« PreviousContinue »
no partner on his throne. He communicates no divine prerogative to his creatures. It is not disputed that God employs agents; that he employs angels and men. But there is no evidence that he employs one to send another. If apostles were authorized to ordain others to the work of the Christian ministry, they ordained those only, who appeared to them to be sent of God. It is as easy for the divine Being to send ambassadors by his immediate power, as it would be to send them mediately by a delegated agent. It would be as easy for him to raise the dead and judge the world by his own immédiate act, as it would be to do the same through the medium of one of his creatures.
There appears to be a striking impropriety that God should ordain any one of his creatures to do the works, and to do them in the manner, in which Christ did them. As great works as ever have been done are attributed to Christ; and there are no works to be done, which are mentioned in the scriptures, greater than those which he will do. These works he did, or will do, in his own name and by his own power. When any of mankind have performed works superior to human power, they gave decided evidence that the power was of God. If God communicated to Christ a power to work in his own name, he communicated an independent power. This is an essential attribute of the Deity. It is impossible to communicate divine attributes. As well may divine nature be destroyed,
divine attributes be communicated.
Many things are said of Christ, which appear to give him an inferiority to the Father. He increased in wisdom. Speaking of the end of the world he says, “Of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no not the angels, which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” “I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father, which hath sent me." The time will come, when he will give up all authority and himself become subject. If these and the like passages gave the only characteristic features of the Savior, it
might well be supposed that he was inferior, infinitely inferior to the Father. But other texts attribute to him the highest degree of knowledge; they attribute to him every divine attribute. They not only style him King; but they give him a kingdom; yea, an everlasting dominion. When Christ is viewed in his humanity and in his mediatorial office, these difficulties, these seeming contrarieties vanish. “The man Christ Jesus increased in knowledge and wisdom. When he was baptized, the Holy Ghost descended upon him. When he departed from Jordan he was full of the Holy Ghost. He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. God gave the Spirit, not by measure unto him. He anointed him with the oil of gladness above his fellows." These texts give abundant evidence that the Holy Spirit was bestowed in more copious effusions upon
Jesus than upon the prophets or apostles. The descent, or unction of the Holy Ghost at his baptism was an inaugural rite to his office. In ancient times, kings and priests were introduced into their respective offices by the application of the anointing oil."
As a prototype of these distinguished characters he was visibly introduced into his office by the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Christ, as a man, needed the extraordinary influence of the Spirit as much as any king, prophet, or priest; and in the performance of the duties of his offices, he received a greater degree of the Spirit's influence than they.
The descent of the Holy Ghost upon Jesus Christ did not convey divine nature to him. The Son of God was united to the Son of man. During this union he received the influence of the Holy Spirit
. After his baptism, after his consecration to his office, it is recorded of him that he was full of the Holy Ghost. Christ, in his mediatorial office is subordinate to the Father. By mutual consent he has taken this place. But the order of offices does not derogate from his divinity.
When it is brought into one view that Christ had authority over the angels; authority to send the Holy Spirit
; authority to send apostles and ministers, till the end of time, to preach the gospel for the edification of the church; authority to forgive sins, to raise the dead, to judge the world, and to give reward and punishment, there is evidence that there was ground in his nature for possessing such authority. There is evidence that he is divine.*
* There is a difference between eçcuola and duvapís; between aathority and power: By observing this difference, we shall discover additional ligbt on the subject. Power may be greater than authority; but authority cannot be, strictly speak. ing, greater than power. Both are transferable. Both were communicated to the apostles by the Lord Jesus. They were enabled, and they were authorized to work miracles. Power was communicated to Jesus. In his human nature he was capable of receiving foreign aid aid support; and he actually received them. When he was in agony, “there appeared an angel unto him from heaven strengthening him." Peter, preaching to Cornelius, said, “Ye know-how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost, and with power, (suvepesi.) This consecrating unction was communicated to him at the time of his baptism. The giving of the Spirit to him without measure endued him with an ability, which did not belong to his human nature.
