« FöregåendeFortsätt »
us in Christ Jesus, before the world began.” “He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world.” (Vol. i, p. 345.) Now every one of these passages proves, indirectly, the pre-existence of Jesus Christ. If Jesus Christ was, in the purpose of God, “slain from the foundation of the world,” and yet came voluntarily into the world, to “ do the will of God” by “ offering his body once for all,” Heb. x, 10, and therefore was not slain without his own consent, he consented from the foundation of the world to be slain. If, before the world began, when we had no personal existence, we were chosen in Christ Jesus, and had grace given us in him, -he then existed in whom, as our representative and head, we were chosen, and in whom grace was given to
But we will try again : (2.) “Whatever be the glory of which Jesus speaks as applicable to himself, in the very same chapter he ascribes to his disciples." (Vol. i, p. 346.) Thus Jesus Christ is robbed of the peculiarity of his future, as well as of his past glory. But, first : It is not true that the apostles have now a glory equal to that of Him who has 66 a name that is above every name.”. Secondly : If they have it now, had they, like him, this glory with the Father 6 before the world was ?" How then did Jesus Christ give it to them before the world was, unless he then possessed it? See John xvii, 24.
5. Jesus Christ sạid, “Before Abraham was, I am,” John viii, 58. The force of this passage Mr. G. has completely evaded by attempting to show that, on similar occasions, our translators have affixed the pronoun he, and to persuade us that there is the same reason for it here. But in the present case the question which Jesus answered was precisely the question of his pre-existence. The Jews said unto him, “ Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” To render it, I am he, would only encumber the answer, while the difficulty is the same, and can only be solved by the supposition of his pre-existence. How could Jesus have seen Abraham, if he were not contemporary with Abraham ? Why does he speak in the present tense of himself, and in the past of Abraham ? And once more : if, when Jesus said, I am, he spoke of his predetermined
existence, how could a mere predetermination of his ex. istence render him capable of seeing Abraham?
6. We cannot do justice to this subject without subjoining the testimony of the Evangelist John. “In the be. ginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God,” John i, 12. Mr. G. has conceded that if we“under. stand by the term beginning”—“ the beginning of the creation,” this “accords with his interpretation of the Logos (the Word.”) (Vol. i, pp. 195, 196.) Thus all is granted for which we contend : with this proviso, how. ever, that we do not say, In the beginning the word began, but “ In the beginning was the Word.” To prevent all mischief to the Proteus, Socinianism, Mr. G. has taken care to give a second interpretation to the term “ begin. ning.” He holds that he “may be allowed to understand by it the beginning of the new creation." But St. John does not allow it. He says that “ he was in the begin. ning with God;"—that "he was the light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world :"_that “ he was made flesh," and therefore existed before he was made flesh; and that “ he was before him” (John,) John i, 2, 9, 14, 15, 30, though born after him. Now all this is per. fectly inconsistent with the application of this expression to the new creation.
The distinet question now to be answered is, Who, and what is he, who, independent of all humanity, existed before his incarnation ?
The Scriptures expressly state that, in his pre-existent nature, he was “the Word of God;” “ the brightness of the glory of God, and the express image of his person.' Under these high names and titles, which it is not necessary here to explain, he is represented as the Creator of the world. There is, it is acknowledged, a new creation, the regeneration of mankind; of which, under the Chris. tian dispensation, he is the author. Mr. G. thinks that if we “ keep this in view in those passages which refer creation to our Saviour, we shall find that a spiritual cre. ation is invariably meant." (Vol. i, p. 341.) We will make the experiment.
1. St. John says, “ The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,” John i, 14.
Of this Word he says,,
66 He was
“ All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." Again : in the world, and the world (eyevero) was made by him, even the world which knew him not,” John i, 3, 10. To surmount this difficulty, Mr. G. appeals to the “new version,” in which the Socinians, to exemplify the versatility of their talents, and their expertness in the art of interpolation, render this same word, in the former passage, “done,” and in the latter, “ was," adding the word enlightened. We need not a better example of the manner in which they set aside the plainest declarations of Scripture, by foisting in any word which will answer their purpose ! A translation may be made which will admit such a Soci. nian interpolation ; but the original Greek, untranslated, absolutely forbids it. The verb to be, when it means to exist, may be a translation of
γινομαι. But γινομαι, like the English verb to exist, is not the auxiliary verb by which the passive verb is formed. According to the proper mean. ing of St. John's words, “ All things were existed) by him," and “ the world was (existed) by him.”
