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The Light and Life of Men.
heaven, and that are in earth, visible, and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; comp. ch. ii, 10; Eph. i, 21; iii, 10; vi, 12; Tit. iii, 1; all things were created by him and for him and he is before all things, and by him all things consist:" Col. i, 13-17. What calm and reasonable critic-what plain and unsophisticated reader of Scripture-can admit that the apostle wrote these things of the Son of God, and wrote them by inspiration, and at the same time refuse to confess that the Son of God is JEHOVAH?
VI. But the divine operations of the Word, in his preexistence, were by no means confined to the work of creation. He was also the spiritual quickener and enlightener of mankind; and more particularly the celestial leader and governor of God's peculiar people. Immediately after declaring the doctrine, that by the Word all things were made, the apostle John (in reference, probably, to the same stage in the history of the Son of God-namely, that of his preexistence) proceeds to say, "In him was life, and the life was the light of men," John i, 4; and in his first Epistle he describes this divine Person as "that ETERNAL LIFE, which was with the Father, and (afterwards) was manifested unto us:" 1 John i, 2.
It was Christ who (according to the most probable interpretation of 1 Pet. iii, 18, 19)7 preached, through
7 ̔́Οτι καὶ Χριστὸς ἅπαξ περὶ ἁμαρτιῶν ἔπαθε. . . . . . θανατωθεὶς μὲν σαρκί, ζωοποιηθεὶς δὲ πνεύματι, κ. τ. λ. "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins,.....being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit; by which also he went and preached (i. e. simply preached, comp. Eph. ii, 17, vide Macknight in loc.) unto the spirits in prison, (i. e. unto the spirits who are now in prison) which sometimes were disobedient......in the days of Noë," &c. There is surely nothing in the construction of this difficult passage which renders it necessary for us to interpret it as conveying the singular and apparently antiscriptural notion, comp. Luke xxiii, 43; that Christ, after hi death, descended into
The Protector and Governor
his prophet Noah, to the sinful antediluvians. It was he whose Spirit, in other ancient prophets, testified beforehand of the sufferings in the flesh, and of the glory that should follow: 1 Pet. i, 11.8 It was he who as a "spiritual rock" accompanied the Israelites during their perilous journey, and miraculously supplied all their wants: 1 Cor. x, 4.9 It was he whom the infernal regions, in order to preach to the spirits of the wicked, rèserved in prison unto judgment. I conceive that oàg in this passage signifies his human nature, in which our Lord suffered death, comp. John i, 14;—that TVεua as in Rom. i, 4; 1 Cor. xv, 45; denotes his divine nature or power (vide Schleusner in voc. no. 10) which could not be holden of death, and by which even his mortal body was raised again to life, comp. John x, 18; and that the apostle is here conveying the doctrine, that in this his divine nature and power, Christ (through the instrumentality of Noë, or by an immediate spiritual influence) preached to the rebellious antediluvians. These rejected his divine teaching, and are therefore now ev puλány—in prison. Macknight explains the passage on the same principle; except only that he understands TveÚμATI as denoting the Holy Spirit-a sense which it can scarcely bear in the present instance, because it is governed by no preposition, and, according to the best readings, is preceded by no article: see Middleton in Gr. Art. p. 618; comp. Pearson on the Creed, and Poole's Syn. in loc.
1 Pet. i, 10, 11. "Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently......Searching what or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow :" vide E. Sim. Ger. in Poli Syn. "Dicit ergo Spiritus Christi, ut innuerit divinitatem Christi, qui ipse jam olim Spiritu suo prophetas afflavit; simulque diceret Spiritum sanctum a Filio procedere." As "the Spirit of God" uniformly signifies the Spirit which is God's, and which proceeds from God, so we cannot with any reason interpret "the Spirit of Christ" as importing any thing less than the Spirit which was Christ's, and which Christ sent: see Matt, iii, 16; 1 Pet. iv, 14, &c. More especially compare Rom. viii, 9, where we again read of πνεῦμα Χριστοῦ, and where the Spirit of Christ and the Spirit of God are plainly identified.
9 1 Cor. x, 3, 4. Καὶ πάντες τὸ αὐτὸ βρῶμα πνευματικὸν ἔφαγον· καὶ πάντες τὸ αὐτὸ τόμα πνευματικὸν ἔπιον· ἔπινον γὰρ ἐκ πνευματικῆς ἀκολουθούσης πέτρας· ἡδὲ πέτρα ἦν ὃ Χριστός. “And they (the
Israelites) did all eat the same spiritual meat, and did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual (or divine) rock which followed them and that rock was Christ." Many commentators con
of the Israelites.
