Copyright
Noah Worcester.

Bible news, of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit : in a series of letters. In four parts. I. On the unity of God. II. On the real divinity and glory of Christ. III. On the character of the Holy Spirit. IV. An examination of difficult passages of Scripture. The whole addressed to a worthy minister of online

. (page 9 of 19)
Online LibraryNoah WorcesterBible news, of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit : in a series of letters. In four parts. I. On the unity of God. II. On the real divinity and glory of Christ. III. On the character of the Holy Spirit. IV. An examination of difficult passages of Scripture. The whole addressed to a worthy minister of → online text (page 9 of 19)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


perior, and another act under him, or by his order one
can send the other on the most important business ; and
what more than all this, I beseech you, Would be requisite
to constitute them three as distinct Beings as Peter, James,
and John.

But the most extraordinary of all these representations
are the engagements of the Father to the Son " The Fa-
ther promised, that on his consenting to take upon him the
character and work of a Mediatoi and Redeemer, he should
be everv way furnished and assisted to go through the
work ; that he should have power to save an elect number
of mankind In order to accomplish this, all things, all
power in heaven and earth , should be GIVEN to HIM, until
redemption is completed."

Be pleased, Sir, to keep in mind, that the Doctor was
writing about two self-existent, independent, and all-suf-
ficient PERSONS. Was it possible that he should suppose,
that an independent Person ever became dependent f Did
the independent God ever cease for a moment to be inde-
pendent ? If the supposed self-existent Son did not become
a dependent agent by incarnation, what could be the ground
or occasion of the Father's promises that he should btfur*
nished and assisted^ and have all things, oil power in heaven
and earth, GIVEN TO HIM ? I am not, Sir, meaning to de-
ny, or to doubt, the fact respecting the existence of these
promises of the Father to the Son. The Doctor has prov-
ed the existence of these promises of assistance and support
in the connexion of the paragraphs quoted. But my ques-
tion is, Why were these promises made f They were either
needful, or they were not. To say they were made, and
yet not needful, would be imputing to God a kind of trifling
which would be degrading to a wise and good man. But



bn the real Divinity and Glory of Christ. 89

if they were needful, it must be on one or other of these
grounds, viz. either the Son was originally dependent on
the Father, or he became dependent by incarnation. That
he was origina'ly dependent, you and the Doctor positive-
ly deny. What ground then have you left but this, that a
self-existent and independent Person became dependent by
incarnation ? I see no possible ground but this which you
can take, unless you prefer to reduce the solemn transac-
tions in the covenant of redemption to a mere show.

But can you, Sir, believe that an independent Person
ever became dependent ? If you maintain this position, it
must be at the expense of another which you have wished
to maintatn, viz. the absolute immutability of the SON of
God.

* For an independent Person to become dependent, is, I
suspect, as great a change as was ever experienced by any
creature ; and as great as for a Man to be changed from,
ENTITY to NON-ENTITY. But this is not all If you sup-
port the hypothesis that the SON became dependent by
incarnation, you must do it at the expense of the immuta-
bility of the Godhead. If it be, as you suppose, that the
Godhead consists of three Persons, and one of those Per-
sons has become a dependent agent, the Godhead itself
must have been changed by the change in one of its Per-
sons. It is no longer a Godhead of three independent
Persons.

Will you, Sir, think of evading these objections, or
solving these difficulties, by saying that the Son did not
really become dependent, but only apparently, by becom-
ing united to a dependent^ nature f This, my friend, v\ ill
increase the difficulties, by representing the part acted by
the Son as farcical, as well -as the part acted by the Father.
On this hypothesis, the Son would put on the appearance
of needing his Father's support, when in fact he did not
need it he would put on the appearance of obeying the
Father, when in fact he did not obey ; and of suffering and
dying, when in fact he did neither die nor suffer.

