« ForrigeFortsæt »
Achan; the latter exhibited in triumph, as was wont to be done by the Roman conquerors.
After all, there seems to be an impropriety in using such a style as the above. The infinite honours and perfections which our Lord enjoyed, were his by nature, not by gift, much less by conquest. He was as necessarily a Son, as God was a Father, and therefore as necessarily God as he. Therefore though it may well be said that he vailed the glories of his Godhead, yet there can be no propriety in saying that he did not triumph in thein, as conquerors in their spoil.
Having made these observations, little needs be said in vindication of the reading retained in our version. It is entirely agreeable, as we have scen, to the constant use of the word in other passages of the New Testament, agreeable to the versions used in other churches, and exhibits a sense, natural, easy, suitable to the context, and most agreeable to the analogy of faith *. Our Lord Jesus existed from eternity in the form of God, was one with him in essence, the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person. And being so, he thought, he reckoned, he esteemed, he judged, he counted, it no act of robbery to be equal with God. He did not think that he did any injustice in claiming all the honours of supreme Deity, since to them he had an unalienable right by nature, being one with God, John X. 30.; and therefore equal to him, chap. v. 18.
* After having considered the text in the most critical manner of which I was capable, I cannot but cordially acquiesce in our version, with the addition of one word only. We read, “ He thought it not robe bery to be equal with God.”. With the venerable Turreţtine, I would read, he thought it not robbery to be altogether equal with God. Such i apprehend is the precise meaning of the words, ioce ozã. It is known that cox is an adjective from loos, John v, 18. signifying equal. And keeping the form of the adjective, the clause in the Latin would Non rapinan er, istimavit esse equalia Deo. But it is known also that to wor is often used substantively, and then it signifies equalitas. Scapula Lex. p. 690. and for this reason it is that the learned Turretting reads, Christus erat in forna Dei, Phil. ii. ira tã Oiw, æqualitates, id est, prorsus æqualis Deo. He thought it not robbery to be altogether equal with God.“ Nor is it unusual with the Hebrews to speak in this manner. So Psalm cx. 3. Thy people shall be willingnesses, that is altogether willing. The word oor has been much tossed among the critics, some contending that it should Le taken adverbially here, as Whitby; others denying it, as Pearson; who asserts that oray and ora were used as the same by the Greeks. He also observes, that whom the Greeks call .co de equal to God, Homer calls sc ce bew. Odyss. Lib. 15. L. 519. wbere Telemachus speaking of Eury. machus, says,
τον νυν ίσα θεώ Ιθακήσιοι εισoροώσι. I would further observe, that loos siguifies equality, rather than similitude or likeness. John v. 18. 66av idytOV TOW, TW :@, Making himself equal with God. Luke xx. 36. ircayyidos de slon, For they are equal ube to the angels. I cannot therefore but subscribe to the judgment of the renowned Sir Richard Ellis, that with the Greeks to sivai, joined to is is most significant. And that perfect equality could not be expressed more fully by words. Fortuita Sacra, p. 213.
The true sense of the words being thus ascertained, I come now to the Second general Head of discourse, which was to illustrate and confirm some of the doctrines obviously contained in them. And these are chiefly three,
1st. That our Lord is in his person distinct from the Father.
2dly. That he is nearly related to him. And,
3dly. That he is entirely equal with him. Con. cerning each of which in the order.
The first Doctrinal proposition respects our Lord's distinction from the Father. This is so clearly and so frequently taught in scripture, that he who runs may read. It lies indeed as at the bottom of the Christian system; and is so essential to it, that there can be no Christianity without it. Nay, it is a truth, which even Mahometans, Arians, Socinians all confess. This being the case, I choose rather to illustrate, than to prove it. That it is implied in my text, must be obvious to the meanest capacity. For if Christ was in the form of God, and reckoned it no robbery to be equal with
him, he cannot but be a distinct person from him. It would be absurd to say that he was equal with himself. To say
wherein that distinction consists, is a task beyond the reach of mortals, perhaps of angels themselves. An attempt to mark its limits, or to delineate its nature, would be to darken counsel by words without knowledge. Solomon having asked, “Who hath ascended up unto him, or descended? Who hath gathered the wind in his fists? Who hath bound the waters in a garment? Who hath established all the ends of the earth?” Concludes the cluster of queries with the following, “ What is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell?” Prov. XXX. 4. But though we cannot perfectly understand the distinction between Christ and the Father, yet we are as certain that it is, as of any truth within the compass of revelation. Its absolute certainty, and something of its nature is intimated in a variety of passages.
