Page images

the nature or fubftance in, and with which he fubfifts. So that Chrift is the image of the Father's Perfon, as he is poffeffed of the whole divine nature or fubftance. From the whole, I cannot fee why any fhould quarrel with our tranflation of this word.

2. The definition of a Perfon, which has been given already, agrees with the Father, who is an individual, and so distinguishable from the Godhead, or divine nature, which dwells perfonally in him, and which is common with him, to the other two Perfons. He fubfifts by, and of himself, and is not fustained by another; nor is he a part of another. The Father has life in himself, he does not owe his being to another; nor is he upheld in his being by another; nor is he poffeffed only of a part of, but of the whole Deity. He is, in fine, a living, willing, and intelligent agent: he is the living Father, that fent Chrift, whofe will, not as oppofite to, but as diftinct from his, he came to do; who knows himself, his Son and Spirit, and all his works, as none else does.

3. That the Father is a Perfon, may be concluded from thofe perfonal actions which are ascribed to him; such as creation, providence, the refurrec- ̄ tion of the dead, and the like: which have been already confidered as proofs of his Deity. To which may be added, his feveral acts of grace towards his elect in Chrift Jefus: fuch as his eternal choice of them in him; his predeftination of them, to the adoption of children by him; his entering into a covenant with him on their account; his putting them all into his hand, and there bleffing them with all spiritual bleffings; his drawing them to himself, and to his Son, with the cords of love and efficacious grace; the feveral methods he takes to administer divine confolation to them; with the promife of the Spirit, called the promise of the Father, which he has made, and fulfils to them. The mission of his Son Jefus Chrift into this world, for the falvation of lost finners, which the fcriptures fo much speak of, is a plain proof of his Perfonality, and of his diftinct perfonality from the Son. It is true indeed, the Spirit is faid to send him as well as he: but then obferve, that though the Son is fent, both by the Father and the Spirit, and the Spirit is fent both by the Father and the Son, yet the Father is never faid to be fent by either; he is always the fender, and never the fent. But what is the grand distinctive perfonal act of the Father, is his eternal act of begetting the Son in the divine nature or effence; which though unconceivable, and unaccountable by us, yet is plainly revealed in the facred fcriptures; and is the true reafon of his bearing the character and relation of a Father; and is what diftinguishes him from the Son and Spirit. The Son is never faid to beget, either the Father or the Spirit; and the Spirit is never faid to beget either the Son or the Father:


Father: the act of begetting, is peculiar to the Father. What is meant by it, and the proof of it, I shall confider hereafter. Thus much for the Personality of the Father.

Now when we call the Father the first Person in the Trinity, we do not fuppofe that he is the first, in order of nature, or time, or caufality; as if the Father was fons Deitatis, the fountain of the Deity; expreffions which fome good men have made ufe of with no ill defign; but fince an ill use has been made of them, by artful and defigning men, it is time for us to lay them afide. As the Father is God of himself, so the Son is God of himself, and the Spirit is God of himself. They all three exift together, and neceflarily exist, and subsist diftinctly by themselves in one undivided nature. The one

is not before the other, nor more excellent than the other. But fince it is neceffary, for our better apprehenfion of them, that there fhould be fome order in the mention of them, it feems moft proper to place the Father first, whence we call him the first Perfon; and then the Son, and then the Holy Ghost; in which order we fometimes find them in fcripture: though, to let us fee that there is a perfect equality between them, and no fuperiority or inferiority among them, this order is frequently inverted.


[blocks in formation]

AVING confidered the character, and given proofs both of the Deity and Personality of the Father, I shall now proceed to confider the character of the Logos, or Word; give fome proofs of his Deity; enquire into his Sonship; and fhew his distinct perfonality. And shall begin,

I. With his name, title, appellation, or character, the WORD; a name which John frequently makes ufe of in his Gofpel, Epiftles and Revelation. He makes use of it in his Gofpel, chap. i. 1. "In the beginning was the "Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God:" which words manifeftly declare the Deity, and Eternity of the Word; his co-existence with God, that is, the Father; as is manifeft from John i. 2. and his being a diftinct perfon from him. And that we may not be at a lofs which perfon in the Trinity he intends by the Word, he tells us, in ver. 14. That the "Word

"Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." John alfo makes mention of Christ, under this name, in his Epiftles; as in 1 John i. 1. "That which was "from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have feen with our "eyes, which we have looked upon; and our hands haved handled of the "Word of life:" that is, Chrift, who was from eternity with the Father, but was now manifefted in the flesh; which flesh was real, and not imaginary, as he proves by three of the natural fenfes, namely, hearing, feeing, and feeling. John, with the reft of the difciples, heard him fpeak, faw him walk, eat, drink, &c. and handled him; and hereby knew that he had a true and real body, confifting of flesh, blood, and bones, as their bodies did, and that it was not a mere phantom, as Simon Magus, and after him Menander, Saturninus, and Bafilides afferted. Thefe denied the true and real humanity of Christ, and affirmed, That he had no more than the appearance of a man; that he affumed human nature, died, and fuffered and rofe again in appearance only, and not in reality. Now John here calls Chrift the Word of life; because he is the life itself, and the author and giver of it to others. Again, in chap. v. 7. he says, " For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, "the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one." So likewife in his Revelation, he speaks of Christ more than once, under the character of the Word; as in chap. i. 2. where he tells us, That he "bare record of the "Word of God, and of the teftimony of Jefus Chrift," which may be juftly explained by John i. 1-3, 14. Once more, in Rev. xix. 13. where having represented Christ as a mighty warrior and triumphant conqueror, he says: "His name is called the Word of God." And now, fince he has fo frequently fpoken of the second perfon of the Trinity under this appellation, I fhall,

First, Enquire from whence he may be supposed to receive it.

Secondly, Whether any other inspired writer of the New Testament, makes use of it befides him.

Thirdly, The reason, why Chrift is called by this name.

First, I fhall enquire from whence John may be fuppofed to receive this name, Aéy, or the Word, which he fo often applies to Chrift. And,

1. It is thought by fome, that he took it out of the writings of Plato, or his followers. Amelius", a Platonic philofopher, refers to the words of the evangelist in John i. 1. whom he calls a Barbarian, as agreeing with their philofophy,

a Vide Ignat. Epift. ad Smyrn. p. 2. Et ad Trallef. p. 51, 52. Ed. Voff. & Tertull. præfcript. Hæretic. c. 46. & Auguft. de Hæref. c. 1, 2, 3, 4. & Danæum in ibid.

See his words in Grotius de Verit. Relig. Christ. 1. 1. §. 16.

philofophy, concerning the Aéyos, or Word. And it is thought by fome, that John, knowing that Ebion and Cerinthus were acquainted with the Platonic philofophy, that he might the more easily gain upon them, makes use of this expreffion, The Word; when that of the Son of God would have been distasteful to them but to me it is much more probable, that Plato had his notions of the Word out of the fcriptures, than that John fhould borrow this phrase out of his writings, or any of his followers; fince it is certain that Plato travelled into Egypt, to get learning and knowledge; where, it is very probable, he met with the Jewish writings, out of which he collected his best things. And Numenius, a Pythagoric philofopher, accufes him of stealing what he wrote concerning God and the world, out of the books of Mofes. Hence he used to fay, "What is Plato, but Mofes in a Grecian dress ?”

2. It is much more likely that John took the expreffion out of the Jewish Targums, or paraphrafes on the books of the Old Teftament, where frequent ufe is made of it; as alfo in the works of Philo the Jew: but whether he did or no, it is certain, that there is a very great agreement between what he and these ancient Jewish writings fay of the Word. I will just I will just give some few inftances.


The evangelift John afcribes Deity to the Word, and exprefsly affirms that he is God: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, "and the Word was God." And the Targums, in many places', render Jehovah by the Word of Jehovah; from whence it may be well concluded, that they fuppofed the Word of the Lord was Jehovah himself. And in other places they fay, that he is God. Thus in Gen. xxviii. 20, 21. it is faid: Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, (Onkelos, "If the "Word of the Lord will be with me) and will keep me in this way that I go, "&c. Then fhall the Lord," (Onkelos, "the Word of the Lord) be my God." Again, in Lev. xxvi. 12. it is faid, "And I will walk among you, and will be your God." The Targum of Jonathan paraphrafes it thus: "I will caufe "the glory of my Shekinah to dwell among you, and my Word fhall be your "God, the Redeemer." Once more in Deut. xxvi. 17. "Thou haft avouched "the Lord this day to be thy God." The Jerufalem Targum renders it thus: "The Word of the Lord, ye have made king over you, this day to be your

[ocr errors]

Arrowsmith in John i. 1.


