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CH A P. II.
Concerning the Person and Character of the Redeemer.
W ELL may we, with fear and trembling, enter upon this high and important subject, the person and character of the Redeemer of men. This person is so great and wonderful, that he passes knowledge ; and so does his character, consequently ; which is fingular, and infinitely diftinguished from all others, being excellent and glorious beyond conception. And yet there is no salvation for men, without a degree of true knowledge of his person and character ; and such knowledge is connected with eternal life.* “ This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
He who knows Jesus Christ, the Son of God, knows God. He therefore said to one of his disciples, “ Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me ? He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father.”+
The knowledge of Jesus Christ is the sum of all christian knowledge, and includes the whole of true divinity. Hence St. Paul says to christians at Corinth, “ I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ crucified.”! And again, “ Yea, and I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord : That I may know him." The Apostle Peter exhorts christians to strive to make ad. vances, and to increase in the knowledge of this person. “ Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and
Saviour * John, xvii. 3. t Jolin, xiv. 9. I 1 Cor. ii, 2. $ Phil. iii. 8, 10.;
Saviour Jesus Christ.”|| This is an endless theme, an inexhaustible subject, which the redeemed will study and explore forever, and will grow and increase in the knowledge of this boundless, glorious, and most entertaining object, with unspeakable and ever fresh delight and joy, without any end. Happy are they who with St. Paul, have the true revelation of Jesus Christ ; it will lead them on, in the only path of wisdom, to endless stores of knowledge and happiness ; when they shall be where he is, and behold his glory ; dwelling in the New Jerusalem, whereof the Son of God, the Lamb, shall shine forever with increasing lustre, and be the light thereof. But they who have not the true knowledge of Christ, are exposed to run into error and fatal delusions respecting this person, and while they profess to acknowledge and honour him, really deny and reject him. This was the case with the Jews, when the Son of God was in the flesh on earth. " For they that dwelt at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they know him not, nor yet the voices of the Prophets, which were read every fabbath day, they have | fulfilled them in condemning him.”+ This proved fatal to them, of which our Lord warned them, when he told them “ If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins." I And there soon arose in the christian church those who denied the Lord that bought them, even our Lord Jesus Christ. § And as ignorance of the person of Jesus Christ, and mistakes respecting his real character, were so dangerous and fatal to Jews and professing Christians, in that day, they have been equally lo in every age since, down to this day ; and will be as mischievous to us, if we are so criminal and unhappy as to imbibe them, or any other, as contrary to the truth. į Professing christians have differed, perhaps, in nothing 10 much as they have about the person and character of Jesus Christ. The opinions which have been imbibed
and 1 2 Pet. iii. 18. † Acts, xiii. 27. I John, viii. 24. 2 gi Peter, ii 1, jude, 4.
and professed, are so many and various, that it would take volumes, and be an almost endless talk, particularly to imention and delcribe them ; which, therefore, will not be undertaken here. All that will be attempted, is to ascertain the truth, as revealed in the holy scriptures, concerning this high and important point, and great mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh.
The variety of different sentiments, and gross errors, into which men have run on this point, to their own deltruction, have not been owing to any darkness or defect in divine revelation, respecting this. We may be certain that the person and character of the Redeemer, is there to fully, and with so much perfpicuity ascertained and fixed, that every honest, unprejudiced person, who is willing to know and embrace the truth, and will properly study the Bible, will come to the knowledge of the truth, and form right conceptions of Jesus Christ, in every important article respecting him. All the mistakes and errors, therefore, which have been embraced on this point, have originated from the evil biasses, prejudices, and inattention of finful man, together with the influ. ence which latan, “who deceives the whole world,” has been suffered to exert on the minds of men. The depraved minds of men, love darkness rather than the light; yea, hate the truth ; and are more ready to embrace error and delusion, than the pure truth, with rela. tion to the Redeemer : And satan, the great enemy of Christ, and of men, is unwearied in his attempts to blind and deceive them, especially respecting the Saviour, and lead them to embrace damnable errors concerning him, and such as are very dishonourable to him, and rob him of all his glory, as the redeemer of finners. This will fully account for the various and multiplied errors which have been, at one time and another, invented and propagated in the christian world, consistent with the utmost clear. ness and perfection of divine revelation on this head.
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Ever since the gospel has been preached to the world, to this day, the person and character of Christ, Christ crucified, has been to the Jews a stumbling block, and to the Gentiles foolishness : To all the unbelieving and disobedient he has been, and is now, and will continue to be, “a stone of stumbling and rock of offence." While to them who believe he is precious, the only sure foundation, and chief corner stone, on whom they build all their hopes. These true friends to Christ do know him, having some degree of true acquaintance with his person and character : But their knowledge is very imperfect, and, it is to be feared, in molt, if not all of them, is attended with great darkness, and more or less mistakes and wrong conceptions of him. This, however, is no matter of discouragement to attend to this subject with great care, diligence and circumspection ; but rather a weighty motive to it ; and to attempt to confirm the truth, and throw all, the light upon it which may have been obtained, by a long and careful study of the holy scriptures ; leaving it with them who shall come after with more clear heads, better hearts, and a more unprejudiced, and engaged study of the Bible, to detect the mistakes which may now be made, and remove present darkness, by bringing forth more abundant light from the divine otacles, on this important subject.
It is not designed to attempt a particular refutation of any of the many different opinions which have been advanced concerning the person of the Redeemer, or to answer all the objections which have been made to that representation which shall now be given as warranted by the scriptures of truth ; since stating the truth, and supporting it by divine revelation, is the shortest and most effectual way to discover and confute the opposite errors, and filence all the objections which have been made to it. A a 3
The following things appear to be revealed in the holy scriptures, concerning this wonderful person ; and therefore may be safely believed and asserted.
1. That Jesus Christ, the redeemer of men, is truly God, or a divine person. This has been so much in fted upon, and abundantly proved from scripture, by so many writers, that it is needless to attend here to all the evidence there is of this truth in scripture. It will be sufficient briefly to note the following particulars.
1. This is expressly asserted of him, and he is often called God in the scripture. The following passages are instances of this. “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God." This is the word, which took flesh, or the human nature, into a personal union with himself. “And the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us ; and we beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten Son of the Father."* The word, which is asserted to be God, is the second person in the Trinity. “There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost.”+ Therefore, “ his name is called the Word of God.” I “Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulders : And his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, THE MIGHTY God." “And this is the name whereby he shall be called. The Lord (EHOVAN) our righteousness.”I “Behold a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call his name EWANUEL, which, being interpreted, is God with us.” | “ And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.”“Whose are the Father, and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever.” “ Looking for that blessed
hope, * John, i. 1. 14. + 1 John, v. 7. Rev. xix. 13. Šilaiah, ix. 6. I jer. xxii. 6. ll Mar. i. 23. Isaiah, vii. 14. † John, xx. 28.
Rop. ix. 5.