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as much as the children were partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same, ihut he might in all things be made like his brethren, as verso 17. And if he be said to take on him the seed of Abraham, verse 16. yet it is certaia that the human body of Cbrist has a very proper and literal right to that name, rather than the soul, though the word seed may more frequently include both. Again, it is said by the same apostle in Heb. v. 7. In the days of his flesh he offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears, that is, when he had taken flesh upon hin, and dwelt in it. And Heb. x. when God the Father sends his Son into the world, he is said to prepare a body for him, but not a human soul, verse 5. A body hast thou prepared me.
The apostle John speaks several times of Jesus Christ's being come in the flesh, to signify his coming into the world, in his first and second epistles, intimating that the person who is vested with the name and character of Jesus and Christ, had every thing besides flesh before.
On the other hand, if Christ did take a human soul upon him, or the whole complex nature of man, at the same time when he was born of the virgin, it is a wonder that there should not be any one scripture, neither in the Old or New Testament which should give such a hint to us, that be then took a reasonable soul as well as a body? Or should tell us at least that he expressly assumed human nature, which might include both flesla and spirit? but that it should always use such words as chiefly and directly denote the body. This seems to carry some evident intimation that his human soul existed before.
Perhaps it will be objected here, that the word flesh in many places of scripture signifies mankind or human nature, by the figure " synecdoche,” including the soul also. It is granted that flesh doth sometimes signify mankind, and this objection wiglat be good if the scriptural language vever used any thing but the word flexli to denote human nature, and dever distinguished the flesh and the soul : But since there are a great number of scriptures where the flesh or body is distinguished from the soul or spirit of man on many occasions, it seems very natural and reasonable to expect there should be some one passage at least in all the bible wherein the divine nature of Christ should he said to assume a human soul as well as a body or flesh, when he came into our world, if this spirit or soul had no existence before the incarnation. And we have the more reason to expect this also wlien we observe, that there is mention made of the soal of Christ himself in several places of scripture on other occasions; as Is. liii. 10. Thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin. Verse 11. He shall see of the travail of his soul. Luke xxiü. 16. Luther, into thy hands I commend my spirit. Acts ïi. 31. His soul was not left in hell. John xii. 27. Now is my soul troubled. Mat. xxvi. 38. My soul is exceeding sorrowful.Luke x. 21. Jesus rejoiced in spirit. John xi. 23. and xiii
. 21. Jesus was troubled in spirit. Now since we have the human soul or spirit of Christ mentioned several times in scripture on other occasions, and yet never once mentioned with relation to his incarnation, but always find his coming into our world deseribed by taking flesh and blood, body, the fashion of a man, the likeness of sinful flesh, &c. there is much reason to suppose that Christ had a human soul before, and did not then begin to have it. IV. 6
Though the Jews were much at a loss in our Saviour's time in their sentiments of the Messialı, and had very various and confused notions of him, yet it is certain that amongst many of the learned of that nation, and probably amongst many of the vulgar too, there was a tradition of the pre-existence of the soul of the Messiah." Philo the Jew, who lived very near the time of our Saviour, interprets several of those scriptures of the Old Testament concerning the Mediator or Logos which we do: He calls him the Son of God, and yet he makes him expressly a man, the prince of the angels, the prophet of God, the light of the people, and though he talks with some confusion on this subject, and gives him some such characters as seem to make this Logos truly divine, and one with God, yet other characters also are such as seem to be inferior to godhead, and very happily agree with this doctrine of the pre-existent soul of Christin union with his divine nature, as will plainly appear in what follows.
In some parts of his works Philo describes the Logos as a particular divine power, δυναμις, which he also calls σοφια, Or wisdom, as Solomon does in the eighth of Proverbs, and he attributes to this wisdom or word an existence before
any creature, the contrivance of the creation of the world and all things in it, with other divine and incommunicable ascriptions. Sometimes the ancient Jews make it the same with God himself; so the targums do, which are Jewish commentaries upon scripture, when they speak of the memra or word, thereby representing either divine powers or properties in a personal manner, or the divine nature itself in a particular manner of agency, relation or subsistence.
In other places Philo makes the Logos or word to signify that glorious archangel which the ancient Jews suppose to be the supreme of creatures, formed before all the angels and all the other parts of the creation, “ in whom was the name of God," who was sent to conduct Moscs and the Jews into Canaan ; Exod. xxiii. 20. This glorious spirit Philo calls “ the most honour able Logos, the archangel, prince of the angels, and stars, high-priest in this temple of God, the world, who stands in the limits between the creature and the Creator, the eldest, the first-begotten of the sons of God, wlio upder God governs the workl, and who doth humbly mediate for us mortals wiib bim that is imınortal."
The seventy Jewish interpreters seem to have had some notion that this archangel was the Messiah, when they call the child born, the Son given, in Is.ix. 6. Meyahns Cranz Ayy, the angel of the great counsel, even as Cbrist is called an angel ; Is. Ixiii. 9. Mal. iii. 1. Exod. xsiii. 20. And it was a general opinion of the ancient Jews that there was one glorious angel superior to all the rest, by whom God made his visits to the patriarclis, and declared his will to Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, &c.
I confess these ancient Jews speak variously and with some darkness and confusion on these subjects, that we cannot gather any steady or certain inferences that they generally believed either of these two Logoses to be the very person of their expected Messiah : Yet a christian, who has the clearer light of the New Testament, may from their writings easily and naturally trace and infer the doctrine of the uncreated Logos, that is, the great archangel, because these ancient Jews ascribe to the Logos so many things which are truly divine, and so many things inferior to divinity.
