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the nature and dignity of Christ. Differing in almost all things else, they nearly agree in this in regarding Christ Jesus as a perfect man, united to, and actuated by, the supreme God.
Dismissing the Socinian system, of which I believe the doctrine of atonement forms no part, let us bring into comparison the Redeemer's death as exhibited by the Athanasian scheme, and the same most propitious event as seen in that light, which seems to me the light of scripture.
According to both views, the Redeemer possesses a divine and a human nature; divine, as the Son of God-human, as the Son of man. Now Athanasians generally represent the death of the Redeemer as the death only of the man Christ Jesus, from whom the Godhead was for the time withdrawn. No reflecting persons of that creed ever imagine, or affirm, that the living God suffered, or died, or was buried-although some have ventured to use the awful expressions-a suffering God-a crucified God. But the general sentiment of the sect undoubtedly is, that the suffering of death was confined to the humanity of Christ. Whereas, no such distinction touching the passion of Christ appears to me to be made in scripture. When I read that “ Christ suffered for sin, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us unto God,” the impression is naturally made upon my mind, and I see
nothing in scripture to remove that impression, that Christ suffered for sin, not only in his human, but also in his divine nature, (always understanding his divinity, as the scripture teaches me, in a subordinate sense); that Christ suffered as the “Son of God,” as well as the “Son of man.” In a word, that he suffered in his entire nature and character: and to this view of the subject his own words appear directly to lead us, when he says, “I have power to lay down my life, and I have power to take it again;" which words do not seem at all to suit the character of mere humanity.
Now, which of these views is calculated to give us the highest sentiments of the sacrifice and of the death of Christ, as well as of the benefits to be derived therefrom? Both represent God as dwelling in Christ: both represent God as withdrawing from him in the awful hour of his passion on the cross. But with the one, this departure of the Godhead leaves Christ crucified a mere man; with the other, Christ crucified is still the beloved, the dignified, the glorious Son of the living God: and yet Athanasians will tell you that the doctrine of atonement can form no part of any creed but their own. Don't believe them. I submit these observations to your candid judgment, and shall not pursue this topic farther at present.
The general subject which I proposed to myself in this series of discourses, was to exhibit to
you what I believe to be the scripture doctrine of the divinity of Christ. I have now submitted those views of the subject, which forbid me, and I trust, will forbid you, to embrace that one extreme and erroneous doctrine, or any thing approaching to it, which is known under the name of the Socinian system ;-a system which seems miserably defective in several of the essential doctrines of Christianity, and certainly is opposed, so far as I can judge, to the general bearing of holy scripture.
It remains that we henceforward turn to the examination of the other and opposite extreme, which is properly termed the Athanasian system ;-a system whose error consists not so much in defect, as in redundancy. It may be safer, it may be better, to believe too much, than to believe too little. But it is safest and best of all, to believe what the Spirit of God has taught in the scriptures, without addition or diminution.
It shall be my object, therefore, with God's help, to overthrow whatever appears to me erroneous on the one side, by the same simple but powerful instrument, which I trust has gone successfully to overturn the error of the otherthe word of God—the keen and powerful “sword of the spirit,” which, like that at the gate of Paradise, if I be enabled to wield it aright, will “ turn every way” for the defence of truth, and
the demolition of error. And with those who look to the word of God alone, as the rule of their faith, I do not despair, in this case, of equal success. But we shall defer entering on this part of the subject till the next Lord's day. In the mean time, may, the living God give us understanding according to his word, and to his great name, through Christ our Lord, be the praise. Amen.
THE FATHER ALMIGHTY THE ONLY TRUE GOD.
JOHN xvii. 3.
" And this is life eternal, that they might know thee,
the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent."
In the preceding discourses I attempted to give you the scripture view of the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ; and to show you that the character and dignity of the Son of God have been greatly underrated, in that system of religious faith known under the name of Socinianism. How far I have succeeded in that attempt, I shall refer to your judgment; and if you are guided in the formation of that judgment by the only legitimate rule, you will probably be led to the same conclusion with myself-that the system I have named has no foundation in holy scripture.
Having delivered what appeared necessary on