Page images
[ocr errors]

theory, of the incarnation of the Son of God; does not come nearer to the scriptural view of possession, than it does to the scriptural view of incarnation, excepting so far as regards the character of the Person?

I do not, Sir, mention this comparison with any view to make light of the subject, or to ridicule your theory; but to enforce an examination. And is there not much more evidence, that, in a case of possession, satan took “ to him. self a true body and a reasonable soul,” than that Christ did so by incarnation ? Besides, in a case of possession, it is easy to conceive that the Man might suffer, and even die, and yet satan be not at all affected by the sufferings and death of the Man: and just so you suppose that the Man Christ Jesus might suffer and die without any pain to the Son of God.

In respect to what constitutes a Man in the present state, what more do we know than this, that an intelligent spirit is united to a human body, so as to constitute one Person? While one affirms that the souls of men are properly produced by ordinary generation, the same as the body, ane other will affirm that the soul or spirit is the immediate work of God, and united to the body in a state of embryo. And these two, perhaps, will unite in confidently affirming, that Christ cou'd, with no propriety, be called a Man, if his soul had pre-existed as the Son of God. But if a true body and reasonable soul united, will constitute a man, is it not unsafe for us to affirm that the Son of God could not become a Man by becoming the rational soul of a human body ?

If I have not misunderstood him, Dr. Emmons differs from Dr. Hopkins, and supposes that the souls of men are not propagated like their bodies ; but are the immediate work of God, and by him united to bodies. To this hypothesis I do not object ; I am ignorant on the subject. But I do not see how the Doctor, or any who agree with him, can reasonably say that, on my hypothesis, Mary was not properly the mother of a son. For if the Son of God were united to a body in the womb of Mary, and born of her, he was, according to Dr. Emmons' hypothesis, as truly the son of Mary, as Seth was the son of Eve. And it is just as conceivable that a pre-existent spirit should be united to an infant body, as a spirit formed at the very moment of unicn.


The portion of Scripture, which we have under consid eration, fairly supports another idea upon which I have insisted, viz. That the Son of God was the real sufferer on the cross.

He who had been in the form of God, when found in fashion as a Man, humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

On your hypothesis, the Son of God was truly and per. sonally the self-existent God. I ask then, Did the selfexistent God become obedient unto death, even the death of the cross? If he did, who supported the universe during that event ? And who raised him from the deud?

But you will say, that it was the Man Jesus, to whom the Son was united, who became obedient unto death. But does the Apostle say any such thing? The obedience unto death he attributes to the self-same Intelligence who had been in the form of God. For the So. of God to suffer, and for a Man to suffer to whom the Son was united, are as distinct ideas as any two which can be named. And what trace of the latter idea do you find in the Apostle's description

The idea, that it was truly the Son of God who obeyed, suffered, and died, and not ancther intelligent being to whom he was united, is plainly asserted in other passages of Scripture-" Though a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which HE SUFFERED”—“ Who his own SELF bare our sins in his own body on the tree".

“ We were reconciled to God by the death of his Son”.

“ But now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

A vast multitude of texts of similar import might be produced. And can you, Sir, pretend that these texts do not support the idea that the Son of God, as such, did really suffer? Can you find any language which could more fairly or more fully express the idea that the Son of God was the real sufferer ? And shall we still be told that this same Son was personally the self-existent God, and incapable of death or suffering?

I cannot, Sir, but feel most deeply interested, when I happen to touch on this point ; and I hardly know when, where, or how to dismiss it. It cannot be admitted, that God is chargeable with any imposition on mankind. And yet, what, short of an imposition, would it be for him to pretend that he has so loved the world as to give his ONLY

BEGOTTEN Son to suffer an ignominious death for our redemption, if at the same time this Son was so spored, as your theory implies? So spared, that all the sufferings of the cross were endured by a Man to whom the Son was united; and the Son himself as free from pain and death as though there were no such thing as suffering and death in the universe. No possible union between the Son of God and a Man could render it proper to call the sufferings and death of the Man the sufferings and death of the Son, if it be true that the Son did not suffer nor die. And on this hypothesis, the sufferings of the Man might as well be called the sufferings of G briel, or the sufferings of God the Father, as the sufferings of the Son of God. Must the sun be darkened, must the rocks be rent, must the earth quake, and nature be thrown into convulsions, while the Son of God suffers and dies on the cross? Must the Angels show so deep

an interest in åt scene, and must all the world be called on to behold with wonder and astonishment, the height, and depth, the length, and the breadth, of the love of God, as displayed in that event ? Must all the redeemed of the Lord unite in songs of everlasting praise to the Son of God, because he hath loved them and redeemed them to God by HIS OWN BLOOD? And can it,after all, be made

that the Son of God suffered not at all, unless it were by proxy or substitute ?

May it not, Sir, be fairly inferred from your theory, that instead of the Son of God's dying for us, that the Man Christ died for the Son of God ? If the Son of God had covenanted with the Father to lay down his life for us, but instead of bearing the suffering himself, united himself to another intelligent being, and caused the sufferings wholly to fall on that Man, did not the Man die for him ? And to whom, Sir, are we indebted for the redemption purchased on the cross ? To the real sufferer, or to the one who suffered not in the least ?” To the Man Jesus, or to the Son of God?

Most gladly, Sir, would I recall every syllablé I ever uttered in support of a theory so opposite to the natural import of Scripture language, so degrading to the love of God, and so dishonorary to the LORD OF GLORY.

There is another point stated in the passage, viz. that the high official character which the Son of God sustains as LORD of the universe, is the result of God's pleasure, and

to appear


not any thing which the Son possessed as a self-existent or independent Being. Having stated the abasement of the Son, his obedience unto death, the Apostle says,

“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.”

Is it, Sir, in the power of language to give a more full idea of a CONSTITUTED CHARACTER, or of DELEGATED AUTHORITY, than is given in these words of the Apostle ? Is not the representation perfect and unequivocal, that the same Being who was once in the FORM OF GOD, then in fashion as a man, who humbled himself and became obedi. ent unto death, was, in consequence of that abasement, exalted by the self-existent God, to supreme and universal dominion ? · Did not the Apostle mean to be understood as representing extraordinary and real changes of condition in Jesus Christ the Son of God? Did he not mean to represent that the first change of condition was a voluntary act on the part of Jesus Christ, that he voluntarily descended from the FORM OF GOD to the form of a servant, and voluntarily became obedient unto death? If this change of condition was not real and voluntary on the part of the Son of God, why is he exhibited as an example of humilia ty, condescension, and benevolence? Why are we required to let this mind be in us which was also in Christ Jesus? But if the Son of God was really the subject of this change of condition, if he did really and truly suffer and die, can he be the Son of God in your sense of the terms? In other words, can he be the self-existent God?

In regard to the second great change of condition--Did not the Apostle mean to represent, that for the suffering of death, the Son of God was rewarded by his Father with transcendent dignity and glory?

Did he not mean to repe. resent, that the very identical intelligent Being, who hung in agony, who prayed, who bled and died on the cross, was. exalted by God as LORD OF ALL? But if the real sufferer on the cross was thus exalted by God, then, according to your own views, he could not be the self-existent God i for

you cannot admit that a self-existent Person may be either the




subject of death, or of delegated authority. The self-existo ent God could no more be raised to the throne of the universe, than he could suffer death on the cross.

As Athanasian writers have found it necessary, or convenient, on their theory, to attribute all that is said of the obedience, the suffering and death, of the Son of God, to the human nature, or the man Jesus, to whom they suppose Son of God was united ; so, on the other hand, they have found it convenient, or necessary, to attribute what is stated in the Scriptures respecting the exaltation of the Son of God, to the same Man or human nature. As they have perceived that it must be improper to attribute real'abase ment, suffering, and death, to the self-existent God, so it appears they have perceived that it is equally improper to suppose a self-existent Person should be capable of deriving or receiving either fulness or authority from any other Per

And as they have supposed the Person who is called the Son of God, to be personally the self-existent God, so they have found it necessary to the support of that theory to attach to this Person a proper Man, capable of obed ence, suffering, and death, and also of receiving communicated fulness and authority.

According to Mr. Jones, and other writers, it was the Man Jesus, in contradistinction to the Son of God, who received the Spirit without measure to the Man was given the name which is above every name it was the Man who was ordained of God to be the Judge of the quick and the dead and the Man who was anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows. In view

of these representations, I would propose to your consideration the following inquiries :

1. If the Son of God were self-existent and independent, and the Man or human nature but an appendage to a selfexistent Person, what occasion could there be of any com munications from the Father to that Man or human nature ? If, as a Son, that person were the independent Gud, as a Person he possessed independent fulness and authority; and no addition or accession to his fulness or authority could possibly be made by the Father.

2. If the Son of God, as such, were possessed of independent and infinite fulness and authority, and in addition to this the Father gave the human nature of the Son the Spirit without measure, and all power in heaven and earth,

« PreviousContinue »