Page images

had before the Creation of the World, as he was even en dezen, in the Beginning, Osòs, God, and the Creator of all things? Would not this Confideration enforce the Argument from his Humility and Condefcension vastly more, than that of his ceasing to personat God, or be God's Embassador to Men? Is not the Distance between his being by Nature Next to the very God, and the Maker of all created Beings, and the servile Offices he discharged, vastly greater, than the Distance between thore servile Öffices and his personating God, which any other created Being is capable of ?

The Apostle therefore, had he meant the WORD or Christ's Divine Nature, would not have argued thus, Let this mind be in you, which was also in Cbrift Jesus, who e noson Jef odszor (personating God) did not earnestly desire to be, or continue fose sem (like God, viz. in the aforesaid glorious Office) but debased bimself, or emptied bimself thereof, &c. I say, the Apostle would not have argued thus, and thereby have in a great measure enervated the Force of Christ's Example: but he would have exprefly call'd him Diós, God, as he does elsewhere, particularly 1 Tim. 3. 16. and accordingly he would have said, às deos ivászon, who being himself God; and then he would have subjoin'd, ev els ención Tei tay Te, Ta' cn toisiese yo'ls, sej tei én is gñs, tai öegri rý zai' dóegtu, ti 75 negro, ešte werότητες, άτε αρχαι, ίπ εξεσία, τα πάντα δι' αυτό και ως αυτόν έκπσα. Και αυτός ότι σε πάντων, και τα παντα εν αυτή συνέςηκε: which are his own lofty Expressions in Col. 1. 16, 17. or something else parallel to these Words, and to what he fays elsewhere. This would have demonstrated a vastly greater Humility and Condescenfion than what the Apostle describes; and the Fact is as certain as the ocher that he exprefly infifts on. Would St. Paul therefore argue in this manner, if.


he meant the WORD, or Christ's Divine Nature Let any Man that has a Taft of that Apostle's Strength and Majesty of Stile upon other (especially the like) Occasions, judge, whether he could upon this sublime Argument write (comparatively fpeaking) fo flatly, and so unlike himself. For my own part, I confess, had I nothing else to offer, I have a better Opinion of St. Paul's admirable Genius (setting aside the Divine Afliftance) than to think him capable of it. And this Consideration alone would therefore oblige me to embrace any other poffible Interpretation ; such as that, which makes him speak of the preexisting humani Soul of Christ, most certainly is ; as I have fully shewn. But,

Secondly (what is far worse) if St. Paul meant, that the WORD was en dogoña Jes and iou Jeqộ, his Argument is utterly inconclusive and impertinent. To evince this we must take notice, that St. Paul exhores his Disciples to imitate the Example of the Blessed Jesus; and accordingly he represents to them, 1. What the Blessed Jesus did, 2. What Re. compence he received. He proposes therefore Christ's Practice, and the Reward of his Practice; and enforces the one with the other. His Argument amounts to this, viz. that Christ practised the utmost Humility and Condescension, merely to obtain and promote the Happiness of us Men ; and that for this amazing Instance of Love and Compassion, he was anıply rewarded by Almighty God: and consequently, if we follow his Example, we shall be proporcionably rewarded for fo doing. How then did the Blessed Jesus condescend and humble himself for our fakes and how was he rewarded for so doing? upon Supposition that his human soul did not preexist? Why thus. The


WORD left his Glory, and became united to the Man Christ; and the Man Christ was afterwards greatly rewarded for this Condescension and Humility of the WORD. This is our Pattern and Encouragement, upon your Principles. And what Influence can this have upon a mere Man? Will not the Man reply, that it does not at all affect him, because of the prodigious Diversity of Circumstances ? He would be very thankful, if the WORD, or any other vastly superior Being, would degrade it self, and thereby meric for him an unspeakable Reward and suffer him to enjoy it alone, without partaking of that which was purchas'd by its own Desert. But how does it enforce the Practice of any mere Man's Humility and Condescension? Or how does it fhew, that a mere Man shall ever be the better for his own Humility and Condescenfion? I confess,the Man Christ Jesus did sometimes submit to servileOffices; and this Part may be drawn into Example by us; but what the Apostle chiefly proposes, is the WORD's devesting himself of valt Glory, before the Man Christ Jesus had a Being ; and the Man Christ Jesus's receiving a vast Recom.. pense for the unspeakable Kindness of the WORD. He lays the Stress upon this; which is in reality forein to the Purpose. For tho' it may work upon such as are generous enough to transfer their Merit to others; yet it can't affect those, who would fain merit for themselves, and enjoy the Fruit of their own good Deeds.

