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our Lord.' It is there, but it is there because the Lord Jesus is both divine and human. Being divine, or of one substance with the Father,' He can reveal the Father; and, being human, He can bring that revelation down to the apprehension of those for whom the revelation is made.
72. (Rom. viii. 9.) 'But ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.' I quote this verse not only on account of its pertinency to my subject, but because it reminds me of a fact, which can be easily verified by my readers, that the Spirit, the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of Christ, are very frequently used in the New Testament as interchangeable terms; which does not, I grant, prove the personal divinity of Christ, but which may be fairly considered as tending in that direction. It is not reasonable to believe that the writers of these books would have spoken of the spirit of a mere man, a simple human being, in connection with the Spirit of God, especially considering that they were all of them Jews, and quite as jealous, after they had become Christians, as they were before, for the honour of Jehovah.
73. (Rom. xiv. 9.) For to this end (the end named in the preceding verse) Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.' Did St. Paul believe that it was a mere human being who occupied such an unspeakably great position as is here referred to? To what man would even a Unitarian say that he was ‘Lord of both the dead and the living?' The position itself is absolutely without parallel, and points to a personality more than human, that is, to a divine one.
74. (Rom. xv. 6.) “That with one accord ye may with one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.' Why speak of the Deity as “the God and Father' of Christ especially? What significance is there in the description, if Jesus were simply a human being? The writer might as well have named some other man, and with equal pertinency, if Christ were only a man.
I now come to St Paul's Epistle to the Philippians, in which there are no theological discussions, and the whole tone of which is of the sweetest kind. Evidently St. Paul and his converts at Philippi were most devotedly attached to each other, while the Philippian converts were patterns of Christian conduct and the Christian spirit.
75. The celebrated 'proof text' in the second chapter, which, in King James's version, reads: "Who being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God,' is thus rendered in the Revised Version: Who being (or being originally) in the form of God, counted it not a prize (or a thing to be grasped) to be on an equality with God.' I pass this proof text,' because it is not necessary to the argument I am here pursuing. But I call attention to the words which follow, in vers. 7 and 8: "But emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant (or bond-servant), being made in (or becoming in) the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross.' Is it an unreasonable question to ask why St. Paul should speak in this round-about way of the humanity of the Lord Jesus, if the Lord were simply a man? If a man, of what did He empty Himself? Why should it be said that He was in the 'likeness of men,' or 'found in fashion as a man'? In what special respect did He "empty Himself'? The phraseology of the apostle is consistent, as well as vivid, on the assumption of our Lord's personal divinity; but is awkward and needless if Christ were but a man.
76. (Phil. iii. 7–14.) The verses are too many and too long for quotation here, but my readers can refer to them for themselves. Without imputing, directly or indirectly, the smallest insincerity, or wishing to suggest any consciousness of evil bias in those who accept the theory of Christ's simple humanity, I am constrained to say how difficult it is to read these verses, to drink in their spirit, to be possessed by them, and yet cherish a belief that the Being who is referred to in them in such intense and glowing terms was in the writer's estimate human, and human only. It is little to say that both the writer and his language belonged to the East, and that both were affected by that fact. The language itself is intensely sober, and utterly removed from the rhapsody of ordinary Eastern writing.
77. (Phil. iii. 20, 21.) 'For our citizenship (or commonwealth) is in heaven, from whence also we wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation, that it may be conformed to the body of His glory, according to the working whereof He is able even to subject all things unto Himself.' Clearly the reference here is to the expected return of the Lord to the earth. But a process is here attributed to the Lord Jesus which one cannot well associate with the limited powers of a human being. What precisely the apostle meant by our Lord 'fashioning anew' our bodies, and conforming them to His body,' we do not know, for he has not explained himself. But the process itself the apostle conceives of is quite within the scope of Christ's power : “Who is able also even to subject all things unto Himself.' I do not say that St. Paul rightly conceived of Christ's personality, although, of course, I unfeignedly believe that he did ; but the conception he had of it was divine, not human ; or, perhaps, to speak more correctly, St. Paul's conception was of a Divine Humanity, the divine in the human, manifesting itself through the human, but the human a medium simply that the manifestation might be made. The Christ of St. Paul was not 'of the earth earthly,' but of the heavens heavenly; a Divine Christ, and not a simply human one.
