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66 ther, exclusive of the Son, who said, " I sware by myself," 66 or 6 as I live,' every knee shall bow to me,' &c. this 66 would have been so far from proving, as the apostle in66 tends and argues, that we shall all stand before the judg66 ment-seat of Christ,' that it would have proved just the con6 trary; because Christ is not that God that there sware by 6 himself, and consequently not that God, whom by that oath " we are obliged to stand before, and bow the knee, and con66 fess to. But if Christ is that God who there “sware that every • knee should bow, and every tongue confess to him, then “ the proof is cogent and unanswerable, that we all shall stand “ before his judgment-seat.” *
On 1 Cor. i. 30, 31. compared with Isa. xlv. 25. Mr. Yates simply says, “ That the title LORD is here equivalent to JEHO“ VAH, is evident from the passage of Isaiah alluded to by the 66 apostle, Isa. xlv. 25. The meaning, evidently is, that << men should glory in God, by whom Christ has been made unto “ them wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and re6 demption.” Page 201. Put this is not by any means so very clear. Christ is, in the 30th verse, designated as our “ righte66 ousness,” (which, as distinguished from sanctification, means “ our justification:")— The passage in Isaiah says, “ IN THE LORD (JEHOVAH) shall all the seed of Israel BE JUSTIFIED." Christ, then, is “ JEHOVAH, in' whom all the seed of Israel 6 ARE JUSTIFIED, and in whom they glory.”
The application of the title “MY LORD,” in Psal. cx. 1. to CHRIST, made by Christ himself, and particularly noticed by me, in closing this branch of the subject, Mr. Yates passes over sub silentio. He must either have felt it too much for him, or thought it too little. The Pharisees of old were in the former predicament. ... .. . ,
* Sermons on the Deity of Christ, Sermon III. .'
In Chapter VI. Mr. Yates examines " THE PASSAGES IN 66 WHICH THE PECULIAR ATTRIBUTES OF DEITY ARE SUPPOSED 66 TO BE ASCRIBED TO CHRIST."
1. Eternal existence. ,
His remarks on the passages adduced under this particular, strikingly shew the imbecility of his cause. " John viii. 58. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abra-' sham was, I am.”—No attempt is made to invalidate my reasoning on this text. “Mr. Wardlaw remarks,” says Mr. Yates, só concerning this passage, 'Our Lord expressly affirms, 6 that he existed before Abraham.' The truth of his observa“ tion will be admitted probably by all Unitarians who believe 66 in the pre-existence of Christ.” Page 202.-Is Mr. Yates himself, then, one of these? He does not say. The words of Jesus must mean something. What then does he understand to be their meaning? He does not tell us.— And such is his way. When he thinks he can make any text to comport with the simple manhood of Christ, he tries it. When he feels himself pinched by any text on this hypothesis, he takes refuge behind that of his pre-existence, as the first of creatures. We are left thus to conclude, that Mr. Yates considers it as a matter of little or no consequence, whether Jesus was the first and most exalted of creatures, or a mere man, the offspring of Joseph and Mary; and the Scriptures as leaving this point quite unsettled., No matter what he be, it should seem, provided it can be sbown that he is not God. :!: min:
66 After sounding his shrill clarion," Mr. Yates continues, of through three pages, over the Socinian expositors,' he ob
“ serves, The idea, which has often been suggested, is far from “ being destitute of probability, that there was in our Lord's " words an allusion, perceived by the Jews, and rendered, PER66 HAPS, emphatical by his manner, to the words of God to “ Moses, “I AM THAT I Am.'-As our Author here expresses “ himself with becoming hesitation and modesty, I only won“ der that he has introduced this passage among the direct “ and immediate proofs of our Lord's divinity.” (Pages 202, 203.)— This is partial quotation. The circumstance on which the probability is chiefly grounded is left out of view. The Jews conceived our Lord, in using the words, to be guilty of blasphemy. This is clear from their taking up stones to stone him. But there was no blasphemy in calling himself the Messiah; nor any blasphemy in the simple affirmation of his pre existence as a creature. The blasphemy, on this, as on other occasions, consisted in that " he being a man made himself « God.” And when we recollect, that he spoke to them in their own language; that they had the look, and emphasis, and manner of the speaker, to enable them to understand his meaning; and that our blessed Lord did not at all undeceive them, which every idea we can form of his character constrains us to think he must have done, had he perceived them to be actuated by a mistake so gross, and so unutterably revolting to his heart;-We have the strongest reason to believe, that they were right in their interpretation of his words, although wrong in accounting them blasphemous.
