ページの画像
PDF
ePub

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 introduce such an idea, or to use such a manner of speak. ing 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 incongruous. 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. vii. 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 humili

. ty. “ Let nothing be done through strife, or vain-glory, but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem others better

a

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 *.

[ocr errors]

* 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 they, we are told, first what Christ did not do, He did not affect equality with God. And then what he did do, He made himself of no reputation. And these, they allege, are properly connected by the particle But. It is farther pleaded, that the connection is quite indiscernible according to our reading. Christ thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation. This reasoning, however, is more fallacious than forcible. Its patrons cannot but know that the par. cicle edad, often signifies nevertheless. So Scapula acknowledges. And so it is frequently rendered in our version, Mark xiv. 36. Take away this cup from me, nevertheless, not what I will, but what thou wilt. John xi. 15. I am glad I was not there, nevertheless, let us go unto him. I Cor. ix. 12. Are not we rather? nevertheless, we have not used this power. Gal. iv. 30. Nevertheless, what saith the scripture? Col. ii. 5. Though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit. 2 Tim. i. 12. I suffered these things, nevertheless, I am not a. shamed. And it is remarkable that the particle arra is sometimes so rendered when preceded by the negative o'x, as in our text.

4thly. I observe, that as the Socinian sense of our text is neither clear, comely, nor coherent, so it is not supported by any parallel passage of scripture. Its patrons, indeed, urge a passage from some heathen authors, where they allege the phrase is the same with that in our text, and that as in these places it signifies to catch or snatch at the prey, so must it in this. But two things may be replied, viz. that it is not certain that the heathen's phrase is precisely the same with the apostle's. And certain it is, that the apostle in no other place of his writings uses the word in the signification which the Socinians plead. Instead of giving us a literal translation of his words, they rather present us with a paraphrase. Hence, the various words which they a use, to convey their sense of them. He did not covet,

Rom. F. 13, 14. Sin is not imputed when there is no law, nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses. So also 2 Cor. xii. 16. I did not bur. den you, nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile. If the particle and be so rendered in the passage under consideration, the Socinian argument falls to the ground, Christ 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 servani, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a mao, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Here we are told as plainly as words can, what Christ did not do, and what he did do. He thought it not robbery to be e. qual with God. Nevertheless, he emptied himself.

catch at, or vehemently desire to be equal with God. Was not greedy, or in baste to be honoured as God. It is certain that in every translation the more tenaciously we keep to the original, the better. Hence the rigid version is always preferable to the free: If not in point of language, yet in respect of truth. The greater freedom that is used in translating an author's words, we are in the greater hazard of deviating from the sense he intended. The passage under consideration being of the utmost importance, it is necessary that the greatest attention be paid to the words of the Iloly Ghost, that we may reach his meaning. It can not be denied that the original word, which has so of. ten been laid on the critic's anvil, signifies one of two, To lead or to think. Something of the first of these ideas we have in several passages of the New Testament, Matt. ii. 6. Out of thee shall come a Governor. Acts' vii. 10. He made him governor over Egypt. Chap. xiv. 12. He was the leader of the speech, i.e. the chief speaker. Chap. xy. 22. Leading men among the brethren. Heb. xiii. 7. Remember your leaders. Verse 17. Obey your leaders. Verse 24. Salute your leaders. In all these passages, the word, though not the same with that in my text, is nearly allied unto it; the one being the participle, the other the verb. If therefore the Socinians would adhere to this notion of the word, and accordingly give us a literal version of our text, it would be this, " Christ being in the form of God, did not lead the prey to be equal with God.” To, lead, or carry off the prey, is as clear and consistent an idea, as eagerly to desire, to catch, or snatch at it. Compare Eph. iv. 8. He led captivity captive. But on this reading they have not yet fixed. Instead of saying “ He did not lead the prey to be equal with God," they turn it, “ He did not covet, catch, or snatch at equality with God.” It is obvious, however, that though covetousness be a kin to robbery, yet they are quite distinct ideas, as much so as the execution is distinct from the intention. And therefore to shuffle in the one idea instead of the other," he did not covet," for

[ocr errors]

- he did not rob,” is not to give a translation, but a para phrase. But their great strength lies in the similar phrases which they pretend to find in heathen authors. There, say they, these phrases signify to catch at an opportunity, to pursue, covet, or snatch at a thing that is desirable, and therefore so must that in our text. Some competent judges, however, have called in question the instances they quote *. But supposing they were perfectly similar to that in our text, it will never follow from thence that it must be explained by them. It will be out of dispute with every lover of the truth, whether we are to abide by the waters of Shi. loah, or to repair to the puddles of paganism: whether we are to explain the apostle, by the apostle, or by a heathen: whether we are to borrow a light from what a heathen says in a passage or two, or from what the Holy Ghost himself says in a great many places of the New Testa. ment: whether we are to compare spiritual things with carnal, or with spiritual. As was already observed, the word in my text, signifies not only to lead, but also to think, esteem, account, reckon or judge. It is found

* Dr. Whitby insists on the phrases águayut Tolle, which he renders to snatch at, and ágreypiece iyeusde which he supposes signifies to pursue, or covet a thing that is desirable. But it will never follow, that because these phrases may have these significations in a profane author, that there fore αρπαγμού ηγήσατό must have the same in a Sacred. “Αρπαγμα πει και Kurruxsay may indeed signify to make robbery an opportunity, i. e. an opportunity not to be lost, which is the same as to rob: But it carnet from thence be inferred that orx ágreyptor wynsato must signify, he did not pursue, or covet to be equal with God. Dr. Ridgley on the Lar: ger Catechism, p. 153, vol. 1. has observed, that the substantive nom in our text is not the same with that in the places quoted by Whitby. Here it is die aayos, there aerapudi The one, he says, signifies the act of robbing, the other the object or effect. Which he illustrates by varzous examples of verbals ending in jeos and peck, as

Kotlarios, Boasting; Kortadoux, that in which we boast.
Kondoros, Punishing; Konou, the punishment inflicted.
'opionas, Limiting; 'Opirus, the boundary or limit itself.
'Oaltuos, Arming; 'Ogliopce, the armour itself.
Toyaruos , Aiming; Proxerus, the object aimed at.

Βαπτισμος, Baptising; Βαπτισμα, the ordinance in which it is performed, Mark vji. 8. compared with Matt. iii. 7. and xxi. 25.

« 前へ次へ »