I am satisfied that the great business of the Christian, the great utility of such a work as “The Present Testimony,” is to bring before the saints, and the world, if they will read it, the great principles of Christianity, and more particularly when they have been buried under the rubbish of man’s mind, plentifully heaped up in the early ages, and built up by schoolmen in the middle ages by Aristotle’s help; and to bring forth from the revelations of the word the unsearchable riches of Christ, and the thoughts and ways of God. This is the true preservative against the errors and seductions of the time; and indeed nothing else will preserve from them. Still I suppose it may not be wholly useless, though an inferior part of christian service, to point out anything peculiar in the forms of evil, the notice of which may help to clear the minds of God’s children from them; or to bring before the watchful eye of the saint the bearing of facts and events in the current of evil which Providence allows to go on, or of which, in order to bring about blessing, it may hasten the development upon earth.
Governed by this feeling I send you a few words on Puseyism; and, first, a remark or two on the census of religious denominations. There is one effect of the late census in this respect, which probably has not struck all who have read it. The number of sittings afforded by bodies not belonging to the Establishment is, to those it provides for the population, as 93 to 100; but owing, as it appears, to the greater number of evening services, the attendance on places outside the Establishment is in point of numbers some half million more than that of those who frequent the opportunities it offers to the population. The relative proportion of town accommodation to country is greater also, in the case of dissenters, than in that of the Establishment.
Now it seems to me, that this report will have a very dissolving tendency in the country. The plea that the Establishment meets the wants of the masses is gone. Its public claim, as inwoven into the constitution of the country, is immensely weakened. It is clear that no particular body can take this place. Could any one do so in point of numbers, it could not in its associations— it could not by its antiquity—it could not by its principles. The aggressive action which is the vital principle of all dissenting energy, be it for good or for evil, its professed disconnection with the State, debars it from this place. They are too religious in their profession, and too little ecclesiastical, too little founded on successional consistence, too little bound up with the social and successional ties of family (and, if you embrace popery, the same thing is true for other reasons), to become, in the common use of the word, the church of England. The people may be very religious, but the country has not a church (a term I use now in its familiar sense).
Now no one can doubt that the religious institutions of a country are one of the strongest bonds by which it is united. If it can do without them when beginning its career, it cannot break them up when it has long had them, without its being the signal of the dissolution of the whole edifice. Be it for good or for bad, such surely is the case. A religion may have become incapable of holding its influence and exercising its cementing power over a corporate population; but it will be found that when it does, and an active religious energy of any kind undermines and subverts it, the corporate condition of the whole is endangered. I say this without any reference to the truth or error of a religion. See Egypt, see Greece; see Rome, where, on the inward decay of paganism, Christianity, in its early energies, made its way among the population, saving it from utter moral anarchy, yet Rome could not subsist. Other energies may come in and concentrate elsewhere a predominant influence over the population, or it may be handed over to some other subsisting power which the dissolution does not reach; as in the case of Napoleon, or papal influence, or even Mohammedanism in the Eastern empire, but the dissolution of the corporate system takes place. God’s mercy may accomplish it gently, or spare its worst features for other reasons of His grace or wisdom: the coming of the Lord may be the common term of all that is dissolving and dissolved, of inroads and resistance; but the principle, I am persuaded, will be found to be true. The divine truth of Christianity, the portion of the church of God, is entirely independent of all this. It is heavenly, and has its resources in God, who cannot fail.
Two things may be alleged in reply to what I have said—that the Establishment has shewn unwonted energy in enlarging its borders, and that the religious energies of the evangelical world were never so great. I think this will be found not in any way to alter the case. For the moment I will only speak of the latter; I think every observant mind will recognize that what is called the evangelical clergy have, as a body, lost their moral weight in the country. As an energy, the influx of truth had power; as a party, the evangelical body have not that; nor can they, when that does not characterize them, have the dead weight of mere respect for institutions. They may insist, in defending themselves, on this respect for institutions, and guard against accusations of failure on this point, but this is not the weight and power of their cause. This, as an influence, is evidently on the other side. I think it will hardly be said that the vigour and power of the influx and onset of truth subsists. General evangelical activity is outside the institutions we speak of. Many persons belonging to these engage in that activity, but these are not the channel of it. Exeter Hall is independent of the Establishment, though the members of the established church may form the most numerous portion of those who take part there. An energy which acts outside, and independent, of an established system tends to throw this into oblivion, and to supplant it. And it is evident that the energies which are active in Exeter Hall supply nothing which can make an established institution for the country. It is not its intention. It could not have this effect. God may in His grace spare the institutions because the energy is such as He approves of in the main character of its purpose and intention, as being that of the grace of the gospel, the truest exhibition therefore of Himself. But the energy does not move within the channel of local institutions, nor form in itself a stay to them.
I will touch on the extension of churches in a moment. I now turn to the effect of the discovery that the majority of the Sunday-service-going population do not go to the services of the Establishment. It is evident that this, as a body, cannot lean upon its value as the poor man’s religion, as embracing the masses, as the resource of the great body of the population. It is not their resource. The greater part go elsewhere, from finding services more suited to their habits. Will the clergy of the Establishment give up the conflict for this reason? Surely not. But they will be thrown on what is their more distinctive pretension, that which the others cannot have in such a shape. They will insist on being the church. They have succession, bishops as in early ages, sacraments with priestly competency to consecrate and administer them, a clergy which bears the stamp of apostolic order. Here there is but one body in the country which can pretend to stand on common ground with them. Driven back from the ground of being national, on which evangelicals and high church and no church principles had a common field, the Establishment is by the census forced upon what is commonly called Puseyite ground. It has no other left. The true Puseyite will take it up in its energy; and it is a very powerful one, and has the largest hold on human nature.100 The old high churchman, though occasionally murmuring against Rome, will necessarily follow in the wake of what constitutes the energy of his own system, and the evangelical, though crying out against Puseyism, when there is any energy, will, while guarding against false conclusions, and warning against abuses, fall into the path of sustaining the influence of that which distinguishes him from the dissenter; his system is the “Church,” the rest is dissent. At Exeter Hall he will go with dissenters (and a few will hold up the “Evangelical Alliance”); but in his parish he will be what is called a churchman, he will minister de facto to the strength of that party, the energies of which are elsewhere. In a word, the census will, I cannot for a moment doubt, throw the Establishment into the hands of the Puseyites.
What was the Establishment? It was a body by which general protestant truths and protestant feelings were linked with everything that nature clung to religiously; or rather, one by which every natural tie was linked with respectable protestantism. A man was married there, his wife churched there, he said his prayers, if he said any, there, he had been christened there; his family, his children, gone before him, were all buried there. All his religious associations, and the common respect for moral order were linked up with the parish church and the protestant Establishment. That was moral and protestant; I am not speaking of saving souls, but of religious habits. The country was thus characterized. This, except in country places, has been outgrown; other religious energies have grown up; the mass of the population has escaped from this influence. It has, in a national point of view, ceased to exist. This is a momentous fact. As regards the Establishment, the clergy, as such, take its place. They characterize the system now. The validity of apostolical ordinances, the true and only channel of grace dependent on them, is the link which binds now what remains of the once national Establishment together: for they have these, while none of the others, except Romanists, possess them in this manner.
What is the import of church extension, the second objection I referred to, when this state of things is considered? Take the general spirit which animates it—of course there may be exceptions—is it evangelical or ecclesiastical? No one could hesitate a moment. It is done in a mediaeval spirit. It flows partly from, and ministers still more to, the spirit which I have spoken of as tending more and more to characterize the Establishment. I turn to another point which you will be surprised, perhaps, to see connected with this—the Russian war. I have the clearest conviction that the real and sole effect of this war—besides exalting France, which represents the principles of the latter days now at work in their three aspects—will be to increase Romish papal, and French influence in the east, and to give both—for in this respect they are co-ordinate—a greater hold upon it. Everyone knows that the quarrel began about the privileges of the Greek and Roman systems in what are called holy places. Some of your readers may perhaps not know that in the East, France has the right of protection over catholics as French subjects. Europeans are called “Franks.” Already the French ambassador, when the Greeks were expelled Constantinople, insisted that united Greeks (that is, united to the Roman See) should remain. He has been recalled for the violence he displayed, but I refer to it as shewing the principle which is at work. The exclusion of Russian influence is the consolidating of Romish. The Romish party are not at all unaware of this, though they hesitated on account of the usefulness of the Russian Emperor politically. But, without committing itself, as usual, the See of Rome profits by it. Louis Napoleon was the instrument of this; and Satan fully at work in it.
And now what is Puseyism? I mean not in its grosser forms of wax candles, fald-stools, and surplice-preachings; or the darker shades of confessionals and floor-lickings to please the God of grace with, but in the substance of its doctrines as it sets itself forth in its most favourable light. I say nothing here of its overweening confidence and pretensions, nor of its want of straightforwardness, nor of the doctrine (worthy of Rome) of mental reservation. I repeat, I would take the essential principles of its doctrinal foundation; if, indeed, we can justly speak of the essence of error which has no real or substantial existence, but is the mere falsification of something else.
The doctrine of Puseyism, as put forward by its best (and, as it appears from the sale of his books, its most acceptable) advocate, is this—that the sacraments are a continuation or prolongation of the incarnation. The assumption of manhood into God made, they say, that manhood the medium of communicating life to the souls of sinners; that that which Christ did personally when present, He now does by the sacraments; that, in the Eucharist, Christ’s body is really present in all this vital power, and communicates life to the receiver; that all receive Christ Himself, not carnally but really: only that He does not profit those in whom that reception is not made effectual by faith; that whoever denies this denies mediation. These are, evidently, very material statements.
I pass over, for the present, what the writer I have alluded to, though seeming to explain, really passes over too, namely, that the first sacrament, baptism, is, as to its elements, confessedly no part of Christ. Yet, according to his theory, sinners or infants get life by this sacrament, which is not the life-giving humanity of the Mediator at all! I have a more serious account to settle with the system than its folly and its inconsistency. It denies the whole substantive truth of Christianity as a system of reconciliation of man to God; even supposing it orthodox as to the truths connected with Christ’s person, which, in its exclusively rash and bold meddling, it can hardly be allowed to be. That meddling rashness is most reprehensible and dangerous; but I believe that the writer to whom I allude does not mean to be unsound. It is mere heady confidence, so that I do not here take up this part of the subject. But he intends to teach what denies Christianity, viewed as a means of reconciling the sinner. I do not say he intends to deny it, for he seems to be profoundly and totally ignorant of the truth; but he intends to teach what does deny it.
The scripture, while teaching that the Son had life in Himself, and maintaining the glory of Christ’s person as God manifest in the flesh, in all its blessed fulness, teaches that “except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit;” that no link could be formed between man in his natural state and a living Christ, looked at as come in the flesh. He might act divinely in men’s hearts, but Christianity is not His becoming a new stock and root of humanity while living here. Not because the power of life was not in Him, but because the union of the church with Him could not be formed till redemption was accomplished and Christ gone up on high. He dies, and accomplishes redemption, and sits down in righteousness at the right hand of God, and there as risen becomes the head of a living race, standing in Him in righteousness before God. The first Adam becomes the head of a sinful race when he had accomplished sin; Christ, of a saved and righteous and holy race, quickened with Him, when righteousness is accomplished. Being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey Him. Therefore we are described as quickened together with Him; raised up together,, and sitting together in Him in heavenly places.
