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Noah Worcester.

Bible news, of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit : in a series of letters. In four parts. I. On the unity of God. II. On the real divinity and glory of Christ. III. On the character of the Holy Spirit. IV. An examination of difficult passages of Scripture. The whole addressed to a worthy minister of online

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Online LibraryNoah WorcesterBible news, of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit : in a series of letters. In four parts. I. On the unity of God. II. On the real divinity and glory of Christ. III. On the character of the Holy Spirit. IV. An examination of difficult passages of Scripture. The whole addressed to a worthy minister of → online text (page 8 of 19)
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But, Sir, is it a truth that the \vord]egual always implies
absolute equality in the persons or things which are said
to be equal ? Does it always imply equality in every re-
spect f And do we not often use the term in respect to
two Persons who are supposed to be unequal in seveial
respects ? When we say of a son, that he is equal with his
Father, do we ever mean that he has existed as long as
his Father ? or that he and his Father are but one Being ?
May not a son be as rich as his Father, and yet have de-
rived all his riches from his Father ? Might not Solomon
be equal to David in authority, though he derived all his
authority from David ?

It is, Sir, no robbery for a King's son to think of him-
self according to the authority or dignity which his Father
has given him. David said, as it is supposed, respectin|;
Ahithophel his councillor, " But it was thou, a man, mine
equal, my guide, and my acquaintance." Do you, Sir,
suppose, that these words imply that Ahithophel was, in
all respects, David's equal ? If David had said, " a man
my companion" would not this term have expressed about
the same idea as the word equal f Why then should you
be so very positive, that the term equal, as used by the
Apostle, must mean an absolute equality, even a co-eterni-
ty of God and his Son ?

Let us notice another text which evidently respects Je-
sus Christ : " Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and
against the Man that is my fellow." May it not be reason-
ably supposed, that fellow in this text means the same as
equal in the other ?

But the very text itself, in dispute, may perhaps be found
to contain sufficient evidence that Christ is not the self-ex-
istent God ; and that God and Christ are as distinctly two
Eeinge as any other father and son.

" Who being in the fonn'of God" -Is not Christ evi-.
clently spoken of in contradistinction to God ? If he be a
Person in contradistinction to the self-existent God, he is
certainly not the self-existent God, unless there be more
Gods than one. If the Apostle had been speaking of the
Father, and had said of him, " Who being in the form of
God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God," would
not such a representation of the Father have been a mani-
fest impropriety ? But if the Son be the self-existent God,



On the real Divinity and Glory of Christ. 5TS

such language with respect to the Father would be as prop-
er as in respect to the Son.

By the form of God, we may understand the same as
the similitude or image of God Christ is declared to be
" the image of the invisible God*' " the express image of
his Person." But does not every body know that a Person
and the image of his Person are distinct objects ? and that
it is impossible that any Person should be the image of him-
self ? Seth was the image of Adam ; but he was not Adam,
nor was Adam and Seth the same Being. It is, however,
true, that an image often bears the name of the Person rep-
resented. So Christ, j by the pleasure of God, often bears
the Divine Names of his Father.

If, by the term God, be intended three Persons, as Mr.
Jones suggests, then for Christ to be in the form ofGod y
he must be in the form of three Persons.

The terms, also, equal with God, plainly import that
Christ is a Person distinct from God. Two Persons are
here compared together, one of them is GOD, the other is
the Sort of God ; and of the Son it is asserted, in some
sense, that he is equal with God. If I were to say that
Solomon thought it no robbery to be equal with David,
would you suppose that I meant to assert that Solomon and
David were but one and the same Being ?*

Besides, in the connexion of the text, the Son is repre-
sented as a Being so distinct from God, that he could obey
and <//V,*and after that be exalted by God, and have a name
given him, which is above every name. Now, Sir, if there
be no more Gods than one, aa you readily admit, and if
Christ be personally the self-existent God, I wish to be in-
formed by what GOD Christ was exalted? Or, on what
ground it can be said that GOD exalted HIM ?

May I not safely conclude, that this text is so far from
Supporting the Athanasian doctrine, that it fairly implies
that GOD is only one Person, and that Christ is truly God's
Son?



* Since writing these remarks, 1 examined Dr. Doddridge's
Family Expositor. The phrase " equal with God," he does not
admit as a correct translation. According to him, the text should
be read, " thought it not robbery to be as God." The Greek
phrase is isa Theo ; and the Doctor says, " the proper Greek
phrase for equal with God, is ison to Theo" And these are the
words used by John, in stating the accusation of the Jews against
Chriot John v, 13. " making himself equal with God"



&d On the real Divinity and Glory of Christ.

My next business will be to show how the passage of
Scripture, which has been quoted, supports the doctrine
that the Son of God became Man, by becoming the soul
of a human body.

Th<- passage teaches us, that Jesus Christ, who was in
the FORM OF GOD, made HIMSKLF of no reputation, and
took on HIM t\\eform of a servant, and was made in the
likeness of men, and was found inJaMon vs a man.

Be pleased, Sir, to observe the correspondence between
this representation and other passages of Scripture " The
Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us" " God
sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh" u ln all
things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren"
tl Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of nYsh and
blood, he also himself took part of the same." Does not
the natural import of all these passages, whether severally
or collectively considered, convey the idea that the Son of
God became Man b\ becoming the soul of a human body ?
Can you perceive the least intimation in any of these pas-
sages, of any soul but that of the Son of God ?

Had it been recorded in the Bible, that satan, or the
Ange; Gabriel, for a number of years, was made in the
likeness of men, and was found in fashion as a man, what
idea would such a representation excite in your mind ? If
satan were the Person, should you imagine that he dwelt
in a Man ? or, that he merely assumed a human body ?

You will be pleased to observe, that the text does not
say that the Son of God was united to a Man; but was
" made in the likeness of men" -It does not say the Son of
God was found in a man, but was "found in fashion as a
Man" And what can be intended by an unembodied
spirit's being made in the likeness of men, but his becoming
in an embodied state ? And what is it to be found infash*
ion as a man, but to be found like a man with soul and body
united ? If it were common among nun to have two intel-
ligentfspirits united to one body, then might the Son of God
be made in the likeness of men, by ^ taking to himself a true
body and reasonable soul." But if it has never been known
among men that two intelligent spir.ts were united to one
body, then for the Son of God to be mode in the likeness of
men, and to be found in fashion as a Man, he must become
the soul of a human body. And I would propose it ior
your most serious consideration, whether the Athanasian



Gn the real Divinity and Glory of Christ. 81

theory, of the incarnation of the Son of God, does not come
hearer to the scriptural view of possession, than it does to
the scriptural view of incarnation, excepting so tar as re-
gards the character of the Person ?

I do not, Sir, mention this comparison with any view to
make light of the subject, or to ridicule your theory ; but
to enforce an examination. And is there not much more
evidence, that, in a case of possession, satan took " to him-
self a true body and a reasonable sou'," than that Christ did
so by incarnation ? Besides, in a case of possession, it ia
easy to conceive that the Man might suffer, and even die,
and yet satan be not at all affected by the sufferings and
death of the Man: and just so you suppose that the Man,
Christ Jesus might suffer and die without any pain to the
Son of God.

In respect to what constitutes a Man in the present state,
what more do we know than this, that an intelligent spirit
is united to a human body, so as to constitute one Person ?
While one affirms that the souls of men are properly pro-
duced by ordinary generation, the same as the body, an-
other will affirm that the soul or spirit is the immediate
work of God, and united to the body in a state of embryo.
And these t vo, perhaps, will unite in confidently affirm-
ing, that Christ cou d, with no propriety, be called a Man,
if his soul had pre-existed as the Son of God. But if a
true body and reasonable soul united, will constitute a man,
is it not unsafe for us to affirm that the Son of God could
not become a Man by becoming the rational soul of a hu-
man body ?

If I have not misunderstood him, Dr. Emmons differs
from Dr. Hopkins, and supposes that the souls of men are
not propagated like their bodies ; but are the immediate
work of God, and by him united to bodies. To this hy-
pothesis I do not object ; I am ignorant on the subject*
But I do not see how the Doctor, or any who agree with
him, can reasonably say that, on my hypothesis, Mary
was not properly the mother of a son. For if the Son of
God were united to a body in the womb of Mary, and born
of her, he was, according to Dr. Emmons' hypothesis, as
truly the son of Mary, as Seth was the son of Eve. And it
is just as conceivable that a pre-existent spirit should be
united to an infant body, as a spirit formed at the very mo-
ment of union.



