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  • CHAPTER 6.
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    CONCERNING THE DEITY OF THE WORD.

    Having considered the character of the LoDeity, which I shall do in the following method:

    First, I shall endeavor to prove it from the divine names, which are given to him.

    Secondly, From the divine perfections, which he is possessed of.

    Thirdly, From the divine works, which are ascribed to him. And, Fourthly, From the divine worship, which is due unto him.

    First, I shall endeavor to prove the proper Deity of Christ, from the divine names which are given to him; such as, 1. Jehovah, which is a name expressive of the divine essence, being well explained by I AM THAT I AM, in Exodus 3:14. And it is truly deciphered by John, in Revelation 1:4. By “him which is, and which was, and which is to come”. This is the name by which God made himself known to Moses, and by him, to the people of Israel; by which he had not made himself known to their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; that is, so fully and largely as he had to them; which name has always been had in great esteem among the Jews; and has been highly revered by them, even to a superstitious abstinence from the pronunciation of it, which arose from a mistaken sense of Leviticus 24:16. It is indeed that glorious and fearful name which ought to be feared and reverenced by us; it being proper and peculiar to the divine Being, and incommunicable to any creature: For “Most High over all the earth”, is he “whose name alone is Jehovah”. ( Psalm 83:18) If therefore I prove that Jesus Christ is called Jehovah, or that this name is given to him, I prove him to be the Most High God. Which will be best done by comparing some texts of scripture in the Old with others in the New Testament. And to begin With Exodus 17:7. “And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the Lord, or Jehovah, saying, Is the Lord, or Jehovah, among us or not”?

    From hence it plainly appears, that he, whom the Israelites tempted in the wilderness, was Jehovah. And yet nothing is more manifest, than that this was the Lord Jesus Christ; as is evident from 1 Corinthians 10: 9. “Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents”.

    And if so, then Christ is Jehovah, and consequently the Most High God.

    Again, in <230601>Isaiah 6:1: ‘tis said: “That in the Year that king Uzziah died”, Isaiah” s aw the Lord, Adonai, s itting upon a throne”; whom the seraphim, in ver. 3. call Jehovah Sebaot ; as does Isaiah, in ver. 5. which same glorious divine Person, in ver. 8. 9. sent him with a message to the Jews, saying, “Hear ye indeed, etc.” Now these words our Lord Jesus Christ applies to himself, in John 12: 39, 40, 41. and observes, that “there things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him”. Moreover, in Isaiah 40:3. ‘tis said, “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, or Jehovah; make strait in the desert, a high-way for our God.”

    Which words are, by the evangelist Matthew, Matthew 3:1,2,3. applied to John the Baptist. Now the Lord, or Jehovah, whose way he was to prepare, could be no other than Jesus Christ, whose harbinger and forerunner John was; and whose way he did prepare, and whose paths he did make strait, by preaching the doctrine of repentance, administering the ordinance of baptism, and declaring that the kingdom of heaven, or of the Messiah, was at hand. Besides, the Messiah is expressly called, in Jeremiah 23:6. the Lord, or Jehovah, our righteousness, it being his work and business to bring in everlasting righteousness, and well suits with Jesus Christ, who is “the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” Once more, in Zechariah 12:10. it is promised by Jehovah, that he would “pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the s pirit of grace and of supplications:” find adds, “They shall look upon me, that is. Jehovah, whom they have pierced.” Which words the evangelist John says, were fulfilled, when one office soldiers, with a spear, pierced the side of Christ; and forthwith there came out blood and water, John 19:34, 37. The same passage is also referred to in Revelation 1:7. and applied to Jesus Christ. Now in there, and many other places, Jesus Christ is intended by Jehovah; and if he is Jehovah, then he must be truly and properly God; since this name is incommunicable to any other.

