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third year of Cyrus king of Persia. Thus he speaks, ver. 13, "The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days; but lo, Michael, one," or the first," of the chief princes came to help me."- -After'wards, in the two last verses of that chapter, the same angel "says: "Now will I return to fight with the prince of Per'sia. And when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Græcia 'shall come. But I will show thee what is noted in the 'scripture of truth. And there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince." So that ' as this learned writer proceeds, we have here the prince of Persia, the prince of Græcia, and the prince of the Jews, 'spoken of. And what reason can we have to question, whether the like was not the case of the other countries, ' that they had in like manner their respective presidents or princes? This leads us farther to consider the state of our Saviour himself before his incarnation-As the hea'then nations were committed to other angels, the Israelites 'were committed to Christ, who was the angel of the cove'nant, or of God's covenanted people.' So that learned writer.
There may be different conceptions concerning Christ, among those who must be allowed to be in the main of this opinion. They all suppose the Word, or Son of God, to be a being distinct from God the Father, subordinate and inferior to him. But some may ascribe to him higher dignity than others. [And] we have just now seen, that one and the same person, who thinks that all things were made by the Son, supposeth him before his incarnation to have had only, or chiefly, the care and government of the Jewish people allotted to him; whilst other angels were appointed presidents or princes of other nations and countries.
One thing ought to be added here. They who are of this sentiment do generally suppose, that this great being, the Word, the Son of God, upon our Saviour's conception and birth, animated the body prepared for him. So that our Saviour had not, properly, a human soul. But the Word, the Son of God, supplied the place of a soul.
The Spirit, or Holy Ghost, the learned men of this sentiment, I presume, take to be a being, or intelligent agent, inferior in power and perfection, not only to God the Father, but likewise to the Son of God.
According to these therefore the Father is the one supreme God over all, absolutely eternal, underived, unchangeable, independent.
The Son is the first derived being from the Father, and
under him employed in creating, and also preserving and upholding the world, with, as some say, an especial allotment of the presidentship over the people of Israel.
The Spirit is a third person, also derived from the Father, and of power and perfection inferior to the Son.
I have endeavoured to give here, as well as elsewhere, a true representation. If I have mistaken, it is not done willingly and designedly. And I shall be ready to be better informed.
Let us now apply this scheme to the text; or see how it is explained by the favourers of this sentiment. And I hope to have here again the assistance of the same learned divine and commentator, who has been quoted already several times.
Ver. 5, 6," Let this mind be in you, which was also in 'Christ Jesus; who being in the form of God, thought it 'not robbery to be equal with God." Ye ought to be of 'such a kind and beneficent, of such a humble and condescending disposition, as Christ Jesus himself was; who being in the form or likeness of God, was not eager in re'taining that likeness to God.'
The form of God" is farther explained in this manner, He was in the form or likeness of God, upon account of that authority, dominion, and power, with which he was intrusted, and which he exercised antecedently to 'his coming into the world. Our Saviour antecedently to 'his incarnation, having the Jews committed to him of God, and being prince of that people, or the King of Israel, was in the form and likeness of God.
Who being in the form or likeness of God, was not eager in retaining that likeness to God; but on the contrary he emptied himself of that form of God, taking upon him a 6 very different form or likeness, even that of a servant, when 'he was made in the likeness of men.'
And for explaining this last particular, it is added by the same interpreter in his notes: If it be here inquired, why 'does St. Paul say, "he was in the likeness of men?" Was he not truly and properly a man? The answer is easy, that men signifies such animated bodies as ours are, in'habited each by a rational soul. And so, as to his body, 'he was in all respects a man, just as we are, he having 'taken part with us in flesh and blood, and having a body 'prepared for him. The "likeness" therefore belongs not to that, but to the other part of man, the To yeμovikov, the 'rational spirit: wherein he was vastly more than man, the Word, or Logos, that was in the form of God; being so
transcendently superior to the most noble soul that ever ' inhabited any other human flesh.
"And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled ' himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of 'the cross." And though his becoming man was a great instance of humility and condescension, yet he did not stop ' at that: but when he was [actually] in the same condition ' and state with men, he humbled himself yet farther by becoming obedient to God unto death, and that too the death of the cross, which was attended with the greatest reproach as well as torment.'
Ver. 9-11,"Wherefore God also hath highly exalted ' him, and given him a name, which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth; ' and that every tongue should confess, that Jesus Christ is 'Lord to the glory of God the Father." And upon this account God has advanced him higher than before, and freely bestowed on him an authority that is superior to 'what he ever granted to any other: that by virtue of the authority of Jesus all should be constrained to submit to God: whether they are heavenly or earthly [beings], or 'such as are under the earth: and that every tongue should acknowledge that Jesus Christ is, by this gift of God, Lord of all, to the glory of God the Father.'
