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tery; we will not even ask you to hear your own teachers, the truth passing through their lips loses sometimes its force: They are the elders, they are the angels, they are the thousands, the ten thousand times ten thousands, Dan. vii. 10. before the throne of God, who render to Jesus Christ supreme honors. We preach to you no other divinity than their divinity. We prescribe to you no other worship than their worship. No! no! celestial intelligences ! ye Angels ! that excel in strength : ye, who do the commandments of God; ye ministers ! that do his pleasure, Psal. ciii, 20, 21. we do not come to-day to set up altar against altar, earth against heaven. The extreme distance, which your perfections put between you and us, which renders the purity of your worship so far superior to ours, does not change the nature of our homage. We come to mix our incense with that, which you incessantly burn before our Jesus, who is the object of your adoration and praise. Beholu, Lord Jesus! behold to-day creatures prostrating themselves upon earth before thy throne, like those, who are in heaven. Hear the harmonious concert, accept our united voices, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength, honor and glory and blessing. Blessing and honor, glory and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. May every one of us fall down and worship him, that liveth for. ever and ever. Amen.
It is then in relation to the doctrine of our Saviour's divinity, and in relation to this doctrine, only, that we are going to consider the words of our text. They might indeed occasion discussions of another kind. We might enquire first, who are the twenty four elders? Perhaps the old testament ministers are meant, in allusion to the twenty four classes of priests, into which David divided them. We might further ask, who are the four. living creatures ? Perhaps they are emblems of the four evangelists. We might propose questions on the occasion of this song, on the number, ministry and perfections of the intelligences mentioned in the text: but all our reflections on these articles would be uncertain, and uninteresting. As I said before, we will confine ourselves to one single subject, and on three propositions we will ground the doctrine of the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I. Jesus Christ is supremely adorable, and supremely adored by beings the most worthy of our imitation.
II. It implies a contradiction to suppose, that God communicates the honors of supreme adoration to a simple creature.
III. Our ideas on this article are perfectly conformable to the ideas of those ages, the orthodoxy of which is best established, and least suspected.
I. Jesus Christ is supremely adorable, and supremely adored by beings the most worthy of our emulation ; this is our first proposition... We join, the term supreme to the term adoration, in order to avoid an equivocation, of which this proposition is susceptible. The scripture does not distinguish, as some divines with so little reason do, many sorts of religious adorations. We do not find there the distinction of the worship of Latria, from the worship of Dulia : but religious adoration is distinguished from civil adoration. Thus we are told in the nineteenth chapter of Genesis, ver. 1. that Lot, seeing two angels, rose up to meet them, and bowed himself with his face towards the ground,
it is in the Hebrew he adored them. We have numberless examples of the same kind. To remove this equivocation, to shew that we mean supreme adoration, we have affirmed, that Jesus Christ is supremely adorable, and supremely adored. But wherein does this supreme adoration consist ? The understanding of this article, and in general of this whole discourse, depends on a clear notion of supreme worship. We will make it as plain as we can. Supreme adoration supposes three dispositions in him, who renders it, and it supposes accordingly three excellencies in him, to whom it is rendered.
1. Supreme adoration supposes an eminence of perfections in him, to whom it is rendered. It supposes also an homage of mind relative to that eminence in him, who renders it. Adoration is a disposition of our minds, by which we acknowledge, that God excels all other beings, how great, how noble, how sublime soever they may be. We acknowledge, that he has no superior, no equal. We acknowledge him to be supremely wise, supremely powerful, supremely happy, in one word we'acknowledge, that he possesseth all conceivable perfections, without bounds, in the most elevated manher, and in exclusion to every other being. In this sense it is said, Our God is one Lord, he only iswise ; he only hath immortality, Deut. vi. 4. Jude 25. and I Tim. vi. 15.
2. Supreme adoration supposes, that he, to whom it is rendered is supremely amiable, supremely communicative, supremely good. Goodness is a perfection. It is comprised in the idea, which we have already given of the adorable Being: but we consider it separately; because, in the foregoing article, we considered the divinity without any relation to our happiness, whereas now we consider him in his relation to our felicity; for it is the goodness of God, which relates God to us; it is that, which in some sort reduces to our size, and moves towards us all those other attributes, the immensity of which absorbs us, the glory of which confounds us. Adoration supposes in him, who renders it an adherence of heart, by which he cleaves to God as to his supreme good. It is an effusion of soul, which makes the worshipper consider him as the source of all the advantages, which he now enjoys, and of all the advantages, which he can ever enjoy. It makes him perceive, that he derives from him life, motion. and being, Acts xvii. 28. It makes him
It makes him say with a prophet, Whom have I in heaven but thee and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee. It is good for me to draw near to God. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him, Psal. Ixxiii. 25. 28. and ii. 12.
3. In fine, adoration supposes in him, to whom it is rendered, an absolute empire over all beings that exist. It supposes in him, who renders it, that perfect devotedness, that unlimited submission, by which he acknowledges himself responsible to God for every instant of his duration ; that there is no action so indifferent, no circumstance so inconsiderable, no breath (so to speak) so subtil, which ought not to be consecrated to him. It is that universal homage, by which a man owns, that God only has a right to prescribe laws to him ; that he only can regulate his course of life ; and that all the honors, which are rendered to other beings, either to those who gave us birth, or to those who govern us in society, ought to be in subordination to the honor, which is rendered to himself.
Such is our idea of supreme adoration, an idea not only proper to direct us in the doctrines of religion, as we shall see presently, but singularly
adapted to our instruction in the practice of it: an idea, which may serve to convince us whether we have attained the spirit of religion, or whether we are floating on the surface of it ; whether we be idolaters, or true worshippers of the living God; for these three dispositions are so closely connected together, that their separation is impossible. It is for this, that obedience to the commands of God is so powerfully enforced in religion as an essential part of the homage, which we owe him. It is for this, that the scriptures tell us, covetousness is idolatry; to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than
the fat of rams ; rebellion is us the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry, Col. iii. 5. 1 Sam. xv. 22, 23.
These truths being thus established, we affirm, that Jesus Christ is supremely adorable, and we
affirm also, that he is supremely adored by beings · the most worthy of imitation. He is supremely
adorable is a question of right. He is supremely adored is a question of fact.
1. The question of right is decided by the idea which the scripture gives us of Jesus Christ. The three excellencies, which we must suppose in him, to whom adoration is paid, are attributed to him in scripture: and we are there required to render those three homages to him, which suppose adoration in him, who renders them. The scripture attributes to him that eminence of perfections, which must needs claim the homage of our minds. What perfection can you conceive, which is not ascribed to Jesus Christ by the sacred writers ? Is it eternity ? the scripture tells you he existed in the beginning, John i. 1. he was before Abraham, chap. viii. 58, he is, he was, he is to come, Rey. i. 8. Is it omnipresence ? the scripture tells you,
where two or three are gathered together in his name,