George Griffin, LL.D.
PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.
THE prevalent theory of the redeeming sufferings affirms that God is impassible, and therefore, limits the sufferings of Christ to his manhood alone. This theory has pervaded Christendom, and stood the test of centuries; yet have we been forced, by scriptural proofs, to the conclusion that it is founded in error, and that the expiatory agonies of our Lord reached both his united natures. That our inquiry is of importance, no Christian will doubt. We have sought in vain for any satisfactory arguments to sustain the prevalent theory. The pulpit, so far as our personal experience extends, has been almost silent on the theme. We have looked into such theological treatises as have fallen within our reach. They abound in reiterations of the averment, AGod is impassible;" but, with very few and scanty exceptions, they stop short at the threshold of that specious, yet unsupported dogma. We have betaken ourselves to our Bible. The result of our scriptural investigations will appear in these sheets. Perhaps our humble essay may elicit from abler minds more ample reasons in favour of this ancient and wide-spread theory. If such reasons are drawn fresh and pure from the great scriptural reservoir, we shall readily become their willing convert. We seek not polemic victory; our sole object is the development of TRUTH.
We shall be obliged often to repeat the sacred names of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; we trust we shall ever do it with becoming awe: if, in any instance, we should fail in this paramount duty, our contrition will be sincere, as our offence will have been unintentional. Nor would we approach our pious and illustrious opponents, dead or living, otherwise than with profound respect. Opposing what we deem their doctrinal error, it is necessary that we should speak with freedom and plainness. The cause of truth seems to require that our argument should sacrifice to false delicacy nothing of its directness. If, in the ardour of discussion, we should utter or intimate anything which may justly be deemed discourteous, it will be to us a subject of lasting regret.
We affix not our name to our unaspiring volume. The omission is not from fear of responsi-bility. Amenable to the judgment of God, we have no unbecoming dread of the judgment of men; but, in very truth, we believe that our humble name could add nothing to what may possibly be thought the force of our reasoning. Our name is unknown to theological lore. Of the writer it may justly be said, "Along the cool, sequestered vale of life,@ He Akept the noiseless tenour of" his Away.@
Should any future exigency invite the disclosure of our name, it will not be withheld.
Whatever may be the fate of this imperfect and brief essay, the writer will retain one consolatory source of reflection. His feeble effort, in every page and in every sentence, will have sought to exalt and magnify the glorious ATONEMENT. If he errs, his error will consist in the attempt to elevate that most transcendent work of the Godhead to a point of awful grandeur, towering even above its scriptural altitude.
PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.
THE Publishers having determined on the issue of another edition of "The Sufferings of Christ by a Layman," the author has availed himself of the opportunity to revise the Work with some care. He has made additions equivalent in quantity to at least one fourth of the original volume; and, without waiving or substantially varying any of the positions assumed by his argument, he has softened some forms of expression which, upon deliberation, appeared to be more startling than the development of truth imperatively required. The author ventures to hope that the revision will render the second edition more worthy of public acceptance than the first.
Prevalent Hypothesis of God=s Impassibility consideredCSupported by Great NamesCCorrect when applied to Involuntary SufferingCIncorrect when applied to Voluntary Suffering-Argument of Bishop Pearson examinedCSinless Suffering if Voluntary does not imply imperfection or infirmity
Prevalent Theory of Christ=s Sufferings limits them to his HumanityCNecessary Result of Hypothesis of Divine Impassibility-Theory of the same Antiquity and Prevalence as Hypothesis-Object of our Argument statedCRemarks of Dr. Chalmers-Remarks of Dr. HarrisCRemarks of Professor Vinet-Who and what Christ wasCHis Synonymes-Definite Article should have been prefixed to Name by TranslatorsCScriptural passages declarative of Sufferings of Christ
Name of ChristCIts Compass and PowerCScriptural Language, how to be construedCName includes both his Natures Any Exceptions are created and explained by the BibleCNo such Exception intimated in Case of his SufferingsCChrist=s own Declarations, Luke 24. 26, 46CHis name denotes Totality of his united Being, not one of its PartsCUnion of his two Natures constituted holy Partnership, to which his Name was givenCName not applicable to the exclusive Suffering of the human Partner
Phrase, the Person of ChristCMeans nothing more than simple Name, the ChristCNo Analogy between Person of Christ suffering from Pains of Human Nature and Person of ordinary Man suffering from corporeal PainsCBishop Pearson again consideredCBishop Beveridge considered-Divinity of Christ suffered actually, not merely by constructionCIf Christ suffered only in Humanity, his Sufferings, taken in reference to his Divine Beatitude, were inconceivably small
Natures of Christ concurred and participated in all his Sayings and DoingsCSo in Heaven and on EarthCAll his Sayings and Doings were in his Mediatorial Character, requiring Concurrence and Participation of United NaturesCNo Exception in Article of SufferingCExamples of Concurrence and ParticipationCFarther Examples in case of MiraclesCMoanings on Cross in United NaturesCMediation a Suffering MediationCEternal Son Aemptied himself== of his Beatitude as well as Glory on becoming incarnate
Had there been any Distinction between the two natures of Christ in the Article of Suffering, it would have been indicated in the BibleCIntellectual Character of PaulCTwo passages from 1 Peter, declaring that Christ suffered in the Flesh, considered and explainedCBishop Pearson again examinedCTerm Flesh, when applied to Christ, designates his whole united BeingCTerm Body, when applied to Christ, has the same comprehensive MeaningCSo has the term ManCTerms Crucified and Cross
Blood and Death of ChristCBlood, when applied to Christ, has a Meaning more comprehensive than its ordinary ImportCIt means Totality of Expiatory SufferingsCChrist really diedCDeath reached both his NaturesCScene at Patmos
Death of the Eternal SonCScriptural Passages proving itCHis ExaltationCWhat was meant by his DeathCNot mere Physical DeathCWhy his Sufferings called DeathCVisible Expiration on Cross, but Representative of his viewless DeathCPhysical Death and Spiritual Death
Second Chapter of HebrewsCTaster of DeathCCaptain of our SalvationCTaker on him the Seed of AbrahamCTerm Death when affirmed of the Eternal Son more fully explainedCBoth Natures of Christ Tempted
Death of Eternal Son continuedCActs, 3. 15: Ye "killed the Prince of life.@ I Corinthians, 2. 8: They "crucified the Lord of glory.@ John, 10. 14, 15: "I am the good shepherd;@ AI lay down my life for the sheep"CThe Lamb of the fifth chapter of RevelationCJohn, 3. 16, 17: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son.@ AFor God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world." Romans, 8.32: AHe that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all@CFather@s love in death of ChristCSon=s love-Self-denial of eternal Son
Dismay and Perturbation of Christ before and during last PassionCHis Apprehensions and Conduct contrasted with Human Martyrs, and Persons not MartyrsCPhenomenon not explicable on Supposition that Humanity alone sufferedCReasons commonly assigned for his Dismay and Perturbation, and Fallacy of such Reasons
CalvaryCContrast between Christ and penitent ThiefCGethsemane-Speaker and Actor was Christ in both NaturesCSufferings there those of AnticipationCIndications of Dismay-It was the Anticipation of Spiritual, not Physical AgoniesCThriceCrepeated PrayerCAppearance of AngelC"My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death"CWhat the dreaded Cup was
Humanity of Christ had not Physical Capacities to endure all his SufferingsCBody and Human Soul of Christ differed in nothing but Holiness from those of ordinary MenCBody can suffer only to limited ExtentCSo of Human SoulCSufferings of Christ Infinite, or, at least, beyond Mortal EnduranceCChrist=s Physical Capacities not expanded at last PassionCIf so, he would not have Suffered in our NatureCShifts to which Prevalent Theory is put to reconcile Extent of Christ=s sufferings with limited Capacities of Humanity to suffer
Christ=s Anticipations of last Passion previous to Night of GethsemaneCLuke, 12. 49-51: AI have a baptism to be baptized with"CJohn. 12. 27; 28: "Now is my soul troubled"CJohn, 13. 21: "He was troubled in spirit@CHeb. 5. 7, 8: "When he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears@CObjection answered arising from Divine PrescienceCProgress of Christ=s Anticipations
Proofs of divinity of Christ=s Sufferings derived from Old TestamentCFifty-third Chapter of IsaiahCIsaiah, 63. 3: AI have trodden the wine press alone@CIsaiah 63. 9: "In all their affliction he was afflicted@CZechariah, 13. 7: "Awake, 0 sword, against my shepherd@CZechariah 12.10 AAnd they shall look upon me whom they have pierced@
Scriptural Passages ascribing Blessedness to the DeityCIf they are more than Doxologies, they imply no Incapacity to sustain Voluntary SufferingCDivine Beatitude progressiveC"Joy set before@ Athe Author and Finisher of our Faith"CHoliness and happiness though twin sisters, may be severed for a time
Immutability of GodCNot Impugned by our ArgumentCAffected by Suffering no more than by IncarnationCImplies only Identity of Essence and Primary AttributesCIf God was Inflexible as Fate, Prayer would be Useless, perhaps ImpiousCImmutability allows Mutation of Emotion and ActionCAffirmed of ChristCAnd yet Christ Suffered
Incarnation no Proof that God the Son had not Capacity to suffer without itCProbable Reasons of IncarnationCIt presented Example of perfect ManCBrought Proofs of Gospel home to Senses of MenCRendered Triumph over Satan complete-Affords abiding Memorial of God=s Justice and LoveCIncarnate God, in both his Natures, obeyed the Law
Objections to Prevalent Theory-Venerable for its Age and PrevalenceCMiniature of its outlines-Derogates from Simplicity and Fulness of AtonmentCNot founded on ScriptureCImparts to Bible Figurative MeaningCLowers affection from Godhead of Christ to ManhoodCStrengthens Unitarian Error
Early History of Truth that Divinity of Christ Participated in Suffering-Early History of Prevalent TheoryCIts InconsistenciesCHas Theology for Closet and Theology for SanctuaryCIts Hymns and Prayers and SermonsCEffects upon Devotion from unmasked and universal Development of Theory
Practical Effects of Doctrine of Divinity of Christ=s SufferingsCDeepens Views of SinCExalts Justice of GodCHis LoveCMagnifies Value of SoulCAffords sure Foundation of Christian ConfidenceCElevates Views of Atonement
No. l.CThe Argument of Athanasius . . 341
No. 2.CThe Bloody Sweat. 352
No. 3.CExtracts from the Hymns of the Churches 358
No. 4.CExtracts from Sermons and other Writings by
Authors professing the Prevalent Theory 368
THAT there is a God above us, Aall Nature cries aloud through all her works."A To this voice of Nature, Revelation adds her imperative voice from heaven, proclaiming the existence and government of a wise, gracious, and universal Sovereign. The Bible informs us, too, that the Deity whom we worship is a triune God. AThere are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one.@ "-l John, 5. 7. We quote this passage from the beloved disciple with the knowledge that its genuineness has been questioned; but, if expunged from the Bible, it would subtract only a single grain, from the overflowing measure of scriptural proof that there are three persons in the Godhead. The Bible also teaches us that the Trinity consists of three distinct persons; united, not commingled, Three in One, and One in Three.
A celebrated Unitarian preacher now deceased, whose simplicity, pathos, and eloquence have seldom been surpassed, has laid it down as a fundamental objection to the doctrine of the Trinity, that the plurality of its persons tends to divide and distract devotional love and worship.* But had this distinguished man, with feelings so true to nature, forgotten, when he uttered the sentiment just stated, the blissful days of youth, when his gladdened eyes beheld, and his bounding heart leaped forth to greet, at the domestic altar, two distinct, yet united personages, who both claimed and received his undivided and undiminished reverence, and gratitude, and love? Was his filial piety distracted by the plurality of its objects? Did his heart yield a less true and fervent homage to his father, because the angel form of his mother was hovering around him, arrayed in the lovely habiliments of her own meekness, and gentleness, and grace? Did he find it needful, for the full concentration and development of filial devotion, that one Aof his parents should be forever banished from the domestic hearth, leaving the other in cheerless solitude? Did his youthful heart yearn for an amendment of the laws of Nature, so that each family of earth should have, instead of two, but one solitary, lonely progenitor?
The objection, that the plurality of the persons of the Godhead tends to divide and distract devotional love and worship, has as little foundation in nature as it has in truth. If St. Paul, when caught up into the third heaven, was permitted to gaze, with adoring and melting eyes, on the glory and benignity of the Highest, his rapt vision was neither divided nor distracted by seeing, on the right-hand seat of the celestial throne, that Saviour who had died to redeem him, and, on the left-hand seat, that Holy Spirit who had
regenerated, sanctified, and imbued with the balm of comfort his persecuted and earth-wounded soul. The three who Abear record in heaven"A are a triple cord of divine texture, to bind the believing soul faster, and yet more fast to the footstool of its triune God.
*Channings Works,vol.3. p. 73, 74. Sermon on Ordination of Rev. Jared Sparks.
The social principle is a controlling element of the visible universe. In the humblest gradations of nature we see its prevalence and power. The fishes in shoals swim the sea; the birds in flocks skim the air; the cattle in herds graze on the plains. The subjects of the vegetablevegtable kingdom are gregarious. The rose,
"ABorn to blush unseen, And waste its sweetness on the desert air,@
is yet encompassed by sister flowers. Even the weed of the deserted field is not alone. When our attention is recalled to man, we shall find the social principle an elemental law of his being. Even of him in paradise it was said, by unerring lips, AIt is not good that man should be alone.@" If we ascend to the next highest grade in the scale of being, we may confidently presume that the social principle pervades angelic natures. Heaven would cease to be heaven to the angels if each was secluded in his solitary cell. The strains of the lonely harp would become feeble and plaintive, though stricken by the hand of a seraph.
May we not, then, without irreverence, venture to presume that the social principle reaches even to the Godhead; that he who made man in his own image, and after his own likeness, Aand breathed into his nostrils the breath of life@" from the redundant fountain of his own ethereal essence, retained in himself, in infinite fulness, that social element, with whose infusion he has so copiously imbued the rational tenants of this lower world, and whose sprinklings have pervaded every part of its animal and vegetable provinces? If we may, indeed, regard this as a great truth of heaven, which mortality may contemplate without profanation; if
A"Those thoughts that wander through eternity@
may sometimes soar, with no unholy flight, to the pavilion of the triune Jehovah, what a theme of meditation, vast as the universe, unsatiating as the flow of a blessed eternity, may piety derive from dwelling on the beatific fellowship, with each other, of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost! Infinite wisdom holds high converse with infinite wisdom; infinite holiness commingles with infinite holiness; infinite love takes sweet counsel of infinite love.
In that temple of the highest heavens, consecrated as the abode of the Godhead, each of its divine persons enjoys blissful and untiring communion with his two other glorious selves. Into this holiest of temples no discrepancy of views, no collision of sentiment ever enters. To the most perfect unity of action, thought, and feeling, the infinite persons who make it their dwelling -place, are impelled by the elemental and immutable laws of their own being. Thus flow on, in high and incommunicable blessedness, the successive and cloyless ages of the triune God. It must be an iron-hearted theory which would seek to. banish from the dwelling -place of the Highest the delights of social and equal intercourse, and to consign to lonely solitude the eternity of the Sovereign of the universe. The doctrine of the Trinity is, doubtless, above the reach of reason; but, when revealed, reason perceives and approves its fitness. The infinite Father can find no companion among the children of men; they are worms of the dust. Even the hierarchies of heaven are but his ministering spirits. He must have dwelt in solitary grandeur, but for his holy and rapturous communion with his august brethren of the Trinity. What desolation would pervade the courts of heaven, reaching even to the sanctuary of Him A"that sitteth upon the throne,@" could a ruthless arm of flesh pluck from his right hand and his left the beloved fellows of his eternal reign!
Let it not be alleged that our views lead to Tritheism, or, in other words, to the belief in three Gods. Such heresy is equally strange to our head and to our heart. We hold sacred the truth that there is but one God; we hold equally sacred the sister truth that the one God subsists in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Nor can we find any authority in Revelation or reason, which interdicts or checks the delightful conception of social communion between the illustrious persons of the Trinity.
On the contrary, the very first chapter in our Bible intimates such high and holy communion. A"And God said, Let us make man in our image, and after our likeness.@C-Genesis 1. 26. This passage, coeval with creation, not only proves the plurality of the persons in the Godhead, but also implies their joint resolution, resulting from deliberative consultation. And if such consultation between the Sacred Three attended the formation of man, how much profounder must have been their reciprocated deliberation when his redemption was the absorbing theme! What holy transports must have pervaded the pavilion of the Godhead at the triumphant return of its second glorious person from terrestrial humiliation and suffering, crowned with the laurels of a world redeemed!
Nor are the following passages less indicative of the plurality of the persons in the Godhead, and of their social and sacred converse with each other. A"And the Lord God said, Behold the man has become as one of us.@" Genesis 3. 22. A"Go to, let us go down and there confound their language.@" Genesis 11. 7. AAnd I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, whom shall I send, and who will go for us.@"C-Isaiah 6. 8. The plural number is thus used, not in anticipated conformity to the style of modern royalty, but as suited to shadow forth the co-existence and holy fellowship of the Sacred Three in One. The learned and pious Emmons affirmed that the plural number is used to express the Deity more than one hundred times in Scripture.*
*Emmons= Sermons, p. 90.
It is not however, our object to demonstrate, by a regular argument, the doctrine of the Trinity. Not that we should think its demonstration difficult, with the Bible open before us. But those into whose hands these sheets will be likely to fill need no confirmation of their faith in this fundamental article of our holy religion. We may, then, for the purposes of our argument, adopt it as a settled truth, that there are three distinct persons in the Godhead: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and that these three persons are equal in all their infinite attributes and perfections; forming by their blessed union the only true God. The fall of man was an astounding event in the history of the universe. A world, just created in all the freshness and loveliness of innocence, and pronounced by its Creator to have been Avery good,@" was seduced from its allegiance by the prince of the powers of the air. The forgiveness of this apostacy without satisfaction would have violated the fundamental laws of the empire of the Godhead. The A"angels who kept not their first estate,@" though their voices had so long helped to swell the harmony of the heavens; though they had been ministering spirits around the throne of the Most High; though, ere this world sprang out of chaos, they had shone as morning stars; though they had been foremost among the shouting sons of God, had yet been cast out, and were confined in everlasting chains of darkness. Had rebel man been forgiven without satisfaction, the purity of divine justice must have been tarnished forever more.
But how was rebel man, poor and utterly destitute, to yield satisfaction? The title to his new dominion had been cancelled by sin. If burnt offerings would have sufficed, A"the cattle upon a thousand hills@" were no longer his. He stood polluted, confounded, seemingly abandoned and lost. But pity had entered the heart of One, whose divine compassion was infinite as his omnipotence. A voice issued forth from the innermost sanctuary of the Godhead: ADeliver him from going down to the pit; I have found a ransom.@C-Job 33. 24. The ransom for delinquents, justly doomed to eternal suffering, was to be paid, in the suffering of their great Deliverer. The development of this plan of grace, so surprising to the heavens, must needs overwhelm with astonishment the dwellers upon the earth. It was the mighty movement of a God, and all its mysterious and progressive footsteps were to be the footsteps of a God.
Had it been decreed in the council of the Trinity that its second person should have suffered in the celestial court, at the very footstool of the throne of justice, human reason would have had no ground to interpose her speculative cavils. But infinite wisdom deemed it most fitting that the great Deliverer should suffer in the vestments of that fallen nature which he had so condescendingly and graciously undertaken to redeem; and that the new made world, which Satan had fondly claimed as a permanent province of his own kingdom, should become the scene of the glorious triumphs of the cross. That this great atonement was not an illusion, but a solemn reality; that the second person of the Trinity, clothed in the habiliments of flesh, suffered in very truth for the redemption of our race in his divine as well as in his human nature, it will be the object of these pages to establish by scriptural proofs.
*Emmons= Sermons, p. 90.
WE are met at the very threshold of our argument with the preliminary objection that the divine nature is impassible, or, in other words, that God cannot suffer. This objection, if true to its unlimited extent, is doubtless insuperable; for if the divine nature of Christ is incapable of suffering, he must necessarily have suffered in his human nature alone. We must, therefore, pause at once in our argument until we have explored the foundations of this startling objection, lest we should come, unwittingly, into collision with the awful attributes of Jehovah. The hypothesis that God is impassible is stated broadly by its advocates without restriction, qualification, or exception. It applies, therefore, as well to voluntary as to involuntary suffering by any one of the persons of the glorious Trinity.
If a dogma pertaining to the viewless attributes of the unsearchable Godhead can rest for its support on mere human authority, then the hypothesis in question is, indeed, to be regarded as impregnable. It has stretched itself over Christendom, and stood the ordeal of centuries. The Roman Catholic church has adopted it as one of her settled axioms; the venerable church of England has lent it the names of her Hooker, her Tillotson, her Pearson, her Barrow, her Beveridge, her Horne, and her Horsley; the Protestant church of France has sanctioned it by the adhesion of her eloquent Saurin; the Baptist church has added the name of her no less eloquent Hall; and the Presbyterian church has crowned it with the accumulated authority of her Owen, her Charnock, her Edwards, her Witherspoon, her Dwight, her Mason, and her Emmons. To these high intellectual dignitaries a lengthened and still lengthening list might be added from the dead and the living.
Against names so distinguished for talents, learning, and piety, it is with unaffected diffidence that we venture to raise the voice of our feeble dissent. We should scarcely have entered on the arduous undertaking, but from our firm conviction that these illustrious personages have endorsed the hypothesis without that profound attention and discrimination which has usually marked the movements of their mighty minds. None of them has, to our knowledge, fortified it by a single quotation from the Oracles of Truth, or devoted to it a single page of argument, with the solitary exception of Bishop Pearson. The brief remarks of that learned prelate will be noticed hereafter.
The other distinguished fathers, whose revered names we have recorded, have generally dismissed the hypothesis with a mere passing sentence. AGod is impassible,@ or some other expression, of almost equal brevity, is the only notice they have bestowed on a proposition high as heaven, and vast as infinity. So far as we may judge from their writings, they received the hypothesis as a consecrated relic of antiquity, without pausing to inquire whether its materials were celestial or earthy. It passed from their hands, bearing no marks of ever having been tested - by the touchstone of the Bible.
To the prevalent hypothesis, so far as it relates to involuntary or coerced suffering by the Being of beings to whom it is applied, we make no objection. It would be both irrational and irreverent to imagineimgine that the Omnipotent could be forced to suffer against his own volition. No hostile darts can pierce the thick Abosses of his bucklers.@"C-Job 15. 26. Once, in the history of the universe, has the futile experiment been made. The malcontents of heaven, a mighty host, aspired to shake the throne of the Highest. Their catastrophe has engraved on the walls of the celestial city and on the vaults of hell a lesson lasting as eternity. God=s impassibility to coerced suffering is a plain and palpable principle of natural religion, resulting inevitably from his attributes of infinite knowledge, infinite wisdom, and infinite power.
But as we enter the sphere of voluntary suffering, the question assumes a new and very different aspect. We are, indeed, still met at the threshold with the ever-present hypothesis, AGod is impassible.@" But upon what authority do its adherents apply their standing axiom to the suffering of one of the persons of the Trinity, emanating from his own free volition and sovereign choice? They hold the affirmative of their hypothesis. The rules of evidence, matured and sanctioned by the wisdom of ages, devolve on them the burden of proof. To the living alone can we appeal; and from them we solemnly invoke the proof of an hypothesis gratuitously advanced, and which commingles itself with the vital elements of Christian faith. We affectionately point them to the Bible as the only true foundation of a theory seeking to limit the omnipotence of the Godhead. The Bible gives them no favourable response. From Genesis to Revelation, both inclusive, there is not, to our knowledge or belief a passage which intimates, directly or indirectly that persons of the Trinity has not physical and moral ability to suffer, if his suffering is prompted by infinite love and infinite wisdom.
Do the advocates of the hypothesis of the divine impassibility appeal to the Areopagus of human reason, that proud tribunal, to which even the heathen gods were said to have referred their controversies? We respectfully, yet confidently, meet them there. From none of the physical attributes of the Deity can human reason legitimately draw her bold inference, that one of the persons of the Trinity, to whom Aall things are possible,@" may not, in the plenitude of his omnipotence, become the recipient of voluntary suffering. God indeed is a Spirit; but that a spirit can suffer is fearfully demonstrated in the history of the universe.
Is the inability of a person of the Trinity to suffer, when, in his benignant, and wise, and infinite discretion he elects to become a Sufferer, to be deduced from any of the moral attributes of the Deity? It is indeed a blessed truth, that God will not transcend any of the holy elements which constitute his august being. It is revealed to us that he cannot violate the awful sanctity of his truth. That he can do no other wrong, is justly to be inferred from his own Sacred Oracles. His causeless suffering might, therefore, exceed perhaps even the limits of his omnipotence. He is ever moved by that benevolence, which forms a ruling element of his nature, to elevate, to the highest practicable point, the general happiness of the universe. Of that universe he is himself the soul; the infinite, to which all creation is but the finite. His needless suffering, then, would unspeakably subtractsubstract from the totality of universal bliss, and might thus transcend the immutable limits of his moral being.
But if one of the persons of the Trinity elects voluntarily to suffer for some adequate cause; some cause deeply affecting the happiness of the universe; some cause intimately connected with the glory of those who sit upon the throne; some cause sanctioned in the conclave of the Highest; some cause worthy to move a God: dare human reason interpose her puny veto against the mighty resolution? Would reasoning pride scale the highest heavens, and, standing at the entrance of the divine pavilion, proclaim, in the hearing of astonished cherubim and seraphim, that Omnipotence lacks physical or moral ability to become the willing recipient of suffering, prompted by its own ineffable love, and sanctioned by its own unerring wisdom?
God is not mere Intellect. He has a heart as well as understanding; he has volitions, desires, sympathies, emotions. AGod is love.@" To sinful passions his bosom is, indeed, inaccessible; but it overflows to infinitude with all those holy sensibilities which he breathed into innocent man with the breath of life. How can reason contemplate such a Being, and yet, without scriptural authority, deny to him the capacity of suffering, even from his own free and almighty choice? Perhaps it might be laid down as a self-evident truism, that the capacity to suffer necessarily results from the capacity to enjoy. The ability of a person of the Trinity to become the voluntary recipient of short-lived suffering may, for aught that speculative pride can urge to the contrary, have been, in the history of eternity, an element not less conducive than his omnipotence, to the prosperity of the universe and the glory of the Godhead.
On the abstract question of the capacity of the divine nature to suffer of its own free volition, we would not, for ourselves, have ventured gratuitously to speculate. Upon a theme so lofty and so holy, we should have chosen to preserve a profound and reverent silence. But when we find it, as we suppose, recorded in the Sacred Oracles, that the second person of the Godhead actually suffered for the redemption of our fallen race; when our credence to that august truth is interdicted by the hypothesis, A"God is impassible,@" with a voice of power heard, and echoed, and reverberated along the track of ages; when that hypothesis, to retain its own claim to infallibility, must change into figures of speech some of the plainest declarations of Holy Writ, it becomes the right and the duty even of a private Christian to explore respectfully, yet fearlessly, the foundations of a dogma deeply fortified, it is true, in human authority, and hallowed by the lapse of hoary-headed Time, yet scarcely claiming to repose itself on the basis of Revelation.
That the Son of God should have suffered in his divine nature for the redemption of man is not more startling to human reason than the stupendous fact of his incarnation. If, at the time of the first manifestation of divinity in the flesh, the angel of the Lord, instead of announcing the event to the humble shepherds of Bethlehem, had appeared in the midst of an assemblage of Athenian philosophers, made up from the schools of Zeno, Aristotle, and Epicurus, proclaiming to them the A"good tidings of great joy,@" and benignly expounding the spirituality, the ethereal nature, and all the infinite attributes of him who had formed the worlds and was now cradled in a manger, the incarnation of such a being for the remission of mortal sins must have seemed A"unto the Greeks foolishness.@" The heavenly envoy would have been held Ato be a setter forth of strange gods.@"C-Acts, 17. 18. Philosophic incredulity would have treated as a fable of mythology the mysterious message of grace. Peripatetic subtilty might boldly have sought to scan the spiritual anatomy of the revealed God, and dared to pronounce its vain decree, that the holy enigma of his incarnation was a physical or moral impossibility. Yet, if there is demonstration on earth, or truth in heaven, the Son of God, the second person of the glorious Trinity, did, in very fact, become incarnate for the redemption of man.
We have promised to notice the brief argument of Bishop Pearson on the divine impassibility. That we may be sure to do him justice, we give the substantial parts of his remarks in his own words. He says:
It will be perceived that Bishop Pearson=s first ground of argument is, that the divine nature of the Son of God being common to the Father and the Holy Spirit, if the Son suffered in his divine nature, then the Father and the Spirit must have suffered. It is an inflexible rule in the science of logic than if an argument proves too much, it proves nothing. Its proving too much is an
* Peterson on the Creed, p. 311, 312, and 313.
infallible sign that it is intrinsically and radically erroneous. The whole argument is condemned. Now the fatal disease of the argument under consideration is, that it proves too much. It touches even the holy incarnation itself. Test the argument, by applying it to the incarnation instead of the suffering of the Son. The argument, thus applied, would stand thus: The divine nature of the Son is common to the Father and the Spirit. If, therefore, the divine nature of the Son had become incarnate, then must the Father and Spirit have become incarnate also. But we learn from the Bible that neither the Father nor the Holy Spirit became incarnate. The argument, if it proves anything, would, therefore, prove that the incarnation of the blessed Son was but a fiction. Thus the corner-stone of our faith would be removed from its place. Samson pulled down the temple of the Philistines. The learned and pious prelate would unwittingly demolish, if his lever was indeed the resistless lever of truth, that holy temple Anot made with hands,@" whose glorious walls are founded on the incarnation of the Son of God, and cemented by his most precious blood.
Peterson on the Creed, p. 311, 312, and 313.
The second ground of argument adopted by Bishop Pearson is, that the imputation of possibility to the divine nature would imply its Aimperfection@" and Ainfirmity.@" This would indeed be true, if it sought to expose the divine nature to involuntary or coerced suffering. But the supposition that one of the persons of the Trinity can suffer voluntarily, and for an adequate cause, argues no Aimperfection@ or Ainfirmity@ in the divine nature; on the contrary, it relieves the divine nature from the Aimperfection@ and Ainfirmity@ which the hypothesis of our opponents would cast upon it. Their hypothesis says that neither of the persons of the Trinity can in any case suffer. He cannot suffer even from his own spontaneous choice and free volition. He cannot suffer, however strongly infinite wisdom and infinite love might urge his suffering. If the universe was threatened with ruin, he could not suffer to save it, for his suffering would be interdicted by the fixed and unbending laws of his being. And would not such an incapacity to suffer imply A"imperfection@" and A"infirmity@" in the divine nature? It is our opponents, then, and not we, who would attach to the divine nature this A"imperfection@" and A"infirmity.@" It is they, and not we, who would thus hamper Omnipotence by fetters made in the forges of earth.
The supposition that the imputation of voluntary possibility to the divine nature would imply its Aperfection@ and Ainfirmity@ rests not on the eternal granite of the Bible. If its living advocates claim for it a foundation there, let them point to the sustaining verse or chapter. If they rely for its sole support on human argument, we would remind them, in all respect and kindness, that reason in its speculations on the unrevealed attributes of the Godhead, but
ALeads to bewilder, and dazzles to blind.@
It is true that suffering, when predicated of fallen man, implies Aimperfection@ and Ainfirmity;@ because in him it is the progeny of transgression, personal or ancestral. Man suffers because man has sinned. Sin is a compound of imperfections and infirmities; and the character of the parent descends to the unhappy offspring. Hence has originated the supposition, so deeply and widely rooted, that suffering implies Aimperfection@ and Ainfirmity.@
But no such implication can attach to the vicarious suffering of a sinless being. Should Gabriel become the recipient of voluntary pangs for some object of benevolent and high import, approved and commended by the Sacred Three, would reason, in all her arrogance, presume to draw, and record as an axiom in her faith, the bold conclusion that the magnanimous endurance implied Aimperfection@ and, Ainfirmity@ in the angelic nature? Would not the devoted act of celestial piety afford a new development of the holiness and elevation of heaven=s ministering spirits, and exalt to a higher point our affectionate admiration of him who, perhaps more immediately than his fellows, stands Ain the presence of God?@" That innocence pure as that of the angels has capacity to suffer, is demonstrated by the sinless wailings heard from Gethsemane and from Calvary.
THE hypothesis of God=s impassibility to voluntary sufferings is not a self-evident proposition. It carries not demonstration on its face; it proves not itself; it requires extraneous confirmation. Whence is such confirmation to be derived? It is yielded neither by the Bible nor by the deliberative process of sound reasoning. The prevalent hypothesis, then, rests on opinion alone. But unsupported opinion, though emanating from the wisest and the best, is incompetent, however long continued or widely diffused, to sustain a dogma claiming the place of a corner-stone in the structure of Christian faith. The opinion of one man, or of millions, of one age, or of successive ages, is not the test of theological truth. Christianity should be the last to recognise such test. She repudiated it by her own example. Her first achievement on earth was her unsparing invasion of the empire of ancient and almost unanimous opinion. Should she admit that the force of opinion can impart to religious belief the stamp of truth, she must, to be consistent, spare the deep-seated, and wide-spread, and time-consecrated superstitions of Africa and of India. An insulated opinion on theological tenets, without support, is but a cipher. Such unsupported opinion, however multiplied, cannot form a unit.
The incarnation itself is a death-blow to the hypothesis of God=s impassibility. If the Godhead is of necessity impassible, one of its august persons could not have become incarnate. The mighty Being who, in the fifth verse of the seventeenth chapter of John, uttered the prayer, AAnd now, 0 Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was,@" could have been none other than the second person of the Trinity, clothed, indeed, in flesh. The prayer itself demonstrates that the Supplicant was not of earth, that he had come down from heaven, that he had existed there, and enjoyed the intimate fellowship of the Father before the world was created. It contains intrinsic evidence that, at the time of the prayer, the divine Supplicant was sustaining the temporary privation of his glorious fellowship with the infinite Father, and that he longed to have it restored. His prayer breathed forth his deep consciousness of the severity of the bereavement. It evinced a bereavement which had marred for a time his infinite beatitude. His eclipsed beatitude was not, for the moment, like the ineffable beatitude which he had enjoyed before incarnation. This very bereavement is but another name for suffering.
There is a passage in the epistles german to that upon which we have been commenting: AWho, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.@"C-Philippians, 2. 6, 7, 8. The words in this passage translated A"made himself of no reputation," should, in justice, have been rendered, Aemptied himself.@" That is their literal meaning. By the substitution of their own language, the translators may have gained something in elegance; they have lost much in strength. Our argument prefers the plain Doric of Paul to the more fastidious style of his translators.
The illustrious personage who had Aemptied himself@ was he Awho, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.@ He was, beyond peradventure, the second person of the Trinity. Of what had he Aemptied himself?@ He had Aemptied himself@ of the Aform of God@ for the A"form of a servant.@ He had Aemptied himself@ of his celestial mansion to become a houseless wanderer upon the earth. He had Aemptied himself@ of the ministration of angels to wash the feet of his betraying and deserting disciples. He had Aemptied himself@ of the glory which he had with the Father before the world was created. He had Aemptied himself@ of his beatific communion with his august companions of the Trinity. And has privation no suffering? Say, ye exiled princes, is there no suffering in privation? Say, ye fallen families, whose fortunes have taken to themselves wings and flown away, is there no suffering in privation? Declare, ye lately bereaved widows, ye newly smitten parents, from the depths of your breaking hearts declare, is there no suffering in privation? The very incarnation, then, should have strangled in its cradle the earthborn hypothesis, AGod is impassible.@
We have taken some little pains to trace the prevalent hypothesis to its source in early antiquity. Not that we bow to the authority of the judicatory of tradition, verbal or written. We recognise but one Caesar in this terrestrial province of the great empire of spiritual truth. That imperial, sovereign, infallible arbiter is the Bible. To this most august of potentates we reserve the privilege of appealing. It is an unalienable privilege; it is the sacred birthright of the Christian, guarantied to him by the last will of the AAlpha and Omega,@ who was dead and is alive again.
The prevalent hypothesis we have traced to the fourth century. Some brief intimations of the divine impassibility are, no doubt, to be found sparsely scattered in the writings of the earlier fathers. There are also in the earlier fathers some intimations to the contrary. The fourth century, if it was not the creator of the hypothesis, was at least the first that formally incorporated it into Christian theology. The correctness of this position seems to be demonstrated by the letter written about the middle of the fourth century by Liberius, the pope of Rome, to Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, asking his opinion on the impassibility of God, and submitting himself to the paramount authority of such opinion. The letter and the reply of Athanasius are contained in an early page of the writings of that distinguished bishop. If the Roman Pontiff had found plenary evidence of the hypothesis in the Word of God, he would scarcely have appealed, for its authority, to the word of man. Had he deemed the hypothesis an established article of Christian theology, he would not have sought to strengthen the sacred and firm-seated column by the frail prop of a private opinion. If he clearly perceived that God had incorporated it into his own Holy Oracles, the head of the Catholic church would not have submitted himself, in so essential an article of faith, to the judgment of Athanasius.
He of the fourth century, who gave Aa local habitation and a name@ to the prevalent hypothesis, was this same Bishop of Alexandria That Athanasius was a great man, the intelligent reader has not to learn from these humble sheets. Though then young, he was the master spirit of the Nicene Council. He is the man whose name was borrowed to clothe with immortality that summary of faith afterward compiled, and baptized by the appellation of Athe Athanasian Creed.@ His spiritual domination has almost equalled, in its extent and permanence, the intellectual empire of the illustrious Stagyrite. It was he of whom the great Hooker exclaimed, AThe world against Athanasius, and Athanasius against the world!@ This distinguished theologian wrote a regular and elaborate argument in favour of the hypothesis of God=s impassibility and the kindred theory of the exclusive humanity of Christ=s sufferings.
We have searched out this argument with profound interest and high-raised expectations. It may justly be regarded as the official proclamation of the fourth century in support of the prevalent hypothesis and its lineally -descended theory. It was written by him who is generally held to have been the great champion of primeval orthodoxy. The general father of Western Christendom had specially invoked his attention to the important subject. We may fairly presume that his argument was induced by the promptings of the papal letter. The world in every age may therefore confidently regard his exposition as having concentrated within its ample limits all that Christian antiquity could gather in favour of his doctrine from the freshly inspired Oracles, or glean from the writings of its uninspired, yet learned patriarchs. Of this elaborated argument we have appended a translation from the original Greek. We must beseech the kind reader to pause here, and, turning to, the Appendix, listen to this oracular voice of the olden time before he resumes the thread of our unaspiring essay.*
* See Appendix, No. 1, page 341
*See Appendix, No. 1, page 341
Supposing that the reader has complied with the closing request of the last paragraph, he will now be prepared to proceed with us in a brief review of the Athanasian argument, embodying, as it does more on our subject than can probably be found
elsewhere in the whole compass of sacred literature, ancient and modern, if gleaned and compacted together. The first ingredient that we justly look for in a theological argument is scriptural authority. The argument of Athanasius scarcely claims such authority for its support; on the contrary, he seemingly wishes to have removed out of his way a mass of scriptural verbality, to afford an appropriate site for the erection of his reasoning edifice. He objects to a literal construction of Scripture; from thence we infer his deep conviction that the language of Holy Writ, if taken according to its plain import, must needs have excluded him from access to his building site. With more point than courtesy, he significantly intimates that the literal readers of the Bible are like, Abrutes;@ nor does he allow them the rank even of Aclean beasts@ that Aruminate,@ because they chew not the meditative cud of subtle philosophy. The very corner-stone of the Athanasian
the rank even of Aclean beasts@ that Aruminate,@ because they chew not the meditative cud of subtle philosophy. The very corner-stone of the Athanasian hypothesis is thus founded on bold aberration from the ostensible signification of scriptural language.
This assumed right of man to amend the declarations of the Holy Ghost, Athanasius had been taught by at least one of his venerated predecessors. The celebrated Origen, in the tenth book of his Stromata, dared to utter the following startling sentiments which, if uttered by us, would be held impious; he says, Athe source of many evils lies in adhering to the carnal or external part of Scripture. Those who do so shall not attain to the kingdom of God. Let us, therefore, seek after the spirit and the substantial fruits of the Word, which are hidden and mysterious.@ And again he says, AThe Scriptures are of little use to those who understand them as they are written.@
These sentiments of Origen seem to have been adopted by Athanasius. They are fully developed in his renowned argument. They form the basis of that bold hypothesis which by its confident pretensions and its author=s brilliant name, seems, for near fifteen centuries, to have dazzled the mental vision of the wisest and the best. Nothing can be more dangerous to the vital elements of Christian faith than this latitudinarian construction of the Holy Oracles. It commingles with the inspiration of heaven a controlling infusion of the philosophy of earth. It substitutes for the Word of the infallible God the fallible word of frail and presumptuous man. This latitudinarian interpretation of the Bible was the great moral disease of the first five centuries of the Christian era. It converted what should have been its Ahigh and palmy state@ into one vast receptacle of schisms and heresies. We would not do injustice to the primitive ages of the Church; their persecutions and martyrdoms, so patiently and so nobly borne, are deeply engraven on our memory; the roll of impartial history unfolds, also, the imperishable record of their wild phantasies, their bitter intestine divisions, their frequent shipwrecks of the faith -the legitimate offspring of their reckless constructions of the Oracles of Truth.
Athanasius says that the Bible is to be construed with special reference to what human reason deems Afitting to God.@ We hence. conclude that the supposed unfitness of suffering to the dignity of the Godhead is the prime element of the Athanasian hypothesis. The syllogism of Athanasius, then, stands thus: It is not Afitting to God@ to suffer. The God incarnate did suffer: therefore the incarnate God suffered not in his divine nature. The correctness of the syllogism turns on the truth of its major proposition, viz., the supposed unfitness of the divine nature for suffering. But that was a point for the decision of the conclave of the Trinity. In that august tribunal it must have been decided before the holy incarnation. We purpose to show, by scriptural proofs, that it was there decided adversely to the decision of the author of the prevalent hypothesis. From his philosophical syllogism to the Inspired Volume we bring our writ of review. We appeal from Athanasius to God.
In the course of our future argument, we shall accumulate scriptural passages denoting that, besides the privations incident to his incarnation, the second person of the Trinity did, in very truth, suffer in his ethereal essence infinitely, or, at least, unimaginably, for the salvation of the world. To insert those passages here would be reversing the order of our argument. When they come to be introduced, if understood by others as we understand them, we must beg the kind reader to transplant them, in thought, to this identical place. When they shall have been thus transplanted, they will carry home to that time-consecrated, yet fallacious hypothesis, AGod is impassible,@ the work of demolition more surely and demonstratively than could volumes of argument drawn from the storehouse of reason. Will not plenary proof from Scripture, that the divine nature of Christ actually participated in his mediatorial sufferings, convince even reasoning skepticism that his divinity had physical and moral capacity to suffer?
The dogma of divine impassibility precludes the supposition that the redeeming God suffered even by sympathy. Impassibility excludes suffering in all its forms, whether caused by sympathy or direct personal infliction. Sympathy may induce pangs intense as any corporeal agonies. The anguish of the suffering child is often surpassed by that of the sympathizing mother. The redeeming God was united to the redeeming man by ties closer than ever bound a mother to the child of her affections. But if the prevalent hypothesis be true, how could the throes and spasms of the suffering man have moved any emotion of sympathy in the heart of the impassive God? How could he have pitied the sufferer Alike as a father pitieth his children?@CPsalms 103. 13. Impassibility would be just as inaccessible to the pangs of sympathy as to any other modification of pain.
HAVING, in the preceding chapters, considered the preliminary objection arising from the alleged impassibility of the divine nature, we may now, it is hoped, pursue our inquiry, whether Christ suffered in his united natures, or in his manhood alone, without danger of impugning any of attributes the Godhead. The capacity of his divinity to suffer is not, of itself, proof that it actually suffered; nor can the question of its actual sufferance be decided by any mere reasoning process; it lies beyond the ken of our mental vision; the decision of the question rests on scriptural proofs.
The prevalent theory of Christ=s@s sufferings limits them to his human nature. This theory was the sure result of the prevalent hypothesis, that God is impassible. If the divine nature was held incapable of suffering, then the conclusion must have been inevitable that his sufferings were confined to his manhood. The prevalent theory, like its parent was born in early antiquity. It has followed the footsteps of its progenitor, as the shadow pursues its substance, along the track of near fifteen hundred years. Like its parent, it has stretched its shade over continents and pervaded Christendom.
Since the maturity of the prevalent hypothesis, and its kindred theory, in the fourth century, their adherents have generally aspired to sustain them by naked opinions alone, multiplied, indeed, to an almost incalculable extent. With the single exception of Bishop Pearson, we have met with no modern author who has attempted to support them by anything that could claim the name of an argument. His brief remarks have already been partially considered. They will come again under review in, the course of these pages. Whether the argument of Athanasius has self-supporting, competency to uphold a spiritual world, as the Oriental tortoise was supposed to sustain the material, our readers, by turning to the Appendix, may judge for themselves.
Whether the redeeming God, as well as the redeeming man, suffered for the salvation of the world, is a question which the adherents of the prevalent hypothesis and theory have never, to our knowledge, examined and fairly discussed on its scriptural merits, as a distinct point of theological inquiry. Holding the hypothesis of the divine impassibility as a self-evident truism, they have subfected to its control all scriptural passages bearing on the passion of our Lord. Such inspired passages as come into seeming collision with the hy-pothesis they regard as Eastern imagery. They understand them as mere metaphors and figures of speech. They deem the discussion of them superfluous, if not profane. They hold that, as the divine impassibility has become an elemental doctrine of the Christian Church, all debate upon the weight of scriptural proofs that the divinity of Christ bore its share in his expiatory agonies is forever precluded. They debar debate by a deep and mandatory call for the previous question. They will probably consider the invocation of scriptural authorities at this late day as a too bold impeachment of the irreversible decree of hoary haired Time.
That Christ suffered in both his natures we believe to be a revealed truth of our holy religion. Nor is it the least interesting department of inspired lore. It opens a celestial paradise, rich in more choice and lasting fruits than bloomed in the terrestrial Eden. A"Search the Scriptures@" is the passport of God to its tree of knowledge. Yet has an earth-formed apparition, clothed in the as-sumed vesture of an angel of truth, seemed to stand for centuries at its entrance, and, with its phantom sword, to interdict all ingress.
We design, by the blessing of God, to present the question relative to the nature and divinity of the mediatorial sufferings as a solemn issue to be tried, on scriptural evidence, before the inquisition of the Christian world. We assume the affirmative; we take upon ourselves the burden of showing that the divinity of Christ participated in his sufferings. Among the witnesses to be examined will be Isaiah, and Zechariah, and Matthew, and Mark, and Luke, and the disciple who leaned on the bosom of Jesus, and Stephen, and Paul, and Peter. The awful proclamations of the Holy Ghost will be invoked. An appeal will be made to the affecting declarations of the incarnate, suffering, dying, risen God. We demand an impartial trial.
We shall address ourselves especially to plain enlightened common sense, well read in Holy Writ, unbiassed by deep-rooted theories, unfettered by the overbearing predominance of human dogmas, content to sit as a little child, and learn the attributes and demonstrations of the Godhead from the Oracles of revealed wisdom. The question to be tried is less one of doctrine than of fact. The evidence will be simple and practical, little needing the aid of learned exposition. It will be brought fresh from the gospel mint; it will carry the stamp of no human hypothesis; it will not bear the im-age and superscription of an earth-born Caesar; its pure gold will need no purification in the crucible of science. For the result of the verdict we feel no anxiety peculiar to ourselves. We seek truth rather than polemic victory.
If the question between our opponents and ourselves was to be tested by the mere reasonableness of our respective positions, we should confidently expect a decision adverse to the prevalent theory. Divine justice could not pardon mortal sin without aqequate satisfaction. Nor could it receive satisfaction in any coin save that of suffering. Without adequate suffering not a soul could be saved. The second person of the Trinity voluntarily became the vicarious Sufferer for the redeemed. The substitution was not to depress the awful standard of retributive justice. The Glory of the Godhead was to be maintained; heaven must be satisfied, hell silenced. The substituted coin was to bear the scrutiny of eternity. The redeeming God lacked not capacity to suffer. Did he in Godlike grandeur, most condescendingly and graciously suffer in his own ethereal essence? or did he, himself untouched by pain, form a redeeming man, destined from his birth to bear, in his frail human nature, the expiatory anguish required at the exchequer of heaven as the price of a world=s@s salvation? To borrow the terms wrought into the major proposition of the Athanasian syllogism, was it most A"fitting to God@" that the redeeming Son should save our fallen race by suffering in his own divine essence, or that he should devolve the whole burden of the vicarious suffering on his created proxy? Was the coin formed of divine, or that composed of human suffering, most acceptable at the celestial treasury, in satisfaction of the lofty requisitions of outraged and inflexible justice?
But we will not farther pursue this train of thought. It might conduct to irreverent speculation. It would seem that even human reason, unless blinded by the hypothesis of divine impassibility, must herself conclude, from, her own unbiassed reflections, that, in urging the prevalent theory, she is in danger of advocating a dogma derogatory to the disinterestedness and dignity of the Godhead. The question at issue is not however, to be decided by the mere umpirage of reason. It depends upon scriptural testimony. Reason can do nothing more than collect, and arrange, and present, and weigh the inspired proofs to be found in the Word of God.
We have expressed our belief that our opponents have left the questions of divine impassibility and the exclusive humanity of the mediatorial sufferings substantially where the Athanasian argument left them. We may have been mistaken. Chapters, and even volumes on the subject may possibly have appeared in some of the languages of earth, dead or living, and yet escaped our circumscribed knowledge. But if we are mistaken, the error, though it must doubtless impeach our theological scholarship, will derogate nothing from the strength of our scriptural argument. The increase of books is almost infinite, multiplying libraries to an extent which casts into the shade the Saracen devastation at Alexandria. With all the A"multitudinous@" volumes of theological lore, the countless progeny of the unceasing travail of eighteen centuries, there is but one created being that can claim universal familiarity. That being is the worm. It alone, of finite things, has bibliothecal ubiquity. The hugest tomes appal it not. To fastidiousness of taste it is a stranger. It feeds not on the ambrosia of genius alone. Its never -satiated appetite loathes not even the offals of polemical dulness. To rivalship with the worm, in compass of research, we dare not aspire.
Our argument seeks not shelter under the wing of human authority; yet it is satisfactory to find that some few of the best and the wisest have thought as we think. It will readily be perceived that the remarks we are about to quote, and which first reached our knowledge after these sheets were prepared for the press, stand seemingly opposed to the hypothesis of God=s@s impassibility, and to the theory that Christ=s@s sufferings were confined to his manhood.