Heb. i. 10. Mr. Yates briefly repeats the view of this text which we have already considered, pages 190,191.
Col. i. 17. “ In the 15th verse of this chapter," Mr. Yates obseryes, “ Christ is called the first-born of every 6 creature,' which is a direct testimony that he was not an 6 eternal, but a created being. Nor is this assertion contra
6 dicted by the phrase he is before all things. For even “ if we suppose it to mean, not he is,' but he was before “ all things,' and if we were to grant that before all things' “ signifies pre-existence in time, and not pre-eminence in dig“nity, still it could only signify, that he existed before all “ things except himself and God. It proves, therefore, at " the very utmost, nothing more than our Lord's existence “ before the creation of the universe." (Page 203.)
Here is the same indecision as before. We have in this text, it seems, a direct testimony that Christ is not an eternal but a created being. But, if it be at all a direct testimony against his eternal existence, it must be as direct a testimony for his pre-existence;-his existence before all other creatures. We ask again, then, Does Mr. Yates believe this testimony? But we ask in vain. Cautus horrescit. He sets out upon the principle of never saying what he thinks Christ is,—but only showing what he is not. And, to do him justice, he keeps it up.
But let us examine his positions. And, to take the last first:-Although it were granted, it seems, that “ before all " things" signifies pre-existence in time, and not pre-eminence in dignity, still it could only signify " that he existed before all 6 things, except himself and God.”—I shall not dispute the position implied in these words, that no being can exist before himself. But if the words “ before all things have any specific meaning at all, they must mean, “ before all created things;" in which case, they exclude the person spoken of from being himself a creature. If he were of the number of created things himself, he could not be “ before all things,” for the very reason contained in the indisputable proposition that he could not exist before himself. Of no being but an uncreated being can it, with strict propriety, be said that he is “ be“ fore all created things."
But in the expression, “ the first-born of every creature,” in verse 15th, we have, it is alleged, “ a direct testimony 66 that he was not an eternal but a created being.”—The phrase #goroTOXOS maons XTiows appears here, however, most naturally to mean the supremacy to which he is exalted, as the « appointed Heir of all things,”—the “ LORD OF ALL;" which the Heir is described to be, Gal. iv. 1.-In Psalm lxxxix. 27, Jehovah, speaking of the Messiah, says, “ Also I will “ make him MY FIRST-BORN, higher than the kings of the 5 earth:” of which the meaning is, that he would invest him with pre-eminent dignity and authority, “ putting all things “ under his feet.”—This agrees well with the subsequent context in the epistle:—" And he is the head of the body, the s church; who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; 6 that in all things he might have the pre-eminence;"--as it does also with Heb. i. 2, 3. where Jesus is spoken of as 66 Heir of all things,” and at the same time as “ the bright“ ness of (the Father's) glory, and the express IMAGE of his per66 son;" just as in Col. i. 15. he is called “ the IMAGE of the
invisible God,” and “the FIRST-BORN of the whole creation.” -Schleusner says, “ Christus vocatur agwróToxos taons iridews, 6 princeps et dominus omnium rerum creatarum:"-and Parkhurst: “ Christ is called, Col. i. 15. TigWTOTOXOS TAONS XTIEWS, " the First-begotten, or First-born of the whole creation, because “ he was begotten to be heir and Lord of all things; (comp. 66 Heb. i. 2, 8. Acts x. 36.) and in all things, or over all per“ sons, to have the pre-eminence. (Comp. Psal. Ixxxix. 27.) And 6 because all things were created EIS avtov, FOR him, as well as “ di aurou, by him, in the same view he is styled absolutely TON “ POWTOTOXV, The First-born, Heb. i. 6."
Rev. i. 8.; i. 17.; xxii. 13.–On these three passages I refer the reader back to pages 34-36.