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Autobiography: Sermon on Jesusí Eternal Natures Elder Thompson Vindicated PDF Print E-mail
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THE Sunday meeting was immensely large. I spoke last, taking for my text the words: “Philip began at the same words and preached unto him Jesus.” I began by showing that the eunuch was on his return from Jerusalem, where he had been transacting some business for Candace, Queen of Ethiopia, and had probably got a copy of the prophecies of Isaiah, and the part he was now reading was to be found in the fifty-third chapter of these prophecies. The whole connection showed conclusively that the prophet was speaking of the Mediator in behalf of His people. I cannot now give an entire and correct synopsis of my sermon from memory, but I endeavored to show that in the Person of this Jesus were two whole and distinct natures, divine and human. In His human nature He was God’s holy child Jesus, and in His divine nature He was God, to the exclusion of all persons real or imaginary, which were distinct from Him. In His holy, harmless, and undefiled manhood or humanity, He was set up from everlasting, or ever the earth was, and that His goings forth were from everlasting. This Jesus, the executor of the will of God His Father, in which will, testament, covenant, counsel, or by whatever appellation it may be expressed by the Mediator or executor, was verily foreordained before the foundation of the world. He was to be the head, the life, the shepherd, the husband, the prophet, the priest, and king of all His people. His members, His heritage and portion, yea, all His saints were given to Him, and chosen in Him before the foundation of the world, not indeed on account of some good in them or foreseen to be done by them, but they were so chosen that they should be holy and without blame before Him in love. To secure to them this high and holy destiny, God in His will settled an inheritance upon them, having predestinated them to the adoption of children, and so they receive the inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will. This chosen people, these predestinated heirs, are given to Jesus, and in Him are blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places, according to that early choice and predestination of love by which they were chosen as His people, His portion, and the lot of His inheritance. Grace was given them in Him before the world began, and the great and precious promises or guarantees of God’s will were ordained to their glory.

In this way I showed that God was from everlasting, God; and as such, was the testator of His own immutable will, covenant, testament, or counsel. Jesus was from everlasting the Mediator of that will, and in this legal and indissoluble relation to Him or in Him, believers are one with Him. He is the Head over all things to the church, and we, as members in particular, and members one of another, all fitly joined together and compacted by joints and bands, constitute the body of Christ and make up the fullness of His body. Thus all its members are complete up to the original or eternal measure of the fullness of the stature of Christ; and from His fullness He furnishes all of them with such gifts and blessings as would fit them for their respective places in His body, which they as members were to fill. So of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. Thus Christ was the Head of the church and the Saviour of the body. So there is one God and one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.

Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God the testator is one; and His chosen heirs, as men, are now legal relations as joint-heirs with the man Christ Jesus, Who was appointed heir of all things. He, therefore, legally stands between God and these heirs in His will as Mediator, a relation He sustained to them before time began. This Mediator was called Wisdom, because all the hidden wisdom of God’s will was in Him, and in time He should make it known, just as He has done, as we may read in the eighth chapter of Proverbs. But when by this Wisdom God made the world, this Wisdom was called His Word; as it is said: “By the word of God the heavens were of old and the earth standing in the water and out of the water.” This Word of God was that by which He produced all things and formed them according to His wisdom and by the word of His power. God put forth His wisdom and power in the creation and order of all things, in and through the medium of His Word; therefore as man was made a living soul, that is, a natural, accountable, and conversational being, he was to govern the lower world and all its hosts by His Word. God gave language to men by which to communicate with each other, and since this Mediator of God’s will is the organ or medium of God’s communication to man (and that commonly in language), it is proper that this medium should be called the “word of God”.

Moreover, all the volume of words of truth which God has revealed and made known to the sons of men, were then hid in God as His unrevealed wisdom; yet all this was essentially in the Mediator, and by Him to be declared in the fullness of time. This name “Word” is therefore not only proper but full of instruction. This Voice, or Word of God, was heard by Adam, in the cool of the day, where he had hid himself through conscious guilt and shame, for his nakedness and crime were now upon him. The crown of earthly glory had fallen from his head, and the light of God’s smile had darkened on his brow. His unborn race was sunk with him under the gloom and power of death. The Word of God called him to an account, and pronounced special penalties which should spring up from the earth; now it would bring forth briers and thorns for his sake, or on his account, and the beasts, the fish, the fowl, the reptiles, and the insects, are no longer in quiet subjection under him, but stand arrayed against him to devour his flesh and suck out his blood. Surely this awful crisis—when horror and despair seemed depicted on the entire universe—was a proper moment for the Word of God to give some intimation of the will of His Father, which He as Mediator was to fulfill. He there implied a threat to the serpent, saying: “I will put enmity between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel.” This was the first revelation of the mediatorial work of this Jesus, whom Philip preached to the eunuch.

