• called “ the image of God” in this place, and 2 Cor. iv. • 4, implies his being visible, and that the perfections of God do most eminently shine forth in him.'

So writes Mr. Peirce. And by Christ seems to mean the Logos, or Christ in his pre-existent state, before he came into this world : which appears to me not a little strange. God, the Father, unquestionably, is invisible. So I think, are the Logos, in the Arian sense of that term, and also angels, and the souls of men, and all beings which we call spirits. None of them are visible to our bodily eyes.

Therefore Christ's being “ the image of God," must be understood of his acting in this world. God is invisible in his nature and essence. But he can manifest himself, and make known to us his mind and will, by those whom he sends as his ministers. This appears to me very plain and evident from John xiv. 8–11, “ Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. What, now, is the answer which our Lord makes to that disciple? Does he reprehend him, as asking an impossibility ? No. His answer is this: “ Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip ? He that hath seen me, bath seen the Father. And how sayest thou, show us the Father!" See what follows, and ver. 7.

I think that Irenæus says the same that I have just now done. · Beati mundi corde, quoniam ipsi videbunt Deum.' Sed secundum magnitudinem quidem ejus, et mirabilem gloriam, “ nemo videbit Deum, et vivet.” Ex. xxxiii. 20. Incapabilis enim Pater. Secundum autem dilectionem et humanitatem, et quod omnia possit, etiam hoc concedit iis qui se diligunt, id est, videre Deum. Homo etenim a se non videt Deum. Ille autem volens videtur hominibus, quibus vult, et quando vult, et quemadmodum vult. Potens est enim in omnibus Deus : visus quidem tunc per spiritum prophetiæ, visus autem et per Filium adoptive. Videbitur autem et in regno coelorum paternaliter. Iren. I. 4. cap. 20. al. 37. n. 5. p. 254.*

So likewise when Christ is called “the image of God” in 2 Cor. iv. 4, the place before cited, the meaning is, that he was so in this world. This I think to be exceeding evident from the context, which shall be now recited more at

• I must transcribe Grotius here. Qui est imago Dei invisibilis.] Dei inaspecti aspectabilis imago. Ita enim Latini loquuntur. Idem sensus 2 Cor. iv. 4, et 1 Tim. iii. 16, Heb. i. 3. Adam imago Dei fuit, sed valde tenuis In Christo perfectissime apparuit, quam Deus esset sapiens, potens, bonus. Sic in aquâ solem conspicimus. Aliud imago, aliud umbra, qualis in Lege. Heb x.l. Grot. ad Col. i. 15.

large:-“ lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them — For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face," or person, “ of Jesus Christ.”

It follows in the same, Col. i. 15,“ Who is the first-born of every creature," or rather, as seems to me,“ of the whole creation,” TPWTOTOROS Taons KTLoews : that is, he is the chief, the most excellent, of the whole creation. Pelagius says, it is to be understood of Christ in regard to his humanity. He is the first, not in time, but in dignity. So it is said, “ Israel is my first-born.” Primogenitus secundum assumpti hominis formam, non tempore, sed honore, juxta illud : “ Filius meus primogenitus Israel.Pelag, in loc. Ap. Hieron. tom. V. p. 1070.

Grotius understands it of the new creation. He refers to 2 Cor. v. 17, Rev. xxi. 5, Heb. ii. 5, to which, perhaps, might have been added Heb. xii. 23, “ The church of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven.” b He likewise says, that in the sacred scriptures, “ the first-born,” sometimes denotes the greatest or highest, and refers to Ps. Ixxxix. 27, Jer. xxxi, 9. Primus in creatione, nova scilicet, de quâ 2 Cor. v. 17. Primogenitum Hebræis dicitur et quod primum, et quod summum est in quoque genere.

For the explication of what follows, I mean Col. 16 - 20, I beg leave to refer you to Grotius.

Heb. i. 1, 2, “ God, who at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by," or in “ the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by," or in “ his Son,” the promised Messiah :-ev tous poontou - EV viu.

