A Compendium of Christian Theology

By William Burt Pope, D.D.,

Volume Two

Chapter 7

The Person of Christ



            Divine Names

            Two Natures

            Divine and Human,

            united in the description of the Incarnate Person

            His Humanity Flesh

            His Godhead Spirit

            Divine Attributes and Worship


            The Eternal Sonship,

            Continued in the Incarnation

            Unity of the Person of the Son for ever


            Without Defect and without Excess

            Sinless Development


            or Hypostatic Union

            Scriptural Formulas of Indivisible Person

            its Unity

            Abiding Distinction of Natures



            Early Errors

            Ebionites Precursors of Modern Unitarianism, Nazarenes of Socinians

            Monachianism of Second Century

            Gnostic Heresies assailing both Divinity and Humanity

            Arianism and Apollinarianism

            dishonouring the Divine and the Human Natures respectively

            Nestorianism and Eutychianism affecting the Union of Natures as such

            Chalcedonian Formula

            Later Development



The dogma of the Person of Christ has not been always defined and limited with sufficient strictness. It is the formal statement of what the Scripture teaches concerning the indivisible unity of the two natures in the One Christ. It is not therefore the doctrine of our Lord's Divinity as such, though that is included. Nor is it the doctrine of His perfect Manhood as such, though that also is involved. It simply treats of the Person resulting from the union as Divine-human or Incarnate. The Word of God does not assign a term to this union which might indicate its nature: it does not use the expression Person of Christ, any more than it uses that of Trinity. But the former has the same relation to the Redeemer that the latter has to the Triune Essence. Sometimes those who do justice to the distinct dogma of the Person of Christ enlarge it unduly: including in it much that belongs to the Estates and Offices of Christ as the Subject of an historical development. It will be well to confine our present topic to the Divine Personality of the Son who assumes our nature, to the verity of the human nature which He assumes, and to the Divine-human Person, with its new and eternal composite personality, which is the result. Whatever does not fairly come within this scope must be referred to a subsequent stage

The doctrine of the undivided and indivisible unity of the Incarnate Person is taught by the Holy Ghost in two ways: first, by the language used concerning the Christ, and, secondly, by the ascription of the virtue and qualities of each of the two natures to the Saviour's work. As to the former: while neither of the two natures ever gives its attributes to the other, the one common Person is clothed with both classes of attributes interchangeably. As to the latter: in all that the Savior does and suffers each nature has its distinct functions unconfounded, while both are the functions of the one common Person, whose Divine personality gives them Divine virtue: some are Divine, some human; but all are Divine-human. These general truths were anciently summed up as follows: Christ is truly God, perfectly Man, unconfusedly in two Natures, indivisibly in one Person

Later developments of dogma pursue the subject into a multitude of subtitles which have made no real advancement towards the solution of what remains THE MYSTERY OF GOD EVEN CHRIST


God became incarnate as the Second Person of the Deity. Hence the sole, continuous, abiding, and everlasting personality of the One Christ is that of the Eternal Son, who retains His unchangeable Godhead in His human estate, throughout His mediatorial history, and for ever. Christ is Divine; His Divinity is that of the Son; and it is the personality of the Son which is the Subject in the act and issues of the incarnation


The Divinity of the Son eternal in the essence of God has been already established: now we have to do with the Divinity of the Son in the Person of Christ. As incarnate the Redeemer is called by Divine names; His mediatorial relation supposes His truly Divine nature, which is ascribed to Him in connection with human, and as distinguished from it; and the Divine attributes are ascribed to Him, with the homage which those attributes demand

I. In some passages—few, but among the clearest in the New Testament—the Redeemer in His human manifestation is called GOD. And in a larger number He is called LORD, with all the meaning of the ancient JEHOVAH in the term. In a still larger number He bears the third of the early designations of the Deity, ADONAI or Lord: that is, in all those wherein the term Lord is not the representative of Jehovah, but indicates only the jurisdiction over all things which is given to the Eternal Son. It needs hardly to be said that neither the term GOD, nor the term LORD as Jehovah, ever defines in Scripture a dignity conferred on Christ

1. The New Testament begins by applying to Jesus the prediction of Immanuel, 1which being interpreted is, God with us. 2 And the light of fulfillment thrown back upon the same prediction shows that the Incarnate Son is the mighty God. 3 So with regard to the forty-fifth Psalm: Thy throne, 0 God, is for ever and ever, 4which the Epistle to the Hebrews refers to the Incarnate Mediator. 5 In the beginning of his Gospel St. John speaks of the Word made flesh as God, and, in the best reading, as God Only-begotten; 6 he also gives prominence to the confession of Thomas: My Lord and my God. 7 Two passages are doubtful: the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood, 8 may be perhaps read the church of the Lord. God manifest in the flesh is rather Who was manifest. 9 But it is scarcely permissible to read otherwise than that Christ is over all, God blessed for ever. 10 And the closing testimony of St. Paul is that Christians look for the appearance of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ. 11 These are only a few texts; but their fewness is in their favor as evidence. The mediatorial economy is based on a subordination of the Son Incarnate; and the name God is given to Christ only in occasional ascriptions serving to protect the eternal truth which, for a season, seems of necessity veiled, and therefore liable to perversion

