תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

nature is not distinctly denoted; but that divino person is named, who had human nature from his incarnation: and when he is styled the Son of God or Immanuel, wę are not to refer the expressions to the divine nature alone, but to that invididual who is God and man of two distinct natures, and one person for ever. Dr. W. un. happily speaks of Christ as he would were he two per, sons, the one human, and the other divine. We assert, that the person whom we call by various names, but most commonly Christ, being in the form of God, resembling God in all his attributes, thought it not robbery, but a matter of equity, to speak and act, as God's equal. This same person, acting as Mediator, that he might be our pattern and propitiation, though he was God became also man, appeared as a man on earth, and by the circumstances of his birth and education, made himself of no reputation. He assumed the form and the character of a servant of the Godhead in the great work of redemption; and he became a minister, a servant, to the children of men. Instead of exerting his almighty energies habitually, he went about doing good like a benevolent man, and only wrought miracles to attest his divine mission as Mediator, or afford relief, when other means were inadequate, Dr, W. says the chief design of Phill

. ji. 5, 6, 7, is to propose “ a wonderous example of humility and self-denial.” Then he tells us," a great

and pious writer of this age has observed, that we never find the divine nature, or Godhead, propounded to us, as an example of self-denial or humility in all the bible:" whence he infers, that Christ's human soul must have pre-existed in the appearance, shape, or likeness" of God, and that this human soul became "a wonderous example,” by taking the form of a servant and the likeness of men. If the divine nature is not propounded as an example of humility and self.denial, it does not follow that a divine person is not, for it is written,

is written, “Be ye therefore followers of God as dear children."

Christ is a divine person, and he is presented as an example of humility and self-denial. If he being God, and enjoying all the glory of the Godhead, in form as well as substance, really changed the place of his resia

dence, and the form of his manifestation, so as to appear on earth, like a despised, an afflicted man, accursed of God, we can see much of wonderful humiliation and self-denial; but if a happy human soul merely took a human body, and for a time became abased for the glory of God, we can discover nothing very wonderful in the matter. As for “the man Christ Jesus, who ex, isted as a spirit personally united to God, or one with God in all former ages, and was dressed in glories suitable to his union,” it has not been proved at all, but as, sumed by Dr. W. that such a God-man-soul existed, He next adduces 2 Cor. viii. 9, Ye know the

grace

of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor. It cannot be said, of the di. vine nature, Dr. W. thinks, that it became poor, “nor can it be said of Christ as man, that he ever was rich, if he were never in a richer state before than while he was here on earth.” p. 394. We reply, that poverty or wealth we attribute to persons; and that the very person who, on earth, during his covenanted humiliation, had not where to lay his head, was once in the full possession and enjoyment of all the immunities, glories and felicities of the Godhead. Once he was rich in the company of angels, that continually waited around him; but on earth they ministered to him only in a few instances. Once he was rich in the immediate presence of the Father, and the expressions of his love; but on earth he dwelt as one forsaken of God. Once he appeared in heaven rich, as the maker and proprietor of all worlds, but now he appeared, God as he was, like a poor man; and, as an inhabitant of our world, according to its laws of property, was not the owner of a cot, nor of a foot of soil. The man Christ Jesus was at the same time God, and if Dr. W. has proved any thing from this passage, he has proved, that Christ could not become poor in any sense, because as God he is infinitely self sufficient, and eternally rich in the indefeasible possession of all things.

“ Consideration III. That very being which came down from heaven and was sent of God into the world, is represented as capable of having a will different from the will of God the

Father, and therefore it must be inferior to Godhead: Now this could be no other but the will of his human soul."

Should we admit, that the very being which came down from heaven, so soon as he had a human soul -united to his previously existing divine nature, was capable of having a will, as a human being, opposed to the will oi God the Father, it could not prove the

preexistence of that human soul; and even this Dr. W. has not proved. He cites John vi. 38. I came down from hea. ven not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me. That Dr. Watt's argument may avail any thing it will be requisite first to show, that in this instance Christ really had a will opposite to the will of the Father. If he had willed any thing in direct opposition to the will of God, it would have been an act of rebellion, which would have been punishable with eternal death, for it was no more lawful for Christ as Mediator, than for any other person under the law, to will contrary to the divine will. Even if he willed as man to do, what Jehovah willed he should not do as man, it was sin; and then, he is no Saviour.

