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What is implied in believing truly on Jesus Christ. And,
How we are to understand that this is the work of God.
These, accordingly, will be the heads of the ensuing discourse.
I. What it is truly to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, I shall endeavor particularly to explain.
There are several things necessary to be believed concerning Christ; and there is a peculiar manner of believing these things, which is essential to saving faith. With respect to the former-the things to be believed concerning our Saviour;
1. It is necessary that we should have a right belief respecting his glorious and wonderful person. More particularly, that he is truly a Divine person, must be believed. The proper Divinity of Christ, is many ways, very expressly taught in the holy scriptures. He is often spoken of as the Son of God, in a manner peculiar to himself, and inapplicable to any created being. He is called God's only begotten Son. He is said to be the brightness of the Father's glory; and the express image of his person. Yea, we are told that "He was in the beginning with God, and was God." That "In him dwelleth all the fulness of the God-head." That "He is over all, God blessed for ever more." The incommunicable perfections, and the most peculiar works of God, are also ascribed to him, and claimed by him. He is acknowledged to be omniscient by the apostle Peter; John xxi. 17, "Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee." He speaks of himself as omnipresent, Matt. xviii. 20,
Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." And Matt. xxviii. 19, 20, "Go ye and teach all nations, bap
tizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world." He is spoken of as being eternal and immutable; Heb. vii. 3, "Having neither beginning of days, nor end of life." And chap. xiii. 8, Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever." He says, "What things soever the Father doeth, these also doeth the Son;" John v. 19. And ver. 21, 22, 23, "For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. For the Father judgeth no man; but hath committed all judgment unto the Son; that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father." And it is said, Col. i. 16, 17, "By him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in the earth, visible and invisible; whether they be thrones, or dominions or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him, and for him; and he is before all things, and by him all things consist." And as the peculiar perfections and works of God are ascribed to Christ, so that adoration which is due to God alone, is commanded to be rendered to him; Heb. i. 6, "When he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.”
Thus evident is it, that if we have a true belief concerning Christ, according to the scriptures, we must believe him truly a Divine person; the second person in the eternal Trinity.
Some are so liberal, that they allow us to have as low, or as high an opinion as we please of the Saviour of the worid, without at all endangering our salvation. An English divine, a volume of whose sermons has lately passed through several American editions, says, "Give me but the fact that Christ is the resurrection and the life, and explain it how you will. Give Give me but this single truth, that ETERNAL
LIFE is the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour, and I shall be perfectly easy with respect to the contrary opinions which are entertained about the dignity of Christ; about his nature, person and offices.-Call him, if you please, simply a man, endowed with extraordinary powers; or call him a super-angelic being, who appeared in human nature for accomplishing our salvation; or say, (if you can admit a thought so shockingly absurd) that it was the second of three co-equal persons in the God-head, forming one person, with a human soul, that came down from heaven, and suffered and died upon the cross.-I shall think such differences of little moment, provided the fact be allowed, that Christ did rise from the dead, and will raise us from the dead; and that all righteous penitents will, through God's grace in him, be accepted and made happy for ever.”*
But I do not find that this article of our faith is represented in the New-Testament, as a matter of so much indifference. Paul counted all things but loss for the true knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord. Peter foretels that there shall be false teachers among christians, "who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction." And John says, in his first epistle, "He that believeth not God hath made him a liar, because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son." And near the conclusion of his gospel he says, " Many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through his name." "What think
of Christ?" was his own question to the Pharisees. And to his disciples he said, "Whom do men say that I, the Son of man, am? On their an
* Dr. Price.
swering, Some say that thou art John the baptist; some say Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets:" he puts the question to themselves,
But whom say ye that I am ?" Simon Peter answered, "Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus said unto him, Blessed art thou Simon Borjona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say unto thee, Thou art Peter; and upon this rock will I build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." The name, Peter, signifies a rock or stone: but it cannot be supposed, consistently with reason, or scripture, that the person of Peter was the rock intended. He, surely, could not bear the weight of the whole church of Christ in all ages, and be able to defend it against all the powers of darkness from the gates of hell. According ly, a more firm rock than the apostle Peter, or his infallible successor, is often spoken of as the basis of the christian church, and of the eternal hopes of fallen men. See Isa, xxviii. 16, "Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation, a stone, a tried stone, a precious coner stone, a sure foundation." See also the words of Peter himself before the Jewish council, Acts iv. 10, 11, 12, "Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved." And Eph. ii. 19, 20, "Ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens of the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.' When, therefore, Christ says, " Upon this
rock will I build my church," he must be understood to mean, upon this article of faith which Peter had then confessed, and not upon Peter himself.
Nor can it reasonably be supposed that our Saviour would have said things, as he often did, which were generally and naturally understood to be making himself equal with God, had he not considered the belief of his being really so, very necessary to be inculcated. Would he of whom the Father testified, "My servant shall deal prudently," have prejudiced so many of his hearers, and prevented their conversion, by insisting upon, or once insinuating, what he well knew they accounted blasphemy, unless he had viewed it as a point of fundamental importance ? Some preachers may be fond of throwing out strange things, which, if true, are of little or no consequence; but this certainly was not the manner of the Author and Finisher of our faith. From his discourses relative to this doctrine, therefore, we are led to conclude, not only that it is a real truth, but a truth very essential to be known and believed in order to the salvation of men.
But it is equally a plain doctrine of the gospel, and equally an essential article of our faith, that Christ was a real and proper man. 1 Cor. xv. 21, 22, "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For, as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive." And ver. 47, "The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven." Phil. ii. 6, 7, 8, "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." 1 Tim. ii. 5, "There is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." And Heb. ii. 16, 17, And Heb. ii. 16, 17, "For verily