And hence the very first instituted sign of being a Christian, which, whatever else it does, certainly, as a sign, gives the character of the place a Christian takes as such, has for its sense and meaning, death and resurrection. We are baptized into His death, wherein also we are raised again, “If I had known Christ after the flesh,” says the apostle, “yet henceforth know I him no more.” Hence the Saviour’s positive declaration that, looked at as man, He abode alone till death. The apostolic teaching as to the sense of the introductory rite, and all the instruction he gives on the christian state, concur to prove that our position as Christians is founded on an accomplished redemption; that our union with Christ is with a risen and glorified Christ (the head being set in heaven that we might be united to Him there); and that only so is He the head of the church; that so only can man be really associated with Him; that thus, as having received life from Him, and being sealed with the Holy Spirit, we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones; and finally that it is not His partaking of our flesh (that was a step towards it, as to His person), by which union takes place. He is not united to sinful man; but redeemed quickened men are united to Him, as the exalted man in heaven by the power of the Holy Ghost. “He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit,” “for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.”
In a word, believers are united to Christ in heaven risen and glorified; not Christ living on the earth to any sinful man whatever. In the theory I comment on Christ takes whole humanity into His person, and purifies it, communicates it, while living, thus purified to sinners, and then by the sacraments communicates it and purifies ours, the sacraments being said to be an extension of the incarnation. Where is the place of redemption? Where of a risen Christ? a glorious man, to whom the church is united, the source of life as man through faith, through a divine source of a divine life?
But that I may do the system I condemn no injustice, I will quote the words of the book I have alluded to. In the beginning of the “Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist” it is said, “The present work is the sequel of a treatise on the doctrine of the incarnation.” It was then asserted that “Sacraments are the extension of the incarnation.” Having this general principle thus laid down, I shall now cite some passages in another work, in which there are some truths set forth in opposition to rationalism, but which will afford us large insight into the system.
In this work the same author, after speaking of man as one family, as a “co-ordinate whole,” continues:—“Now, into this family it was that Christ our Lord was pleased to enter. When He took man’s nature, He vouchsafed to ally Himself to all members of this extended series, by the actual adoption of that transmitted being which related Him to the rest.”
Now, it is impossible to appreciate too highly the truth and preciousness of the reality of the humanity of the Lord Jesus. All that Archdeacon Wilberforce could say to exalt the importance of this, and its essential connection with the mediatorship of Christ, as the one way of blessing, would be ever below the importance of the subject—I think I may say, the importance I would attach to it. Without His Godhead, it is nothing; but, that once owned, it is His manhood which is above all truths the blessed spring of all our hopes and joys. In it we have the realization of the condescension in which He is with us and near us, the needed basis of all He has done to make us one with Himself. I know God thus in love. But He is not in that state the head of the new race. That is the point I urge. He accomplishes righteousness and atones for sin before He becomes so. He must have done so—He Himself declares He must, and otherwise abode alone. Now, the author makes His manhood a communicative source of life while He was down here, so as to connect men with Himself as a head; and indeed makes Him the pattern, and model, and head of restored humanity in His living condition as united to all men by incarnation; however, according to their own will they might or might not profit by it. Scripture does not. It is to bring this point out that I cite many passages which attach a great importance to the humanity of Christ, but teach what is utterly unsound as to the connection of men with Him in His incarnation.
It is necessary that I should make, and that my reader should clearly seize, this distinction between incarnation and the manhood of Christ being a uniting source of life while He lived, or the reason for quoting passages which bring both out would not be understood. This confusion is the essence of the dark apostasy which passes by the name of Puseyism.101 “It implies,” I continue to quote, “the reality of a common humanity, and His perfect and entire entrance into its ranks. Thus did He assume a common relation to all mankind. This is why the existence of human nature is a thing too precious to be surrendered to the subtleties of logic; because upon its existence depends that real manhood of Christ which renders Him a co-partner with ourselves. And upon the reality of this fact is built that peculiar connection102 between God and man which is expressed by the term mediation. It looks to an actual alteration in the condition of mankind, through the admission of a member into its ranks, in whom and through whom it attained an unprecedented elevation. Unless we discern this real impulse which was bestowed upon humanity, the doctrines of atonement and sanctification, though confessed in words, become a mere empty phraseology. That God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself implies an actual acceptance of the children of men on account of the merits of one of their race, as well as an actual change in the race itself, through the entrance of its nobler associate.”
Now, that the incarnation was necessary to the atonement is self-evident; but the apostle’s words, “that through death,” &c. find no place in the Archdeacon’s mind. He speaks of atonement, but it is only, “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself.” But this was in His life. The apostle adds, “not imputing their trespasses to them,” and then goes on to say that he and the rest were ambassadors for Christ, because God had made Him to be sin for us who knew no sin, &c. This the Archdeacon entirely leaves out, and declares that God being in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, implies an actual acceptance of the children of men, on account of the merits of one of their race, not a personal substitute made sin for others, but the merits of one who is one of their race by incarnation. “What Christ associated to Himself, therefore, was no individual man, but that common nature of which Adam was the first example.” He could not associate an individual man. It would be sheer nonsense; and no doubt He took our nature, but surely He became an individual man in taking it. But this the Archdeacon strives against. “It was not any human person in particular,” says Bishop Beveridge, “but the human nature which He assumed unto His sacred person.” “‘The Word,’ saith St. John, ‘was made flesh and dwelt in us.’ The evangelist useth the plural number men for manhood, us for the nature whereof we consist.”103 Such are the grounds of the Archdeacon for what he calls Christ’s co-partnership with us.
Again, “He who was personally God, took His place in this series by incarnation, and thus assumed a common relationship to all its possessors.” “What was there in Christ’s manner of adopting our being which marked Him out from others, so that, when He was pleased to introduce Himself into the family of human beings, He became at once the first-born of every creature —the beginning of the creation of God?” He then refers to the title, last Adam; and afterwards. “And if His relation to His brethren is to be as perfect as that of the first Adam, it must rest on the same conditions. He must be the stock from whom all are descended, and the new type after which they are to be formed. Now, the first104 of these grounds of connection shall be touched upon hereafter, when we speak of the sacramental union whereby men are united to Christ… But what is asserted in this chapter is, that the new Adam was as truly the type and pattern of the renewed, as the old Adam of the first creation. Thus did He occupy a place corresponding to our original father, and became, though in a different manner, the representative of the race.”
Now, I affirm that scripture always teaches that, the risen Jesus is the head and representative of the new race. And note the importance of this, that it leaves place for redemption, death, and atonement for sin, to come in as the ground on which men could belong to the second Adam, and be formed into His image, which the making Him as such in incarnation leaves entirely out. We are told to walk as He walked. But sinful man here in the body cannot be what Christ was down here, who knew no sin. He was perfect and walked perfectly, He had life in Himself; but the corn of wheat necessarily abode alone; and in that character of man, alive down here, He was neither the head of the new race nor the type and pattern of it according to the counsels of God. We are predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son. (Rom. 8.) We have borne the image of the earthly, we shall bear the image of the heavenly. (1 Cor. 15.) Our point of attainment is the resurrection from the dead (Phil. 3), when Christ shall change these vile bodies, and fashion them like His glorious body. We know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. The practical effects are fully stated in Philippians 3 and 1 John 3; but the time of likeness is resurrection and glory, and atonement and redemption by death is the ground and basis of it. Incarnation was needed to His being the head and type of the new race; but it was not in incarnation that He was that head and type, but when risen after He had accomplished the redemption needed to give man a share with Him in glory before the Father. If Christ does not wash us as so gone on high, we have no part with Him. The water itself as well as the blood flowed out of the wounded side of a dead Christ.
I must confine myself to my proper subject, or there is a mass of statements of the Archdeacon as to the first Adam wholly unfounded and unscriptural. But I pursue my subject. “Christ became the head of man’s race, that in Him we might recover the likeness of God, which in Adam we had lost.” “This presence of a superior being was what gave perfection to that likeness of God in which man was created.” He then quotes Romans 8:29, and 1 Corinthians 15:49 (confounding them with Colossians 3:10); Ephesians 4:22, 23; 1 John 3:2; 2 Corinthians 4:4. Whereas the whole argument of Romans 8, from verse 18 onward, is the contrast of the saint’s future state with his present; as to 1 Corinthians 15, every child knows that it refers to resurrection; Colossians 3:10 being with equal certainty applicable to the saint now, as also Ephesians 4; whereas 1 John 3:2 is with the same certainty only applicable to a future state. It is said, “When he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”
Indeed, in these citations the Archdeacon is trifling either with his reader or with scripture. To say the truth, his use of it in general is such as must astonish any one who has any serious respect for it, shewing a carelessness and ignorance of the passages he quotes from, which may be very patristic but is certainly anything but respect for God or for His word. A few more quotations will suffice. “When the Eternal Word created the first man in God’s image, He bestowed the beginning of this gift; its fulness was vouchsafed when He gave Himself to be the second Man in the flesh.” I have noticed, farther on, another inconceivably monstrous principle contained in this phrase. Thus the glorious state of man consequent on redemption is wholly excluded and left out of what is “designed for the family of man.” “All these passages [those to which we have just referred] shew that the gift of the gospel is that ‘knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,’ which had originally, though as the apostle implies in inferior measure, been designed for the family of man.” Now, it is remarkable, that the apostle here quoted had never seen Christ living here amongst men—had never seen Him as incarnate upon earth—knew Him only in the glory, and here speaks in the most emphatic manner of the ministration of the Spirit, revealing that glory of an ascended Christ as He had promised. His gospel was the gospel of the glory of Christ.
The Archdeacon’s doctrine as to original sin, in this part of his book, is as unsound, I apprehend, as the rest; but I cannot here enter on this point. It is a transmitted disorganization of the lower appetites and powers resulting from a withdrawal of divine light. “One circumstance, which must of course greatly affect this whole question, is the perfect parallel which exists between the first man and the second—between the type and the antitype; him in whom humanity fell, and Him in whom it rose again; between Adam, in whom a divine Spirit was united only for a season to our mortal being, and Christ, in whom the same Spirit dwelt permanently and without measure.” This is really rationalism in its worst features, what is called on the continent the Christ as found in humanity in all manner of shapes. Adam was a kind of partial temporary incarnation, and Christ merely a more fully inspired man. “Its fulness,” says the Archdeacon, “was vouchsafed when He gave Himself to be the second Man in the flesh.” “Thus as Adam was a type of humanity in his constitution, so also is Christ. True it is that men are not united to the second Man by that actual paternity by which they are all bound to the first. But the pattern form is perfectly developed; it remains only to find some no less real means of union, whereby they may enjoy the blessing of this higher descent.” He is speaking of Christ as come into this world—of the incarnation. “For the Word was made flesh. He clothed himself in man’s whole nature,” &c. The means of union he refers to are the sacraments. The author concludes by saying, “Thus is that object attained for which man’s heart had always longed—the union of our inferior with that superior nature, by which its weakness might be redressed and its ignorance enlightened.”
