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and that therefore, to have hnman nature, and to be in the form of a servant, are not precisely the same. It is as undeniable, however, that Christ could not take the form of a servant, without assuming humanity; and that therefore, “ as to be in the form of a servant sig. cc nifies to have a human nature clothed with all its in“ firmities, so to be in the form of God, signifies to “ be God, to have sovereign majesty, to enjoy infinite « glory, to exercise the authority, the rights, and the s functions of God, to live and appear in a manner 6 suitable to that great and incomprehensible na. 6 ture*.” God having no form but his essence, our Sa. viour being said to subsist in his form, must be partaker of his essence, or be by nature God.
2dly. When Jesus is said to be in the form of God, it implies that he was like unto him. In a very ancient version, t our text runs, “ Who being in the similitude of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” As our was Lord essentially one with the Father, till the fulness of the Godhead resided in him; so he was likeun. to him. He did not more certainly partake of his essence, than he resembled his person. This, as well as the preceding particular, is fairly deducible from what the apostle says concerning the form of a servant. That form included not only nature, but also likeness. The apos. tle having said that our Lord took upon him the form of a servant, immediately adds, by way of explication, “ being made in the likeness of men." 'I cannot but observe with some that our translators have marred the beauty of the apostle's words, by adding two copulative conjunctions, neither of which is in the original; and thus making three distinct propositions, while all the words together are used to express our Saviour's exinanition, with an explication, shewing wherein it com. sisteth. The true translation of the apostle's words runs in the following manner. “ Nevertheless, he emp
* Pictet. Theol. Chret. vol. 1. p. 239.
tied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men. If it be asked, “ How he who was in the form of God, and in whom dwelt all the fulness of Godhead, emptied himself?" The apostleanswers, " That it was by taking the form of a servant.” If it be further asked, “How he took the form of a servant ?” The same apostle answers, “ It was by being made in the likeness of men,” viz. in the likeness of sinful flesh, as he expresseth it, Rom. viii. 3. Thus the second clause is explanatory of the first, and the third of the second. The form of a servant included not simply flesh, or human nature; but the likeness of sinful flesh. Christ was not made in the likeness of innocent Adam, but of sinful men. Such a likeness was his humble dress during the period of his painful service, called by way of emphasis, the days of his flesh, Heb. v. 7. Being made sin, or a sin, offering for men, meetit was that he should be made in the likeness of sinful men, 2 Cor. v. ult. Being to offer a sacrifice, it was fit that a body should be prepared for him upon his coming into the world, Heb. x. 5. Now, as by assuming the form of a servant, he was made in the likeness of men; so subsisting in the form of God, he could not but be like him. In the one case he was made like unto his brethren; in the other, he was always like unto his Father. When he is expressly said to be in the form of God, viz. of God the Father, this cannot but signify that he as much resembles him in person, as he is one with him in essence. To be in the form of a thing, implies the greatest likeness to it, and at the same time that it is distinct from it. Thus the form of the impressed wax, exactly resembles that of the seal: there being point for point in the one, that there is in the other. Our Saviour is not God the Fa. ther, but he is in his form. Never did a son so exactly resemble a father, as he does him.' All his Father in him shines. Hence, he said in the days of his flesh, He that seeth me, seeth him that sent me, John xii. 45. He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father, chap. xiv. 9. And, saith the apostle, He is the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person, Heb. i. 3. The Father has an infinitude of glory, and our Jesus is the brightness of that glory, as the rays of light are the brightness of the sun. The Father is a person, a subsistent in the Godhead, and our Lord is the express character, image, or delineation, of his person, resembling him in all his perfections, as the im. pression on the wax does the engraving of the seal, there not being a line in the one which is not also in the other.
When created substances come under our consideration, their essential and accidental properties claim our attention.
And in contemplating the nature of the ever-blessed God, as revealed in holy scripture, two kinds of properties are to be carefully observed, viz. essential and personal. The one class is common to the ever-adorable Three; so all are infinite, eternal, and unchangeable. But as to the other, one is peculi. ar to one, and another to another. So paternity to the first, sonship to the second, and procession from both, to the third. For though the Father be eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Ghost eternal; though in respect of essence and essential properties, they are one; yet as to persons and personal properties, they are distinct. The Father is not the Son, nor either of them the Holy Ghost. Yet each of them possesseth not a part, but all the fulness of the Godhead. Nor is this a contradiction, any more than that there are three lines in one triangle, and that every line has an equal, though a distinct relation to the whole of that interjacent superficies which they inclose. Consider the Fa. ther and the Son as possessing the same Godhead, and they are one. But consider them as distinct persons in that Godhead, and the one is in the form of the other, is like unto the other. Accordingly he is called, “ The image of the invisible God," Col. i. 15. i. e. his image in his divine person, as appears from the following clause, where he is called, not the first-born of every creature, for at that rate he would only be the first of creatures, but the first Begetter or the first Former of the whole creation *.