they tempted in the wilderness to their own destruction: 1 Cor. x, 9.1 It was he who selected, governed, and possessed, them as his peculiar people; for it is
ceive the doctrine of the apostle to be simply this-that the Israelites all partook of the manna with which they were miraculously supplied: that they all partook also of the water which was, by especial divine favour, made to gush out of the rock; and that the rock which afforded them this supply, and which accompanied them on their journey, represented or typified Christ. That the spiritual meat and the spiritual drink, here mentioned, were the manna from the sky and the water from the rock, both of which were afforded them TvEvμarınãs, that is, by a supernatural exertion of the divine power, may, I think, be freely granted, and appears to be generally allowed by critics. But, that the spiritual Rock which followed, or rather accompanied, the Israelites, was not the outward rock, I cannot avoid concluding, from two considerations; first, because, though the water was miraculously supplied, and was therefore TVEνarinÒV Tóμa, the rock from which it came was, as far as we learn from the Mosaic history, an ordinary rock, and could not therefore reasonably be denominated veμarinn; and secondly, because neither that rock nor the stream proceeding from it accompanied the Israelites on their journey. For, although the Rabbins have constructed a tale of that description, no countenance is given to such a notion in the Old Testament; and the contrary is amply evinced by the fact, that the miracle of bringing water out of a rock was repeatedly performed for the benefit of the Israelites, during the course of their journey: vide Exod. xvii, 6; Numb. xx, 5—8; comp. Numb. xxi, 5, 16; xxxiii, 14. What, then, was the divine or spiritual Rock of which the Israelites drank-from which they received the miraculous supply of all their wants? The apostle answers, "that Rock was Christ." Now, although the verb substantive sometimes denotes only to represent or to typify, (vide Schleusner, voc. ɛîμ, no. 13) there does not appear to be any solid reason why should not here be construed in its literal and usual sense of " The Divine Being is often mataphorically described as a Rock: vide Deut. xxxii, 4, &c.; and Christ-the Son of God-was the spiritual Rock who led, supported, and protected, the journeying Israelites. Such is the interpretation given of this passage by the great majority of ancient Greek critics and commentators: see for example, Athanasius de Hum. Nat. Suscept. Ed. Colon. i, 607, Epiphanius, Hær. lib. 1, tom. iii, Ed. Petav. i, 358; Gregory Nyssen, De adventu Dom. Ed. Paris, 1638, tom. ii, 162; Chrysostom, Hom. xi, Ed. Ben. tom. xii, 397; Theodoret, Theophylact, Ecumenius, Damascenus, in loc. The same view of the passage is ably supported by Rosenmüller, Schol. in loc.
1 1 Cor. x, 9. Μηδὲ ἐκπειράζωμεν τὸν Χριστὸν, καθὼς καί τινες αὐτῶν ἐπείρασαν, καὶ ὑπὸ τῶν ὄφεων ἀπώλοντο. “ Neither let us tempt Christ,
The Protector, &c. of the Israelites.
declared, in apparent reference to the Jews, that, when the Son of God came into the world, "he came unto HIS OWN: "2 John i, 11.
Nor can it with any reason be imagined that such things should be predicated of the Son of God on any other principle than that of his real divinity; for the ancient Israelites lived under a theocracy, and Jehovah alone was their King. It was his own province to work miracles for their preservation-to punish them for their iniquities, and to inspire their prophecies.
as some of them also tempted (him) and were destroyed of serpents." It is evident, that the pronoun avròv is, in the Greek text, understood after the verb Teigaσav, and, therefore, that in an English version of the passage, the pronoun "him" ought to be expressed. A similar construction in Greek is very common; see for example, verse 6, of this very chapter —εἰς τὸ μὴ εἶναι ἡμᾶς ἐπιθυμητὰς κακῶν, καθὼς κᾀκεῖνοι ἐπεθύμησαν; where the pronoun αὔτα, or the noun κάκα, must be supplied after the verb búμnoav; so Luke xxiv, 39. A precisely parallel passage to 1 Cor. x, 9, will be found in the Septuagint version of Deut. vi, 16, οὐκ ἐκπειράσεις Κύριον τὸν Θεόν σου ὃν τρόπον ἐξεπειράσαθε ἐν τῷ πειρασμῷ. "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord your God, as ye tempted (him) in the provocation." For Tov Xgorov in this passage, some authorities read Tov Kúgrov, which does not alter the sense of the passage; for, with the apostle Paul, o Kúgros is a distinguishing and proper name of Christ; but the evidence in favour of the commonly-received reading greatly preponderates: vide Griesbach, in loc.
2 John, i, 10, 11. "He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own (τὰ ἴδιαι) and his own (oi dio) received him not.” Verse 10 may be described as the mould upon which verse 11 is formed. Verse 10 declares that Jesus Christ was in the world, and that, although the world was made by him, the world knew him not. In verse 11, this declaration is followed up by the farther but similar statement, that Jesus Christ was manifested in that country which he had chosen for his own especial inheritance-that he came to that people whom he had consecrated as his own possession,— and that even by them he was rejected: vide Rosenmüller in loc. Grotius, on this passage, observes, "Docent jurisconsulti, id maximè naturaliter nostrum esse, quod nos ut existeret effecimus."
Here I would remark, that if the reader would form a complete view of this interesting branch of our subject, it is indispensably necessary that he should peruse and digest the history of that mysterious angel of Jehovah, who is so often mentioned in the old Testament as visiting, protecting, and delivering, the people of God-the divine messenger, who comforted Hagar in the desert, Gen. xvi, 7-13; who conversed with Abraham on the plains of Mamre, Gen. xviii, 1; who afterwards, by a call from heaven, arrested his bloody sacrifice, xxii, 12; who redeemed Jacob from all evil, xlviii, 16; who spake to Moses out of the burning bush, Exod. iii, 2; who guided the Hebrews in the cloud by day, and in a pillar of fire by night, Exod. xiv, 19; who withstood the perverse and eager Balaam, Num. xxii, 22–35; who strengthened Joshua for his combat with the Lord's enemies, Josh. v, 13; who was sent of God to expel the idolatrous nations from the land of promise, Exod. xxiii, 23; who pleaded at Bochim with the unfaithful Israelites, Jud. ii, 1: who gave to Gideon his high commission, vi, 11, 12; who promised to Manoah the birth of his son Sampson, xiii, 8, 9; who was manifested in the visions, and inspired the prophecies of Amos and Zechariah; Amos. vii, 7; Zech. i, ii.
On the various narrations now alluded to, it may, in the first place, be remarked, that such is the close resemblance which they bear one to another, and such the singular and characteristic features under which they unitedly depict the mysterious messenger of the Almighty, that it is scarcely possible not to understand them as all relating to a single individual.
In the second place, that this individual was no other than the Son of God, may be reasonably concluded, first, from the striking and very exact analogy which