Again, after largely speaking of Christ as on earth as having no form nor comeliness, &c, as “coming to His own”—in a word, of what He was on earth, he says, “Thus was then exhibited a true pattern for the children of men, in whom was set forth that gift of which all may have participation. For here is restored that true constitution of our being, and man renewed takes the place of man fallen.”
The force of all this is evident: man lost a supernatural union with God by the fall; and it is restored in incarnation in Christ in a better way, and Christ, incarnate, living in the world, is the pattern-man, after whom all are livingly remodelled. Men received life of Him through His body,105 and now His is gone, the sacraments, which are “an extension of the incarnation,” supply the place of His living bodily presence, and by them we are united to this divine source of life. Before quoting some passages as to the “means of union,” I would remark, that, as in the case of the spiritual rationalism of the continent, the Spirit’s personal presence is wholly overlooked. With the Archdeacon, it is either man’s mind or a sacrament. He alleges, I am aware, that Christ is set aside by those who look to the Spirit’s work. It is possible it may be so by some; I cannot tell. But the thought of union with the glorified Head in heaven, the incarnate glorified Man who had accomplished redemption before He went up on high, does not seem to enter into his mind. According to the word, “he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit;” but with the author, it is man’s mind or a sacrament by the flesh having life in it. Now, as I have already said, all blessing is in and through the incarnate Word: it is impossible to hold this too distinctly or too fully. All is treasured up in Him; all flows through Him. If the Father’s love (He with whom He is one) is the eternal source, the incarnate Word, the Son of God, is personally He in whom we have all the blessing that flows from this source, the power of the Holy Ghost being that through which we are put in communion with it. And, further, for my own part, I can say, I know no place in which, as to means, I find so peculiar and especial a blessing as in the Lord’s supper, and this in special connection with the suffering and now glorified Jesus, He who if He is ascended first descended into the lower parts of the earth, that, now ascended up far above all heavens, He might fill all things, not only as seen as a creating God, but in redemption glory as a redeeming Man, and yet have the church united to Himself in a special way, as “his body, the fulness [completing] of him who filleth all in all.”
All this I adore the grace of God in. But our question is not here whether all fulness is in the person of Christ. “In him dwelleth” (and surely was it so when on earth) “all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” But it was not in the state in which He was on earth that it was God’s mind to unite the church to Him; and the rather, as then that union would have been independent of redemption, and made man’s sinful unredeemed state immaterial as to that union, and the Holy Ghost in man the seal of his actual sinful, and not of his redeemed, condition. And hence, though all the fulness was personally in Christ, yet He could say, “I am come to send fire on the earth, and what will I if it be already kindled? But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!” Was He straitened in His own bowels of love? Every believing heart will well know He was not. He was straitened, because the love in Him was infinite (for “God is love”) and could not flow forth in its own proper fulness and full display, till the death due to man as a sinner was come in, till the flood-gates were opened by redemption, and the whole tide of divine grace flowed forth justly and unhindered on a lost and ruined world.
Yes, that blessed One was straitened; and death and bearing wrath though it were, He could look to His own suffering as opening the way for the full manifestation that God was love, and for the exercise of it in the salvation of the lost. The blessed perfection of Jesus, the witness of sweet and precious love in Jesus, to which every heart surely ought to have bowed, was, on the contrary, putting man’s heart to the test, in one sense the final test, so as to prove that no union of Adam’s seed unredeemed with a living Christ was possible. “He was in the world, and the world knew him not. He came to his own, and his own received him not.” “The life was the fight of men, but the light shone in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not.” Had He not come and spoken unto them, the most favoured of the race in whom all was tested, they had not had sin; now there was no cloke:—“If he had not done the works none other man did, they had not had sin. But now they had seen and hated both him and his Father.”
Christ’s incarnation was His sinless entrance into the old creation, though in a way entirely exceptional, so as to be, even as man, wholly out of all the evil of it and manifest God in it. As risen, He is the head and beginning of the new, the presenting of man to God, according to His own counsels; and He is then the pattern-man, the Man as God brings Him to Himself, “The first-born among many brethren.” For “he suffered, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.” The fulness of Christianity is not merely that God was manifested in man; but that man was brought to God so as that God should see man in His own image, “holy and without blame before him in love” —should see him in the Son too, so that He should be a Father to him in the relationship in which He was to His beloved and Only-begotten. It is, that man should be brought to Him also in a nature in which God could delight, because it was His own (His own, I mean in its moral character, holy, blameless, and love), and which, from being such, should have infinite delight in its effects, because the fulness of this very nature was there to delight in, in God Himself.
The “mystery of godliness” was not merely, then, that “God was manifest in the flesh,” blessed source of it all! but that “he was justified in the [power of the] Spirit, seen of angels, preached to Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” Thus all God’s ways unfolded themselves. The veil which had hid Him till then was rent, His holiness was become a delight and not a fear to the believer, for love was known in the putting away of sin, and the middle wall of partition broken down. The accomplishment of promise, and the mighty goodness of God to man had been presented in the setting aside of Satan’s power over him in every way, “healing all that were oppressed of the devil;” and by its rejection the title to promise lost to the Jew, so that he must come in through mercy; and the intrinsic enmity of man’s heart against God revealed, the carnal mind shewn to be enmity against God, but in its highest act in this wondrous scene, in the crucifying Jesus, the triumph of God’s love over it displayed; for that which was the uttermost act of man’s hatred to God was the accomplishment of the work of God’s redemption and the sovereign act of His love. The undisturbed holiness which sin could not reach acted in the divine perfectness of love to accomplish its own purposes above and beyond the reach of sin when sin had done its worst. The spear that expressed the despising hatred of man was answered by the water and the blood which washes away the sin which was shewn in shedding it.
“God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them;” but He was wholly rejected, “despised and rejected of men.” When He came, there was no man; when He called, there was none to answer. “He spake that he knew, and testified that he had seen; and no man received his testimony.” But God has reconciled us to Himself by the death of His Son. The condition of man as a sinner is not merely now his fall in Adam, so that he fled from God, and that God had driven him out; but that when in the person of Christ God came into this world, ruined and fallen as it was, into which man had sunk when driven out, and was embellishing under Satan’s power as well as he could, far from God;—when He came as man, overcoming Satan’s wiles, delivering from Satan’s power, having bound the strong man in the temptation, and then spoiling his goods, bearing man’s sorrows and carrying their infirmities;—when God was in this world of woe, man, as far as he could, turned Him out, only, blessed be His name! to destroy the power of Satan in death itself, “put away sin by the sacrifice of himself,” and reveal the perfect love of God, and enter as a redeemer and as a new risen man into the presence of God, not back into an earthly paradise, as a man ignorant of good and evil, but into a heavenly one in glory, into His Father’s house itself, where He is gone to prepare a place for us; that there, in the sweetest and best of nearnesses, He may be the first-born among many brethren, for He is gone to “his Father and our Father, his God and our God,” to have us as His bride and His body with Himself—His brethren, as personally before the Father, His bride, yea His body, in our nearness to Himself.
The scriptural development of this must be sought in Ephesians. But I will cite from the Philippians the elaborate statement of the apostle, to shew that it was a risen glorified Christ who for him was the pattern-man. “If, by any means,” he says (chap. 3:11), “I might attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” Again, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” —the calling a[nw. “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” That for which Christ had apprehended him, that to which God had called him, that which Christ would accomplish by His power, that in which Christ was the pattern-man, was a heavenly state, a glorious body, not what He was as incarnate. So, in 2 Corinthians 5 “We have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens… Not that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now, he that hath wrought us for the self-same thing is God.” Paul had only known Him in glory; His gospel is the gospel of the glory. So it is not after the image of the first Adam that we are created anew at all; nor is it any infusion of divine principles into a partly fallen man, restoring him, which is contemplated by grace. All this is false. The cherubim and a flaming sword kept from the first the way of the tree of life. Death is pronounced, and maintained on all that is of the first Adam.
The second is a new life. “That ye put off, concerning the former conversation, the old man, which is corrupt, according to the deceitful lusts, and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and holiness of truth”— not after the first Adam, but after God. Shall we be insensible to this immense privilege? Christ is the true image of the invisible God, God manifest in the flesh—He in whom dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Is He a mere restoration of the first Adam, or just, as indeed the Archdeacon horridly makes Him, a degree of progress upon him? And, mark, it is not to innocence we are ever restored, nor to the ignorance of good and evil which was Adam’s unfallen state. When God had said, “the man is become as one of us,” return to that was impossible. The condition of man is now involved in the knowledge of good and evil; and he is created anew after the image of Him, who, in righteousness and holiness, knows evil perfectly, and, in the righteousness and holiness of His nature, judges and perfectly rejects it all. This is that of which we are made partakers, “of the divine nature:” not of restored Adam’s. And this, indeed, we have only in and through Christ, who is this perfection in man, our life, and the blessed and perfect object of it. We are crucified with Christ. There is no lingering, as men vainly say of crucifying. The apostle speaks of being dead; for he says, “nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Hence we are to reckon ourselves dead, and alive unto God through Jesus Christ—as He died unto sin once; and in that He lives, He lives unto God. “We are dead, and our life is hid with Christ in God.” Nothing can be clearer than the doctrine of scripture on the subject: not the amelioration of man as he is, but death in it and to it, and a new man who is Christ.
Let me add here, that the notion of conscience in Adam is an unfounded one. Conscience has a double meaning: sense of responsibility, and knowledge of the difference of good and evil in things themselves. In this latter sense, people speak, as does the Archdeacon, of its not being lost by the fall. It was acquired in it. The first (that is, a sense of responsibility) he had; the prohibition of eating the forbidden fruit put it to the test, but commandment only made this wrong. There was in it no knowledge of good and evil in things themselves, as in murder, theft, corruption, and the like. Man was there to enjoy, in innocence, the blessings which God had showered around him, and the Blesser who had given them. He was ignorant of evil in itself; happy state! but gone for ever. Who would think of saying, “God is innocent?” The phrase offends and shocks at once. He knows, is above, and judges, all, distinguishing perfectly evil from good.
There is another immensely important principle connected with this, in the difference between our state and Adam’s. Adam’s moral position was happy—thankfulness and praise in the enjoyment of the position he was in. Indeed, the desire to get out of it was the entrance of sin. Ours is in no way such. We are called by glory and virtue. We seek to attain. This is a total change in our whole moral condition. We live by an object to be attained; he did not. His wish to be like God, in any sort, was his sin. It is what is presented to us as the spring of life and virtue, that for which we are apprehended, that to which God calls us, our only deliverance from the evil we do know. The more this is weighed, the more important it will seem to be. It alters fundamentally the whole moral condition. Contentedness, morally, is sin, self-righteousness, and ignorance of God and good. Nor is our condition one of law, neither a rule of life, to a people called and put as such in relationship with God upon the earth. We are called by glory (it is a point to be attained), and by the virtue which measures the difficulties and leaves behind what attracts the flesh. And, mark here, it is by glory—our calling above. To be like Christ in walk (for in sinlessness of nature we cannot, which shews that His state here cannot be our pattern, though His walk is), to be like Him in walk, is the effect of the heavenly calling, for He was the heavenly Man. A word on this point.
