ePub 版

it as an astonishing instance of his love, that he passed by the nature of angels, and laid hold on sinking men, assuming the human nature into union with himself, and condescending to be made in all things like unto his brethren; and to hold him forth to our view, as being therefore able, not only to destroy the power of Satan, and to deliver mankind from his works, especially death and the fear of it; but also to sustain the office of a merciful and faithful High Priest, in things pertaining to God, making reconciliation for the sins of the people, and succouring them that are tempted ; an expression this which certainly implies his being perfectly acquainted with them, and ever at hand to help them, wherever they may be dispersed abroad over the face of the earth; which it is certainly inconceivable that any mere man should be !-Methiuks (I say) that, as these things, if understood of a mere man, must be false, so to suppose them is very

ridiculous, and sufficient to discredit any pretences, not only to a supernatural afflatus, but even to ordinary reason and understanding.

Chap. iii. 3, we meet with a passage still more ex. traordinary, if considered in a similar point of view. “This person, (says the apostle,) was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he that buildeth the house, hath more honour than the house: For every house is builded by some one, but he [this mere man !] that built all things, is God: And Moses verily [one mere man] was faithful as a servant,—but Christ [another mere man !] as a Son over his own house, whose house (or family] we are, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of hope firm unto the end. -For we are made partakers of [this mere man] Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence steadfast upto the end.'

Respecting this remarkable passage, I shall only say, that as certainly as the author of it compares Christ to Moses, and asserts his great superiority to the Jewish lawgiver, so certainly does he signify that that superiority cousisted in two things : Moses was but a ser, vant in the family of God, Christ a Son: Moses was the house itself, or rather only a part of it, but Christ was the builder of the house, yea, is the builder of all things, is God! Now, is it possible, on the principles of commou sense, to reconcile this doctrine of the apostle with the supposition of his viewing Christ, whom he thus magnifies, as a mere man? Surely, if Christ be a mere man, he was and is God's servant, and a part of God's house as much as Moses.

Pass we on to the 14th verse of the 4th chapter, where we meet with another paragraph, which, on the principles of common sense, is almost equally irreconcilable with the same doctrine of Christ's mere humanity. The Socinian hypothesis requires us to understand it thus : ‘Having therefore a great High Priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, [that is, a mere man !] let us hold fast our profession, for we have not an High Priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, [although it must be granted, that, being a mere man, he cannot be acquainted with them !] Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need!'

Still more ridiculous, according to the same doctrine, is the apostle's language in the 7th chapter, where he discourses largely on one of the capital doctrines of Christianity, and holds forth the Lord Jesus as an

High Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.' --Comparing them together, he observes, (verse 1st,) " This Melchisedec, King of Salem, Priest of the Most High God-first, being, by interpretation, King of Righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is King of peace, without father, without mother, without desceut, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but nsade like the Son of God, who, as Dr. Priestley teaches, is a mere man, and had both a father and a mother, and, at least, beginning of days, if not also end of life. For he testifieth, Thou [a mere mau !] art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. Therefore, this (mere man] because he continu. eth ever, hath an unchangeable Priesthood. Wherefore (though a mere man!] he is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make interression for them.-For such an High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners, and [though a mere man!] higher thau the heavens, who needeth not daily, as those High Priests, to offer np sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's : For this he did once when he offered' up himself : For the law maketh men High Priests, who have infirmity, but the word of the oath which was since the law, inaketh the Son," viz., a mere man, who, according to Dr. Priestley, had infirmity also, and was weak and peccable like others, but nevertheless, it seems, who is consecrated for evermore!

Now here I would ask, on the supposition that the author of this Epistle believed Jesus Christ, the great High Priest of our profession, to be a mere man, the proper son of Joseph and Mary, begotten, conceived, and born like other men, how came he to avail him. self of the silence of the Old Testament, respecting the genealogy of Melchisedec, in the comparison which he draws between him and Christ? How came he to take notice of his being without any father, recorded in the Scripture,' without mother, without descent, and his having neither beginning of days, nor end of life,' ineptioned in the divine Oracles, as circumstances which rendered him a more complete type of the Son of God ? Certainly, if the Son of God be a mere man, and the apostle had considered him as such, he must have seen, that Melchisedec would have resembled him much more, had all these particulars been otherwise ; I mean if he had had a father and a mother spoken of in the Jewish Scriptures, and if the beginning of his days had also been recorded there. For it must be allowed, that a man that has human parents, and whose days have had a beginning, is, in these respects, a fitter type of a mere man conceived and born as all others are, than one who never had any progenitors, and whose

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

days never began to be. And as it is probable that Melchisedec was a real man, and therefore that he had both a father and a mother, though that circumstance be not mentioned in the short account Moses has given us of him, certainly the apostle would have taken no notice of these particulars, much less would he have enlarged upon them, as he has done, had he viewed Jesus Christ in the light in which Dr. Priestley views him: As it is not to be conceived that any end could be answered by it, unless to mislead people, and make them believe, that the Son of God, of whom this Melchisedec was an illustrious type, was not of this world, nor of any human origin.

I need make no remark upon divers other expressions in the passages quoted above. They speak for themselves, and make it evident that if the apostle believed Jesus Christ to be a mere man, he strangely forgot his creed, when he wrote these verses, and ut. tered things, to say the very least, very inconsistent with it. For let common sense judge. How can a mere man, whose presence is, and must be merely local, and who is immensely removed from our world, and confined in the third heaven; how can he, I say, be acquainted even with the persons, and much more with the infirmities of all his followers, nay, and of all mankind in every part of the habitable globe ? And how can he be present with and assisting to every one, that shall apply to him at whatever time or place ; giving grace to help in time of need; directing, protecting, strengthening, and comforting all in general, and each individual in particular, as their wauts and necessities require ? I pass by many particulars, also, in ml the 8th chapter, in which the apostle's reasoning is lis very weak on the Socinian hypothesis. Indeed, there of is hardly any solid argument in the whole Epistle, (though generally considered as the most clear, argu-' mentative, and convincing of all St. Paul's Epistles,)th on the supposition that Jesus Christ, the grand subject tri of it, is no more than a man, weak and peccable like a others. On this principle, what shall we make of his hat


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Verse doctrine respecting the Priesthood of Christ, as displayed at large in the 9th and 10th chapters ? Here, methinks, he especially answers the character Dr. Priestley gives him, and stands forth as an inconclusive reasoner. If the Doctor be right, he reasons as follows:

Chap. ix. 11.—Christ being come an High Priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood, [viz., the blood of a mere man!) he entered in once into the holy place, having [by that mean] obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of an heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, (the blood of one mere man!) who, through the eterbal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God, pnrge pour consciences from dead works to serve the living


Chap. s. 4.- It is not possible that the blood of balls and goats should take away sin. Wherefore when be (a mere man who had no prior existeuce,] comith into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not; but a body hast thou prepared me. Then said I, [before I existed !] Lo! I come to Center itat body and] do thy will, o God! By the which sill we are sanctified, by the offering of the body of desas Christ, [the body of one mere man,] once for al:'-Body, I say, but I do not mean by this, that he aath any soul, any more than a superior or divine

No, like other mere men, he was all body, Folly made of matter without spirit !- But he, [or R95, this person,] after he had offered one sacrifice r sin, for ever sat down on the right hand of God,

henceforth expecting till his enemies, [whether men, or evil angels,] be made his footstool, [viz , footstool of a mere man!]-For by one offering he Dere man] hath perfected for ever them that are saihed !'-Verse 19. Having, therefore, brethren,


« 上一頁繼續 »