In the symbolical offering of faith we see another exhibition of the same dawning hope, and the mode of its accomplishment by Abel’s acceptable offering, a type of the sacrifice of this Jesus. Ere long the Mediator, as man, declared to be man, in human form, appeared to Abraham, in company with two other men, on their way to Sodom. Something peculiar appeared in this Man, wherefore Abraham interceded with him, as with God, for Sodom. This Man made a direct promise to Abraham, of Isaac, as a seed in which all the nations of the earth should be blessed, and said that the child of promise should be brought forth by Sarah. This was the word of God to Abraham, but the Man of God’s right hand revealed it to him. Here was a plain historical narrative of a fact, which the inspired historian records as a fact; and if we have like precious faith with Abraham, we must believe as he did. The Man who stood before Joshua with a drawn sword in his hand and declared himself to be come forth as the captain of the Lord’s host, is another plain fact recorded by an inspired historian; and the protomartyr, Stephen, declares that Jesus was with the church in the wilderness. Still another narrative, equally plain, is recorded of Manoah and his wife, seeing and conversing with a Man, a mysterious Man, concerning the birth of Samson. This Man was also seen by the heathen Nebuchadnezzar, in the “burning fiery furnace”, with the three Hebrew children, and his form was like the Son of God. This is another plain narrative recorded by the inspired historian, and must be either true or false. If true then this Jesus, as man, did actually pre-exist before He was born of Mary.

All these plain narratives are fully and forcibly corroborated by the prophets to whom the Word of the Lord came saying: “Thus saith the Lord,” so and so. This same Jesus is the Word of the Lord which came to the prophets when they were searching what and what manner of time the Spirit of Christ, which was in them, did signify when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory which should follow. Christ Himself, Who is the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God, settled this question by a constant reference to his pre-existence with God. We meet with many such sayings as the following: “What and if ye shall see the Son of Man ascend up where He was before?” “I proceeded and came forth from God;” “I came not of myself, but He sent me;” “Before Abraham was I am;” “He that ascendeth is the same that descendeth into the lower part of the earth.” Now, numerous similar references to His former existence with God, and of His coming out from God, and being sent from God, and of His returning back to God, all prove positively His pre-existence. If this were not true, why did Jesus pray to His Father for the same glory which He had with Him before the world was? If this preexistence was not true of His subordinate or human nature or manhood, how could He be sent? We know He was sent not to do His own will, but the will of God Who sent Him—to do a work which God had given Him to do. Surely, David, in the Psalms, recognized His existence as a man; for he calls Him “the man of God,” even “the Son of Man which God had made strong for himself.” Surely, another of the holy prophets recognized Him as a man existing in his day, for he calls Him “the man that is God’s fellow.” And Daniel, another of the prophets of God, saw in a vision one like the Son of Man coming with the clouds of heaven, and approaching this Ancient of Days; and they brought Him near before Him.

The holy apostles also bore witness to the same truth, as did also John the Baptist, who declares that this “Jesus was preferred before him, for He was before him.” Now John was born of Elizabeth about six months before Jesus was born of Mary. So if He did not exist previous to His birth of Mary He was not before John. The apostle John confirms the above testimony to the doctrine of the pre-existence of the Man Christ Jesus, as borne by the inspired historians, prophets, and apostles, with John the Baptist, and even by Christ Himself. This holy man says: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” And again: “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory (the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.” Again, he says: “The same was in the beginning with God.”

Now, as the Word was with God, and as the Word was made flesh and dwelt among the apostles, as the only begotten of the Father, we think the point of his pre-existence settled. But if any doubt should remain on the mind of any one, after all these Scripture quotations, it should be expelled by the most unequivocal testimony of this same witness, where he says, in speaking of this same Word: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, 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 show unto you that eternal life which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us; that which we have seen 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. And these things write we unto you that your joy may be full.”

This testimony includes all the apostles under the pronoun WE—we who have heard, and seen with our eyes, looked upon and handled [Him] Whom we have preached, written and testified of, with a view to settle the faith of all the saints and all churches, on this very point; so that their fellowship may be with the apostles, as their agreement or fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son, Jesus Christ. This very Jesus, Whom Philip preached, was then truly as the Word, in existence with God from the beginning and was manifested to the apostles, and they were fully qualified as witnesses in the case.

