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type of thought have maintained that the eternal Son of God laid aside the Divine attributes in becoming Man, so as to leave room for a genuine human consciousness and development. Hence we have the dogma of the Kenosis of the Son of God, which, propounded in the most extreme and most consistent form by Gess, asserts that in becoming Incarnate the Eternal Son of God denuded Himself of the essential qualities of His own nature and all that prevented Him becoming the subject of true human experiences. The criticism of this dogma has been accomplished in a way that has brought out its irreconcilableness with right reason by my predecessor, Dr. Bruce; and I think it has been amply shown by him, that however attractive the theory may be as the basis, in the hands of Gess, of a faithful representation of the Christ of the Gospels, the supposition of an act of " self emptying” on the part of the Second Person of the Trinity, that means the divesting Himself of those qualities that constitute His Divine Nature, is one that just views of God do not allow us to entertain.
The theology of the Reformed Church deals with the difficulty in another way. It accentuates more strongly than the Lutheran the disparity between the Divine and the Human, and holds in opposition to it that the Human cannot partake of the qualities of the Divine. The union that is implied in the Incarnation would thus seem to be an impossibility. · But here it brings in its doctrine of a Double Life and dual consciousness of the Son of God. As the Second Person of the Trinity, the Son of God remains in the exercise of His Divine prerogatives, knowing and upholding all things. But He has another life, as the principle of the Person of the God-Man. In the Man Christ Jesus He limits Himself so as to make possible a genuine human life, and is truly united to the human nature by the Holy Spirit. He is wholly in
the Humanity of Jesus according to its nature and at each stage of its development, but also wholly outside of it in the sphere in' which He lives and acts as the Second Person of the Trinity. This view has been lately revived and advocated by Canon Gore. “There is reason to believe,” he says, “ that the apostolic writers contemplate the continuance of the Divine and Kosmic functions of the Son of God through the Incarnation ; that the state of humiliation within the sphere of His humanity must have been compatible with their exercise in another sphere, by the same Divine Person, of the fulness of the Divine Power. In other words, that the Son of God, even when He walked the earth, was actively engaged in ruling this world from a different centre, so to speak, that, while in the sphere of His humanity He was ignorant of many things, in another sphere He knew all things.” 2 I do not, however, see that on this view we can believe in a Divine Personality as the principle of the Personal life of Jesus Christ, since it is only outside of the latter and as extramundane, that this Divine Person is conceived as existing as He really is ; or that we can affirm more of Christ, if this theory is true, than that He possessed in an extraordinary measure that Spirit of God that is the principle of every true human personality. And in that case the union of the Divine and the Human in His person is no more than the supreme instance of the union that is normal of every true Christian. And to this the Christology of the Reformed Church, it seems to me, inevitably comes.1
i The Logos, as the Reformed theology has it, is totus extra Christum et totus in Christo : He is in heaven while a man. The truth expressed in this language is that the Redeeming Love of God is not lessened in God by its being the life of Christ, any more than a man's virtue is lessened by being communicated to another man. The Lutheran Christology maintains that the Logos is totus in Christo, and denies that it is extra Christum at all. Gess goes so far as to say that “the Logos became man only if He ceases to feel, to perceive, to act, except in the human nature which He animates” (P. u. W. iii. 315). This means, of course, the temporary extinction of His Divine self-consciousness. The truth that finds so imperfect an intellectual expression in the Lutheran system is that God is wholly revealed in Christ, that in Him we have very God, and not a God reduced to the measure of our capacities, or different from God as He is.
2 Gore's Dissertations, the “ Consciousness of our Lord in His mortal Life.” Mr. Hutton, in his essay on “The Incarnation and Principles of Evidence," seems to suggest a similar view in the following words,words which indicate also a thorough-going doctrine of Kenosis : “It seems to me the most presumptuous of all presumptuous assumptions to deny that the Son of God might have really become what He seemed to be, a finite being, a Jew of Jewish thoughts and prepossessions, and liable to all the intellectual errors which distinguished the world in which He lived. If there is an indestructible moral individuality which
constitutes self, which is the same when wielding the largest powers and when it sits alone at the dark centre, -which, for anything I know, may even live under a double set of conditions at the same time,-I can see no metaphysical contradiction in an Incarnation” (Essays, vol. i. p. 242).
