Page images
PDF
EPUB

trembling reveals the whole matter. And what a lustre has this delay of Jesus in the way to Jairus's house thrown upon his character! What a discovery has it made of his knowledge and power! When he hears it reported to the father, that the damsel was dead, he bids him" not fear, but believe." When he comes to the house, he directs all things with the highest propriety, by clearing the house of strangers, that it might be quiet; taking in with him, into the room where the young woman lay," the properest persons that could be chosen out of his disciples, and out of the whole multitude that was there.

66

In the history of raising the young man at Nain it is said: “And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And he came and touched the bier, (and they that bare him stood still) and he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise."

On ordinary occasions Jesus could not work a miracle without being first sought to, lest thereby a suspicion should have arisen, that he had chosen objects within his power. But here the meeting of the corpse being perfectly casual, he had an opportunity of showing both his power and his goodness, without being sought to. And he wisely and graciously lays hold of it, as soon as it offers. How glorious is Jesus here! Travelling with his disciples he meets a dead man, and carried forth to burial. And he on the sudden, without any previous notice of the case, without any prior preparation, raises the dead man to life.

"And he delivered him to his mother." The highest propriety! He was moved by compassion to perform this work, and he delivers the raised person to her, to whom his life was the greatest comfort. Not to say farther, that she would best know, whether it was her son or another, that was restored to her: and that instead of making a show, and calling upon the multitude to admire the action; he barely delivers the young man to his mother, as if he had only performed an ordinary piece of kindness.

In the history of raising Lazarus there are these things very observable. Jesus had declared to his disciples a design of going to Bethany. Before he sets out from the place where he then was, he says to them: "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go that I may awake him out of sleep." Here we have again a like example of humble modesty, with that I observed before in the account of Jairus's daughter. These low soft terms does he use concerning death, and raising to life the one he terms sleep, the other awaking him out of it; as appears from what follows. "Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep." Jesus was obliged to let them understand what he meant. "Then said he unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes, that I was not there (to the intent you may believe) nevertheless let us go. When Jesus spoke in the low and ambiguous term of sleep, he added: "But I go, that I may awake him out of sleep." But having now said plainly, that Lazarus was dead, he does not say: But I go to raise him to life: only intimates in general, that there would be some new proof given them to confirm their faith; studiously avoiding every thing that had any appearance of boasting. The modesty here is rather greater than in the former case. There Jesus had to do with a mixed multitude of strangers. Here he is talking with his own disciples. Yet he forbears to say beforehand in plain terms, that he should raise Lazarus to life.

""

Herein also is adorable the wisdom, the goodness, the condescension of Jesus; that he who could have healed sick Lazarus, or raised him when dead, without opening his lips, or rising from his seat, went from the place of his retirement beyond Jordan into Judea, where they had lately sought his life: because his raising up Lazarus at Bethany, the place where he had died, and was well known, in all those circumstances, and before so many persons as he afterwards did, in person, would be a means of convincing men of the truth of his mission, and of drawing men of that and future ages to the belief of his doctrine, which is so suited to prepare them for eternal life.

There is likewise somewhat very remarkable in the manner of performing this miracle. The great works which our Lord did are in themselves a proof, that he was espoused by God. He accordingly made frequent and public appeals to his works, as certain proofs and evidences, that God was with him. But he did not ordinarily, at the time of doing these works, formally and expressly address himself to God. But now being about to perform in the sight of mortal men so extraordinary and affecting a thing, as the raising up from the grave a man that had been buried four days, he lifts up his eyes to heaven, and adores the Father in an act of praise and thanksgiving; acknowledging the power of doing the works he had already done, and of that he

S B

VOL. V.

was then going to perform, to have been given him by the Father. "Then took they away the stone from the place, where the dead was laid. And Jesus lift up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by, I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me." That is, the works I do, declare that thou art with me; but that the people may have the fullest assurance that thou concurrest with we, and that the words I speak are not mine but thine; before I do this great and awful work in their sight, I publicly praise and thank thee. In this way (of an immediate appeal to God) the fullest proof possible was given, that his authority was from the Father, and all objections were answered. See John xiv. 8-11. xvi. 28–30.

Other things might be observed here, but I shall take notice of but one particular more. "And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth." Sure the majesty of the voice well became the work. Herein is some resemblance of that loud command, at the sound of which shall be broken all the bars of hell and the grave, and their doors fly open, and the dead of all orders and of all times shall awake and come forth; some to honour, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. There is a peculiar propriety and decency in this loud and majestic voice, as it had been immediately preceded by an humble and thankful acknowledgment of the Father, who is over all.

