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are not made to any definite passage, but arise from more general grounds.
The first of these, that the Saviour could not be God because he was man, we have already answered in speaking of the incarnation; and have proved that God can, and may unite himself to a body of matter, and make that body a medium between himself and his creatures : and that Jesus therefore though truly man, may be as truly and properly God. But another objection which seems at first sight to be of great weight, is contained in the following questions. “Since Jesus Christ died, who you say was properly God, do you not assert that God himself died ? Or on the other hand since that which dies is not Divine, as Jesus died, does it not follow that he is not, and cannot be God ? Before we answer directly to this question, we must consider what death is. Man in his
present state is a compound being, composed of an intelligent and rational mind, (which indeed is properly the man,) and a material body, which serves as an instrument of operation in this world of matter. When disease prevents the body from obeying the impulse of the spirit,—or when gradual decay has produced a total disorder in all its parts, or when any sudden violence, has destroyed its power of action; the spirit is then separated from it—the man departs from his material covering; and this separation of the spiritual man from his natural body, we call death. Now allowing that Christ was truly and properly God, he was God animating, and moving in, a natural form. This natural body by the violence of his enemies was destroyed; and when such destruction was permitted to take place, the Deity separated himself for a time from that body. If then by death is to be understood the separation of a spiritual nature, from a material form ; God may be said to have died, forasmuch, as he was separated from the body which he had assumed. But if by death be meant a cessation of existence, God, never died. Indeed in this sense man himself does not die. We have before said that the body of matter is not the man, but a mere covering, a natural form suited to a natural world. This body may be destroyed, and rendered unfit to communicate with the spirit, but the man does not cease to exist; his life is not for a moment suspended. The man himself never dies. Thus the body of matter in which the Deity appeared was not God; it was only a natural covering suited to a mate
rial world. This covering when its purpose was accomplished was torn, and cast off, but the Deity within ceased not to live, his existence was not, and could not be suspended for a moment. Hence it does not follow, that because the body of the Saviour was destroyed, therefore the divinity ceased to exist; since if death be understood as a mere separation from matter, it does not imply a cessation of life, and if such suspension of life is understood, it does not take place even in man himself; nor could it happen to the divine nature of the Saviour.
But, it is further objected, “the Saviour is always, or generally distinguished from the Father, and does himself acknowledge his inferiority.” This is true, and our only enquiry is, on what ground is this distinction made; and how is the Son inferior to the Father. It has been acknowledged, that that which was made man, was “the wisdom” of God; or in other words that God as Wisdom became man and dwelt among us. This wisdom of God, is the existing form of his essential love, for love is never manifested but by means of wisdom; nor can wisdom act but from love or affection : and this love which as the soul of Wisdom acts by it and in it, is the superior power, even as the will, or atfection of man is superior to his understanding or thought, by which it is manifested. Yet the wisdom and the love are not two, but one. The Father therefore was manifested in the only way by which he could be manifested, that is as wisdom :" or to change the language, God who could not manifest himself to man in the infinity of his nature, did manifest himself by his wisdom, and appeared as Divine Wisdom among men upon earth. This may be easily illustrated even by a natural image. The Sun though a solid body, can never be seen but through the medium of his brightness. Take
away his light, and though the sun as a body would continue to exist, he would be totally invisible to us. Yet the light of the sun is inferior because it depends upon him, as the cause of its existence; while at the same time it is not something separate from him, but an essential,without which (as the source of natural light, and life) he could not exist. It is in plain words his manifested form. The Divine Wisdom is therefore so far inferior to the infinite Divine Love, as the light of the sun is inferior to himself. Yet this wisdom is not something distinct from Godhead, but an essential without which he could not exist as God; for without it he could not be the source of
Light, and Life, and Happiness. God appearing as wisdom, appears in a more exterior prịnciple, while the infinite love which is his essence; moves, and acts, and manifests itself, by means of that wisdom.
Jesus then was God, but he was God manifested in wisdom. The Father is the same God in his essence, acting by that wisdom; and as the outward form is inferior to the animating soul, so is the manifested wisdom of God inferior to the infinite principle within. In this sense and in this sense only, was the Lord said to be inferior to the Father; and in this sense only is he distinguished from him. Proof sufficient may be be adduced of the truth of this. The Saviour was “the word,'» and “wisdom of God.” The visible “ image” or manifesting form of "the invisible God"-"the brightness of his Father's glory, ang the express image of his person.” “The Father was in him, and he in the Father.” “Of his own self he did nothing, the Father performing the work ;" yet though deriving this power from the Divine essence within, he was not an inferior being, for all power was communicated to him, “ in heaven and in earth.” As “ the wisdom” of God, the Father was superior, but as that Father was essentially, and personally one with himself, he “ thought it not robbery to equal with God;"' and declared that “ he that had seen him, had seen the Father,” and for this simple reason that “ he and the Father are one.”
To this it has been replied that “ Jesus was one with the Father” not in nature and person, but “in design, action, agreement and affection.” But alas, for the consistency of this assertion, the actions in which he is one with the Father, are such as Omnipotence only could perform. He is one in agreement but this agreement is in perfections, which belong only to Deity,—he is one in affection, but it is an affection which no finite being can possess; infinite and eternal. If then he is one with the Fa:her in omnipotent power, one and the same in divine perfection, and one and the same in infinite love, he is one and the same also in person and nature. But still it is observed, “ there is but one true God, and Jesus Christ is expressly excluded from being that true God.” If we ask where ? The answer is, that he is distinguished from him as his messenger,” for it is said, “this is life eternal, to know thee the only true God, and Jesus thy messenger."* It will be seen that to support the assertion, the rendering of this passage is altered from “Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent,” to “Jesus thy mes. senger;" allowing it to stand however, it by no means proves the assertion. The wisdom of God was put forth, or sent as the manifesting form of his Deity—this wisdom in human form was obviously the messenger, or medium of communication, which that Deity employed in the redemption of man; and yet that emanating wisdom, which was the messenger, or acting power, is not a separate individual from the Deity, but one and the same Being The body of man is the acting form of his soul : and it is one great point of useful knowledge to know the true naiure of man; and the proper use of that body which is the servant and messenger of his spirit. Are we therefore to assert that the body of man, and the spirit of man are distinct beings, because the former is distinguished as the servant of the latter ? By no means. Although the body is the messenger of the soul, yet the body and soul together are but one person; and so, although the manifested wisdom of God is the messenger of his love, yet that wisdom and that love together form but one personal and undivided Deity.
* Unitarian New Testament.
Here therefore we once more conclude. That the death of Jesus affords no proper objection to his absolute Godhead. That in being distinguished from the Father it is only as the visible form, is distinguished from the moving power, and that although the former is the messenger of the latter, yet both together form but one person, even as the soul and the body, or rather as the will and understanding of man, constitute one.
We may therefore with confidence affirm. That the absolute Deity of the Saviour is proved by the plain and obvious meaning of scripture ; that however that scripture may be tortured, still in the midst of all it leads to the same conclusion; nothing but its entire destruction being sufficient to crush this great tenet; and that consequently, the doctrine of two natures in the person of the GREAT REDEEMER is neither “unintelli. gible,” nor “fabulous," unless the Word of God be unintelligible, and Scripture a fable.
J. G. B. P.