Imatges de pÓgina
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it may be noticed, that the reply being human, formed of flesh will very evidently tend to sup- and bones. Not only so, but acport the opinion advanced in the cording to this construction of carly days of Christianity, that the terms seed, son, offspring, &c. Jesus had nothing of human na- when Jesus made his soul an ofture belonging to him but the fering for sin, the whole of the mere body of a man. If having sacrifice was, that of the mere a body formed in the womb of animal life. the virgin be sufficient to denom- Unless, as has been observed, inate him a man; unless there clear and evident proof be probe clear proof from the word of duced from the word of God, God, that a moral human nature, that Jesus possessed a proper which pre-existed, came and in- moral human nature previously habited this body, it will be inca- to his being born of the virgin ; pable of proof, that Jesus had and, that this human nature came any thing more of proper hu- and took possession of the body, manity than a mere human body. which had been conceived in And if this were all that was her; the proof must be exmeant by Christ's being the seed tremely defective, if not entireof Abraliam, the son, the offspring ly fail, that he ever had any thing of David, &c. other important more of proper manhoud than predictions and promises con- simply a human body. cerning him, might be, and, for But there are other consideraaught appears, were accomplish- tions, which render the supposied simply by his being manifest tion of the pre-existence of in a human body ; a body formed Christ's human nature, at least of fiesh and bones ; such as that

very doubtful. The evangelist by Moses, Deut. xviii. 15. “ The tells us, when he had given an Lord thy God will raise up unto account of the birth of Jesus, thee a prophet from the midst of that “the child grew, and waxed thee, of thy brethren, like 'unto strong in spirit, filled with wisme ;” and by the prophet Isaiah dom. That he increased in wis. ix. 6. “ Unto us a child is born, dom and stature, and in favour unto us a son is given'; and the with God and man.” Luke ii. 40, government shait be upon his 52. These passages naturally shoulders.” Again, Isa. xxxij.2. lead us to suppose, that his in“ And a man shall be as an liid- fant state, considered as a proper ing place irom the wind, and a human child, was like that of covert from the tempest.” A others, sin only excepted. That prophet, of a body like that of he made improvements and came Moses ; a son, a proper human to maturity in wisdom and body, on whose shoulders shall be knowledge as a man, as others the government ; a human body, do, excepting only that as he was which shall be as an hiding place free from all prejudice and morfrom tlie wind; and a covert from al blindness, he made świster adthe tempest. Nothing further

Nothing further vances and more rapid improvecan be inferred from these pre- ments than others. dictions and promises, is those to It may be observed, further, Abraham and David were ac. that the supposition of the precomplished by the body of Jesus existence of his human nature,, will imply that this human vantage to be derived from it for nature emptied itself, and was accomplishing the work, upon reduced, on being born of the which he came into the world, virgin, to a level with that of was unnecessary and useless. common infants when first That he was every way as como brought into the world ; and will, pletely qualified to be the Saof course, lead us to apprehend, viour of sinners without as with that this was all the condescen- it. Had it not been so, we may rasion of the Redeemer designed tionally conclude, the only scripto be expressed, when it is said tures would have furnished us Philip. ii. 6, 7, that being in the with clear and indubitable proof form of God, and thinking it no that, as a man, Jesus had this robbery to be equal with God, he pre-existence. And as we can made himself of no reputation. See, neither any necessity for it, It must, also, import, that all nor any advantage it would be of that vast extent of knowledge, to Christ as the Saviour of sinand those high and great im- ners ; nor, yet, any proof of it provements, which the human from the word of God, we can perfect mind of Jesus had made, be under no obligation to adopt for four thousand years, on his the sentiment. being born an infant into the But it is urged, that valuable world, were as entirely lost and ends may be answered by the gone, as though they had never pre-existence of the human naexisted: consequently, that af- ture of Christ; and, that the terwards, they were of no man- sentiment reflects light on many ner of use, any more than if they passages of the holy scriptures. never had been. Such an opin- As it is admitted, that it was ion as this, a sentiment so extra- Christ, who often appeared to ordinary ought to be considered Abraham, and to other pious men as inadmissible, unless there be of old, it is said, that the suppoeither a manifest necessity for it, sition of the then present existor very clear and certain evidence ence of his human nature renof its truth. As to the evidence ders it more easy and natural to of it, we have not the least shad. conceive, that he should appear ow, either from reason, or from in human form and as a man. the word of God. If there be But why, it may be asked, is it any necessiiy for adopting such easier to be conceived, that a an opinion, it must arise from created than an uncreated Spirit some advantage to be derived should put on a human form, and from it, and the light it reflects become visible to men ? It canon some, or all the doctrines in not reasonably be pretended that general of the gospel of Christ. it is.

