« PreviousContinue »
A L E T T E R,
WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1730,
CONCERNING THE QUESTION, WHETHER THE LOGOS SUPPLIED THE PLACE OF A
HUMAN SOUL IN THE PERSON OF JESUS CHRIST.
TO WHICH ARE NOW ADDED,
THE FIRST CONTAINING AN EXPLICATION OF THOSE WORDS, THE SPIRIT, THE HOLY SPIRIT, THE
OF THE HISTORIES OF THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT.
Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of
me.-John v. 39. Ergo nec Parentum, nec Majorum Error sequendus est: sed Auctoritas Scripturarum, et Dei
docentis Imperium.--Hieron. in Jer. cap. ix. ver. 12–14.
Though the names in this letter are fictitious (as they always were, and the same that appear now) it is a part of a real correspondence. Papinian, who was a man of a mature age, of great eminence, and a diligent reader of the sacred scriptures, has long since accomplished his course in this world. Philalethes is still living. The letter sent to Papinian was never returned, but Philalethes kept a copy of it. Though written almost thirty years ago, it has hitherto lain concealed in the writer's cabinet. Nor has it, till very lately, been shown to more than two persons, one of whom is deceased. Whether this will be reckoned full proof, that the writer is not forward to engage in religious disputes, I cannot say. This however is certain : he would have great reason to think himself happy, if, with the assistance of others, without noise and disturbance, in the way of free, calm, and peaceable debate, he could clear up a controverted point of religion, to general satisfaction. If
any should ask, why is this letter published now? I would answer in the words of Solomon: “ There is a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.” But whether the present season has been fitly chosen, the event under the conduct of Divine Providence will best show.
The reader is desired to take notice, that whatever he sees at the bottom of the pages, is additional There are also some additions in the letter itself, especially near the end, where more texts are explained than were in the original letter.
For better understanding the argument, it may be needful to observe, for the sake of some, that by divers ancient writers we are assured, it was the opinion of Arius and his followers, • That our
-σαρκα μονον τον Σωτηρα απο Μαριας ειληφεναι, διαCEBU!B!LEYOV, xai BXH Yuxor. Epiph. de Arianis in Indic. T. I.
Αλλα και αρνονται ψυχην αυτον ανθρωπινην ειληφεναι. Ιd. H. 69, n. 19, p. 743. A. Conf. n. 48–51.
• Saviour took flesh of Mary, but not a soul :' that. Christ had flesh only, as a covering for his Deity: and that the Word in him was the same as the soul in us: and that the Word, or the Deity in Christ, was liable to sufferings in the body.'
Mr. Whiston, in his Historical Memoirs of the Life of Dr. Clarke, giving an account of the act in the divinity schools at Cambridge, in the year 1709, when Mr. Clarke, then rector of St. James's, received the doctor's degree, says, at p. 20, 21. • In the course of this act, where • I was present, Professor James — digressed from one of the doctor's questions, and pressed him • hard to condemn one of the opinions, which I had just then published in my Sermons and Essays. • Which book he held in his hand, when he was in the chair. I suppose, it might be this: that • our Saviour had no human soul, but that the Divine Logos or Word supplied its place• However, Dr. Clarke, who, I believe, had not particularly examined that point, did prudently • avoid either the approbation or condemnation of it. Yet have I reason to believe, he long * afterwards came into it, upon a farther examination : though, I think, he ever avoided, according to his usual caution, to declare publicly that his approbation, even upon the most pressing applications; which is one great instance of that impenetrable secrecy, which Dr. Sykes justly 'notes to have been in him, upon many occasions.'
So Mr. Whiston. Who clearly declares his own opinion. Who likewise supposeth, that the same was for some while received by Dr. Clarke. But he seems not to have had any certain evidence of it. For, as he acknowledges, • Dr. Clarke never publicły declared his approbation of it.'
Nevertheless it may not be disagreeable to see here what Dr. Clarke himself says in his Scripture Doctrine of the Trinity, part I. ch. iii. numb. 998. p. 197. • Matt. iv. 1. " Then was • Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness.” From this, and many other of the following • texts, it seems, that the Logos, the Divine Nature of Christ, did so far xewoHL EQUTOV, diminish itself, as St. Paul expresses it, Philip. ij. 7, that, during the time of his incarnation, he was all along under the conduct of the Holy Spirit.'
And Part II. sect. xxviii. p. 301. • The Holy Spirit is described in the New Testament, • as the immediate author and worker of all miracles, even of those done by our Lord himself: ' and as the conductor of Christ in all the actions of his life, during his state of humiliation here • on earth.'
