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daughter of popery : and if I have any skill in physiognomy, or in judging of family resemblances, the daughter has nearly all of the ostensible features of the mother. Orthodox divines should be extremely cautious in denying Catholics the name of Christians, and saying that "they are destitute of the ordinary means of grace, and the preaching of the gospel,” lest it should be said to them in the language of Nathan to David, “Thou art the man.” To what a deplorable condition is Orthodoxy at length reduced in this vicinity, to be necessitated thus to resort to such contemptible measures as the before-mentioned, to support the crumbling walls of her tottering fabric! She denies those the name of Christians, who cannot in conscience subscribe to her absurd dogmas, and represents them
as "destitute of the ordinary means of grace,” &c. To what stratagem will she next have recourse, when she finds these fail of gaining proselytes to her system, and curbing the progress of what she calls heresy? I confess I know not. She has already tried every method within her power; and finds they all fail. Many of her votaries are already ashamed of her unjustifiable measures to support her declining system, and would gladly hide her head, (that is, John Calvin in his murdering Servetus,) imagining like the Ostrich, when her head is concealed, and she cannot see others, that she is secure, and that others cannot see her. But we may say of them as St. Paul said of certain characters that should come in the "Jast times,” “They shall proceed no further," (without being exposed) for their folly shall be manifest unto all men. It is doubtless for this reason that Orthodoxy thus rages, “having great wrath, because she knoweth that she hath but a short time.” From such intolerance and bigotry may the Lord in mercy deliver us all,
I would not wish to be understood, in making these remarks, to be possessed of an unfriendly or uncharitable disposition towards those, on whose sentiments and conduct I have animadverted. I am only unfriendly to their errors, and not to their persons. I expose their errors, that they and others may be enabled to forsake and avoid them; and thus forsaking error, find the truth, receive it, and walk in the love of it, and thus “the truth shall make thein free.” Langdun, Sept. 12, 1823.
From the Unitarian Miscellany.
CHRIST IN THE FORM OF GOD. A passage in Paul's Epistle to the Philippians is quoted by trinitarians, and frequently with much contidence, in support of their doctrine. It is that in which Christ is said to have been in the form of God. This phrase, and one or two others connected with it, are supposed to imply, that the Apostle intended to represent Christ the son to be the same as God the Father. We will quote the passage, and then endeavor to ascertain its meaning. The Apostle is enjoining love, concord, and humility on the Philippians, and to encourage them in these virtues, and especially the last, he calls their attention to the example of their divine master.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Philip. ii. 6-9,
These words are often adduced as teaching the deity of Christ, and affording an argument in favor of the trinity. Before we proceed to investigate the actual sense of the passage, let us see with what show of consistency, when taken literally as it stands, it can be imagined to inculcate the notion of the equality and identity of the Father and the Son. First, it is an unheard of use of language to speak
of a person being in the form of himself. If Christ were truly the Supreme God, the same in essence and substance, the Apostle would have called him God. One thing, or person, may be said to have the form of another, when there is a general resemblance between them ; but to say, that a person, or thing, is in the form of itself, is to use words without import, a species of trifling with which the Apostle can hardly be charged.
Secondly, to assert the existence of any being in the universe, who is equal to the Supreme God, is plainly to assert a plurality of Gods. To whatever degree of power and excellence you may elevate the Supreme Being, whenever you make another being equal to him, this being must be equally exalted, equally perfect. Hence, if the text actually teach, that Christ is in all respects equal to the Alinighty Father, it teaches the doctrine of two Gods.
Thirdly, nor can this consequence be evaded by the supposition, that these two equal Gods are one and the same God, for such a supposition itself involves an absurdity. Two supreme beings cannot be one, any more than two men can be one. Besides, a being cannot be said to be equal to itself; equality necessarily implies more than one, and the very form of expression, that Christ is equal to Goi, indicates that he is not the same being.
