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Written by Wilson Thompson   


DISCOURSE III

On the Human nature or manhood of Christ.

We cannot read the Bible, without being convinced that Christ did exist in a nature, inferior to the Father, both before the world and since; and as we have seen in the foregoing discourse, that his divine nature was no other than the Fathers; we shall in this discourse shew wherein his inferiority did consist, and in order to be plain on this subject, we shall first speak of the soul or spirit of Christ, and secondly of his body or flesh.

1. Of the spirit or soul of Christ I understand that part of him which was brought forth before all worlds, and which was the medium of operation in creation, and the treasury in which grace was given us, before the world began; in which God chose his people, and gave them great and precious promises before the world was. But this doctrine of the Bible as all the rest of Gospel truth, found its enemies and even has been denied, a place in the Bible, or the sacred pages have been so much perverted by many that they have tried to turn this treasury with all its fullness out of gospel doors: but blessed be God he has given it such a permanent standing in the scriptures, that it will show itself in almost every page. But as error makes it necessary to illustrate truth we shall be a little more particular on this point, and so to the word and to the testimony. Ephes. 3. 8. 13. in the eighth verse, Paul seems much humbled under a sense of the work unto which he is called and says; unto me who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, verse 9. And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world, hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ. Here the apostle speaks of God as creating all things and of Jesus Christ as that by which he did create all things; here we read of the mystery hid in God and of the unsearchable riches of Christ, now surely the riches of Christ are the mystery hid in God, then if the mystery hid in God is the unsearchable riches of Christ, by whom God created all things; then Christ must have been in existence, when God created all things by him, and as this cannot be said in truth of the flesh of Christ, and to assert it of his divine nature, would argue two Gods, and the one creating all things by the other, which we do not believe; therefore we must believe that it was spoken of the soul or spirit of Christ in which the unsearchable riches of Gods wisdom and grace did concentrate before all worlds; and were ordained to our glory, but now is made manifest by the appearing of Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel; and hath sent Paul to preach among the Gentiles, the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world to our glory; verse 10, to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church, the manifold wisdom of God; verse 11, according to his eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Heb. 1. 2. Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds. This passage speaks of God and Christ, as being distinct from each other, and of God as being superior to Christ, God as the creator of the worlds and Christ as that by which he did create, God as the appointer of an heir, and Christ as being appointed heir of all things, now this will not apply to the flesh of Christ which did not then exist, nor to the divine nature of Christ, which was all the all creating God, and if this was applied to the divinity of Christ, it would not only argue two Gods, but would prove, that the Father was greater then the divine nature of Christ, as the appointer of an heir; is greater then the appointed heir; which is the very point that the Arians and Deists would wish to establish. But to apply it to the soul or spirit of Christ is easy; for this soul or spirit, was in the bosom of the Father before all worlds; and thus was appointed heir of all things; thus he heired the world, and as a consequence it cannot be destroyed until he is done with it, he heired a kingdom and will glorify it. &c. No one that takes the scripture for his guide, can deny but what Christ did pre-exist creation in a nature as much distinct from the Father, & as much inferior to him, as he was when he was here in the world; but some conclude he only existed in God’s decree, and not actually; but Abraham and all others pre-existed creation in God’s decree; but Christ says before Abraham was, I am, which does not mean decreatively but actually; Abraham and all Gods elect were in his decree before the world was; but were not brought forth until long since the world was, but Christ was brought forth before all worlds; the body of Christ existed in God’s decree before the creation, but was not brought forth until about 1821 years ago; but others would apply all those scriptures which speak of Christ as existing before the world to him as God, or to his divine nature; but if there applying them rightly, we should have sufficient witnesses to prove, not only that his divine nature was distinct from the Father; and consequently two Gods; but the divinity of the Son, or the God in Christ was inferior to the Father; who brought him forth, set him up, appointed him heir, and made the worlds by him, &c. When we hear it said in Heb. 10. 5. 6. 7. wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith sacrifice and offering thou wouldst not, but a body hast thou prepared me, in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come in the volume of the Book it is written of me to do thy will, O God. In this passage we all agree Christ is to be understood as the speaker, but it was not his divine nature, unless there were two Gods, one speaking to another, and telling him, that he had come to do his will, which is not truth according to the Bible record that God hath given of himself, saying there is no God besides me; I know not any. Nor was the speaker in the text the body of Christ, but that for which God had prepared a body, for the speaker to assume when he came into the world; hence it appears that the speaker of the text must have been the soul or spirit of Christ for which a body was prepared of God; and as the children were partakers of flesh and blood he also took part of the same.