82 On the real Divinity and Glory ofChrhf.

The portion of Scripture, which we have under consid-
eration, fairly supports another idea upon which I have in-
sisted, viz. That the gnu OF GOD was tfie real sufferer on
the cross. He who had been m the form of God, when
found in fashion as a Man, humbled himself, and became
obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

On your hypothesis, the Son of God was truly and per-
sonally the self-existent God. I ask then, Did the self-
existent God become obedient unto death, eve?i the death of
the cross f If he did, who supported the universe during
that event ? And who raised HTM from the deud f

But you will say, that it was the Man Jesus, to whom
the Son was united, who became obedient unto death. But
does the Apostle say any such thing ? The obedience unto
death he attributes to the self-same Intelligence who had
been in the FORM of GOD. For the So of GOD to suffer ,
and for a Man to suffer to whom the Son was united, are
as distinct ideas as any two which can be named. And
what trace of the latter idea do you find in the Apostle's
description ?

The idea, that it was truly the Son of God who obeyed^
suffered, and died, and not another intelligent being to
whom he was united, is plainly asserted in other passages
of Scripture " Though a SON, yet learned HE obedience
by the things which HE SUFFERED" " Who his OWN SELF
bare our sins in his own body on the tree" " We were re-
conciled to God. by the death of HIS SON" " But now once
in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin
by the sacrifice of HIMSELF"

A -vast multitude of texts of similar import might be pro-
duced. And can you, Sir, pretend that these texts do not
support the idea that the SON of God, as such, did really
suffer ? Can you find any language which could more fair-
ly or more fully express the idea that the Son of God was
the real sufferer $ And shall we still be told that this same
SON was personally the self-existent God, and incapable of
death or suffering f

I cannot, Sir, but feel most deeply interested, when I
happen to touch on this point ; and I hardly know when,
where, or how to dismiss it. It cannot be admitted, that
God is chargeable with any imposition on mankind. And
yet, what, short of an imposition, would it be for him to
pretend that he has so loved the world as to give his OKLY



On the real Divinity and Glory of Christ. 83

BEGOTTEN SON to suffer an ignominious death for our re-
demption, if at the same time this Son was so spired, as
your theory implies ? So spared, that all the sufferings of
the cross were endured by a Man to whom the Son was
united ; and the Son h'mself as free from pain and death
as though there were no such thing as suffering and death
in the universe. No possible union between the Son of
God and a Man could render it proper to call the sufferings
and death, of the Man the sufferings and death of the Son y
if it be true that the SON did not suffer nor die. And on
this hypothesis, the sufferings of the Man might as well be
called the sufferings of G briel, or the sufferings of God the
Father, as the sufferings of the Son of God. Must the sun
be darkened, must the rocks be rent, must the earth quake,
and nature be thrown into convulsions, while the SON OF
GOD suffers and dies on the cross ? Must the Angels show
so deep an interest in that scene, and must ail the world be
called on to behold with wonder and astonishment, the
height, and depth, the length, and the breadth, of the love
of God, as displayed in that event ? Must all the redeem-
ed of the Lord unite in songs of everlasting praise to the
SON of GOD, because he hath loved them and redeemed them
to God by HIS OWN BLOOD ? And can it,after all, be made
to appear that the Son of God suffered not at all, unless it
were by proxy or substitute ?

May it not, Sir, be fairly inferred from your theory, that
instead of the Son of God's dying FOR us, that the Man
Christ died for the Son of God? If the Son of God had
covenanted with the Father to lay down his life for us, but
instead of bearing the suffering himself, united himself to
another intelligent being, and caused the sufferings wholly
to fall on that Man, did not the Man die for him ? And
to whom, Sir, are we indebted for the redemption pur-
chased on the cross ? To the real sufferer, or to the one
who " suffered not in the least ?" To the Man Jesus^ or
to the SON OF GOD ?

Most gladly, Sir, would I recall every syllable I ever ut-
tered in support of a theory so opposite to the natural im-
port of Scripture language, so degrading to the love of GOD,
and so dishonorary to the LORD OF GLORY.

There is another point stated in the passage, viz. that
the high official character which the Son of God sustains as-
LOED of tne universe, is the result of God's pleasure, and



S4t On the real Divinity and Glory of Christ.

not any thing which the SON possessed as a self-existent
or independtnt Being. Having stated the abasement of
the Son, his obedience unto death, the Apostle says,

u Wherefore GOD hath highly exalted HIM, and GIVEN HIM
a name which is above every name ; that at the name of
Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and
things in earth, and things under the earth ; and that every
tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the
glory of God the Father."

