« FöregåendeFortsätt »
of the earth. Though some of these titles may be thought too high for any creature nature, they are not so to him who is God as well as man-“God manifest in the flesh." His exaltation as man after his sufferings, gives him a greater participation of and nearer resemblance to divine honors.
By his extended reign he destroys the works of the devil,-casts out the prince of this world, destroys his dominion among the nations, as well as in the souls of men who he subjects to his government-demons or evil angels who by permission were worshipped, and had dominion over heathen nations, are dispossessed of their goveriment, and made slaves to his sovereign will. What a glorious scene thus opens upon the fair interpretation of a few texts? What an amazing prospect of Christ's victory over the devil ?-What a magnificent view may we take by this glass, of the ascension and exaltation of our blessed Savior ?-How gloriously does the God-man Christ Jesus, who in ancient ages was the king of Israel, aggrandize and extend his present title and dominion as King of nations and Lord of all!
This doctrine gives a fair idea of these texts in which God is said to create all things by Jesus CHRIST, not merely by his divine power, but considered as God-Man, and called by the name Jesus Christ. This is a very nice point: it is easy to err here. Creation work is certainly divine work, the prerogative of Deity. Crealure nature cannot possess this power. Consequently when CHRIST is said to create, it is a manifest proof of his being God. Though his creature nature in itself could do nothing in creation, yet as united to Deity, it might have the same part in creation, that his human nature had in working miracles, and both in regard to speaking the words, and volition of the
soul. For he often wrought miracles without speaking words. And though the will of his creaiure nature might have no more influence in causing creatures to exist, than bis tongue had in the miracles he wrought, yet God may be as well said to create all things by Jesus Christ, as he wrought miracles by him; and Jesus Christ may be properly called the creator, as Deity was united with his creature nature, and performed the work, which honor is not given to any but the man JESUS CHRIST.
But though there may be some difficulty in conceiving this matter aright by reason of our limited capacities, yet if we suppose Christ to have no creature existence till he appeared in flesh, it is impossible to make any sense at all of such passages. This made the great Dr. Goodwin, who was no friend to this doctrine, say, “That Christ was some way the instrument as God-man of the creation as well as actually of redemption.--If he were at all to be made a creature, it was his due personal privilege to have been first himself made, and himself to have been God's instrument in creation, and to have uttered these words which were spoken by God, Let there be light. But can any imagine that the actual existence of his creature nature could impair the dueness of this privilege? And I am sure, there is evidence for his being the first-born of the creation; but I see none, that it should have been so, and for good reasons this right was suspended four thousand years, which is the Doctor's opinion of the matter.
I shall only add one consideration more on this head, which I submit to the judgment of those who study the scriptures with attention. I think this doctrine fairly explains the import of these questions put by Eliphaz to Job—“Art thou the
first man that was born? Wast thou made before the hills? Hast thou heard the secret of God? And dost thou restrain wisdom to thyself?”* These four queries if properly rendered, as they are by the Septuagint, and which the original plainly favors, will be a clear proof for the doctrine we contend for. Art thou the first that was born ? i.e. Wast thou born the first man? or art thou that primitive spirit? Which is the same with what is said of CHRIST, “ The first-born of every creature.”+
" Wast thou made before the hills? We know Adam was made after the hills ; but the first man, the Messiah, speaking of himself, says, “ Before the hills was I born, or brought forth.”ť In the original they are the very same words with those in Job, except the first person for the second. The conclusion is plain.
“ Hast thou heard the secret of God?" i. e. Did God use thee as a counsellor? But the Messiah is called by way of eminence, the COUNSELLOR, or as the Septuagint, The angel of the great council, to whom God said, Let us make man.
“And dost thou restrain wisdom to thyself ?” Does all divine wisdom dwell in thee? But in the Messiah are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. All these queries plainly refer to such a wonderful being; a glorious and first created human nature as the Messiah is, when interpreted in their most simple meaning, and what is most consistent with other scriptures.
Thus I think it is plain that this doctrine has these two advantages, that it explains and reconciles many dark and difficult passages of scripture:-and that it casts a new lustre upon other texts, whose beauty, justness, and propriety, uere not before so much observed. We shall now mention some other advantages which attend it.
* Job xv. 7.
4 Col. i. 15.
| Prov. vii, 25.
3. It exceedingly aggrandizes the personal glory and dignity of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom we never can have too high an esteem.This doctrine admits and confirms all the honors paid to him by other hypothesis, and adds other honors to him. It allows him all the supreme dignity and perfection of Deity, with the titles and attributes by virtue of the personal union, and it much better secures and maintains the honor of his Deity, by guarding it from those inferior attributes and characters, which otherwise must be ascribed to it before his appearance in flesh; all this it doth by proposing a nature below Deity, which is evidently a fitter subject of those attributions.
It allows him all the honorable and peculiar prerogatives of his conception, and the birth of his body, upon which account, among others, he was called the Son of God.--It supposes his creature nature to be a most illustrious spirit, in glorious existence long before his incarnation, the first-born of the creation of God,-present with God, surveying and approving of his works of creation,-employed in adorning and disposing the various parts of the new created world, so far as any thing below pure Deity could possibly be employed in such a work.
Should any say, that this doctrine raises his creature nature as high as the Arians have raised the notion of their Logos, or soul of Christ, which they suppose to be the sublimest nature he has, and calls it his GODHEAD, or divinity.
Here it may be readily answered, Why not take in all the advantages which the Arians so 'much boast of, and thereby support our own faith more honorably? What is true in their scheme, is not to be rejected because they use it to a bad purpose, or add what is false to it. By taking this, we bereave their scheme of its fairest allurements and strongest supports, by which they gain more advantage than by any other thing in their hypothesis. What if we advance the creature nature of Christ as high as their Logos? Yet whilst we maintain that true and proper Deity belongs to the LORD JESUS CHRIST, to answer the many divine names, titles, attributes, operations, and worship, which are ascribed to him in scripture, we can be in no danger of compliance with the Arian error, which attributes all these divine characters to the man Chirst Jesus as a creature, and denies his union to Deity.
What injury can any one suppose it can do to religion, --what hurt can it do to the gospel of CHRIST, to suppose his creature nature to be as glorious and sublime a being as any thing can be that is not God? This is doing honor to the man whom God delights to honor, and in whom Deity dwells bodily: and while it wonderfully exalts our esteem of the created nature of Christ, it does not diminish the least degree of honor or adoration due to his DEITY,
This doctrine sheds a new glory upon the satisfaction and atonement of CHRIST, as it renders him so much the fitter to undertake that great, glorious, and dreadful work. The more glorious we make his created nature, the more fit he was to become surety for sinners, and his life was the more valuable sacrifice to redeem millions of souls, and a fitter price to ransom multitudes from death,