But why do you call the pre-existent part of Christ his soul or spirit? – My reasons for calling it so are First, because I read of no other constituent parts of Christ then soul or spirit, and body or flesh, except the Godhead that dwelt in him, and as the speaker in the last mentioned text; and many other similar ones, will neither apply to the God-head nor flesh of Christ; they do most cordially apply to the soul or spirit of Christ. My second reason is, because I read of his taking on him a body or flesh, but I never read of his taking on him a soul or spirit; I therefore believe that the soul or spirit, was that part of him, which was with the Father before all worlds, for which a body was prepared, in God’s purpose of wisdom. And my third reason is because I read of Christ, existing distinct from, and inferior to the Father, before the world, and as nobody ever believed that the flesh of Christ did exist before the world, and as I do not believe that the divinity of Christ was either distinct from, or inferior to the Father, I cannot see how the scripture can be understood in any other way. And my fourth and last reason that I shall mention here is, because the soul or spirit is the man, both in scripture and common usage, for instance, see in the case of Paul; I knew a man, whether in body or out of the body I cannot tell. And Jesus said unto the thief on the cross this day shalt thou be with me in Paradise. And in common conversation, speaking of the death of a person; we say the man is gone to the eternal world, while his body is yet with us, and friends weeping around it: the soul can live without the body, but not the body without the soul; these are my reasons; for calling the pre-existent part of Christ his soul or spirit. You will observe that whenever the scriptures speak of Christ distinct from God, they speak of him as being inferior to him, both before the world and since; except when the writers were proving that he was the true God, or speaking of his divine nature. Thus where Solomon in Prov. 8. from the 22. to 31. verse is personating Christ; the whole passage goes to prove, that he did pre-exist creation, in a nature distinct from, and inferior to the Father; the whole passage reads thus, the Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth, when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: While as yet he had not made the earth nor the fields nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens I was there, when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: When he established the clouds above: When he strengthened the fountains of the deep: When he gave the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: When he appointed the foundations of the earth: Then I was by him, as one brought up with him, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him: rejoicing in the habitable parts of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men. Now is it possible that any man is ingenious enough, to explain away the true sense of this whole passage, where the speaker under the personal pronoun, me, says the Lord possessed me, in the beginning of his way, before his works of old: Does he mean the Lord possessed the divine nature of Christ then we are to understand it as though it had read thus; the Lord possessed the Lord, in the beginning &c; and yet there is but one Lord and his name one, or, are we to understand that the flesh of Christ was the speaker, and the Lord possessed that flesh before his works of old; then the flesh of Christ must have been brought forth before the earth was, or the fountains abounded with water, &c. not in Gods decree but actually capable of rejoicing before God, and having his delights with the sons of men; this cannot be said in truth, of the flesh of Christ, for this speaker, afterwards took on him a body of flesh; so that we see that it can neither be the divine nature of Christ, which was never brought forth nor set up by any, but was the self-existent and independent God, and therefore could not address another being, as the speaker in the above text does. Again if the speaker in this text, was the divine nature of Christ, and that divine nature was God; then this is a flat contradiction to that testimony which God bears; saying there is no God with me; for the speaker says, then I was with him, &c. Every rational man that reads and weighs the passage in his own mind, must be convinced that Solomon did not design to personate the God in Christ, nor the flesh of Christ in this passage; but if any should still think, that the speaker was either his Godhead, or flesh, I would ask how, or by whom, was the Godhead set up? how, or by whom, was it brought forth? how was it inferior to the Father, or so distinct from him, as to speak as the speaker in the above text does? or if his body or flesh was the speaker, I would ask, was his body or flesh brought forth before creation? was it rejoicing then before God and having its delights with the sons of men &c. Again when we read of God the Father, or the Godhead of Christ, or the body of Christ, it is always expressed in the masculine gender but the speaker in the above text, is distinguished by the feminine gender; this is a grammatical error if God is intended, or if the flesh or body of Christ is intended; but if the soul of Christ is intended it is proper. – According to Harrison on gender, virtue and vice with their species; the soul, the earth, &c. are feminine according to Murry on gender, those again are made feminine; which are conspicuous for the attributes of diety; containing or bringing forth, or which are peculiarly beautiful or amiable. Thus the soul or spirit is properly called; she standeth and puteth forth her voice, &c. Thus the soul of Christ is the receptacle of all the Fathers purposes, promises and grace, and bringing them forth to us, is properly under a figurative expression, classed in the feminine. So we see this whole passage is only applicable to the pre-existent soul or spirit of Christ which was brought forth before all worlds; and in whom all the elect were chosen; in whom grace was given them, before the world was made in whom all the promises of God, are yea and Amen. Thus the whole passage is rendered easy, and he that reads may run. See Gen. 1. 26. And God said, let us make man in our image, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth. Chap. 2. 7. And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground; and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul. In the former passage it is said, let us make man in our image, or in the image of us both and give him dominion, &c.

