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14. "And, therefore, it is necessary to observe that our translation of that verse is not only not exact, but very disadvantageous to that truth which is contained in it: for we read it thus, "he made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men." Where we have two copulative conjunctions, neither of which is in the original text, and three distinct propositions, without any dependence of one upon another, whereas all the words together are but an expression of Christ's exinanition, with an explication showing in what it consisteth; which will clearly appear by this literal translation: "But emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men." Where, if any man doubt how Christ emptied himself, the text will satisfy him, " by taking the form of a servant:" if any still question how he took the form of a servant, he hath the apostle's resolution, by being "made in the likeness of men." Indeed, after the expression of this exinanition, he goes on with a conjunction, to add another act of Christ's humiliation: "And being found in fashion as a man," being already, by exinanition, in the form of a servant, or the likeness of men, "he humbled himself and became (or rather becoming, yfvo^svoj uci)xoog) obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
15. "As, therefore, his humiliation consisted in his obedience unto death, so his exinanition (or emptying himself) consisted in the assumption of the form of a servant, and that in the nature of man. All which is very fitly expressed by a strange interpretation in the Epistle to the Hebrews. For whereas these words are clearly in the psalmist, "Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire, mine ears hast thou opened," the apostle appropriateth the sentence to Christ, "When he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldst not, but a body hast thou prepared me." Now, since the boring of the ear, under the law, was a note of perpetual servitude; since this was expressed in the words of the psalmist, and changed by the apostle into the preparing of a body, it followeth, that when Christ's body was first framed, even then did he assume the form of a servant."
16. As the bishop's reasoning upon this text is strong and conclusive, and sufficiently refutes the Socinian interpretation, (which supposes that Christ had no existence before he was born of the virgin, and that he was no otherwise in the form of God than as working miracles,) I shall transcribe a paragraph or two more :—" It appeareth out of the same text that Christ was in the form of God before he was in the form of a servant, and consequently before he was made man. For he who is presupposed to be, and to think of that being which he hath, and upon that thought to assume, must have that being before that assumption; but Christ is expressly said to be in the form of God, and being so, to think it no robbery to be equal with God, and, notwithstanding that equality, to take upon him the form of a servant: therefore it cannot be denied but he was before in the form of God. Beside, he was not in the form of a servant but by emptying himself, and all exinanition necessarily presupposeth a precedent plenitude; it being as impossible to empty any thing which hath no fulness, as to fill any thing which hath no emptiness. But the fulness which Christ had, in respect whereof, assuming the form of a servant, he is said to empty himself, could be in nothing else but the form of God in which he was before. Wherefore, if the assumption of the form of a servant be'cotemporary with his exinanition, if that exinanition necessarily presupposeth a plenitude as indispensably antecedent to it; if the form of God be also coeval with that precedent plenitude; then must we confess Christ was in the form of God before he was in the form of a servant.
17. "Again: it is as evident from the same scripture, that Christ was as much in the form of God as in the form of a servant, and did as really subsist in the Divine nature as in the nature of man. For he was so in the form of God, as thereby to be 'equal with God.** But no other form beside the essential, which is the Divine nature itself, could infer an equality with God. 'To whom will you liken me, and make me equal, saith the Holy One?' There can be but one infinite, eternal, and independent Being; and there can be no comparison between that and whatsoever is finite, temporal, and depending. He, therefore, who did truly think himself equal with God, as being in the form of God, must be conceived to subsist in that one infinite, eternal, and independent nature of God. Again: the phrase, 'in the form of God,' not elsewhere mentioned, is used by the apostle with a respect unto that other, the 'form of a servant,' exegetically [explanatorily] continued 'in the likeness of men;' and the respect of one unto the other is so necessary, that if the 'form of God' be not real and essential as the 'form of a servant,' or the likeness of man, there is no force in the apostle's words, nor will his argument be fit to prove any great degree of humiliation upon the consideration of Christ's exinanition. But by the form is certainly understood the true condition of a servant, and by the likeness infallibly meant the real nature of man, nor doth the fashion in which he was found destroy, but rather assert, the truth of his humanity. And, therefore, as sure as Christ was really and essentially man, of the same nature with us, in whose similitude he was made, so certainly was he also really and essentially God, of the same nature and being with him, in whose form he did subsist. Seeing then we have clearly evinced, from the express words of St. Paul, that Christ was in the form of a servant as soon as he was made man, that he was in the form of God before he was in the form of a servant, that the form of God in which he subsisted doth as truly signify the Divine as the likeness of man the human nature; it necessarily followeth that Christ had a real existence before he was begotten of the virgin, and that the being which he had was the Divine essence, by which he was truly, really, and properly God." (Pearson on the Creed, pp. 122, 123.)