The result is incontestable. Jesus as Mediator, the Man Christ Jesus, did exist from the beginning with God; and was manifested in these last times for you who believe in God, who raised Him up from the dead.” If all this infallible testimony can be spurned as heresy, then the whole Bible may be rejected as a novel, and the actual existence of Jesus denied; for how do we know that Jesus lived at all, about Jerusalem, only as His apostles, evangelists, and John the Baptist have told us, and historians have recorded it, as Luke and others did. Now, as these and the inspired historians and prophets of the Old Testament have told us that Christ was both seen and heard by them, from the beginning, and we can trace Him all along, at various times and places, how can some among you deny His pre-existence, and boldly, in the face of God, His Word, His church, and the world, charge the doctrine as the worst of heresies?

So far we have examined a few of the many witnesses to prove that this Jesus, Whom Philip preached, was not, even in His subordinate nature as man, or creature, of yesterday, springing first into conscious existence at Bethlehem, when born of Mary. This low and contemptible notion of the Man Jesus not only eclipses the personal glories of the Mediator, but dishonors God’s wisdom and will in appointing a nonentity as mediator, leaving all the patriarchs, fathers, prophets and saints, who lived during the first four thousand years of the world, without any mediator between them and their God; for the only Mediator is the Man Christ Jesus. It also, in effect, denies that God loved them in Christ, blessed them in Him, gave them eternal life in Him; in a word, this sophistical theory undermines the whole revealed system of redemption in Christ Jesus.

We now claim with confidence that we have proved incontestably, not only that He did exist before the world began, but also that He did frequently appear to Adam, to Abraham, to Joshua, to Manoah, to Nebuchadnezzar, to David, to Daniel, and many of the fathers, prophets, and saints, as MAN, in the active and actual discharge of the laborious functions of the mediator between God and them.

I have thus shown the eternal glories, faithfulness, grace, and fullness of the Mediator in his manhood, or human nature, with God, and among His people, as the messenger or angel of God’s presence; or, if you would better understand this phrase, the ever-living Mediator, the executor of God the Father’s immutable will. So the saints of old were often made to rejoice, not in that which did not exist, but in the living God of Israel, and His redeemer the Holy One of Israel. In all the early appearances in His manhood there was a constant manifestation that the God of Abraham was in and with the Man. We shall admire the testimony of His divine nature, and see whether this was simply the divinity of one-third of the Godhead, or the whole of it.

I am publicly accused of heresy, because I not only believe, preach and have written, on the pre-existence of the Man Christ Jesus, as the Mediator; but also because I maintain that this Jesus, in His Divine nature, is the true God, to the exclusion of all other persons, beings or things that are distinct from Him. By the term “person” I understand is meant an individual. So I learn from words, which are signs of ideas, that a person is an individual, and that distinct and separate. Therefore, as there are many persons in the Godhead, distinct from each other, and each one of these Divine and distinct persons, being separately considered, is truly and properly God, there must be just as many distinct, or separate individuals, and each one a God, true and proper. Now if words are signs of ideas, the words are the signs of the true and proper Gods, separate and distinct from each other. This Popish heresy I have exposed. Let the advocates of this Papal tradition roar and vent their venom as they may, and labor to rob this Jesus of all the divine glories, except what belongs to the second one of these three divine persons, separately considered.

Now the Word, which was with God in the beginning, and was made flesh, was the man; but in the divine nature of that Word, the Word was God. So the Word was both God and with God. While there was no God with Him, this could not be true if the Word was a distinct person from the Father; and, as such, was truly and properly God. If the whole fullness of the Godhead dwelt in the Man Christ Jesus, then there could be no part of that fullness left out of Him, to remain among other persons distinct from Him in Whom its whole fullness dwelt. The Father, Whom they call the first person, dwelt in Him, for He says: “The Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works.” “I in the Father and the Father in me.” “I and my Father are one.” If these, the Father and the Word, were two persons, they were both in Christ, and not distinct, but one. The Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit, which they say is the third person, is in Him. Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy. “Holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” But this Holy Ghost was, “the Spirit of Christ which was in them, when they testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory which should follow.”

This Holy Spirit was not in Him by measure. A measure of the Spirit was given to the prophets, apostles and all God’s people, to profit withal, but it was all in and upon this Jesus, and not distinct from Him. It follows, of course, that if three were persons, they were not distinct persons, but all three were one God, in person, and “these three, the Father, the Word, and the Spirit”—the three that bear record in heaven—are all in the one person of this Jesus, Who is properly the visible form of the invisible God.