    It is objected, that this name, Jehovah, is sometimes given to created beings; as to angels, Genesis 18:13. Exodus 3:2. and 23:20. to the ark . Numbers 10:35. and 32:20. Deuteronomy 12:7. <062401>Joshua 24:1. 2 Samuel 6:2. Psalm 24:8. to Jerusalem, Jeremiah 33:16. Ezekiel 48:35. to altars, Exodus 17:15. Judges 6:24. to the mountain where Isaac was to be sacrificed, Genesis 22:14. and to judges and priests, Deuteronomy 19:17. To which I answer, That as to the proof of angels being called Jehovah, I have shown already, that in all the passages cited, not a created angel, but an increased one, even a divine Person is intended; who is no other than Jesus Christ, the angel of the covenant; and ere so many proofs of his being Jehovah, and consequently of his proper divinity. Nor is the ark any where called Jehovah. Numbers 10:35,36. is a prayer of Moses to the true Jehovah, and not to the ark, to which it could not be made without idolatry. The sense of the words is best understood by comparing them with <19D208> Psalm 132:8. In many of the places produced, the ark is not mentioned, nor intended; not in Numbers 32:20. nor in Deuteronomy 12:7. nor in <062401>Joshua 24:1. nor is the word Jehovah, there used, but Elahim. And as for 2 Samuel 6:2. not the ark, but God, whole the ark was, is called by the name of the Lord of Hosts: Nor is the ark intended in Psalm 24:8. nor could it be called the King of Glory, or the Lord mighty in battle, without manifest impiety. Nor is the name Jehovah given to Jerusalem, in Jeremiah 33:16. but to the Messiah, as is manifest from Jeremiah 23:6. for the words may be rendered thus: “This is the name wherewith he shall be called by her, the Lord our righteousness.” Nor is this name given to her in Ezekiel 48:35. absolutely, but in composition, or with an addition; and is only symbolical of Jehovah’s presence being with her. Just as the Lord calls her Hephzibah, and Beulah; because he delighted in her, and was married to her, Isaiah 62: 4. The same may be said of mount Moriah, and the altars, referred to in the objection, which were called Jehovah Jireh, Nissi, Shalom; which names do not express the nature or offense of God, but are only symbolical, and designed to call to remembrance the divine help, gracious assistance, and wonderful appearance of Jehovah , for his people.

    Nor are priests and judges called Jehovah, in Deuteronomy 19: 17. for Jehovah is not to be explained by them; he is distinguished from them. And though he is joined with them, yet this only designs his presence in judiciary affairs; “who stands in the congregation of the mighty, and judges among the gods.” Upon the whole, the argument in proof of Christ’s divinity, from the incommunicable name, Jehovah, being given to him, stands firm and unshaken. I go on, 2. To show that he is called God absolutely, and that both in the Old and in the New Testament. In Psalm 45:6. it is said, “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever:” Where by God is meant the Son; since he is, in ver. 7. distinguished from God the Father, who is called his God; and is moreover laid to be anointed by him with the oil of glad-hers. But this is put beyond all dispute, by the author of the epistle to the Hebrews, Hebrews 1:8. “But unto the Son he faith, Thy throne, O God, etc.” Again, in Isaiah 45:22,23. a divine Person is introduced speaking thus: “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else: I have sworn by myself, etc.”

    Which words are, by the apostle Paul, in Romans 14:10,11,12. applied to Christ. Many more passages of the like nature might be produced out of the Old Testament. I’ll but just mention one in the New Testament, and that is in John 1:1. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

