« AnteriorContinuar »
Father, and as affirmed to be so, and referred by Christ solely to him; then the supposition of any other Person besides Jesus of Nazareth and God the Father, becomes a mere hypothesis, unsupported by evidence, and disproved by all the evidence we have in the case.
The precise point then to which I wish to call your attention this evening is this, "Who was the Divine Nature in Christ? Was it a second Person in the Trinity, the Son, or was it the Father the whole Deity."
It is confessed on all hands, that there was a connection of Jesus with God, more intimate than that of any other being of whom we have any knowledge. It was observed by a well informed and keen-sighted contemporary, when beholding his miracles, "no man could do these miracles which thou doest, except God were with him." That, we, all who believe in Christ, admit. The Trinitarian system maintains that there was a Divine Person, called the Son, the second Person in the Trinity, residing in Christ and making with him one Person. We believe the only Divine Agent or Person in him, which can be identified and proved by the least shadow of evidence, is God the Father the only Person in the Deity; and the idea that any other Divine Person existed or acted in him, is made out to be a mere fiction of the brain.
The doctrine of the incarnation, as it is called, of the second Person of the Trinity, so as to become united with the body and soul of an infant, and
make one Person with it, we regard as an amazing imagination, which they who assert do not feel the force of the language they use. Not only so, we feel it to be not only incredible in itself, but utterly at war with all the facts of the case, as stated in the sacred Scriptures.
The doctrine is thus stated in the Westminster Confession, the public standard of faith of the Presbyterian church of the United States. "The only Redeemer of God's elect is the Lord Jesus Christ, who being the eternal Son of God became man, and so was and continueth to be, God and man in two distinct natures, and one Person forever.".
"Christ the Son of God became man by taking to himself a true body, and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and born of her, yet without sin."
It is thus stated in still stronger terms in the thirty-nine articles of the church of England, and which is the public creed of the Episcopal church in the United States.
"The Son, which is the word of the Father, begotten from everlasting of the Father, the very and eternal God, of one substance with the Father, took man's nature in the womb of the Blessed Virgin, of her substance: so that the two whole and perfect natures, that is to say, the Godhead and manhood, were joined together in one Person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, very God and very man; who truly suffered, was crucified, dead and buried, to reconcile his Father to us."
You will please to take notice of what is affirmed in these articles of belief; the Son, the very and eternal God, of course then a Being who fills immensity and inhabits eternity, unchangeable in his being, who cannot for a single moment be included within any place, nor excluded from any, took man's nature in the womb of the virgin, so that two whole and perfect natures, the Godhead and manhood were joined together in one Person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, very God and very man, who truly suffered, was dead and buried. This proposition is to my mind truly amazing. That an infinite, omnipresent, unchangeable Being, should be enclosed with a human soul in the body of an unborn infant; and that this infinite Spirit, and this infantine soul, made one Person, is a proposition, which nothing but the fact of its having been held by men of sincere piety, and thus having been in some measure associated with our venerable religion, could induce us to treat with any respect. Abstractly speaking, the thing is utterly monstrous and incredible. It must require for its support, nothing less than a plain, categorical, unequivocal declaration in the word of God.
Before we admit it as true, we must examine the evidence on which it rests, and the evidence if there be any against it.
Let us then turn to the sacred Scriptures, let us examine the record of the birth of Jesus. The incarnation of the second Person of the Trinity, if it really took place, must be there unequivocally
declared. The extraordinary circumstances which attended his birth are thus recorded by Matthew. The information conveyed to Joseph in a dream is this, "Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee, Mary thy wife; for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which being interpreted, is God with us." Luke's account of the matter is this. "And the Angel said unto her, 'Fear not Mary, for thou hast found favour with God: and behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father. David. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end.' Then said Mary unto the angel, how shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee; and the power of the highest shall overshadow thee, therefore also that holy thing, which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God."
This is the record, and is there the least intimation in it of a Trinity, three Persons in the Divine nature, is there one word said from the beginning
to the end; of the incarnation of the second Person in the Trinity, an almighty and infinite Being? Is there one word said of the incarnation of God at all? Is there any intimation that this child should have more than one nature, that his person should be made up of one infinite, and one finite spirit? Is it not strange, that the angel should have omitted so material a circumstance, as the incarnation of one of the Persons of the Trinity?
What then do these passages declare? Simply that God brought the infant Jesus into existence, in an extraordinary, instead of the ordinary manner, that the virgin conceived by miraculous power instead of the ordinary means. It is not pretended that parents produce the souls of their children. God is the Father of spirits. He puts the soul into the body. And does it change the nature of the soul, whether it is put into a body formed by God by an ordinary process, or by miracle? Adam and Eve began to exist in a miraculous manner, their bodies were formed by miracle. Did that miraculous formation prove an incarnation of one of the Persons of the Trinity in them?
In the second place, I would have you take particular notice, that in consequence of this conception by the immediate power of God, "therefore that holy thing, which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God." Here then, Son of God is applied to Jesus, because he began to exist miraculously. In the same manner it is applied to Adam for the same reason. In the catalogue of the