I am quite aware it will be said, “but you are lowering the idea of the image of God from a moral to a kind of physical glory.” I would recall that. It is strongly and justly urged, that it is in the manhood of Christ that the blessing is present, though, of course, not separating it from His Godhead. The only question is, in what condition of His manhood is He the pattern-man? Now, the foolishness of God is wiser than man; and He teaches us that it is by the revelation of a heavenly glory in the pattern-man, that His image is formed in us—whatever the means; that it is in making us heavenly that we cease to be earthly and carnal. The life of Christ here is the pattern of our walk; but it is by abiding in Him on high, that we are like Him below. He was what He was by always abiding on high. “We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and no man receiveth our testimony. And no man has ascended up to heaven but he who came down from heaven, even the Son of man, who is in heaven.” It was the life of a heavenly man. He could say so, as a divine person; we, by being united to Him, and knowing Him there. For the Spirit takes the things of Christ and shews them to us; and we, “beholding, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory.” Hence of that eternal life, which was with the Father, and has been manifested to us, and which, so to speak with the apostle, “we have seen, heard, looked upon, and our hands have handled of the Word of life,” but which abode alone while here, it can now be said, “which thing is true in him and in you, because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.” But this is when He was on high; for He is spoken of as our advocate with the Father, as the propitiation for our sins; though it was the same, even eternal, life in Him (and hence an old commandment had from the beginning), manifested in all its perfectness in that blessed One. Blessed be God! it is so; for in Him, as living down here, I can see that heavenly life, which is mine, in all its proper perfectness, and yet say, That is my life, for Christ is my life. But yet it is a new commandment, as true in Him and in us, because He had ascended up on high when He had made propitiation for our sins, that He might be the head and source of life to a new family, to be formed after the pattern of the heavenly man: a life to be manifested in the mortal body, by always bearing about in it the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus might be manifested in these earthen vessels. It is the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God; as another apostle says, as we have seen, “We are called by glory and virtue.”
The humiliation of Christ in love draws our affections by grace.
The knowledge of and union with Him in heaven forms us into the walk and spirit in which that heavenly Man, that blessed One, walked upon the earth; of Him to whom our souls are knit in love, to whom we are united by the Spirit. One is the practical reflex down here of the other.
It is living union that we have with a living Christ by the Holy Ghost, through whom we are one with Him (for by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, and he that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit, in contrast, note, with one flesh)—a union which will result in our fully bearing the image of the heavenly, who is the image of God—not union with a Christ in lonely love on earth, when perfectness was shewn in that He was alone, yet not alone for the Father was with Him, but of man none to reverence, none to see beauty in Him. For we speak not of what grace can do, but of what man was, and in himself is. Surely that divine love pierced through; and helpless sinners, through grace, found their resource in it; and, however straitened, the power that could say, “Go, and he goeth; and come, and he cometh,” could recognize faith in a Gentile; and the love that found no answer could prove it was there to answer that faith of a once accursed Canaanite that overstepped the bounds of dispensed barriers, and maintained that God was good enough to look upon the worthless, to help and meet their need. The love that had its just sphere where there was nothing to attract it, so as to shew it was perfect and divine, could attract and win the heart, and draw the shameful sinner where no shame would be cast upon them, but with the dignity of divine excellence, upon him who saw no beauty in that love so as to desire it; upon that wisdom of human righteousness which could discern that he was no prophet, in whom the poor lost one could find the absorbing renewing refuge of divine love, and return from it in peace, forgiven and saved, knowing God and a Saviour in the love that had drawn the heart and answered to the need of conscience, knowing from His own lips that it was saved.
Yes, the divine love of a Redeemer pierced through the veil. The fulness of Godhead was there, and God is love. It could not be hid, even if it were straitened; but the time was not come for union with that blessed source of all blessedness. The Head must be exalted before the body could be united to it. He was alone; His loneliness was the essence of the beauty and perfectness of that place of love. He could be as a sparrow upon the housetop, and as a pelican in the wilderness, in His sorrow look for some one to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but He found none. He could eat ashes like bread, and mingle His drink with weeping. This is a different thing from union. That blessed truth, so blessed for us, has its own place; the lonely (lonely as far as man was concerned) perfectness of Christ and the infinite divine fulness of His person is another. The sources were all there; the communications which united the members of His body to Him were not. Man was a lost sinner, in enmity against God. He must be redeemed, as well as attracted and quickened, to accomplish the purposes of grace in Him: and heavenly glory and blessedness were what alone met as recompense the work of redemption in which Christ glorified God, and because of which He was glorified with the Father Himself; God glorifying Him in Himself, not merely in the future royal dominion. If He was obedient to the cross, He was highly exalted; and, even, He, for the joy set before Him, endured the cross and despised the shame, and is set down at the right hand of God, sat down when He had by Himself purged our sins.
It is not, I repeat, the true humanity in the divine fulness of Christ that is the question, or whether that is the only means of blessing. It is not whether rationalism or the adorers of human powers are right. For the Christian there can be no question there. The question is in what condition of the person of the blessed Lord is our union with Him? In what is He the pattern-man? Is it antecedent to redemption, and in incarnation as alive down here, or consequent on our redemption and resurrection? Scripture leaves no doubt upon the subject.
But I will clear up the other view of the subject by some more quotations referring to another part of it—the means of union. I abhor rationalism; I adore the person of the Lord; but I do not believe a lifeless sacrament to be that person, most precious as it surely is in its due place. I must have a person to love, however His lifeless body may recall that person. The blessed Lord would respect and honour the affection of a Mary Magdalene, but correct an erring spirit by revealing Himself living. To say, “I will carry Him away,” was touching affection, but it was unbelief too.
But I must continue:—
“The question at issue in the present day is the reality of our Lord’s mediation—the truth of that system of spiritual influences which was bestowed by the re-creation of man’s race in the person of the Son of God, and that whole doctrine of grace which is characteristic of the gospel. If it should be true, as was always believed in ancient times, and as will be stated in these pages, that ‘sacraments are the extension of the incarnation,’ that through their agency the Son of God effects that great work which He took our nature to perform, it will not seem surprising,” &c.
Nothing can be plainer than this.
In answer to the question of what regeneration is, we have the views of the author brought out more in detail. The question is, now that Christ is glorified, and absent as to His bodily presence in the world, How can grace be communicated—how regeneration wrought, and what is it? Its connection with Christ, no Christian will deny. The question is, What is it? how communicated?
The answer of the Archdeacon to this question is this:—“It has always been understood to refer to some gift of grace bestowed by God, the result whereof is the renewal of man’s nature.” Thus, “In what way does God bestow grace? In what way is man its receiver?” As to the first, “they are expressly stated to be bestowed through the mediation of our Lord’s humanity.” I pray the reader to remark this. It is not the mediation of Christ, but of our Lord’s humanity, giving a most exclusive and very peculiar sense to mediation; because it is not a personal action but the intervention of a nature. He quotes, “There is one God, and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus,” not the humanity, note. “This,” the writer adds, “is the manner in which divine gifts flow into the world.” “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” For “this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”
I am not here going to comment on the loose way scriptures are quoted. I am not engaged in criticising the Archdeacon’s books, or I should have most serious questions to advert to. I use them as the means of getting at a particular system, as represented by its moderate and esteemed advocates. Now that Christ is the only way of grace, I need not say I admit; and that eternal life is found in the Son only for man. Our question here is as to the means of union; and the quotations are to shew, that, while in the world, union was to be found. “In the manhood of Christ was a new door open to mankind. This is that new and living way which he hath consecrated for us through the veil, that is to say, His flesh.” I remark here, that there is no suggestion of death or sacrifice. Still the author must pass on to Christ’s glorified state, for He is no longer on earth. But in treating of this, we shall find sacrifice really passed by. I do not mean that he denies it so as to be heterodox, but it forms no part of his system of truth in connection with our renewed intercourse with God.
Thus he presents it:—
“The Gospels then speak of grace, not as bestowed on humanity at large, but in the humanity of Christ. For it was the appointment of infinite wisdom that this gift was not bestowed from Him to others, till humanity had first been perfected in Himself.” This is not consistent with other statements, but I do not enter on that here. “‘It became him for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.’ Though the humanity of the second Adam had been by nature pure from spot, yet it was suffering the appointed course through which it was perfected for the work of mediation. ‘For their sakes I sanctify myself,106 that they also may be sanctified through the truth.’ Thus did that manhood, which was taken in the virgin’s womb, become a meet instrument for leavening the whole mass of corrupted nature. And this work [What work? His own sanctifying of Himself though without spot?] being perfected, we see the new Adam who, like His earthly predecessor, has been made a little lower than the angels, crowned, through the suffering of death, with glory and honour; and then did He ascend up on high, and having led captivity captive, gave gifts unto men. That which He had received because He was human, He had power to give because He was divine. Thus did He bestow on all His members that gift of grace which had hitherto centred in Himself. The love of God had flowed forth into the manhood of His incarnate Son, that thence it might diffuse itself through His brethren.”
He came, then, “to reconstruct the very foundations of humanity in Himself.” “Thus did He become the second Adam, in whom the deep foundations of humanity were again constructed, so that through Him and in Him do men receive that gift, which by Him God bestowed upon His creatures;” that is, it is a renewal of that which the first Adam had received by Him, once bestowed, lost in a measure107 (for he teaches that the loss is but partial) and now renewed in Him. So elsewhere the restoration of the ancient pattern of man is not attained through the natural perfection of individuals, but because in Christ, our Lord, was the personal presence of that divine Word which was above nature.
“It is plain, therefore, that the whole of man not only needs reconstruction in Christ, but is susceptible of it.” The new creation extends to it all. All the parts of that common nature which is borne by every child of Adam, were re-fashioned in the head and model of the christian family, that the renewal of our nature in Christ might extend likewise to them all. Christ’s humanity is further declared to be the means of having life. “To partake of His sacred flesh is the method by which men enter into relation with Him, just as by birth men partake of that old nature which has been transmitted to us by Adam.” It is not that the incarnate Lord is “the mediator through whom all divine gifts were bestowed upon men. He adds a further truth in John 6:51-58, and declares that the eating of His flesh and of His blood is the method by which these gifts are to be received.”
Quoting St. Cyril, his great authority in these matters, he says, “The sacred body of Christ gives life to those in whom it is, and preserves them for immortality by being mixed with our bodies”—“that eucharist108 which lies in the reception of His sacred flesh and blood, whereby man obtains the gift of immortality.” “He is life by nature, inasmuch as He has been born from the living Father, and His sacred body is not less life-giving.”