This truth is stated most emphatically by Isaiah, in these words, dictated by the Holy Ghost: “Unto us (the people of God) a child is born; unto us (the same people) a Son is given; the government shall be upon His shoulders.” This born child, this son given, surely describes Christ’s manhood, while His name is indicative of His Godhead. “His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor,”—and what can be more wonderful than for a child to be born, a son given Who was both God and man, God being His Father, and Mary, one of the fallen daughters of apostate Adam, His mother. Yet, at His conception, the Holy Ghost came upon Mary and hallowed her, and the power of the Highest overshadowed her. Therefore that holy thing which was born of her was called the Son of the Highest. Is this not wonderful indeed, that the Holy Ghost should be actually engaged in His conception, preparing a sinful mother of Adam’s fallen race to bear a holy, sinless child—Jesus, Who was “holy, harmless, and undefiled”? All His works and doings were also wonderful.

Counsellor — This item of His name He amply fills. The mysteries of God’s holy will were to be revealed by Him. All things are open and plain before Him. All the treasures of Divine wisdom are in Him. His eyes are over the righteous, and His ears are open to their cries, and they come boldly to His throne of grace in every time of need. O what a Counsellor He is, and with what freedom and confidence Christians may come and consult Him under all their trials, afflictions, and persecutions. Surely He is worthy of the name Counsellor.

“The government shall be upon His shoulder.” I have omitted to remark on this part of the text until now, because it attributes to Him the government, and not a name; and, therefore, might be more correctly understood and applied to Him as both God and man in one person. The government shall be upon His shoulders. The government of the earth, the starry heavens, the seas, and all their varied hosts, are under His control. Even heaven and hell are all subject to His government. But, more especially, in the light of this prophecy, the government of His chosen people, His church, His kingdom, as King of saints, to whom as a child, He was born, and, as a Son, He was given, seems to be intended for a full development of His superior and infallible qualifications, as a Governor. I shall examine His appellations analytically.

He is called, the Mighty God. “The” being a definite article, defines one kind or species, and distinguishes Him from all other beings, individuals, or persons of the same species. The word “mighty” being an adjective, qualifying the noun “God”, it follows, then, that all persons, although they may be said to belong to the same nature, or essence, yet being distinct from this governor, can have no valid claim to an equality with this personage, Who is here called by name, the Mighty God.

If one shadow of a doubt should still hover over the most beclouded mind, it surely must be dispelled by the next item of His majestic name — the Everlasting Father. Here again the same definite article is found separating this Person, on Whose shoulders the government shall rest, from all other persons that may be imagined, of the same nature. The word “everlasting”, the adjective qualifying the noun “father”, shows that this father is the very God and Father of the Man Christ Jesus. The Jehovah of the Jews, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Who claims the confidence and worship of all His people, and [Who] under the most awful sanctions, forbids us to know or to reverence any other person, being, thing, real or imaginative, distinct from Him—”Him only shalt thou serve.”

The closing item in His name seems to be designed to show the perpetuity and glory of His government, including both His manhood and His godhead in one person, not in three distinct forms, but in one person, who is called “the Prince of Peace”. Jesus “made peace by the blood of the cross.” “By Him we have peace with God.” By this offering of himself as made to God through the Eternal Spirit, “He has slain the enmity contained in the transgressed law of commandments and ordinances, taking it out of the way and nailing it to His cross, so making peace—breaking down the dividing or middle wall of division” which was between the Jews and Gentiles, and of the twain making one man, body, or church, so making peace. His government was not established “with garments rolled in blood” on the field of battle and carnage, but by “Peace on earth and good-will toward men”.

“The government shall be upon His shoulder”; He, by wisdom and power, benevolence, and good-will, and every virtue, either human or divine, will sustain the government forever. This is beautifully delineated by the prophet, whose declaration includes the born child, the given Son, the Wonderful, the Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, all as one and the same person, sustaining the weight of the government upon His shoulders, and executing it by His own power most gloriously. These are His words: “Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end; upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and justice, from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”

Where are your three distinct persons? They are vanished in the bewildering fogs of a vain imagination; for in the Person of Jesus, this child, this son, this governor, this prince, this mighty God, even this everlasting Father, are found identified, to the exclusion of all other persons distinct from Him, the Father (your supposed first person in the Trinity), and the Holy Spirit (your third distinct person). But we have found both the Father and the Holy Spirit to be included and embodied in Jesus Whom Philip preached. It is, therefore, self-evident to every intelligent mind not blinded with Papist traditions, that the Triune God—Father, Word, and Holy Spirit—is the Holy Jesus, in His own true, proper, and undivided eternal power and Godhead. All this was essential to Him personally and officially, to qualify Him as mediator between God and man, to be our Saviour.

