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even baptism doth also now save us, (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God-angels, and authorities, and powers, being made subject unto him."
I shall close my quotations on this subject by one or two of those sublime representations given by him who was permitted, in vision, to behold the transcendant glory of our exalted Head. (Rev. v. 6.) “ And I beheld, and lo! in the midst of the throne, and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns, and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts, and four-and-twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints ;--and they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof :-for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the beasts, and the elders, and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that áre in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever." (Rev. vii. 9.) “ And after this, I beheld, and lo, a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.”
I trust, brethren, you are not fatigued by the length to which I have thought it necessary to carry these quotations from holy scripture. They are surely much more important, much more to the purpose, and calculated to bring home a stronger conviction to the mind, than any thing else I could have uttered.
I have now finished what seemed to me indispensible on this first part of my subject, in bringing before your minds, in one view, some of
those plain and pointed representations of the word of God, which never yet permitted me to entertain a doubt of the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ ;--embracing his pre-existent state, and the blessedness and glory which he enjoyed in the bosom of the Father before the foundation of the world ;-embracing his sojourn upon earth in the form of a servant, and the glimpses of superior dignity and glory which broke through the cloud of his lowest humiliation; and extending to that state of inconceivable splendour and majesty, of additional, of still higher bliss and glory, where he now sitteth, clothed in universal dominion, on the right hand of God. And I have purposely submitted these scripture authorities to you, without the intermixture of a single comment or reflection of mine, lest they might be thereby prevented from producing their full, free, and uninterrupted impression upon your minds.
There is not, I trust, and am very willing to believe, a single Socinian among you; one individual who professes to believe in the Messiah, and yet would venture, after the consideration of these things, to reduce him to the level of a mortal man. If there were any truth or reality in this view of the person of Christ--if there were any foundation whatever for such a faith, would it be likely, would it be possible, that such unequivocal representations of his superior dignity and glory, as those which I have submitted to
you, should be every where met with in the vo. lume of inspiration? Can any man entertain for a inoment the blasphemous thought, that the book of God, that the Spirit of God should thus trifle with us, or mislead us ? No, no, brethren; we cannot but believe in the true divinity of that only begotten Son of God, whom the Father hath. sanctified and sent into the world to be the Saviour of sinners.
If we consult the New Testament throughout; if we allow the Christian volume, as a whole, to produce its own natural effect upon our minds, and do not take up with a few insulated passages as the basis of our creed, the indelible impression, I am persuaded, will be, that the beloved Son of God, who had being and blessedness in the bosom of the Father before all worlds, and who was made partaker of the divine glory in the creation of all things, when the condition of man required it, voluntarily descended from that high dignity, took on him our lowly nature, and was found in fashion as a man, that he might mediate between our fallen family and an offended God, in the joint characters of Prophet, Priest, and King; and that when he had accomplished the great work of man's redemption from sin and death, he resumed his native place in the bosom of the Father, there for ever to enjoy the glorious fruits of his high, his unparalleled, his merciful achievement.
In this discourse I have confined myself to that exhibition of our Lord's divinity, which, as it appears to me, every candid inquirer will find in the plain declarations of scripture: and those portions of holy writ which I have already submitted to your consideration can scarcely fail, I. should think, in fixing a deep conviction of this interesting truth upon every heart.
There are those to be met with (few or none I believe in this part of the world,) who profess to think otherwise upon the subject; who are accustomed to regard Jesus of Nazareth in no higher character than that of humanity, on a footing with Moses, and the other prophets of the Most High. This view of the nature of Christ must rest, as I think, upon a misconception of some few insulated texts of Scripture ; and, to my mind, appears altogether repugnant to the general scope and bearing of divine revelation. Yet, whilst I cannot but look upon it as a great and important error, I shall not presume to sit in judgment on those who profess to hold it. I shall not presume to say, that they must on that account perish everlastingly; or that they cannot reap advantage from the mediation of that Saviour, in whom they profess to believe, but whose character they rate so low. For I cannot for a moment sup, pose, that our interest in the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, should thus be suspended upon the mere point of such ignorant and imperfect