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ascribe to him as man; which is a plain absurdity. The scripture represents Christ as being able to judge the secrets of all hearts at the last day, which belongs to him as God. But this they are obliged to ascribe to him as man; which is a plain absurdity. All these absurdities necessarily result from denying the divinity of Christ, and applying those things to him as man, which belong to him as God.
If it should be allowed, for once, that the doctrine of Christ's divinity is really absurd, yet it is by no means so plain and palpable an absurdity, as these which have been mentioned. For it is much easier to conceive that humanity and divinity should be personally united in Christ, than to conceive that a mere dependent nature should never begin to exist; or that such a dependent nature should be able to create the world, to govern the world, to judge the world, and to raise the dead. We can clearly see that a being inferior to the Deity cannot perform such divine works; but we cannot clearly see that humanity and divinity could not be personally united in the great Emmanuel. As soon as men set up their own reason against divine revelation, they break over a sacred enclosure, and take the liberty to reason themselves into one absurdity after another, until they insensibly fall into the gulf of skepticism. “Those who
6 will believe nothing, the manner and causes of which they cannot comprehend, must be in the way to believe nothing at all.” To avoid this dangerous error, let us be content to give God his place, and to take our own. Let us be willing to allow that “ the weakness of God is stronger than men; and the foolishness of God is wiser than men.
It is natural to remark in the last place,
3. That the establishment of Christ's divinity establishes the beauty and consistency of his whole character and conduct. It is this which demonstrates the rectitude of his moral character; and so renders him worthy of the respect and imitation of the Socinians themselves. It is this which gives value to his death, and so renders him a complete and all sufficient Saviour. It is this which reconciles all the great things ascribed to him by the prophets and the apostles. It is this which renders him worthy of the humble homage and praises of all the hosts of heaven. It is this which establishes the truth and importance of the gospel. It is this which ratifies the truth of those great and precious promises that remain to be fulfilled, and assures us that religion shall have a long and universal reign. It is this which affords permanent light and consolation to all good men, while passing through the dark and dreary journey of life. In a word, it is the Divinity of Christ which spreads a lustre over the face of the world, and calls upon Zion to rejoice that her God reigneth.
THE HUMANITY OF CHRIST.
AND Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man
LUKE, ii. 62.
These words are intimately connected with the whole of the preceding chapter, which contains a large and particular account of the time, place, and circumstances of Christ's birth ; of the proclamation by the angels of the great and joyful event; of the peculiar ceremonies of his dedication to God; of his early attendance on the Passover; and of his uncommon growth in wisdom and stature, as well as in favor with God and man. The text, taken in connection with all these things, naturally leads us to conclude,
That Jesus Christ was really man.
It is certain, however, that the humanity, as well as divinity of Christ, has been called in question. This was one of the first heresies that sprang up in the christian church. A sect called the Docetæ denied that Christ had a true body and reasonable soul, or that he literally hungered, thirsted, suffered and died. To this heresy, it is supposed the apostle John alludes in his first epistle, where he says, “ Hereby know ye the spirit of God: every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God. And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God. And this is that spirit of anti-christ, whereof ye have heard that it should come, and even now is already in the world." Though few, if any at this day, deny that Christ had a human body, yet some noted divines deny that he had a human soul, which is virtually denying his proper and essential humanity. It is, therefore, a point worthy of serious consideration, whether Jesus of Nazareth, who appeared in the character of Mediator, and died without the gates of Jerusalem, was really man. If we search the New Testament, we shall find that the inspired writers have said a great many things which clearly prove the real humanity of Christ
. He is there called man, and the Son of man, more than forty times by himself and others. He appeared in fashion as a man, and was taken to be such, by all who beheld him and conversed with him. Though some thought he was John the Baptist risen from the dead, others that he was Elias, others that he was Jeremias or one of the prophets, yet none doubted whether he was really man, and one of the descendants of Adam. Accordingly Josephus, and all profane historians who have mentioned Jesus of Nazareth, have always spoken of him as really man, and generally nothing more than man. This is such evidence of Christ's humanity as might well be considered full and satisfactory. But since I propose to treat this subject distinctly and largely, I shall enter into a more particular consideration of the evidence of Christ's being really man.
