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defigned to exprefs our bleffed Saviour's fupreme authority, and the power and dominion to which God exalted him. Creation belongs to God: nor are we by any means to admit more creators than

one.

Another obfervation that may be affifting to us in understanding and explaining, fome paffages of this kind, is this, that the change produced in the world by the miffion and doctrine of Chrift, is figuratively ftyled a new creation : it was, in effect, making the world over again: those who were convinced and converted by him, became new creatures their principles, their difpofitions, their lives were quite altered and it is easy to underftand and conceive how God framed and managed this new creation by Jefus Chrift: by Jesus Christ, men are faid to be created a new unto good works. In this fenfe, God might truly be faid to create all things, by Jefus Christ.

Pre-existence, and proper Deity, has been, by many, fuppofed to be afcribed to Chrift, by the author of the Epiftle to the Hebrews, chap. i. 8. "But unto the Son he faith, thy throne O God, "is for ever and ever, a fcepter of righteoufnefs is "the fceptre of thy kingdom, thou haft loved "righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore God, " even thy God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladnefs above thy fellows." It is a quotation from the forty-fifth Pfalm, "thy throne O God, is, for ever and ever, the fceptre of thy kingdom

is

is a right scepter." Here, as all will allow, it evidently means, not our Saviour, but God himself, and I have no doubt, but Paul in this place, when he fays thy throne O God, is for ever and ever, intends not to apply them to our Lord, but to God the Father and it would have been more juftly tranflated, not unto the Son, but with reference, or, refpect, to the Son, i. e. with regard to the Son is applicable, that fcripture expreffion, or these words of the Pfalmift, thy throne O God is for ever and ever: the kingdom of God by the Meffiah, was to have no period: the God of heaven, then, set up a kingdom which should never be destroyed, a kingdom that should never be moved: the gofpel to be preached to all nations, is called the Everlasting Gospel. One great defign of the epiftle to the Hebrews, is to fhow, the fuperior dignity, excellence and importance of the difpenfation by Christ, above that by Mofes : among other things he fuggefts its univerfal extent and perpetual duration : in afferting the perpetuity of the chriftian difpenfation, he pertinently adopts the expreffion of the Pfalmift and what he directly afferts, is plainly this, that with respect to the Meffiah, the throne of God is for ever and ever. What follows in the ninth verfe, is undoubtedly addreffed for the Meffiah. "Thou haft loved righteousness and hated "iniquity, therefore God, even thy God, hath "anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy

*Rev, xiv. 6.

"fellows."

"fellows." God honoured the perfon, whom he appointed to be the Meffiah and Saviour of men, with a fulness of divine gifts, with glorious prerogatives, and a pre-eminence above all others. This paffage is therefore eafily and naturally understood, in a way that gives not the least foundation for the article of pre-exiftence, or the notion of Christ's being a fecond perfon in a trinity.

This interpretation is fo eafy and obvious, that it muft, I cannot but think, appear true and right to all, but fuch whofe prejudices, and falfe preconceived opinions, will not permit them to difcern.

Our bleffed Saviour is ftyled the firft born of every creature, or as it might perhaps be better rendered, of the whole creation. Now, this does not fignify his being produced before all other beings; it is expreffive only of his distinguished dignity and eminence it has nothing to do with his origination, or commencement of being: it is intended only to affirm his pre-eminence, his peculiar dignity and glory as Meffiah, his fupreme intereft in the regards of the Deity, a perfon whom the Father loved above all, and to whom he had given all things and as Meffiah, he is fuperior to angels: he fuftained and executed a commiffion of infinite unfpeakable importance: he is the most excellent perfonage, the deareft to God, of all the creation: he is the first born: he is the chief and moft excellent of the whole creation. This appellation,

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then, cannot, with any juftice, be alledged in favour of a pre-existent ftate. It has no reference to time or manner of production, but to excellence, dignity and importance of office and character.

He is called the image of God, the brightness of his Father's glory, the express image of his person.* This it appears very plain and evident to me, refers to our Saviour's character and conduct upon earth, not to his metaphyfical nature, his effence, fubstance, or what he was in a pre-exiftent ftate, but to what he was in this world. In him, in his life and conduct, in what he said, and did, fhone the glory of God: he acted a truly divine part: he exemplified the lovely, amiable qualities of the Deity: he exhibited, in the courfe of his miniftry, the glorious perfections of the supreme Being: he was a bright MIRROR of divine excellence: there was in the perfon, life and doctrine of Jesus, a lively image, a bright, clear and strong refulgence of divine glory in him appeared the power, the wifdom, the holiness, the truth, the goodnefs and benignity of the divine nature. This is perfectly agreeable to that declaration, "God who com"manded the light to fhine out of darkness, bath "fhined in our hearts, to give the light of the "knowledge of the glory of God, in the face, or "perfon, of Jefus Chrift."+

• Heb. i. 3.

† 2 Cor. iv, 6.

Some

Some learned men have conjectured, and too. haftily concluded and affirmed, that our Saviour was often employed as the minifter and meffenger of God under the Old Teftament, and have endeavoured to fhow, that, by Michael the Archangel, the angel of the covenant, we are to understand our Lord Jefus Chrift, who they fay, had the government of Ifrael affigned to him, and went under that name and character, before he was made flesh. But this is mere affertion, without real foundation: the fcripture affords no proof of it: nay it is directly contrary to what St. Paul declares in the most exprefs terms, in the beginning of his Epiftle to the Hebrews. "God who at "fundry times and in divers manners, fpake in "time paft unto the Fathers by the prophets, hath "in thefe last days spoken unto us by his Son." Chrift therefore was not fent upon meffages to men, before the times of the gospel.

Some have confidered the title, Son of God, fo often given to our Saviour, as implying his preexistence whereas it is very evident, from the whole tenor of fcripture, that this denomination is applied to him on account of what he was during his abode on this earth, on account of the great work affigned him, and the qualifications and honours conferred on him, on account of his miraculous nativity, the eminence of his office, the extraordinary communications of the divine fpirit, his glorious refurrection, the high authority, fovereign

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