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not unfrequently used. If, in the very little which is recorded of John the Baptist in the New Testament, the same expressions should be used in reference to him, must it not satisfy you as to the scripture meaning of such phrases : “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.” John i. 6. “The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men 2 And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, from heaven ; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him But if we shall say, of men; we fear the people: for all hold John as a prophet.” Matt, xxi. 25, 26. Does not this amount to a demonstration of what our Saviour, the Evangelist, and the Jews, understood by the expression “from heaven 2° all hold him as a prophet, therefore we dare not say he is not from heaven /* Moses makes use of the following expression, “Hereby shall ye know that the Lord hath sent me.” Numbers xvi. 28. “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” Matt. iii. 13. Here our Saviour himself makes use of the expression “heaven,” three times in one verse. If then, by descending from heaven, he literally meant a personal descent, by ascending into heaven, he meant a personal ascent, and by being in heaven, he meant a personal presence there, at the same time, that he was talking with his disciples and Nicodemus upon earth / Could our Saviour mean any thing, but his having received a divine commission, and being acquainted with the counsels of God 2 7th. Another passage frequently quoted, is, “ For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” Col. ii. 9. Compare with this the following ; “And to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” Eph. iii. 19. Whatever therefore this fulness means, it is evident that it was not peculiar to Christ, but might be possessed by disciples of Jesus. In another expression of the same Apostle, our translators render it, For it pleased the Father, that in him should all fulness dwell. Col. i. 19. We believe that in Jesus Christ, bodily, as a man, the fulness of Deity did reside, that he possessed the spirit without measure, full and complete divine powers. It is a little singular that in the very next verse to that under consideration, the apostle should apply the same expression to the Colossians. “And ye are complete in him,” filled full, (from the same verb) . only adding, that he “is the head of all principality and power.” Once more, The pre-existence of Jesus Christ is inferred from such expressions as the following, “Before Abraham was, I am.” “And now O Father, glorify thou me, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.”—With respect to the first of these passages, “Before Abraham was, I am,” John viii. 58, the same expression occurs in two other places in this very conversation, and once in the mext chapter. “For if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” ver. 24. “Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself.” ver, 28. “Some
said, this is he ; others said, he is like him ; but he said, I am he.” c. ix. v. 9. To all these passages our translators have affixed the pronoun he. Had they acted consistently, by doing the same with the verse in question, there would have been no difficulty in its explanation, “I am, or was he ;” the predetermined, longpredicted Messiah.” I proceed to the other question quoted above, “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine ownself, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” John xvii. 5. In the book of Revelations the lamb is spoken of, as “slain from the foundation of the world.” Rev. xiii. 8. “Who hath saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus, before the world began.” 2 Tim. i. 9. “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world.” Eph. i. 4. I only add, that whatever be the glory of which Jesus speaks as applicable to himself, in the very same chapter he ascribes to his disciples; “And the glory which thou gavest me, I have given them ; that they may be one even as we are one.” John xvii. 22. It relates to the promulgation of the glorious gospel."
* See a lucid exposition of this passage in Belsham's Calm Inquiry, p. 70.
* There is one other passage which I wish not to omit, because the greatest stress is laid upon it by those who believe in the pre-existence of Jesus Christ. John vi. 62, “What and if ye shall see the Son of Man ascend up where he was before.” The explanations of this text given by Mr. Cappe and Mr. Simpson, appear to me so clear and satisfactory, and at the same time are so different from those of most other commentators, that I am desirous of transcribing the paraphrase of the one, and the remarks of the other, of these learned divines.
W. 50, “This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof and not die.” Whatever you may think of the manna that your fathers ate, that alone is true heavenly bread, the proper use of which conveys etermal life.
51, “I am the living bread, which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” In me whom God hath sent to dispense it, you have that life-giving food from heaven. By a due application and improvement of the blessings that I bring you, you may attain to eternal life. It is true that you must feed yourselves with the food I bring you from heaven; but if this be necessary on your part, on mine the service will not be easy. I am indeed to make a tender of these blessings to mankind, and to recommend them in the most powerful and cogent manner to their acceptance and their use. But I am not for this purpose to lead you forth to victory and conquest; nor to ex