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proof of the divinity of Christ, since none but God can create : “ He that built all things is God(g).”We have before seen that the creation of the world is attributed to God the Father, which is an additional proof of an incomprehensible identity or unity of substance between the Father and the Son.
What has been already stated concerning the sense in which we are to understand the title of the Son of God, and the assertion of St. John in the beginning of his Gospel, concerning the Word, may be considered as a sufficient illustration and proof of the former part of this article ; “ The Son, WHICH IS THE WORD OF THE FATHER, BEGOTTEN FROM EVERLASTING OF THE FATHER, THE VERY AND ETERNAL GOD, OF ONE SUBSTANCE WITH THE Father.” But as the divinity of our Saviour is the main point upon which this article rests, and as it is the principal cause of separation to many who dissent from our established religion, it may be right to adduce some other passages of Scripture in support of this doctrine, and also to state some testimonies of the early opinions of Christians upon this subject.
St. Paul exhorts the Philippians to the practice of humility from the example of Christ
Jesus, (g) Heb. c. 3. v. 5.
Jesus, “who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross; wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (h).”—In this text the divinity of Christ, both before his incarnation and after his ascension, is clearly pointed out : “ Being in the form of God,” signifies being really God, just as, “ took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men,” signifies that he was really a man in a low and mean condition: and the following words, “ thought it not robbery to be equal with God,” expressly declare Christ's equality with God. Indeed this passage, taken in this its obvious sense, so decisively proves the divinity of Christ, that those who deny that doctrine give a different meaning to one part of it, and assert that another part
(h) Phil. c. 2. v. 6—11.
is wrongly translated; they say, that “ being in the form of God,” refers to his bearing the resemblance of God, by his performance of miracles and delivery of a law in the name of God; but this description would apply to Moses, who is never said to have been“ in the form of God.” And they further say, that the words," he thought it not robbery to be equal with God,” should be rendered, “ he did not
catch at, or vehemently desire to be equal with · God,” or, “ he did not think that he ought to make an ostentatious display of his resemblance to God (i).” Even if it be allowed that the words themselves would bear these significations, which I very much doubt, it would be found that the context will not admit of any such interpretation ; for, in the first place, the verse thus understood would be made to refer to our Saviour when he was upon earth, whereas, whoever reads the whole passage attentively, will perceive that this verse refers to Christ before he appeared in the likeness of men, since he could not make himself of no reputation, unless he had pre-existed in a state of superior dignity and glory. In the next place, according to this inter
pretation, (i) Cyprian quotes this passage in exact agreement with our translation, Non rapinam arbitratus est esse se æqualem Deo.
pretation, the Apostle exhorts to humility from the example of Christ, who while he performed miracles, and preached a religion in the name of God, did not aim at or affect equality with God, or make a display of his resemblance to him; that is, St. Paul calls upon the Philippians to have the same mind which was in Christ Jesus, who, being a mere man, did not make himself equal with God, or boast of his resemblance to him; the bare mention of such a sense of the text is sufficient to expose and refute it. But the reasoning, according to the common interpretation, is clear and strong; for the Apostle exhorts the Philippians to imitate the example of Christ's humility, who though a divine person, voluntarily condescended to assume the lowest condition of human nature, and to submit to a cruel and ignominious death. The latter part of the passage states, that in consequence, and as a reward, of his humiliation, “ God highly exalted him, and gave him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth ; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” This exaltation of Christ, after his ascension into heaven, seems to indicate the
glorified state of his human nature, just as his appearance and sufferings upon earth were the humiliation of his divine nature.
In the Old Testament the prophets constantly declared, that they had received from God the prophecies which they delivered ; and it is acknowledged that none but God can enable men to predict future events. St. Peter, in his First Epistle, represents Christ as enabling the prophets to foretel his own coming, with his sufferings, and the glory which was to succeed them : “ Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you; 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 (k);" this passage, therefore, proves both the preexistence and divinity of Christ. The same Apostle, in his other Epistle, attributes these prophecies to the influence of the Holy Ghost: “ Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (1).” And thus the power of prophesying is ascribed indifferently to
the (k) 1 Pet. c. 1. v. 10 and 11. (l) 2 Pet. 6. 1. V. 21.