« PreviousContinue »
brace it, as being virtually taughe in all those Texts, which can't be clear'd without it.
I confess, it fo effectually undermines and destroys the Opinion of those, who affirm the WORD, or Christ's Divine Nature, to be different from, and inferior to, the very God; that I can't wonder at your (n) calling it a mere Fiction without any Ground (tho' I am porsuaded, could you at any time get quit of a strong Objection against a plausible Opinion, by making such an Hypothesis, you would readily come into it, and no reasonable Person would blame you for asserting and maintain. ing it) But 'tis ftrange, that tho’ several great Men have purposely afferted it, yet a greater Number' have not espy'd a Truth, which so effecually supports their own Cause, and ruins that of their Adversaries. And yet I believe a good Reason might be assign'd (were it worth while) for this Inadvertency.
However, waving bare Supposals (which this Doctrin does not stand in need of) let us endevor after Certainty. Since the Blessed Jesus has but two Natures, and consequently but two intelligent Beings, united in his Person, viz. the WORD, and his human Soul ; 'tis plain, that that Being of which St. Paul here affirms, that 'twas er uogon Seš, and love Jes, and afterwards emptied or debased it self by Incarnation, was either the WORD, or his human soul. That it was not the WORD, if the WORD be the very God, is agreed between us. For cho'the WORD was certainly Incarnat, and the Incarnation of the WORD was, unspeakable Condescension in him (and so is God's vouchsafing to be reconcil'd to fallen Man) yet the Incarnation
(2) Answer to the Bishop of Chester, P: 244.
can't be that Humiliation by emptying or debasing bimself, which St. Paul here speaks of, and declares to have been rewarded with an exceeding Exaltatation, upon Supposition that the WORD is the ve. ry
Let us inquire therefore, whether the WORD might here be meant by St. Paul, upon Suppofition, chat the WORD were inferior to the very God. For tho'I do by no means grant, that the WORD must be inferior to the very God, if the Apostle may be fuppos’d to mean the WORD. here (because I have other Arguments to prove, that the WORD is the very God, and consequently thac this Exposition is impoflible ; and I think the Evidence of that Truth so great, that it obliges us to admit any other possible Exposition of this Passage) But I fay, let us make Experiment, for your farther Convi&ion, whether the Apostle can be understood to speak of the WORD's being en vogen ma and 1 fem; and afterwards emptying or debasing himself by Incarnation, and thereby meriting an exceeding Exaltation ; upon Supposition that your own Opinion, viz. that the WORD is inferior to the very God, be true. For if it be made appear, that the Apostle can't mean all this of the WORD; even tho' the WORD be fuppos'd inferior to the very God: then you muft necessarily grant, upon your own Principles, that the Apostle speaks of the human soul of Christ. And consequently we have Scripture Evidence of the Preexistence of Christ's human Soul, upon your Principles, as well as our own; that is, in fhort, Christ's human Soul did certainly preexist, whether your Notion of the Trinity be true, or no. And therefore you can't pretend, that his Preexistence is invented and afferred merely to serve a Turn.
Well then, the Question is, whether the Apostle affirms in this Passage, that tho' the human soul of Christ was iv uogon 8 and Tou sem, it afterwards emptied it self of that Glory, or debased it self, by the Incarnation. As for those, that do already own the Preexistence of our Savior's human Soul, even tho' they had formerly inferr'd it from other Texts of Scripture, I dare say, they will readily assent to my Exposition of this Place, whatever their Opinion of the WORD, or Christ's Divine Nature, be. And, as for those, who own the WORD, or Divine Nature of Christ, to be the very God, I have already prov'd (and I doubt not but you'll agree) that they are oblig'd by their own Principles, to interpret this passage of Christ's human Soul preexisting before the Incarnation. My present Business therefore is, to convince such, as affirm the WORD, or Divine Nature of Chrift, to be diftinct from, and inferior to, the very God, and who do also flatly deny the Preexistence of our Savior's human soul; I say, my Business is to convince those Persons, that this Passage of St. Paul does most certainly prove the Preexistence of Christ's human Soul. And this I shall do by shewing, that the Apostle can't be understood to mean the WORD, or Divine Nature of Christ, when he affirms of our Savior, that he was e uogomi Jes and Tou Jem before the Incarnation. For,
First, If the Apostle meant, that the WORD was e pogoña Isi and iou. Jemne before the Incarnation; 'tis evident, that he purposely weaken'd the Force of his own Argument. To evince this, let it be ohserv’d, 1. That the WORD, or Divine Nature, is at firm'd to have been Jeds, God, er dexñ, in the beginning, which you own to mean before the Foundation of the World. 2. That if the human Soul of Chrift
did not preexist, you must be forc'd by your own Principles to acknowledge, that the WORD left at the Incarnation, not only the Glory of being cx recoñ get and ion Jsą, but even that Glory also, which he enjoy'd before the Creation of all things, when he could not be in pogoña osô and lou Iss, that is, personat the very God.. This is evident from Fohn 17. 4, 5.. where our Savior says to God, I have glorified thee on earth : I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, o father, glorifie thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I bad with thee before the world was. ' You well (o) observe, that the Socinian Interpretation of this paffage, is very barsh and unnatural: who understand it to signify only the Glory, which Christ bad in the Foreknowledge and Predetermination of God. The plain and literat: Meaning of the Words, is that which bas been before ex, pressed, Numb.535. And what is that? Why, explaining the firft Words of St. John's Gospel (viz. in the beginning) you (p). speak thus, In the beginning) Before all Ages; before the Creation of the World
i before the World was, John 17.5. And Verf. 3. af this Chapter, All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. And Ver. 1o. The world was made by him. Thus was. this Phrase constantly understood in the Primitivc Church :
And nothing can be more forced and unnatural, than the Interpretation of the Socinian Writers; who understand, in the beginning, to hgnify only at the forft. Preaching of the Gospel. Wherefore, if Christ's human soul did not preexist, this Passage of our Savior's Prayer must be meant of the WORD,' or his Divine Nature. And accordingly you (g) say, that at hus (0) Scripr. Do&t. p. 112. (p) Pag. 85. (g) Script. Dost. . 367, 368.
Incarnation b. emptied himself (éréycore sou tor] of that Glory, which be bad with God before the World was. And if so, 'tis evident, that his Divine Nature was not, at the Time of our Savior's praying, pofseri'd of that Glory, which it had before the Foundation of the World; but he pray'd to be restor'd to the Possession of it. And consequently his Divine Nature left, at the Incarnation, not only the Glory of being on wegen Oss and loa Jağ (which was necessarily posterior to the Creation) but even that Glory which he enjoy'd before the Creation of all Things. 3. That an Argument for Humili-, ty and Condescenfion, drawn from Example, is by so much the stronger, by how much the moro excellent the Person is represented, and the greater distance there is between his proper Condition and · the Practice he submits to. 4. That being even a Secondary God, and the Maker of all created Beings, argues a Person to be more excellent, than being i pogoña Jeg and love dem, that is, the Being which personated God; which is the utmost that those Phrases do or can import, as has been fully. shewn. For any created Being can personat God; whereas being next in Nature to the very God, and being the Creator of the Universe, must neceffarily argue a vastly superior Excellency of Nature, than the personating of the very God amounts to or implies.
Let us now consider the Apostle's Argument for Humility and Condescension, as it stands upon your Principles. 'Tis drawn from the Example of Christ. And what is the Heighth of that Excellence, which Christ is said to have laid aside ? Why, the Office of personating God. But was this all the Excellence that Christ laid aside upon your Principles? Did he not leave that Glory, which he