The first quotation is from the illustrious Chalmers. He says:
A"It is with great satisfaction that I now clear my way to a topic the most salutary, and, I will add, the most sacramental within the whole compass of revealed faith; even to the love wherewith God so loved the world as to send his Son into it to be the propitiation for our sins. I fear, my brethren, that there is a certain metaphysical notion of the Godheand which blunts our feelings of obligation for all the kindness of his good-will for all the tenderness of his mercies. There is an academic theology, which would divest him of all sensibility; which would make of him a Being devoid of all emotion and all tenderness; which concedes to him power, and wisdom, and a sort of cold and clear, and faultless morality, but which would denude him of all those fond and fatherly regards that so endear an earthly parent to the children who have sprung from him. It is thus that God hath been presented to the eye of our imagination as a sort of cheerless and abstract Divinity, who has no sympathy with his creatures, and who, therefore, can have no responding sympathy to him back again. I fear that such representations as these have done mischief in Christianity; that they have had a congealing property in them towards that affection which is represented the most important, and, indeed, the chief attribute of a religious character, even love to God; and that just because of the unloveliness which they throw over the aspect of our Father who is in heaven, whereby men are led to conceive of him as they would of some physical yet tremendous energy, that sitteth aloft in a kind of ungainly and unsocial remoteness from all the felt and familiar humanities of our species. And so it is, we apprehend, that the theism of nature and of science has taken unwarrantable freedoms with the theism of the Bible; attaching a mere figurative sense to all that is spoken there of the various affections of the Deity, and thus despoiling all the exhibitions which it makes of him to our world of the warmth and power to move and to engage, that properly belong to them. It represents God as altogether impassive; as made up of little more than of understanding and of power; as having no part in that system of emotions which occupies so wide a space in the constitution of man, made after his own image and according to his own likeness.@"
A"The Father sent his Son, for our sake, to the humiliation and the agony of a painful sacrifice, There is evident stress laid in the Bible on Jesus Christ being his only Son, and his only beloved Son. This is conceived to enhance the surrender; to aggravate, as it were, the cost of having given up unto the death so near and so dear a relative. In that memorable verse where it is represented that God so loved the world as to send his only begotten Son into it, I bid you mark well the emphasis that lies in the so. There was a difference, in respect of painful surrender, between his giving up another, more distantly, as it were, connected with him, and his giving up one who stood to him in such close and affecting relationship. The kin that he hath to Christ is the measure of the love that he manifested to the world, in giving up Christ as the propitiation for the world=s@s sins. What is this to say but that, in this great and solemn mystery, the Parent was put to the trial of his firmness? that, in the act of doing so, there was a soreness, and a suffering, and a struggle in the bosom of the Divinity? that a something was felt like that which an earthly father feels when he devotes the best and the dearest of his family to some high object of patriotism? God, in sparing him not, but in giving him up unto the death for us all, sustained a conflict between pity for his child and love for that world for whom he bowed down his head unto the sacrifice. In pouring out the vials of his wrath on the head of his only beloved Son, in awaking the sword of offended justice against his fellow; in laying upon him the whole burden of that propitiation, by which the law could be magnified and its transgressors could be saved; in holding forth on the cross of Christ this blended demonstration of his love and his holiness, and thus enduring the spectacle of his tears and of his agonies and cries till the full atonement was rendered; and not till it was finished did the meek and gentle sufferer give up the ghost. At that time, when angels, looking down from the high battlements of heaven, would have flown to rescue the Son of God from the hands of persecutors, think you that God himself was the only unconcerned and unfeeling spectator? or that, in consenting to these cruel sufferings of his Son for the world, he did not make his love to that world its strongest and most substantial testimony.@"*
The next quotation is from the pen of the distinguished Harris, now a living personification of talent, learning, eloquence, and piety in the independent Church of England. He says:
A"The love of God, then, invites our adoration not only as it at first sent his only begotten Son; during every moment of the Saviour=s@s sojourn on earth that love was repeating its gift, was making an infinite sacrifice for sinners; while every pang he endured in the prosecution of his work was the infliction of a wound in the very heart of paternal love. Who, then, shall venture to speak of the appeal which was made to that love, of the trial to which that love was put when the blessed Jesus took into his hand the cup of suffering, when his capacity for suffering was the only limitation his sufferings knew? If it be true that God is always in vital sympathetic communication with every part of the suffering creation; that as the sensorium of the universe, he apprehends every emotion, and commiserates every thrill of anguish, how exquisitely must he have felt the filial appeal, when in the extremity of pain; in the very crisis of his agonizing task, the Saviour cried, A"My God! my God! why hast thou forsaken me?@"
A"What a new and amazing insight, then, does it give us into his love for sinners, that it was able to bear the stress of that crisis, that it did not yield and give way to the incalculable power of that appeal! This is a circumstance which, if I may say so, puts into our hands a line, enabling us to fathom his love to an infinite depth; but we find it immeasurably deeper still. It invests the attractions of the cross with augmented power; for in the sufferingssuffeiings of that scene we behold moreC-if more we are capable of seeingC-more even than the love of Christ. In every pang which is there endured we behold the throes of paternal love, the pulsations and tears of infinite compassion; more than the creation in travail, the divine Creator himself travailing in the greatness of infinite love.:@"*
The last quotation is from the celebrated Professor Vinet, justly styled A"the Chalmers of Switzerland.@" He says:
A"Either the human heart is incapable, from its nature, of feeling love, or that man will feel it, who, enveloped in ignorance as a garment, has seen the God of glory descending even to him, to seek him in the depths of his disgrace; who, from the gloom and sorrow in which his conscience kept him plunged, has seen himself transported into a region of light and happiness; who, in respect to himself, has seen verified that amazing language of the prophet, AIn all their afflictions he was afflicted;@C-who has seen, C-0 mystery, 0 miracle!C-his God travelling by his side, in the rugged path of life; nay, voluntarily assuming the burden which was crushing him; a God humbled, a God weeping, a God anguished, a God dying! That long contest, if I may dare to say it, that agony of God for generations, that painful birth by which humanity was brought forth to the life of heaven, has been re-vealed to him in the ancient dispensation; he has been shown the very steps of God impressed upon the dust of ages, and mingled with the foot-prints of the human race; but at the trace which that God has left on the rock of Calvary, the rock of his heart is broken, the veil of his understanding torn away.@"*
The Christ of the Bible was that A"Holy. Thing,@" born of the virgin, and conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost. He who begat him imparted to the infant Saviour the distinctive appellation of the Christ. The elements composing this unique and august Being were the human nature of his virgin mother, corporeal and intellectual, and the ethereal essence of the second person of the Trinity. His divine and human natures remained distinct, notwithstanding their union. They were united, not commingled. The name, the Christ, was not an unmeaning appellative; it was at once comprehensive and descriptive; pointing significantly to its absorbing centre, the mysterious and awful union of his manhood and his Godhead. To this illustrious personage other names are given in
(THIS NEEDS TO BE PUT BELOW THIS PARAGRAPH)
* Vinet@s Vital Christianity, by Turnbull, p. 293.
Note.-In referring to the translation of this distinguished author by the Rev. Robert Turnbull, of the American Baptist Church, we cannot but express our admiration, not only of the original work, but also of the fidelity and elegance of the translation. We know of the few foreign productions, ancient or modern, that have been rendered into our language with more faithfulness, spirit, and eloquence.
the New Testament. He is there called not only Christ, but also Jesus, Christ Jesus, Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, the Son of God, the Word, and the Lamb of God. All these appellatives are identical in their meaning with the name, the Christ, when applied to Him whose birth invoked the song of the descending angels.
* Vinet=s Vital Christianity, by Turnbull, p. 293.
Note.CIn referring to the translation of this distinguished author by the Rev. Robert Turnbull, of the American Baptist Church, we cannot but express our admiration, not only of the original work, but also of the fidelity and elegance of the translation. We know of the few foreign productions, ancient or modern, that have been rendered into our language with more faithfulness, spirit, and eloquence.
Our translators should always. have prefixed to the name of Christ the definite article. It belonged there. He was not only Messiah, but the Messiah; not only anointed, but the Anointed; not merely Christ, but the Christ. To the name of the Voice that cried in the wilderness they have almost invariably prefixed the article. In nearly every instance they have rendered the name, not John Baptist, but John the Baptist. This is as it should have been. The article gives to the name its proper significance and force. The prefixion of the definite article should no more have been omitted in the case of Christ than in that of his precursor. The translators have saved a short word. It was not true economy. They lost in meaning more than they gained in brevity.
From the numerous scriptural passages declarative of the sufferings of Christ, we have selected the following: A"Before I@" (Christ) A"suffer.@"C-Luke, 22. 15. A"Ought not Christ to have suffered?@" Luke, 24. 26. A"Thus it behooved Christ to suffer.@" C-Luke, 24. 46. God before showed , A"that Christ should suffer.@" C-Acts, 3. 18. A"Opening and alleging that Christ must needs have suffered.@" C-Acts, 17. 3. A"That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead.@"C-Acts, 26. 23. A"If so be that we suffer with him@" (Christ).C-Romans, 8. 17. A"For even Christ our passover is Asacrificed for us.@"C-l Corinthians, 5. 7. A"For as the sufferings of Christ
abound in us.@"C-2 Corinthians, 1i. 5. A For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin.@"C-2 Corinthians, 5. 21. A"And the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.@"C-Galatians, 2. 20. A"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.@"C-Galatians, 3. 13. A"As Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God.@"C-Ephesians, 5. 2. A"Even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave himself for it.@"C-Ephesians, 5. 25. A"That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings.C-Philippians, 3. 10. A"To make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.@"C-Hebrews, 2. 10. A"For in that he himself@" (Christ) A"hath suffered, being tempted.@"C-Hebrews, 2. 18. A"Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.@"C-Hebrews, 5. 8. A"For then must he@" (Christ) A"often have suffered since the foundation of the world.@"C-Hebrews, 9. 26. A"Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.@"C-Hebrews, 13. 12. A"When it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ.@"C-l Peter, 1. 11II. AChrist also suffered for us, leaving us an example.@"C-1l Peter, 2. 21. A"When he@" (Christ) A"suffered, he threatened not.@"C-1l Peter, 2. 23. A"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree.@"C-1l Peter, 2. 24. A"For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust.@"C-1l Peter,. 3. 18. A"For-asmuch, then, as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh.@"C1- Peter, 4. 1. A"As ye are partakers of Christ=s@s sufferings.@"C-1l Peter, 4. 13. A"Who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ.@"C-1l Peter, 5. 1.
THE, abounding scriptural declarations of the sufferings of Christ, just presented to the reader, are general and unqualified, without limit or exception. They cover all the consecrated ground covered by the name of the Christ. The reader has already learned that the name, the Christ, was imparted by the Holy Ghost to the infant Jesus, to designate his mysterious union of humanity with the Godhead. The name was commensurate with the infinitude of his united being. The limits and power of that redeeming, yet awful name, will be the theme of the present chapter. We shall attempt to show that, when applied by Scripture to the mediatorial sacrifice, the name itself, in its distinctive and wideC-reaching signification, necessarily imports, ex vi ter--mini, or from its own intrinsic compass and potency, the participation of both Christ=s@s natures in his expiatory sufferings.
It must constantly be borne in mind, that what distinguished Christ from all other beings in the universe, was his union of the divine and human natures. Earth teems with men, and the celestial throne sustains two other persons of the Godhead; but the unique phenomenon of a being, at once God and man, was first exhibited in the manger of Bethlehem, where it received, from the, Holy Ghost, its distinctive appellation. It cannot be denied that the name, the Christ, and each of its equivalents, ordinarily includes both his natures. It must be admitted that, as a general rule, the term can only be satisfied by its application to his two natures unitedly; that the two natures are its natural aliment; that the name is crippled by confining it to his humanity alone; that his two natures are the divine and human pedestals on which this glorious name reposes in all the infinitude of its meaning.
The science of construing words, written and spoken, has been matured by the united wisdom of centuries. It is the use of words which elevates man above the brute, and on their just and uniform construction depend the stability and safety of all the transactions of social life. Of this useful science, the most simple, universal, and controlling axiom is its elemental rule, that words are to be construed according to their plain, obvious, and ordinary import. No meta-physical subtilties are to make fluctuating the standard of speech. On this rule depends the security of deeds, the most important documents known in the private intercourse of living men; on this rule rests the sanctity of those hallowed bequests which come to us as voices from the dead; even legislative enactments lose all their value, and become dangerous snares when the inviolability of this cardinal rule is wanonly invaded.
This elemental axiom is, as it were, the human palladium of the Oracles of Revealed Truth. That document, written by the hand of God to enlighten the common mind, should be ever meekly received by the children of men, according to the plain, obvious, and ordinary meaning of its sacred words. Its language is brief, simple, clear; well suited, if left unobscured by construction, to the level of ordinary understandings. Its phraseology was selected by the Holy Ghost, as best calculated to bring home even to the closets of uneducated piety the precepts and consolations of inspired wisdom in all their purity and force. It is the call of their heavenly Father to the lost and wandering sons and daughters of humanity. It has all the tenderness, and simplicity, and plainness of the parental voice. Unless clouded by human interpretation, it well knows how to wind its way into the inmost recesses of the filial heart.
The words of Scripture should be understood by us in the same manner as they were calculated to be understood by those to whom they were originally addressed. We are to receive them according to their apparent signification, not to hunt after some occult meaning. If they startle us by their loftiness of import, we must remember that they are the words of the unsearchable God. If they are A"as high as heaven,@" we have no right to drag them rudely down to earth. To pursue the imagined spirit of a passage, in opposition to its plain letter, is an experiment that man should make with fear and trembling. He may, unwittingly, A"add unto,@" or A"take away from@" that holy book which came down from above. Let him beware of the penalties denounced at the close of the last chapter of the New Testament -Revelation, 22. 18, 19.
If the scriptural passages declarative of the sufferings of Christ are taken in their plain, obvious, and ordinary sense, they include, beyond peradventure, his divine nature as well as his humanity. The name of Christ is used by the inspired writers to indicate the recipient of the mediatorial sufferings; and that name, in its ordinary import, has no limits narrower than the whole compass of his united natures. Let a man of ordinary understanding, candid and intelligent, untinged by the unfounded hypothesis of God=s@s impassibility, open his Bible; let him read there the oft-repeated, general, and unqualified declarations that Christ suffered; let him call to mind the peculiarity of Christ=s@s being, uniting in himself the God and the man, and that this union, in all the elements of both its natures, is pervaded and represented by his distinctive appellation, and the inference seems to be inevitable, that he would come to the conclusion that the sufferings of Christ were as extensive as the import of his holy name. It doubtless would not occur to this plain and unbiassed reader of the Bible that he was at liberty to narrow down, by his own fiat, to a particular and contracted meaning, declarations and words which the Holy Ghost left general and unlimited.
It is true that a few insulated cases are to be found in Scripture, where words expressive of Christ are applied peculiarly to his human nature. It is on this ground, as it would seem, that the advocates of the prevalent theory, seek to bring under the same category the general and, abounding scriptural declarations of his sufferings. We might reply that, in these few insulated cases, the distinctive name of Christ is almost never used; but we prefer to place our reply on more general grounds. We have, at some pains, ascertained the number of times that the name of Christ, in some of its forms, appears in the New Testament, and find it to be sixteen hundred and twenty-five. The insulated cases in which either of his names, or its equivalent, is used to designate his human nature exclusively, cannot exceed one or two in a hundred of this number.
These insulated cases are so rare in their occurrence, and so uncertain in their import, as scarcely to amount to an exception to the general scriptural rule, that the name of Christ denotes both of his united natures. And in all these insulated cases the limitation of his name to his human nature is rendered inevitable by intrinsic marks on the passages themselves, or by contiguous portions of Holy Writ. Take, as a sample, the following passage: A"Jesus increased in wisdom and stature,@" Luke 2. 52. Inspiration limits this passage to his humanity, by assuring us that as God he was perfect in wisdom ere the worlds were formed, and, that as an infinite Spirit he was without corporeal stature. Take, as another sample, the declaration of Christ, A"My Father is greater than I.,@"C-John 14. 28. The declaration was restricted to his manhood by our Lord himself, when he said, a few chapters before, A"I and my Father are one.@" Take yet another sample, A"But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.@"C-Mark 12. 32. This lack of prescience is necessarily confined to the human nature of the Son by numerous other passages of the New Testament, which imply that, as the second person of the Trinity, his omniscient eye scans at a glance the illimitable expanse of the future. So, that in
these insulated cases, it is God, and not man, who limits to the humanity of Christ a name including both his natures within its expressive import. The Bible itself explains the excepted passages; the Bible still stands its own expositor; it is not, human reason that engrafts the particular limitation on the general language of Holy Writ.
So, in a very few cases, scriptural terms expressive of Christ have exclusive reference to his Godhead. Take the following as an example, A"Before Abraham was I am.@"C-John 8. 58. Sacred history states that the man Christ Jesus was then only about thirty years old. The Bible itself, therefore, necessarily limits the declaration of ex-istence before the birth of Abraham to the in-dwelling God. But where the Bible interposes no restrictive qualification, the name, the Christ, and its equivalents, whenever occurring in Sacred Writ, stand forth in all the amplitude of meaning originally imparted to them by the Holy Ghost. They are never to be restricted within narrower limits merely because reason deems such restriction most Afitting to God.@"
The name, the Christ, when mingled in the ever-recurring declarations of his sufferings, is not limited. to his humanity, directly or by implication, anywhere in the Word of God. The limitation sought to be engrafted on the declarations of his sufferings rests on human, not on divine authority. It is the begotten of the unfounded hypothesis, A"God is impassible.@" Had that hypothesis never been adopted, it is not likely that the prevalent theory, confining the sufferings of Christ to his human nature, would have found a place in Christian theology.
It is the radical error of the prevalent theory, that it seeks to contract, without scriptural authority, to the manhood of Mary=s@s son the declarations of the Holy Ghost applicable, in their terms, to the whole incarnate God, and crippled by a more limited application. Human reason has no authority delegated from above to restrict, by its own volition, what the Bible has left general. The Word of God must not be bent to what human reason somewhat arrogantly terms, when applied to divine things, its own sound discretion. The sound discretion of one theorist differs from the sound discretion of another theorist. If the Bible is to shape itself to the ever-varying phases of what claims to be the sound discretion of reason, it must assume more forms than the fabled Proteus of heathen mythology ever assumed. The self styled sound discretion of human reason has done the Bible more harm than it ever suffered from the prince of darkness. It has brought Christians into collision with Christians; it has broken into fragments what should have been the one and indivisible Church of the Son of God; it has rent asunder what the Roman soldiery spared, even the seamless vestment of Christ.
The impropriety of limiting to his mere humanity the unlimited declarations of Scripture indicattive of Christ=s@s sufferings will be more obvious if we consider the relative proportions which his two natures bore to each other. The one was finite, the other was infinite; the one akin to the dust of the earth, the other thinking it A"not robbery to be equal with God.@" Would the inspired writers, would our Lord himself, then, if intending to have it believed that the divinity of Christ had not suffered, have used, to express the sufferings of his mere terrestrial adjunct, terms applicable to the whole infinitude of his united natures; and terms, too, which are crippled and distorted by a more limited application? They best knew the natures and agonies of the Mediator: and when they used the significant term, the Christ, to designate the recipient of the expiatory sufferings, they must have meant that the Christ, the whole Christ of the Bible had suffered.
When you speak of the visible heavens, in terms broad and unlimited, you cannot be supposed to have lost sight of the blue expanse and the glorious sun above you; and your words, appropriate and suited to the whole majestic scene, and to that only, should not be narrowed, by mere construction, to the frail cloud that specks the skirt of the horizon. If these inspired writers, if our Saviour himself had intended to declare that the atoning sufferings of Christ were confined to his mere earthly appendage; if they had designed to limit the generality of their words to so restricted and confined a meaning, they would have said so in terms, or, at least, by necessary implication. There is no self-contracting power in the words indicative of suffering to draw within creature dimensions a name framed by the, Holy Ghost to include within its vast compass not only the finite man, but the infinite God.
When our Lord, after his resurrection, asserted his sufferings interrogatively, A"Ought not Christ to have suffered?@" when, in a subsequent verse of the same chapter, he repeated the assertion positively, A"Thus it behooved Christ to suffer;@" when he thus, without restriction, used the very name which he had himself adopted to designate his, united natures, can erring man venture to say that by that name he intended to designate one of his natures only as the recipient of his suffering, and that, too, the inferior one?C-Luke, 24. 26, 46. The Son of God did not say, interrogatively or positively, that Christ ought to have suffered, or that it behooved him to suffer in his human nature only. It is reasoning pride which seeks virtually to interpolate into the sacred texts the omitted words, Ai"in his human nature only,@" by its own uninspired interpretation.
How can worms of the dust presume to limit, by such words off addition and restriction, the unlimited and unrestricted declarations of the infinite Son; lowering, too, the majesty of the declarations, as it were, from heaven down to earth? We are bound to give unqualified credence to what Christ unqualifiedly uttered. It would ill become us to suppose that he spoke unadvisedly. He best knew that while in a subordinate sense he was man, he was God in the primary and, principalprin-
cipal elements of his being. He perfectly understood that the name of that God-man, of his own glorious self, was Christ. When he used his own distinctive name, without restriction or limitation, his meaning must have had all the compass which that name imports. When he twice declared in the same chapter that Christ had suffered, without restriction or limitation, he must be understood to have included both the natures indicated by the name of Christ, and to have affirmed that the whole Christ had suffered.
The distinctive name, the Christ, was the name of the totality of his, person. It was not given to either of his two natures, but to their union; it was the name of the whole, not of its parts. It is ordinarily no more used in Scripture to signify one of his united natures than the name circle is used in mathematics to signify one of the segments of which it is composed. Whenever the term Christ is used in Scripture, save in a very few insulated cases, scarcely amounting to an exception, it was intended to be applied to both his natures unitedly. When, therefore, the Bible so often declared that Christ suffered, it meant to declare that he suffered in his united natures. Suffering in his human nature would have been the suffering of the human son of the Virgin; suffering in the divine nature would have been the suffering of the second person of the Trinity; but in neither case would the suffering have been the suffering of Christ.
God formed the first Adam A"of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.@" The creature thus formed was compounded of body and soul. To this complex being, and to his posterity, the appellation of man was given by his almighty Creator. The name pertains not exclusively to his soul or to his body, but to their mysterious union. It would be an unintelligible abuse of the name to apply it separately either to his corporeal or to his spiritual nature. It belongs to the united totality of the man.
To the second Adam, combining in himself divinity and humanity, the distinctive appellation of Christ was imparted by the Holy Ghost, to designate, not one of his united natures singly, but their glorious union. The name of Christ was as exclusively appropriatedap-propriated to his united being. as the name of man was appropriated to the united body and soul of the first Adam. The name of Christ, when used without explanation, can no more be limited to his human nature than the name of man, when used without explanation, can be limited to the human body. The few insulated cases where the name of Christ is applied, in Scripture, to his manhood alone, have in or about them abundant scriptural explanations. Where the Bible has recorded no limiting explanation, we are bound to suppose that it intended to affix to the sacred name the same plenitude of meaning affixed to it by the Holy Ghost when it was originally imparted to the infant Saviour. The abounding scriptural declarations of the sufferings of Christ are limited to his manhood by no scriptural explanations. They stand, therefore clothed in the same amplitude of signification that was attached to the consecrated name by the Holy Ghost in the manger of Bethlehem.
The Bible is wont to express heavenly things by earthly similitudes. Sustained by this example, we would venture most reverentially, to suggest that, by the incarnation, the second person of the Trinity received into a holy partnership with himself the human son of Mary. The union had for its object the salvation of a world. To that sacred union a distinctive name was given. The name of the holy partnership was the Christ. It commenced in the womb of the Virgin; its duration was to be without end; its members were once wrapped together in the swaddling clothes of the manger; they now occupy the right hand throne of heaven. Both retained, in unmingled perfection, their own distinct natures; they differed infinitely in dignity; the one was a worm of the dust; the other was the Lord of Glory.
According to the prevalent theory the man, in his own distinct nature, suffered, while the God remained wholly free from suffering. Now we submit it as a clear proposition, that, under this theory, the individual and insulated sufferings of the terrestrial partner were not the sufferings of the holy union; that they were not distinguishable by its partnership appellation; and that they could not, without violating the elemental principles of speech, have been called the sufferings of Christ. Under the prevalent theory, the holy union suffered not. Its name, then, would not have been employed by Inspiration to designate the suffering. Its sacred name was con-secrated to the holy union. If the name has, in a very few insulated cases, been depressed to the man, it was the Bible that did it; and the Bible was not only the author, but the ample expositor of the depression. The Bible contains no intimation, direct or indirect, of any such depression of the name of Christ, when applied to his sufferings. There was none. His sufferings were the sufferings of the holy union in both its natures.
A partnership of earth, whether commercial, professional, agricultural, or literary, cannot be said to suffer from an injury to one of the individual partners, in his separate and distinct capacity, in no wise affecting the association. The partnership can only be said to suffer when the injury is felt by all its partners directly, and not merely by sympathy. To apply the partnership name to an injury borne by an individual partner exclusively would be a palpable misuse of the term. So, if in the holy union designated by the name of Christ, the man had been the sole sufferer, his individual suffering would not have been expressed by the name dedicated to the holy union. Such an appropriation would have been a misapplication of the sacred name of which the inspired writers were utterly incapable.
THE phrase, the person of Christ, holds a conspicuous place in Christian theology, and is intimately connected with our subject. The union of his two natures constitutes what is termed the person of Christ; and it is supposed by our opponents that, from the suffering of either of his united natures, his person would be said to suffer. Hence it is argued that the scriptural declarations affirming that Christ suffered, in general and unrestricted terms, had abundant aliment in the suffering of his manhood alone. This is a citadel, claiming impregnable strength, in which the advocates of the prevalent theory have entrenched themselves; it requires, therefore to be accurately examined.
It is believed that the phrase, the person of Christ, is found but once in the translation of the New Testament, 2 Corinthians, 2. 10. The verse in the translation reads thus: A"To whom ye forgive anything, I forgive also; for if I forgave anything, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ.@" The best commentators think that this passage is incorrectly translated, and that the original Greek words rendered A"in the person of Christ@" should have been rendered A"in the name and by the authority of Christ.@" So thought Macknight, and other commentators agree with him.
But it would be useless to pursue the inquiry whether the phrase, the person of Christ, is of divine or human origin. Whatever its origin may be, the phrase has no greater amplitude of meaning than the simple scriptural name, the Christ. The name expresses the union of the divine and human natures; the phrase expresses nothing more. Christ and the person of Christ are synonymous. Should theology seek to clothe the phrase with a wider meaning than belongs to the simple name, the extension must be wrought out by the artificial process of human reasoning. On such extension no true theory of Christian faith can repose. None can object to the use of the phrase as a convenient synonyme for the name of Christ; we may ourselves use it for that purpose in these sheets; beyond that its use is not sanctioned by scriptural authority. The name itself imports the union of the Godhead and the manhood; the phrase can legitimately import nothing more.
It has been urged, that as the union of his two natures forms the person of Christ in the same way as the union of the soul, and body of an ordinary man forms the person of that man, so the numerous passages of Scripture declarative of Christ=s@s sufferings are all satisfied by his having suffered in his humanity, in the same manner as an ordinary person is said to suffer, though his pains are corporeal. It is not within our province to complain of the comparison between the person of Christ, composed of his two natures, and the person of an ordinary man, composed of his body and soul, when used for purposes of general illustration; but when applied to Christ=s@s expiatory agonies, and urged to satisfy, by the suffering of his mere manhood, the oft-repeated declarations of Scripture, averring his sufferings in terms which, according to their natural and plain import, would make them pervade every recess of his united being, nothing can be more fallacious and misleading than this very comparison.
The person of an ordinary man is said to suffer from corporeal pains, because corporeal pains affect his whole united being. If any one doubts whether an ailment of the body communicates itself to the mind, let the skeptic attempt some intellectual effort with a raging toothache, or with a limb writhing under the agonies of the gout. So, mental suffering, when intense or protracted, affects the body. The disease of a broken heart, though it may find no place on the bills of mortality, has, nevertheless, many victims.
But if there was no sympathetic link between the human soul and her humble sister; if she stood impregnable in her impassibility; if she was cased in armour of proof less penetrable than the fabled armour of the Grecian hero; if she felt the ailments of her encircling flesh no more than the body feels the rents of the garments which it wears, then, indeed, the local pains of the outer man could not be ranked under the denomination of the suffering of his person. The chief element of his person is the immortal, priceless spirit within. Should that continue to bask in the sunshine of bliss, untouched by the local ailments of his mere body, those ailments would be classed under some more limited and humble appellation than that of the suffering of his person. A part of a person is not the person. This position is based on the elemental principle that a part is not the whole. The foot is not the person, though forming one of its integral parts. Any ailment of the foot, unless it generally affected the person, could not be denominated the suffering of the person.
If we are at liberty to suppose that, by the laws of his united being, the agonies of Christ=s@s human nature pervaded and affected his divine essence also, then, and then only, would any similitude exist between the person of Christ suffering from his human anguish, and the persona of an ordinary man suffering from corporeal pain. But the very corner-stone of the prevalent theory rests on the supposition that. the anguish of Christ=s@s human nature did not affect the divine; that while the man Christ Jesus was writhing under agonies unparalleled in the annals of profane or sacred story, the God Christ Jesus was untouched by pain; that his beatitude was as perfect at Gethsemane, and on the cross, as it had been when, in his presence, A"the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy,@" to celebrate the birth of the new world which he had just brought into being. Job, 38. 7.
If the divinity of Christ, cased in everlasting impassibility, participated not in the agonies of his manhood, then the supposed analogy between the person of an ordinary man suffering from his
corporeal pains, and the person of Christ suffering from the pains of his human nature, utterly fails. The manhood of Christ was but an insulated atom in the infinitude of his being. The local and incom-
municable pains of that insulated atom would have been termed the sufferings of the person of Christ, no more than the rippling of some small and sequestered bay would be denominated the commotion of the mighty ocean to which it is joined. The Godhead of Christ was the infinite constituent of his person. While his divinity retained in full perfection its primeval and ineffable beatitude, suffering would not have been predicated of the person of Christ. The insulated pangs of his manhood would rather have been denominated the sufferings of his terrestrial adjunct, than the sufferings of the august person of the incarnate Deity. Upon the prevalent theory, the little rivulet of human wo, bitter indeed, and dark, as it could not have ruffled or discoloured, so it would not have given its melancholy name to the peaceful, illimitable, and heavenly sea of divine felicity which formed the predominating, the almost absorbing element of the person of the God, A"manifest in the flesh.@"
The suffering of a person implies the suffering of the whole person, whatever may be the locality of the pain. Personality is indivisible; and every thing affirmed of it, unless there are very special words of limitation and restriction, is predicated of its entirety. The personality of Christ, compounded of the God and the man, would have been severed by the abstraction of either. The inspired and unqualified ascriptions of suffering to Christ, or, in the language of the prevalent theory, to the person of Christ, required for their aliment the totality of his person. If, from participation in the agonies of the suffering Christ of the Bible, either the man or the God had stood dissevered and aloof, the personality of the scriptural sufferer would have been gone; the real vicarious sufferer, and the vicarious sufferer named in the Gospel, would have ceased to be identical.
Many other corollaries have been drawn from the phrase, the person of Christ, by the advocates of the prevalent theory. A few of these corollaries will be noticed here, even at the hazard of a partial anticipation of some future branches of our argument. It will hereafter appear that the Bible, in addition to its application of the name of Christ. to the redeeming sufferer, virtually asserts, in va-
rious other forms, that the second person of the Trinity suffered for the salvation of the world. All these intimations of Scripture are sought to be neutralized by the mysterious potency of the phrase, the person of Christ.
Bishop Pearson and Bishop Beveridge, and other advocates of the prevalent theory, have ingeniously urged, that, from the intimate connexion of the divine and human natures in the person of Christ, the God became constructively man, and the man constructively God; and that, therefore, the Bible, in virtually declaring that the second person of the Trinity suffered and died, meant nothing more than to declare that the impassible God constructively suffered and died in the suffering and death of the passible man.
The words of Bishop Pearson are as follows:
*Pearson on the Creed, p.313, 314
The words of Bishop Beveridge are as follows:
I John, 3., 16. Strange expressions! Yet not so strange as true, as being uttered by truth itself. Neither will they seem strange unto us, if we truly believe, and consider that he who suffered all this was and is both God and man; not in two distinct persons, as if he was one person as God, and another person as man, according to the Nestorian heresy; for if so, then his sufferings as man would have been of no value for us, nor have stood us in any stead, as being the sufferings only of a finite person; but he is both God and man in one and the same person, as the third general council declared out of the Holy Scriptures, and the Catholic Church always believed. From whence it comes to pass, that, although his sufferings affected only the manhood, yet that, being at the same time united to the Godhead in one and the same person, they therefore were, and may be properly called the sufferings of God himself; the person that suffered them being really and truly God.@"*
*Beveridge=s@s Sermons, vol. 1i. p. 128
With profound respect for these learned and pious prelates, we cannot but regard their distinctions as too subtile, too involved, too metaphysical for gospel simplicity. We must humbly protest against the startling dogmas, that, by virtue of the union of the two natures in the person of Christ, A"those attributes which properly belong to the one are given to the oother,@" and A"that it is true to say, AGod is man, and as true, a man is God.@" Where are the attributes of almightiness, and omniscience, and eternal pre-existence, and creative potency A"given@" to his human nature? Or, where is it affirmed of his divine nature that it lacked infinite goodness, or prescience, or power, or that it was formed out of nothing in the days of Herod? The Bible=s@s great Mediator himself taught the infinite distinction between his manhood and his Godhead, notwithstanding their union. A"My Father is greater than I.@"C-John, 14. 28. A"Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one; that is God.@"C-Matthew, 19. 17. A"But to sit on my right hand and on my left is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.@"C-Matthew, 20. 23. A"But of that day and that hour knoweth no man; no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.@"C-Mark, 13. 32. Thus it appears, from the highest authority in the universe, that, notwithstanding the union of the two natures in the person of Christ, the man did not become God, or assume the divine attributes. Nor did the God sink into the man. Christ recognised, in his divine capacity, no inferiority to the Father, either in power, or goodness, or prescience.
The manhood of Christ, then, was not God. The sufferings of his manhood were not the sufferings of the Deity. The man did not become constructively God; nor were the sufferings of his manhood constructively the sufferings of the Diety. If the God was impassive,
and the man only suffered, his human sufferings touched not his divine nature. The Bible would not have styled them the sufferings of the God. God the Son suffered not by proxy. He could no more have suffered by proxy than he could have become incarnate by proxy. If the God suffered not in his ethereal essence, the scriptural declarations of his sufferings are not true, in the amplitude of scriptural verity. The Bible says nothing of suffering by construction. The thought is not to be found in Holy Writ. If is the imagination of the prevalent theory. The Son of God suffered not constructively, any more than he formed the world constructively. There is nothing constructive, or merely seeming, in the actions of the Holy Trinity.
If, according to the prevalent hypothesis and theory, the divine nature is, by its own inherent laws, necessarily wrapped in ever-lasting impassibility; if eternal and infinite beatitude belongs to it as an inseparable incident, whether it so wills or not, then the term suffering could, under no possible circumstances, have been applied by Scripture to a person of the Godhead, whether standing by himself in unapproached glory, or united to an inferior nature. Impassibility and suffering are opposites, as much as light and darkness. They are, in respect to each other, foreign and incommunicable properties. Suffering cannot be infused into impassibility by the closest proximity or the most intimate union. If the God had been really impassive, the suffering of the man could no more have been infused into the impassible God by construction than the salt of the ocean could be constructively infused into the diamond which its waves have ingulfed. Suffering could no more be predicated of an infinitely impassible God, than sin could be predicated of an infinitely holy God. Suffering is as much opposed to the inherent laws of impassibility as sin is opposed to the inherent laws of holiness.
Upon the prevalent theory and its parent hypothesis, the beloved disciple could no more have been taught by Inspiration to say as he did in truth say in the passage quoted from one of his epistles by Bishop Beveridge himself, A"Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us,@" than he would have been taught by Inspiration to say, that the infinitely holy God committed some flagrant sin for the redemptions of the world. He might have declared that the man united to the God, or the man whose body was the shrine of the God, had A"laid down his life for us.@" But the inspired writer could not, if the prevalent theory and its parent hypothesis are true, have declared that the eternally impassible God had A"laid down his life for us;@" for that would have been declaring that the eternally impassible God had violated the immutable laws of his own infinite being. It would have been the assertion of a moral, perhaps physical impossibility, and the presumptuous application of such assertion to the awful majesty of the Godhead.
The supposition that St. John, and his inspired brethren of the New Testament, when they so often declared that God the Son suffered to save our sinking race, meant only to indicate the sufferings of the man, and to affirm that the human suffering became the suffering of the God by construction, is a gratuitous assumption of the advocates of the prevalent theory. The inspired declarations are numerous and unequivocal. They are couched in simple and plain terms. They include, AWithin their fair purport and compass, the divine as well as the human nature of the person of Christ. There is not the slightest reason for supposing that the Holy Ghost meant differently from what he has graciously said. It is the prevalent theory, and not the Bible, which affirms that the man suffered actually, and the God only constructively.
We have thus followed, through several of its varying aspects, the argument of our learned and pious opponents, derived from the phrase, the person of Christ; a phrase deemed by them competent to satisfy not only the abounding averments of the Bible that Christ suffered, but also the affirmation that God : A"laid down his life for us,@" and various other like scriptural declarations, indicating that the second person of the Trinity actually suffered for the redemption of the world. We now propose to bring this far-reaching and high soaring argument of the prevalent theory to another test.
Christ combined in holy union the human son of the Virgin, and he who, from everlasting, had filled the right-hand seat of the omnipotent throne. This holy union our opponents love to designate by the phrase, the person of Christ. The person of Christ, then, combined the finite man and the infinite God. The union of the manhood and the Godhead was complete and indissoluble. Time never for a moment severed it on earth; nor will eternity ever sever it in heaven. The prevalent theory affirms that into this holy union the God carried his own primeval felicity, and that it remained, in unimpaired perfection, during every hour of his terrestrial sojourn. According to this theory, the person of Christ enclosed in its bosom, from the manger of Bethlehem to the tomb of Joseph, the ineffable felicity of the blessed God. The theory, of course, holds that the person of Christ suffered, not by the suffering of his whole person, but by that of his manhood alone.
Suffering consists in the diminution of what would otherwise have been the happiness of the sufferer. The amount of the suffering is tested by the amount of such diminution. In the case under consideration, the person of Christ was the sufferer. What, then, was the diminution of the felicity of the person of Christ, caused by the mere suffering of his manhood? We have no weight or measure to ascertain it; but brief reflection will teach us that it must have been inconceivably small. The happiness of the person of Christ, if his divinity tasted not of suffering, was infinite. It embraced the plenitude of the felicity of the Godhead. According to the prevalent theory, the suffering of the person of Christ was finite. It consisted in the suffering of the man alone. Subtract finite suffering from infinite beatitude, and the diminution will be too small for the most microscopic vision. Heavy as no doubt were the sufferings of Christ=s@s humanity, when estimated by an earthly standard, they must have been comparatively light when taken in reference to the person of him A"who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,@" and A"taketh up the isles as a very little thing.@"C-Isaiah, 40. 12, 15. The bitter stream of human wo must have been absorbed and lost in the illimitable ocean of divine felicity. If you subtract a single grain of sand from the globe we inhabit, arithmetic can perceive, and perhaps estimate the diminution; but the subtraction of the suffering of the finite man from the felicity of the person of Christ, embracing the full beatitude of the infinite God, would have caused a diminution of bliss too small for creature perception. Doubtless the ken of an archangel could not have perceived it. The happiness of the person of Christ, subject to his human suffering, must have been incalculably greater even at Gethsemane and Calvary, if the God suffered not in his ethereal essence, than the happiness of any other person who ever dwelt in this lower world, including the days of Eden. It must have surpassed the felicity of any other being in the universe, save that of the Father and the Holy Ghost. The minute atom of his human suffering, compared with the mighty totality of his divine beatitude, was less than the scarcely perceptible speck that often passes over without obscuring the orb of day.
Yet the Bible everywhere darkly shadows forth the sufferings of Christ, or, if our opponents prefer the phrase, the sufferings of the person of Christ, as having been too intense and vast for even Inspiration intelligibly to express in mortal language. The dimly portrayed sufferings darkened the face of day; they convulsed the earth; they must have wrung tears from heavenly eyes; they shook, well-nigh to dissolution, the person of the incarnate God. And was it, indeed, the mere finite suffering of Clhirist=s@s humanity, bearing a less proportion to the totality of his infinite bliss than the glow-worm bears to the luminary of our system, that the Bible thus labours, and labours, as it were, in vain, adequately to express to mortal ears? No! The sufferings, in the delineation of which even Inspiration seems to falter, were not limited to the finite, but pervaded also the most sacred recesses of that infinite essence which went to constitute the holy union, styled by our opponents the person of Christ. The sufferings of the man lay within the limits of scriptural delineation. The agonies of the God none but a God could conceive. Perhaps even Omnipotence could not make them intelligible to creature apprehension.
The theory which holds that the suffering element in the person of Christ was only the little speck of his humanity, with the inference to which it inevitably leads of the minuteness of the subtraction from the bliss of his united person caused by the suffering of that human speck, cannot but detract immeasurably from the dignity and glory of the atonement. It sinks the expiatory sufferings of the person of Christ from their scriptural infinitude down to a point too small for mortal, doubtless too small for angelic vision.
The position that, of the two natures united in the person of Christ, the one suffered and the other never tasted of suffering; that the one was filled to overflowing with unutterable anguish and the other with inconceivable joy; that the one drank to its dregs A"the cup of trembling,@" while the other was quaffing the ocean of more than seraphic beatitude, can derive no support from human reason. Such a theory, tending, as it does in no small degree, to augment, Athe mystery of godliness,@" required plenary scriptural proof for its support. Its advocates have not furnished such proof. In the face of the Christian world, we affectionately, yet solemnly invoke its production, if to be found in the Word of God.
THE concurrence and participation of the divine and human natures of Christ, according to the measure of their respective capacities, in all his sayings and doings, is a doctrine fairly deducible from the Word of God. The elucidation of this great truth will be the object of the present chapter.
The concurrence and participation of the two natures of Christ in all his sayings and doings subsequent to his resurrection and ascension will not be disputed. The man ascended with the God to heaven; he is seated with the God at the right hand of the Highest; he will come with the God, in the clouds of heaven, to judge the world in righteousness. The stupendous words closing the mediatorial drama, A"Come, ye blessed,@" and ADepart from me, ye cursed,@" will be pro-nounced by those very lips from whence proceeded that never-to-be-forgotten sermon on the mount, so fraught with fearful truths, so abounding in gracious benedictions. It would have seemed a strange anomaly, if there had not existed the like concurrence and participation of the divine and human natures of the incarnate God in all the sayings and doings of his earthly pilgrimage.
No such anomaly is indicated by the Word of God. On the contrary, it it a clear inference from Holy Writ that the two natures of Christ concurred and participated, according to the measure of their respective capacities, in all his sayings and doings, from his birth in the manger until the Acloud received him@" out of the sight of his steadfastly-gazing disciples.
The terrestrial sojourn of the second person of the Trinity, clothed in flesh, was wholly mediatorial. It was the discharge of the arduous duties of his mediatorial office that called him down to earth and detained him there. When its terrestrial duties were done he re-ascended to his native heavens. In the structure of the mediatorial office, the constituent elements were divinity and manhood. The concurrence and participation of both these elements were indispensable. Had the Godhead withdrawn its full concurrence and participation, the mediatorial work must have stood still, as did once the sun on Gibeon. The prevalent theory will not deny our general position; but it seeks to carve out an exception in the article of suffering. The exception can find no scriptural passage whereon to rest the sole of its foot. The Bible everywhere speaks of the second person of the Trinity, arrayed in manhood, not only as an incarnate, but also as a suffering Mediator.
We have seen that the name of Christ, in some one of its synonymes, occurs sixteen hundred and twenty-five times in the New Testament. The name is to be found eight hundred and thirty-one times in the four Gospels, and seven hundred and ninety-four between the end of the Gospels and the close of Revelation. In no one of these sixteen hundred and twenty-five instances is there the slightest intimation that, from the general rule requiring the concurrence and participation of the two natures of Christ in all his mediatorial sayings and doings, there was an exception carved out in the article of suffering. The omission could not have occurred sixteen hundred and twenty-five times by accident or inadvertence. It was the Holy Ghost who spoke; and he spoke to settle the landmarks of human faith. This ominous omission spontaneously multiplies itself into sixteen hundred and twenty-five scriptural arguments against the existence of the alleged exception.
The redeeming God and the redeeming man were born into our world together. They spent together the long interval between infancy and manhood. At the maturity of the man, they together began and continued to preach glad tidings to the poor; they went about in concert doing good. It was in fulfilment of the duties of his
mediatorial office that A"Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness, and every disease among the people.@"C-Matthew, 9. 35.
When the wearied Emanuel sat down on Jacob=s@s well, and craved of the wondering woman a draught of its cooling beverage, it was less to refresh the frail mortal than to afford the in-dwelling God an occasion to plant a twig of the tree of life in the moral desert of Samaria. In his solitary and prolonged prayers, the God concurred and participated with the man. To instruct, as well as to save the world, was the purpose of his mediatorial mission. The duty of frequent and retired devotion was one of the primary lessons taught, practically as well as theoretically, by this Schoolmaster from above. In the solitude of night, on the lonely mountain, the God, too, might best resume his sweet communion with the beloved brethren of his everlasting reign. It was the King of Zion, in his united natures, who, in fulfilment of an inspired prediction, rode into Jerusalem, Alowly and meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt, the foal of an ass.@"C-Matthew, 21. 5. Zechariah, 9. 9. When Jesus mourned over the devoted, yet still beloved city which had killed the prophets and stoned those who had come to it as messengers of grace, his pathetic wailing betokened less the yearning of his human heart than the travail of his divine spirit.
In all the miracles of Christ, his two natures, according to the measure of their respective capacities, concurred and participated. The man was bidden to the marriage of Cana; the God there accomplished his Abeginning of miracles.@" It was the man whose hand was laid upon the sick and the suffering; it was the God who imparted to that hand its healing power. It was the corporeal substance of Jesus that walked upon the waves; it was his ethereal essence that upheld it there. It was the hand of the man that broke the Afive barley loaves@" and the Atwo small fishes;@" it was the potency of the God that multiplied, and multiplied, and multiplied them into superabundant aliment for five thousand famished persons. It was the body of the man that was transfigured on the mountain; it was the mandate of the God that made Ahis face shine as the sun, and his raiment white as the light,@" and that summoned Moses and Elias from heaven, to behold the prospective glory of the incarnate Deity. It was the voice of the man that called Lazarus forth from the grave; it was the fiat of the God which forced even the reluctant grave to yield up its victim.
AJesus wept.@" His tears were not the ebullitions of mere human sympathy. He had foreseen the decease of his friend, and might have averted it by his presence or his mandate. He was just about, by the mere word of his power, to reanimate the dead. The physician weeps not, though the symptoms, may wring tears from surrounding relatives, if he knows that, by a touch of his lancet, he can at once restore health and cheerfulness. The tomb of Lazarus symbolized a world Adead in trespasses and sins.@" Over the grave of that world destroyed Jesus stood, and A"Jesus, wept.@" The word even of Omnipotence could not reanimate moral death. For that malady, the only cure was the blood of God. Jesus wept as a man; more especially as a God did Jesus weep.
page 95If the two natures of Christ thus concurred and participated in the multifarious sayings and doings of his mediatorial life, why should the epoch of suffering have wrought a severance in natures which had become united and indivisible? We have already seen that the God lacked not physical or moral capacity to suffer. We have justly inferred that suffering, actual, not figurative, was the object for which he had left the heavenly reins of universal government to wear the humble weeds of humanity. Why, then, should his divinity have retiredr6ti@e@& into abeyance from the impending conflict. leaving its frail earthly associateLt6@ to trea,@d aljoneo Athe wine-press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God?@"
The uncreated Son did not retire from the impending conflict. He bore his own infinite share of the curse of sin. Golgotha felt, in the trembling of its solid mount, the viewless and nameless throes of the suffering God. Whose voice was it that uttered the, heaven-piercing cry, A"My God!, my God! why hast thou forsaken me?@" It was the same voice that had commanded the winds and the waves, and they obeyed. It was the same voice which had assumed the awful appellation of the Old Testament, AA I AM.@" It was the same voice that had; declared, A,I and my Father are one.@"
The wailing, voice, was, of course, the voice of96 the sufferer. If it was the united voice of his combined A natures, then, beyond peradventure, the natures unitedly suffered. Those who affirm that the divine essence did not participate in the moan, encounter the more than Sisyphean task of demonstrating that the in-dwelfling God had retired from the scene of wo, leaving the struggling man alone; that the divine voice which called Lazarus forth from the grave was hushed in profound silence; and that the piteous cries from Calvary were the mere Ahuman A wailings of Mary=@s son. The son of mere an the Virgin was not the forsaken of his God. His own God, his kindred God, his sympathizing, indwelling God would never, for a moment, have forsaken him. To him his in-dwelling God was bound by ties indissoluble. But the incarnate Deity was himself writhing under the more than scorpion sting of the sins of a world. The forsaken of God was, alas! the in-dwelling God himself. The forsaken of the Father was t@he F]Pather=s"B own, only-begotten, well-beloved, eternal Son. The wailing voice, in anticipation of which the luminary of day had hidden its saddened face, was the same voice which, at the beginning, had spoken that luminary into being. The other dying cry from the cross, AA Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,@" was also of that same divine and forgiving Voice, who, A walking in the garden in the cool of the day,@" had. cheered -the@ despairing hearts of the guilty, penite@nt pair wWith the distant, yet radiant vision of ever-cherishe@d, ever-brightening hope.C-Genesis, 3iii. 8, 15. -
The prevalent theory might as well seek to exclude the participation of the divinity from any other department of the mediatorial office as from its suffering department. The Bible declares that Christ went about preaching the A gospel of the kingdom.@" The Bible declares that Christ wrought a succession of stupendous miracles. The Bible declares that Christ suffered for the redemrhption of the world. Each declaration designates the Actor by the name of Christ, or one of its synonymes. Each declaration is couched in the same unequivocal terms, without exception, restriction, or qualification. Each declaration pervades the united natures of the Messiah. The prevalent theory has singled out the pains of the suffering department as the sole subject of its exclusion of divine participa-
tion. Why this distinction? @ There is the same scriptural evidence of@ the participation of the God. in the mniediatorial sufferings as there is of the participation of the God in the preaching of the gospel or the working of the miracles. lf the mediatorial Preacher of the gospel was the God-man in his united natures; if the mediatorial Worker of the miracles was the God-man in his un@ited Anatures, so must the mediatorial Sufferer have been the God-man in his united natures. Any distinction is Arbitrary. It has no scriptural authority
There was no peculiar exigency in the preaching of the gospel or the working of the miracles, specially requiring the actual presence of the Deity. Peter and Pauli preached the gospel and wrought miracles without an in-dwelling God. His dele gated authority sufficed, while he himself remained
Ahigh and lifted up@ on his celestial throne. But there was a special and peculiar reason requiring the actual presence and participation of the God in the agonies of the suffering department. His actual participation alone gave to those agonies their redeeming value. He could communicate, without his actual presence, the right to preach the gospel and the power to work miracles. The infinite burden of suffering for the redemption of man was incommunicable. It was to be borne by the God, not by his substitute. The God was himself to suffer, not merely the man substituted for the God. The man was to bear the finite share, the God the infinite share of the expiatory agonies.
The union between the second person of the Trinity and his terrestrial adjunct was intimate beyond conception. They were one and indivisible. The duration of the union was to be eternal. They now share together the glory of heaven. The inference seems inevitable that they must have shared together the sufferings of earth. We believe that severance in suffering would have been as incompatible with the laws of their union as severance in glory.
Disjoining the two inseparable natures of Christ in the paramount article of his expiatory suffering, is the deep-rooted error of the prevalent theory. The Bible affirms that Jesus Christ sufferedCthat Jesus Christ diedCfor the salvation of man. The theory conductsCunwittingly no doubtCto the conclusion that Jesus Christ died not-suffered not. The suffering, dying Jesus Christ of the Bible was compounded of the finite man, and the infinite Jehovah; both natures indispensable to the constitution of his personality. Had the infinite nature been dissevered from participation with the finite in the article of suffering, the personality of the scriptural sufferer must have been lost; the suffering, dying victim for mortal sins would have been, not Athe Christ of God,@ but the human son of the Virgin; and the sole suffering and death of Mary's human son would have left wholly unsatisfied the abounding and unqualified scriptural declarations that Jesus Christ was the suffererCthat Jesus Christ died.
