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him, and inseparable from him. - Wherefore we who believe the WORD to be very God, must necessarily understand the former of these Texts of our Savior's human Soul, which existed with God (that is, in God's Presence, and beholding his Face, as Angels now do) before this world was. And if his human Soul did thus exist before the World was; certainly God's loving Christ before the Foundation of the World, which is asserted in the later of these Texts, ought to be understood of his loving the Man Christ Jesus, viz. his preexisting human soul.
And as for your self, who do not believe the WORD, or Divine Nature of Christ, to be very God, I will not dispute with you, whether it be conceivable, that the WORD or Divine Nature of Christ could, upon your own Principles, cease to enjoy that Glory or Happiness which he had before the Worid was : but what I insist upon with you, is this. I have by other Considerations proved to you, that our Lord's human Soul did preexist. And if this be granted ; I may safely appeal to your self, whether both these Texts do not naturally admit and require that Interpretation which I have given chem.
However, I can't forbear adding, that Christ is expresly cailed the Lamb without blemish and without Spot, who verily was-foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times, 1 Pet. I. 19, 20. This certainly respects his human Nature. Now St. Paul says, that God hath called us according to his own purpose and grace which was given us in Chrift Feļus, before the world began; but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, 2 Tim. 1.9, 10. He says also, that God hath cholen us in Christ before the foundation of the world, Eph. 1. 4. and that
he promised eternal Life before the world began, Tit. 1.
The same Apostle cals the Wisdom of the Gospel the bidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory, 1 Cor. 2.7. I conclude there. fore, that our Lord's human Soul was then made, when the very God was preparing the Habitation of Mankind, whom he then purposed to redeem by Christ, and for whose fake Christ was already decreed to be slain. And accordingly St. Paul assures us, that Chrift is πρωτότοκG πάσης κλίσεως. For tho' I readily grant, that areazótox@ may fignify him that has the jus primogeniti, when it appears by other Considerations, that he who is styrd apartótoxo, was not the firit in order of Birth: yet in the present Case we ought not to recede from the natural and obvious Sense of the Word; because the Tenor of Scripture is so far from obliging us to it, that it manifestly forbids it. And indeed, when our Sayior says of himself, that he is segment of uliows for me, Rev. 3. 14. I can't but understand him in the same Sense, vize as affirming himself, that is, his human Soul, to have been produced before any other created Being whatsoever.
Upon the whole, St. Paul is so far from teaching (in this remarkable Passage of his Epistle to the Philippians, which we have largely examin'd) that the WORD, or Divine Nature of our Lord Jesus Christ, is inferior to the very God; that he does not therein speak one Syllable of the WORD, or his Divine Nature, but only treats of the Humiliation and Exaltation of his Human Nature, from whence he draws an Argument for our Practice of Humility and Condescension.
C H A P. CH A P. VIII.
That during the Time of our Savior's Ministry, the
Disciples did not believe, that he was any thing more than a mere Man, conducted and aflisted by the Spirit of God.
the second Text of Scripture, which is suppos’d to teach, that the WORD, or Divine Nature of our Lord Jesus Christ, is inferior to the very God; 'tis necessary for me to prove, 1. That during the Time of our Savior's Ministry, the Difciples did not believe, that he was any thing more than a mere Man, conducted and affifted by the Spirit of God; 2. That during the Time of our Savior's Ministry, the WORD, or Divine Nature; was quiescent in the Man Christ Jesus.
FIRST then, during the Time of our Savior's Ministry, the Disciples did not believe, that he was any thing more than a mere Man, conducted and aflífted by the Spirit of God.
Whecher you will grant me this Proposition, I know not. You exprefly (a) declare, that Christ's Disciples bail not any the least Thought of his claiming to be God in any Sense, when he utter'd what we read in John F. 18. Nor do I remember, that you have any where faid or fupposed, that they had afterwards; during the Time of his Ministry, different Sentiments. If I guess aright, you will rather allow, that they continued of the same Opinion till
() Reply to Mr. Nelson's Friend, p. 1362
his Ministry was ended. However, since you have not inform'd us, whether you do grant this Proposition or no; and because 'tis certain, that too many others will not grant it: therefore I think my self obliged to evince the Truth of it. In order thereto I observe,
First, That there is not in all the New Tefta. ment any one Passage, which either afferts or implys, that the Disciples believed him to have had any Divine Nature during his Ministry. They did indeed esteem him a great Prophet, even the Meffiah, the greatest of Prophets: but yet at the same time they esteem'd him a mere Man; and did not apprehend, that another Nature, superior to that of a Man, viz. the WORD of God, was personally united to the Man Christ Jesus.
I can't think of more than one Text, that can poflibly be alleged against this Affertion, viz. Fobs 16. 30. where the Disciples say, Now are we sure, that ibou knoweft all things. And if any Person should conclude from hence, that the Disciples then believ'd him to be strictly Omniscient, and that consequently he was more than a mere Man conducted and assisted by God's Spirit ; I answer, 1. That the same Spirit which did so certainly discover the moft secret Things to him and his Disciples, might discover, if he pleas’d, even all Things in the most absolute and unlimited Sense, altho' our Savior himself were at the same time no more than a mere Man. The Text does not say, that the Disciples thought, that Christ had inherently in himself, by the Neceflity of his own Nature, a ftri& Omniscience (which would indeed have proved, that he discover'd himself to be the very God) but it says, that they thought he knew all Things (we will now suppose in the uomoft Extent of the Ex
preffion) and so might a mere Man by the Com. munication of the Spirit. 2. That the Words of the Disciples do by no means imply, that they thought our Savior: endued with a strict Omnisci. ence. For let us observe the Context. Our Savior had said, A little while and ye shall not fee me: and again, a little while and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father, V.16. His Disciples did not understand this Saying, and therefore had some privat Difcourse about it, which they did not speak so loud, as that our Savior should hear them. For says the Evangelist, Then said. Some of his disciples among themSelves, What is this, that be faith unto us, A little while and ye shall not see me : and again, a little while and ye Joall see me: and because I go to the Father. They said. therefore, what is this that be faith, A little while We cannot tell what he saith; v. 17, 18. Our blessed Lord therefore, who knew their Hearts, prevented their asking a Solution of the Difficulty that puzzled them, and which they would gladly have heard him resolve. For the Text says, Now Hesus knew, tbat they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do yé enquire among your selves of that I said, A little while and ye shall not see me, and again a little while and Je fhall see me, v. 19? And then he proceeds to explain himself in some following Verses. After which his Disciples said unto him, Lo, now, speakeft thou plainly, and speakest no Proverb. Now are we sure, that thou knowveft all things, and needest
, not that any man should ask thee : by this we believe, that thou camest forth from God, v. 29, 30.
The all things therefore, which they perceiv'd from this Fact that our Lord knew, were only the Secrets of their Hearts (for they could conclude no more from that Instance of his Knowledge) and the following Words declare as much. For he, in