It is said in the latter; that, after man was formed of the dust of the ground, God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul, thus man was created in the image of both the us, mentioned in the former text, in the image of God; because he was governor over the lower creation, to replenish and subdue the earth: and in the image of the soul of Christ; because he became a living soul: And as Adam was constituted the head and representative of all his posterity, and their happiness and innocence were lodged in him, and their standing or falling depended entirely on him; he was a beautiful figure of him that was to come, or of the pre-existent soul of Christ, who was constituted head or representative of all his posterity; in whom all grace and spiritual blessings were lodged for them; and their happiness depended altogether on him, chap. 3. 22. And the Lord God said; behold the man is become as one of us; to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever. From this verse we learn, that man became like one of the us mentioned in the text, by eating the forbidden fruit; but surely no one can conclude that man by sinning, made himself more like God, or the divine nature of Christ, nor yet more like the harmless and undefiled body of Christ, but it did make him like the pre-existent soul of Christ, which was exposed to agony and pain, as the head of his church, is consequence of the sin of them, in this very act of Adam, mark it well; it does not say man became like us; but like one of us.

He was make like us, but has become like one of us; we might weary our readers with hundreds of scriptures to prove this plain truth such as what and if ye shall see the son of man ascend up where he was before. He that descended is the same also that ascended, I came down from heaven, neither came I of myself but the Father sent me. I proceeded and came fourth from the Father. I pray for the same glory I had with thee before the world was; he that was rich for our sakes became poor that we through his poverty might be rich. In a word all those passages which speak of Christ as laying aside his glory which he had with the Father, and coming into this world, or of being in a more impoverished condition here, than he was before the world in my opinion are incapable of any rational or scriptural explanation without it is in this way; for the Godhead never became poor, that never proceeded and came from the Father; it could be said of that, that it did not come to do its own will, but of him that sent it: neither could it be said of the flesh of Christ, that it had the same glory with the Father, before the world was, that it has since the resurrection of Christ, from the dead, that it was rich and became poor &c. But to apply all those passages to the pre-existent soul or spirit of Christ is easy, for that existed before all worlds, and was the honoured medium of operation; rejoicing always before God, rich in bliss and beautified in spotless glory, but when the time rolled on that it must assume the body prepared for it to suffer in and with; it lays aside the glory that it had, enters this world in a body of flesh, or is attended by Gabriel, to the virgins chamber, prepared to receive that body that God had prepared for it according to his promise made to Abraham, and revealed to the holy prophets, who shewed before of the coming of the just one. But now he becomes poor, soon we find him in the ox’s manger, because there was no room for them in the inn, soon his supposed father must flee his county, to save the young childs life from the merciless hands of his enemies; his visage is more marred then any of the sons of men; he is more impoverished then the foxes or the birds of the air; he gives his back to the smiter, and his cheek to them that spit upon him. On that awful, that tremendous night, the agonies of this soul (that had pre-existed all the worlds, but is now in the body that was prepared for it) was so pungeant, so insupportable, that it cause the body that it was in to sweat as it were, great drops of blood falling to the ground, and to cry my soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death. This was poverty indeed; this was laying aside the glory he had with the Father; and thus all those scriptures are easy to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge. Some may think, that I mean to convey an idea that this pre-existent soul, in assuming the body prepared for it, left the Godhead out; but if they will examine the second discourse in this work, they will be convinced that I mean no such thing. So we pass to the second thing proposed, which is to speak of his body or flesh.

