« PreviousContinue »
ing of the Spirit's Defcent to inftruct his Difciples fully, and to guide them into all Truth; and tels them, that he shall not speak of himself: but whatsoever be fhall bear, that he shall speak, and he will fhew you things to come, V. 12. 13. adding, He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and he shall fhew it unto you, That is, I will fend the Spirit to revele to you whatsoever it shall be fit for you to hear concerning me and my Kingdom. This will therefore tend to my Glory; because he fhall act as fent by me, and deliver my Meffages. And that you may not doubt of my being able to perform this Promife, I affure you, that I am fully empower'd to fend the Spirit. For the Father has committed to me all Power and Authority relating to the Church; and therefore what the Spirit fhall do in that respect, will be perform'd by him as fent by me for that Purpose. But how did this discover to the Disciples, that Chrift was at that time more than a Man? He foretels indeed what he should certainly be able to do; and he speaks of the fame in the Present Tenfe, to denote the Certainty of it, as the Jewish Manner was; and all this he afcribes to the good Pleasure of his Father, from whom he fhould receive fuch wonderful Abilities, at the time of his Exaltation, which he frequently prophefied of. And this he might well fay to them, without caufing them to believe, that he was at that time any thing more than a Man conducted and affifted by that very Spirit, which he himself fhould afterwards pour forth upon his Difciples.
3. Our Savior fpeaking of the Perfecutions of his Difciples after his Exaltation, bids them not be follicitous about making their Defenfes, faying, Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before, what ye fhall answer. For I will give you a mouth and wisdom,
which all your Adverfaries fhall not be able to gainsay nor refift, Luke 21. 14, 15. This again is only a Declaration of what God would enable him to do for them after his Exaltation (and well might he do it, who could pour forth the miraculous Gifts of the Spirit on them) but the Disciples could not gather from thence, that their Master had a Divine Nature. Efpecially confidering, that his Disciples themselves conferr'd the extraordinary Gifts of the Holy Ghoft, as I noted before.
4. Our Bleffed Lord declares, that he fhall raise the Dead at the Day of Judgment. This is the will of him that fent me, that every one which feeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life and I will raife him up at the last day, John 6. 40. Whofo eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, bath eternal life, and I will raife him up at the last day, V. 54. This indeed fhews, that he fhould at that time fully exercife that Power, which he exercis'd in fome measure whilft upon Earth, and which his Difciples alfo exercis'd by the Affiftance of God. But the Difciples could not from thence conclude, that he actu ally was more than Man at the time when he foretold this Inftance of his Spiritual Goverment. They could not but conclude, that he fhould be then much greater than he appear'd at that Inftant of his fpeaking; but they could not conclude, that at the Inftant of his fpeaking he had a Divine Nature.
* Hitherto I have been confidering fuch Declarations of our Lord, as might have been ftrictly true, and confequently might (had God pleas'd) have been made by him, even tho' he had been nothing more than a mere Man conducted and affifted by God's Spirit, and had not had a Divine Nature perfonally united to his Manhood. I proceed now to fome Declarations of a different kind. First, he
foretels his receiving of Religious Worship, faying, The Father judgeth no man, but bath committed all judg ment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son, bonoureth not the Father which hath sent him, John 5. 22, 23. Secondly, he foretels his Prefence with his Disciples even after his Afcenfion, faying, Where tavo or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them, Matt. 18. 20. Thirdly, he affures them, that he would answer their Prayers, faying, Whatfoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Fa ther may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing my name, I will do it, John 14. 13, 14. Now, becaufe the great Mystery of the Union of the Divine and Human Natures is fo fully revel'd to us in the Holy Scriptures; therefore we juftly infer, that the Truth of thefe Declarations is built upon that Union, and the meaning of them is very clear and intelligible to us, by reafon of that Difcovery. And accordingly I grant, that the aforefaid Declarations (and perhaps there may be others, of the fame fort) did hint and imply our Lord's having a Divine Nature.
But yet it does not follow from hence, that the Difciples did, during his Miniftry, believe him to be more than a mere Man conducted and affifted 'by God's Spirit. For how does it appear, that they took the aforefaid Hints, that they apprehended what was imply'd, or understood those furprizing Speeches? 'Tis certain, they were very often at a Lofs, and knew not what to make of their Mafter's Sayings. They perceiv'd not the Meaning of them, when they were deliver'd; tho' they perceiv'd it afterwards, particularly when the Spirit was poured on them.. Thus we are exprefly told, that they understood not what he fpake concerning
cerning his Death and Refurrection (which Matters were certainly more obvious to their Underftandings, and more level to their Capacities, than his having a Divine Nature) till after his Sufferings were accomplish'd, Mark 2. 32. Luke 9.45. and 18. 34. John 2. 19, 20, 21, 22, 23. Sometimes they were afraid to ask for Interpretations; at other times our Savior did not give them; and indeed they were not qualify'd, during his Miniftry, for the Reception of many fublime Doctrins, which fhould in due time be declar'd. You well know thefe remarkable Words of Chrift, I have yet many things to fay unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit, when he the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth, John 16. 12, 13. No wonder then, that they did not for the prefent apprehend our Lord's having a Divine Nature, which is certainly the greateft Mystery of our Religion, and what they would leaft of all fufpect, and most of all be fhockt at. Nay, 'tis abfurd for us to imagin, that they believ'd this aftonishing Article of Faith during Chrift's Ministry, without undeniable Evidence of their believing it; which I dare fay, no Man in his Wits will pretend. But when the Comforter was come, they throughly understood what they had formerly no tolerable Notions of. For the Spirit refrefh'd their Memories at the fame time that he enlighten'd their Understandings. For our Lord faid, Thefe things have I spoken unto you, being yet prefent with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghoft, whom the Father will fend in my name, be fhall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have faid unto you, John 14. 25, 26. So that by comparing his Difcourfes with the Events, they perfectly comprehended them;
and accordingly they might well know and believe, that their Mafter had a Divine Nature.
I must add, that if they had believ'd him to have had a Divine Nature during the time of his Miniftry; 'tis utterly unconceivable, that there fhould be no clear Indication of it in Scripture. The Belief of that one Propofition could not but have difcover'd it felf numberless Ways in the whole Course of their Actions. It must have forced from them fome open Acknowledgments and Expreffions of that Belief. It must have led them into a quite different Condu& from that which the whole Hiftory of the Gofpels difcovers to us. And yet there is not the flighteft Intimation of this Nature. Wherefore, tho' 'tis fufficient for my Purpose, that we have no Evidence to the contrary; yet I can't but efteem this fingle Confideration (viz. the Silence of Scripture in fo Momentous a Part of Sacred Hiftory) a plain and pofitive Demonstration of what I have been proving, viz. that during the Time of our Savior's Ministry, his Difciples did not believe him to be more than a mere Man con ducted and affifted by the Spirit of God.
I must how intreat your Patience, whilft I difpatch three Particulars, which fome Perfons, lefs learned than your felf, may poffibly ftumble at, or raife Objections from.
1. St. John the Baptift faid of Chrift during his Miniftry, He is above all, John 3. 31. and again, The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his band, v. 35. Now if any Man fhould imagin, that the Baptift thereby difcover'd Chrift's Divine Na ture,and confequently Chrift's Difciples might pèrhaps believe it, even during his Miniftry; Ianfwer, r.That if the Baptift's Expreffions did certainly imply, that Chrift had a Divine Nature; yet how