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world into which he brings his children." "That personal fulness that is in God-man is reserved by God as a subject of that depth and glory to take up, together with his own perfections, the thoughts of men and angels for ever; Rev. xxi. 23. had no need of the sun nor moon to shine in it, for the glory of God did lighten it and the Lamb is the light thereof. When those two great volumes, this of his word, and that of his world, which now in this life are put into our hands, to read the claracters of his glory in by faith, when both these shall be folded up and clean laid aside, then will the person of Christ, God-man, be set forth to us, to entertain us for ever with the sight of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
Having drawn out this little abridgment of this excellent treatise, I take the freedom to make these few remarks on it :
1. This learned and pious author plainly manifests that he could not expound several scriptures which speak of Christ both in the Old Testament and the New, without taking in his human nature to be the joint subject of such ascriptions, because there are so many things expressed in them below the dignity of godhead : And therefore he supposes the human nature of Christ to exist in the view or idea of the Father from everlasting, and to have all those glorious actions and characters ascribed to him as man united to God, or as God united to man. And it is to be oba served, that he does this not in one sentence or two, or in one page or two, but it is the chief design of that whole discourse of ihe “ glories and royalties that belong to Jesus Christ considered as God-man,” which fills up more than a hundred pages in folio.
II. He supposes the man Christ Jesus not only to have an existence in the divine idea through all the various ancient transactions of creation, providence, &c. But he asserts that he ought actually to have existed the first of all creatures, and to have been as it were an under-agent in the creation of the world; but that this actual glory was suspended for four thousand years, merely because he was to bear sin and the curse for the redemption of men.
JII. He rises much higher in his ascriptions to the man Jesus Christ, than I have dared to do in any part of my discourse, and invests bim with much more sublime powers thaa any angelic spirit ; and yet be supposes his soul to be a human soul still, and calls him a man : He gives him most illustrious prerogatives, on the account of his virtual union to his divine nature, all which he asserts to be his early due had he actually then existed.
IV. The actual pre-existence of the man Jesus, or the buman soul of Christ, and his actual union to his divine nature can never withhold or diminish any of those sublime charaeters, those illustrious honours or prerogatives which this author saitla were his due, had he then existed, and which he supposes to be attributed to bim in scripture by the figure prolepsis, and by way of anticipation, and which were given bin by God the
Fathe, God.pposing him then to exist in his idea long before his actual e e Gjce.
V.japt : exposition of all these scriptures will appear much more n. in 8.), easy, and plain by the doctrine of the actual preexistence that the soul of Christ, than by the mere decree of his existe irst, r supposition of it only in the idea and foreknowledge of (ext" n the proleptical sense, only learned men can find the mer op, of them. In this sense of actual existence, the meanest chr: san may read and understand whiat he reads. And it is a general rule among divines for the interpretation of scripture, never to introduce figures of speech, nor to explain the word of God in a figurative sense, but where the plain, obvious, literal sense has something in it inconsistent or improper.
VI. There is not one 'scripture in all the bible which denies the actual existence of Christ's human soul before the foundation of the world, but there are many which in this author's judgment
be explained without the supposition of his virtual existence then in the idea of God, and therefore they are supposed to be spoken of him as though he did actually exist by the help of tropes and figures.
Now I leave it to the judginent of any candid reader, whether those scriptures which are written for the use of the unlearned, ought not much rather to be explained in their most easy and obvious sense, than to spread so many and such hard figures of speech almost all over the bible, the Old Testament and the New, without evident necessity: and it is very reasonable to believe, that had this evangelical writer lived in an age when the doctrine of the pre-existence of the soul of Christ had been freely proposed to the world, he would have embraced it with great readiness and pleasure.
VII. Though these more elevated sentiments and bolder expressions, which I have cited from so great an author, are by no means a standard of truth, nor indeed can I follow him in some of these sublimities, neither do I cite his magnificent expressions concerning the man Jesus Christ, nor his expositions of scripture as a sufficient proof of what I have advanced ; yet it will appear to the world by this collection, that I have not ventured upon such expositions of the bible, nor such exalted sentiments and language concerning Christ's human nature, without a honourable precedent. If I am mistaken, yet I may reasonably hope that while I have erred and wandered under such a leader, and in so good company, the censure will be but light and gentle, since most of the reproaches which may be cast on me on this account will fall heavy on this venerable author, whose name has been honourable, and his praise great among the churches,
END OF VOLUME VI.
kaward Baines, Volca, Leeds.'