    We cannot be at a loss who is meant by the Word; since he is distinguished from God the Father, with whom he was, and is said, in ver. 14. to be made flesh, and dwell among us. Nor is it any wonder that he should be called God absolutely, and in the highest and most proper sense of the word; seeing he is in the form of God; and has thought it no robbery to be equal with him. But I proceed to observe, 3. That Christ is called God, with some additional epithets; such as our God, your God, their God, and my God. He is called our God, in Isaiah 25:9. and 40:3. The scope and circumstances of the texts manifestly show that the Messiah is intended, whom the Jews were waiting for, and whose forerunner and harbinger John the Baptist was to be. He is called your God, in Isaiah 35:4, 5. “Behold, your God will come. — Then the eyes o£ the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped:” All which were fulfilled in the times of the Messiah, and by him appealed to as proofs of his Messiahship and Deity. He is called the Lord their God, in Luke 1:16. which words “are f114 , in strictness of construction, immediately connected with the following word, him; which must necessarily be understood of Christ.” Thomas calls him, in John 20:28. “My Lord and my God ;” which words are not an apostrophe to the Father, but a full and ample confession of the Deity of Christ, and his interest in him. Now though angels, magistrates, and judges, are called gods, in an improper and metaphorical sense, yet are they never called our gods, your gods, etc. This way of speaking is peculiar to him who is truly and properly God. Again, one of the names of the Messiah is Immanuel, Isaiah 7:14. “which being interpreted, is God with us,” Matthew 1:23. that is, God in our nature; clothed with our flesh, and dwelling among us. Or, in other words, he is “God manifest in the flesh,” 1 Timothy 3:16. on which text, Dr. Clarke himself observes. f115 “That it has been a great controversy among learned men whether Qeo>v , or o\v , or o\ , be the true reading in this place. But it is not in reality of great importance. For the sense is evident, that that Person was manifest in the flesh, whom St. John, in the beginning of his gospel, stiles Qeo>v , God.”

    He is moreover called the Mighty God, in Isaiah 9:6. which prophecy, though the Jews would wrest to Hezekiah, yet their attempts have been vain and fruitless. It stands a glorious prophecy of the Messiah, and is expressive of his proper divinity, real humanity, and excellent offices; which offices he has took upon him for the good of his people, and is capable of performing them, because he is the Mighty God. Likewise, he is said to be “over all, God blessed for ever,” Romans 9:5. It is trifling to observe, that when Christ is said to be over all, that the Father must f117 needs be excepted. For no one pleads for a superiority of the Son to the Father, but an equality with him: Nor is the stress of the proof for Christ’s divinity, from this text, said upon his being over all; but upon his being God, blessed for ever. Again, Christ is called, the Great God, in Titus 2:13. whose glorious appearing, and nor the Father’s, the saints were looking for; and of whom the following words, “And our Savior Jesus Christ,” are plainly exegetical. It is objected , that this phrase, “The Great God, being, in the Old Testament, the character of the Father, is in the New Testament never used of Christ, but of the Father only, Revelation 19:17.”

    Which text in the Revelations, besides this in Titus, is the only one where this phrase is used in the New Testament; and manifestly belongs to him who is called the Word of God, ver. 13. who is said to have on his vesture, and on his thigh a name written, King of kings, and Lord of lords, ver. 16. and who is represented to John, as a mighty warrior, and triumphant conqueror, taking vengeance on the great men of the earth. And therefore, an angel calls to the fowls of the heaven, to come and gather themselves to the supper of this Great God; who appears to be no other than he who is before called the Word of God; which is a character that peculiarly belongs to Jesus Christ. Once more, he is called the true God, 1 John 5:20. “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true: And we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life,” i.e. Jesus Christ is the true God; for he is the immediate antecedent to the relative this; and is expressly, in this epistle, Chap. 1:2. said to be eternal life. Since then Christ is so frequently called God, with there additional epithets, which are peculiar to the one only God, it follows, that he must be truly and properly God.

