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cross; the Man only suffered and died. This real sufferër had never enjoyed one moment of pre-existent dignity or glory. He knew nothing what it was to be in the Father's bosom ; and as he never had been rich, he knew nothing what it was to become poor, in any other sense than is known by other
poor children who are born into the world. His being born, ard that in a low condition," was a matter to which he had never consented. He lived, indeed, a life perfectly exemplary, and died a death truly distressing, But ths Son, to whom you suppose this Man was united, was so far from sharing a part in the suffering of the cross, that he only enabled the Man to bear a greater portion of sufferings than he would otherwise have been able to endure. But can this circumstance be considered as any real favor to the Man ? And indeed, Sir, can you see that this Man ever received the least benefit from a union with your supposed self-existent Son, from the time he was born in the manger, to the moment he expired on the cross ? So far as the inspired writings have informed me, this Man derived all the benefits which he did derive, from God the Father. And why should it be thought to contribute greatly to the dignity of this Man to be united to a Person from whom he derived no manner of assistance, or support, unless it were to enable him to endure a greater portion of real sufferings ?
On the other hypothesis, the sufferer on the cross was a very different character-He was truly the Son of the liv. żng God, had long been in the bosom of the Father before the foundations of the earth were laid, “ as one brought up with him, and was daily his delight." He was highly honored by the Father in the great work of creation ; for God created all things by him. In him it pleased the Father that all fulness should dwe!l. He was as intimately united to the Father, as it is possible the Man Jesus should be, on your theory, to a second self-existent Person. honored by the Father as the Angel of his Presence on the most solemn and interesting occasions, and was truy in the FORM OF God: for he was the “ IMAGE of the invisible God.” But while in this state of pre-existent glory, he beheld our perishing state ; he saw that the blood of bulls and of goats was not sufficient to take away sin ; and he said to his Father, “Sacrifice and offering thou wouldst not, but a BODY hast thou prepared me”-“Lo I come to do thy will,
O God." He laid aside the FORM OF GOD, and voluntarily became united to the body which God had prepared, and was thus“ 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.” Such, Sir, is the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world. This is the character, in view of which, ten thousand times ten thousand tongues sing, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain.
Having thus carried out the two accounts, let us cast them up, that we may clearly see the disparity. And as you cannot deny that as much dignity may be derived from a union with the one God, the Father, as from a union with a second self-existent Person; in respect to the character of the real sufferer, the case will stand thus :
On your part, the sufferer is a Man with such dignity as he may derive from a union with a second self-existent Per
On my part, the sufferer is that glorious Son, by whom God created all things in heaven and earth, possessing all the dignity which can result from the most perfect union with the one God, the Father.
The difference, then, in the character of the sufferer, is, at least, as great as all the difference between the constituted Creator of heaven and earth, and the mere Man or human nature of your Messiah,
You have, Sir, too much candor to deny, that the real sufferer is a character of unspeakably greater importance on this theory, than on yours. But still you may think, that Christ, considered as a complex object, or character, as the Savior and Lord of all, is greater on your hypothesis than he is on mine. I his, however, may appear to be only imagination.
We are perfectly agreed in one point, viz. That there is but one infinite self-existent God. In your view, this infinite God consists of three self-existent Persons ; in my view, the one infinite God is but one self-existent
The one Person, then, on my theory, must be equal to the three Persons of your theory, in regard to fulness and sufficiency. In your view, one of the three self-existent Persons is united to the Man or human nature, and this selfexistent Person and the Man are the Savior and Lord of all In my view, the Savior and Lord of all is the Son of the
living God, and by nature “ the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his Person;" so united to the one infinite God, that in him dwells, not merely one of three Persons, but all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
As, in your view, the Godhead consists of three distinct Persons, each possessing independent fulness; and as but one of these Persons is supposed to be united to the Man Jesus ; inquiry might be made, whether your theory does not naturally suggest the idea, that there is but one third of the fulness of the Godhead implied in the complex character of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But it is needless to urge this. And on the ground already stated, the matter is submitted to every impartial mind, whether the character of the Lord Jesus does not appear vastly more impressive and glorious on the theory now proposed, than on the Athanasian hypothesis.
It may possibly be urged by some, that if Christ derived his existence from God, as a Son from a Father, he must be as incapable of suffering as the Father. This conclusion is not admitted as resulting from the premises. But it would sooner be admitted that it is possible with God to render himself capable of suffering by union with a human body, than that the Son of God did not suffer on the cross. My knowledge of the Nature of God and his Son is all derived from the Bible. This informs me, that Christ is God's own Son; and that “ though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which HE SUFFERED. And who is so well skilled in the philosophy of Divine Nature, as to be able to contradict this testimony in either particular? Is it not more safe for us to receive the Divine testimony as stated in the Scriptures, than to reject it by philosophizing on unrevealed properties of Diving NATURE?