1 Isa. 7:14; 2 Mat. 1:23; 3 Isa. 9:6; 4 Psa. 45:6; 5 Heb. 1:8; 6 John 1:1,18; 7 John 20:28; 8 Acts 20:28; 9 1 Tim. 3:16; 10 Rom. 9:5; 11 Tit. 2:13

2. The Incarnate is JEHOVAH; and His name of LORD, not always, but sometimes, is therefore the name of His highest supremacy, attributing to Him an essential and necessary Divine being. Here again, and for the same reason, the instances are only occasional. Perhaps, with the exception of Thomas's confession, which as it were prepared the way for what follows - the link between the confession of the Gospel days and that of the Epistles—it was not assigned to our Lord until after His ascension. The prayer of the church of the ten-days' interval was to Jehovah Christ: Thou, LORD, which knowest the hearts of all men, show whether of these two Thou hast chosen. 1 St

Stephen's testimony, strongest in death, is LORD Jesus, receive my spirit. 2 Believers were baptized in the name of the LORD Jesus, 3 and afterwards call on this name. 4 The Evangelists abound in fulfillments of Scripture which imply that the Jehovah of creation and promised redemption in the Old Testament is Christ in His mediatorial Person. Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth. 5 The Baptist prepared the way of Jehovah, 6 that is, of Christ. The prophet Isaiah saw the glory of the Lord: he saw His glory, 7 that of Christ. St. James terms Him the Lord of glory. 8 He is the New- Testament prophet, the King of kings and Lord of lords. This passage, however, may be classed with St. Peter's sublime parenthesis He is Lord of all, and St. Paul's To us there is . . . one Lord, as the transition from the Jehovah of absolute lordship to the Adonai of as it were delegated authority. In the great majority of passages, with which we have not now to do, Christ is Lord in the sense of an exalted Divine-human representative of Divine authority over all things. These passages unite the two in one. But, it may be said that even these texts of a delegated lordship proclaim the Divinity of Jesus: even as the Adonai of the Old Testament was equally with Jehovah a Divine name

1 Acts 1:24; 2 Acts 7:59; 3 Acts 8:16; 4 Acts 9:21; 5 Heb. 1:10; 6 Mat. 3:3; 7 Isa. 6:1; 8 Jas. 2:1

3. The Incarnate is JEHOVAH AND GOD. He Himself did not assume these titles, for a reason that will hereafter be more fully seen. But He so spake as to give matter of pondering which would ripen in due time into a full faith in His Divinity: as, for instance, when He said that wherever His disciples might meet, there am I in the midst of them,1 I AM; before Abraham was, 2 I AM. And He kept silence also when these terms were ascribed to Him: His silence was His acceptance. Perhaps the grandest testimony to the Savior is that given Him by His most doubting disciple: My LORD AND MY GOD, 3 which was meant to express, and accepted as meant to express, the homage of his soul to the Jehovah and God, the Searcher of hearts, the Witness of all human secrets, and the Savior of the most guilty and undeserving of men. This was the last public confession, at least of any individual; and it gave the note of all subsequent New-Testament homage. Of the two supreme names which sprang from the lips of Thomas only one was currently used, and that one capable of a lower meaning: the reason of this belongs to the subject of our Lord's mediatorial subordination

1 Mat. 18:20; 2 John 8:58; 3 John 20:28

II. As Mediator between God and man Christ is necessarily Divine. Having all that belongs to the one represented nature, He must also have all that belongs to the other

What His mediatorial work required His mediatorial Person supplies: perfect equality and oneness with both parties between whom He mediates. And the best demonstration of the Divinity of the incarnate Redeemer is to be found in the passages which exhibit His two natures in their combination and unity. Of these there are several classes; but we must limit ourselves to those which in express words unite while they distinguish the Divine and human natures, after the incarnation. This excludes, for the present, Old-Testament predictions, the testimonies at the incarnation, and even the indirect allusions of our Lord and His Apostles: these will be referred to when the one personality is the subject. In fact, we have only for our appeal the three Apostles who are the pillars of Christological doctrine

