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And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren: If it be said that this question, and the doctrine of Christs person, was settled authoritatively by the councils of the fourth and fifth centuries, when the various heresies concerning it were eliminated and proscribed, and the whole truth defined and circumscribed by logical boundaries, yet, like many other questions, it will not day settled, but rises ever and anon, like Hamlets ghost, after being quietly inurned, inviting and demanding reinvestigation.
There are reasons why this question could not be finally settled in the earlier ages, besides the skeptical tendency which is more or less rife in all ages.
The science of man, to say nothing of the science of God or Christian theology, has been advancing. The man of modern anthropology is not pre- cisely the man of Plato and Aristotle, any more than the cos- nios of modern science is the same cosmos which ilipparchus and Ptolemy understood.
And this very advance is owing, in no small degree, to the new light which Christianity or the ideal humanity revealed in Christ has contributed.
Christ is himself the key to a true interpretation and science of man, as he is the type of a true and perfect manhood. And just as the key which unlocked the mysteries and motions of the starry universe was seized by Newton, in connection with new discoveries which it alone could explain, so a deeper and truer knowledge of the person of Christ is to be understood, if at all, only in connection with a deeper and truer knowledge of man, of which he is the divine head and type.
In attempting one more reply to this greatest of all ques. Rather do we feel that it were more befit- ting the writer, and more honoring to the Redeemer, to be si- lent and adore with the humblest disciple, than to contend and argue with the ablest.
Let us first glance at some of the existing beliefs and theo- ries respecting Christ, as preparatory to the true doctrine. He is both the Son of God and the Son of Man. The most prominent and prevailing theory is the common orthodox belief of two natures and one person, meaning by two natures two distinct subsistences, one the Logos, or di- vine nature, the other a human nature, consisting of a physical body and a reasonable soul; and all included in a metaphysi- cal unity called a person.
The theoretical objections to the duality of Christs spiritual nature, or the doctrine that he had two distinct souls, a divine and a human, are too obvious to need anything more than a statement of them.
We are aware that a need for a human soul in Christ is found, or thought to be found, and also a seeming warrant for it in Scripture, in those passages which set forth most dis- tinetly his humanity, his perfect likeness to his human breth- ren, his growth in wisdom, his dependence, weakness, suffer- ing and temptation, and other distinctively human traits and attributes.
But these, as we propose to show, may be better explained on the supposition of one spiritual nature, than of two. But the practical obj ections to the theory in question are more weighty than those of reason. By this theory of a dis- tinct human soul, the divine and human in Christ are practi- cally separated; a man is as it were, thrust between our faith and the being we worship.
In approaching this divine per- son,whom we profess and believe to be divine,it is not the divinity, but the humanity, of Christ, that we really ap- proach. The divine is still separated from us by the interven- tion of a human soul.
The love and sympathy of Christ to- wards men is not the very love of God, or of the divine heart, but of a human heart in union or conjunction with the di- vine. The love of God can only be inferred from, not felt and seen in, the love of Jesus.
And so the suffering of Christ and his atoning death is not divine suffering and expresses not the real feeling of God, but only of a man, or a human na- ture l earing certain relations to God; and so the very mean- ing and vitality of the atonement, as a divine self -sacrif ce, is lost out of it.
As a reaction from this unsatisfactory, and, at best, clumsy theory of the person of Christ, there is the simpler, and, to some, more satisfying theory, recently revived by a distin- guished preacher of our own countryof one nature in Christ, or the Divine Soul manifested in a human body.
This avoids 18 But the chief objection to this view is, that it denies, or seems to deny, the real and essential humanity of Christ, since it makes his humanity to consist only in the outward and bodily form of man, and thus makes him human only in appear- ance, and not in reality.
Christ, it is affirmed and truly, must be both God and man, in the truest and most real sense, in order to realize the true idea of his. A belief in Christs real and proper humanity is funda- mental to any true conception of his person or work.
From these opposite and unsatisfying theories let us now turn for relief and guidance to the words of inspiration, where the true doctrine, if anywhere, is containedcould we but penetrate their deep and comprehensive import.
If we inquire, Who was Christ? What was his real and essential nature? Whatever is here meant by the Word, it is manifestly a divine person.
Christ was truly and properly divine, and that in the highest sense, without qualification or subtraction. What is the Scripture doctrine of the Incarna- tion? The same authority answers: A nd the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
The doctrine is, not that the Divine Word was united to a man, however close and intimate the conjunction. Not of any man interposed between this divine person and ourselves, but the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
If we inquire still further concerning the humanity of Christ, how far humanity can be predicated of Him who is essential Deity; was his humanity real and complete, or only outward and partial? The answer given by inspiration seems equally explicit: Jim all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethreii, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest.Giovanni Duncan from Pueblo was looking for Violence: A Learned Behavior Grayson Roberts found the answer to a search query Violence: A Learned.
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