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sumption of this nature, that it never had any separate subsistence, independent of the Logos; but did then first subsist, and has ever since subsisted, in the Logos alone.' I say nothing of the silence of Scripture respecting the above arcana, though they are promulgated with as much confidence, as if he who thus ventures to deliver them on his own authority, had been a witness in the womb of Mary to the mysteries which he describes. He argues as if it were possible to assume human nature, without at the same time assuming man; for human nature, that is, the form of man in a material mould, wherever it exists, constitutes at once the proper and entire man, deficient in no part of his essence, not even (if the words have any meaning) in subsistence and personality. In reality, however, subsistence is the same as substantial existence; and personality is nothing but a word perverted from its proper use to patch up the threadbare theories of theologians. It is certain that the Logos was made that which he assumed; if then he assumed the human nature, not man, he was made not man, but the human nature; these two things being inseparable.
But before I proceed to demonstrate the weakness of the received opinion, it is necessary to explain the meaning of the three terms so frequently recurring, nature, person, and hypostasis, which last word is translated in Latin, substantia or subsistentia, substance or subsistence. Nature in the present instance can signify nothing, but either the actual essence or the properties of that essence. Since however these properties are inseparable from the essence, and the union of the natures is hypostatical not accidental, we must conclude that the term nature can here mean only the essence itself. Person is a metaphorical word, transferred from the stage to the schools of theology, signifying any one individual being, as the logicians express it; any intelligent ens, numerically one, whether God, or angel, or man. The Greek word hypostasis can signify nothing in the present case but what is expressed in Latin by substantia or subsistentia, substance or subsistence; that is to say, a perfect essence existing per se; whence it is generally put in opposition to merely accidents.
Hence the union of two natures in Christ must be considered as the mutual hypostatic union of two essences; for where there is a perfect substantial essence, there must also
be an hypostasis or subsistence, inasmuch as they are the same thing; so that one Christ, one ens, one person, is formed of this mutual hypostatic union of two natures or essences. For it is no more to be feared that the union of two hypostases should constitute two persons, than that the same consequence should result from the union of two natures, that is to say, of two essences. If however the human nature of Christ never had any proper and independent subsistence, or if the Son did not take upon himself that subsistence, it would have been no more possible for him to have been made very man, or even to have assumed the real and perfect substance or essence of man, than for the body of Christ to be present in the sacrament without quantity or local extinction, as the Papists assert. This indeed they explain by his divine power, their usual resort in such cases. It is however of no use to allege a divine power, the existence of which cannot be proved on divine authority. There is then in Christ a mutual hypostatic union of two natures, that is to say, of two essences, of two substances, and consequently of two persons; nor does this union prevent the respective properties of each from remaining individually distinct. That the fact is so, is sufficiently certain; the mode of union is unknown to us; and it is best to be ignorant of what God wills should remain unknown. If indeed it were allowable to define and determine with precision in mysteries of this kind, why should not our philosophical inquisitiveness lead us to inquire respecting the external form common to the two natures? For if the divine and human nature have coalesced in one person, that is to say, as my opponents themselves admit, in a reasonable being, numerically one, it follows that these two natures must have also coalesced in one external form, The consequence would be, either that the divine form must have been annihilated or blended with the human, which would be absurd, unless they were previously the same; or, vice versa, that the human must have been annihilated or blended with the divine, unless it exactly resembled the latter; or, which
8Those words.... .....are as much against plain equity and the mercy of religion, as those words of “take, eat, this is my body," elementally understood, are against nature and sense.' Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce. Prose Works, III. 248.
9 According to the Eutychian heresy. See p. 290, note 7.
is the only remaining alternative, Christ must be considered as having two forms.1 How much better is it for us to know merely that the Son of God, our Mediator, was made flesh, that he is called both God and Man, and is such in reality; which is expressed in Greek by the single and appropriate term OrávopwTos. Since however God has not revealed the mode in which this union is effected, it behoves us to cease from devising subtle explanations, and to be contented with remaining wisely ignorant.
It may however be observed, that the opinion here given respecting the hypostatic union agrees with what was advanced relative to the Son of God in the fifth chapter, namely, that his essence is not the same with that of the Father; for if it were the same, it could not have coalesced in one person with man, unless the Father were also included in the same union, nay, unless man became one person with the Father as well as with the Son; which is impossible.
