Page images
PDF
EPUB

“ Woe is me,

It is most evident that these men know not what to say nor what to stick to in their interpretation of this place. This makes them heap up so many several suggestions, contradictory one to another, crying that “It may be thus,” or “It may be thus." But,-1. That these words cannot be referred to God the Father, but must of necessity be referred to Christ, is evident, because there is no occasion of mentioning him in this place, but an account is given of what was spoken verse 37,“ But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him ;" to which answers this verse, " When he saw his glory, and spake of him.The other words of “blinding” and “ hardening” are evidently alleged to give an account of the reason of the Jews'obstinacy in their unbelief, not relating immediately to the person spoken of. The subject-matter treated of is Christ. The occasion of mentioning this testimony is Christ. Of him here are the words spoken. 2. The glory Isaiah saw was present; all the circumstances of the vision evince no less. He tells you the time, place, and circumstances of it;—when he saw the seraphims; when he heard their voice; when the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried; when the house was filled with glory; and when he himself was so terrified that he cried out, for I am undone!” If any thing in the world be certain, it is certain that he saw that glory present. 3. He did not only see his glory, but he saw him; or he so saw his glory as that he saw him, so as he may be seen. So the prophet says expressly, "I have seen

“ the King, the LORD of hosts.” And what the prophet says of seeing the Lord of hosts, the apostle expresses by seeing “his glory;" because he saw him in that glorious vision, or saw that glorious representation of his presence. 4. He did, indeed, see the glory of the Lord Christ in seeing the glory of the one God, he being the true God of Israel; and on no other account is his glory seen than by seeing the glory of the one true God. 5. The prophet doth not say that "the earth was full of the glory of God," but it is the proclamation that the seraphims made one to another concerning that God whose presence was then there manifested. 6. When Christ first appeared to the people of the Jews, there was no great manifestation of glory. The earth was always full of the glory of God. And if those words have any peculiar relation to the glory of the gospel, yet withal they prove that he was then present whose glory in the gospel was afterward to fill the earth,

Grotius hath not aught to add to what was before insisted on by appellati fuere, 1 Sam. ir. 9. Denique, etiamsi de gloria ea quæ tum præsens erat, Esaiæ visa, hæc verba accipias, longe tamen aliud est gloriam alicujus videre, et aliud ipsummet videre. Et in gloria illius unius Dei vidit etiam Esaias gloriam Christi Domini. Ait enim ibidem vates, Plena est terra gloria Dei, Esa. vi. 3. Tum autem hoc reipsa factum est, cum Jesus Christus illi populo primum apparuit, et post toti mundo annunciatus est."

[ocr errors]

his friends. A representation he would have this to be of God's dealing in the gospel, when it is plainly his proceeding in the rejection of the Jews for their incredulity, and tells you, “ Dicitur Esaias vidisse gloriam Christi, sicut Abrahamus diem ejus;"_“Isaiah saw his glory, as Abraham saw his day.” Well aimed, however! Abraham saw his day by faith ; Isaiah saw his glory in a vision. Abraham saw his day as future, and rejoiced ; Isaiah so saw his glory as God present that he trembled. . Abraham saw the day of Christ all the days of his believing ; Isaiah saw his glory only in the year that king Uzziah died. Abraham saw the day of Christ in the promise of his coming ; Isaiah saw his glory with the circumstances before mentioned. Even such let all undertakings appear to be that are against the eternal deity of Jesus Christ!

In his annotations on the 6th of Isaiah, where the vision insisted on is expressed, he takes no notice at all of Jesus Christ or the second person of the Trinity; nor (which is very strange) doth he so much as once intimate that what is here spoken is applied by the Holy Ghost unto Christ in the gospel, nor once name the chapter where it is done! With wbat mind and intention the business is thus carried on God knows; I know not.

[ocr errors]

CHAPTER XIII.

Of the incarnation of Christ, and his pre-existence thereunto.

THE testimonies of Scripture which affirm Christ to have been incarnate, or to have taken flesh, which inevitably proves his preexistence in another nature to his so doing, they labour, in their next attempt, to corrupt, and so to evade the force and efficacy which from them appeareth so destructive to their cause; and herein they thus proceed :

Ques. From what testimonies of Scripture do they endeavour to demonstrate that Christ was, as they speak, incarnate?

Ans. From these, John i. 14; Phil. ii. 6, 7; 1 Tim, iii. 16; Heb. i. 16; 1 John iv. 2, 3; Heb. x. 5.'

Of the first of these we have dealt already, in the handling of the beginning of that chapter, and sufficiently vindicated it from all their exceptions; so that we may proceed immediately to the second.