“ Whom he has appointed heir of all things: by whom also he made the worlds." Grotius thinks that the Greek phrase may be rendered, “ for whom;" which is very suitable to the coherence, it having been before said, that he was “ appointed heir,” or lord “ of all things.” Videtur di' hic recte accipi posse pro di'ov,“ propter quem. Ideo autem hæc interpretatio boc loco maxime mihi se probat, quia ad Hebræos scribens videtur respicere ad dictum vetus Hebræorum, propter Messiam conditum esse mundum.

b• By Christ we are all called to be the first-born, that is, to be all hallowed, and to be called God's peculiar, as were the first-born, before the Le• vites were taken in their stead. Dr. Sykes upon Heb. xii. 23.

• Moreover it might be observed, • That Dr. Sykes says, the word awvas, • which we render worlds, does not signify “ the heavens, and the earth, and

Ver. 3, “ Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person." That expresseth the glory of Jesus Christ in this world. He is the refulgence of the Father's glory, which shone upon him, and was seen in bim. In him appeared the wisdom, the power, the truth, the holiness, the goodness, the mercifulness of God. It is much the same as “the form of God," Philip. ii. 6. Says Grotius, 'Os wv atravyaoua tns 8067s. -Repercussus divinæ majestatis, qualis est solis in nube, quæ dicitur mapyklos-Majestas divina, cum per se conspici nequeat, cernitur in Christo, sicut sol, quem directe oculi nostri tueri nequeunt, cernitur in aquâ, speculo, nube. Vide 2 Cor. iv. 4. Col. i. 15, Kai χαρακτηρ της υποστασεως αυτα –Υποστασις hic non ita sumitur, , quomodo Platonici, et post Origenem ex Platonicis christiani, sumpsere,- Ita potentia, justitia, veritas in Deo Christi Patre sunt primario, in Christo vero secundario, sed ita ut nobis in Christo ea evidenter appareant, Joh. xiv. 9.

The same ver. 3, " and upholding all things by the word of his power.” This must relate to our Saviour's transactions in this world, because it precedes the mention of his death, which follows next. I have looked into Brenius, who says

the same: and I shall transcribe him, as it is like

have him not with you. Cumque omnia potenti suo jussu in terris ferret. Depeiv bic, ut interpretes nonnulli recte annotant, potius significat agere, sive moderari, et gubernare, quam portare aut ferre: nisi ferendi aut portandi verbum hoc sensu accipiatur, ut metaphorice designet Christum etiam in terris munus suum administrantem, omnia ad regni cælestis in terris dispensationem pertinentia, velut humeris suis portâsse, Conf. Is. ix. 6.

To the same purpose likewise Limborch, whom I shall transcribe also in part. Sic videmus Domini Jesu potentiæ omnia fuisse subjecta, ejusque miracula fuisse universalia in totam naturam; nullamque fuisse creaturam, quin imperiuin ipsius agnoverit —Quibus omnibus præconii sui divinitatem adstruxit, seque a Deo Patre suo esse missum probavit. Quæ omnia solo jussu efficere, vere divinum est, • all things that are in them:" but it means, he says, properly, “ ages," or ““ certain periods of time,” in which such or such things were done. Such

ly you

were the patriarchal, that of the law, that of the Messiah, that of the ante• diluvians—These were properly awves, ages.' Admit, then, the interpretation of Grotius, oi' 8, to be “ for whom." And we have a most apt and beautiful sense, which is this. ““ For whom also,” or “ for whose sake also," • or in respect to whom, he disposed and ordered the ages, that is, the ante

diluvian, the patriarchal, the legal ages or periods, and all the divine dispensa• tions towards the sons of men.'


Et qui id facit quasi imago Dei est, potentiamque divinam in se residere ostendit.