This exaltation, or superior exaltation of Christ above what he had before, is illustrated by the same learned expositor in his notes after this manner: • When our Lord came into the world, he laid aside that form of God he was in before, and was made for a little time, that is, till 'his resurrection, lower than the angels, they still continuing their dominion, while he parted with his. At our 'Lord's resurrection an entire change was made in this state of things, and an end was put to this rule of angels; they 'themselves, together with all nations, were put under one head, even Christ, whose authority and power was then so highly advanced above what it was before; he being intrusted with an universal dominion, and all that were 'rulers and governors before being made his subjects and ' ministers.'
I have been the longer in representing this scheme, that I might show it to as much advantage as possible. And now I shall propose some objections to it.
One observation, which I mention in the first place, relates to a particular article in this scheme.
It is not reasonable that the Word, the Son of God, the
first derived being who had been employed under God the Father in making all things, should, some time after the world was made, have so limited dominion and authority, as to be the president and governor of the Jewish people only; whilst other angels had like power and dominion over other people and countries.
What reason can be assigned, why the being, who under God the Father had been creator of all things, visible and invisible, should be put quite, or well nigh, upon a level with his creatures? There is no ground, from reason or scripture, to believe any voluntary or imposed humiliation of the Son of God before his incarnation.
I might likewise ask what reason can be assigned, why any good angels should, after our Lord's resurrection and ascension, be deprived of any advantages, which they before enjoyed? For it may be well supposed, that if they were acquainted with our Lord's transactions here on earth, by the will of the Father, for the good of mankind, they approved, admired, and applauded them. And some of the angels may have been, yea, were employed in attending upon, and ministering to Jesus, whilst he dwelt on this earth.
However, this may be reckoned by some to be an exception only to the scheme of the learned commentator before cited; I therefore place these observations here by themselves.
But for the present, setting that aside, all, I think, who are in this scheme, that the Word, the Son of God, is a distinct being, inferior to God the Father, suppose, that he was employed under God the Father, in creating the heavens and the earth, and all things that are therein; that afterwards he was incarnate, humbled himself, suffered and died, and was exalted.
Against this scheme then, as distinguished from the foregoing particular, (though that has been introduced as a plausible supposition,) I object as follows.
1. The Lord Jesus, in the New Testament, is often spoken of as 66 a man ;" which means a being with a reasonable soul and human body. But, if the Word, a transcendently great and excellent spirit, far superior to human souls, animated the body of Jesus, as a soul, then our Lord was not, properly speaking, a man; though this be often said in scripture, and spoken of as a thing of importance. I do not now allege any texts by way of proof. There may be occasion to produce them distinctly in another place.
2. It appears to be an impropriety, and incongruity, that
any spirit, except a human soul, should animate a human body. It would, I apprehend, be an incongruity not paralleled in any of the works of God, of which we have any knowledge.
3. Jesus Christ, as we evidently know from his history in the gospels, had all the innocent, sinless infirmities of the human nature. He was weary with journeyings, he hungered, and had thirst, he needed the refreshment of food, and of rest, or sleep; and he endured pain, and at some times piercing affliction and grief, and at last died.
But this could not have been, supposing the body of Jesus to have been animated by so transcendently powerful and active a spirit as the Word, or the Son of God, in this scheme is supposed to be. He could not have been diminished or weakened thereby. Supposing such an union of so great a spirit with a human body, it would swallow it up. I mean, that spirit would not be straitened and confined, or diminished by the body, but would infuse vigour and activity into the body; so that it would be no longer liable to the weaknesses to which human bodies, actuated only by human souls, are incident. How can a spirit, creator of all things under God the Father, be straitened and incommoded by so small a portion of matter, which was originally created by him? Will the residence of so great a spirit in a human body make no alteration? Shall that body be still as feeble, as liable to wants, and as sensible to pain, as an ordinary body, which has only a human soul?
4. We do not perceive the Lord Jesus to insist upon his pre-existent greatness and glory, as an argument of obedience to his doctrine. He does not represent himself to those who were his hearers, as their creator under God. But he says, "the Father had sent him," that he acted by commission under God, and that the Father had sealed him, by the miraculous works which he had enabled him to do, and that he had authority from him to do and teach as he did.
5. If so glorious a being as the Word, or Son of God, is represented to be in this scheme, had taken upon himself a human body, and submitted to animate and act in it as a soul: that condescension would have been clearly and frequently shown, and insisted on, in the gospels and epistles. It would have been as much enlarged upon as our Lord's resurrection and ascension: but there are no clear texts asserting this; none but what are capable of another sense, and are better interpreted in a different manner.
6. In this way Jesus Christ is no example of imitation to