    Secondly, The proper divinity of Christ may be strongly concluded from the divine perfections which he is possessed of: “For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” ( Colossians 2:9) There is no perfection essential to Deity, but is in him; nor is there any that the Father has, but he has likewise; for he says: ( John 16:15) “All things that the Father hath, are mine.” Independence and necessary existence, are essential to Deity. He that is God, necessarily exists; does not receive his Being from another; nor is he dependant on another; such is the Lord Jesus Christ: For though he is not ajutouio, God of himself: Though he, as man and Mediator, has a life communicated to him from the Father, and lives by the Father; yet, as God, he owes his Being to none; it is not derived from another: He is “over all, God blessed for ever.” Eternity is peculiar to the Godhead. He that is God, is from everlasting to everlasting. Jesus Christ was not only before Abraham, but before Adam; yea, before any creature existed. For if he is the (Revelations 3:14. Colossians 1:15.) ajrci<, the beginning, the first cause of the creation of God; if he is prwtoto>kov pa>shv kti>sewv, the first parent, bringer forth, or producer of every creature; if he was in the beginning of the creation of all things with God; and by him were all things made; then he mutt be before all things. As Mediator he was fee up from everlasting, and had a glory with his Father before the world was. His goings forth, or acting in the covenant of grace, on the behalf of his people, were of old, from ever-lifting. The elect of God were chosen in him, before the foundation of the world; and had grace given them in him, before the world began. In fine, ( Revelation 1:8) he is the alpha and the omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the ending; which is, and which was, and which is to come; and there. fore a very proper antitype of Melchizedeck; “ having neither beginning of days nor end of life”. Again, omnipresence, and immensity, belong to God. He that is God is every where; is not confined to any place, but fills heaven and earth with his presence. Jesus Christ was, as he was the Son of God, in heaven, whilst, as the son of man, he was here on earth, John 3:13. which he could not be if he was not the omnipresent God; any more than he could make good those promises he makes, Matthew 18:20. and 28:20. that he’ll be with his people when they meet in his name, and with his ministers, unto the end of the world. Nor could he walk in the midst of his golden candlesticks, <660201>Revelation 2:1. or be present in all his churches, as he certainly is, and fill all things, Ephesians 4:10. as he certainly does.

    Omniscience is another perfection of Deity, which is easy to be observed in Jesus Christ ( John 2:25. Matthew 9:4. John 4:29. and 6:64 ).

    He knew what was in man, even the secret thoughts and reasonings of the mind. He could tell the woman of Samaria all that ever she did. He knew from the beginning who would believe in him, and who should betray him. Peter ( John 21:17) appealed to him as the searcher of hearts, and said:” Lord, thou knowest all things, thou knowest love thee.” He is indeed that divine Lo>gov , or Word ( Hebrews 4:12), that is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart; who, in a first time will let all ( Revelation 2:23) the churches know, that he it is who “searcheth the hearts and reins”. And though he is said ( Mark 13:32) not to know the day and hour of judgment; yet, that is to be understood of him, not as God, but as man. Omnipotence is another perfection essential to God, and may be truly predicated of Jesus Christ, who is ( Revelation 1:8) the Almighty. His works of creation, providence, and sustentation; as also those of the redemption, and preservation of his own people, and the resurrection of them from the dead; which he has performed, and does, and will perform, “according to his mighty power, which is able to subdue all things to himself”, loudly proclaim his omnipotence. Once more, he that is God is unchangeable, is without any variableness or shadow of turning.

    And of Jesus Christ, it is said ( Hebrews 1:12), That he is “the same, and his years fail not: Yea, that he is “the same to ( Hebrews 13:8) day, yesterday, and forever”. In fine, whatever perfection is in God, is in Christ; and therefore he must be truly, properly, and essentially God.