1. St. Paul distinguishes in the Person of Christ the Flesh and the Spirit; the higher and the lower natures: born of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness. 1 That the Divine nature of Christ should be termed Spirit is what might be expected: God is a Spirit: 2 Now the Lord is that Spirit. 3 He Who was manifest in the flesh was justified in the Spirit.4 The same distinction virtually occurs in the Epistle to the Hebrews, though the human nature is referred to only by implication: through the eternal Spirit 5Christ offered His blood. St

Peter also uses the same antithesis: Being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.6 1 Rom. 1:3,4; 2 John 4:24; 3 2 Cor. 3:17; 4 1 Tim. 3:16; 5 Heb 9:14; 6 1 Pet. 3:18

2. St. Paul also makes the antithesis the Flesh and God: of Whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, Who is over all, God blessed for ever. To this might be added the mystery that God was manifest in the flesh; 1 but the reading Who was manifest is preferred, and the antithesis is in the Spirit that follows. 2 He also conjoins while he distinguishes the Divine Being Who was in the form of God and equal with God 3 and the likeness of men which He assumed

1 Rom. 9:5; 2 1 Tim. 3:16; 3 Phil. 2:6

3. Both St. John and St. Paul collocate the two natures as that of the Son of God and Flesh. God sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh. St. John in his Gospel adds the designation Word: And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father). And in his first Epistle Jesus Christ come in the flesh is, as the context shows, the Son of God manifested

4. To these might be added many other passages in which the two natures are collocated by implication: such, for instance, as those indirect statements in which our Lord was wont to indicate both His heavenly and His earthly origin. These, however, must be reserved for the present; as they will be used to illustrate the unity of His person in the two natures. It is better to fix attention upon the comparatively few texts in which the Person of the Incarnate is resolved into its two elements. These are probably the best and most obvious demonstrations of the Divinity of our Lord; and that for two reasons. In the first place, they clearly manifest the design of the writers to give prominence to the distinction; and, by so doing, to assert the reality of the Godhead while the manhood is asserted. In other passages the supreme dignity of the Redeemer is only taken for granted, and impresses its stamp upon the texture of the language. But in these the set purpose to declare His Divinity is plain. Secondly, they bring that Divinity into formal and express connection with the one person of the Christ, thus obviating the double danger against which we have so often to guard our thoughts: the resolution of Christ into two distinct persons, on the one hand, and, on the other, the tendency to fuse the two natures into one new nature as well as person, neither God nor man

III. The incarnate Person is invested with Divine attributes and receives Divine honor. It will hereafter be seen what the limitation of this is, and the reason of this limitation. But, apart from and behind the reserve of our Lord's humbled estate, and bursting through the veil of His self-humiliation, there are evidences most ample of His Divine attributes, and of the honor paid to Him and accepted by Him which only God can claim

1. It is enough to show that every class of the Divine perfections finds its representative in Him: in other words, that the Divinity which has been already established is such in the full sense of the word, and not a divinity subordinate and impaired. Nothing that pertains to the notion of God is wanting in the ascriptions to Christ as manifest in the flesh. The absolute attributes of God are His: spirituality and eternity of existence especially, as He is the eternal Spirit, 1 and the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever, 2 and the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last. 3 The relative attributes, such as Omnipresence, Omniscience, Omnipotence, Wisdom, and Goodness, are asserted of Him even in His earthly condition, and much more in His exaltation: He is addressed as knowing the hearts of all men 4 as the Omniscient, has all power, 5 is the Wisdom of God in 6 Whom all its treasures are hid. 7 And the attributes which connect God with the moral universe are His in the unity of the Father: He is the Holy One, and the Just, 8 and His Love, which passeth knowledge, 9 is always dwelt upon as entirely co-ordinate with the love of the Father: the same in its eternal depth, in the object it contemplates, and in the means it uses

1 Heb. 9:14; 2 Heb. 13:8; 3 Rev. 1:11; 21:6; 4 Acts 1:24; 5 Heb. 1:1,2; 6 1 Cor. 1:24; 7 Col 2:3; 8 Acts 3:14; 9 Eph. 3:19

2. The worship and honor due to the one God our Lord as incarnate was ordained to receive: He claims it for Himself; and that it is given Him we have ample proofs derived from every part of the New Testament

(1.) Let all the angels of God worship Him! 1 He commands who again bringeth in the Firstborn into the world. They had worshipped Him before, for He was the Son upholding all things by the word of His power. At the incarnation they adored the God Only-begotten made manifest in the flesh; and throughout His history their ministry was the ministry of adoration. But it was to the church of mankind that the ancient command was given: He is thy Lord, and worship thou Him! Him Whom the Father addressed as on His throne: Thy throne, 0 God, is for ever and ever.2