Will you say that the engagements of the Father to the
Son were of thfe tenor, that he would support the human,
nature to which the Son should be unite^ ? If so, I ask
what need had the SON of this ? Was he not personally
sufficient for the support of his human nature ? Again, I
ask, If the engagements of the Father to the Son were, that

M



9O On the real Divinity and Glory

he would support the Man to whom the SON should b*
united, what part had the SON to perform ? Was it not
simply this, that he should appear to become dependent by
becoming united to the Man, and the Father wo \i\dfurnish,
assist, and enable the Man to do the whole business of obey-
ing and suffering ? And is this, Sir, the ground of our
obligations to the SON OF GOD ? Is this the ground on
which thr: redeemed of the Lord sing " Worthy is the Lamb
that rvas slain ? n

It is, Sir, painful to me thus to expose the theory I once
maintained, or attempted to maintain, and the theory
which has been advocated by some of the greatest and best
of men. But I view it to be a duty which I owe to God,
and to his Son who has given himself for us. And while
I sincerely lament that the representations of Dr. Hopkins,
on which I have remarked, are to be found in the writings
of a man so justly esteemed, it affords me pbundant joy
that the Bible itself is not chargeable with such inconsistent
representations.

As I understand the Scriptures, the promises of the Fa-
ther were made to one who was in truth arid reality the
SON of God to one who ever was dependent on the Father,
who ever felt his dependence, and was ever willing to GO
knowledge it one who could pray with propriety and sin-
cerity while in the flesh ; and in view of his dependence^
in view of the covenant of redemption, and in view of the
sufferings, he was about to endure, he could lift up his eyes
to heaven and say, u Father, the hour is come., glorify
THY SON, that THY SON may also glorify THEE ; as thou
hast GIVEN HIM POWER over all flesh, that he should give
eternal life to as many as thou hast given him : And this
is life eternal, to know THEE, the ONLY TRUE GOD, and
JESUS CHRIST whom THOU hast sent.. I have glorified
thee on the earth ; I have finished the work which thou
gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me
"With thine own self, with the glory which I had with thec
before the world -was"

To a Son who could, in sincerity, make such a prayer,
the Father might with perfect propriety and sincerity make
promises of assistance, of support, of power, and exaltation.
On this ground, the covenant transactions between the Fa-
ther and the Son may appear solemn and affecting realities;
and likewise all the subsequent proceedings on the part of



On the real Divinity and Glory of Christ. 91

the FATHER, and on the part of the SON. With this view,
also, agree all the prrdi tions respecting what the Son
should do and suffer ; all the promises of Divine assistance
and support ; all that is said by Christ of himself, of his
dependence, his derived fulness and authority ; and all
that is said by the Apostles respectiug the fulness of the
Go Ihead dwelling in him ; and of the power and authority
which Christ received of God as Savior, Judge, and Lord
of all. We have no occasion for any forced or unnatural
construction of any of these numerous passages of Scrip-
ture ; nor have we any occasion to frame and invent hy-
potheses which contradict the plain import of Scripture lan-
guage, and finally involve us in contradiction and ab-
surdity.

Is it not, Sir, a truth, that the personal self-existence of
the SON ofGod has been too hastily established as an arti-
cle of Christian faith ? established as an article of such
unquestion ble truth and infinite importance, that every op-
posing passage of Scripture must be made to bend to it, or
bre k before it ? And that too wh-Ie the general tenor of
Scripture language and Scripture representations are, ac-
cording to the most natural import of words, d rectly op-
posed to the idea ? Yea, with a view to glorify Christ
with the attributes of 'personal self-existence and independ-
ence, have not hypotheses been formed which imply a sac-
rifice of the solemn realities of the covenant of redemption,
and of the obedience and death of the S"N OF G<'D ? And
in attempting to support this one doctrine, have not the
plainest and most simple representations of Scripture, and
even the whole Gospel scheme, been involved in mystery
and obscurity ? Surely, Sir, before we allow any doctrine
such a share of importance, we ought, at least, seriously
to inquire whether it be founded in the word of God.

As the doctrine of the personal self-existence of the Son
of God has long been a popular doctrine, have we not on
that ground received it as true, and made it our business
to support the doctrine before we examined it by the light
of God's word ? And instead of making the Scriptures a
STANDARD by which to measure the doctrine,' have we not
been in the habit of making the doctrine a STANDARD by
which to measure the Scriptures ?

Will you, Sir, still urge that Christ cannot be a Divine
Person unless he be sell-existent . ? By what authority, or



92 On the real Divinity and Glory of Christ.

by what analogy, will you be able to support such an objeo
tion ? Nothing more was necessary to constitute Seth a
human Person, than being the SON of ji human Person*
And if God be a Divine Person, his own Son must be a
fiivine Person. According to everv analogy in nature, to
affirm that Jesus Christ is God's own Son implies that he is
a PERSON TRULY DIVINE.



LETTER VII.

Thoughts on the Myesty of the Sov of God ; his SIMPLE
and his COMPLEX character.