The mediation between God and man was a suffering mediation. Its element was suffering. In suffering it began; in suffering was it Afinished.@ In all that pertained to this suffering mediation, both natures of the incarnate Deity concurred and participated, according to the measure of their respective capacities. The man did all that humanity could do; the God did all that infinite love could prompt. Neither of the two natures was at any time inert; neither in a state of abeyance.
In the first mediatorial movement, the God was the sole Actor. He became incarnate ; he cast off Athe form of God;@ he Aemptied himself@ of his celestial glory; he took upon him the Aform of a servant;@ he became the lowly son of a lowly Virgin; he was born in a manger, and wrapped in its straw. That the manger actually contained, and that its straw actually covered Him who formed the worlds was no fiction. The miraculous star and the worship of the Oriental wise men demonstrated a present Deity. The star was not an ignis fatuus to lure men into idolatry. The everlasting mandate, A worship God,@" was not forgotten in heaven. Sufferance was the object for which the second person of the Sacred Three thus Ahumbled himself.@" In the conclave of the Godhead it had been deemed most fitting that he should suffer clothed in the flesh of fallen man. The humiliation was real; the transformation not metaphorical; the suffering was actual.
In the manger of Bethlehem the son of Mary began to enact his humble part. The incarnate God, in early iniiifancy, was carried into Egypt. It,, was a hurried, wintry journey, marked with all the privations of penury. Back again was he hurried to the land of Israel, not to find his native home there; for, A being warned of God in a dream,@" his parents turned aside, to dwell obscure and destitute in the city of Nazareth. In all these privations, He who, from everlasting, had occupied the right-hand throne of glory, concurred and participated. Into his distressed estate he carried not the beatitude of his celestial home. He had A46 emptied himself@ " of that, as well as of A the form of God.@" The second who bears A"record in heaven@" was, in very truth, on the earth, A"wounded for our transgressions,@" and A"bruised for our iniquities.@ ",The allegation of the prevalent theory, that the second person of the Trinity, in becoming incarnate, A"emptied himself@" of his glory alone, retaining in full perfection all his infinite beatitude, has no other foundation than the imagination of its advocates. Transcendent, indeed, is the glory of God. Moses could not have seen it, in all its effulgence, and lived.C-Exodus, 33xxxiii. 18, 20. Of the glory of the Highest we would speak with humility and fear; yet we trust that, without irreverence, we may be permitted to suppose that it pertains rather to the expression of his ineffable excellence than to that intrinsic excellence itself. lt is the external manifestation of inherent, viewless, and infinite perfection. The glory of God is the robe of majesty in which he arrays himself A,as with a garment.@" His beatitude dwells within, while his glory unceasingly surrounds him, as the halo sometimes circles the luminary of day. The supposition that the God, about to become incarnate, cast aside his glory alone, retaining and carrying with him to earth his infinite beatitude, is opposed to the letter and the spirit of the declarations of the Holy Ghost.
We read in Oriental story of Eastern monarchs doffing their regal attire, and traversing their domains in peasant weeds, to become the unknown spectators of the variegated and bustling drama of social life, retaining, during their metamorphosis, all their royal felicity, and bringing it back with them untouched to their thrones. Such was not the holy transformation of the Son of God. To mark its reality and completeness, the Holy Ghost selected the most potent expressions found
in human speech; expressions too strong for the fastidiousness of modern translators; expressions unsatisfied by the doffing of the mere external robes of majesty ; expressions pervading the inner being, and reaching that vital region of sensation and life where beatitude dwells. The God about to become incarnate could not have been said to have A emptied himself,@" in the full meaning of the mighty terms, if the infinitude of his celestial blessedness accompanied him through his earthly pilgrimage; making the straw of the manger as downy a pillow as the bosom of his Father; the revilings, and scoffings, and hissingys of the crucifying mob as little annoying as the hallelujahs of heaven; the garden and the cross as redolent of bliss as his celestial throne.
The emptying himself of his infinite beatitude was peculiarly appropriate to the God, about to become an incarnate sufferer. Suffering was the object of his terrestrial mission. The suffering of its Creator was the price to be paid for the redemption of a lost world. To qualify him for his suffering office, it was needful that the self-devoted Mediator should divest himself of his primitive blessedness. A The Captain of our salvation@" could not carry the beatific peace of heaven along with him into his terrible campaign on earth. It was not with gleeful heart, any more than in triumphal robes, that A the wine press of the wrath and fierceness of Alimnighlityv God@" was to be trodden.
The, redeeming God was present, and partaking in all the wanderings and hardships of the redeeming man. He was baptized by the reluctant and trembling John. On him rested the descending dove. For him the voice from heaven proclaimed once, and again, and yet again, A This is my beloved Son.@" The elements recognized and obeyed the present Deity. Devils believed and trembled. He forgave sins. He proclaimed hbimrhself A Lord even of the Sabbath day.@" He toiled with his own hbands. The Architect of the universe became a laborious carpenter in the workshop of Joseph. Of his divinity as well as his manhood was uttered the pathetic exclamation, A The son of man hath not where to lay his head.@" The Creator of the world found in it no spot of repose until the kind grave received him. He was steeped A in poverty to the very lips.@" To pay the tribute money which the law exacted, he was obliged to work a miracle.
The manner in which human reasonC-at least the reason of the learnmedC-has met and received the declarations of Scripture, that the eternal Son suffered for our redemption, is a curiosity in theological literature. It has rejected the glorious mass of this celestial truth, and clung only to a fragment. It has gratuitously limited the unlimited declarations of heaven, that the eternal Son suffered for our sins, by the earth-born amendment, Aexcept in his divine nature.@" The exception nearly absorbs the totality of the blessed truth. The remnaniit left bears a less proportion to the majestic whole than the scarcely perceptible promontory bears to the mighty continent of which it forms so inconsiderable a part.
To this exception of its own creation, human reason has clung with a tenacity which the lapse of centuries has not been able to sever. On what basis does the exception rest? Not on the basis of the Bible; for the declarations of Scripture are unqualified and without exception; they are as munificent and illimitable as the love of the self-de-
voted God. The exception is the progeny, not of the Bible, but of that long-continued and widespread hypothesis, A God is impassible.@" If this hypothesis should be exploded from Christian theology, the exception which it has engendered would sink, with its parent into nothl-iing. That the hypothesis itself was but the offspring of human reasoning, we have already shown.
We profoundly reverence science. It has transmuted into plain and palpable truth, that which, without it, might have seemed poetic rhapsody. ,,@WWhat a piece of work is man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculties! in formrm and moving, how express and admirable! in action, how like an angel! in apprehension, how like a God!@" Nor does science ever appear so majestic as when wearing its sacred tiara. Yet has science pride. Even sacred science is not always as humble as was its Ameek and lowly@ " Master.
AIn pride, in reasoning pride@72 its A"error lies.@
Else, why has it scaled the heavens and tried to bind the Omnipotent in its own puny chains. Else, why has it denied to the eternal Son, the ineffable personification of infinite love, his high prerogative of self-sacrifice to redeemrn a ruined world, and perhaps, save a universe threatened by an inundation of triumphant sin?
HAD there been any distinction between the two natures of Christ in the essential, the paramount article of suffering, it was not only to be expected, but it was important that the inspired writers should have pointed it out. It would have been one of the landmarks of Christian faith, not to be left afloat at the mercy of opinion. The inspired writers had been well schooled in the doctrines taught by the Holy Ghost, and were fully competent to expound them with simplicity and precision.
Take, for instance, the great apostle of the Gentiles; and at the mention of the name of Paul, we cannot withhold the expression of our admiration of his wonderful endowments, even at the hazard of a momentary deviation from the straight and onward pathway of our argument. For profoundness of intellect ; for loftiness of imagination ; for that glowing enthusiasm which breathes into genius
the breath of life, he stood unsurpassed among the sons of humanity. Had terrestrial ambition contented him, he might have been the Demosthenes of his oppressed country, thundering forth against Roman domination the same pierceiniig bolts which the Athenian statesman, and patriot, and orator hurled at the head of Philip. He had drunk copiously of A,the sweets of sweet philosophy;@" with the choicest treasures of the Grecian muse, he was familiar as with A"household words;@" but all his mental wealth and literary acquisitions were laid humbly at the feet of his Redeemer. The variegated and lucid colouring, and the richest flowers that he had gathered in the fertile fields of learning, he freely offered up to make more clear the lineaments, and to deck the lovely brow of that meek and lowly religion which had been cradled in the manger of Bethlehem, and brought up among the fishermen of Galilee.
Paul, so deeply instructed in the lore of Inspiration; Paul, who had been caught up into the third heaven, and shown things which it was not lawful for him to intimate A"to ears of flesh@ and blood,@ " could not have been ignorant of the kind and extent of his Saviour=@s sufferings ; and had there existed a distinction between his two natures in the grand article of suffering, the philosophic, the logical, the lucid, the discriminating Paul would not have failed to indicate it somewhere in his voluminoutis writings, even if omitted by the less-exteniided authors of the New Testament. It is not intimated by any of the inspired writers, because it was not intimated to any of them by the Holy Ghost. The distinction is earth-born. The general scriptural declarations of Christ=@s sufferings, then, according to every legitimate rule of construction, apply to his divine and human natures unitedly. The Bible not having severed their meaning, it is as indivisible as the two natures of Christ.
St. Peter, indeed, speaks of Christ having suffered and died for us in the flesh. There are two passages in which this affirmation is made by that apostle. The first is as follows: A For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.@C@1 l Peter, 3iii. 18. The second passage is as follows: A"Forasmuch, then, as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind.@" C-1 Peter, 4iv. 1. Bishop Pearson has invoked these two passages into the support of the prevalent, theory that Christ=@s sufferings were confined to his humanity.* And as they are the only scriptural passages which he has cited as bearing directly on the subject, we are doubtless justified in concluding that they were the only ones he could find. With the profoundest respect for the learned and pious prelate, we are constrained to dissent from his construction. Several answers may be given to the argument sought to be derived from the6se passages.
*Pearson on the Creed, p. 312.
First.. St. Peter might have meant to speak only of the time of Christ=@s passion, not of its locality. He might have intended to say that Christ suffered while he was in the flesh on earth, not that his flesh, or even his manhood, was the sole or peculiar recipient of his @ suffering. In his epistle to the Hebrews, St. Paul, when referring to the A"prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears,@" offered up by Christ, designated their date by the words, A in the days of his flesh.@"C-Hebrews, 5v. 7. So St. Peter may, perhaps, be understood as- having merely declared that Christ suffered and died Ain the days of his flesh.@"
Secondly.. The passages from 1 Peter contain nothing beyond the simple affirmation that Christ suffered and died in the flesh, a proposition that no one of modem times is wild enough to deny. But they contain no declaration that he did not also suffer in his spirit, human and divine. The participation of his divinity in his sufferings is entirely compatible with the passages. The expression of the existence of one thing is, indeed, sometimes held to be the exclusion of the existence of a correlative thing. But that rule cannot govern the present case6. The aim of the apostle, in the chapters from whence these passages are taken, and also in the preceding chapter, was to impress on his brethren the duty of following the example of Christ, especially in the article of suffering. To give the more point to his appeal, he might natu. rally have placed in its front ground the outward and visible suffering of their common master. It would not be surprising if, on this particular occasion, he designed to present rather the imitable example of the suffering man than the imnimitable example of the suffering God, as the pattern to be followed by the suffering faithful. So that the declarations in I Peter, that Christ suffered in the flesh, even taking the term flesh in its restricted and literal sense, are not an exclusion, express or implied, of the conclusion that he also suffered in both of his immaterial substances.
Thirdly. But the most conclusive answer to the passages from I Peter remains to be stated. And as this additional solution commingles itself with various other matters of debate between the advocates of the prevalent theory and ourselves, we shall be excused if we examine it a little more in detail than we should have deemed necessary, had a reply to the passages from I Peter been the sole object in view. The Bible often employs expressions, applicable, in their primary and strict sense, to the outer being only, to designate also the inner being. Thus the term flesh, in its primary and literal import, expresses only the body. But it is often used figuratively in Scripture to include the immaterial as well as the material part of man. Take the following samples of this scriptural use of the term: A I will not fear what flesh can do unto me,@" exclaimed the Psalmist.C-Psalm, 56Ivi. 4. And again: A For he remembereth that they were but flesh.@"C@Psalm,rn 78lxxviii. 39. A No flesh shall have peace,@" saith the prophet.C-Jeremiah, 12xii. 12. And again: A"Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm.@C" Jeremiah, 17. 5.. AFor all flesh is grass,@" declared the apostolic Peter.C-I Peter, 1i. 24.
The incarnate God had flesh. The flesh in which he dwelt became the peculiar flesh of the eternal Word. It was moulded out of the common mass of human flesh, and was set apart and consecrated as the appropriate flesh of the Son of God.- It is now his raised and glorified flesh, seated at the right hand of his Father. Though the corporeal garment, in which he clothed himself, was taken originally from the great storehouse of humanity, it became unspeakably exalted by the transcendent dignity of its divine wearer.
The term flesh, applied by St. Peter to the incarnmate God, in the passages so much relied on by Bishop Pearson, was, we have little doubt, a figure of speech to denote the whole united person of the Redeemer, human and divine. That the apostle used the term figuratively, at least to a certain extent, will not be denied by the generality of our opponents. Few of them will contend for the un-
scriptural position, that the sufferings of our Lord were confined literally to his body. It would ill comport with the generally received conceptions to suppose that mere A" corporal sufferance@" was accepted by the infinite Father as a full propitiation for the transgressions of the world. Even the advocates of the prevalent theory will, therefore, geni-ierally understand the declarations of St. Peter to import mental as well as bodilyv sufferingo-,s. But, in their allowance of a figurative meaning to his declarations, the advocates of the prevalent theory stop short at the line separating Christ=s@s human soul from his ethereal essence. Why stop at that line? Inspiration has left no landmark there. The landmark there, which has appeared for ages, is an earthly structure, reared by human hands. If the scriptural meaning of the term flesh, when applied to man, has ample capacity to comprehend the corporeal and immaterial natures of our whole aggregate race, why may not the scriptural meaning of the same term, when applied to the fles h of the incarnate Word, be capacious enough to include both of the united natures of the Son of God, though the chief element in the immaterial part of his united natures was his ethereal essence?
That the term flesh, in scriptural language, when applied to the incarnate God, includes his whole united being, human and divine, is not left to be deduced by any mere reasoning process. AAnd the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.@"C-John, 1i. 14. Here the flesh consecrated by the in-dwelling Deity was clearly used to denote both his natures. But for this scriptural meaning of the term when thus divinely applied, we have still more explicit authority, coming direct from the lips of one of the Holy Three. AI am the living bread which came down from heaven: if a man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.@"C-John, 6vi. 51. In this passage, Christ used the terms A" my flesh@" to designate that A living bread which came from heaven;@" which he gave Afor the life of the world@ " and of which, if any man eats, A he shall live forever.@" He employed the terms to denote the whole infinite totality of his mediatorial sacrifice. He used them as an appropriate name, when applied to himself, to comprehend, not only his body and human soul, but also that ethereal Essence, who had, from everlasting, occupied the right-hand throne of heaven.
If St. Peter used the term flesh, in the two passages under review, according to its scriptural meaning when applied to ChristC-a meaning which he himself had heard his beloved Master ordain and establish by the word of his own supremacyC then the conclusion is inevitable, that the apostle meant to declare that our Saviour had suffered and died in both his united natures. He used the term without exception or restriction, and must be understood to have intended all that the term imports. If this conclusion is correct, then the two passages from I Peter, invoked and marshalled against us by the modern representative of the prevalent theory as competent of themselves to vanquish all opposition, are found in the day of trial, though forming his whole array, to leave the service into which they had been impressed, and, passing over into our ranks, to form two of the chief supporters of our argument.
So the word body has its figurative meaning, and is often used to denote the inner as well as the outer man. Hence the expressions As"someboody@" and A"nobody.@@ Hence, when we use the colloloquial phrase A,everybody,@" so constantly repeated in common parlance, we include not only the bodies, but also the spirits of all to whom we refer. The Scripture has borrowed the same figurative use of the word body, and applied it even to Christ. A And you, that were some time alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yvet now hath he reconciled in the body of his fle@sh through death.@"C-Colossians, 1i. 21, 22. A"By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.@"C-Hebrews, 10x. 1I0O. A"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree.@"C-l Peter, 2ii. 24. In these passages, the inspired writers used not the word Abody@" merely to denliote the clay tabernacle of Christ; for then would they have made his sufferings literally and strictly corporeal, thereby sinking their dignity from the infinite to the finite. They used the term Abody@" as expressive, not only of the outward visible materiality, but also of the immaterial, breathing, living principle within.
When our Lord, at the institution of his commemorative supper, gave to his disciples the sacramental bread, declaring AThis is my body,@" he did not mean that the body of which the bread was symbolical consisted of the mere corporeal temple of his flesh. That alone was not the price to be paid for the redemption of the world. The terms Amy body,@" according to the sublime meaning of the divine speaker, comprehended the in-dwelling God, whose self-sacrifice was to sanctify that outer temple, and form a glorious structure of salvation worthy of its great Architect. The consecrated bread was typical, not only of the material, but also of the viewless and spiritual substance of the God incarnate. The terms were used by Christ to represent and designate the whole infinitude of his united being.
The scriptural custom of using the outer name to denote the inner being is exemplified in a still more striking instance. The second person of the Trinity, shrouded in flesh, was often called man by his own inspired apostles. Even he, who was caught up into the third heaven, frequently so teri-med his beloved and divine Master. A@Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you.@"C-Acts, 2ii. 22. ABecause he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained.@"C-Acts, 17xvii. 31. AFor if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.@"C-Romans, 5v. 15. There is A one mediator between God and men, th e man Christ Jesus.@"C-l Timothy, 2ii. 5. A,But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, forever sat down on the right hand of God.@"C-Hebrews, 10x. 12 . These inspired writers well knewC-they felt in every pulsation of their throbbing heartsC the melting, the exalting truth, that the manhood of their Redeemer bore a less proportion to his Godhead than the dim and fading star of morning bears to A" the glorious king of day rejoicing in the east.@ "Yet they called him man. They thus gave a seeming prominence to his manhood, only as a faint emblemC-a shadowy figure of the ineffable splendours of the Godhead throned within.
But this scriptural usage is not of universal prevalence. .Qqualifying expressions often intervene in the sacred text to create exceptions. Thus, where, in speaking of Christ, the apostle declared, A" He was crucified through weakness.@"C-2 Corinthians, 13xiii. 4,C-the term Acrucified@" must, in the particular instance, have meant the crucifixion of the body of our Lord by the wood and irons of the cross, without reference to those spiritual sufferings, which constituted, no doubt, the infinite ingredient in the price of man=s@s salvation. The body was A crucified through weakness.@" The incorporeal substance throned within felt not, either in its divine or mortal element, the distorting wood or the lacerating irons.
Buoyed up, as was the vicarious victim, Afor the joy set before him,@" the wood and the nails of the cross affected his human soul no more, perhaps, than they did his ethereal essence. They scarcely moved even the hoping, believing, exulting spirit of the penitent thief; they checked not the dying transports of the early Christian martyrs. It was the body of Christ, and not his spirit, either in its celestial or human constituent, that was A crucified through weakness.@" It is by its figurative use alone that the cross was made to@ shadow forth in Holy Writ those viewless, nameless agonies which pervaded the inner being of the incarnate God. The term A"crucified@" in the passage under consideration, was restricted to its literal import by the qualifying adjunct.
Yet when applied in all its metaphorical amplitude to the sufferer on Calvary, the cross has a meaning high as heaven and vast as eternity. Though it strictly affected only the corporeal substance of our Lord, yet, when figuratively expanded, it includes also the vicarious sufferings of his human soul, and shadows forth to the awe stricken imagination those ineffable agonies which filled to overflowing the infinitude of his divine nature. The CROSS, in its ordinary scriptural import, is perhaps the most thrilling term to be found in the vocabularies of earth. The CROSS, the visible memorial of the humbled GodC-the suffering God C-is a term in itself, indeed, brief and simple, yet presenting to the mental vision exhaustless elements for the study of eternity;C-into which the angels are still looking with holy, unsatiated curiosity. This is the crowning illustration of the scriptural usage of expressing things invisible by the things which are seen.
THEP,RE is yet another class of scriptural passages bearing upon the question under discussion, which requires a more deliberate consideration. The efficiency of the blood of Christ in the scheme of redemption is a cardinal doctrine of the New Testament. It asserts that we are washed in his blood; that we are cleansed by his blood; that we are made white by his blood ; that we are purged by his blood; that we are redeemed by his blood; that he bought us with his blood; that without the shedding of blood there could be no remission. So the death of Christ is plainly shadowed forth in the Old Testament, and forms the absorbing theme of the New. Now it is said that blood and death could not have been predicated of the ethereal essence of the Godhead; that God is a Spirit, without blood or corporeal substan , ce ; that God is an eternal Spirit, and necessarily incapable of dying. Hence it is confidently urged that the oft-repeated scriptural declarations, concerning the blood and death of our blessed Lord must have referred to the man Christ Jesus, and not to the indwelling God. The answers, the conclusive answers to these imposing objections, may be arranged under two heads.
First. The incarnate God had blood. It was sweated forth at Gethsemane ; it was poured out on Calvary. But the Bible, in speaking of Christ=s@s blood, gives to the term a meaning vastly more comprehensive than its ordinary signification. When our Lord, the same night in which he was betrayed, after supper, took the cup, and, having given thanks, gave it to his disciples, saying, ADrink ye all of it, for this is my blood of@ the New Testament;@" and when his disciples, in obedience to his command, drank of the cup, they did not actually drink of the blood then flowing warm in the veins of their - Master; the sacramental fluid of which they partook6l- was the A blood of the iNnew Testament;@" that myvstical, viewless ocean of salvation provided, byv t@he whole expiatory sufferings of Christ, for A the healing of the nations.@" In thus expanding the term blood, when used to denote the blood of the Mediator between God and man, we place ourselves upon the authority of the dying declarations of the eternal Son. The expansion of the term, when applied to his own most precious blood,,, was dictated by his own unerring lips.C Matthew, 26xxvi. 27, 28. So, when the New Testament declares that the redeemed of every age and nation are A washlied,@" and A cleansed,@" and A made white,@" and A purged@" by the blood of Christ, it means not to use the term in its strict literal import, but in the same comprehensive sense in which our Saviour had himself used it at the institution of his holy eucharist.
In this vast ocean of infinite grace, opened at the dawn of time, Abel, and Enoch, and Noah, and Abraham, and Lot were regenerated and sanctified, centuries before the vital element had begun to circulate through the arteries of the infant Jesus. In this same never ebbing ocean, boundless as the love of God, will all the countless myriads of the redeemed of all times, and tongues, Aand -a climes continue to be A14 washed,@" and Acleansed,@" and Aii made white,@" and:;, Aredeemed,@ "until the mighty angel, standing with one foot on the sea and the other on the earth, and lifting his hand to heaven, shall swear by him that liveth forever and ever that there shall be time no longer.
Christ is said, in Scripture, to have purchased us with his blood. But how small a part did the blood actually drawn from his veins, by the sweat of Gethsemane and the irons of Calvary, formra of the infinite price which he paid! The price, the infinite price of the purchase, was the whole stupendous aggregate of his humiliation and sufferings. The first great payment was made @when he exchanged his throne in heaven for the manger of Bethlehem. The payments were continued every day of his suffering life. From his birth to his death, he was A a man of sorrows, and acoequaindiiited with grief.@" He wander@ed@ a@bout Ahouseless and friendless, hungry and athirst. He had not, like the foxes of the field, a hole to which he might retire; he had not, like the birds of the air, a nest wherein he might repose. He was hunted, A"like a partridge in the mountains,@" until he found rest in the tomb of Joseph. Gethsemane had poured its copious and tearful contribution into the treasury @of justice, and the last installment of the mighty debt created by our sins was paid on Calvary.
By the blood of Christ, then, the Oracles of Truth mean the totality of the merits of his expiatory sufferings. This explanation solves the seeming mystery of Paul=s@s injunction, A Feed the Church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.@"C-Acts, 20xx. 28. The proposition contained in the injunction was literally correct. God the Son, in very fact, purchased the Church with his ow,*n blood, according to the sublime meaning of the term, @as expounded by himself at his sacramental supper. The passage from Acts,. then, is clear proof that the divinity of Christ participated in his sufferings ; for had not his divinity participated, the sufferings with which he purchased his Church could not have been called the blood of God. He purchased his Church, ,not with the pains of the man alone, but with the humiliation and, agonies of the God, actual, and not merely construcuetive.@ Had the man only suffered, the stupendous proposition would not have been true, that God purchased the Church A with his own blood.@" The Bible deals little in detail. By one or two trumpet notes, it is wont to awaken trains of thought sufficient to fill uninspired volumes. Had it recounted all the variegated sufferings of Christ, corporeal and mental, human and divine, we would almost be led to suppose that, literally, Aeven the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.@"C-John, 21xxi. 25. From the countless group of his agonies, the Bible has selected the palpable and startling incident of hisMs shed bloodC-an incident always appalling to humanityC-as one well calculated deeply to impress on the imagination,. the memory, and the hearts of men the whole most pathetic tragedy of his vicarious sufferings, divine and human, commencing when he lLeft. the right hand of his@ Father, and ending not until, from the crwoss, he cried, AIt is finished,@" and gave up the ghost.
Secondly. The incarnate God could die. He did die. Without his life--giving death the Bible would be a dead letter, or, rather, A a consuming fire.@" The incarnate God, in his united natures, was born of woman, as the ordinary sons of humanity are born; he died in hiMs united natures, as the ordinary sons of humanity die. If t he Godhead of Christ is an eternal spirit, so is the@ Soul of an ordinary man, as to the eternity to come. The human soul is as deathless as the ethereal essence of its Creator. The soul of an ordinary man does not cease to be at his death, any more than the ethereal essence of the Son of God ceased to be when he died in his united natures. There is nothing more startling in the idea, that the second person of the Trinityv really died in his united ,,.natures, than there is in the thought that he really became incarnate and was born into our world.
But we rest our position, that the second person of the Trinity really died in his united natures, upon authority as much above the dogmas of human reason as the heavens are higher than the earth. After the resurrection of Christ, his lately crucified, but now risen and spiritualized body, ac-
companitied its divine occupant to his celestial home, bearing, no doubt, on its hands the print of the nails, and in its side the mark of the spear shown to the unbelieving Thomas. It was the second person of the Trinity, clothed in his now glorified vestment of flesh, who appeared to St. John when he was in the Spirit on the Lord=s@s day, commencing with the thrilling declaration, AI am the first and the last; I am he that liveth and was dead, and, behold, I am alive forever more.@"C-Revelation, 1 i. 17, 18. The same divine speaker, in the leleventh verse, had declared of himself, A@I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.@" Who was he of whom the declaration was thus made that he had been dead? It was the same being who was alive again. And who was he that was thus alive? It was the God-man in his united natures. To give truth, then, to the divine declaration, it must have been the God-manian in his united natures, who had been dead.
Nor is this all. The glorious apparition at Patmos, in declaring that he had been dead, di A id not intend merely to refer to the severance of the immaterial and material parts of his being. The Speaker was the Creator and the Ruler of the universe. When he said that he himself, his own, undivided, majestic self, had been dead, he did not mean to point alone to the visible extinction of his life on Calvary. He must rather have primarily intended to intimate to that beloved disciple, who had leaned on his bosom, as far as mortal ears could hear and live, those mysterious agonies, aptly termed death, which, as the incarnate substitute for sin, his divine spirit had endured from the overflowing deluge of infinite wrath. It would depreciate the majesty of the awful scene, to suppose that the divine personage meant to speak only of the severance, for three days, of his material and incorporeal natures.
The declaration at Patmos was by the God of truth. It was, as it were, his official proclamation to the universe of a stupendous event, in which he had been himself the Actor. The declaration must have been the essence of ingenuous truth; true to the letter, true to the spirit of its unlimited terms in all their amplitude; without covert meaning or misleading innuendo. How do the sanctity and the plenitude of its awful verity overwhelm that theory of man which would make the God at Patmos, notwithstanding the unqualified universality of his words, intend nothing more than that his death had consisted in the meri-e dissolution of his frail garment of humanity, leaving unimpaired and untouched his own divine beatitude!
There are other expressions, not yet the subject of comment, in this august passage, which seem to carry along with them intrinsic demonstration that the divine spirit of the redeeming, God had participated in the vicarious agonies denominated death in Scripture. Helie who spoke, and he who had been dead, and he who was alive again, was identical. The speaker applied to himself, in the three stages of his actionC-the speaking, the dying, and the resuscitated stageC-the same personal pronoun. AI am he that liveth and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forever more.@" If the speaker was God, it follows that he who had been dead and was alive again was also God. That he who spoke was God, is self-evident from the fact that he appropriated to himself, perhaps, the loftiest attribute of the Godhead. He styled himself Athe First,@" the, AAlpha.@" The Alpha, then, was he who spoke, and had been dead, and was alive again. The Alpha was the speaking God, the dying God, the living God of this everliving passage. To predicate all this of the human son of the Virgin would be impiety, were it not for innocency of intention. The human son of the Virgin was created out of nothing in the reign of Herod; he was not coeval with the uncreated Ancient of Days. Instead of being the principal personage of the passage, the human son of the Virgin was not named in it, or even made the subject of allusion. He was not thus named, or even made the subject of allusion, because he was only the guise, the vestment, the human veil covering the ineffable and shrouded glories of the speaking God, the dying God, the everliving God of the first chapter of Revelation.
, But reason here interposes her speculations and her objections. She deems that the declarations of the God at Patmos, if literally understood, would *
come into collision with his attributes ; that he had not capacity to suffer in his united natures ; that if he had the capacity, it was not A,fitting to God@" thus to suffer; that the declarations of the God at Patmos are too high, too vast, too incomprehensible and stupendous to be entitled to full credence, according to the plain import of the terms. We would respectfully invite the authors of these suggestions to turn their eyes to the eighth and ninth verses of the fifty-fifth chapter of Isaiah. A For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.@"
The revealed Aways@" and Athoughts@" of God are not only beyond, but sometimes seemingly opposed to reason. To yield them implicit, credence often requires a flight of sublime faith not of-@,!pf easy attainment. Yet Abraham, the father o-0f the faithful, Astaggered not at the promise of God through unbelief.@" Proud philosophy might have urged that the fulfilment of the promise involved a physical impossibility. Yet the faithful Abraham A believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.@"C-Romans, 4iv. 3, 20. Our argument asks nothing but belief in the declarations of the living God. It seeks not to sustain the doctrine that the divinity of Christ participated in - his expiatory sufferings by the frail props of human reasoning. It fixes its great doctrine on the adamantine foundation. , that , Athe mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.@C Isaiah, 1i. 20. The doctrine developed may, indeed, be too lofty for mortal comprehension. It may be opposed to what reason deems A fitting to God.@" It may come into imagined collision with the attributes of the Deity. It should, nevertheless, be enough to convince, at least to silence unbelief, that ,the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.@
Let not human reason, in the garb of the prevalent theory, affirm that, by the declaration at Patmos, A"I am the first and the last; I am he that liveth and was dead; and behold I am alive for evermore,@" the august Speaker meant to be understood that the man had been dead in reality, and the God dead by construction. What right has a worm of -the dust to limit -the unlimited and illimitable declaration of him whose voice was A"as the sound of many waters?@"
The First and the Last had indeed been wrapped in the mantle of humanity. That mantle, however, formed but the incarnate covering of the Alpha of beings. It was not the mere rending of that mantle, so gloriously restored on the third day, which constituted the death of the Alpha in the full amplitude of the awful truth announced at Patmos. The proclamation that the Alpha had been dead and was alive again, was there uttered by the First and the Last without restriction or qualification. True it was predicated of the incarnate Alpha; but it was predicated of him in both the elements which constituted his mediatorial personality. The whole undivided and indivisible incarnate Alpha, then living, and speaking, and palpable to sight, had indeed been dead, in a sense infinitely surpassing the three days severance of his material and incorporeal being. Had you, pious reader, unshackled by the domination of the prevalent theory, have stood where John stood, and fallen prostrate where John fell prostrate, and beheld what John beheld, and listened to the words which sounded in the astounded ears of the beloved disciple -would you have ventured, in that stupendous presence, to sink the majesty of the proclamation by restrictions, and qualifications, and reasoning subtleties of which the mighty Speaker seemed wholly unconscious?
It is, indeed, a Bible--taught inference that, in announcing himself the Alpha, the divine Speaker at Patmos must have referred to his Godhead. For it is recorded in scriptural history, that the redeeming man was formed out of nothing at the time of the blessed incarnation. - He was but an infant of days, and could not have been styled the Alpha of beings. The incommunicable name was limited by Inspiration itself to him who A inhabiteth eternity.@" But it is not a Bible-taught inference that, in ascribing death to himself, the divine Speaker at Patmos meant the death of his manhood alone. The declaration, in its terms, is general, reaching his entire personality and it finds no restriction or qualification elsewhere in Holy Writ. The whole letter and spirit of the Bible leave the declaration just as applicable to the redeeming God as to the redeeming man. Inspiration intimates no distinction between the divine and human natures of the incarnate Deity in the endurance of those expiatory sufferings to which Scripture has given the name of death.
We are, therefore, authorized, and in duty bound, to construe the declaration at Patmos, that the divine Speaker had been dead, according to the natural and obvious meaning of its terms, and to apply it to his whole united being. The Bible contains nothing to interdict such construction. The construction is required by the elemental rudiments of speech. It is a self-evident truism that a part is not the whole. A declaration appropriate to the whole, and to the whole only, cannot be depressed capriciously to a part, without violating the principles of sound interpretation and impugning the laws of nature. The incarnate God at Patmos ascribed death to the infinitude of his whole united being. A,I am he that liveth and was dead, and behold I -am alive for evermore.@" The pronouns AI@" and AHe@" included the God as well as the man. To subtract the divinity by arbitrary construction, and sink the declaration of death to the mere finite atom of his humanity, would be doing violence to the plain and unqualified words of the speaking Deity. It is the Bible alone that can wrest from its natural, and obvious, and plain import, the unambiguous language of the Bible. Human reason cannot do it by the despotic Word of her own power.
Nothing short of plenary scriptural proof that the divinity of Christ was constitutionally incapable of suffering, or some direct scriptural aver. ment that he in fact suffered in his manyihood alone, could limit to that manhood his unequivocal declaration at Patmos, ascribing death to his whole united being in both its natures. Had such scriptural proof or averment existed, the Bible then, acting as iAts own interpreter, would, by its own paramount authority, have restricted within finite bounds its infinitely capacious declaration of death promulged to the beloved disciple. The contraction of the infinite to the finite, would in such case, have been by divine, not by human authority. But there is no such scriptural proof or averment. As then, the Bible has left us free to believe that the Alpha, revealed in flesh, had constitutional capacity to suffer and to die the death of expiation in both his united natures, and as he himself has assured us, if we will but receive his gracious words in their own natural, obvious, and ineffable import, that he did thus suffer and die, where is the theo<)ry, of earth, though crowned with the venerable frost of centuries, that will perseveringly continue to impeach the official proclamation of the incarnate, the suffering, the dying, the risen, the everliving God !
Let not offended reason then, cavil at our application of the term death, to the whole incarnate Alpha. In such application we but reiterate the unambiguous declaration of the First and the Last. The scriptural import of the startling term, when applied to the ethereal essence of the God clothed in humanity, will, in the progress of the ensuing chapter, become the theme of reverential and more ample inquiry. It will there, and elsewhere in our humble essay, clearly appear that the term, when predicated in Scripture of the deathless essence of the second person in the Trinity, has a meaning infinitely more lofty and profound than its ordinary secular signification.
THE great apostle to the Gentiles declared, AWhen we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.@"C-Romans, 5v. 10. The two following passages are found in one of the epistles of the beloved disciple: A Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us.@"C-l John, 3iii. 16. A In this was manifested the love of God towards us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.@"C-l John, 4iv. 9, 10. We have presented these two passages from 1 John in the order in which they stand in the epistle, but shall, nevertheless, consider the last first.
Who was the Apropitiation for our sins?@" He, was the Aonly begotten Son@" of the Father ; he was the Son, whom the Father A sent@" A into the world.@" It was not the human son of the Virgin. That, terrestrial sonC-that son by adoptionC-was not the A@only begotten Son@" of the Father. Nor was he begotten of the Father at all; the conception of the Virgin was by the power of the Holy Ghost.C-Luke, 1i. 35. The human son of Mary was not A sent@" A into the world ;@" it was in the world that he was created Aand born. A AThe propitiation for our sins,@" then, was no less a being than the second person of the Trinity.
How did the second person of the Trinity become Athe propitiation for our sins ?@" The beloved disciple himself informs us, in the first of the passages transcribed from his epistle. The second person of the Trinity became Athe propitiation for our sins@" when, clothed in flesh, Ahe laid down his life for us.@" The term Adeath,@" in the passage from Romans, means the same as the terms A,he laid down his@ life for us,@" in the passage from I John. In both passages the Sufferer is the same, though he is called AGod@" in one of the passages, and Ahis Son@" in the other. Each passage plainly points to the second person of the Trinity, and each passage virtually declares that, made incarnate, he died for our redemption. Of the same import is the following passage: A,And the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faithli of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.@"C- Galatians, 2ii. 20. The terms A"and gave himself for me@" are synonymous with the term Adeath@" and the terms Ahe laid down his life for us,@" found in the preceding passages. Nor is the following passage of less decisive bearing: A Who, being the brightness of his@" (God=s@s) A glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high.@"C-Hebrews, 1i. 3. We learn elsewhere in Scripture that the purging of our sins was effected by the blood of God.C-Acts, 20xx. 28.
A passage that we have already partly transcribed in another connexion is too important in its influence on the present point to be omitted here. A Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but emptied himself, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.@"C-Philippians, 2ii. 5-12. The reader will perceive that we have restored to this passage the terms A emptied himself,@" unjustly subtracted by the translators. Who was it that, A being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God?@" It was certainly the second person of the Trinity. Who was it that A emptied himself" of the glory and beatitude of his Godhead? Beyond peradventure, the second person of the Trinity. Who was it that A"took
upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men?@" Verily, the second person of the Trinity. Who was it that A,humbled himself?@" Not the lowly son of the lowly Virgin. No earth-born creature would have A,humbled himself@" by an everlasting alliance with his own kindred, in-dwelling God, to be consummated with a seat at the right hand of the Highest. Who was it that Abecame obedient unto death, even the death of the cross?@" With no less certainty, it was still the second person of the Trinity. In each stage of the mighty action the second person of the Sacred Three was, in his own ethereal essence, the paramount Actor. He was as much the paramount Actor in the article of death as he was the paramount Actor in the article of incarnation. That theory which, down to the dying scene, would leave the God the Actor, and, at that trying moment, suddenly withdraw the God, and substitute the man alone, is surely Aof the earth, earthy.@"
The great mediatorial death is called in Scripture Athe death of the cross,@"C-not that the divine essence, or even Christ=s@s human soul, absorbed as it was in its overpowering reflections, felt the wood or the irons of the flesh-torturing tree. Material wood and iron have not power over the rapt spirit. If the expiatory death was but the Adeath of the cross@" in the literal import of the words, then bodily pain was the sole price of redemption. Such literal construction would exclude Christ=@s spiritual agonies, divine and human, not caused byi-iot caused by wood or irons, and yet constituting the infinite element in the atoning sacrifice. The terms A" the death of the cross,@" when applied by the Holy Ghost to the passion of the incarnate Deity, swell beyond their lexicographic meaning as far as the Adistance from the manger cradle to the eternal throne. The lowly terms, when thus infinitely ex-
panded, represent not only the pains, corporeal and mental, of Mary=s@s human son, but the descent, and incarnation, and self-immolation of Him who said ALet there be light, and there was light.@"
To evade the seemingly resistless force of the passage from Philippians, it has been contended that the exaltation of Christ, announced towards the end of the passage, was but the exaltation of his manhood alone; and that, as his divinity shared not in the exaltation, so his divinity participated not in the antecedent suffering. The celebrated com-
mentator Whitby affirms that this was the doctrine of the fathers.* The school of Athanasius were wise in thus attempting to maintain their co-onsis-
tency. The component parts of their system would have been in chaotic hostility with each other, if, while they maintained that the humanity of Christ alone suffered, they had allowed that both his natures were the recipients of his exaltation. The exaltation was the reward of the suffering. The suffering and its reward were inseparable. The affirmation that the divinity of Christ shared in the exaltation would have drawn after it the aft-
firmationii that the divinity of Christ must have participated in the suffering. The doctrine that it was the man, and not the God, who was exalted, would appear, therefore, to be a necessary element of the prevalent theory.
* Whitby=ls Notes on Philippians, 2ii. 9.
136 EXALTATION OF CTIRIST.
wood or irons, and yet constituting the infinite ele-
ment in the atoning sacrifice. The terms " the death of the cross," when applied by the Holy Ghost to the passion of the incarnate Deity, swell beyond their lexicographic meaning as far as the Adistance from the manger cradle to the eternal throne. The lowly terms, when thus infinitely ex-
panded, represent not only the pains, corporeal and mental, of Mary@s human son, but the descent, and incarnation, and self-immolation of Him who said Let there be light, and there was light."
To evade the seemingly resistless force of the passage from Philippians, it has been contended that the exaltation of Christ, announced towards the end of the passage, was but the exaltation of his manhood alone; and that, as his divinity shared not in the exaltation, so his divinity participated not in the antecedent suffering. The celebrated com-
mentator Whitby affirms that this was the doctrine of the fathers.* The school of Athanasius were wise in thus attempting to maintain their o-onsis-
tency. The component parts of their system would have been in chaotic hostility with each other, if, while they maintained that the humanity of Christ alone suffered, they had allowed that both his natures were the recipients of his exaltation. The exaltation was the reward of the suffering. The suffering and its reward were inseparable. The affirmation that the divinity of Christ shared in the exaltation would have drawn after it the at-
firmatioii that the divinity of Christ must have
* Whitbyls Notes on Philippians, ii. 9. EXALTATION OF CIIRIST. 137
participated in the suffering. The doctrine that it was the man, and @ not the God, who was exalted, would appear, therefore, to be a necessary element of the prevalent theory.
Yet this doctrine is not taught by the Bible. The very passage from Philippians announced that the subject of the exaltation was Christ Jesus; that the name at which every knee was to bow was the name of Jesus. Christ Jesus and Jesus are here synonymes, designating the same august Being. That august Being united the God and the man. The exaltation of Christ Jesus was the exaltation of both his natures. The exaltation of his man-
hood alone would have implied a severance of na-
tures, made one and indivisible for eternity. The name at which every knee should bow compre-
hended the God. To the in-dwelling God belonged the infinite share of the homage of the universe. If the man could have been severed from the God, the man could not have been the object of heaven=s@s worship. The cherubim and the seraphim would not have been taught to bow the knee to him. A Worshi@p God@" is engraved on the pillars, and the walls, and the very pavements of heaven. It was the in-dwelling God that was to gather the bending knees around the name of Jesus.
Let it not be said that the Creator of the worlds already stood at the very pinnacle of exaltation, and therefore lacked capacity to be exalted farther. This imputed incapacity of God the Son to be ex-
alted is german to his alleged incapacity to suffer. Both incapacities are the creations of theoretic 12*138 r.XALrATION OF TRINITY.
man. They pertain not to his divinity. That ear-
nest prayer by the second person of the Trinity while incarnate on earth, A"And now, 0 Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was,@" breathed forth its aspirations after that very exalta-
tion with which he was greeted on his return to his native heavens.C-John, 17xvii. 5.
The imagination that the persons of the God-
head could not have been exalted by the consum-
mation of the work of redemption, is but the mi-
croscopic view of human reason. The whole God-
head were ineffably exalted. The Son was exalted. The Holy Ghost was exalted. The ]Father was exalted. The very passage from Philippians an-
nounced that the confession of every tongue to the supremacy of Jesus Christ should be A to the glory of God the Father.@" A Glory to God in the high-
est,@" was the opening of the anthem of praise by the choir of angels who had descended on the plains of Bethlehem to celebrate the birth of the infant Messiah.C-Luke, 2ii. 14. A,Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for-
ever,@" was the A"new song@" of heaven to mag-
nify the riches of redeeming love.C-Revelation, 5v. 9, 13.
On the triumphal return of the second person of. the Trinity from his terrestrial pilgrimage, a new name was given him. He had borne in heaven the name of the Son. He had received on earth the appellation of the Christ. On his ascension, he was
NAME ABOVE EVERY NAME. 139
greeted at the gates of paradise as THE SAVIOURlt OF THE WORLD. This was doubtless the A name which is above every name.@" The appellation of Creator he had acquired by the word of his power. This new name was consecrated in the baptism of his blood. At this name, every knee in heaven de-
lights to bow. At this name, every knee in hell shall be constrained to bow. At this name, it is passing strange that every knee on the redeemed earth does not joyously bow!
But it is time that we should return from this un-
avoidable digression to the scriptural representa-
tion of the death of the uncreated Son. In this connexion, the following passage must not be omit-
ted: A Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.@"C-Matthew, 20xx. 28. Who was the Son of man? He himself tells us in an-
other of his evangelists, A,And no man hath as-
cended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.@" C-John, 3iii. 13. This was the Son of man, who gave A his life a ransom for many.@" What life did he give as the priceless A,ransom ?@" He gave that life A Awhich came down from heaven.@" He gave that life which fills immensity. He gave that life which lived at once in heaven and on the earth. If farther scriptural proof is needed that the second perilson of the Trinity made incarnate, died A to be the propitiation for our siniis,@" we in-
voke once more his own sublime proclamation to his beloved disciple 140at Patmos, A I am he that liv
eth, and was dead;-. and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen.@"C-Revelation, 1i. 18.
It is, then, a recorded Bible representation, that the second person of the Trinity, clothed in flesh, died for our redemption. This representation, in every jot and tittle of its solemn import, must for-
ever stand, though A heaven and earth pass away.@" That it is mysterious, and beyond the comprehen-
sion of human reason, is no ground for its rejection. If human reason can, at its discretion, discard every truth it does not understand, it might, by the word of its power, convert the universe into an infinite blank; for reasoning pride cannot compre-
hend even itself. It is enough that the death of the second person of the Trinity, to save our sink-
ing world, is registered in the Word of God. From its sacred repository it must not be plucked by ruthless force ; nor must it be extracted by the chemical process of artificial interpretation.
How are we to understand the declarations of Scripture, that the second, the incarnate person of the Trinity died for our redemption ? Human reason has its ready response. The prevalent the-
ory would boldly affirm that he died in no other sense than by the severance of the material and immaterial parts of his manhood; that it was the redeeming man who was A wounded for our trans-
gressions,@" and with whose A stripes we are healed;@" that the redeeming God remained wrapped ,in the mantle of his impassibility ; that he continued as blessed on earth as he had ever been in heaven; that his infinite beatitude was as perfect in the
BIBLE NOT ILLUSORY. 141
most trying scene of the work of redemption as it had been in the crowning scene of the work of creation.
With profound respect, yet with propounder solemnity, must we enter our humble protest against a theory which would impute to the reiterated declarations of the Word of God an illusory meaning. The Bible could no more equivocate than its divine Author could swerve from the truth. It is the very soul of ingenuous frankness. It has no covert meanings; no deceptive reservations. When it declared that the incarnate person of the Trinity had died, it intended what was fully equivalent to all that its words import; it meant not that he died by fiA Action of law; -it meant not that he died at e le in th e covering of his manhood alone; it meant not that he died merely in the death of that terrestrial worm which he had condescendingly taken into holy alliance with himself. The scriptural declarations of the death of the second person of the Trinity had a meaning real as the truth of God, high as heaven, deep as the foundations of the everlasting throne. They intended that hiMs eternal essence, clothed in flesh, participated in the dying agonies which wrought salvation.
IIn this vital point, it is important that we should not be misunderstood. We will endeavour to define the position assumed by our argument so far as our finite and very limited capacity can grasp the mysteriousness and infinitude of the awful sub-
ject. It would be equally opposed to our head and to our heart to affirm that the Bible, in predi142 ETERNAL SON NEVER CEASED TO BE.
ceating death of the uncreated Son of God, intended to intimate that there has ever been a moment, in the flight of eternal ages, when the seconi-id person of the Trinity ceased to be. According to Scrip-
ture, the death of a spirit causes no cessation of its vitality. The ethereal vigour even of the human soul is not palsied by the cold touch of physical, nor is it to be coniasumed by the fervent heat of spiritual death. When the second person of ,the
Trinity A laid down his life for us@" as as @ll tl* i"-
Athe Apropitiar9 tion for our sins,@" he was as much the@ ever-livIting God as when he breathed the breath of life into the nostrils of our primeval ancestor.
The second person of the Trinity atoned, by suffering in his ethereal essence, for the sins of the world. He suffered, perhaps, as much as the re-
deemed would, but for him, have aggregately suf-
fered through an endless eternity. His expiatory agonies were, doubtless, beyond the conception of mortal man; probably beyond the comprehension of the highest archangel. TArhey could not be bodied forth, with distinctness, in words to be found in any human vocabulary, nor, probably, in the vocabulary of heaven; yet spiritual things, in-
expressible and incomprehensible, are often ob-
scurely unveiled to the imagination of man by the revelation of God. So it is with the secrets of A"that undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveller returns.@" So it is with the propounder secrets of that pavilion of wo, where He who in-
spired Isaiah=s@s harp A was wounded for our trans-
gressions@" and A bruised for our iniquities.@" Mind-
DEATH OF SON MEANT SUFFERING. 143
ful of the imperfections of human speech, and the dimness of human conception, the Bible, to impar;?,rt to redeemed creatures some twilight glimpses of@ the redeeming agonies of their Creator, has selected the most potent term known to the dwellers upon the earth; a term appalling to the imagination and affecting to the heart; a term rendered more ex-
pressiv,e and impressive by its very obscurity and incomprehensiveness. That term is death ! the vague, shadowy, and awful name of the king of terrors.
The Holy Ghost, who knows all things, well knew that this mighty term, and its no less mighty synonymes, were more calculated to intimate to mortal apprehension the viewless, nameless, inconceivable sufferings of the Reii-
deemer of the world, than any other terms which humanman ears could hear and live. The name of the king of terrors must have been selected, not only for its transcendent potency, but for the affinity between the spiritual or second death which awaited the redeemed and the vicarious agonies borne for them by their ,great Redeemer. -Eternal, death awaited them. tl- -Death was the name of the penalty of their transgressrAnse4ions. Their Redeemer took on himself the penalty. The name wen@t along with it, as the shadow follows
the substance. The term, death or either of its
synonymes, then, when applied4-, iin Scripture to the
second person of the Trintity, @mea4nt not to intimate
the cessation of his existence, even for a moment.
It mfbeant to shadow forth to the imagination, and impress on the heart, the image of those vicarious 144 ATONING DEATH BFGUN NOT ON CROSS.
sufferings, equivalent, in the estimate of sovereign grace, to the eternal death of the redeemed, which the uncreated Son endured for their redemption.
The Bible has given a mysterious prominence to the death of Christ, representing it as the vital element of the mediatorial sacrifice. We have seen that the blood of Christ, according to its scriptural import, means the totality of the merits of his expiatory sufferings. The body of @Christ has the same comprehensiveness of signi4@fication. When, at his sacramental -supper, our Lord dis-
tributed among his disciples the symbolical bread and wine, and called them his body and his blood, they typified and represented, not merely his phys-
ical body and blood, but the whole infinitude of his mediatorial merits. The death of Christ, in its scriptural import, has the same vast amplitude of signification. It was not confined to his - expi-
ration on the cross. The media-heine4@torial death, which wrought the salvation @of t,ihe@ world4, began when; the second person of the Trinity Aemptied himself@" of the glory and beatitude of his Godhead. It descended with him to the manger of Bethle-
hemern. - It followed him to the workshop of Joseph. It clung with a vulture=s@s grasp to the bosom of the houseless God, through his terrestrial pilgrimage. It included the totality of his expiatory humiliation and sufferings. Calvary witnessed its ceonsumma-
tion, not its inception.
