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benediction, which are similar to those in the other epistles, verse the 3d, &c, he speaks of the Father as blessing us, viz. all the faithful, "with all spiritual blessings in him, choosing us in him to be holy,—predesignating us to the adoption of children,—making us accepted, and giving us redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins:" and then, verse 10, he proceeds as follows:—"That in the dispensation of the fulness of time, he might gather together in one, all things in Christ, [that is, in a mere man,] both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in him, [mere man though he be!] in whom also we have obtained an inheritance,—according to the counsel of his own will, that we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ,] that is, who trusted in a mere man!] in whom ye also trusted, [and were so far from being condemned or blamed by God for so doing, that] after ye believed in him, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance." This mere man, verse 20, "the Father hath set at his own right hand, in heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; and hath put all things under his feet, and given him to be the head over all things to the Church, which is his body, the fulness of him [viz. of the mere man !] that filleth all in all." Is there any reason or sense in any part of this paragraph? How can a mere man be the head of the Church universal, not only guiding and governing, but virtually influencing all true believers, in all nations and ages? And how could a mere man bring Jews and Gentiles nigh to each other by his blood, as the apostle observes in the next chapter, or be their " peace, making in himself one new man?" And having formed them into one body, how could he reconcile both unto God, by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby? or come from heaven, even while he remained there, and preach peace to the Gentiles, who were far off, and to the Jews that were nigh, granting unto both "access through himself, [a mere man,] by one Spirit unto the Father?"
Another remarkable passage we meet with, chap. iii, 1: "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, [that is, the unsearchable riches of a mere man!] and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ; viz. by a mere man, who had no existence till all things had been created at least four thousand years! Such are the absurdities which the Socinian doctrine fathers upon the disciple of Gamaliel, and of the Lord Jesus! Nay, and what is worse, makes him utter these absurdities to God upon his knees, in the most solemn acts of devotion. For instance, verse 14: "I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom [though a mere man!] the whole family of heaven and earth is named, that Christ [mere man as he is!] may dwell in your hearts by faith! that being rooted and grounded in love, ye may be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth and length, and depth and height, and tc know the love of Christ, which [though it be but the love of a mere man,] passeth knowledge!—that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God." How a mere man should dwell in our hearts, how his love should pass knowledge, and how the knowledge of it, in that degree which is attainable, should be a mean of filling us with all the fulness of God, is surely, to say the least, not to be conceived!
Another remarkable instance of the absurdity of supposing the apostle to have held the doctrine of Christ's mere humanity occurs in the next chapter, verses 7-17: "Unto every one of us is grace given, according to the measure of the gift of Christ, [that is, the gift of a mere man!] Wherefore he saith, when he [this mere man] ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. Now that he ascended, what is it [what does it imply ] but that he descended first into the lower parts of the earth?" Will the Socinians inform us how a mere man, who had no existence till born in Bethlehem, and who of consequence had never been in heaven, could descend from thence ?" He that descended (I say)jis the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he [a mere man!] might fill all things. And he [a mere man] gave apostles and prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the edifying of the body of Christ, [the body of a mere man!] till we all come, in the unity of the faith, and knowledge of the Son of God, [the faith and knowledge of a mere man!] unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. That we may grow up unto him in all things, who [though a mere man] is the head, from whom the whole body, fitly joined together and compacted, by that which every joint supplieth, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love!"
Pass we on to the fifth chapter, where we meet with more instances, and equally striking: "Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and [though a mere man!] hath given himself for us, [one mere man to ransom millions!] an offering and a sacrifice to God of a sweet-smelling savour. Wherefore he saith, verse 14, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ [a mere man] shall give thee light!" For, though a mere man, he can hear and answer prayer, and give the light of life to as many as apply to him! Verse 22: "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord, [a mere man,] for the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the Church, and he [a mere man!] is the Saviour of the body! Therefore as the Church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and [though a mere man!] hath given himself for it that he might sanctify and cleanse it, and present it to himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, that it should be holy and without blemish! So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies; for no man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord [viz. a mere man!] the Church; for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones."
