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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 understanding 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, “ 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 frequenıly 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 whorn I am well pleased.” When he came from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be bap
tized of him, “ John forbade him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering, said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.” “It becometh us," that is, it becometh me as well as others, to fulfil all righteousness, by universal obedience to the divine commands. And this he more expressly declared in his sermon on the mount. “ Think not that I come to destroy the law or the prophets : I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” And again he said, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work." No law, whether human or divine, can bind any but those to whom it is given. So the apostle declares with respect to the divine law. “What thing soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law." If Christ had not been man, he could not have been made under the law to man. But he was made under the law to man, which demonstrates that he was really man. I must add,
3. That Christ was placed, like all other men, in a state of probation from his birth to his death. His own eternal happiness, as well as the eternal happiness of mankind, was suspended upon his entire, constant and persevering obedience through life. If he had failed in one point, he would have forfeited the divine favor, defeated the great design he came to ac: complish, and plunged himself in hopeless ruin. Disobedience in him would have been far more criminal than disobedience in any other man, and would have drawn after it far more fatal consequences. This is what is meant by his being in a state of probation. For any person is strictly and properly in a state of probation, when future good or evil is suspended upon his future conduct. Thus Solomon placed Shimei in a state of probation, when he suspended his life or death upon the condition of his keeping within, or going beyond, the bounds he had set him. So God the Father made great and precious promises to Christ, upon the condition of his perfect faithfulness in performing the work of redemption; and such conditional promises of good placed him in a state of probation, in respect to his future conduct. His Father promised, in the forty-second of Isaiah, to strengthen and uphold him in his great and arduous mediatorial work. “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect in whom my soul delighteth: I have put my Spirit upon him; he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail, nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth : and the isles shall wait for his law. Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein; I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant to the people, for a light to the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house." In the fifty-third chapter of this prophecy, the Father promises to reward him for his obedience and sufferings. After representing God as bruising and grieving him, by making his soul an offering for sin, the prophet introduces the Father as saying, “ Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great; and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death, and was numbered among the transgressors." This was the joy set before Christ, for which he endured the cross and despised the shame. Accordingly, just before his death, he claimed the fulfilment of the promises which his Father had made to him upon condition of his perfect and persevering obedience. He says to him, “I have glorified thee on the earth : I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self; with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." This promise the apostle tells us the Father has actually fulfilled. He says, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 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, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Thus God the Father treated Christ as having been perfectly faithful through his whole probationary state. Besides, it is expressly said that Christ was placed in a state of probation, to qualify him for his mediatorial work. The apostle, in his epistle to the Hebrews, says, “ Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. — For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, 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.” Accordingly we find that Christ actually passed through the most fiery trials. He was tried in the wilderness by Satan, who offered him the whole world if he would only worship him. He was tried by his enemies. He was tried by his disciples. He was tried in the garden. He was tried before the tribunal of Pilate. And he was still more severely tried on the cross. He was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief from his birth to his death. Thus it appears that Christ was really man, as he had a human body, a human soul, and a dependent nature, and was made under law, and placed in a state of dependence and probation. The inspired writers have given us as clear, as full, and as positive evidence of the humanity of Christ, as of any truth or fact they have recorded concerning any man they have mentioned.
I now proceed to improve the subject.
1. If Christ was really man, then the Arian notion of his preëxistence before he came into the world is entirely unscriptural and absurd. The Arians suppose that Christ was the first and noblest of created beings, and existed before the foundation of the world. They suppose that this preëxistent spirit was united with the body of Christ, and supplied the place of a human soul, and enabled Christ to do and suffer all that he did and suffered to perform the part of a Mediator and Redeemer. And upon this ground they deny that he possessed any real divinity, or was the second person in the Trinity, united with humanity. They hold that Christ was neither God nor man, but an intermediate being. In this, they principally differ from proper Socinians and grosser Unitarians. These maintain that Christ had a true body and reasonable soul, and was properly man and no more than man. But the Arians suppose that though Christ had a real human body, yet it was united with a super-angelic soul, which existed, they know not how long, before the creation of the world and its union with the babe of Bethlehem. But if the babe of Bethlehem, as we have shown, had both a human body and human soul, then it is absurd to suppose that a preëxistent, super-angelic spirit supplied the place of a human soul in the man Christ Jesus. Though many who call themselves Trinitarians maintain the doctrine of Christ's preëxistence, yet they suppose that Christ's preëxistent nature was personally united with the second person in the Trinity, and consequently maintain the true doctrine of Christ's divinity. But in this they are not so consistent as the Arians. For it is absurd to suppose that Christ had both a human soul VOL. IV.