1 Dorner has attempted the solution of the Christological problem in a way of his own. He regards the union of the natures as the result of a moral process. The incarnation is to be understood properly in an ethical sense, as the result of the Divine (the Personal Logos) gradually communicating Himself to the Human in the Person of Christ, as the man grew in moral receptivity. This theory implies a dual personality in Jesus till the union of the two natures was completed, and the logos entirely communicated Himself to the man. Conscious that, in this form, his doctrine was a revival of the error of Nestorius, Dorner in his latest work (System of Christian Doctrine) no longer maintains the separate personality of the logos, but, with Rothe, views the logos as a “principle” or factor of the Godhead. The real contribution of this theologian to Christology is the emphasis he places on the truth (which receives such prominence also in Rothe's construction of the doctrine of the Second Adam) that the union of the Divine and Human in the Person of Christ was a gradual process and proceeded from the Indwelling of God in the Man Christ Jesus, the fulness of the manifestation of God in Him keeping pace with His growth in personal holiness and love. The study of Christology, ancient and modern, is valuable for the fresh points of view for the understanding of the religious contents of the Person of Christ which it furnishes. The failure of theologians one and all to interpret intellectually the Person of Christ in the light of the special religious truth that in each case gives interest to their speculations, illustrates the inability of the human mind to deal with the metaphysics of the subject. It is plain that only such deter
3. Whether, then, we think of the Pre-existent Christ as the Heavenly Man merely, or as the Second Person of the Trinity, bare Divinity and no more, we fail to account for the Christ of whom Paul speaks, in whom the Divine and the Human both co-exist and are brought home to our hearts in a way that defies explanation on any theory that views them as originally and antecedent to the Incarnation, distinct and opposite in nature in the way they are regarded in both the explanations that have been criticised. But a third view remains to be considered, that which represents Paul as teaching that Christ pre-existed, not as Man nor as God, but as God and Man in essential union. Denying that there is any such original antithesis between the two natures as ecclesiastical theology pre supposes,-maintaining, on the contrary, the original and essential identity of the two,—certain Christian thinkers have held that Christ was from all eternity God-Man, at once Son of God and Son of Man, the Image of God and Revelation of Him to His creatures, and the Ideal or Archetypal Man in whose image the human race was made. The Incarnation was not then properly the assumption of human nature, for before creation itself Christ was Man and our Brother; it was the assumption of our flesh, and involved a change of state or condition merely, the laying aside of the Divine Form of His Humanity that He might partake of it in its flesh-andblood form, so that under its conditions He might do and suffer what He could not while in the Form of God. The Incarnation, then, simply revealed the essential oneness of the Divine and the Human, and the relation that already existed between the Son of God and Mankind.
minations of Christological opinion as reflect the light that comes from the historic life and work of Christ can be regarded as expressions of Christian truth ; and that all views must be set aside that fail to do this, or that reflect a light borrowed from outside speculation.
This understanding of the Eternal Nature of Christ has commended itself to speculative minds in all ages, and is widely held at the present day. It is maintained not only by continental theologians of note, but by many in recent years in our own country. Readers of F. D. Maurice's works will remember the vitality of this belief in his theological thinking; and the late Dr. Dale advocated it not less strenuously, and insisted on the appreciation of the truth of Christ's Eternal Humanity and preexistent relation to the Human race, as necessary to the understanding of the relation between God and man as set forth in the Scriptures. This doctrine, indeed, belongs to the best days of Greek Theology, and was held by those who were most eager in doing justice to the unity of the Person of Christ. For if He was throughout all states the Son of God, one and unchanged, then the humanity He took to himself could be no new thing, but must have been already rooted in His Eternal Being. He must have been Man as well as God before He came into the world.
There is much in this view to commend it. It recognises the kinship between God and Man, and the essential correspondence between the Divine and human. It rebukes that false conception of what constitutes the greatness of God that makes some hesitate to see God in One who shares the frailties of human nature, and who is wanting in those Infinite attributes of the Godhead which they identify with His Glory. By emphasising the truth that Jesus Christ in His historic life is the manifestation of God, it exalts the moral and religious qualities by which He is known, the righteousness and love that appeal to our trust and love, and it proclaims the significance for the
1 See Note on The Different Forms of this Theory of the Preexistent God-Man.
2 Edwards (The God-Man) seems also to hold this view. He speaks of the Logos as “ Eternal Man,” though he explains this as only “an idea of what the Logos Incarnate will be” (p. 18).