The next chapter abounds with instances of a similar kind. "Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, —in singleness of heart, as unto Christ; [a mere man!] not with eye service as men pleasers, but as the servants of Christ, [a mere man!] doing the will of God from the heart, with good will doing service as to the Lord, [a mere man!] and not to men! Knowing, that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, [this same mere man, J whether he be bond or free. And ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening, knowing that your Master also [a mere man!] is in heaven, neither is there respect of persons with him. Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, [a mere man!] and in the power of his might! Peace be to the brethren, and love, with faith, from God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, [the supreme God and a mere man!] Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ [the mere man I so often name] in sincerity!" Wishing, reverend sir, that should Dr. Priestley think it worth his while to show us how the sundry passages quoted in this letter from the Epistles to the Galatians and Ephesians might, consistently with common sense, be written by one who held the doctrine of Christ's mere humanity, he may not forget to tell us how his unwearied endeavours to degrade the Lord Jesus are consistent with loving him in sincerity, I subscribe myself, &c.
Rkv. Sir,—Though I made no particular remark upon it, yet I hope, in looking over the last letter, it would not escape your notice, that in the Epistle to the Ephesians also, as well as in that to the Galatians, the apostle repeatedly opposes the Lord Jesus Christ to men. "Not with eye service, as men pleasers, but as the servants of Christ. With good will, doing service as to the Lord, [viz. Christ,] and not to men." Now on the Socinian principles this is saying, not as men pleasers, but as man pleasers; doing service as to a man and not to men!
The Epistle to the Philippians comes next in course, and contains a similar doctrine as to the point in question, with the epistles already considered. Indeed, the apostle is consistent with himself in all his epistles, and according to the doctor's hypothesis, consistent in inconsistency. Here, as before, he styles himself (not indeed an apostle but) a servant of Jesus Christ, and represents Timothy as being joined with himself in this state of servitude to a mere man, and from this mere man, as well as from the almighty God, he begs grace and peace for the saints at Philippi, as he had done for the Churches to which the preceding epistles are addressed. And then, verse 12, he writes: "I would that you should observe, brethren, that my bonds in Christ [my bonds endured for a mere man!] are manifest in all the palace: and some preach Christ [preach a mere man !] even of envy and strife, and some also of good will. The one preach Christ [the same mere man] of contention; but the other of love. What then 1 Notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ [the mere man] is preached, and I therein do rejoice, yea, and I will rejoice: for I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, [that is, the supply of the spirit of a mere man!] according to my earnest expectation, and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also, Christ [a mere man!] shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life or death. For me to live is Christ, [that is, a mere man 'is the supreme end of my life, and I value my life only as it is capable of being referred to the purposes of
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his honour!'] and to die is gain, and what I shall choose I wot not, for I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, [the mere man I speak of,] which is far better; nevertheless, to abide in the flesh is more needful for you: that your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ [the same mere man] by my coming to you again. Only let your conversation be as it becometh the Gospel of Christ, [viz. the gospel of a mere man:] in nothing terrified by your adversaries; for to you it is given in behalf of Christ, [in behalf of a mere man!] not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for his sake," [for the sake of the same mere man!] A strange doctrine this indeed!
But to proceed. Chap- ii, 1, we read: "If there be any consolation in Christ, [that is, on the principles I oppose, in a mere man!] if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, fulfil ye my joy: and let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who [though but a mere man, that had no existence till born at Bethlehem, in the days of Augustus Cesar, yet] being, iwrap^uv, subsisting in the form of God, [that is, say the Socinians, being endowed, like Moses and others, with the power of working miracles!] thought it not robbery to be equal with God;" a mere man thought it not robbery to be equal with God ! or as the doctor's party, contrary to the natural and proper import of the words, wish to translate it, did not assume an equality with God,—that is, a mere roan manifested great humility in not assuming an equality with God! The apostle goes on, but " emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, made in the likeness of men, [that is, a mere man, who was ' made in the likeness of men, and emptied himself that he might be made in that likeness!] and being found in fashion as a man, [for in what other fashion was it reasonable to suppose a mere man could be found?] he humbled himself, [still more,] and became obedient unto death. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name above every name, that at the name of Jesus [viz. the name of a mere man!] every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and those in earth, and those under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [a mere man !] is Lord, to the glory of God the Father!"
