virgin Mary, and was made man; that is, was made as * much so, as his mother could make him, without being • impregnated by man. And now being deprived of the • immediate presence of God the Father, and being shut up • in darkness, and the shadow of death, he was after nine * months brought forth into life, in the form of a feeble in• fant, with all the weakness, and frailties, and infirmities of • human nature about him. And as he grew up into life, * and his reason improved, this only served to make the * terrible change and alteration of his condition, so much the . more perceptible, and the recollection of it so much the more grievous and insufferable. The dreadfulness of which state is hardly conceivable to us, because that we never were sensible of any thing better than our present • existence. But for any being, wbich had ever enjoyed • the happiness of heaven, and had been in possession of

glory with the Father,” to be deprived thereof, and to • be sent to dwell here in this world, encompassed within • the narrow limits of this earthly tabernacle, and the heavy • organs, made of flesh and blood, it must, literally speak• ing, be to such a being, a hell upon earth.' So says that celebrated writer.

To the letter are now added two postscripts. Concerning which nothing needs to be said here. They who look into them will see what they are.

One thing the author would say. He hopes the whole is written in the way of reason and argument, with meekness and candour, without acrimony and abuse: though not without a just concern for such things as appear to him to be of importance.

February 12, 1759.






You have, it seems, heard of the correspondence between Eugenius and Phileleutherus, and particularly of an incidental question, concerning the Arian hypothesis. You have been informed, likewise, that I am well acquainted with this correspondence. And, as it has excited your curiosity, you demand of me an account of it, and also my own opinion upon the point in debate.

If it were proper for me to deny you any thing, I should entirely excuse myself, and be perfectly silent: being apprehensive that touching upon a subject of so much niceness and difficulty may occasion some trouble to yourself, as well as to me. But you are determined not to accept of any excuses.

I must then, without further preamble, declare to you that I cannot but take the same side of the question with Phileleutherus : though once, for some while, I was much inclined to the other.

However, whilst I was favourable to the supposition, that the Logos was the soul of our Saviour, I was embarrassed

ith a very considerable difficulty. For the scriptures do plainly represent our blessed Saviour, exalted to power and glory, as a reward of his sufferings here on earth: but I was at a loss to conceive how that high Being, the first and only immediately derived being by whom God made the world, should gain any exaltation by receiving after his

• Dr. Clarke, Scripture Doctrine, &c. P. I. numb. 535. p. 86. • The third interpretation is, that the Word is a person deriving from the Father (with • whom he existed before the world was) both his being itself, and incompre• hensible power and knowledge, and other divine attributes and authority, • in a manner not revealed, and which human wisdom ought not to presume • to explain.

Ib. Part. II. p. 242, sect. ii. · With this first and supreme cause and Father resurrection and ascension, a bright resplendent human body, and being made the King and Lord of all good men in this world, and the Judge of mankind, and, if you please to add likewise being made higher than the angels, to whom, according to the same hypothesis, he was vastly superior before.

But to speak my mind freely, I now entirely dislike that scheme, and think it all amazing throughout, and irreconcilable to reason.

However, that we may not take up any prejudices from apprehensions which our own reason might afford, I shall suspend all inquiries of that sort, and will immediately enter upon the consideration of what the scriptures say of the person of our Saviour.

He is called a man in many places of the gospels. And every body took him for a man during his abode on chis earth, when he conversed with all sorts of people in the most free and open manner. He frequently styles himself “ the Son of man.” He is also said to be the Son of David," and “ the Son of Abraham.” He is called a man even after his ascension. Acts xvii. 31, “ He has appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he has ordained.” 1 Tim. ii. 5, there is one God and one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.” And St. Peter to the Jews at Jerusalem, Acts ii. 22, “ Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles, and wonders, and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know."

Now if Jesus Christ be a man, he consists of a human soul and body: for what else is a man?

This title and appellation of man being so often and so plainly given to our Saviour, must needs lead us to think that he was properly man, unless there are some expressions of another kind that are decisive to the contrary. But we

of all things, there has existed, from the beginning, a second divine Person, 6 which is his Word or Son.'

Page 297, sect. xxvi. • By the operation of the Son, the Father both made • and governs the world.'

Page 298, sect. xxvii. ·Concerning the Son, there are other things spoken • in scripture;

and the highest titles are ascribed to him, even such as include • all divine powers, excepting absolute independency and supremacy.' A part of Mr. Peirce's paraphrase upon Col. i. 15, 16, is in these words :

and since he was the first being that was derived from the Father. And • tliat he must be the first derived from him, is hence evident, that all other • beings were derived from God, the primary and supreme cause of all, through * his Šon, by whom, as their immediate author, all things were created that • are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible,' &c.

[ocr errors]

66 For


find that he is not only called a man, but is also said to be a man as we are, or like to us. Heb. ii. 17,“ Therefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren." Ch. iv. 15, “ We have not an high priest, which cannot be touched with a feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” And see the second chapter of that epistle throughout.