Is it, Sir, in the power of language to give a more full
Idea of a CONSTITUTED CHARACTER, or of DELEGATED
AUTHORITY, than is given in these words of the Apostle ?
Is not the representation perfect and unequivocal, that the
same Being who was once in the FORM OF GOD, then in
fashion as a man, who humbled himself and became obedi-
ent unto death, was, in consequence of that abasement, ex-
altfd by the self-existent God, to supreme and universal
dominion ? Did not the Apostle me^n to be understood as
rt presenting extraordinary and real changes of condition
in Jesus Christ the SON of God ? Did he not mean to rep-
resent that the first change of condition was a voluntary
act on the part of Jesus Christ, that he voluntarily descend-
ed from the FORM OF GOD to the form of a servant, and
voluntarilv became obedient unto death ? If this change
of condition was not real and voluntary on the part of the
Son of God, why is he exhibited as an example of humili*
ty, condescension, and benevolence ? Why are we requir-
ed to let this mind be in us which was also in Christ Jesus ?
But if the Son of God was really the subject of this change
of condition, if he did really and truly suffer and die, can
he be the Son of God in your sense of the terms ? In other
words, can he be the srlf-existent God ?

In regard to the second great change of condition Did
not the Apostle mean to represent, that for the suffering of
death, the Son of God was rewarded by his Father with
transcendent dignity and glory ? Did he not mean to rep*
resent, that the very identical intelligent Being, who hung
in agony, who prayed, who bled and died On the cioss, was
exalted by God as LORD OF ALL ? But if the real sufferer on
the cross > as thus exalted by God, then, according to your
own views, he could not be the sell-existent God ; for you
cannot admit that a self-existent Person may be cither the



On the real Divinity and Glory of Christ. &$

subject of death, or of delegated authority. The self-exist-
ent God could no more be raised to the throne of the uni-
verse, than he could suffer death on the cross.

As Athanasian writers have found it necessary, or con-
venient, on their theory, to attribute all that is said of the
obedience, the suffering and death, of the SON of God, to the
human nature, or the man Jesus, to whom they suppose the
Son of God was united ; so, on the other hand, they have
found it convenient, or necessary, to attribute what is stated
in the Scriptures respecting the exaltation of the S^n of
God, to the same Man or human nature. As they have
perceived that it must be improper to attribute real abase-
ment, suffering, ai.d death, to the self-existent God, so it
appears they have perceived that it is equally improper to
suppose a self-t xistent Person should be capable of deriving
or receiving either fulness or authority from any other Per-
son. And as they have supposed the Person who is called
the SON of God, to be personally the self-existent God, so
they have found it necessary to the support of that theory
to attach to this Person a proper Man, capable of obed ence,
suffering, and death, and also of receiving communicated
fulness and authority.

According to Mr. Jones, and other -writers, it was the
Man Jesus, in contradistinction to the SON or GOD, who
received the Spirit without measure to the Man was
given the name which is above every name it was the
Man who was ordained of God to be the Judge of the
quick and the dead and the Man who was anointed with
the oil of gladness above his fellows.

In view of these representations, I would propose to your
consideration the following inquiries :-

1. If the SON OF GOD were self-existent and independent,
and the Man or human nature but an appendage to a self-
existent Person, what occasion could there be of any com-
munications from the Father to that Man or human nature ?
If, as a SON, that Person were the independent God, as a
Person he possessed independent fulness and authority ;
and no addition or accession to his fulness or authority
could possibly be made by the Father.

2. If the Son of God, as such, were possessed of inde-
pendent and infinite fulness and authority, and in addition
to this the Father gave the human nature of the SON the
Spirit without measure, and all power in heaven and earth.



86 On the real Divinity and Glory of Christ.

will it not appear that the same Person was possessed, in a
two-fold sense, of infinite fu'ness and authority ?

3. If the Son of God were united do a proper Man, and
that Man, in contradistinction to the Son of God, was en-
dued by the Father with all the fulness of the Godhead,
and invested with all power in heaven and earth, what is
the office or business of your supposed second self-existent
Person ? It is believed, Sir, that you cannot make it ap-
pear that the Man Christ Jesus received any support, ful-
ness, or authority, or even benefit from any Divine Per*
son but the Father As a derived intelligence, all he re-
ceived was from the Father. But,

4. If the Man Christ Jesus may be the recipient of the Spirit
-without measure, of all the fulness of the Godhead; if he
may be exalted with God's own right hand, and made a
PRINCE and a SAVIOR, and the JUDGE of the quick and
the dead ; I wou'd ask what evidence you have of the ex-
istence of a second Person in union with the Godhead, dis-
tinct from the soul of that MAN who was the LORD Jrom
heaven ?

