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in eighteen places in the New Testament, in all of which it is taken in the latter sense. Now, the ques
, tion is, whether when investigating its meaning in our text, we should call in the aid of a heathen author, or compare it with the invariable use of the same word in all these passages: whether we are to inquire of the god of Ekron, or of the God of Israel? In the de. termination of this we cannot hesitate a moment, To use the word in one and the same sense in eighteen places, and to abandon that sense in the nineteenth, would be very extraordinary; especially, when there is not so much as the shadow of necessity for so doing. Such a conduct would betray something ridiculous, if not worse: a design to shun the truth, rather than to seek it. It is not without the superintendency of the Holy Spirit that the word in my text is used twice in this chapter, and three times in the next. So verse 3d, “Let each esteem others better than themselves. Verse 25th, I supposed it necessary to send you Epaphroditus. Chap. iü. 7, 8. What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss: And do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.” In all these places the word signi
. fies to think, reckon, judge, esteem, or account. And no solid reason can be assigned why it should not have the same signification in my text. Add to this, that in all the other thirteen places where it occurs in the New Testament, it has still the self-same sense, as will appear from inspecting them. So Acts xxvi. 2. I think myself happy, ļ Thess. v. 13. Esteem them very highly 2 Thess. iii. 15. Count him not as an enemy. i Tim. i. 12. He counted me faithful, chap. vi. 1. Let servants count their masters worthy of all honour. Heb. X. 29. Hath counted the blood of the covenant an unholy thing. Chap. xi. 11. She judged him faithful who had promised. 'Verse 26. Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt. James i. 2. Count it all joy, when ye
fall into divers temptations. 2 Pet. i. 13. I think it meet, Chapter ii, 13. They count it pleasure to riot in the
day-time. Chap. iii. 9. As some men count slackness Verse 15. Account that the long-suffering of our Lord is salvation. Nay, the word in my text has the same signification in the Septuagint. job. xli. 27. He es. teemeth iron as straw. Verse 28. He accounteth the sling-stone as stubble. From this collection of passage it must appear to the conviction of the unprejudiced, that the Socinians' translation of our text is without parallel or precedent in holy scripture, and therefore to be rejected. Thus we have evinced that the sense which they affix to it is obscure, indecent, incoherent, and unsupported.
It must be acknowledged that some in high reputa. tion for learning, orthodoxy and piety, have translated our text in a manner, which at first sight, seems to coincide with that of the Socinians, but at the same time they understand it in a different sense. " He did not “ hold it for a spoil to be equal unto God. That is,
say they, He would not glory in his majesty, which “ he had in the form of God, as they who triumph in “their spoils; but rather deny the honour of equality “ with God, agreeing truly unto him, by not shewing “it, and by not glorying in it*.” This sense is no how contrary to the analogy of faith. There is nothing in it which militates against the Deity of the great God our Saviour. Neither can it be deemed any how incoherent with the context. For in connection, thus it reads, “ Who being in the form of God, did not hold it for a spoil to be equal unto God; but emptied him. self, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men.” Still, however, it seems unnatural to speak of our Redeemer's uncreated glories under the notion of spoil. And hence, those who embrace this sense of the passage, find it necessary to distinguish betwixt private spoil, which is never acquired without injustice, and public, which is obtained in lawful rar. The former being usually concealed, as in the case of
• So Maestricht. Theol. vol. 1. p. 489. So also Cameron and Daille. See Pictet's
. Chret vol. I. p. 240.
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 them, 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 seen, 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
* 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 apprehend is the precise meaning of the words, ioce ow. It is known that Ita is an adjective from icos, Johạ v, 18. signifying equal. And keeping the form of the adjective, the clause in the Latin would run, Non rapinam cr. 'istimavit esse equalia Deo. But it is known also that to drov is often used substantively, and then it signifies equalitas. Scapula Lex. p. 690. and for this reason it is that the learned Turrettin, reads, Christus erat in forna Dei, Phil. ii. sra 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 ocor and soc were used as the same by the Greeks. He also observes, that whom the Greeks call 050) Deão equal to God, Homer calls scoe Bew. Odyss. Lib. 15. L. 519. where Telemachus speaking of Eury: machus, says,
τον νυν ίσα θεώ Ιθακήσιοι εισoροώσι. I would further observe, that isos signifies equality, rather than simili
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.
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 chicfly 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. 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
tude or likeness. John v. 18. orov ŠKUTOV Torāv TW 8xã, Making himself equal with God. Luke xx. 36. locupados cyce clos, For they are equal un. to the angels. I cannot therefore but subscribe to the judgment of the renowned Sir Richard Ellis, that with the Greeks sò Elvas, joined to use is most significant. And that perfect equality could not be expressed more fully by words.
Fortuita Sacra, p. 213.
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 them. selves. An attempt to inark 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 fol. lowing, “ 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 truc. I am one that beareth witness of myself, and the Fr. ther that sent me, beareth witness of me,” John viii. 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.