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tized of him, “John forbade him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering, said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness." “ It becometh us," that is, it becometh me as well as others, to fulfil all righteousness, by universal obedience to the divine commands. And this he more expressly declared in his sermon on the mount. 66 Think not that I come to destroy the law or the prophets : I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” And again he said, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” No law, whether human or divine, can bind any but those to whom it is given. So the apostle declares with respect to the divine law.
" What thing soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law.” If Christ had not been man, he could not have been made under the law to man. But he was made under the law to man, which demonstrates that he was really man. I must add,
3. That Christ was placed, like all other men, in a state of probation from his birth to his death. His own eternal happiness, as well as the eternal happiness of mankind, was suspended upon his entire, constant and persevering obedience through life. If he had failed in one point, he would have forfeited the divine favor, defeated the great design he came to ac: complish, and plunged himself in hopeless ruin. Disobedience in him would have been far more criminal than disobedience in any other man, and would have drawn after it far more fatal consequences.
This is what is meant by his being in a state of probation. For any person is strictly and properly in a state of probation, when future good or evil is suspended upon his future conduct. Thus Solomon placed Shimei in a state of probation, when he suspended his life or death upon the condition of his keeping within, or going beyond, the bounds he had set him. So God the Father made great and precious promises to Christ, upon the condition of his perfect faithfulness in performing the work of redemption; and such conditional promises of good placed him in a state of probation, in respect to his future conduct. His Father promised, in the forty-second of Isaiah, to strengthen and uphold him in his great and arduous mediatorial work. “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect in whom my soul delighteth: I have put my Spirit upon him; he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench : he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail, nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law. Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein; I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant to the people, for a light to the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.” In the fifty-third chapter of this prophecy, the Father promises to reward him for his obedience and sufferings. After representing God as bruising and grieving him, by making his soul an offering for sin, the prophet introduces the Father as saying, “ Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great; and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death, and was numbered among the transgressors." This was the joy set before Christ, for which he endured the cross and despised the shame. Accordingly, just before his death, he claimed the fulfilment of the promises which his Father had made to him upon condition of his perfect and persevering obedience. He says to him, “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self; with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." This promise the apostle tells us the Father has actually fulfilled. He says, “ Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Thus God the Father treated Christ as having been perfectly faithful through his whole probationary state. Besides, it is expressly said that Christ was placed in a state of probation, to qualify him for his mediatorial work. The apostle, in his epistle to the Hebrews, says, "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. - For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted." Accordingly we find that Christ actually passed through the most fiery trials. He was tried in the wilderness by Satan, who offered him the whole world if he would only worship him. He was tried by his enemies. He was tried by his disciples. He was tried in the garden. He was tried before the tribunal of Pilate. And he was still more severely tried on the cross. He was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief from his birth to his death. Thus it appears that Christ was really man, as he had a human body, a human soul, and a dependent nature, and was made under law, and placed in a state of dependence and probation. The inspired writers have given us as clear, as full, and as positive evidence of the humanity of Christ, as of any truth or fact they have recorded concerning any man they have mentioned.
I now proceed to improve the subject.
1. If Christ was really man, then the Arian notion of his preëxistence before he came into the world is entirely unscriptural and absurd. The Arians suppose that Christ was the first and noblest of created beings, and existed before the foundation of the world. They suppose that this preëxistent spirit was united with the body of Christ, and supplied the place of a human soul, and enabled Christ to do and suffer all that he did and suffered to perform the part of a Mediator and Redeemer. And upon this ground they deny that he possessed any real divinity, or was the second person in the Trinity, united with humanity. They hold that Christ was neither God nor man, but an intermediate being. In this, they principally differ from proper Socinians and grosser Unitarians. These maintain that Christ had a true body and reasonable soul, and was properly man and no more than man. But the Arians suppose that though Christ had a real human body, yet it was united with a super-angelic soul, which existed, they know not how long, before the creation of the world and its union with the babe of Bethlehem. But if the babe of Bethlehem, as we have shown, had both a human body and human soul, then it is absurd to suppose that a preëxistent, super-angelic spirit supplied the place of a human soul in the man Christ Jesus. Though many who call themselves Trinitarians maintain the doctrine of Christ's preexistence, yet they suppose that Christ's preëxistent nature was personally united with the second person in the Trinity, and consequently maintain the true doctrine of Christ's divinity. But in this they are not so consistent as the Arians. For it is absurd to suppose that Christ had both a human soul VOL. IV.
and a super-angelic soul, and that both these were personally united with the second person in the Trinity, and so constituted him a divine person. The true scriptural doctrine of Christ's divinity is founded upon the true scriptural doctrine of Christ's having a human body and a human soul, which was personally united with the second person in the Godhead. It is necessary, therefore, to believe the real humanity, in order to believe the real divinity of Christ. It has been found by observation and experience, that the denial of Christ's humanity directly leads to the denial of his divinity.