As man He could die for us, and so save legally from the legal courts, and from the law under whose curse we had fallen by sin. He, “through the Eternal Spirit, offered himself to God for us,” as “the altar which sanctifieth the gift.” Jesus, as man, is betrayed; He agonizes in the garden of Gethsemane; His very soul is sorrowful even unto death; and thrice He prays, not that He should be spared from drinking the cup, but “O, my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass, yet not my will but thine be done.” Jesus had taught His followers that He had come down from heaven not to do His own will, but the will of His Father Who had sent Him. Now, the will, being immutable and confirmed by the oath of God, was, therefore, unchangeable; hence Christ, as man, must needs suffer these things and enter into His glory. Jesus, as man, died according to the foreknowledge and determinate counsel of God. On that awful and eventful hour, when the sun was vailed in sable shade and the earth trembled in convulsive agitation, when the rocks were rent, and the graves of many sleeping saints were opened, Jesus cried: “My God! my God! why hast thou forsaken me?”

Here the divinity which had been in Him, and co-operated with Him, but could not die, separated from Him, because man had sinned and must die. Hence this division of the two whole yet distinct natures was of necessity effected for the time. The man—the whole man—suffered for the sins of the heirs in God’s will; “His soul was made an offering for sin.” “He bore our sins in His own body on the tree.” When the agonies and pangs of the death on the cross were endured to the end, He cried: “It is finished!” and gave up the ghost (the spirit of the man), and He was dead. On the third day, God, Who had forsaken Him on the cross, returned again, and raised Him from the dead. The very Holy Ghost, which quickened the dead body of Christ, is the very same Spirit which dwells in each of God’s believing children, in measure, and shall finally “quicken their vile bodies by His Spirit which dwelleth in them.” He was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father; so, we see that the Father and the Holy Spirit arose again in Him, as His true and proper divinity. God the Father, Word, Spirit, and all the fullness of the Godhead dwelt in this Jesus bodily or personally. “No man knoweth the Father but the Son, and He to whom the Son will reveal him.” My impugners assert that to the three distinct persons three distinct provinces are given, and each Person is limited in His work to His own province.

Their first Person, the Father, has the province of creation, providence, and grace. The Word or Son of the Father, begotten by what is vainly called “eternal generation,” as “God of God,” is the second person, and His province is redemption. The Holy Ghost “Who proceeded from the Father and the Son” is the third person, and His province is inspiration, sanctification, regeneration, quickening the dead, and raising them to life. Each of these supposed divine persons have their respective provinces to operate in, and cannot work in the province of another. This is the folly of their earthly wisdom. Does not the Father raise up the dead and quicken whom He will? Did Jesus raise the dead while on earth, and declare He had power to quicken whom He would? Is it not the Spirit that quickeneth? Then, as we have proved again and again, that “the three that bear record in heaven,” are in Jesus and in His Person, they all operate in the same province. Your distinct persons and their respective and distinct provinces all dissolve like vapors before the beaming rays of heaven’s truth.

Let saints rejoice in this Jesus, this Saviour; for there is salvation in Him and in no other—in no other distinct from Him, for there is none “other name given under heaven among men whereby we must be saved.” This name is Jesus, which signifies Saviour, “for He shall save His people from their sins.” No person, real or imaginary, that is distinct from this Jesus, or operates in a different and distinct province from His can ever be our Saviour. This Jesus is “Immanuel,” which being interpreted is “God with us”; He is the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father; He is the only true God, the only wise God. This Jesus is “the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the Almighty.” And as there is but one first and one last, and but one Almighty, where are your other two persons who are distinct from this Alpha and Omega? They are excluded by the word of truth. This Person Who is above every man, either in this world or in that which is to come, is the same Jesus, at Whose name every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that “He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” All the angels were commanded to bow to this Jesus, Who was made known to Thomas as his Lord and his God; yea, all the angels of heaven worship Him, and the four and twenty elders cast their crowns at His feet, crying, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty.” Surely the saints on earth may join with the glorified multitudes around His throne saying: “Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.”

Yes, brethren, this Jesus in whom the whole fullness of the Godhead dwells is in the Father and the Father in Him, and these three are one. O! praise Him with all your powers, love Him with all your affections, serve Him with all your mind and strength, believe in Him with all your hearts, let your gratitude and devotion be employed to swell His praise, and “crown Him Lord of all.” This divine fullness of Jesus is all the God I know. To preach this Jesus and His fullness as the only Saviour of sinners is the theme I love to dwell upon. If all this be unparalleled heresy, then I am a heretic. But let this heresy be tested according to the sayings of God, and then these my impugners will be found false witnesses, false accusers, and revilers of that which is God. If it be God’s will, I may rejoice in the promise to the persecuted, against whom all manner of evil is spoken falsely. If my God, Who has all power in heaven and on earth in His hands, and Who in the conduct of His government causeth the wrath of man to praise Him and restraineth the remainder of that wrath, wills that I should suffer for His truth, I am content, unworthy as I am of standing in the relation of His minister, as His persecuted servant, yet I must remember that “so persecuted they the prophets” of old and the apostles. All the advocates of the holy truth have more or less experienced what Paul suffered, “Cast down but not destroyed, dying but behold they live, chastened but not killed.” Like them, I humbly “rejoice in tribulations also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope.”

