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may be observed : 1. It proves his pre-existence. For he was in the form of God before he took on him the form of a servant, in the same way as he humbled himself before he became exalted. His existence is represented as antecedent to his humiliation, as the latter was rewarded by his exaltation. 2. It proves the dignity of his person in that pre-existent state. For in the preceding verses, the Apostle is exhorting Christians to humility, and supports his exhortation by an argument drawn from our Saviour's example. He begins with the dignity of his person, and shows that notwithstanding it, he yet laid it aside, for which he had been rewarded by God. It was this which put the value on his humiliation, and entitled him to the possession of his glory. 3. That dignity consisted in his being truly God. For it is said, “ he was in the form of God,” which is set in opposition to his “ being in the form of a servant,” (in both which phrases the same word is used to denote form.) Now he was really a servant, for he was obedient to his parents, and submitted to the authority of the Romans, of Herod, and of the Sanhedrim. The parallel phrase, therefore, “ he was in the form of God,” must import that he was really God. But further, it is said, that" he thought it not robbery to be equal (or to be held equal) with God.”a Now this could not be true of any subordinate Deity. Christ, therefore, must be the true God. 4. Socinian writers explain the words “in the form of God, as signifying “ One acting in the name of God, and “ performing miracles in support of his mis- sion.” They also explain the words, “ he thought it not robbery,” as signifying “ he did “ not vehemently desire to be held equal with “God.” But according to this interpretation, St. Paul is supposed to treat of one of the most sacred doctrines in a pompous and unused rhetoric. And further, it would destroy the Apostle's argument. For no example of humility could be deduced from Christ's conduct, if being a mere man, he did not aspire at an equality with God.
2 The strength of this passage is considerably increased by a literal translation : “ He made himself of no reputation, taking on him the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men." See Pearson on the Creed, Art. 2. p. 207. and Whitby in loc.
Such an attempt occasioned the overthrow of Lucifer, and could only be the effect of blasphemy and pride.
Again, he is called God in Acts xx. 28. " Feed the Church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood."d
* See Turretin's Inst. Theol. L. 3. Q. 28. See Belsham's Epist. of St. Paul in loc.
See Schleusner in verb. EKEVWOEV, and Middleton on the Doctrine of the Greek Article, p. 537.
• If the reader desire further information on these texts, he may refer to the commentators who have written expressly on them,
1 John v. 20. “ He is the true God and eternal life.” Here our Lord is emphatically called the true God.a
Tit. ii. 13. “ Looking for the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus “ Christ.” He is here styled the great God.
Jam. ii. 1. “ Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.” Here we find him called the Lord of glory.
Rev. i. 8. “ I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which “ is, which was, and which is to come, the
Almighty.” On this text it should be observed, that the word rendered the Lord, is that by which the Septuagint interpreters translate the name Jehovah, when it occurs in the Old Testament. Now this version was in high estimation among the Jews and the primitive Christians. It is, therefore, absurd to suppose such a uniformity of style could exist, unless the person thus designated were truly God.
as Whitby, Doddridge, Scott, Critici Sacri, Poole's Synopsis and Bloomfield's Annotations. Socinians
this clause does not refer to Christ. Independent of other objections, however, it is remarkable, that in all St. John's writings the title, “ eternal life,” is never applied to the Father, though frequently to the Son. Compare John i. 4. and xi, 25. with 1 Jo. i. 2. and v. 11.-See Turretin's Inst. Theol. L. 3. Q. 28. sec.
• The name Jehovah is always rendered by kupios, the term here and elsewhere applied to Christ.
2. The operations of God are ascribed to Christ.
Thus, (1) Creation is ascribed to him. Col. i. 16. “By him were all things created that are in “ heaven and that are in earth, visible and in“visible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, " or principalities, or powers. All things were “ created by him, and for him.”a
(2.) The preservation of the world is ascribed to him. Col. i. 17. “By him all things consist.”
(3.) The forgiveness of sins is ascribed to him. Matt. ix. 6. “ The Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins.” And when this
power was gainsaid, he instantly proved the justness of his claim to it, by the performance of a miraculous cure.
(4.) The sending of God's Spirit is ascribed to him. John, xv. 26. “ Whom (the Comforter) I “ will send unto you from the Father, even the
Spirit of Truth, which proceedeth from the “ Father.”
(5.) The act of giving eternal life is ascribed to him. Jo. x. 27. “ My sheep hear my voice, and
* Socinian writers have interpreted this text as relating to the creation of the moral world, by the regenerating influence of the new dispensation introduced by Christ. But it is evident, that the creation alluded to in the text, extends to objects, such as the angelic race, wbich are incapable of a spiritual regeneration.--See Pearson, Art. 2. p. 196.
“ I know them, and they follow me, and I give “ unto them eternal life.”
(6.) The act of raising the dead is ascribed to him. Jo. vi. 40. “Every one that seeth the Son, 6 and believeth on him, shall have everlasting life, 6 and I will raise him up at the last day.”
3. The attributes of God are ascribed to Christ.
(1.) Eternity. Rev. i. 8. “He is called “ the first and the last."
(2.) Omnipotence. Rev. i. 8. “He is called the Almighty.”
(3.) Omniscience. Matt. xi. 27. “ knoweth the Son, but the Father, neither “knoweth any man the Father, save the Son.”' And in John, ii. 25. He is said to have “known what was in man.”
(4.) Omnipresence. Matt. xviii. 20. “ Where two or three are gathered together, in my name, " there am I in the midst of them.”
4. Divine worship is required to be rendered to Christ.
This argument may be thus stated : No being
a In Rev. ii. 28, this attribute is ascribed to Christ in a peculiarly striking manner : “I am he which searcheth the reins and the heart.” Now in Jer. xvii. 10, God had assumed this attribute as his incommunicable property : “ I, the Lord, search the heart, I try. the reins.” The language then of Christ is remarkable : not simply, I have this attribute, but I am he, I am that true God who has appropriated it to himself. See Wardlaw's Soc. incap. of Vindic.