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Though I made no particular remark upon it, yet I hope, in looking over the last Letter, it would not escape your notice, that in the Epistle to the Ephesians also, as well as in that to the Galatians, the apostles repeatedly opposes the Lord Jesus Christ to men. * Not with eye service, as meu pleasers, but as the servants of Christ. With good will, doing service as to the Lord, (viz. Christ,) and not to men.'
Now on the Socinian principles, this is saying, not as menpleasers, but as man-pleasers,—doing service as to a man and not to men!
The Epistle to the Philippians comes next in course, and contains a similar doctrine as to the point in question, with the Epistles already considered. Indeed, the apostle is consistent with himself in all his epistles, and according to the Doctor's hypothesis consistent in inconsistency. Here, as before, he styles himself (not indeed an apostle but) a servant of Jesus Christ, a and represents Timothy as being joined with himself in this state of servitude to a mere man, and from this mere man, as well as from the Almighty God, he begs grace and peace for the saints at Philippi, as he had done for the churches to which the preceding Epistles are addressed.--And then, (verse 12,) he writes, I would that you should observe, brethren, – that my bonds in Christ, (my bonds endured for a mere man!] are manifest in all the palace ;--and some preach Christ [preach a mere mau !) even of envy and strife, and some also of good will. The one preach Christ (the same mere man] of contention ;-but the other of love. What then ? Notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ, [the mere man,) is
preached, and I therein do rejoice, yea, and I will rejoice: For I know that this shall turn to my salvation though your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, (that is, the supply of the Spirit of a mere man !) according to my earnest expectation, and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also, Christ (a mere man!) shall be magnified in iny body, whether it be by life or death. For me to live is Christ, (that is, a mere
“is the supreme end of my life, and I value my life only as it is capable of being referred to the purposes of his honour !"] and to die is gain, and what I shall choose I wot not, for I am in a strait hetwixt two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, (the mere man I speak of] which is far better, nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you : That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ [the same mere man] hy my coming to you again. Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ, (viz., the gospel of a mere man ;] -in nothing terrified by your adversaries—for to yon it is given in behalf of Christ [iv behalf of a mere man!] not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for his sake,' [for the sake of the same mere man!] A strange doctrine this indeed!
But to proceed : Chap. ii, 1, we read, “If there he any consolation in Christ, [that is, on the principles I oppose, in a mere man!] if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, fulfil ye my joy:-And let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who [though but a mere man, that had no existence till boru at Bethlehem, in the days of Augustus Cæsar, yet] being, unapxwv, subsisting in the form of God (that is, say the Socinians, being endowed, like Moses and others, with the power of working miracles !] thought it not robbery to be equal with God,' a mere man thought it not robbery to be equal with God! or as the Doctor's party, contrary to the natural and proper import of the words, wish to translate it, did not
assume an equality with God, that is, a mere man manifested great humility in not assuming an equality with God! The apostle goes on, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, made in the likeness of men [that is, a mere man, who was made in the likeness of men, and emptied himself' that he might be made in that likeness !] And being found in fashion as a man, [for in what other fashion was it reasonable to suppose a mere man could be found ?] he humbled himself [still more] and became obedient unto death. -Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name above every name, that at the name of Jesus, (viz., the name of a mere man !) every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and those in earth, and those under the earth ; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [a mere mau !] is Lord, to the glory of God the Father!'
I appeal here to any reasonable man, whether it were possible for any one possessed of common sense, to believe Jesus Christ to be a mere man, and yet to write in this manner : And I appeal to avy person possessed of a grain of piety, a single spark of the fear of God, whether he could consider the Son of God as a mere man, and yet speak as follows: "I trust in the Lord Jesus (verse 19, that is, on the Socinian hypothesis, I trust in a mere man,] to send Timotheus shortly unto you, for I have no man like minded, for all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's, [that is, which are a mere man's]-Him I hope to send, and I trust in the Lord, [the same mere man,] that also myself shall come shortly.' Surely the putting our trust in a mere man for things which are wholly in God's power, and absolutely at his disposal, is flagrant idolatry, and the open declaration of that trust is a public avowal of that idolatry.
Indeed, if Christ be a mere man, St. Paul idolized him almost as often as he mentioned him. Many instances occur iu the next chapter. Finally, my brethren, (says he, verse 1,) rejoice in the Lord, (viz. in a mere man,] for, (verze 3,) we are the circumci. sion who worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus.—(Verse 7.) What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ, (that is, for a mere mau !] Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of [this same mere man] Jesus Christ my Lord, for whom, (though but a man,] I have suffered the loss of all things, and I do count them but dung, that I may wiu Christ, (that is, that I may win a mere man
an,) and be found in him, not having wine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, (faith in a mere man !] the righteousness which is of God by faith : That I may know him, (may know a mere man !) and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to his death : That I may apprehend that for which, also, I am apprehended of Christ Jesus,' that is, of a mere man ! As this is certainly magnifying a mere man too much ; so in the passage following, (verse 50,) the apostle speaks of expecting from him what no mere man can possibly perform. We look,' says he, 'for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself.' The apostle, however, was not only persuaded of Christ's ability to do all this, but believed that he could even impart strength to others, assuring us, in the 13th verse of the next chapter, that he himself could do all things, [viz., all things which it was his duty to do,] throug Christ strengthening him,' whose grace therefore, before he puts a period to his Epistle, he desires for the Philippians, as in his other Epistles he does for the other churches, saying, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, [that is, as Dr. Priestley will bare it, the grace of a mere man!) be with you all! Amen!'
Such, Rev. Sir, according to Dr. Priestley's hypothesis, is the doctrine of St. Paul concerning Christ,
in his Epistle to the Philippians ; a doctrine which I think every intelligent reader must pronounce most absurd and ridiculous.—To rejoice so excessively that a mere man was preached, though at the expence of wany and extreme sufferings endured by those who preached him; to represent serving and glorifying him as the one great end of living, and to intimate that life itself was only desirable so far as it answered that end; to censure those who scught their own things, and not the things of this mere man ;-To speak of trusting in him, expecting the supply of his Spirit, and being able to do all things through his help; to lay it down as a principal branch of the character of a Christian to rejoice in him, and repeatedly to exhort all Christians to do this :-To mention it as a great favour to be permitted to suffer for him, and to represept all things as vile and worthless, when compared to the excellency of his knowledge;' to speak with satisfaction of having won him, though with the loss of every thing beside, even liberty and life, just about to be sacrificed for his sake; and to rejoice that He was magnified whatever his servant might endure: To proclaim him as able to change even our vile bodies, and make them conformable to his own glorious body,' nay, and to subdue all things to himself;' and to begin and end his epistle with solemn prayer, addressed to him for grace to be conferred upon the people to whom he wrote ; surely these things, (to say nothing of the celebrated passage in which this inere mau, as the Doctor thinks him, shines for th in the form of God, and is declared to be equal with God,) are very extraordinary, and not to be reconciled with sound reason, or common sense, any more than with inspiration, or piety.
I proceed now to the Epistle to the Colossians, which will also furnish us with a variety of examples of a similar kind. Having informed us (verse 14) that we have redemption through his blood, [that is, if we may believe Dr. Priestley, through the blood of a mere man!] even the forgiveness of sins: He adds