Before I finish this preface, I must make some citations from Dr. Robert Clayton, late Lord Bishop of Clogher; who in the third part of his Vindication of the Histories of the Old and New Testament, has expressed himself after this manuer. Letter v. p. 80, 81, or p. 413. • “ He who had glory with the Father, before the world was, emptied himself,” or divested
himself of that glory, in order to redeem mankind, and descended from heaven, and “ took • upon him the form of a servant, and was made man.” That is, he, who was a glorified pre• existent spirit in the presence of God, submitted to descend from heaven, and to have himself .conveyed by the wonderful power of Almighty God, into the womb of a virgin. Where being • clothed with flesh, and ripening by degrees to manhood, he was at length brought forth into the world, in the same apparent state and condition with other human infants.'
Again, Letter vii. p. 132, 133, or 482, 483. • And accordingly this exalted spirit was, by the * wonderful power of God, as before related, conveyed into the womb of the virgin Mary, and • was made inan; that is, was made as much so, as his mother could make him, without being • impregnated by man. And now being deprived of the inmediate 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 infant, 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, which had ever enjoyed
• Αρειος δε σαρκα μονης προς αποκρυφης της θεοτητος ομολογει: αντι δε τα εσωθεν εν ημιν ανθρωπο, τοτ' εςι της ψυχης, τον doyou ev Ty, capas i.EYE178/oyayab. 4. . Athan. Contr. Apollin. 1. 2, n. 3. p. 942. C.
In eo autem quod Christum sine animâ..solam carnem suscepisse arbitrantur, minus noti sunt- -sed hoc verum esse, et Epiphanius non tacuit, et ego ex eorum quibusdam scriptis et collocutionibus certissime inveni. August. de Hær. c. 49.
• the happiness of heaven, and had been in possession of “glory with the Father,” to be de• prived 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 speaking, 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.
A L E T T E R,
WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1730, ,
CONCERNING THE QUESTION, WHETHER THE LOGOS SUPPLIED THE PLACE OF AN IIUMAN
SOUL IN THE PERSON OF JESUS CHRIST.
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 farther 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 i the other.
However, whilst I was favourable to the supposition, that the Logos was the soul of our Saviour, I was embarrassed with 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. Ib. Part II. p: 242,"sect. ii. · With this first and supreme P: 86. • The third interpretation is, that the Word is a person Cause and Father of all things, there has existed, from the
deriving from the Father (with whom he existed before the beginning, a second divine person, which is his Word or world was) both his being itself, and incomprehensible Son.' power and knowledge, and other divine attributes and au. Page 297, sect. xxviBy the operation of the Son, the thority, in a manner not revealed, and which human wisdom. “Father both made and governs the world. ought not to presume to explain,
Pago 299, sect, xxyii... Concerning the Son, there are
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 this 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. i. 5. “ For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, 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 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.
Besides 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 ?"
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
other things spoken in scripture; and the highest titles are man. He is therefore frequently called “ the Son of man," • ascribed to him, even such as include all divine powers, ex- • and in that nature he was always promised : first to Eve, as *cepting absolute independency and supremacy'
• her seed, and consequently her son; then to Abraham. A part of Mr. Peirce's paraphrase upon Col. i. 15, 16, is in And that seed is Christ. Gal. iii. 16, and so the son of these words : '--and since he was the first being that was • Abralian), next to David; and consequently of the same • derived from the Father. And that he must be the first nature with David and Abraham. And as he was their son, s derived from him, is hence evident, that all other beings '80 are we his brethren, as descendents from the same father
were derived from God, the primary and supreme cause of • Adam. “And therefore it behoved him to be made like
all, through his Son, by whom, as their immediate author, • unto his brethren : for he laid not hold on the angels, but call things were created that are in heaven, and that are in on the seed of Abraham,” Heb. ii. 16, 17; and so became earth, visible and invisible, &c.'
not an angel, but å man. a • And when we say, that person was conceived and born, • As then man consisteth of two different parts, body and we declare, he was made really and truly man, of the same • soul, so doth Christ-And certainly, if the Son of God human nature, which is in all other, mien.- For “ the me- • would vouchsafe to take the frailty of our flesh, he would not diator between God and men is the man Christ Jesus," 'omit the nobler part, our soul, without which he could not 'i Tim. ii. 5. " That since by man came death, by man also be man. For “ Jesus increased in wisdom and stature;" one
(should] come the resurrection of the dead," I Cor. xv. 21. 'in respect of his body, the other of his soul, Luke ij. 52.' • Assure, then, as the first Adam, and we who are redeemed, Pearson upon the Creed, Art. iii. p. 159, 160, the fourth
are mon; so certainly is the second Adam, and our mediator, edition. 1070.
