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resurrection and ascension, a bright resplendent human body, and being made the King and Lord of all good men in this world, and the judge of mankind, and, if you please to add likewise, being made higher than the angels, to whom, according to the same hypothesis, he was vastly superior before.
But to speak my mind freely, I now entirely dislike that scheme, and think it all amazing throughout, and irreconcilable to reason.
However, that we may not take up any prejudices from apprehensions, which our own reason might afford, I shall suspend all inquiries of that sort, and will immediately enter upon the consideration of what the scriptures say of the person of our Saviour.
He is called a man in many places of the gospels. And every body took him for a man during his abode on this earth, when he conversed with all sorts of people in the most free and open manner. He frequently styles himself " the Son of man." He is also said to be "the Son of David," and "the Son of Abraham." He is called a man even after his ascension. Acts xvii. 31. " He has appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he has ordained.” 1 Tim. ii. 5. "For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." And St. Peter to the Jews at Jerusalem, Acts ii. 22. "Ye men of Israel, hear these words, Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles, and wonders, and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know."
Now if Jesus Christ be a man, he consists of a human soul and body: for what else is a man? This title and appellation of man being so often and so plainly given to our Saviour, must needs lead us to think that he was properly man, unless there are some expressions of another kind that are decisive to the contrary. But we find that he is not only called a man, but is also said to be a man as we are, or like to us. Heb. ii. 17." Therefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren." Ch. iv. 15. "We have not an high priest, which cannot be touched with a feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." And see the second chapter of that epistle throughout.
Besides these plain expressions, describing our Lord to be a man, and like to us; this point may be argued from a great number and variety of particulars related in the New Testament: for two evangelists have recorded our Lord's nativity. St. Paul says, "God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law," Gal. iv. 4. If it were expedient that our Saviour should be born into the world, as we are, and live in infancy, and grow up to manhood, as we do, and be liable to all the bodily wants, weaknesses and disasters to which we are exposed, must it not have been as needful, or more needful, and as conformable to the Divine Wisdom, that he should be also like unto us in the other part of which we are composed, a human soul, or spirit ?"
Moreover, this supposition does best, if not only, account for our blessed Saviour's temptation, and every part of it. For how was it possible that he should be under any temptation to try the love of God to him, by turning stones into bread! or by casting himself down from a
other things spoken in scripture; and the highest titles are
ascribed to him, even such as include all divine powers, ex
cepting absolute independency and supremacy.'
A part of Mr. Peirce's paraphrase upon Col. i. 15, 16, is in these words: '-and since he was the first being that was ' derived from the Father. And that he must be the first derived from him, is hence evident, that all other beings were derived from God, the primary and supreme cause of all, through his Son, by whom, as their immediate author, all things were created that are in heaven, and that are in 'earth, visible and invisible, &c.'
a And when we say, that person was conceived and born, we declare, he was made really and truly man, of the same human nature, which is in all other, men.-For "the me'diator between God and men is the man Christ Jesus,"
1 Tim. ii. 5. "That since by man came death, by man also [should] come the resurrection of the dead," 1 Cor. xv. 21. 'Assure, then, as the first Adam, and we who are redeemed,
are men; so certainly is the second Adam, and our mediator,
He is therefore frequently called "the Son of man," and in that nature he was always promised: first to Eve, as her seed, and consequently her son; then to Abraham. And that seed is Christ. Gal. iii. 16, and so the son of Abrahami, next to David;—and consequently of the same 'nature with David and Abraham. And as he was their son, so are we his brethren, as descendents from the same father Adam. "And therefore it behoved him to be made like ' unto his brethren: for he laid not hold on the angels, but on the seed of Abraham," Heb. ii. 16, 17; and so became not an angel, but å man.
As then man consisteth of two different parts, body and soul, so doth Christ-And certainly, if the Son of God ' would vouchsafe to take the frailty of our flesh, he would not ' omit the nobler part, our soul, without which he could not be man. For "Jesus increased in wisdom and stature;" one in respect of his body, the other of his soul, Luke ii. 52.' Pearson upon the Creed, Art. iii. p. 159, 160, the fourth edition. 1676.
pinnacle of the temple! How could all the glories of this world, and the kingdoms of it, be any temptation to him, who had made all things under the Supreme Being? Had he forgot the glory and power which he once had? If that could be supposed, and that this want of memory of past things still remained, it might be as well supposed, that he had no remembrance of the orders which he had received from God, and of the commission with which God the Father had sent him into the world.
