasions, she naturally became an object of jealousy at this crisis, and her minister's the objects of resentment. Alarmed for their personal safety, in this moment of menace and peril, they fled. Mr. Parker alone remained, and constant to his duty, persevered in its execution, amidst the grossest insults, which often violated his ear, even when engaged in the most sacred offices of his profession. But supported by the spirit of conscientious rectitude, he sustained all these indignities unmoved, and continued publicly to pray for the sovereign, to whom he conceived allegiance due until the declaration of independence. It may be questioned how far this conduct was consistent with his usual prudence; but his conscientious intrepidity is doubtless highly deserving of admiration, ready as he was to sacrifice ease, property, and life itself to the disinterested discharge of his duty. Nor is the circumstance less honourable to the humanity of Bostonians, who, wrought up to the
* Dr. Walter, Dr. Clarke, Dr. Belknap, Dr. Thatcher, Dr. Howard, Dr. Willard, aud Dr. Tappan,