And the Archdeacon himself, “As His Godhead flows into Him by necessary derivation from His eternal Father, so does He assure us that He communicates His manhood by merciful gift to His earthly brethren. Thus there are three stages in this great work. The Godhead imparts itself to the coequal Son. This is His eternal generation. The Son unites Himself to man’s nature. This is His incarnation. He communicates His manhood to His brethren. This is His real presence in the eucharist. As the first, then, is the communication of that substance which is common to the three persons in the blessed Godhead, so is the last the substantial communication of that manhood which has been hallowed by taking it into God.” Nothing can be more definite than that it is distinctively and properly thus. “There are two main systems according to which it is supposed that spiritual gifts are communicated; the one implies that blessings are bestowed upon men by individual gift as a consequence indeed of Christ’s death, but through that separate process whereby the Almighty holds communion with each man’s spirit.” I do not take His account of the matter here, nor own to be just the separation of this work from the person of Christ. I quote to give distinctively what follows. “The other supposes all blessings to be embodied in the humanity of the Word, and from Him to be extended to His members.” And note, “This communication takes place through His coming down upon earth and manifesting Himself among men, and then it is added in verse 51-58, that to partake of His sacred flesh is the method by which men enter into relation with Him, just as by birth men partake of that old nature which has been transmitted to us by Adam.” That is, incarnation and the eucharist, as partaking of His sacred flesh, that humanity in which all is embodied, is the means, the one means, of having life, just as we are naturally born to have natural life. Remark, he says nothing of drinking the blood or of death. Popery has gone a step farther in this system; but of this hereafter. It is consistent.
“There must be some means, then, by which we must be put into relation with the new man, even as we have a natural relation to the flesh of the old one; we must be united by grace to Christ, as we were united to Adam by nature. Neither should it surprise us that the processes should present some analogy; that if” the poison of the sin is transmitted through his flesh, so His flesh should be the medium through which is transmitted the virtue of the other.” “This (our common) nature is transmitted according to the most mysterious of earthly laws through the continuing of the flesh. It was not inconsistent, therefore, with the order of the divine economy, that our Lord’s flesh and blood, mysteriously and supernaturally communicated, should be the principle of a higher life to His brethren.”
“The holy eucharist, therefore, is the carrying out of that act which took effect in the incarnation of the Son of God. It was by the incarnation that God and man, the finite and the infinite, were brought into relation, and that the graces which were inherent in the one were communicated as a gift to the other. Now, the medium through which these gifts are extended, is not the Deity, but the manhood of Christ.” And he quotes Cyril: “For being life, as God, He has made it life and life-giving.” This doctrine, with all manner of monstrous statements, original and quoted, is over and over again insisted on. Thus, “Now it must be remembered that He speaks of two things in this chapter (John 6): first, of the general fact of His mediation, and that His humanity was the medium through which divine graces found their way to mankind; secondly, that the eating His body, and the drinking His blood, was the method in which this gift was to be participated [52c always] by individuals.” I cite this passage to shew, in the clearest way, that it is not mediation nor the humanity of Jesus as the one sure full way of grace found in and by and through Him. It is, further, that eating His flesh (and here he adds, “drinking His blood,” though not shewing what it has to do with incarnation,) is the way of having share in what He was (as incarnate). “His body,” he says, quoting from St. Cyril, “was sanctified by the power of the Word, and it is thus rendered effective for us for the purpose of the mystical eucharist, so as to be able to implant in us its own sanctification.” St. Ignatius and St. Irenaeus “dwell on the truth that our Lord’s body, as communicated in the holy eucharist, is the renewing principle by which His people are to be quickened both in body and soul.” “St. Irenaeus speaks of it as the cause of resurrection.”
And the manhood of Christ is so truly in the sensible creatures of bread and wine that “all who receive one receive the other.” I leave to others to judge of the Archdeacon’s deliberate contradiction of the twenty-ninth article, of which the title is, “Of the wicked which eat not the body of Christ in the use of the Lord’s supper.” The Archdeacon might cavil at the absence of the negative of the res sacramenti, which the article does not speak of in any way; but the title leaves no loophole for this artifice. But my business is with the doctrine itself. Now, the consideration of the sacraments themselves is fatal to the whole theory, and at the same time demonstrates the fact, that it is in resurrection, not in incarnation, that Christ is a source of life to others. According to their own theory, it is in baptism that a man is regenerate and receives life. But they admit that in the elements used in baptism, in the matter, as they speak technically, there is nothing really or spiritually of the flesh or humanity of Christ. I would here recall the statement, that it is not merely the doctrine that His humanity is the medium through which divine graces find their way to mankind, on which the Archdeacon insists; but that the eating of His body and drinking of His blood was the method in which this gift was to be participated in by individuals. The flesh and blood thus communicated are the principle of a higher life to His brethren—that to partake of His sacred flesh is the method by which men enter into relation with Him. This is put in contrast with the system that implies that blessings are bestowed upon man by individual gift as a consequence, indeed, of Christ’s death, but through that separate process by which the Almighty holds communion with each man’s spirit.
Now this in baptism, according to their own theory, that men enter into relation with Christ, and God by Him, and receive the principle of life; but here all such communication of His humanity as really present is out of the question. The element is water. They do not deny this. “In baptism, therefore, the outward sign has no permanent relation to the inward grace.” … “Our Lord used no words which imply that any particular portion of the element employed is invested with a specific character.” “The inward grace is associated with the act, not with the element.” “And for the same reason, the intervention of the minister, however desirable, is not essential;” “because baptism depends upon an act which all Christians may perform and not upon any consecration which requires a special commission.” That is, the whole system is overthrown, its foundation subverted. For the communication of the humanity of Christ, through a direct sacramental participation in it as present, whereby we enter into relationship with Him, as by birth we are so with the first Adam, is here impossible; for there is confessedly no such sacramental presence. And this in the sacrament in which this relationship, and in which alone according to their theory this relationship is properly entered into! The whole system and theory is false upon the face of it—false in its own sacramental way. It is apostasy if compared with the scriptures of truth.
But, farther, if we examine both the sacraments, the greater truth for which I contend will be clearly established. That is, that death comes in before the possibility of being blessed in Christ as a living Head; and that it is the life of a risen Christ, who has wrought atonement for us (so that we can be livingly blessed, consistently with God’s righteousness), that we are made partakers of, and that it is not with a merely incarnate Christ that we are united. Being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation to all those that obey Him. Both sacraments present death in Christ, not life, save as we enter into resurrection as emerging out of death. But they are expressions not of the power of life in Christ, but of the power and efficacy of death in grace; so that in having life from Christ risen, we have the knowledge of the perfect love in which He gave Himself for us as sinners, and of the entire putting away of sin which He wrought by His death, so that we are not in the nature or person at all, before God, in which sin subsisted. He that is dead is freed from sin.
Were I united to Christ as a living man in the first Adam, and He incarnate, the body of sin were not destroyed; death would not be adjudged to it; I could not reckon myself dead; I were yet living in the power of the flesh of the first Adam departed from God. But I am baptized into the death of Christ (buried with Him by baptism into death); for I, morally dead in trespasses and sins, find Him by grace judicially dead for them, and I know my sins, and sin in nature, all gone, the very life to which they attach gone by faith. Nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me, and in a life in which He dies no more, or I therefore, for because He lives I live also: death hath no more dominion over Him.
Of this participation in Christ’s death, baptism is the expression, and to use the words of men, the sacrament. I live, for therein also I am risen again through faith in the operation of God which raised Him from the dead. But I have part in the death and resurrection of Christ; and as a sinner cannot have part with Him till then. His death is the uniting point, but it is in death. As living by Him risen, I can reckon myself dead. The old life was all sin; but it is dead, crucified with Christ. The sacrament is not the medium of union with an incarnate Christ, not dead; it is the expression of exactly the contrary, that we can have no part with Him upon this ground. It is the absolute sentence of death upon man in connection with the first Adam, a sentence judicially suffered in grace by Christ, and into the confession of which I come alone admitted to have a part with Him. If I enter into life, I do so in the admission, that death is my only ground of hope, and that I cannot turn to God in the life of the first Adam.109
The other sacrament, that of the Lord’s supper, is equally significative. It represents definitely and specifically the death of Christ. “Ye do shew forth the Lord’s death till he come.” Nothing can be more emphatically death. “This is my body which was broken for you. This is my blood which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” It is not, then, participating in incarnate living humanity, but in the death of Christ. Is the breaking of the body in death, the flowing of the very might, wisdom, and purity of Deity itself into the weak and poor elements of our nature? That all the perfections of Godhead were displayed there, so that God has been glorified in the work wrought about our sin is most true: His love, His righteousness, His truth, His majesty; but to say that death is the communication of the fulness of the gift of grace to humanity, and by humanity to us as life, is nonsense. It is death we celebrate in the eucharist: neither a Christ alive as man through the incarnation; nor a Christ alive again in resurrection; but a body broken,110 and the blood shed out, the sure emblems of death, and given as such; and therefore the Lord, when speaking of this glorious mystery itself, of His taking manhood and dying, says, “The bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give,” not will take or have taken, though this were a necessary step towards it; but “which I will give for the life of the world:” that divine life in man, and in which God was truly manifested in flesh and amongst men, was shewn to be the object of flesh’s hatred, and the new man took His place as head of the new race, when atonement had been made for fatal and otherwise irremediable sin; and on both the ordinances which the Lord instituted for our blessing as Christians, He stamped this truth of the death of the old man, and death to it; but that death became ours in a saving way, through Him who by the grace of God tasted death for us. Quickened together with Him, and raised up together, we own His death as our necessary door of entrance into life, and do not think of uniting two incompatible lives with one another. We were dead by, we are now dead to, sin through Jesus, and, alive in Him, feed on that precious sacrifice which He has wrought for us, making death our life and security for ever, where the power of Satan, where sin and all that belongs to it end with the life they attached to, and where a new life in righteousness has its origin, all trespasses being forgiven us, righteousness in Christ Himself before God, and righteousness by Christ in us before men. Such is the doctrine of scripture. To make the blessed glorious truth of incarnation, the source, indeed, of all our blessings, to be not the display of divine life as of God Himself in a man, but the medium in that state of communication to others as imparted to humanity, as a reconstructing of it in that form,111 declaring that rationalism, or the power of the human spirit, is the only alternative, is under the plea of denying rationalism, apostasy from the true foundations of Christian truth, and a denial of the real effect of the fall, of the condition of the sinner under it, and of the true need of the death of Christ in order to our participation in life. “Except ye eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man you have no life in yourselves:” that is, you cannot be associated with Him living. It is a Saviour by means of death that will introduce you to God.
I am aware that it is urged, as regards baptism, that it is said by one Spirit we are all baptised into one body. Now, in the first place, the one body, into which they are baptised here, is the unity of the church; but the truth is, the passage does not speak of baptism by Water, but does, very definitely, speak of something else. Baptism with the Spirit is a well-known scripture doctrine. “I, indeed,” says John Baptist, “baptize you with water, but … he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.” “Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” This we know was accomplished at Pentecost. When Cornelius is called by grace, he receives the Holy Ghost as they did at the first, called baptism of the Holy Ghost (Acts 11:16), and thereupon is baptized or received into the visible church on earth. In the twelfth chapter of 1 Corinthians, where the passage we are speaking of occurs, the subject expressly treated of is the Holy Ghost or spiritual power, pneumotikav: the sense of this is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost, by which, the Head being exalted on high, all are brought into the unity of the same body, and exercise the gifts given of the Spirit, as members of the body. Baptism by water is nowhere spoken of as engrafting into the unity of the body. The Lord’s supper is the expression of that truth (though not that alone). We are all one body, inasmuch as we are partakers of that one bread (loaf).
