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liberal principles of religion, and liberal views of Christianity, have at length gained a footing in Connecticut. The spirit of exclusiveness is passing away, the glory of consociations is on the wane, and we trust that it will wax no more. The people are beginning to resist the usurpations of a narrow-minded clergy, and to disregard the pretensions which have so long been made, and so long been admitted, to the exercise of an unhallowed authority over mind, and faith, and conscience. We devoutly hope, that the congregation at Brooklyn is not the only one in that state, which has determined to incur the disgrace no longer, of bowing down their souls in slavish submission to the men who have placed themselves on the spiritual judgment seat, and dared to arrogate a power over those thoughts and determinations of the human mind, which God alone can rightly discern, and which God alone will righteously judge. We hope to hear no more of ministers being haled before an ecclesiastical court, for studying the Bible, to discover its true meaning; or of their being torn from their parishes, for declaring the result of their honest convictions. We hope that the monstrous inconsistency will no longer exist, of a protestant people in a free land, submitting to a clerical dominion as despotic as that of Rome in the dark ages.
The gentleman who is now installed over the first church in Brooklyn, we are sure will labour effectually in sowing the seeds of an enlighted faith, and spreading abroad in his neighbourhood the simple and unalloyed truths of christianity.
Doctrine of Two Natures in Christ. In our last number we attempted a slight historical notice of the doctrine of the union of two natures in Jesus Christ, and expressed our intention to consider, in a future number, some of the most important objections to this hypothesis. We shall now proceed to state these objections, after observing, in order to prevent being misunderstood, that we fully admit the divinity of our Lord's character and mission. That he was the “Son of God," that he always acted and spoke with divine authority, is not doubted. Nothing we are about to offer is inconsistent with the supposition, that he holds the most exalted rank among finite intelligences, that he is superior to all other beings who possess only a derived existence, and inferior only to Him who "inhabits eternity," and fills the throne of the universe. We hope that we feel as deeply impressed with the excellences of his character, and the importance of what he has done for us, as any of our brethren who entertain different views of his person. All we attempt to show is, that there is no foundation for the trinitarian distinction of two natures in him. We contend only for his unity. We maintain that he is strictly one-one person, one mind-in opposition to the doctrine which assigns him a double nature, supposes him to have two minds, an infinite and a finite, and thus, we think, introduces strange confusion into our conceptions of his character, and lamentably mars the simplicity of the sacred writings.
Our principal objections to the orthodox distinction of two natures in Jesus Christ are, that it involves an absurdity; that it destroys the personal unity of Jesus Christ; that it exposes him to the charge of equivocation and dishonesty; that it introduces the utmost confusion and uncertainty into the sacred writings; that it is unnecessary; that it receives no support from the scriptures; and that it is attended with difficulties, far greater than those which it professes to remove.
1. We think that the doctrine of two natures in Jesus Christ, as held by its advocates, is absurd, and consequently that no evidence whatever would be sufficient to establish it. Before we believe it, we must entirely abandon the use of our understandings; we must free ourselves from a disposition to weigh evidence; we must have that convenient pliancy of mind, that happy facility of belief, to which the good father had attained, when he said, “I believe, because it is impossible.”
If we reflect for a moment on the qualities of the divine and human natures, we must, one would think, be convinced, that they can never be united in the same mind or person. They are absolutely incompati. ble with each other; they cannot possibly exist together in the same intelligent agent. What are the attributes of the divine and human natures? God is infi. nite, everlasting, immutable, omnipotent, omniscient, and infallible. Man is finite, limited in knowledge and power, weak, erring, subject to vicissitude, disease, and death. Now, let any one, who ventures to use his understanding, say whether these qualities are compatible with each other. For ourselves, we think they are such, that their union in the same being is naturally impossible. It is the union of infinite and finite, of knowledge and ignorance, of power and weakness, of perfection and imperfection. We may as well talk of the union of light and darkness, or of any two qualities, of which the one necessarily implies the negation or absence of the other.
What is the consequence of the union of divine and human attributes in the same mind or being, on the supposition, admitted by our adversaries, that the two natures remain distinct, none of the qualities of either being lost or changed? Why, that a being may be at the same time infinite and finite; that he may be omnipotent, yet partake of weakness and infirmity, and be unable of himself to do all things; that he may
be omniscient, yet be ignorant of many things; that he may be the Father of the universe, yet a wailing infant, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger; a being incapable of pain and suffering, yet a man of sorrows, who expired on the cross, was placed in a shroud, and slept in the tomb. Now if this be not downright contradiction and shocking absurdity, we confess we know not what contradiction and absurdity are.
We do not think our opponents very fortunate in their attempts to illustrate the doctrine of two natures in Jesus Christ by comparison. Thus we are told, that for an explanation of it we must look into ourselves, and consider the union of soul and body in man; “for as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ.” Such is the language of the Athanasian creed. The comparison it suggests has been a favourite one with the advocates for the theological doctrine of the incarnation, from the time this doctrine came to be received to the present day. That such has been the fact, we think a remarkable instance of the effect of hereditary prejudices in blinding the understanding, and of the lamentable weakness of human nature, which induces men to listen to the most flimsy argument and shallow sophistry, when employed in the support of received opinions.
The comparison of the two natures of Jesus Christ, with the union of spirit and body in ourselves, may serve to introduce confusion and darkness into a person's ideas, in consequence of which he may lose sight of the absurdity of the hypothesis, which it is meant to illustrate;—perhaps he may think, that he has, at length, hit upon a parallel, which solves all difficulties. But a little sober reflection, we think, must abate his confidence. To us the two cases appear totally dissimilar. Man is a complex being, very different from that compound being, which Christ is represented by our adversaries to be. If you admit the common distinction, and say that man is made up of matter and spirit, and then inquire what is his nature, the only general and intelligible answer to this inquiry is, that it is those properties, corporeal and mental, which result from his constitution and physical organization; that is, all those qualities, which