Christ, speaking of his authority, says, "All power (efouoia) is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Mat. 28:18. “And hath given him authority to ex. ecute judgment also.” John 5:27. “As thou hast given him power (eçourisv). over all fesh.” John 17:2. Other texts of scripture are of similar import. “And there was given him dominion and glory and a kingdom.” Dan. 7:14. “The Father loveth the Son and hath giren all things into his hand.”. John 3:35. "All things are delivered to me of my Father.” Luke 10:22. “Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet.” Heb. 2:8. This official authority Christ received from the Father. But the giving of authority does not imply the communication of any new powers. Authority is a liberty to exercise one's powers in a particular way for a particular purpose. When Christ received authority, it did not imply that he received extraordinary qualifications. It rather implied that he possessed the necessary qualifications for his office. When Peter spoke of the anointing of Jesus with the Holy Ghost and with power, he spoke of it in connexion with his death and resurrection. It is natural, therefore, to infer that it was the man, Jesus, who was thus anointed. The apostle to the Hebrews, quoting a passage from the forty-fifth Psalm, describes the same unction. "God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with oil of gladness above thy fellows." His fellows were prophets and priests, who were anointed with oil, and with the gifts of the Spirit. It was only in respect to the humanity of Christ, they could be call. ed his fellows; and in this pature he received greater communications of the Holy Spirit than they. But it was not in this nature the angels of God were commanded to worship him. It was not in this nature he inherited a more excellent name than they. It was not in this nature he upheld all things by the word of his power. It appears, therefore, that he had another nature besides that which was anointed with the Holy Ghost and with power.
While we find that an angel strengthened the humanity of Christ; and that the Spirit communicated to it a supernatural power, and that he received official authority from the Father, we find him possessing a power, which appears to be underived and independent. Christ speaks of a glory he had with the Father before the world was. He does not intimate that this glory was given him. In the course of his address to his Father, he says, “The glory, which thou gavest ine, I have given them.” The glory, which he gave them, was the influence of the Spirit, which enabled them to do extraordinary works. The glory, then, which was given him, was the anointing of the Holy Ghost. But he had a glory
prior to this period; a glory, which was before the world. This could not be the self same glory, which was communicated to him in the Aesh. Because glory or power was given to the man Christ Jesus, it does not follow that the Lord from heaven bad his glory or power by gift, or by derivation.
Christ, in the continuation of his prayer for his disciples, says, "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me.” From this part of Christ's prayer, it has been inferred tbat this glory, which was given him was the same, which he had with the Father before the world was. Whether this is true or not, there is no apparent connexion between the premises and the conclusion. These glories, which he mentions in the different parts of his prayer belong to two different states, or periods. One belongs to that state, in which he was be. fore he came to this world; the other belongs to that state, in which he is after he has returned to heaven with the trophies of his victory. To infer something immediately from one state respecting ihe other, is very far from correct reason ing: The scriptures state that he is to receive glory in consequence of his incar. nation and humiliation. The apostle Paul, speaking of him in the form of a ser. vant, and obedient unto death, saith, "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name, which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow." Again he saith, “We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor." From this statement of the apostle it appears, that Christ has a glory since his incarna. tion, which he had not before; and that he receives this glory as a reward for bis work of redemption. From this view of the subject it appears that Christ bas an essential glory, which he originally had with the Father; and that he has an acquired glory, which was given him for establishing a kingdom and bringing it to a state of blessedness.
It is readily admitted that Christ received power, from the Holy Spirit, in his human nature; and received authority, from the Father, in his mediatorial ca. pacity. This reception of power and authority has given rise to the opinion that Christ is absolutely dependent on, and inferior to the Father. Whether this opinion is correct or not, it does not conclusively follow from the premises. Because Christ possessed human nature, an received power from heaven in that nature, it does not follow that he does not possess another and a higher na. tare. The scriptures abundantly testify that the material nature of man is mortal. But it would not be correct to infer that he had no other than a material nature; and that he was wholly mortal. But this inference would be just as conclusive, as the inference that Christ is only human, because the scriptures testify of this hamanity. Because the chief Magistrate of a nation commissions certain officers, and authorizes them to do particular duties, it does not follow that their natures are inferior to his. Because Christ is commissioned and authorized by the Father to perform the duties of an office, to which he was appointed, it does not follow, by parity of reasoning, that his nature is inferior to the Father's. Other testimonies beside those, which relate to his humanity and mediatorial ofhce, must be produced to ascertain what was that nature, which he possessed, when he had glory with the Father before the world was, or the nature, which was united with the man Christ Jesus.
