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his body, with which he had been in the most intimate union, to expire under the tortures of the cross.
If Christ was only a man, there is nothing very peculiar in his state of humiliation. There is nothing surprising that a man should have been born in the likeness of men and be found in fashion as a man. There is nothing surprising that a man should be in the form of a servant and do the duties of a servant. It is not a singular case that a man has suffered the tortures of the cross. Nor is it a singular case that a man has died in defence of his religion, whether it was true or false. But that he, who claimed equality with God, should descend to this low condition is a degree of humiliation to which created intelligence cannot descend.
On account of Christ's exceedingly great condescension and humiliation, God hath exalted him exceedingly; "and given him a name, which is above every name. As a consequence or reward of Christ's sufferings, God hath exalted him. He hath raised him from that low condition, in which he was upon earth, and exalted him to that glory, which he had with the Father before the world was. Christ humbled himself in union with human nature, and he will be exalted in union with the same nature. Some have supposed that Christ's exaltation has made real additions to his dignity and glory. They argue that divinity is incapable of advancement, and of course they infer that he is not divine. It is readily granted that no real accession can be made to divinity. It is as perfect and glorious at one point in duration as at another. Before creation, before redemption, Christ was as perfect in his nature as he is now. He had power to create, and he had power to redeem. As he had not then exercised those powers, the honor of those works could not be actually ascribed to him. If he had not descended from heaven to earth, and stooped to the lowest conditions of human nature, he could not be glorified for his condescension. If he had not suffered
and died, the glory of redemption would not have been ascribed to him. The attributes, which he has displayed in the work of redemption, appear more distinguishing than those he displayed in creation. He appears more exalted than he would have done, if he had not performed this work. God has given him the name Jesus, signifying Savior, which is above every name; and he requires all, who are in heaven, in earth, and under the earth, to worship him, not only as Creator and Lord, but as Savior of the worlá. Before his incarnation he was not honored as actual Savior. But since he has wrought out a complete redemption, and returned to heaven, a new glory appears, and higher honors are attributed to him than those he received before his incarnation. After he had completed the work of redemption by rising from the dead, he declared to his disciples that all authority was given to him in heaven and in earth; and when he ascended to heaven he was seated on the right hand of the Father. Because he was the Son of man; because he did great and benevolent deeds in his union with human nature all judgment was committed to him.
This high exaltation of the Son will be to the glory of God the Father. Is it possible that any creature is raised to such an amazing degree of elevation above every other creature, and be the object of their most respectful homage? Is it possible that God has admitted a creature to his right hand, and suffers him to possess all authority? Would this be for the glory of God the Father? Such is the union of nature, design and operation, between the Son and the Father, that they, who honor the Son, honor the Father; and what exalts and glorifies one, exalts and glorifies the other. If this inseparable union of nature do not subsist between the Father and the Son, two distinct and separate objects are holden forth, each of which commands supreme love and veneration, and we are left in the unavoidable dilemma of paying religious homage to two divinities, or to none.
Christ in his state of exaltation makes intercession for believers. In that body which was offered in sacrifice, he appears before the Father in their behalf. He pleads the merits of his own sufferings, and the Father, who remembers his covenant and loves his Son, bears his requests, and his intercession is effectual.*
* The phrase, form of God, (nog on tou,) may be explained by the subsequent phrase, form of a servant, (uogous douxou.) The word form, in the latter phrase, does not signify reality, or nature. For Christ was not literally a servant, or bondman, to any one. But he assumed the appearance of one in this low con. dition; and occasionally officiated in this servile capacity. Christ said to his dis. ciples, "I am among you as he that serveth,” Luke 22:27. If the form of a servant does not literally signify a servant, the form of God does not literally signify God. But the word form, in connexion with God, expresses the resem. blance of appearance, on the same ground as it does when it is used in connexion with servant. If it was in human nature, Christ appeared in the form of a ser. vant, it appears to be a fair conclusion, it appears to be giving equal meaning to the word form in both cases, that it was in divine nature he appeared in the form of God.
