« EelmineJätka »
we proceed to argue out the question with them upon their own grounds, directing our attention chiefly to those who think that our Lord's body was just such as Adam's. But some of our antagonists go beyond this, and assert, that, though Christ came in creature form, and had a real body, yet that this body was selfsustained, incorruptible, and immortal in its very nature, and endowed with all the properties of Deity: these persons we refer to what we have said above, as their special answer, though they are included by an a fortiori in all that we are about to subjoin.
“Ecce virgo concipiet.— To make him man, there wanted not other ways: from the mold, as Adam : from a rib of flesh, as Eve. No need then of concipiet? Yes : for He was not to be Man only, but to be the Son of Man. But Adam was not son to the mold; nor Eve daughter to Adam. And a son, no way but by concipiet. And this word is the bane of divers heresies. That of the Manichee, that held he had no true body; and that of the Valentinian (revived lately by the Anabaptist), that held he had a true body, but made in heaven, and sent into her. Hence we may conceive his great love to us-ward. He refused not the contumelies of our nature-not to be named, they are so mean. So mean (indeed) as it is verily thought, they made those old heretics, and others more (who yet yielded him to be man), to run into such fancies as they did ; only to decline those foul indignities (as they took them) for the great God of heaven to undergo. Our conception being the root (as it were), the very ground-sill, of our nature; that he might go to the root, and repair our nature from the very foundation, thither he went: that what had there been defiled and decayed by the first Adam, might by the Second be cleansed and set right again. Et pariet makes all appear. We could not tell it was Filium ; knew not wbat it was, or what it would be, till he came into the world. He was as thesaurus absconditus, though we had it, we had it not. But when he was born, when come into the world, we see him and handle him : then he was with us indeed. And now he is born, might we not leave here, and go no further ? Rem tenemus. What care we for the name? Yes, we must: for Christus anonymus will not serve. Therefore Esay, therefore the Angel, are careful to add his Name. But bis Name (St. Matthew tells us) the Prophet but brought; it was God that sent it. Now there were divers names given him, at divers times. To express all his perfections, no one name was enough. There was Jacob's name, Shilo: that was in respect of His Father, by whom and from whom he was sent. There was Paul's name, MessiAS, CHRIST: that was regard had to the Holy Ghost, by, or wherewith, he was anointed. But what were these ? quid ad nos ? we have no part in them.
VOL. II.-NO. I.
In this (Immanuel) we have; and till this came, all was in nubibus (as they say). But in this Immanuel, Nobiscum Deus, (here) come we in first. And this is the first nobis and the first cum we find in any name of his: and therefore, of all other, we are to make much of it. So with us, even of us now; of the same substance, nature, flesh, and bone, that we : now true, as never till now ; now so, as never so before. Thus is He with us : and yet all this is but nature still. But the nobis cum of his Name, bodeth yet a further matter. For (indeed) the with us of his name, is more than the with us of his nature. With us in his nature; that is, with us as man. That is short : we are more; sinful men : a wretched condition added to a nature corrupt. Will he be with us in that too? Else this (of nature) will smally avail us. What, in sin ? Nay, in all things, sin only except. Yea, that is in being like us, but not in being with us : for in being with us, except sin and except all. The ridding us of our sin is the only matter (saith Esay, after): therefore, to be with us in all things, sin itself not except; St. John's caro factum est, will not serve: St. Paul's fuit peccatum must come too. In, with us, there too. I say it over again: Unity of nature is not enough; he is to be with us in unity of person likewise. So he was. The debtor and surety make but one person, in law. That he was: and then he was cum, with us, throughly; as deep in as we. For his name came not till he became one with us in person: not till his circumcision : not, till for us, and in our names, he became debtor of the whole law; principal, forfeiture, and all. To the handwriting He then signed, with the first fruits of his blood. And then name the child, and give him this name, Immanuel : for thus he was a right Immanuel; truly with us—with us as men ; with us as sinful men ; with us in all things, sin itself not excepted. .. What say ye, to drink vinegar and gall ? yet that he did not with us, but for us: even drank of the cup with the dregs of the wrath of God; which passed not from him, that it might pass from us, and we not drink it. This, this is the great with us: for of this, follow all the rest; with us once thus; and then, with us in his oblation, on the altar of the temple ; with us in his sacrifice, on the altar of the cross; with us, in all the virtues and merits of his life; with us, in the satisfaction and satispassion (both) of his death: with us, in his resurrection, to raise us up from the earth; with us in his ascension, to exalt us to heaven: with us even then when he seemed to be taken from us; that day by His Spirit, as this day by his flesh: Et ecce vobiscum ; and, lo, I am true Immanuel-with you by the love of my manhood, with you by the power of my Godhead-still to the end of the world.”— Bishop Andrews, pp. 72–77.
For the sake of those readers who may not have seen our
former Numbers, we intend to make the argument of each paper complete in itself. In so doing we run the risk of repeating some things which have already come under notice; but we shall do so as seldom as possible, and only to present them under some new aspect, and with a different bearing on the question at issue.
We shall begin by shewing the practical importance of the doctrine to ourselves as men, and the absolute necessity of coming to a right determination on this point, as an error here tends to subvert the very foundations of our hope and practice. We shall then shew its importance in theology, and that an error in this point must carry mistake and confusion into the whole of any system of theology. We shall lastly prove the true doctrine from Scripture, and shew that it has been held by some of the most eminent in the several schools of divinity.
