Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

UNITARIANISM NOT THE GOSPEL.

1 CORINTHIANS, 11, 19. “For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

The Apostle here announces that sects and divisions among those who call themselves christians were then, and are still, permitted to exist. These arise, as a necessary result, from the passions of men, and the present evil propensities of human nature. As in the natural world we see good and evil mingled together, so in the moral world, we behold truth and falsehood, heresies and dissensions so permitted to exist, as to constitute both a state of suffering and of probation. And the end for which this condition of things is permitted is, we are told, that they who are perfect or sincere in their desire to secure and in their efforts to attain to, the truth, may be made manifest.

So it was in antediluvian times, when Cain and his followers rejected the doctrine of atonement and a divine method of propitiation and salvation through the sacrifice, blood and death of Christ, who was held forth in the appointed sacrifices as "the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world." So it was throughout the whole period of the ancient economy, when "there were false prophets among the people” by whom the Lord their God proved them to know whether they loved the Lord their God with all their heart and with all their soul." Deut. 13, 3.

So it was in the days of Christ and his Apostles. "Also of your own selves," says the Saviour, "shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them." "Even as there shall be false teachers among you, says the Apostle Peter, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the LORD THAT BOUGHT THEM, and bring upon them swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom THE WAY OF TRUTH shall be evil spoken of.”

Thus it was declared in reference to Christ himself “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel ; and for a sign which shall be spoken against. Yea a sword shall pierce through thine own soul also that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

The doctrine concerning Christ—his person—his divinityand his death came therefore even before the close of the

Scripture Canon and the death of the last Apostle—to be THE TEST AND EVIDENCE OF CHRISTIANITY, for "he is Antichrist that denieth the Father and The Son, and whosoever denieth THE Son the same hath not the Father.” Many portions of the New Testament as well as of the Old, refer therefore to the errors and heresies, which had arisen or should arise by which “if possible, the very elect should be deceived,” and by whose "strong delusions many should believe a lie, that they all might be damned who believe not the truth.” “They went out from us,” says the Apostle John, speaking of many Antichrists, “but they were not of us, for if they had been of us they would no doubt have continued with us, but they went out that they might be made manifest that they were not of us.

That there exist, therefore, at this time, such a variety of creeds, all claiming to be divine, is what both reason and scripture lead us to expect, and what God permits for the trial of our sincerity and the test of our "obedience to the faith," in contrariety to the wisdom, the pride, and the self sufficiency of human reason. The Epistles, written to the seven Churches of Asia Minor, by the direct instruction of Heaven, and through the instrumentality of the Apostle John, teach us that "the wisdom of man" is so foolish in its depraved emnity to "the truth as it is in Jesus” which it cannot receive, because “it is spiritually discerned" that even while the echoes of Christ's living words were dying on the breeze, churches had become "synagogues of Satan,” received that as true which Christ "hates as blasphemy," and were reprobated and anathematized by His divine rebuke. It is remarkable that in these divine epistles, Christ commends in some of these churches their "hating that which He also hates," that "they could not bear them which are evil," and that they had "tried them who say they are Apostles but are not, and hadst found them liars," and that He condemns in all, the permitted existence among them of any error, either in doctrine or in practice. (Rev. ch. ii. and iii.)

It is vain, therefore, and worse than vain-it is sinfulto substitute a charity which sanctions a multitude of conflicting and contradictory opinions for "the truth as it is in Jesus"that truth "which makes us free"—that truth which we are to "buy at any price and sell not," and "for which we are to contend earnestly"—that truth which "he that believeth shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned."

Now this truth centres in Christ. “I,” says He, "am the truth.” and to "know Him is life eternal.” Christ is the Alpha and Omega of all divine revelation,—the first and the last-the beginning and the ending, which is and which was, and which is to come, the ALMIGHTY,—"the author and finisher of faith,” -the sum and substance of the gospel—the centre and circumference of all man's hopes—"the only foundation,"-"the only name under heaven by which we can be saved.” It is, therefore, of infinite importance to every human being, to be able to answer the divine inquiry, “What think ye of Christ?"