    Thirdly, The true and proper Deity of Christ, may be fully proved from the divine works which he has performed. Indeed, he “can do nothing of himself ( John 5:29), but what he seeth the Father do”; i.e. he can do nothing but what the Father is concerned in with him: Or, he can do nothing that is opposite to his will, or that is not in his power: For “my Father worketh hitherto, and I work”. They work together as coefficient causes: tho’ they work in distinction, yet not in contradiction to each other: “For what things forever he (the Father) doth, there also, oJmoi>wv , in like manner doth the Son”. The works which prove his Deity, are there: The creation of all things out of nothing; upholding all things by the word of his power; performance of miracles; the redemption of his people; the resurrection of the dead; and the last judgment. That all things, visible and invisible, were created by the image of the invisible God, is strongly asserted by the apostle ( Colossians 1:15,16) Paul: And that all things were made by the Logos, or Word, and that “without him was not any thing made that was made”, is as fully attested by the evangelist ( John 1:1,2,3) John. Indeed, God is said to create all things by Jesus Christ ( Ephesians 3:9. Hebrews 1. 2.), and by his Son to make the world: But then Christ is not to be considered as the Father’s instrument, which he used in making them; for he made use of none; but as a coefficient cause, equally working with him. The preposition di>a , does not always intend the instrumental cause; it is sometimes ( Romans 2:30, 1 Corinthians 1:9. Hebrews 2:10.) used of God the Father. If now the creation, which is purely a divine work, is ascribed to Christ, and he is properly the Creator of all things, then he himself cannot be a creature; and if not a creature, he must be God; for between God and a creature there is no medium. Moreover, as he has made all things, so by him all things confirm; they have their dependence on him. its tee has laid the foundations of the earth, so he bears up the pillars thereof; yea, he upholds all things by the Word of his power, or they would fall into their first nothing; which he could not do, if he was not truly God. The miracles which he wrought in his own Person here on earth, and which were wrought by his apostles through his divine power, are not only proofs that he is oJ ejrco>menov , the Messiah that was to come; but also, that the Father is in him, and he in the Father; or, in other words, that he is the Son of God, and equal with him. The redemption of God’s people, obtained by Christ at the expense of his blood and life, is a full demonstration of his Deity. Had he not been God, he would not have been equal to the work; nor would the Father have entrusted him with it; nor would he have undertaken it. The reason why he is mighty to save, is because he is the mighty God. ‘Tis his true and real Deity which has put a proper virtue and efficacy in all his actions, as Mediator. The reason why his sacrifice is expiatory of sin, and acceptable to God, is because it is the sacrifice of himself, who is God. The reason why his righteousness is sufficient to justify all the elect, is because it is the righteousness of God. And the reason why his blood cleanseth from all sin, is because it is the blood of him who is the Son of God: No other blood could be a sufficient price to purchase the church, and procure all blessings of grace for her. Hence God is said ( Acts 20:18) to “purchase the church with his own blood”. As Christ hath raised himself from the dead by his own power, and thereby has declared himself to be the Son of God, who had power to lay down his life, and to take it up again; which no mere creature has: So he will quicken and raise the dead at the last day; for it will be owing to his powerful voice that ( John 5:28,29) “they that are in their graves shall come forth; some to the resurrection of life, and some to the resurrection of damnation”. And as the dead will be railed by him, so by him will, both quick and dead, be judged: “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment to the Son, that all men might honor the Son, even as they honor the Father”. ( John 5:22) Now if he was not truly and properly God, he would not be equal to, nor able to go through this work. Was he not God, he could not gather all nations together before him, nor separate the sheep from the goats, and set the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. Nor would he be able to make manifest the counsels of all hearts; or give to every man according to his works; or execute the decisive sentence, which his lips had pronounced.

    Fourthly, That Christ is truly God, may be concluded from the divine worship which is due unto him, and is given him. All the angels of God are called upon to worship him, as they according have, both before and after his incarnation; yea, all men are required to honor the Son, and to give the same homage and worship to him as they do to the Father. Now this would not be admitted if he was not the one God with him. For he has said, “My glory will I not give to another ( Isaiah 42:8); nor my praise to graven images”. He is the object of the saints love, hope, faith, trust, and dependence; which he would not be, if he was a creature: For, “cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm and whole heart departeth from the Lord” ( Jeremiah 17:5), His name is invoked in prayer, and solemn addresses are made to him; which if he was not God would be idolatry. Yea, the ordinance of baptism, which is a solemn act of religious worship, is ordered to be administered in his name, as well as in the name of the Father, and of the Spirit. In fine, nothing more strongly proves the divinity of Christ than his being the object of religious worship, of which God is always jealous; nor would he ever admit him a partner in it, was he not, in nature and substance, equal to him. From the whole, we need not scruple to assert the Deity of Christ in the fullest and strongest terms, which is an article of the utmost moment and importance, and furnishes out the most solid argument and foundation for faith, peace, joy, and comfort.

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