To limit the redeeming death of the Bible to the visible expiration between the two thieves I would, by narrowing the extent and depreciating the value ATONING DEATH: WHAT. 145
of the atoning offering, lower the awful standard of divine justice, and thus dim one of the brightest gems of the celestial diadem. Terrible indeed was the consummation of the atoning death. It was the outpouring of the full cup of God=s@s wrath. Awful beyond what creatures on earth, or, prob-
ably, creatures in heaven, can express or conceive, was the concluding scene of the expiatory tragedy. We would not underrate its transcendent value. Without it, not a soul could have been saved. Without it, the smoke of the torment of the re-
deemed must have ascended up forever and ever. The tremendous consummation on Calvary, how-
ever, consisted not chiefly in the physical death of Christ.L AThat was but its finite element. His physical deathl7. was@ but the demolition of A"the temple @of his body,@ "A that- it might be reared again more gloriously on the third day. The astonished centurion apprehended not that secret, yet almighty cause which darkened the sun, rent the rocks, and convulsed the earth.
But the viewless recess, in which were -consum-
mated, the sufferings of the Prince of life in his ethereal essence, witnessed throes and spasms sufficientsuf-
ficienf to have dissolved the material universe, had it not been upheld by the power-.bev
@,@4@@by the power of its agonized
Creator@. The rre6, where,@e the sword of the ,.Lord of
I-. Hlosts inflicted on Godaod the Son A the chastisementchastisement of our peace,@" was the scene of that concentration and sublimation of unearthly agonies which Inspi-
ration could but faintly intimate to our mental 146 ATONING DEATH: WHAT.
vision even byv the vague, and shadowy, and appal-
ling figure of the king of terrors.
That the term death, when applied to represent the expiatory sufferings, was satisfied by the phys-
ical expiration on Calvary, is a theory opposed to the letter and spirit of Scripture. There were sufferings behind the veil which shut out mortal vision, unseen and nameless. Those sufferings formed the true consummation of the mediatorial death of the Bible. Of that death of deaths; the visible extinction of l,,Iife on Calvary was but the shadow. The physical expiration on Calvary was the death of the redeeming man. The expiatory sufferings of the redeeming God, included, too, under the awful name of the king of terrors, and constituting the infinite portion of the redeeming sacrifice, were viewlessC-unseen by mortals, per-
haps seen only by the Sacred Three. , . The @strong, yet seemingly unsatisfied desire of angels to look@A into them intimates that they were not open, palpa ble, and familiarx to the angelic vision.a;
There is a physical death, and there is a spir-
itual death, sometimes called, in Scripture-, the se-
cond death. There is a death for mortals to die, and a death of which immortals are capable of dying. When Christ said, A If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death;@" and again, when he sabid, AAnd whosoever liveth, and believeth in me, shall never die;@ he did not -mean to exempt
from physical death him who beliem e-ved in - iri him and kept his saying,C John, 8viii, 51xi; 11.. 26. @@He left physical death as he found it, the common inheritance of humanity. It was from spiritual death only that our Lord promised to protect those who yielded him their belief and their obedience. When Paul declared that Christ had A"abolished death,@" he spoke only of the death of the redeemed soul.C-2 Timothy, 1i. 10.
It was, then, to save us, not from physical, but from spiritual death; not from the death of time, but from the death of eternity, that the second person of the Trinity, clothed in flesh, A laid down his life.@" All the redeemed of every nation, and clime, and age, were destined to the relentless grasp of this undying death. They owed it an amount which human arithmetic has not powers to compute. Payment to the uttermost farthing in the sufferings of the transgressorsC-sufferings as ceaseless as the flow of eternityC-was to be exacted. Then appeared, as their Redeemer, the second person of the glorious Trinity, clothed in the weeds of humanity. He came not to cancel or to mi-nitigate their debts without rendering what the eternal Father might deem a full equivalent; for that would have been to make infinite justice weakly break its sword. His mediatorial mission had for its object the substitution of his sufferings for theirs. For their spiritual death was interposed what the Bible calls his own death. His sufferings had the same awful name which would have attached to their sufferings. Nothing short of this infinite sacrifice could have satisfied the high, and inflexible requisitions of infinite justice. The redeeming equivalent was death for death; the death of the God for the undying death of his redeemed.
This was what was meant by the Holy Ghost, speaking by the tongue of his rapt apostle, when he said A that he@" (Jesus), A by the grace of God, should taste of death for every man.@"C-Hebrews, 2ii. 9. It was not the taste of physical death that was intended. Every man had drunk, or was to drink, of that bitter draught for himself. From the general doom pronounced on our first parents and their descendants, A Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return,@" the flight of six thousand years has afforded but two exceptions.OD.S. Of physical death, the terrestrial son of Mary, from the laws of his human nature, must have tasted for himself in his own person, unless he had, like Enoch and Elijah, been miraculously translated. The redeeming death, then, to be tasted, was not physical death, but an equivalent for the undying deat@h to which the redeemed themselves stood exposed.
What composed the cup of suffering, in Scripture denominated death, of which the eternal Son, clothed in flesh, tasted for every man, we know not distinctly, except that it was filled to its very brim with the wrath of almighty God against sin. The human son of the Virgin could no more, at least within the brief space of mortal life, have drank this cup than he could have quaffed an ocean of liquid fire. But the second person of the Trinity, in the omnipotence of hiMs might and the infinitude of his pitying grace, drained it, as the substitute of sinners, to its very dregs. It was a real, not a fictitious or seeming draining of the cup of divine wrath by the redeeming Son. No wonder that, at the unimaginable agonies of its Creator, the sun hid its face in darkness; that the rocks were rent asunder; that the earth shook to its foundations; that the repose of the dead was disturbed. This, doubtless, was the mystery of mysteriesC-new and A"strange@" in the history of the universeC-which riveted the holy curiosity of heavenC.-into which A"the angels desired to look.@" C-1 Peter, 1. 12.
As the prevalent theory claims for one of its strong-holds the second chapter of Hebrews, we propose to review, somewhat in detail, the leading truths of that important chapter, so far as they bear on the question at issue. Whether their bearing favours or impugns the prevalent theory, our impartial readers will judge for themselves.
The second chapter of Hebrews contains the declaration, that the incarnate God tasted death for every man. Was the tasting of death the act of his mere humanity, or the concurrent act of both his united natures ? The question is vital to our discussion. We suppose that this inspired chapter, while it shows that the manhood of Christ suffered aiand died, evinces also that his divinity participated in his suffering and death. It seems utterly to exclude the hypothesis that his divinity was shrouded in impassibility. The ninth verse reads thus; A But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.@" The tenth verse reads thus; A,For it became Him for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.@" The mighty Being represented as AHim for whom are all things, and by whom are all thiffings,@ is un-
questionably the infinite Father.
The Taster of death for every man, in the ninth verse, is, in the tenth verse, styled the Captain of our salvation. The Taster of death and the Cap-
tain of our salvation are, therefore, identically one and the same. Who, then, was the Captain of our salvation ? Certainly the second person of the Trinity clothed in flesh. The human son of the Virgin was not the Captain; he was but the subal-
ternm in the work of redemption.. To s:'uppose that the august personage of these passages tasted death in his human nature merely, and was the Captain of our salvation, not only in his human nature, but also in his divine, is a gratuitous as-
sumption. The concurrence of both his natures was equally necessary in each of the departments. The assumption is worse than gratuitous; it is a fatal blow to the simplicity, the directness, the ingenuousness, the harmony of these two sister verses of Sacred Writ.
The Captain of ourt salvation was made A"perfect through sufferings.@ @The expressions last quoted were doubtless applied to the humanity of Christ. They were also applied to his divinity. As God, he was, indeed, infinitely perfect ere the worlds were formed. To pe@rfect him, however, for his 152 SON PERFECTED TIIROUGII SUFFERING.
new office of Mediator between God and man, it was, in the conclave of eternal wisdom, deemed fitting that the farther qualifications of incarnation and suffering should be superadded to the original infinitude of his perfections. Does any one cavil at the thought of making perfection more perfect! Let the skeptic, then, look at the incarnation, that schoolmaster from heaven, of whom reasoning -
pride should silently learn to wonder and adore. Even finite intelligence can perceive the aptitude of suffering, as well as of incarnation, to make per-
fect the divine Captain of our salvation. It was the suffering of the God which gave infinite value to his expiatory offering. It was by his own suffering that he best learned how to sympathize with suffering humanity. It was by his divine suffering that he taught the wondering hierarchies of heaven and the despairing princedoms of hell that he had become the Captain of our salvation, not in name only, but also in endurance; that his suffering and tasting of death were not figures of speech, but solemn realities.
In the sixteenth verse, it is said of the Taster of death for every man, called, too, the Captain of our salvation, that Ahe took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abra-
hbam.@ That the Taker on him of the seed of Abraham was the God, about to be made man, is beyond peradventuiare. HIle had been pre-existent,; hbe took on him the seed of Abraham of his own free choice. He might, had he so elected, have taken on him the nature of angels. While our op SECOND CHAPTER OF IIE13REWS. 153
ponents will doubtless admit that it was the God who took on him the seed of Abraham, and that it was the God-man who became the Captain of our salvation, except in the article of suffering, they will steadfastly affirm that, in the article of suffer-
ing and the tasting of death, the actor was not the Creator, but the creature. The intelligent reader cannot but perceive how subversive this theory is of the symmetry of the whole chapter. Nor must he undervalue this startling fact. Not only every chapter, but the entire volume of the Word of God, must needs be symmetrical. From its common and divine origin, each of its diversified parts must, of necessity, harmonize with the whole. Such are the laws of the material creations of God. Such, especially, must be the law of the moral creation, revealed in his own Holy Word, indited by ,his own Holy Spirit. No lawless comet wanders in that system of grace. The theory, then, which, to be sustained, must bring sacred texts into collision with each other, or with other sacred texts, cannot have come down from above.
To evince more clearly the discrepancy infused by the prevalent theory into the second chapter of Hebrews, let us, for a moment, review its three prominent truths, in the reverse order to that in which theyv are recorded. Its three prominent truths arie the assumption of the seed of Abraham, the captainship of our salvation, and the suffering and tasting of death. In the assumption of the seed of Abraham, the God was the Actor. The man was pRassive; he was only the recipient. It 154 SECOND CHAPTER OP HEBREWS.
was the incarnation of the God. The God Amanifest in the flesh@" became the Captain of our salvation; and here manhood began to act its humble partC-the part of a secondary planet to the central sun, round which it is revolved. To the captainship of our salvation, suffering and death, of necessity, pertained. They were the chief purposes of the creation of the official character. It A behooved@" the Captain of our salvation to suffer. Luke, 24xxiv. 46. To suffer and to die was the object for which the living God became the incarnate Captain of our salvation. The Captain of our salvation was to suffer and die in all the elements which constitute his being. He was to suffer in both his natures. He was to die the death of a mortal ; he was to die the death of an immortal. If he did not suffer and die in all the elements which formed his united being and constituted his identity, then the Captain of our salvation was never made A"perfect through sufferings.@" The central sun would not be extinguished, or moved from its sphere by the mere dissolution or derangement of its attendant planet.
On the prevalent theory, the Bible was mistaken in its asseveration that the Captain of our salvation suffered. The Bible supposed that the lightning of infinite wrath had pierced him through and through. The Bible was deceived; it was but the rent of his outer garmrment. The Captain of our salvation, in the paramount -and infiniteinfinfte element of his united being, passed scathless through the fiery deluge. It was only his subaltern, niaot himself, who suffered and tasted of death. The divine Captain remained cased in impassibility. If this be true, then He, who is the most disinterested of beings, would not have arrogated, or permitted his inspired disciples to arrogate for hiMmself, the honours hard earned by the suffering and death of his devoted subaltern. In the scriptural proclamations of the struggles and triumphs of redeeming love, it would somewhere have been announced, or, at least, intimated, that it was the self-sacrificed subaltern alone who, by his suffering and death, paid the price of the world=s@s redemption.
The second chapter of Hebrews came from the pen of its inspired writer a blessed family of harmonious truths. By the touch of the prevalent theory, its beautiful symmetry is marred. Its sacred sisters are made to use sacred words with double import, having a seeming and covert signification. This is not the ingenuous manner in which Divine Truth has been wont to deal with the children of men. In its application of the same, or the like terms, to the same identical subject, in the same holy chapter, it is a stranger to misleading duplicity of meaning.
The fourteenth verse is, as follows: A Forasmuch, then, as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; -that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.@" He who, with A" the children,@ "himself likewise took part of flesh and blood@, was the second person of the glorious Trinity. The human@ son of the Virgin took not part of flesh and blood by voluntary agency. He was the passive recipient. That the second person of the Trinity assumed not incarnation from any lack of capacity to suffer in his ethereal essence, if such had been hiMs holy will, has already appeared. But it was deemed fitting in the conclave of the Godhead that its second glo
rious person should accomplish his expiatory sacri
fice, clothed in the fallen nature whose redemption he had assumed. Though he might have suffered of his own free volition without incarnation, yet he needed incarnation for suffering in the peculiar mode devised by infinite wisdom. The early pre
diction that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent=s@s head must have passed away unae
complished, unless the redeeming God had assumed the woman=s@s nature. A Forasmuch, then, as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same.@" And A a body@" was prepared for the descending Deity. Hebrews, 10x. 5. To the reasons which might have induced him to select the garb of humanity as hiMs suffering costume, we shall most reverentially return in a subsequent chapter.
It was Athrough death@" that the Son of God destroyed Ahim that - had the power of death.@" What then was this@ conquering death, through which the A power of darkness@" was subdued, and a world redeemed? The inquiry touches the very core of our argument. It has mo@re than once been the subject of allusion in the progress of this, and the preceding chapters; its paramont importance seems to justify its expansion in the present connection. What then constituted the conquering death thus announced by the great apostle as the very pivot of salvation? Whitby, the distinguished commentator, limits it to the corporeal sufferings of our Lord. That we may not be thought to libel this learned adherent of the prevalent theory, we give his own words, recorded in his note to the thirty-eighth verse of the twenty-sixth chapter of St. Matthew. His concluding remarks on that passage are as follows:C
Against such degoradation of that atoning sacrifice for which the Creator of the worlds left his celestial throne, we enter our respectful, yet solemn remonstrance. And in this remonstrance we are conscious that the general heart of Christendom, if left free from theq shackles of theory, would join, as it were by acclamation. Nor was it mere physical decease which constituted the conquering death announced by the apostle. Sufferings from physical decease consist in the pangs attending. the rupture between the dying body and its sis@ter spirit. Neither the agonies of his ethereal essence, nor the preternatural pains of his human soul, flowing directly from the hand of its heavenly Father, formed an integral part of Christ=s physical death. Of that death the cross was the all-sufficient cause; in their sure work, its wood and its irons needed no unearthly aid. Had Christ died a mere physical death, his expiatory suffering would not have surpassed that of the penitent thief at his side. It was not the laying down of physical life, and that for three days only, which procured the salvation of the world.
Of the great conquering death, the anguish of physical decease was only the covering pall. The life-giving death reigned within. Into its composition went, no doubt, the preternatural suffering of Christ=s@s human soul : its efficacious, its absorbing, its infinite element was, however, the world redeeming agony of his ethereal substance. It derived the name of death from no uninspired vocabulary. Human lore would have deemed incongruous the application of the name to those supernatural throes and spasms which filled to overflowing the undying spirituality, ino, the undying spirituality, divine and human, of c
the incarnate God, but which formed not constituents in the process of his mere phyvsical decease. And in the dictionaries of secular learning the name would have been held just as inapplicable to the unearthly pangs of his mortal soul, as to the ineffable agonies of his ethereal essence..
But the Bible has imparted to the term death, a meaning unknown to the dictioina4ries of secular lore. In scriptural phraseology it of)ten, indeed, denotes physical decease; perhaps oftener the undying misery of the undestructible spirit. Physical death entered not Eden ; no inanimate and cold and decaying cCorse was seen in its bowers. Yet the denunciation, AIn the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,@" came to the ecars of our primeval ancestor from the lips of immutable Truth.C-Genesis, 2ii. 17. Nevertheless of
Still physical death appeared not in the garden of the Lord. The culprit, though driven from paradise, was allowed centuries of corporeal health after the A mortal taste.@" Yet the prediction was surely accomplished on the ve-ry day of the transgression. The denunciation, then, must have contemplated, not physical death, but cessation of moral vitality. Simultaneously with the transgression, the offender became A14 dead in trespasses and sins.@"C-Ephesians, 2ii. 1.
This was the first announcement of death in the Sacred Oracles; the last scriptural appearance of the name is in the eighth verse of the twenty-first chapter of Revelation. There it imports the A second death,@" of which the ruined and deathless soul is doubtless to be the chief recipient. It denotes the fearful consummation of that moral catastrophe which had its -inception when the sin-poisoned souls of the primeval pair died in the terrestrial paradise. So that, upon its first and last occurrence in Holy Writ, the name, instead of being 160 THE CONQUERING DEATH.
used in its secular import, had but a secondary reference to physical decease. And in the intermediate pages of the Sacred Volume, the death of the deathless spirit, as well as physical death, is habitually included under the name of the king of terrors.
In the vocabulary of the Bible death means penal su offering, corporeal and incorporeal, temporal and eternal. It is the appropriate scriptural name of penal suffering in all its infinite variety of modification. It shadows forth the penal suffering of lost souls, and, as we believe, of fallen angels. Once, in the history of the universe, has penal suffering devolved on spotless purity. To express the penal suffering borne by the Son of God, no new name was introduced into scriptural diction; none could have been formi-ned from the elements of human speech; none would have been intelligible to A ears .of flesh and blood.@" The ancient appellation of the king of terrors mysteriously expanded in its latent import for the tremendous exigency, was employed by Inspiration, dimly to intimate the whole penal suffering of the sinless Victim, corporeal and incorporeal, human and divine, vicariously endured for the sins of the redeemed.
It was in this majestic sense of the mighty term, that the apostle, overflowing with the Holy Ghost, declared that the great Captain of our salvation A through death destroyed him that had the power of death.@" This was indeed the conquering death of the@ Bible. This was the death of deaths, of which none but an incarnate God could die, compounded of the natural dissolution wrought by the wood and nails of the cross, and especially of those spiritual sufferings unknown to physical decease, which the holy Substitute for sin sustained in his divine as well as human nature, from the outpouring of the terrible cup of almighty wrath.
This development illustrates more forcibly the truth stated in our last chapter, that the conquering death of the Bible was not limited to the brief space of expiration between the two thieves. Consisting, as it did, of penal sufferings vicariously borne, it commenced with their commencement, and ended not until their termination. The redeeming God began to die, in the scriptural sense of the term, when he left the right hand of his Father; for then began his penal sufferings. He continued dying until the close of the tragedy of redemption; for then, and not till then, were A finished@" his penal sufferings. The brief death-struggle of mortals may occupy an hour or a day: the protracted death-agonies of the redeeming God filled almost one-third of what earth calls a century; progressing in intenseness from the hour of his humiliation until their tremendous consummation on Calvary.
That the length and breadth and height and depth of the conquering death were but dimly perceptible to carnal vision, was in strict accordance with the scriptural manifestations of the God revealed in flesh. Almost from the first to the last of his terrestrial humiliation, the self A"emptied@" Deity was closely veiled under the weeds of humanity. The manger of Bethlehem disclosed but the birth of an humble babe; the cross of Calvary displayed but the expiration of an obscure and forsaken mortal. Yet nature could not always withhold her significant indications of a present God. The moving star pointed to Divinity just born into the flesh; the darkened sun, the rent rocks, the shuddering earth, fearfully betokened their suffering, writhing, dying Creator.
It was a merciful provision in the economy of redeeming grace that the great Deliverer, when descending to our world on his benign errand, should have concealed his ineffable glory under the mantle of manhood. Had he appeared as he appeared at Sinai, who on earth could have endured his presence! Even Moses could not behold him face to face and live. Well was it for the oriental sages who came, heaven directed, to the mangerCwell was it for the apostolic band-well was it for the little children folded in the arms of the benignant Jesus-well was it for the beloved disciple leaning on the bosom of his Master-well was it for the mother of Bethlehem=s@s babe when nursing the young Incarnate, or hoverini-ig around his cross for one last lingering look-that humanity had kindly interposed its protecting veil betwixt them and the consuming effulgence of -their redeeming God.
The last verse of the second chapter of Hebrews reads thus: AFor in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to -succour them that are tempted.@" This was do4oubtless applied to the man Christ Jesus. It was also applied to the God Christ Jesus. That the whole incarnate God was for a moment A tempted@ " to pause in his mediatorial career by the near approach of his viewless, inexpressible, unimaginable sufferings, let the amazement, and agony, and bloody sweat, and piercing cries, and vehement supplications of Gethsemane bear witness. His peculiar aptitude, acquired from his own personal experience, to be. come the efficient and divine succourer of tempted suffering, in every place and in every age, has been tested by the lapse of eighteen centuries. Does any unbelieving Thomas doubt the infinitude of this consoling truth? Let him look back to the A tempted,@" yet triumphant martyrdoms of the early Church. Let him trace the modern footsteps of the A"tempted,@" yet patient and enduring missionary of the cross, on the pestilential and burninzig sands of Africa=s@s physical and moral desert. Let him strengthen his morbid faith by com.. muning with the voices that come up from the islands of the farthest seas.
It is objected that the Deity cannot be tempted; and that, therefore, the temptations of Christ mustrnust be referred exclusively to his manhood. Proof that his divinity was tempted, is not necessary to the maintenance of our system. Temptation and suffering were subject to his own volition; and the God might have elected to endure suffering, and yet not have submitted himself to temptation. We believe, nevertheless, that Inspiration has applied temptation, as well as suffering, to both natures of Christ.
Temptation was predicated of Jehovah ages before the holy incarnation. Take the following samples from the Old Testament. A, And Moses said unto them, why chide ye with me? Wherefore cdlo ye tempt the Lord?@"C-Exodus, 17xvii. 2. A,And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the Lord.@"C-Exodus, 17.xvii. 7. A Because all those men which have seen my glory and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, have tempted me now these ten times.@"C-Numbers, 14xiv. 22. AY Ye shall not tempt the Lord your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.@" C-Deuteronomy, 6vi. 16. A And they tempted God in their heart.@"C-Psalms, 78lxxviii. 18. A Yet they tempted and provoked the Most High God.@C" Psalms, 78lxxviii. 56. A When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work.@"C-Psalms, 95xcv. 9. A And tempted God in the desert.@"C-Psalms, 106cvi. 14. A Yea, they that tempt God are even , delivered.@"C-Malachi, 3iii. 15.
The New Testament also distinctly predicates temptation of a person of the Godhead in passages where the name of Christ is not found. A How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord.@"C-Acts, 5v. 9. A Now therefore, why tempt ye God?@"C-Acts, 15xv. 10. A When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.@"C-HebrKews, 3iii. 9. So God is said to have tempted one of his -mcoist faithful servants. A And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham.@"C-Genesis, 22xxii. 1.
St. James did not intend to place himself in collision with his inspired brethren of the Old and New Testaments, when he declared, A Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted of evil, neither tempteth he any man.@"C-James, 1i. 13. The apostle, in the text and context has so qualified the terms here used to indicate temptation, as to impart to them a meaning different from that attached to terms nearly similar in the other scriptural passages to which we have just referred. In those other scriptural passages, temptation, in its application to the Deity, is synonymous with trial; to tempt signifies to try; to be tempted signifies to be tried. In the passage from St. James, the words indicative of temptation, qualified as they are by the inspired writer himself, imply, not abortive, but overcoming trials; the terms Atempted@" and A" tempteth@" in the passage, mean successful enticements into sin. It is a self-evident truism that neither temptation, nor any of its derivatives, can, in this sense, be predicated of the omnipotent and holy God. He@ may be tried, as he was tried by the wayward Israelites; he may try hiMs children as he did the father of the faithful. But he cannot -be beguiled into evil, neither beguileth he into evil any of his creatures. This solution, and this alone, brings the brioother of our Lord into harmony with his inspired predecessors and contemporariescotemporaries.
That we have explained the passage from St. James, as its inspired author intended it should be 166 understood, is manifest from the controlling influence of the fourteenth and fifteenth verses of the
same chapter. Nor do we stand alone in our exposition. McKnight, the stedfast adherent of the prevalent theory, and one of the ablest of scriptural critics, thus paraphrased the passage:
The temptations of Christ, unlike those indicated by St. James, were but abortive trials. Though he was A tempted,@" it was A44 yet without sin.@C"Hebrews, 4iv. 15. The trials of the man Christ Jesuo.s were just as vain as the trials of the indwelling God. No element of his united being was ever touched by any incipient movement of forbidden desire. In the path of holiness, his human nature faltered no more than did his divine. His .temptations are applied by Inspiration to the whole undivided Messiah. Why should we seek to subtract his divinity ? If temptation was predicated of the infinite Spirit not revealed in flesh, why should it. be withdrawn from the eternal Word made man and dwelling among us ? There seems a peculiar fitness in the inspired ascription ocOf temptation to the incarnate, Deity. The meek endurance of trials formed-1 -.tfkls a prominent constituent in his humiliation.@ @ His Bet ,wvhol-e mournful sojourn on earth, from Bethlehem to Calvary, was distinguished by @himself as it he time of his A temptations.@"C-Luke, 22xxii. 28. Human reason has no right to restrict to the manhood of Christ the unlimited declarations of Scripture, predicating temptation of his whole united being. His terrestrial pilgrimage was the hour of A" the power of darkness.@"C-Luke, 22xxii. 53. Who on earth canll fathom that tremendous pPower, second onl y to the Omnipotent? When its profane but abortive temptations are ascribed by Inspiration to the whole incarnate Deity, will reason boldly seek to confine them to his human nature, because she deems temptation not A fittinilg to God?@"
Take, for example, the memn-iorable temptation of the desert. The arch-tempter had once unfurled the flag of defiance in the very capital of God=s@s empire, challenging to combat Almightiness armed in the terrors of its wrath, surrounded by the faithful hierarchies of heaven. He faiiled; hfie fell. It seems not A passing strange,@" that, made reckless by despair, exasperated to phrenzy by the near consummation of long-promised salvation to the hated A,seed of the woman,@" he should have ventured to assail his great Conqueror, when he found him a solitary wanderer in the wilderness of Judea, arrayed ?in the vestments of frail mortality he was conscioH@us that he stood in the presence ofi
the Son of God. He virtually named him the Son of God. The Holy One admitted, at least by implication, the truth of the appellation. It was,@, then, the second that bears A"record in heaven,@" seen and recognized beneath the weeds of @the lonely pilgrim, on whom, as well as on the redeeming man, the prince of darkness made his aui-idacious assault.
If the effort to tempt the in-dwelling GodJ. appears too bold and desperate even for the maddened fiend, no less so would seem his effort to tempt the chosen and guarded man in whom dwelt the never-sleeping Jehovah. Satan was a learned scholar; in prophetic lore he was deeply skilled; he had heard the song of the descended angels; he had seen the moving star; the voice so audible at Jordan= s waves, recognizing the beloved and just baptized Son, was still ringing in the ears of the fallen archangel; he could no more hope to sever the holy union developed in the manger cradle, than to rend asunder the Triple Throne. But the father of the wicked, like his children, was restless and reckless as A the troubled sea.@"
If we pass onward in the mrnediatorial biography, we shall find that all the temptations of the High -Priests, and of the Scribes, and of the Pharisees, and of the Sadducees, and of the Herodians, and of the lawyers, and of the throng without a name, had for their subject the whole united being of Him, who cast out trembling devils, cured by his touch all manner of diseases, restored vitality to the dead by the word of his power, and commanded the obedience of the conscious elements. It was the whole undivided and undivisible Christ of the BibleC-it was he who thought it not robbery to c@laimrn oneness with the infinite FatherC-it was he who assumed the august appellation of the Old Testament, I AM,C-who meekly stooped, in the days of his humiliation, to the mocking trials of faithless men, urged onward by A the power of darkness.@"C-Matthew, 16xvi. 1 ; 19xix. 3; 22xxii. 18, 35. Mark, 8viii. 11A ; 10x. 2; 12xii. 15. Luke, 10x. 25; 11xi. 16; 20xx. 23. John, 8viii. 6.
Christ, in his humanity, A"was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.@@C@Hebrews, 4iv. 15. How he was tempted in his divinity, if communicable to mortal apprehension, Scripture has not deemed fit to communicate. Nor would the communication have been of seeming use. The fortitude of the tempted man was revealed, in its outlines, as a model for our imitation; we @-could not have aspired to imitate the ineffable enduraiance of the deeply tried God. That his divine and human, temptations were dissimilar, in kind as well as in degree, may be inferred from a kindred dissimilarity in his divine and human sufferings. The body of the redeeming man was distorted and lacerated by the visible wood and irons of the cross; the essence of the redeeming Deity was pierced by the viewless sword of the Lord of Hosts.
The supposition that the Word made flesh passed untried through, the ordeal of his humiliation, is opposed alikeq to @the letter and whole spirit of the Bible. If the Jehovah oDf the fO)ld Testament, A"high and lifted up,@" was tempted by the wayward Israelites, how much more abounding and intense must have been the trials of the New Testament Jehovah, A"emptied@" and incarnate; rejected and traduced by those he came to save; betrayed by one of his chosen twelve, denied by another, and deserted by all; mocked, scourged, spitted upon, crucified,Ccrucified between two thieves! Nothing but the patience of a God could have withheld the thunderbolts of the tempted God.
That the footsteps of the mediatorial God are often apparent in the second chapter of Hebrews will not be denied by our opponents. But they will affirm that the footsteps of the mediatorial man appear still oftener; and that, in the suffering and dying scenes, the man is the sole actor. This is a just specimen of the cardinal fault of the prevalent theory in its whole representation of the character of the Messiah. Ever and anon it presents the God apart; still oftener it presents the man apart. Its scenes are perpetually changing, sometimes in the twinkling of an eye, from the divinity to the manhood, and thence back again, as, P.@a suddenly, from the manhood to the divinityI.v NoIt so the scriptural representation. In the grand drama of the New Testament, whose author is God, and whose theme is salvation, the divinity and thelw manhood of the Mediator act throughout in concert. They are one and indivisible; separated, or capable of separation, in nothing. They / are born into the@ world together; together are they wrapped in the stra-w of the manger. They suffer tog@ether: together they .die the scriptural death of expiation.
Mary my love!! I started Here, I think you can still proof it, thanks alot!
THERE -is a passage in Acts, and another in Corinthians, which are kindred passages with those upon which we have been commenting in the preceding chapters. The passage in Acts stands thus: A,@But ye denied the Holy One, and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince of life.@"C-Acts, 3iii. 14, 15. The passage in Corinthians stands thus: AWhich none of the princes of this world knew; for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.@"C-l Corinthians, 2ii. 8.
Who was the A"Prince of life,@" the A"Lord of glory,@" of these, passages? Doubtless it was -not the mere humanity of. him of Nazareth. Beyond peradventure, he whom these passages denominated the APrince of life,@" the A Lord of glory,@" was the second person of the Trinity, arrayed in his vestment of flesh. We have, then, these additional declarations of the Holy Ghost, that the second person of the Trinity, thus arrayed, was crucified and killed. These declarations must have been accomplished in all the plenitude of their awful truth. Would they have been accomplished by the crucifixion and death of the mere humanity of the Virgin=s@s child? A man is not perforated by the perforation of his vestment. That the ethereal essence of the second person of the Trinity was distorted by the wood, and lacerated by the irons of the cross, no one will be wild enough to intimate; but that his ethereal essence endured viewless sufferings denominated in Scripture death, inflicted by the invisible sword of the Lord of Hosts, of which the visible dissolution of his terrestrial being on Calvary was but the representative, we cannot doubt, with the declarations of the Holy Ghost to that effect sounding in our ears.
The Sacred Three have, Aat sundry times and in divers manners,@" declared, without restriction or limitation, that their second glorious person, clothed in flesh, suffered and died for the salvation of the world. Man, for whose sake this miracle of grace was wrought, yields not his credence to these stupendous declarations but with qualifications and exceptions, the creatures of his own reasoning pride, lowering their sublime truths, as it were, from heaven down to earth. What is the cause of this strange phenomenon ? It is caused by the sin of unbelief, that great moral ailment of our natures. This ailment lost us paradise. It withstood the personal miracles of the Son of God. That celestial Physician could cure, by the word of his power or the touch of his hand, the physical maladies of man; but to mitigate this moral malady, he was obliged to lay down his most precious life. And even in the soul renovated by his blood, the final victory of faith over the remnant of unbelief is its last triumph. The sin of skepticism is not peculiar to the scoffing infidel; it is the evil spirit which haunts the path even of the pious Christian. It often obtrudes its A"miscreated front@" into the closet, whither he has retired to commune with his Redeemer; it sometimes pursues him to the very altar of his God. Regenerated man, while in this wilderness of temptation, is, alas! but a believer in part. The time, however, is at hand when his feeble, trembling, hesitating faith will be swallowed up in glorious certainty.
The following passage is specially relevant to the point in issue: A"I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.@"C John, 10x. 14, AAs the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.@C" John, 10x. 15. The last verse will be considered first. The speaker, in this pPassage, was Christ. When he said, A"As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father,@" he must, beyond doubt, have spoken of himself in, his united natures, and with special reference to his Godhead. It was only the omniscient Son who could know the Father, even as the Father knew him. A"Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know?@"CJob, 11xi. 7, 8. These sublime interrogatories were propounded to demonstrate to feeble man his utter incapacity to explore and comprehend the mysterious and awful elements of the unsearchable God. The manhood of Christ had no greater capacity, physical or intellectual, than an ordinary man ; it had no infinitude of comprehension; it admitted its want of prescience. The mighty speaker, then, who thus claimed community of omniscience with the Father, must have been the fellow of the Father=s@s everlasting reign.
AAnd I lay down my life for the sheep.@" The speaker had two lives, the human and the divine ; the drop and the ocean of vitality; distinct, yet united. If his meaning was that he would lay down the human drop, leaving the divine ocean untouched, then must he have made a sudden, abrupt, and strange transition, in one brief sentence, from the altitude of his united natures, where the sentence began, down to his mere exclusive humanity. There is nothing on the face of the passage to intimate that such sudden descent was intended. Such abrupt transition is not required or indicated by anything in the context. In a verse shortly succeeding, in the same chapter, are found the memorable words, AI and my Father are one.@" C-John, 10x. 30. The terms used by Christ, in the passage under review, were unlimited and illimitable. They import the laying down of both his lives. They are not satisfied with anything of the totality. To compress them within a small fractional part of that stupendous whole, is to straiten, and distort, and maim the terms. Why will reasoning man gratuitously crucify the living, palpable, speaking words of the crucified God? Because, as the needle is true to the pole, so does unbending man implicitly follow the guidance of that hypothesis which he has adopted for his polar star, AGod is impassible.@" Yet has it been shown that this assumed polar star, though it has hung for centuries on the skirts of the horizon, is but an exhalation of the earth.
He who laid down his A"life for the sheep@" designated himself by the name of the good shepherd. A"I am the good shepherd.@" To whom was this endearing name applied? Not to the human son of Mary, but to the A"Lord of glory.@" The human son of the Virgin was but the mansion of the good shepherdCthe temple consecrated by the indwelling God. As, then, a man dieth not because his mansion is consumed ; as the God is not destroyed. by the destruction of the temple, so the life of the good shepherd would not have been laid down by the dissolution of his tabernacle of clay, according to the mighty meaning of the august speaker. His declarations, which so astonished the heavens, could have been satisfied only by laying down the divine life of the second person of the Trinity, in the scriptural import of the stupendous terms, as well as the life of the associated man.
Christ did not leave the meaning of the term Alife@" as applicable to himself, to be inferred by reasoning process. Five chapters before that upon which we are commenting, he explicitly fixed its signification by his own paramount authority. A"For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.@"C John, 5v. 26. The Father=s@s own vitality was imparted to the Son. His was the life which came down from heaven. It was the life that had breathed vitality into created intelligences. When Christ, therefore, announced the laying down his life, he meant not merely the human drop. He included the divine ocean of being.
According to Christ=s@s own explication of the term life, when applied to himself, the life of the incarnate Son was as the life of the Father. This authoritative explication of the term, when so applied, became a governing precedent for all future cases. Christ, then, in using the same term, with the same application to himself, five chapters afterward, intended, doubtless, to abide by his own explication and precedent. Hence we justly infer, that when he declared, Aand I lay down my life for the sheep,@" he meant that the life which he was about to lay down was as the life of the infinite Father. It was the life, the whole united life of the incarnate God. The advocates of the prevalent theory cannot escape this conclusion, unless they are prepared to allege that the Son of God applied the term life to himself in one sense in the fifth chapter of John, and in a totally different sense in the tenth chapter of the same evangelist. But such discrepancy of meaning, in the use of a term solemnly defined by himself, and declarative of his own vitality, could scarcely have proceeded from the lips of the incarnate Word; at least, such discrepancy is not to be inferred without some scriptural intimation of its existence. No such intimation is to be found in the Volume of Inspiration.
The incarnate God laid down his ethereal life, not, indeed, by its cessation even for a moment, but by sustaining, in his divine essence, the expiatory agonies substituted for the spiritual or second death that awaited the redeemed. Thile expiatory agonies assumed, therefore, the awful name of the penalty for which they were substituted. Inspiration aptly termed those sufferings death. The appellation commends itself to the children of men by its manifest appropriateness.
In the passage cconcerning the coming immolation of the Shepherd God, the pronouns A"I@" and Amy@" hold conspicuous places. The personal pronoun, A"I@" is thrice repeated to denote the second person of the Trinity, clothed in flesh. AI am the good shepherd.@" AAs the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father, and I lay down My life for the sheep.@" Mark well the mighty terms, Amy life.@" Thus applied, the little pronoun Amy@ acquired a meaning high as heaven and vast as the universe. It gave such exaltation to its adjunct noun as to grasp the life which A"inhabiteth eternity.@ " No person is wont to employ the name of a whole to denote one of its minute parts. Should historian or geographer apply the peculiar name of a continent to designate its smallest kingdom, he would speak in language unintelligible and misleading. The terms A"my life,@" according to their obvious and plain import, intended the whole united life of the divine speaker. If he meant merely the little spark of his mortal vitality, he must, in this case, have departed from that simplicity and perspicuity which formed so distinguishing a characteristic of him who spake as never man spake. To narrow down the terms to the mere mortal life of Mary=s@s son would be imparting to this stupendous passageCwe speak it witlh reverenceCan illusory meaning. It would make the passage, though infinite in seeming and profession, finite only in its real purpose; finite only in its fulfilment.
The Lamb of the fifth chapter of Revelation was certainly Christ. That Lamb had been slain. That glorious Lamb of God had two natures, the human and the divine. And had he, indeed, been slain but in one of them, and that, too, his inferior nature? The scene of this sublime chapter was laid in the celestial court. The Lamb, having just taken from the right hand of him who sat upon the throne the sealted book, had opened its seals, when straightway there ascended a A"new song@" of praise and thanksgiving, perhaps louder and more heartfelt than even heaven had been wont to hear, beginning around the throne of the Highest, and echoed back by A"every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth!@" For whom did this unwonted shout ascend? It was raised to theo glory of the lamb? And why? Because he had been slain for the redemption of the saints. That was the reason specially assigned. And would the mere slaying of his human nature, the mere extinction of his mortal life, have been thus assigned by the hierarchies of heaven as a special reason for raising higher than, perhaps, it had ever been raised before, the pealing anthem of the universe!CRevelation, 5v. 7--14.
Christ, while on earth, said, A"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.@"C-John, 3iii. 16, 17. And the Holy Spirit, by the lips of one of his inspired apostles, says still more expressively, A"He@" (meaning God) A"that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?@C" Romans, 8viii. 32.
That the Being designated in these passages by the name of God was the first person of the Trinity will not be questioned. A"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father.@"CJohn, 1i. 14. Who was A"the only-begotten of the Father,@" A"sent@" A"into the world,@" and A"spared not,@" styled, in one of the passages forming the last paragraph, God=s@s A"own Son,@" by way of distinction and pre-eminence, and in the other A"his only-begotten Son?@" Clearly, he was not the human son of the Virgin. Mary=s@s human offspring was not the A"only-begotten Son@" of the infinite Father. Nor did the infinite Father beget him. The conception of the Virgin was by the power of the Holy GhostCLuke, 1i. 35.
In the thirteenth verse of the same third chapter of John, it is declared that the Son of the Father, there called the Son of man, Acame down from heaven.@" And in one of the transcribed passages, it is stated, as we have seen, that he was A"sent@" A"into thhe world.@" But the human son of the Virgin never A"came down from heaven,@" at least before his ascension. Nor was he A"sent@", A"into the world.@" It was in the world that he was created. It was in the manger of Bethlehem that he first came into being. He had no antecedent existence.
It is demonstrated, then, that God=s@s A"own Son,@" his A"only-begotten Son,@" his Son who A"came@ down from heaven,@" his Son A"sent@" A"into the world,@" and A"spared not,@" was none other than the second person of the Trinity. It was not the mortal progeny of MaryCearth-born and earth-composed in the elements of his humanityCthat formed the glowing theme of the Holy Ghost in these stupendous passages. He spoke of his fellow God as the unspared Son of the Father. The unspared Son was he by whom the Father created, the worlds, the hierarchies of heaven, the dwellers upon earth. The unspared Son was the Son who had sat at his Father=s@s right hand, and shared in his councils from the earliest eternity.
For what purpose did the infinite Father send into the world A"his own,@" A"his only-begotten Son?@" It was not that he might explore this remote province of his Father=s@s boundless empire. It was not that he might make a pleasant sojourn on this goodly earth. The Son of God was sent into the world to suffer. Suffering was the object, the great object of his mission. He came, not to impart dignity and value to the human sufferings of his earthly associate, but to suffer himself; to suffer, not by proxy or substitute, but in his own divine person. Infinite wisdom, indeed, thought it best that he should suffer in the fallen nature he came to redeem. But that was only the garb in which he appeared. His manhood was but the adjunct; his divinity was the principal. He came to suffer, not in his adjunct nature only, but also in his principal nature. He came to make, not a seeming and illusory, but a real atonement for the sins of man. That venerated common law, which our fathers brought from our fatherland with their language, their liberties, and their religion, is encumbered with many fictions, which, for the supposed furtherance of justice, it regards as truths. The divine law deals not in fiction. In its administration of universal justice, in its penal code, in its punishment of incorrigible sinners, in its pardons to the penitent, all is reality. Its celestial city for the abode of the blessed is no fiction. Its great and everlasting prison-house is no fiction. In the passion of Christ there was nothing of fiction.
The passage transcribed froim Romans contains terms not surpassed in awful import by any words written in any of the tongues of earth. God A"spared not his own Son!@" The infinite Father A"spared not@" his own infinite Son! We have seen that the unspared victim was the second person of the Trinity. One of the Sacred Three would not have termed his kindred God the unspared of the Father, had he carried along with him his divine beatitude, in all its infinite perfection, from the throne of heaven to the manger of Bethlehem, and from the manger of Bethlehem to the tomb of Joseph. Had the throes and spasms by which salvation was earned, touched not the ethereal essence of the incarnate God ; had his divinity continuned as blissful on earth as it had ever been in heaven; had the expiatory agonies devolved exclusively on his terrestrial adjunct, the uncreated, the eternal Son would have been the spared, and not the unspared of his Father. It would have been only the human son of Mary whom the infinite Father A"spared not.@" Yet the declaration that the devoted victim was A"spared not,@" rendered, by the very simplicity of its terms, lucid as thhe sunbeam, is applied by the Holy Ghost directly to the Father=s@s A"own Son ;@" and, by necessary inference, to his A"only-begotten Son;@" to his Son A"who came down from heaven;@" to his Son who was A"sent@" A"into the world.@"
It was when the infinite Father inflicted on the divine spirit of A"his own,@" A"his only-begotten Son,@" made a voluntary curse for those he came to save, A"the fiercerieness and wrath of almighty God,@" that the tremendous declaratioon of the Holy Ghost was accomplished. The Father A"spared not his own Son.@" True, that Son had been the fellow of his everlasting reign, with whom he had taken A"sweet counsel@" ere time was known, yet the Father spared him not. True, the paternal heart yearned with throes, to which the silent, though deep emotions of the faithful Abraham were but as the finite to the infinite, yet the Father A"spared not his own Son.@" True, the angelic hosts, if permitted to behold the appalling spectacle, must have cast their dismayed, their deprecatory, their beseeching eyes now on the descending arm, now on the stern, though still benignant face of the Ancient of Days, yet the infinite Father spared not his own infinite Son. True, the uncomplaining, the submissive, the unoffending Son, A"brought as a lamb to the slaughter,@" presented, in his own meek and gentle form, an appeal to parental sympathy, almost enough to make even divine justice A"break its sword,@" yet the Father spared him not. This was indeed the magnanimity of a God! This A"became Him for whom are all things, and by whom are all things!@" It became the First who bears A"record in heaven;@" it became the august Ancient of Days; it became the infinite Father. This was the sublime mode, devised in the conclave of the Godhead, for A"bringing many sons unto glory.@"CHebrews, 2ii. 10. The sacrifice was not delusive; the Holy Trinity never delude. It was an awful reality, not an Oriental metaphor.
The prevailing theory, that Christ suffered only in his humanity, must sink, as the stone sinks in the deep, under the overwhelming weight of the passage from Romans, unless its advocates can, by their interpretation, so amend that part of Holy Writ as to make it read thus: God spared not the human nature of his own Son! But at such an interpolation of the Word of God the devout advocates of the prevalent theory would themselves stand appalled.
A"God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.@"C Romans, 5v. 8. The A"God@" of this passage was the eternal Father; it is A"his love@" displayed in the death of Christ, that is here commended to us. A"God is love.@" The love of God is proclaimed by the visible creation; it glows in the sun ; it twinkles in every star; it is seen in A"the green of the earth, and the blue of the skies;@" it is heard in the song of the groves, and in the harmony of the heavens. But in the death of Christ, its dispersed and variegated rays are converged into one concentrated, luminous, melting point. The miracle of the Father=s@s love displayed in the redeeming sacrifice, indeed A"passeth knowledge.@" We can but study it, A" as through a glass darkly@" in the scriptural picture of that original, unique and incommunicable scene, the most magnificent, terrible., pathetic, and awfully mysterious that eternity has witnessed, where God the Father, the very personification of mercy, for our guilty sakes, A"spared not@" his own, his only-begotten, his well-beloved Son.
Over the love of God manifested in the death of Christ, the prevalent theory has cast its eclipse, compounded of the vapors of earth. The bewildered eye now looks in vain for that prodigy of grace commended by the eternal Father as the masterpiece of his own infinite beneficence. The human son of the Virgin is made the only real victim for the sacrificial altar, while God=s@s own Son is depicted as passing through the ordeal scathless, ever overflowing with the beatitude of his Father=s@s right hand, impassive to all the throes and spasms, the sighs and groans, of his terrestrial, sinless, yet sin-bearing associate. From the scene of Christ=s@s death, the prevalent theory has thus banished those astounding testimonials of the love of the infinite Father, which form so glowing a theme of the Sacred Volume! The scriptural immolation of God=s@s own ethereal Son by the paternal arm sinks, in the theory, to the immolation of the human son of Mary!
A"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.@"CJohn, 15xv. 13. The speaker in this passage was the second person of the Trinity clothed in humanity; his theme was the stupendous atonement by which he achieved the friendship and salvation of his enemies. To die for a friend is the acme of human love; to die for a foe, is beyond the aspiration of mortal mag-nanimity; the thought belongs to infinitude; it could have been conceived and executed only by a God; it was the mightiest movement of that uncreated Word, who spake, and material worlds sprung into being, and who breathed into the spirits of heaven their vitality, and holiness, and blessedness. The text constituting the subject of the last preceding comment, and that now under review, are sister passages; the former pointing to the love of the infinite Father, the latter to that of the infinite Son, displayed in the miracle of redemption. The Parent of the universe so loved our fallen race that, for their salvation, he awakened the sword of divine justice to smite his Other Self; his Other Self, moved by pity known only in the pavilion of the Godhead, freely bared his filial heart to the descending stroke, which naught but Omnipotence could have endured.
It was by laying down his life for them that the eternal Word converted his perishing enemies into right redeemed friends. His descent from the right hand of the Father, and his holy incarnation would not have saved a soul. Had the cup passed from him, in accordance with his fervent but quickly revoked supplication at Gethsemane, redemption must have lost its glorious consummation. It was the last act in the tragedy of salvation which gave it its atoning efficacy. To that concluding act, the descent and incarnation of the second person of the Trinity, were, in all their wonders, but preparatory scenes. It was his penal suffering, vicariously borne, and termed death in the vocabulary of the Bible, that saved the world.
It is true that the vicarious death of expiation, in the more comprehensive sense of the term, includes the whole process of salvation from its inception in heaven to its consummation on the cross. Nevertheless, in its primary sense, the term belongs more appropriately to the closing scene of the mighty drama. When viewed, however, through the microscopic glasses of the prevalent theory, the mental vision in vain searches in that closing scene for those demonstrations of the love of the eternal Son, which the Volume of Inspiration has taught it to expect. The theory abstracts from the dying agonies, the heaven-descended Martyr, and devolves them on the terrestrial victim alone. It may still point to the descent and incarnation of the uncreated Word as proofs of his love to the children of men, but it turns into figure of speech his laying down his life for though that stupendous and closing act is represented in Scripture as the crowning prodigy of his grace. In its display of ineffable and infinite love by the Son of God, the redeeming death of theoryeroy and the redeeming death of the Bible, are dissevered from each other as far as the the distance from the footstool of God to his throne. What gave its transcendent sublimity as well as its all-prevalent efficacy to the redeeming death of the Bible is the soul-thrilling, the heaven-amazing truth that it was consecrated and ennobled by the agonies of a God.
A"For even Christ pleased not himself.@" CRom. 15xv. 3. A"For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty was thus rich might be rich.@"C-2 Corinthians, 8viii. 9. He who was thus rich and became poor for the salvation of the world, was not the mortal son of the Virgin, but the second person in the Trinity. Mary=s@s human son was not rich before he became poor; he was born in want, his existence had its inception in the most abject poverty. It was the Proprietor of the universe who made his voluntary transit from wealth to penury. He who passed through this most wondrous change, was the same personification of pitying and almighty grace, A"who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but emptied himself and took upon him the form of a servant.@"CPhilippians, 2ii. 6, 7.
The self-denial of the second person of the Trinity is one of the most prominent and affecting truths of our holy religion. Self-denial is the voluntary sacrifice of one=s@s own happiness for the happiness of others. Without some sacrifice of personal felicity, the virtue of self-denial cannot be developed. Where but in suffering was the self denial of the second person of the Trinity ? What privation did he undergo, if the sackcloth of incarnation was just as conducive to his blessedness as the robe of glory he had worn in heaven? What proofs of divine self-denial did Gethsemane or Calvary display, if the redeeming God carried with him into the garden and to the cross all the fulness of the bliss of his Father=s@s right hand? Royalty has sometimes, of its own choice, abdicated the throne for the humble cottage; but when it transferred to the cottage the undiminished felicity of the throne, to what self-denial could royalty have laid claim? It had parted, indeed, with, A"the pride, pomp and circumstance@" of sovereignty Cbut without the loss of its felicity, it had in reality lost nothing. Even the stupendous transition of the eternal Word from A"the form of God@" to A"the form of a servant@" was, if it touched not his indwelling beatitude, but a modification of his outward state. Infinite happiness remained still infinitely happy; and had, therefore, sustained no real privation. The prevalent theory would thus transmute into metaphor the scriptural passages affirming the sublime self-denial of the second person of the Trinity.
