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of bis human nature to the same godhead that is in the Father; and that for these three reasons :
1. Because the disciples at this time were not particularly acquainted with any distinct divinity of Christ, and therefore he cannot be supposed to speak to them of this his divinity, and tell them where it was, viz. in the Father. It was as man that he conversed with them ; but as a man who had God ever with him, and he is now further explaining the intimacy of this union between God and man in his own person.
2. Though the deity of Christ considered as the eternal word or wisdom of the Father, may be said to be or dwell in the Father, yet God the Father is not said to be in his wisdom, or to dwell in his wisdom ; whereas this inbeing and indwelling of Christ and the Father are mutual in the text, I am in the Father, and the Father in me : it denotes the union of two really distinct Beings in one.
3. Because Christ makes this his union with the Father an exemplar or similitude of the union of the saints with God; Joha xvii. 21. That they all may be one, as thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that also may
be one in us. The union and communion between the man Jesus and God the Father, though it is vastly superior to that of the saints, yet it is still voluntary and of mere grace, and in this respect it may properly made use of as a very glorious exemplar of our union to God and Christ : But the iobeing of the eternal word or wisdom in the Father is 80 essential to godbead, it so infinitely transcends all his voluntary and condescendiug union to us, and is so infinitely different froin it, that it does not seem to be a proper exemplar or pattern thereof, I much rather conclude therefore, that the union here described is the union between God the Father and the man Christ Jesus, or between the same divine nature which is in the Father and the human nature of Christ.
Remark II. Jesus Christ neither in this place nor in any other doth ever ascribe bis divine works to any other divine power of his own, or to any other godhead of his own, distinct and different from the godhead of the Father. I live by the Father ; John xiv. 19. The Father is in me, and it is the Father in me that doth the works; John xiv. 10. It is but one godhead of the Father and the Son; not two divine natures or two godheads, for this would seem to make two gods. Nor has the Holy Spirit to whom sometimes Christ ascribes his works, any godbead different from that of the Father.
Remark III. Let it be observed further, that when our Saviour tells bis disciples, and particularly informs Thomas and Pbilip, that by “ seeing and knowing the Son, they see aud know the Father also,” he does not give this reason for it, viz. that he is the very image of the Father, or the representative or
the vicegerent of the Father, though tliese are great truths : but he gives this reason, that there is a most intimate union or oneness between the Father and him. I am in the Father and the Father in me : and so near and so intimate is this union, that he attributes the words which he speaks and the works which he does to the Father, verse 10. that is, to the godhead of the Father dwelling in him. Thus Christ and his Father are one;" John x. 30. One godhead belong to both.
From all this we may reasonably infer, that when the names, titles and works of the true and eternal God are prophetically attributed to Jesus Christ under the Old Testament, or historically in the New, it is not so much because his human soul is the image, representative or deputy of the Father, as the Arians say ; but because the very godhead of the Father dwells personally in the man Jesus : the fulness of the godhead dwells in him bodily; Col. ii. 9. so as on some occasions to give a sufficient ground for the representation of Christ as God-man, or one complex person including a divine and human nature; though on other occasions Christ is represented as a man, and is called the man Christ Jesus the Mediator; as in 1 Tim. ii. 5.
And as we find divine names and characters are given to Christ at and after his incarnation, because the fulness of the godhead dwelt bodily in the man Jesus ; Col. ii. 9. and thereby he became God manifest in the flesh; 1 Tim. iii. 16. so before his incarnation, when the angel of the Lord who appeared to the patriarcbs calls himself the Lord, God, Jehovah, God Almighty, and the God of Abraham, we very reasonably account for it in the same manner, viz. That the fulness of the godhead dwelt in bim spiritually, that there was the human Spirit of our blessed Saviour in his pre-existent or angelic state, inhabited by the great and almighty God, and composing as it were one complex person, one complex intelligent agent in those appearances.
Objection. But does not this represent Christ as being the Father? Doth not this suppose God the Father to be incarnate, wbich is contrary to the common expressions of scripture, and sense of the primitive church?
Answer I. Almost all the protestapt writers that have been counted most orthodox for some hundreds of years past, both in foreign countries and at home, have universally supposed the very same numerical godhead of the Father to be the godhead of the Son, and that it is the same infinite Spirit, the same understanding and the same will, which exists in the Father with one relative property, that is also incarnate in the Son with another relative property : Only they suppose the superadded idea or relative property of fatherhood is not incarnate, but the superadded relative property of sonship. Now I cannot reasonably fear any just censures from those who follow this doctrine of all our reformed predere sors, because their opinion comes so very near to, or ra. ther is the same with what I have asserted, though they add some human pbrases to it, of wbich I have not yet been able to attain any ideas.
II. Though the same numerical godhead belong to the Fa. ther and to the Son, yet it is not proper to say, the Father is in. earnate, because the idea of fatherhood superadded to the godhead, includes the idea of the prime Agent, and supreme Ruler in the divine economy; whereas the idea of incarnation belongs properly to one that is sent in order to become a Mediator between God and man, and this belongs properly to the Son, as I shall shew immediately.
III. Though in general we may suppose the very godhead of the Father to be united to the man Christ Jesus, according to these espressions in the tenth and fourteenth of John, and elsewhere, yet some have supposed there are other scriptures which represent Christ in his divine nature, as the word or wisdom of the Father, as a peculiar essential principle of self-manifestation in the divine nature: And if scripture does represent the great God under the peculiar idea or character of his wisdom or word, as manifesting itself in flesh, it is not so proper to say, God the Father was incarnate, but that the word or wisdom of God was made flesh, though the godhead of the Word is the same with that of the Father ; for the wisdom of God is God. But I insist pot on this answer, and therefore proceed.
