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foundation of having “a true body and a reasonable soul,” united in the same manner, as the soul and body are united in other men. And if he had a human soul united with a human body, then he may be as properly denominated a man, as any of his progeni: tors, whose names are mentioned in the first chapter of Matthew.
Let us next consider the ground upon which he asserted his divinity.
He could not pretend to be a divine person, upon Socinian ground, which is that of Divine Inspiration. A divine person has no occasion of being divinely inspired. This the Socinians allow, and, therefore, do not consider Christ as a divine person, because he had the gift of inspiration; but place him upon a level with other inspired men.
Nor could he assert his divinity upon Arian ground; which is, that he possessed all divine excellencies, except self-existence and independence. For, however great the powers and capacities of a dependent being may be; yet he cannot possess a single attribute, which may be properly called divine. The Arians run into a plain absurdity, which the Socinians avoid. The Socinians deny, that any being is divine, who is destitute of self-existence and independence; but the Arians maintain, that a being may be divine, who wants both these incommunicable attributes of the Deity. They plead that Christ possessed divine power, wisdom, and goodness; though he was absolutely depen. dent, and derived his being and all his powers from the Supreme God and Father of all. But it is totally inconceivable, that a derived, dependent Nature, should really possess any of those divine perfections, which essentially belong to an underived, independent, self-existent Being. No communications from
God to Christ could make him a divine person. Nor
. could any intercourse with the Deity, however near and intimate, make him a Deity. So that no excellencies or perfections of his nature, short of self-existence and independence, could justify him in asserting his divinity.
Nor could be pretend to be a divine person, upon Unitarian ground; which is, that he was only a superangelic Nature united with a human body, and sent by the one only true God, to perform the work of redemption. Upon this hypothesis he could assert neither his humanity, nor divinity; for he was neither a man, nor an angel, nor a Deity; but a being (sui generis) of a peculiar kind. Accordingly, the Unitarians do not pretend he was a Deity, or possessed of any truly divine attributes. And we cannot suppose, that he would assert his divinity, upon a ground which was not just, and which the Unitarians themselves suppose was not sufficient to support such an assertion.
There remains no other ground, therefore, upon which he could assert his divinity, but that of his being God and man, in two distinct natures, and one person. A personal union between his divine and human nature would properly constitute him a divine person. And it appears from his own expressions, that he did assert his divinity upon this ground. He says, John iii, 13,' “No man hath ascended
to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man, which is in heaven.” Here he represents his own individual person as being both in heaven and on earth, at one and the same time. And upon the supposition of his human and divine natures being personally united, he might properly say this; but upon no other supposition. A prophet could not
say this in his nearest approaches to God. Paul could not say this, when he was caught up to the third heav, en. An angel could not say this, either in heaven or on earth., Nor could Christ say this, unless his hu man nature were personally united with the divine. Any other union, however near and intimate, could pot warrant him who was a man, to make himself God.
But here it may be inquired, what is meant by Christ's human nature's being personally united with his divine nature. It is easy to say what is not meant by it. It does not mean, that his human nature was made divine nature. Omnipotence could not transform his humanity into divinity; because that would be the same as to produce divinity, or create a Creator. But supposing his human nature could have been made divine nature; yet that would have prevented his being God and man in two natures, and but one person, which is wbat he professed to be.
Nor, on the other hand, does his human nature's being personally united with his divine nature, mean, that his divine nature was made human nature. For, there was the same impossibility of degrading his divinity into humanity, as of exalting his humanity into divinity. And could this have been done, it would have equally prevented his being what he professed to be, God and man in one person.
Nor does his human nature's being personally unit ed with his divine nature, mean, that his two natures were mixt or blended together. For, it evidently appears from Scripture, that he personally possessed every divine perfection, and every human quality, except sin. He discovered, in the course of his life, human ignorance and divine knowledge; human wants and divine fulness; human weakness and divine power; human dependence and divine independence.
But, if the personal union of the two natures in Christ does not mean, that his humanity became divinity, nor his divinity became humanity, nor that these were mixt or blended together; then the question still recurs, What is meant by Christ's being one person in two natures? I answer, the man Jesus, who had a true body and a reasonable soul, was united with the second Person in the Trinity, in such a manner, as laid a foundation for him to say, with propriety, that he was man; that he was God; and that he was both God and man; and as also laid a foundation, to ascribe what he did as God, and suffered as man, to one and the self-same person. If any should here ask, How could his two natures be thus personally united? We can only say, It is a mystery. And there is no avoiding a mystery with respect to Christ. His conception was a mystery. And if we admit the mystery of his conception, why should we hesitate to admit the mystery of the personal union between his two natures? If we only admit this, all Christ said concerning himself is easy and intelligible. "“Being a man, he might with propriety, make himself God.”
I shall now close the subject, with a few serious Remarks.
1. To deny the divinity of Christ, is virtually to impeach his moral character. He knew, that there was a great variety of opinions entertained of him. Many inquired at his own mouth, what manner of person he
In several instances, he was pleased to answer them in terms sufficiently plain and unequivocal. And though they objected against his answers, as extremely impious; yet he never contradicted or softened them. In this manner, he treated the grand
question concerning his divinity for several years. At last, the subject became more serious. The Jews conspired against him, and arraigned him before their highest Ecclesiastical Court, where they accused him of blasphemy for making himself God. The High Priest, in order to come at the truth of the case, laid him under the solemnity of an oath, and commanded him to say in sincerity, whether he had ever professed to be a divine person. In that peculiar situation, while the oath of God was upon him, and death itself before him, he confirmed and repeated his pretensions to divinity, and appealed to the day of judgment to sanction his declarations. There is now no need of further evidence, that he solemnly professed to be a divine person; and therefore we cannot call his divinity in question without joining with the Jews, and impeaching his moral character. His declarations are recorded, and carry the same authority now, that they did when they were uttered, and when they confounded his opposers. It will not save the appearance of modesty to plead, that we do not mean to contradict, but only, to explain his expressions. It is now too late to explain Christ's words upon this subject; because he has, in the most plain and solemn manner, explained them himself. Hence there is only this alternative before us, either to believe his divinity, or to deny his veracity. But to deny his veracity, upon this subject, is to blast his whole moral character, and to represent him in as odious a light, as ever the Jews did, when they called him a blasphemer, and said he was mad, and had a devil. To impeach the moral character of Christ is extremely criminal. For, it is not only blaspheming his name, but denying his reli. gion. To say that Christ was a blasphemer, is to say that christianity is a falsehood. If there was no truth