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offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me." Observe here again as before, a body, not a person, it never had been a person, but a complete, entire human nature, consisting of body, soul, and spirit.
For thus we read, speaking of God manifest in the flesh, "Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren; and forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same," Heb. ii. 14, 17. So that this body, prepared by God the Father, our complete nature, but not a person, was assumed by God the Son in the moment of the incarnation, and thus we are taught how each glorious person took part in this mysterious transaction!
But we must not stop here. Of the Son of God it is said, that in this assumption (which let it be remembered was his own personal act, and consequently full proof of his Godhead) it was our nature he assumed, and not any other. For thus we read, "For verily he took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham," Heb. ii. 16. Here observe again what the Son of God is said to have taken, namely, "the seed of Abraham." Not a person from among the children of Abraham, but the seed of Abraham: thus in exact correspondence to the former statement of a body, an entire whole human body, but which never had personality being only the seed of Abraham. Had it been a person then taken into union with the personal Godhead of Christ, there would have been two persons in Immanuel, which would have been not only foreign to divine truth, but repugnant to common sense and reason.
Neither do we stop here. For as in this stupendous work we are taught to behold the agency of the Father and of the Son; so no less the Holy Ghost is express in teaching the church the precise statement of time
when this gracious act of the incarnation was accomplished. For thus we read, "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son made of a woman," Gal. iv. 4. ," Gal. iv. 4. Observe, "the fulness of the time," not a moment before could it have been accomplished, neither a moment after. In the precise period all along determined from all eternity, that "holy thing," not a person, was to be miraculously brought forth; and the self-same moment was to be assumed by this one glorious person of our most glorious Lord, in the Godhead of his divine nature, and by the union of our nature, in a complete subsistence of humanity with the divine nature, thus become unitedly one glorious Almighty Person, "Emanuel, God with us," God in our flesh!
I stay not to enter into the stupendous subject of the infinite and eternal causes connected with this mystery of godliness, and for which "the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us," John i. 14. I am now confining myself to the subject of the incarnation simply as it is in itself. I am wholly looking to the divine statement which God the Holy Ghost himself hath given of this mystery of mysteries; and under the sanction of his almighty authority, I am constrained to conclude, that there never was nor ever can be any other Immanuel than our most glorious Christ: for unless a similar process was to take place (which is utterly impossible) of one of the persons in the Godhead assuming a portion and not a person of our nature as he did, into union with the divine, there cannot be another. He was, and is, and eternally will be, Immanuel, God and man in one person. The Almighty name of Emanuel therefore is solely his; and as incommunicable to any other, as is the incommunicable name of Jehovah, which never hath been, nor ever can be assumed by or applied to any creature, being the distinguishing character of Godhead, implying self-existence,
eternity, independence, underived, and alike belonging to the whole persons in the Godhead!
I am at a loss to conceive the meaning of our author's expressions; when speaking of the church, he saith, What I intend chiefly to investigate, and I hope scripturally to establish, that the regenerate church, in conjunction with her glorious head, is really and essentially Immanuel.' (page 7.) He cannot reason by analogy, or shew the smallest conformity on this ground between the head and the members. Christ, as hath been shewn by the divine statement of God the Holy Ghost, took not the person but the nature of his people; for that "holy thing" was not a person; but we are identified as persons; and every individual of Christ's mystical body when chosen by the Father in Christ before the world is said to have been identified, and "their names written in the book of life." And so well known are their persons, that it is said when the flocks come to be made up, they "shall all pass again every one under the hands of him that telleth them, saith the Lord!" Jerem. xxxiii. 13.
Here, then, if we are to be Immanuel, it cannot be in any way or manner similar to our Lord. I cannot for a moment suppose our author means that that identity of our persons will undergo a change; much less that the identity will be lost, or a double person be in each, for what he calls our being essentially Immanuel: for in that case, what becomes of the beautiful symmetry in Christ's body his church? And how are we ultimately to come "in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ?" Eph. iv. 13. But I prosecute the subject no further. I bless God, "that I have not so learned Christ!"
Brethren, it is with me a matter of grave consideration. But I am constrained to say, that every hour I
live serves but to convince me more and more, that the person of our most glorious Christ is not generally known among his people, in his own inherent, essential, eternal, underived, and self-existing power and Godhead, which he possesseth in common with the Father and the Holy Ghost, of all divine attributes and perfections. And if his own infinite and eternal excellencies be not known, it is impossible that his headship and suretyship to the church can be apprehended. To this one source may be traced, in the varied and multiplied forms of it, every instance of departure "from the faith once delivered unto the saints."
I need not go about to establish a truth which forms the basis of the whole church: neither need I insist upon a doctrine which is all over the bible: to you, as a spiritual church of Christ, it is enough to refer you to those numberless portions in the word of God, where the glorious incommunicable name of Jehovah is equally and alike applied to Jehovah, in his Trinity of Persons and unity of essence. And as this glorious name (as hath been before observed, and never can be too often observed) expresseth self-existence, independent and underived essence and being; nothing can more highly prove the perfect equality which the Holy Three in One possess together, in all that constitutes eternal power and Godhead: so that, when by this mysterious union of God and man in one Person, we behold one of the Holy Three coming forth from his invisibility, to make a special revelation of the eternal purpose, counsel, will, and pleasure of Jehovah, in making known the riches of grace to the church; all that humiliation we behold in him, while we keep in view his own eternal dignity, doth not lessen an iota of what he is in himself. And wherefore? because the indwelling Godhead is in all! So that every act, every deed, yea, every word, every thought is infinite, because he himself is infinite! Suppose therefore, brethren, that the
spiritual church of the living God was thus taught, thus lived upon, and thus daily acted faith upon the whole persons in the Godhead; what idolatry could creep in to corrupt the truth as it is in Jesus? But bear with me while I say, to what church or chapel shall we now look where the tang of unbelief concerning the person of our most glorious Christ, hath not tainted more or less the whole lump? Oh! what blessed times were those, when the fathers of the old church never failed to conclude in one, the whole purposes of the Godhead manifested in the person of Christ. There is a savour of his name, which as the church said, "is as the ointment poured forth," Song i. 3. And the expression one of the fathers made upon this occasion, when reading John xvi. 14, 15, is striking; he called it sacratissimus consessus Trinitatis! the most sacred sitting of the Trinity!
Brethren, farewell! "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen."
Charles, Plymouth, Feb. 8, 1826.