IV. The pre-existent soul of Christ, in whom the divine nature or godhead always dwelt, is properly the Son of God, derived, from the Father before all worlds, as his only-begotten Sou, the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his person ; Heb. i. 3. And this glorious human soul who lived many ages in an angelic state, and was the angel of God's presence, does seem to be the more immediate subject of incarnation. The Son of God properly took flesh'upon him, and, shall I say, became as it were a medium, in and by which the divine nature of godhead was united to flesh and blood. Thus Christ is properly called God monifest in the flesh, because true godhead always dwelt in his human soul who is now incarnate : and he is properly called the Son of God manifest in the flesh, or Christ come in the flesh, because his human soul, who was properly the Son of God, was more immediately the subject of union to flesla and blood. And thus the expressions of St. Paul and St. John are reconciled ; 1 Tim. iii. 16. God was manifest in the flesh: and 1 Joho iii. 8. The Son of God was manifesied; and 1 Joha iv. 2. Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.
This sort of exposition of these texts wherein Jesus Christ and God the Father are represented as one, or as inutually inbeing and indwelling in each other, seems more exaetly agree
able to the whole tenor of scripture, and best maintains the unity of the godhead, which is the foundation of all religion both natural and revealed ; nor is it liable to those cavils, objections and inconveniencies with which other expositions are attended.
This exposition is free from those obscurities which attend the mutual inbeing and indwelling of the Father and the Son considered purely in their divine natures, which the learned have called fle tipitwensis and circum-incession. We can hardly suppose our Saviour intended that notion in Joho xiv. 7, &c. because it is a notion so mysterious and sublime beyond all the ideas that Philip and Thomas could frame at that season : And therefore we cannot imagine that Christ would go to amuse them with these upsearchables, when they desired some instruction from him in the knowledge of God the Father.
This account of things plainly, intelligibly, and effectually secures true, proper, and eternal deity to God the Father, and to our blessed Saviour, and that in two distinct persons, without introducing any other godhead besides the godhead of the Father. Thus God the Father is the only true God originally, and yet Jesus the Son of God, by union to, and communion in the godbead of the Father, is also " the true God and the eternal life;" 1 John v. 20. And this is eternal life to know the Father the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent; John xvii. 3.
QUEST. VI.--Is Christ the express Image of God the Father in
the human Nature, or in the divine;
Answer. In the human Nature.
IN several places of scripture our Saviour is represented as the image of God : 2 Cor. iv. 4. Christ who is the image of God. Col. i. 15. The image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature. Heb. i. 3. The brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person, whom he hath appointed heir of all things. Now it is an important enquiry what is the scripture sense in which Jesus Christ is the image of God the Father. It has been the custom of many theological writers to suppose Christ in his pure divine nature to be this image of the Father to which the scripture refers : but there are some reasons which seem to oppose this opinion, and incline me to withhuld my assent from it at present.
1. That our protestant divines have almost universally supposed the godhead or divine nature of Christ to be the self-same, entire, numerical godhead, nature or essence which the Father has, and differing only in his personality, or manner of subsistVol. VI.
ence, that is, filiation ; whereas the Father's manner of subsistence is paternity. Now, according to this doctrine, the divide nature of Christ can neither be the image of the Father in luis essence, por in his personality and subsistence. The divine nature of Christ cannot be the image of the Father's essence because it is numerically the very same essence, and nothing is said to be the image of itself. Neither can the peculiar subsistence or personality of Christ as God, be the image of the Father's persouality or subsistence; for sonship or filiation is by no means an image of paternity or fatherhood, but is rather the very reverse, or contrary to it. A derived manner of subsistence can never be the express image of an underived manner of subsistence. If therefore the person of Christ considered as God, be the same numerical godhead with the Father, together with a distinct personality, that is, filiation, and if he is neither the image of the Father's godhead nor his personality ; then Christ, considered merely in his divine nature, cannot be the express iinage of the Father.
2. Another reason why Christ as God, is not the image of God the Father, is because he is called the image of the iosisi. ble God. Now the godhead of Christ is as much invisible as the Father's godhead is; and therefore when he is called the image of the invisible God, it must signify, he is that image whereby God becomes visible, or is made known to men ; and for this reason this title of Christ must include such a nature in Christ whereby the invisible God is made known to mankind, that is, it must include something of his inferior or human nature, and perhaps has a priine reference thereto.
3. When Christ is called the impage of God in some scriptures, it would naturally lead us to conceive him distinct from, and in some sense inferior to that God whose image he is ; and therefore it doth as naturally lead one to conceive Christ's god. head is not denoted in those scriptures; for the godhead of Christ and the Father is one, whereas the image is something inferior to the original. Let it be noted also, that every man is called the image of God; 1 Cor. xi. 7. And therefore this seems to be too low a character of Christ, considered in his pure godhead. But there are three senses in which Christ is the most noble image of God.
1. This title most admirably agrees to Christ considered as man : His human soul is the first, the greatest, the wisest, the holiest, and the best of all created spirits : The man Jesus is the wisest, holiest and best of men, formed after the image of God in the greatest perfection ; and probably his human soul in his pre-existent state was the first-born of every creature, and the beginning or chief of the creation of God, and who hath more of resemblance to God in all natural and in all moral perfections than any man ever had, or than the whole creation besides.