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Let us but reflect upon our felves. Each of us has a Body and a Soul. These conftituent Parts are vaftly different from each other, the one being material, the other immaterial. Now if any Perfon fhould affirm of a Man's Soul, that 'tis material, or of his Body, that 'tis immaterial; would not these Affirmations be àrrant Falfhoods? And yet it may notwithstanding be truly affirm'd of the Man, that he is material, and that he is immaterial. But then these Propofitions are true concerning the Man in different Refpects. With refpect to his Body, he is material: with refpect to his Soul, he is immaterial. Wherefore we must carefully diftinguish between what is affirm'd of him with refpect to his Soul, and what is affirm'd of him with refpect to his Body. Elfe what is really true, will appear falfe; and what is really falfe, will appear true, by a confus'd Mifapplication.
Even thus, fince in the bleffed Jefus two Natures are united, which are vaftly different from each other if a Man fhould affirm concerning his Divine Nature, that 'twas Created; and concerning his human Nature, that it made the World; thefe Affirmations would be arrant Falfhoods. And yet it may notwithstanding, be truly affirm'd of the bleffed Jefus, that he made the World, and that he was created. These Propofitions therefore are true of the bleffed Jesus in different Refpects. His human Nature was created; and his Divine Nature made the World. Wherefore we muft carefully diftinguish between what is refpectively affirm'd of him upon the account of the Divine and human Natures. Elfe we fhall blunder into numberless Untruths, and make the holy Scriptures a mere jumble of Contradictions.
No Man, that has confider'd the Controversies concerning the Trinity, can be infenfible of those Mistakes, into which Learned Men have faln by not obferving this Rule. And indeed, even Zeal for the real Truth has too commonly betray'd Men into grofs Errors, and plung'd even the Maintainers of a right Cause into infuperable Difficulties. For, in Oppofition to thofe against whom they have beftow'd their Labors, they have greedily caught at every Text, that would, if underflood in a particular Senfe, confound their Adverfaries; and by this Means they have expos'd themfelves to fuch Objections, as they could never get clear of upon their own Principles, and without retracting what they had themselves before advanc'd. Thus has the Doctrin of the Trinity been rendred infinitly perplex'd and intricat; whilst fucceeding Writers have been afraid to part with any one Argument, that has been urg'd in favor of Orthodoxy by their Predeceffors in Controversy.
We must therefore lay afide our Prejudices, and disentangle our felves from thofe Notions, which we have receiv'd, not from the holy Scriptures, but from fallible Writers. We must have recourse to our Bibles, if we defire to be refolv'd, whether the WORD, or Divine Nature of our Lord Jefus Chrift, be the very God, or no. We are not left deftitute of fufficient Means for the Determination of this Point. The infpir'd Writings are exceedingly clear, and speak very plainly, concerning it. They have fo manifeftly taught us, that the WORD is the very God, that could I find any one Paffage, which implies the contrary, I fhould own the Scriptures to be inconfiftent with themselves, and not pretend to reconcile them.
What then has created fuch fierce Disputes about our Lord's Divine Nature? Why, the holy Scriptures do frequently fpeak of Jefus Chrift as inferior to the very God; and fome Learned Men, having unfortunatly thought that diverfe of those Paffages relate to his Divine Nature, have from thence concluded (juftly indeed, if that Principle be granted) that the WORD, tho' exprefly call'd God, yet is not the one very felfexiftent God, but a fecondary Being or inferior God. And they have accordingly labor'd to put fuch a Senfe upon those Texts, which speak of our Savior's Divinity, as is agreeable to their Conceptions of an inferior Deity. Whereas in Reality, tho' the holy Scriptures do frequently fpeak of Jefus Chrift as inferior to the very God; yet there is not one of those Texts, but what either fairly may, or neceffarily muft, be understood of his human Nature. And confequently they do not prove, that the WORD, or his Divine Nature, is inferior to the very God. Wherefore thofe Texts, which speak of our Savior's Divinity, muft be understood in their natural Senfe; which effectually demonftrats, as will foon appear, that the WORD, or Divine Nature of our Savior, is very God.
I hope, I have fhewn the Difference between us in fuch an intelligible manner, that a Person even of the meaneft Capacity will fully and diftinctly perceive it. Ifhall therefore proceed to establish my own Affer:ion, and to confute yours, by proving,
1. That the Holy Scriptures do not teach, that the WORD, or Divine Nature of our Lord Jefus Chrift, is inferior to the very God.
2. That the Holy Scriptures do teach, that the WORD, or Divine Nature of our Lord Jesus Christ, is the very God.
Of the Exaltation of our Lord Jefus Christ.
IRST then, I fhall fhew, that the Holy Scriptures do not teach, that the WORD, or Divine Nature of our Lord Jefus Chrift, is inferior to the very God. This I fhall do, by examining all thofe Texts, which are fuppos'd to teach it.
The first is a famous Paffage of the Second Chapter of the Epistle to the Philippians, wherein the Apoftle fpeaks very remarkably of the Humiliation and Exaltation of our Lord Jefus Chrift. And to prepare the Way for the true Explanation of that difficult Paffage, I must offer to your Confideration an Account of what the holy Scriptures (fetting afide for the prefent this Text in difpute) do fay concerning our Lord's Exaltation.
When he folemnly afcended from Earth in the Prefence of his Difciples, we read that he was received up into heaven, and fat on the right hand of God, Mark 16. 19. Soon after this, St. Stephen the first Martyr, being full of the Holy Ghoft, looked up stedfaftly into heaven, and faw the glory of God, and Jefus ftanding on the right hand of God, And faid, behold, I fee the beavens opened, and the Son of Man ftanding on the right hand of God, Acts 7. 55,56. St. Paul alfo, Rom. 8. 34. Col. 3. 1. Heb. 10. 12. and St. Peter, 1 Epift. 3. 22. affure us of his being and fitting at God's right hand, or, as 'tis fometimes exprefs'd, at the right hand of the throne of God, and on the right hand of the throne of the majeftie in the heavens, Heb.8.1. Thus has God exalted him to be a prince, Acts 5. 31. By this he is made Lord, Acts 2. 36. even Lord of all, Acts 10. 36. that is, Governor of the whole Creation. For C 4 God
God has put all things under his feet, 1 Cor. 15. 27. He is the bead of all principality and power, Col. 2. 10. Angels, authorities, and powers being made fubject unto him, 1 Pet. 3. 22. God has fet him at his own right band in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And has put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the Church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all, Eph. 1. 20, 21, 22, 23. So that he might juftly fay, I am fet down with my father in his throne, Rev. 3. 21. And accordingly the fame Throne is the Throne of God, and of the Lamb; For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne, fhall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, Rev. 7. 17. And he fhewed me a pure river of water of life clear as chrystal, proceeding out of the throne of God, and of the Lamb. Rev. 22. 1. And there fall be no more curfe, but the throne of God and of the Lamb hall be in it, and his fervants fall ferve him, v. 3.
Being in this glorious Station, he is our Mediaedia_ tor and Interceffor, pleading the Merit of his own Sacrifice in our behalf. He is the one mediator between God and men, 1 Tim. 2. 5. He maketh interceffion for us, Rom. 8. 34.
In this exalted Condition he receives Religious Worship. No fooner was he carried up into Heaven, but it follows immediatly, and they worshipped bim, Luke 24. 52. And accordingly St. Stephen at his Martyrdom pray'd to him, faying, Lord Jefus receive my Spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this fin to their charge, A&ts 7. 59, 60. St. John alfo fays, Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our fins in his own bloud, And has made us kings and priests unto God and his father; to him be