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natures remain in another sense perfectly distinct; iron cannot burn, nor can fire batter down a stone wall. So whatever may be said of a man, may be said of Christ; and whatever may be said of God, may be said of Christ, Yet the two natures are in a sense distinct: as God, he knows all things; as man, he only knows what is communicated to him, &c If the iron could speak, it might say, I cannot burn of myself; it is the fire, which is in me, that burns: just as Jesus says, I can of mine own self do nothing; the Father which dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. This might be carried out further but we hasten on to the second point, which to many minds is no less difficult, namely, that Christ should be Mediator between God and man, and yet be himself one person in the Triune Godhead. This, say Unitarians, is being Mediator between himself and man. Well, what is that, but the same person appearing in two characters, holding two offices, or acting two parts? For instance; I am the patron of a living, and being a clergyman I present myself to it. Here I am both the presenter and the person presented, the giver and the receiver. Who would argue, that I could not be the patron or presenter of the living, because I was the person presented to it? It is quite clear, I present in one character, office, or capacity, and am presented in another.—Again, I let my mind wander, bring it back, fix it on something-Is my mind part of myself? If so; how can that which brings back and that which is brought back, that which fixes and that which is fixed be the same? Further, I obey my conscience, consult my reason, exercise my understanding. Are my conscience, reason, and understanding, part of myself? If so, will the Philosopher, who thinks Christ could not be God because he was sent by God, tell us how the obeyer and the obeyed, the consulter and the consulted, the exerciser and the exercised, can be one and the same?-Again; a man is committed to prison by a judge for contempt of court. He asks the governor of the prison to release him. The governor replies, I have not the power to do so; I can of mine own self do nothing; your liberty is not mine to give; I am not here to do mine own will. Now it is quite clear that the governor had the power to release him, and could have given him his liberty if he pleased: he only means that he could not do so consistently with a proper discharge of the office which he held. He had voluntarily undertaken an office, which required him to act under the instructions, and by the authority, of others. So did the Son of God voluntarily humble himself to act the part of the Father's servant or messenger, when he undertook the office of Mediator between God and man. While holding that office therefore, he can do nothing of himself; but speaks and acts under his Father's authority.
In the last mentioned instance however, there is no connection between the person giving, and the person receiving, the authority; this feature in our Lord's mediatorial office will be
seen better in the following case: A person, for breach of privilege or some other offence, is committed to the Tower by the House of Commons, until he submit to certain conditions; which he is not willing to do. The Commons choose one of their own members to act as Mediator between the two parties. He is directed to offer the delinquent terms, and urge him to accept them. Now this person is chosen by the House, appointed by the House, sent by the House, and yet is himself a member of the House. He is a servant and messenger of the House, he acts according to their instructions and under their authority, and yet in himself possesses equal rank, dignity, and authority with any other member whatever. He tells the person to whom he is sent, that he can neither say nor do any thing of himself; that he can only speak as he is taught; that he has no power or authority but what is given him. He promises to intercede for him, and pray the House to release him; and tells him that, if he will submit to the conditions offered and follow his directions, he will find that he (the messenger) has done nothing of himself, but that all bis proceedings will be recognised by the House as done by their authority. He tells him further that, as the reward of his undertaking this office of Mediator, he will be exalted by the House to a post of peculiar honour and dignity in addition to his own original dignity as one member of the House. He then returns to those who sent him, and says, I have delivered your message to the person you sent me to; I have followed your instructions in all things; I have persuaded the offender to submit to you as the only authority which has power over him, and to accept the terms offered him by me as your messenger, &c., &c. How can he use such language as this, when he is himself a member of the House? He speaks thus in his official capacity, as Mediator between it and another party. Yet these are just the sort of expressions, which Unitarians bring from Scripture, as proofs that Jesus could not be one person in the adorable Trinity.
Once more great stress is laid on Christ's words in Mark xiii. 32. "Of that day and that hour knoweth no man; no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father."-Some years ago it came out in evidence before parliament, that in one of the books used for the training of Romish Priests were the following questions and answers.† Q. If a person at confession acknowledge to you having committed a certain crime, and you were afterwards asked on
Does Jesus say any thing stronger of himself, than what he says of the Holy Ghost; " He shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear that shall he speak." Yet some Unitarians allow that the Holy Ghost is God, only not a distinct person from the Father; and all admit it to be the power or operation of God. The same remark applies to the Holy Ghost descending upon Jesus "in a bodily shape." Is there any more difficulty in the Son of God taking a bodily shape, than in the power or operation of God taking one?
+ Den's Theology. Vol. 6. p. 218, in the edition published at Dublin, by B. Coyne, in 1832, and dedicated to Dr. Murray, Romish Archbishop of Dublin.
your oath in a court of justice, whether you knew any thing about it-what should you say? A. I do not. Q Would not that be perjury? A. No. Q How so? A. I sat in the confessional as God; but I was examined in the court of justice as man. As God I knew who had committed the crime as man I knew nothing about it.-Now this, which is blasphemy in the mouth of a Romish Priest, is nothing but simple truth in the mouth of Jesus Christ; for he is both God and man. His Divine nature knew all things; his human nature increased in wisdom, like any of his brethren, and was of course limited in its knowledge. As Mediator too, the "day and hour" formed no part of his message; he was not commissioned to reveal it to us. As man therefore, it was beyond his actual knowledge; as Mediator, it was beyond his official knowledge.