1 Heb. 1:6; 2 Psa. 45:11,6

(2.) Our Lord claims an honor due only to God. He claims it throughout His life and ministry by the silent majesty of His Divine character, by His wonderful works literally wrought in God, 1 and by the plain declaration that the Father committed to Him, the Son of man, all judgment, that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father.2 And He who taught afresh the first and great commandment required of His disciples perfect self-sacrificing love to Himself, which is the fulfilling of worship as well as of law. He accepted all kinds of homage from all kinds of worshippers: already on earth; and still more above, from things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.3

1 John 3:21; 2 John 5:23; 3 Phil. 2:10

(3.) Accordingly, there is literally no reserve in the supreme homage paid Him by His servants. He is invoked as God for His Benediction, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ;1 He receives as God the Doxology: over all, God blessed for ever;2 to Him be glory both now and for ever. 3 The last book of Scripture gives the exalted Son the same tribute that the Father receives. But the best evidence is the unbounded homage, devotion, loyalty, and love that are concentred on the Person of Christ throughout the Epistles: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. 4 Such love could be given only to God and only God could inspire such joy,

1 2 Cor. 13:14; 2 Rom. 9:5; 3 2 Pet. 3:18; 4 1 Pet. 1:8


While the Incarnate Person is the God-man, or manifestation of God in the flesh, the Divine personality is only that of the Son, the Second Person in the Trinity. As a distinct Person in the Godhead He brings the entire Divine nature into humanity, and continues His eternal personality through all the processes of His development and mediatorial work for ever

I. Into the mystery of the eternal distinction in the Deity which rendered it possible that the Father should send and the Son be sent we dare not enter. Nor into that of the intercommunion by which the whole Divine nature is in each of the Persons, and therefore descended to earth in the Son. Nor into the specific relation of the Son in the Godhead, the Eternal Logos or Word, to the manifestation of God in the creature and in man. These questions lead into a province of speculative theology which is neither encouraged, nor guided, nor rewarded, by any sacred oracle. It is our wisdom to confine ourselves to what is revealed

II. It has already been proved that the Eternal Son, as such, was sent by the Father, in the Divine counsel and act of the Trinity; that He came therefore spontaneously, to save mankind. It is necessary now only to show that the one eternal personality is continued in the new manifestation of God among men

1. We naturally turn to the account of the incarnation itself for the evidence of this. But, in receiving this evidence, we must remember that the subsequent Scripture, especially the prologue of St. John, sheds its light upon that narrative. Men here interpret the voice of angels. The Only-begotten of the Father 1 was the Word Who was made flesh; 2 God gave His Son, Only-begotten, by sending Him into the world; and of that Son, Onlybegotten, it was said in the great annunciation: That Holy Thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. 3 This Son of the Highest, 4 therefore, did not become the Son of God in the incarnation; He brought His sonship into our nature with Him. No argument can evade this conclusion. It may be said that in many passages which are sometimes pleaded in behalf of the Eternal Sonship the term Son refers to the historical and manifested Christ: for instance, Our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 5 But when we read that God sent His Only-begotten Son into the world, and immediately afterwards the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world, 6 the simple and obvious meaning ought not to be mistaken. The Father Who is God, and God Who is the Father, sendeth. God does not become the Father by sending the Son

1 John 3:16; 2 John 1:14; 3 Luke 1:35; 4 Luke 1:32; 5 1 John 1:3; 6 1 John 4:9-14

2. This gives the law for the interpretation of the names, derived from that sonship, which the Lord Himself and His servants habitually use. Whatever titles He adopts or receives in relation to His office, the term Son always enters into the designation of His Person

His pre-eminent name is throughout the New Testament the Son of God, or the Son absolutely. If He calls Himself the Son of Man, we can hardly disjoin the Eternal Sonship even from that title. For the Son of man literally He never was: His true paternity and filiation were Divine: and as the Son, even in the fashion of man, He was still the Son of God in humanity. Hence, omitting the predicatives OF GOD and OF MAN, the simple name THE SON preserves to Him His eternal and everlasting character as the Second Person of the Trinity made manifest in the flesh. A Person in the Godhead continues His personality in the human nature, which is therefore of necessity itself impersonal or without any personal existence independent of the Divine. That Person is not the Father, nor the Holy Spirit, but the Son. Accordingly it will be found that in the greater number of passages in which the term Son, absolutely, is used, the reference is to the Incarnate Person, Who is not only the Son of God and the Son of Man, but the Son uniting the two

III. The importance of remembering that the Divine personality of the Son runs on, the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever, is very great, and may be illustrated in many ways

