ページの画像
PDF
ePub

This doctrine of the likeness between the Father and our Lord is intimated in these ever-memorable words, Zech. xiii. 7. Awake, O sword, against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts. As the word ren. dered man here, signifies one that is mighty, compare Psalm Ixxxix. 19. so that translated ny fellow, OCcurs frequently elsewhere, and as far as I have obseryed, is always rendered neighbour or another, Lev. vi. 2. xviii. 20. xix. 11, 15, 17. xxiv. 19, 25. xiv. 15, 17. It signifies one that is near in place, and of the same nature with another. When therefore God the Father calls our Lord his fellow, it implies that he was his otherself, so to speak, possessor of the same Godhead with him, and the most perfect image or representation of his person

Thus when Christ is said to be in the form of God, it signifies, that in essence he was one with him, and in person like unto him. And if so, then surely he thought it not robbery to be equal with him.

But this brings us to consider the second department of our text. The apostle having said that Christ was in the form of God, immediately adds, “ that he thought it not robbery to be equal with God.”

A fairer stone than this, lies not in all the temple of truth. But as it has given pain to enemies, often, often have they lifted up their criticizing tool upon it, and instead of polishing, have polluted it, Exod. xx, 25. That we may set the passage in a clear light, it will be necessary to roll away all that Socinian rubbish which has been cast upon it t.

1st. Then the Socinians have used their utmost ef.

Leigh's Crit. Sacran + It is obvious to the learned, that in the original, awy agmeyeon anno TO Tò avec lace drõ, there is either an ellipsis to be supplied from the preceding context; or an enallage, the plural noun being used for the singular. They who take the phrase to be elliptical, judge that ta lautoj is to be understood before tra, He thought it not robbery, ta lauto pò dives loce bim that his things should be equal to God, i.e. that he should in all things be equal unto God. This, supplement they take from the preceding words, “ Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” And they tell us that ta lauto

forts to give it quite a different turn from what it has in our version. Instead of reading, “ He thought it not robbery to be equal with God,” they render it, “ He did not catch at, or vehemently desire to be held in equal honour with God. He did not covet to be honoured, or was not greedy, or in haste of being honoured as God ” The noted Socinian of Norwich*, paraphrases it as follows, “ He did not regard the dignity and glory which he had with the Father, as soldiers do the spoil and plunder which they take by force, and resolutely hold against all the world.” A late author in his essay on our Saviour's death, tells us, that the words in the original may be more justly rendered, “ did not hold it for a prey to be as God.” And according to him the meaning is, “ He did not arrogantly seize and retain to himself these Godlike powers and honours which he possessed, or was entitled to: he regarded them not as his prey or booty, as acquisitions of his own, and for his own use, but as the gifts of God, and to be employed only for his glory t." Thus these enemies go to work. If their sense of the passage be true, instead of

prov. ing the Deity of our Saviour, it proves that he did not aspire after Deity, affected not equality with God. The last mentioned author, indeed, has expressed himself ambiguously, in rendering the passage, “He did not hold it for a prey to be as God." The word hold signi. fies either to hold in a forcible manner, as Cant. iii. 4. or to reckon, account, or esteem, so Exod. xx. 7. “ The Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name

is a Græcism, signifying Himself. See Zanchy on the place. Those who think that love is used for irov, apprehend that inutòy is to be supe plied before the infinitive sivas. Thus he thought it not robbery lævtèt tà sive idee dem, for himself to be equal with God. In whichever of these ways, we read the words, the sense is the same, though the last seems the most natural. See Maestricht Theol. vol. 1. p. 489. Turretin renders the plural adjective, ira, by a plural substantive, æqualitates, i. e. alto. gether equal unto God. De Satisfact. p. 287.

* Dr. Taylor, as quoted by Brine on the Atonement.

fDs. M'Gill's Essay, p. 113.

1

in vain.” Matt. xxi. 26. “ All hold John as a prophet.” Phil. ii. 29. “ Hold such in reputation.” According to this sense of the word, when it is said that our Saviour did not hold it as a prey to be as God, the meaning would be, He did not reckon, account, or esteem it as a prey to be as God: which nearly coincides with our version. But that vail of ambiguity which covered that author's translation, is entirely removed by himself, while he tells us, that our Lord did not arrogantly seize and retain to himself these Godlike powers and honours which he possessed, he regarded them not as his prey or booty. Here the mask is torn off, and the Socinian appears. Instead of acknowledging our Lord's equality with the Father, we are told that he did not arrogantly seize or retain Godlike honours: did not regard them as his prey or booty. With respect to this sense affixed to our text, we observe,

ist. That it is obscure. In the words immediately preceding, we are told that Christ was in the form of God.