The next Epistle, in the chronological order adopted by Ellicott, is that of the Ephesians. Some very ancient authorities omit the words 'at Ephesus,' in the first verse, and it is supposed by many that the Epistle was originally addressed to the Church at Laodicea. But this point need not trouble us now; we may safely leave it to the decision of the critics.
78. (Eph. i. 6, 7.) 'The glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us (or wherewith He endued us) in the Beloved : in whom we have our redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.' No doubt the 'forgiveness' of ritual sins under the Mosaic dispensation was included in the benefits of Christ's redeeming work, but it is still more certain that what are very properly called 'sins,' or moral transgressions, and their forgiveness, were included also; in fact, that the primary reference in this place, and similar ones, is to transgressions of the moral law rather than to ritual transgressions. If this be so, it is not easy to understand that St. Paul is here referring to a man, a man only, as the medium of conveying such immeasurable blessings.
79. Read the apostle's words, beginning at the 18th and ending at the 23rd verse, words too many for quotation here, and say whether there is any propriety in associating them with a simple human being, of exactly the same nature as the reader who is himself perusing these words.
80. (Eph. ii. 12.) “Having no hope, and without God in the world. In the first part of this verse, St. Paul speaks of the Gentile converts, whom he had at the moment in his mind, as separate from Christ.' I agree with my friend and co-editor, Dr. Sexton, in his belief that to be separate from Christ,' and to be without hope and God,' are one and the same thing. And yet this would not be true if Christ were a man only.
81. (Eph. ii. 18.) "For through Him we both have our access in one Spirit unto the Father.' Here we have the Christian “Trinity,' named, not after the order of scholastic theology, but in the order of fact. The supreme want of the human spirit, fallen or unfallen, is God, God considered as our Father. Through the Lord Jesus we have access to God, and realize God's Fatherhood, as we could not do outside of Christ; and this realization becomes an accomplished fact in the Christian's experience in or through one Spirit, the Holy Spirit of the Father and the Son. I hold very cheaply the controversies which have been held for so many years, and are now being held, about what may be properly described as the “Tri-personality' of God; but the doctrine of the Trinity is, nevertheless, a Christian doctrine, a truth which sums up within its own limits, and comprehends them all, all that man can need to know of God, and certainly all that God has revealed about Himself to man and for man,
82. (Eph. iii. 18.) Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, was this grace given, to preach unto the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.' The apostle did not preach a church, a system, a form, or still less himself, but he did preach a person, and that person was Christ, for these among other reasons, as I suppose, and as F. W. Robertson has pointed out,—that reverence for persons precedes the belief in truths, that persons alone can interpret truths, or inspire to their practice, and that, as a rule, 'we reach truths first by trusting in some great or good one, and then through him by obtaining credible evidence of those truths.' (See F. W. Robertson's Lectures on the Corinthians, Lecture 28.) St. Paul not only preached Christ, but the riches of Christ.' What riches ? I think it may be fairly said the 'riches' of Christ's twofold nature, of His personal revelation of a God infinitely worthy of trust, of the evil of sin, of the beauty of holiness, of those great eternal and immutable spiritual laws upon which all well-being depends, all these things meeting in the Son of God, to supply man's need of truth, love, purity, beauty, strength, meeting in one focus, as they did in Christ.
But why should the riches of Christ' be spoken of as 'unsearchable,' if He were a man, and His mind and powers simply human ? With something like pardonable, but well understood exaggeration, we might speak of the riches' of Plato or Shakespeare ; but it must be admitted that the word 'unsearchable' in the text is applied to the Lord Jesus with altogether peculiar definiteness. And very properly so, for, as the word in the original signifies, these riches may be tracked by our eager footsteps, but can never be tracked completely to their source or issue. We may see nem in part, but cannot see them entirely; they are immeasurable, they are riches which we can enjoy, but can never exhaust ; riches which can never be counted, never be told, here or hereafter, and are therefore capable of meeting the need of man's soul for the vast, the illimitable.