صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

events connected with himself, which they were so reluctant to believe, or of duties, which derived their whole complexion and character from these doctrines; and which would receive their whole character and complexion, both in their motives and their object, from their connection with the Redeemer, and with their faith in his incarnation, his death, his resurrection, and his ascension to heaven to the right-hand of God.

The truth of these observations will appear more evident, the more attentively we review all the circumstances connected with our Saviour, and the introduction of his religion into the world. Our Saviour came to reveal a new religion; new, not only in its doctrines, but in the duties resulting from these doctrines. It was not till after his resurrection that our Lord himself attempted to unfold to his disciples the prophecies relating to it; nor till after his ascension into heaven, could either the doctrines or the duties connected with this great event be consistently either enforced or understood: and, in the same manner, with respect to his death,-though it is the corner stone of the Christian faith, the foundation on which the great doctrines of Christianity are built, the doctrine, which, of all others, influences the whole scheme of Christian faith and practice; it would have been impossible, as indeed was proved by the example of the Apostles themselves, to make persons comprehend it during the period of our Saviour's ministry upon earth. But when their minds had been enlightened by the Holy

Spirit from on high, and they began to view it in connection with the innocence of our Saviour's life and the great objects to be attained by it; and when, moreover, they considered the long train of prophecy, by which it was foretold, the reasonableness of the doctrine at once broke in upon their minds, and the effects of this conviction were seen in their conduct afterwards, and in the influence which it produced on their lives.

Although, therefore, we must not expect to find in the discourses of our Saviour a full exposition either of the doctrines or the duties of the Gospel; which indeed are contained in the writings of the Apostles and Evangelists, and which they were enabled to unfold in all their power after they were enlightened by the Holy Spirit; yet we may expect to find a perfect agreement between the revelations which are contained in our Saviour's discourses and in the Apostical writings, -the agreement which ought to subsist between the different parts of one harmonious whole. And such an agreement will afford a powerful argument in support of the divine character of our Redeemer. For it is manifestly impossible, that such intimations of the bearing of the whole scheme of Redemption, as are contained in our Saviour's discourses, could have proceeded from any one, who had not the whole plan laid open before him and the consideration of the reasons, which prevented our divine Master from making at once a full revelation of the doctrines and duties of his religion, and of the divine skill with which

he opened these important truths to their minds, as they were able to bear them, increases the interest with which we view the whole subject; and affords additional evidence of the divine character of Him, who, as he contrived and executed this wonderful plan for the salvation of men, provided for its revelation in such a manner, as to give additional weight to the testimony, which the religion itself afforded, that it was from God.

CHAPTER II.

DISCOURSES OF OUR SAVIOUR RELATING TO HIS OWN PERSON AND CHARACTER.

THE first point, which it is proposed to consider, in connection with this subject, is,—the intimations which are contained in our Lord's discourses with reference to his own Person and character.

con

If we examine the prophecies relating to our Saviour, the conclusion, which we derive from them, is that he was to be a Person invested with all the titles and attributes of Divinity. This is the conclusion, which we derive from those numerous passages, in which he is described by the incommunicable name of Jehovah; and particularly from that passage, which, by the common sent of all persons, is applied to the Son of God; and in which he is described by the titles of "WONDERFUL, COUNSELLOR, THE MIGHTY GOD, THE EVERLASTING FATHER, THE PRINCE OF PEACE1." The same appears also from the express declarations of the inspired Apostles and Evangelists of our Lord himself; by whom he is described as "THE SON OF THE HIGHEST2;" as "THE WORD, which was in the beginning, and was with God, and was GOD; by whom all things were made;" as the image of the invisible God,

1 Isai. ix. 6.

2 Luke i. 32.

3 Joh. i. 1-3.

the first-born of every creature; by whom all things were created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him; and he is before all things, and by him all things consist; who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence1."

Now, whatever doubts may exist with regard to the peculiar character of the opinions, which were entertained by the Jews with reference to the promised Messiah, there is no evidence that they had any clear ideas of his Divinity; much less that they entertained any belief of so distinct a character, as is contained in the writings of the inspired Apostles of our Lord: so that it cannot be said, that our Saviour derived his opinions from the prevailing sentiments of his countrymen at the time.

Let us examine, in connection with these remarks, the intimations which are contained in our Lord's discourses, with reference to this subject.

1. The first time that our Saviour is represented as speaking of his own Divine character, is on the occasion of his journey to Jerusalem, with his parents at the Passover, being at the time twelve years old; when, upon his being found by Joseph and his mother in the Temple

4 Col. i. 15-18.

« السابقةمتابعة »