And now, having proved our Lord's divinity, and answered (I hope) the most material objections that are made to it, I shall close this treatise when I have added a few words respecting the use of this doctrine.
• To riKii uia 6«m. Pariari Deo, Tertull. Esse sc aqualem Deo, Cypr. Esse aqualis Deo, Leporius. Thus all express the notions of equality, not of similitude; nor can we understand any less by TM urai ira, than rt/v uonrrm- mov and ma being indifferently used by the Greek.
1. And its use appears, first, in that it is closely connected with all the offices, which, according to the Scriptures, Christ sustains, and, in the execution of which, he is our Saviour and Redeemer. It is closely connected, even with his office of a prophet. "This is my beloved Son (says the Father) hear ye him." In order that we may hear him with becoming reverence, entire confidence, and ready obedience, it is necessary that we should regard him as the Father's " beloved Son;" and that in a higher sense than any prophet, or apostle, or angel, ever was, or can be—his Son: a Son in whom it hath pleased the Father that all fulness should dwell: yea, all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Hence, as we have seen, he is the very Word of the Father, and what he speaks, the eternal truth, wisdom, and love of God speaks in him. He is the Divine Oracle, and all he says is as important and infallible as what was uttered of old from between the cherubim, upon the mercy seat; and should be received with as much implicit faith, and dutiful submission, as the high priest, or people of Israel of old, received answers from that most holy place.
2. It is true, what was delivered by Moses and the prophets, by the evangelists and apostles, is also the word of God; for "prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost:" but not in so high a sense as what was spoken by Christ . When God spoke by them, he spoke by his servants; when he spoke by Christ, he spoke by his Son. They had the Spirit "by measure," he "without measure." They deliver his truths and declare his laws; he is the truth itself, and the lawgiver among his people. They come to us with authority from another, and say, "Thus saith the Lord." He speaks as one having authority in himself, and his language is, "I say unto you."
3. And if the doctrine of the proper and peculiar Sonship of Christ be closely connected with his prophetic office, it has still a closer connection with the office of a priest. We have already seen that the virtue of his atonement depends upon it, and that, if he had been but a mere man, or a mere creature, his single and temporal life could not have been a ransom, or "redemption price," for the innumerable and eternal lives of all men. And with regard to his appearing in the presence of God for us, as our Advocate and Intercessor, let those who deny his divinity inform us how we are to obtain access to him, that we may acquaint him with our wants and griefs, and put our cause into his hands? Or how we are to be assured that he knows, and therefore is touched with the feelings of our infirmities, so that he does and will sympathize with us, and aflord us grace to help in time of need?
4. Nay, and even as to his kingly office,—what sort of a king would he be, who could neither know his subjects, nor deliver, nor protect, nor govern them? noi/xeva Xawv, "The shepherd of his people," is a common phrase with a heathen poet, when speaking of a heathen king. All good kings, whether heathen or Christian, are the shepherds of the people, and, as such, watch over, protect, and govern them. It is true, this can only be done very imperfectly by men, as men are very imperfect in knowledge, and power, and goodness. But the King whom God hath set upon his holy hill of Zion, is the "good Shepherd," who "gave his life for the sheep," and who says, " I know my sheep, and am known of mine;" and again, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand. He comes with a strong hand, and his arm rules for him: he feeds his flock like a shepherd, gathers the lambs with his arm, carries them in his bosom, and gently leads those that are with young."
5. As a King, he reigns in, as well as over his subjects, subdues their lusts and passions, casts down their imaginations, and even brings into captivity their thoughts to the obedience of himself. He "dwells in their hearts by faith;" is " in them their hope of glory;" and his kingdom of "righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost," being set up in their hearts, is to them, at once, a preparation for, and a pledge of his kingdom of glory. Now all these particulars suppose his divinity; suppose him to be omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent; possessed of boundless wisdom, power, and love, and every Divine perfection.