5. If it was in fact the Man Jesus Christ who was the
subject of all the abasement, suffering, and death, which
was endured for our sakes ; and f it was the Man who has
been the subject ot all the exa tation which is in the Scrip*
tures attributed to the Son of God ; is there not abundant
evidence that the Man Christ Jesus and the Son of God are
identically the same intelligent Being? And that the Son
of God became the Man Christ Jesus by becoming the soul
of a human body ?

You may think, Sir, that I ought to notice that all Atha-
nasian writers do not agree with Mr. Jones, that it was the
human nature of Christ, or the Man merely, who is repre-
sented as receiving fulness and authority from the Father.
I am sensible, indeed, that there is another opinion ad-
vanced by some writers of great respectability ; and it is
to me a matter of regret, that I have occasion to bring it
into view : for, if it be possible, it is to me more inconsist-
ent than the opinion of Mr. Jones. The opinion referred
to is of this import, 1 hat the representations in Scripture,
respecting the derived fulness and authority of the SON, re-
sult from the covenant of redemption, in which a mutual
agreement was entered into by the THREE self-existent and



On the real Divinity and Glory of Christ, $7

co-eternal PERSONS, respecting the part which each should
perform in the work of redemption.

Dr. Hopkins gives the following view of these covenant
transactions :

" The second Person was engaged to become incarnate,
to do and to suffer all that was necessary for the salvation
of men. The Father promised, that on his consenting to
take upon him the character and work of a Mediator and
Redeemer, he should be every way furnished and assisted
to go through with the work ; that he should have power
to save an elect number of mankind, and form a Church
and Kingdom most perfect and glorious : In order to ac-
complish this, all things, all power in heaven and earth,
should be given to him, till the work of redemption is
completed.'*

The Doctor observes again,

" The blessed Trinity, in the one God, may be consid-
ered as a most exalted, happy, and glorious society or
family, uniting in the plan of Divine operations, especially
in accomplishing the work of redemption. In this, each
one has his part to perform, according to a most wise,
mutual regulation or agreement, which may be called a
covenant.. In performing these several parts of this work,,
one acts as superior, and another as inferior ; or one acts
under another, and by his authority, a? appointed or sent
by him. This, by Divines, is called the economy of the
work of Redemption. Ac ording to this economy, the
Son, the Redeemer, acts under the Father, and by his will
and appointment, and in this respect takes an inferior part ;
and in this sense he is supposed to speak, when he says,
the Father is greater than /."

I confess to you, Sir, that I cannot but be amazed and
grieved to find such representations in the writings of so
great and so good a man as Dr. Hopkins. I am amazed,
because I must suppose that he was so blinded by theory
as not to pay due attention to the import of what he wrote.
And I am grieved, that a man so eminent should do so
much to expose Christianity to the ridicule of unbelievers.

" A glorious society or family /" A family of what ?
Not of Men ; not of Angels. What then ? A family of
self-existent and independent Persons, each of whom, as a
distinct Person, the Doctor supposed to be GOD. And if
we pay any regard to the natural import of language, what



88 On the real Divinity and klory of Christ*

are we to denominate this family, short of a family of Gods ?
I verv well know that the Doctor denied the idea of a plu-
ralitv of Gods ; nor would I intimate the contrary ; and I
m >st sincerely wish that all his reasonings and representa-
tions had been consistent with that denial. But, far from,
this, he has not only undertaken to prove that each of these
self-existent Persons is God, hut in the very passages un-
der consideration he represents these Persons as properly
distinct Beings, as distinct Beings as any three Angels in
heaven. They can enter into covenant with each other
each can have a distinct part assigned him- one can be su-


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Online LibraryNoah WorcesterBible news, of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit : in a series of letters. In four parts. I. On the unity of God. II. On the real divinity and glory of Christ. III. On the character of the Holy Spirit. IV. An examination of difficult passages of Scripture. The whole addressed to a worthy minister of → online text (page 8 of 19)