It cannot be pretended, that The supposition that the huthe Lord Jesus was not as per- man nature of Christ had prefectly qualified, both to be an existence, it is said, renders the example to men, and a sacrifice construction of certain passages for their s, without this sup- of scripture more easy and patuposed pre-existence of his hu- ral than they would otherwise man nature, as with it. That be. Such, for example, as thisz this pre-existence, as to any ad- Philip. ii. 6, 7, where the apostle Vol. I. No. 10.

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says of Christ, “ Who being in divested himself, when he came the form of God, thought it no into the world, of some glory he robbery to be equal with God; had before his incarnation. Thus, but made himself of no reputa- John xvii. 5. “ And now, O tion, and took upon him the Father, glorify me with thine form of a servant, and was made own self, with the glory I had in the likeness of men.” It can- with thee before the world was." not be, it is urged, that the Lo. It may not be admitted, it is gos, the real divinity, should said, that the divine nature ever inake himself of no reputation, divested itself of any glory ; of empty himself, and take upon course, if the human nature of him the form of a servant : that Christ divested itself of glory, it this, therefore, must be asserted must have been, of a glory it of some created being; and, possessed in a pre-existent state. therefore, unquestionably, of the But if this be the whole imhuman nature of Christ, imply- port of the prayer of Christ, on ing its pre-existence. But, it is that solemn occasion, with what to be recollected, the human na- plausibility may it be urged, that ture of Christ, whenever it be- the glory, which it is supposed gan to exist, whether before the his created nature put off, when world was, or at his birth into it, he came into the world, was all not only necessarily had the the glory he ever possessed ? form, but in fact was a servant : What reason for supposing he nor could he with any more pro- ever had any other or higher priety, be said to take upon him glory, than that which he here this form, than to take upon him prays may be restored to him? exisience. If making himself of Why may

re not rather supno reputation and taking upon pose, he here prays for that glohim the form of a servant are to ry, wbich we are told, i Peter i. be attributed to a creature, we 11, should follow his sufferings? may conclude, also, that his be- And this is a glory infinitely ing in the form of God, and exceeding that of any creature. thinking it no robbery to be equal Again; the apostle says, 2 with God, is predicable of the Cor. viii. 9.“ Ye know the grace created nature of Christ: for it of our Lord Jesus Christ, that was he, who, in fact, is in the form though he was rich, yet for your of God, &c. who made himself sakes he became poor, that ye of no reputation, and took on through his poverty might be him the form of a servant. made rich.” It cannot, it is urgWhat an advantage will it give ed, be said of God, that he beto those, who deny the divinity came poor; and therefore it of Christ, to admit that, in scrip- must be supposed, that the cregure language, a creature, a cre- ated or human nature of Christ ated nature may be said to be in divested itself of riches, which the form of God, and 10 think it he possessed before he came into 750 robbery to be equal with God. the world. But if the grace of

In support of the opinion, that the Lord Jesus Christ here spokthe human nature of Christ had en of, imply nothing more than pre-existence, it is also urged, the grace and condescension of That he is represented as having a creature, what other grace may

We be sure he ever manifested scripture authority, but incon. in working out redemption for sistent with many things assert. sinners? And what other grace ed of him in the Bible : and, is to be attributed to Christ, than instead of rendering the conthat of the humiliation and suf- struction of scripture more easy ferings of a mere creature, in all and natural, gives plausibility to that he endured for our salva- the glosses, which Arian writers tion? And if, in the whole of put on many passages usually this work of Christ, there were and justly urged in proof of the no other grace than that of a true and real divinity of Christ. mere creature ; how natural to If the construction, put on the .conclude, that a mere creature above-mentioned passages of was adequate to the work ! scripture, by those, who advocate