* Vide Scapula's Lexic.
This doctrine of the likeness between the Father and our Lord is intimated in these ever-memorable words, Zech. xiii. 7. Awake, O sword, against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts. As the word rendered man here, signifies one that is mighty, compare Psalm lxxxix. 19. so that translated my fellow, occurs frequently elsewhere, and as far as I have observed, is always rendered neighbour or another, Lev. vi. 2. xviii. 20. xix. 11, 15, 17. xxiv. 19, 25. xiv. 15, 17. It signifies one that is near in place, and of the same nature with another. When therefore God the Father calls our Lord his fellow, it implies that he was his otherself, so to speak, possessor of the same Godhead with him, and the most perfect image or representation of his person * Thus when Christ is said to be in the form of God, it signifies, that in essence he was one with him, and in person like unto him. And if so, then surely he thought it not robbery to be equal with him.
But this brings us to consider the second department of our text. The apostle having said that Christ was in the form of God, immediately adds, “ that he thought it not robbery to be equal with God.”
A fairer stone than this, lies not in all the temple of truth. But as it has given pain to enemies, often, often have they lifted up their criticizing tool upon it, and instead of polishing, have polluted it, Exod. xx. 25. That we may set the passage in a clear light, it will be necessary to roll away all that Socinian rubbish which has been cast upon it t.
1st. Then the Socinians, have used their utmost ef.
* Leigh's Crit Sacra, + It is obvious to the learned, that in the original, og detayon, nghe. ato tò elven loa Osã, there is either an ellipsis to be supplied from the preceding context; or an enallage, the plural noun being used for the singular. They who take the phrase to be elliptical, judge that sd ÉQUTOÜ is to be understood before Tou, He thought it not robbery, ta igurow Tò civar iore Osm that his things should be equal to God, i.e. that he should in all things be equal unto God. This supplement they take from the preceding words, « Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others." And they tell us that Ta KUTOU
forts to give it quite a different turn from what it has in our version. Instead of reading, “ He thought it not robbery to be equal with God,” they renderit, “ He did not catch at, or vehemently desire to be held in equal honour with God. He did not covet to be honoured, or was not greedy, or in haste of being honoured as God" The noted Socinian of Norwich*, paraphrases it as follows, “ He did not regard the dignity and glory which he had with the Father, as soldiers do the
spoil and plunder which they take by force, and resolutely hold against all the world.” A late author in his essay on our Saviour's death, tells us, that the words in the ori. ginal may be more justly rendered,“ did not hold it for a prey to be as God.” And according to him the meaning is, “ He did not arrogantly seize and retain to himself these Godlike powers and honours which he possessed, or was entitled to: he regarded them not as his prey or booty, as acquisitions of his own, and for his own use, but as the gifts of God, and to be employed only for his glory t.. Thus these enemies go to work,
If their sense of the passage be true, instead of prov. ing the Deity of our Saviour, it proves that he did not aspire after Deity, affected not equality with God. The last mentioned author, indeed, has expressed himself ambiguously, in rendering the passage, “He did not hold it for a prey to be as God.” The word hold signi. fies either to hold in a forcible manner, as Cant. iii. 4. or to reckon, account, or esteem, so Exod. xx. 7. “ The Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name
is a Græcism, signifying Himself. See Zanchy on the place. Those who think that love is used for irov, apprehend that autòy is to be supe plied before the infinitive eivci. Thus he thought it not robbery cautòy tò slvoeu loc dem, for himself to be equal with God. In whichever of these ways, we read the words, the sense is the same, though the last seems the most natural. See Maestricht Theol. vol. 1. p. 489. Turretin renders the plural adjective, irc, by a plural substantive, aqualitates, i.e. alto. gether equal unto God. De Satisfact, p. 287.
* Dr. Taylor, as quoted by Brine on the Atonement,
+ Dr. M'Gill's Essay, P3,