How often, Sir, have our brethren, on your side, urged our ignorunce of the Divine NATURE, as a reason why we should not reject revealed doctrines concerning God and his Son ? And yet, have not the same brethren, on the ground of their supposed knowledge of the Divine NATURE, implicitly denied and explained away two of the plainest truths which are contained in the Bible? Are there, Sir, any twa propositions more clearly affirmed in the Scriptures, than these, viz. That Jesus Christ is God's Son; and, that the Son of God suffered and died on the cross? Yet how ma
ny millions of pages have been written, and how many millions of sermons have been preached, to prove that Jesus Christ is so far from being properly the Son of God, that he is the VERY GOD, the VERY BEING, whose Son the Scriptures declare him to be! Yea, the VERY BEING who proclaimed from heaven, “ This is my beloved Son!" And have not the numerous, plain, and unequivocal representations of Scripture, respecting the sufferings and death of the Son of God, been so explained away as to imply no more than that a Man or mere human nature suffered and died, to whom the Son of God was mysteriously united ? And what is all this, Sir, short of philosophizing upon DIVINE NATURE, and drawing conclusions at an extraordinary rate? Would Gabriel himself pretend to so much knowledge of DIVINE NATURE as thus to contradict DiVINE REVELATION?
Though I may have been accused of being “ too mathematical for the Bible," yet it is my desire never to be so philosophical as to prefer my own deductions from fancied properties of the Divine NATURE, to the most explicit declarations of the Word of God. But while thus disapproving the conduct of my brethren, the Monitor within whispers, Such has been thy own inconsistency: and, perhaps, as great inconsisten y, in some other point, still lurks undiscovered" Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” *
* Either while asleep, or awake, the following scene has sometimes been presented to my imagination--
The writer of these Letters is called before an Ecclesiastical Council to answer to a charge of heresy. The accusers, with solemn formality, present against him the following articles of charge :
1. He has publicly taught, That Jesus Christ is the Son of God, God's Own Son.
2. He has also taught, That the Son of God did really suffer on the cross, for the sins of the world.
The Council inquire of the accused in what sense he understands those propositions.
He replies, According to the common acceptation and most natural meaning of the words.
The result follows....
• This Council are of opinion, that the said accused is guilty of heresy. For though in some mysterious sense, Christ is called the Son of God, yet he is not the Son of God according to the common acceptation of the term Son : so far from this, he is personally the only true God; yea,“JESUS is that GOD, besides whon2
SINCE writing the foregoing Letter, it has occurred to me, that there is one mode of illustrating and supporting the dignity of the sufferer; which has been adopted by some Athanasians, that has not been particularly considered. As a woman of low rank is exalted by marriage to a worthy Prince or Potentate, so it has been supposed that the Man Jesus or the human nature was exalted by union with the Son of God. Upon this hypothesis, let it be observed,
When this ground is taken, the dign'ty of the real sufferer is supposed to result simply from union with a Person of infinite dignity. The Queen, after marriage, takes rank from her Royal Husband: su it is supposed that the Man Jesus is exalted by union with the Son of God. It is true, that the King and Queen, in a certain sense, are one ; but not in such a sense that the obedience or the death of the Queen might be properly considered as the obedience or the death of the King. And if a King, for a certain purpose, had engaged to obey and to die, his becoming married to a woman of low rank, and causing "her to die instead of himself, would not be esteemed very honorable conduct.
there is no other." And though it be represented in the Scriptures, that the Son of God suffered ; yet as he is personally the immutable God, it was impossible that He should really suffer. The Man or human nature suffered, which was united to the Person of the Son of God: The sufferings, therefore, are called the sufferings of the Son of God. It is in our view infinitely degrading to Christ, to say, that he is properly and truly the Son of God; or to say, that He did really suffer the death of the cross.'Thus far the result.
It has, however, been, intimated to me, that some of our brethren are prepared to evade all I have written on the sufferings of the Son of God, by saying, that they ever professed to believe that Christ is the Son of God, and that he suffered on the cross. I have, Sir, aimed honestly to state the real difference of sentiment between us on those two points. If, in any respect, I have misapprehended your theory, I shall rejoice in being corrected. And if indeed you do believe that Christ is truly the Son of God, and that he really suffered on the cross, I shall be happy in being informed that ihere is no ground of controversy between us. But if I have not mistaken your theory, it is believed that you have too much generosity of soul and uprightness of heart, to attempt to evade the force of truth by a mere quibble upon words.
* Mr. Jonesa--page 2.