2. If Christ had a human body and a human soul, then we cannot account for the early depravity of children through the mere influence of bad examples, or bodily instincts and appetites. Those who deny original sin, or the native depravity of the human heart, endeavor to account for the well-known fact of the early and universal sinfulness of mankind, by ascribing it to bad examples, and to the bodily instincts and appetites of children and youth. They say, though no man is born a sinner, though no native depravity comes in consequence of Adam's apostacy, though the souls of children come into the world as pure and clean of moral impurity as a clean piece of paper, ihough they are naturally as much inclined to good as to evil, and are really as good as young moral agents can be; yet, through the weakness of their mental powers and faculties, through the force of their bodily instincts and appetites, and through the influence of bad examples, they are led into sin. This is the most plausible account that can be given of the early and universal sinfulness of mankind by Arminians, who deny original sin or native depravity. But this account of universal depravity is completely refuted by the state and character of the holy child, the holy youth, the holy man, Christ Jesus. He was an infant, but he did not sin in infancy.
He had a frail, mortal body, but it did not corrupt his heart. He lived in a wicked world, where he saw many bad examples; but they did not lead him to follow them. He was a free moral agent, but he never chose to sin. He had a human soul and a human body, and was placed under the same circumstances that other children were. Why did he not disobey his parents, quarrel with his companions, speak wicked words, and profane the sabbath, like other children? He was hungry and thirsty. Why did not his appetites for food and drink lead him into intemperance ? He suffered weariness and pain. Why did he not murmur at his unhappy situation ? When he was reviled, why did he not revile again? If Christ had a human body and human soul, which was exactly like the human body and human soul of other children and other men, it is impossible
to account for his perfect innocency from his birth to his death upon Arminian principles, or to account for the universal depravity of other men and children upon the same principles. It is contrary to scripture and to the universal experience and observation of mankind, to suppose that infants come into the world as pure and innocent as the holy child Jesus.
3. If Christ was really man, then there is no natural impossibility of men's becoming perfectly holy in this life. It seems to be a very common opinion that there is not only a moral, but a natural impossibility of men's becoming perfectly holy while they remain this side of the grave. Many suppose that the present state of things, the influence of Satan, the weakness of the mind, and the infirmities and frailties of the body, are such, that men cannot cease from sinning till they lay aside these gross bodies, and leave this dark and sinful world. But this is an egregious mistake. Christ, under all these unfavorable circumstances, kept himself free from every moral evil. He was always pure, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners, though clothed in a frail, mortal body, and surrounded by as many impediments to virtue as any other man
And his perfectly holy life shows that mankind may live in the same manner in this present evil world. Christ knew that no man is under a natural necessity of sinning, and therefore he requires all his followers to be perfect as their Father in heaven is perfect, and to keep themselves always in the love of God, which is sinless perfection. Neither the law nor the gospel allows any person to be imperfectly holy in this world.
4. If Christ was really man, then.God is able to keep men from sinning consistently with their moral agency. Many suppose that God cannot restrain men from sinning without destroying their moral freedom and accountability. They think that if God should govern their hearts, or control their wills, he would destroy their moral liberty, and make them machines. But how does this appear? Christ was a man, and, like all other men, a free moral agent. Yet God held his hand, and directed all the motions and exercises of his heart, so as never to suffer him to have an evil thought, or to do a sinful action, in perfect consistency with his moral liberty and freedom. And if God could preserve Christ from sinning through all the changes, trials and sufferings he endured, we may justly conclude that he is able to restrain all other men from sinning, without obstructing or infringing upon their moral agency. Men are always perfectly free and voluntary in their thinking, speaking and acting, though the preparations of their heart and the answer of their tongues are from the Lord, and under his constant influence and control.