I have never been afraid of going too far on two points of revealed truth. One of these points is the depraved, helpless, guilty, and condemned condition of the sinner, in himself considered, under the law and under the curse. The other point is the superlative fullness, power, grace, truth, and every divine attribute and perfection of the eternal power and Godhead of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. If He were not man He could not have died for my sins. Nay, if He were not a holy, sinless, and undefiled man in Himself, standing in an indissoluble, legal, vital union to His body, the church, our sins could not in justice or in law have been laid on Him, nor the righteousness of Him imputed to us. Hence His death could not have removed our sins nor His righteousness have justified us, or legally redeemed us from under the law and its curse.

This legal relation of all the heirs in God’s eternal will, which is immutable and confirmed by His oath, are the two immutable things in which it was impossible for God to lie. All this did God show to the heirs of promise that we might have strong consolation in the truth, that all the guarantees or promises are settled immutably in Christ Jesus the Mediator—”in whom all the promises are unconditionally yea and amen.” They are all in Him, as the estate or inheritance of an heir is always in the legal executor of the will, and they are blessed with all the spiritual blessings of that will in the Mediator, according as they as heirs were chosen by the testator, in Jesus its mediator. This shows the immutable union of Christ Jesus and His people or church in Him, as heirs of God the testator, and joint heirs with the Man Christ Jesus, its mediator, Who as such was “appointed heir of all things.” So, brethren, you are assured by an apostle that “all things are yours, and ye are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” “Christ is the Head of the Church,” and God is the head of Christ. Thus we perceive the unity of Christ as man, and of the whole fullness of the Godhead which dwelt in Him bodily. The heirs are all one body in Christ, and each one of them a member in particular of that body. Jesus the Mediator as man, or the real man Christ Jesus, in Whom they were all chosen, is their Head, and God is His head. This is that eternal and indissoluble oneness of each and all the heirs in Christ and Christ in God.

So in the one Person of this Jesus we see the whole fullness of the Godhead shining in every mighty work which He performed. Jesus is in the Father, and the Father, the Word, and Holy Ghost in Jesus, and all the heirs, or church, yea, every spiritual blessing and every promise are in Him. Redemption, justification, reconciliation, are all in Jesus Christ. In this Jesus we have a God to worship, a Spirit to quicken us, a victim to die for us as a lamb without blemish or spot, a High Priest over the House of God, a Prophet to teach us, and a King to give laws and to rule in us and over us. He has, through His death, “destroyed death and him that had the power of death, that is the devil.” He has triumphed over the last enemy, extracting the sting of death, and carried off victory from the grave! He has ascended to heaven with a shout, leading captivity captive. There, on His eternal throne He sits, from henceforth until His enemies become His footstool.

O, what a Saviour is Jesus! He is Lord of lords, and King of kings. There surely can be no person or persons distinct from Him, that can be equal with Him, for “His name is above every name, not only in this world but in that which is to come. At His name every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that He is Lord.” Now, we have treated on this Jesus in both His natures, of God and of man, from of old, even from everlasting, down from heaven to earth, and back to heaven again with God, where He was “before all worlds,” and have showed Him to be, all the time, in His personal manhood, the visible form of the invisible God, by the materials of His body in which He appeared to the patriarchs, prophets, saints and others of what sort they may be, whether spiritual, or like Adam’s, before the fall, or like Christ’s after the resurrection, or like His glorious body after His ascension—which I think most likely of all. Still He was as He still is, God, and God as He still is, He ever will be. So He was and ever will be, the brightness of God’s glory and the express image of His person. Not a mere resemblance, but the express, or exact, image of His invisible person, in which God appeared to the people, from time to time, until He was born of Mary, in a body prepared for Him to offer as a victim, for the sins of the children which God had given Him.

This whole subject is summed up by the apostle, where he testifies of Christ, saying to the saints: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 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. Therefore God also 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, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Here we see this very Jesus, in the form of God, that very form in which God visibly appeared to men of old, and, therefore, it was not robbing God of any of His glory, for Him, Who was in this form, to be equal with “the invisible God, whom no man hath seen or can see,” except in this Man. This was the high state of honor, glory and majesty, which He originally possessed in the heaven of glory.