THE dismay with which Christ beheld his coming sufferings, and the perturbation which their endurance caused him, can be explained only on the supposition that the sufferings were not confined to his human nature. Had the primitive Christian martyrs exhibited the same dismay and perturbation at the approach of death, one of the chief arguments in favour of the truth of our holy religion would have been lost to the world. The patience, fortitude, and triumph with which they met and endured the excruciating agonies of martyrdom ranked high among the miracles by which early Christianity was propagated. A" See how a Christian can die!@" is an appeal to infidelity not of modern origin. Its thrilling- effect was well known and felt in the early Chuorch. The triumphant death of the first martyrs was among the most eloquent of the --addresses ever made by Christianity to the pagan world. It was a miracle, perhaps, more touchiiing to the heart than the healing of the sick or the raising,, of the dead.
The corporeal sufferings of many of the early martyrs were, doubtless, greater than the corporeal sufferings of their Master. His was the case, so far as the body was concerned, of simple cru-
cifixion. They were stoned to death with stones; they were consumed by slow fires; their flesh was torn off with red hot pincers; they were sawed asunder with saws; they were drawn to pieces by wild beasts; the cross was, indeed, often the instrument of their death, but to them was not allowed the comparative repose of simple crucifixion. Its abhorrence of the rising and hated sect of the Nazarenes had sharpened the devices of heathen cruelty; new discoveries were made in the art of tormenting; new and more agonizing positions of the suffering body were contrived ; the process of torture was rendered more slow, and the welcomed approach of death more lingering. To all this variety of agonies, the timid frailty of woman, as well as the bolder hardihood of man, was almost daily subjected. But nothing could disturb the patience, the fortitude, the serenity of the primitive martyrs. Whether belonging to the more robust or the more tender sex, they yielded not for a moment to the recoilings or misgivings of human frailty; they rejoiced in the midst of their dying spasms, and their last faltering accents whispered joy.
The difference between these martyrs and their Master in meeting and enduring the agonies of a violent death is an historic fact not to be passed over unnoticed. It is not a point of literary curiosity alone; it deeply concerns our faith. It indicates that his suffering must have differed from theirs, not only in its degree, but in its very element. Contrast, for instance, the death of Stephen with that of his Lord; look at the face of the former, shining A as it had been the face of an angel,@" and then turn your melting eye to the A" marred visage@" of the latter ; listen to the joyous exclamation of the finite martyr, when he saw through the opening heavens the gloryy of God, and Jesus 9
standing at the right hand of the Highest; and then lend your sympathizing ear to the wailing of Him who hung on the cross, and belief will ripen into conviction that, while the sufferer whose clothes were laid down at the feet of Saul sustained the pains of a man, the Sufferer on Calvary endured pangs pertaining only to infinitude.
In farther proof of the correctness of this conclusion, let us direct our attention to the, enthusiastic exclamations of this same, Saul, baptized of the ,,Mtlze@ a@of Holy Ghost by the name of Paul, approaching his own martyrdom. A For,@" says he, A" I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good OA fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge shall give me at that day.@"C-2 Timothy, 4iv. 6-8. And with these eloquent bursts of exulting faith pealing in our ears, -, ,let our souls kneel down beside our prostrate Lord, on the cold, hard, earth of Gethsemane, and become the astounded .auditors of his piteous cry, A" 0, my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.@"C-Matthew, 26.xxvi. 39.
Even without the sustaining power of religion, the resolved mind has often met and endured, without dismay, the utmost suffering of which humanity can be made the heir. The Roman Regulus returned of his own free choice to Carthage, though he well knew that, to the violent death which awaited him there, Punic cruelty and Punic cunning would superadd the severest tortures that history had ever suggested or fiction shadowed forth. And when the Africans had cut off his eyelids, and exposed his naked and lacerated eyes to their scorching sgands and burning sun until their patience was exhausted; when they had rolled about his naked person in a barrel filled with sharp spikes, pointed inward, to pierce and tear his quivering flesh, until tardy death came at last to his relief, they could no more disturb the fortitude of the hero than they could have shaken Atlas from its everlasting base. @ Yet was Regulus but a heathen patriot. Nor is g@the Western Indian chief, tied by his captors to a tree in his native forests, and encompassed round with dry materials, just lighted by the fires which are to consume him, less firm and Aimmoveable. The taunts of his tormentors and the searching flames, are alike impotent to dis-
turb his serenity. Not a groan is uttered; not a sigh is breathed. The last, the only sound that escapes hilam is his shout of triumph.
The dismay with which the Son of God anticipated his sufferings, and the perturbation which their endurance caused him, have been, for more than eighteen centuries, the wonder of Christendom. On this phenomenon the eyes of all beholders have been riveted by their own spontaneous and irrepressible reflections. For where is the man to be found with A"soul so dead@" that, with the full assurance of the A"joy set before,@" and the influences sustaining the man Christ JesusC-an assurance made doubly sure by successive miracles, by audible and repeated voices from heaven, by the upholding consciousness of in-dwelling OmnipotenceC-would not himself willingly endure all the human suffering of which the incarnate God could have been the recipient? Even for the bawble of an earthly crown, what privations, what toils, what scorching sands, what snow-capped he A ights, what A,@most disastrous chances,@" what A"hair-breadth >scapes in the imminent, deadly breach,@@ have not been joyously encountered! 1 Comparedl@U, then with a celestial diadem, a rank above the cherubim and the seraphim, a seat at the ri@ight hand of the Highest, made sure and everlasting by the guarantee of the Godhead, how slight and evanescent would seem all the ills that, in the brief span of a single life, could be poured into the cup of humanity, even if unceasingly filled to overflowing!
But one solution can be given of the stran ge phenomenon of Christ=s@s dismay and perturbation. His sufferings were not the, mere sufferings of humanity. They must have had their chief seat within the hitherto unapproachable pavilion of hiMs divinity. The brightest intellects, deeply schooled in the science of logic, and armed with the trea-sures of profane and sacred lore, have laboured for centuries to explain the mysterious indications on principles familiar to human nature. They have utterly failed; and the failure is a farther confirmation of the justness of our supposition, that the sufferings of Christ penetrated the sanctuary of his divine nature. A brief review of the causes to which human ingenuity has attributed the dismay and perturbation of the incarnate God, will best evince their utter insufficiency to produce the stupendous effects attributed to them.
First. The advocates of the prevalent theory have assigned, as one cause of his dismay and pertubation, the new and more vivid views of the deformity of sin suddenly impressed on him at the time of his last passion ; representing that the almighty arm then lifted the covering pall from the hitherto disguised features of moral evil and presented them in all their native hideousness. This suggestion is sustained by the high authority of Bishop Bu I rnett. Doctor South, a preacher of the English church in the reign of Charles II., justly distinguished for his piety, learning, and eloquence, speaks C-of Christ=s@s last passion in the following terms. He says:
We might dismiss this assigned cause of Christ=sCbrist@s dismay and perturbation with the passing remark, that it is nowhere intimated in the Bible; but other materials for its refutation, ample and conclusive, are at hand. The God Christ Jesus, before be left his heavenly home, had been fully conscious of the heinousness of sin. He was the being sinned against. He had come down from heaven to offer himself a sacrifice for sin. His omniscience could learn nothing new on earth of its frightful nature. The man Christ Jesus had been early taught the heinousness of sin by his own holy reflections. He hbad learned it from the audible discourses and the secret monitions of the indwelling God. And if he saw its heinousness more clearly at the time of his last passion, he must then also have felt more strongly the necessity of that atonement of which his humanity was the vehicle, to rescue from the pollution and penalty of sin the host of the redeemed. It is the extremity of his country=s@s da;inger, forcibly presented to the mental vision of the patriot, that best sustains his exulting resolution to die in its behalf.
There is no reason for supposing that a near view of sin, to which the beholder is himself a stranger, can disturb the felicity of a holy being. Gabriel has, doubtless, a sense of sin more vivid than humanity ever attained. And yet Gabriel, with his joyous harp, still stands A"in the presence of God.@" The humanity of Christ is glorified and blissful in heaven. Its sense of sin acquired on earth, however clear, must have grown clearer in the light of eternity. Yet this sense of sin, in- stead of impairing its bliss, opens wider and more enrapturing views of the grace and glory of its kindred God, and swells louder its pealing anthem of praise and thanksgiving for his redeeming love.
Secondly. It has been said that more affecting views of the countless multitudes who would reject his salvation, and of their consequent and eternal perdition, must have pressed upon the mind of Christ at the time of his last passion, and that these views enhanced the agonies of the garden and the cross. This cause of dismay and perturbation seems to be countenanced by Doctor South. It is sanctioned by the still higher name of Archbishop Secker, once primate of all England. But it is utterly destitute of scriptural authority. The God Christ Jesus kl@new, from the beginning, who would reject his proffered salvation. He always knew that he himself would one day pronounce their final doom with an unfaltering tongue and an unyielding heart.
The man Christ Jesus had been early taught by the indwelling God that A"strait is the gate and narrow the way which leads to life, and few there are who find it.@" And as the fate of the finally impenitent caught his pitying eye, he might well repose on the consoling reflection, that the Judge of -all the earth would do right. It is a blessed provision of the Father of mercies, that the sufferings of the incorrigibly wicked are not permitted to impair the felicity of holy beings. If this were not so, the songs of heaven might be saddened by the wailingo,s of the pit. If this were not so, the bliss of the sainted Abraham might have been disturbed, at least for the time, by the pathetic appeal of his luxurious and lost descendant for a drop of water to cool his burning tongue.
Thirdly. It has been said that the agony which Christ foresaw with such dismay, and met with such perturbation, was caused, in a great measure, by the privation of the light of his FPather=s@s countenance. If it were understood that this privation reached the God Christ Jesus, it would indeed go far to explain the mysteries of Gethsemane and of Calvary. But our opponents cannot for a moment admit that it was the divinity of Christ that was thus forsaken octf the Father; for that would at once concede that his divinity suffered; it would be giving up the point at issue between them and us. Upon the prevalent theory, the God Christ Jesus, in the garden and on the cross, beheld his Father=s@s countenance lit up with the same benignant smile which had been wont to greet him in the courts of paradise.
But even to the man Christ Jesus it was no slight privation that he underwent, though but for a few brief hours, the hidings of his Father=es face. The pious soul, accustomed to bask in the sunshine of heavenly love, experiences, from the sensation of its temporary loss, an anguish, of which the world cannot judge. But the sting of the suffering is the sufferer=s@s consciousness that his own sins have interposed the cloud between him and heaven. David felt this calamity, and its terrible cause, rankling in the central recesses of his heart.
Christ suffered, the A"just for the unjust.@" He well knew his own spotless innocence. When his heavenly Father seemed to forsake him, he knew that it was for the sins of others, not for any demerits of his own. He doubted not that he was in the plain path of duty, however arduous and rugged. He knew that, if the light of his FPather=s@s countenance was for a brief space withdrawn, it was only the temporary absence of a beloved friend, who was sure to love him the better for being absent. And yet his fortitude seemed about to forsake himn with his God! 1 An eclipse has no terrors to him who knows that it is caused only by the intervention of an opaque body between him and the central luminary, that is ever ready to shed on him anew its enlightening, warming, and cheering rays the moment the obstruction has passed away. Christ indeed suffered under a temporary eclipse of the light of his Father=s@s face; but he well knew that it was the opaque body of others=@ sins which alone caused the brief obstruction that a few short hours would remove forever.
Besides his consciousness of perfect innocence, Christ had other supports never before or since known in the history of suffering. He knew that he must conquer in the struggle ; that the utinited Godhbead stood pledged for his triumph. To him victory was a matter, not of faith, but of knowledge. He knew, too, that the contest would be short; that he should speedily rise from the dead. He was conscious that the reward of his sufferings would be an everlasting crown ; that his place between the two thieves would be exchanged for the right hand of God; that hlie would leave the tomb of Joseph for the throne of heaven. He knew that he should A see of the travail of his soul,@" and A be satisfied;@" that his blood would save fromui perdition countless millions of fallen immortals; that his sufferings would fill the kingdom of righteousness with the joyous sons and daughters of salvation, evermore raising the song of thanksgiving to him their Saviour King. It was a cherished axiom of ancient patriotism, that it was sweet to die for one=s@s country. How much more self-sustaining the Godlike thought of dying for a world! This was the A"joy set before him.@" For this he might well have A endured the cross, despising the shame.@" C-HebrewWs, x12ii. 2.
Fourthly. The pouring out of the wrath of God against sin on the human soul of Christ, as the substitute for sinners, is assigned as another, and the principal cause of his dismay and perturbation. This outpouring on his human soul, and its loss of the light of the divine countenance, and its views of the heinousness of sin, and its sympathy in the fate of the finally impenitent, added to the corporeal pangs of Christ, are deemed, by the advocates of the prevalent theory, sufficient, when taken collectively, to explain the phenomena of his last passion. We admit, indeed, that the humanity of Christ participated in his sufferings to the extent of its very limited capacity. But besides the plain scriptural indications that his divinity also suffered, we lay it down as a principle, based on the inflexible laws of our nature, that the body and human soul of Christ had not physical capabilities to become the recipient of the amount of sufferings demonstrated by the dismay with which he beheld their approach, and the perturbation which their endurance caused him. Before, however, we enter into the development of this principle, it is necessary that we should review the indications of his dismay and perturbation a little more in detail than we have hitherto done. We shall then be, the better able to pursue the development of the principle. which we have laid down.
IF we cast our eyes towards Calvary, we behold there the incarnate God suspended on the cross, and by his side the penitent thief. From the lat-
ter, it is not intimated that any cry of distress arose. He was just tasting the bliss of sins for-
given. He was to be that day in paradise; and what cared he for the intervening moments of pain? Of the laceration of his quivering flesh his rapt spirit was no longer conscious. The present was lost in the glorious vision of the future. To him the cross was a bed of down. But from the incarnate God, though suffering no greater cor-
poreal pains than the penitent thief, cries loud, plaintive, and repeated arose. He knew that he also was to be that day in paradise: but to him the beatitude of heaven seemed, for the moment, obscured by the agonies of earth. Over his droop-
ing spirit the seraphic future appeared, for the time, to be lost in the present-the absorbing, the all-devouring present. What caused this mighty
contrast between the indications of suffering dis-
played by the frail creature and the omnipotent Creator? But one solution can be found. The penitent thief bore the pains of a man ; Christ en-
dured the agonies of a God. Had the sting of death been pointed at his humanity alone, the cross would have been anticipated with delight and met
with triumph. The struggle on Calvary would have been hailed as the joyous termination of his vicarious privations and sufferings; the blissful hour of his deliverancem, nce from the heavy curse of others=@ sins; the glorious epoch of his return to his Father=s@s arms, crowned with the laurels of a world redeemed.
But if we would gain deeper views of the dis-
may and perturbation of our Lord, let us meet him at the garden of Gethsemane. The occur-
rences of the garden, so far as they relate to our present purpose, are thus related by St. Matthew: A And he took with him Peter, and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith hlie unto them, My soul is ex-
ceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here and watch with me. And he went a little far-
ther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, 0 my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What! could ye not -watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation : the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. He went
****** away again, the second time, and prayed, saying, 0 my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink of it, thy will be done. And he came and found them asleep again; for their eyes were heavy. And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.@"C-Matthew, 26xxvi. 37, and the verses following.
The narrative of St. Mark is in the following
words: A@ And he taketh with him Peter, and
John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy ; and saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death : tarry ye here and watch. And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground and prayed, that if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me; nevertheless, not what I willill, but what thou wilt. And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, slteepest thou? couldst not thou watch one hour ? Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the
flesh is weak. And again he went away, and 10
prayed and spake the same words. And when he returned he found them asleep again (for their eyes were heavy) ; neither wist they what to an-
swer him. And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough; the hour is come; behold, the Son of manrpau is betrayed into the hands of sinners.@"C-. Mark, 14xiv. 33, and following verses.
St. Luke adds the following essential particu-
lars to the narration: A And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And beingo, in an agony, he prayed more ear-
nestly ; and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.@"C-Luke, 22xxii. 43, 44.
We have thus transcribed, in connexion, the substance of the several evangelical accounts of the occurrences at Gethsemane, that the mind might take in at one view the stupendous whole. We cannot deem the garden forbidden ground. It is, indeed, a holy place. On entering it, we would lay aside the rough-soled sandals of con-
troversy. We would even cast the shoes from our feet, as we tread the, soil bedewed by the tears and wet with the blood of the redeeming God. Yet was the affecting scene revealed for the edi-
fication of man. A The secret things belong unto the Lord our God; but those things which are re-
vealed belong unto us, and to our children for ever.@" C-Deunt. 29xxix. 29. A All scripture was given by di. vine inspiration, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteous-
ness.@C@2 Timothy, 3iii. 16. Had not the garden scene been intended for human meditation, it would have found no place, in the Bible. The prevalent theory has locked up the sacred pages in which it is portrayed in seemingly inextricable mystery. To unlock those precious pages there is but one key. Our comments on this memorable scene will be arranged under several heads.
***** Fifthly. The thrice-repeated prayer of the gar-
den ascended from the lips of that august Being who had thought it no robbery to be equal with God; it was pronounced by that almighty voice which had commanded the winds and the waves and they obeyed. With face prone on the cold@ ground, and body quivering with nameless anguish, did the only-begotten, the uncreated, the divine, the incarnated Son utter the piercing cry, A 0 my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.@" To drink this very cup he had come into the world. Of this fearful cup he had often spoken. From his contemplation it had never been absent. Had the cup passed from him, the sole purpose of his in-
carnation would have been frustrated. The uni-
verse must have beheld the strange spectacle of a God attempting to redeem by his sufferings a ruined race, and failing in the attempt for want of fortitude to suffer.
Yet, true it is, that, when the dismaying cup was just at hand, the resolution of the incarnate Deity seemed, for a moment, to falter. The pite-
ous cry a-iscended, wafted upward byv more than earthly fervour. The cry, and its fervour, too, are engraved on the Bible=s@s imperishable record, point-
ing with demonstrative certainty to the awful con-
clusion, that a single drop from that cup of al-
mighty wrath must have scorched into annihilation the vital elements of the loftiest being ever created by the word of the Highest. That the infinite, the world-redeeming Son, in a moment superadded the pathetic qualification, A Nevertheless, not as I will,
but as thou wilt,@" while it denotes the patient meekness of him who was A brought as a lamb to the slaughter@ " derogates nothing from the tremen-
dous character of that impending cup, of which none but a God could have drank.
Sixthly. A" And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.@" To whom did the angel appear? It appeared A unto him.@" The pronoun A61 him@@@ is twice used in the passage from Luke, and the context demonstrates that, in each instance, it was used to designate the Christ, the whole Christ. The angel then appeared, not merely to the human son of the Virgin, but unto the united being of the incarnate God. For what purpose , 0 did the angel appea run 0 unto him? The . r , t
Holy Ghost has informed us. It was to strengthen him. There is no intimation that the angel ap-
peared merely to strengthen the manhood of Christ. The declaration is general, pervading, according to its plain signification, every recess oOf the united natures of the God A66 manifest in the flesh.@" The declaration would be cramped and maimed if with-
drawn from the infinitude of his united being, to which it properly appertains, and compressed into
the finite speck of his humanity. Can reasoning pride erect iitself into a court of review to expand, pride erect
abridge, or qupalify,s by its own discretion, the ex-
plicit phraseology of the third person of the Trinity?,
Perhaps reasoning pride ma;ky deem it strange and improbable, and therefore not to be believed, even the word of the Holy Ghost, that an angel 04
should appear to strengthen the omnipotent God.
***** If reasoning pride is thus presumptuously arrogant, it may as well aim at consistence in its arrogance. Let it, then, if it dare, seek, by its rash skepticism,@ to blot out from scriptural theology the stupendous article of the incarnation. The incarnation was the wonder of wonders. That very God should become very flesh, and verily dwell among us, is surely not less strange than that an angel from heaven should appear unto the incarnate God, Astrengthening hi@m.@"
The manhood of the Virgin=s@s son needed, ordi-
narily, no strengthening from above. Its Creator dwelt within; its guardian, its guide, its protector; almighty, never sleeping, ever ready to succour his frail terrestrial companion. To that humanity the indwelling Deity was wedded, and the marriage tie was to be lasting as the right-hand throne of the Eternal. Though a woman may forget her suck-
ing child, A that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb,@" yet could not the incarnate and compassionate God fail to listen to every sigh, and count every tear, and remember, @as though they had been graven A upon the palms of his hands,@" all the weaknesses, and pains, and fears of that feeble humanity, which he had adopted as his own, and, as it were, incorporated into himself. While the strength of the incarnate Deity remained unimpaired, there was no need that there should appear unto the human son of the Virgin an angel from heaven, A strengthening him.@"
It is true that the created angel had no strength of his own to impart to his Creator. But he bore
greetings from the court of heaven. He was the ambassador of the holy Trinity, fraught with every soothing, A"strengthening@" consideration which could flow from the wisdom and love of the Godhead. It is true that the omnipresent and omniscient Fa-
ther might doubtless have communicated directly with his omnipresent and omniscient Son. So he might with the prophets and patriarchs of the olden time. But the Father had been wont to communicate with the dwellers upon earth through the instrumentality of ministering spirits. That it seemed wisest to the infinitely wise that -,ain angel from heaven should bear the communication from above to the suffering God at Gethsemane, if it cannot satisfy, should at least silence the cavils of reasoning pride.
The infinite Father,g from his exalted throne, beheld his only-begotten, his well-beloved Son struggling in the garden. He saw him A sorrowful even unto death;@" he saw him Asore amazed;@" he beheld him, being in an agony, Asweat as it were great drops of blood, falling down to the ground;@ he heard his pathetic cry, A, 0 my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me;@" he saw that even his infinite and omnipotent Son, now made a curse for sin, was almost ready to sink under its more than mountain weight: and it was therefore that A, there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.@"
Seventhly. A, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.@" The true meaning of the original Greek words rendered by our translators p.212 A"soul,@" becomes here a subject of interest. The divine speaker had a material and immaterial nature. Within his body were lodged a human soul, and that ethereal essence, which constituted the second person of the Trinity; the former bearing to the latter the same proportion as the finite bears to the infinite. The original word, here translated soul, when applied to ordinary men, means the immaterial, breathing, living principle within them. The term finds, within the common children of humanity, no other aliment. But if applied to subjects affording other aliment for its sustenance, then the term spontaneously expands itself, so as to embrace the whole indwelling immateriality, however vast it may be. Plato had received, through the channels of tradition, some few scattered rays of that divine light which, in early ages, had been communicated to man. These rays he carefully concentrated, and was thus enabled to form a theory which advanced one incipient step towards the glorious system of revealed truth. He darkly conceived the outlines of an immaterial, omnipresent, omniscient God, the creator and preserver of the heavens and the earth. To denote this ethereal essence, this immaterial, viewless, living principle, pervading and animating the immeasurable universe, the Athenian philosopher employed the identical Greek word with which the evangelists Matthew and Mark, have opened their narratives of the pathetic wailings of their Lord in the garden, and which has been rendered soul by our translators.
SOUL EXCEEDING SORROWFUL. 213
When Christ said at Gethsemane, A"My soul isg exceeding sorrowful, even unto death,@" he must have intended to declare that his whole immaterial or spiritual nature was overwhelmed with sorrow. He intimated no distinction between the human and divine portions of his immaterial or spiritual being. He used a general term, applicable to both; a term not technically confined to the human soul; a term comprehensive enough to include his divine as well as his human immateriality; a term which the great master of the Greek tongue had employed to denote the divine essence. When, therefore, reasoning pride seeks to narrow down the term thus used by Christ, so as to confine its meaning to the inferior part of his immaterial or spiritual being, bearing a less proportion to the whole than a single grain of sand bears to the vast earth we inhabit, it seeks to render particular that awful declaration which the Son of God left general. To make the point clearer, let us suppose that the translators, instead of the present version, had translated the passages in question so as to make them conform, in terms, to the limited meaning now sought to be attached to them, by inserting the adjective human before the substantive soul. The exclamation of Christ would then have stood thus, A"My human soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death.@" This version would doubtless have been startling, even to the advocates of the prevalent theory. But if the adjective A"human@" is to be insinuated into the passages by
214 THE DREADED CUP.
construction, it might better have been openly inserted by the pen.
What were the contents of the cup, whose mere anticipation caused the sorrow, and amazement, and agony of the garden, the human imagination has not powers to conceive. It was Athe cup of trembling,@ " filled to overflowing with the Afierceness and wrath of almighty God.@" The visible agonies of Calvary doubtless bore no comparison to those which were unseen. The real tragedy was behind the curtain. There, impervious to human vision, was perfected the spiritual crucifixion of the eternal Son of God. The body of Christ heeded not the scourgings of the soldiery, but his whole immaterial being writhed under the anguish of those stripes by which we are healed. He looked down with indifference on the vindictive gaze of the crucifying multitude; but he looked upward with dismay at his Father=s@s altered face. Through the opening skies he beheld that coun-, tenance, which, until he became a curse for us, had forever beamed on him with the sunshine of heaven, now darkened with a frown. The draught of mingled vinegar and gall he could reject; but now made sin, though sinless, he was@ compelled to drain to the very dregs the terrible cup of infinite wrath. The nails of the cross, which lacerated his quivering flesh, he regarded not; but he, felt in all the elements of his spiritual natures, that invisible, yet flaming sword of the Lord of Hosts, which was piercing him through and through, as the substitute for sinners.
VIEWS OF DOCTOR CHALMERS. 215
But the scene was about to close. The last cry was ascending from the cross. A"It is finished!@" exclaimed the dying God, and gave up the ghost. A"It is finished!@" was echoed through the courts of heaven with triumphant acclamations. A"It is finished!@" was reverberated through the vaults of hell in tones of despair. What was finished? The throes and spasms of a suffering Deity were finished. The reconcilement of infinite justice and infinite mercy was finished. The everlasting triumph over the powers of darkness was finished. The redemption of a world was finished. We close this chapter by presenting to our readers the remarks of one of the master-spirits of the age on the extent and nature of Christ=s@s sufferings. The remarks first reached our knowledge after these sheets were prepared for the press. The great and pious Chalmers says,
A"It blunts the gratitude of men when they think lightly of the sacrifice which God had to make when he gave up his Son unto the death; and, akin to this pernicious imagination, our gratitude is farther deadened and made dull when we think lightly of the death itself. This death was an equivalent for the punishment of guilty millions. In the account which is given of it, we behold all the symptoms of a deep and dreadful enduranceC of an agony which was shrunk from even by the Son of God, though he had all the strength of the divinity to uphold himC of a conflict, and a terror, and a pain, under which omnipotence itself had well nigh given way, and which, while it proved that the strength of the sufferer was infinite, proved that the sin for which he suffered, in its guilt and in its evil, was infinite also. Christ made not a seeming, but a substantial atonement for the sins of the world. There was something more than an ordinary martyrdom. There was an actual laying on of the iniquities of us all; and, however little we are fitted for diving into the mysteries of the divine jurisprudenceC-however obscurely we know of all that was felt by the Son of God when the dreadful hour and power of darkness were upon him, yet we may be well assured that it was no mockery; that something more than the mere representation of a sacrifice, it was most truly and essentially a sacrifice itself a full satisfaction rendered for the outrage that had been done upon the LawgiverChis whole authority vindicated, the entire burden of his wrath discharged. This is enough for all the moral purposes that are to be gained by our faith in Christ=s@s propitiation. It is enough that we know of the travail of his soul. It is enough that he exchanged places with the world he died for, and that what to us would have been the wretchedness of eternity, was all concentrated upon him, and by him was fully borne.@"*
*Chalmer=s Lectures on Romans, pp. 318, 319. Carter=s New York edition.
Humanity of Christ had not Physical Capacities to endure all his SufferingsC-B13ody and Hum-uaan Soul of Christ differ,,ed in nothing but Holiness from those of ordinary MenC-Body can suffer only to limited ExtentC-So of Human SoulC-Sufferings of ris a Chris A t Infinite, or., at lea st, beyond Mortal EnduranceC-Christ=@s Physical Capacities not expanded at last PassionC-If so, he would not have Suffered in our NatureC-@@Shifts to which Prevalent Theory is put to reconcile Extent of Christ=s@s Sufferings with limited Capacities of Humanity to suffer.
HAVING thus completed our review of the dismay with which Christ beheld his coming sufferings, -and the perturbation which their endurance caused him, we may confidently deduce from the premises the sure conclusion that his sufferings were infinite ; or, if not infinite, that they inexpressibly surpassed any sufferings which mortal man ever bore, or which the highest angel in heaven, united to humanity, could have endured. We may now, therefore, return to the farther development of the principle which we laid down in a preceding page,* that the body and human soul of Christ ;i-had not physical capabilities to become the recipient of the amount of sufferings demonstrated by his unparalleled dismay at their approach, and his extraordinary perturbation in their endurance.
* See Page 201.
******* 218 CHRIST@13 MANHOOD NOT PECULIAR.
As a preliminary to this branch of our argument, we would remind the reader that the body and human soul of Christ differed in nothing from the bodies and souls of ordinary men, except in being sinless. This important fact rests on the firm basis of the Bible. The leading feature in the revealed plan of redemption is, that the second person of the Trinity should suffer in our nature. He would not have suffered in our nature had his manhood, except in its sinless character, been either more or less than the nature of ordinary men. Had he suffered in an angelic nature, or in a superhuman nature, he would not have suffered. in our nature; and thus the scriptural delineation of the atonement itself would have lost its characteristic feature. The suggestion so often made and repeated by@ theorists, that the body and human soul of Christ had peculiar susceptibilities for suffering, finds no support in the Oracles of God. The Bible informs us that , AJesus increased in wisdom andii stature@" like ordinary youths.C-Luke, 2ii. 52. But on the great fact of the identityv of his body and human soul, save in their exemption from sin, with the bodies and souls common to our race, the Bible is still more explicit. The Holy Ghost, in lan-
guage not to be frittered away by interpretation, has declared, A,Wherefore in all things it behooved hi@rmn to be made like unto his brethren.@"C-Hebrews, 2ii. 17.
The identity between the manhood of Christ and our common nature being thus established, we may now avail ourselves of this interesting fact for
CAPACITY OF BODY AND MIND LIMITED. 219
the purpose of showing that his humanity had not physical capabilities to endure the weight of cor-
poreal and spiritual sufferings manifestly devolved on him as the substitute for the sins of the world.
It is a principle of our nature, that the human body can, for the time, become the receptacle of only a given amount of suffering. Its capabilities of suffering are finite and limited. Those best schooled in the management of the rack, doubt-
less the most formidable instrument of cruelty, learned, from long experience, that there was a point at which even fiendish malice required them to stop in the infliction of pain. If, in their infatu-
ated zeal, they were indiscreetly led beyond this point, their victim was sure to find respite in tem-
porary insensibility. The laws of his physical na-
ture would kindly step in to his relief. Hence the professors in the art of extorting human sighs and human groans were taught to resort to the more tedious, but sure process of lingering torments. Thus they were enabled to effect, by the duration of the suffering, what they had failed to accomplish by its indiscreet intenseness.
So of mental suffering. The capacity of the human mind to suffer is, like its other faculties, limited. It is limited by those original and inflex-
ible principles which form the constitution of the mind. If the cup of affliction is full, any new streams of bitterness will but make it overflow. When Rachel wept for her children, and refused to be comforted because they were not, the anni-
hilation of half a continent, by some great convul-
***** 220 MANHOOD COULD NOT SO SUFFER.
sion of nature, would not have been likely, for the time, to augment her griefs. Mental suffering, like that of the body, may be indefinitely increased by its protraction, not by its intensity.
The question now directly arises wWhether, with powers limited to the ordinary standard of hu-
manity, Christ=s@s body and human soul had physical capacities to become the recipient of that unutter-
able weight of agony which it is manifest he en-
dured. It is true that we cannot determine this
question by the application of any rule deduced
from the exact sciences. We have no balance for
accurately weighing the powers of humanity to suffer; nor could we, if we dared, apply any pro-
cess of human calculation to measure the precise length, and breadth, and height, and depth of the boundless sufferings of our Lord; but appearances are sometimes as demonstrative as mathematics; and when, with our vision expanded and subli-
mated by the stupendous scenes of Gethsemane and of Calvary, we direct it inward, to view, as through a microscope, the diminutive lineaments of our own material and immaterial natures, we are driven to the conclusion that the manhood of Christ (A,made like unto his brethren@") could not have been the recipient of all his illimitable suffer-
ings with a force of demonstration almost as re-
sistless as that which compels our assent to a pro-
position of Euclid.
All must concede the propriety of the conclu-
sion just stated, if they believe that the suffel@rings' of Christ were infinite. A finite being cannot be
MANHOOD COULD NO@I@ A,O SITFFTltl. 221
made the recipient of infinite anguish in a space less than eternity. The infinitude of the pains of the lost children of our race, in the abodes of de-
spair, will be diluted by the current of ceaseless ages. Should Omnipotence concentrate infinite
suffering within the compass of even a few brief years, humanity could no more endure it, than it could carry the world on its shoulders.
If the sufferings of Christ were less than infinite, did they not still exceed the limits of his humani-
ity ? In answering this question in the, affirmative, we appeal to the scriptural intimations, scattered through the Old and New Testaments, evincing the extremity of our Saviour=s@s sufferings; we ap-
peal to the indications on the cross, and especially to those of the garden; we invoke the bloody sweat of Gethsemane, A falling down to the ground@" C-to be understood, not as a delusive metaphor, but as a stupendous truth; not as applicable to a person incapacitated by disease to retain in his veins and arteries the circulating and vital fluid, but as applicable to a person in perfect health.
Bring the case to the test of experiment. Fill a human soul brimful, to the utmost limit of its physical powers, with sufferings the most concen-
trated and intense that imagination can conceive, and it could never force through the pores of its clay tenement a bloody perspiration. For the
truth of this we appeal to universal history, pro-
fane and sacred. At Gethsemane, and there alone, has the anguish of the spirit ever made the sym-
pathizing and healthful body sweat as it were,
******* 222 MANHOOD NOT EXPANDED.
great drops of blood. The occurrence of this awful exhibition there, and there only, proves of itself that the agonies of the garden were the throes and spasms of a nature lifted, in its suffering cea-
pacity, infinitely above the human soul of Christ. Go one step farther; make the body a fellow in suffering; after filling the human soul full of the keenest anguish to overflowing, load its clay sis-
ter also with the most exquisite pains, to the ut-
most limits of its physical powers; and the aggre-
gate sufferings of the doublyC-laden man will prob-
ably bear a less proportion to the awful totality of Christ=s@s sufferings than the drop of the bucket bears to the A multitudinous sea.@" No imaginable concentration of human anguish, corporeal and mental, could ever have produced the appalling phenomenon which crimsoned the soil of Gethse-
* See Appendix, No. II, p. 352.
We may, indeed, suppose that Omnipotence, at the time of the last passion, might have expanded the capacity of the manhood of Christ to suffersufrer to an almost unlimited extent; but then he would not -have suffered in our nature. Had the might of Gabriel been miraculously infused into the hu-
manity of Christ, it would no longer have been our humanity. The created nature of Christ would have ceased to be human nature; it would have be-
come a compound of the human and the angelic. The characteristic feature of the atonement of the Bible would thus have been maniarred. Christ wouldd
See Appendix, No. A, p. 352.
MANHOOD NOT EXPANDED. 223
no longer have been A,in all things like unto his brethren.@" Had Christ suffered in this mingled na-
ture, how could he have been what his apostle Peter represents him to have been when he says, A Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an exam-
ple ?@"C-1 I Peter, 2ii. 21. How could he have left us an example, with any expectation of our following it, unless he had actually suffered in our common nature ? The supposition that he also suffered in his divine nature does not impair the efficacy of his human example. The supposition presents to us a suffering man to imitate ; a suffering God to adore.
According to this aspect of the prevalent theory, Christ suffered in neither his divine nor human na-
ture, but in a compound nature specially wrought out for the occasion, and nowhere intimated in the Bible. An angel appeared in the garden of Geth-
semane. But angel visits, while they impart con-
solation and strengthen faith, do not change the nature of the being visited. The faithful Abraham and the wrestling Jacob remained unaltered at the departure of their celestial visitant, except in in-
crease of holiness.- We do not infer that the A strengthening@" envoy of the garden added any-
thing to the physical capabilities of the sufferer for the endurance of pain. To impart to an ordinary man the strength of Samson, by miraculous inter-
position, to prepare him for some great bodily feat, would be to effect a change of his corporeal nature. To have imparted to the human soul of Christ, by miraculous interposition, the strength and fortitude of an archangel, to prepare him for the endurance
****** 224MANHOOD NOT EXPANDED.
of his last passion, would have been to effect a change in the elements of the incorporeal portion of his humanity. He would then rather have taken on him A the nature of angels,@" than have remained of the unmixed A seed of Abraham.@"C-
Hebrews, 2ii. 16.
True, the manhood of Christ was made for suf-
fering. Nevertheless it was endowed with no su-
pernatural capabilities of endurance; it was cast in the common mould of humanity. Its physical ability to suffer was no greater than pertains to or-
dinary men. Had it exceeded the common stand-
ard of humanity, Inspiration would not have af-
firmed of him, A,Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren.@" He was not like unto his brethren, if his human nature dif-
fered from theirs in the paramount article of its suffering capacity. And if he was A made like unto his brethren,@" he continued A like unto his breth-
ren@" until his mediatorial sufferings were A" fin-
ished.@" Increase of physical capacity for the exigency-
gency of of his last passion, is not intimated in Scrip-
ture. It is a gratuitous assumption of the preva-
lent theory. The contrary, indeed, is to be justly inferred from the Inspired Volume.
The Bible would not have exhibited the patience of Christ in endurance from the cradle to the grave as a pattern to be successfully imitated by mortals, unless he had at all times remained, not only the Lord of glory, but also a frail man, A like unto his brethren@, in the suffering elements of his humanity. The incarnation constituted him very
SHIFTS OF THEOITY. 225
man in all his weakness, as well as very God in all his might, by an in@@,dissolr,,soluble union of his two change--
less natures. We believe that any subsequent and supernatural modification of his manhood before death would have been opposed to the laws of the holy union. If the humanity of Christ was the hu-
manity of our common nature in the workshop of Joseph, it doubtless continued such in the garden of Gethsemane,. and on the cross of Calvary. The sweat of labou@r and the sweat of blood flowed alike from the same feeble mortality. The infant wailings of the manger, and the expiring wailings which shook the firm-seated earth, proceeded from the self-same being, unaltered save in physical and natural growth.
To reconcile the magnitude of Christ=s@s sufferings with the limited capabilities of humanity to suffer, has ever been one of the most trying shifts of the prevalent theory. One class of its advocates, as has already appeared, have imagined that the man-
hood of Christ was mysteriously endowed with su-
perhuman susceptibilities and powers of suffer-
ance; but this airy phantom has not a scriptural intimation on which to perch itself. Another class of its adherents have sought to solve the phenome-
non by depreciating the magnitude of the mediato-
rial sufferings. Whitby, the commentator, with a reckless hand, has undertaken to cut the Gordian knot, which he could not untie, by sinking to-cor-
poreal pains the expiatory agonies of the Son of f
God. Even the learned, eloquent, and devout
Dwight felt himself constrained to declare that
So the Herculean intellect of the profound au-
thor of the A Freedom of the Will@ " was obliged to seek refuge from the anomalies of the prevalent theory, in the same hypothesis.*
*Whitby=s Comments on Matthew, 26. 38; Dwight=s Theology, vol.
2. p. 217; Edwards=s Works, vol. 8. pp. 176, 177 New York, 1830.
Such depreciation of the price of redemption is without scriptural authority. The Bible nowhere intimates such a paucity of mediatorial sufferings; nor can reason evince the sufficiency of such lim-
ited sufferings to redeem a world by any process of human arithmetic. The debts of the redeemed to the exchequer of heaven were infinite, or, rather they consisted of a countless number of infinitudes; for each of the redeemed owed, for his single self, an infinite debt. Suffering was the only coin in which satisfaction could be, received. The second person of the Trinity, clothed in flesh, became the Substitute for the redeemed. For their suff@erings he mercifully interposed his own. If divine justice exacted full payment in kind to the uttermost far--
thing, then he must have suffered as much as all the redeemed, but for him, would have suffered collectively, pang for pang, spasm for spasm, sigh for sigh, groan for groan; he must have suffered not only infinitely, but the infinitude of his suffer-
ing must have been multiplied by the number of the countless -countless redeemed.
* Whitby@s Comments on Matthew, xxvi, 38; Dwight@s The-
ology, vol. ii. p. 217; Edwards@s Works, vol. viii. pp. 176, 177 New York, 1830.
BY PARTICIPATION OF DIVINITY. 227
But it is, perhaps, the more general faith of Chris-
tendom, that Christ did not specifically pay the debts of the redeemed in kind and in full, as such payment might have enabled them to demand from eternal justice the remission of their sins as matter of right, and not of@ mere grace. We eschew all debateable ground not directly connected with the main-.i position of our argument. Yet without de-
parting from the line of neutrality on collateral points, we may be permitted to remind those who have adopted the last-named opinion, that their be-
lief requires for its vital aliminent the supposition that such deficiency as existed in the quantity of Christ=@,s sufferings, compared with what would have been the aggregate sufferings of the re-
deemed, wasg made up by the transcendent supe-
riority of its quality. For it cannot be imagined that the infinite Father, in accepting the substituted sufferingc, of the Mediator, could have intended, by an act of flexible grace, to lower the awful dignity of his own violated justice.
Were we permitted to believe that the divinity of Christ actually participated in his sufferings, then, indeed, any difficulty connected with their numerical quantity might be mitigated, and per-
haps removed. The participation of his divinity in his sufferings might have supplied their defi-
ciency in quantity, compared with what the re-
deemed must have endured, by imparting to them an infinitely enhanced value. But the advocates
of the prevalent theory, through all their classes,
utterly deny that the divinity of Christ actually
****** 228 CIIRIST@S SUFFERINGS EXPLAINED
participated in his expiatory sufferings. To ex-
clude the belief that his divinity actually suffered has.-, been their object for fifteen centuries. To this object they have clung with a tenacity which time has not been able to loosen.
Yet does the prevalent theory require, for its vital principle, that there should have been an in-
fusion of divinity into the mediatorial sufferings. This infusion we give in the awful fact that the divinity of Christ actually participated in all he underwent. The prevalent theory seeks to impart the divine infusion by supposing that the redeem-
ing man suffered actually, and the redeeming God
constructively. A preliminary objection to this
supposition is, that it lacks scriptural support. The
Bible, from its first verse to its last, gives no such
intimation. It rests on human authority alone. The persons of the glorious Trinity are not wont to act constructively. Whatever they do, they do actually. It was not constructively that the Son of God created the worlds. It is not con-
structively that he will, one day, judge the quick and the dead. His heaven and his hell are not constructive. Nor was it merely constructively that his ethereal essence tasted A"of death for every man.@"
The prevalent theory has a navigation embar-
rassed with more real obstacles than those imagined to inhibit the passage of the Sicilian strait when haunted by the fabled terrors of early mythology. When it raises to their proper altitude its conceptions of the infinite magnitude of the mniediatorial agonies,
BY PARTICIPATION OF DIVINITY. 229
it encounters the insuperable difficulties arising from the limited@- ,c@apacities of humanity to suffer. If it lowers its views to the standard of human-
ity=s@s limited powers, its meager estimate of the atoning sufferings affords but scanty aliment for the redemption of a world. The theory has its Scylla on the one side, and its Charybdis on the other. Nothing but the unequalled, though noise-
less skill of its navigators has hitherto saved it from shipwreck.
Whichever way we wander, we are thus drawn back to the great central truth that the second per-
son of the Trinity, clothed in manhood, suffered and died, as well in hiWs ethereal essence as in hiMs human nature, for the salvation of man. This au-
gust truth cannot, indeed, fully unravel the A myss-
tery of godliness.@" That still remains, as it was beheld by the apostle and the angels, shrouded in its own ineffable majesty, A high and lifted up@" above the ken of mortal scrutiny ; but it clears the spiritual horizon of the vapours and clouds which human theories have congregated there. If it were believed that a God, made sin for sinners, was just about to meet the A fierceness and wrath@if@ of an avenging God, the scene at Gethsemane, though towering to the third heaven in interest and grandeur, would lose some of its marvels. The bloody perspiration forcing itself through the corporeal substance of the incarnate, self-devoted Deity; the shaking, almost to annihilation, of A,the temple of his body;@" the momuientary, eager, soul-
touching supplication that, if possible, the cup
****** 230 SUFFERINGS OF CIIRIST IMMENSE.
might pass from him; the appearance of the A strengthening@" envoy from the celestial court, are what even the finite imagination might shadow forth as the appropriate preludes of an exhibition, from which the dismayed sun fled away.
The explanation unfolded by this august central truth, though it may not, durst not, cannot draw fully aside the veil of the inner sanctuary, where A the chastisement of our peace was upon Him@@ who created the worlds, yet indicates to our ador-
ing vision the viewless, hidden cause, from whose mighty workings came that wondrous contrast be-
tween the penitent, joyous, exulting malefactor, and the suffering, writhing, sinking Deity by his side; extorting from his bursting spirit the piercing cry sent up to the Ancient of Days, A,My God! my God! why hast thou forsaken me?@"
If the redeeming God suffered in his divine es-
sence, he must have suffered to a degree surpass-
ing the apprehension of mortal man; probably sur-
passing the comprehension of the brightest archan. gel. He would not have healed A slightly the hurt of the daughter of his people.@"C-Jeremiah, 6vi. 14. He would not, by the paucity of the expiatory suf-
ferings, have sunk, in the estimation of created intelligences, the dignity of his own divine law. Such sufferings must have been felt by the redeem-
ing God as only a God has capacity to feel. If they did not pierce the very core of his divine heart, they might have lacked full atoning merit. They might have detracted from the grandeur of the Godhead; they might not have surpassed in
MODE OF SUFFERING NOT REVEALED. 231
magnificence the glory of the created worlds; they might have failed to I form the brightest crown of Him who A" wears on his head many crowns.@" And if, indeed, the God thus suffered, we might have expected that the near approach of his infi-
nite agonies would have caused anticipations new and A strange@" in the flight of eternal ages. We need not be surprised that their actual occurrence rent asunder the solid rocks, and convulsed to its centre the firm-seated, yet shuddering earth.
The precise mode in which the uncreated Son suffered in his ethereal essence to atone for the sins of our world we know not, nor dare we irreve-
rently inquire. The stupendous fact of his own vicarious suffering is, of itself, the all-sufficient rock of Christian hope and Christian confidence. Its mode, if communicable to mortal apprehension, in-
finite wisdom has not seen fit to reveal. Systems of theism, manufactured in the laboratories of earth, ever abound in minute details, designed to lure the imagination and to gratify the longing in-
quisitiveness of our fallen race, to probe the secrets of the A world unknown.@" Such was the mythol-
ogy of classic antiquity, with its poetic gods, its poetic heaven, and its poetic hell. Such is the Koran of Mohammed, with its voluptuous para-
Such is not the Bible of the true God. Its rev-
elations, like the supplies of miraculous food to the wayfaring Israelites, are just sufficient for our spir-
itual wants. There is no lack, no redundancy.
****** 232 BIBLE FEEDS NOT CURIOSITY.
The Bible contains ample nutriment for the im-
mortal soul ; not a jot of aliment for idle curiosity.
Any surplus of revealed communications might be
but a receptacle for the worms of polemic spe-
culation.C-Exodus, 16xvi. 20. This exact economy of its revelations is a distinguishing characteristic of Scripture, strongly indicative of its celestial pa-
rentage. The Scripture is its own best witness. The stars of the firmament and the Bible of our closets bear upon their faces the like inherent de-
monstration that their Architect is divine.
BAPTISM TO BE BAPTIZED WITTI. 233
PREVIOUS to the night of Gethsemane, the ap-
prehension of his approaching suffering had, more than once-@d"@e,, visibly affected the incarnate God. The first passage illustrating this truth is the following: AI am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled ?@"C-Luke, 12xii. 49. A14But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!@C Luke, 12xii. 50. A Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on the earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division.@"C-Luke,te# 12xii. 51. The whole pas-
sage has been transcribed, with a view the better to exhibit, in all its potency, the full meaning of the fiftieth verse. The speaker was Christ. The dreaded baptism was his last passion. Who was Astraitened@" until the baptism should be accom-
plished ? Was it the man only? or was the in-
dwelling God also A straitened?@" Did the distress-
ing apprehension pervade the whole self of the divine speaker? or did it touch only his manhood,
******* 234 BAPTISM TO BE BAPTIZED WITH.
that finite speck, which bore a less proportion to the majestic whole than the glow--worm bears to the sun in the firmament ?
In theIn the forty-ninth and fifty-first verses his God-
head was clearly the paramount theme of the di-
vine speaker. He adverted to his having A come@" into the world : manifestly referring to his advent as the second person of the Trinity. He an-
nounced one of the effects of hiMs having A come@" into the world. His advent was to A send fire@" and engender A"division@" on the earth. The foretold Aii shaking of the nations@" was to be effected, not by the meek and pacific son of Mary, but by the al-
mighty power of the indwelling God. The pier-
cing A division@" created by the Gospel pervaded and severed the sinews, and arteries, and very heart of the social world. A fire was kindled on the day of Pentecost, whose mighty conflagration scarcely ceased to rage until the faith of the fisher-
men had fixed its sandalled foot on the; throne of the Cae,%sars. This triumph of the@ religion of the cross over the marshalled powers of unbelieving man, armed with the terrors of persecution, headed by the prince of darkness, and re-enforced by all his legions, was, perhaps, the most stupendous miracle ever displayed by him who came A,to send fire on the earth.@"
If, then, in the forty-ninth and fifty-first verses of this memorable passage, the Godhead of the divine speaker was thus the almost exclusive theme, is it indeed true that, in the intervening, or fiftieth verse, it became, as it were, utterly merged in the little atom of his manhood? Did the divinity suddenly pass, in the Acontinuous discourse, under a total eclipse at the end of the forty-ninth verse, which eclipse as suddenly disappeared at the beginning of the fifty-first? Or, to drop the figures, did the incarnate God, at the commencement of the fiftieth verse, abruptly descend from hiMs divinity to his mere manhood, and as abruptly re-ascend, at the end of that verse, from his mere manhood back to his divinity? Such a double transition, so instantaneously repeated, would have seemed almost a phenomenon, had we been forced to yield our credence to its existence, by intrinsic indications that such was the intention of the speaker; but there are no such indications on the face or in the relations of the passage. The divine speaker passed through these contiguous and kindred verses, himself designated in each by the same personal pronoun A I,@" without the slightest intimation of any change in the natures of which he spoke. The subject represented by that personal pronoun formed, in each of the three verses, the one undivided and indivisible theme. If his divinity was the chief agent in sending A"fire@" and engendering A"division@" on the earth, his divinity was to be the chief recipient of the dreaded A baptism.@"
To impute to the speaking God a double change of subject, radical and vast as the change from the infinite to the finite, and thence back again from the finite to the infinite, affecting, too, his own united being, within the compass of this brief passage, without a shadow of change in the language which his wisdom chose, would seem, indeed, like the mere dream of fancy; or, if we are obliged to view it as a daylight atnd waking theory, we cannot but regard it as one of the boldest eff@orts of that @bold hypothesis, A God is impassible.@" Such a dream, or such a theory, if so we must call it, should find no registered place among the fundamental articles of Christian faith.
If, then, we may justly infer from the language of Christ, in the fiftieth verse of the passage under review, compared with his language in the german verses, which go before and after it, that he intended to comprehend in that verse, as well as in the other two, both of his united natures, we have the conclusive authority of the Son of God, that his divinity as well as his manhood was A"straitened@" by the dread of the coming A baptism.@"
The next passage showing that the dismay of the incarnate God, caused by his approaching sufferings, had anticipated the scene of the garta@den is the following: A" Now is my soul troubled; and@ what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour.; but for this cause came I unto this hour.@"C-John, 12xii. 27. What soul was troubled? The prevalent theory would say that it was the mere human soul of the divine victim. So said not the divine victim himself His declaration, in its plain and obvious import, comprehended his whole united spirituality. The limiting adjective A human@" fell not from the lips of the incarnate God. It is the interpolation of .earth.