2. That Christ did assume a body or flesh is certain from the following scriptures. He bear our sins in his own body on the tree. The children being partakers of flesh and blood, he also took part of the same. A spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have, Thus we see that he had a body of flesh and bones; and it was his own body which was prepared for him; and in this body he, bare our sins; and his body also was wounded for our sins, and bruised for our transgressions, and by his stripes are we healed: and as this point is agreed to, by all the christian world, as far as we know; we shall conclude this discourse by a brief improvement of this, and the two foregoing discourses, and first: - we have seen that there is one and but one God, and that all the world are under obligations to worship him, if he is called the Father, we should praise him as our creator, from whom all blessings flow; if he is called the Word of God manifest in the flesh, we should worship him as such; and all our worship should be in spirit and in truth. Christian reader is not this your chief desire, and are you not saying; O for more engagedness to praise God; O for a better frame of mind, a deeper sense of my obligation to him; O for a heavenly gale to waft my affections away from earthly things; and lodge them substantially upon my God and Saviour. O that I had more light, that I could see more clearly the glory of God, in the face of Jesus, and to be transformed more into his likeness, - And again, secondly, we have seen, that this all creating God condescended to come in the flesh, to exhibit his unparalleled glory on earth, and to make himself known as a God merciful and gracious, long suffering and abundant in goodness and truth; forgiving transgressions, iniquity and sin.

O for this, love let rocks and hills.
Their lasting silence break;
And all harmonious human tongues,
The Saviours praises speak.

3. We have seen that God, in order to secure the eternal happiness of his church, did bring forth, set up and ordain the soul of Jesus Christ; as the great deposit of all his people, and his purposes, promises and grace; and thus all fullness of grace and spiritual blessings dwelt in him, and they (his church) were secured in him, so that after Adam fell; Christ the heir, could enter his plea for his people, and claim his legal inheritance; or the right of a legatee; and the world must be spared, until he gets his portion; thus they are the salt of the earth, and the light of the world; and in the fullness of time this heir comes forward, clothed with legal right to claim his portion, and redeem it: and as they were under the law and in the flesh, he took part of the same, and was made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law; assumed a body prepared for him, to meet the law of God in, and bare the unsheathed sword of divine justice, and tread the wine press of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God. Thus we see the eternal wisdom of God concerted the mysteriously glorious plan of salvation, in Christ before the world began; and so connected the highest display of his glory, with the salvation of the church; that the display of the one, effected the other: so that when the soul of Christ appears in the body of Christ, and the whole Godhead dwells in him, the inumerable number of the heavenly host is heard, saying, glory to God in the highest, on earth peace and good will toward men. Shall the angels cause their notes to swell so as to be heard on earth when they see that the exhibition of the glory of God is connected with peace on earth and good will toward men. And shall we, my brethren, shall we not feel our souls inflamed with love, and fired with zeal, to glorify God in our bodies and spirits which are his.

Come dearest Lord descend and dwell,
By faith and love in every breast;
Then shall we know and taste and feel,
The joys that cannot be exprest.
Come fill our hearts with inward strength,
Make our enlarged souls possess;
And learn the height and depth and length,
Of thine unmeasureable grace.
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