Page images
PDF
EPUB

that night, never to be forgotten by an Israelite, wherein the first-born of the Egyptians were slain“ While all things were in quiet silence, and that

night was in the midst of her swift course, thine

Almighty WORD (AOGOz) leaped down from heaven, “out of the royal throne, as a fierce man of war into " the midst of a land of destruction; and brought " thine unfeigned commandment, as a sharp sword; “ and standing up, filled all things with death; and “ it touched the heaven, but it stood upon the “ earth.” Chap. xviii. 14.

But whatever may be thought of these passages, , certain it is, that when St. John comes to treat of this Word, although to show a distinction of personality, he first tells us, “ The Word was with God;" yet, to prevent all mistakes on the other side of the question, he instantly adds, " And the Word was “ God;" thus evidently asserting an unity of es“

sence.

Paul says,

And let any impartial man only lay together, upon this subject, and duly weigh the few following particulars: that St. John tells us, “The Word was “God,” and “the Word was made flesh,” that St.

“ God was manifest in the flesh; God “ was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself; " and in him dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead

bodily;" that our Saviour is styled JEHOVAH, a name appropriated to the Deity; that he says of himself, “ I am Alpha and Omega, the first and " the last3"_“I am he that searcheth the hearts and

& Upon this passage, which is found Rev. i. 11. Dr. DodDRIDGE has the following Note“ That these titles (which

“ reins;" that he created the world by his power, redeemed it by his mercy,

and
governs it by his

providence, and shall judge it in righteousness; let any

; impartial man, I say, consider these things with the attention they deserve, and determine for himself, concerning the nature and dignity of him who was incarnate for our salvation.

Should it be asked, why this person is styled the Word? the proper answer seems to be, that as a thought or conception of the understanding, is brought forth and communicated in speech or discourse, so is the divine will made known by the WORD, who is the offspring and emanation of the eternal mind; an emanation pure and undivided, like that of light which is the proper issue of the sun, and yet coeval with its parent orb; since the sun cannot be supposed, by the most exact and philosophical imagination, to exist a moment, without emitting light; and were the one eternal, the other, though strictly and properly produced by it, would be as strictly and properly co-eternal with it. So true is the assertion of the Nicene fathers; so apt the instance subjoined

[ocr errors]

occur just above in ver. 8.) should be repeated so soon in a “ connexion which demonstrates they are given to Christ, will

appear very remarkable, whatever sense be given in the

eighth verse. The argument drawn in the preceding note upon “it, would have been strong, wherever such a passage as this had “ been found; but its immediate connexion with this, greatly

strengthens it. And I cannot forbear recording it, that this “ text has done more than any other in the Bible, towards pre

venting me from giving into that scheme, which would make our Lord Jesus Christ no more than a deified creature.”

66

for its illustration, “God of God, Light of Light:" in apostolical language, The brightness of his Father's

glory, and the express image of his person h.” And whether we consider our Lord under the idea of the Word, or that of Light, it will lead us to the same conclusion respecting his office. For as no man can discover the mind of another, but by the word which proceedeth from himn; as no man can see the sun, but by the light which itself emitteth ; even so, “No man knoweth the Father, save the

Son, and him to whomsoever the Son will reveal “ bim!."

This glorious WORD this uncreated Light, was united to our nature in the person of Christ; “ The “Word was made flesh.Flesh, which is a part of our nature, stands here for the whole; and, being the baser part of the composition, seems purposely mentioned, to intimate, that the care and love of Heaven extended even to that; that our bodies, no less than our spirits, are included in the scheme of redemption; so that while the soul reposeth, in humble confidence, on the mercies of Jesus, the flesh also may “rest in hope.” In flesh, and by the instigation of flesh, the offence was committed. By taking flesh upon him, therefore, the great Physician, the sovereign healer of all our maladies, corrected the bad qualities of the fountain, that the streams might flow pure and salutary. In flesh the offence was committed, and therefore in flesh satisfaction

Η Απαυγασμα της δοξης, και χαρακτηρ της υποστασεως. i Matth. xi. 27.

[ocr errors]

must be made for it. Our High Priest was incarnate, that he might have something to offer, more valuable and efficacious than the flesh of bulls and calves. “ Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me.

In burnt offerings “and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure; “then said I, Lo, I come in the volume of the “ book it is written of me) to do thy will, o Godk.” The nature that sinned, according to the rules of justice, was to suffer for sin: and the word was made flesh, for the same reason that, when so made, he was baptized by John, “ To fulfil all

righteousness. “ And as Christ took manhood, “ that by it he might be capable of death, where“ unto he humbled himself; so, because manhood " is the proper subject of compassion and feeling

pity, which maketh the sceptre of Christ's regency,

even in the kingdom of heaven, to be amiable; “he, who without our nature could not on earth " suffer for the sins of the world, doth now also,

by means thereof, both make intercession to God “ for sinners, and exercise dominion over all men, " with a true, a natural, and a sensible touch of "pity!.”

As the Divinity is an object by no means within the grasp of human understanding, it were absurd to expect an adequate idea of the mode of its union with flesh, expressed in the text by the word “ made”;"

“ The Word was made flesh.” It suf

[ocr errors]

m

* Psal. xl. 6.; Heb. x. 5. 'HOOKER, Ecclesiast. Polity, v. 51.

η Εγενετο. VOL. II.

K

m

ficeth, in this case, to maintain the general truth of the proposition against those, who, in different ways, by subtilty and sophistry, have laboured to oppugn and destroy it. We must not, with Arius, deny the Saviour to be truly God, because he became man; nor assert, with Apollinarius, that he was not really man, because he was also God. We must not, with Nestorius, rend Christ asunder, and divide him into two persons ; nor, after the example of Eutyches, confound in his person those natures which should be distinguished. These were the four capital errors, which, in the earlier ages, harassed and ,

, distracted the Christian church, on the point of the incarnation, and in opposition to which, the four most ancient general councils of Nice, Constantinople, Ephesus, and Chalcedon, were called. Whatever was by them decreed, either in the declaration of Christian belief, or refutation of heresy, may all be comprised, as judicious Hooker well noteth, in four words, " truly, perfectly, indivisibly, “ distinctly";" truly God, perfectly man, indivisibly one person, distinctly two natures. « Within the

compass of which four heads,” saith he, “I may “ truly affirm, that all heresies which touch the per” son of Jesus Christ (whether they have risen in "the latter days, or in any age heretofore), may “ be with great facility brought to confine them♡ selves."

The apostle to the Hebrews, writing on the sub

n

"

[ocr errors]

η Αληθως, τελεως, αδιαιρετως, ασυνχυτως.
o Book v. Sect. 54.

« PreviousContinue »