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Chrift, was not in uogon Jes and love team before the Incarnation, even upon your own Principles, who suppose that his Divine Nature is inferior to the very God. And therefore, since the Apostle does exprefly affirm, that Jesus Christ was er pogoña Jes and lou Hear before his Incarnation ; 'tis evident even to Demonstration, that he was ir uogoña Jes and ioase Ds with respect to his human Nature. And confequently his human Soul (for his Body was not as yet in Being) preexisted before the Incarnation.
And indeed, the Admission of this (which I now take the liberty of calling an evident) Truth, makes the Apostle argue like himself in this controverted Place; and also throughly clears, what we read in the second Chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews. For,
1. The Apostle infers Humility and Condescension from the Example of the Blessed Jesus; and he sets before them, that Christ, viz, his preexisting human Soul, personated the very God; and urgés his voluntary Debasement of himself by Incarnation, when that State of Glory was freely exchanged for a mean Condition upon Earth, in which he sometimes discharged servile Offices, and at last fuffered Death upon the Cross. So that the Apofle exprefly mentions the utmost Pitch of Glory which Christ's human Soul left, and the lowest Pitch of Humiliation which it submitted to. And consequently the Example could not be press’d more home to the Consciences of his Disciples, nor could any more prevalent Pattern be offer'd to them.
2. This makes the Apoftle's Argument truly conclusive, and exactly pertinent. For’tis drawn from what Christ's human Nature did, and 'tis supported
what his human Nature receiv'd as the Reward
of it. So that every Man was thereby encourag'd and provok'd to imitate so bright a Pattern; since he was sure to receive the Recompence of his own A&tion, and must not otherwise expect it. 'Tis as if the Apostle had said thus, Do you imitate the Example of the Man Christ Jesus, whose Soul, tho' it preexisted before his Appearance in the Flesh, and had the honor of personating God; yet when he consider'd the fad Condition of poor Mortals, and the Neceflity of an unspotted Sacrifice in order to their Redemption ; of his own Choice he devested himself of that great Glory, and became in all things like unto us, being cloath'd with Flesh and Bloud ; and even when he was upon Earth, he did not affect State and Pomp, but submitted, when Occasion offer’d, even to servile Employments, and at last was content to be murder'd upon the Cross for us. Wherefore God has highly exalted this incarnat human Soul, viz. the Man Christ Jesus, &c. Do ye therefore act, as much as your Circumstances will permit, in like manner; do ye voluntarily submit your selves for the sake of others; and God will accordingly beftow á blessed Recompense upon you.
3. The Author to the Hebrews might, upon these Principles justly argue, that the Gospel was deliver'd by a greater Person than he that deliver'd the Law. For the bare human Soul of Christ, tho' it had indeed the Honor of personating God, deliver'd the Law : but when that same Soul voluntarily be. came incarnat, 'twas united to the WORD it self, the Creator of the Universe ; and even the Man Christ Jesus became God's own Son, and was appointed Heir of all things, and the supreme Governor of all created Beings, even of the highest
Angels, such as were before in Nature and Degree vastly superior to it self.
And indeed, 'tis exceedingly observable, that the Apostle had no fooner argued from the superior Dignity of him that promulged Christianity, but he supports what he had said, by adding as follows, For unto the Angels hath be not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place teftified saying, What is man that thou art mindful of bim, or the Son of man, that thou visitest bim? Thou madest him a little lower than the Angels, &c. Heb. 2. 5, 6, 7. And then he goes on to prove from the Pfalmift, that Christ's human Nature was to be exalted, and that it was at that time accordingly placed at God's Right Hand. Now the Apostle could not have done thus, if he had spoken before of such a Nature, as was always at least equal to what the human Nature of Christ was made by its utmost Advancement. Whereas, if he spake before (as he certainly did) of the human Nature of Christ, and shewed the Difference between the same Meffenger, when delivering the Law, and when delivering the Gospel ; what he subjoins, is the most proper Consideration imaginable to strengthen what he had said immediatly before. For thereby he proves, that the Scriptures foretold that very Advancement of the human Nature, from Christ's actual Enjoyment of which he had justly argued, that a Person superior to a bare Angel had promulged the Gospel.
In short, ler any Man attentively read St. Paul's Words, and he can't but perceive, that the very same intelligent Being which was rewarded, did also practise that Humility and Condescension, for which he was rewarded. For 'tis said, that God bath bighly exalted bim, who being in the form of God, &c.
condescended to suffer Death upon the Cross; and God did therefore so highly exalt him, because he fo greatly submitted, even tho' he was in the Form of God. Now I need not observe to you, that we who believe the WORD, or Divine Nature of Christ, to be the very God, dare not assert, that the WORD, or Christ's Divine Nature, was thus exalted for leaving its former Glory. For did the very God cease to be in his own glorious State ? Was he afterwards exalted by himself, as by some other distinct Being, to that his former glorious State, as the Reward of his Humiliation ? And was this an exceeding Exaltation to the very God? We cannot therefore assert such an impious Doĉtrin.
Again, What was this exceeding Exaltation? Why his having 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 (or if you please in) the glory of God the fa. ther. Could this be laid of the very God ? Had not he before, had nor he always, could he poffibly cease to have, a Name above every Name ? Had he not necessarily, is it possible for him not to have, the supreme Dominion over the whole Creation? Was a Stáre of_supreme Dominion therefore a State of exceeding Exaltation to the Divine Nature of Christ, upon supposition that his Divine Nature is the very God? Such are the wretched Effects of using bad Arguments in a good Cause.
Buy this, you'll say, does not affect Men of your Principles. True. But then, even upon your own Principles, if the same Nature that was exalted, was formerly is recopara Ser and pastã, 'tis manifeft,
that the human Nature alone was e vason Jeð and ioa Is@. And consequently 'twas the human Nature alone, which pra&tis’d that Humility and Condefcenfion, of which the Apostle is to be understood in this place now under Consideration. For I have demonstrated, that the human Nature alone was rewarded. And that the human Nature could not practise that Humility and Condescension which the Apostle infifts on, and which was manifestly prior to the Incarnation, unless the human Soul did preexift; I presume, you will not desire me to prove.
Nothing now remains, but that I observe one thing, viz. that the human soul of Christ preexist, ed before the Foundation of the World. For our Savior says in his Prayer to God, And now, O Fan ther, glorifie thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I bad with thee before the world was (wes to top xóoMov , before this world was) John 17.5. Again he says, Father, I will that they also whom thou haft given me, be with me where I am ; that they may bebold my glory which thou hast given me : for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world, v. 24. 'Tis evident from hence, that our Savior did exist before the foundation of the world, or before this world was. And I freely acknowledge, and you will readily grant, that we who believe the WORD, or Divine Nature of Christ, to be very God, can't possibly interpret these Passages of the WORD, or Divine Nature. For 'tis manifest, that when our Lord offer'd up this Prayer, he did not actually enjoy some Glory or Happiness, of which he had formerly been polfefs'd; and that he begg'd of God to be restord to it. Wherefore he could not mean that Glory or Happiness, which he had as very God. For the Glory or Happiness of the very God is essential to