Hereby then, is represented the power residing in Jesus, whereby he wrought the greatest miracles, whenever be pleased, by an effectual all-commanding word, healing diseases, raising the dead, rebuking stormy winds and waves, and they subsided, multiplying provisions in desert places, causing a fish to bring a stater for the tribute money to be paid to the templert dired. paid to the temple, for himself and the disciple at whose

It follows in the same verse, “ when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. Which last words include our Lord's resurrection from the dead, and his ascension to heaven, and there sitting on the right hand of the Father. Upon which the apostle farther enlargeth.

Ver. 4, 5, “ Being made so much better than the angels, as he has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee qk See 2 Sam. vii. 14, Ps. ii. 7, lxxxix, 26, 27.

Ver. 6, “ And again, when he bringeth in the first-begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.”

Mr. Peirce's paraphrase of ver. 6, is thus: “So far is he • from speaking in such a manner of any of the angels, that on the contrary, when he brings again his first-begotten

into the world, raising him from the dead, he says, and let • all the angels of God be subject to him.' See 1 Pet. iii.

22 “ by the resurrection of Jesus Christ; who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God, angels, and authorities, and powers being made subject unto him.”

Ver. 7, “ And of the angels he saith, who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.”

Ver. 8, “ But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.”. Ver. 9, “ Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, has anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows."

“ But unto the Son he saith.” I think it should be thus rendered : “ but of the Son he saith, [or,] with regard to the Son, he saith.” For in the original it is the same phrase, which in the seventh verse we have translated, “ of the angels he saith.” So here, “ With regard to the Son,


and ever.

[ocr errors]



he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever.” The words are in Ps. xlv. 6, “ Thy throne, O God, is for ever

The sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre." The writer of this epistle to the Hebrew's says, ' And with

regard to the Son, or the Messiah, God's throne is for ever ' and ever:' that is, the kingdom of God, erected by the Messiah, is to have no period : and this is expressed in the words of the Psalmist here quoted. Comp. Luke i. 33, 34. So likewise Dan. ii. 44. And “ in the days of these king's shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed.” And in Rev. xiv. 6, the doctrine to be preached to all nations is called “ the everlasting gospel.”

Here I recollect a passage in Origen's books against Celsus, who informs us he had met with a Jew, esteemed a very learned man, who said that those words, “ Thy

throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy • kingdom is a right sceptre:” are addressed to the God of * the universe : but the following words, “ thou lovest

righteousness and hatest iniquity; therefore God, thy God, • hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fel• lows,” are addressed to the Messiah.'

Και μεμνημαι γε πανυ θλιψας τον Ιεδαιον, νομιζομενον σoφoν, εκ λεξεως ταυτης. προς αυτην απορων, ειπε τα τω εαυτ8 ιεδαισμα ακολουθα: ειπε προς μεν τον των ολων θεον ειρησθαι το, ο θρονος σε, ο θεος, εις τον αιωνα τ8 αιωνος, ραβδος ευθυτατος η ραβδος της βασιλειας σε προς δε τον Χριστον το, ηγαπησας δικαιοσυνην, και εμισησας ανομίαν. Δια τέτο έχρισε σε ο θεος ο θεος σε, και τα εξης. Contra Cels. 1. 1. p. 43. Cant. Tom. 1. p. 371. Bened.

Origen did not approve of that interpretation : but to me it appears both very right and very valuable. Nor is it so difficult, but that it might have been discerned by a christian, were it not that we are strangely misled by a great variety of wrong notions which prevail amongst us.

So again, ver. 10, “ And thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of thy hands." Ver. 11,' “ They shall perish, but thou remainest : and they all shall wax old like a garment,” Ver. 12, “ And as á vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail." Which words are a quotation from Ps. cii. 25, 26, 27, where they are addressed to God : and so they are here. In order to preserve the connection, we are to supply some such words as these at the beginning of the quotation. And of the Son, or with regard to • the Son, or the Messiah, the scripture saith,' “ And thon, Lord,”—that is, upon account of the dispensation by the

« ElőzőTovább »