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ihia great article of our religion was, at that time, delivered and understood in that sense." (Burnet on the Articles.)
That Jesus Christ is also very man, of a reasonable soul, and human fesh,
1. INASMUCH as it appears from the preceding chapters, that the Holy Scriptures afford such clear and abundant proof of the divinity of Christ, it may justly appear strange that any, who sincerely desire to know the truth, and with a view thereto diligently search these sacred records, should entertain any doubt concerning it. But one reason of this may be, the same Divine oracles which represent him as God, do also, in many other passages, speak of him in a very different and inferior character; nay, and affirm things of him absolutely incompatible with true and proper Deity. They tell us, that he was conceived and born, was an infant, a child; that he "grew in wisdom and in stature;" nay, and "in favour with God and man:" that he was subject to all the infirmities of human nature; felt hunger, thirst, weariness; eat, drank, slept; that he was sensible of mere human affections, such as sorrow, Matt, xxvi, 38; joy, Luke x, 21; love, John xi, 5. They signify that he was weak and ignorant in some things, not being able to do any thing of himself, and not knowing the day of judgment; that he loved God, obeyed his commandments, and sought his glory; that he frequently prayed to him as to "One that was able to save him," and once in particular "offered up strong cries and tears, and was heard in what he feared;" that at that time his "soul was exceeding sorrowful, even unto death;" and he entreated his disciples to "watch with him;" that he then went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt;" that after returning to his disciples, he "went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done;" that he "went away a third time, and prayed, saying the same words, and there appeared an angel unto him, strengthening him: and being in an agony, he prayed the more earnestly, and his sweat was, as it were, great drops of blood falling to the ground;" that when on the cross, he cried out, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit; and gave up the ghost."
2. Now, how shall we account for all this? Surely by allowing what the true catholic Church has allowed, and believed, in all ages; that he who is God is also man; that he who is the root is also the offspring of David, Rev. xxii, 16. As the root of David, he is David's Creator, the author of his existence, the source of his being, and, therefore, his King and Lord, Psa. ex, 1; and Matt, xxii, 43. As David's offspring, he is his true son, his real descendant. Now, as in the former character he is very God, possessed of a nature truly Divine, so in this latter he is very man, possessed of a nature truly human. Thus Bishop Pearson:—
"When we say that he was conceived and born, we declare he was made really and truly man, of the same human nature which is in all other men, who, by the ordinary way of generation, are conceived and born. For 'the mediator between God and man, is the man Christ Jesus:' that since 'by man came death, by man' also should come 'the resurrection of the dead.' As sure, then, as the first Adam, and we who are redeemed, are men, so certainly is the second Adam, and our Mediator, man. He is therefore frequently called the Son of man, and in that nature he was always promised; first to Eve, as her seed, and consequently her son; then to Abraham, 'In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed,' and that 'seed is Christ,' and so is the son of Abraham. Next to David, as his 'son to sit upon his throne,' and so he is made of the 'seed of David according to the flesh; the son of David, the son of Abraham,' and consequently of the same nature with David and Abraham; and as he was their son, so are we his brethren, as descending from the same father, Adam, and 'therefore it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren.' For ' he laid not hold on angels,' but on the seed of Abraham, and so became, not an angel, but a man.
3. "As, then, man consisted of two parts, body and soul, so doth Christ: he assumed a body at his conception, of the blessed virgin. 'Forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same.' The verity of his body stands upon the truth of his nativity; and the actions and passions of his life show the nature of his flesh. He was first born with a body prepared for him of the same appearance with those of other infants; he grew up by degrees, and was so far from being sustained without the accustomed nutrition of our bodies, that he was observed, even by his enemies, to come eating and drinking; and when he did not so, he suffered hunger and thirst. Those ploughers never doubted of the true nature of his flesh, who ' ploughed upon his back, and made long furrows there.' The thorns which pricked his sacred temples, the nails which penetrated through his hands and feet, the spear which pierced his side, give sufficient testimony of the natural tenderness and frailty of his flesh. And lest his fasting forty days together, lest his walking on the water, and traversing the seas, lest his sudden standing in the midst of his disciples, when the doors were shut, should raise an opinion that his body was not true and proper flesh, he confirmed first his own disciples, 'Handle me, and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have.' As, therefore, we believe the coming of Christ, so do we confess him to have come in the verity of our human nature, even in true and proper flesh. Thus it was always necessary to acknowledge him. 'For every spirit that confesseth Jesus Christ come in the flesh, is of God; and every spirit that confesseth not Jesus Christ come in the flesh, is not of God.' This spirit appeared early in opposition to the apostolical doctrine, and Christ, who is both God and man, was as soon denied to be man as God.
4. "And certainly if the Son of God would vouchsafe to take the frailty of our flesh, he would not omit the nobler part, our soul, without which he could not be man. 'For Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, one in respect of his body and the other of his soul. Wisdom belongeth not to the flesh, nor can the knowledge of God, which is infinite, increase: he, then, whose knowledge did improve, together with his years, must have had a subject proper for it, which was no other than a human soul. This was the seat of his finite understanding, and directed will, distinct from the will of his Father, and consequently of his Divine nature, as appeareth by that known submission, 'Not my will, but thine be done.' This was the subject of those affections and passions which so manifestly appeared in him: nor spake he any other than a proper language, when before his suffering he said, 'My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.' This was it which, on the cross, before the departure from the body, he recommended to the Father, teaching us in whose hands the souls of the faithful are. For ' when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my Spirit; and having said this, he gave up the ghost.' And as his death was nothing else but the separation of his soul from his body, so the life of Christ, as man, did consist in the conjunction and vital union of that soul with the body. So that he who was perfect God, was also perfect man, of a reasonable soul, and human flesh, subsisting."
5. Now this being allowed to be a truth, as it undoubtedly must, we need not wonder if this human nature of Christ, consisting of body and soul, and constituting as complete and proper a person as the human nature of any man—we need not wonder, I say, if it should frequently be represented in the Holy Scriptures as a complete and proper person, and should speak and act as such: surely this is what one might reasonably expect, notwithstanding its union with the "Word of the Father." For though the union was such that he might properly be termed "Emmanuel, God with us, God manifest in the flesh," yet the two natures were preserved distinct, and the personality of the man was not destroyed.
6. "If both natures (says the last mentioned author) were not preserved complete and distinct in Christ, it must either be by the conversion and transubstantiation of one into the other, or by the commixion and confusion of both into one. But neither of these ways can consist with the person of our Saviour, or the office of our Mediator: for if we should conceive such a mixion and confusion of substances as to make a union of natures, we should be so far from acknowledging him to be both God and man, that thereby we should profess him to be neither God nor man, but a person of a nature as different from both as all mixed bodies are distinct from each element, which concurs into their composition. Beside, we know there were in Christ the affections proper unto the nature of man, and all those infirmities which belong to us, and cannot be conceived to belong to that nature, [which is Divine, or,] of which the Divine is but a part.
7. "And asike confusion, so the conversion of natures is impossible: for, first, we cannot, with the least show of probability, conceive the Divine nature of Christ to be transubstantiated into the human nature. There is a plain repugnancy even in the supposition; for the nature of man must be made, the nature of God cannot be made, and consequently cannot become the nature of man. The immaterial, indivisible, and immortal Godhead, cannot be divided into a spiritual and incorruptible soul, and a carnal and corruptible body; of which two, humanity consisteth. Secondly, we must not, on the contrary, invent a conversion of the human nature into tne Divine, as the Eutychians of old did fancy: for sure the incarnation could not at first consist in such a conversion, it being unimaginable how that which had no being should be made by being turned into something else. Therefore the humanity of Christ could not at first be made by being the divinity of the Word: nor is the incarnation so preposterously expressed, as if the flesh were made the Word; but, 'the Word was made flesh.' And if the manhood were not in the first act of incarnation converted into the Divine nature, as we see it could not, then is there no pretence of any time or manner in or by which it was afterward so transubstantiated.
8. "Vain, therefore, was that old conceit of Eutyches, who thought the union to be made so in the natures, that the humanity was absorbed and wholly turned into the divinity, so that by that transubstantiation the human nature had no longer being. And well did the ancient fathers, who opposed this heresy, make use of the sacramental union between the bread and wine and the body and blood of Christ, and thereby showed that the human nature of Christ is no more really converted into the divinity, (and so ceaseth to be the human nature,) than the substance of the bread and wine is really converted into the substance of the body and blood of Christ, and thereby ceaseth to be both bread and wine."
9. Now because these two natures of our Lord were preserved thus distinct, therefore, as, in the preceding pages, we have frequently seen the Divine nature represented as a complete and proper person, even after its union with the human, without any reference to that union: so we meet with the same in respect to the human nature: this is also represented to our view as a complete and proper person, without any reference to its union with the Divine: and, indeed, had it been otherwise, we should have had reason to doubt of his manhood, as the overlooking the important particulars, stated above, makes many doubt of his Godhead.
10. Accordingly, in the sacred Scriptures we read the following, and many more such like passages: "I will put enmity between thee [the serpent] and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him shall ye hearken, according to all that thou desiredst of the Lord thy God in Horeb, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. Thou hast loved righteousness and hated wickedness, therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. Thou art fairer than the children of men, grace is poured upon thy lips, therefore God hath blessed thee for ever."
"A virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel: butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots; and the Spirit of Jehovah shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understandmg, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah, and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of Jehovah, and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth."
"Behold my servant whom I uphold, mine elect in whom my soul delighteth: I have put my Spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles: he shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. Listen, O isles, unto me, and hearken, ye people, from far; Jehovah hath called me from the womb, from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name, and said unto me, Thou art my servant, in whom I will be glorified. Then said I, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for naught; yet surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God. And now, saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again unto him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength. And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the ends of the earth. Thus saith Jehovah, the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One, To him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of Jehovah that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.
"The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary; he wakeneth, morning by morning, he wakeneth my ear to hear as the learned. The Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. For the Lord God will help me, therefore shall I not be confounded; therefore have I set my face as a flint, and I know that I shall not be confounded. Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. As many were astonished at thee: (his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men :) so shall he sprinkle many nations.
"He shall grow up before the Lord as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form or comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid, as it were, our faces from him. He was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; he was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he is brought as a Lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment; was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken; and he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though