REV SIR,

WE may view Jesus Christ as originally the SON of God,
having derived his existence truly from the Father. Yet
at the period when this world vas created, the Son, as a
Son, and without any special indwelling of the Father,,
might possess powers far transcending all human concep-
tion. Should it be supposed, that at his first existence as
the Son of God, he was but an infant in knowledge and
might, yet, prior to the creation of the world, he m'ght
have existed a portion of duration equal to millions of such
periods as that from the commencement of time to the
present day. If then we should, for the present, set aside
the consideration of his having derived his nature and ca-
pacity from God as a Son from a Father, and suppose that
he possessed no greater capacity or advantages for acquir-
ing knowledge than were possessed by Sir Isaac Newton,
and also that his progress in knowledge during that immense
term of duration was in exact proportion to the progress of
Newton during the period of his life, the knowledge of
the Son of God, at the time of creation, would be as far
above our conceptions as the heavens are higher than the
earth.

To this inconceivable fund of knowledge we may add
all which would naturally result from his deriving his na-
ture and capacity from God as a Son from a Father ; and
all which would result from his being all that term of du-
ration under the immediate tuition of an omniscient Fa-
ther, " as one brought up with him" a Father who u lov-



On the real Divinity and Glory of Christ. 93

eth the Son, and shorveth him all >hings that himself doeth.'*
These considerations might be allowed to increase the sunn
of knowledge ten thousand fold. Let it further be admitted,
that the strength or might of the Son increased in exact
proportion to his knowledge ; then, by his own natural
sufficiency, he might, at the time of creation, have been,
able to move and manage such a globe as we inhabit, with
as much ease as we can move an orange or afoot-ball. And
if it may be admitted, that the real or influential presence
of an unembodied spirit may, at pleasure, be expanded or
extended in proportion to his knowledge, the Son of God
might be omnipresent with respect to every portion of cre-
ated existence.

Such amazing majesty we may rationally suppose the
Son of God possessed prior to creation, considered simply
as the SON of God. But this inconceivable greatness, it
appears, was notsuffi ient to constitute the Son the CRE-
ATOR without the addition of tine fulness of the Godhead ,'
For " God created all things by Jesus Christ ;" and for
this purpose, as well as others, we may suppose that God
dwelt in his Son by his own infinite fulness or all-sufficien-
cy. By this indwelling of Divine fu'ness, the Son was
constituted ALL-SUFFICIENT, but not independent. The
Father in him did the work. And it is just as easy to con.-
ceive that God should manifest his creative sufficiency
through the Son as a Medium of display, as in any other
possible manner.

But by the indwelling of the fulness of the Godhead, the
Son may be considered as possessing a complex character.
To the derived existence and natural fulness of the SON, is
united the self-existent fulness of the Godhead.

When the Son of God became incarnate, he became poor
for our sakes ; he in a sense began his existence ane v : he
laid aside the form of God, and became the Son of man in
an infant state. By becoming incarnate, it appears that
the Son of God was, for a time, divested not only of the
fulness of the Godhead, but of his own natural fulness as the
SON of God : so that the treasures which he lost by incar-^
nation were to be re-acquired or re-communicated. And OR
this ground, we may account for what is said of his in-
creasing in wisdom, and for all that is recorded which
implied any defect in his knowledge.



04 On the real Divinity and Glory of Christ.

What has been published and circulated through this
country, of the Rev. William Tennant, respecting his re-
vival from a state of apparent death,! and having to re-learn
what he had learned before his supposed decease, may in
some measure illustrate my idea of what was the conse-
quence of the incarnation of the Son of God.

Now, Sir, if the Son of God did possess such a state of
pre-existent g ory and dignity as has been described, and
from that state did voluntarily consent to such a scene of
abasement as is implied in his incarnation, suffering, and
death, is it possible for us to conceive of greater love and
condescension than has been displayed in opening the way
for our salvation ? And what more than a mere show of
such affecting realities does your theory support ? It is my
prevailing expectation, that more persons will reject the
theory contained in these Letters, on the ground of the
greatness and reality of the abasement implied in it, than
on any other ground whatever. But we ought not to for-
get, that in proportion to the greatness of the real abase-
ment, is the greatness of Divine love as displayed in our
redemption If the degree of real abasement was small, so
small was the display of Divine love. And if there were
only a show of the abasement of the SON of God, there was
DO more than a show of Divine condescension and love.