If the passages of scripture the opinion of the pre-existence now mentioned are to be under of the created nature of Christ, stood only of the human nature be admitted to be rational and of Christ, pre-existing his incar- just ; with what facility may the nation, the words of the Saviour, wit and ingenuity of men evade when he said to the Jews, John the clearest evidence of the true viii. 58,“ before Abraham was, I and real divinity of the Saviour am,” may be understood in a of the world. similar manner, and infer noth- This being the case, the sentiing more than that, though a ment, that the human or created creature, his existence was ante- nature of Christ pre-existed his rior to that of Abraham.

incarnation, is not to be considIt must, therefore, appear, it ered, either as a trifling, or an is apprehended, that the opinion, innocent error ; but, an opinion that the human nature of Christ of dangerous and hurtful tenpre-existed bis incarnation, is dency. not only without the support of

Selections.

THE FOLLOWING
“ TESTIMONY TO THE ORDER OF THE GOSPEL,

IN THE CHURCHES OF NEW-ENGLAND,”
Was written about the year 1700, eight years before the death of Mr.

HIGGINSON, who lived to the great age of 93 years. It was left in the hands of the churches by the two venerable men, whose names are subscribed to it, then the most aged ministers of the gospel living, as their dying Legacy. It is an invaluable document, and we earnestly recommend it to the careful and serious perusal of all our readers, and especially to the younger class of ministers now on the stage.

EDITORS. 1. ABOVE seventy years have having obtained help from God, passed away, since one of us, and we continue to this day. above sixty, since the other of us We are therefore capable to came into Nrw-England, and make some comparison, between the condition of the churches assembled in the Synod, that a. when they were first erected in greed on our Platform of Church this country, and the condition Discipline, cannot forget their into which they are now fallen, excellent character. They were and more falling every day. men of great renown in the - But we wish, that in making nation, from whence the Laudi. this comparison, we had not cause an Persecution exiled them ; to take the place, and the part of their learning, their holiness, those old men that saw the young their gravity, struck all men that 'men shouting aloud for joy, at the knew them with admiration. new temple, Ezra iii. 12. Ancient They were Timothies in their men that had seen the first house ; houses, Chrysostomes in their pulwhen the foundation of this house pits, Augustines in their dispuwas laid before their eyes, wept tations. The prayers, the studwith a loud voice.

ies, the humble inquiries, with 2. We are under a daily ex- which they sought after the pectation of our call to appear mind of God, were as likely to before our Lord Jesus Christ ; prosper as any men's on earth, and we have reason to be above And the sufferings wherein they all things concerned, that we were confessors for the name and may give up our account with the truth of the Lord Jesus joy unto him. That we may be Christ, add unto the arguments the better able to do so, we judge which would persuade us, that it necessary for us to leave in the our gracious Lord would reward hands of the churches, a brief and honour them, with commu, testimony, to the cause of God, nicating much of his truth unto and his people in this land. And m. The famous Brightman this the rather because we are had foretold, Clariorem lucem sensible that there is risen and adhuc Solitudo dabit, &c. God rising among us, a number who would yet reveal more of the not only forsake the right ways true church state unto some of of the Lord, wherein these holy his faithful servants, whom he churches have walked, but also would send into a wilderness that labour to carry away as many he might there have communion others with them as they can. with them. And it was emi

We are also informed, that nently accomplished in what was many younger men of great done for and by the men of God, worth, and hearty friends unto that first erected churches for the church state of the country, him in this American wilderness, scarce know what interpretation We do therefore in the first to put upon it ; but find it a sen- place, earnestly testify, That if sible disadvantage unto them, any who are given to change do that the elder men are so silent rise up to unhinge the well esand remiss upon the manifest tablished churches in this land, it occasions, that call aloud for us will be the duty and interest to open our mouth in the cause of of the churches to examine, churches that we should be loath whether the men of this trespass to see led unto destruction. are more prayerful, more watch

3. We that saw the persons, ful, more zealous, more patient, who from four famous colonies, more heavenly, more universally

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