THE END OF A VINDICATION OF THREE OF OUR SAVIOUR'S MIRACLES.

A LETTER,

WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1730,

CONCERNING THE QUESTION, WHETHER THE LOGOS SUPPLIED THE PLACE OF A HUMAN SOUL IN THE PERSON OF JESUS CHRIST.

TO WHICH ARE NOW ADDED,

TWO POSTSCRIPTS:

THE FIRST CONTAINING AN EXPLICATION OF THOSE WORDS, THE SPIRIT, THE HOLY SPIRIT, THE
SPIRIT OF GOD, AS USED IN THE SCRIPTURES; THE SECOND, CONTAINING REMARKS
UPON THE THIRD PART OF THE LATE BISHOP OF CLOGHER'S VINDICATION
OF THE HISTORIES OF THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT.

Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me.-John v. 39.

Ergo nec Parentum, nec Majorum Error sequendus est: sed Auctoritas Scripturarum, et Dei docentis Imperium.-Hieron. in Jer. cap. ix. ver. 12-14.

THE PREFACE.

THOUGH the names in this letter are fictitious (as they always were, and the same that appear now) it is a part of a real correspondence. Papinian, who was a man of a mature age, of great eminence, and a diligent reader of the sacred scriptures, has long since accomplished his course in this world. Philalethes is still living. The letter sent to Papinian was never returned, but Philalethes kept a copy of it. Though written almost thirty years ago, it has hitherto lain concealed in the writer's cabinet. Nor has it, till very lately, been shown to more than two persons, one of whom is deceased. Whether this will be reckoned full proof, that the writer is not forward to engage in religious disputes, I cannot say. This however is certain: he would have great reason to think himself happy, if, with the assistance of others, without noise and disturbance, in the way of free, calm, and peaceable debate, he could clear up a controverted point of religion, to general satisfaction.

If any should ask, why is this letter published now? I would answer in the words of Solomon: "There is a time to keep silence, and a time to speak." But whether the present season has been fitly chosen, the event under the conduct of Divine Providence will best show.

The reader is desired to take notice, that whatever he sees at the bottom of the pages, is additional. There are also some additions in the letter itself, especially near the end, where more texts are explained than were in the original letter.

For better understanding the argument, it may be needful to observe, for the sake of some, that by divers ancient writers we are assured, it was the opinion of Arius and his followers, That' our

-σαρκα μονον τον Σωτηρα απο Μαριας ειληφεναι, διαCecalemevoi, xai BX Yux. Epiph, de Arianis in Indic. T.I. p. 606.

Αλλα και αρνυνται ψυχην αυτον ανθρωπινην είληφεναι. Id. H. 69, n. 19, p. 743. A. Conf. n. 48-51.

Saviour took flesh of Mary, but not a soul:' that Christ had flesh only, as a covering for his Deity and that the Word in him was the same as the soul in us: and that the Word, or the Deity in Christ, was liable to sufferings in the body.'

Mr. Whiston, in his Historical Memoirs of the Life of Dr. Clarke, giving an account of the act in the divinity schools at Cambridge, in the year 1709, when Mr. Clarke, then rector of St. James's, received the doctor's degree, says, at p. 20, 21. In the course of this act, where I was present, Professor James- digressed from one of the doctor's questions, and pressed him hard to condemn one of the opinions, which I had just then published in my Sermons and Essays.

C

Which book he held in his hand, when he was in the chair. I suppose, it might be this: that

' our Saviour had no human soul, but that the Divine Logos or Word supplied its placeHowever, Dr. Clarke, who, I believe, had not particularly examined that point, did prudently

·

⚫ avoid either the approbation or condemnation of it. Yet have I reason to believe, he long • afterwards came into it, upon a farther examination: though, I think, he ever avoided, according to his usual caution, to declare publicly that his approbation, even upon the most pressing applications; which is one great instance of that impenetrable secrecy, which Dr. Sykes justly ' notes to have been in him, upon many occasions.'

6

So Mr. Whiston. Who clearly declares his own opinion. Who likewise supposeth, that the same was for some while received by Dr. Clarke. But he seems not to have had any certain evidence of it. For, as he acknowledges, Dr. Clarke never publicly declared his approbation of it.'

6

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Nevertheless it may not be disagreeable to see here what Dr. Clarke himself says in his Scripture Doctrine of the Trinity, part I. ch. iii. numb. 998. p. 197. • Matt. iv. 1. "Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness." From this, and many other of the following texts, it seems, that the Logos, the Divine Nature of Christ, did so far nevwca Evrov, diminish itself, as St. Paul expresses it, Philip. ii. 7, that, during the time of his incarnation, he was all along under the conduct of the Holy Spirit.'