1. It gives unity to the Person and unity to the work of the Redeemer. It preserves the Divinity of both. While it leaves to the human nature its perfection, it denies to it a distinct personal existence. The manhood was taken up into the Godhead, not the Godhead received by a human person. The Lord is not united in fellowship with a human subject. He does not hold communion with His lower nature as distinct from His Divine Self. It is true that in the humiliation of His impoverishment for us He speaks and acts from a human consciousness. But the condescension was voluntary; and all that belongs to it He makes His own Divine act. Though He was a Son, yet learned He obedience: 1 this statement has no such emphasis in it as the writer designed, if the voluntary condescension of a Son equal with the Father is not in it. Thus this truth, on the one hand, saves the Person of Christ from the unimaginable surrender of anything that belonged to Him as the Son of God, while, on the other, it prevents our assigning the humiliation of Christ to a human nature the sufferings and acts of which the Son made His own only by imputation. He learned all that His passion taught as in the flesh, but He learned it as the Son. Hence the simplicity with which the mission of the Son from heaven to earth is always alluded to. Sometimes reference is made to the nature He assumed in order to accomplish His work; but sometimes, indeed still oftener, the purpose of the Son's commission is represented as if accomplished by that Son alone. God sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins: 2 the nature that gave Him His sacrifice is not mentioned. In fact, the Scripture assumes that the SUPPOSITUM INTELLIGENS, the self-determining and responsible Agent, the Person who saved us, is the Son of God

1 Heb. 5:8; 2 1 John 4:10

2. And it shows us the bond between the Divine Sonship and our own. The perfect design of Christianity, and that which is so to speak its peculiarity, is to bring God near to man as a Father: to restore His Fatherly relation to mankind. And the soul of personal Christianity is the adoption which makes us as regenerate the sons of God. Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father.1 By the virtue of His Divinity the Savior redeemed us with His precious blood; by the power of the Holy Ghost He sanctifies us from all sin to Himself; but the new life with its privileges to which He introduces us in His Gospel is the virtue of His Divine Sonship in us: His eternal filial life poured afresh into our human nature

1 Gal. 4:6


The human nature that our Lord assumed, the human conditions under which He appeared, included all that properly belongs to man. The integrity of His manhood admitted no defect in any of its elements, nor any superfluity; He was man, but in the sinless development of pure humanity. Human nature in Him was perfectly realized; and He subjected Himself to all the conditions of human life

I. The Manhood of Christ is declared in Scripture to be perfect in the sense of possessing all that belongs to human nature. He is the Man Christ Jesus, 1 or Jesus Christ, Man: the strongest and clearest declaration on this subject in the New Testament. He is the Son of Man; He was partaker of flesh and blood; 2 and came in the flesh; being made of a woman; 3 in the likeness of men; and in the likeness of sinful flesh: Man, but in the likeness of men; Flesh, but in the likeness of sinful flesh

1 1 Tim. 2:5; 2 Gal. 4:4; 3 Rom. 8:3

1. More particularly, His human nature had each of the constituent elements of that nature. Our Lord was conceived of the Virgin, nourished of her substance during gestation, and born as other men. His body was real: even after the resurrection He said, A spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have. 1 He possessed a human spirit, the seat of intellect, sensibility, and will. Of intellect, limited of necessity: Jesus increased in wisdom, 2 and of some things was ignorant; of sensibility: His soul was exceeding sorrowful, 3 and He was meek and lowly in heart; 4 of will: not as I will, but as Thou wilt.5 And, so far as a threefold distinction may be admitted in human nature, He was, essentially and of necessity, what we become through His Spirit, sanctified wholly and kept blameless throughout body, soul, and spirit. Reason was in Him the limited reflection of His own eternal Logos; His spirit was the abode of the Eternal Spirit restored in Him to our race; and through His soul He allied Himself with the needs and infirmities of sensuous human nature. He appropriated all its elements in their unity that He might redeem all

1 Luke 24:39; 2 Luke 2:52; 3 Mat. 26:38; 4 Mat. 11:29; 5 Mat. 26:39

2. From this it follows that as Man our Lord added nothing to His Manhood by assuming it into the Godhead. The Divine Logos neither displaced the human spirit, nor raised it to a condition transcending human limits. Upon this truth rests, as we shall see, the possibility of the Saviour's language of subordination

II. The human nature of our Lord underwent a sinless process: a development in common with other men, but, unlike that of other men, without sin. That is to say, on the one hand, the union with Divinity did not arrest the natural evolution of the humanity; and, on the other, that union did avail to secure the perfect development of the lower nature, under the conditions, however, of making its infirmities the instrument and medium of the atoning Obedience and Passion. These topics will be touched upon under the Mediatorial History: at present it is required to state them only so far as they are essential to a right view of the Perfect Manhood of Christ