The supposition of Christ being a man, does also best account for his agony in the garden,* and the dark, yet glorious scene of his sufferings on the cross, and the concluding prayer there: My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ?"
And the making the Logos to be the soul of Christ does really annihilate his example, aud enervate all the force which it should have upon us.
But it may be said, that there are some texts, which lead us to think, that Jesus Christ had a human body, but not an human soul: particularly John i. 14, and Hebr. x. 5.
John i. 14." And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." But it should be observed, that "flesh" in the scriptures both of the Old and New Testament, is oftentimes equivalent to "man," Ps. lvi. 5. "I will not fear what flesh can do unto me." Ver. 11. "I will not fear what man can do unto me." And in innumerable other places. And in the New Testament, Matt. xiii. 20. Luke iii. 6. John xvii. 2. Acts ii. 17. 1 Pet. i. 24.
What St. John says therefore is this: "And the Word was made flesh," or took upon him the human nature.
St. John says, 1 Ep. iv. 2, 3. « Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God. And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God." See likewise 2 Ep. ver. 7.
It is well known, that in the early days of Christianity, particularly in Asia, where St. John resided, there arose people, generally called Docetes, who denied the real humanity of Christ, and said, he was man in appearance only. These St. John opposeth in his epistles, if not in his gospel also. Against them he here asserts, that Jesus had the innocent infirmities of the human nature, and that he really suffered and died. But when he says, that "Jesus Christ came in the flesh," he does not deny, that he had an human soul, or was man completely. Indeed, it is here implied, that he was man as we are.
Heb. x. 5. " Wherefore, when he cometh into the world, he saith: Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me."
a Luke xxii. 44. " And being in an agony"- Kαi yɛvoμLevos ev ayшvia.] I would put the question, whether it might not be thus translated?" And being under great concern." I will transcribe here a passage of an ancient writer, representing the anxiety or solicitude of Julius Cæsar and others, when Octavius Cæsar, then a young man, had a dangerous sickness. Χαλεπως δε διακείμενε, πάντες μεν εν φόβῳ ησαν, αγωνιώντες, ει τι πείσεται τοιαύτη φύσις, μαλιςα δε πάντων ὁ Καισαρ. Διο πασαν ήμεραν η αυτος παραν αυτῷ ευθυμίαν. παρείχεν, η φιλος πεμπων, ιατρός τε αποσατειν οὐκ εων. πότε δείπνωντι ηγγειλε τις, ὡς εκλυτος είη, και χαλεπως εχοι. Ὁ δε εκπήδησας ανυπόδητος ήκεν ενθα ενοσηλεύετο, και των ιατρων εδείτο εμπαθέςατα μέσος ων αγωνίας, και αυτός παρέ narro. . A. Nic. Damascen. De Institutione Cæsaris Augusti Ap. Vales. Excerpta. p. 841.
I have observed, that some learned men seem studiously to have avoided the word agony in their translations. In the Latin vulgate is: et factus in agonia. But Beza translates : et constitutus in angore. Le Clerc's French version is: et comme il étoit dans une extrême inquiétude———And Lenfant's: et comme il étoit dans un grand combat-Which last I do not think to be right. For the original word is not zywv, but aywvia. The Syriac version, as translated into Latin by Tremellius, Trostius, and others, is: cum esset in timore, instanter orabat. I shall add a short passage from V. H. Vogleri Physiologia Historia Passionis J. C. Cap. II. p. 4. Ideoque non immerito dici potest aywvia (quam in defectu com
medioris vocabuli angorem Latine vocemus) promptitudo rem› quampiam aggrediundi, sed cum timore et trepidatione.
He took upon him our human nature, became himself a man, subject to the like frailties with us, and lived and 'conversed freely amongst men.' Dr. Clarke's Paraphrase of St. John i. 14, the fourth edition, 1722.