A"Father, save me from this hour; but for this cause came I unto this hour.@" The august Comer was the second person of the Trinity. Upon his advent he had received the A body@" prepared for him, and thus , Amanifest in the fleshs@@ had meekly awaited that hour of hours. But upon the near approach of that tremendous hour, new and @strange@" in the annals of eternity, when God the Father was to pour on God the Son, made sin for sinners, the storm of infinite wrath, compounded of the A multitudinous@" transgressions of all the redeemed, the self-devoted victim, almighty as he was, for a moment stood appalled. A Father, save me from this hour.@" The august Comer and the momentary Supplicant were one, designated by the little pronouns A,I@" and A,me.@" Both pronouns referred to the self-same Being; both referred to the totality of that Being; both included within their illimitable import the whole incarnate Deity. The coming God, the Atroubled@" God, the supplicating God were identical. In each stage of the stupendous action the God was the chief Actor, the man but
the humble adjunct.
Farther proof that, of Christ=s@s painful a-inticipations, -the garden was not the first witness, is to be found in the following passage: AWhen Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, AVerily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.@"C-John, 13xiii. 21. This passage has its date just after -our Lord=s@s institution of the sacramental supper, and on the same night in which his prediction of the treason of one of his disciples was fulfilled. The Greek word here translated A"spirit@" is used in the Bible, as well as the dictionary, in opposition to matter. Its scriptural, as well as its lexicographic meaning, is A immaterial substance.@" It denotes animated immateriality, whether found in man, in angels, or in the Godhead. Take the following s,pecimens of its application to the divine essence. St. Peter said of Christ: A Being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit;@" meaning doubtless, by the quickening Spirit, the Spirit of the Omnipotent. C-1 Peter, 3iii. 18. The AAlpha and Omega,@" who appeared to his beloved disciple in the first three chapters of Revelation, styled himself the A"Spirit.@" A Hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches.@"C Revelation, 2ii. 17. AGod is a Spirit,@" declared the same inspired disciple.C-John, 4iv. 24.
AHe was troubled in spirit.@" The term @spirit@" was clearly applicable, according to its scriptural meaning, to his ethereal essence; it was just as applicable to his ethereal essence as to his human intellect. Inspiration employed a term whose natural, boundaries included both. To exclude his divinity would be doing violence to those natural boundaries. It would be reducing them, by force and arms, from their inherent infinitude down to the finite compass of humanity. Inspiration interposed no discrimination between the human intellect and the ethereal essence of Christ. If we are permitted to understand the term as Inspiration has elsewhere taught us to understand it, his whole immaterial being, in both its elements, Awas troubled.@ "We are ignorant of any principle of grammar or of logic -by ,which human reason can interpose any discriminating barrier. Yet has the theory of presuming man dared to lay down on the scriptural map a line of demarcation, impassable as the walls of heaven, where no line of demarcation has been marked by the Holy Ghost. It has dared to affirm that Inspiration was so absorbed in the human as to lose sight of the divine Spirit of the incarnate God.
In this connexion, a pas-sage from one of the epistles, manifestly referring to the agonies of Christ at Gethsemane, may advantageously be introduced: ,@Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears, unto Him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.@"C-Hebrews, 5v. 7, 8. Who was the supplicant of this passage that Aoffered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears?@" It was certainly Christ. In what nature did he thus agonizingly supplicate? We suppose in both his natures; especially inixi his paramount, or divine nature.
The earnest supplicant was distinguished, in the passage, by two characteristic marks: he was Aa Son,@" the eternal Son; and he thus strongly supplicated Ain the days of his flesh;@" that is to say, in the days of his manhood on earth. The eternal Sonship of the supplicant was not predicable of the human progeny of Mary; nor were the expressions, Ain the days of his flesh.@" The phrase, Ain the days of his flesh,@" implies that there had been a time when the tearful supplicant had not been in the flesh; not clothed in human nature; when he had existed in another mode or state of being.
But the manhood of Christ had never been out of the flesh. It was created in the flesh; it was in the flesh in the manger; it was in the flesh on the cross; it was in the flesh, awaiting its quick returning spirit, in the tomb of Joseph; it is in the flesh on the right hand of God. It was only to the divinity of Christ that the inspired, writer to the Hebrews could have applied the descriptive peculiarity, A,in the days of his flesh.@" That was, indeed, a memorable era in the eternity of the second person of the Trinity. He had been a disembodied and glorious Spirit from everlasting. He first came into the flesh when he made hiNmself incarnate. The days of the God Christ Jesus on earth were emphatically and descriptively A"the day,-s of h@ is flesh.@" But the phrase would have been unmeaning if applied to the man Christ Jesus. It would have marked no era in his existence.
We have it, then, established by two distinguishing and unerring badges that the Supplicant in the passage from Hebrews was not simply the human offspring of the Virgin. His A"prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears@" were not the mere ebullitions of human frailty. The Supplicant was the eternal Son of God. To him pertained a state of antecedent existence, not comprehended A in the days of his flesh.@" The Supplicant, then, was, the second, the incarnate person of the Trinity. The implorin@ g voice; the strong crying; the tears; ; the spirit which prompted that crying and those tears, were his. He who A,feared A" was hbe who had made the worlds. In this fearing, deprecatory scene of the mediatorial drama the divinity predominated as much as it did in the stupendous scene where the A"five barley loaves and two small fishes@" were made the superabundant aliment of five thousand famished persons.
But was it, indeed, the second person ofe the Trinity clothed in manhood, who A offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears,@" and A"was heard in A -that he feared?@" Let Gethin semane answer the inquiry. Let the garden, where, Abeing in an agony, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was, as it were, great drops of blood falling down to the ground,@" reveal the awful truth. Let the angel respond who appeared unto him A from heaven strengthening@" the Afearing,@" the almost sinking God.
We have heard it orally objected that if, at the approach of Christ=s@s passion, the dismay caused by its anticipation affected his divine nature, the same anticipation must equally have affected his divinity before it became incarnate; that to the divine mind the past and the future are one concentrated now; that to HIfim who fills eternity the anticipation of the cross wivas just as vivid before the creation of the world@is as it was in the garden; that our doctrine, therefore, would convert the illimitable preexistence of the Son of God into one saddened, unbroken Gethsemane.
To this objection we have a ready response. If we have failed to show, by scriptural evidence, that the divinity of Christ shared in the dismay caused by his approaching suffering, then this particular branch of our argument fails of itself. It needs not to be assailed by extraneous objection; it sinks under the burden of its own weight; its foundation is ascertained to be laid in unstable sandlid. But if we have succeeded in showing, by scriptural proofs, that the divinity of Christ participated in the dismay caused by his coming passion, then is our position fixed upon a rock. Underneath it is the everlasting foundation of the Bible. And because human reason, dimly peering through its earthy telescope, cannot scan the vast dimensions of that infinite Essence A manifest in the flesh,@" so as to ascertain with precision how his divine nature could, in harmony with all his attributes, have partaken of the dismay caused by the anticipated outpouring of his Father=s@s wrath, shall human reason, thus thwarted by the diminutiveness of its own powers of vision, venture boldly to repudiate a doctrine proved to be scriptural, and so deeplyv interesting to Christian faith?
Other answers to the objection may be given. The supposition that the past eternity and the future eternity are, to the divine mind, one concentrated now, rests not on scriptural authority. It is based on metaphysical speculation. Human reason has no right to speculate concerning the unrevealed mysteries of God; to convert his eternity into one monotonous now; to deprive him of the joys of retrospect, and the delights of anticipation. The past and the future are essentially different from the present, in the nature of things. The Omnipotent could not, by the word of his power, make them identical, without violating the inflexible laws of his empire, any more than he could make two and two amount to five. That past things and future things should be present things is a physical contradiction. The Son of God is not now creating the worlds; he is not now suspended on the cross; he is not now judging the quick and the dead. To view those widely separated events as contemporaneous, would be to view them falsely.
The God of truth sees things as they are. He views the past as gone, the future as to come, the present alone as actually present. To his mind the deluge is not now riding in triumph over the tops of the mountains; to his mind the elements are not now melting with fervent heat. Progression is a fundamental principle of God=s@s empire, and progressive events are viewed as progressive by the infinitely wise Legislator. The reckless violation of all laws by the afterward penitent malefactor, his belief with the heart when apostles fled, and his repose in paradise on the bosom of his redeeming God, were not simultaneous events in the estimation of the dwellers upon the earth, or in the view of Him who A inhabiteth eternity.@"
The memory of the Deity, doubtless, reaches back to the earliest past; his prescience reaches forward to the latest future. Eternity and immensity have no recesses hidden from omniscience. How vivid may be his anticipations of coming events, brought home by his unerring prescience, the Bible has not told us with perfect distinctness. On this sacred theme we may, perhaps, without irreverence, draw some twilight imaginings from the analogy of his earthly substitute, made in his own image, and after his own likeness, and into whose nostrils he breathed A the breath of life.@" To a good man it may be revealed, as it was to Peter, that a violent death awaits him. The conviction of his bitter doom is sure; the cruel death dwells ever in his conscious breast. Yet does not its sting disturb his happiness or serenity, until the hour draws nigh for the triumph of the king of terrors.
So the Bible shadows forth the progressive invatenseness of the anticipations of the Son of God, caused by his approaching suffering. When he foretold his passion first, it produced in him little seeming emotion. AFrom that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples how he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things.@"C-Matthew, 16xvi. 21. A AAnd he began to teach them that the Son of man must suffer many things.@"C-Mark, 8viii. 31. A little farther onward, in Luke, he declared, ABut I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straitened till it be accomplished.@" Still onward, in John, he exclaimed, ANow is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.@" And at Gethsemane, when the dreaded Abaptism,@" the tremendous Ahour@" was just at hand, A,being in an agony,@" he sweat A as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.@"
IN the progress of our argument, we have hitherto confined ourselves to evidence deduced from the New Testament. But the Old Testament is not to be overlooked or undervalued. Though its holy patriarchs and prophets saw . as A,through a glass darkly,@" yet does the wonderful fulfilment of their inspired visions afford one of the most striking proofs of the verity of our holy religion. The Old Testament shadows forth the Messiah to come in colours not to be mistaken. It plainly intimates his miraculous conception ; it places the glorious truth of his divinity beyond peradventure; it announces him as the sufferer for the sins of others in terms peculiar and significant; and when it thus alludes to him as a sufferer, it limits not his sufferings to a single department of his being; it speaks of him, not as a partial, but as a general sufferer. The prevalent theory of later times, that the sufferings of Christ were confined to his humanity, finds no countenance in the Old Testament. The Old Testament leaves us to believe that the expected Messiah would suffer in the same undivided and indivisible natures in which hlie was to be born into our world.
The last three verses of the fifty-second chapter of Isaiah, and the whole of the fifty-third chapter of that sublimest of the sons of men, have Christ for their absorbing theme. Their reference to the Messiah who was to come is so palpable that, in reading the passages, we may consider the name of Christ as actually substituted for the nameless sufferer, whose heart-touching story is there told with a pathos not to be found in the A multitudinous@" volumes of uninspired lore. With a pen dipped in his tears, the rapt prophet recounted the imputed imperfections and outward pangs of his beloved Saviour; his marred visage; his want of form and comeliness to the carnal eye; his rejection by men; his privations; his lamb-like submission. But when he drew near to the furnace of expiatory suffering burning within, pervading the spiritual elements of the incarnate God in the most inaccessible recesses of his sacred being, the prophet=s@s powers of expression, copious as they were, seemed utterly inadequate to the overpowering thoughts that were hovering around him. He could but say, A@His soul@" shall be made @an offering for sin;@" Ahe shall pour out his soul unto death;@" Ahe shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.@"C-Isaiah, 53Iiii. 10-12.
The Hebrew word here translated A,soul@ " is of most capacious import. It signifies breathing, living immateriality, wherever found. In the first chapter of his inspired history, Moses applied this Hebrew term to designate the vital principle of the lower ranks of animated nature, though our translators have there rendered it A creature.@"C-Genesis, 1i. 24. The royal psalmist used this identical Hebrew word to denote the ethereal essence of the Deity. A The Lord trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.@C@Psalm 11xi. 5. The same Hebrew word was used for the same purpose in Judges. A" And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the Lord: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.@"C-Judges, 10x. 16. The same Hebrew word was also four times used in Jeremiah to express the ethereal essence of God. A
Shall I not visit for these thingo-s, saith the Lord: and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?@@C Jeremiah, 5v. 9. This same verse is afterwards twice repeated, forming the twenty-ninth verse of the same chapter, and also the ninth verse of the ninth chapter. AYeao, I@" (the Lord) ,@@will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and my whole soul.@"C-Jeremiah, 32xxxii. 41. Isaiah himself, in his first chapter, represents the Majesty of heaven as declaring to rebellious Israel, @Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth.@"C-Isaiah, 1i. 14.
When Isaiah appropriated the same Hebrew term to the expected Messiah; the predicted Immanuel; the , Achild@" that should be born ; the As"ton@" that should be given; whose name should be called A"Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace,@ he must have meant to use the term in as comprehensive a sense as it was used by his brother-prophets, and as he had himself used it in his opening chapter. He must have intended to designate the whole breathing, animated, living immateriality of the God A manifest in the flesh,@" whose advent had, from the creation, formed the glowing theme of inspired prediction and heaven-taught song. The Hebrew word is used by the evangelical prophet without stint or limitation. The human soul of the anticipated Messiah, the,, AWonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father,@" was so small a speck in the distant and boundless horizon of his united a-nd infinite spirituality as scarcely to engage, much less to absorb the expanded vision of the ravished seer.
The prophet Isaiah must, then, be understood as saying, that the whole immaterial nature of Christ should be made an offering for sin; that his whole immaterial nature should be poured out unto death; that he should see of the travail of his whole imrnmaterial nature and be satisfied. If any biblical critic should wish to limit the Hebrew word translated A,soul@" to the mere human soul of Christ, I let him test the accuracy of his criticism by actually inserting before the substantive AI A soul@" as of@ten as it is here repeated, the adjective A" human.@" We do not perceive how the critic can object to this test; for, if the adjective is to be silently incorporated byv intendment, it might as well be actually incorporated Aby an overt act. We have already al-
luded to this test as applicable to passages in the New Testament; but its importance seems to justify its repetition here.
The prophecy of Isaiah contains other passages bearing on our subject. A I have trodden the winepress alone.@"C-Isaiah, 63Ixiii, 3. If this passage referred to the passion of Christ, it is full of demonstration that both his natures unitedly suffered. The wine-press trodden was not the wine-press of some earthly vintage. It was, what it was elsewhere called in Scripture, Athe wine-press of the wrath and fierceness of almighty God.@" AI have trodden the wine-press alone@" was a declaration of too lofty and awful an import to have been designed by the Holy Ghost for the A,meek and lowly@" human son of the Virgin. The solitary Treader of Athe wine-press of the fierceness and wrath of almighty God@" was the second person of the Trinity, arrayed, indeed, in the habiliments of manhood. None but a God could have trodden the terrible wine-press of the wrath of God. The human son of Mary had not physical capabilities to tread this wine-press alone; and had his humanity been expanded for the awful event by the omnipotence of its indwelling God, it would thenceforth have ceased to be the humanity of our common race.
The Treader of the wine-press had trodden it alone. If the man had been its treader, strengthened by the divinity within, solitariness could not have been predicated of him. He is not alone wAWho knows himself to be attended and supported by an indwelling Deity. Gabriel is not alone, though, apart from his fellow-angels, he may stand in more close attendance on the inaccessible majesty of the Highest. The three holy men, A upon whose bodies the fire had no power,@" were not alone in the Babylonian furnace. There was a fourth present; A,and the form of the fourth@" was Alike the Son of God.@" He walked with them through the flames, and saved them untouched by the conflagration. Well was it said of them that they were not alone.C-Daniel, 3iii. 25, 27. Hei- who trod the wine-press alone, clothed in his garment of flesh, was none other than he who, in the beginning, raised his solitary trumpet note, and behold, the dark profound straightway beamed with joyous light.
We are not ignorant that by a ma@ijority of the advocates of the prevalent theory, the Treader of the wine-press is supposed to have been, not the suffering Christ, but Christ the Avenger. Many biblical critics, respectable for talents, learning, and piety, have thought differently. We felt bound to notice the passage, without intending, however, to make it a main pillar of our argument. If the reader shall concur in its more general interpretation, he has but to subtract from the sum total of our scriptural proofs, this single item. We are confident that the aggregate of our proofs drawn from Holy Writ may well sustain this insulated subtraction.
AIin all theiri- affliction he was afflicted.@"C-Isaiah, 63Ixiii. 9. This wonderful declaration was predicated, not of the Word made flesh, but of the Old Testament Jehovah. Of him, also, the Bible often affirmed that he was A grieved.@" To be A afflicted@" or to be A grieved,@" implies actual suffering. If, therefore, these scriptural passages are to be taken literally, they cannot fail to overthrow the hypothesis of divine impassibility. The advocates of the prevalent theory, in attempting to evade the force of the passages, must needs clothe them in a figurative meaning. In deciding whether a figurative interpretation relieves the advocates of the theory from the pressure of the passages, it must be borne in mind that Bishop Pearson, and all his associates of the olden and modernm times, claim as the strongest position of their theory, that the imputation of even voluntary paossibility to the divine nature would imply its A imperfection@" and AA infirmity.@"
Now if impassibility is in truth one of the everlasting attributes of Jehovah, changeless as his wisdom, power, or holinessC-if the imputation to him of voluntary paossibility would indeed imply his A"imperfection@" and A"infirmity,@" then, as affliction and grief are synonymous with suffering, the Bible could never have declared of him, even figuratively, ,that he was A"afflicted@"C-that he was Agrieved.@" For by such declarations, the Bible would have imputed Aimperfection@" and A" infirmity@" to its own all-perfect Author; it would, under the guise of a metaphor, have libelled the God of the Bible. Inspiration deals, it is true, in figures of speech; but not in figures of speech calculated to misrepresent the awful attributes of Jehovah. In imputing to the Most High material form and lineaments, the Bible misleads not; for it elsewhere takes pains to affirm that A,God is a Spirit,@" and that 4@6 a spirit hath not flesh and bones.@"
But its imputation of paossibility to him who is alleged to be impassible, finds no explanatory qualification in the sacred pages. The imputation, then, according to the prevalent theory, stands forth on Holy R@ Itecord as a palpable and unexplained misrepresentation of the divine attributes, disguised but not mitigated by its figurative form. We would scarcely believe our senses of sight and hearing should they unitedly inform us that the Bible, under the garb of metaphor, had somewhere misrepresented God=s@s power, or omniscience, or wisdom, or justice, or holiness. And if it be indeed true that God could not suffer without ceasing to be God, by what species of moral arithmetic can it be ascertained that the impeachment of his impassibility is less reprehensible than would be the attempt to pluck from its sphere any of the other fixed and everlasting stars which form the glorious constellation of his perfections ?
The following passage carries on its face its own demonstration: A"Awake, 0 sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of Hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.@"C-Zechariah, 13xiii. 7. In this sublime and wonderful passage, the speaker is the infinite Father. The Son had been speaking in the preceding chapter under the name of the A"Lord;@" but in this passage the Father appeared as the speaker, by the appellation of the ALord of Hosts.@ "What was the subject to be smitten?
To show that it was to be the Christ, we need scarcely refer to Matthew, 26xxvi. 31 ; Mark, 14xiv. 27. The face of the passage itself demonstrates, not only that the Father was the speaker, but also that the subject to be smitten was the incarnate Son. In what nature was the incarnate Son to be smitten? Was it in his two united natures, or in one of them only, leaving the other altogether scathless? Our opponents allege that the subject to be smitten was the mere humanity of the Son incarnate. This they are obliged to allege; for if the smiting was but to touch the divine nature of the incarnate God, their theory must utterly fail.
We suppose that the humanity of the incarnate Son was not to be the sole subject of the smiting. Of all the wonders of the vast creation, visible or invisible, not the least is the -wonder, often pressed on our contemplations, of the exact economy of the almighty Creator, in his use of means to accomplish his wise and gracious ends. The energies invoked, like the manna of the desert, are always just sufficient; there is nothing wanting, nothing to spare. The wastefulness of human prodigality can find no precedent or countenance in the example of the Most High. And did he, so wisely provident of the resources even of his own exhaustless and infinite treasury, indeed awaken from its repose his own almighty sword-the highest resort of avenging omnipotence-only to smite the frail humanity of the man of Nazareth? Had the smiting of his mere humanity been the sole object of the Lord of Hosts, its sure execution might have been left to the irons of the cross, or to the soldier=s@s spear, if the irons proved too dilatory in their work. There would have been no seeming need for invoking the sword of the Lord of Hosts.
The terms of designation in the passage are demonstrative that the subject of the smiting was not the humanity of Christ alone. AAwake, 0 sword, against my shepherd.@" And again, the divine speaker said, A, Smite the shepherd.@" Who was the Shepherd of the Lord of Hosts ? He was the great , AShepherd of Israel@9l that dwelt Abetween the cherubims.@"C-Psalmrns, 80lxxx. 1I. Isaiah, 40xl. 11. AThis was the Shepherd who meekly descended to earth, to redeem with his blood, and gather in from every nation and every climey his Father=s@s dispersed and lost flock. The humanity of Bethlehem=s@s babe was not the Shepherd of the Lord of Hosts; it was but the adjunct of that Shepherd; the vestment in which that Shepherd arrayed himself; the tabernacle of flesh in which that Shepherd dwelt.
n AFather is That same Shepherd of the inA finite Father is yet his Shepherd. In the green pastures of paradise he still feeds his Father=s@s flock; still he folds the lambs in his bosom. There, clothed in his now glorified vestment of humanity, he willf continue -the Shepherd of the Most High as long as the golden walls of the great sheepfold of heaven 4m shall rest secure on their everlasting foundations.
This was the Shepherd against w-%vhose divine, as well as human nature, the Lord of Hosts invoked his almighty sword. Spare the God, but sm@ ite the man, was not his high command. His omnipotent mandate went forth without exception or restriction ; general, universal; pervading every element, searching out every recess of the united natures ; brief, simple, majestic ; yet more lucid than the sunbeam. A" Smite the Shepherd.@"
There is in the passage another term of designation equally significant of the subject to be smitten. The Lord of Hosts invoked his slumbering sword A6 6 against the man that is my fellow.@" The ethereal essence of the second person of the Trinity formed the divine .nature of the incarnate Son ; the body and soul of an ordinary man, cleansed from the stain of sin, formed his human nature. The union of these two natures is often styled, in Christian phraseology, the God-man@l.@ It may be denominated, with, perhaps, equal force and propriety, the man-God. In arranging the two elements of this-the complex name, we may as well ascend from the human nature to the divine as to descend from the divine nature to the human. It is in the ascending grade that the infinite Father himself ranked the two natures. He invoked his awakening sword, n1-iot only against Amy Shepherd,@" but also Aagainst the man that is my fellow;@" that is to say, against the man-God. It was not the man alone, but the man-God, that was to be smitten.
The A,fellow@" of the Lord of Hosts was to be smitten. But the mere humanity of the Virgin=s@s son was not the, A"fellow@" of the Highest. The fellow of the everlasting Father, like his infinite self, must have been one who A"inhabiteth eternity@"C-the eternity of the past as well as the eternity of the future. The -word A,fellow@" as here used is synonymous with equal. The appellation -was inapplicable to the mere manhood of the incarnate Son ; yet there was veiled within that humanity the ethereal essence of the second of the, Sacred Three, who was indeed the fellow of the infinite Father; who had occupied the right hand seat of the Father=s@s throne for countless ages ere time was known in the universe. That the humanity of Christ was not the fellow of the Most High, is proved by- the declaration fresh from the lips of the incarnate God, when speaking of the inferiority of his human nature, AFor my Father is greater than I.@"C-John, 14xiv. 28.
The unique being to be smitten, compounded of manhood and divinity, styled by the Lord of Hosts, Athe man that is my fellow,@" was the Emanuel of the Gospel, Athe Christ. of God.@" He was to be smitten, not in his mortal nature alone, but in both the elements, human and divine, which constitutied, his inkdividuality. If the awakened sword touched&he& the AmA@an@" only, the Afellow@" of the Most High was not smitten; the complex being of the text was not smitten; he who was smitten was but the man, and not the man-God; the divine prediction, so august in its promulgation, must, we speak it with reverence, have sunk in its fulfilment from heaven down to earth. The mandate of the Lord of Hosts to his omnipotent sword cannot be thus capriciously depressed to the mere humanity of Mary=s@s son, without crucifying its palpable, breathing, living letter and spirit. Such distortion of divine language would have found no place in Christian faith, but for the misleading hypothesis of divine impassibility.
There are yet other expressions, hitherto unnoticed, in this astounding passage, indicating that it was something infinitely beyond the mortal death of him of Nazareth which called forth the sword of the Lord of Hosts from its scabbard. It was summoned to awake; which implies that it had previously been in a state of reposeC-a repose, perhaps, until then unbroken in the flight of eternal ages. It was summoned not only to awake, but to awake and A,smite@ ;" to awake, therefore, in the majesty of its might, in the te6rrors of its wrath. It was to AA do hiEs work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act!@C-Isaiah, 28xxviii. 21C-that the infinite Father invoked his slumbering sword. A God was to be smitten by a God! The infinite Father was to smite his other self; his own beloved, only-begotten, Son; his meek and unresisting Shepherd; the fellow of his everlasting reign! No wonder that the sword of the Lord of HostsC-the keenest weapon in the armory of heavenC-was summoned to awake from its long repose. Nothing but the sword of a God should, could have smitten a God.
In this awful passage we seem to hear the audible voice of the Eternal, as it was once heard from Sinai, announcing prophetically the tremendous truth, since reiterated by the Holy Ghost, God As@spared not his own Son.@" How feeble and evanescent was the purposed sacrifice by the faithful Abraham, even to typify the finished, the efficient, the universe--pervading sacrifice by the infinite Father. We say universe-pervading, and, we trust, without irreverence; for who can doubt that the whole vast empire of the Godhead was benignly affected, to an extent nameless, illimitable, inconceivable, in its peace, in its prosperity, in the enduring happiness of its countless worlds, by the one great sacrifice on Calvary, seen and viewless!
There is a preceding passage in the same prophet, which demands our attention: A,And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications ; and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one that mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born.@"C-Zechariah, 12xii. 10. This prophecy was uttered by the second person of the Trinity. The infinite Father became the speaker in the next chapter. In this chapter the speaker was the infinite Son. The subject to be pierced was the God Amanifest in the flesh.@"C-John, 19xix. 37.
The corporeal piercing was not merely the perforation of the sufferer=s@s inanimate side by the Roman spear; his living hands and feet were to be pierced. They shall pierce A my hands and my feet.@" Psalm 22xxii. 16. A" Corporal sufferance@" was not, however, the sole price to be paid for the salvation of man. The Airon entered the soul@" of the vicarious victim. This is generally allowed, even by the advocates of the prevalent theory. The majority believe that the soul of the sufferer was pierced ; but their faith stops at the dividing line between his human and divine spirit. Why stop at that line? No such stopping-place is indicated on the scriptural chart.
The God was also to be pierced. The speaking God of the prophet was to be the pierced God of the evangelist. The awakened sword of the Lord of Hosts was to penetrate the most sacred recesses of his divine essence. The speaking God of the prophet was the mighty A me@" of the prediction. AThey shall look upon me whom they have pierced.@" And now mark well the sudden and significant change of phraseology: A And they shall mourn for him.@" Why this sudden transmutation
of the third for the first person ? It was no idle play of words; the transition was big with meaning. The speaker was God the Son. He designated by the pronoun A"me@" his own ethereal essence. But at the time of the fulfilment of the prophecy, a new nature was to be added, consisting of a perfect man, corporeally and intellectually. To that adjunct natureC-the man to be united to the GodC-the pronoun Ahim@" was applied: AThey shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him.@" The viewless sword of the Lord of Hosts was to pervade the whole united spirituality of the incarnate Deity.
The human piercers,. when Athe spirit of grace and of supplications@" should be poured into their hearts, would look upon the pierced God, and won-der, and repent, and adore; they would mourn for the pierced man with the same deep and affectionate mortal grief with which one Amourneth for his only son,@" and A,be in bitterness for him as one is in bitterness for his first-born.@" The human piercers, fiendish as was their intent, were but the instruments of infinite retribution. The efficient Piercer of the divine substitute for sinners was the Lord of Hosts.
THE scriptural passages ascribing blessedness to the Deity will, doubtless, be invoked in favour of his impassibility. The following are samples of these passages: A,Blessed be the most high God.@" C-Genesis, 14xiv. 20. A Blessed be the Lord God of Israel foreveri- and ever.@"C-1 l Chronicles, 16xvi. 36. A Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlast-
ing to everlasting.@"C-Psalm 41xli. 13. A Blessed be the Lord forever more.@"C-Psalm 89lxxxix. 52. A,,Blessed be the King of Israel, that cometh in the name of the Lord.@"C-Johbn, 12xii. 13. A And worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever.@"C-Romans, 1i. 25. A Of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever.@"C-Romans, 9ix. 5. A,Until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ; which in his times he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate.@"C-1 l Timothy, 6vi. 15. We believe these passages to be rather doxologies than declarations of doctrine; rather asceriptions of praise and thanksgiving to the Deity than averments of his infinite beatitude. So thought MacKnight, the learned annotator on the apostolic epistles. The passage which seems to approach nearer than, perhaps, any other in the whole Bible, to a declaration of the unchanging felicity of the Godhead from everlasting to everlasting, is that which we have just transcribed from the first chapter of Romans, where it is said that the heathen A worshipped a,ind served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever.@" The learned annotator on the epistles, in his commentary on this passage, though himself a firm adherent of the prevalent theory, rendered the passage thus: A66 Worsh@ipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is to be praised forever.@"* But if any of the passages are to be regarded as declarations of the divine blessedness, they contain no affirmation or intimation that the beatitude of the Deity is fixed by a law paramount to his own volttition, so that a person of the Trinity has not capacity to become a voluntary sufferer.
*MacKnight on the Epistles, vol. 1. p. 149.
The ascriptions of blessedness in Scripture were often applied to Christ. It was of Christ that the apostle declared, A Who is over all, God blessed forever.@" It was of Jesus Christ that he again declared, A Who is the blessed and only Potentate.@" These asceriptions were applicable as well to his manhood as to his Godhead. They reached and pervaded both of his united natures. The united being , the whole Christ of the Bible, was styled A
* MacKnight on the Epistles, vol. i. p. 149.
the blessed and only Potentate.@ "The whole Christ was denominated, AGod blessed forever.@" And yet this same united Being had just passed through the most terrible furnace of suffering ever lighted up on earth. If the ascriptions implied declarations of unchanged beatitude, and reached the past as well as the coming eternity, then Christ suffered not. His passion was but Oriental imagery. It was Christ, termed in the passage from the twelfth chapter of John A the King of Israel,@" on whom the epithet A"blessed@" was bestowed as he was entering Jerusalem to be crucified. If the passage was intended, not as a@ a mere hosanna, but a declaration of Christ=s@s beatitude, it must have meant a beatitude of which he was capable of A"emptying himself,@" when required by the good of the universe and the glory of the Godhead; for in a few hours afterward he voluntarily paid, by his own unimaginable sufferinags, the price of a worlrd=s@s redemption.
No direct affirmations of Scripture were neces. sary to demonstrate the beatitude of God. It results from the infinitude of his perfections. A Being of infinite power, knowledge, wisdom, holiness, justice, and goodness, has within himself infinite resources of felicity. But the felicity of the Deity is subject to his volition. He is not fated to the same unchangeable condition of blessedness whether he wills it or not. His beatitude is, like his glory, rather the emanation of his combined attributes than a distinct attribute of itself. Of his beattitude, as well as of his glory, the uncreated Son
was capable of divesting himself for a time when he became a terrestrial sojourner in the flesh. His infinite power, and knowledge, and wisdom, and holiness, and justice, and goodness remained unchanged. But his glory and his beatitude he voluntarily cast aside for a brief season, that he might resume them again in increased and everlasting effulgence and perfection.
Had the second person of the Trinity peremptorily declined to suffer when his suffering was prompted by the affections of his own benignant heart, sanctioned by his own unerring wisdom, and approved in the council of the Godhead, none on earth can gbe sure that his bliss might not have sustained a greater diminution from the absence than it has from the endurance of suffering@ thus prompted, sanctioned, and approved., The a4ggrepgate of earthly happiness is measured by the span of human life; the aggregate of divine felicity is weighed in the balances of eternity. None on earth can say that the brief suffering of the second person of the Trinity in the flesh has not augmented the totalit@Iffy of his beatitude, when tested by the arithmetic of heaven. Had he reposed unmoved on his throne, and beheld, afar off, the smoke of the torment of the apostate pair, and of the countless generations of th eir descendants, ascending being up forever and ever, how can human reason venture to decide that, in the flight of endless ages, the eternity of his bliss might not have suffered more than it will have suffered from his mournful,. but short earthly pilgrimage?
Reasoning pride has no grounds for concluding that the compassionate heart of our divine Redeemer might not have yearned unceasingly over the undistinguished perdition of a whole race, created by his own hands, in his own similitude, and seduced from unsuspecting innocence by the matchless wiles of one who had before beguiled from allegiance the third part of heaven. The ascending smoke would have been at once the memorial of a world destroyed, and the waving banner of his triumphant foe. Now has his divine and expiatory suffering bound that foe in everlasting chains, and proffered to every son and daughter of that world destroyed the healing and saving blood of his own most precious salvation. Now will the benignancy of infinite love forever overflow, and the pillars of infinite justice stand firm and sure as the foundations of the universe.
We believe that the beatitude A of -the, Deity is progressive. Progression seems to be a governing principle, pervading the intellectualiminl, el ectual universe. Its As principle, pervading the int I@ r e.
display in man is palpable. Doubtless it pervades the angelic hosts. Why should it not reach the beatitude even of him who made progressive man in his own Aimage,@" and after his own A,likeness ?@" We learn that the bliss of heaven is enhanced by the repentance of a single sinner on earth. Who will venture to presume that this enhancement of blessedness ascends not even to those who fill the celestial throne? That the glory of God is progressive, is a clear deduction from his own Holy Word. His beatitude is a sister emanation from the Godhead. Why, then, if one of the sacred sisters is found to be progressive, should the other be supposed to be stationary?
Ere his creative power was first put forth, the triune God must have existed, the centre of his own untenanted eternity, in blest but solitary majesty. Worlds as yet were not, nor men nor angels; chaos filled the universal space. In the fulness of circling ages, the heavens were formed, perhaps the firstC-born of creation. Then earth, sun, stellar orbs, and doubtless systems unknown to telescopic vision, sprung into being, with all their countless dwellers. The chorus of "A the morning stars@" was heard, I and the shouting A"sons of God@" returned their rapturous response. And think you that the benignant heart of the Creator, justly styled A" the Sensorium of the universe@*"@- received no augmentation of bliss from the transports of his ex-
ulting creation? We view him not as the A cheerless and abstract Di@vini@ty@" sometimes represented in A academic theology.@"1 t His is the infinite ocean of beatitude, capable nevertheless of receiving, without change of its identity, new accessions of delight from the gladdening streams which flow from perhaps every province, save one, of his boundless empire.
*Ante page 53. 1 Ante page 52.
It is a heaven-taught conclusion that the creations of God have enhanced his bliss. He beheld with satisfaction the wonders of his six@ days=@ lab hour, and repeatedly pronounced them to be very good.,--Genesis,, 1i. 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31. In thee
* Ante page 53 f Ante page 52.
sublimest of all the Psalms, which uninspired man could no more have composed than he could have formed a world, the royal David exclaimed, A The Lord shall rejoice in his works.@"--Psalms, 104eiv. 31. And the voice of later prophecy thus burst forth into rhapsody as it laboured to express his delight in the Church, A which he hath purchased with his own blood.@" A The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.@"--Zephaniah, 3iii. 17.
We believe it deducible from Scripture, not only that the divine blessedness is progressive, but also that the beatitude of the uncreated Son will, in the reckoning of eternity, be immeasurably enhanced by his mediatorial sufferings and triumph. A Look ing unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who, for the joy that was set before him, enelidured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.@"--Hebretqpws, @,s, 12xii. 2. This passage was, doubtless, applied to the redeeming man. We believe it to have been still more emphatically applied to the redeeming God., It was predicated of Jesus, that august Being who, in himself, uniiited a terrestrial atom to celestial infinity. It was predicated of him without limitation or exception. Its terms comprehended his divine ,as well as his human nature.
The subject of the passage is farther distinguished as,, Athe Author and Finisher of our faith.@" The human son of the Virgin was not the author of our faith; nor was he alone its finisher. The Author of our faith was the redeeming God. He became its Author by the covenant of redemption between him and the Father, ere the worlds were formed. Its finisher was the redeeming God and the redeeming man united; the God enacting the infinite, the man the finite part. It is impossible that Inspiration, unmindful of the predominating, the almost absorbing agency of the God, should have clothed the human son of the Virgin with the exclusive title of A" the Author and Finisher of our faith!@" He had no agenceyv in its authorship; he had not then himself come into being; he was only an humble adjunct in its consummation. Yet it was A"the Author and Finisher of our faith@" who had A66the joy@@l set befo&f6re him. The conclusion is inevitable that A61 the joy@" must have been A" set before@" the redeeming God as well as the redeeming man.
What was A,the joy that was set before@" A,the Author and Finisher of our faith,@" the Bible has not informed us distinctly; we learn, however, that it was to be a new accession of A"joy;@@7 an augmentation of pre-existent beatitude. It was a A66joy@99 of magnitude Sufficient to move a God. It was a Ajoy@" for which the Creator as well as the cCreature Aendured the cross, despising the shame.@" A chief element in this Sacred A46joy@" of the redeeming God is, doubtless, the hapd piniiess of the sons and daughters of salvation. They were destined to be eternal prisoners in the dungeons of despair; he transformed them into rejoicing saints around the throne of the Most High. Their happiness, purchased by his sufferings, is, no doubt, reflected back upon himself in unimaginable refulgence.
AThe quality of mniercy is not strained. Iit is twice blessed:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.@"
If this is true of an earthly philanthropist, how much deeper must be its truth when applied to the great Philanthropist of heaven! We may judge of his A"joy@" in the salvation of the redeemed, from his pity for their lost estate. His pity and his A"joy@" are alike beyond the comprehension of the cherubim and the seraphim. He views with complacency the material universe formed by his word; he regards with ineffable delight the moral creation brought into being by A the travail of his soul ;@" pleasant to his hearing is the music of the circling spheres; rapturous to his heart is the anthem of praise and thanksgiving which ascends forever and ever from the mighty congregation of his redeemed children. Gethsemane and Calvary have yielded the brightest crown of glory to Him who Awears on his head many crowns.@" They have poured into his divine bosom a new river of A"joy,@" Aclear as crystal,@" deep as the foundations of his throne, lasting as his eternity.
The prevalent theory confidently infers the unchangeable beatitude of the eternal Son, as a self-evident and necessary conclusion from his immutable holiness. This conclusio n is said to be one of the intuitive perceptions of the theory. We admit that righteousness and happiness are indeed twin sisters, and that the pious mind must, from its views of divine justice, infebr the impoossibility of their permanent severance. But it cannot with truth infer that Omnipotence may not disjoin the twin sisters for a time, when their temporary severance is prompted by infinite wisdom and infin@i ite love. Scriptural history overrules such inference. The human son of the Virgin was at once the holiest and most afflicted of the children of humanity. In him holiness and suffering were com mingled from the manger cradle to the granite tomb. Holiness is, indeed, without sins of its own; but it may, and has vicariously borne the sins of others. If it suffered in the sinless man, why may it not have suffered in the pure essence of the indwelling God? The efficacious element in redeeming pain must needs be the holiness of the sufferer. It is a self-evident truism, that the substituted agonies of a sinful being could not have redeemed the world.
Nor is the prevalent theory more correct in its suggestion, that, if the eternal Word suffered, his voluntary endurance, impelled by his own gracious and irrepressible emotions, must have been to him not grievous but joyous; and that, therefore, the very name of suffering, when applied to his spontaneous, triumphant, and exulting self-immolation, must have been -@lswal.lowed up in that of transport. This suggestion amounts to the proposition, that, what is pain in a sinful being, would be changed into joy, if voluntarily and piously endured by a being of perfect holiness. Test the proposition by applying -it to Mary=s@s human son. His endurance was not by compulsion; he was not a passive machliine; he was a voluntary martyr; his submission to the terrible cup was free, according to his finite capacity, as that of the indwelling God. If, amidst his seeming sufferings, he suffered not in fact because he was pure; if, what would else have been the pains of Gethsemane and of Calvaryv, were transformed into raptures by his overcoming holiness, then the passion of Christ=s@s humanity was but a delusive fiction;--then was there a transmutation into truth of the primitive heresy that the apparent agony of the redeeming man was but a pageant in the drama of salvation.
IT would be doing great injustice to our argument to suppose that it seeks to impugn the unchangeableness of the Godhead. Immutability is one of the glorious attributes of the Deity. Amid all the varieties in the divine administration, a voice is still heard from the pavilion of the Highest, AI am the Lord: I change not.@"--Malachi, 3iii. 6. Sometimes, indeed, he appears the personification of mercy ; sometimes a Aconsuming fire.@" It is he who has breathed into the harps of heaven their joyous melody; Ait is he who has lit up the quenchless conflagration of hell. God the Son is the Lamb slain. from the foundation of the world; he, too, is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. The voice that mourned over Jerusalem with more than a mother=s@s tenderness will pronounce, in tones more astounding than ten thousand thunders, ADepart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.@" Nevertheless, his words and his acts, when duly understood, alike confirm. the proclamation, A"I am the Lord: I change not.@" That in him A is no variableness, neither shadow of@ turning,@" is written on the eternity of the past; it will glow in still brighter colours on the eternity of the future.--James, 1i. 17. A,,I AM THAT I AM@" is forevermore his holy, and awful, and changeless name.
If the imputation of suffering would cast a shade of changeableness upon him A14 w ho is over all, God blessed forever,@" so would his incarnation, in 9p the view of those who seek to survey that great event through the imperfect microscope of human reason. How stupendous the seeming change, when the A,Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us!@" What greater change could mortal imagination conceive than the transition from the celestial throne to the manger of Bethlehem! The transformation wrought on the immutable God by his wondrous incarnation has filled even heaven with amazement. At the right hand of power, the angelic hierarchies once beheld the spiritual Essence of the second person of the Trinity ; they now behold there, with holy curiosity and wonder, the same spiritual Essence clothed in glorified human flesh, bearing, no doubt, on his hands and feet the marks of .the nails of the cross, and on his side the scar of the Roman spear. By the incarnation a total eclipse had passed over his glory; and then it passed away, leaving his glory still changed, but yet more glorious.
To gain an adequate conception of the unchangeableness of the Godhead, the beholder must stand on an eminence high as heaven, and extend his comprehensive view along the illimitable tracts of eternity and immensity. Then will he find, in Ithe incarnation and sufferings of the eternal Son, 1the fulillest development of the immutability of the triune Deity ever revealed to mortal vision. Rather than change his unchangeable mercy, God the Son consented to become incarnate and suffer in his own divine essence, that sinners might be saved. Rather than change his unchangeable justice, God the Father A spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all.@" The incarnation and sufferings of God the Son were not caused by any change in the eternal counsels. The apostacy of man took not omniscience by surprise. It had been foreseen from the beginning. The earliest eternity had registered in its archives the advent and sufferings of the incarnate Deity, and his ascension and ceaseless reign at the right hand of the Highest. We might almost say that, before the worlds were formed, incarnation and suffering were incorporated into his very being among its constituent elements. Had God the Son not been laid in the manger of Bethlehem; had God the Son not Aendured the cross;@" had the cup passed from God the Son, as he for a moment so pathetically supplicated, unchangeableness must have been forever plucked from the glorious constellation of the attributes of the Godhead.
His temporary suffering affected, no more than did his incarnation, the immutability of the second person of the Trinity. The God Aemptied@" of his beatitude for voluntary suffering, lost not his identity any more than did the God A emptied@" of his glory for voluntary incarnation. The objection, that, if the uncreated Word suffered on earth, he must, to maintain his eternal unchangeableness have suffered from the beginning, is of no greater avail than would be the objection that, he must have been incarnate from the beginning because he became incarnate on earth.
Suffering wrought no change in the decrees or purposes of the redeeming God. If it effected any change, it must, then, have been either in his essen,ce or in his attributes. That suffering cannot change the essence of spiritual beings, is an awful truth deducible from the revealed history of the universe, past and prospective. The suffering God, then, remained identical in essence with the creating God. Nor did suffering change any of his glorious and fixed attributes. His justice, holiness, power, wisdom, truth, immutability, and love never shone so coonspicuousligy nor@ harmbtr@ioniouslyudy as when, made sin for sinners, he meekly submitted himself, in all hiMs omnipotence, to the avenging sword of the Lord of Hosts. Even from the cross the ear of faith might have caug-&hti the still, deep whisper, unheard by carnaledra@l earts, AI am the Lord: I change not.@"
Had God been inflexible as the imaginary fate of heathen mythology, prayer would be useless,r,, perhaps impious; for it would seek, by creature importunity, to move the Immoveable. But the God @of the Bible is the hearer and answerer of prayer.. AThe effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.@" To the prayers of Elias the rains of heaven were made obedient.C- James, 5v. 16, 17. Present death was denounced against Hezekiah; yet the earnest prayer of the pious king had efficacy to
ARoll back the flood of never-ebbing time,@
and add fifteen years to the span of his life. 2 Kings, 20xx. 1-1 1. At the prayer of Moses, A,the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.@"--Exodus, 32xxxii. 14. When the penitent cry of Nineveh was wafted towards heaven, A God saw their works that they turned from their evil way, and God repented of the evil that he had said he would do unto them, and he did it not.@"--Jonah, 3iii. 10.
But amid all these seeming changes in the purposes of the Almighty, he is still the unchanging God, A with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.@" To hear and answer the prayers of the faithful was a part of his eternal counsels, forming a ,constituent element of the Godhead ere the worlds were a,created. His patient hearing and gracious answering of prayer, in every age and every place, is, to fallen creatures, the most consolatory development of divine immutability. Should he cease to be the paternal hearer and answerer of prayer, he would cease to be himself. He would become thenceforth the changed, instead of the unchangeable God.
The very perfection and immutability of God=s@s attributes induce mutations in his feelings and actions. A being of infinite and unchanging poweri, wisdom, holiness, goodness, justice and truth, must needs have felt and acted differently towards the persecuting Saul of Tarsus, and Paul, the devoted, the exulting martyr. Upon the rebellious and fallen angels, now monuments of @his righteous and unpitying wrath, the light of God=s@s countenance once beamed, perhaps, as benignly as on his own faithful Gabriel. From everlasting to everlasting the glorious attributes of the Deity continue in unvarying perfection. But in a universe where sin has entered; where created intelligences abound with volitions Afree as air;@" where the principle of good and the principle of evil contend for mastery with varying success, he A who sitteth in the heavens@" is of necessity led, by the immutability of his own infinite perfections, to mutation of emotion, and consequent mutation of action. Yet is there no real change in the unchanging God. His mutations are but the developments of his unalterable perfections. Their most astonishing development was the sacrifice of his own uncreated Son, to save our sinful and perishing world. The descending sword of the Lord of Hosts, awakened to smite his other self, was the crowning demonstration of divine immutability.
The position, so confidently maintained by the advocates of the prevalent theory, that, if a person of the Trinity were to suffersufrer for a time, he must, to preserve his unchangeableness, suffer from everlasting to everlasting, has less affinity to the philosophy of the Bible, than to that of the classic voluptuary of heathen Athens. Epicurus thus spoke of his imagined and iron-bound divinity: ,@ The Deity could neither be influenced by favour nor resentment, because such a being must be weak and frail ; and all fear of the power and anger of God should be banished, because anger and affection are inconsistent with his immutable nature.@"
What an ally did the Epicurean faith unexpectedly find in the dominant theory of Christendom! The god of the Attic libertine could not have become angry without becoming mutable; the God of the prevalent theory must have stooped to the like mutability had he voluntarily suffered! 1 It follows as a necessary corollary of the classic dogma, that if its god, from some turn of destiny should once become incensed, he must remain incensed for endless ages. The prevalent theory, if correct, would confirm the dogma of Epicurus and its necessary corollary. If the supposition of vicarious and short-lived suffering by the everlasting Son would of necessity imply his eternal suffering, why does not the revealed truth that the infinite Father A"is angry with the wicked every day@" necessarily imply the everlasting continuance of his wrath, though rivers penitent tears, purified ceaselessly flow from their weeping eyes and broken hearts? ? If the suffering God of to-day must suffer for ever, or become mutable, why must not the angry God of to-day remain angry forever or forfeit his perfection of unchangeableness ? And yet the immoveability predicated of the divine nature by the Epicurean philosophy, would, if ap-
280 IMMUTABILITY OF GOD.
plied to the Jehovah of sinners, wrest fr@om him the vital element of their hopeC-even his prayer--hearing and prayer--answering attribute.
The God of Christians resembles not the mM@ arble idol of the classic voluptuary. The Sacred Volume indeed, teaches that his primary attributes are without change. Perhaps even the Almighty himself could not change them without impugning the immutable laws of his being. Such are his omnipotence; his wisdom ; his holiness; his justice ; his truth; his goodness. It is the permanent identity of these, and of his essence, that constitutes the immutability of the great I AM. We do not, however, understand that the scriptural vocabulary has classed his glory and his beatitude among his primary and inflexible attributes. The Bible clearly reveals that his glory was subject to his volition. God, the Son, divested himself of it when he became incarnate; he deeply felt the bereavement, and prayed for restoration to his prim A evail-state.C-John,i 17xvii. 5. There is no intimation in the Sacred Oracles, that the beatitude of God is not also subject to his volition. It is the arrogance of human reason, and not the Bible, that would chain the Omnipotent tSo ceaseless bliss, whether he wills it or not. Coerced happiness would, perhaps, be but misery in disguise. Philanthropy, urged by its own benign impulses to suffer in some high and holy cause, might endure more from involuntary restraint than from voluntary suffering. We believe it essential to the perfection of God=s@s blessedness that it should depend, rather on his own sovereign choice, than on an inflexible destiny that overrules even his own almightiness. If the Bible were allowed to speak for itselfC-if we were permitted to open our souls to the free reception of its sacred testimonialsC-the conclusion would appear to be inevitable, that the eternal Son, when he became incarnate, A emptied himself@" of his beatitude as well as of his glory.
The following passage seems demonstrative that temporary suffering, voluntarily incurred, is not incompatible with the attribute of divine immutability,C@,, A Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.@"C-Hebrews, 13xiii. 8. The term A yesterday@s wasg not literally confined by the apostle to the day preceding that on which the inspired passage was pennoured ; it reached back to the epoch of the incarnation, when the . person of the Mediator was first and unchangeably constituted by the union of his divine and human natures. The text, then, contains the proposition that from the moment of the holy union of the God and the man down to the date of the epistle to the Hebrews, Jesus Christ had been the same, and that he was to remain the same forevermore. Thus the attribute of unchangeableness was predicated of Jesus Christ as unequivocally as the Jehovah of the Old Testament affirmed it of himself when he declared, A I am the Lord ; I change not,@" or as St. James affirmed it of the A Father of lights, with whom is no variableness neither shadow of turning.@"
Jesus Christ was the same in his manger cradle as when be ascended in triumph to the bosom of his heavenly Parent. True, he had Aincreased in wisdom and stature;@" but such physical advancement changed him not. True, he had been covered A with light as with a garment@" on the mount, and in the garden with great drops of exuded blood A,falling down to the ground;@" but such vicissitudes changed not the changeless Christ. True, he had suffered beyond what man or angel could have endured; but temporary agony wrought no change in any of the elements which constituted his sameness. He who hung on the cross forsaken of his Father, was identical in every attribute of his being with him who will come in the clouds to judge the world in righteousness, accompanied with all that heaven can furnish of the magnificent, the awful, the sublime. Holy immutability may voluntarily suffer for a time without losing its essential unchangeableness; else the epistle to the Hebrews would not have affirmed of the humbled, suffering, dying, risen, glorified, ever blessed Jesus Christ, that he was A the same yesterday, and today, and forever.@.