And Part II. sect. xxviii. p. 301. The Holy Spirit is described in the New Testament, as the immediate author and worker of all miracles, even of those done by our Lord himself: and as the conductor of Christ in all the actions of his life, during his state of humiliation here ' on earth.'

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

a

Before I finish this preface, I must make some citations from Dr. Robert Clayton, late Lord Bishop of Clogher; who in the third part of his Vindication of the Historics of the Old and New Testament, has expressed himself after this manuer. Letter v. p. 80, 81, or p. 443. "He who had glory with the Father, before the world was, emptied himself," or divested himself of that glory, in order to redeem mankind, and descended from heaven, and "took upon him the form of a servant, and was made man." That is, he, who was a glorified preexistent spirit in the presence of God, submitted to descend from heaven, and to have himself conveyed by the wonderful power of Almighty God, into the womb of a virgin. Where being clothed with flesh, and ripening by degrees to manhood, he was at length brought forth into the world, in the same apparent state and condition with other human infants.'

·

Again, Letter vii. p. 132, 133, or 482, 483. And accordingly this exalted spirit was, by the wonderful power of God, as before related, conveyed into the womb of the virgin Mary, and was made man; that is, was made as much so, as his mother could make him, without being impregnated by man. And now being deprived of the immediate presence of God the Father, and being shut up in darkness, and the shadow of death, he was after nine months brought forth into life, in the form of a feeble infant, with all the weakness, and frailties, and infirmities of human nature about him. And as he grew up into life, and his reason improved, this only served to make the terrible change and alteration of his condition, so much the more perceptible, and the recollection of it so much the more grievous and insufferable. The 'dreadfulness of which state is hardly conceivable to us, because that we never were sensible of any thing better than our present existence. But for any being, which had ever enjoyed

a

Αρειος δε σαρκα μόνην προς αποκρυφην της θεότητος ὁμολογεῖ

αντι δε τα εσωθέν ἐν ἡμῖν ἄνθρωπο, τότ' εςι της ψυχής, τον Ty cap Xeyal yeyovεval. x. 2. Athan. Contr. Apollin. 1. 2, n. 3. p. 942. C.

2

In eo autem quod Christum sine animâ solam carnem suscepisse arbitrantur, minus noti sunt sed hoc verum esse, et Epiphanius non tacuit, et ego ex eorum quibusdam scriptis et collocutionibus certissime inveni. August. de Hær. c. 49.

the happiness of heaven, and had been in possession of "glory with the Father," to be de'prived thereof, and to be sent to dwell here in this world, encompassed within the narrow limits of this earthly tabernacle, and the heavy organs, made of flesh and blood, it must, literally speaking, be to such a being, a hell upon earth.' So says that celebrated writer.

To the letter are now added two postscripts. Concerning which nothing needs to be said here. They who look into them will see what they are.

One thing the author would say. He hopes the whole is written in the way of reason and argument, with meekness and candour, without acrimony and abuse: though not without a just concern for such things as appear to him to be of importance.

February 12, 1759.

[ocr errors]

A LETTER,

WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1730,.

CONCERNING THE QUESTION, WHETHER THE LOGOS SUPPLIED THE PLACE OF AN HUMAN SOUL IN THE PERSON OF JESUS CHRIST.

4

TO PAPINIAN..

You have, it seems, heard of the correspondence between Eugenius and Phileleutherus, and particularly of an incidental question, concerning the Arian hypothesis. You have been informed, likewise, that I am well acquainted with this correspondence. And, as it has excited your curiosity, you demand of me an account of it, and also my own opinion upon the point in debate.

If it were proper for me to deny you any thing, I should entirely excuse myself, and be perfectly silent: being apprehensive that touching upon a subject of so much niceness and difficulty may occasion some trouble to yourself, as well as to me. But you are determined not to accept. of any excuses.

I must then, without farther preamble, declare to you that I cannot but take the same side of the question with Phileleutherus: though once, for some while, I was much inclined to the other.

1

However, whilst I was favourable to the supposition, that the Logos was the soul of our Saviour, I was embarrassed with a very considerable difficulty. For the scriptures do plainly represent our blessed Saviour, exalted to power and glory, as a reward of his sufferings here on earth: but I was at a loss to conceive how that high Being, the first and only immediately derived being by whom God made the world, should gain any exaltation by receiving, after his

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »