Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

God,” on the one hand, and as the “Son of man,” on the other. It may

be a susficient answer to this, to say, that in all cases where such phraseology is made use of, the distinction is more formal than real; and that the general reason why even the appearance of such a distinction is made at all, lay in the necessity, on the part of the inspired writers, to accommodate themselves as far as possible, to the capacities of the human mind. In those cases, however, where Christ is spoken of in his official capacity, as the Saviour, such a distinction is never even intimated in the most distant form, He is always regarded in the integrity of his person, as uniting the two in one, in a real and vital way: the “Son of God” and the “Son of man” become one Saviour-Immanuel, God with us.

This union of the two natures, constituting the person of Christ, holds in the form of the Theanthropic Life, i. e., a life resulting from the union of the divine and human natures in his person, which contains the legitimate elements of both under the most real and vital form. “I am that bread of life.” Now this life, although it contains the real elements of his humanity, as well as his divinity, is not by any means, on that account, an object for the senses, but for the faith, of men. It exists in the person of Christ now just as really as in the days of his flesh; for his union with our human nature, in the sense already explained, was not effected merely for the purpose of enabling him to accomplish a saving act upon the cross, but of carrying forward the redemption in a real way within us, by a continued impartation of himself to us, until, being filled with his nature, we shall be borne, by its own innate and heavenward tendency, to himself at the right hand of God.

It is to be deeply lamented that the resurrection and ascension of Christ, should seem to make it necessary in the faith of many, that his humanity, as such, can, in no real way, be looked upon as present in the world. In the generic form of that humanity, as now explained, his resurrection and ascension imply no such necessity; but rather, in the clearest way conceivable, constitute the condition only of its presence under a deeper and more vital form.

Being then, by the nature of his person, a real Divine-Human Saviour now, as much so as he was in the days of his flesh, the question is, under what form is this true ?

1. We answer, in the first place, and say under the form of Spirit. “ The words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit." We have already said, that the Jews understood the Saviour in his discourse, as referring to his humanity. In this they certainly understood him correctly. Their only fault, in this respect, was, that they regarded him as referring to his human nature under too coarse and gross a form-as literal flesh, blood, &c. This understanding, or rather, misunderstanding, he designed to correct by the use of the term “Spirit.” We certainly may discover a polemic opposition in this term, to the carnal apprehension of his person. While the humanity which is assumed in the incarnation, is ever most vitally connected with it so as to be part and parcel of its true nature. yet it is never to be regarded in a gross, materialistic sense. In the case of a mere man, as they regarded him, this perhaps, was the highest form in which “flesh,” as such, could be viewed, at least by them. But now, connecting with the power of the godhead which resided permanently in his person, and which stood in vital union with his humanity, rendering the whole divinely transparent, it was not to be apprehended in that low, coarse sense, but as elevated, and spiritualized. The flesh of Christ, as begotten by the Holy Ghost, and as rising generically into, and uniting with, his divine life, becomes itself a TvSU JUTIKOV ; so that whilst all its attributes, holding only in time and space, are left behind, its inward power comprehending all that is real and necessary as the germ of an actual humanity, remains permanently and forever linked with his person. Were the human nature of Christ not thus taken up into the divine by the power of the Holy Ghost, and penetrated and spiritualized, it would indeed profit nothing, as, in that case, we should lack the evidence of a proper and necessary union of it with the divine; for the most satisfactory proof of the vital union of the two, lies in the fact, which we here discover, that the one is conditioned by the other, and yet not in

:

such a way as to destroy any essential and necessary quality that may attach to either. . « It is the Spirit that quickeneth” the human-raises it into its proper sphere as human; it does not destroy or ignore it, but infuses it with its own proper vitality as human, and not as spirit.

There is then a deeper sense to be attached to the discourse of Christ, in its reference to his humanity, than that caught up by his hearers upon this occasion : and this undercurrent of thought and doctrine is not confined to his teaching in this instance merely, but underlies, as we have reason to believe, all the discourses that fell from his lips. Whilst this fact is generally conceded, the tendency seems to be equally general, to seize hold of the inward sense as purely spiritual, or visionary, (for it amounts to just that in the end) and array it against the outward as carnal. Why may not the inward, by the power of the Holy Ghost, contain all the reality of the outward ? This view admits of no contrariety or contradiction, and prepares the way for a complete reconciliation—the inward is the outward really in all respects in which this last appeals to the senses, only under a deeper and more powerful form. It is in this way that our faith is assisted in the higher and mysterious realities of our holy religion. “ The letter” (that is, the literal or gross sense) “ killeth, but the Spirit,” (i. e., the higher or more spiritual sense) “maketh alive.” The humanity in the person of Christ then, holds in the form of the Spirit, as opposed to the carnal, or gross view of flesh.

