Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

What St. Johu says therefore is this: “ And the Word was made flesh," or took upon him the human nature.

St. John says, 1 Ep. iv. 2, 3. “ Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God. And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God.” See likewise 2 Ep.

ver. 7.

d

It is well known, that in the early days of christianity, particularly in Asia, where St. John resided, there arose people, generally called Docetes, who denied the real hu-' manity of Christ, and said, he was man in appearance only.

These St. John opposeth in his epistles, if not in his gospel also. Against them he bere asserts, that Jesus had the innocent infirmities of the human nature, and that he really suffered and died. But when he says, that “ Jesus Christ came in the flesh,” he does not deny, that he had a human soul, or was man completely. Indeed, it is here implied, that he was man as we are.

Heb. x. 5. “Wherefore, when he cometh into the world he saith: Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body bast thou prepared me.” But it is reasonable to think, that' a part is here put for

• He took upon him our human nature, became himself a man, subject • to the like frailties with us, and lived and conversed freely amongst men.' Dr. Clarke's Paraphrase of St. John i. 14. the fourth edition, 1722.

• Ecce in quibus verbis suis omnino manifestant negare se, quod ad unitatem personæ Christi etiam humana anima pertineat ; sed in Christo carnem et di. vinitatem tantummodo confiteri. Quandoquidem cum penderet in ligno, illud, ubi ait, ` Pater, in manus tuas commendo spiritum meum,' divinitatem ipsam volunt eum intelligi commendasse Patri, non humanum spiritum, quod est anima-Et his atque hujusmodi sanctarum scripturarum testimoniis non resistant, fateanturque Christum, non tantum carnem, sed animam quoque humanam Verbo unigenito coaptâsse-Aut si eo moventur quod scriptum est, • Verbum caro factum est, nec illic anima nominata est: intelligant, carnem pro homine positam, a parte totum significante locutionis modo, sicuti est, ' Ad * te omnis caro veniet.' Item, • Ex operibus legis non justificabitur omnis caro.' Quod apertius alio loco dixit : “ Ex lege nemo justificabitur.' Itemque alio : • Non justificatur homo ex operibus.' Sic itaque dictum est, verbum caro • factum est ; ac si diceretur, Verbum homo factum est. Veruntamen isti, cum ejus solam humanam carnem velint intelligi hominem Christum, non enim negabunt hominem, de quo apertissime dicitur, unus mediator Dei et hominum homo Christus Jesus —&c. Aug. Contr. sermon. Arian. cap. ix. tom. VIII.

• A body here is a synecdochical expression of the human nature of • Christ. So is flesh taken, when he is said to be made flesh. For the gene• ral end of his having this body was, that he might therein and thereby yield . obedience, or do the will of God. And the especial end of it was, that he

might have what to offer in sacrifice to God. But neither of these can be . confined unto his body alone. For it is the soul, the other essential part of the human nature, that is the principle of obedience,' Dr. J. Owen upon Heb. x. 5. p. 29.

VOL. X.

other part

us.

the whole, and that the word, “ body,” is not to be understood exclusively of the soul. St. Paul writes to the Romans: “ I beseech you therefore, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice to God," ch. xii. 1. 'But no one ought hence to conclude, that the Romans had not souls as well as bodies, or that their souls might be neglected. No. The faculties of the mind, as well as the members of the body, were to be consecrated to God, and employed in his service. At the beginning of the next chapter, St. Paul says: “Let every soul be subject to the higher powers." Where the

of the human nature is put for the whole. And it is manifest from ch. ii. 17, 18, and other places, that the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews believed Christ to be man, or to have the human nature complete like unto

It would therefore be very unreasonable to understand body in this place exclusively of the soul.

The words of the apostle are a quotation from Ps. xl. prophetically representing the readiness of Christ to do the will of God in this world.

