Imágenes de páginas

miraculous powers, could at all times have obtained possession of worldly riches and greatness, then we have a simple and almost literal explanation of the expression: For your sakes he led a life of poverty and suffering, though he had at his command the means of wealth and power and glorys.


65.] Rom. i. 3, Concerning his Son (who was born of the seed of David as to natural descent, and was powerfully declared to be the Son of God, as to the spirit of holiness, by his resurrection from the dead), even Jesus Christ our Lord.'-If spirit of holiness signify the holy spirit, the Apostle obviously means that Jesus Christ according to his natural descent, was of the race of David, (that is, as to nature was a man descended from David,) and by the communication of the holy spirit to him at his baptism, became the Son of God; and that this exalted designation was most powerfully confirmed by his resurrection from the dead. If it signify a holy disposition, the passage loses much of its force,

If it could be shown that 77wxsus must be rendered, became (not was) poor, it still remains to be shown that the expression being rich' refers to a state prior to our Lord's birth. I have already remarked that it could not, even then, be understood literally; and it seems to me clear enough, that it might as well refer to that period (see Matt. iv. 8. Luke iv. 6,) when we know that he had worldly power, wealth and glory within his grasp, and rejecting which he chose a life of humiliation and suffering, as to one in which he could not have possessed temporal riches. Without doubt, however, sørwxsure may justly be rendered be was poor, (see Improved Version;) but I wished to show that the advocates for the pre-existent hypothesis cannot adduce this passage as a proof of it, because it is not only capable of two renderings, one of which does not suit that hypothesis, but the other also admits of a just interpretation which has no reference to it. Yet it is upon such passages that the doctrine rests for its evidence.

representing Jesus as a son of God in the same light in which all his followers may be sons of God; comp. viii. 14, for as many as are led by a divine spirit, TEUμari Osov, they are sons of God.'-In this passage, naтa σapna, as to natural descent, is used .without the article, as it also is in ch. ix. 3. (See p. 134, (); but in ch. ix. 5, it is used with the article, to nara capxa. This "must make some difference," it has been said, "and what can its 66 use be, unless to remind us, that Christ was "of Israel, only according to the flesh; but that ❝-in truth he had also a higher nature, of which he "proceeds immediately to speak?" The employment of the article is obviously founded on the fact, that Jesus was of Israelites as to natural descent only, and that as to spiritual descent he was the Son of God, that he had his commission, his doctrine, and his miraculous powers, by immediate communication from his God and Father. If Paul had wished to direct the attention of the Roman disciples to the lamented fact, that the Jews were his own brethren as to natural descent only, he might have used the article in vs. 3, as he has in vs. 5. If it be said that the force of the article in vs. 5, would not be readily perceived by the Roman disciples, unless they had received the doctrine of two natures, and believed, with the modern orthodox, that Jesus was a God-man ",-I reply, that if they had felt any difficulty on this head, it must have been because they had forgotten the Apostle's own distinction in the beginning of his Epistle.

↑ See Mr. Veysie's Second Letter, p. 108.
u See above, p. 38, (n).

Jesus was of the race of David as to his natural descent; and if he had not been so, he could not have been the Messiah: but he was more, he was the Son of God. And I may add here, that those persons manifest little regard to truth and candour, who assert that the Unitarians (or Socinians as they are pleased to term us) maintain that Jesus was a mere man. We believe with the Apostle Paul, that as to nature Jesus was a man descended from David, but that as to the divine communications of knowledge and power, which God made to him for purposes the most important, he was the Son of God; and as such, we revere his authority, and own his claims upon our implicit and submissive obedience.


66.] Rom. viii. 3. God sending his own Son in the likeness of siuful flesh.' It has been hence inferred that Jesus existed before his human birth; that he was sent from a state of holiness and happiness" to live, as we do, in flesh, frail and liable to sin." Why Jesus is called God's own Son, has been already considered p. 174; his being sent merely refers to his commission, (see No. 74); and he was in the likeness of sinful flesh, since "notwithstanding the holiness of his character and the dignity of his office, he was treated like a sinner and an outcast." See Improved Version. The passage admits of a convenient interpretation upon the pre-existent scheme; but the word likeness more countenances the opinion of the Gnostic Christians, that the Christ was a man in appearance only. If, however, it admit of a just representation, as assuredly it does, upon the opinion that Jesus was really a man, and as to nature a man only, it cannot prove any thing in opposition to it.

Phil. ii. 7, has already been considered in No. 38; and Col. i. 15, 17, in No. 22.

As to the evidence in favour of the pre-existence derived from the Epistle to the Hebrews, I beg leave to refer to the statements already made, in p. 50-53, respecting the degree of its authority as to this and other controverted points, and the strength of its assertions in favour of the simple humanity of our Lord. The passages in the first chapter which are considered as opposing the Unitarian doctrine, are no evidence in favour of the simple pre-existence, and have been already considered. I have not inserted ch. ii. 9, 16, in my Table, since it is probable that no advocate for this doctrine would adduce them. If vs. 9 proves the pre-existence of Jesus, vs. 7 equally proves the pre-existence of mankind in general; and in fact, the use of the expression Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels,' most favours the belief that the Writer regarded him as truly and properly a man, in all respects like his brethren. And as to vs. 16, it must be clear to every competent judge of the original, that the translation in the P. V. is a complete misrepresentation of it, and that the text cannot justly be so rendered. What is probably the true translation has already been given in p. 52, note (*).·


67.] Hebr. vii. 3. The Writer, speaking of Melchisedec, represents him as without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life,' or (as Wakefield freely renders this part of the verse) as one of whose father, mother, pedigree, birth,

and death, we have no account :'- -so far the Writer does not speak of Melchisedec as resembling Christ; but if he had, his words, if, by inference, they proved any thing contrary to the simple humanity of Christ, would directly prove the same with respect to Melchisedec: the resemblance, however, as stated by the Writer, is not brought into view till the following clause, but resembling the Son of God, remaineth a priest perpetually.'

68.] Hebr. x. 5. Wherefore, when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me.' -I am not aware whether this text is generally considered as supporting the doctrine of pre-existence; but it appears to me to afford some countenance to it. Two things, however, must be taken into account; that according to the general or even uniform usage of the N. T., the phrase coming into the world, does not denote coming out of another place or state of existence into this, but coming forth from retirement or obscurity into the world, for the accomplishment of some important purpose; and secondly, that whatever be the precise meaning of the expression σωμα δε κατηρτίσω μοι, a body hast thou appointed for me, the Writer has merely adopted it from the Septuagint version of Ps. xl. 6; where the Psalmist applies it to himself. As it is obviously put in opposition to burnt offerings and sacrifices, it probably signifies, that God hath enjoined, rather than sacrifices, the proper regulation of the bodily appetites and affections, the subjection of all worldly desires; and if so the clause might have been rendered, thou hast ordained for


« AnteriorContinuar »