Ecce in quibus verbis suis omnino manifestant negare se, quod ad unitatem personæ Christi etiam humana anima per-tineat; sed in Christo carnem et divinitatem tantummodo confiteri. Quandoquidem cum penderit in ligno, illud, ubi ait, Pater, in manus tuas cominendo spiritum meum,' divinitatem ipsam volunt eum intelligi commendâsse Patri, non humanum spiritum, quod est anima-Et his atque hujusmodi sanctarum scripturarum testimoniis non resistant, fateanturque Christum, non tantum carnem, sed animam quoque humanam Verbo unigenito coaptâsse- Aut si eo moventur quod scriptum est, Verbum caro factum est,' nec illic anima nominata est, intelligant, carnem pro homine positam, a parte totum significante locutionis modo, sicuti est, Ad te omn's caro veniet.' Item, Ex operibus legis non justificabitur omnis caro.' Quod apertius alio loco dixit: Ex lege nemo justificabitur.' Itemque alio: Non justificatur homo ex operibus.' Sic itaque dictum est, verbum caro factum est; ac si diceretur, Verbum homo factum est. Verumtamen isti, cum ejus solam humanam carnem velint intelligi hominem Christum, non enim negabunt bominem, de quo apertissime dicitur, unus mediator Dei et hominum homo Christus Jesus &c. Aug. Contr. sermon. Arian. cap. ix. tom. VIII.
But it is reasonable to think, that a part is here put for the whole, and that the word, body," is not to be understood exclusively of the soul. St. Paul writes to the Romans: " Í beseech you therefore, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice to God," ch. xii. 1. But no one ought hence to conclude, that the Romans had not souls as well as bodies, or that their souls might be neglected. No. The faculties of the mind, as well as the members of the body, were to be consecrated to God, and employed in his service. At the beginning of the next chapter, St. Paul says: "Let every soul be subject to the higher powers.' Where the other part of the human nature is put for the whole.
And it is manifest from ch. ii. 17-18, and other places, that the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews believed Christ to be man, or to have the human nature complete like unto us. It would therefore be very unreasonable to understand body in this place exclusively of
The words of the apostle are a quotation from Ps. xl. prophetically representing the readiness of Christ to do the will of God in this world.
"Wherefore when he cometh into the world he saith." Which words are capable of two interpretations. They may relate to our Lord's nativity, when he literally entered into the world. Or they may relate to the entrance upon his ministry. Then it was, that "the Father sanctified him, and sent him into the world," John x. 36, and xvii. 18. And then it was that he devoted himself to God entirely. Nor can it be well doubted, that the prayer, which 'Jesus made, when he was baptized, and received the spirit, which is mentioned Luke iii. 31. contained a declaration, equivalent to that in this place: "Lo I come to do thy will, O God." Compare John v. 30, and vi. 38.'
I will now consider some texts, which have been thought by some to represent to us the pre-existence of the soul of our Saviour, before his conception in the womb of the virgin Mary.
"The form of God," Philip. ii. 6, seems to me to have been enjoyed by our Lord in this world. It denotes his knowledge of the hearts of men, his power of healing diseases, and raising the dead, and working other miracles, at all times, whenever he pleased, and all the other evidences of his divine mission. This sense does wonderfully accord with what our Lord
says, John x. 34-36, and in many other places of that gospel. "Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If ye called them gods, to 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?" But though he had so great power, "he made himself of no reputation:" he lived in a mean condition, and submitted to the reproaches of enemies, and at last to death itself. Which was plainly a voluntary submission. For being innocent, he needed not to have died, but might have been translated without tasting death.
If this be the meaning of that text, then 2 Cor. viii. 9, is also explained: that "though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor.'
John i. 15. "John bare witness of him—He that cometh after me is preferred before me. For he was before me." And ver. 30. "This is he, of whom I said: After me cometh a man, which is preferred before me. For he was before me." But I apprehend, that John the baptist does not here say, that Jesus was before him in time. But he says: He who comes after me, has always been before me, or in my view. For he is my chief, or prince, or principal.' This suits what he says of the great dignity, and transcendent excellence of our Lord's person and character, at ver. 27. "Whose shoes latchet I am not worthy to unloose:" and ver. 23, "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord:" that is, I am the
aA body is here a synecdochical expression of the human 'nature of Christ. So is flesh taken, when he is said to be 'made flesh. For the general end of his having this body was, that he might therein and thereby yield obedience, or do the will of God. And the especial end of it was, that 'he night have what to offer in sacrifice to God. But 'neither of these can be confined unto his body alone. For it is the soul, the other essential part of the human nature, that is the principle of obedience.' Dr. J. Owen upon Heb. x. 5. p. 29.
Sce Beausobre upon Heb. x. 5.
Mopen, forma,' in nostris libris non significat æternum et occultum aliquid, sed id quod in oculos incurrit, qualis erat eximia in Christo potestas sanandi morbos omnes, ejiciendi dæmonas, excitandi mortuos, mutandi rerum naturas ; quæ vere divina sunt, ita ut Moses, qui tam magna non fecit, dictus ob id fuerit Deus Pharaonis. Grot. in Philip. ii. 6.