Fourthly, suppose it to be true, that he were equal to God, with what propriety could it be called robbery to assume this equality? There can be no meaning in such language. God possesses all perfections and cannot rob himself of any thing; and, if Christ be truly God, what is here said about robbery is equally futile in sense, and derogatory to his character.
Fifthly, if to be in the form of God means, that Christ was truly God, it must be inferred from his being in the form of a servant, that he was literally a servant. The two expressions have the same import, and ought to be taken in the same extent. That is, the God of all things is made to resign the govern
any thing said of
ment of the universe, and descend to the degrading condition of a servant or slave among men.
What mind does not revolt at such a representation ? Are we told of two natures ? This is a convenient subterfuge, and nothing inore. Where is two natures ? What is more evident in the present passage, than that Christ is spoken of throughout as one and the same being, possessed of one and the same nature ?. Moreover, in whatever nature it was that he humbled himself, it was in that nature, which made him in the form of God; but if in this nature he were truly God, how could he humble hiinself? God is infinite in every perfection ; these perfections cannot be diminished or humbled, without destroying his character as God. It follows, that the nature of Christ was not the nature of God in any sense; and that the notion of two natures is not less inconsistent with the sense of the text than absurd in itself.
Sixthly, the trinitarian interpretation of this passage is at variance with the spirit and purpose
of the context. The apostle is inculcating humility, and cites the example of Christ. But does it imply any humility in Christ to say, that he thought it not robbery to be equal with God on the contrary, could any thing be farther removed from the true characteris-tics of humility ? What could argue a higher presumption and self consequence, than to claim equality with God?
From these considerations, two things are manifest. The first is, that whatever may be the meaning of the passage, the trinitarian interpretation is erroneous ; and the second, that the passage itself in the common translation is inconsistent in its parts. This will be more obvious by a further examination.
As to the phrase, form of God, we have already seen, that it cannot signify the essence, or nature of God. Except in this passage, the word here rendered form occurs only once in the New Testament. “After that, he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked and went into the country.". Mark. xvi. 12.
No one will suppose from these words, that he came in another nature, or as another being. He only assumed a different external appearance from that in which he had previously appeared to Mary Magdalene, who took him for a gardener. So in the present instance, the word must mean a resemblance of some sort, either real or figurative, and not an identity of nature. In this respect it has an appropriate signification, and one illustrative of the character of the Savior.
He sustained the form, or resemblance of God, in bis glory and excellence. He was highly exalted, and received more abundantly the divine gifts than any other being. In knowledge, wisdom, and holiness, in every moral attribute and perfection, he resembled God. In the power he possessed, in the command he bad over nature and men, in his miracles, and in all his works of benevolence and love, compassion and mercy, he was in the form of God. In all the marks of excellence, which distinguished him so highly, he approached the perfections, and bore the likeness of his heavenly Father.*
* Ev pogon rou, in the form of God, Hesychius defines pogon by Idea, Eidos ; and Schleusner's definition is, forma, omne quod in oculos occurrit, imago, similitudo. It denotes the appearance of a thing, as distinct from its internal essence or nature It is thus several times used in the Septuagint. Eποιησεν αυτο ως μορφης andpos, he made it afler the form, or figure of a man. Isai. xliv. 13. Kai ń Mogan Dou un arnocovoiw, and let not thy form or appearance, be changed. Dan. v. 10. In this sense the word is five times found in the book of Daniel. Hammond has endeavored to prove, that the word is used by good authors, pro interna ipsa Terum essentia vel forma ; but the labor with which he has pursued this undertaking evinces its difficulty. And after all, he has done no more, than render it probable, that the word has been sometimes thus employed in a figurative and loose sense, and as an exception to its customary use. And Le Clerc has well observed, that admitting his deductions to be accurate, it does not follow, that the word here has the signification, which he endeavors to prove it capable of admitting. Quamvis id significaret quod vult noster, non sequeretur in bac phrasi iden sonare. Vid. Adnotat, in 'Loc. in the Notes to