I appeal here to any reasonable man, whether it were possible for any one possessed of common sense, to believe Jesus Christ to be a mere man, and yet to write in this manner: and I appeal to any person possessed of a grain of piety, a single spark of the fear of God, whether he could consider the Son of God as a mere man, and yet speak as follows: "I trust in the Lord Jesus [ver. 19, that is, on the Socinian hypothesis, I trust in a mere man] to send Timotheus shortly unto you, for I have no man like minded; for all seek their own, not the things which arc Jesus Christ's, [that is, which are a mere man's;] him I hope to send, and I trust in the Lord [the same mere man,] that also myself shall come shortly." Surely the putting our trust in a mere man for things which are wholly in God's power, and absolutely at his disposal, is flagrant idolatry, and the open declaration of that trust is a public avowal of that idolatry.
Indeed, if Christ be a mere man, St. Paul idolized him almost as often as he mentioned him. Many instances occur in the next chapter. "Finally, my brethren, (says he, ver. 1,) rejoice in the Lord, [viz. in a mere man,] for (ver. 3) we are the circumcision who worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus. Ver. 7: What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ, [that is, for a mere man!] Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of [this same mere man] Jesus Christ my Lord, for whom [though but a man] I have suffered the loss of all things, and I do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, [that is, that I may win a mere man,] and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, [faith in a mere man!] the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know him, [may know a mere man !] and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to his death: that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus," that is, of a mere man! As this is certainly magnifying a mere man too much; so in the passage following, (ver. 50,) the apostle speaks of expecting from him what no mere man can possibly perform: "We look," says he, "for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself." The apostle, however, was not only persuaded of Christ's ability to do all this, but believed that he could even impart strength to others, assuring us, in the thirteenth verse of the next chapter, that he himself could "do all things, [viz. all things which it was his duty to do,] through Christ strengthening him," whose grace, therefore, before he puts a period to his epistle, he desires for the Philippians, as in his other epistles he does for the other Churches, saying, " The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [that is, as Dr. Priestley will have it, the grace of a mere man !] be with you all! Amen!"
Such, Rev. sir, according to Dr. Priestley's hypothesis, is the doctrine of St. Paul concerning Christ, in his Epistle to the Philippians; a doc-trine which I think every intelligent reader must pronounce most absurd and ridiculous. To rejoice so excessively that a mere man was preached, though at the expense of many and extreme sufferings endured by those who preached him: to represent serving and glorifying him as the one great end of living, and to intimate that life itself was only desirable so far as it answered that end: to censure those who sought their own things, and not the things of this mere man: to speak of trusting in him, expecting the supply of his Spirit, and being able to do all things through his help: to lay it down as a principal branch of the character of a Christian to rejoice in him, and repeatedly to exhort all Christians to do this: to mention it as a great favour to be permitted to suffer for him, and to represent all things as vile and worthless, when compared to the "excellency of his knowledge:" to speak with satisfaction of having won him, though with the loss of every thing beside, even liberty and life, just about to be sacrificed for his sake; and to rejoice that he was magnified whatever his servant might endure: to proclaim him as "able to change even our vile bodies, and make them conformable to his own glorious body," nay, and to " subdue all things to himself;" and to begin and end his epistle with solemn prayer, addressed to him for grace to be conferred upon the people to whom he wrote: surely these things (to say nothing of the celebrated passage in which this mere man, as the doctor thinks him, shines forth in the form of God, and is declared to bo