Accordingly one would think that he was equal with God. For to be in the form of God, signifies, as we have already seen, to be God, as certainly as to be in the form of a servant, signifies to be a servant. To be in the forin of God, must also signify to be like God; as to be in the form of a servant, signi. fies to be in the likeness of men. Now, to be like God, is in scripture'style to be equal to him. He who says, “I am God, and there is none else," am God, and there is none like me,” Isa. xlvi. 6, 9. He as much denies that there is any like him, as that there is any besides him. When therefore Christ is said to be in the form of God, nothing can be clearer than that he should think it no robbery to be equal with God. But instead of this clear and consistent sense, Socinians will have it that he did not covet, catch at, or vehemently desire, equal honours with God. Why use such expressions, since he was possessed of these honours from eternity? How obscure, or rather inconsistent is it, to talk of one snatching at honours of which he is already possessed? What a cloud these critics

[ocr errors]

says also, I

One unpre

throw over the text! Christ being in the form of God, did not catch at equal honour with God. judised would readily conclude, that being in the form of God, he could not but be equal with him.

2dly. I observe that the Socinian sense of the text is uncouth or uncomely. When they would illustrate their meaning, they tell us that Christ did not regard the glory which he had with the Father, as soldiers do the spoil and plunder, which they seize and retain by force: that he regarded not his godlike honours as his prey or booty. The spoil, the prey, or plunder, are terins which originally refer to war, either just or un. just; and accordingly so must the booty. But to in- . troduce such an idea, or to use such a manner of speaking with respect to the glories of our Redeemer, is daring and dangerous to the last degree. The uncomeliness of the metaphor, cannot but excite suspicion of the doctrine which it is meant to illustrate. The honours of which our Lord was possessed in his pre-existent state, were his, either by nature, or by donation. If the former, he could no more part with them, than with his being. If the latter, he behoved to resign them all at the intimation of the donor's will. But to talk of spoil, prey, or plunder here, is most incongru

True it is, that God is sometimes spoken of as a man of war, Exod. xv. 3. Psal. Ixxviii. 65, 66. and as coming as a thief, Rev. xvi. 15.; but such manners of speech relate to the dispensations of his providence respecting his enemies. Compare 2 Thess. V. 4. It is also fact that our Redeemer spoiled principalities and powers, made a shew of them openly and triumphed over them, Col. ii. 15. But with respect to his Father and him, from eternity there was, there could be nothing but the most ineffable love between them, Prov. viii. 30.

3dly. I observe that the sense which the Socinians give our text is incoherent. The apostle in the preceding context is persuading the Philippians to humility. “ Let nothing be done through strife, or vain-glory, but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem others better

OUS.

than themselves.” To enforce this persuasive, he sets the example of Christ before them, “ Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God. Nevertheless, he 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.” Here we see the force of the argument. Nothing could be more pertinent. Jesus, though God, became a man. Though equal to his Father, yet he became his servant. What could be more animating to the Philippians than this unparalleled humility? But according to the Socinian sense of the passage, the motive suggested has neither force nor propriety. Its whole amount is this, “ In humility of mind, ye Philippians, let each esteem others better than themselves, for Christ Jesus, though working miracles, and appearing in majesty, did not desire, or snatch at equality with God. Though in the form of God he did not hold the prey to be as God: he did not set up for supreme Deity.” The apostle's argument therefore, is neither more nor less than this, “ Be humble, for Christ Jesus was not unjust. Look not every man on his own things, for Christ aspired not to the things of God.” Who sees not that this reasoning, if so it may be called, is of no force, and quite foreign to the scope of the passage? For as some have well

observed, the apostle's design is not to caution the Philippians against coveting what they had no claim to, but to engage them, after the example of Christ, to give up their own right for the advantage of others *.

* The Socinians plead that their sense of the passage is greatly countenanced by the opposition of the two clauses, and the force of the particle immediately following. “ Who being in the form of God, did not eagerly catch at equality 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.” Here, say

« 前へ次へ »