Here it may be observed,
I. That he was really man because he had a human body. It was formed and fashioned in his mother's womb by the great Parent of all flesh. So it was, says the inspired writer, that while his mother was at Bethlehern," the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her first born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes." This representation plainly supposes that Christ's body was truly human, and was derived in the ordinary way from human nature. And this is farther corroborated by the account given of his increase in corporeal stature and magnitude through the several stages of infancy, childhood and youth, to complete manhood, by the same means of nourishment by which other children come to maturity. Christ's body appears to have been in every respect similar to that of other men. It was subject to heat and cold, pleasure and pain, hunger and thirst, strength and weakness, and to every corporeal infirmity which does not arise from human depravity. His having such a human body is a strong presumptive evidence that he had a human soul, which was necessary to constitute him a real man.
II. He was really man, because he had a human soul as well as a human body. This is necessarily implied in what is said of him in the text. He “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man." Here both his wisdom and piety are asserted; and we know that these are properties of the soul, and not of the body. He possessed every intellectual power and faculty which was necessary to constitute him a free, voluntary, moral agent, and capable of that wisdom and piety which rendered him perfectly amiable in the sight of God and man. And his growing in wisdom and holiness is a conclusive evidence that he possessed the same kind of intellectual powers and faculties which are peculiar to a human soul, that gradually comes to maturity. Though his mind strengthened and expanded gradually, yet it strengthened and expanded rapidly, and made greater progress in knowledge and virtue than other children of the same age and under similar advantages. There is no doubt but that his pious parents instructed him as early and as well as they were capable. It is to be presumed that they taught him to speak and to read, and improved every opportunity of imparting useful instruction into his attentive and docile mind. He heard them from day to day read the word of God, and call upon his name. He was soon capable of reading the scriptures himself, and of understanding what the prophets had said concerning his character, his office, and mediatorial conduct. He early knew much more concerning these great things than his parents. This appears from his extraordinary conversation with the Jewish teachers in the temple, who were astonished at his understand. ing and answers; and from his reply to the gentle reproof of his mother for tarrying behind in the temple: “ Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?” His improvements in knowledge were surprising to all who heard him preach. While he taught in the temple, “the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?" Though he employed most of his time in a laborious occupation with his father, yet he found many leisure seasons and opportunities, which other children and youths, and even men, spend in trifling, that he wisely improved in reading, and contemplating upon the most important and divine subjects. And if we consider the purity of his heart, the strength of his mind, and the rectitude of all his views, desires, and pursuits, it is natural to conclude that his human soul, though at first weak and feeble, would gradually and rapidly increase, wax strong, and be filled with spiritual and divine wisdom. This account of Christ's mental improvements affords infallible evidence that he possessed not an angelic, or super-angelic, but a human soul, which being united with a human body, constituted him in the strictest sense a real man.
III. That Christ was properly a human person will appear, if we consider the state and circumstances in which he was placed while he lived in this world. For,
1. He was fixed in a state of dependence. This he repeatedly and plainly acknowledged. " Then Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do." Again he said, “ When ye have listed up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.” And again,
I “ The words I speak unto you, I speak not of myself, but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." These are plain expressions of his dependence upon his Father. And it was upon this ground that he so frequently and devoutly prayed to his Father. Prayer always implies dependence upon him to whom it is addressed. The prayers of Christ, therefore, prove that he lived and moved and had his being in God, as really as other men, and was as much dependent upon him for divine assistance, direction and preservation, through the whole course of his life, as any other of the human race. He prayed for divine direction in the choice of his twelve disciples. He prayed for divine assistance to raise Lazarus from the grave. He prayed for Peter and for all his apostles and followers at the last passover he ever attended. And he prayed to be divinely strengthened and supported through all his agonies in the garden and his sufferings on the cross. His continual prayers were a continual and practical expression of his state of dependence during his continuance on earth; and his dependence was a demonstration of his real humanity.
2. He was placed under law, which implies that he was a human moral agent, and accountable to God like other men. We are told that “when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law.” Christ was as much bound as any other man by the divine law, to love the Lord his God with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his mind, and with all his strength, and his neighbor as himself. As a child, he was bound to obey his father and mother. As a Jew, he was bound to observe all the rites and ceremonies of the Mosaic law. As a subject, he was bound to obey magistrates and all the higher powers. And as a dependent creature, he was bound to obey the whole will of his Creator. There was not a divine law existing in his day, but what bound him to universal and perfect obedience, as much as any other man. This he knew, and accordingly paid a strict, cheerful and constant obedience to every divine precept and prohibition. He said, “ It is my meat to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work." And his Father proclaimed by a voice from heaven, " This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” When he came from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be bap