LET it not be objected, because the redeeming God took on him the A"body@" that was prepared for him, and became flesh and blood with A"the children@ "he came to save, that therefore the assumption of manhood was needful to enable Omnipotence to suffer.C-Heb. 2ii. 14; 10x. 5. Whence does the prevalent hypothesis derive this objection ? Not from the Holy Ghost. In the Volume of Inspired Truth not a sentence is to be found intimating that destiny has surrounded the sphere of suffering with a barrier which the Almighty cannot overleap, even if he wills to pass it. It is the presumptuous objection of reasoning pride. The investiture of manhood was selected because it was deemed by infinite wisdom the most appropriate habiliment for the Saviour of our sinking race. It was selected as the suffering costume most becoming the redeeming God. Even our finite faculties can perceive many reasons why he should suffer in the fallen nature he came to save. We would venture, with profound reverence, to suggest some of the considerations which may possibly have commended the garb of flesh to the self-devoted Deity.
First. Had he suffered in the nature obf angels, or in his own incorporeal essence, he might, indeed, have rendered an equivalent for the debts of the redeemed to the celestial treasury ; but the satisfaction of their debts was not the sole object of his mediatorial mission. He came to rescue them, not only from the penalty, but also from the power of sin. He came, not only to save them from hell, but to prepare them for heaven. He came to breathe into them a. portion of his own holiness; to lure them upward by his own glorious example; to make them, by his precepts and pattern, A"meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.@ @C7-Colossians, 1i. 12. To render his example efficacious, it must needs have been imitable. The children of humanity could not have imitated the unshro6uded God. They cCould not even have seen him and live6d.C-Exodus, 33xxxiii. 20.- To make his example imitable by man, he must of necessity have assumed the form of a man; wherefore, A the Word was made flesh.@"C-John, 1i. 14. A Wherefore in all things it became him to be made like unto his bretbren.@C@Hebrews, 2ii. 17.
Secondly. The incarnation was necessary to secrure, on earth, credence for the Gospel. Man is, by nature, a skeptical animal. The unbelieving Thomas was a sample of the fallen race. Had the proofs of the miracle of redeeming love been less palpable and cogent, it could not have obtained the belief of those for whose salvation it was intended. If the angel, instead of announcing to the shepherds of Bethlehem the physical birth of a Saviour in the cityf of David, had proclaimed that the second person of the Trinity had redeemed our apostate race by suffering for them in his original essence, in the celestial court, A high and lifted up@" above mortal ken, the messenger from heaven would have obtained few converts on earth.
To make incredulous man a believer in the stupendous scheme of redemption, sensible demonstrations were indispensable. Proofs must be accumulated on proofs. The prophetic harp must detail in advance the anticipated biography of the comrning Messiah. The Messiah must be born, and live, and die, in exact fulfilment of ancient predicti@ Ion. Miracles must be wrought. The wondrous star; the descending dove; the audible voice from the clouds; the transfiguration on the mount; the multiplication of the five barley loaves and two small fishes into abounding aliment for a famished host; the obeying elements; the submissive devils; the healing of the sick; the raising of the dead; his crucifixion, with its darkened sun, and rent rocks, and trembling earth; his resurrection; his visibleI I I ascension, were all required to convince an unbelieving world that the Son of God suffered and died for its redemption. This mighty mass of proof would not have been accumulated had less sufficed. Heaven is never prodigal of display.
The feeble, hesitating, reluctant faith of man required to be confirmed by appeals to all his senses. The word of the God could not have overcome the stubbornness of incredulity. To gain from his creatures their reluctant belief, the Creator was obliged to become incarnate. Had he not become incarnate, and re-enforced, too, his appeals by a succession of stupendous miracles, he could not have made proselytes, even of his twelve disciples. Their faith, indeed, required for its aliment, not only that they should see with their eyes, but also that they should handle with their hands, of the Word of life.C-1 I John, 1i. 1I. As it was, one of them betrayed him, and another denied him, and all of them fled from him in his darkened hour. Even as it now is, infidelity boldly stalks the earth, polluting with its foul breath the pure air of heaven. Even as it now is, the regenerated, the sanctified, the redeemed children of humanity are, in this life, but half believers.
Thirdly. The incarnation of the redeeming God rendered more complete and manifest his triumph over the arch enemy. Even frail reason may perceive the fitness of the provision, that he who bruised the serpent=s@s head should have first assumed the seed of the woman ; that his victory over the powers of darkness should have been achieved in the very world, and in the very nature which they had seduced from allegiance. This consideration, doubtless, helps to swell the exultation of heaven. This is, no doubt, the scorpion sting in the core of the hearts of the baffled princedoms reserved in chains -of darkness in the prison-house of despair.
Fourthly. The incarnation has afforded an imperishable memorial of the greatest event which the flight of never-beginning ages has beheld. In the lapse oof the eternity to come, Gethsemane and Calvary might, without this memorial, have faded in the recollection of created intelligences. Frail is the memory of even redeemed man. Less than infinite is the memory of the cherubim and the seraphim. But an everlasting monument of the struggles and the triumph of redeeming love has been fixed by the incarnation in the most conspicuous station of the universe. The redeeming God carried with him to heaven the body in which he had suffered on earth, and placed it at the right hand of the Highest. There that pierced body forever remains, its scars betokening less the lacerations of the visible irons than the unseen wounds inflicted on the uncreated Spirit of his divine Son by the viewless sword of the Lord of Hosts. With this ever-livingcr memorial, occupy-
ing the central point of the " universal empire, it is impossible that the recollection of the garden and the cross, with all their thrilling associations, should ever be dimmed by the course of ceaseless ages.
Should the harp of the weakest saint allowed to enter the New Jerusalem falter for a moment, he has but to cast his eye on the right-hand seat of the celestial throne, and those speaking scars must at once renovate his love and his zeal. Should ambi-
tion a second time insinuate itself into the angelic ranks, its aspiration must be checked and extin-
BOTH NATURES OBEYED LAW.
guished by a single glance at the right-hand seat of the celestial throne. That pierced body is an abiding memento of the awful truth that, sooner than leave sin unpunished, the eternial Father spared not his own eternal Son. It is a demon-
stration of the inflexibility of God=s@s wrath against transgressions, infinitely more impressive than the smoke which ascends for ever and ever from the pit of despair. Those warning scars symbolizing the expiatory anguish of the suffering Deity,, are an everlasting beacon to guard the angelic hosts against the incipient movements of forbidden de-
Fifthly. The, redeeming God was to obey the law. It was the dishonour done to the law which
Our great Deliverer was to restore its tarnished honour, not only by paying its penalty, but also by perfect obedience to its precepts. To make the obedience perfect, and availing, and palpable to created intelligences, incarnation was required. It was needful, not merely that the Word should be made flesh, but likewise that he should dwell among us. The obedience of the incarnate God was not in his human capacity alone. Both his natures concurred in the obedience. The God, as well as the man, obeyed the law. This is the inevitable conclusion from the language of Scripture.
The man was a glorious and beautiful specimen of what our race would have been had they retained their affinity to heaven. Even the chilled eye of atheism must be sometimes inclined to melt as it gazes on such a lovely personification of moral excellence. That a creature so pure, warned by the example of the first Adam, sustained by the consciousness of indwelling divinity, animated by Athe joy set before him,@" should have yielded perfect obedience to a law, the counterpart of himself@ in holiness, was an event not likely to excite Aspecial wonder.@" But the Bible speaks of the obedience of the incarnate God as a very extraordinary event. The Bible must, therefore, have referred to the obedience of the second person of the Trinity. That was Athe acme of wonder. For him to become obedient on earth, who had from everlasting been accustomed to sSupreme command in heaven, was indeed a phenomenon of gracious condescension well calculated to create astonishment in this world and in the world above.
The law obeyed by the incarnate God had three branches: the ceremonial code of the Jews; the code promulged at Sinai; and the mediatorial code., formed by the covenant of redemption, between the Father and the Son, in early eternity. The incarnate God obeyed to the letter the Jewish ceremonial code. He was circumcised on the eighth day. Jerusalem and all Judea went out to be baptized of John. In conformity with this prevalent usage of his nation, the incarnate God was baptized by his conscious and hesitating servant. The visible dove @and the audible voice demonstrated that he who caused Jordan to flow was, in very truth, the recipient of its. baptismal waters.
290 MEDIATORIAL CODE.
The incarnate God obeyed the law promulged at Sinai. A Think not that I am come to destroy the law and the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.@"C-Matthew, 5v. 17. A,For as by one man=s@s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one many shall be made right-
eous.@"C-Romans, 5v. 19.
But the principal code to be obeyed by the in-
carnate God was the mediatorial code. This was emphatically the code of the Godhead. Two . of the Sacred Three ordained it, ages before the birth of the infant Jesus. The second- of the Sacred Three was to be its self-devoted, its obedient sub-
ject. The man was, no doubt, to obey it, accordingaccord-
irig to the measure of his very limited capacity. But in the article of merit the obedience of the man bore no greater proportion to the obedience of the God than the finite bears to the infinite. The principal ingredient in the mediatorial code, was its demand for expiatory suffering. It may be styled in-Y
the suffering code. Of this suffering co@12-1-i@hde God the Son was one of thile legislators ; of this suffering code God the Son, clothed in flesh, was to be the victim. Here was a spectacle of blended justice, love, and disinterestedness upon which, to eternity, the universe may gaze without satiety!
It was, indeed, a code of terrible exaction. Its penalty, if concentrated within a space shorter than eternity, could not have been endured by the united energies of created intelligences. We be-
lieve that nothing but an uncreated and almighty God could have borne it. The obedience of God
REDEEMING GOD OBEYED LAW. 291
the Son to this penal code is A demonstration strong,@" not only of his capacity to suffer, but of I his actual suffering. To this code he A who, be@ ing in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God,@" A became obedient unto death.@" C-Philippians, 2ii. 8. A Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suf-
fered; and being made perfect he became the au-
thor of eternal salvation unto all them that obey himhirn."C-Hebrews, 5v. 8, 9. The A,Son@" indicated by the writer to the Hebrews was not the human son of the Virgin, but God=s@s A own SoniY@ clothed in flesh; for he alone was A the author of eternal sal-
vation.@" It was God=s@s A own Son,@" then, who, veiled in humanity, learned A obedience@" and was A66 made perfect@" A by the things which be suffered.@" The obedient and suffering Son of this passage was the Son, as the same writer to the Hebrews declared, by whom the infinite Father made the worlds, and who was A the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.@"C-Hebrews, 1. 2, ,3.
The suffering of the uncreated Son did not ren-
der superfluous the suffering of the adjunct man. In the early age of the Christian churchC-that prolific foundry of airy theoriesC-the opinion at one time prevailed, to some extent, that the man-
hood of Christ suffered in appearance only. This heresy was, however, of short duration. It is not, indeed, conceivable that an incarnate Deity should suffer in his divinity without imparting suffering to the clay tenement in which he is enshrined.
292 SUFIFIERING OF THE MAN.
But, without discussing the doctrine of possibili-
ties when applied to the Omni potent, it is enough for us to say that the blessed incarnation of the Bible would have failed in some of its apparent objects had the adjunct man remained in a con-
dition of untouched felicity. No imitable example would have been left to the suffering faithful as a pattern of meekness and patience. The sufferings of the redeeming Deity were unseen; they per-
tained to his unsearchable divinity; we can but imagine them dimly even when contemplated through the telescope of faith; humanity, lost in wonder and adoration, cannot aspire to imitate them. Had the redeeming agonies been limited to the shrouded Jehovah, there would have been no visible representation to shadow them forth on earth and perpetuate their remembrance in heaven. No bloody sweat, no speaking scars would have symbolized the viewless pangs of the redeeming God. How could the man have participated with the kindred Deity in his exaltation, unless he had participated with him in his sufferings. The man, as well as the enshrined Divinity, A for the joy set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is now set down at the right hand of the throne of God.@"C-Hebrews, 12xii. 2.
OBJECTIONS TO THEORY. 293
WE have now reached the point where it becomes necessary, in the progress of our argument, to attempt a more detailed examination of the prevalent theory than we have hitherto done. This is a delicate branch of our subject. We would not willingly aid in the demolition of a material edifice, venerable for its age, and consecrated as the scene of memorable events, however much we might complain of its architectural proportions. With how much propounder regret do we enter, with hostile purpose, that spiritual structure, which has exten A ded over continents its vast dimensions, and grown gray under the frosts of almost fifteen hundred years ! Ever since its erection, it has been the abode of the chief portion of the piety of Christendom. In its many chambers devotion has for ages uttered her dying prayers, and breathed forth her last faltering accents. From its lofty turrets, for near fifteen centuries, have tri-
umphantly ascended joyous groups of Athe spirits of just men made perfect.@"
That the corner-stone of this stupendous structure has been laid in error, is engraved on the tablet of our heart, as it were, by a pen of iron on tablets of marble. With the absorbing belief resting on our soul that the second person of the Trinity suffered and died, in his ethereal essence, for the redemption of our race, we cannot withhold from this sublimest of truths the aid of our feeble voice, even were we to stand alone with a world opposed. Religious misconception is not changed into truth by its prevalence or age. If errors of faith could be consecrated by their universality or antiquity, then might the paganism of China interpose against the missionaries of the Cross a rampart more impregnable than her celebrated wall interposed to Tartar incursions.
The following is a miniature representation of the prevalent theory: It affirms that the second person of the Trinity, the incarnate Redeemer of the world, suffered and died, not in h]is divine nature, which is impassible, but in his human nature only: that by virtue of the union of his divine and human natures, called the hypostatic union, there was imparted to his human sufferings and death a value and dignity which made them, in the estimation of infinite justice, and in pursuance of the covenant of grace between the Father and the Son, an adequate atonement for the sins of the redeemed. This, though a brief, is believed to be a faithful sketch of the prevalent theory.
To this theory are opposed serious objections, some of which have already been intimated.
First. The theory derogates from the simplicity and fulness of the atonement, and imparts to it an illusive character. It subtracts from the atonement its vital principle. It robs it of its suffering, dying God. It substitutes the sufferings and decath of the creature for the sufferings and death of the Creator. That the human son of the Virgin was a creatureC-as really so as Peter or John C-the advocates of the prevalent theory will not deny. Nor will they affirm that mere creature sufferings could have atoned for the sins of man. For then Gabriel, il@nistead of the eternal Son, might have been the incarnate redeemer of the world. But the prevalent theory would seek to imbue the sufferings of the creature with a borrowed value, reflected from the Creator dwelling within. How the indwelling God could impart atoning value to creature sufferings, in which he did not himself participate, but from which he stood dissevered by the immutable laws of his being, none of the faculties of man, save his imagination, can shadow forth. Sufferings, valueless as an atoning offering in themselves, could not have derived atoning merits from the mere juxtaposition of indwelling divinity.
The intrinsic worth of a habitation would not be enhanced by the rank of its occupant. Human vanity might, indeed, attach to an edifice, proffered in satisfaction of a debt, a fictitious value, from its having been tenanted by a prince; but the calculations of human vanity would not have affected Him, who must have weighed earth=ws supposed of
********offering for sin in the balance of the sanctuary, in the face of the intelligent universe. The Holder of the everlasting scales would, we suppose, have fixed the value of the offered tabernacle of clay from the intrinsic worth of its terrestrial materials, little moved by the consideration that the APrince of life@" was its tenant, and the poor oblation for a ruined world must have had written over against it the superscription so astounding to the aspiring Oriental despot, AThou art weighed in the bal,17. ances, and art found wanting.@"
The supposition that the chief office of the second person of the Trinity in the work of redemption was to impart, by his holy incarnation, dignity and value to creature suffiterings, is the imagination of the prevalent theory. Had the communication of dignity and value to creature sufferings been the chief object of the incarnation, it must have been somewhere intimated in the Word of God. It would have formed too important -a featu0are in the . scheme of salvation to have escaped special notice. The silence of the Bible is a speaking silence. But the object of the holy incarnation is not left to be deduced by inference. The Bible everywhere indicates, in terms seemingly unequivocal, that the mission of the redeeming God was a suffering mission, and that its chief Actor was himself the princ. (-,ipal Sufferer.
The human son of the Virgin was doubtless immeasurably exalted by his union with the Godhead. Even the ordinary Christian derives from his relationship to God a dignity far surpassing all that earth can confer. The humblest saint who drives his A"team afield@" may look down, as from a celestial height, on the diminished glories of a Solon or a Caæoosar ; for he is,, Athe temple of the Holy Ghost.@" How much greater was the exaltation of the human son of Mary! Yet was hbe but a creature. His elevation to the throne of the Highest added not a fourth person to the Godhead. His sufferings were but creature sufferings. Nothing, save an infinite atonement, could have satisfied the requisitions of an infinite law, trampled under foot in the face of the universe. The vicarious suffeiaring of an insect of the field, and the vicarious sufferings of legions of angels would have been alike inefficadcious. To impart infinitude to creature sufferings, infinite duration is necessary. They can be swelled into infinity only by the ceaseless tide of eternal ages. Christ himself always assigned to his manhood a finite and inferior rank, notwithstanding its union with the Godhead. Evidence of this truth abounds in his declarations. We need here cite no particular texts to prove it. Some of them appear elsewhere in these pages. His manhood had no attribute of infinity. If, then, the manhood of Christ held only a finite rank, notwithstanding its union with the Godhead, how can the prevalent theory venture to assign an infinite rank to the exclusive sufferings of that manhood? The sufferings of his mere manhood could not rank higher than the manhood itself. If his manhood derived not infinity from union with the God, such union could not impart infinity to the sufferings of that manhood. If the union of the God took not away from Christ=s@s humanity its creature character, neither could it have taken away from the sufferings of that humanityv their creature character. As, then, the indwelling God infused nothing of infinitude into the manhood of Christ, so he infused nothing of infinitude into his sufferings. The imputation of infinite value to finite sufferings, because of the indwelling of an infinit@ e Being, to whom the sufferings, however, were not communicated or communicable, should, to gain credence, be sustained by clear scriptural proofs.
The prevalent theory subtracts from the atonement of the Bible, not only its infinitude, but also its ineffable dignity. This thought has been partially developed in an early part of our argument; but its importance seemed to require its farther expansion in this connexion.
Meeting full in the face the very numerous passages of Scripture ascribing sufferings to the divinity of Christ in terms not to be parried, the prevalent theory, to avoid too palpable a collision with Holy Writ, was obliged to allege that, by the hby postatic union of the divine and human natures in one person, the sufferings of the man became, in scriptural estimation, the sufferings of the God, not by actual endurance, but by adoption or construction. These are the views expressed, as we have seen, by Bishops Pearson and Beveridge; and without some such aliment, the hypostatic theory could not have subsisted. The redeeming God, then, is to be taken as the principal redeeming sufferer, constructively, according to the prevalent theory, actually, according to ours. As it regards its bearing on this particular point of our argument, it is not material whether his suffering was actual or constructive. It is enough for the present point, that in scriptural estimation the God suffered ; that the suffering is predicated of him who hath A"weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance.@"C-Isaiah, 40xl. 12.
Suffering consists in the reduction of what would otherwise have been the happiness of the sufferer. The amount of the reduction tells the amount of the suffering. The happiness of the incarnate God, but for his suffering, would have been infinite. He imbodied the fulness of the beatitude of the Godhead. According to the prevalent theory, hiMs suffering was finite. It reached his humanity alone. It was only the suffering of the finite man. It touched but the outer garment of the indwelling God. Subtract finite suffering from infinite beati tude, and the reduction must be too small for creature perception. It would elude, by its minuteness, the arithmetic of earth, and, as we suppose, the arithmetic of angels.
If you take a drop from the bucket and a drop from the ocean, the loss of the bucket will be incomparably greater than the loss of the illimitable sea; for its capacity to lose @with impunity is proportionally less than the capacity of the ocean. Christ, if his divinity tasted not A the cup of trembling,@" was happier even in the garden and on the cross than any created intelligence to be found in this lower world or in the heavens above. His was the ocean of divine blessedness. The subtraction of the drop of human wo caused a less diminution than would be caused to an ocean of earth by the subtraction of a single drop of its Amultitudinous@ waters; for the oceans of earth have their shores; the ocean of divine blessedness is shoreless. Thus the prevalent theory would sink those expiatory sufferings, which satisfied the divine law and redeemed the world, from their scriptural infinitude down to a point less, taken in reference to the illimitable beatitude of the sufferer, than a single particle of the dust of the balance. ATell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Ascalon,@ lest the spiritually uncircumcised should rejoice.
Secondly. The prevalent theory with its hypostatic subordinate, has not its foundation in the Word of God. According to the scriptural representation, the redeeming sufferer appeared, not as a secondary planet, borrowing light and lustre from a central sun; he was himself the central Sun of his own system of grace, shining in his own brightness. He was not the outer man, deriving dignity from the impassible God within; he was the suffering God, wearing the form of the outer man, but as the sinless representative of the fallen nature he came to save. The Bible everywhere gives to the redeeming sufferer the primary, and not the secondary place. On the scriptural canvass, the redeeming God is always depicted as the principal Sufferer. It was the APrince of life@ who was Akilled;@ it was the ALord of glory@ who was Acrucified;@ it was the Son of man Athat came down from heaven@ who gave Ahis life a ransom for many;@ it was the shepherd God who laid down his Alife for the sheep;@ it was God's Aonly-begotten Son@ whom he Asent into the world@ Ato be the propitiation for our sins;@ it was the uncreated Son by whose Adeath@ we were reconciled to God; it was the Father's Aown Son@ whom he Aspared not;@ it was Athe brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person,@ who Apurged our sins;@ it was God who Alaid down his life for us;@ it was with the blood of God that he purchased his Church; it was to smite his AFellow@ that the Lord of Hosts awakened his slumbering sword; it was He that Athought it not robbery to be equal with God,@ who Aemptied himself,@ and Abecame obedient unto death;@ it was the AAlpha and Omega,@ who Awas dead and is alive again,@ and behold, he liveth forevermore. From Genesis to Revelation, both inclusive, there is no text, within our recollection, intimating that Athe Word was made flesh@ merely to impart dignity and value to creature sufferings. The hypostatic scheme is too complicated, too involved, too artificial for gospel simplicity and directness. It bears the marks of the chisel of art. It has been formed in the laboratories of earth.
Was strength for the endurance of creature sufferings needed? That strength might have been imparted to the human son of the Virgin by the mere mandate of the God. The mandate of almighty God is wide-reaching and resistless. He commanded, and there was light. He spake, and from the opening east appeared the king of day, rejoicing in his might. He commanded, and straightway began the ceaseless dance of the harmonious spheres. His mandate was the chariot of fire in which the translated Elijah ascended to heaven. It was his mandate which closed the mouths of the famished lions, so that they harmed not the faithful prophet. His mandate opened the fountain of waters above, and the depths below, so that a mighty deluge overflowed the mountains of the earth. His mandate will one day melt with fervent heat the elements of the material universe. His mandate, without his becoming incarnate, might, doubtless, have imparted all needful strength to the human son of the Virgin.
If, then, God was made Amanifest in the flesh,@ not to strengthen his terrestrial adjunct, or merely to impart dignity and value to creature sufferings, what could have been the object of his incarnation? Scripture has intimated no other objectCimagination can conceive no otherCthan the redemption of the world and the manifestation of infinite justice by suffering in his own divine essence. This is the grand central point in the system of salvation, to which we are drawn from all our wanderings by the centripetal attraction of almighty truth.
An infinite object, of a twofold aspect, was presented to the conclave of the Godhead. A world was to be saved. Divine justice was to be vindicated. That arch enemy, who had once threatened the throne of the Highest, and was waving his triumphant banner over one of the fairest provinces of the universal empire created by the eternal Son, was to be consigned to chains of everlasting darkness. The eternal Son, who had once baffled that enemy in heaven, was to complete his conquest on earth. A new, and Astrange,@ and glorious development of infinite love was to be displayed. A new, and Astrange,@ and awful demonstration of infinite justice was to astound the universeCto be reverberated through eternity. The second person of the Trinity, in the fulness of time, descended from heaven, and shrouded his divinity in the vestment of flesh. It was the descent of a God; and his movements on earth were to be the footsteps of a God. His absence from the celestial court was not merely that he might pass through the ceremony of incarnation, and thence return, untouched by pain, to his native heavens, wearing on his triumphant brow the cheapCgained trophies of an enemy subdued and a world redeemed. The trophies which he earned on earth were earned by the bloody sweat, the viewless, nameless agonies of a suffering, dying God. It was not for the purpose of a ceremonious incarnation; it was that, with divine throes and spasms unimaginable by men or angels, he might save a perishing race, and fix on adamantine foundations the everlasting column of infinite justice, that he left vacantCif we may so sayCfor more than thirty years of what we call time, the right-hand seat of the celestial throne.
Thirdly. The prevalent theory imparts a figurative signification, not merely to a few inspired passages, but to all that mighty mass of scriptural truths which, having for their basis the sufferings of Christ, constitute the sinews, and arteries, and very heart of the Bible. By figurative signification we mean every departure from the literal and obvious import of the words interpreted, by whatever name the authors of such departure may choose to characterize it. That the vital elements of the Bible consist in the expiatory agonies of the incarnate God, no Christian will doubt. It is the merit of those sufferings which renders it the book of hope, the star of comfort, the rock of confidence. What would have been the Bible without the atoning pangs of Christ? It would have been a desert of burning sands, with no spot of recreating green, no cooling spring to cheer the mournful journey from the cradle to an unquiet grave.
If the abounding scriptural passages declarative of Christ's sufferings are to be received in their literal and obvious import, then the conclusion that his divinity participated in his expiatory agonies is just as certain as the conclusion that his Godhead became incarnate. The great central truth, that the whole Christ of the Bible suffered, has received the seal of each august person of the Trinity. The Holy Ghost promulged it often in the Old Testament, and unceasingly in the New. The blessed Son proclaimed it from the time he began to preach glad tidings on earth until his stupendous reappearance at Patmos. The infinite Father confirmed it when he summoned his sleeping sword to awake and smite his Fellow. This great central truth has passed into scriptural demonstration, if the asseverations of the Bible are not to be lost in allegory. The Bible and the prevalent theory stand in direct collision. To escape the dilemma, then theory invokes its transmuting powers. The scriptural truths must be made to evaporate in metaphor, or the theory of fifteen centuries cannot be sustained.
There is nothing on the face of the scriptural passages indicating a figurative meaning. Their conversion into figures of speech is not required or justified by any other portions of Holy Writ. The subject matter of the passages would seem to interdict figurative interpretation. The Holy Ghost is recounting the sufferings and death of his fellow God. Pathos, when profound, is wont to select, for the outpourings of the heart, the plainest and most simple terms to be found in speech. AJesus wept@ and AIt is finished@ are akin in expressive brevity and grandeur, to that most concise, yet most sublime of sentences, AGod said, Let there be light, and there was light.@
Theological science has no authority delegated from above to veil the simplicity of scriptural truth beneath drapery woven in the looms of earth. On this theme we would, if in our power, give such compass to the voice of our feeble remonstrance as to make it heard and felt in every school of sacred lore. Even a human record is held sacred. It carries on its face incontrovertible verity. It speaks for itself; and its responses are unalterable as the imagined decrees of classic fate. It cannot be impeached from without. Should the attempt be made, the mandatory voice of the law would exclaim, ATravel not out of the record.@ An effort to turn into figures of speech its plain and simple language would indicate aberration of intellect. The Bible is a heavenly record. It was indited by the third of the Sacred Three, and sealed with the blood of the second. Of this Inspired Record, the Holy Ghost is the interpreter. God is the expounder of the words of God.
Theological lore may evolve the latent meaning of Scripture, by comparing sacred texts with sacred texts, for that still leaves it to God to explain himself. It may borrow elucidations from scriptural history, and scriptural geography, for they are constituent, though inferior parts of the Sacred Volume. It may treat particular passages as figurative, if necessary to preserve the symmetry of Scripture. It may, for instance, teach us to believe that the scriptural delineations of the corporeal lineaments of the disembodied Deity are figurative, because we are elsewhere taught in the Bible that AGod is a Spirit.@ But where the scriptural terms themselves indicate no departure from directness of meaning, and come not into collision with other parts of Holy Writ, academic science has no right to plant in the sacred soil metaphors of human growth. A still, small voice ever whispers from above, ATravel not out of the record of God.@ The conversion of plain language into figurative language may shake the foundations of our faith. It may fearfully Aadd unto,@ or Atake away from the book@ of life, which closed with the last chapter of Revelation. The imputation of metaphorical signification to the sacred and clear passages declarative of Christ's agonies subtracts from the atonement of the Bible its suffering God, and sinks the great expiatory sacrifice from its scriptural infinitude down to a finite atom.
The boldest development of reasoning pride is the right which it often claims and exercises to construe Scripture by its own microscopic views of what is Afitting to God.@ This dangerous error formed, as we have seen, the major proposition of the Athanasian syllogism. Without it, the prevalent theory might not have held Christendom in its fetters for fifteen successive centuries. Stand forth, reasoning pride, and let us commune together You say that it is not Afitting to God@ to suffer, even from his own free volition and sovereign choice. And what think you, then, of the holy incarnation? Declare. Is it Afitting to God,@ the infinite Spirit, to have Abeen made flesh, and dwelt among us?@ Is it Afitting to God,@ the great God, to have been born in a manger, and wrapped in its straw? Is it Afitting to God,@ the Architect of the universe, to have been a laborious journeyman in the workshop of Joseph? Is it Afitting to God,@ accustomed to the ministration of angels, to have washed the feet of his betraying and deserting disciples? Is it Afitting to God,@ the object of heaven's hallelujahs, to have submitted in meekness to the scoffings, and scourgings, and spittings of the blaspheming mob? When you have responded to all these interrogatories you may be the better able to appreciate the soundness of your favourite dogma, that it is not Afitting to God@ to suffer.
Fourthly. The prevalent theory tends to lower the eye of devotion from the Godhead of Christ to his manhood. To worship the created humanity of Mary's son alone, would be idolatrous worship. To love the glorified man more than the indwelling God, would be impiously loving the creature more than the Creator. We should love the whole united being of Christ. We should love the finite much; the infinite unspeakably more. The instinct of our nature leads us to regard, with peculiar favour, him who has bestowed on us signal benefits, especially if the tomb has closed over our benefactor. Affection preserves in fond remembrance the gift of a departed friend. A grateful country bedews, with overflowing tears, the grave of the patriot who has suffered and died for its sake. And if we are taught to consider the pathetic story of Christ=s agonies and death as but the biography of the human son of the Virgin, and to regard the indwelling God, through all his incarnation, as standing aloof from pains, wrapped in the mantle of impassibility, our warm affections may be drawn too much from the impassible God, and placed too fondly on the suffering man. In blotting out from the scriptural picture the soul-absorbing and soul-expanding agonies of the incarnate Deity, and fixing the mental vision on the suffering manhood of Christ, the prevalent theory gives the human figure too attractive a place on the canvass. It tends to impair the spirituality and sublimity of worship, and to sink devotion, as it were, from heaven down to earth.
Fifthly. The prevalent theory unwittingly strengthens the Unitarian error. The startling syllogism of Arius stood thus: The divine essence is impassible: Christ suffered in both his celestial and human natures; therefore, his celestial nature was not divine. Had the Council of Nice made but a single thrust at the major proposition of this syllogism, the heresy of Arius would scarcely have outlived its author. But, unfortunately, the fathers of the Nicene Council assented to its major proposition: they conceded the hypothesis of God's impassibility. They had then nothing left but to declare against its minor propositionCthe suffering of Christ in his united naturesCa dubious war. Modern Unitarianism, except in its very lowest grade, rests on the same identical syllogism.
We regard the Unitarian heresy as the most formidable foe of our holy religion. The polar region of wintry Atheism is bound in its own eternal frosts. Professed Infidelity can never be perennial where the warm pulsations of the human heart are felt. The creative spirit of a Hume or a Gibbon may, ever and anon, breathe into it the breath of precarious life: but, whenever the strong stimulant of sustaining genius is withdrawn, it sinks down, like Thomas Paine, a lifeless, offensive, and forgotten corse. But Unitarianism, decked in the beautiful habiliments of the social virtues, is a brilliant and dangerous meteor. Under its ever-changing phases and varying names it has, like a portentous comet, threatened the system of Christian faith for more than fifteen centuries.
The inquirer after truth, while dwelling on the atonement of the prevalent theory, finds that the view of its creature sufferings leaves an aching void in his heart. This unsatisfied vacuity ever invites the intrusion of seductive, and often fatal errors. If Christendom would extirpate the Unitarian heresy, let a concentrated blow be aimed at the major proposition of its upholding syllogism. Wrest from it its earth-woven mantle of the divine impassibility. Strip it of its armour of proof. That Christ suffered in his united natures is a position deeply bedded in the everlasting truth of Sacred Writ. The hypothesis of God's impassibility has no foundation in his Holy Word. Divine impassibility is the chief corner-stone of the Unitarian faith. Remove that corner-stone, and the whole structure will totter to its foundation.
THE soul-elevating truth that the divinity of Christ participated in his expiatory agonies, was not a stranger in the early Christian Church. Athanasius himself, in his appended argument, treated and anathematized it as an article of pre-existent faith. This doctrine of our holy religion, always at variance with the Arian heresy, had now to oppose the more formidable hostility of him who was generally esteemed the lawgiver of primeval orthodoxy. It had, moreover, to encounter the errors of its professed friends, not less dangerous than the opposition of its open assailants. Long before the birth of Athanasius, and as early as the second and third centuries, a sect had appeared and reappeared, called Patripassians, who affirmed that the only person of the Godhead was the infinite Father, and that he became the incarnate sufferer. About the time of Athanasius' death, Apollonaris, bishop of Laodicea, while holding to the true faith that the divinity of our Lord participated in his vicarious pains, infused into it the dangerous heresy that Christ had no human soul. With errors like these did the subtleties of the primitive ages involve the simple truth, that both the mediatorial natures shared in the atoning sufferings.
Thus opposed by Arian heretics, hunted down by those who claimed a patent for exclusive orthodoxy, bewildered in the intermingled errors of its own friends, this truth of our holy religion had another trial to encounter. The terrible arm of civil authority was uplifted. In the year 388, the emperor Theodosius, moved, no doubt, by the followers of Athanasius, passed an edict, excluding from the right to dwell in cities, from the franchise of having bishops or other spiritual fathers, from the sacred privilege of worshipping in the temples of the living God, all who dared to refuse their allegiance to the dominant creed. A military force was organized to carry the edict into effect, and death followed in its train. It is said that the Inquisition, with its dungeons and torturing wheel, owed its birth to this epoch.*
*Rees' Cyclopædia, Article, Apollinarians. Ibid. Article, Theodosius I.
About the middle of the fifth century, Eutyches became the founder of another compound of truth and falsity. He held that the second person of the Trinity united to the body that was prepared for him, but one spiritual nature. As the new faith sought virtually to abstract from Christ his human soul, it must of course have imputed sufferings to his divinity. One class of the Eutychians, called Theopascites, maintained that the Father and the Holy Ghost, as well as the blessed Son, suffered in the passion of Jesus Christ. The followers of Eutyches were ultimately consolidated under the name of Monophosites, the heresy of the one nature imparting to them their distinctive appellation. Against the Eutychians of every shade were fulminated, from the west, the thunders of the Vatican, and, from the east, the edicts of imperial despotism, announcing degradation and exile as the penalties of their faith.
That the simple doctrine of divine participation in the expiatory sufferings, thus confounded by its heretical, friends, and hunted by its spiritual and temporal enemies Aas a partridge in the mountains,@ should for ages, have been obliged to seek refuge with the monks of Scythia, and in the sequestered regions of Syria, Mesopotamia, Armenia, Egypt, Nubia and Abyssinia, tinctured with copious infusions of bewildering error, ought not to excite our special wonder. To restore to its proper place in Christian theology this great scriptural truth, stripped of the extraneous heresies in which its early adherents unfortunately involved it, is the humble aim of our imperfect essay.
From the first establishment of the prevalent theory in the fourth century, its adherents have found great difficulty in selecting terms to express its meaning, without coming too palpably into collision with the language of Scripture, or with the deep and strong current of popular devotion. This difficulty, seated in the very core of the theory, was smothered for several successive generations; but finally displayed itself, in a fearful explosion, early in the sixth century. In the year 519, the pressing inquiry, threatening the vitality of the theory, was widely and vehemently announced: AWhether it could be said, with propriety, that one of the Trinity suffered on the cross."*
*Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History, (by Maclaine,) vol. 2. pp. 131, 132.
This trying inquiry was referred to the Roman pontiff for his solemn adjudication. Hormisdas, an adherent of the prevalent theory, then filled the papal throne. Had he thought as we think, an affirmative response would have been unhesitatingly rendered. But he did not believe as we believe. He had received and held Astrong as proofs of Holy Writ,@ the hypothesis of Athanasius that God is impassible. That hypothesis compelled him to respond in the negative. For how would his conscience have permitted a pontifical decree, that Ait could be said with propriety that one of the Trinity suffered on the cross,@ when he believed in his heart that from everlasting to everlasting each of the Sacred Three is wrapped in impassability, as with a garment? That one of the Trinity could not in fact have suffered on the cross, if suffering is diametrically opposed to the fundamental and changeless laws of his being, is a self-evident truism. And to have said that one of the Trinity suffered on the cross against what was deemed the eternal truth of his own holy nature, must have seemed to the Roman pontiff a libel upon the awful attributes of the Godhead.
The negative response of the papal oracle filled Christendom with consternation. It had lifted the veil from the prevalent theory, leaving it exposed in all its unscriptural lineaments. It had revealed to the Christian world the appalling truth that the dogma of Athanasius substituted, for the sufferings of the Creator, the sufferings of the creature. Dissatisfaction was first heard in ominous whispers. Soon it burst forth in a thunder peal of remonstrance, commencing in the wilds of Scythia, and rolling onward, and gathering strength as it rolled towards the throne of the spiritual Caesar. The friends of the Prevalent theory were deeply and justly alarmed. It could be saved only by severing what has been deemed the else continuous chain of pontifical infallibility.
Hormisdas then slept with his fathers; John II. reigned in his stead. Another appeal was made to the incumbent of St. Peter's chair. The new pontiff paused. He saw full before him the recorded decree, not yet twenty years old, of his ghostly predecessor. Papal consistency loudly demanded his forbearance. The acclamations of the Christian world urged him forward. From its death struggle, the prevalent theory, dear to him as life, stretched forth its supplicating hand for aid. He reversed the decree of Hormisdas; he proclaimed to succeeding generations that Ait could be said with propriety that one of the Trinity suffered on the cross.@ Utterly disbelieving the fact, he nevertheless decreed that it could with propriety be affirmed. He cast over the theory, the kind veil which his predecessor had rent.*
* Rees= Cyclopædia, Article, John II. Pope of Rome.
Had there been no discrepancy between the decrees of the successors of St. PeterChad the decree of John confirmed that of HormisdasCthe prevalent theory would probably have perished in the second century of its existence. The mind of the millions, then thoroughly aroused, would scarcely have brooked, and sustained, and sent it down to posterity, the unmasked dogma that the second of the Holy Trinity suffered for the redemption of the world only in metaphor. Without the restitution of its wordy covering, the theory must have sunk beneath the conscious and frowning eye of the Christian mass. Justinian, the reigning emperor of the EastCthe architect of the immortal civil codeCthe patron of sacred as well as juridical loreCwould not leave the great truth, involved in the question upon which the two fathers of western Christendom had disagreed, to rest on the unstable basis of clashing papal bulls. In the year 553, he invoked at Constantinople a council of the universal church, styled in ecclesiastical history, the fifth general council.0 That high tribunal confirmed the second pontifical decree. That Ait could be said with propriety that one of the Trinity suffered on the cross,@ was now finally established as a fundamental article of theology by the united authorities of the Christian world. Thus, if speech intends what its words fairly import, the vital truth seemed to be fixed on a changeless rock, that
0 Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History, (by Maclaine) vol. 2. p. 130
divine as well as human suffering was incurred for the salvation of the redeemed. But, alas! speech does not always mean what its words seemingly import.
In the composition of the fifth general council was mingled a controling infusion of the prevalent theory. Their decretal language had an occult meaning, radically different from its ostensible import. It ostensibly imported that one of the Trinity actually suffered for the remission of mortal sins. The council declared that it was proper to say he had suffered. And how could an affirmation be proper, unless it was true, especially when applied to the Majesty of heaven? To say untruth of man is always reprehensible; to say untruth of the living God can be saved from the charge of impiety only by innocency of intention. The declaration that Ait could be said with propriety that one of the Trinity suffered on the cross,@ was equivalent to declaring that he had actually suffered. And yet the master spirits of the sixth century believed no such thing. The hypothesis of divine impassibility had wound itself around their souls perhaps more closely than the Bible. The words of their lips and the thoughts of their hearts were diametrically opposed. What caused this mysterious discrepancy? Stratagem in war is justified by the perhaps too flexible policy of profane history. We would not impute to the polemic champions of the Justinian age the admission of like stratagem into ecclesiastical conflict. And yet the unwelcome question will spontaneously arise, why else did they send their ghostly bark along the flood of time with false colors floating at her mast?
The position established by the fifth general council yet holds its place in academic theology, unmoved by the lapse of ages. The decree of the sixth century has never been reversed; reformations have not reformed it. Still the time-worn proposition, that it can Abe said with propriety that one of the Trinity suffered on the cross,@ has its meaning official, and its meaning confidential. To the general mind it shadows forth the sublime conception that the second of the Sacred Three, made incarnate, actually endured redeeming pangs for our salvation; to the initiated it imports only that he suffered by construction in the sufferings of the associated man. We would not cast censure upon our learned, pious, and venerated opponents; they have but yielded honest allegiance to that theory which came down to them as a consecrated relic of the olden time, scarcely second to the Bible in its dominant authority. Of that theory, discrepancy between its thoughts and words was an original, inherent, and vital element; without which it would not have ruled for fifteen centuries.
The proposition affirmed by the second papal decree and the fifth general council is a striking sample of the bewildering language of the prevalent faith in all the generations of its existence. The learned well understand its occult meaning; but the millions are little conscious how it empties the atonement of that which constitutes it the glory of the universe. Go, simple hearted reader, to the sanctuary where the triune Jehovah is recognized and worshipped. What is it that swells heavenward the seraphic notes of its sublime psalmody? What is it that bends the knee of the heart in its pathetic prayers? What is it that imparts to the teachings of its heaven-ordained pulpit their power over the soul? It is the conscious presence of a Suffering, dying, risen God. Follow to his closet the sacred teacher, and how would your heart sink within you if, finding him a disciple of the prevalent theory, he should lift the veil from his ancient idol, and invoke its denunciation of your Sabbath day dream as an heretic delusion!
The prevalent theory has not been wont to devotions in the sanctuary its occult meaning. We do not affirm that it is never announced there. Yet we believe that its open developments in the temples of Jehovah are
ALike angels= visits, few and far between.@
But while the exclusive humanity of the redeeming pains is seldom promulged in Christian worship, the house of God, in spite of the prevalent theory, is ever vocal with the spirit-stirring thoughts of a suffering Deity. We appeal to the psalmody of Christendom. From the sacred melodies of its principal churches, we have selected copious, extracts, which will speak from our appendix to the head and the heart.* If these copious extracts have truth in their composition, they must needs expose the fallacy of the prevalent theory. They portray the sufferings of the dying, risen God in terms more glowing than any our imagination could command. The extracts are too copious for insertion in the body of our work. We implore the candid searcher after truth not to allow them to escape his attention because we have been obliged to locate them in the appendix.
* See Appendix, No. 3. p. 358.
The appended extracts are, indeed, poetic effusions; but they are effusions deliberately incorporated into the devotions of the sanctuary, and read and sung for successive generations in the temples of the true God. We would not chill the heart of poesy; it is the
AGilded halo hovering round@
the sad realities of mortality. We know, we feel, that the poetic muse is never so lost in inspiration, as when her pen is dipped in
ASiloa=s brook that flow=d
Fast by the oracle of God.@
But sacred poesy must notCdare notCtransplant into consecrated soil, flowers gathered in fairy land. Her hymns of praise breathed forth in God's house, must be truthful as the sister chaunts of the upper sanctuary. The terrestrial dwelling place of Him in whose sight Athe heavens are not clean@ may not admit falsity, open or disguised, in prose or in song, within its hallowed walls. What would be said of psalmody, read and sung in the sanctuaries of our holy religion for years and for centuries, which should ascribe lack of power to the All-powerful, or lack of wisdom to the All-wise; which should, deny prescience to Him who Ainhabiteth eternity,@ or impute untruth to the God of truth? And yet if the Bible has, indeed, taught that the Deity is, by the laws of his own blessed being, necessarily impassibleCthat he could not suffer without ceasing to be GodCthe ascription of suffering to him in his own holy temple, either in prose or in rhyme, by those who believe and affirm his impassibility, would seem no less impious than derogating from his infinite power, or wisdom, or knowledge, or verity.
Some author says, that, if he had control of the ballads of a nations he would not care who controlled its laws. Psalms and hymns are the ballads of our religion. Over the general mind they exercise a dominion, perhaps wider and more absolute than the formal teachings of the pulpit. They accompany devotion to its home; they live in its memory; they are chaunted at its domestic altar; they hover around its pillow; they are graven, as it were, Aupon the palms of its hands.@ Error is nowhere more dangerous than when insinuated into the harmonies of the church. Sacred verse has no poetic license to misrepresent the attributes of the Deity, and call such misrepresentation a figure of speech! If it be indeed a revealed truth that God can no more suffer than he can sin, Christian psalmody, with the belief of that truth resting on its soul, had better have hung its harp forever Aupon the willows@ than wilfully to have predicated suffering of the eternally IMPASSIBLE!
The royal David was a poet. Israel's king was the prince of sacred song; unequalled and unapproached, save by other heaven-taught bards, in simplicity, in pathos, in glowing imagery, in awful sublimity, in that dissecting power over the human heart, which lays open its spiritual anatomy to its very core. Falsity found no place in the minstrelsy of Jesse's son. Clothed in the richest drapery of Oriental metaphor, his soaring thoughts are nevertheless true as the verity of heaven. Christian psalmody, in its multifarious ascriptions of suffering to Him, believed to be impassible from the fixed elements of his holy being, can, if such ascriptions are untrue, find no precedent or extenuation in the truth-breathing rhapsodies of David's sacred harp.
We believe that the melodies of Christendom, ascribing suffering to Christ's divine nature, were prompted, or at least approved, by the Spirit of Truth, who Ahelpeth our infirmities@ and Amaketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.@CRomans, 8. 26. The Captain of our salvation himself declared, AWhere two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.@CMatthew, 18. 20. The great Head of the Church, then, presides over his own sanctuaries. He has listened to every sincere anthem of thanksgiving and adoration that has ascended since his own ascension, and, as it rose toward heaven, has breathed upon it his most precious benediction. The psalmody of Christendom he would not have permitted, for fifteen centuries, to run astray on the sacred theme of his own expiatory sufferings. Asia, and Africa, and Europe, and America, and the Isles of the Seas, would not have been allowed, for successive generations, to defame the attributes of his Godhead, in their songs of praise, within his own holy temples, and in his own immediate presence. The melodies of the general church, read and sung for ages, and pervading all its denominations, are the irrepressible outpourings of pious feeling; they are the comments of unschooled devotion upon the plain language of Holy Writ, sanctioned, as we believe, by the presiding Lord of Christian assemblies. The godly heart is often a better scriptural commentator than the learned head.
If we pass from the poetry of the sanctuary to its prose, we shall find its pulpit teachings often as unequivocal as its melodies. The occupants of the sacred desk, even of the prevalent faith, are frequently borne along by their own glowing and irrepressible convictions far beyond the thraldom of their earth-formed theory. The great Hooker exclaimed from the depths of his pious soul,
And yet the great Hooker bowed to the sceptre of the dominant theory! The profound Barrow, when he poured forth the following tribute to truth, must have felt falling from around him the shackles which he had thought himself born to wear. He says:
The learned Witherspoon, emancipated from theory for a moment by his uplifting devotion, with his suffering God full before him, could not choose but exclaim:
The eloquent Robert Hall, oblivious for the time to all terrestrial dogmas, burst forth into the following truthful rhapsody:
And yet the eloquent Hall yielded fealty to the dominant theory!
We have copiously selected and inserted in our appendix similar extracts from the discourses of many other pulpit teachers, belonging to the prevalent faith, and justly claiming brotherhood in profoundness of intellect, extent of erudition, and depth of piety, with Hooker and Barrow and Witherspoon and Hall. Thus we array against the theory, the authority of those very names, to which it clings for its solo support. In perusing the appended extracts, too copious for insertion in the body of our volume, the intelligent reader cannot but wonder at the inherent and self-destroying inconsistencies of error, however vigilantly guarded by talent and learning.*
*See Appendix, No. 4. p. 368.
The more formal and published prayers of the sanctuary, so far as they have reached our knowledge, afford no aid to the prevalent theory. The unwritten prayers of dissenting Christendom have left no record behind them, save on the pious hearts of their hearers. To that living record we appeal. How often in those oral supplications, has devotion been melted to its deepest pathos, or lifted to its sublimest rhapsody, by the immediate vision of its own suffering, dying, risen God! In such a place, at such a time, when the curtain between our world and heaven seems withdrawn for the moment, how unsatisfactory and chilling appears that terrestrial theory, which recognizes as the only vicarious sufferer, the human son of the Virgin!
What would be the fate of general devotion should the prevalent theory habitually develope its occult meaning in its sanctuaries, as plainly as it now does in its closets? Let not its clerical adherents respond from the mere inspection of their own devout hearts. They may find there a vigorous piety, capable of overcoming the poison of an insulated error. But not every descendant of Jacob could, like Sampson, have broken the seven green withs of the Philistines, Aas a thread of tow is broken when it toucheth the fire.@ Our inquiry seeks the bearing of the unmasked theory upon the promiscuous throng of gospel hearers; some Ababes in Christ;@ some Afilled with unbelief and sin;@ some going to the sanctuary Ato spy out@ Athe nakedness of the land.@ Nor must the response to our inquiry be influenced by the assumption that the channel of devotion has widened and deepened since the days of Athanasius. Adopting the assumption as a glorious truth, it follows not that the increase of piety has been caused by the prevalent theory. From its cradle, the theory has generally reposed, as a sort of hieroglyphic in the archives of the learned. It has seldom made its public exhibition; its occult characters have not often been deciphered.
Our own response to the inquiry we render with diffidence and humility. And yet is the conviction deeply engraved on our soul, that the unmasked development of the prevalent theory, from sabbath to sabbath, from sanctuary to sanctuary, from continent to continent, until it should become as familiar to universal Christendom as the Prayer of prayers taught by our Lord, would, in its bearings on the general mass, exercise a deleterious influence over that blessed cause which cost the dying agonies of the Son of God. It would tend to infuse the chill of winter into the soul of piety.
In view of such unmasked development, how would Unitarian scoffers reiterate, and give to the four winds, the taunt once uttered by one of their ablest and most eloquent, AThus the vaunted system goes outCin words. The Infinite victim proves to be a frail man; and God's share in the sacrifice is a mere fiction!@* Under such a development, how would devotion, simple-hearted and unschooled, mourn and wail at the abstraction of her suffering, dying, risen God; saying, as the weeping Mary said at the sepulchre, AThey have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him!@ Should such a catastrophe occur, we could but submit the ark of our salvation to the guidance of Him, who Ahath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm.@
*Channing's Works, volume 3. page 199. Sermon at dedication of second Unitarian Church in New York.
WE shall doubtless be accused of attempting to disturb one of the ancient landmarks of Christian faith. That this attempt is not a wanton innovation, may have appeared from the preceding pages. Yet farther to vindicate and illustrate our discussion, it will be useful, at the hazard of some seeming, though not real repetition, to state succinctly the respective and opposing bearings of the prevalent theory, and of that which we advocate, upon some of the cardinal points of our, holy religion. It will thence become manifest that our views are as salutary in practice as they are well founded in scriptural authority.
First. The development of the stupendous truth that the eternal Son, Amanifest in the flesh,@ suffered and died in his own ethereal essence, for the redemption of the world, unfolds to our apprehension new and more appalling exhibitions of the potency and turpitude of sin than are presented by the prevalent theory. If we have confidence in the wisdom of an earthly physician, we are best taught the extremity of a physical malady by learning the extremity of the means to which he is driven for its cure. Should he find himself obliged, by efforts beyond mortal endurance, to sacrifice his own life for the life of his patient, it would be an affecting demonstration, not only of his matchless compassion, but also of the inveterate malignancy of the disease, which he could not otherwise assuage.
There is a principle of evil in the universe second only to Omnipotence in its fearful power. It once, with exulting hopes of success, unfurled its standard of rebellion in the very capitol of the empire of Jehovah, within the sound of the thunders of his almighty throne, drawing after it one third part of the bright intelligences of heaven. To check this principle of evil, and confine it within secure limits, without infringing the freedom of creature volition and action, requires from infinite wisdom, perhaps its highest development. This evil principle is not less blighting than it is potent. It has converted our terrestrial Eden into a howling wilderness. It is the creator and eternal preserver of its own indwelling hell. Sin's own unchanging laws, engraven on tablets which time cannot moulder, have immutably ordained that every creature of this or any other world, who transgresses, must bid adieu to bliss, unless there be a renovation of his moral nature. He will forever carry within him the undying worm. His own breast must be the everlasting receptacle and feeder of the quenchless, yet unconsuming fire. He cannot escape it by flight:
AFor within him hell
He brings, and round about him, nor from hell
One step, no more than from himself, can fly
By change of place.@
These awful yet salutary truths are best brought home to the soul by a close meditation, not only on the visible death of expiation at Calvary, but also, and beyond measure more especially, on the spiritual crucifixion of the only-begotten, the eternal Son of the Highest. How fearfully deleterious must be that wide-spread principle of evil, the mere local development of which required, as a preliminary to its pardon, such an atoning sacrifice! How frightful must have been the virulence of that moral malady, which could only be cured by the blood of God!
Secondly. We would not, by limiting the expiatory sufferings to the manhood of Christ, detract, as the prevalent theory unspeakably detracts, from the sublime exhibition of the justice of the God, manifested in the great work of redemption, and portrayed with such ineffable simplicity, pathos, and power in the Sacred Oracles. The execution of the scriptural scheme of the atonement, whose vicarious victim was the Architect of the worlds, elicited a development of the inflexible justice of the Godhead, new and Astrange@ in the annals of eternity. Compared with it, the expulsion of the third part of heaven from their blessed abodes; compared with it, the impassable ramparts of hell, and its adamantine vaults, and quenchless fires, and ceaseless wailings, might pass without special wonder, we would almost say, as pertaining to the ordinary administration of the system of penal jurisprudence, ordained by a wise and righteous God for the government of his boundless empire.
But if permitted to behold a scene, perhaps too sacred for creature vision, how must the hierarchies of heaven have stood aghast, as the Ancient of Days, arrayed in the most awful habiliments of avenging Omnipotence, drew forth from its long repose his own almighty swordCthe sharpest weapon in the armory of the GodheadCto smiteCas a God alone could smite, and with an effect which a God alone could endureCthe beloved and unresisting fellow of his everlasting reign! Let not the dwellers upon the earth be taught to regard this sublimest of scriptural delineations as magnificent imagery alone, fitly evolved by Oriental metaphor. To suppose that the Lord of Hosts awakened his slumbering swordCslumbering, perhaps, from the earliest eternityCto smite the mere frail humanity of him who was cradled in the manger, would be to sink, in mortal estimation, this stupendous scene in the annals of the Godhead from the infinite down to the finite.
That demonstration of infinite justice which forms the prominent and august feature of the atonement consists in the awful truth that God the Father Aspared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all.@ And ever mark the mighty terms Ahis own Son!@ The theory of earth, which virtually holds that the eternal Son was spared; that the unspared one of the Father was but the human son of Mary; that the eternal Son suffered no more to redeem our fallen race than he did in their creation, robs the atonement of all its magnificence. Let it not be alleged that God the Father Aspared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all,@ and thus satisfied the plenitude of the declaration of the Holy Ghost, when, for a space brief compared with eternity, he allowed him to depart from the celestial courts, and to dwell on earth in a tabernacle of clay, carrying, however, with him the undiminished beatitude of the Godhead, in the same way as an earthly father may be said to spare not his own son, but to deliver him up, when he sends him from the domestic hearth, to sojourn for a season in foreign climes! We would not willingly impute to the prevalent theory so irreverent a prostration of the majesty of the atonement.
Thirdly. Nor would we derogate, as the prevalent theory immeasurably derogates, from the infinite love displayed by the triune God in the redemption of the world. Let it never be forgotten that the sending of his well-beloved Son by the infinite Father to be the ransom of our fallen race, and the voluntary acceptance of that terrible mission by the infinite Son, and the contributory agency of the Holy Ghost to render the mission efficacious, are everywhere represented in Scripture as the concentration and sublimation of the ineffable love of the united Godhead; compared with which the displays of divine goodness, in the variegated works of creation, sink, as it were, into comparative unimportance. It was a distant and twilight glimpse of this sublime development of infinite love that awakened to such unearthly harmony the consecrated harps of the prophets and inspired patriarchs of old. It was a clearer view of this stupendous miracle of grace, unmatched even by the Godhead, that ever and anon roused the profoundly argumentative Paul to such bursts of holy rhapsody. It was this view, melting the heart of the beloved disciple, which prompted that simplest, that most touching, that most comprehensive and expressive of scriptural sentences, AGod is love.@
And do all these sublime indications of Scripture point, indeed, to nothing but the simple fact that the second person of the Trinity, by the mandate of the Father and his own volition, condescendingly and graciously came into the world, to occupy for a time, in all the perfection of infinite beatitude, the Abody@ that was prepared for him, and then to return, untouched by suffering, to his celestial home, and there receive the rapturous and cheap-earned gratulations of heaven on his having just created, from a moral chaos, a new spiritual world, more glorious than any of those which, at the beginning of time, had roused the swelling anthem of the Amorning stars?@ Such is not the scriptural picture of the love of the Godhead displayed in the redemption of the world.
Fourthly. If we may justly conclude that the second person of the Trinity, clothed in flesh, suffered and died for the redemption of the human soul, not in his manhood alone, but also in his divinity, the conclusion will impart new and ineffable value to the immaterial, breathing, living, immortal principle within us. Seneca, the heathen philosopher, termed the soul a Alittle god cased in flesh.@ The Bible imparts to it a rank higher than was ever imagined in the dreams of pagan mythology. God formed material man Aof the dust of the ground;@ but he Abreathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.@ The soul of man, then, is an emanation of the Deity. It is a spirit kindred to the ethereal essence of its almighty Creator. Christ, while on earth, interrogatively declared that it would be a losing contract for a man to barter, for the whole world, his own soul. This theoretic proposition, like other abstract truths, even of the Bible, is best brought home to the heart by practical elucidation. If we would see it thus illustrated by its divine Author, let us stand beside his viewless cross, and, in contemplating his unseen spiritual and divine sufferings for its ransom, learn at what price the soul was rated in the celestial exchequer.
Would man become familiar with the distant bodies of the material heavens, he should borrow of science its glorious instrument of discovery, which will enable him to walk
AAbroad through nature, to the range
Of planets, suns, and adamantine spheres,
Wheeling unshaken through the void immense@
The science of sacred truth, too, has its telescope; and if we would gain still clearer views of the value of the breathing immortality within us, let us, through that consecrated medium of vision, fix our steadfast and wondering gaze on the onward flight of a single soul through the ages of its eternity. It must sink Aa goblin damned,@ or rise a spirit of bliss. In the rank soil of the world of blasphemy, it will, in successive ages, swell to a mammoth of guilt; or, in the pure atmosphere of heaven, it will, in its upward progress, brighten into an archangel, ministering before the throne of God. The prospective omniscience of the infinite Son, standing by the grave of a world Adead in trespasses and sins@ beheld its countless perishing souls, of value too precious to be ascertained, save by the arithmetic of heaven. He pitiedChe redeemed; he redeemed by the immolation of himself. Great was the price; greater, in the estimate of infinite love, was the redemption purchased.
Beautiful and glorious is the material universe. Beautiful is our own queen of night; glorious our own king of day. Brilliant are yonder stars that spangle the firmament; surpassingly majestic when we regard them as centres of their own expanding systems, attracting and ruling their own wheeling orbs. But to save all these, the Son of God would not have died; to redeem them all from one vast consuming conflagration, be would not have laid down his most precious life. He could have spoken new suns and systems into being. To impart moral life to a single soul dead in iniquity, he was obliged to die himself. When seen in the scriptural mirror, why will not man learn to appreciate that deathless soul, whose matchless value is so well known in heaven? Why will man, reckless man, madly throw away that inestimable gem, whose ransom cost the death of a God? How could centuries have cherished a theory which, by sinking, without scriptural authority, the redeeming price, would lower, in the estimation of the dwellers upon the earth, the value of their immortal souls?
Fifthly. The sufferings of Christ, in his divinity, afford a foundation for Christian confidence unknown to the prevalent theory. The anxious inquirer after religious truth, from whose eyes the scales have begun to fall, gazes, now at the frightful turpitude of sin, now at the Aconsuming fire@ of Jehovah's wrath. He hears, close behind him, the cry of the avenger of blood. He must reach a city of refuge, or miserably perish. The prevalent theory points him to one. He finds it built of creature sufferings. In vain, at least for the time, is urged the dignity and atoning value imparted to the sufferings by the juxtaposition of indwelling divinity. He searches, without success, for any traces of the theory in Holy Writ. Metaphysical speculation soothes not his sin-tossed spirit. It is an icicle to his soul. He must become an adept in the prevalent theory before he can cast himself, for eternity, on vicarious sufferings less than divine.
Perhaps, gentle reader, you may yourself be an anxious, and, as yet, unbiassed inquirer after religious truth. You may be seeking as for hidden treasure, a sure foundation for the sinner's hope. Turn, then, to the Book of books. Read the concurrent testimony of the blessed Trinity, that its glorious second person, clothed in flesh, endured the infinite burden of the vicarious sufferings to save our perishing world; to save even you, if you will but accept his Agreat salvation.@ Deign to believe the declarations of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, in all their stupendous magnitude. Accept as true, and sincere, and ingenuous, the assurances of the Sacred Three, though pertaining to things incomprehensible to your microscopic vision. Degrade not the atonement of the Godhead, by imagining that its second person suffered by profession and in name only. Change not into figures of speech the plain and simple proclamations which came down from above.
The anxious, fearing, trembling inquirer after gospel truth, bewildered on a sea of doubt and darkness, without a compass or a star, may find, in the sufferings of the divinity of Christ, Aan anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;@ Aan anchor@ formed in the conclave of the holy Trinity; Asure@ as its eternal decrees; Asteadfast@ as the pillars of its everlasting throne. Christian confidence, founded on the expiatory agonies of the Creator of the worlds, may look down, as from the heaven of heavens on all that this poor earth miscalls Asure and steadfast.@ He who has the witness within himself that he is to be partaker in the salvation wrought by the divine sufferings of the dying God, may, from the depths of his grateful, weeping, joyous heart, triumphantly exclaim with the exulting apostle to the Gentiles, AI know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to him against that day.@
Sixthly. We delight to dwell on the atonement, built of the sufferings and cemented by the blood of God, in all its scriptural magnificence. It is, beyond peradventure, the mightiest effort of almighty power. God spake, and chaos became a universe of moving worlds. He could not speak into being the structure of salvation. Its formation cost him his incarnation, his sufferings, his death. It is the rainbow glory of heaven, concentrating in mild, yet bright effulgence, the mingling and harmonious rays of infinite justice, infinite wisdom, and infinite love. Upon the just proportions, the beautiful simplicity, the exquisite symmetry, the lofty grandeur of this choicest pavilion of the Godhead, the holy curiosity of cherubim and seraphim will be riveted for countless ages after time shall be no more. It will be remembered in hell. Devils will gnash their teeth; but Adevils damned@ dare not, cannot scoff. Forever must they gaze on this wonder of wonders, this everlasting monument of their Conqueror's triumph, in silent, in speechless despair.
What gives to this structure its transcendent majesty is the divinity of the sufferings of which it was composed. Had not the throes and blood of its suffering, dying, risen God pervaded and formed its constituent elements, it would have been a splendid pageant that might dazzle, but could not satisfy created intelligences. Let not the children of men seek to mar its beauty or dim its glory. It was on earth that its foundations were laid. It is earth that it has redeemed. Let not earth alone, of all the provinces of the universal empire, seek to pluck from this temple of salvation its everlasting cornerstone.
APPENDIX No. 1.
ARGUMENT OF ATHANASIUS,
REFERRED TO AT PAGE 41.
AGAINST THOSE WHO ASSERT THAT, BECAUSE GOD SO WILLED,
As the traveller avoids every wandering from his road, and would suffer any inconvenience sooner than leave the highway, thus the pilgrims in the path of sound doctrine follow the footprints of those who never leave the way, and when they have learned the landmarks of their journey, they guard against any departure therefrom, and so are always guided in the truth. But some disregard this aim and please themselves in unbelief, and abandon the footsteps of the orthodox fathers, and the landmarks that the divine instructors have set up, and follow by-paths, some discovered by heretics of old, some, at the present time, by themselves. Thus they assert this unreasonable dogma; God suffered because he so willed. Being unable to demonstrate the paossibility of Go A d=s@s nature, they do not hesitate to utter untruths concerning his will; and if questioned concerning the Divine nature, their answer relates to his will. If God=s@s nature were ca. pable of suffering, then it might be permitted to consider his will; but though, for the sake of argument, such a volition were conceded many times, yet could that concession not shake the immoveable laws of Nature., What madness, then, to assert, that he suffered because he so willeubd! What rational man -is unaware that will and nature must harmonize? That the ends of nature and the ends of volition must unite, is a truth self-evident; and equally so that their limits are fixed, and their aims regulated by nature and intelligence. He that would assert the contrary would put nature and the will in hostile array, the latter longing for that which is impossible, or the former admitting conditions elementally destructive to itself. That essenceo that, by its constitution, setting will aside, may admit suffering is passible; but that essence, which in its nature and being is inconsistent with suffering, may not assume the condition of paossibility, though its will may strongly thereto consent. Each class of animated beings retains the law and form of its first creation, and maintains it irreversibly. Should man ofttimes and earnestly desire to be a bird, yet would nature as often overcome that will; should he long for the spirit of an uniareasoning brute, yet would it be but a foolish thought and an unaccomplished design. Now as Nature thus displays her unconquerable power, and her superiority to the despotism of all opposing volitions@s, shall the unchanging and undying essence of God alone yield itself to be shackled by the will? Wonderful thought! Shall that which guards with watchful care all essences, and conserves each in its sphere, shall that alone be thusm , easily driven from the bounds of impassibility, and God the Creator possess less inflexibility than he has bestowed on every creature? But let us inquire of what prophet or apostle they receive this erroneous doctrine, that he thus willed? FProm none. The error springs from and rests on the light authority of those who maintain it. We have neither read he suffered, nor found he willed to suffer. What holy man ever saw suffer the invisible and impassible God, or to whom hath he revealed sucholx a will? 7 O0, the boldness of man to trample over invisible powers@! ForPot who hath ascended into heaven! who transcended thrones, principalities, powers, dominions, majesties? Who hath flown beyond the flight of the seraphim? Who hath seen the things concealed from their eyes? Who hath found out the nature of God in volition and suffering, when, the Scriptures have niaot revealed it? We have heard that -he hwliath performed his good pleasure; but that, he suffered, anaiad because he willed, we have nowhere learned. Why, then, miningle instability with unchangeabilit,y ? This is madness, not wisdom. The truth is the reverse of this. Christ suffered indeed, but it was in the flesh of mortal men, and not in his immortal Word.
AGAINST THOSE WHO ASSERT THAT THE EXPRESSIONS OF SCRIPTURE SHOULD BE RECEIVED LITERALLY, WITHOUT REGARD TO THEIR:IIL TRUE MEANING AND SPIRITUAL IMDIPORT.
With great difficulty are those silenced who would subvert the constitution of the human mind, restraining men from the exercise of reason, and from the knowledge of natural truth and loveliness, by telling their followers that the expressions of Holy Writ are to be received literally, without examination, without discussion, without comparison, and without reference to the end for which they have been uttered. If, then, as they counsel, men should overlook the end and the meaning of the expressions of Scripture, and receive them literally and irrationally, would it not be to allow the words of apostles and prophets to echo through the ears in vain and unfruitful sounds, while the heart remained untouched and unaffected? When they advise to listen with the ears, but strive not for that fruitful perception which belongs to the heart, and the curse that attaches to them, to listen with the ears and not perceive. Thus they say, the phrase A"the Word became flesh,@" is to be understood literally, and not in the sense pious reason wouald put upon the words; as if it were in their power to wrest the conception of any person from that which is befitting and profitable to that which pleases themselves. Shall I listen to words, and seek not for the idea intended thereby to be conveyed? Where, then, would be the results of discourse and the profit of listening? How quickly would they transform men into unreasoning beasts by such propositionspropostions; to listen to sounds of words and neglect the sounds of reason. Paul, who was a teacher in such affairs, did not thus instruct; his precepts were, to receive nothing save upon the sanction of right reason; thus, solid food belongs to strong men, who by exercise are able to discriminate between good and evil. He advises perfection, praises exercise, recommends sober judgmentjudgement between good ,and evil. But how can he judge who discerns not the matters revealed? For as the man whose senses are disordered by disease has no true perception of alimnients nor their properties, so the man who, from idleness or stolidity, is unexercised in his mental faculties, apprehends the words he hears, but gathers not the force of the argument, nor perceives the distinctions in the ideas intended to be conveyed. His participation is heedless aad irrational, like the beast who devours the nutritive and hurtful as they may chance to offer. Nor is he to be numbered among clean beasts, since he does not ruminate, but transmits a crude and unprepared mass of mental food to the inner man. Thus he receives injury from imperfect digestion, rather than support to his vital powers. Is any one ignorant that the command of the Divine law enjoins a scrutiny upon him who is bidden to sup at the table of a ruler, and diligently to consider what is placed before him? Thus, it is manifest that we are not to make the words of Scripture our prey, but we must consider what is fitting to God, useful to man, consonant with truth, in harmony with the law, responsive to nature; to that which faith may know, on which hope may build and the sincerity of love adopt, whereby the glory of God may shine untarnished, envy be vanquished, grace justified. These elements co-exist in the meditations of piety, but find no place in these absurd novelties, whose dependence is upon mad theories. To conclude, he who receives the text of Scripture literally and neglects the meaning cannot understand passages that seem to clash; he can find no proper solution thereto, give no answer to inquiries, and cannot fulfil the precept, be careful always to have that whereby thou mayest answer him who inquires.
AGAINST THOSE WHO ASSERT THAT GOD
THE WORD SUFFERED IN FLESH.
I wonder that the inventors of these new doctrines seem never tired in their search or introduction of novelties, but are always frivolously propounding theories like the one we now proceed to confute, that God the Word suffered in the flesh. In this proposition there is much that is irrational, and much that is untrue. It is irrational to say one nature suffered in another; untrue to say the Word suffered. That which they would not dare to express unqualifiedly they conceal by the addition of A"the flesh;@" thus they would cover up this revolting idea, in the same manner as is an ugly face, by a deceitful mask. If the Word suffered, he suffered in his own essence. If aught else suffered, then the Word did not suffer, unless that injury which was directed alone against the suffering body may be considered as recoiling on the Word thereto united. To say, however, the Word suffered in the flesh is unscriptural, untrue, self-contradictory. But as these
ARGUMENT OF ATHANASIUS. 345
men are unbounded in impiety, and are conscious that pious ears will not listen to the expression A"the Word suffered,@" they sub-
join the expression A"the flesh,@ @ in order to heal the wounds wrought by the other. Thus they would introduce disease, and heal by improper remedies; i for none of these doctrines are con-
son.uant with truth; and frequently in the same sentence are con-
tained contradictions, so that rational men can give them no at-
tention. The Word was not rendered passible by being joined to the flesh, nor was the flesh impassible through the agency of the Word; but as the body, by its nature, admitted the infl@uence of suffering, so the Word retained impassibility, as an essential and inseparable attribute. If the Word suffered,, why subjoin the additionu Allin the fllesh?@" Why mniention the fliesh? The body suffered with the Word, or it did not. If it did nduot suffer, im-
passibility was bestowed on it. If it suffered, then the proof is that both natures suffered; for, as they say, the Word suffered in
the flesh, and the body, by its own constitution, suffered in its
proper nature. But perhaps the declaration of the apostle may be urged, AOf whom, as concerning the flesh, is Christ.@tlxe dwkratiou of the apostle may
be as concerning the flesh, is Christ.@@ Say
Christ suffered,@ and the word flesh recurs in the same manner. He who names God the Word names a pure essence; he who names :Chrisat designates one in whom two natures are united; and, thus@ it is with propriety we say Christ suffered, because this namane implies at once the impassible Word and the body which tasted death. Wherefore Paul did not use the expression, of whom is the pure God after the flesh, but A Of whom is Christ after the flesh,@" in order that he might indicate him who was intended of the Israelites,
,d- as pertains to the body; but as per-
tains to his divini@ty, the begot@ten of God the Father. He did not say of whom is God after the flesh. But say this,
if you would convince me Christ suffered in the flesh. And if you pl A ease to say God suffered in the flesh, then tell me, are God and the flesh the same, or different in nature? If they are the same, then did God suffer in his own nature ; for God and the flesh are in nature the same. But if they are different, how does the one suffer in the other, since suffering in-
duces no change in the essence? Thus man does not suffer in a horse; the soul dies not in the flesh, but the flesh is dissolved, and the soul separated therefrom; i and yet the man, consisting of soul and body, is called dead, but yet only. in that nature which may
346 APPENDIX NO. 1.
die, that is, the body, not the immortal soul; for no one has ever said of the soul of man that it has died in the body; but the man, the union of soul and body, has died. Thus the Scriptures, when about to establish the immortality of the soul after death, say the just live forever. An appeal to Scripture condemns alto-
gether these men; for, notwithstanding the number of prophets and apostles, we find nowhere an expression like theirs. On the other hand, that Christ suffered is universally announced. Christ, our passover, is offered for us. If Christ be passible, he died for our sins, according to the Scriptures. The cross is Christ=s@s, the body Christ=s@s, the blood Christ=s@s. How is it possi-
ble that they can neglect so great a cloud of witnesses, and prefer their own private judgment to the authority of the Spirit? Thus they would violate the command which forbids to transgress the ancient landmarks that your fathers have placed, and would dis-
regard the decision of the great and holy Council of Nice, the fathers of which council with unanimity have placed in their creed the name of the Lord Jesus Christ next to God the Fa-
ther; and to him they have ascribed the lofty attributes of God-
head and the beneficial faculties of his own manhood: according to the words of the blessed Paul, other foundation can no man lay than is laid, namely, Jesus Christ. We have not abandoned that foundationsCa recipient of glory in one nature, of suffering in the a other. If you name him God alone, how can you lay on him the
the needed passion? If you name him man al*one, then how can g- he contain the vast riches of incomprehensibleiucotdprehensi@bli glory! I But it is our duty to call him Christ; hereby he reaps the fruit of glory
in the Godhead, while in his manhood he bears suffering, and in the inseparable union works all miracles, and bestows all bless-
iniigs on the faithful. Thus the impassibility of the Deity, the reality of the passion, and the universal advantage of man-bi ina-n,kind are made sure., In this manner the clear word of truth, the foun-
dation of unshaken fa&ith, the glorious greatness of the mystery, the mraarvel worthy of the credence of antiquity, the unfading beauty of orthodoxy, and the harmonious belief of all ages are displayed. To assert this new and wild doctrine, and condclemn all who deny that God the Word suffered in the flesh, is not only to oppose the men of this age, but to array an opposition to the doctors and teachers of all antiquity. Why do these men avoid the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, in which we are commanded
ARCUMENT OF ATIIANASIUS. 347
to believe? Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. It is lovely to fix the hope of salvation in this name; for there is no other name given among men whereby we may be saved. At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things heavenly and things terrestrial, and of things infernal, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. HI-le is judge of the living and dead. Stephen, when dying called on him: Lord Jesus receive my spirit. There is one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things; i he is Saviour, he is Redeemer. Christ is all these. Why, then, avoid that beloved name? It hath removed disease: A"In the name of Jesus Christ, arise and walk.@2@ It hath put to flight devils: A"I command thee, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, come out of her.@.@2 How is it that, leaving this name; as if ungratefulungratefal to them, they assume an expression nowhere found among the holy writers: the Word suffered in the flesh!
AGAINST THOSE WHO INQUIRE WEwu6@qtiunwHY SHOULD THE
JEWS BE PUNISHED
IUNLESS IT WAS GOD WHOM THEY SLEW?
Argument has no power to restrain the madness of contentious men. If we advance a thousand irrefragable arguments, though they may display the truth, yet will they fail to convince these framers of falsehood; for it is the punishment of those who, in de-
spite of the clearest of demonstrations, have abandoned the truth, never to leave their own devices nor return to the true road ; but continuing to travel by headlong by-paths, they are not ashamed to interroga@te of us why the Jews shall be punished if they slew not God. Shameless and deceitful impudence! I To avesnnge Christ they asperse Christ. Thus, that the Jews may be pun-
ished, they would confuse all things, despise doctrine, blaspheme the impassible God by callingo him passible, revile God=s@s glory, tear up the order of the universe. Cease to avenge God by blas-
pheming God; a defence joined with dishonoaur to the one de-
fended is detestable. Leti Jews receive gain, if their loss is the shame of Christians. Rather let the guilty escape than he who suffered acquire such advocates. Better that Jews be pardoned than the GCodhead be reproached with mutability and paossibility. Why afford such a theme of boasting to Jews as that they were triumphant over God? They would have had no power over the
temple had not the inmate permitted it, who raised the temple when dissolved, but himself remained indissoluble. Your opinion is contrary to the express announcement of the sufferer, and your vindication inflicts a worse grief than the injury you would avenge. Then wherefore distort the compassionate words of the Saviour Christ; for at the time of the passion he said, Father, forgive them; they know not what they do. And do you accuse the Jews of a knowledge of the presence of a God, and a conscious pollution of themselves with his blood? This audacity surpasses that of the crucifying Jews. They killed Christ, deeming him mere man. You, while vindicating God, call him mutable, passible, and dead. Thus, in proportion as that man is more criminal who is impious towards God than he who injures man, so is the state of him more dreadful who, in language, kills God the Word, than theirs who drove the nails into the flesh of the Lord. But though the Jews are less impious than you, we revoke not their awful doom. We maintain the impassibility of the Godhead of Christ, and ascribe passion to the manhood thereto united, and that the Jews shall be punished for impiety towards the manifest Deity through insane rashness and blindness. Even now we see that those who lift up impious hands against the temples of God and do this sacrilegiously and destructively, are punished as though they were impious criminals in respect of God, notwithstanding that their rage is outwardly directed against stones and wood. If then an inanimate temple be guarded by such severe laws, how much severer sanctions should protect that living and unpolluted temple joined ineffably and indissolubly to the living God! To offer injury or insult to that holy temple must be considered as offering injury and insult to the God who dwelt therein, and who distinguished it by so many miracles. Nor can the Jews find any palliation of their guilt in the circumstance that they appeared to sin against a mere man, while, to confute them, so many miracles wrought by his hand displayed the glorious majesty and power of the Godhead. His birth was pointed out by prophecy, its place was well known, its manner most remarkable, the time of its accomplishment made certain in every word in Scripture was declaratory of the event, the Oriental wise men came afar to worship, a star prognosticated, and angels sang the nativity of the Saviour. Herod the king was troubled; all Judea was filled with
350 APPENDIX NO. 1.
wonder, for it was the manifestation of him who should take away the sins of the world. Simeon takes the child in his arms, and calls him the salvation of God. Anna prophesies; John, at Jordan bears witness to him. The voice of the Father from heaven acknowledges him to all as the well-beloved Son; the descent of the Spirit as a dove on his head confirms and glorifies him; the water changed into wine, and five loaves multiplied to satisfy the hunger of as many thousands, while twelve baskets are filled with the fragments, attest his power. Diseases are healed by his word; devils, expelled by his command, bear witness from afar to the terror of his power; even the dead are at once rescued from the power of the grave; the very hem of his garment brings health to the sick woman, making evident the glory of the concealed God. Even the frame of universal nature, at the time of the, passion, and the destruction of the visible temple of his body, is disturbed in divers ways; and those who crucified him bore testimony to the reality of his resurrection; for, while they watched the slain, they were confounded by the omnipotence of the sufferer. These things, and many besides, evinced the hidden Godhead, and to be wilfully blind to these manifestations was a crime of deep impiety against God.
AGAINST THOSE WHO CALL HIM A JEW WHO DENIES THAT GOD SUFFERED.
In our former arguments the conclusions were so clear, and so variously and manifestly demonstrated, that our adversaries ought in all fairness to acknowledge their cogency; but this they do not, being intent upon weaving new and deceitful subtleties; Thus, they say he is a Jew who denies that God suffered. It is well that they remind us of a name well suited to themselves. They have drawn upon themselves affinity with Jews by denying the salvation of the incarnation, and by rejecting the mystery of the union of the two natures. Let us now imagine whether he is a Jew who receives the gospel of grace, or he who strives for the letter of the law! The gospel teaches us that the invisible God was manifest in visible flesh. The Jews maintain their ancient traditions, wherein the Deity is represented under types and forms. In what manner do we call others, Jews who reject the riches of the New Testament?
Have we not heard that many prophets and just men have desired to see those things which we have seen, and have not been able? 7 What have they not seen? The God manifest in the flesh. Is it not written, God was seen by Abraham, by Isaac, by Jacob, by Moses, and by many others? That which they desired to see, and were not able, was that which we have seen, the ineffable and indissoluble union of Godhead and manhood. This is the strange sight revealed to all who by fa&ith confebss the adorable union of the Word and flesh. They who reject the assumption of human na, ture are convicted manifestly of affin@ity with the ancient Jews, who were unable to see the things we have seen. Jews are they who reject the incarnate mediation of the Saviour, and to these must those be added, or, rather, must be considered greater crii-im-
inals, who deny the two natures. The Jews were unable to per-
ceive the Deity, thoughlx working miracles among them; and these revilers of God attributeattribiate to the Word the infirmities
them; and these
es of the flesh
he assumed. But perhaps they will say (for they do not scruple to deny the most evident truths), we do not call the divine nature passible. Should we ask of you, ye cunning sophists, how is it possible, that you can avoid this assertion, you would make an-
swer: He suffereqd because he so willed, and thus is not passible. In this manner you but avoid the letter, while in youear faith the error remains. If you condemn such as deny that God suffered, can you escape the inevitable conclusion, God is passible? If he be a Jew, in your opinion, who does not acknowledge that the di-
vine nature suffered, and a Christian AWho believes it@ then the Jew thus confessing the divine impassibility must be preferred to you who deny it; for, of necessity, you must be called Jews, maintaining the impassibility, or Christians, as you would define the word, holding to the paossibility of God. Then tell us plainly to which doctrine you subscribe; for with the heart manm believes to justification, and with the mouth confession is made to salva-
tion. If the Word did not suffer, then the flesh did suffer. If neither suffered, then somrae third essence suffered. If nothing suffered, then there was no passion. If the passion took place, and yet no one suffered, it was but an illusion; we are saved by a mere illusion. You are as impious as the Manicheans; and why do you hesitate to adopt their name, when manifesstly- you are in-
heritors of their heresy? Hence is your error shown to be worse than that of the Jews, and nearly as impious as that of the Man-
ARGUMENT OF ATHANASIU,9. 351
icheans. Why mention Jews and Manicheans? You are more resolved in guilt than he, the contriver of all evil and hater of all goodC-who hath planted these tares in your heartC-the devil. He, when, at Jordan, the divine glory of the Saviour was mani-
f@ested, though urged by the stings of envy, dared not begin the temptation till he saw Jesus fainting with hunger, an undoubted sign of human weakness. He well knew the attribute of the Godhead to be subject to neither temptation nor passion. You ascribe to the Godhead hunger, thirst, and similar infirmities, and dare annex the suffering of crucnoifixion thereto. He (the devil), for the magnitude of his guilt, was called a murderer from the beginning; you, in the greatness of your mad impiety towards God, call the Jews the slayers of God, and do not blush in allowi-
ing greater power to the Jews, A the disciples, than to the devil, the teacher of all wickedness; and thus, according to the accusation of the Scripture, knowing God, you have not glorified him as God; fobr you have maintained his passibility.C-(Athanitasius=s@s Worksv, vol. 2,iL pp. 305-31830 l@, Ed. of Cologgne, 1686.)
APPENDIX NO. II.
APPENDIX No. 2.
THE BLOODY SWEAT,
RF,EFFEIRZRED TO AT PAG.ES 207 AND 222
SomeE of the adherents of the prevalent theory,eu7, in accowwrdancee with their custom of transmuting into metaphor such @ @hbr saeh scriptural 9 passages as oppose their dogma,@ have expressed their belief that the bloody sweat of Gethsemane was but a figure of speech. St. Luke was a writer of the greatest simraplicity and directness; he was a stranger to amplification or hyperbole, and dealt little in metaphor. Had he sought a rhetorical figure to indicate the pro-
fuse perspiration of his Lord, great drops of water would have been a more natural and apposite comparison than great drops of blood. The thought of blood would not have been likely to enter the imagination of the evangelist, had not the Holy Ghost im-
pressed on him the awfulawfal phenomenon of the garden.
But the great majority of those who profess the prevalent theory feel themselves bound to admit the sweat of blood at Gethsemane. They seek, however, to evade its hostile bearinug upon their theory, by affirming that history records many other instances of bloody perspiration, caused, not only by corporeal disease, but also by extreme mental agonoiay. And to sustain a proposition so important to their dogma@ they cite the following authorities: Aristotle, Hist. Anim. Tom. I1. lib. 3iii. chap. 19, page 809. Ibid. de part Anim. Tom. I. lib. 3iii. chap. 5, page 1008. Diodorus Siculus, Tom. IIA. lib. 17xyii. page 560. Voltaire=s@s Ujniversal History, chap. 142, narrating death of Charles IX. of France. Sir John Char-
din=s@s History of Persia, Vol. 1I. page 126. Thuanxius Hist. Temp. lib. 10x. page 221. Acta Physico-Med. Norimbergaem, Vol. 1. page 84; Vol. 8VIII. page 425. Leti=2s Life of Pope Sextus 5V., p@age 200.
THE BLOODY SWEAT. 353
It is, indeed, true that bodily disease has sometimes caused an exudation of blood, by debilitating the system, and rendering the veins and arteries incapable of retaining and circulating their vital fluid. And it is, no doubt, also true, that mental agony, if intense and protracted may, at least in feeble subjects, superin-
duce bodily disease, with all its frightfu@al consequences. But we cannot yield our credence to the proposition that spiritual agony, unaccompanied by corporeal infirmity, has ever forced through the healthful body great drops of blood, save in the gar-
den of Gethsemane.
Aristotle, in one of the quoted pages, says; A"If much blood is lost, life languishes; if the loss is extreme, life is extinguished. When the blood is immoderately charged with humours, disease attacks; for then it is converted into a thin unnatural state, and has, in some cases, broken out into a bloody sweat.@" And in the other quoted page of his writings, he says: A"Some through an ill habit of body have sweat a bloody excrement.@al It will be per-
ceived that - thist learned I Ascholar attributes bloody exudations to corporeal disease. If they had ever been caused by mental agony, it seems to have escaped the knowledge of the profound Stagyrite. Diodorus Sioulus, in the page of his works referred to, is speak-
ing of the Indian serpents, and observes: A If any one be bitten by them, he is tormented with excessive pains, and seized with a bloody sweat.@@@ The Roman scholar gives no more intimation, than did his Greek predecessor, that bloody perspiration is ever caused by meore mental agony. Voltaire, in his Universal His-
tory, thus describes the death-sickness of Charles IX. of Trance:
A"He died in his thirty-@fifth year; his disorder was of a very re-
markable kind; the blood oozed out of all his pores. This mal-
ady, of which there have been other instances, was owing, either to excessive fear, or violent agitation, or to a feverish and melan-
choly temperament.@" The only fact here recorded is that the king was sick unto death; and that, in his last illness, his blood oozed out from his pores. The cause of his illness and of the symptom stated, is left to rest on vaguae conjecture. The quo-
tation from Voltaire is no proof of the proposition advanced by our opponents; his conjectures are not entitled to controlling influence in a Christian iInvestigation.
The advocates of the prevalent theory have referred to Sir r
John Chardin=?s History of Persia. We believe that such a work
054 APPENDIX NO. A.
was never written by the author referred to. He travelled in Persia@ and published his travels in several volumes, which is, doubtless, the production intended. Though not an Englishman, his first volume (to which alone the reference of our opponents points) was translated into English under his own superinten-
dence, and originally published by ,him at London. Afterwards all the volumes were published on the continent, in French. The English copy may, therefore, be regarded as the true original of his first volume. We have examrained it, and found no mention of a bloody perspiration in the page cited, or elsewhere in the volume. To the continental edition we have not had access. If the learned reader should find any thing in the English volume which has escaped our notice, or anything superadded in the con-
tinental edition, we would beg leave to remindremincl, him, that Sir J@ohn Chardin, though reputed to be a writer of truth, travelled in the land of exaggeration and romance. What he recorded from his own observation, is entitled to fair credit; what he re-
corded from Persian hearsay should be taken with many grains of allowance.
Our opponents have also referred to Thuanuiis (the celebrated French de Thou) HisL,3t. Temp. lib. 10x. @pPage 221. We find no such page in his tenth book; nor do we find in any part of the book any allusion to bloodyv perspiration. Thuanus is a very volumi-
nous writer; and our leisure has not allowed us to explore his history page by page. The learned reader@@, if he shall discover theif the passage intended by the reference, will please to bear in mind,
in testing its applicability, that the point @Oh@ -here at issue between the advocates of the prevalent theory and ourselves, is, not whe-
ther bloody exudations have occurred elsewhere than at Geth-
semane, but whether such other cases were caused by spiritual agony, unaccompanied by corporeal disease.
Two cases of bloody exudations are reported @@ @in Acta@ Physico-
Med. NorimbergæNorimber@. The one was@ that of a boy about twelve years old, who had long suffered under a succession of compli-
cated diseases, but who had not been the subject of any .special mental agony. Of course it has no bearing on the point in issue. The other case requires more consideration. It is, thus nar@ra@ted: A Joachimus Scacerna, in the sixty-secondd6iftcl year of his age, appa-
rently in health, met me, about noonii in th@ne month of November, deeply distressed, and asked my -advice, saying that he had been
TIIE BLOODY SWEAT. 355
accused by somebody of the crime of perjury, and expressing his fears lest he should be cast into prison. Touched with compas-
sion for his calamity, I observed red tears flowing from his eyes, of the appearance of blood. Offering him such consolation as was in my power, I left him. He was afterwards led to prison by the guards, much afflicted, shedding bloody tears, shaking with agues through his whole system, followed by a malignant fever, which terminated his life in three days.@2@
It is manifest from the preceding narration, that the malignant and mortal fever had seized upon its victim before he met the narrator. It was doubtless the occult fever that caused the men-
tal distress, and not the mental distress that caused the fever. There is no proof that the unfortunate man had committed the crime of perjury, or that in fact he had been accused of such crime. It was probably the delirium of inward disease that made him imagine himself accused. It may be inferred that it was his self-accusation
- alone which cast him into prison. Had he been guilty, or had he been frightened If a tii -frigumed into mental agony by a false uso @ty7h Are,,
charge, flight would have been more probable than his gratuitous disclosure to the narrator. That the narrator did not detect the incipient disease, need not excite our wonder. It is not quite cer-
tain that he was a physician; and, if he was, it is clear that the dying man did not come to him for medical advice; for he thought himself well. It was not an interview between physician and patient. Their meeting seems to have been a casual and brief one, perhaps in the street. That the disease was susLifficiently viru-
lent to have affected and deranged the veins and arteries and pores and fluids of the system, is proved by its rapid progress and fatal termination. t.@l Since time began, countlt ess millions have, in
every age, been justly or unjustly accused of crime; but none, be-
fobre or since the narrated case, 2 ever exhibited, under the mere influence of the accusation, a sweat of blood. The gory exudation in the narrated cas, @e, if it had no cause but the accusation, would stand opposed -to @the whole course of human experience, and re-
quire nearly the same plenitude of proof for its confirmation that wouald be required to prove a miracle. If the unfortunate JSoachi-
mus Sceacerna shed bloody tears because he was charged with an offence, he did what we suppose no other accused person has ever done, from the arraignment of Cain to the present hour.
We have read the Rev. Mr. Farneworth=s@s translation of Leti=s@
356 APPENDIX NO. A.
Life of Pope Sextus V, another authority refetbrred to by the advo-
cates of the prevalent theory, and find in it no case of bloody per-
spiration. We have not had access to .the original; niiaor should we take much pains -to examine it in detail, after learning the characo-
ter of the author for historical fidelity. Chalmers, in his Biogra-
phical Dictionary, article Leti, thus speaks of him: A"We know febw writers of history who are less to be depended on, having debased all his productions with fable. It is impossible to give credit to him, unless his facts can be supported by other authority.@" Doctor Rees, in his Cyclopæoedia, article Leti, is scarcely less severe. He observes: A"Leti was a most industrious writer; his works are said to amount to a hundred volume.s. Most of them are historical; but they are frequently destitute of truth, and cannot be relied on unless supported by other authority than the dictum of the writer.@@ ]Farnesworth, his own translator, thus speaks in his preface of the work translated: A"When he@ 71 (Leti) Ai@ wrote his history, he seems to have been far advanced in years, or at least in the decline of life, and got into a talkative stage;@" and he informs us elsewhere in his preface that he did not think fit to translate all his author wrote. Whatever is said in the original work of perspiration of blood, was probably deemed fabulouns by the translator, and for that cause omitted in the trans-
lation. After this exposition, it is not likely that the advocate of the theory will place great reliance on the authority of Leti.
We suppose that, at the commencement of, his last passion,Ma @@, pusion, Christ possessed the most perfect health. He had @l,@led a life of regular exercise, and of extreme temperance. He had breathed an air then pure and salunbrioulis; aniad attained the age deemed, in that climate, the acme of bodily vigour. His bloody sweat seems to have subsided with the mitigation of the intense agony which caused it, and does not appear to have been attended or succeeded by corporeal disease. Had his body streamed with gory perspi ration when he appeared before the high priests and Roman governors and soldiery, the fact would have excited universal astonishment, and been likely to find its way into profane history. The four evangelists would scarcely have passed it over in silence.
The crucifixion morning found our blessed Lord, as we sup-
pose, in unimpaired health. The Jehovah of the Old Testament declared that the sacrifice of any sickly or blemished animal was an abomination in his sight.C-Deutecronomy, 17xvii. 1. The holy
THE BLOODY SWEAT. 357
Christ of the New Testament, when making the great sacrifice for the sins of our race, of which the Jewish oablations were but the prefiguring types, offered up himself on the altar of eternal justice, free, no doubt, from disease or imperfection, as @@ Aa lamb without blemish and without spot.@2lC-l Peter 1i. 19. We conclude that the bloody sweat of the garden, caused by spiritual agony, and neither attended or followed by corporeal ailment, was a phe-
nomenon altogether unique, finding no parallel in the annals of the world.
æAPPENDIX NO. III.
EXTRACTS FROM THE HYMNS OF THE CHURCHES, REFERRED TO AT PAGE 319.
APPENDIX NO. IV.
EXTRACTS FROM SERMONS AND OTHER WRITINGS BY
AUTHORS PROFESSING THE PREVALENT THEORY.
REFERRED TO AT PAGE 325.
ANay, God is so ready in his mercy that he did pardon us, even before he redeemed us.CFor what is the secret of the mystery that the eternal Son should take upon him our nature, and die our death, and suffer for our sins, and do our work and enable us to do our own? He that did this is God.@
AIndeed we were angry with God, at enmity with the Prince of life; but he was reconciled to us as far, as that he then did the greatest thing in the world for us; for nothing could be greater than that God, the Son of God, should die for us.@
JEREMY TAYLOR.CSermons, Boston edition of 1816, vol. 2, page 531,
On Miracles of Divine Mercy.
AThat God should vouchsafe to become man, to reconcile man to God; that he should come down from heaven to earth, to raise us from earth to heaven; that he should assume our vile and frail and mortal nature, that he might clothe us with glory and honour and immortality; that he should suffer death to save us from hell, and shed his blood to purchase eternal redemption for us!@
TILLOTSON.CWorks, vol. 3, page 40, Sermon on Divinity of our Lord.
The hiding the majesty of God under the form of a servant; his descent, not only to the earth, the lowest dregs of the world, the footstool of the Divinity, but to the most abject and forlorn condition in that earth; his taking the similitude of weak flesh, and running through all the degrees of reproaches and punishment, even to the grave itself, were voluntary acts, the workings of his love, that he might rescue us from a deserved hell, to advance us to an undeserved heaven, and make us partakers of that blessedness he had voluntarily quitted for our sakes.@
AIn all his sufferings he retained the relation and reality of the Son of God; the unity of his natures remained firm in all his passions, and therefore the efficacy of the Deity mingled itself with every groan in his agony, every pang and cry upon the cross, as well as with the blood which was shed; and as his blood was the blood of God,CActs, 20. 28,Cso his groans were the groans of God, his pangs were the pangs of God.@
CHARNOCK.CWorks, vol. 2, pages 876, 900
ALet it be counted folly, or frenzy, or fury, whatsoever, it is our comfort and our wisdom; we care for no knowledge in the world but this, that man hath sinned, and God hath suffered; that God hath made himself the son of man, and that men are made the righteousness of God.@
HOOKER.C Works, vol. 3, page 341, Discourse of Justification.
AEspecially considering the greatness of the person that suffered it; not a mere man, not an angel, not an archangel, but the only begotten Son of God, of the same essence and glory with the Father. This the apostle takes special notice of in this very chapter, where, speaking of the Jews crucifying Christ, he saith Athey crucified the Lord of glory,@C1 Corinthians, 2. 8; which is the same as if he had said, they crucified God himself.@
AEspecially if you go but a little further into the garden; for there you see: oh, what do you see there? The saddest spectacle that ever mortal eye as yet beheld; even the Son of God, the only begotten of the Father, lying flat upon the ground.@
BEVERIDGE.CSermons, vol. 1, pages 156, 157, 540.
1 AWe should, therefore, revolve often in our thoughts this great mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh, dying on the cross, to destroy the works of the devil.@
ATTERBURY.CSermons, vol. 4, pages 175, 176, Glorifying in Cross of Christ.
AJesus expires; the dead leave their tombs; the sun withdraws his light; nature is convulsed at the sight of her Creator dying upon a cross.@
AThe earth trembles, as refusing to support the wretches, whose sacrilegious hands were attacking the life of Him who fastened the foundations thereof,CJob. 38. 6; and founded it upon its basis.CPsalms, 104. 5.
SAURIN.CSermons, vol. 6, pages 114, 135; second Am. edition.
AWonder not, saith St. Cyril, the Catechist, if the whole world was redeemed; for it was not a bare man, but the only Son of God that died for it.@ ABut a farther height; a perfect immensity, indeed, of worth and efficacy, must needs accrue to the death of our Saviour from his being the Son of God; from his being God, (one and the same in nature with his almighty and all-glorious Father;) for it is the blood of Christ the Son of God, which purgeth us from all sin; yea, God himself did as St. Paul saith in the Acts, purchase the church with his own blood; it is the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity; and >Hereby,= saith St. John, >perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us.= That the immortal God should die, that the Most High should be debased to so low a condition, as it cannot be heard without wonder, so it could not be undertaken without huge reason, nor accomplished without mighty effect.@
BARROW.CSermons, vol. 4, page 500; vol. 5, page- 12.
AWhen our Saviour fasted forty days, there was no other person hungry than that Son of God who made the worlds; when he sat down weary by the well, there was no other person felt that thirst but he who was the eternally begotten of the Father, the fountain of the Deity: when he was buffeted and scourged, there was no other person sensible of those pains than that eternal Word, who, before all worlds, was impassible: when he was crucified and died, there was no other person which gave up the ghost but the Son of Him, and so of the same nature with Him who only hath immortality.=@
PEARSON.COn the Creed, page 311.
AThis could only be effected by the wonderful scheme in which Mercy and Truth are made to kiss each other; when the same God who, in one person exacts the punishment, in another himself sustains it; and thus makes his own mercy pay the satisfaction to his own justice.@
HORSLEYCSermons, page 92, On the Water and Blood of Christ.
AIt was no less a person than the eternal and only begotten Son of God, who was before all worlds, the brightness of his Father's glory and the express image of his person, who suffered in our stead.@
AThat his eternal and well-beloved Son should veil his divine glory, clothe himself with human flesh, subject himself to a life of pain and suffering, and at last make his soul an offering for sin upon a cross!@
WITHERSPOON.CWorks, vol. 1, page 57; vol. 2, page 24.
ABehold, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. If God so loved us-observe, the stress of the argument lies on this very pointCso loved usC as to deliver up his only Son to die a cursed death for our salvation. Beloved, what manner of love is this, wherewith God both loved us, so as to give his only Son, in glory equal with the Father, in majesty co-eternal? What manner of love is this, wherewith the only begotten Son of God hath so loved us, as to empty himself, as far as possible, of his eternal Godhead; as to divest himself of that glory which he had with the Father before the world began; as to take upon him the form of a servant, being found in fashion as a man; and then to humble himself still farther, >being obedient unto death, even the death of the cross!=@
AThe Word, God the Son, >was made flesh,= lived and died for our salvation.@
JOHN WESLEY.CWorks, vol. 2, pages 44, 45, 407; New York edition of 1831.*
*It is probable that we have done injustice to the distinguished Wesley, by classing him among the friends of the prevalent theory. We have not found a sentence in all his writings indicative of his adhesion to its dogma. The passages quoted and the hymns imputed to him, strongly imply the contrary.
AThere is something so stupendous in the voluntary humiliation and death of him who claims to be the only begotten of the Father, the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, that, to convince us of the fact, the most powerful and unequivocal testimony is indispensably necessary.@
ATo create man, nothing was required but a wordCHe spake, and it was DONE. But to recover him from the ruin in which sin had involved him, it was necessary for the eternal Son to become incarnate, and the Lord of life to expire upon a cross.@
AHeaven, and the heaven of heavens could not contain him; yet he dwelt, to all appearance, in the body of an infant;Cthe invisible Creator clothed in human form,Cthe Ancient of days, cradled as an infant of days,CHe, who upholdeth all things, sinking under a weight of suffering,Cthe Lord of life; the Lord of glory, expiring on a cross,Cthe Light of the world sustaining an awful eclipse,Cthe Sun of Righteousness immerged in the shadow of death!@
ANor was there any waste of life in that sacrifice; every portion of his infinite energy was requisite to the attainment of such an object; nothing less than the power that upholds all things was adequate to sustain the weight of human sin. He whose almighty influence diffuses itself through the heavens and earth, and preserves all orders of being, He alone endured our punishment; He Atrod the wine-press alone.=@
ROBERT HALL.-Works, vol. 1, pages 512, 513, 522; vol. 6, pages 298, 300.