« PreviousContinue »
cerning his Death and Resurrection (which Matters were certainly more obvious to their Understandings, and more level to their Capacities, than his having a Divine Nature) till after his Sufferings were accomplish's, Mark 2. 32. Luke 9.45. and 18. 34. John 2. 19, 20, 21, 22, 23. Somecimes they were afraid to ask for Interpretations ; ac other times our Savior did not give them ; and indeed they were not qualify'd, during his Ministry, for the Reception of many sublime Doctrins, which fhould in due time be declar'd. You well know these remarkable Words of Christ, I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howa beit, when be the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth, John 16. 12, 13. No wonder then, that they did not for the present apprehend our Lord's having a Divine Nature, which is certainly the greatest Mystery of our Religion, and what they would least of all suspect, and most of all be fhockt at. Nay, 'tis absurd for us to imagin, that they believ'd this astonishing Arcicle of Faith during Christ's Ministry, without undeniable Evidence of their believing it ; which I dare say, no Man in his Wits will pretend. But when the Comforter was come, they throughly understood what they had formerly no tolerable Notions of. For the Spirit refresh'd their Memories at the same time that he enlighten'd their Understandings. For our Lord said, These things have I spoken unto you, bring yet prefent with
you. But the Comfortet, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, be shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I bave said unto you, John 14. 25, 26. So that by comparing his Discourses with the Events, they perfe&ly comprehended them ;
and accordingly they might well know and bolieve, that their Mafter had a Divine Nature.
I must add, that if they had believ'd him to have had a Divine Nature during the time of his MiniItry ; 'tis utterly unconceivable, that there should be no clear Indication of it in Scripture. The Belief of that one Proposition could not but have difcover'd it self numberless Ways in the whole Course of their Actions. It must have forced from them some open Acknowledgments and Expressions of that Belief. It must have led them into a quite different Conduct from that which the whole Hiftory of the Gospels discovers to us. And yet there is not the slightest Intimation of this Nature. Wherefore, tho 'tis sufficient for my Purpose, that we have no Evidence to the contrary : yet I can's but esteem this fingle Confideration (viz. the Silence of Scripture in so Momentous a Part of Sa. cred Hiftory) a plain and positive Demonstration of what I have been proving, viz. that during the Time of our Savior's Ministry, his Disciples did not believe him to be more than a mere Man con ducted and affifted by the Spirit of God.
I must how intreat your Patience, whilft I disparch three Particulars, which some Persons, less learned than your self, may poffibly stumble at, or raise Objections from.
1. St. John the Baptist said of Christ during his Ministry, He is above all, John 3. 31. and again, The Father loveth the Son, and bath given all things into his band, v. 35. Now if any Man should imagin, that the Baprift thereby discover'd Christ's Divine Na. ture and consequently Christ's Disciples might perhaps believe it, even during his Ministry; I answer, 1.That if the Baptift's Expressions did certainly imply, that Chrift" had a Divine Nature; yet how
shall it appear, that Christ's Disciples reach'd the full Meaning of them. Why must they be suppos'd to understand the Depth of the Baptist's Discourses, better than they did those of their own Ma. fter? But, 2. The Baptist's Expressions did by no means imply, that Chrift had a Divine Nature. For doubeless the Man Christ Jesus was, even during his Ministry, superior to all other Prophets, to whom the Baptist's Words must necessarily be reftrain'd, if understood in the then Present Tense. But I am persuaded, that they ought to be understood in the then Future Tense, so as to denote the then future Exaltation of the Man Christ Jesus. Thus when St. Paul says in the Present Tense, The beir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a fervant, we o represy av, tho' be be lord of all, Gal. 4. 1. he, must necessarily be understood in a Future Tenfe. For the Heir is for the present Lord of all, no otherwise than by the Designation of his Father; and shall not be actually Lord of all, till he enjoys the Inheritance. And accordingly the Baptist said in the then Future Tense, be (Chrift) is above all; meaning that he should most certainly be so at the Time of his Exaltation, which tho’he was not ac that time actually possess'd of, yet he should infal, liby receive of his Father ; of whom the Baptist also said, he bath given all things into his band, that is, he hath absolutely determin'd fo to do. For that our Lord did not actually exercise all Power both in Heaven and in Earth, till after his Ascension,
every, body knows.. -42. St. Jobri the Evangelist says, Qedr štis ed egna πωπήe.. Ο μονογμής δα, ών εις + κόλπον το παess, εκείνω Enghoatos that is, according to our Translation, No man batb seen God at any time ; the only begotten Son, which is in the bofom of the Father, he baih declar’d him,
John 1. 18. Now these words were undoubtedly spoken after our Lord's Exaltation; and consée quently,whatsoever they declare concerning Christ, it is (properly speaking) forein to the present Question. For upon Suppofition, that Christ's being in his father's Bosom did really imply his having a Divine Nature ; yet it does not follow, that because St.
Jobn affirm'd after his Ascension, that he had a Divine Nature, therefore the Disciples believ'd that he had a Divine Nature during his Ministry. But in Truth, that Phrase is striąly applicable to the Human Nature of Christ. For if o my be rendred who was, yet 'tis certain that his be.. ing in the Bosom of the Father, signifies in the Jewish Expression, being exceedingly belov'd of him, the nearest to him, and the most intimaç with him; as the Human Soul of our Savior certainly was, before he came from Heaven, whilft he was in the Form of God (for his Father loved him before the Foundation of the World, John 17, 24.) and also after he came into the World, even during his Ministry, above any Prophet that ever was sent by God.
But I am persuaded, that the Apostle fpake of what then was, when he wrote; and affirm'd, that Christ, who was at that Tirne in the Bosom of his Father, was he who declar'd the Father, that is, was his Interpreter to Mankind, and the Reveler of his Will. And Christ was undoubtedly at that Time in his Father's Bosom with respect to his Human Nature, which had ascended into Heaven, and actually sat at the Right Hand of God, and was placed in Authority next to, and in Conjun&tion with, the Very God.
3. Our Savior is charg'd by the Jews with making himself equal with God, and with making himself God; John s. 18. and 10.33. And if he thus discover'd his Divine Nature to the Malicious Fews during his Ministry; how can we imagin, but that his Disciples believ'd it at the fame Time? Now this will instantly appear a trifling Plea, if we confider, what Occasion our Lord gave the fews for chis Accusation. It seems he had called the Very God watu's rex, John 5. 17. Now because he call'a the Very God Idov na tlest, bis (or if you please bis own) Father, therefore they infer, that he made himself equal with God. Now they understood not the Mystery of God's being the Father of Christ's Human Nature, by begetting him in such a manner, that God was to him ijo netie, as properly as any other Man is the ido ratie of his Natural Son. And therefore, because when a Man begets his own Likeness, the Son is fpecifically equal to his 110 metais, they conclude, that Christ made himself equal to God by calling God idor treet
What has been said, may easily be applied to the other Text. Our Savior callid God his Father,
Fobu 10. 29. Then the Jews took up ftones again to stone him. Fefus answer'd them, Many good works bave * I fliewed you from my Fathers for which of those works do gë stone me? The Fews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy, and because that short, being a man, makest thy self God. Jesus answered shem, Is it not written in your law, I said ye are Gods? If he called them Gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken : Say ye of him, whom the Father bath San&tified and sent into the world, Tbout blasphemeft, because I said, I am the Son of God? y. 31. 32, 33, 34, 35, 36. You see by our Savior's An