Some however may be inclined to ask, What was our Lord's object in so repeatedly declaring his real and perfect manhood, and pressing it upon our attention in such a variety of ways? We allow that these declarations may be satisfactorily explained, without rejecting the equally plain declarations of his Deity; but we don't see the necessity for them. Strong assertions of his Godhead were evidently necessary, because from the form in which he appeared, people would be backward to believe it; but surely he need not have taken such pains to convince them that he was a man; it is not likely any one could doubt that. Such reflections may probably pass through the minds of many in the present day, and for this reason; that those who deny Christ's manhood are very few, whilst those who deny his Godhead are increasingly numerous. The proofs of our Lord's manhood are so constantly forced upon us by Unitarians, that we are apt to think there can be no possible danger on the other side of any one asserting him to be only God, and not a man at all. But if we had been as much troubled by the Swedenborgians, and scarcely at all by the Unitarians, we might perhaps have thought just the reverse. Certainly we should never have been tempted to think the proofs of Christ's manhood at all stronger or more numerous than necessary, but should have admired the providence of God in furnishing us with such powerful armour against a dangerous heresy. Even in the face of the present overwhelming amount of evidence, there have always been sects in every period of the Christian Church, who have denied the reality of our Lord's manhood: how much more numerous then in all likelihood would they have been, if Jesus had not made such very strong and positive declarations on the subject. And it is worthy of observation, that the first heretics who started up in the Apostle's days, were deniers, not of the Saviour's Godhead, but of his manhood. These were the men whom St. John denounces so severely for denying "that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh." What an extraordinary error for any one to fall into, if Jesus was nothing but a man! How inconceivable,
that a considerable body of men, in the very time of the Apostles, should believe the Saviour to be only God, if there was no proof of his being God at all! What ground could they have possibly had to stand on? But take into consideration the Scriptural testimony to the union of the Divine and human natures in Christ, and the mystery is explained, As the Apostles themselves preached the Godhead of Christ, the heretics we speak of would have something to go upon; and with the help of the cavils, now used by Unitarians, about the impossibility of a God-man, they would be able to make out as good a case against the Saviour's Humanity, as was ever made out against his Deity. The truth is a stumbling-block to the natural man; and we are not surprised at his striking his foot against it, on whichever side he may fall.
Another reason why Christ's Manhood is made so prominent in Scripture is a matter of practical importance to ourselves; and with it we will conclude the present subject. It is doubtless to remind us of the privilege of having a Saviour to go to, who, while possessed of all the perfections and attributes of Deity, has also all the feelings and sympathies of man; who having "himself suffered being tempted, is able also to succour them that are tempted." For my own part," says Mr. Jones, in his lecture on this subject, "I can honestly avow that there is no doctrine in the Book of Inspiration, on which I am accustomed to dwell with more heartfelt gratitude and delight, than that of the humanity of my Lord. Oh! the happiness of believing that as he is very God, so is he very manthat, as in his uncreated Deity he "dwells in light inaccessible, which no man can approach unto, whom no man hath seen, nor can see," so in his humanity he comes down to my comprehension, or at least to my sensibilities and sympathies, and I can think of him as one that dwelt here in a fleshly tabernacle like my own, as one who was perfected for the mediatorial work by the sufferings which he endured, as one touched with the feeling of my infirmities, having been in all points tempted like as I am.' Let us then endeavour to hold close communion with our sympathising friend above, that we may be able more fully to value his amazing condescension in not being ashamed to call us brethren: and if any difficulties should still appear too hard for us with respect to the two natures being united in his person, let us follow the example of David, who did not "exercise" himself "in great matters or in things too high for him," but received them in simple faith, and quieted" himself. Every mountain will fall before us, and every rough place become smooth, when we can say with him, "Yea, my soul is even as a weaned child." Ps. cxxxi. 2.
A just God and a Saviour. Isaiah xlv. 21.
"THE character of God is described in holy Scripture by two marvellous words-really marvellous when fully and truly understood. God is LIGHT, and God is LOVE. The government of God is a combination of these. 1. It is the government of a judge; and so viewed, it is light, and in it is no darkness at all. It is righteous, and in it is no unrighteousness at all. It is true, and in it is no falsehood at all. 2. It is the government of a father; and so viewed, it is love, and in it is no anger at all.-The glory of God as a judge is, that every jot and tittle of his law shall be assuredly fulfilled; every penalty incurred shall be assuredly inflicted. The glory of God as a father is, that he passes by iniquity, transgression, and sin; puts forth the secret and gracious energy, which transforms the wandering prodigal into the returning penitent; and receives the penitent into his open bosom of peace and perfect love. The suffering of Jesus Christ is the moral pivot, on which all this turns. There God proceeds as a judge, pronouncing sentence according to the law, which is holy white light; and there God proceeds as a father, receiving freely to a father's bosom adopted children in everlasting love. This is the combination, by which angels are delighted, devils defeated, sinners saved, and God glorified."
Such is the doctrine of the Atonement; "a doctrine," to borrow the words of another great writer, Soame Jenyns, constantly and so strongly enforced through every part of the New Testament, that whoever will seriously peruse those writings, and deny that it is there, may, with as much reason and truth, after reading the works of Thucydides and Livy, assert, that in them no mention is made of any facts relative to the histories of Greece and Rome." + Before proceeding to
+ This author is called by Dr. Pye Smith, "A writer of eminence in the polite world, who knew extremely little of theological systems; but who, leaving a careless infidelity, read the Scriptures with attention and good sense, and described the effect produced on his mind by an unbiassed study of the sacred books."-Thucydides, it may be observed, wrote a history of Greece, and Livy a history of Rome.