The reasons, therefore, which are given to prove that he who was made flesh must necessarily be the supreme God, may safely be dismissed. It is urged, first, from Heb. vii. 26, 27. that "such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens." These words, however, do not even prove that he is God, much less that it was necessary that he should be so; not to mention, that he is holy, not only as God but as man conceived of the Holy Spirit by the power of the Most High; nor is he said to be higher than the heavens, but to be "made higher than the heavens." Again, what is said of him, v. 24. "he continueth ever," is a property which he has in common with both men and angels; nor does it follow that he is God, because "he is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him," v. 25. Lastly, "the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore." v. 28. so that he is not on this account necessarily God. Besides, Scripture nowhere teaches that none but God is able to approach God, to take away sin, to fulfil the law, to endure and vanquish the anger of God, the power of Satan, temporal as well as eternal death, in a word, to restore to us the blessings which we had lost; but
1 According to the Nestorian heresy. See p. 290, note 7.
it teaches that he has power to effect this "to whom the Father has given it," that is to say, the beloved Son of God, in whom he has himself testified that he is well pleased.
That Christ therefore, since his assumption of human flesh, remains one Christ, is a matter of faith; whether he retains his two-fold will and understanding, is a point respecting. which, as Scripture is silent, we are not concerned to inquire. For after having emptied himself," he might "increase in wisdom," Luke ii. 52. by means of the understanding which he previously possessed, and might "know all things," John xxi. 17. namely, through the teaching of the Father, as he himself acknowledged. Nor is this twofold will implied in the single passage Matt. xxvi. 39. "not as I will, but as thou wilt," unless he be the same with the Father, which, as has been already shown, cannot be admitted.
That Christ was very man, is evident from his having a body, Luke xxiv. 39. "a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have," a soul, Mark x. 45. "that he might give his life (animam, his soul) a ransom for many;" xiv. 34. " my soul is exceedingly sorrowful unto death ;" and a spirit, Luke xxiii. 46. "into thy hands I commend my spirit.' It is true that God attributes to himself also a soul and spirit; but there are reasons most distinctly assigned in Scripture, why Christ should be very man. 1 Cor. xv. 21. "for since by
.he that dwelt above
High thron'd in secret bliss, for us frail dust
Ode on the Circumcision, 18. Newton remarks that the expression is taken from Philipp. ii. 7. though not as in our translation, he made himself of no reputation, but as it is in the original, ἑαυτόν ἐκένωσε·
.now by some strong motion I am led
Several of the expressions in the soliloquy from which these lines are extracted are founded on the supposition, that Christ was not possessed of all the knowledge which his human nature was capable of receiving by virtue of the union of the two natures, and from the first moment of that union. See the authorities by which this opinion is supported, in the note on the above passage in Dr. Hawkins's edition of Milton's poetical works.
man came death, by man came also the ressurection of the dead." Heb. ii. 14. "forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same, that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil." v. 17. "wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest." v. 18. "for in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted." iv. 15. "we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities." v. 2. "who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity." Finally, God would not accept any other sacrifice, inasmuch as any other would have been less worthy. Heb. x. 5. "sacrifice thou wouldst not, but a body hast thou prepared me." viii. 3. "it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer." ix. 22. "without shedding of blood is no remission."
Inasmuch, however, as the two natures constitute one Christ, certain particulars appear to be predicated of him absolutely, which properly apply to one of his natures. This is what is called communicatio idiomatum or proprietatum,* where by the customary forms of language what is peculiar to one of two natures is attributed to both jointly. John iii. 13. "he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man, which is in heaven." viii. 58. "before Abraham was, I am.' Accordingly, these and similar passages, wherever they occur, are to be understood xar' λño xai aλλo, as theologians express it; (for in speaking of Christ the proper expression is not ἄλλος καὶ ἄλλος, but ἄλλο καὶ ἄλλο, inasmuch as it refers, not to himself, but to his person, or in other words, his office of mediator for as to the subject of his two natures, it is too profound a mystery, in my judgment at least, to warrant any positive assertion respecting it).
It sometimes happens, on the other hand, that what properly belongs to the compound nature of Christ, is attributed to one of his natures only, 1 Tim. ii. 5. “ one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." Now he is not mediator inasmuch as he is man, but inasmuch as he is Θεάνθρωπος.
· 4 αντίδοσις ἰδιωμάτων, the communication of the properties.