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whom he applies the words of Isaiah, in the 8th chapter of his prophecy, manifestly meant of Jehovah ?The Lord, whom true believers • taste to be gracious, to whom they come, as to a living stone, upon whom they are built up, and trusting in whom they sball never be confounded ?-) ask further, is He a mere man, who, as we learn, (verse 24, &c.) ' his own self bore our sins on his own body, on the tree, heals us by his stripes,' and undertakes to be the “ Shepherd and Bishop of all our souls,' many thousands and myriads as we are, dispersed over the whole world ? Methinks, he who will affirm this, may as well affirm St. Peter to be an idiot, or beside himself.
But there is no end of the absurdity of supposing the New Testament writers to hold the doctrine of Christ's mere humanity. We have only to read a few verses further, and we are informed of this mere man preaching in the days of Noah, by his Spirit, to those who, indeed, are now in prison, but were formerly disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited for the repentance of the old world. And, a ve two after, are assured that he is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God, angels, and authori. ties, and powers, being made subject unto him,' that is, subject to a mere man ! and, (chap. v. 11,) find the Apostle ascribing to him, praise and dominion for ever and ever,' confirming his doxology, by a solemn and hearty Amen!
The second epistle of St. Peter is exactly of a piece with the first. It also contains divers passages utterly irreconcilable with common sense, on the supposition that the author of it believed the Lord Jesus Christ to be a mere man. The following, which I shall barely quote and interpret, according to the Socinian hypothesis, leaving it to the reader to make his observations upon them, seem very remarkable.-—- Simon Peter, a servant and an Apostle of Jesus Christ, that is, of a mere man ;
to them that have obtained like precious faith with us, through the righteousness of God, and
our Saviour Jesus Christ;' that is, of the infinite Jehovah, and a mere man ! or rather, according to the Greek, through the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who, however, is a mere man !
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you, through the knowledge of God, [self-existent, independent, supreme, and eternal,] and of Jesus our Lord ;' a weak, peccable, and mortal man !
For (verse 16,)We have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of [this mere man] our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye-witnesses of his majesty,' (ueyalelolnius,) the majesty of a mere man! For, he received from God the Father, honour and glory, when there came such a voice from the excellent glory, This [mere man !] is my beloved Son, in whom, [though he be weak and peccable,] I am well pleased. And this voice, which came from heaven, we heard when we were with him in the holy mount.'
Let the reader observe the following prediction. How applicable to the doctrine we oppose ! Chap. ii,* But there were false prophets among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, whu privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.' Would not one suppose that the Apostle was describing the present times here ? For, (ver. 20,) ' If after they have escaped the pollutions of the world, through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, [that is, the knowledge of a mere man !) they are again entangled therein and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.'
Chap. iii.- This 2d Epistle, beloved, I write unto you,--that ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandments of us, the apostles of the Lord and Saviour, [that is, the apostles of a mere man !] knowing
that there shall come, in the last days, scoffers walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming ?” that is, the coming of a mere man ? * But, the Lord, (viz. the same mere man !] is not slack concerning his promise (to sulfil it,] but is long-suffering to us ward, not willing that any
should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord [that is, the day of a mere man!] will come, as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise.-Nevertheless we, according to promise, [the promise of the same mere man !] look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousuess.-Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him (that is, found of a mere man !] in peace, without spot and blameless. And accouat that the long-suffering of our Lord, (viz. the long-suffering of a mere man !] is salvation.-And grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, (that is, in the knowledge of a mere man!] To him (that is, to a mere man!] be glory, both now and for ever!'
Methinks, Rev. Sir, were there no other arguments to prove that the Lord Jesus Christ is more than a mere man, these doxologies are sufficient to evince it. For, if it be not idolatry to ascribe glory to a mere man or mere creature, I confess I know not what is. Leaving you to adore with me the wisdom and gooduess of God, in furnishiug us with so many and such incontestable proofs of the falsity of a doctrine, which, of all others, is the most inimical to our peace, and our best interests, in time and in eternity,
We come now to the Epistles of St. John. I think, Dr. Priestley has not pronounced him to be an 66 inconclusive reasoner.” But if, as he supposes,
that Apostle covsidered our Lord as a mere mau, he is certainly as much entitled to that character as St. Paul himself. He begins his first Epistle by terming the Lord Jesus the Word of Life,' the “ Life,' and the, · Eternal Life,' appellations which certainly but ill agree with the character of a mere man. He informs uis, that he was with the Father from the beginning,' though it was only in these latter ages, that he was 'manifested' in the flesh to us, and assures us, notwithstanding he was now returned to the Father from whom he came, and was no longer visible among his disciples as formerly, yet that they had still fellowship with him as well as with the infinite and eternal Father. • That which was from the beginning,' says he,' which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of Life: For the life was manifested, and we have seen it and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was mani. fested to us :—That which we have seen and heard, declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. Now, is it of a mere man, that all this is spoken? Is a mere man the Word of Life, the Life, the Eternal Life? Was a mere man with the Father, before his manifestation in the flesh ? Yea, from the beginning ? Can a mere man, while with God, in the third heaven, be nevertheless present with men on earth, so that his true followers may have union
and communion with him? And can the blood of a mere mau, as he affirms, (verse 7,) cleanse from all sin? Or can a mere man be a “propitiation for cuir sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world?' (Chap. ii. 2.) Surely, to suppose these things, is most ridiculous.
In the following verses, he repeatedly calls the com · mandments of God, his [Christ's] commandments, and the word of God his word; and, (verse 12,) as. sures the children of God, that their sins are forgiven for his name's sake;' that is, as Dr. Priestley will have it, for the name's sake of a mere man! And, (verse 22,) associating him with the eternal Father, he testifies that he is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son, [that is, according to the Doctor's hypothesis, that denieth the eternal God and a mere man!] Whosoever,' proceeds he, “denieth the Son, [denieth a mere man!) the same hath not the Father. If that which ye have heard from the beginning remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son and the Father, (that is, in a mere man, and in the eternal God!) These things have I written unto you, concerning them that seduce you.-And now, little children, abide iu bim, [the same mere man!) that when he shall appear, we may have confideuce, and not be ashamed before him [a mere man !] at his coming.- If you know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him ;' viz., of a mere man !
It appears froń the last words, that, according to St. Johu, on the Socinian principles, a mere man is the author of our regeneration! We are born of the Spirit of a mere man! An extraordinary doctrine indeed! And yet uot more extraordinary than the doctrine taught us by the same apostle, in the following chapter, concerning Christ's being manifested to take away our sins,' and to destroy the works of the devil ;' a doctrine which never can be reconciled with the notion of Christ's mere humanity, on the principles of common sense. For, as the expression, 'He was