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Is needless to enquire after it being sufficient to my present purpose to observe, that it was such glory as Christ had formerly enjoyed, but then was destitute of, and desired that he might be restored to it. 2 Cor. viii.. 9. Te know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that tho' be was rich, yet for your fakes
be rich. The Apostle in the beginning of this chapter endeavoured to persuade the believing Corinthians to a liberal contribution to the poor christians in Judea, from the example of the neighbouring churches of Macedonia; who had to their ability, (and that too at a time of their deep poverty and affliction) contributed willingly, and of their own accord, towards the relief of their poor brethren. And tho' the Apostle had no special command from Christ for what he did in this affair; yet that he might make his exhortation successful upon the Corinthians, he sets before them the example of Christ, which as christians they could not but think themselves obliged to follow, and especially as they themselves were partakers of his graces. For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that tho' he was rich, yet for your fakes he became poor, tha tye, through his poverty, might be rich.
The force of the present argument is as follows. In the above texts is set forth a diversity of states with respect to our Lord Jesus Christ, viz. his beting possessed of, and his being separated from, either a state or a degree of glory. His being rich, and his becoming poor. And from hence I argue, that if the truth of the case be as it is here represented, that is, if the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, was really under such a diversity of states, and did pass through those changes, as is declared in the texts above, then he is a dependent controulable being; it being absolutely impossible that an independent uncontroulable beingr should be ca
he became poor, that ye, through his
pable pable of such different states, as is the present case: and if the Son be a dependent being, the consequence is unavoidable, viz. that he is inseriour and subordinate to the Father (as I have- shewn above) and the Father alone is the supreme God.
Having, in the precedent arguments proved, or made good, the proposition I first laid down, viz. 'That the Sen of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, is a Being inferiour and subordinate to the Father, and that the Father alone is the supreme God: I now proceed to examine the most material objections, which that proposition, and the proof by which it is supported, are liable to. And,
First, It may be objected, that the above proposition very much detracts from the honour and dignity of the person of our hard, and lessens the value of his sufferings and death, by which alone the redemption of mankind was wrought out; and consequently, it is groundless and false,
TO the first part of the objection I answer, that it is no detraction from, the honour and dignity of a person to de-. ny him to be what he really is not. It, is no detraction from the Dignity of Thomas Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, to fay, that he is not the King of Great Britain; because,, it is only a denying him; to be what he really is not. To detract from any ojne's dignity, or honour, is to deny him to be what he really is. Thus to fay, that Thomas Herbert is not a peer, but only a commoner of Great Britain, would be to detract from his dignity and honour; because he is really Earl of Pembroke, and consequently is more than a commoner, and is -really a per of Great Britain, And therefore seeing X have not denied our Lord to be any thing that he really is; but only have faid that of him, which he hath said of himself, and what the scriptures testify of him, it must be a very unjust charge to fay, I have detracted from his dignity and honour; and consequently the first part of the objection is false and groundless.
To the second part,' viz. that the above proposition lessens the value of Christ's sufferings and death; I answer, that the greater or lesser value of any suffering (I think) must arise, either from the greater or lesser degree of that suffering, or the more or less valuable end which it is made subservient to, or the greater or less valuableness of the agent, who voluntarily chuses to undergo that suffering: and when we have considered the case, in all those views, I think it will appear, that the proposition here reserred to, does by no means lessen the value of Christ's sufferings and death. For as to the greater or lesser degree of sufsering, or the more or less valuable end, which that suffering is made subservient to, these are the fame with respect to the sufferings of Christ, whether the forementioned proposition be true or: false. His sufferings were the fame, and the end which they were made subservient to was the fame also; and as to the valuableness of the sufferer, or the agent which voluntarily chose to undergo that suffering, when the case is examined, the difference possibly may not appear to be so great, as it is usually thought to be; and may«determine against, ratlier than in favour ps those who make this objection.
Cerinthus, and his followers (as the learned fay) held that pur Lord Jesus Christ sustained two rational natures, and these acted in a separate and distinct capacity one from the other; one of these jhey called Jesus, and the other they called Christ: ''.' JeiUS Jesus they fay was of .an earthly, and Christ of an heavenly extraction; and that when Jesus entered upon his passion, Christ took wing and flew away from him and left him to suffer alone; conser quently, according to the Cerinthians, the agent who suffered was but a meer human creature.
Sabellius, and his adherents (as it is faid) held that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, were but one distinct individual agent or being; tho' represented by, and under several distinct characters, upon account of his different dealings with his creatures; and that God was united to the man Christ Jesus, and in, and by that union communicated a divine assistance to enable him to perform both actively and passively the whole will of God; but still the agent, or being, who did perform that obedience was but a man. So that in this the Cerinthians and Sabellians agree, viz. that the agent, or sufferer, in the person of Christ, was but a meer human creature.
Socinus, and his followers, are faid to acknowledge the distinct personality of the Father and the Son; but withal, that the Son was no more than a man, tho' he received a larger measure of knowledge, and power, and the like abilities than ever any other man did and was called to tranfact in great affairs, such as the redeeming and judging the world, the governing and watching over the church, and the like; as never any other man was called to, or entrusted with. So that Cerinthus, and Sabellims, and Socius, and their followers, agree in this, viz. that the sufferer, in the person of Christ, was but a meer man.
The present Orthodox (as they esteem themselves) hold the distinct personality of the Father and the Son; that is, that these are two distinct agents or beings. This, I think, they may be faid to hold, if one can form any judgment of what they hold (which in the present case is somewhat difficult) and in this they dissent from Sabellius. And they likewise hold, that the Son, or second Person in the Trinity, waspersonally united to a man, and that the aforefaid second Person, and that man, in their united state, constitute the Person of Christ; and in this they dissent from Socinus. They also hold, that the divine and human natures, in the Person of Christ, did act in a separate and distinct capacity one from another, and in this they agree with Cerinthus. They likewise hold, that in the sufferings of Christ, it was the human nature only which acted, and bore those sufferings, and that Christ's divine nature did not, or could not suffer, or bear any share or part of that suffering: so that in this, both Cerinthus, and Sabellius, and Socinus, and the present Orthodox agree, viz. that the agent which suffered was but barely a man.
Those who are (by way of contempt) called Arians hold, that the Father and the Son are two distinct agents or beings; and that the Son is not the very supreme God himself, but the Son of the supreme God: that the Son of God, was his Father's agent in making this visible world; and consequently, that he had a personal existence antecedent to his conception in the womb of the Virgin, and that in his conception he condescended to be united to, and take upon him human flesh, acted in, by, and upon a human body, or a body formed and brought forth as all other human bodies are, and this constituted him a man; tho% with respect to the dignity of his spiritual part, and his near relation to God, he was more than a man, or at least more than any other man was; and this spiritual part, was that agent, in the Person of Christ, who chose to bear and suffer all that pain and anguish which Christ underwent: