« AnteriorContinuar »
to have upon our practice, as well as upon our understanding and belief.
That by the Word is meant Christ, the eternal Son of God, is proved by the concurrent testimony of the Church of all ages, founded upon the plain and express assurance of Holy Scripture. By the word of the Lord," saith the inspired Psalmist, "were the heavens made, and all the hosts of them by the breath of his mouth."* Now, no one can create, make things out of nothing, but God: when, therefore, Christ the Son of God is said, in the New Testament, to have "made the worlds,"+ it is clear that by the Word in one part of Scripture, and Christ the eternal Son of God in another, must be meant, one and the same Divine Person.
In the beginning of the chapter from which the text is taken, St. John uses this remarkable introduction to the history of our Lord Jesus Christ:-"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made."
That Christ, here called the Word, is Himself God, is plainly declared: "The Word was God." Many other passages of Holy
* Psalm xxxiii. 6.
+ Heb. i.
Scripture prove the same truth; and the early Christians who lived in the times immediately under the influence of what Christ and His Apostles taught, never doubted it. In Scripture the very same things are spoken of Christ, which can belong to God only; such as knowing the secret thoughts of the heart; the power of creating; the power of suspending or changing the common course of nature, as claimed and exercised by Christ, of His own power. In the book of Revelations Christ thus speaks of himself: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last."* Of whom can this be said, but of God only? In the prophet Isaiah the same truth is declared: "Thus saith the Lord, the King of Israel, and His Redeemer, the Lord of Hosts: I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God."+
These are plain and positive declarations of God himself, and therefore must be received with humility and entire trust. They are undoubtedly deep and incomprehensible to us: but we might well suppose that what the Supreme God hath condescended to make known of His own divine nature to us, who know so little of our own, would be so. It need not shake our faith, because it is deep and incomprehensible: for it is God who hath re* Rev. xxxii. 13. + Isaiah, xliv. 6.
vealed it to us. It is intended to humble, but not to perplex us with infidel doubts. In this doctrine of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of us all, being God, as well as man, there is much that is far above our reason, though nothing that is contrary to it. "For though there are many texts which speak of the superiority of the Father, such as Christ's praying to the Father, and interceding with Him for men," yet "that was done in His human nature; and no single text can be brought to shew, that the Son is not God. The Father is first
in order only, not in nature; and when Christ became man," that he "that he might die for man, which, as God, He could not have done, "He bore a new relation, as well to his divine, as to His human nature.”
We see, then, from the authority of Scripture, that our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, is very and eternal God; and this doctrine thus concerns ourselves. In the union of the divine with the human nature, in the person of our Lord, was fulfilled that great and merciful promise of God, when sin came into the world, that a Saviour should be born, not of man, but of woman. The seed of the woman it was, who was to bruise the Serpent's head. That gracious promise was exactly accomplished, when Christ, the eternal Son of God, was born of the blessed Virgin Mary, and so
took our nature upon Himself, that He might bear the punishment, and make atonement for the breach of His own most holy laws. So born into this world, according to the sure word of prophecy, the eternal Son of God took unto Himself our nature which had sinned, Himself remaining perfectly free from sin. Then it was, that the two natures were joined in one Christ; then did appear our great Redeemer before men and angels, “perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting; equal to the Father as touching his Godhead, but inferior to the Father as touching His manhood.” mo
That the two natures, the divine and human, were joined in Christ, we have the most express testimony of Holy Writ. In the book of Revelation it is thus written: "Jesus Christ who is the faithful witness, and the first-begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and princes unto God and His Father, to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever."*
This passage plainly speaks of the human nature of our Lord.
In another part of the same chapter, Christ thus speaks of His divine and human nature joined together: "I am the first and the last; * Rev. i. 5, 6.
I am He that liveth and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore, amen;' and have the keys of hell and death." To this may be added the inspired testimony of St. Paul: Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the Church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood."+
Here, then, are the two natures of Christ expressly made mention of, distinct though united, the divine nature and the human nature in one Christ. That Christ is man we see without all contradiction, in that he died; that He is God, the frequent application to Him of what can belong to God alone, plainly teaches every one, who is content to receive with humility, the revelation of the deep things of God.
We have now seen, from the authority of Holy Scripture, who Christ was and still is: the eternal Son of God, Himself very and eternal God, perfect God and perfect man, the divine and human nature joined without confusion, united in one Christ, our great Lord, and only Saviour.
We come now to the second thing proposed; to consider what Christ did. And here we need only remember that Sacred His
*Rev. xvii. 18. + Acts, xx. 28.