Q. What dost thou answer to the second ?

A. Neither is that here contained which the adverse party would prove : for it is one thing which the apostle saith, “ Being in the form of God, he took the

1 "E quibus testimoniis Scripturæ demonstrare conantur Christum (ut loquuntur) incarnatum esse 1-Ex iis ubi secundum eorum versionem legitur, Verbum caro face tum est, Johan. i. 14; Et qui (Christus) cum esset in forma Dei, etc.; Pbil. ii. 6, 7; 1 Tim. iii. 16; Heb. ü. 16; 1 Johan. iv, 2, 3; Heb. x. 5.".

form of a servant;" another, that the divine nature assumed the human; for the “ form of God” cannot here denote the divine nature, seeing the apostle writes that Christ exinanivit,-made that form of no reputation, but God can no way make his nature of no reputation; neither doth the “ form of a servant” denote human nature, seeing to be a servant is referred to the fortune and condition of a man. Neither is that also to be forgotten, that the writings of the New Testament do once only, it may be, use that word “form” elsewhere, namely, Mark xvi. 12, and that in that sense wherein it signifies not nature, but the outward appearance, saying, “Jesus appeared in another form unto two of his disciples.”

Q. But from those words which the apostle afterward adds, He was found in fashion as a man," doth it not appear that he was, as they say, incarnate ?

A. By no means; for that expression contains nothing of Christ's nature: for of Samson we read that he should be “as a man,” Judges xvi. 7, 11; and, Ps. lxxxii., Asaph denounced to those whom he called “sons of the Most High,” that they “should die like men;"-of whom it is certain that it cannot be said of them that they were, as they speak, incarnate.

Q. How dost thou understand this place ?

A. On this manner, that Christ, who in the world did the works of God, to whom all yielded obedience as to God, and to whom divine adoration was given,God so willing, and the salvation of men requiring it,—was made as a servant and a vassal, and as one of the vulgar, when he had of his own accord permitted himself to be taken, bound, beaten, and slain. I

Thus they. Now, because it is most certain and evident to every one that ever considered this text, that, according to their old trade and craft, they have mangled it and taken it in pieces, at least cut off the head and legs of this witness, we must seek out the other parts of it and lay them together before we may proceed to remove this heap out of our way. Our argument from this place is not solely from hence, that he is said to be “in the form of God," but also that he was so in the form of God as to be “equal with him," as is here expressed; nor merely that " he took upon him the form of a servant,” but that he took it upon him when he was "made in the likeness of men,” or “ in the likeness of sinful flesh,” as the apostle

[ocr errors]

1 “Ad secundum quid respondes —Neque hic extare quod adversa pars confectum velit. Aliud enim est quod hic apostolus ait, Cum in forma Dei esset, formam servi assumpsit ; aliud vero natura divina assumpsit humanam. Etenim hic forma Dei designare non potest Dei naturam, cum apostolus scribat eam formam Christum exin. anivisse. Deus vero naturam suam nullo modo exinanire potest; nec vero forma servi denotat naturam humanam, cum servum esse ad fortunam et conditionem hominis referatur. At ne id quoque dissimulandum est, scripta Novi Testamenuti hanc vocem forma semel fortassis tantum alibi usurpare, Marc. xvi. 12, idque eo sensu quo non naturam, sed exteriorem speciem significat, cum ait, Jesum duobus discipulis suis apparuisse in alia forma.

“ Ex iis vero verbis, quæ apostolus paulo post subjecit, Habitu inventus est ut homo, nonne apparet eum (ut loquuntur) incarnatum esse ?-Nullo modo; etenim ea oratio nihil in se habet ejusmodi. De Samsone enim in literis sacris legimus, quod idem futurus erat ut homo, Judic. xvi. 7, 11 ; et Ps. lxxxii., Asaph iis hominibus quos deos et filios Altissimi vocaverat, denunciat, quod essent morituri ut homines; de quibus certum est non posse dici eos (ut adversarii dicunt) incarnatos fuisse.

" Qua ratione locum hunc totum intelligis ?-Ad eum modum, quod Christus, qui in mundo, instar Dei, opera Dei efficiebat, et cui, sicut Deo, omnia parebant, et cui divina adoratio exhibebatur, -ita volente Deo, et hominum salute exigente,-factus est tanquam servus et mancipium, et tanquam unus ex aliis vulgaribus hominibus, cum ultro se capi, vinciri, cædi, et occidi permiserat.”

expresses it, Rom. viii. 3. Now, these things our catechists thought good to take no notice of in this place, nor of one of them any more in

any other. But seeing the very head of our argument lies in this, that “in the form of God” he is said to be “equal with God," and that expression is in another place taken notice of by them, I must needs gather it into its own contexture before I do proceed. Thus, then, they :

Q. How dost thou answer to those places where Christ is said to be equal to God, John v. 18, Phil, ii. 6?

4. That Christ is equal to God doth no way prove that there is in him a divine nature. Yea, the contrary is gathered from hence; for if Christ be equal to God, who is God by nature, it follows that he cannot be the same God. But the equality of Christ with God lies herein, that, by that virtue that God bestowed on him, he did and th all those things which are God's, as God himself.'

