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OF THE PERSON OF CHRIST. As you have stated that there are some things relating to the Will of God, which were first revealed by Jesus Christ, and also asserted, at the commencement, that the way of salvation consisted in the knowledge of him,-I now wish you to specify what those particulars are, concerning Jesus Christ, which I ought to know?
Certainly : You must be informed, then, that there are some things relating to the Person, or nature, of Jesus Christ, and some, to his OFFICE, with which you ought to be acquainted.
What are the things relating to his Person, which I ought to know?
This one particular alone,—that by nature he was truly a man; a mortal man while he lived on earth, but now immortal. That he was a real man the Scrip
tures testify in several places : Thus 1 Timothy ii. 5, :66 There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Corinthians xv. 21, 22, “ Since by Man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in ADAM all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” Romans v. 15, “ If through the offence of one, many be
dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many." John viii. 40, “ But now ye seek to kill me, A MAN that hath told you the truth.” See also Hebrews v. 1, &c. Such, besides, was the person whom God promised of old by the prophets; and such also does the Creed called the Apostles', which all Christians, in common with ourselves, embrace, declare him to be.
Was, then, the Lord Jesus a mere or common man?
By no means : because, first, though by nature he was a man, he was nevertheless, at the same time, and even from his earliest origin, the only begotten Son of God. For being conceived of the Holy Spirit,
6 It is on account of his being strictly a man, that he is so frequently called in the Scriptures “ The Son of Man;" a title which in the Syriac language, the dialect wherein it is admitted by many that our Lord conversed, signifies properly a human being :-For in this language even Adam, the first man, is called the Son of Man, as may be seen Romans v. 12; 1 Corinthians xv. 21.h B. Wissowatius.
h [This idiomatic peculiarity is not preserved in the Latin translation which accompanies the Syriac New Testament in Walton's Polyglott. The two passages here referred to may be thus literally rendered from the Syriac :-Rom. v. 12. sicut per manum filii hominis intravit peccatum in mundum, et per manum peccati mors : et ita in omnes filios hominis transiit mors, in eo quod omnes peccaverunt. -“As by the hand of the son of man sin entered into the world, and death by the hand of sin; and so death passed upon all the sons of man, for that all have sinned.”
1 Cor. xv. 21. Et quemadmodum per manum filii hominis extitit mors, ita etiam per manum filii hominis est resurrectio mortuorum.
“ Since by the hand of the son of man came death, so also by the hand of the son of man came the resurrection of the dead." TRANSL.
and born of a virgin, without the intervention of any human being, he had properly no father besides God: though considered in another light, simply according to the flesh, without respect to the Holy Spirit, of which he was conceived, and with which he was anointed, he had David for his father, and was therefore his son. Concerning his supernatural conception, the angel thus speaks to Mary, Lukei. 35, “ The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the Power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God ?." Secondly, because, as Christ tes
tifies 7 We do not find in the whole body of the sacred writings any cause antecedent to this of Jesus Christ's being the Son of God;a circumstance which ought to be borne in mind, in op- position to those persons who, not satisfied with this, contend that the chief cause of his filiation consisted in his being begotten from everlasting out of the essence of the Father; or, according to others, in his having been created or produced by God before all creatures i. B. WissowATIUS.
i [The title Son of God is understood by most English Unitarians of the present day to denote generally, any person who is the object of the divine favour, and distinguished by peculiar religious blessings or privileges : and is thought to have been emphatically applied to Jesus on account of the OFFICE he sustained as the Messiah, or Christ. It is not considered as implying any superiority of NATURE; or as necessarily supposing, agreeably to the opinion maintained in the above an. swer, that he was supernaturally conceived, or that he was in vested after his resurrection with universal authority and dominion. Unitarians do not regard the doctrine of the miraculous conception as at all militating against their opinion of the proper humanity of Jesus ; for the case might be deemed analoa gous to that of Adam, whom no one ever thought to be more than man because he was forned out of the ordinary course of generation. This doctrine, however, though formerly held by Dr. Lardner, and some other eminent Unitarians, seems now
tifies of himself, he was sanctified and sent into the world by the Father; that is, being in a most re markable manner separated from all other men, and, besides being distinguished by the perfect holiness of his life, endued with divine wisdom and power, was sent by the Father, with supreme authority, on an embassy to mankind. Thirdly, because, as the apostle Paul testifies, both in the Acts of the Apostles, and in his Epistle to the Romans, he was raised from the dead by God, and thus as it were begotten a second time; particularly as by this event hebecame like God immortal. Fourthly, because by his dominion and supreme authority over all things, he is made to resemble, or, indeed, to equal God: on which account, “ a king anointed by God,” and “ Son of God,” are used in several passages of Scripture as phrases of the same
to be rejected by all the public advocates of this system, as un supported by adequate scriptural authority. It is taught in no other portion of the received copies of the New Testament, besides the Introductory chapters of the gospels of Matthew and Luke: and the genuineness of these is either suspected or denied. Dr. Carpenter, in his “ Unitarianism the Doctrine of the Gospel," while he rejects the first two chapters of Matthew as an interpolation, is disposed to retain those of Luke; and suggests an ingenious explanation of the passage relating to the point under our consideration, to show that the language of the original does not necessarily suppose that there was any thing miraculous in the circumstance of the conception of Jesus. The English reader may consult on this subject the Improved Version of the New Testament, under Matthew, chapters i. and ii., and Luke i. and ii. Belsham's Calm Inquiry concerning the Person of Christ, (Ist edit.) p. 12, 255, &c. Dr. Carpenter's work above noticed, p. 172, &c, and Appendix i. and Jones's Sequel to his Ecclesiastical Researches. TRANSL.)
'import. And the sacred author of the Epistle to the Hebrews (chap. i. ver. 5) shows from the words of the Psalmist (Psalm ii. 7), “ Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee,” that Christ was glorified by God, in order that he might be made a Priest, that is, the chief director of our religion and salvation,-in which office are comprised his supreme authority and dominion. He was, however, not merely the only begotten Son of God, but also a God, on account of the divine power and authority which he displayed even while he was yet mortal: much more may he be so denominated now that he has received all power in hea. ven and earth, and that all things, God himself alone excepted, have been put under his feet.--But of this you shall hear in its proper place.
But do you not acknowledge in Christ a divine, as well as a human nature or substance ?
If by the terms divine nature or substance I am to understand the very essence of God, I do not acknowledge such a divine nature in Christ; for this were repugnant both to right reason and to the Holy Scriptures. But if, on the other hand, you intend by a divine nature the Holy Spirit which dwelt in Christ, united, by an indissoluble bond, to his human nature,
8 It ought to be noticed here that in the opinion of the ancients, besides the Holy Spirit, which is the Power of God, being given to Christ without measure, the Wisdom of God also, as the Scriptures, indeed, intimate, or that divine energy and a rapora, which seems to have been the Shechinah of the Hebrews, or the Logos of the first Christians, dwelt in the Mes siah. So the great Grotius rightly remarks, in the Fifth Book