And can we suppose, that St. Paul would write, , thus? Would he argue besides the Question? Was this the manner of that inspired Disputant ? If. it should be replied, that after the Union of the two Natures there was Communicatio Idiomatum, and that the Blessed Jesus, being thus consider'd as God

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Man, did practise the whole of this Humility and Condescension, and was accordingly reward

ed for the same , I say if this be reply'd, I .: freely .grant, that' by Virtue of this Union there

was a Communicatio Idiomatum, and that in Con-
fequence thereof, the Blessed Jesus might properly
be rewarded in his Human Nature for what the
Divine Nature effected. But what is this to the pre-
sent Purpose ? Still 'tis the Practice of a distinct
Nature, which chose to debase it self before the
Union of the two Natures commenced. And ’tis
the Condescension and Humility of the WORD
alone, in which the Man has no Share. And there-
fore it can't fairly be urged as an Argument to a
mere Man, who has not any other Nature (who
has not either the WORD, or any other excellent.
Being) united to him, that would bestow the same
unspeakable Favor upon him, as the WORD be-
ftow'd upon the Man Christ Jesus. In short, ac- :
cording to this Interpretation, 'tis an Example
drawn from a wrong Topic. 'Tis manifestly an
Example of the Bounty of the WORD to the Man
Christ Jesus, with whom the WORD vouchsaf’d to
be personally united : and not an Example of what
the Man Christ Jesus gain’d by his own Practice as
a Man. And yet nothing is more certain, than that
the Reward of the Man Christ Jesus (for the Man
only was capable of, and did enjoy, the Reward)
is propos’d in this place as an Encouragement to
our felves; because we our selves, as the Man
Christ Jesus did, shall reap great Advantages by
our Humility and Condescension. You see there;
fore what wretched Sophiftry we make the Apostle,
use, if we suppose, that he affirms the WORD to
be a ropoñ est and love fom, and afterwards to have
empty'd or debas'd himself by the Incarnation,



[ocr errors]

Thirdly, We are agreed, that our Lord was the Angel that deliver'd the Law, and that upon this account he was in logoña Jes, and consequently loce Jeâ. This you (q) fully acknowledge, and I heartily affent to it." Well then, the fame Nature of Christ, which was God's Angel, was that very Nature which was in uogoš Ješ, and consequently Tone Jeộ. Now 'tis evident, that Christ could not be God's Angel with respect to his divine Nature. For the Apostle says, Therefore we ought to give the more earnest beed to the things which we bave beard, left at any time we should let them slip. For if the word Spoken by Angels was stedfast, and every trawsgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; how Shall we escape, if we negle&t so great salvation, which at the firft began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that beard him? Heb. 2. 1, 2, 3. You fee, the Apostle argues upon this Principle, viz. that the Person who deliver'd the Gospel, was of greater Dignity, than the Angel who deliver'd the Law. Now if he that deliver'd the Law, was the WORD or Divine Nature of Christ, this Principle is notoriously false. Because,tho' the Human Nature of Christ is now vastly exalted above all created Beings whatsoever, and is consequently superior in Dignity to them all; yet 'tis not even now superior to what you own the WORD always was: and as for the WORD or Divine Nature, it never was exalted, as I have largely proved ; but was every whit as great in Dignity at the Delivery of the Law, ás it was at the Delivery of the Gospel. Wherefore the WORD, or Divine Nature of Christ, was not the Angel which deliver'd the Law.

Upon these several Accounts ’tis plain, that the WORD, or Divine Nature of our Lord Jesus

(g) Script. Doct. &c. p. 15, 102, 114.


« PreviousContinue »