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subsist in the Lord Jesus Christ as Head over his mystical body the church, and in the mystical body itself in all its different members, and in these members towards Christ, is a subject of inquiry which naturally arises out of the understanding that such is the fulness and end of all things. It is, too, an inquiry which, if successfully pursued, will open the glory of God in creation and providence, and cast over the scenes of this transient state a brilliant and enlivening ray. The knowledge of the relation which all things now bear to Christ, and which will be perfected in his fulness, is adapted to lead the mind from “nature up to nature's God," and impress upon all things a language of praise and thanksgiving. This it'is which will lead to the practical application of the great truth we have been eliciting, and will abundantly answer all cavillers, who question to what end serveth it, by shewing that it bears a continual testimony to God, through every variety of being and of circumstance; and gives to the humble-minded Christian an insight into the reason why those things which appear dark and grievous are so, and will lead him to discern the glory which God has in them. This part of the inquiry must, however, necessarily be deferred, until the language of Scripture, literal and figurative, has been considered.
23. Thus far we may, however, without further inquiry, assure ourselves ? That the end of all things in this fulness will be the perfected form of all created things. We have seen that the purpose to be answered by this fulness is God-manifestation. It is clear, then, that this perfected form of all created things will be the perfect manifestation of the assumed relations of the Eternal Trinity; and that this manifestation of the assumed relations will necessarily manifest the essential relations before spoken of.
24. Whatsoever difficulties, therefore, may exist, and whatsoever errors appear, in the attempt to open the relations and proportions of this headship and mystical body, we have no difficulty, and are in no danger of mistake, in holding fast the purpose which they are ordained to answer. We cannot in any way affect the glorious truth, which will constantly break in upon our meditation, That all creation leadeth to new creation ; new creation, to the manifestation of the Son as Head over all things, dwelt in of the Father, through the Holy Ghost; and this manifestation, to the shewing forth the glorious and ineffable Being of God, Trinity in Unity, Self-existing, and All in all; the eternal and only Substance and Reality, of which even new creation itself is but the shadow.
ON THE TRUE HUMANITY OF CHRIST.
To the Editor of the Morning Watch. It grieves me every day to find how unsound is the faith of many, how insecure and unsteady the faith of almost all, in the true humanity of Christ: for true humanity I must call it, because, though we know that humanity both hath existed and shall exist under a different condition than that in which it now is, and in all persons whatever hath hitherto been found, such states and conditions of it are true only as objects of faith and hope; not at all as objects of knowledge or experience. If it be said, that our Lord's human nature differed in any of its properties from ours—that it was as Adam's before it fell; or as ours shall be in the resurrection, immortal and incorruptible; or in any condition intermediate between these two, different from this fallen condition in which flesh ever hath been found, from the first man down to this present generation of men--then that may be called a supposititious or hypothetical, an imaginary humanity; but the humanity which I understand and know, it is not. It is something different from any thing which now existeth. It is a thing of whose existence I have not the knowledge or the experience. It is something new, strange, and unknown. A good enough subject, haply, for speculation and fancy; a subject also for faith, if it be the resurrection-humanity ; but even in that case no subject for knowledge, because it is distinctly said, “ We know not what we shall be.”
Now, believing beyond a doubt that the eternal Son of God, in taking human nature, did as truly and literally take it of the Virgin's substance as he took his Divine nature before all worlds of the Father's substance; and that the properties of his mother's substance, body and soul, were as much the properties of Christ's human nature, considered in itself, without reference to the work wrought in it by the Holy Ghost, as the properties of his Divine nature were the same with the properties of the Eternal Father ; I am, in the first place, grieved and cut to the heart to see the foundation of the orthodox faith overthrown; and I would rather die many times, than not testify against such a subversion. If, indeed, we made Christ a sinner, then all creeds were at an end, and all churches; and we were worthy to die the death of blasphemers, to be stoned by the multitude in the open face of day. But that is out of the question : only railers can utter it, only fools can take it in. In the next place, I believe that my Lord did come down, and toil and sweat, and travail, in exceeding great sorrow, in this mass of iniquity with which I and every sinful man are oppressed ; that this was his great work of humiliation and suffering: and, believing this, I were found a most unworthy and unfaithful witness to what he did for me, and for all the world, did I not repudiate and resist those who cut his work short, and exhibit it as some holiday enjoyment, or incomprehensible action, instead of a comprehensible self-inflicted degradation, for the end of meeting sin in its own strong-hold, and redeeming both soul and body from its dominion.
In these overwhelming feelings of my soul for the honour of the Lord my Saviour, and for the only one faith of the church, I forget, and am not willing for a moment to speak of, the indignities which I have suffered from some of my brethren in the church, who should both have known the truth better, and believed better of me their brother, As to the blame of those who are sectaries and schismatics; who have forsaken the orthodox churches wherein they were baptized, and fight against themi (I mean, the Coles and the Haldanes); I count their opposition an honour to me: forasmuch as they have been found opposed to the truth, and to the church, the pillar and ground of the truth. They are to me as heathen men and publicans; and that they should oppose the orthodox faith is no wonder, although it be a grief to me that they should be found in the condition of excommunicated persons, whom I do desire to reclaim and recover, and would fain lend my help thereto. But, leaving all these, as private and personal matters, not to be brought forward in great questions of universal concernment, I proceed to do my part, according to my gift, for the common weal of the body of Christ.
