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paid to the Father; for as the evidence arising from the natural world leads to the acknowlegement of only one great Being, there could be no pretence in setting up another either in opposition to, or conjunction with him, to be an object of worship. But when Christ undertook and redeemed the world, then it was thought proper to make known his primary glory, that we might know whence to expect salvation, and that the honor and obedience due both to our Maker and to our Redeemer might be consistent. Thus Christ, having redeemed the world, was by the Father made Lord of all things: and thus the Lord of every man is Christ, whose we all are. There is no room to speculate about nature or essence, or to suppose that Christ, before his exaltation, was less honorable, any more than to suppose that God was less honorable before the creation ; because at the creation the sons of God sang together for joy, and paid him new honors and adoration. This difficulty being thus removed, the doctrine of the text is considered in the following method : I. that the power and authority exercised by Christ Jesus, in and over the Church of God, are derived from this exaltation ; and therefore, II. that the honor and worship paid to Christ, in and by the Church of God, are founded in this exaltation : III, that the power and authority exercised by Christ, and the honor and worship paid to him, are, and ought to be, ultimately referred to the glory of God the Father. These propositions are so evident from the words of the text, as to be subject to no doubt in the explication : but it may be of service to show that they are also agreeable to, and confirmed by, the whole tenor of Scripture. With regard to the first proposition; the first authority produced is that of our Lord himself, who, just before his ascension, and the commission given to his disciples, to teach and baptise in
did, as it were, open his own, which was the foundation of theirs : Matth. xxviii. 18-20. These verses commented on, showing that this power is part of the exaltation spoken of in the text; and that in consequence of their conimission, all acts done by them in his name are founded in the power which he received after his resurrection. St. Paul, in Rom. i. 4. says, that Christ was declared to be the Son of God with power, &c. God, at Christ's baptism, and at the transfiguration, declared him to be his well-beloved Son, in whom he was well pleased; but at the resurrection, to be his Son with power. The Apostle's sense is fully expressed, Rom. xiv. 9: this passage commented on and explained. In the Epistle to the Colossians towards the middle of chap. i. St. Paul speaks largely of Jesus Christ, not only distinguishing between the power by which he created all things, and the power by which he governs all things, as head of the Church ; but marking also the different sources and originals whence these powers proceed. One place more is mentioned, Ephes. i. 17-23., where St. Paul describes the power and authority of Christ, and founds all on his resurrection and consequent exaltation. The Scripture abounds with such evidence; nor is any thing plainer in the gospel than that Christ is our Lord, our King, our Mediator, and Intercessor. The second proposition is a natural consequence of what has been already said. The title which Christ Jesus has to receive honor and worship in the Church, is the reason and foundation on which they are paid him : what his title is has been already shown; and consequently the foundation of the Church's worship. But that faith may not rest on man's wisdom, hear the evidence of Scripture on this point also. In the Revelation of St. John several hymns of the Church, in honor of God and his Christ, are recorded, than which we cannot find a better
copy devotions : see chap. iv. 11. Here the adoration paid to God the Father is founded on his being the Creator of all things. In the next chapter, the worship of Christ is founded on this, that he was slain, and that by his blood he redeemed us : the same praises are also sung to him in the 12th verse : from all
which it is evident that the worship of Christ is founded on the redemption, and relates to the power and authority which he received from God at his resurrection. The confession drawn from the text, that God has given Christ a name that is above every name, &c. implies much more than a bare acknowlege. ment that he is Lord; it comprehends those honors, and that worship, which those who heartily confess him as Lord, will naturally and readily pay to him. How this confession must be made, and whence it must proceed, St. Paul tells us in Rom. x. 8-9: these verses commented on, showing that the confession of our faith in Christ Jesus is that faith by which we shall be saved: this point fully enlarged on. But if Christ be not risen from the dead and exalted to glory, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also rain : but if he be risen, and be exalted to glory, how absurd is it to deny him the honors due to him! The fear which some have, that by paying their duty to their Redeemer, they rob God of his peculiar honor, and set up an object of worship in opposition to his plain commands, that himself alone is to be worshipped, will vanish, if we consider, lastly, that all powers exercised by Christ, and all honors paid to him, are ultimately referred to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The honor and worship paid to the Son must either be part of the service we owe to God, or inconsistent with it: if we have found out new objects of adoration, we offend against the law, thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve : but to honor Christ, in virtue of God's command, to honor the Son even as we honor the Father, is part of the service which we owe to God, and arises out of the command itself. Our Saviour has told us, that all power is given unto him; thereby asserting both his own and his Father's authority: this point enlarged on. He has told us by his Apostle that, at the end of all things, the Son shall resign his power, that God may be all in all; plainly intimating that the power now exercised by
SUMMARY OP DISCOURSE L.
him is his Father's, which, as it is at last to be given up to him, so was it at first received from him : hence the honor paid to Christ is referred ultimately to God the Father : this point enlarged on with reference to the different offices of Christ. These things clearly show that the gospel has not strained the precepts of natural religion, in teaching us to honor the Son, whom the Father hath made head of all things, even to their consummation.
PHILIPPIANS, CHAP. II.-VERSES 6—11.
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal
with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took on him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men : and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth ; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
The words now read to you have been strongly debated by Christians, differing in opinion about the person and dignity of our blessed Saviour; and as they are often handled, lead more certainly to the knowlege of the interpreter's opinion than of the Apostle's.
I intend not to press them into the service of any particular opinions, but fairly to expound them; and to infer nothing from them, but what may evidently be shown to be in them, even by the necessity of the Apostle's argument. To avoid obscurity and confusion, I shall proceed in the following method :
First, I shall represent to you the Apostle's argument intire and by itself.
Secondly, I shall consider the several things implied in it; which, with respect to this particular argument, we may call the principles on which the Apostle reasons.