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tion, to retain them in his service, and to make them comprehend how provoking it would be to him, should they render divine bonors in his presence to any beside himself. But here the elders, the angels, the ten thousand, the ten thousand times ten thousands in heaven, in the presence of God, and before the throne of his glory, adore Jesus Christ, and pay no other honors to hiin, who silteth on the throne, than they pay to Jesus Christ himself.
Collect now, my brethren, all these reflections into one point of view, and see into what contradictions people fall, who, admitting the divinity of our scriptures, resuse to consider Jesus Christ as the supreme God. No, Jesus Christ is not the supreme God, (thus are our opponents obliged to speak,) Jesus Christ is not the supreme God: but he possesseth that eminence of perfections, which constitutes the essence of the supreme God ; like him he is eternal, like him he is omnipresent, like him he is almighty, he knows all things like him, he searcheth the heart and the reins like him, he possesses the fulness of the Godhead like him, and like him merits the most profound homage of the mind. No, Jesus Christ is not the supreme God: but he possesseth that goodness, that communication, which is the grand character of the supreme God; like God supreme, he made heaven and earth, he formed all creatures like him, he wrought miracles like à God, for the ancient church, he enlightens like him, he sanctifies like him, he saves us, he raises us from the dead, he glorifies us like him, and like him merits the most profound homage of the heart. No, Jesus Christ is not the supreme God: but we are commanded to worship him as if he were. St. Stephen prays to Jesus Christ as if he were God, the faithful confide in Jesus 'Christ as if he were God, they swear by Jesus Christ as if he were God, they bless in the name Jesus Christ as if he were God. Who does not perceive these contradictions ? Our first proposition is therefore sufficiently established. Jesus Christ is supremely adorable; Jesus Christ is supremely adored by intelligences the most worthy of imitation. But it implies a contradiction, to suppose that the honors of adoration should be communicated to a simple creature. This is our second proposition, and the second part of this discourse.
II. This supreme adoration, of which we have given an idea, cannot be communicated to any being, except an eminence of perfections, such as independence, eternity, omnipresence, be communicated to that being also. Supreme adoration cannot be communicated to any being, except supreme goodness be communicated, except a being become an immediate essential source of felicity. Supreme adoration cannot be communicated to any being, unless absolute, boundless, immense empire be communicated to him also. Now, to communicate all these excellences to a creature, is to communicate the Godhead to him. If then it be absurd to suppose that deity can be communicated to a creature, so that what had a beginning, becomes what had no beginning; it is also absurd to suppose that a simple creature can possess these excellences, and consequently it implies a contradiction, to affirm that a created being can become supremely adorable. If therefore we have proved, that Jesus Christ is supremely adorable, we have thereby proved that he is the supreme God.
Accordingly, however important our second proposition may be, we should suppose it fully proved, if the scripture did not seem positively to affirm, that a right to supreme adoration is a right acquired by Jesus Christ, and is ascribed to him, not on account of what he was from eternity, but of what he has done in time: The Father judgeth no man, says Jesus Christ himself: but hath committed all judgment to the Son, that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father, John v. 22. 23. Here, it is plain, Jesus Christ does not require men to honor him, as they honor the Father, on account of his own excellent nature: but on account of that power to judge the world, which was given him in time. He made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, Phil. ii. 7. 9. Here again, Jesus Christ seems to have received this exaltation only in virtue of that profound humiliation, and of that profound obedience, which he rendered to his Father. And in our text it seems as if those acclamations, praises, and adorations, with which the happy spirits in heaven honor the Saviour of the world, are only offered to him on account of that sacrifice which he offered in time; for after these celestial intelligences have said in the following words, Thou art worthy to take the book and open the seals thereof, for thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood ; they repeat this reason of adoration, and worship Jesus Christ under the idea of a Lamb, saying, Worthy is the Lamb, that was slain, to receive power, riches, wisdom, and so on.
This difficulty comes from the equivocal meaning of the term worship, which may be understood to regard those infinite perfections, which eternally render him, who possesseth them, worthy of supreme honors; or that particular honor, which God merits by the performance of some memorable work performed in time. The first sort of adoration
cannot be acquired. It is essential to him, to whom · it is paid ; this we have proved. But the second kind of adoration, that part of supreme honor, wbich is rendered to God, in virtue of some new achievement, that honor he acquires; and far from proving, that he who acquires this new honor, and the homage consequential of it, does not possess essential Deity, it is on the contrary an invincible argument, that divinity is essential to him. God, for example, is essentially adorable, yet every new favor, that he grants, is an acquisition of a new title of adoration.
Apply this remark to Jesus Christ. As God he is essentially adorable. But Jesus Christ, who is supremely adorable as God, may bestow some new favor on us.
In this sense, he may acquire a new title of adoration, because he affords us a new motive to adore him. And what more powerful motive can be proposed, than that of his profound abasement for our salvation ? Now the inspired writers in the passages, which we have cited, speak of this latter kind of adoration. They do not say, Jesus Christ hath acquired that divine essence, which renders him, who possesses it, essentially adorable ; for that would imply a contradiction : they only say, that by the benefits, which he hath communicated to us in time, he hath acquired over us in time a new title of adoration. This is evident to a demonstration in regard to the Philippian text, which appears the most difficult. For St. Paul, so far from affirming that Jesus Christ. had not those perfections, which make any being adorable, till after his humiliation, establishes expressly the contrary. He expressly says, that Jesus Christ, before he was found in fashion as a man, thought it no robbery to be equal with God; that, before he took upon him the form of a servant, he
was in the form of God: but when Jesus Christ was in the form of God, when he counted it nos robbery to be equal with God, he was supremely adorable. By consequence, Jesus Christ is not adorable only because he was found in fashion as a man, and took upon him the form of a servant, Phil. ü. 6, &c.
This shall suffice on the second proposition. Let us attend a few moments to the discussion of the third. Let us attend to the celebrated question of the faith of the three first ages on the divinity of the Saviour of the world, and let us prove, that our ideas of the doctrine of Christ's divinity exactly answer those of the ages, the orthodoxy of which is least suspected. This is our third part.
III. One of the most celebrated members of the Romish communion, a man who would have been one of the surest guides, who could have been chosen, to conduct us through the labyrinths of the first ages, could we have assured ourselves, that the integrity of his heart had been equal to the clearness of his understanding, and to the strength of his memory; this man, I say, has been the astonishment of every scholar, for declaring, that, after he had made profound researches into antiquity, it appeared to him, the doctrine of Christ's divinity was not generally received in the church, till after the council of Nice. It is yet a problem, what could induce this able Jesuit to maintain a paradox apparently so opposite to his own knowledge. But, leaving this question to the decision of the searcher of hearts, let us only observe, that this author has been a thousand times answered, both by our own divines, and by those of the church of Rome. A treatise on this subject, by an illustrious prelate of the church of England, is in the hands of all learn