“ Wherefore when he cometh into the world he saitb." • Whichs words are capable of two interpretations. They * may relate to our Lord's nativity, when he literally entered • into the world. Or they may relate to the entrance upon • his ministry. Then it was, that “ the Father sanctified him • and sent him into the world,” John x. 36, and xvii. 18. . And then it was that he devoted himself to God entirely. • Nor can it be well doubted, that the prayer, which Jesus made, when he was baptized, and received the Spirit,

which is mentioned Luke ji, 31, contained a declaration, * equivalent to that in this place: “Lo I come to do thy will, • O God.” Compare John v. 30, and vi. 38.'

I will now consider some texts, which have been thought by some to represent to us the pre-existence of the soul of our Saviour, before his conception in the womb of the virgin Mary.

“ The form of God,” Philip. ii. 6, seems to me to have been enjoyed by our Lord in this world. Ith denotes his knowledge of the hearts of men, his power of healing diseases, and raising the dead, and working other miracles, at all times, whenever he pleased, and all the other evidences

[ocr errors]

8 See Beausobre upon Heb. x. 5.

Moppn, 'forma,' in nostris libris non significat æternum et occultum aliquid, sed id quod in oculos incurrit, qualis erat eximia in Christo potestas sanandi morbos omnes, ejiciendi dæmonas, excitandi mortuos, mutandi rerum naturas ; que vere divina sunt, ita ut Moses, qui tam magna non fecit, dictus ob id fuerit Deus Pharaonis. Grot. in Philip. ii. 6.

of his divine mission. This sense does wonderfully accord with what our Lord says, John x. 34-36, and in many other places of that gospel. “ Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken, say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest, because I said, I am the Son of God ?" But though he had so great power," he made himself of no reputation :" he lived in a mean condition, and submitted to the reproaches of enemies, and at last to death itself. Which was plainly a voluntary submission. For being innocent, he needed not to have died, but might have been translated without tasting death.

If this be the meaning of that text, then 2 Cor. viii. 9, is also explained : thati “ though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor.'

John i. 15, “ John bare witness of him He that cometh after me is preferred before me. For he was before me.” And ver. 30, “ This is he, of whom I said : After me cometh a man, which is preferred before me. For he was before me.” But I apprehend, that John the Baptist does not here say, that Jesus was before him in time. But he says: "He who comes after me, has always been before • me, or in my view. For he is my chief, or prince, or princi. pal. This suits what he says of the great dignity and transcendent excellence of our Lord's person and character, at ver. 27. “ Whose shoes' latchet I am not worthy to unloose :" and ver. 23, “ I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord;" that is, I am the harbinger, or forerunner of the great Person, who is about to appear among you. I am come before him, to

prepare for his reception.

John viïi. 58, may be thought a strong text for the preexistence of our Saviour's soul. But really he there only represents his dignity as the Messiah, the special favour of God toward him, and the importance of the dispensation by him. It is a way of speaking, resembling that in Rev. xiii. 8, “ Whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world,” and explained, 1 Pet. i. 20, “ Who verily was fore-ordained before the foundation of the world.” See also Eph. i. 4. 2 Tim. i.

' Id est, cum vi polleret omnis generis miracula patrandi, etiam mortuos resuscitandi, personam tamen gessit tam humilem, ut ne domum quidem haberet propriam. Grot. in loc.

* Fuerat ante Abrahamum Jesus divinâ constitutione : infra xvii. 5. Apoc. xiii. 8. 1 Pet. i. 20. Constat hoc, quia de ipso ipsiusque Ecclesiâ mystice

9. Tit. i. 2. The Jewish people have a saying, that' the law was before the world was created. In like manner the dispensation by the Messiah was before the dispensation of Abraham, in dignity, nature, and design, though not in time.

The Jews were much offended at the words, recorded in the 56th verse.

