Page images
PDF
EPUB

this term to a disembodied human spirit. It requires both of these substances, matter and spirit, to constitute a man. If the body of Christ was animated and actuated only by the Son of God, there would be no propriety in calling him a man; because it was destitute of an essential, and of the most important part of human nature. If the body of Christ was not animated by a human soul, it is not true that the Son of God was united with humanity. A piece of matter, organized like a human body, but destitute of a soul, is no more capable of human sensations, than a piece of matter differently organized. Consequently it could not be considered possessing the essentials of human nature.

The apostle Paul, speaking of Christ, asserts that he "was made in the likeness of men.” The original word (onowleti) translated likeness, signifies more than likeness of appearance. It signifies a real likeness, a likeness of nature. Christ was not made in the real likeness of men, if he resembled them only in the organization of his body. This would be comparatively a small resemblance. The apostle Paul, representing Christ undertaking the redemption of man, asserts, that sin all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren." If he had not a human soul, he was not made like his brethren in all things. In the most important points he was not made like them. The reason the apostle assigned why it behoved Christ to be made like his brethren was, “that he might be a merciful and faithful high Priest in things pertaining to God to make reconciliation-for the sins of the

people. For in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.” The consequence of Christ's being made like his brethren was, he had human feelings. Christ in his divine nature knew what were the feelings, the passions, the infirmities and temptations of humanity. But in his divine nature he never felt them. In consequence of the divine Son's union with human nature he became

[ocr errors]

a merciful, as well as a faithful high Priest. He was tried by temptation. When he had fasted a long time, he felt the sensation of hunger. He had a desire for food like any man.

In this situation he was tempted, when Satan proposed to him to supply himself with bread in a miraculous manner. He undoubtedly had a desire for the conveniences of life; but higher motives counteracted this desire. He was therefore subject to temptation, when all the kingdoms of the world were offered to him. In view of the sufferings, which awaited him, he desired, if it were possible, that they might pass from him.

from him. He was, therefore, tempted to shrink from the tortures of the cross. Christ speaking to his disciples concerning their faithfulness to him, said, “Ye are they, which have continued with me in my temptations." The apostle to the Hebrews says, “We have not an high Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” It is impossible that Christ should be subject to temptations as we are; that he should be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, if he had not a human soul. Separate the mind from the body, and it is hard to conceive how the body can have perceptions and sensations. Can the eye see and perceive; can the ear hear and understand, independently of the intellectual faculties? When intelligence is withdrawn, the body has no perception nor sensation. If there be a distinction between the sensitive and intellectual powers of man, there cannot be a proper man without such intellectual powers. If a humanly organized sensitive body may be supposed, it can have only animal sensations; it cannot have human feelings and passions, excepting on principles of modern philosophy, which makes the human soul a necessary result of a particular organization of matter. *

Such a being may have the appearance of a man; but it is not true that in all things he is made like unto

* See Priestley on Matter and Spirit.

[ocr errors]

a man.

On the present supposition, the Son of God might as well (for aught we know to the contrary) have united with a body of any other shape, as with one of human shape. In this union, his feelings and sensations would have been only of divine and, animal nature; but not of human nature. Consequently his incarnation would not have brought him into a nearer relationship with the human race. It would not have subjected him to human temptations; nor would it have capacitated him to sympathize with the infirmities of humanity, or to succor those, who were tempted. One great object of Christ's incarnation was, that he might have a personal knowledge of human nature; that he might be personally acquainted with the infirmities, the temptations and hardships, which are common to the human race. The infirmities of humanity are no less attached to the mind than to the body. If the body of Christ were not animated by a human soul, he could not be tempted as we are; he could not be conscious of our infirmities; he could not feel, as we do, the hardships of human life; his incarnation would not capacitate him to synpathize with us in our afflictions, nor to succor us when we are tempted.

The account, which the sacred scriptures give of Christ, is a decisive proof that he possessed a human soul. It is recorded that he increased in wisdom. If his body was animated only by a divine Spirit, it was not possible that he could increase in wisdom. Divinity is unchangeable. The Son of God is called Wisdom. This divine attribute is not capable of increase nor diminution. His increase of wisdom, therefore, must be of human wisdom.

One object of Christ's incarnation was, to manifest that the divine law was holy and just and good;

that it required no more than human nature was capable of performing. If the body of Christ was actuated only by divine intelligence, his obedience of the divine law would give no evidence that human nature was

capable of the same obedience. It would be an example which might not be wholly calculated for our imitation. At least it would not carry evidence with itself that we are capable of obedience. To give evidence that the law was righteous, and to set an example for the human race, it was necessary that he should obey in a nature like our's; i. e. a nature composed of body and soul.

How far the Son of God sustained the Son of man; or whether he afforded him any extraordinary support, it is difficult to determine. It is evident that Christ, in his human nature, received extraordinary communications of the Holy Spirit. When he was baptized the Holy Ghost descended upon him. It is not to be supposed that the Holy Ghost communicated the divine Son to the man Christ Jesus. It is not the office of the Spirit to send the Son. The divine nature of Christ did not need the communications of the Holy Spirit

. It was complete in itself; and was competent to the duties of its office. The effusions of the Holy Spirit were shed upon the human nature of Christ to capacitate him for the work of redemption. As he had more to perform, more to endure, than human nature ever performed or endured, more copious effusions of the Spirit were made to him. The Spirit was not communicated to him by

The Spirit led. Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. Without doubt he granted him his sustaining influence. When Christ taught in the synagogue, he read a prophetic passage, which related to the Messiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is

T'he apostle Peter bore testimony "how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power.” The apostle Paul to the Hebrews, speaking of the Son, says, "God, even thy God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." This was the anointing of the Holy Spirit at his consecration; and he was anointed in a more extraordinary degree than any of his fellows, the prophets,

measure.

upon me.”

priests, or kings. The man Christ Jesus received not only the aids of the Holy Spirit, but he received the ministration of angels. After he was tempted by Satan, “angels came and ministered unto him.” When he was in agony on the mount of Olives, and prayed to the Father, that, if he were willing, the cup might pass from him, “there appeared an angel unto him from heaven strengthening him.”

The influence of the Holy Spirit and the ministration of angels are afforded to man. This completes the parallel between the man Christ Jesus and the human race.

He personally knows the assistances they receive, and the temptations and hardships which they endure; and he is perfectly qualified to make a just distinction between human infirmities, and the evil propensities of human nature.

The sacred Scriptures attribute human passions to Jesus Christ. He appears to have had human views and human feelings, and to be actuated like a holy

At a time he rejoiced in spirit. At other times he suffered the pains of grief. The prophet describing the low condition of Christ, says, “He is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows." His life corresponded with this prophetic description. At the grave of Lazarus he wept. He shed tears over impenitent Jerusalem. In view of approaching death and of its attending circumstances, he was in agony. He said, "Now is my soul troubled. My soul is exceedingly sorrowful even unto death.” He prayed that, if it were possible, he might be delivered from the hour of dissolution, which just awaited him. He appeared to have the same struggle between a sense of duty and the infirmity of human nature, which it would be expected any holy man would have. When he was on the cross and suffering its tortures; when the Father withdrew the light of his countenance, and it was the hour of the power of darkness, he exclaimed, My God, my God,

man.

« PreviousContinue »