1. Our Lord was perfectly Man: teleios His human nature was the perfect realization of the eternal idea of mankind. Hence He calls Himself the SON OF MAN; and by St. Paul is termed the Second and better, or Last Adam:1 ho eschatos Adam. While immortality in Adam was a gift conditional, in Christ it was absolute: in Him was life. 2 But He was sent to exhibit the perfection of a human existence in the world of sin, and therefore the course of His life underwent the common development. Reserving the mystery of His introduction into our race, He was ever after in all points as one of us

1 1 Cor. 15:45; 2 John 1:4

2. But He came in the likeness of sinful flesh: 1 in the flesh of infirmity and capability of suffering and death. He surrendered His right to the immortality of His holy Manhood, and of Himself laid down His life. But there is another meaning of the Flesh in Scripture which has nothing in Christ: that of the seventh chapter of the Romans, In Him was the mystery of all the consequences of sin as the endurance of sorrow without the sin itself that causes sorrow. The development of His human nature was absolutely sinless: because it was that Holy Thing 2 which belonged to and was called and is the Son of God,

1 Rom. 8:3; 2 Luke 1:35


The Divine-human Person is the union, the result of the union, of the two natures; or rather the personality that unites the conditions of Divine and human existence. This personality is one and undivided; as is testified by the phraseology which assigns both to the Person and the work of Christ attributes taken from either nature, while the Subject of all predicates is one. The two natures of the one Person are not confounded or fused together; this is guaranteed to reason by the eternal necessity of the case, as also by the fact that none of the attributes of either of the two natures is ever in Scripture assigned to the other

This union of the two natures in one person receives no name in the New Testament

Theology designates it the HYPOSTATICAL UNION. This term is derived from the later use of Hypostasis to represent the Personal subsistences in the Godhead in contradistinction from their common Substance or Essence. Hence it signifies that only one Hypostasis or Person is the resultant of the union of the two natures. It defines no more than that. And it is therefore only the theological expression of the truth concerning Christ which, without a definition, pervades the Scripture. But there are two errors against which it must be guarded, or rather against which the two words of the term guard the doctrine respectively. As the union is HYPOSTATICAL, it is not the conjunction of two natures by any bond that allows them to be conceived of as separate. As the Hypostasis results from a UNION, there can be no blending of the two natures into a composite which should be no longer either, but something between God and man

I. The undivided and indivisible unity of the ONE CHRIST stamps the phraseology of Scripture, in its references both to His Person and to His work. Let us consider each in its order

1. Whether He speaks of Himself or His Apostles speak of Him, it is the rule that, whatever name may be given to our Lord as the subject, predicates are applied to it taken from both natures or interchangeably from either of them. A few illustrations will be sufficient; but these must be carefully classified, as the induction by which we gain our general principle or formula

(1.) In all those passages, already referred to, which unite in one sentence the Divine and the human, the subject is Jesus Christ, and the predicates are taken from both natures. The church of God, which he hath purchased with His own blood: 1 He, the subject, has for predicates God and the Manhood the blood of which was shed. So also when it is said that they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory. 2 In fact, all the passages that have been quoted as illustrating the general proposition, and others that might be added, contain virtually attributives from both natures

1 Acts 20:28; 2 1 Cor. 2:8

(2.) In some, however, the one subject has specially a Divine predicate. The Son of Man, the subject, has for its predicate which is in heaven.1 The glory which I had with Thee2 comes under the same law; and many others, such as before Abraham was, I am.3

1 John 3:13; 2 John 17:5; 3 John 8:58

(3.) In other passages—in the nature of the case the abundant majority—the predicate is simply and purely human. Jesus was asleep,1 Jesus wept, 2 His soul was exceeding sorrowful, and He said after the resurrection Touch Me not.3 These enter of course into the very substance of the history of His humbled estate; and the last and most mysterious illustration is the double cry with which the Savior finished expiation: My God, My God, Why hast Thou forsaken Me? 4 and Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit!5

1 Mark 4:38; 2 John 11:35; 3 John 20:17; 4 Mat. 27:46; 5 Luke 23:46

(4.) If we carry this law with us into the New Testament we shall find that One Person everywhere appears, who speaks and is spoken of sometimes as God, sometimes as man, sometimes as both; and without the slightest care to obviate possible misapprehension

The One Christ, with His two classes of attributes, is always taken for granted as familiar to Christian consciousness

2. This unity appears also in all that is said of the Redeemer’s work. His entire mediatorial agency is not that of the Son of God only, not that of the Son of Man, but that of the Theanthropos, the GOD-MAN in His whole Person, undivided and indivisible