Id est, cum vi polleret omnis generis miracula patrandi, etiam mortuos resuscitandi, personam tamen gessit tam humilem, ut ne domum quidem haberet propriam. Grot.
harbinger, or forerunner of the great Person, who is about to appear among you. I am come before him, to prepare for his reception.
John viii. 58. may be thought a strong text for the pre-existence of our Saviour's soul. But really he there only represents his dignity as the Messiah, the special favour of God toward him, and the importance of the dispensation by him. It is a way of speaking, resembling that in Rev. xiii. 8. "Whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world," and explained, 1 Pet. i. 20. "Who verily was fore-ordained before the foundation of the world." See also Eph. i. 4. 2 Tim. 1. 9. Tit. i. 2. The Jewish people have a saying, that the law was before the world was created. In like manner the dispensation by the Messiah was before the dispensation of Abraham, in dignity, nature, and design, though not in time.
The Jews were much offended at the words, recorded in the 56th verse. Nevertheless our Lord does not there say, that he had seen Abraham, or that Abraham had seen him in person. What he says is this: "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day. And he saw it, and was glad ;" that is, he earnestly desired to see the time, when all the nations of the earth should be blessed, through his promised seed, the Messiah. And “ And by faith he saw it, and was glad." Compare
Heb. xi. 13.
Another text proper to be considered here is John xvii. 5. "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." But this, according to the Jewish phraseology, may be very well understood of the glory, always designed for the Christ by the immutable purpose of God. See Grotius upon the place. That our Lord had not, before his nativity, the glory, which he here prays for, is apparent from the whole tenor of the gospel, and from clear and manifest expressions in the context. For the glory, which he now prays for, is the reward of his obedience. Ver. 4. "I have finished the work, which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me.' -And St. Paul says, Philip. ii. 9. "Wherefore God also has highly exalted him," Heb. ii. 9. " Heb. ii. 9.—" for the suffering of death he was crowned with glory and honour," ver. 10. "For it became him, for whom all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." And Heb. xii. 2. "Looking unto Jesus, who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame. And is set down on the right hand of the throne of God." And Luke xxiv. 26. Our Saviour says to his disciples, in the way to Emmaus: "Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory ?" And St. Peter, 1 Ep. i. 10, 11. “Of which salvation the prophets have inquired- -Searching what, or 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 that should follow." And St. Paul, Acts xxvi. 22, 23" saying no other things than those, which the prophets and Moses did say should come: that the Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead." All harmonious, as we see, that the glory of the Messiah was subsequent to his obedience and sufferings on this earth. See likewise Rom. i. 3, 4.
Nor can I forbear to observe to you, that Augustin, who has largely considered the words of John xvii. 5, and in so doing quotes Eph. i. 4. and Rom. i. 1-4. understands them of Christ's human nature, and explains them in the same manner that I have done. Quasi vero quisquam regulam fidei intuens, Filium Dei negaturus est prædestinatum, qui eum negare hominem non potest. Recte quippe dicitur non prædestinatus secundum id quod est Verbum Dei, Deus apud Deum-Illud autem prædestinandum erat, quod nondum erat, ut suo tempore fieret, quemadmodum ante omnia tempora predestinatum erat, ut fieret. Quisquis igitur Dei Filium predestinatum negat, hunc eundem filium hominis negat-secundum hanc ergo prædestina
Fuerat ante Abrahamum Jesus divinâ constitutione: infra xvii. 5. Apoc. xiii. 8. 1 Pet. i. 20. Constat hoc, quia de ipso ipsiusque Ecclesiâ mystice dictum erat, recente humano genere, futurum, ut semen muliebre contereret caput serpentis. Grot. in Joh. viii. 58. Vid. et Bez. in loc.
b Sic legem fuisse ante mundum,' aiunt Hebræi. Vide Thalmudem de Votis. Grot. ad Joh. xvii. 5.