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 glory and power which he once had ? If that could be supposed, 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?”
Ånd the making 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 an 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. xiii. 20. Luke iii. 6. John xvii. 2. Acts ii. 17. 1 Pet. i. 24. What St. John says therefore is this : “ And the Word was made flesh,” or took
him the human nature.”
St. John says, 1 Ep. iv. 2, 3. “ Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Clirist 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.
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 humanity 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 here 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 an human soul, or was inan 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 hast thou prepared me.”
a Luke xxii. 44. “ And being in an agony":
modioris vocabuli angorem Latine vocemus) promptitudo rem juevos ev aywio.) I would put the question, whether it might quampiam aggrediundi, sed cuin timore et trepidatione. not be thus translated? “ And being under great concern.' b• He took upon him our human nature, became himself I will transcribe here a passage of an ancient writer, repre- 'a man, subject to the like frailties with us, and lived and senting the anxiety or solicitude of Julius Cæsar and others; conversed freely amongst men.' Dr. Clarke's Paraphrase of when Octavius Cæsar, then a young man, had a dangerous St. John i. 14, the fourth edition, 1722. sickness. Χαλεπως δε διακειμενα, παντες μεν εν φοβω ησαν, © Ecce in quibus verbis suis omnino manifestant negare se, αγωνιωντες, ει τι πεισεται τοιαυτη φυσις, μαλισα δε παντων και quod ad unitatem personæ Christi etiam humana anima per-Καισαρ. Διο πασαν ήμεραν και αυτος παραν αυτω ευθυμιαν. tineat ; sed in Christo carnem et divinitatem tantummodo παρειχεν, η φιλος τεμπων, ιατρες τε αποςατειν ουκ εων. Και confiteri. Quandoquidem cum penderit in ligno, illud, ubi ποτε δειπνωντι ηγγειλε τις, ως εκλυτος ειη, και χαλεπως εχοι. ait, “Pater, in manus tuas commendo spiritum meum,' divi“Ο δε εκπηδησας ανυπόδητος ήκεν ενθα ενοσηλευετο, και των nitatem ipsam volunt eum intelligi commendâsse Patri, non lu307 posv
εδειτο εμπαθεστατα μεσος ων αγωνιας, και αυτος παρέ- manum spiritum, quod est anima-Et his atque hujusmodi nabr7o.x. 2. Nic. Damascen. De Institutione Cæsaris Augusti sanctarum scripturarum testimoniis non resistant, fateanturque Ap. Vales. Excerpta. p. 841.
Christuni, non tantum carnem, sed animam quoque humanam I have observed, that some learned men seem studiously to Verbo unigenito coaptâsse- Aut si eo morentur quod scriphave avoided the word agony in their translations. In the tum est, • Verbum caro factum est,' nec illic anima nomiLatin vulgate is: et factus in agoniâ. But Beza translates : nata est, intelligant, carnem pro homine positam, a parte et constitutus in angore. Le Clerc's French version is : et totum significante locutionis modo, sicuti est, ' Ad te omnis comme il étoit dans une extrême inquiétude-And Len- caro veniet.' Item, ' Ex operibus legis non justificabitur fant's: et comme il étoit dans un grand combat- -Which last omnis caro.' Quod apertius alio loco dixit : • Ex lege neno I do not think to be right. For the original word is not 27vv, justificabitur.' Itemque alio : Non justificatur homo ex but aywria. The Syriac version, as translated into Latin by operibus.' Sic itaque dictum est, ' verbum caro factum est;' Tremellius, Trostius, and others, is : cum esset in timore, in- ac si diceretur, Verbum homo factum est. Verumtamen isti, stanter orabat. I shall add a short passage from V. H. cum ejus solam humanam carnem velint intelligi honiinem leri Physiologia Historiæ Passionis J. C. Cap. II. p. 4. Ideo- Christum, non enim negabunt bominem, de quo apertissime que non inimerito dici potest aywria (quam in defectu com- dicitur, unus mediator Dei et hominum homo Christus Jesus
-&c. Aug. Contr. sermon. Arian. cap. ix. tom. VIII.