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elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein shall be burnt up.' Who is this personage, and what is his nature, who will display all this power and authority; who will receive all the honors, which heaven and earth can bestow, and will sit on the right hand of the Father? It is he, who was in a manger. It is he, who thought it not robbery to be equal with God. It is he, who searcheth the hearts and trieth the reins of the children of men; who is "the true God;" who is "God over all, blessed for ever."
ON THE HUMILIATION AND EXALTATION OF JESUS CHRIST.
"WHO, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God 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 in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father," Philippians 2:6-11. Much ingenuity and learning have been bestowed upon this quotation of scripture to deprive it of its natural meaning, and to prove the Son's essential inferiority to the Father. The phrase, "being in the form of God," has been thought to import no more than that similarity of nature, which may subsist between a creature and its Creator; as God made man in his own image. If Christ had been in the form of God in this low sense only, he would have thought it robbery to represent himself to be equal with God. He would have considered it an infringement upon the divine prerogative. There would be no pertinency in the assertion of the apostle, that he was made in the likeness of men, and was found in fashion as a man. It would not be true that he humbled himself by appearing in this manner.
The time, in which the apostle says Christ was in the form of God, was prior to his incarnation. The word form (pogon) in this passage does not signify nature or essential attributes. It signifies the external appearance, or similitude. It signifies that visible light, in which the Deity dwells, which no man can approach unto; and by which he appeared to the world before the incarnation. When Christ was transfigured, his form (according to the original) was changed; i. e. his outward appearance became different from what it was before. Whatever the form of God was, in which Christ was before he appeared in human nature, he laid it aside while he tarried upon earth, previous to his crucifixion. He made himself of no reputation. In the original it is, he divested himself; he laid aside those glorious appearances which he exhibited in heaven; and relinquished those divine honors which he there received. But during his humiliation, he did not lay aside his divinity; he did not lay aside his authority, nor his right to divine honors. He only concealed the glories of his divine nature, under the veil of humanity. On particular occasions he displayed divine power in the performance of miracles. At a time when he was with his disciples on a mountain, his appearance was changed. "His face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. Jesus charged them, saying, tell the vision to no man until the Son of man be risen again from the dead." Christ used great precaution against displaying the glories of his nature. When he did display them, he did it on special occasions, for the special purpose of giving evidence that he was the Messiah.
"Christ, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God." The latter part of this passage in the original, has been variously understood, and variously translated. Some have thought it imports that Christ did not think of the robbery of
making himself equal with God; that he was conscious he had no claim to such high pretensions; and therefore, he did not make them. Others have thus translated the text, he thought it not robbery to be like God. This translation reduces the sense of the original. The other wholly perverts it. The original word, (,) which is rendered like, literally signifies equal, as the translators of the Bible have rendered it. If like were a correct translation of the original word, the apostle made no advance in sense, as he progressed in his observations. It would be worse than tautology to say, "who being in the form" (or likeness) of God, thought it not robbery to be like God. The phrase, "form of God," imports divine likeness. Having said that he was in the likeness of God, it amounts to nothing, to say, it was not robbery to be in the likeness of God; or to be what he was. The apostle Paul was too well versed in language to be guilty of such gross incorrectness. Likeness does not necessarily imply equality. Let the apostle say, who being in the form or likeness of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, and he rises in his ideas, as he progresses in his observations. Judicious critics in the Greek language admit that the translation of this passage, as it stands in the Bible, is correct. If any creature should claim equality with God, it would be a daring robbery of divine honors. If Christ be not eternal, self-existent and independent, he cannot justly claim equality with God. A learned and distinguished divine,* of the beginning of the last century, speaking of the correctness of the translation of the text under consideration, as it stands in the Bible, observes, "The ancientest versions of the New Testament favor this rendering; the Greek and Latin fathers, from the fourth century downwards, do as plainly countenance it. Nay, Tertullian of the second or third century, seems to have understood it in the same sense.
words will, in strict propriety, bear it; and not only so, but more naturally and properly than any other."
Although Christ claimed equality with God; yet "he made himself of no reputation;" he divested himself of the form of God, and relinquished those honors, which he had received; "and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made" (or born) "in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." His taking the form of a servant, does not mean that he was actually a servant; that he was under those restraints, which are peculiar to a state of servitude. But he had the appearance of a servant. He performed the duties of a servant. He said to his disciples, "I am among you as he who serveth." Like a servant, he had no property; he lived in poverty, and was used with contempt. "At length he died the death of a condemned slave; being publicly scourged and crucified."
Christ's being born in the likeness of men does not mean that he had the appearance of a man without the reality. The original word (duoua) signifies not only likeness, but sometimes sameness of nature. (See Macknight on the text.) Christ had a human body; he had human passions. He felt those joys and afflic tions, which are common to humanity. "Being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became. obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.' He not only took upon himself human nature and appeared in fashion as a man, exposed to all the natural evils common to human life. He not only humbled himself to do the obliging offices of a servant; but he became obedient unto death, even to the most ignominious death. He, who had shared divine honors in heaven with the Father, condescended to assume human nature; to appear in the lowest condition of human life; to receive all the ignominy and reproach which the world could cast upon him; and to suffer