Beside these plain expressions, describing our Lord to be a man, and like to us; this point may be argued from a great number and variety of particulars related in the New Testament: for two evangelists have recorded our Lord's nativity. St. Paul says, “ God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,” Gal. iv. 4. If it were expedient that our Saviour should be born into the world, as we are, and live in infancy, and grow up to manhood, as we do, and be liable to all the bodily wants, weaknesses, and disasters to which we are exposed, must it not have been as needful, or more needful, and as conformable to the Divine Wisdom, that he should be also like unto us in the other part of which we are composed, a human soul, or spirit ? b

Moreover, this supposition does best, if not only, account for our blessed Saviour's temptation, and every part of it. For how was it possible that he should be under any temptation to try the love of God to him, by turning stones into bread! or by casting himself down from a pinnacle of the temple! How could all the glories of this world, and the kingdoms of it, be any temptation to him, who had made all things under the Supreme Being ? Had he forgot the

6. And when we say, that person was conceived and born, we declare, he was made really and truly man, of the same human nature, which is in • all other men.-For “the Mediator between God and men is the man Christ • Jesus," 1 Tim. ïi. 5. “ That since by man came death, by man also • [should] come the resurrection of the dead," 1 Cor. xv. 21. As sure, then,

as the first Adam, and we who are redeemed, are men; so certainly is the • second Adam, and our Mediator, man. He is therefore frequently called • " the Son of man," and in that nature he was always promised ; first to • Eve, as her seed, and consequently her son ; then to Abraham. And that • seed is Christ. Gal. ii. 16, and so the son of Abraham, next to David ;

and consequently of the same nature with David and Abraham. And as • he was their son, so are we his brethren, as descendants from the same father • Adam. “And therefore it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren : • for he laid not hold on the angels, but on the seed of Abraham," Heb. ii. 16, 17; and so became not an angel, but a man.

• As then man consisteth of two different parts, body and soul, so doth • Christ.-And certainly, if the Son of God would vouchsafe to take the

frailty of our flesh, he would not omit the nobler part, our soul, without • which he could not be man. For “ Jesus increased in wisdom and stature;" one in respect of his body, the other of his soul, Luke ii. 52. Pearson upon the Creed, Art. ii. p. 159, 160, thc fourth edition, 1676.

glory and

[ocr errors]

power which he once had ? If that could be surposed, and that this want of memory of past things still remained, it might be as well supposed, that he had no remembrance of the orders which he had received from God, and of the commission with which God the Father had sent him into the world.

The supposition of Christ being a man, does also best account for his agony in the garden, and the dark, yet glorious scene of his sufferings on the cross, and the concluding prayer there : “ My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

And the inaking the Logos to be the soul of Christ does really annihilate his example, and enervate all the force which it should have upon us. But it

may be said, that there are some texts, which lead us to think, that Jesus Christ had a human body, but not a human soul : particularly John i. 14. and Hebr. x. 5.

John i. 14, “ And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." But it should be observed, that “ flesh” in the scriptures both of the Old and New Testament, is oftentimes equivalent to “man,” Ps. lvi. 5, “I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.' Ver. 11, “I will not fear what man can do unto me.” And in innumerable other places. And in the New Testament, Matt. xii. 20. Luke iii. 6. John xvii. 2. Acts ïi. 17. 1 Pet. i. 24.

c Luke xxii. 44. “ And being in an agony"-Kai yevouevos ev aywvıq.} I would put the question, whether it might not be thus translated ? '“ And being under great concern." I will transcribe here a passage of an ancient writer, representing the anxiety or solicitude of Julius Cæsar and others, when Octavius Cæsar, then a young man, had a dangerous sickness. Xaletwç de διακειμενε, παντες μεν εν φοβω ησαν, αγωνιωντες, ει τι πεισεται τοιαυτη φυσις, μαλισα δε παντων ο Καισαρ. Διο πασαν ημεραν η αυτος παρων αυτώ ευθυμιαν παρειχεν, η φιλες πεμπων, ιατρες τε αποκατειν ουκ εων.

Και ποτε δειπνωντι ηγγειλε τις, ως εκλυτος ειη, και χαλεπως εχοι. ο δε εκπηδησας ανυποδητος ήκεν ενθα ενοσηλευετο, και των ιατρων εδειτο εμπαθεσατα μεσος ων αγωνιας, και αυτος παρεκάθητο, κ. λ. Nic. Damascen. De Institutione Cæsaris Augusti Ap. Vales. Excerpta. p. 841.

I have observed, that some learned men seem studiously to have avoided the word AGONY in their translations. In the Latin vulgate is : et factus in agoniâ. But Beza translates : et constitutus in angore. Le Clerc's French version is : et comme il étoit dans une extrême inquiétude—And Lenfant's: et comme il étoit dans un grand combat-Which "last I do not think to be right. For the original word is not aywv,


αγωνια. The Syriac version, as translated into Latin by Tremellius, Trostius, and others, is : cum esset in timore, instanter orabat. I shall add a short passage from V. H. Vogleri Physiologia Historiæ Passionis J. C. Cap. II. p. 4. Ideoque non immerito dici potest aywvia (quam in defectu commodioris vocabuli angorem Latine vocemus) promptitudo rem quampiam aggrediundi, sed cum timore et trepidatione.

« ElőzőTovább »