Having this form He first made Himself of no reputation. O, what humility this was. He next took upon Him the form and condition of a servant. This was astonishing condescension—to be made in the likeness of men, or, as Paul says, in the likeness of sinful flesh. Now, being found in fashion, or connection, as a man, “He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death”—but see another amazing step— “even the death of the cross!” O, my soul look up to His native sphere, and see from what an amazing height of glory and heavenly dignity this blessed Man of God’s right hand has stooped to save His people from their sins! From the highest conceivable excellence He has come down, step by step, to the very lowest point of servitude, pain and death, even the most painful and shameful of all deaths—the death on a Roman cross, between two malefactors, thieves and robbers. This fulfilled His Father’s will, redeemed the heirs from the curse of the law, finished iniquity, made an end of sin, and brought in everlasting righteousness. Through His death “He destroyed death, and him that hath the power of death, that is the devil,” and so, legally, “delivered them who, through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Through the humiliation and servitude of this Jesus, all the heirs of promise are freed from every legal barrier that stood in the way of their coming, when called to receive, as free men, their bequeathed eternal inheritance.

This view well agrees with the words of the apostle, where he appeals to the knowledge of the brotherhood, saying: “Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich.” Some one may say that this means the second divine, distinct person in the Godhead. I would ask such an one: Did the divine Godhead of Jesus become poor? Did it humble itself and suffer death, even the death of the cross? What! God dead! The very idea is so glaringly preposterous, in itself, that it merits no refutation. This Person was none other than the Man that the Lord of Hosts claims as His “fellow”, the Shepherd Who was smitten for the sheep.

When the obedience and death of Jesus had done all that God’s will required, and He had lain in the grave until the third, the appointed morn, God highly exalted Him by raising Him from the dead, and finally exalted Him with His own right hand again to occupy His former glory, which He had before the world was; and He still remains the Lamb of God that is in the midst of the throne. He still leads His people, flock, or subjects to fountains of living water, and God shall wipe all tears from their eyes. I have often said, and still say, that the Spirit of Christ, which is the same with the Holy Ghost, moved the saints to write and speak, and that the Spirit of which believers are born again (and so are born of God), the Spirit which dwells in them and leads them, is the very same spirit of Truth. Therefore, every true experience will beautifully harmonize with all the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Now, for a few moments at the close of the present discourse, let me invite you to a review of your own experience as Christians. When God was pleased to shine in your heart, did not His light enable you to see light, even the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ? Did not His fullness, perfection, grace, and truth draw out your heart’s best affections to Him, as altogether lovely, and cause you to begin to pant for the living God? With His light shining in your heart did you not see your own vileness, poverty, pollution, guilt, and condemnation? Did you not, from this time, begin to hunger and thirst after righteousness, and see plainly that without holiness no man could ever see the Lord? You now saw and felt your abject poverty, and felt as a guilty and justly-condemned culprit, before a just and holy and sin-avenging God. In this agony of soul you saw an end to all that boasted moral free-agency, and conditional system of salvation which Fullerites and all conditionalists proclaim as indispensable to a sinner’s acceptance with God. You had tried your prayers; they came from a wicked, hard, and deceitful heart, passing through a throat polluted as an open sepulcher, and from lips under which the deadly poison of the asp was corroding, and they were uttered with a tongue that used deceit, and a mouth that was full of cursing and bitterness. Therefore, your very prayers were so loaded down with the fumes of evil that they could not rise acceptable before a holy God, but seemed to bound back upon you with an alarming emphasis. You were told to come to God, but you knew not the way, and your feet being swift to shed blood, and destruction and misery being in all your ways, you dared not, nor could not come in that condition. You were told to come by prayer and repentance, but you found your heart was too hard to repent, too full of evil thoughts and imaginations, and you could neither soften nor cleanse it. You were told to believe and come by faith, but alas! you soon found that all men have not faith, and you were of that number. You now felt a realizing sense of the poet’s words:

I would but can’t, though I endeavor oft,
This stony heart can ne’er relent, till Jesus makes it soft.
I would but cannot pray; I’m filled with deep dismay.
O could I but believe, then all would easy be,
I would but cannot! Lord, relieve; all these must come from thee.

So you found that when to will was present, how to perform that which was good you found not. One thing now you well knew. That was, “that in me, that is in the flesh dwelleth no good thing.” So the last hope of salvation by fanning some holy, vital spark, supposed to dwell in every man, vanished as a delusion, and, with it, all hope of salvation by the deeds of the law were blotted out, and you were thoroughly convinced that if your salvation, in whole or in part, depended on any condition which you must perform, that condition would never be fulfilled by you, and, therefore, you must be lost without remedy. Now, the law which you had thought to be unto life, you have found to be unto death; for it was the ministration of condemnation and death: “So when the commandment came, sin revived” in all its heinous reign unto death, and you were dead to all hope or acceptance with God on the conditional platform, in whatever shape it could assume. And unless a merciful and gracious God could be just, and yet be a Saviour of a guilty, depraved, and helpless sinner, there remained no hope for you. Even this seemed only hoping against hope, for you could see no such a way. With your eyes cast down, and the gloom of desponding dread on your brow, and your hand smiting on your guilty breast, burdened with a condemned heart, you poured forth the deepest desire of your soul: “God be merciful to me a sinner;” “Lord save or I perish;” “Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.” Then you realized that feeling expressed by the poet:

Should sudden vengeance seize my breath,
I must pronounce Thee just in death;
And if my soul were sent to hell,
Thy righteous law approves it well.