But no such thought is connected in scripture with baptism. It is simply death and resurrection, terms applicable of individuals. We are baptized into His death, buried with Him by baptism into death. It may be the natural consequence of putting on Christ; but the act is individual; the individual puts on Christ. It is the sign of his regeneration in the death and resurrection of Christ, whereby he is received into the visible church of God on earth. We learn, in the case of Samaria, that those thus received had not yet received the Holy Ghost, and Simon Magus never did, though baptized; as Cornelius’ receiving the Spirit as the seal of faith was the warrant for his being publicly received by baptism.
Besides, then, its connection with the fundamental doctrine of the necessity of redemption and our total ruin by sin, the truth that death must come in, in order to our union with Christ, is clearly established by the characteristic ordinances of the christian religion; and it is shewn, that it is not by a rectifying of the old man, in connection with the filling of humanity with divine power and grace by the incarnation when Jesus was in the likeness of sinful flesh, by which we are regenerate in union with the Lord Christ; but by the establishment of a new man, of which the pattern in power of life is in Christ risen and glorified, to whose image we are to be conformed, and that consequent not only on His living in the likeness of sinful flesh (though sinless) but in His being (a sacrifice) for sin, so that by His death sin in the flesh has been condemned (Rom. 8:4); and the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, thus risen from the dead, has made us free from the law of sin and death. Hence, having Christ for our life, we reckon ourselves dead and do this one thing, press towards the mark of our calling on high. The effect is the walk of a heavenly man, such as Christ was on earth, because we are in Him who is in heaven. It is when He was raised from the dead and set in heavenly places, far above all heavens, and filling all things that He was given to be Head over all things to the church, His body the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.
This is the question with Puseyism then. Is redemption the necessary ground of our living association with the Lord Jesus Christ? Puseyism is merely the old effort of Judaism against the doctrine of Paul—the doctrine of a full salvation through a dead and exalted Saviour. The not thus holding the Head, as risen with Christ, is the cause of insisting on ordinances, as though we were alive in the world in connection with the old man, as if we were “in the flesh,” and not in a risen Christ before God in the Spirit. The true Head is not held. We are not known to be risen with Christ, and hence we have voluntary humility and subjection to ordinances, and all the train of fleshly observances, and not sparing of the body, which the Apostle denounces as the consequences of departure from Christ as He is risen and exalted on high. And hence I called it apostasy, for so the Apostle does. It is not a nominal denial of Christ, nor did the then Judaisers so deny Him. It is not a question of mere orthodoxy as to His person, though the orthodoxy of Archdeacon Wilberforce’s books is to me most doubtful, and his statements most hazardous, and his contradiction of the thirty-nine articles flagrant.
There are two great points, as I have stated elsewhere, in christian truth: first, the fundamental doctrines as to the Trinity, the person of Christ, the atonement; and then, secondly, the way in which sinners receive the value of these great facts. The question with the Romanist and the Puseyite is on the second of these points. So was it in Paul’s time. No doubt the full development of apostasy will be in the rejection of the fundamental truths; but he who denies the true way of their application to the sinner is, the Apostle declares, fallen from grace, and Christ profits him nothing. That sovereign grace may pierce through the cloud, and attach the heart by living faith to Christ is, blessed be God! true; and hence men may be saved, though they are Romanists and Puseyites. But this does not hinder their system being cloud, and not light at all.
I have not thought, as I have stated, of giving a review of the Archdeacon’s books, but merely used them as a means of having the system before us fairly and in its best shape. Our dispute is not as to an incarnate Lord being the one only and blessed medium of grace. It is impossible we can hold this too firmly or estimate it too highly. It is our all. He is the second Adam, Lord of all, Head of His church, sole spring (drawn from, and communicating, the Father’s love) of blessing, and life, and joy, through the power of the Holy Ghost. I am willing, most rash and hazardous as I think them, to take the intentions of the archdeacon and Puseyites in general to be orthodox. The question is, Is the communication of living blessing to sinful men, and the setting up of a new race in Christ as a pattern-man in incarnation? or, consequent on accomplished redemption and divine righteousness in man in resurrection? The scripture teaches us it is in resurrection, and that the incarnate man was rejected, and remained alone, bearing fruit after falling into the ground and dying.
All the truths of Christianity as applied to men are engaged in this question, what sin is—what regeneration is—how man is renewed—what the extent of the fall—what original sin— what death as the wages of sin—what practical restoration and sanctification—what eternal life. Every essential practical doctrine has a totally different character in the two systems. It is not, as the Archdeacon would allege, whether the mediation of the incarnate Word be the only way of blessing. There we are wholly agreed; wholly agreed, that rationalism is a return to direct communication between God and man, only forgetting that sin has made it impossible, actually and judicially. Our question is, how this mediation is effectual. Is it by the transfusion of the grace of the incarnate Word, communicated to Him from the Father into disorganised man, so as to ameliorate and reconstruct him; a process carried on now by ordinances? Or is the sentence of death and utter condemnation passed on the old man, and the proof given in Jesus’s death that there can be no connexion between them (though man be responsible— though conscience be there by the fall, and famine awaken desires in the Spirit); but that in that death redemption has been wrought by grace, and sin put away, and a risen Christ, who has triumphed over death, because, as so risen, a new source of life, a new life rather, to the sinner by faith, through the quickening power of the Word and Spirit, giving Him the title to reckon Himself wholly dead as regards sin, the world, and the law too, and alive unto God through Jesus, risen with Him, to mortify his members which are on earth, but made the righteousness of God in Him; the sacraments being an abiding sensible witness of these truths, that is, of entrance by death, as regards the old man, into blessing, and in no other way but by death in Christ, so that that entrance is salvation, and the complete deliverance from the whole state of sin in which we were (though the body still hinder us as yet unredeemed by power), while they are, I doubt not, also special means of blessing. For I speak here only of the character these sacraments give to Christianity by their nature.
Such is the vital question involved in what is now called Puseyism. It is a denial of scriptural Christianity. It takes up one blessed truth, incarnation—most miserably treated, I judge, but still a blessed truth—under the plea of using it against rationalism, that is, miserable infidelity; but really overthrowing the doctrine of the total sinfulness and loss of man, lying in death and condemnation; the need of redemption and accomplishment of righteousness by another; and a new resurrection state of man in Christ in order to our union with Him, and our participation in the heavenly blessings of this new manhood: a union of which the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven is the power, while the sacraments are, both of them, the witnesses of the death through which we have this place, and one of them, of the unity of the body in which we all enjoy it.
I have not cited the Fathers, nor gone into their doctrines. While I do not doubt that the truly pious among them were guarded in the faith; yet, as doctors, nothing can be more uncertain; as moralists, scarce anything more objectionable. God has preserved truth in and for His church, blessed be His name! but the Fathers are the expression, not of orthodox truth, but of a mass of mental efforts on divine subjects, of heavings to and fro on subjects which escaped their grasp; of the efforts, too, of minds, for the most part, seriously corrupted by Platonic philosophy, and shrinking from the attacks of Pagans on the point of the unity of the Godhead, which they feared to compromise by the doctrine of the eternal Sonship and divinity of Christ. Save Jerome and Origen, they did not understand Hebrew, and could only use the Septuagint version; valuable, no doubt, as testimony, but most imperfect as representing the meaning of scripture, and sometimes any meaning at all.
I believe the Trinity and the incarnation, along with the atonement, and, I might add, the resurrection, as already accomplished in Christ, to be the great foundation and distinctive truths of Christianity; but it is not in the Fathers of the first four centuries, that I should seek for the proof of, or any certain faith in, them. I certainly judge the Ante-Nicene Fathers to have failed (as doctors) in the assertion of the true and full divinity of the Lord. You may find it stated, perhaps, but you will find it undermined and contradicted. Every one in the least acquainted with them knows that they read with the LXX not “the Lord possessed me in the beginning of His ways;” but “the Lord created me,” e[ktisev me;112 and that the doctrine that the wisdom, or lovgo", which had subsisted in an un-separated state in the divine mind, took person subsistence, only immediately preceding and for the purpose of creation. You may find what maintained the truth, I freely admit it; but their having nothing in this passage but “created me,” and constantly using it in connection with their philosophy about the lovgo", embarrassed all their teaching, producing the doctrine of the lovgo" ejndiavqeto" and lovgo" proforikov". On the doctrine that Christ “is the true God,” God over all, blessed for evermore, all were infirm, to say the least, some undoubtedly orthodox.113
The doctrine of the Trinity suffered in proportion; although when Arius would have defiled these expressions in a way which affirmed that Christ was a creature, the instinctive faith of Christians resisted and repelled the abomination. Yet the famous oJmoouvsio", by which the Arians were formally set aside, in spite of their subtleties, had been as formally condemned as Sabellianism by a previous council, so that the Emperor Constantine, who had given the character of generality to the Nicene one, being impressed with the danger of using a word thus condemned, restored Arius; and Athanasius was deposed by the council of Tyre. Marcellus, one of his opponents, is generally judged to have fallen into Sabellianism; and Arius, received as orthodox, died in the communion of the Catholic church. I have a perfect horror of his doctrine.
I only say that I cannot lean on the Fathers for securing the truth. The history of Cyril, indeed of Alexander himself, is not much more satisfactory. He was the Coryphaeus of the Fathers as to the incarnation, and the turbulent condemner of Nestorius, the rival patriarch of Constantinople. He got his adversary condemned before the arrival of John of Antioch and the eastern bishops, who favoured him (so that this was a singular general council); but the same John having assembled a council of the Eastern bishops and condemned Cyril, Cyril withdrew his twelve famous anathemas which, as Archdeacon Wilberforce states, had been adopted as the faith of the church in the council [of Ephesus], and accepted the creed proposed by John. Indeed, the language of Cyril is very equivocal, adopted, he says, from the fathers (Gieseler says, from Athanasius): mijan fuvsin tou' Qeou' lovgou sesarkwmevnmu, that though there were two natures united, and not confounded as he states just before, yet, when united, it was one nature of God, the word made flesh.114 But this may suffice.
I have only one remark to make, which is important as to the principles on which the Fathers are referred to, for there are two. One is development, that christian truth, of which the power is all in full perfection in the word, was developed and fully formed by the Spirit residing in the church, so that we learn more perfectly developed and defined truth115 as we proceed, say, not to go too far, for of course Romanists would go farther, during the first four or five centuries, embracing the four first general councils. That is one principle. The other is, that the early Fathers, as nearest the sources, must best know what the apostolic teaching was. But on this principle, when there was the least development, there was the surest knowledge. Yet, an awkward circumstance, as a fact, we find that the earliest (I do not speak here of what are called the Apostolical Fathers, who are a class apart, and in general the poorest and worst of all, with the exception of Platonic speculations) Fathers are the most vague, loose, uncertain, and, if it must be said, heretical.
