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writings are contained in the N.T., five, (viz. Matthew, Mark, Luke, James, and Jude) have said nothing which presents any difficulty against the opinion, that Jesus was as to nature simply a man; though Matthew, Mark, and Luke, have given an account of his ministry, and Luke, of the first preachings of the Aposiles.
5. Though, if Jesus were a great pre-existent being, the fact could be known only by express revelation, and the whole importance of the fact must depend upon its being known, yet we no where meet with any express declaration of it: on the contrary, the language of Paul and John, though it might in some few instances admit of a convenient interpretation in reference to the supposed fact, does also in those instances justly admit of an interpretation perfectly consistent with their own plain and decided expressions on other occasions.
6. On various occasions where there was a suitable opportunity for the declaration of the doctrine of pre-existence, either by Jesus himself or by his Apostles, we meet with nothing of the kind; but, on the contrary, we find the most complete silence as to a superior nature, where our Lord spoke of his own claims, and where the Apostles were replying to his inquiries, whom they thought him to be.
7. Not only do the N. T. writers record several instances in which our Lord was called MAN by others, without any intimation that they were mistaken, but they do also themselves in many instances call him Man in the most unqualified manner, without guard or comment. For instance, immediately after the effusion of the spirit, Peter speaks of him as a MAN FROM God. Paul speaks of the man Christ Jesus, as the mediator between God and man: he declares, that the gift by grace is by one man Christ Jesus; that the resurrection of the dead cometh by one MAN; and that God will judge the world in righteousness by that MAN, whom he haih appointed. And the Apostle John, after having described the high dignity and exalted agency of his glorified Master as the Word of God, expressly says, “And the Word was flesh,' i.e. a human being, mortal, and subject to infirmities and sufferings.
8. The Apostle Paul, and the Writer to the Hebrews, reason from our Lord's being man; and in i Cor. xv. the Apostle's reasonings are entirely founded upon his being as to nature in all things like his brethren, and they have force upon that supposition only.
9. The language of our Saviour himself leads to the same conclusion. He frequently uses the appellation Son of Man, in reference to himself; and though this may be regarded as of doubtful import, there is one most memorable occasion, on which he varies his mode of expression in such a manner as to show, that he was appointed to judge mankind because he was a PROPER HUMAN BEING, in all respects like his brethren.' And whatever may be objected against this inference, there is one unambiguous declaration in which he explicitly, and without any reserve, speaks of himself as a man.
This doctrine renders the Scriptures perfectly consistent with themselves: it makes all plain, and removes some of the greatest difficulties attending revelation : it gives full force to the exainple of
Jesus, and to the merit of his sufferings, and consequently to his claims upon our love and gratitude : and it also gives full force to the pledge which his resurrection affords, that we too shall be raised from the dead.
It is an important consideration, that in reference to all the objects of his high office, Jesus is représented as man; and I do not see how any who abide by Scripture declarations, can regard it as necessary, or even expedient, to enable him to fulfil any of those objects, that he should, as to nature, have been more than man. As MAN he was the Mediator between God and man: as MAN he declared the truths hich he heard from God : by hiin as MAN we receive the gracious gift, the promise of pardon and everlasting life: by him as MAN cometh the resurrection from the dead : as MAN he was authorized to execute judgement: and as man he will come, under the appointment of his God and Father, to raise the dead and judge the world.
And I would entreat the reader to consider, whether this doctrine can reasonably lessen our reverence for this well-beloved Son of God. feeling, that were I at this moment to be convinced that Jesus was as to nature higher than the highest of archangels, it would not in the slightest degree increase that reverence which I feel, and which I wish to feel and to cultivate for him, as the Representative of God, the Revealer of His will, the agent of His great purposes of love and mercy, and, under His direction and authority, the Judge of all mankind.
It is niy PART III.
ON THE CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE OF REDEMPTION,
Consideration of the Scripture Doctrine respecting
the Redemplion of Man by Jesus Christ.
If the views which are stated in the foregoing pages are correct, it almost necessarily follows that the ideas too commonly imbibed respecting the ends of the death of Christ cannot be true. In this and the following chapters, however, I shall endeavour briefly to show, that the Scripture Doctrine concerning the Redemption that is in Christ Jesus, is in perfect harmony with the Scripture Doctrine concerning the Person of Christ.
I do not think it necessary to enlarge so much in this Part, as I have done in the Parts preceding. When it is shown that Jesus is not represented in the Scriptures, in any other light than as a MAN FROM God, the foundations is wholly destroyed
t"It is a contradiction,” says Scott in his Force of Truth, p. 116, “to believe the real and consequently INFINITE :atis** faction to divine justice made by the death of Christ, wir“ovi believing bim to be very GOD OF VERY GOD."
of those notions respecting the immediate efficacy of his death, which tend so much to check the affections of love to God, and to weaken the motives to the practice of Christian duty; and further, a large proportion of those, who, as I imagine, depart from the simplicity that is in Christ, by retaining the doctrine of his pre-existence, do yet fully agree with those who reject that doctrine, in their views as to the groundlessness of all opinions, which suppose the death of Jesus to have made a proper satisfaction for the sins of men, and as to the impropriety and danger of employing language, which in its plain and obvious meaning directly implies that supposition. Still, however, it is probable that many find it more easy to say what were not the ends accomplished by the death of Christ, than to form a clear idea what were : and (as I have myself, by the investigations whose result is contained in this chapter, acquired ideas which completely satisfy my own mind,) I am willing to hope that the following statements may assist others, in obtaining satisfactory ideas as to the real force and import of the Apostolical expressions on the subject, which at the same time shall be perfectly consistent with the views afforded in various parts of the Scriptures, respecting the FREE MERCY of God to the repenting sinnera. This is the difficulty; and though, when
ů To avoid unnecessary ambiguity, I shall here observe, once for all, that, by repentance, I understand sorrow for past sins united with a real change of disposition (and of course of practice) where it has been wrong,---in other words, with amendment of heart and life. The sorrow is penitence, and may be unattended with amendment; the latter is the essen