(1.) It is to be observed that, negatively, Scripture never draws a line of demarcation between Divine acts and human in the mission and functions of Jesus. It does distinguish, as we have seen, between the natures, and that in a very elaborate way, which makes the absence of the other distinction more marked

(2.) Every possible variety of names is given to the One Agent in redemption; and every aspect and act of His work is ascribed to each appellative: the Word, the Son, Jesus, Christ, Jesus Christ, all represent Him who took flesh and became man, redeemed the world, rules in the present dispensation, and will lay down His mediatorial authority when the end shall have come

(3.) Sometimes language is used which allies the humanity with the Divinity in the preexisting state. The Incarnate Lord seems to be in heaven before the ascension, before the incarnation, before the world was: He, the Second Man, is [the Lord] from heaven; 1 and the condescension of Christ Jesus, as the example on earth of self-sacrifice, St. Paul carries up to the eternity of His existence in the form of God. 2 In Him, the Incarnate Head of the mystical church, the saints are regarded as predestinated unto the adoption 3 in an eternal purpose. So the Lamb was slain, and redemption wrought, before the foundation of the world. 4 Sometimes, on the other hand, terms are employed which might seem to bring the eternal existence of the Author of redemption into time, as when the Son is said to be fully begotten this day in our nature: This day have I begotten Thee.5

1 1 Cor. 15:47; 2 Phil. 2:6; 3 Eph. 1:5; 4 1 Pet. 1:20; 5 Acts 13:33

(4.) But always and everywhere the Agent is one: one in personality, one in the operation or energeia thandriko. All that was done and suffered was done and suffered by the one Redeemer: the Son of God, the Son of man, the Son, Jesus Christ Man, the One Mediator

He is one: by a bond between His natures that has no similitude or analogy in the compass of human thought, save that of the union between the soul and body of man

And here lies the foundation of the whole superstructure of the redeeming work: all is Divine in its infinite virtue and efficacy, all is human in its validity for mankind. The One Christ who redeemed the world may be distinguished as to His natures; but in His work the distinction vanishes again

II. While the Person is one in the unity of Divinity and manhood, the Scriptures never confound the two natures themselves. This appears first in the fact that positively the two elements are placed in antithesis to each other; and, secondly, that negatively none of the attributes of one nature is ever applied to the other

1. For the former we may refer again to the passages already cited as proving the distinction of the natures, of which St. Paul has given, so to speak, the formula: Who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness. 1 The antithesis is to be assumed in all those texts which speak of the Son or the Word becoming flesh or becoming man. This applies to St. John especially, in whose language was made or became is equivalent to come into: The Word became flesh2 is equivalent to Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.3 Flesh and Spirit are not more absolutely distinct in the unmaterialistic teaching of the Bible, and in the philosophy of common sense, than the two natures of the Redeemer

1 Rom. 1:3,4; 2 John 1:14; 3 1 John 4:3

2. Negatively, appeal may be made to the careful decorum of Scripture, which never predicates of the Deity of Christ in the abstract the attributes of humanity, nor of Christ's Manhood in itself the attributes of the Godhead. When it is said: to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood, 1 God, or the Lord, as the reading may be, is the Person of Christ whose human blood and not His Divinity as such purchased the church. This phraseological rule has no exception

1 Acts 20:28

3. There needs, however, no proof of either of these positions. In the nature of things the Infinite cannot become the finite, save in the irrational speculations of Pantheism. The Divine nature and the human are essentially and eternally distinct. It may be said that there is communion between us and God, and union between man and God in Christ. But in the God-man Himself this union is communion too: communion of the natures in the union of the Person


The passages which have been cited in confirmation of the several propositions concerning the Person of Christ render needless any lengthened examination of the Scriptural testimony. But it will be useful to take a general view of the several forms of the doctrine as gradually revealed by the Holy Ghost: of the course of development by which the MYSTERY OF GOD, CHRIST, 1 was gradually made known to the apprehension of faith while still re-served as a mystery not to be comprehended of reason. The bare outline of the subject is all that will be given: first of the Old-Testament preparatory teaching; then of the Saviour's testimony to Himself; and, lastly, of the mature Apostolical teaching after Pentecost. It must be remembered that we have only to do with the indivisible unity of the Saviour's Person in the two natures

1 Col. 2:2

I. Our Lord on two occasions emphatically declared that the Old Testament testified concerning Himself. First, when He gave this solitary commandment to search the Scriptures, 1 this was the enforcement and reward of the injunction. After the resurrection He Himself searched the Scriptures 2 with two of His disciples as they were never searched by any other; and gave them in that unpreserved discourse the outline we have to fill up. We find in the ancient records intimations of the human nature and the Divine running parallel but distinct at first; and in the later Old Testament these are united in the predictions of one Incarnate Person Who, as Servant of Jehovah, unites the two

