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of his divine mission. This sense does wonderfully accord with what our Lord says, John x. 34-36, and in many other places of that gospel. "Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken, say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest, because I said, I am the Son of God?" But though he had so great power, "he made himself of no reputation:" he lived in a mean condition, and submitted to the reproaches of enemies, and at last to death itself. Which was plainly a voluntary submission. For being innocent, he needed not to have died, but might have been translated without tasting death.
If this be the meaning of that text, then 2 Cor. viii. 9, is also explained: that "though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor."
John i. 15," John bare witness of him- -He that cometh after me is preferred before me. For he was before me." And ver. 30, "This is he, of whom I said: After me cometh a man, which is preferred before me. was before me." But I apprehend, that John the Baptist does not here say, that Jesus was before him in time. But he says: 'He who comes after me, has always been before 'me, or in my view. For he is my chief, or prince, or princi'pal.' This suits what he says of the great dignity and transcendent excellence of our Lord's person and character, at ver. 27. "Whose shoes' latchet I am not worthy to unloose:" and ver. 23, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord:" that is, I am the harbinger, or forerunner of the great Person, who is about to appear among you. I am come before him, to prepare for his reception.
John viii. 58, may be thought a strong text for the preexistence of our Saviour's soul. But really he there only represents his dignity as the Messiah, the special favour of God toward him, and the importance of the dispensation by him. It is a way of speaking, resembling that in Rev. xiii. 8, "Whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world," and explained, 1 Pet. i. 20, "Who verily was fore-ordained before the foundation of the world." See also Eph. i. 4. 2 Tim. i.
Id est, cum vi polleret omnis generis miracula patrandi, etiam mortuos resuscitandi, personam tamen gessit tam humilem, ut ne domum quidem haberet propriam. Grot. in loc.
* Fuerat ante Abrahamum Jesus divinâ constitutione: infra xvii. 5. Apoc. xiii. 8. 1 Pet. i. 20. Constat hoc, quia de ipso ipsiusque Ecclesiâ mystice
9. Tit. i. 2. The Jewish people have a saying, that' the law was before the world was created. In like manner the dispensation by the Messiah was before the dispensation of Abraham, in dignity, nature, and design, though not in time.
The Jews were much offended at the words, recorded in the 56th verse. Nevertheless our Lord does not there say, that he had seen Abraham, or that Abraham had seen him in person. What he says is this: "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day. And he saw it, and was glad;" that is, he earnestly desired to see the time, when all the nations of the earth should be blessed, through his promised seed, the Messiah. And "by faith he saw it, and was glad." Compare Heb. xi. 13.m
Another text proper to be considered here is John xvii. 5,"And now, O Father, glorify thou me with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." But this, according to the Jewish phraseology, may be very well understood of the glory, always designed for the Christ by the immutable purpose of God. See Grotius upon the place. That our Lord had not, before his nativity, the glory which he here prays for, is apparent from the whole tenor of the gospel, and from clear and manifest expressions in the context. For the glory, which he now prays for, is the reward of his obedience. Ver. 4, " I have finished the work, which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me." And St. Paul says, Philip. ii. 9, "Wherefore God also has highly exalted him," Heb. ii. 9, “ for the suffering of death he was crowned with glory and honour,” ver. 10," For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." And Heb. xii. 2, "Looking unto Jesus, who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame. And is set down on the right hand of the
dictum erat, recente humano genere, futurum, ut semen muliebre contereret caput serpentis. Grot. in Joh. viii. 58. Vid. et Bez. in loc.
Sic legem fuisse ante mundum,' aiunt Hebræi. Vide Thalmudem de Votis. Grot. ad Joh. xvii. 5.
Cæterum, ex Hebræorum idiotismo, dies alicujus nihil aliud declarat, quam spatium quo vixerit aliquis, aut insigne quidpiam, quod ipsi vel facere vel ferre contigit. Quæ res notior est, quam ut testimonio egeat. Dies ergo Domini nihil aliud significat, quam ipsius adventum in carnem. Vidit enim eum eminus Abraham, fidei nimirum oculis, ut declaratur, Hebr. xi. 13.-ac gavisus est,-Respicit autem expresse Christus ad id quod dicitur, Gen. xvii. 17. Abrahamum, acceptâ de nascituro sibi illo semine promissione, sese prostravisse, et risisse. Unde et ipsi Isaaco nomen imposuit Dominus. Bez. ad Joh. viii, 56.
throne of God." And Luke xxiv. 26. Our Saviour says to the disciples, in the way to Emmaus: "Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?" And St. Peter, 1 Ep. i. 10, 11, " Of which salvation the prophets have inquired-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." And St. Paul, Acts xxvi. 22, 23," saying no other things than those, which the prophets and Moses did say should come: that the Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead." All harmonious, as we see, that the glory of the Messiah was subsequent to his obedience and sufferings on this earth. See likewise Rom. i. 3, 4.
