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In the English Confession of Faith, printed at the end of all the old Bibles, it is said: “I believe also and confess Jesus Christ the only Saviour and Messias ; who, being equal with God, made himself of no reputation, but took on him the shape of a servant, and became man in all things like unto us, except sin.-And forasmuch as he being only God could not feel death, neither being only Man could overcome death, he joined both together, and suffered his humanity to be punished with most cruel death; feeling in himself the anger and severe judgement of God even as he had been in extreem torments of hell, and therefore cried with a loud voice, My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me! Then of his mercy, without compulsion, he offered up himself as the only sacrifice to purge the sins of all the world."
In the Notes to Barker's Bible, 1608, it is said :-Rom. viii. 3: “Christ did take flesh, which of nature was subject to sin; which notwithstanding he sanctified even in the very instant of his conception, and so did appropriate it unto him that he might destroy sin in it.” On Heb.ii.9: " Jesus Christ, by humbling himself, and taking upon him the form of a servant, which was our flesh and mortality, giveth us assurance of our salvation. The head and the members are of one nature : so Christ which sanctifieth us, and we that are sanctified, are all one, by the union of our flesh.” And ver. 17 : “ In all things like unto his brethren. Not only as touching nature, but also qualities, only sin except. Forasmuch as he is exercised in our miseries, we may be assured that at all times in our temptations he will
In the Confession of Faith received and approved by the Church of Scotland in the beginning of the Reformation, and which is still the standard of doctrine in the Established Church of Scotland, under the “ Article xxi. of the Sacraments,” are these words :—“So that we confess, and undoubtedlie beleeve, that the faithful, in the richt use of the Lord's Table, do so eat the bodie and drink the blude of the Lord Jesus, that he remaines in them, and they in him : Zea, they are so maid flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bones; that as the eternal Godhead hes given to the flesh of Christ Jesus (quhilk of the awin conditioun and nature wes mortal and corruptible) life and immortalitie; so dois Christ Jesus his flesh and blude eattin and drunkin be us, give unto us the same prerogatives. Itaque confitemur, et procul dubio credimus, quod fideles, in recto cænæ Dominicæ usu, ita corpus Domini Jesu edant, et sanguinem bibant, ut ipsi in Christo maneant, et Christus in eis : quin et caro de carne ejus, et os ex ossibus ejus ita fiunt, ut quemadmodum carni Christi, quæ suapte
natura mortalis erat et corruptibilis, divinitas vitam et immortalitatem largita est; ita ut carnem Jesu Christi edimus, et bibimus ejus sanguinem, eisdem et nos prærogativis donamur.”
Calvin's Catechism declares, “ after what sort the Sonne of God was anointed of his father to become our Saviour: That say, he took
him our flesh..... That he was fashioned in the virgin's womb, taking very substance and manhood of her, that he might thereby become the seed of David, as the Prophets had before signified.”
The Palatine Catechism affirms : “ That the very Son of God did take the very true nature of man, of the flesh and blood of the Virgin Mary; so that he is also of the true seed of David, like unto his brethren in all things, sin excepted.....Of his own accord he took on him the shape of a servant (that is, our flesh) and that subject to all infirmities, even to the death of the
In the Helvetic Confession, dated March 1566, it is said :
Eundem quoque æterni Dei æternum Filium credimus et docemus hominis factum esse Filium, ex semine Abrahæ atque Davidis......Caro ergo Christi nec phantastica fuit, nec cælitus allata, sicuti Valentinus et Marcion somniabant. Præterea anima fuit Domino nostro Jesu Christo non absque sensu et ratione, ut Apollinaris sentiebat, neque caro absque anima, ut Eunomius docebat, sed anima cum ratione sua, et caro cum sensibus suis, per quos sensus, veros dolores tempore passionis suæ sustinuit : sicuti et ipse tentatus est, et dixit, Tristis est anima mea usque ad mortem. Et nunc anima mea turbata est, &c. (Matt. xxvi. John xii.)–Eutychetis et Monothelitarum vel Monophysicorum vesaniam, expungentem naturæ humanæ proprietatem, execramur penitus. Præterea credimus Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum vere passum et mortuum esse, pro nobis, sicut Petrus ait, carne (1 Pet. iv.) Abominamur Jacobitarum et omnium Turcarum, passionem Domini execrantium, impiissimam vesaniam. Credimus et docemus eundem Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum vera sua carne, in qua
crucifixus et mortuus fuerat, a mortuis resurrexisse, et non aliam pro sepulta excitasse, aut spiritum pro carne suscepisse, sed veritatem corporis retinuisse. In eadem illa carne sua credimus ascendisse Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, supra omnes cælos aspectabiles in ipsum cælum supremum sedem videlicet Dei et beatorum, ad dexteram Dei Patris."
