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progenitors of Christ, it is said, "which was the son of Adam which was the son of God." The angel says nothing of this infant's having two natures. He was to be called Son of God not upon account of his nature, but the manner in which that nature had begun to exist.
The words of the angel then, fail entirely to prove any plurality of the Divine nature, or any incarnation of the second Person. Not only so, they are directly at war with it. To have corresponded with that hypothesis he should have said to Mary, "The second Person in the Trinity called the Son, is to become incarnate in the infant that is to be born of thee. Therefore he shall be called the Son of God." But on the other hand, he says, it is the infant's miraculous beginning that gives Jesus the title, Son of God. Affirming this, he denies the other. So according to the angel, Son of God, when applied to Christ, dates no farther back than his birth, instead of running back before all worlds. A name arising out of the circumstances attending the birth of a child, is carried back into the ages of eternity, and made to introduce confusion into the unity and simplicity of the Divine
The only thing additional which Matthew mentions, is the coincidence between this event and one which is related to have taken place in the days of Ahaz, king of Judah. He was greatly distressed by the invasion of two confederate kings against his land. The prophet Isaiah is sent to him with a message of comfort, and tells him as a
sign of deliverance, "A virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel, for before the child shall know to choose the good and refuse the evil, the land, which thou abhorrest, shall be forsaken of both her kings." The child was to be called 'Immanuel, or God with us, or God is with us, why? Because he was to be an incarnation of God? No! Because God was to be peculiarly with his people. Does giving the name, God-is-with-us, make the child to which it is given God? Besides there is nothing here said of a Trinity, or a division in the Deity. If it proved any thing, it would prove the incarnation of the whole Deity. Besides the epithet Immanuel, if it proved any thing, would prove two incarnations, one in the days of Ahaz, and one at the time of Christ. That God the whole Deity did, in a peculiar manner, manifest himself to the world through Christ, is what we all believe. God was peculiarly with his people, we all know, when he made through Jesus of Nazareth, his last and best revelation to mankind.
So you perceive the doctrine of the incarnation of the second Person in the Trinity, as stated in those articles of faith I read to you, utterly fails of support in that very part of Scripture, where we should most naturally look for it, in the accounts of the conception and birth of Jesus.
Let us then trace on his history. Is supposable that an infinite God could be so joined to the soul of an infant and child, as not to have manifested his presence? Yet we hear nothing of it. The
next we hear of Jesus is at twelve years of age. Then he displayed an uncommon maturity of mind and knowledge of the Scriptures, but nothing that we can fix upon as miraculous. The mind of Jesus, I have no doubt, independently of all miraculous endowments, was of the highest order. Every thing about him seems to evince it. He was raised up by God for an especial purpose. He might then have been pre-eminently endowed. Much of the efficacy of his religion was to depend on the perfection of his character. He may therefore have had mental and moral powers far above those of mankind in general. What, or whether any miraculous action of God upon his mind previous to his baptism took place, we are not informed, or whether he had any intimation of the office he was to fill. One thing however is certain. That is recorded of him at twelve years of age, which is utterly inconsistent with the supposition that the second Person of the Trinity made a part of his person. "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” A person, who was already infinite in knowledge, could not increase in wisdom; and the second Person in the Godhead could hardly increase in favour with the whole Deity. If it be answered that it was the human nature, then we ask, what kind of a connection of two minds in one person that could be, or of what advantage, in which there was no communication between them, if one did not know what was known to the other.
We now come to the ministry of Jesus. We have hitherto detected not one particle of evidence of the incarnation of the second Person of the Trinity in him. During his ministry, it was to have been expected, that this Divine Person would have manifested himself, although he had not done so before. It was to have been expected, that it was for the sake of this ministry that he had become connected with the soul of Jesus. It was to have been expected, that this Divine Person, clothed with omniscience, and omnipotence, would have come forward to do and say those things, which belonged to the Messiah's office, but which were above the powers of humanity. We therefore examine his ministry, in order to discover, if we can, the agency of this Being.
We shall divide the ministry of Christ in this examination into what happened to him, what he did, and what he said.
We say, in the first place, that the events which happened to him are utterly inconsistent with the supposition, that the second Person of the Trinity dwelt in, and was united to his soul. Take for example, the events attending his baptism, and his induction into the Messiah's office. The Holy Spirit descended upon him. Something seems to have been communicated to him from above; not any thing called forth, which was in him before. Is it not a striking fact, that his miraculous character should have commenced from this period? Is it not strange, that the third Person of the Trinity should have been necessary to call into action the
dormant energies of the Second? A voice came from heaven, saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Could this whole transaction be intended to point him out as a Person of the Trinity to the Jews, who had not the least conception of any such division of God, or of any such Person; or was it to point out and designate him as the Messiah, by an appellation, which the Jews had long before appropriated to him whom they expected? Is "my well beloved Son" the manner in which one of the Persons of the Trinity would be expected to address another? But immediately after, we read, that "Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost, returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness." Now is it at all credible that Jesus, if the second Person of the Trinity made a part of him, should be filled and guided by the third? How are we then to have evidence of the fact of the incarnation of the second Person, "the very and eternal God," if at the very point in the life of Christ, where he is expected to act, no action or manifestation appears; and the Holy Spirit does all which he would have been expected to do? We read that he was tempted. Can omniscience and omnipotence be tempted? Angels ministered to him. Would he need their ministry were he God?
It is worth while to compare the account given here of the origin of Christ's miraculous powers, with that which was afterwards given by the Apostle Peter. "God," says he, "anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power." So