"A belief in Christ as THE MESSIAH, which implies he believes, only a human or created nature is,” says Dr. Gilman, "the comprehensive and simple platform which he appears alone to have prescribed," and the only probable "basis of a universal church.” This declaration he substantially repeats, in the close of his discourse. He makes the Apostle Paul also "to represent faith in Jesus the Christ or Messiah, as an allsufficient, internal living principle, capable of producing righteousness of character and consequent acceptance with God.” Dr. Gilman excludes, therefore, from the gospel, all reference to Christ as the LORD, AND SON OF GOD. Alas! alas ! for those who build upon such a foundation, the hay, wood and stubble of their vain hopes for eternal life, for assuredly this is not gospel. "Whom," asked this same Jesus, "do men say that I, the son of man, am?” “And they said some say thou art John the Baptist, some Elias, and others saith Jeremias, or one of the Prophets. He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art Christ, the SON OF THE LIVING GOD. And Jesus answered, Blessed art thou Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven."

Whosoever, says Christ, "believeth in me shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his ONLY BEGOTTEN Son, that whosoever believeth in HIM should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on HIM is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he believed not in the name of the ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF God.” Again, in this same blessed gospel of John, it is said, “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."

My brethren, I might fill a sermon, yea many sermons, with quotations from "the four gospels, so genial, so plain, so welcome to every heart," and from the "blessed New Testament" to shew that it is not in Christ as the MESSIAH or a Son of God merely, we are required to "believe with the heart unto salvation," but in Jesus the Messiah—THE SON OF GOD. "Even devils came out of many crying out, thou art Christ THE Son of God.” When the angel announced to Mary his birth, he said: “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee, therefore that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son OF GOD." Again the angels said unto the shepherds,—“Unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ THE LORD."

When Christ himself would test the faith of a disciple, he said, “dost thou believe in the Son of God?" (John 9, 35.) So frequently and emphatically did Christ appropriate to himself this title, that he was obliged to justify himself from the charge of blasphemy. (John 10, 36.) On another occasion, Jesus answered them, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought more to kill him, because he not only had broken the Sabbath, but said that God was his Father, MAKING HIMSELF EQUAL WITH GOD." On another occasion, "When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, son, thy sins be forgiven thee. But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God only?" (See Mark 2, 5-10.) “Jesus said, I and my Father are one. They then took up stones to stone him. He told them of many good works that he had shewn them, and asked, for which of these works do ye stone me? They replied, for a good work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy, and because thou being a man, makest thyself God.” On this charge, which in the most solemn manner Christ admitted as true, he was accused, condemned and crucified. The Jews said, “We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the son of God."

This faith was the test and evidence of the heartfelt belief of the Ethiopian Enuch, "I believe that Jesus Christ is THE SON of God." The Apostles every where "preached Christ that he is THE SON OF GOD," and made the practical and living belief of this truth the essential mark of a genuine believer. And when our Saviour appears to John in the Isle of Patmos, he

[ocr errors]

commands him to "write these things" as "THE SON OF GOD." "He that believeth,” says the Apostle John, “on THE SON OF GOD, hath the witness in himself; he that believeth not God, hath made him a liar, because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life: and he that hath not THE SON OF GOD hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of The Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of THE SON OF GOD."

An analagous form of stating the gospel messages in "the blessed New Testament," is "Believe on THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our LORD Jesus Christ."

Now it is concerning Jesus Christ as "the LORD and the ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD,” that one of the most fearful denunciations in the whole Bible is uttered: “If any man love not THE LORD Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.” Jesus himself said "Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind;" and that “all men should honour THE SON EVEN AS they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.” “We believe in God believe also in me.”

It is now more than evident that in order to salvation it is made necessary by Christ and His APOSTLES, that we should believe in, and love, honour and obey Christ, not only as the Messiah, not only as the son of man, but as THE SON OF GOD, and this, too, even as we love, honour and obey God the Father. What this imports, it concerneth the everlasting life of every man perfectly to understand, and experimentally to know. It were easy, we think, to shew from these same scriptures, that these titles of Christ imply divinity,—that they were so employed in the Old Testament in reference to Christ, since "to Him gave all the Prophets witness that THROUGH HIS NAME whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins,"—that they were so understood by the Jewish nationand that they are therefore all important. To me they involve the mystery of “the great God and our Saviour," which the pride of human reason cannot receive unless it "becomes as a little child.” True the doctrine of Christ's person, character

« AnteriorContinuar »