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7. There are many other passages, in which our Lord claims to himself a superiority of nature or character1: but these must be ultimately referred to those declarations, which contain more express assertions of his Divinity. Of these some of the most important have been noticed in the preceding remarks: and if these do not appear also conclusively to establish that of his Divinity, we cannot refuse this acknowledgment to that declaration, in which, in asserting his existence before Abraham, he does it in words, which imply eternal or necessary existence; "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM2," in which words he applies to himself that attribute of eternal or necessary existence, by which, when He appeared in his pre-existent state to Moses in the bush, he announced himself to the chosen people, as Jehovah, "THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, OF ISAAC, AND OF JACOB." It is impossible to attribute any other interpretation to the words, I AM in this passage. Why then should we seek for any other interpretation of this declaration of our Saviour, in which, in appropriating to himself that attribute of necessary or eternal existence which belongs to God alone, it was evidently his intention to assert his own Divinity'?
1 Matth. xii. 41, 42, &c.
2 John viii. 58. See a full examination of the objections of the Socinians with reference to this passage, Abp. Magee on the Atonement. Appendix in N. T.; and Smith's Scripture Testimony, Chap. III. Capitul. I. 3 Exod. iii. 13-16.
4 This view of the passage is supported by Dr. Whitby. See his Commentary ad locum.-It is indeed disputed by Dr. Smith, (Script. Test. Vol. 1. p. 182.) Who observes, that the words in
8. To the different declarations of our Saviour, which imply his Divinity, may be added that sublime declaration which he uttered, when he issued his command to his disciples to preach the gospel to every creature: "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." This passage has been repeatedly urged with great force in testimony of our Lord's Divinity: and it is as incomprehensible that he would join any created Being, however exalted, with the Eternal Father in that solemn form by which Christians in all ages were to be admitted into the Christian Church, and as being equally with the Eternal Father the Author of our salvation, as that our Lord himself, if he were not God, would either
Exod. iii. 14, are in the future tense, ' x 7'nx, I will be that which I will be; and most probably it was not intended as a name, but as a declaration of the certain fulfilment of all the promises of God, especially those which related to the deliverance of the Israelites."-It may be remarked, however, with reference to the opinion of this learned writer, that the future tense in Hebrew is often used with a present signification, (see amongst other authorities, Glass. Philol. Sacr. p. 313;) and that the Almighty appears especially to declare the name I AM as that, under which he was to be regarded by the Israelites. For upon Moses asking, "When they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.”— With regard to the words of our Saviour, as implying eternal existence, see the admirable notes of Lampe and Tittman ad locum.
assume to himself the possession of all power in heaven and earth; or that he would make a promise, which is inexplicable on any other supposition than that of his Divinity, that he would be with his servants always even to the end of the world'.
Such are some of the most striking of our Saviour's declarations with regard to his own divine Person and character. That the doctrine of his Divinity should be only incidentally implied, or obscurely intimated in some of these declarations, so far from detracting from the evidence which they afford, is an additional confirmation of its truth; when we consider the probable reasons which existed for this reserve, and the impossibility, even if our Lord had wished to make a more full revelation, that they would have been able to comprehend it. For, as has been observed by a learned writer, "it was one of the characteristics of our Lord's teaching, that he very seldom made direct claims, or formally laid down express doctrines concerning himself. His more usual manner was to propose questions, to introduce acknowledged principles which would be the seeds of others, and to utter deep and comprehensive assertions, which carried with them the implication of remoter truths. These he delivered, so as to fix them strongly in the minds, both of his general hearers and of his more constant and intimate attendants; and then he left these im
1 On the subject of this passage, see Dr. Waterland's Eighth Sermon at Lady Moyer's Lecture.
pressions to produce their proper effect, by the exercise of thought and meditation, in drawing the just inferences, and by the elucidations that might accrue from subsequent communications on his part."
"That this was actually the case, will appear to any one, who will attentively study our Lord's dialogues and discourses. It may be difficult, it may even be impossible, to discover the reasons of this peculiar method: but if it appear to have been practised by the wisest and most perfect of teachers, we are bound to acquiesce in the ascertained fact, and to make the best use of it that One use unquestionably is, that we should study the doctrines and discourses of Jesus Christ, by the aid of a constant comparison with the postolic writings: which were intended to be the ministration of the spirit in the full and final developement of the Christian system.""
The more attentively we consider the discourses and declarations of our Lord in this relation, the more conclusive shall we find the testimony, which they afford to the divinity of his Person and cha
2 Smith's Scripture Testimony, Vol. 11. pp. 471, 2.
ON THE AGREEMENT WHICH IS HERE FOUND IN OUR SAVIOUR'S DISCOURSES WITH THE DOCTRINES CONTAINED IN THE PRECEDING CHAPTER.
THE preceding chapter contains a summary of the principal evidence which we derive from our Saviour's discourses, with reference to the div nity of his Person: let us consider the agree ment which is exhibited in the general tenor of his discourses with this representation.
The most remarkable event after the commencement of our Saviour's ministry, is the delivery of his Sermon on the Mount: and, in this discourse, it may be observed, that our Saviour at once assumes the character of a Divine teacher, delivering his doctrines with an authority, which he declares to be paramount to that on which the sanctions of the Jewish Law were founded. This is in perfect agreement with the declarations, which he had previously made, that he was the Son of God; and can be reconciled only on that supposition.
The same remark may be made with regard to the discourses accompanying the miracles recorded in the eighth and ninth chapters of St Matthew's Gospel; which every where proceed on the supposition that he was possessed of al