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which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the spirit of God." Gal. vi. 18, "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit," that is, with you: as at the conclusion of several other epistles, particularly 1 Cor. xvi. 23. "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you."
In the Acts of the apostles the spirit often denotes a gift, or power. Acts ii. 38. "Repent and be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. SwpeaV т8 AY18 TVεUμaтos. Acts viii. 20. Simon of Samaria "thought that the gift of ay18 God might be purchased with money." TYν dwpɛav т8 0ɛ8. Acts x. 45. “on the gentiles was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.” η δωρεά τε αγι8 πνεύματος.
Timothy is directed 1 Tim. iv. 14, Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy.” Μη αμελει τε εν σοι χαρισματος -2 Tim. i. 6. "Stir up the gift of God which
is in thee.” αναζωπυρειν το χάρισμα τ8 θευ.
When God said to Moses, Numb. xi. 16, 17. “That he should go and gather unto him seventy men of the elders of Israel, and," says he, "I will take of the spirit that is in thee, and will put it upon them." No one understands thereby, that God intended to take from Moses a portion of a spiritual being resting upon him: but that he would bestow upon those elders qualifications of wisdom and understanding, resembling those in Moses, by which he was so eminent and distinguished. So Deut. xxiv. 9. "Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom. For Moses had laid his hands upon him."
Zach. xii. 10. “And I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and supplication: not pour out upon them a great and transcendent being or spirit but give them the temper, the qualification, the disposition of grace and supplication.
And it is generally supposed, that the ancient Jewish people never had any notion of the distinct personality of the Spirit," or the Spirit of God," or "the Spirit of the Lord," though such phrases occur very frequently in the scriptures of the Old Testament. But they understood these expressions after the manner just shown.
And it is observable, that in the New Testament, though there are many doxologies, or ascriptions of glory to God, and to Christ, there is not one to the Spirit. Nor is there at the beginning of the epistles any wish of peace from the Spirit distinctly, but only from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Our Lord says Matt. xxviii. 19. "Go ye therefore, and teach" or disciple "all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost." These persons think it not likely, that our Lord should insert in a baptismal form a sublime mysterious doctrine, not. clearly taught any where else. The genuine meaning they suppose to be, that men should be baptized into the profession of the belief, and an obligation of obedience to the doctrine taught by Christ, with authority from God the Father, confirmed by the Holy Ghost: by the Holy Ghost understanding the miracles of our Saviour's own ministry, and of his apostles, and the spiritual gifts bestowed upon the apostles, and other believers, after our Lord's resurrection, and all the wonderful attestations to the truth and divine original of the doctrine taught by Jesus Christ. In a word, men were to be baptized into a profession of the Christian religion, and an obligation to act according to it.
And that this is the meaning of this direction of our Lord, may be inferred from the Acts of the Apostles, where this form, in these very words, never appears. But men are required to "be baptized in the name of Christ," or are said to "have been baptized into Christ:" that is, as before observed, they made a profession of faith in Jesus, or owned their obligation to obey him in being baptized. Acts ii. 38. " Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ." Ch. viii. 16. "Only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." See ch. viii. 35-38. Rom. vi. 3. "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death?" Gal. iii. 27. "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ."
Of those who are in this scheme it is to be observed, finally, that they admit not any real Trinity, or Trinity of Divine Persons, either equal or subordinate. But to them there is one God, even the Father, and one Lord, even Jesus Christ; who had, when on earth, the spirit without measure, and also poured out of the spirit, or spiritual and miraculous gifts in abundance upon his apostles, and other his followers, and is exalted to dominion and power over all things, to the glory of God, and for the good of the church.
This is, in brief, that scheme which is called Unitarian. I should now apply it to the text before us. But that must be deferred to another opportunity. I shall now mention only an observation or two, partly doctrinal, partly practical.
1. The scheme now represented, seems to be the plainest and most simple scheme of all. And it is generally allowed to have been the belief of the Nazarean Christians, or Jewish believers.
But whatever may be the simplicity of this scheme, even they who have seemed to receive it, in the main, have corrupted it, and suffered themselves to be entangled in philosophical schemes and speculations, about the pre-existence of the soul of Christ and other matters.