Vide Laert. vit. philofoph. 1. 3. in vita Platonis.

• ΝΟΥΜΗΝΙΟΣ πυθαγορικὸς φιλόσοφος, ὁ ἀπαμεὺς, τὴν Πλάτωνος διάνοιαν ἤλεγξεν, ὡς ἐκ τῶν μωσαικῶν βιβλίων τὰ περὶ θεῦ, καὶ κόσμο ἀποσυλήσασαν· διὸ καὶ φησὶ, τὶ γὰρ ἐςὶ Πλάτων * Μωσης ATTI. Hefych. Milef de philofophis, p. 50.

f Many inftances of this kind may be seen in Rittangel. in lib. Jetzira, p 84-86. . And Allix's judgment of the Jewish church, c. 12.

"God." Likewife Philo, the Jew, calls the Word 9os Aéyos, the divine Word, and Kúgiós μ, my Lord; and represents him as the object of faith, whose promises ought to be believed.

Moreover John speaks of the Aéyos, or Word, as a distinct person from God the Father: he says, "The Word was with God," that is, the Father, as we are taught to explain it, from 1 John i. 2. and therefore must be distinct from him, with whom he was. Agreeably hereunto, as the Targums fometimes exprefs Jehovah by the Word of the Lord; fo they likewise distinguish the Word from Jehovah: thus Pfalm cx. 1. "The Lord faid unto my Lord." Targum, "The Lord faid to his Word." Where he is manifeftly diftinguished from the Lord; at whose right hand he was to fit. Again, in Hof. i. 7. The Lord promises to "have mercy on the house of Judab, and fave them by the "Lord their God." Targum, "By the Word of the Lord their God." Where the Word of the Lord, by whom the people of Judah were to be faved, is alfo manifeftly distinguished from the Lord, who promifes to fave them by him. This distinction of Jehovah, and his Word, may be observed in many places in the Targums, and in Philo's writings.

Likewise John afcribes eternity to the Ayes, or Word, and fays that it was in the beginning, that is of the creation of all things; and therefore was before any creature was made. Philo calls him the most ancient Word", the most ancient Angel'; and fays, That he is more ancient than any thing that is made: Yea, he calls him the eternal Word'.

Again, The evangelist says of the Word, That "all things were made by "him, and that without him was not any thing made that was made." The Targumifts afcribe the creation of man, in particular, to the Word. We read in Gen. i. 27. "So God created man in his own image:" which the Jerufalem Targum reads, "And the Word of the Lord created man in his likeness." And in Gen. iii. 22. "And the Lord God faid, Behold the man is become as one "of us." The fame Targum paraphrafes it, "And the Word of the Lord "God faid, Behold the man whom I have created, is the only one in the VOL. III. H "world."

ι 'Ο δὲ κύριός με, θεῖος λόγος, πρεσβύτερος ἐσιν, ᾧ προσεῖναι τῦτο ἀνάγκη, καὶ πισεύειν καλὸν xμ. Philo Leg. Alleg, 1. 2. p. 101.

[ocr errors]

Η Ibid. Leg. Allegor. 1. 2. p. 93. Ενδύεται δὲ ὁ μέν πρεσβύτα]ῳ τῷ ὄντων Λόγων ὡς ἐσθῆτα, τὸν xóopor. Ibid. de profugis, p. 466.

1 Σπέδαζε κοσμείσθαι κατὰ τὸν πρωτόγονον αυτῷ Λόγον, τὸν ἄγγελον πρεσβύτατον. Ibid. de confuf. ling. p. 34. Et paulo poft, Air: @pobúrale & aídio Aóyo.

κ Καὶ ὁ Λόγῳ δὲ τῷ Θεῷ, ὑπεράνω παιός ἐσι τῷ κόσμῳ, καὶ πρεσβύτατα, καὶ γενικώτατα τῶν ὅσα γέγονε. Ibid. Leg. Allegor. 1. 2. p. 93. Ὁ ΛόγΘ ὁ πρεσβύτερον τῶν γένεσιν εἰληφότων. Ibid. de migratione Abraham, p. 389.

"Aídio Aéyo. Ibid. de Plant. Noe, p. 217.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »