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the divine perfections manifested in Christ proved his union, not merely with the abstract divine perfections, but with the divine nature. And this last is what, in referring to the proofs of his oneness with God, Jesus Christ has taught us to infer. "If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not" when I say "I and the Father are one;" "but if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works; (in which omnipotence is exerted ;) that ye may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in him," John x, 37, 38.
10. As the Scriptures attribute to the Son of God the fulness of the Deity, and an intimate union with the godhead; so they ascribe to his pre-existent nature an equality with God. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God," Phil. ii, 6.
(1.) Our first business here is with the meaning of the terms. Mr. G. says the word "equal," being used adverbially, should have been translated “like.” (Vol. i, p. 333.) Waiving the want of precision in this statement, the word "like" is either an adjective or an adverb. Mr. G. shuffles it in as an adverb, and yet uses it adjectively. Why then does he prefer an improper to a proper translation? For the sake of ambiguity. The word like may imply either equality or similarity. He adopts it under the pretence of its being synonymous with equal, and then takes advantage of its ambiguity. We, therefore, retain the word "equal," for the sake of the genuine sense of the apostle. Mr. G. next observes that the passage should be rendered, "he did not esteem it a prey or plunder, the circumstance of being like (equal with) God!" (Vol. i, p. 333.) Permit, then, the word plunder to be substituted for the word robbery; the words still mean that the circumstance of equality with God was properly his own. Conscious that nothing is yet gained, Mr. G. now practises the art of interpolation. "Who, being in the form of God, did not esteem the circumstance of his being like (equal with) God, a prey for his own private gratification." This is genuine Socinianism! After all, however, he grants that Jesus Christ was equal with God, (or like God, if that word conveys the same meaning ;) although, according to him, the Saviour of men did not turn that circumstance to his own private account.
(2.) To make a way for these criticisms, Mr. G. has contrasted with this apostolic declaration those passages which set forth the inferiority and subordination of the Son to the Father. As he has in his supplements to No. VI. and No. VII. several passages of similar import, which he has often repeated, and all of which are levelled at this equality, we will here give to them all a general answer.
When St. Paul speaks of "Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God," he speaks distinctly of his pre-existent nature; for he proceeds to say that he (subsequently) " made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men," Phil. ii, 7.
If, after his being made in the likeness of men, we find him in a state very different from that which preceded, we no longer wonder. To the human nature which he thus took upon him, we do not, like our opponents, ascribe those divine perfections which we attribute to his pre-existent nature. His human nature had a beginning, and there. fore was not "from everlasting." It was not independent, but dependent, and therefore "lived by the Father," died, and was raised again by the Father. This nature therefore prayed, and gave thanks to the Father. It was not omnipresent, and therefore could be "exalted to God's right hand." It was not omniscient, and therefore "increased in wisdom," and "knew not that day and that hour." It was not omnipotent, and therefore it could, of itself, "do nothing;" for all the power it had was given by the Father." It was not immutable, and therefore died, revived, and was exalted. But all this does not hinder that these perfections, which Mr. G. absurdly attributes to his human nature, should still be attributed to his pre-existent and divine nature.
In his state of humiliation, he who was before in the form of God, and counted it not robbery to be equal with God, was now in the form of a servant, and in the likeness of men. This assumed nature stood in a subordinate and inferior relation. Hence he spoke of God as his God and his Father, and of himself as the Servant and Son, and acknowledged "the Father is greater than I;" for the divine nature is superior to the human. Hence he spoke of himself as sent by the Father, taught by the Father,
commanded by the Father, obeying the Father, not honouring himself, but the Father, having a kingdom appointed by the Father, and being glorified by the Father. This inferior and subordinate nature must finally "give up to the Father the kingdom" which he has received from him, "that God may be all in all." But all this does not prove that his pre-existent nature was not in the form of God, and equal with God; or that it ever will be inferior or subordinate.*
As Jesus Christ possesses the divine nature, and the divine perfections, he is frequently denominated God.
1. We have already seen that the pre-existent nature of Christ is what is called the Word. St. John says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God," John, i, 1. This passage, Mr. G. observes, "was written in opposition to the Gnostic doctrine of æons, of the separate existences of wisdom, and life, and light; and to maintain that they were all one and the same being, all God himself." (Vol. i, p. 200.) In his comment, therefore, he has these words: "And the Word was no other than God himself." (Vol. i, p. 197.) This word, then, which he here says "was no other than God himself," "was made flesh, and dwelt among us; and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." Where then is Mr. G.'s modesty, when he asserts "that even John does not tell us plainly and positively that there were two natures in Jesus Christ, a divine and a human?" (Vol. i, p. 433.)
2. Hence, after his incarnation, he was called " Emanuel; which, being interpreted, is, God with us," Matt. i, 23, i. e., "no other than God himself," dwelling among us in human flesh.