Nevertheless our Lord does not there say, that he had seen Abraham, or that Abraham had seen him in person. What he says is this : “ Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day. And he saw it, and was glad;" that is, he earnestly desired to see the time, when all the nations of the earth should be blessed, through his promised seed, the Messiah. And " by faith he saw it, and was glad.” Compare Heb. xi. 13.m

Another text proper to be considered here is John xvii. 5, “ And now, O Father, glorify thou me with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” But this, according to the Jewish phraseology, may be very well understood of the glory, always designed for the Christ by the immutable purpose of God. See Grotius upon the place. That our Lord had not, before his nativity, the glory which he here prays for, is apparent from the whole tenor of the gospel, and from clear and manifest expressions in the context. For the glory, which he now prays for, is the reward of his obedience. Ver. 4, “ I have finished the work, which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me.” And St. Paul says, Philip. ii. 9, “Wherefore God also has highly exalted him," Heb. ij. 9, “ for the suffering of death he was crowned with glory and honour,' ver. 10, " For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” And Heb. xii. 2, “ Looking unto Jesus, who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame. And is set down on the right hand of the

dictum erat, recente humano genere, futurum, ut semen muliebre contereret caput serpentis. Grot. in Joh. viii. 58. Vid. et Bez, in loc.

Sic • legem fuisse ante mundum,' aiunt Hebræi. Vide Thalmudem de Votis. Grot. ad Joh. xvii. 5.

m Cæterum, ex Hebræorum idiotismo, dies alicujus nihil aliud declarat, quam spatium quo vixerit aliquis, aut insigne quidpiam, quod ipsi vel facere vel ferre contigit. Quæ res notior est, quam ut testimonio egeat. Dies ergo Domini nihil aliud significat, quam ipsius adventum in carnem. Vidit enim eum eminus Abraham, fidei nimirum oculis, ut declaratur, Hebr. xi. 13.-ac gavisus est,—Respicit autem expresse Christus ad id quod dicitur, Gen. xvii. 17. Abrahamum, acceptà de nascituro sibi illo semine promissione, sese prostravisse, et risisse. Unde et ipsi Isaaco nomen imposuit Dominus. Bez, ad Joh. vü. 56.

throne of God." And Luke xxiv. 26. Our Saviour says to the disciples, in the way to Emmaus : “ Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?” And St. Peter, 1 Ep. i. 10, 11, “ Of which salvation the prophets have inquired—Searching what, or what manner of time the spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” And St. Paul, Acts xxvi, 22, 23, " saying no other things than those, which the prophets and Moses did say should come: that the Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead.” All harmonious, as we see, that the glory of the Messiah was subsequent to his obedience and sufferings on this earth. See likewise Rom. i. 3, 4.

Nor can I forbear to observe to you, that Augustin, who has largely considered the words of John xvii. 5, and in so doing quotes Eph. i. 4, and Rom. i. 1-4, understands them of Christ's human nature, and explains them in the same manner that I have done. Quasi vero quisquam regulam fidei intuens, Filium Dei negaturus est prædestinatum, qui eum negare hominem non potest. Recte quippe dicitur non prædestinatus secundum id quod est Verbum Dei, Deus apud Deum—Illud autem prædestinandum erat, quod nondum erat, ut suo tempore fieret, quemadmodum ante omnia tempora prædestinatum erat, ut fieret. Quisquis igitur Dei Filium prædestinatum negat, hunc eundem filium hominis negat-secundum hanc ergo prædestinationem etiam clarificatus est antequam mundus esset, ut esset claritas ejus ex resurrectione mortuorum apud Patrem, ad cujus dexteram sedet. Cum ergo videret illius prædestinatæ suæ clarificationis venisse jam tempus, ut et nunc fieret in redditione, quod fuerat in prædestinatione jam factum, oravit, dicens: • Et nunc clarifica me tu Pater apud temetipsum, claritate, • quam habui priusquam mundus esset, apud te :' tamquam diceret, Claritatem quam habui apud te, id est, illam claritatem, quam habui apud te in prædestinatione tua, tempus est, ut apud te habeam etiam vivens in dexterâ tuâ. August. In Joan. Evang. cap. 17. Tr. cv, n. 8. ed. Bened. Tom. III. p. 2.

It has been thought by some," that Christ, or the Son, appeared to the patriarchs, and was oftentimes sent upon messages to men by the Supreme Being, before the times of the gospel. But where is the proof of this? It was the

That opinion is modestly rejected by Mr. Peirce, in his Paraphrase on the Epistle to the Hebrews. Chap. I. ver. 2.

« ElőzőTovább »