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Father claims him, as his property, in that official character. As the anointed covenant head from everlasting, that one person, who became man, was God, the Father's Fellow, or neighbour.
1 Cor. x. 9.“ Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed.” The one per. son that in time became man, existed in the days of the migration from Egypt, through the wilderness; even before he had either a human body or soul; and because he was anointed from everlasting in the covenant of redemption, he is called Christ. This same person, by the Holy Spirit, went and preached, in the days of Noah, to those spirits now in the prison of hell, which sometime (that is, formerly) were disobedient, when the long suffering of God waited, (1 Pet. iii. 18, 19, 20.) while the ark was a preparing. This same anointed one, Christ, was known to Moses, not as a being then having a human soul, but as one that should be made perfect, as a Saviour, by taking a true body and a reasonable soul, in the fulness of time; that he might become the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him. Heb. xi. 26, and v. 9.
That Christ's human spirit was the guardian angel of the Jewish nation, and that in this respect he was King of the Jews before his incarnation, is a pretty fable, that deserves no serious notice. We say the same of the argu. ment wiredrawn from the question of Eliphaz to Job; “ Art thou the first man that was born?” Job xv. 7.
Having considered what Dr. W. deemed two great advantages resulting from his theory, and found them nothing, we proceed to his third.“ It does exceedingly aggrandize the personal glory and dignity of our Lord Jesus Christ.” But how? Does it make him any thing more than God? And if he is God with us, without the pre-existence of his human soul, how could such pre. existence exceedingly aggrandize that glory which is incapable of receiving any addition. Perhaps it is his declarative glory that gains something by this doctrine: but how, we cannot conceive, for Christ was known in hea. ven as the elected Messiah of God, who should become man so soon as the wisdom of God deemed it expedient, by the revelation of God to the angels, when Jehovah said,
“ deliver him from going down to the pit; I have found a ransom.” It is the human nature then; yes, according to our author, it is this alone gains a great accession of glory, from having existed before Abraham, and before the world. Yet the human nature never constituted a distinct person, and never existed in a state of separation from the second glorious person in the Godhead.' Well, before we calculate on this advantage from the doctrine, it must be proved to be a true doctrine; which has not hitherto been done.
In the fourth place, Dr. Watts states, that “this doctrine greatly magnifies the self-denial and the condescending love of our Lord Jesus Christ, in his state of humiliation and death; it casts a thousand rays of glory upon all the scenes of his humbled state; it makes his subjection and obedience to the will of the Father appear much more illustrious, and his charity and compassion to perishing mankind stand in a very surprising light.” p. 628. We reply, that the very person who became man, denied himself, had compassion on the most miserable and guilty of our race, was obedient even unto death, and humbled himself into the grave, was God over all: and if any thing can augment the humiliation, after we have said that the eternal Son of God became the babe of Bethlehem, the man of Sorrows, the crucified, dead, and legally accused Jesus, we know not what it is; neither can we conceive of it.
In the fifth place, Dr. W. thinks his doctrine will furnish orthodoxy with some arms against Socinianism and Arianism. The cause of God needs no such assistance. The Arian maintains that Christ, the Son of God, is the most exalted of all creatures, and was created before the world was, but is nothing more than a super-angelic being. Dr. W. means to oppose the Arian, and thinks he does it, by granting that Christ was a creature, before he was conceived in the womb of the virgin, as it respects the only created nature that belongs to his person; and by applying to his human soul, the greater part of the scrip. tural passages that prove Christ, as a divine person, to have existed before his incarnation. Were Dr. W. living, the Arian would only have to convince him, if he could,
that this pre-existent soul was never taken into such union with the divine nature, as to constitute one human divine person, and then they would both be Arians toge. ther.
No injury, we are told, can result from the doctrine. Every erroneous doctrine palmed on the scriptures does injury. To force the texts which Dr. W. has quoted, into the service of his scheme of pre-existence, robs the truth that Christ, from everlasting, was divinely anointed to office, and in consequence of that anointing, acted as the Messiah before his incarnation, for the purpose of making atonement, of its natural support. It steals away also, from the evidence of Christ's divinity, and endea. vours to pervert the passages, that most naturally teach his eternity.
In our last number, we promised some proof, that the human soul of Christ did not exist before his body. We shall now adduce it.
“Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren.” Heb. ii. 17. Now if Christ was made as it behoved him to be made, and none can doubt it, he was made in all things, in all respects, like his brethren. Here Dr. Allison will say, “ how do you know that the souls of all mankind were not formed before their bodies, even as early as the creation of the soul of Adam? And if they were, Christ may have been made like his brethren in the pre-existence of his soul.” We have heard the fable told, for the amusement of children, that the first man was formed on the plains of Mecca, and that God brought all the race of man, like so many pismires, out of his loins on to those plains, and entered into covenant with them; after which transaction he sent them back again, to make their appearance by genera. tions, as his providence should require. This story de. serves a serious refutation just as much as Dr. Allison's insinuation concerning the pre-existence of all human souls. But since the insinuation is intended to invalidate our argument against the pre-existence of Christ's soul, we must say, that Dr. Allison can adduce no proof, that any human soul did exist before its body; that no man ever was conscious of any such pre-existence; that no man
ever has remembered any mental act performed by him. self, before he was born; and that Jehovah has not re. vealed the fact of any such pre-existence. If all the souls of men, therefore, were produced as early as Adam's was, no man knows it.
All the texts of scripture which speak of the ages of persons, prove, that as human persons they had no existence before they were born. We shall give an instance only in relation to Christ Jesus. It is recorded of him, Luke ii. 42, that “when he was twelve years old,” his parents went up with him to Jerusalem. It is not said, when his body had been born twelve years, or was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem. Nor can this passage refer to his divine nature, for he was a person, having a divine nature, older than Abraham, and as eternal as the Godhead. It must mean, that Christ, as man, as a child, consisting of human nature, which includes both soul and body, was twelve years old. Of course his soul was not older than his bodily organization, and had no existence previous to it. Again we read, Luke iii. 23, that “ Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age,” when he was baptized, and entered on his pub. lic ministry. According to Drs. Watts and Allison, unless the body alone is the man, he was now older than the hills. Our Saviour is frequently styled by the Holy Spirit
, the child, and the young child. His little body alone did not constitute the child; nor was he a child at all, if his human soul, which animated his body, was older than Adam. He must have been a very aged man, full of wisdom and rich in experience, while he occupied the little frame of the babe of Bethlehem.
As a human being, the child Jesus grew, and waxed strong in spirit; increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. Luke ii. 40, 52. How could this be, if as a man, he was endowed with more wisdom than either men or angels? Dr. Watts endeavours to obviate this objection; but in a way that will satisfy no man
of the present day but a materialist. He attempts to show that “according to the common laws of union between a human soul and body,” the pre-existent soul of Jesus be.
ing united to the body of a new-born infant, must think, feel, and be comparatively ignorant, like a little babe.
“Let us suppose,” he says, “the soul of the greatest philosopher or mathematician united to the body of a new-born in
ht: This soul would find no images or traces on the brain of the babe correspondent to his ancient ideas; but on the other hand it would receive incessant impressions and sensations from this infant brain, according to the laws of union, derived from the sensible objects around it, or the natural inward motions and appetites that attend the infant state; and thus all its ancient and learned ideas would be as it were obliterated for a season, or rather concealed and overwhelmed, or buried by the impetuous impressions of animal nature, and by the constant importunity of such sensations and images as belong to a new-born child. It is true indeed, that such a learned soul would recover its own ideas by much swifter degrees than one that had never possessed them; and it would form proper traces and images on the young human brain with much greater speed and facility than other children could attain them, whose souls never had these learned ideas. And is it not possible that this may be the case of the holy child Jesus? His glorious soul might submit to have its former numerous and sublime ideas at its first union to animal nature, so concealed and overwhelmed by the importunate and overbearing impressions of infant-animal nature, that it might recover them again only by such degrees as flesh and blood would admit.” p. 638.
We have copied the preceding paragraph with pain, because we are sure it must expose the philosophy of a very good man to ridicule: but such was the mental sci. ence of his time. Now, who ever saw these images and traces on the brain? Not Dr. Gall himself. Who ever formed any definite conception of them? Neither memo. ry, nor any other faculty of the mind, can be shown to be necessarily dependent on any material organization. No man has any knowledge of traces or images in his brain, or of any valuable purpose which they would answer, if they did exist. The amount of Dr. Watts's explanation is this; if the soul of a philosopher or mathematician were to animate an infant body, he would want to suck so constantly as to forget all his science. We would suggest, however, that infant appetites are sometimes satisfied for short intervals at least, and we should suppose that this philosopher of a child, when two years of age, would re