* Mr. G. objects to the divinity of our Lord, that " Jesus Christ must be dependent upon God, and inferior to him, because he declares that he had not the disposal of the highest places in his own kingdom," Matt. xx, 23. (Vol. i, p. 355.) Some men would have felt a little uneasy in urging an objection which contradicts itself, by supposing a sovereign not to be supreme "in his own kingdom." If Mr. G. feels any thing of this, he may soon be relieved by being informed that the words, "it shall be given to them,” are supplied by the translators, and that the meaning of the passage is,
to sit on my right hand and on my left, is not mine to give, except to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.”
3. Thomas, therefore, might well exclaim to him, "My Lord, and my God," John xx, 28. If the word incar nate" was no other than God himself" in human flesh, this exclamation was the result of conviction. But Mr. G. dexterously divides the exclamation into two, the first part addressed to Jesus, "O my Master! or, O my Lord!" (vol. i, p. 204;) the second, (in which, to assist the reader's imagination, he supposes Thomas to lift up his hands,) addressed to the Father, "O my God!" He then admires his own ingenuity. But if this had been the meaning of the evangelist, he must have said, "And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord! and he said unto the Father, My God!" But, unhappily for the honour of Socinianism, St. John distinctly states that the whole excla. mation was addressed to Jesus: "And Thomas answered, and said unto him, My Lord, and my God!"
4. Nor could Thomas be blamable in using a term which God himself has used. “But unto the Son, (he saith,) Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever," Hebrews i, 8. The first difficulty which Mr. G. imagines, in this passage, is, that we suppose "Jehovah to be addressing Jehovah." It is just as easy as for God to say, "Let us make man." The second is, that the Son is here compared with his "fellows," viz., mankind. We grant that he who is here called God is also the "fellow" of men. But Jehovah calls him also a man who is his "fellow."-66 Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man (that is) my fellow," Zech. xiii, 7. To help us over these difficulties, Mr. G. proposes a new translation. We are always on our guard against Socinian translations; but quote them for their absurdities. He would translate it "God is thy throne." (Vol. i, p. 210.) In another place Mr. G. has quoted these words, "him that sat on the throne," as descriptive of "God with a peculiarly high title or epithet." (Vol. i, p. 276.) He had then forgotten that "the Lamb is in the midst of the throne," Rev. vii, 17. Here he is absurd enough to suppose that God is the throne in the midst of which he sits. But he that sits upon the throne is greater than the throne. So rather than the Son shall be called God, he shall be even greater than God. After all this, Mr. G. objects, "It is only a quotation, and is uttered of Solomon," (vol. i, p. 210,) in
answer to which the author of the epistle, who understood the matter better than Mr. G., says that they are the words of God, addressed “to the Son."
5. It is therefore a scriptural truth, that, when "the Word of God," who, according to Mr. G., is "no other than God himself," "was made flesh," "God was manifest in the flesh," 1 Tim. iii, 16. The learned are not agreed whether the genuine reading of this passage be Os, or es, who or God. As Mr. G. appeals to the "Eclectic reviewers, who admit that Oeos, God, is not the genuine reading," (vol. i, p. 217,) it will not be improper on this occasion to submit the subject to their authority. "We confess," say they," that our judgment is in favour of os, who. But we object strongly to the rendering in the improved version, (which Mr. G. follows,) He who was manifested in the flesh, was justified by the Spirit,' &c." The editors have followed Archbishop Newcome, in supposing that or may be put elliptically for ouros Oc This supposition, we apprehend, is quite unauthorized and erroneous. Till some better support is adduced for this assumed ellipsis, we must reject it as false Greek. In the place before us, or is undoubtedly a relative; and its natural and proper antecedent has been pointed out by the learned Professor Cramer, distinguished thus:-NTIÇ EOTIV εκκλησια ΘΕΟΥ ζωντος (στυλος και εδραίωμα της αληθείας, και ομολογουμένως μεγα, εστι το της ευσεβειας μυστηριον) ος εφανερώθη, K. T. 2. "Which is the church of the living God, (the pillar and support of the truth, and confessedly great is the mystery of godliness,) who was manifested," &c. (Ecl. Rev., vol. v, part i, p. 248.) Leaving out the parenthesis, we have the proposition, "God, who was manifest in the flesh."
"But do you mean that the invisible God was actually visible to mortal eyes?" No: we do not mean that he was manifested to bodily eyes, but that the divine nature was manifested to the mental eyes of those who knew Jesus Christ aright. He that thus "saw the Son, saw the Father also," even as Moses "saw him that is invisible;" for "the Father was in him, and he was in the Father." "O," says Mr. G., " then I firmly believe the passage. I believe that God was manifest in the flesh, in the man Jesus Christ." (Vol. i, p. 216.)