Weighing with myself what I hear, and diligently perusing what is written, against this great head of orthodox doctrine, and being most desirous to convince the wavering, it seems to me that the best method of viewing the subject at present is, First, to begin with some explanation or exposition of the true doctrine ; Secondly, to open the subject of the miraculous conception, in the mystery of which many worthy people seem to lose themselves; Thirdly, to shew its bearing upon
the subject of the atonement, which many pious people seem to think is overthrown by it altogether; and to conclude with some endeavour to restore those who have been brought into a wavering state, by the violent and indiscriminate attacks which the truth hath been assailed with in these most ignorant days. And now, may the Lord, whose perilous work in flesh I am defending; and that God, the glory of whose grace I am maintaining, help me with all gravity and love to unfold this matter to the church !
1. To know and to understand how the Son of God took sinful Alesh and yet was sinless, this is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the ending, of orthodox theology. There is not a hint in all Scripture of any change that passed upon Christ's flesh in its conception, or at any other time anterior to the resurrection, so as that it should not be flesh of our flesh-flesh of the same kind with that of the brethren-and, therefore, there is not the shadow of a reason in all Scripture for such a supposition. It is worse than idle to quote to this effect Rom. viii. 3, where it is said, “In the likeness of sinful flesh;" when in Phil. ii. 7 it is said, · He was made in the likeness of men;" and in Heb. iii. 17 it is said, “ In all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren;" and in Gen. v. 3 it is said, “ Adam begat a son in his own likeness ;” and I may say, every where in Scripture the same word is used in the same sense. I say then it is worse than idle, it is dishonest, to make Rom. viii. 3 speak the very opposite of what the words of the Apostle bear. His words are, That the Law, which in itself is holy and just and good, could not work in us holiness, because of the weakness of the flesh, which weakness is its essential nature as under the Law; therefore God sent his own son in the likeness of it (-As Cain was in Adam's likeness, and as Adam was originally in God's likeness, so the Son of God came in likeness of sinful Alesh)—and for sin-sabout sin; sin was the object he came about-namely, to put it away out of flesh altogether; and having met it, and encountered it in flesh, he did extirpate it and exclude it thence)-he condemned the sin in the flesh. And having done this in his life, he entered into glory in flesh free from sin, and consequently free from death and free from corruption; and, being endued with the Spirit of the life, he sheds life abroad into his people, and constitutes in them a law of the Spirit, which makes them free from the law of the flesh, which is the law of sin and death.—This passage being taken out of injurious hands, I ask in all Scripture for a hint, or the shadow of a reason, to induce us to believe that Christ's flesh was different from ours. And, on the other hand, I say, that every passage of Scripture which declares Christ to have come in the flesh, which declareth the Word to be made flesh, which declareth God to be manifested in the flesh, is a proof total and complete that he came in sinful flesh. For what is the meaning of flesh in Scripture? Is it not the sinful, mortal, corruptible, fleeting thing, of which it is said,
" all flesh is
grass; ;" of which it is said, “ the flesh warreth against the spirit;" of which it is said " in it (in the flesh) dwelleth no good thing ?” If, then, it be said that Christ came in Alesh, who shall dare to interpret that word, “ flesh,” otherwise than all Scripture doth interpret it? who shall interpret it otherwise than sinful flesh? What would they say if I were to allege, that because it is merely said Christ came into the world, and not into the sinful world, it was not a sinful world into which he came? Now, with what constancy the world and the earth are represented as full of sin, with that constancy is flesh also so represented. And if it be said, that “every spirit that con
fesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God," and "this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come, and even now is already in the world,” what shall we say of those hordes of sectaries who have risen up around us, and proclaim, in their several slanderous publications, that it is a heresy that Jesus Christ came in sinful Alesh? I say
of them, what St. John saith in his Second Epistle, ver. 7: “Many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh: this is a deceiver, and an antichrist.” And the rule which, by the blessing of God, I will observe towards all such men, is contained in the 10th and 11th verses of the same chapter : “ If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed : for he that biddeth him God speed, is partaker of his evil deeds.” This injunction I consider as laid upon all Christians, towards all preachers who will not confess that Jesus Christ is come in flesh.
I cannot find even the shadow of a reason for this fearful delusion. Certain it is he was “ made of a woman 7): his substance, then, was woman's flesh, and that is sinful. Certainly he was made of the seed of David according to the flesh (Rom. i. 3), and the seed of David is sinful. Certainly he apprehended not the angels, but the seed of Abraham he apprehended (Heb. ii. 16); and the seed of Abraham is sinful. Certainly he was “made under the law” (Gal. iv. 4); and the law is not for a righteous thing, but for a sinful thing : “ By the law is the knowledge of sin.” Certainly he was in the state of knowing both good and evil; and that is the state under the Fall, and not above it. Certainly he was mortal ; for to this end took he flesh and blood with the brethren, “ that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death ;” and mortality doth not belong to a sinless, but a sinful substance. Certainly “ he was made sin for us, who knew no sin.” Certainly he bare our sins, and carried our diseases; which belong not to the human nature above the Fall, but under the Falí. Certainly " he was tempted in all points like as we are,” which Adam verily was not. Certainly there was a will in him which he contradistinguisheth from the will of the Father; and which, I say, was the will of the flesh ; which in itself is contrary to the will of the Father, but which he ever overruled to the obedience of the Father's will. Certainly he suffered ; certainly he was agonized; certainly he was made perfect by suffering; certainly be lifted up supplications, with strong cryings and tears, to be delivered from death. Certainly he hath shewn us an ensample, that we should follow his steps. Certainly the crucifixion of his flesh was the crucifixion of our flesh : " we are crucified with him.” Certainly the resurrection of his flesh was