Christ, speaking of his coming to raise the dead, says, “They shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power (Suvepsi) and great glory. If this bę a work, which belongs to his office, it does not follow that this power was to be given to him. As there is no intimation that he received this power from the Father, it is natural to infer that he was to come with his own underiv. ed power. When escuolt, authority is applied to Christ in the New Testament, it is generally expressed or implied that it was given him. When dvopis, power, is applied to him, it is neither expressed, nor implied that it was given him, excepting when he was consecrated to the priest's office by the anointing of the Holy Spirit. This unction was evidently imparted to his human nature.
The manner of Christ's performing miracles is an evidence that his power was not given him. At a wedding in Cana of Galilee he turned water into wine. It is recorded, “This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and shewed forth his glory. If this miraculous power had been given him by the Father, it is not strictly true that he manifested his glory; for it was his Father's glory. When the prophets and apostles wrought miracles, it never was recorded of them that they manifested or shewed forth their glory.
When Christ wrought miracles, he appeared to work in his own name and by his own power. His prayer at the grave of Lazarus does not militate against this opinion. He was wont to pray. In his human nature, and in his mediatorial ca. pacity, there was an evident propriety in his making intercession with the Father. Before he raised Lazarus, Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, Father I thank thee that thou hast heard me; and I know that thou hearest me always; but because of the people, which stand by, I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
'This is a prayer of thanks. It contains no request for favor, or for extraordinary power to perform this miracle. He gave thanks to the Father that he had heard him. It is natyral to suppose that he gave thanks for what he had said he was glad, or rejoiced, in the former part of the chapter. When Jesus heard of the sickness of his friend, he said, this sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God; that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. This was the intent of his sickness. Instead of going directly to visit and heal his sick friend, "he abode two days still in the same place where he was.". When he knew that he was dead, he stated the fact to his disciples; and he added, “I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe." It was for the opportunity of glorifying himself and of producing conviction in his disciples that he was the Son of God; that he had life in himself and quickened whom he would, that he was glad. It appears that it was for this opportunity he prayed; that it was for the hearing of this prayer; for the occurrence of this opportunity he gave thanks at the grave of Lazarus. This was the cause of his gratitude. But he said it, i. e. he gave thanks because of the people that stood wy, that they might believe that the Father had sent him. By this act of prayer and the acceptance of it, he manifested the union of will and operation, which subsisted between him and the Father. But there is not the least intimation, nor evidence that he asked for power. When the prophets and apostles wrought miracles, they gave decisive evidence that the power was not of themselves, but of God.
“As ihe Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself,” John 5:26. From this passage it is inferred by some that the Father gave power to the Son to raise the dead. The inference is not conclusive; and the sentiment appears to be unfounded. The life, which the Father had in himself was an eternal independent life; or it was the power of communicating life in any period of eternity. Either is a divine attribute and cannot be communicated to a creature. But this is not the intent of the text. The import of it appears to be this. As the Father hath power in himself of giving life, so he hath given authority to the Son, to exercise the same power, which he has in himself. That the gift, which the Father made to the Son was authority, not power, is evident from the following verse. “And bath given him authority to execute judgment also. It appears that the same qualification, which was necessary for executing judgment, was also necessary for raising the dead. As the qualification requisite for doing the former was authority, it is inferred that the same qualification was necessary for doing the latter. When Christ had received this authority, it was then true, "As the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, even 80 the Son quickeneth whom he will."
Jesus Christ calls himself the Life; the resurrection and the life. St. John says, “In him was life; and the Life was the light of men. The life was manifested and we have seen it; and bear witness and shew unto you that eternal Life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us. If Christ had not life in himself, and had not power in himself to communicate it, there appears to be no propriety, no pertinence in calling him the Life. St. John calls this Life, eternal Life, which was with the Father. By this name he meant Christ;
for, said he, "we have seen it; and it was manifested unto us.” If he was with the y Father, and was eternal, he had the same power to communicate life, which the Father had.
Jesus Christ had authority to forgive sins. This work belongs to his mediatorial office; and, of course, his authority to do it was given him. He exercised this authority when he was upon earth. At a certain lime. "They brought to himea man, sick of the palsy, lying on a bed; and Jesus, seeing their faith, said unto the sick of the palsy, son, be of good cheer, thy sios be forgiven thee. And behold, certain of ihe scribes said within themselves, this man blasphemeth. And Jesus knowing their thoughts, said, wherefore think ye evil in your hearts; fer whether is it easier to say, thy sins he forgiven thee, or to say, arise and