« AnteriorContinua »
be shocked at the thought of work of whose hands the hearhaving committed the sin anto ens are, took on him the seed of death, and, fallen under an irre. Abraham, Heb. i. 10, and ii. 16. versible sentence of eternal con- To David it was promised, 2 Sam. demnation ? Let every sinner re- vii. 16, that his house and kingalize, that final impenitence is as dom should be established forevfatal as the blasphemy againster; that his throne should be estabthe Holy Ghost, and that, while lished forever ; and the Lord said, he continues impenitent, he is ev. Ps. Ixxxix. 3, 4.“ I have sworn cry moment in danger of falling unto David my servant, thy seed into as hopeless a state, as if he will I establish forever, and had actually committed the build up thy throne to all genedreadful crime, which, our Sa- rations.” Peter, on the day of viour declares, shall never be Pentecost, speaking of David, forgiven.
THEOPHILUS. says, that being a prophet, and
knowing that God had sworn with an oath, that of the fruit of
his loins according to the flesh he For the Panoplist. would raise up Christ to sit on Ox THE PRE-EXISTENCE
his throne, Acts ii. 30. And the THE HUMAN
Lord Jesus bimself, says, Rev. CHRIST.
xxii. 16, that he is the offspring It is the opinion of some, that of David. Therefore, when the the human nature of Christ was Pharisees said that Christ was formed antecedently to that of the Son of David, the Saviour all other creatures; that, as man, admits it, and on this ground reathe Lord Jesus had an existence, sons with them, Mat. xxii. 42, not only before men, but before 43. From these passages of angels. That he was indeed a scripture we have evidence, that man, possessed of all the proper- Jesus of Nazareth was the seed ties of innocent human nature, of the woman, the seed of Abrawhen he appeared on earth and ham, the seed, the offspring, the died on the cross, is most clearly Son of David, and the fruit of and fully taught in the word of David's loins according to the God. It was early promised, af- fesh. It must, hence, be maniter the fall of man, that the seed fest, either that the human naof the woman should bruise the ture of Jesus did not pre-exist serpent's head. This seed is his being born of the virgin ; or, universally acknowledged, by that he had nothing more beChristians, to be that Jesus, who longing to him of the characters was conceived in the womb, and and relations of seed, son, offborn of the virgin Mary. It was spring, &c. of the persons, from afterwards promised to Abra- whom it was promised he should ham, Gen. xxii. 18, that in his descend, than simply a human seed all the nations of the earth body. should be blessed : and this seed, If the human nature of Jesus, the apostle tells us, Gal. iii. 16, a nature possessed of all the is Christ. We are, accordingly, moral powers and qualities of told, that he, who laid the foun- holy, innocent man, were the dations of the earth, and the first fruit of the creative power
of God; or, if it pre-existed of either of the above mentioned the creation of man, it seems persons, that, in the opinion of clearly to follow, that this Jesus some, who advocate the doctrine could not be the seed of Abraham, of his pre-existence, God origithe son and offspring of David, nally formed his created nature and the fruit of his loins. This as a pattern after which man was conclusion cannot
to be made. What need, by the avoided, if, in the holy scriptures, way, the great God stood in of as well as in common language, such a pattern, it will be difficult seed, son, offspring, &c. import a for us to conceive. But to term human moral being proceeding this pattern, being itself a holy from a man, like unto the father, and absolutely perfect and comand, in existence, posterior to plete human nature in kind; a himn. To quote passages to pattern, which was copied into evince this to be the import of as originally created on the terms, seed, son, offspring, in earth ; to term this the seed, the the language of scripture, will son, the offspring of persons, who be tedious, and probably, un- existed not till ages after the necessary; as it is apprehended, pattern by which they were no one will deny it. And if this formed, must be such a perverbe the import of those terms, sion of terms, as tends to render not only in common language, all language uncertain and uninbut in that of the scriptures; telligible. the man Jesus, on supposition It being implied in Christ's of that pre-existence of which being the son of David, that Dawe are speaking, was no more vid was his father ; on supposithe seed of Abraham, the son, tion of the pre-existence under the offspring of David, than Noah consideration, we here see a son, was ; or, even Adam himself. who not only existed before his Not one of the properties of father, and even before the heaseed, sonship, or offspring, in vens and the earth were made ; relation to, either Abraham or but a son, who himself was the David, are to be found in the man pattern after which his father Jesus : Nor do either Abraham was made, and who was in union or David bear the relation of with the second person in the father to him, any more than to Trinity in creating his father. the first human pair. We see It seems, thus, to appear, that no more propriety in terming Christ's being the seed of Abraany created being or nature, who ham, the son of David, &c. is inhad existence before the world compatible with the idea, that his was, the seed of Abraham, the son human nature pre-existed his and offspring of David, than in appearing in flesh. applying the same Terms to the Should it be said, in reply to first man created on earth, in re- these observations, that the hulation to these eminent patri- man body of Jesus was formed archs.
of the virgin, conceived in her According to the sentiment womb and born of her; and, we are examining, Jesus was, that this is a sufficient ground not only so far from being the for his being termed the seed of seed, the son, and the offspring Abraham, and the son of David;
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 early days of Christianity, that the terms seed, son, offspring, &c. Jesus had nothing of human na- when Jesus made his soul an of. ture 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 Abraham, the son, the offspring ly fail, that he ever had any thing of David, &c. other important more of proper manhood 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 supposiea simpiy by his being manifest tion of the pre-existence of in a human body ; a body formed Christ's human nature, at least of flesh 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 wisix. 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 shail 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 shouiders 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 vances and more rapid improvecan be inferred from these pre- ments than others. di tions and promises, if 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 refiects 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 necessity for adopting such easier to be conceived, that a an opinion, it must arise from created than an uncrtuted 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 sins, 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 thisą this pre-existence, as to any ad- Philip. ii. 6, 7, where the apostle Vol. I. No. 10.
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 ? existence. If making himself of Why may we not rather supno reputation and taking upon pose, he here prays for that glohim the form of a servant are to ry, which we are told, 1 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, 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 creture 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 730 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 Chat he is represented as having a creature, what other grace may