2. This human nature, is said still further, to exist in the person of Christ under the form of life. We may not regard this term as containing the same thought and nothing more, that was contained in the other. There is a shade of difference. It is an advance upon the former. The term “Spirit"

Spiritual,” which thc Saviour applied to the doctrine which the Jews had understood in its “carnal” sense, seemed co be the very utmost limits of two extremes, capable of no real connection. We have not explained it thus, because this is not the true sense in fact; but would it not appear so to the mind he was now addressing? Occupying, as they did, the

[ocr errors]

or

carnal side of the extreme, how natural would it be for them to seize the Saviour's intimation and fly to the opposite; and, under the form of “Spirit,” exclude the idea of humanity altogether? Hence the propriety of introducing a middle term which may fix and hold the human nature in its proper place, and make it real, notwithstanding it is taken up into the sphere of the spiritual. For this purpose the term "life" is used as explanatory of the term Spirit; and the term is well selected. “ The words that I speak unto you, they are life.” The Spirit is conditioned by the Life.

This term is applicable, properly, only to the union of the two natures in the person of Christ. It is the word definitely in which they come to their propor union, and become suffused with active power respectively to accomplish in a joint way, the great work of human salvation. By the term life, he would have them to understand that in the constitution of his person, as the Saviour of man, his humanity forms a necessary factor, not merely under the form of Spirit, that is, of Spirit in such a sense as to exclude its reality, and thus leave a mere Gnostic show or an unsubstantial picture, but as a real life, or life-fact; as if he had said, “Because I say that the humanity, forming part of my person, does not exist in the gross form of flesh, as you understand me to mean, do not, therefore, say that it does not exist there at all, save as a picture, a fancy, an abstraction. By avoiding one extreme, do not run into another; for both are equally dangerous."

The fact that we have an everliving Divine-Human Saviour is every where taught in the New Testament. “We have not an high priest who is passed into the heavens that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; for he was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."

There is a universal tendency in the human mind to look upon that which is spiritual as opposed radically to that which is human. It seems to see no relation between them-no inward and real adaptation for each other-no common ground on which they can meet and unite in a vital and free way. This is Gnosticism-Rationalism. It leaves no room for a real, vital

a

union of the human to the person of Christ—it exists only in appearance; or if the union was real, it was constrained, and continued only through the short period of his earthly life, and was then glorified into an abstraction.

The tendency thus to think and feel is the result of the divorce of these two factors of existence in our own persons by the power of sin. "It was not so from the beginning.” This divorce in our persons constituted the very destruction in which we lay as helpless sinners, and from which we were calling to be delivered. In Christ was our help, because it was in him that the human and the divine again met inwardly and vitally : and thus the way became opened really for their meeting again in our persons. Thus the body, as well as the soul, is made the subject of his salvation. How, we may ask, were this possible in any real way, if there were no capacity in the body for the spiritual and divine ? But now we see that the very body, by the power of Christ's divine-human life, is made thus to possess a germ of spiritual life which will finally raise it from the grave of decay, and bring it forth in the glory of the resurrection body, without the destruction of any one constituent element of its nature as human. “Because I live, ye shall live also."

I The conclusion then of the whole matter, as touching the person of Christ, is, that it comprehends the divine and human natures in the form of the most real though spiritual life—the only life competent to raise the world from the death of sin to the life of holiness; that He, constituting as he does, by his incarnation, the real centre of the world under all its forms, has most fully opened the way for a real communication between heaven and earth ; so that in his person-world embracing as it is, the power is comprehended, by which the whole creation, groaning and travailing in pain from centre to circumference, as well as the human which groans within itself, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of its whole being, body and soul, may be raised from thc dreadful death of sin, and brought back to the life of God. This, and nothing short of this, is the significance of the person of Christ as the principle of real, spiritual and eternal life.

« AnteriorContinuar »