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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 was. 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 religion. To say that Christ was a blasphemer, is to say that christianity is a falsehood. If there was no truth
in Christ, there is no truth in his religion. Hence it seriously concerns those, who deny the divinity of Christ, impeach his character, and subvert his gospel, to prepare to meet him when he shall come in the clouds of heaven, and settle the solemn dispute between them. 2. To deny the divinity of Christ, is virtually to set up human reason against divine revelation. The Bible so plainly represents Christ to be a divine person, that none would hesitate to believe his divinity, if they could only comprehend the mystery of his being God and man in two natures, and yet but one person. This was the stumbling-block to the Jews. They could not comprehend how Christ, being a man, could make himself God; or how he could say, when he was not fifty years old, "before Abraham was, I am.” And this is the stumbling-block to those, who now deny the divinity of Christ. The mystery contained in this doctrine, leads them to explain away the plainest passages of Scripture in favor of it; and to bend all their force to prove, that the personal union between the two natures of Christ is a plain and palpable absurdity. A late Writer, when he is reminded, that the Apostles maintained the doctrine of Christ's divinity, scruples not to say, "As it is not pretended that there are any miracles adapted to prove that Christ made and supports the world, I do not see that we are under any obligation to believe it, merely because it was an opinion held by an Apostle." He adds, "It is not, certainly, from a few casual expressions, which so easily admit of other interpretations, and especially in Epistolary writings, that we can be authorized that such was the serious opinion of the Apostles. But if it had been their real opinion, it would not follow that it was true, unless the teaching of it should appear to be included in their general commission
with which, as I have shewn, it has no sort of connexion."
But is it safe for men to lean to their own understanding, in opposition to the plainest declarations of Scripture? Let experience speak. Some have made the trial upon this important subject; but greatly to their own disadvantage. For, their attempt to avoid the seeming inconsistency of Christ's divinity, has driven them into a number of most plain and palpable absurdities. By denying him to be God as well as man, they have been obliged to ascribe such things to his humanity, as properly and necessarily belong to his divinity. This will clearly appear in a variety of instances.
The Scripture represents Christ as existing from eternity: but this they are obliged partly to acknowledge and partly to deny; and so maintain, that he neither existed from eternity, nor yet had a beginning of existence; which is a plain absurdity. The Scripture represents Christ as creating the world, which be longs to him as God: but this they are obliged to ascribe to him as man; which is a plain absurdity. The Scripture represents Christ as governing the world, which belongs to him as God: but this they are óbliged to ascribe to him as a man; which is a plain absurdity. The Scripture represents Christ as having power to raise the dead, at the general resurrection, which belongs to him as God: but this they are oblig. ed to ascribe to him as man; which is a plain absurdity. The Scripture represents Christ as being able to judge the secrets of all hearts, at the last day, which belongs to him as God: but this they are obliged to ascribe to him as man; which is a plain absurdity. All these absurdities necessarily flow from denying the
divinity of Christ, and applying those things to him as man, which belong to him as God.
If it should be allowed, for once, that the doctrine of Christ's divinity is really absurd; yet it is by no means so plain and palpable an absurdity, as these which have been mentioned. For, it is much easier to conceive that humanity and divinity should be personally united in Christ, than to conceive that a mere dependent nature should ever begin to exist; or that such a dependent nature should be able to create the world, to govern the world, to judge the world, and raise the dead. We can clearly see, that a being below the Deity cannot perform such divine works; but we cannot clearly see, that humanity and divinity could not be personally united in the great Emmanuel. As soon as men set up their own reason against divine revelation, they break over a sacred enclosure, and take the liberty to reason themselves into one absurdity after another, until they insensibly fall into the gulf of skepticism. "Those, who will believe nothing, the manner and causes of which they cannot comprehend, must be in the way to believe nothing at all." To avoid this dangerous error, let us be content to give God his place, and to take our own. Let us be willing to allow, that "the weakness of God is stronger than men; and the foolishness of God is wiser than men."
It is natural to remark in the last place,
3. That the establishment of Christ's divinity establishes the beauty and consistency of his whole character and conduct. It is this, which demonstrates the rectitude of his moral character; and so renders him worthy of the respect and imitation of the Socinians themselves. It is this, which gives worth to his death; and so renders him a complete and all-sufficient Sa