The Son of God, in union with a human body, was tru-
ly a complex object ; in which two natures were united in
one Person. He possessed Divine nature as the SON or
GOD, and human nature as the Son of man. Thus the ME-
DIATOR between GOD and MEN was a SON to both parties.

But the character of Christ in his incarnate state, was
not only complex by reason of the union of that nature
which he derived from God as a Son, with that which he
derived as the Son of man ; but, while in the flesh, he was
supernaturally endued by the indwelling of the Father or
the Holy Spirit. For to the indwelling of the Father he
ascribed the mighty works which he performed. And as
God dwelt in him while he dwelt in the flesh, " God was.
manifested in the flesh."

We may moreover observe, that the character of the
Son of God was officially complex. As the son of a King
possesses royal dignity by royal descent, prior to the con-
sideration of any particular office, so we may consider the
Son of God as possessing Divine dignity by Divine descent^



On the real Dfoinzty and Glory of Christ, 9

antecedently to his being invested with any particular office*
But when he was invest^ d with offices, his character be-
came complex by reason of his offices. And as his offices
were numerous, his official character was very complex.

On the ground of the complex character of Christ, we
may rationally account for the numerous names and titles
which are g'ven to him in the Scriptures. This extraor-
dinary Person is called The Son of God, The First Begot-
ten, The Only Begotten Son, The Heir of all things, The
First-born of every creature, The Branch, The Beginning
of the creation of God, A Man, The Son of Man, David,
The Son of David, The Stem of Jesse, The Root and the
Offspring of David, The bright and morning Star, The
Angel of the Lord, The Angel of God's Presence, The
Mtssengei of the Covenant, The Archangel, Shi oh, Mi.-
chael, Messiah, Wisdom, The Word of God, Jesus Christ,
A Prophet, The High Priest, King, Lord, King of kings,
Lord of lords, God's Servant, The Lamb of God, The
Amen, The faithful and true Witness, The Alpha and Ome-
ga, The Sun of Righteousness, The Light of the World,
The Bread of Life, The Chief Corner Stone, The Holy
One of God, The Lion of the tribe of Judah, Shepherd,
Bridegroom, Mediator, Redeemer, Savior, Advocate, Em-
manuel, God, The Prince of Peace, The Image of the in-
visible God, The Lord our Righteousness.

These and many more names and titles are given to the
Son of God, to one individual Ptrson. Several of these
names may be of the same or nearly the same import ; yet
such a diversity of ideas are naturally suggested by these
various names, that if there be any propriety in their ap-
plication, they must denote that the character of the Person
was, in a high degree, complex. For while it is admitted
that several of these names or titles may be classed together,,
as importing about the same thing, it must be observed of
the most of them, that each contains some idea distinct
from any other^ And between some of these titles and
others, there is such a perfect contrast, as can be account-
ed for on no other ground than that of a complex character^
together with the supposition that the same Person has
been in different situations and conditions. And it may
be presumed, that there is no other Person in the universe,
to whom all these names and titles may be applied, but to
one who is trulv the Son of God*



96 On the real Divinity and Glory of&irist.

They cannot he applied to the self-ex'stent God : Fotf
the self-existent God cannot be the SON of God, nor the
servant of God Nor is it to be admitted, that the self-ex-
istent God ever bt-came a Man, or the Son of man. Nor
can the self-existent God be the Angel of God. Nor can
these names and tit'es be properly applied to such a Man 9
as you, and the Socinians, suppose the M^n Christ Jesus to
be. How could such a Man be God's ONLY Son, his
FIRST-BT GOTTEN ? How could such a Man have been the
Angel of God, the Angel of his Presence, two thousand
years before he had anv existence ?

To pretend to account for these various names and titles,
by supposing that the selt-existent God became united to a
proper Man, in such a manner that the two intelligences be-
came one Person, is only to involve one difficulty to get rid
of another : For the Scriptures give no intimation that
Christ is two intelligent Beings in one Person ; and the
hypothesis is a plain contradiction to every analogy with
which we are acquainted. And one oft equal ground with
Dr. Emmons might perhaps say of this hypothesis, as he
has said of the doctrine of " eterna generation," that t is
such a mystery as cannot be distinguished from a real ab-
surdity.