It is evident from the language of the apostle, that Christ was in the form of God, before he was in the form of a servant. This proves his pre-existence. The primitive form of God, which he possessed, was undoubtedly that glory which he had with the Father before the world was; and to be restored to which he prayed. This construction appears evident, both from fact and from the language of the apostle. It is fact that when Christ was upon earth, he had not that glory, that form of God, which he had before. This is proved by his prayer, “O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory I had with thee before the world was,” John 17:5. The apostle's language is consonant with this. But made himself of no reputation. (EXUTOV ELEVWTE.) These words literally signify, he divested, or emptied himself. But of what did he divest himself? Not of his original nature, nor of his miraculous powers. For he retained both while he was upon earth. He undoubtedly divested himself of that, which he formerly had; but of which he was then destitute. This was the glory, or the form of God, which he had with the Father before the world was.
We do not maintain that this, simply considered, proves the divinity of Christ. But let us proceed with the apostle, in his consequence, as he rises on the subject. Thought it not robbery to be equal with God. It is not necessary to quote all the translations of this contested text. Some of the best critics of the Greek language, have decided that our common translation is correct. The principal difference of opinion respecting this text, at the present day, arises from the different translations of the word om. Some translate it equal; others translate it as, or like. It is agreed on both sides that bros, from which ioc is derived, signifies equal. But we are not informed by what authority, or by what misfortune, the derivative has lost more than half its meaning in its descent from its primitive. The original word in the New Testament, standing for like and as, is not, as far as I have examined, 104. That it should occur in this place, for the first time in this sense, appears not a little extraordinary. A remark of the learned Poole, on this word, is pertinent and forcible. Nam verba substantiva cum adverbio 8æpi adverbii significationem faciunt nomenclem. This signification of an adverb, in connexion with a substantive verb, he proves by quotations from Homer.
The connexion of the apostle's discourse renders it necessary that sa should signify more than likeness. The expression, form of God signifies, at least, as much as divine likeness. Admitting the position, in the first place, that Christ was like God, the apostle said nothing to the purpose, if he only said that Christ
thought it not robbery to be like God; i. e. he thought it not robbery to be like what he was like. The learned apostle did not waste his words in such repetition, such impertinence.
The design of the apostle was to inculcate a spirit of humility from the exam. ple of Christ. But if Christ was only like God, in consequence of extraordinary communications made to him, his humiliation was no greater, to appearance, than the humiliation of the prophets and apostles; at least, it was not of a different kind. For they were endued with extraordinary gifts, and they officiated as servants of the people. But they are not exalted as Christ was. The reason is plain. Being creatures, they were not capable of so low humiliation as the Son of God was; neither were they capable of such exceeding exaltation.
Christ not only divested himself of divine glory while he was upon earth; but he humbled himself in his human nature. He not only lived like a servant, but he died like a malefactor. He was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross; a death the most painful, and the most ignominious. This he suffered, not by compulsion, but voluntarily. In consequence of this low state of humiliation, God highly exalted him. He restored him to that glory, which he origi. inally had; and made all intelligent beings bow the knee in religious veneration at his name; and every tongue confess that he is Lord of all. This exaltation, which was the consequence, or reward of his humiliation, added nothing to his real dignity, nor to the attributes of his nature. But it displayed perfections of his nature, which would not otherwise have been manifested; and it called forth honors from his creatures, which would not otherwise have been rendered.
CHRIST'S DIVINITY ARGUED FROM THE PLACE HE HOLDS IN OUR SYSTEM OF RELIGION, AND IN BELIEVERS' HEARTS.
In the history of creation, God, without the revealed distinctions of Father, Son and Spirit, is the grand agent; the grand object of love and reverence. He created the world and tenanted it with animal and intelligent life; and established laws for their support and regulation. This history is concise; and the period, from the date of creation till the apostasy, is undoubtedly short. Here commences a new era; here a new and prominent personage rises to view. A new character is exhibited to repair the ruins of the fall; and this character runs through the Old; and it is the leading, the distinguishing subject of the New Testament.
Immediately after the history of creation, the history of redemption begins. No sooner is human nature defaced, than a method begins to be unfolded, by which it is to be repaired. It was early promised that the Seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head. A promise of similar import was made to Abraham; “In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” It is evident that this prediction related to Jesus Christ, because the apostle Paul quoted it in allusion to him, “The scripture foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached