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thy hands I commend my spirit. And having said this, he yielded up the ghost.”
Nor are we to conceive of our Lord's incarnation, as merely the communication to the man Christ Jesus of a divine influence, superior in its nature, larger in its measure, more constant in its operation, and more permanent in its continuance, than was ever conferred on any other man ; the language of scripture necessarily involves in it the idea of personal union.—“The word was made flesh"-"God was manifest in flesh *.”
The human nature thus assumed by our Lord intu union with his divine person, was completely free from moral stain. Jesus was “such an high-priest as became us, holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners.” But while the humanity of our Saviour was perfectly holy, it was subject to all those infirmi. ties which, though in themselves sinless, are in other men the consequences of transgressions. He was liable to pain and sickness, sorrow and death. He thus took on him not only the form of a servant, but the nature of a man; not only the nature of a man, but the likeness of a sinner.
But though our Lord so assumed human nature as that the “word became flesh," yet were not his two natures confounded or commingled. Though it had been possible for the human and divine natures to have been commingled in the person of Christ, it would not have answered the design of his incarnation ; for in this case, our Redeemer, instead of being of the nature of God and of man, and thus a fit Mediator between them, would have been of a nature different from
1 Tim. iii. 16.-I quote this passage, “God was manifest in flesh,” fully persuaded that such is the true reading. The Chris. tian scholar will find a most satisfactory exposure of the insufficiency of the grounds on which Griesbach rejects Osos from the text, in De Lawrence's Remarks on Griesbach's Classification of MSS.
both. But that man must have very gross, and unworthy ideas of the eternal and independent Spirit, who can for a moment suppose that he can be commingled with material and created essences.
And as there is not, as there could not be, any mixture of our Lord's natures, so neither is there any thing like mutual conversion. The divine nature does not become human, the human nature does not become divine, in the person of the incarnate Son of God. Divinity cannot be converted into humanity, for immutability forms one of its essential attributes. He who is God can never cease to be God; for he is "the Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness, nor shadow of turning.” Humanity cannot be convert-ed into divinity. That which was born yesterday, can never become independent and eternal; that which is limited, cannot become infinite. The human and divine natures in the person of Christ continue for ever distinct, each possessed of its peculiar and incommunicable attributes.
Yet while the humanity and the divinity of our Saviour are for ever distinct, they are, isting in him, inseparably united, and constitute but one person.
« God was manifest in flesh. He who was in the beginning was made of a woman. He whose goings forth have been of old, fromeverlasting, was born in Bethlehem. He who was of the seed of David according to the flesh, is God over all, blessed for ever. He by whom God made the worlds, and who upholds all things by the word of his power, purged our sins with his own blood *.”
• 1 Tim. iii. 16. John i. 1. Gal. iv. 4. Mic. v. 2. Rom. i. 3. ix. 5. Heb. i. 2, 3. The doctrine of scripture with respect to the incar... nation, is very happily expressed by the Council of Chalcedon, who : teach that, the divine and human natures were in the person of our:
These doctrines, with respect to the natures of Christ, and their union in his person, are by no means what some have considered them, scholastic niceties, or matters of doubtful disputation; "they are,” to use the language of a learned writer, “certain and necessary truths, without which we cannot interpret the sacred scripture, nor understand the history of our Saviour *."
" This bread is my body--this cup is my blood.” These are the words of the eternal Son of God. “Great without controversy is this mystery of godliness !" Let us contemplate it with devout admiration and fervent gratitude. “He who was in the form of God, and thought it no robbery to be equal with God, empties himself, takes on him the form of a servant, and is found in fashion as a man!” Astonishing condescension! The angelic hosts stand confounded at this voluntary abasement; they “desire to look into it;" and every new discovery produces deeper wonder, and calls forth louder Halleluiahs. And should we be unaffected should we be silent, who are so deep-ly interested in this miracle of kindness ? Surely no. “Our spirits will magnify the Lord, our souls will be glad in God our Saviour.” Our hearts will adore, and our lips praise him.
This is the true dignity of human nature. Man is now made higher than the angels. “ Human flesh," to borrow the energetic language of a truly great man, “has become adorable as the true Schechinah, the everlasting palace of the supreme Majesty, wherein the fulness of the Godhead dwelleth bodily, the most holy shrine of the divinity, the orb of inaccessible light, as
Lord united, ασυγχύτως without commixture, ατρεπτως without con-. version, adicigstws undividedly, axwgiotws inseparably.
• Bp. Pearson ; to whom I am much indebted in the illustration. both of this and the succeeding particular.
this, and more than all this, if more could be expressed, or if we could explain that text, “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt amongst us
II. In the Lord's Supper we have an emblematical representation of the sufferings and death of the incarnate Son of God. “ This is my body given," or as the apostle Paul relates our Lord's words,“ broken for you. This cup is the New Testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” The breaking of the bread and the pouring out of the wine, figuratively represent the severe sufferings and violent death of our Saviour. As the divine nature is not susceptible of pain, the Sa. viour could suffer only in his human nature.
« Christ suffered for us in the flesh.” The Deity, who is immutable, cannot suffer change; nor can that essence, “ which alone hath immortality," become subject to death Yet still it is true, that He who is God suffered and died ;-not that the divinity of Christ was passible and mortal, any more than his humanity was immutable or eternal, but because tẶe Son of God was also the son of man, he was at the same time, though in different respects, passible and mortal, immutable and eternal ;--passible and mortal in respect of his humanity-immutable and eternal in respect of his divinity. There is much that is wonderful, much that is incomprehensible here: but there is nothing that is self-contradictory, nothing that is incredible.
While the sufferings of our Lord were necessarily confined to his human nature, they were, in both of its constituent parts, in the highest conceivable degree intense and severe, In his body he felt weariness and languor, hunger and thirst, sickness and pain. “His visage was more marred than any man's, and his form
than the sons of men." How sharp. must have been the pain produced by the merciless. Roman scourge, when “the plowers plowed upon his back, and made long their furrows!” We shudder to think of the excess of agony occasioned by forcibly wreathing the crown of thorns around his bleeding temples; and though the spear, directed by wanton barbarity, inflicted no pain on the breathless corpse which it wounded, it was far otherwise, when large bolts of rugged iron were forcibly driven through the hands and the feet, parts endued with the keenest sensibility ; and the whole weight of the body suspended for some hours on these mangled wounds.
But though the words in the text, and the emblems in the Lord's supper, lead us more directly to reflect on the bodily sufferings of our Lord, “ the breaking of his body and the shedding of his blood,” yet by that figure of speech by which a part is put for the whole what is seen for what is unseen-we are to consider both the one and the other as representing the whole of the Saviour's passion. He suffered in his soul, as well as in his body. Indeed, to use the expressive, though somewhat quaint language of an old divine, “the suf. ferings of his soul were the soul of his sufferings.” -“The spirit of a man can sustain his infirmity ; but a wounded spirit, who can bear?” Evil apprehended as future, tormented his soul with fear ;-evil felt as present, tormented it with sadness, and sorrow, and anguish.
Of the nature and extent of our Lord's mental sufferings, we are able to form but very indistinct ideas. But the awfully energetic language which is used in describing them, is sufficient to convince us, that they exceeded not only all that we can experier:ce, but all that we can conceive. “He began to be sorrowful,” says Matthew ; “ he began to be sore amazed,” says