All are agreed that a participation in that glory and blessedness which Christ has now attained by his resurrection and ascension, is the object of hope, towards which the earnest longings of a believer's soul are drawn forth, and for the attainment of which at his resurrection he strives and struggles on. This consummation of bliss, the Scriptures declare (John xvii. 21, 24), is only to be attained through an union with Christ; begun in the soul during this life; to be completed, in the body as well as the soul, at the resurrection. It is therefore manifest, that the question, how this union is brought about, becomes the problem which of all others we are most interested in solving; how we may become assured of its practicability, and direct all our energies to its attainment. The two beings to be brought into union, are at present diverse, and even contrary, the one to the other : the first being is our Lord in his glorified humanity, triumphant over death and hell, for ever incorruptible and unchangeable; the other being is man, fallen, sinful, and in himself totally helpless. The character and conditions of our Lord we gather from the Scriptures; our own we learn from experience. Knowledge of our Lord's present condition, and of our own present condition, lies at the very starting point of the Christian course ; and the first inquiry will necessarily be, How may fallen man, such as we know ourselves to be, attain to that conformity which is requisite for union with Christ? In this stage of the inquiry, it seems of less importance to know what Christ was in the days of his flesh, than to ascertain what he is now; but as the Scriptures declare that union with Christ is effected by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in our fallen natures, subduing and restraining this body of death, not slaying it (Rom. vii. 24), so we immediately perceive the conflict we have to wage to be most arduous, needing all possible encouragement, and the strongest assurances of success, if we perse
vere to the end. Among these assurances, the strongest of all is derived from the fact that the Captain of our salvation has conquered in the same warfare, and that he himself was made perfect through sufferings like ours (Heb. ii. 10). And now it becomes of vast importance to ascertain in what nature he endured them : we are assured that it was the same nature as ours, his triumph is our greatest encouragement; but if he had a better nature than ours, one better armed against temptation, or less susceptible of suffering-if it were an unfallen, an impeccable humanity-we can derive no assurance of our success from his victory. If the very same nature as ours has not prevailed in Christ over sin and death, we cannot be sure of prevailing : for if it differ from ours in any respect, that difference may have been the cause of victory; and we, wanting it, may well fear a defeat: if fallen humanity have not prevailed over sin, if fallen humanity have not risen from the dead, our faith is vain, we are yet in our sins (1 Cor, xv. 14). The triumph of a better-armed combatant is no pledge of victory to us: he must have fought in the same lists and armed with the same weapons as his followers, to call upon them to enter boldly after him. Just to that degree in which our opponents maintain that our Lord's human nature differed from ours, in the same degree do they negative the possibility of our salvation. Ifour fallen nature was too vile to be taken into union with Christ in the days of his humiliation, how can we in our fallen natures be united to him in his present glorification? They fear lest it should seem a degradation of our Lord to suppose such a nature as ours taken into union with his Godhead; and yet they profess to believe that Godhead is brought into union with our very fallen nature, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in us : if this be no degradation to the Godhead of the Holy Spirit, how is the other a degradation to the Godhead of the Son ? Our Lord's humanity was sanctified from the beginning, but sanctification is noi the taking a holy thing and keeping it holy; it is the taking an unholy thing and making it holy, by preventing it from falling into that únholiness which is the natural tendency of every creature, and which it is only preserved from by the sustaining power of God. No created being can have any holiness in itself, but derives it all from God : "the heavens are not pure in his sight, and he chargeth his angels with folly.” A holy thing may be a thing kept holy from the time of its creation; or it may be a thing set apart to a holy use; which last is the ordinary meaning of hallowing, or sanctifying, in Scripture. God hallowed the seventh day; and no one supposes that this one day of the week is in itself better than the other days; but we call it holy, because it is dedicated to holy uses. The Israelites were a holy nation, not by being of better blood than other nations, but by being separated as God's people : so also of the Levites ; so of the merchandise of Tyre (Isai. xxiii. 18); so of the very bells of the horses (Zech. xiv. 20). Adam was created holy: from holiness he fell: by his fall all flesh became unboly, and can only be sanctified, or rendered holy, by the indwelling power of God. “And such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified....by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. vi. 11). “ And both he that sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified, are all of one ; for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren” (Heb. ii. 11).- Thus the practical importance of the doctrine we contend for is manifest in either aspect: From Christ being proposed as our Example, our Captain, our elder Brother; in which characters the argument necessarily requires that he should have been like to us in all respects, sin only excepted : or it may be made manifest from ourselves, who are fallen men, and yet to whom perfect conformity to Christ's glorified humanity is held out as the prize : “We shall be like him” (Phil. iii. 21; 1 John iii. 2). And if we, who are indisputably fallen and sinful, may thus attain to his present glorious image (1 Cor. xv. 49), much more might Christ attain it, though he took upon him our fallen nature. We are promised to become like what he now is: he therefore may have been, nay, must have been, like what we now are.
The importance of this doctrine in its theological, is not less than in its practical aspect. A right understanding of our Lord's incarnation is the basis of all sound theology, and a right understanding of his glorification and reign is its chief cornerstone. The foundation must be laid in anticipation of the topstone ; and with a constant reference to these two, the Alpha and Omega of theology, must every stone of the building be fashioned and have its place assigned." The Word was made fiesh, and dwelt among us; and we beheld his glory, as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John i.'14): “Who, being the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. i. 3). These two texts we must endeavour to understand, for any deep and enlarged view of Christian theology. Christ, as the Word, was from everlasting ; “ In the beginning was the Word” (John i. 1): invested from eternity with the glory of the Father; “Glorify me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was (John xvii. 5):
from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was....rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth...with the sons of men....rejoicing always before him....while as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world” (Prov. viii. 23, 31, 30, 26). By the Eternal Word, “ the Son of his