This being the whole of what they tender to extricate themselves from the chains which this witness casts upon them, now lying before us, I shall propose our argument from the words, and proceed to the vindication of it in order.

The intendment and design of the apostle in this place being evidently to exhort believers to self-denial, mutual love, and condescension one to another, he proposes to them the example of Jesus Christ; and lets them know that he, being “in the form of God," and“ equal with God” therein (ürápxwv, existing in that form, having both the nature and glory of God), did yet, in his love to us, “make himself of no reputation," or lay aside and eclipse his glory, in this, that “he took upon him the form of a servant," being made man, that in that form and nature he might be "obedient unto death” for us and in our behalf. Hence we thus plead :

He that was " in the form of God," and "equal with God," existing therein, and “ took on him the” nature and “form of a servant,” he is God by nature, and was incarnate or made flesh in the sense before spoken of; now all this is affirmed of Jesus Christ : ergo.

1. To this they say (that we may consider that first which is first in the text), “That his being equal to God doth not prove him to be God by nature, but the contrary,” etc., as above. But,-(1.) If none is, nor can be, by the testimony of God himself, like God, or equal to him, who is not God by nature, then he that is equal to him is so. But, "To whom will ye liken me? or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things,” Isa. xl. 25, 26. None that hath not created all things of nothing can be equal to him. And, “To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal,

1" Qui porro ad ea loca respondes, etc. ?- Quod Christus sit æqualis Deo, id divinam in eo naturam nullo modo probat : imo hinc res adversa colligitur; nam si Christus Deo, qui natura Deus est, æqualis est, efficitur, quod is idem Deus esse non possit. Æqualitas vero Christi cum Deo in eo est, quod ea virtute quam in eum contulit Deus, ea omnia efficeret, et efficiat, quæ ipsius Dei sunt, tanquam Deus ipse.

[ocr errors]

and compare me, that we may be like?" chap. xlvi. 5. (2.) Between that which is finite and that which is infinite, that which is eternal and that which is temporal, the creature and the Creator, God by nature and him who by nature is not God, it is utterly impossible there should be any equality. (3.) God having so often avouched his infinite distance from all creatures, his refusal to give his glory to any of them, his inequality with them all, it must have been the highest robbery that ever any could be guilty of, for Christ to make himself equal to God if he were not God. (4.) The apostle's argument arises from hence, that he was equal to God before he took on him the form of a servant; which was before his working of those mighty works wherein these gentlemen assert him to be equal to God.

2. Themselves cannot but know the ridiculousness of their begging the thing in question, when they would argue that because he was equal to God he was not God. He was the same God in nature and essence, and therein equal to him to whom he was in subordination as the Son, and in office a servant, as undertaking the work of mediation.

3. The case being as by them stated, there was no equality between Christ and God in the works he wrought; for,-(1.) God doth the works in his own name and authority, Christ in God's. (2.) God doth them by his own power, Christ by God's. (3.) God doth them himself, Christ not, but God in him, as another from him. (4.) He doth not do them as God, however that expression be taken: for, according to these men, he wrought them neither in his own name, nor by his own power, nor for his own glory; all which he must do who doth things as God.

He is said to be “equal with God," not as he did such and such works, but as iv popoño soő ünápxwv, being in the form of God antecedently to the taking in hand of that form wherein he wrought the works intimated.

To work great works by the power of God argues no equality with him, or else all the prophets and apostles that wrought miracles were also equal to God. The infinite inequality of nature between the Creator and the most glorious creature will not allow that it be said, on any account, to be equal to him. Nor is it said that Christ was equal to God in respect of the works he did, but, absolutely, “ He thought it not robbery to be equal with God.”

And so is their last plea to the first part of our argument accounted for: come we to what they begin withal.

1. We contend not, as hath been often said, about words and expressions. (1.) That the divine nature assumed the human we thus far abide by, that the Word, the Son of God, took to himself, into personal subsistence with him, a human nature; whence they are both one person, one Christ. And this is here punctually affirmed, namely, he that was and is God took upon him the form of a man.

(2.) The

« PreviousContinue »