The Belgic Confession says: “ Confitemur vero Deum.....Filium illum suum unicum, et æternum in hunc mundum misit: qui formam servi accepit, similis hominibus factus, et veram naturam humanam cum omnibus ipsius infirmitatibus (excepto peccato) vere assumpsit. Idcirco contra Anabaptistarum hæresim, (qui negant Christum carnem humanam assumpsisse) confitemur Christum participem carnis et sanguinis fuisse, sicut et pueri fratres ipsius, ex lumbis Davidis secundum carnem: factum, inquam, ex semine David, secundum eandem carnem ....ut dictum est, fratribus suis similis per omnia factus, adeo ut sit revera noster Emanuel.”. .....“ duæ naturæ in unica Persona conjunctæ, quarum utraque proprietates suas retineat, adeo ut sicut natura divina semper increata, et absque initio dierum, sine vitæ fine remansit, cælumque et terram implens : sic natura humana proprietates suas non amiserit, sed creatura remanserit, initium dierum, et naturam finitam habens. Omnia enim illa,
quæ vero corpori conveniunt, retinuit, et quamvis illi immortalitatem resurrectione sua dederit, veritatem tamen humanæ naturæ illi neque ademit, neque commutavit. Salus enim et resurrectio nostra a veritate corporis ipsius dependet.”.
“ Credimus Deum Filium suum misisse, ut naturam illam assumeret quæ per inobedientiam peccarat, ut in ea ipsa natura et satisfaceret, et de peccato, per acerbam ipsius mortem et passionem, justas penas sumeret.
..“ Quapropter confitemur ipsum verum Deum, et verum hominem esse : verum quidem Deum, ut mortem sua potentia vinceret : et verum hominem, ut in carnis suæ infirmitate pro nobis mortem obiret.”
Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity.-290.“ Forasmuch as there is no union of God with man, without that mean between both which is both .....wherefore, taking to himself our flesh, and by his incarnation making it his own flesh, he had now of his own, although from us, what to offer unto God for us. And as Christ took manhood, that by it he might be capable of death, whereunto he humbled himself; so because manhood is the proper subject of compassion and feeling pity, which maketh the sceptre of Christ's regency even in the kingdom of heaven amiable, he which without our nature could not on earth suffer for the sins of the world, doth now also by means thereof both make intercession to God for sinners, and exercise dominion over all men with a true, a natural, and a sensible touch of mercy.”
“ It pleased not the Word or Wisdom of God to take to itself some one person amongst men, for then should that one have been advanced which was assumed, and no more ; but Wisdom, to the end she might save many, built her house of that nature which is common unto all : she made not this or that man her habitation, but dwelt in us. If the Son of God had taken to himself a man now made and already perfected, it would of necessity follow that there are in Christ two persons, the one assuming and the other assumed; whereas the Son of God did not assume a man's person unto his own, but a man's nature 'to his own person ; and therefore took the seed of Abraham, the
very first original element of our nature, before it was come to have any personal human subsistence. By taking only the nature of man, he still continueth one person, and changeth but the manner of his subsisting, which was before in the mere glory of the Son of God, and is now in the habit of our flesh. These natures from the moment of their first combination have been and are for ever inseparable. For even when his soul forsook the tabernacle of his body, his Deity forsook neither body nor soul. If it had, then could we noť truly hold either that the person of Christ was buried, or that the person of Christ did raise
up itself from the dead. The very person of Christ therefore, for ever one and the self-same, was only touching bodily substance concluded within the grave, his soul only from thence severed ; but by personal union, his Deity still inseparably joined with both.”
