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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 au. thors, 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 use, to convey their sense of them. He did not covet,
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 reputa. tion. 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 árad, 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 thon wilt. John xi. 15. I am glad I was not there, nevertheless, let us go unto him. 1 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 and is sometimes so rendered when preceded by the negative oix, as in our text. 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 burden you, nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile. If the particle aand 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 man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Here we are told as plainly as words can, what Cbris did not do, and what he did do. He thought it got robbery to be equal 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
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
- 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 Shiloal, 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 Testament: 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 ágreyuct Folty, which he renders to snatch at, and ágreypic hyesdae 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 ηγήσατο must have the saine in a sacred. “Αρπαγμα πεις Curtuxtav 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 cannot from thence be inferred that oxy úpray or wrisuto 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 now in our text is not the same with that in the places quoted by Whitby. Here it is die beynosthere apparai The one, he says, signifies the act of robbing, the other the object or effect. Which he illustrates by various examples of verbals ending in jeos and pick, as
Kopertlaoicos, Boasting; Koje slaouz, that in which we boast.
Βαπτισμος, Baptising; Βαπτισμα, the ordinance in which it is performed, Mark vü. 8. compared with Matt. iii. 7. and xxi. 25.
in eighteen places in the New Testament, in all of which it is taken in the latter sense. Now, the question is, whether when investigating its meaning in oui text, we should call in the aid of a heathen author, or compare it with the invariable use of the same word in all these passages: whether we are to inquire of the god of Ekron, or of the God of Israel? In the de. termination of this we cannot hesitate a moment. To use the word in one and the same sense in eighteen places, and to abandon that sense in the nineteenth, would be very extraordinary; especially, when there is not so much as the shadow of necessity for so doing. Such a conduct would betray something ridiculous, if not worse: a design to shun the truth, rather than to seek it. It is not without the superintendency of the Holy Spirit that the word in my text is used twice in this chapter, and three times in the next. So verse 3d, “Let each esteem others better than themselves. Verse 25th, I supposed it necessary to send you Epaphroditus. Chap. iü. 7, 8. What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss: And do count them but dung, that I
may win Christ.” In all these places the word signifies to think, reckon, judge, esteem, or account,
And no solid reason can be assigned why it should not have the same signification in my text. Add to this, that in all the other thirteen places where it occurs in the New Testament, it has still the self-same sense, as will appear from inspecting them. So Acts xxvi. 2. I think myself happy, 1 Thess. v. 13. Esteem them very highly 2 Thess. iii. 15. Count him not as an enemy.
i Tim. i. 12. He counted me faithful, chap. vi. 1. Let servants count their masters worthy of all honour. Heb. x. 29. Hath counted the blood of the covenant an unholy thing. Chap. xi. 11, She judged him faithful who had promised. "Verse 26. Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt. James i. 2. Count it all joy, when ye fall into divers temptations. 2 Pet. i. 13. I think it meet, Chapter ii. 13. They count it pleasure to riot in the
day-time. Chap. iii. 9. As some men count slackness. Verse 15. Account that the long-suffering of our Lord is salvation. Nay, the word in my text has the same signification in the Septuagint. Job. xli. 27. He es. teemeth iron as straw. Verse 28. He accounteth the sling-stone as stubble. From this collection of passage: it must appear to the conviction of the unprejudiced, that the Socinians' translation of our text is without parallel or precedent in holy scripture, and therefore to 'be rejected. Thus we have evinced that the sense which they affix to it is obscure, indecent, incoherent, and unsupported.
It must be acknowledged that some in high reputa tion for learning, orthodoxy and piety, have transla our text in a manner, which at first sight, seems to coincide with that of the Socinians, but at the same time they understand it in a different sense.
" He did not “ hold it for a spoil to be equal unto God. That is,
say they, He would not glory in his majesty, which “ he had in the form of God, as they who triumph in “ their spoils; but rather deny the honour of equality “ with God, agreeing truly unto him, by not shewing "it, and by not glorying in it*.” This sense is no how contrary to the analogy of faith. There is nothing in it which militates against the Deity of the great God our Saviour. Neither can it be deemed any how incoherent with the context. For in connection, thus it reads, “ Who being in the form of God, did not hold it for a spoil to be equal unto God; but emptied him. self, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men.” Still, however, it seems unnatural to speak of our Redeemer's uncreated glories under the notion of spoil. And hence, those who embrace this sense of the passage, find it necessary to distinguish betwixt private spoil, which is never acquired without injustice, and public, which is obtained in lawful war. The former being usually concealed, as in the case of
* So Maestricht. Theol. vol. 1. p. 489. So also Cameron and Daille. See Pictet's
*Theol. Chret vol. I. p. 240.