Indeed the Christian religion has in it great simplicity, both as to doctrines and positive institutions. But men have not delighted to retain the simplicity of either.
Whatever speculative scheme of doctrine we receive as true, we are to see that we do not too much rely upon our sound faith, or right sentiment, but proceed to, and chiefly charge ourselves with, a suitable practice. James ii. 19. "Thou believest that there is one God. Thou dost well. The dæmons believe and tremble." James writes especially to Jewish, not Gentile believers. And it is likely that they, as well as other Jews at that time, prided themselves in their orthodoxy, or right of faith, concerning the Deity. The Divine Unity was with them a favourite article. He therefore singles out that, and tells them, "that they might hold that right faith, and yet be never the better for it. If they should rely upon that faith without good works, that very faith would prove an aggravation of their misery.
Truth in things of religion is not a matter of indifference. Every virtuous mind must be desirous to know it. But no speculative belief, without practice, is saving, or will give a man real worth and excellence. The knowledge that puffeth up is vain and insignificant. To knowledge there should be added humility, gratitude to God, who has afforded us means and opportunities of knowledge: a modest sense of our remaining ignorance and imperfection: a diffidence and apprehensiveness, that though we see some things with great evidence, and are firmly persuaded of their truth, nevertheless many of our judgments of things may be false and
We should likewise be cautious of judging others. Some who have less knowledge, may have more virtue. God alone knows the hearts of men, and all their circumstances; and is therefore the only judge what errors are criminal, and how far men fall short of improving the advantages afforded them, or act up to the light that has been given them.
Let us then inquire with care and impartiality. Let us profess the truth so far as we are acquainted with it, and candidly recommend it to others, with mildness, patience, and long-suffering and in all things act sincerely according to the light we have: that none of us may fail of that full reward, which God, the best of beings, offers to us, and invites us to contend for, and accept: and, will through Jesus Christ certainly bestow upon all, who diligently improve the privileges, which they have been favoured with in their state of trial.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.-Philip. ii. 5-9. And what follows.
HAVE proposed to consider this text distinctly. In so doing I have represented the different opinions of Christians concerning the Deity, and the person of Jesus Christ.
The opinion last represented was that called Unitarian and Nazarean. I am now to apply that doctrine to this text, or interpret this text, according to the sentiments of those who believe Jesus to be a man, with a human soul, and human body: but " a man with whom God was," in a most peculiar and extraordinary manner.
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God." They who are in the scheme, which we are now explaining, suppose, that here in this world, Jesus was in the form of God. What the apostle intends thereby is the wonderful knowledge which the Lord Jesus showed, even of things at a distance, things past, and the thoughts and reasonings and surmises of men of all which we have in the gospels a most beautiful and affecting history. When at his word and command, the most infirm and diseased persons were immediately healed: when those who had the palsy, or the dropsy, or were lunatic, were healed of their diseases: when the blind received their sight, the lame walked, the deaf were made to hear, and the dumb to speak: when he took upon him some special appearance of authority, and to such as had the leprosy, and petitioned for a cure he said: "I will, Be thou clean.” When he fed and refreshed several thousands at once in desert places: when he directed Peter to cast a hook into the sea, assuring of a supply for himself and him of the tribute money for the temple: when he raised the dead, and walked on the sea, and with a word composed the winds and the waves: when he conveyed to his disciples, upon his sending them from him, spiritual gifts, so far as was requisite at that season. And though that was not yet accomplished, it was plainly declared, by his forerunner, that this was he who should baptize men with the Holy Ghost or bestow on a sudden, in a plentiful measure, wisdom and understanding, and miraculous powers upon his followers in general, according to their several stations.
This may be well meant by "the form of God." These things explain the apostle's expression in the text. And this wonderful power and knowledge seem to be what the same apostle means when he says that Christ was rich, in 2 Cor. viii. 9. Which place may be reckoned parallel with that which we are now considering. "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye by his poverty might be rich."
"Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God," that is, did not earnestly covet divine honour from men, or seek to be equal, or like to God: " but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being in the likeness of ordinary men." That is, very probably, the apostle's design. There begins the account of Christ's condescending and selfdenying conduct. Whatever scheme men embrace concerning the Deity, and the person of Christ, I think they must allow of this interpretation: either that Jesus did not make a show of his divinity, but veiled it, and hid it: or that he did not earnestly seek to be, or appear equal or like to God.
By not earnestly coveting divine honour, or seeking to be equal or like to God, St. Paul may refer to and intend many things in the course of our Lord's ministry, which are recorded in the gospels. Our Lord did not act as if he was independent. He declared that he came from God, and that the Father had sent him. He professed to teach and act as he had received from the Father. When some would have persuaded him to assume kingly power and authority: not doubting but he was able to set up a government, to which all might be compelled to submit:
a Mopon in nostris libris non significat internum & occultum aliquid, sed id quod in oculos incurrit, qualis erat eximia in See Vol. i p. 572, and Vol. ii. p. 21.
Christo potestas sanandi morbos omnes, ejiciendi dæmonas, excitandi mortuos, mutandi rerum naturas.
Grot. ad Philip. Cap. ii. v. 6.
he absolutely declined the proposal. He first defeated the measures which they had taken to bring him into their design. And afterwards he sharply reproved that worldly-mindedness by which they had been actuated.
For a like reason he enjoined silence upon some, on whom he had wrought great cures.
Mark x. 17, 18. "When he was gone, forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him: Good Master, what shall I do, that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him: Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one. That is God." The outward respect shewn by that person being so extraordinary, both as to action and expression, he could not accept it, without an intimation of the supreme respect due to God alone.
John v. 30. "I can of myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge. And my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father, which hath sent me."
John x. 30-38. "Our Lord having in some strong expressions represented the high authority given to him, the "Jews took up stones to stone him. And said: For a good work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy, and because that thou being a man, makest thyself God." Whereupon our Lord modestly answers, agreeably to what he had before said that the near relation to God, spoken of by him, was claimed on no other account, than the high honour which God had conferred upon him, and which they might discern from the works which they had seen him do. "If ye called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world: Thou blasphemest, because I said, I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works."
And many other particulars must occur to the thoughts of all. Wherein our Lord did not choose his own will, nor affect independence, but referred all to God the Father.
"But made himself of no reputation." Literally, according to the original, emptied himself. That is, he did not exert the divine power residing in him, for securing to himself plentiful accommodations, honourable respects, and humble lowly obeisance: but he lived in mean circum-stances, and was exposed to the remarks, reproaches, and ill-usage of many.
"And took upon him the form of a servant." But, according to the original, it is more literally taking the form of a servant. He emptied himself," or "made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant." This farther illustrates the foregoing particular. Jesus did not place himself in servitude to any. But, as he says to the disciples: Whether is greater, He that sitteth at meat? or he that serveth? But I am among you, as one that serveth," Luke xxii. 17. Instead of assuming state and grandeur, or a continued appearance of greatness, he was like a man of mean condition. He conversed freely with all sorts of men, and admitted all to free access: and allowed of questions and cavils. Himself went about doing good, travelling over the cities and villages of the land of Israel, teaching the doctrine of the kingdom of heaven not inviting men by the pomp of numerous attendance, or by gifts, or promises of worldly advantages: but receiving usually needful supplies for himself and his disciples from a few grateful followers who ministered to him of their substance.
In the whole of his ministry he usually acted as one that serves. But there were some remarkable instances of humility and condescension, particularly when he washed. the disciples' feet, and gave them the refreshment, ordinarily received from servants only.
Some think, that when our Lord emptied himself, or made himself of no reputation, he wasno longer in the form of God. But it seems to me, that he was at the same time in the form of God, and in the form of a servant. He had the form of God in this world, as he wrought miraclesof all kinds, whenever he pleased, and likewise had all knowledge of all things. At the same time he acted very humbly and meckly, and was destitute of external pomp and grandeur.