6. Add to this, secondly, that the Holy Ghost, speaking by David, connects our worshipping of him with his sustaining this office of a king: "He is thy Lord, and worship thou him." And we have seen, in a former chapter, how certainly it is our duty to comply with this Divine injunction. Herein, then, especially appears the use of this doctrine concerning the divinity of Christ—that while we worship him, (which we are in duty bound to do,) we may know, and be persuaded, we are not guilty of idolatry, in worshipping a mere creature. "We are commanded to 'fear the Lord our God, and serve him,' and that with such an emphasis, as by him we are to understand him alone, because the 'Lord our God is one Lord.' From whence, if any one arose among the Jews, teaching, under the title of a prophet, to worship any other beside him for God, the judgment of the rabbins was, that notwithstanding all the miracles which he could work, though they were as great as Moses wrought, he ought immediately to be strangled; because the evidence of this truth, that one God only must be worshipped, is above all evidence of sense. Nor must we look upon this precept as valid only under the law, as if, then, there were only one God to be worshipped, but since the Gospel we had another; for our Saviour hath commended it to our observation, by making use of it against the devil in his temptation, saying,'Get thee hence, Satan; for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.' If, then, we be obliged to worship the God of Israel only; if we be also commanded to give the same worship to the Son, which we give to him, it is necessary we should believe that the Son is the God of Israel. When the Scripture 'bringeth in the first begotten into the world, it saith, Let all the angels of God worship him;' but then the same Scripture calleth that 'first begotten Jehovah, and the Lord of the whole earth,' Heb. i, 6, and Psa. xcvii, 6, 7. For a man to worship that for God which is not God, thinking that it is God, is, although not in the same degree, yet the same sin. To worship him as God, who is God, thinking that he is not God, cannot be thought an act, in the formality of it, void of idolatry. Lest, therefore, while we are obliged to give unto him Divine worship, we shall fall into that sin, which, of all others, we ought most to abhor, it is necessary we should believe that Son to be, (in union with his Father,) that eternal God, whom we are bound to worship, and whom only we should serve."
7. Thirdly, our belief of this doctrine is necessary "to raise us to a thankful acknowledgment of the infinite love of God, appearing in the sending of his only begotten Son into the world to die for sinners. The love of God is frequently extolled and admired by the apostles. 'God so loved the world,' saith St. John, 'that he gave his only begotten Son.' 'God commendeth his love toward us,' saith St. Paul, 'in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us; in that he spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all.' 'In this,' saith St. John again, 'was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.' If we look upon all this as nothing else but that God should cause a man to be born, after another manner than other men, and when he was so born, after a peculiar manner, yet a mortal man, should deliver him to die for the sins of the world, I see no such great expression of his love, in this way of redemption, more than would have appeared in any other way.
8. "It is true, indeed, that the reparation of lapsed man is no act of absolute necessity, in respect of God, but that he hath as freely designed our redemption, as our creation: and, considering the misery from which we are redeemed, and the happiness to which we are invited, we cannot but acknowledge the singular love of God, even in the act of redemption itself. But yet the apostles have raised that consideration higher, and placed the choicest mark of the love of God, in the choosing such means, and performing in that manner our reparation; by sending his 'only begotten Son into the world;' by 'not sparing his own Son;' by giving and delivering him up to be scourged and crucified for us. And the estimation of this act of God's love must necessarily increase proportionably to the dignity of the Son so sent into the world; because the more worthy the person of Christ was before he suffered, the greater was his condescension to such a suffering condition; and the nearer his relation to the Father, the greater his love to us, for whose sakes he sent him so to suffer. Wherefore to derogate any way from the person and nature of our Saviour, before he suffered, is so far to undervalue the love of God, and consequently to come short of that acknowledgment and thanksgiving which is due unto him for it." (Pearson on the Creed, pp. 143, 144.)
9. Let me illustrate this in the words of a translation of Abbadie: "In the deliverance of the ancient Israelites from Egyptian bondage, two things may be remarked. God redeems them from the slavery under which they groaned; and previous to their deliverance, he commands them to kill the paschal lamb, and to sprinkle its blood on the door posts of their houses. The love of God to the tribes of Jacob, in granting them deliverance, is greatly to be admired; for they were reduced to a sad extremity, and had long desired to be relieved. But we should think ourselves much abused, if any one endeavoured to persuade us, that the love of God to them appeared in a wonderful manner, because the blood of a lamb was the sign to the destroying angel to spare their first born, or because the sacrifice of the passover was a mean, in the hand of