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who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature, for by him (though a mere man, born in the days of Augustus Cæsar] were all things created, that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, principalities or powers : All things are created by him [this mere man] and for him, (the same mere man!] and he [though he had no existence till about sixty years ago]* is before all things, and by him [a mere man!] all things consist: And he is the head of his body the church : The beginning, the firstborn from the dead : That in all things, he [a mere man!) might have the pre-eminence. For it pleased the Father that in him [a mere man!) should all fulness dwell, and having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things to himself : By him, [a mere man!] I say, whether they be things on earth, or in heaven.' Surely this is unparalleled ! No nonsense that ever was uttered, can equal it! The apostle proceeds, “And you who were sometime alienated and enemies in your minds by wicked works, yet now hath he [a mere mau !) reconciled in the body of his flesh, through death, present you holy and unblamable, and unreprovable in his sight, [the sight of the same mere man!) The mystery, (verse 26,) hid from ages, and from generations, is vow made manifest to his saints, to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery, among the Gentiles, which is Christ, [a mere man:] in you the hope of glory; whom [a mere man though he be !) we preach, warning every man,
and teaching every man, in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus, (the same mere man.] Whereunto I also labour according to his working, [that is, the working of a mere man!] which worketh in me mightily.'
Now is not this strange doctrine ? A mere man hath reconciled to God, those that were alienated and
• St. Paul is supposed to have written this Epistle, as also that to the Ephesians, about the year of our Lord 63.
enemies in their minds by wicked works! A mere man is in them, many thousands and myriads as they are, the hope of glory, that is, the foundation and source of their hope! A mere man works mightily in and by his apostle. The gospel, (chap. ii, 2,) is the mystery of the eternal God and of a mere man! And in a mere man, (verse 3,) are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge! He goes on, ' And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.-As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, [the mere man I speak of,] so walk ye in him, rooted and built up in him, [the same mere man!] and established in the faith.—Beware then lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world and not after Christ, [a mere man!] For in him (mere man as he is !] dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily; and ye are complete iu him, who (though but a man) is the head of all principality and power :' Observe, Sir, ‘All the fulness of the Godhead bodily' (or substantially) dwells in a mere man! and a mere man is the head of all principality and power!'
The apostle mentions afterwards the worshipping of angels,' and opposes it to holding the head, “ from which (adds he) all the body, (the church universal, with every member thereof,] with joints and bands, having nourishment ministered and knit together, increaseth with all the increase of God.' So that, it seemis, this mere man ministers spiritual nourishment to every true member of his mystical body, that is, to every true believer in every part of the world, and causeth them all to increase, with all the increase of God! I hope, if Dr. Priestley cannot shew how this is done, he can at least prove that it is possible ; and that this same mere man is capable also of being our Life, as the apostle observes in the next chapter, (verse 4,) and our all, (verse 11,) and even in all that believe
Many are the passages in the remaining part of this Epistle, in which the apostle affirms of Christ, or
ascribes to him what, common sense will pronounce, cannot belong to a mere man. For example, “ Forgiving one another, if any man have a consplaint against any; even as Christ [a mere man) forgave you, so also do ye—and whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, (that is, in the name of a mere man!] giving thanks to God, even the Father, by him.-Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord [a inere man.] -Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, and whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, [a mere man !; and not onto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance, for ye serve [a mere man !) the Lord Christ :-(Chap. iv.) Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal, knowing that ye also bave a Master, (viz. a mere man !) iu heaven.-(12.) Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, (that is, of a mere man!] saluteth you.-(17.) Say to Archippus, take heed of the miuistry which thou hast received of the Lord [a mere mau!) to fulfil it.Grace be with you! Amen!
Methinks, Rev. Sir, it must be impossible for any one to pay the slightest attention to the above texts, quoted from the Epistle to the Colossians, and here interpreted according to Dr. Priestley's hypothesis, without being convinced that his doctrine, and that of St. Paul, concerning the person and offices of Christ, are absolutely irreconcilable on the principles of commoti sense. Would any man, who was not absolutely an ideot or lunatic, if he believed Jesus Christ to be no more than a man, have held him up to view as the person, by whom all things were created, that are in hearen, and that are in earth, visible and invisible,' Day, as the person for whom, as well as by whom, they were created, and who, of consequence, existed“ before all things, and by whom all things consist and are upheld ? Would he have represented him as a person in whom all fulness dwells, yea, all the fulness of the Godhead bodily,' and as the head of his body the church, and not an head of guidance or government only, but of vital influence also ? Would he have taught it as a great and important mystery, hid from ages and generations of old, but now made manifest to the saints, that this mere inan was in real Christians • their hope of glory,' working mightily in and by his Apostles and servants :
Further, would he, in speaking of the mystery of the gospel, (which, by the by, on the Doctor's principles can hardly be termed a mystery at all,) have denominated it the mystery of God the Father and of Christ,' thus joining a mere man with the Eternal God, and making him, together with the self-existent Jehovah, the author of the gospel ? Would he have represented him as a person in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and the head of all principality and power ? Would he have spoken of 'receiving him, walking in him,' and being 'rooted and built up, and complete in him,' or as ev aulw werAnpwjevou rather signifies, filled with or by him ? Would he, in guarding them against the vaiu deceits of philosophy, (those deceits which are after the rudiments of the world, and the tradition of men, and not after Christ,) have cautioned them agaiust the worship of angels, and opposed it to holding the head, Christ; an expression which in this connexion manifestly implies the worshipping him, which we have had already sufficient, and shall yet have much more abundant proof, that the Apostles and first Christians did ? Would he have termed this mere man, as the Doctor thinks him, the life of true believers, and their all in all, exhorting them to forgive one another, as he had forgiven them?'--Would he have opposed him to meu, and urged servants, whatsoerer they did, to do it heartily as to him, [a mere man!) and not to men, • knowing that of him, they should receive the reward of the inheritance, for that they served the Lord Christ?' These inquiries, Rev. Sir, are of deep importance, and such as, on the Socinian principles, I am well conviuced, Dr. Priestley will never be able to answer to the satisfaction of those who pay any deference to the authority of St. Paul.
DR. PRIESTLEY would fain persuade us, that St. Paul's idea of the person of Christ was the same with that which he entertains. But, were there no other, there is at least one insurmountable objection to this, and that is the different conduct of the Apostle, from that of the Doctor, with regard to divine worship. The Doctor confines this entirely to the Father. He never, in any instance, addresses it to the Son. He judges it would be idolatry so to do. But we have already seen in many undeniable instances, that St. Paul worshipped Jesus Christ. To say nothing of the many other passages which have occurred in the epistles already reviewed, the benedictions wherewith he has begun and ended these epistles, are incontrovertible proofs of it. For in these he asks grace, or grace and peace, of Jesus Christ, as well as of the supreme and eternal Father. We have already met with so many instances of this kind, that I am ashamed to trouble you with any more. I shall therefore pass over those occurring in the two next epistles, (viz. the epistles to the Thessalonians,) and I shall also omit mentioning divers texts in those epistles concerning Christ, which, if understood as spoken of a mere map,