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fhall it appear, that Chrift's Disciples reach'd the full Meaning of them? Why muft they be fuppos'd to understand the Depth of the Baptift's Difcourfes, better than they did thofe of their own Mafter? But, 2. The Baptift's Expreffions did by no means imply, that Chrift had a Divine Nature. For doubtless the Man Chrift Jefus was, even during his Ministry, fuperior to all other Prophets, to whom the Baptift's Words, muft neceffarily be reftrain'd, if understood in the then Prefent Tenfe. But I am perfuaded, that they ought to be underftood in the then Future Tenfe, fo as to denote the then future Exaltation of the Man Chrift Jefus. Thus when St. Paul fays in the Prefent Tenfe, The beir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a fervant, we ndyrov v, tho' be be lord of all, Gal. 4. 1. he muft neceffarily be understood in a Future Tenfe. For the Heir is for the prefent Lord of all, no otherwise than by the Defignation of his Father and shall not be actually Lord of all, till he enjoys the Inheritance. And accordingly the Baptift fajd in the then Future Tenfe, he (Chrift) is above all; meaning that he should moft certainly be so at the, Time of his Exaltation, which tho' he was not at that time actually poffefs'd of, yet he fhould infalliby receive of his Father; of whom the Baptift alfo faid, he hath given all things into his band, that is, he hath abfolutely determin'd fo to do. For that our Lord did not actually exercise all Power both in Heaven and in Earth, till after his Afcenfion, every body knows.
2. St. John the Evangelift fays, Qer feis dex πώποτε. Ὁ μονογλυὴς “Θ, ὁ ὢν εἰς + κόλπον τὸ παρὸς, ἐκεῖν
nyhoo, that is, according to our Tranflation, No man bath feen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bofom of the Father, he hath declar'd him,
John 1. 18. Now thefe Words were undoubtedly fpoken after our Lord's Exaltation; and confequently,whatsoever they declare concerning Chrift, it is (properly fpeaking) forein to the prefent Queftion. For upon Suppofition, that Chrift's being in his Father's Bofom did really imply his having a Divine Nature; yet it does not follow, that because St. John affirm'd after his Afcenfion, that he had a Divine Nature, therefore the Difciples believ'd that he had a Divine Nature during his Miniftry. But in Truth, that Phrafe is ftrictly applicable to the Human Nature of Chrift. For if
be rendred who was, yet 'tis certain that his being in the Bofom of the Father, fignifies in the Jewish Expreffion, being exceedingly belov'd of him, the nearest to him, and the moft intimat with him; as the Human Soul of our Savior certainly was, before he came from Heaven, whilft he was in the Form of God (for his Father loved him before the Foundation of the World, John 17. 24.) and alfo after he came into the World, even during his Miniftry, above any Prophet that ever was fent by God.
But I am perfuaded, that the Apostle fpake of what then was, when he wrote; and affirm'd, that Chrift, who was at that Tirne in the Bofom of his Father, was he who declar'd the Father, that is, was his Interpreter to Mankind, and the Reveler of his Will. And Chrift was undoubtedly at that Time in his Father's Bofom with refpect to his Human Nature, which had afcended into Heaven, and actually fat at the Right Hand of God, and was placed in Authority next to, and in Conjuntion with, the Very God.
3. Our Savior is charg'd by the Jews with making himself equal with God, and with making himself God, John f. 18. and 10. 33. And if he thus difcover'd his Divine Nature to the Malicious Jews during his Miniftry; how can we imagin, but that his Disciples believ'd it at the fame Time? Now this will inftantly appear a trifling Plea, if we confider, what Occafion our Lord gave the Jews for this Accufation. It seems he had called the Very God man's μr, John 5. 17. Now because he call'd the Very God or marleg, his (or if you please bis own) Father, therefore they infer, that he made himself equal with God. Now they understood not the Mystery of God's being the Father of Chrift's Human Nature, by begetting him in fuch a manner, that God was to him to me, as properly as any other Man is the io mame of his Natural Son. And therefore, becaufe when a Man begets his own Likeness, the Son is fpecifically equal to his rig, they conclude, that Christ made himself equal to God by calling God ther πατέρα.
What has been faid, may easily be applied to the other Text. Our Savior call'd God his Father, John 10. 29. Then the Jews took up stones again to Stone him. Jefus answer'd them, Many good works have Ifhewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye ftone me? The Jews answered him, faying, For a good work we ftone thee not, but for blafphemy, and because that thou, being a man, makeft thy felf God. Jefus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I faid ye are Gods? If he called them Gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the feripture cannot be broken: Say ye of him, whom the Father bath fanctified and fent into the world, Thou blafphemeft, because I faid, I am the Son of God? v. 31. 32, 33, 34, 35, 36. You fee by our Savior's An
fwer, that all he pretended to, was that he was the Son of God; and he prov'd, that he deferv'd that Character, because the Father had fanctified him, and fent him into the World, v. 36. Here is not a Tittle of his Divine Nature mention'd: and the. Jews made the very fame falfe Inference as before.
I confefs, you have given thefe Texts a different, but not an oppofit Senfe. You (g) fay, The Jews, willing to take any Handle (tho' never so unreasonable) of accusing him, infer (John 5. 18.) by way of Calumny not by way of strict Reafoning, that bis calling God his Father [i marig μs] was as much as affuming to himself, that God, who was the common Father of them all, was in a higher and more peculiar manner [raries ir] his own proper Father: and from this, and from his joining and comparing his own Works with his Father's Works in one and the fame Sentence, they infer further, in the next step of Calumny, that he made himself equal with God: mean ing thereby, not that he claimed to himself to be God indeed in any Senfe; (for neither they nor his own Disciples bad as yet any the leaft Thought of that ;) but that by Confequence (which angry Accufers draw very baftily,) be affum'd to himself a Power and Authority like that of God. The Expreffion is the fame, and meant in the fame Senfe, as that other Accufation, John 10. 33. Thou being a Man, makeft thy felf God: which was Spoken after the fame Manner, as Men fay to an affuming Perfon, You make your felf King; when they intend to charge him with taking upon bimfelf, not the Perfon, but the State of a Prince. And (b) again you fay, That the Jews meant to accufe him, not of affirming himself to be the Supreme, felfexiftent Deity; nay, nor fo much as of taking upon himself to be a divine Perfon at all; but only of af
(g) Reply to Mr. Nelson's Friend, p. 135, 136.-
faming to himself the Power and Authority of God.
Whether your Interpretation of these Paffages be preferable to mine, let others judge. If my Interpretation be allow'd, the Jews drew a wrong Conclufion from what our Savior faid; because either they did not, or would not, understand his true Meaning. If your Interpretation be allow'd, their Malice improv'd what he faid into an arrant Calumny. But either Interpretation fhews, that it can't be concluded from the Accufation of the Jews, that our Lord at that time pretended to a Divine Nature, or to be more than a Man conducted and affifted by God's Spirit.
Finally therefore, tho' the WORD or Divine Nature was moft certainly united to the Man Chrift Jefus during the Time of his Miniftry; yet