“ If therefore it be demanded what the person of the Son of God hath attained by assuming manhood, surely the whole sum of all is this: To be, as we are, truly, really, and naturally man ; by means whereof he is made capable of meaner offices than otherwise his person could have admitted. The only gain he thereby purchased for himself, was to be capable of loss and detriment for the good of others.—The honour which our flesh hath by being the flesh of the Son of God, is in many respects great. Since God hath deified our nature, though not by turning it into himself, yet by making it his own inseparable habitation, we cannot now conceive how God should without man either exercise Divine power, or receive the glory of Divine praise : for man is in both an associate of Deity.
“And as God hath in Christ unspeakably glorified the nobler, so likewise the meaner part of our nature, the very bodily substance of man. For in this respect his body, which by natural condition was corruptible, wanted the gift of everlasting immunity from death, passion, and dissolution, till God, which gave it to be slain for sin, had for righteousness sake restored it to life with certainty of endless continuance. Yea, in this respect the very glorified body of Christ retained in it the scars and marks of former mortality. We nothing doubt, but God hath many ways above the reach of our capacities exalted that body which it hath pleased him to make his own; that body wherewith he hath saved the world ; that body which hath been and is the root of eternal life, the Instrument wherewith Deity worketh, the Sacrifice which taketh away sin, the Price which hath ransomed souls from death, the Leader of the whole army of bodies that shall rise again. For though it had a beginning from us, yet God hath given it vital efficacy, heaven hath endowed it with celestial power, that virtue it hath from
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above, in regard whereof all the angels of heaven adore it. Notwithstanding, a body still it continueth, a body consubstantial with our bodies, a body of the same, both nature and measure, which it had on earth.”
“ To gather into one sum all that hath hitherto been spoken touching this point : There are but four things which concur to make complete the whole state of our Lord Jesus Christ; his Deity, his manhood, the conjunction of both, and the distinction of the one from the other being joined in one.
Four principal heresies there are which have in these things withstood the truth : Arians, by bending themselves against the Deity of Christ; Apollinarians, by maiming and misinterpreting that which belongeth to his human nature; Nestorians, by rending Christ asunder, and dividing him into two persons; the followers of Eutyches, by confounding in his person those natures which they should distinguish. Against these there have been four most famous ancient general Councils; the Council of Nice, to define against Arians; against Apollinarians the Council of Constantinople; the Council of Ephesus against Nestorians; against Eutichians the Chalcedon Council. In four words, αληθως, τελεως, αδιαιρετως, ασυγχυτως - truly, perfectly, indivisibly, distinctly—the first apply to his being God, and the second to his being Man, the third to his being of both One, and the fourth to his still continuing in that One both-we may fully by way of abridgement comprise whatsoever antiquity hath at large handled, either in declaration of Christian belief, or in refutation of the foresaid heresies. “ Nicene.
• Incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto, ex Maria virgine: et homo factus est.'
“ Constantinople. • Incarnatus est-homo factus est-passus. et sepultus est.' “ Ephesus.
• Verbum caro factum est—unumque esse Christum cum propria carne. Si quis ergo Pontificem nostrum dicit factum, non ipsum Dei Verbum, quando caro factum est, et homo juxta nos homines : sed velut alterum præter ipsum specialiter hominem ex muliere-si quis non confitetur Dei Verbum passum carne, et crucifixum carne, et mortem gustasse carne, qui est vivificator ut Deus, anathema sit.'
“ Chalcedon. •Perfectum in Deitate-perfectum in humanitate, vere Deum et vere hominem-Coessentialem Patri secundum Deitatem et coessentialem nobis secundum humanitatem per omnia nobis similem, excepto peccato.'”
Sermons on the Incarnation, by John (Tillotson), Archbishop of Canterbury. 1679.-“ The Word was made flesh; that is, he who is personally called the Word, and whom the Evangelist St. John had so fully described in his Gospel, he became flesh ;