O save a trembling sinner, Lord,
Whose hope stands hovering round Thy word,
Would light on some sweet promise there,
Some sure support against despair.

When you had proved the falsity and delusion of all this worldly scheme, and it pleased God to reveal His Son in you, you no longer conferred with flesh and blood, but you were ready to own Him as your Lord and your God, your Saviour and your Life, your all in all. The end of the law for righteousness, all the fullness of the Godhead was in Him. No other distinct person from Him was thought of, for all fullness was in Him, and no other was needed. He was the chiefest among ten thousand, and altogether lovely. “Whom have I in heaven but thee! and there is none on earth that I desire beside thee.” Grace is in His countenance: “This is my Beloved and this is my Friend.” There is salvation in Him and in no other. There is none other name of person or thing given under heaven among men by which we can be saved. “God and the Lamb” is the theme which fills the heaven above and the most capacious wishes of the saints on earth.

Not once did you feel your faith shaken by the thought that Jesus the Saviour, Who should save His people from their sins, was without existence until he was born of Mary. No, “the Word that was from the beginning with God was now made flesh and dwelt among us.” Your faith found in Him all the treasures of grace and truth; He was to you the true God and eternal life. You viewed Him as “the only wise God, our Saviour”, in Whom your hope took a firm anchorage, and your faith found a perfect righteousness, sanctification, and eternal redemption. The chilling thought never once obtruded itself that He was, as man, of “timely origin”, or that, as God, He was only one of three divine, distinct, and equal persons, each of whom was limited to a certain province, so that He could not act beyond its limits, without being an intruder on one or both the other divine, distinct, and equal persons. Neither your faith nor hope found any such repulsing impediments; but you could then give vent to your full and admiring soul, in harmony like this:

O, sacred beauties of the man, that God resides within!
His flesh all pure without a spot, his soul without a sin.

Your faith received and rested in His fullness. In Him you found the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, as well as the child that was born to us, and the Son that was given to us. You realized the ecstatic sentiment so well expressed in the following stanza:

Babes, men, and sires who know His love,
Who feel your guilt and thrall,
Now join with all the hosts above
And crown Him Lord of all:

Let all His saints of every tribe On this terrestial ball,
To Him all majesty ascribe,
And crown Him Lord of all.

My Christian brethren and sisters, in the faith and hope of the gospel of our adorable Jesus, Whom you have received as both Lord and Christ, whether your first hope-inspiring view of this Saviour was as a bright vision of His divine fullness and glory, or only as a moving fullness of virtue and power, so that you could only touch the hem of His garment, and feel your disease removed, substantially His fullness was the same. The faith which you received and by which you trusted in Him was the same, although less in its degree. In all cases we only see or know but in part, and the more you have read the Book of revealed truth with prayerful and studious attention, when the Lord has opened your heart to understand the Scriptures, the more you are enabled to see the adaptation of this Jesus and His fullness of divine riches and glory to our helpless state of degradation. In Him you have found a father, a brother, a husband, a shepherd, a priest, a prophet, a king, a full and complete Saviour. Like the man to whom Philip preached, you desired to obey and follow this Jesus, and be buried with Him in baptism, and thus put Him on openly as your lawgiver, and henceforth walk in newness of life, as one of the subjects of the kingdom. I believe you now see that “after the manner that some call heresy, so worship we the God of our fathers.” You see and feel also that the Holy Spirit in your experience has taught you to know and feel the witness in yourselves, both of the emptiness and vain philosophy of all our impugners, and also the fullness and adaptation of this glorious truth. Farewell.

I do not pretend to say that the above is a verbatim copy of the sermon it represents, but as a synopsis it follows the same arrangement, gives the same Scriptures to sustain the points of doctrine it advocates, the same arguments and illustrations, and as near the same language as my memory can now enable me to give it. The result was evident in the fixed and solemn attention of the thousands in attendance, crowding closely around the stand in the grove, with their countenances manifesting the deepest interest. The meeting closed with expressions of warm love and brotherly union.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 15 November 2006 )
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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.