Such considerations as these should have made Dr. W. hesitate to attribute to Christ any volitions in opposition to the will of the Father.

“I came down from heaven,” says the Messiah, “in the character of Mediator, not to effect any private per. sonal will of mine own, but to execute the will of the Godhead; and particularly of the Father, who elected me to the office which I sustain. In the work of saving sinners, I have no will but that of the Father, who hath given me a people with the expression of his pleasure that I should lose none, but should raise all of them up at the last day.” Thus should we paraphrase the text, and part of the context; and if rightly understood, it is an assertion on the part of Christ, that he had no will in opposition to that of the Deity.

Dr. W. cites Luke xxii. 42. Father, not my will, but thine, be done. And what did Jesus will? If the Father was willing the cup of agony should be removed, he willed its removal. If it were possible, if it were consistent with the divine counsels, that he should be ex.

cused from further suffering, he desired it. But if the Father chose he should continue to suffer, he was willing to drink the dregs of the cup. Suffering for its own sake, he did not will, nor did the Father. In all this we see a perfect subjection, but no contrariety, to the divine

will.

To as little purpose does the Doctor quote Ps. xl. 8. and Heb. x. 5, 7. I delight to do thy will, O God:-lo! I come to do thy will. Before the world was, the eternal Son of God, in these words consented to become a Media. tor; and they evince, that he thought himself able to exe. cute all the pleasure of Jehovah. Since, therefore, the Doctor appeals “to every one who reads the words, whether this language does not naturally seem much rather to belong to an inferior being, than to the eternal Godhead assuming an inferior character,” we aver that it does not.

“ Consideration IV. Christ represents his own coming into the world, and being sent hither by the Father, in such a manner as naturally leads one to suppose he had a real and proper dwelling in another place, and in another manner before he came into this world, and that he then changed his place and company and manner of life, all which seems more agreeable to a human spirit, than to a divine person." p. 596.

All but the last part of this consideration, which we have put in Italics, is just: we need not, therefore, quote the passages which he adduces; for not a single one speaks of the descent of the human soul of Jesus. It was the same person that descended from heaven, that ascended; but he descended with only one nature, and ascended with two. He came and returned, nevertheless as Mediator. All the argument adduced by Dr. Watts, is this assertion, that it seems more agreeable to a human spirit, than to a divine person, to speak of his changing the place of his residence. But why should a human spi. rit have the power of local motion, and a divine person not? The Deity is not so present in every place as to constitute a perfect plenum: not so present in all places, as to prevent his being peculiarly and most gloriously present in the heaven of heavens. Jehovah was, for a time, the inhabitant of the holy of holies in Jerusalem, by a sensible presence; and for a time led Israel through through the wilderness. He did change his place of abode; he did dwell with all his fulness in the body of Christ. To us, therefore, it seems quite as agreeable to speak of the divine Redeemer's coming from heaven 10 carth, and of his returning whence he came, as to speak of a human soul's transition from place to place.

Our author next adduces some " Miscellaneous Arguments to prove the same doctrine." It was needful, he says, that the human soul of Christ should have pre-ex. isted to give its previous actual consent to the great and painful undertaking of atonement for our sins. p. 600. That Christ actually consented to the covenant of re. demption, we teach, and the same person who stipulated, performed, and endured. It is also true, that he suffered through the human soul, which he took into union with the divine nature; and that this human soul suffered through the intervention of the human body, in which it dwelt. Now, if it was requisite that the human soul of Christ should have been present at the formation of the covenant of redemption, it was equally necessary that its body should have been there to stipulate too; for the reason assigned by Dr. W. that the soul was concerned.

Again; we oppose the argument thus: if the human soul pre-existed in a state of separation from the divine nature, and so covenanted, it was but a creature which stipulated to redeem man, and a creature, however exalted, can render no more service to God than is due for itself; so that the human soul must have promised, on this supposition, more than it was able to perform. If the human soul of Christ pre-existed in union with the second person in the Godhead, then that glorious person stipulated, and nothing is gained upon the Doctor's scheme, for the divine person might as well stipulate for the human nature before, as after its existence.

Besides, the human soul of Christ never existed in a state of separation from the divine nature, and of course never rendered any distinct service in the work of redemption: why then should it separately from the divine person of the Son of God, covenant for that which it was never to perform. All the meritorious obedience for the justification of sinners ever rendered, was by one divine

« הקודםהמשך »