Cæterum, ex Hebræorum idiotismo, dies alicujus nihil aliud declarat, quam spatium quo vixerit aliquis, aut insigne
quidpiam, quod ipsi vel facere vel ferre contigit. Quæ res notior est, quam ut testimonio egeat. Dies ergo Domini nihil aliud significat, quam ipsius adventum in carnem. Vidit enim eum eminus Abraham, fidei nimirum oculis, ut declaratur Hebr. xi. 13-ac gavisus est,--Respicit autem expresse Christus ad id quod dicitur, Gen. xvii, 17. Abrahamum, acceptâ de nascituro sibi illo semine promissione, sese prostravisse, et risisse. Unde et ipsi Isaaco nomen imposuit Dominus. Bez. ad Joh. viii. 56.
tionem etiam clarificatus est antequam mundus esset, ut esset claritas ejus ex resurrectione mortuorum apud Patrem, ad cujus dexteram sedet. Cum ergo videret illius prædestinatæ suæ clarificationis venisse jam tempus, ut et nunc fieret in redditione, quod fuerat in prædestinatione jam factum, oravit, dicens: Et nunc clarifica me tu Pater apud temetipsum, claritate, quam habui priusquam mundus esset, apud te:' tamquam diceret, Claritatem quam habui apud te, id est, illam claritatem, quam habui apud te in prædestinatione tua, tempus est, ut apud te habeam etiam vivens in dexterâ tuâ. August. In Joan. Evang. cap. 17. Tr. cv. n. 8. ed. Bened. Tom. III. p. 2.
It has been thought by some, that Christ, or the Son, appeared to the Patriarchs, and was oftentimes sent upon messages to men by the Supreme Being, before the times of the gospel. But where is the proof of this? It was the opinion of some of the ancient writers of the church, who had a philosophy, that was a mixture of Pythagorism and Platonism. Nevertheless, this supposition, that God had employed the Son in former times, before the gospel, is overthrown by the very first words of the apostle in the epistle to the Hebrews. "God, who at sundry times, and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken unto us by his Son." It is also inconsistent with the apostle's arguments to care and circumspection, steadfastness and perseverance, which follow afterwards. Heb. ii. 1, 2, 3. "Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard- -For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast-how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him?" See likewise ch. iii. 1. “For this man was counted worthy of more honour than Moses"--ver. 6. But Christ, as a Son, "over his own house."
Still it may be said, that nothing but the pre-existence of the soul of Christ can suit those expressions of his being "sent from God," and "coming from God."
To which I answer, that the account here given by me is well suited to all such expressions: in their utmost latitude, according to the style of scripture. For we may be all said to be sent by God into the world, without the supposition of a pre-existent soul. Especially are prophets sent from God. But above all Jesus is most properly the sent of God," as he had the highest and most important commission.
So John i. 6. "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John." Nevertheless none suppose, that John the Baptist came directly from heaven: but only, that he was inspired, and had a divine command to appear in the world, and bear witness concerning the Christ, who would come presently after him
And the commission which our Lord gave to his apostles, is expressed by himself after this manner. John xvii. 18. "As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I sent them into the world." And xx. 21. " As my Father has sent me, so send I you."
But, as before said, Jesus is "the sent of God," as he had the highest commission. John iii. 34. "He whom God has sent, speaketh the words of God," chap. iv. 34. My meat is to do the will of him that sent me," chap. v. 38. "Ye have not his word abiding in you. For whom he has sent, ye believe not." See also ver. 23, 24, 30, 34, 36. And x. 36. “ And x. 36. "Say ye of him, whom the Father has sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest, because I said, I am the Son of God?" And in the history of the cure of the blind man, recorded in the ninth chapter of the same gospel, at ver. 7. "And said unto him: Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, which is by interpretation, Sent." Probably here is an allusion to our Lord's character, as "the sent of God." And there may be an intimation intended, that he is the Shiloh, spoken of in Gen. xlix. 10.
There are some other texts needful to be taken notice of here, John xiii. 3. "Jesus knowing that he was come from God, and went to God," oti ato be8 ežyλ0ɛ. xvi 27. “For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God," or yw παρα το θες εξήλθον. ver. 28. "I am come forth from the Father, and am come into the world. Again, I leave the world, and go to the Father." 'Еžnλow Tapa т8 Taτgos. This expression is explained in chap. viii. 42. Whence we perceive, that thereby is intended our Lord's divine commission. "Jesus said unto them: If God were your Father, ye would love me. For I
a The opinion is modestly rejected by Mr. Peirce, in his Paraphrase on the Epistle to the Hebrews. Chap. 1. ver. 2.
Voyez cette façon de parler expliquée ci dessus, ch. viii. 42, par la mission. Lenfant upon John xvi. 27.