But if we suppose Christ to be tru-y the SON of God,
then every title and name given to him in the Scriptures
may be justified by Scripture testimony or analogy. His
titles of God, Man, the Son of Man, will perhaps be the
most difficult to account for and reconcile. But the plain
Scripture account of his incarnation will readily show us
why he is called a Man, and the Son of Man. And though
\ve have no analogy which can justify calling a self-exist-
ent Person the SON of God, we have plain analog es to jus-
tify g ving the Father's NAMES and TITLES to the SON otf
GOD.

In the present age, it is the delight of parents to give
their own proper names to their children. And when a
father sustains any honorable office, it is no unusual thing
for him to wish that his son may be advanced to the same
office ; and we have already noted, that it is in the power
of a King to advance his son to the highest offices in the
government ; and that it is not an unheard-of thing, that
a King should confer on his own son his own royal title.
Besides, so far as we can learn any thing from Go-^-'" Q 'J-



On the real Divinity and Glory of Christ. Q?

dress to his Son, in which the Son is caMed God, it must
appear that the Son possesses this title by the Father's
pleasure, and not by personal self-existence. See Part H
Letter IV.



LETTER VIII.

DIVINE HONORS due to the SON OF GOD*
REV SIR,

THAT the Son of God is to be regarded as an object
of DIVTNE HONORS, is so plain from the Scriptures, that
it seems extraordinary that it should ever have been denied
by any one who has admitted the Bible as a rule of faith
and practice. In support of the idea, we may note sever-
al things

1. We have express declarations of the will of God.
<c 1 he Father judgeth no man, but hath committed ail judg-
ment to the Son, that all men should HONOR the SON even as
they honor the Father." This is a sufficient warrant for
men to give DIVINE HONORS to the SON of God. Ange's
have their warrant also ; for " When he bringeth in his
ONLY BEGOTTEN into the world, he saith, Let all the An-
gels of God WORSHIP HIM." And we have another pas-
sage which amounts to a wirrant both for men and, An-
gels : " Wherefore God hath highly exalted him, and given
him a name which is above every name, that at the NAME
OF JESUS every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and
things in earth, and things under the earth."

2. We have the example of saints on earth and saints
in heaven. In respect to saints nn earth, we not only have
many individual instances recorded, but the great body of
Christians in the apostolic age were characterized as "those
who call on the name of the Lord Jesus" That both angels
and saints in g'ory pay Divine honors to the Son of God,
is represented by John in the account he gives of his visions :
w And I beheld, and I heard the voi e of many angels
round about the throne, and the beasts and the elders ; and
the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand,
and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice,

N



98 On the real Divinity and Glory of Christ.

WORTHY is THE LAMB THAT V/AS SLAIN, to receive
er, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and
glory, and blessing : And every creature which is in
heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such
as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I, saying,
Blessing^ and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him
that, sitteth on the thro ie, and unto the LAMB, forever
and ever."

To those who regard the Scriptures as of Divine authori-
ty, the things which have already been noted may be con-
sidered as suffi lent to authorize us to pay Divine honors
to the Son of God ; even if we should be unahle to invest-
igate the grounds of the Divine directions, and of the ex-
amples of saints and ange ! s. It mav, however, be desirable
that we should obtain a clear view of the reasons why such
honors are to be given to Jesus Christ. We may therefore
observe,

1. That Divine honors are due to the Son of God, on
the principle of derived dignity. He is God's own Son, his
First-begotten, his only begotten Son ; and he ha.th, by in-
heritance, a more excellent name than the Angels. On the
same principle that an own and only son of a rightful Kin^
is to be regarded and honored as a royal person, Divine
Jionors are due to the Son of God.

2. The Son of God is worthy of Divine honors, on the
ground of his Divine fulness : for it hath pleased the Father
that in him all fulness should dwell. That fulness which
Christ possesses by the pleasure of the Father, is really
Christ's fulness ; a -d it is as excellent considered as the

fulness oj Christ, as it is considered as the fulness of the
Father. The self-existence of God does not imply that he
ivas the cause of his own existence or his own fulness. And
God is, in truth, no more the c use of his ownfulness than
Christ is the c Mse of the Diving fulness which dwells in
him by the pleasure of God. If, therefore, the fulness
there is in God be a proper ground on which to give HIM


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Online LibraryNoah WorcesterBible news, of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit : in a series of letters. In four parts. I. On the unity of God. II. On the real divinity and glory of Christ. III. On the character of the Holy Spirit. IV. An examination of difficult passages of Scripture. The whole addressed to a worthy minister of → online text (page 9 of 19)