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Next, in regard to the phrase, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, it is a faulty translation. This is plain from its very import, as hinted above, unless we are willing to charge the Apostle with having used words without meaning, as well as in contradiction to his chief design. Why should it be said, that Christ thought it not robbery to be what he was necessarily by nature; or why should the assumption of equality, with the Supreme God be adduced as an evidence of humility? Let the text be rightly translated, and no room will be left for these unanswerable questions, nor will any darkness rest on the language of the Apostle. "Christ, being in the form of God,
did not consider this likeness to God, as a booty, eagerly to be retained.” In other words, although he possessed those extraordinary powers, which gave him so strong a resemblance to God, yet he was not disposed to claim them as his own, nor was he forward to make such a display of them as to indicate, that he felt himself exalted above other men.*
his Translation of the New Testament, Le Clerc says
the phrase means la ressemblance de Dieu, the resemblance of God.
*There is a difference of opinion among the learned concern. ing the signification of the word aga aynos, translated robbery in the common version. Very few critics, however, contend for this meaning in its present connexion. It is susceptible of a passive and an active sense. It may mean the act of plundering, or the thing plundered, the act of seizing or the thing seized. As defined by Schleusner, it is either ipsa rapiendi actio, or res avide diripienda. In the present instance it seems to have the latter sense, as expressed in the Vulgate translation, which has it, non rapinam arbilratus est, he did not think it plunder. That is, he did not wish to retain his likeness to God as a thing, which he had forcibly seized, and of which he held an undoubted possession ; but as it was entirely the gift of God, he was willing to be divested of it except so far as it should be requisite to accomplish the great object of his mission,
That learned critic and commentator, Mr. Pierce, says, "! cannot but add but what I think very material, that not one of the primitive christians, who lived before the Council of Nice, as far as appears, understood this phrase in the same way that our translators do." Le Clerc translates the verse as follows; * The phrase !AUTOV EXEYWICE, he made himself of no reputation, means literally, he emplied, or divested himself. That is, he divested himself of his resemblance to God, or refrained from an ostentatious exercise of those miraculous powers, in which this likeness to God consisted.
This sense of the text is in perfect harmony with what follows.' He "made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant.”
That is, instead of being elated with his vast superiority above all other men, and using his miraculous powers to give him worldly eminence, he voluntarily brought himself down to a level with persons of the humblest condition, with whom he lived and conversed. He laid aside the greatness of his power, and veiled the brightness of his glory, and not only dwelt with the poor and unfortunate, but submitted to the same circumstances, and endured the same privations. Nor did he stop here ; but for the good of mankind, he suffered reproach and persecution, and yielded to a cruel and ignominious death.* Elant en forme de Dieu, il ne crut pas que s'egaler a Dieu fut une chose qu'on put ravir., Wetstein ascribes to aprayucos the same meaning as Schleusner.
As to the phrase toa Osp, rendered in the common version, equal to God, Whitby says it means, "to be, or to appear, as God, or in the likeness of God;" and he adds, that the word 164 is frequently used adverbially. This he proves by many quotations from the Septuagint. Schlictingius had before done the same. Neulrum plurale more Græcorum adverbiabiler capitur, Latini dicerent, quod esset ceu Deus, aut æque ac Deus, vel instar Dei. Vid. Schlict. Comment, in loc. Macknight follows Whitby, and Rosenmuller agrees with Schlictingius. This sense of the word takes away the absurdity of making another being equal to God, and thus giving countenance to the doctrine of two Gods. Likeness, or resemblance, admits of no comparison, and however nearly one being may approach to another in this respect, it does not necessarily fol. low that they are equal.
Taking the form of a servant, pogpny Soudou nabav. Instead of assuming the control over others, which his dignity and power enabled him to assume, and instead of seeking his own elevation and aggrandizement, he walked in the humble ranks of life, condescending to the ofices, and submitting to the treatment of a servant.
These features in the character and life of our Savior, are brought to the minds of the Philippians, as a testimony of his humility, and as affording an illustrious example for them to follow. In connection with the two preceding verses, the passage under consideration may be thus paraphrased :
“Let nothing be done among you in the spirit of contention and vain glory, but let each one cherish modesty and humility, esteeming others better than himself. Let no one be devoted exclusively to his own interests, but rather let every one contribute to the benefit of others. Preserve the same temper and disposition which prevailed in Christ, who, altho he resembled God in his extraordinary powers and qualities, yet he did not consider these gifts as his own, nor did he use them to promote selfish motives, or to show his ascendency above others. He even refrained from any exercise of his miraculous powers on his own account, divested himself of his greatness, and became in appearance like other men. He descended to the humblest offices of life, was familiar with poverty and grief, and at last, to accomplish his great purpose of benevolence to men, he voluntarily suffered death by the wicked hands of his persecutors.”
To conclude, among the controverted texts it may be doubted whether there be one, which can with less propriety than this be forced into a sanction of the trinitarian doctrine. As far as it proves any thing on the subject, it is, that the Son is a distinct being from the Father, and of a subordinate nature.
SCRIPTURE IN FAVOR
Gen. ïïi. 15. "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."
xii. 2, 3. “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy nanie great ; and
thou shalt be a bleşsing. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed."
xxii. 15—18. "And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven, the second time, and said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son ; that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is
the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.”
xxvi. 3, 4. “Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, (Isaac,) and I will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, will I give all these countries; and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father: and I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of the heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries: and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed."
xxviii. 12, 13, 14. "And he (Jacob) dreamed, and behold a ladder set upon the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and, behold, the angels of God ascending and descending on it; and, behold, the Lord stood aboye it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham, thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; and thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth ; and thou shalt'spread abroad to the west, and to the east,and to the north, and to the south : and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed."
Heb. vi. 13-19. "For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, saying, Surely, blessing I will bless thee; and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men verily swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath ; that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge, to lay hold upon the hope set before us; which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil."
In the first of these passages, the curse upon the serpent implies a blessing on mankind. This is different from the conduct of some men, who curse mankind, and thereby speak a blessing on the serpent. The serpent is to have his head bruised by the seed of the woman. This is his destruction. Christ partook of flesh and blood, "that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the dev. il; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their life time subject to bondage,” Heb. ii. 14, 15. Thus we see the devil is to be destroyed, and his cap. tives delivered. A bruise of the heel is generally cur. able. And if the devil infuses poison when he wounds, “the balm of Gilead," and "the physician" that "came not to destroy men's lives but to save them,” afford a sufficient antidote to counteract the deadly influence, and save the languishing patient.
On the other passages, we notice that the seed is explained by St. Paul to be Christ. Gal. iii. 16. All the families and nations of the earth are called all the kindreds of the earth. Acts iji. 25. In this same passage the blessing is explained to consist in "turning away every one of you from his iniquities.” This must be a spiritual blessing, for none can be turned away from iniquity, and be in iniquity at the same time.
ON JUDGING JUSTLY.
A perfectly just and sound mind is a rare and invaluable gift. But it is still much more unusual to