2. The apostle to the Hebrews speaks of him as “ being the brightness of the glory (of God,) and the express image of his person,”. Heb. i, 3 ; and attributes to him the crea, tion. By whom also he made the world,” Heb. i, 2.Will Mr. G. say that the Christian world is meant ? Let him read the following verses. “ But unto the Son he saith, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed,” Heb. i, 2, 3, 8-12. Here are two plain proofs that the literal creation is meant. (1.) The apostle declares that the worlds which he created are “the earths" and the heavens." (2.) He declares that the worlds which he made shal) “wax old," “ be changed,” and “ perish." All this is perfectly true of the material worlds; but the new creation abideth for ever.
3. Let us hear the apostle to the Colossians : “ His dear Son,—who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature ; for by him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible
and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things,” Col. i, 13–17. Mr. G. says, “ A thought has been suggested by the late Dr. W. Harris, that the word apotótokos, by a change in the accent, is sometimes used by profane writers, not in a passive, but an active sense. Thus some would render it, not the first-born, but the beginner, or the first bringerforth, the immediate cause of all things in the new crea. tion.” (Vol. i, p. 340.) So Mr. G. has answered the argument which he has elsewhere (vol. i, p. 354) drawn from this word, “ first-born." But why apply the words only to the new creation? The apostle says, “ All things were created by him.” If we understand that passage literally, we have some idea of what is meant by “ heaven and earth,” and “all things that are in them." distinguish between things “ visible and invisible;" and can suppose that the rest of the apostle's expressions relate to the heavenly hierarchies. But if all this be said of what Mr. G. calls “ a spiritual creation," or of the regeneration of the Christian world, how are we to apply these terms ? Are we to understand by things in heaven and on earth, the spiritualities, and the temporalities of the church? Then he is the author of the good livings. Do the things visible and invisible mean the bodies and the souls of mankind? Then, at least, mankind are not all matter : nor is this creation all “ spiritual.” But what are the thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers ? Are they metropolitans, bishops, deans, and vicars? Some such explanation will follow. But why then do the Uni. tarians set themselves as violently against the Episcopa. lian hierarchy, as against the divinity of Him from whom they suppose it to have originated ?
The creation of the world by Jesus Christ, as it is an unanswerable proof of his pre-existence, is equally a dea monstration of his supreme godhead. The Socinians themselves grant, that he is the Author, and the Finisher of a new creation.” But if, with the Apostle Peter, while we expect that the day of the Lord will come, in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also, and the works that are therein,
shall be burned up—we also, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, 2 Pet. iii, 10–13; if we look for a new creation of our souls in the image of God, and of our bodies, which shall be fashioned like unto his glorious body; we must allow that wisdom and power, no less than were employed in the old creation, will be necessary to realize our expectations. Whether, there. fore, he be the Author of the old or of the new creation ; or, as we believe, of both;_"he that built all things, whether the edifice of the universe, or that of the Chris. tian Church, is God," Heb. iii, 4.
Taking Mr. G. for our guide to truth as far as he is willing to go, we shall now embrace the full advantage of his own important concession. In explaining St. John's doctrine on the incarnation of the Word of God,” he says, “ He (St. John) introduces the Messenger of the covenant, the Messiah, by saying that the perfections of Deity became flesh; were imparted to a real man. To this man he proceeds to ascribe the possession of light, and life, and divine perfections.” (Vol. i, p. 200.)
“Great is truth, and will prevail ?" To grant divine perfections to the Son of God, is to confess, in spite of Socinianism, his proper and supreme divinity. Before we argue this point, however, let us inquire, What are the divine perfections which “ are ascribed” to him ? 1. Unbeginning existence, or proper eternity.
6 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, out of thee shall He come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth (have been) from of old, from everlasting,” Mic. v, 2.
2. Omnipresence. "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world,” Matt. xxviii, 20.
6 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them,” Matt. xviii, 20. “ That Christ may dwell in your hearts," Eph. iii, 17. Mr. G. argues concerning the devil, that if he is everywhere, at all times present with you, he is possessed of " the divine attribute of omnipresence.” (Vol. i, p. 19.) The infer. ence is equally just, with respect to Jesus Christ.
3. Omniscience. “ He knew all; and needed not that any should testify of man : for he knew what was in man," John ii, 24, 25. “ Lord, thou knowest all things,” John xxi, 17. Mr. G., when the devil is the subject of his