But they speak in some confusion, because they scem not to hare bad a clear idea of this personal union between God and a creature. Whereas christians being instructed in this doctrine by the New Testament, may clearly understand how by this glorious being, this complex person, vizi- our Lord Jesus Christ, God created the world, and God governed the affairs of his ancient church : and that standing in the limits betwixt God and the creature, both by his nature as well as his office he becomes the high-priest, and mediates between mortal men and God who is inmortal, according to the language of the ancient Jews.
What I have cited already, discovers the acknowledged sense and opinion of the ancient Jews botla philosophers and @ommentators on this subject. See much more to this purpose in my dissertation on the Logos or word of God.
If we search sinong other of the Jewish writers, we may find more intimations of this doctrine.
Bishop Fowler cites some notable traditions of the Jewish rabbies to ihis purpose ; one in an ancient book amongst the Jews called Pesikta, viz. That “after God had created the world, he put bis hand under the throne of his glory, and brought out the soul of the Messiah, with all his attendants, and said unto bin, Wilt thou beal and redecin my sons after six thousand
years? He answered, I am willing so to do. Again therefore, said God unto him, And art thou willing to suffer chastisements, for purging away their iniquities? And the soul of the Messiah answered, I will suffer them, and that with all my heart.”
And there is, saith he, a cabbalistical representation of their expected Messiah's being in heaven, in another old book of high esteem among the Jews, intitled Midrash Conen, viz.“ In the fifth bouse sits the Messiah, Son of David ? and Elias of blessed memory said to this Messiah, Bear the stroke and judgment of the Lord, which he inflicts on thee for the sin of Israel, as it is written by Isaiah, he was wounded because of our transgressions, &c." Now though we allow no more credit to these traditions than to other Jewish tales, yet it discovers their ancient notion of the pre-existence of the soul of the Messiah : and the learned Mr. Fleming tells us, that it was an inducement to him to favour that opinion, “because the Jews seemed to have laid down this as an undoubted maxim in all ages, that the soul of the Messiah was made before all the creatures, as all must own that are in the least acquainted with their opinions and writings. “Christology," book III. chapter v. page 467. That this was an ancient opinion of the Jews is confirmed by other writers also.
And it is no wonder if many of the common people as well as the learned had also this notion of the soul of Christ, since it appears, John ix. 2. that they had a belief of the pre-existence of all human souls, for which opinion I think there is neither in scripture nor in reason any just foundation ; nor doth the preexistence of the soul of Christ at all infer the doctrine of the preexistence of other souls, but rather the contrary, as will appear uuder the next particular.
V. “ Since it pleased the Father to prepare a body for our Lord Jesus Christ by the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost, and by a peculiar manner of conception, that his body might have some peculiar prerogative, and that he might be the Son of God in a superior sense with regard to his flesh, as Luke i. 35. so it is not noreasonable to suppose that the soul of Christ also, whichi was to be united to godhead, should have this peculiar prerogative, to be derived immediately from God before any creature was made, and to enjoy this union with the divine nature, and glories suitable thereto before its union with an earthly body." And thus in consideration of its formation before all creatures in a most immediate manner by the will of God, as well as its nearest resemblance to God himself above all other spirits, his human soul might be called also the Son of God and his oplybegotten Son, in a transcendent manner above all other beings, whether men or angels, who are sometimes called sons of God. But this thought perhaps will be set in a clearer light, when we come to explain a variety of scriptures according to this hypothesis
in the next section ; and it may be vet inade plainer still, whensoever I shall publish another dissertation wbich I have written on the name Son of God*. Sect. V.-A Confirmation of this Doctrine ly Arguments
drawn from the happy Consequences, and the various Advantages of it.
I think the reason and considerations mentioned in the two foregoing sections have some weight in them : But the argument will receive new strength if we survey the various advantages that attend this opinion of the pre-existent soul of Christ.
Advantage I. “ This doctrine casts a surprising light upon many dark passages in the word of God; it does very naturally and easily explain and reconcile several difficult places both of the Old and New Testament, which are very hard to be accounted for any other way.” Some of these I have already mentioned, and I think they appear in a fairer light by the help of this doctrine. Other passages there are which speak of Christ as the true God, and yet at the same time in the context attribute such properties and characters to him as are very hard to be reconciled and applied to pure godhead: but are explained with utınost ease to us, and honour to Christ, by supposing his pre-existent soul even then united to his divine nature. Let us survey some of these portions of scripture.
Text I. Col. i. 15—19. Christ is described as the "image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature, for by him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, &c. All things were created by biin and for him, and he is before all things, and by him all things consist; and he is the head of the body the church, the beginning, the first-born froin the dead, that in all things he might have the pre-eminence, for it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell, or as it is expressed in the second chapter, verse 9. for in him dwelleth all the fulness of the godhead bodily. llere are some expressions which seem too sublime for any mere ercature, viz. All things were created by him and for him, and by him all things consist. But when it is said, Ile is the image of the invisible God; this cannot refer merely to his divine nalure, for that is as invisible in the Son as it is in the Father ; therefore it seems to refer to his pre-existent soul in union with his godhead, who is the brightest, the fairest and most glorious image of God; and so he appears to the world of angels in beaven, and by his frequent assuming a visible shape heretofore, became the image of the invisible God to men, and dwelt bere for a season on earth.
* This dissertation Fus derer publisbed.