« PreviousContinue »
teach us the true way of salvation. The gospel is the revelation of the way of life by faith in Christ. Therefore, he who teaches something else to be that faith, which is essentially diverse from what the gospel of Christ teaches, he teaches another gospel ; and he does in effect teach another religion than the religion of Christ. For what is religion, but that way of exercising our respect to God, which is the term of his favor and acceptance to a title to eternal rewards? The Scripture teaches this, in a special manner, to be saving faith in Jesus Christ. Therefore, he that teaches another faith instead of this, teaches another religion. Such doctrine as I have opposed, must be destructive and damning, i. e. directly tending to man's damnation ; leading such as embrace it, to rest in something essentially different from the grand condition of salvation. And therefore, I would advise you, as you would have any regard to your own soul's salvation, and to the salvation of your posterity, to beware of such doctrine as this.
Reasons against Dr. Watts's Notion of the Pre
existence of Christ's Human Soul.
manner with all creatures, is, to appoint them a trial, before he admits them to glory and confirmed happiness, Es. pecially may this be expected before such honor and glory as the creating of the world, and other things which Dr. Watts ascribes ta Christ's human soul.
2. If the preexisting soul of Christ created the world, then, doubtless, he upholds and governs it. The same Son of God that did one, does the other. He created all things, and by Him all things consist. And if so, how was his dominion confined to the Jewish nation, before his incarnation, but extends to all nations since ? Besides, there are many things ascribed in the Old Testament to the Son of God, in those very places, which Dr. Watts himself supposes to speak of Him, that imply his governinent of the whole world, and all nations. The same person that is spoken of as King of Israel, is represented as the Governor of the world.
3. According to this scheme, the greatest of the works of the Son in his created nature, implying the greatest exaltation, was His first work of all; viz. His creating all things, all worlds, all things visible and invisible, .whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: And this before ever he had any trial at all of his obedience, &c. At least, this work seems much greater than judging the world at the Last Day; which the Scripture often speaks of as one of the highest parts of his exaltation, which he has in reward for his obedience and sufferings : And Dr. Watts himself supposes his honors, since his humiliation, to be much greater than before.
4. The Scipture represents the visible dominion of Christ over the world as a complex Person; or his sitting at the right hand of God the Father, and governing the world as the Father's vicegerent, as a new thing, after his ascension. But by Dr. Watts's scheme, . it cannot be so.
S. Satan or Lucifer, before his fall, was the Morning Star, the Covering Cherub, the highest and brightest of all creatures.
6. On this scheme, it will follow, that the covenant of redemption was made with a person that was not sui juris, and not at liberty to act his own mere good pleasure, with respect to undertaking to die for sinners; but was obliged to comply, on the first intimation that it would be wellpleasing to God, and a thing that he chose,
7. According to that scheme, the man Christ Jesus was not properly the son of the Virgin, and so the son of man. To be the son of a woman, is to receive being in both soul and body, in consequence of a conception in her womb. The soul is the principal part of the man; and sonship implies derivation of the soul as well as the body, by conception. Not that the soul is a part of the mother, as the body is. Though the soul is no part of the mother, and be immediately given by God, yet that hinders not its being derived by conception ; it being consequent on it, according to a law of nature. It is agreeable to a law of nature, that where a perfect human body is conceived in the womb of a woman, and properly nourish. ed and increased, a human soul should come into being : And conception may as properly be the cause whence it is derived, as many other natural effects are derived from natural causes or antecedenes. For it is the power of God which produces these effects, though it be according to an established law. The soul being so much the principal part of man, a derivation of the soul by conception, is the chief thing implied in a man's being the son of a woman.
8. According to what seems to be Dr. Watts' scheme, the Son of God is no distinct divine Person from the Father. So far as He is a divine Person, He is the same Person with the Father. So that in the covenant of redemption, the Father covenants with himself, and He takes satisfaction of himself, &c. Unless you will say, that one nature covenanted with the other; the two natures in the same person covenanted together, and one nature in the same person, took satisfaction of the other nature in the same person. But how does this confound our minds, instead of helping our ideas, or making them more easy and intelligible !
9. The Son of God, as a distinct Person, was from eternity. It is said, Mic. v. 2. “His goings forth were of old, from everlasting.” So Prov, viii, 23. “ I was set up from everlasting, from the begining, or ever the earth was." So he is called Isa. ix. 6, “The everlasting Father.” I know of no expressions used in Scripture, more strong, to signify the eternity of the Father himself.