For, 1st. The Father and Christ are distinguished by number. The Father is one, he another. Of nothing have we a clearer notion than of number. In other parts of knowledge we are often in the greatest uncertainty. What one positively affirms, another as flatly denies, and a third cannot say which of them has truth upon his side. But as to number, there is no dispute. Here we are as certain, as that the whole is greater than a part. Now, when scripture says that Christ is one, and the Father another, we are authorized thence to conclude, that they are as certainly two, as that one and one, are two in number. “ I am not alone, said Christ, but I and the Father that sent me. It is written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true, I am one that beareth witness of myself, and the Frther that sent me, beareth witness of me,” John viïi. 18.
The same medium of distinction is used in that me. morable passage, 1 John v. 7. “ There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” They are one, and yet three, in different respects; one in essence, three in persons. If three, there is as certainly a dis
tinction among them, as that three is a definitive num. ber. But,
2dly. God and Christ are distinguished by name. The one is called the Father, the other his Son. Nothing occurs more frequently in the New Testament, than this distinction. Witness the voice from heaven, first at our Saviour's baptism, Matt. iii. 17. and then at his transfiguration, chap. xvii. 15. His own confes. sion before the Jewish Sanhedrin, Mark xiv. 61, 62. The ordinance of baptism which he appointed after his resurrection, Matt. xxviii. 19. And the ordinary salu. tation of our apostle to the churches, 2 Cor. i. 2, 3. Philip. i. 2. Nay, this distinction, was known under the Old Testament, compare Psalm ii. 7, 12. Prov. XXX. 4.; yea,
it was acknowledged by devils themselves, Luke vii. 28. Now, as the names Father and Son, suggest distinct ideas, so God and Christ must be two distinct persons. The Father cannot be the Father of himself; nor the Son, the Son of himself. The name Father im. plies another person to whom he is so, as the name Son implies one who stands in the paternal relation unto him. Again, the one is called God, the other the Word, John i. 1, 14. 1 John v. 7. and the Word of God, Rev. xix. 13. With respect to the signification of the name, I say nothing. Only this much is fair. ly deducible from that adorable Person, whose Word he is. The Word is said to be with God, implying the distinction of persons; and to be God, implying identity of essence.
3dly. God and Christ are distinguished by their ineffable fellowship one with another. So in the passage just now quoted, the Word is said to be with God, i.C. as I apprehend, not only in respect of co-eternal exist. ence, but also of the most intimate and endearing communion. As the one never existed without the other, neither were they ever without that fellowship which is intimated in the words of inspiration. “ The Father loveth the Son, and hath given him all things into his hand,” John iii. 35. Though this giving may be considered as posterior to creation, yet that love in
which it originated was before all time. The extent of the gift proves the intenseness of the giver's love. Of this communion we read, Prov. viii. 30. Says the Word and Wisdom of the Father, “I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him.” Every clause speaks communion: “ by him, brought up with him.” But in the two last, the description rises; “ I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him:" i; e. He delighted in me, and I in him. To intimate the intenseness of the Father's love, his soul is said to delight in Christ, Isa. xlii. 1. further proof of this inconceivable fellowship, it is said that the only begotten Son is in the bosom of the Father, John i. 18. This certainly intimates their complacency in one another. Our Lord, when about to leave the stage of time, and when pleading with his Father in behalf of the given ones, could say, thou “ lovedst me before the foundation of the world,” John xvii. 25.
4thly. God and Christ are distinguished by the different places which they occupy with respect to our salvation. The one is represented in scripture as the party choosing: the other, as the party chosen, Psalm Ixxxix. 3, 19. The one as sending: the other as the sent, Matt. xxi. 37. Acts iii. ult. Rom. viii. 3. Gal. iv. 4. The one as preparing a body: the other as putting it on, Heb. x. 5. The one as the Mediator: the other as the party with whom he mediates on our behalf, 1 Tim. ii. 6. The one as making a reconciliation for sin by the sacrifice of himself, Heb. ii. 17, and xix. 26.: the other as pacified in virtue of that atonement, Ezek. xvi. ult. 2 Cor. v. 18, 21. The one as laying all our ini. quities on the other, Isa. liii. 6. The one as being bruised for these our iniquities: and the other as bruis. ing him, and putting him to grief, Isa. liii. 5, 10. The one as hiding his face: the other as uttering a mournful cry under that desertion, Matt. xxvii. 46. In all these instances the distinction between God and Christ is written as with a sun-beam. 5thly and Lastly, on this part of the subject. The