I must except from this the pious and faithful Irenaeus, though feebleness and some superstition may be found in him. It is a refreshment to read him after looking at the rest: what a difference from the wild imagination of a speculative, but (I believe) true-hearted, Origen; the loose and loosely expressed doctrine of a Justin Martyr, willing after all to die for Christ; or the turbulent orthodoxy and doubtful Christianity of an ambitious Cyril! What a difference, I say, in all this from that piety which flows from the personal knowledge of Christ by the scriptures, and respect for the word as the word of God! We find a clear recognition of fundamental truths, such as Christ’s being the true God, and a true and heartfelt refusal to go on beyond what is written, in the prying impotency of the human mind; and this, with whatever defects, we do find in the good Irenaeus. The reader, who has the opportunity, may read chapters 27-28 of his second book (46, 47 in Feuardentii). Yet, and for this very reason of his humble submission to scripture, he is simple and firm in what scripture does teach; though perhaps, like all, the full divinity of the Lord Jesus has not an adequate place in his mind, for he occasionally owns it unequivocally. But one sees he has “the truth itself as a rule,” hoping still to receive something more, and learn from God, because He is good and has unlimited riches. And thus he adds, “if, according to the measure we have spoken of, we commit some questions to God, we shall both keep our faith perfect and shall persevere without danger; and all scripture given to us of God will be found by us harmonious [consonant with itself], and parables will agree with what is said plainly, and what is said plainly will explain the parables.” I may add, as to the fathers and scripture, “But we ought to refer such things as these to God” (what we cannot solve of things which are sought out in the scriptures) “who has made us, also knowing most surely that the scriptures, indeed, are perfect, as uttered by the word of God and by His Spirit, but we, inasmuch as we are inferior and the meanest (novissima) compared with (or the farthest from) the word of God and His Spirit, by so much are we wanting the knowledge of His mysteries.”
I desire to bring briefly before the reader, in conclusion, the scriptural testimony to the great truth of the utter and irremediable evil of the old man in its principle of life; and that death and judgment are its only portion. “Except a man be born again” (entirely anew), says St. John, “he cannot see the kingdom of God.” It is not from above, nor merely again, but from the outset of life; as in the beginning of Luke it is said, certain knowledge “from the very first.” Hence Nicodemus refers to re-entering into his mother’s womb. It is a positively new nature. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Again, death and not amelioration is always pronounced upon the old man, those who have the new life having the title to reckon themselves dead. “Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God,” “buried with Him by baptism unto death;” and as regards practice, when thus alive, “mortify [put to death] therefore your members which are on the earth.” “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me;” we are baptized into His death. “If any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature (kainhV ktivsi"),” it is a new creation; old things are passed away, all things are become new, and all things are of God” We are created again in Christ Jesus. We are created again, not after Adam’s image renewed, but after God.116
Further, it is in and with Christ, we being really dead in sins, that is, having no moral movement of life in ourselves towards God, “none that understandeth, none that seeketh after God,” whatever man may say. The same power has wrought in us, which raised Him from the dead. “According to the working of his mighty power which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places; and God, rich in mercy, of his great love wherewith he loved us, when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together with Christ.” Being by the word of God, it is by faith; “of his own will begat he us by the word of truth” but this revelation of the glory of God is not the amelioration of the old, but the revelation of the new or second Adam, which judges the old and sets it wholly aside and condemns it, and draws it out after the new Adam, even after Christ; so that we are renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created us; who has manifested Himself in love to sinners, the spirit of forgiveness, grace (to go no further), which in the first Adam had no place.
For Christ was not only a perfect man in righteousness and true holiness, but the manifestation of God in grace; and we are called on to follow Him in this, which neither innocence, nor law, have anything to do with. Being by the word, it is by faith, and so renewed in knowledge, according to God’s revelation of Himself as a man. Hence, though it be a real communication of life, of a nature, as it is said, “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” “Having loved the church, and given himself for it.” Yet it is of water. He sanctifies and cleanses it by the washing of water by the word, it is the cleansing of a man who remains the same person still, but cleanses by the judgment of the old, according to the revelation of the new, and the renewal of desires, according to the blessed object thus presented, who is also our life. He is come not by water only, but by water and blood, cleanses as well as expiates; but it is out of His pierced side, out of a dead Christ, this water flows. This cleansing is a real thing, by spiritual power; and of this John 3 speaks. Hence baptism, which is the sign of this regeneration, is baptism into His death. So John 6 is the reality of what Christ has been, and done, come down and made flesh, the true bread from heaven, and given in death for the life of the world, on which we feed by faith, eating His flesh and drinking His blood: a Christ in death, of which the second sacrament is the expression.117
And here I will notice what I have referred to, the consistent but awful character of Romanism in this respect. It is well known that the cup is refused to the laity. They are consoled under this privation by the authoritative doctrinal assurance— what is called the doctrine of concomitancy—that in what is no longer bread there is the whole body, soul, blood, and divinity of the Lord Jesus, a whole [that is, the whole of] Christ. Now, the very essence of the Lord’s teaching is, that the body is broken and the blood shed, not a living Christ, but a Christ who has given Himself effectually in redemption. We drink the blood, therefore, apart as dead. If it be in the body, redemption is not wrought. The Eucharist in the church of Rome is a sacrament of won-redemption; of the absence of forgiveness, for without shedding of blood there is no remission; but if it be in the body, the blood is not shed. Thus has Satan mocked poor souls, pardonable objects of pity, no doubt, in their ignorance, but blinded by what are called theologians, by what is really his theology, which has given (instead of the blessed sacrament of redemption, though not permitted openly to deny it) a sacrament, as far as they receive it, of non-redemption and of non-forgiveness. Up to this point, whatever the aspirations of Puseyism, divine goodness has not permitted it yet to reach. It does its best doctrinally in making an incarnate, in contrast with a risen, Christ, the source of life and blessing, the head of a new race. Furthermore, I deny entirely that Christ incarnate is the pattern-man to a renewed race. He is the man who is a pattern in His walk; but sinlessness in flesh is not the pattern-state for man in the flesh, in whom “this infection of nature doth remain, yea, in them that are regenerate. For Christ, in the birth of our nature, was made like unto us in all things (sin only excepted), from which He was clearly void, both in His flesh and in His spirit… but all we, the rest, although baptized and born again in Christ, yet offend in many things; ‘and if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.’” If it be replied, “But it is only asserted that we have the principle of it in us in this life, and it will be perfect in another,” that is precisely to assert that a risen and glorified Christ is the pattern-man, and not an incarnate one here below. We are to be conformed to the image of God’s Son, risen and glorified, and, as we have borne the image of the earthly, then bear the image of the heavenly in its full display and development.
100 Mr. Bennett has already re-married a couple married legally out of the Establishment.
101 What precedes is this:—“He [God] had really entitled Himself to a share in the hereditary characteristics of this lower being, and qualified Himself for co-partnership with His brethren.” “Incarnation,” page 52. Remark that, save in the vague expression of brother, sister, mother, the Lord never calls His disciples brethren till after His resurrection, when He went to His Father and their Father, His God and their God.
102 This is a singular phrase, and implies a good deal of what is peculiar to the system. Mediator is some one between two parties—between God and man. Here it is headship of a race—a connection between the two—by taking manhood into God. The reader will do well to notice this. It is the use and application of this doctrine we are occupied about, not the doctrine of the taking of manhood into God.
103 This is a quotation from Hooker.
104 The two are these:—“The grounds of this relationship to mankind at large are twofold [that is, of Adam as head or representative of humanity]. First, the tie of common parentage, on account of which ‘the man’ called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living; and secondly, that He was the type who represented the race in its perfection.”
105 “That the earthly body of our Lord was the medium through which life and health were conveyed to other bodies, is expressly recorded in holy writ. It is not our purpose to speak of the acts of healing which were thus wrought, because His divine mind and will must not be excluded from participation in the miracles of which His body was the medium. Yet when we consider the nature of His body in itself, when we inquire whether the conditions of its existence answer to the character of Him who assumed it, we see peculiar reasons why virtue should flow, as we are assured it did, out of His body into the bodies of others.” No doubt: but was this the eternal life of the soul? “Now since Christ as the second Adam is that seed of life, through whom the spiritual body is to be quickened at the last day, that virtue should go out of Him when He was upon earth is nowise inconsistent with what scripture leads us to expect.” “Whether the influence exerted when He were [was] upon earth were material or immaterial, it is needless to ask.” … “He [our Lord] set it [His, man’s body] forth as possessed of an instrumental efficacy in that work of renovating the race of man, which extends to the restoration of their bodies, as well as the renewal of their souls.” If that is not convenient logic, surely I know not what is. But the looseness of the author’s reasoning—the utter inconclusiveness of his statements— is beyond all I ever read. The soul is slipped in here without the smallest ray of connection with the argument, as if touching the body renewed that. Yet this is the whole point as to spiritual benefit by sacraments as an extension of the incarnation. But you may have Cyril, his great authority, to vouch for it, soul and all: “since the life-giving Word of God dwelt in the flesh, He transformed it into that excellence which belongs to Himself, that is, into life, and by His intimate and unspeakable union with it, He rendered it life-giving, as He is—Himself.” Cyril. Alex. 4, 354; who, however, declares it equally true of the wicked, so that little serves our author’s object or indeed his own.
106 This, the Archdeacon’s favourite author, Cyril, interprets quite differently; he applies it to the offering of Christ as on an altar in sacrifice, which he says, is by the Jews held as sanctifying, though the victim be previously holy. Tovde aJgiavzw ejn touvtoi", ajntiV tou' ajnativqhmi kaiV prosajgw kaqavper a[mwmon iJepei'on eij" ojsmhVn eujwdiva", k.t.l. Com. in Ev. Johan., lib. 4 (vol. 4, p. 354, ed. Aubert). Both, I judge, interpret wrongly.
107 Not only does our author urge its being only partial, but his views are somewhat those of Quakers. He holds that “the life was the light of men” applies to what Christ was as the word. The law of conscience is one “which has its origin in God’s image reflected in the creature’s mind. St. Paul speaks of it as the work of the law written in men’s hearts.” He slurs over here the fact that it is not the law which is written at all. “And St. John tells us, that it was not a law the perpetual maintenance whereof had been entrusted only to human powers: it was preserved by the abiding influence of that all-pervading Word, who never totally forsook the beings whom He had created… ‘In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.’ The second result of this partial perpetuation of his Maker’s image was the preservation of a measure of that intercourse with God, which in the first instance had doubtless been full and unrestricted… What was secret prayer, as a rite of heathen religion, but the intuitional reaching forth of the mind after its invisible Creator? … This intercourse is built upon that all-pervading action of the eternal Word, which was the original light of our being… This, then, is the old road of nature; this the channel through which light was originally transmitted from God to man. Now, the law of mediation is the substitution of a new channel of intercourse instead of this old one. The law of grace is given in place of the law of nature. The old door of access had been shut or obstructed by sin; therefore, in the manhood of Christ was a new door opened to mankind.” Now it is not that there was not a conscience in every man, “a certain inherent judgment respecting right and wrong.” Surely there was. Man acquired it in the fall, by which he was separated from God. Nor do I say that God left Himself without witness, if haply men might feel after Him and find Him. We know He did not; so that men were without excuse. But this is not the statement of the Archdeacon. With him this is a nature which was the power of holding intercourse with God: that in man which was preserved by the abiding influence of the all-pervading Word. “The guiding light, then, of original humanity was… a special and supernatural in-dwelling of the great Author of all knowledge… For even the heathen must have derived their remaining light of conscience, however darkened and confused, from Him who is the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world;” that is, it is His influence within and not His witness without to a conscience acquired in the fall, which, after all, drove him from God (Gen. 3:8-10), and a heart which, alas! was enmity against Him.