10. Dr. Watts supposes the world to be made by the preexisto ent soul of Christ; and thinks it may properly be so said, theugh the knowledge and power of this preexistent soul could not extend to the most minute parts, every atom, &c.—But it is evidently the de. sign of the Scripture to assure us that Christ made all things whatev. er in the absolute universality. John i. 3.“All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” Col. i. 16, 17. “For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by Him, and for Him; and He is before all things, and by
Him all things consist.” Now, if we suppose matter to be infinitely divisible, it will follow, that let His wisdom and power be as great as they will, if finite, but a few of those individual things that are made were the effects of his power and wisdom: Yea, that the number of the things that were made by Him, are so few, that they bear no proporsion to others, that did not immediately fall under His notice ; or that of the things that are made, there are ten thousand times, yea infinitely more, not made by Him, than are made by Him :And so, but infinitely few of their circumstances are ordered by His wisdom.
I]. It is said Heb. ii. 8. “Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that He put all in subjection under Him, He left nothing that is not put under him.” Here it is represented, that God the Father has put every individual thing under the power and government of another person, distinct from Himself. But this cannot be true of the human soul of Christ, as it must be according to Dr. Watts's scheme, let the powers of that be never so great, if they are not infinite. For things and circunstances, and depend. encies and consequences of things in the world, are infinite in number; and therefore a finite understanding and power cannot extend to then: Yea, it can extend to but an infinitely small part of the whole number of individuals, and their circumstances and consequences. Indeed in order to the disposal of a few things in their motions and successive changes, to a certain precise issue, there is need of infinite exactness, and so need of infinite power and wisdom.
12. The work of creation. And so the work of upholding all things in being, can, in no sense, be properly said to be the work of any created nature. If the created nature gives forth the word, as Joshua did, when he said, “ Sun, stand thou still;" yet it is Aut that created nature that does it : That being that depends himself on creating power, does not properly do any thing towards creation, as Joshua did nothing towards stopping the sun in his course. So that it cannot be true in Dr. Watts's scheme, that that Son of God, who is a distinct Person from God the Father, did at all, in any manner of propriety, create the world, nor does he uphold it or govern it. Nor can those things that Christ often says of himself, be true; as, “ The Father worketh hitherto and I work."“Whatsoever the Father doth, those doth the Son likewise,” John v. 17, 19 ; it being very evident, that the works of creating and upholding and governing the world are ascribed to the Son, as a distinct Person from the Father.
13. It is one benefit or privilege of the Person of Christ, when spoken of as distinct from the Father, to have the Spirit of God un. der him, to be at his disposal, and to be his Messenger; which is
infinitely too much for any creature : Jolin XV. 26; xvi. 4, 13, 14, and Aets ji 33.
14. Not only is the word Elobim in the plural number, bu: it is joined to a verb of the plural number, in Gen. xx 13. When God caused me to wander from my Farber's bouse. The word Hirbgru, caused 10 wander, is in the plural number. This is agreeable to the use of plural verbs, adjectives and pronouns, in Gen. i. 26; jii 22; xi. 7. See other instances in Gen. xxxv. 7; Exodus xxxii. 4, compared with Neh. ix. 18 ; Isaiah xvi. 6.
The very frequent joining of the word Elobim, a word in the plural number, with the word Jebovab, a word in the singular number, (as may be seen in places referred to in the English concordance, under the words, Lord God, Lord his God, Lord my God, Lord our God, Lord their God, Lord thy God, Lord your God) seems to be a significant indication of the union of several divine persons in one essence. The word Jebovah signifies as much as the word Essence, and is the proper name of God with regard to his selfexistent, eternal, allsufficient, perfect, and immutable Essence. Moses seems to have regard to something remarkable in thus calling Elohim, the plural, so often by the singular name, Jebovab; especially in that remark, which he makes for the special observation of God's people Israel, in Deut. vi. 4a “ Hear, O Israel, The Lord our God is one Lord.” In the original, it is Jebovab Elobenu Jebovab Ebadh; the more proper translation of which is, Jebovah our God is one Jebovab. The verb is, is understood, and properly inserted between Jehovah Elobenu and Jehovab Ebadb thus, Jebovab Elohenu is Jebovab Ebadh ; which, if most literally translated, is thus, Febovah Our divine Persons is one Jehovab: As though Muses, in this remark, had a particular reference to the word Elobin being in the plural number, and would guard the people against imagining from thence that there was a plurality of Essences or Beings, among whom they were to divide their affec. tions and respect.
A farther confirmation, that the name Elobim, when used as the name of the True God, signifies some plurality, is, that this same nanc is commonly, all over the Hebrew bible, used to signify the gods of the Heathens, when many gods are spoken of. See those places in the Hebrew bible, which are referred to in the En. glish concordance, under the word Godsa
In Exodus xx. 2, 3, when it is said in the third verse, “Thou shalt have no other Gods before Me." The word is the same as in the foregoing verse, where it is said, “I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt." It is Elobim in both verses: I ain the jehovah, thy Ęlobim: Thou shalt have no other