And I think our Lord's discourse with his disciples presently after the forementioned remarkable condescension, shows, that the form of God, and the form of a servant were united.. John xiii. 12-14. "So then after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them: Know ye what I have done unto you? Ye call meMaster and Lord. And so I am. If I then your Lord and Master have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done unto you." He was their Lord and Master at the same time that he acted in divers. respects as one that serves.
A nobleman, or other person of great distinction for wisdom and capacity, with a high commission under his prince, may upon some occasion, and for important reasons, condescend greatly, or empty himself, by performing offices more generally done by men of low and mean condition. Still he has the authority belonging to his commission, and the dignity that is inherent in his character, as a man of honour, veracity, and experience.
"And was made in the likeness of men," or, more literally and properly, according to the original, "and being made in the likeness of men:" or, being in the likeness of men; that is, being like an ordinary man, when he was not such. For he was innocent and perfect, and the fulness of the Deity dwelled in him. St. Paul does not intend to intimate that our Saviour was not really a man, but that he appeared like an ordinary man when he was really more. Rom. viii. 3. "God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh." He was really a man, but had only the likeness of sinful men: for he was innocent and perfect, and was not liable to the sentence of death, or the common law of mortality, binding other men.
Ver. 8. "And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." And being found in his outward appearance as another ordinary man, he humbled himself so far, as to yield up himself to death. Beside all the condescensions of his life, it being the will of God, for great ends and purposes, that he should do so, he yielded up himself to death. He made no resistance. He exerted not any of that extraordinary power, or knowledge, with which he was endowed, to defeat the malicious designs of his unreasonable enemies, but quietly resigned himself, in obedience to God, to death, the death of the cross. He could stoop no lower. So far he submitted and acquiesced, as all know from our Lord's history in the gospels; where are candidly related at large the reproachful, disgraceful, aggravating circumstances of the painful death which Jesus underwent.
Ver. 9, 10, 11. "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him." On account of that excellent and useful service, that cheerful condescension, and willing obedience, in patiently enduring so painful and ignominious a death, for promoting the great ends, designed by the divine wisdom, God has highly exalted him, far beyond whatever any one else has obtained.
Christ's exaltation began with his resurrection from the dead on the third day, without seeing corruption. After which he ascended to heaven, and was seated in the divine presence, next to God the Father.
"And given him a name, which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow:" that is, that all intelligent beings may show respect to Jesus," of things in heaven," angels, "and things on earth," men, "and things under the earth," evil spirits, or men departed, when they shall by him be raised up: "and that every tongue should confess:" particularly that men of all nations and languages on this earth should acknowledge" that Jesus Christ is Lord," and honour and serve him" to the glory of God the Father."
Christ's exaltation is "to the glory of God." God has exalted and appointed him to be Lord, for his own glory. For the exaltation of Jesus is indeed a great display of the wisdom, equity, and justice of the Divine Being. It shows his regard for distinguished and eminent virtue. So extraordinary services and sufferings, and such patience under them, were entitled to special notice. God has conferred on Jesus a reward, greater than could have been devised by man, and highly becoming his Majesty to confer upon him, to whom he had given so important a commission, for the benefit of the human race, and who had executed it with unparalleled faithfulness, zcal, and alacrity, though exceeding painful and difficult.
The glory of Jesus is in another respect to the glory of the Father, inasmuch as that exaltation is a great confirmation of the truth of his doctrine, and must contribute mightily to animate his apostles and others in spreading his doctrine, notwithstanding many difficulties: and it would contribute to bring men to faith in Jesus, as the Christ, and to repentance toward God, and every branch of true holiness, and to eminence therein, and to the practice of meekness, resignation, zeal, courage, and the virtues of every condition, whether prosperous or adverse.}
That is what the apostle says of Christ's exaltation. Which is often spoken of in the New Testament, and differently described, but with constant harmony upon the whole. I shall recite some places.
Our Lord himself said to his disciples, before he finally departed from them: "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth," Matt. xxviii. 13. And says St. Peter, soon after our Lord's ascension, Acts ii. 31. "This Jesus hath God raised up. Whereof we all are witnesses."