Christ removes the obstruction to this preserved image being in intercourse with God, and gives fuller objects. It is not death come on the first Adam and utter condemnation, and in us, that is in our flesh, no good thing, and Christ, a sacrifice to put away sin, and, as second Adam, an entirely new life in which, in the power which is in Him, we live to God. It is a renewal of the old intercourse, improving it perhaps, but Christ adopting our humanity in its disordered state and reconstructing it in His own person as alive here, and then, according to infinite wisdom passing through sufferings and glorified so as to communicate it there. “Our ancient intercourse with God has been given back only through that new Founder of man’s race, through whom alone we can approach the Father.” And again, “This He did, not by the creation of materials which- did not before exist; the materials were drawn from that stock for which the benefit was designed. ‘He was made of a woman.’ (It is merely genovmenon ejk gunaikoV", genovmenon uJpoV novmou.) The materials, therefore, which were employed, were weak and disorganised, because they were taken out of one who naturally was heir to Adam’s defects. But then He who took them was the Word of God. Into these weak and poor elements of our nature there flowed the very might, wisdom, and purity of Deity itself. Thus was their weakness from the first corrected; from the first moment that His nature existed its disorder was counteracted by the perfect order and harmony of God’s Spirit, and though made of a woman, He was made without sin.”
I do not expatiate on the excessive looseness of the Archdeacon’s statement (and he is the most inaccurate, loosest writer, with the pretensions he has to philosophical theology, that one might easily find: take the statement, for example, that the disorder of His nature was counteracted by the perfect order and harmony of God’s Spirit, which may be said of us, but certainly not of Christ)—I do not expatiate on it, because I hope and suppose he means no harm; or on the doctrine, which is really, as it stands, practically Apollinarianism, because I believe he does not mean it, but is merely loose in his statements, from extreme inaccuracy and carelessness in mind and habits of thought, associated with exceeding boldness and even irreverence as to the subjects he treats.
But what miserable materialism there is in all this! They were materials whose disorder He corrected. But I especially refer to the passage here in connection with regeneration. It was a divine person taking the old materials and counteracting their disorder. Is that all? The might, wisdom, and purity of Deity itself, flowing into the weak and poor elements of our nature? I repeat, it is Apollinarianism really, but is there no really new life which Adam had not? Is it merely Deity correcting, or, as the Archdeacon heretically expresses it, counteracting the disorder of fallen Adam’s elements? Let the reader note this. The doctrine is elaborately wrought out in the system; it is sacramental materialism, a correction by a kind of divine physical process. The very words I use offend me; but what can I do, when men speak of materials and of taking the same composition of parts? I do not doubt He did, so as to be as really man as we are; but is this eternal life in Christ? Is this what Christ is as a new life to those united to Him by grace? Life is in Him and He is our life. Is this merely a counteraction of disorder in the weak and poor elements of our nature?
But I must close this note: only I recall here the Archdeacon’s account of the first and second Adam, that we may see the utter and fundamental unsoundness of the whole system as to what Christ’s person is—what sin is—what the fall is—and what our recovery is. “One circumstance, which must of course greatly affect the whole question, is the perfect parallel which exists between the first man and the Second—between the type and the Antitype—him in whom humanity fell, and Him in whom it rose again—between Adam in whom a divine Spirit was united only for a season to our mortal being, and Christ, in whom the same Spirit dwelt permanently and without measure.” Again, “For in His [Christ’s] constitution there were the elements of Adam’s being, together with the perfect presence of that wisdom of God, which had vouchsafed its influence as an indwelling gift to our first parent.” And, as regards the pattern-man and the exclusion of resurrection—“In Adam was humanity, and the presence of the Word superadded as a guiding light. In Christ was God the Word by personal presence, who for our sakes had added to Himself human flesh. Thus it attained that perfection of man’s nature, which, in the case of our first parent, was only transiently set forth. For that perfection lay in the intercourse with God, which Adam so soon renounced. But in Christ is this intercourse restored permanently and in its completeness.” Is this a just account of incarnation, to say nothing of resurrection?
108 *** Eiloiva is Cyril’s word.
109 The Archdeacon speaks of reducing man to the state of the brute as indeed do others, and refers to the common sense of human nature as to the ingratitude and the like, and certain affections which subsist. Far be it from me to liken one who has an immortal responsible soul to a brute. But the use of such arguments to prove man not wholly lost, and that some good remains, in spite of the apostle’s assertion, “I know that in me, that is in my flesh, dwells no good thing,” is absurd; because, as to the knowledge of right and wrong in se, it was acquired by the fall, and was no part of man’s unfallen nature, and proves no inclination to good whatever, but is a conscience which the inclination to evil constantly violates—“video meliora proboque, deteriora sequor;” secondly, because, as to mere amiable qualities, they are found in the brute, parental fondness, devotedness to a benefactor, even to the laying down life rather than allow injury to a beloved master, patient endurance of even injustice from him, and of everything for him, and every other natural quality which can adorn human nature as a nature, but which prove nothing as to his moral condition in relationship to God. There is this difference, that the poor brute does not boast of it, nor pretend to be an heir of heaven by it.
110 It is known that the Greek corresponding to ‘“broken” is omitted in the best copies. This may impair slightly the reasoning here, but the substantial truth abides.—En.]
111 “And by reason hereof there was conferred as a gift upon the man Jesus Christ, that quickening power which pertained to His Godhead by nature. For as the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself. And so did He declare when addressing the Father as Mediator for His brethren, ‘Thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.’ “I add another passage to one already quoted, to shew that Christ is presented as the source of life as incarnate. “Thus was there bestowed upon what was human in Him such living energy, as was evidenced while He was upon earth, when there went virtue out of Him and healed them all. So that it became that’ quickening spirit,’ which is able to bestow a new life on the progeny of Adam, and that bread of life which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof and not die.” Remark how he leaves out the giving of it to which I have referred.
The Archdeacon adds, moreover, in a subsequent passage—“It was because Christ, therefore, was the Head and Father of man’s race, that He bore, in like manner, not part, but all its punishment.”
St. Cyril, from whom the substance of his doctrine is drawn, is more consistent. The Archdeacon will declare as to Christ’s mediation, “that its proper reference is in those who are united to Him.” Cyril, after stating as an objection to our being raised because united to Christ that all are raised, adds, “for all shall rise again according to the similitude of Him who has been raised for our sakes, and has all in Himself,” pavnta" e[conta" ejn eJautw'/. Only, he says, it will be for judgment. This is founded on the following statement:—“Christ, therefore, gave for the life of men His own body, and causes again life to dwell in us; and I will say now as well as I can, for since the life-giving Word of God dwelt in flesh, He transformed it (meteskeuvasen) into His own good, that is, into life, and, being joined to it in an ineffable way of union, made it life-giving, according to what He is Himself by nature. Therefore the body of Christ vivifies those who partake of it.” The objection is then made, that unbelievers will rise. The undaunted theologian then adds, “Through the resurrection of Christ, the mystery extends (dihvkein) to all humanity, that is, all men, for all rise, being contained in Him, so that all are raised in virtue of union with Christ being contained in Him. His incarnation has made Him the Head of the race.” It will be remarked, that He is said to have borne the punishment of all as such. For what they are to be in the resurrection of judgment, I must leave to others to explain. Cyril equally applies his death, as bearing their sins, to all, saying, dikaV" uJfevzwn, and then quoting 1 Peter 2:24.
112 Archdeacon Wilberforce sanctions this translation, quoting Athanasius, who uses it in a different way from the preceding fathers—no wonder. He founds it on a use of *** Hip, which the rationalists have eagerly adopted, which is given in dictionaries, I admit, but questioned by first-rate Hebrew scholars, there being no passage in the Bible to which the word “possess” does not fully answer.
113 The Archdeacon, audaciously enough, has quoted Origen for the eternal generation. Horsley has shewn his want of veracity in argument; but Origen’s absolute heterodoxy on these points cannot be questioned, whatever his heart and intentions may have been. I do not mean that Origen does not hold eternal generation; he does, but he holds the Son to be wholly inferior to the Father, the Father being as much superior to the Son and Spirit as or more than, the Son and Spirit are to others. His language is as bad as possible on these subjects. Indeed, one of the honestest, a rare quality in those days, he was one of the wildest of imaginatives—pre-existence of souls who are placed here according to their conduct there; recovery here; and all purged by fire; perhaps their fall again; and every other wild notion imaginable. It was rather nearer Mormonism than anything else, mixed with universalism. But he was a “Father” only, though he suffered for Christ; rather too independent in his wildness to be made a saint of.
114 If I ask Tertullian, he tells me Christ took corruption (corruptela) and that, if not, He was not a perfect man; but adds, “for what was death but corruption?” Cyril declares He did not, and that it was impossible; Clement of Alexandria, according to Bishop Kaye’s account, that “it would be ridiculous to suppose that the body of the Saviour, as a body, required necessary sustenance for its preservation; He ate, but not for the body, which was held together by a holy power; but lest His companions should be induced to think otherwise of Him” (than as a man). Are these to be trusted, or which?
115 The very learned Jesuit Petau, in commenting on the exceeding looseness of the Ante-Nicene Fathers as to the divinity of the Lord, says, after speaking of heretics, “Others were truly Christian, and Catholic, and holy; but as the times were, that mystery not being yet sufficiently clearly known, have thrown out some things dangerously said.” (De Trin. lib. i, c. iii, § 1.). Indeed, he charges most of the Ante-Nicene Fathers with Arianism, chiefly however in the form of the existence of the word as ejndiavqeto", and only proforikoV", for the purpose of creation, but some of them in a grosser shape.
116 I have already stated, and would recall it again: conscience, considered as knowing good and evil, was not a good in man surviving the fall. It was acquired in the fall, and drives away in itself from God through fear. There was no righteousness, no holiness, in the first Adam. There was innocence. We are purified in being called out, in heart and conscience, after the second Man, the Lord Jesus. The knowledge of good and evil belongs to God; and we are not to lose it to return to innocence, but to be conformed by grace in living power to Him who having it is perfect in respect of both.
117 These chapters present the thing itself, the two sacraments present the truths of which the chapters speak. These do not speak of the sacraments; but chapters and sacraments speak of the same things.