Nor can I forbear to observe to you, that Augustin, who has largely considered the words of John xvii. 5, and in so doing quotes Eph. i. 4, and Rom. i. 1-4, understands them of Christ's human nature, and explains them in the same manner that I have done. Quasi vero quisquam regulam fidei intuens, Filium Dei negaturus est prædestinatum, qui eum negare hominem non potest. Recte quippe dicitur non prædestinatus secundum id quod est Verbum Dei, Deus apud Deum-Illud autem prædestinandum erat, quod nondum erat, ut suo tempore fieret, quemadmodum ante omnia tempora prædestinatum erat, ut fieret. Quisquis igitur Dei Filium prædestinatum negat, hunc eundem filium hominis negat-secundum hanc ergo prædestinationem etiam clarificatus est antequam mundus esset, ut esset claritas ejus ex resurrectione mortuorum apud Patrem, ad cujus dexteram sedet. Cum ergo videret illius prædestinatæ suæ clarificationis venisse jam tempus, ut et nunc fieret in redditione, quod fuerat in prædestinatione jam factum, oravit, dicens: Et nunc clarifica me tu Pater apud temetipsum, claritate, ⚫ quam habui priusquam mundus esset, apud te :' tamquam diceret, Claritatem quam habui apud te, id est, illam claritatem, quam habui apud te in prædestinatione tua, tempus est, ut apud te habeam etiam vivens in dexterâ tuâ. August. In Joan. Evang. cap. 17. Tr. cv. n. 8. ed. Bened. Tom. III. p. 2.
It has been thought by some," that Christ, or the Son, appeared to the patriarchs, and was oftentimes sent upon messages to men by the Supreme Being, before the times of the gospel. But where is the proof of this? It was the
"That opinion is modestly rejected by Mr. Peirce, in his Paraphrase on the Epistle to the Hebrews. Chap. 1. ver. 2.
opinion of some of the ancient writers of the church, who had a philosophy, that was a mixture of Pythagorism and Platonism. Nevertheless, this supposition, that God had employed the Son in former times, before the gospel, is overthrown by the very first words of the apostle in the epistle to the Hebrews," God, who at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken unto us by his Son." It is also inconsistent with the apostle's arguments to care and circumspection, steadfastness and perseverance, which follow afterwards. Heb. ii. 1, 2, 3, "Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard. For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him?" See likewise ch. jii. 1," For this man was counted worthy of more honour than Moses," ver. 6. But Christ, as a Son, "over his own house."
Still it may be said, that nothing but the pre-existence of the soul of Christ can suit those expressions of his being "sent from God," and " coming from God."
To which I answer, that the account here given by me is well suited to all such expressions in their utmost latitude, according to the style of scripture. For we may be all said to be sent by God into the world, without the supposition of a pre-existent soul. Especially are prophets sent from God. But above all Jesus is most properly" the sent of God," as he had the highest and most important commis
So John i. 6, "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John." Nevertheless none suppose, that John the Baptist came directly from heaven: but only, that he was inspired, and had a divine command to appear in the world, and bear witness concerning the Christ, who would come presently after him.
And the commission which our Lord gave to his apostles, is expressed by himself after this manner. John xvii. 18, "As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I sent them into the world." And xx. 21, "As my Father has sent me, so send I you."
But, as before said, Jesus is "the sent of God," as he had the highest commission. John iii. 34, " He whom God has sent, speaketh the words of God." Chap. iv. 34," My meat is to do the will of him that sent me.' Chap. v. 38, "Ye have not his word abiding in you. For whom he has
sent, ye believe not." See also ver. 23, 24, 30, 34, 36. And x. 36,"Say ye of him, whom the Father has sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest, because I said, I am the Son of God?" And in the history of the cure of the blind man, recorded in the ninth chapter of the same gospel, at ver. 7, " And said unto him: Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, which is by interpretation, Sent." Probably here is an allusion to our Lord's character, as "the sent of God." And there may be an intimation intended, that he is the Shiloh, spoken of in Gen. xlix. 10.
There are some other texts needful to be taken notice of re, John xiii. 3, " Jesus knowing that he was come from God, and went to God," oτ año Ɖeov eğŋλ0e. xvi. 27, “ For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God," оT εyw Tарρа TOV Dεov eğŋλov. ver. 28, "I am come forth from the Father, and am come into the world. Again, I leave the world, and go to the Father." 'Enov ара тоν Tаτроs. This expression is explained in chap. viii. 42. Whence we perceive, that thereby is intended our Lord's divine commission. "Jesus said unto them: If God were your Father, ye would love me. For I proceeded forth, and came from God. Neither came I of myself, but he sent me." 'Eyw γαρ εκ του Θεου εξήλθον, και ηκω, κ. λ.
The reproaches and contradictions which our Lord met with, and the sufferings of his death, are often set before us. But if the Logos, that high and exalted spirit, in the Arian sense, was the soul of Christ: this part of his humiliation, in clothing himself with an human body, would have been frequently represented and described in the clearest and most emphatical expressions.
Here, if I mistake not, is a proper place for setting down those observations upon this scheme, which reason may suggest, and were passed over before.
In the first place, I do not apprehend it possib'e that so glorious and perfect a spirit should undergo such diminution by being united to a human body, as to become thereby unconscious, or to be greatly enfeebled. I think, that if this spirit were to animate, and take upon it the part of a soul in a human body; its power, cogitation, and knowledge would subsist and remain, even in its infant state. In short, the human body would be swallowed up by this great soul. That soul would exert itself in the body, and sustain it with all facility, without rest, food, or any other Voyez cette façon de parler expliquée ci dessus, ch. viii. 42, par la mission. Lenfant upon John xvi. 27.