1 John 5:39; 2 Luke 24:27

1. He is THE SEED: a term which pervades the Bible as signifying the element of man's nature in its development, the symbol of its continuity as a race; and, as applied to Christ, has a specific relation to His position in mankind as its representative. First, He is the Seed of the woman: 1 this First Gospel contains a promise of a Divine Conqueror of Satan, but it declares only as yet the representative manhood of Christ. Secondly, He is the Seed of Abraham: in thy Seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. 2 Thirdly, He is the Seed of David: I will set up thy Seed after thee . . . and I will stablish the throne of His kingdom for ever. 3 These several predictions are severally interpreted in the New Testament of the One Christ, Who was the Son sent forth made of a woman, 4 concerning Whom it had been said by St. Paul just before that the promise to Abraham referred to ONE, And to thy Seed, Which is Christ, 5 Who is the Seed of David according to the flesh, but the Son of God with power. 6 They are three converging prophecies which recur in the Psalms and in the Prophets in various forms

1 Gen. 3:15; 2 Gen. 22:18; 3 2 Sam. 7:12,13; 4 Gal. 4:4; 5 Gal. 3:16; 6 Rom. 1:3

2. Concurrently and running parallel with these He is the ANGEL or JEHOVAH Who appeared to Abraham and promised to him the coming of Himself the Seed. My Name is in Him. 1 He is the ANGEL OF THE FACE OF JEHOVAH; 2 and the prophet Hosea recalling His wrestling with the patriarch terms Him Jehovah God of Hosts. 3 He is the Angel of the Covenant 4 in Malachi; and this name looks back upon the earlier Theophany or manifestation of the revealing Son 5 in angel form, and looks forward to His future appearance in His own elect form of Man. Accordingly in the New Testament He is the Jehovah Who, as Incarnate, came to His literal temple, and Whose voice Isaiah had heard in the temple mystical, when he saw His glory and spake of Him.6

1 Exo. 23:21; 2 Isa. 63:9; 3 Hos. 12:5; 4 Mal. 3:1; 5 Isa. 6:1; 6 John 12:41

3. The two natures are also united in the later Old Testament

(1.) Three Psalms may be selected as pre-eminently conclusive: not as exhausting the subject, but as the key indicated by the New Testament for the solution of the ancient mystery of Christ. 1 Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee: 2 the former part of this sentence is declared in St. John to refer to an eternal Son-ship; 3 the latter by St. Paul to refer to His revelation in the flesh perfected and demonstrated in the resurrection.4 The LORD said unto my Lord: 5 here Jehovah at the beginning and Adonai at the end both belong to the Supreme; and the Lord of David is in His Incarnate Person exalted to the right hand of God. Thy throne, 0 God, is for ever and ever 6 . . . God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows. The name of God is here given to the Eternal Son, Whose human excellence, in union with the Godhead, finishes the incarnate character and stamps the incarnate supremacy of Him concerning Whom it is said to the, Church: He is thy Lord; and worship thou Him.7

1 Eph. 3:4; 2 Psa. 2:7; 3 John 1:14; 4 Acts 13:33; 5 Psa. 110:1; 6 Psa. 14:6,7; 7 Psa. 14:11

(2.) The testimony of Jesus through the Spirit of prophecy is still more distinct in the prophets proper. The Jehovah of Isaiah's vision is that Christ Who is the Child born and the Son given: 1 as the latter THE MIGHTY GOD; as the former, or rather in His incarnate Person, Wonderful, the Prince of Peace, 2 a wonder to the adoring contemplation of faith, the peace of its satisfied possession. Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name IMMANUEL: in this name, which our Savior never bore as a personal designation, the full mystery of the Christ of God is announced. Micah speaks of the Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting . . .. And this MAN shall be the peace. 3 Jeremiah prophesies of the Redeemer, And this is His name whereby He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS: 4 raised up to David as the Incarnate Righteousness He is JEHOVAH; 5 and gives His name to the Holy City, the Church, as inheriting the righteousness of God in Him. The Divine testimony to the Man that is My Fellow, saith the Lord of Hosts, in Zechariah, is plain in its profound meaning when connected with they shall look upon ME whom they have pierced, 6 and with the New-Testament quotations both of the Redeemer and St. John. Daniel first gives Jehovah incarnate the title Son of Man, 7 and exhibits Him as invested with supreme dominion: One like the Son of Man 8 must be paralleled with The form of the fourth is like the Son of God. 9 Our Saviour's application of Daniel's titles will vindicate for him perhaps the highest place among the ancient testimonies. Malachi closes them in the Canon with the prophecy of that Angel of the covenant 10 who in the fulfillment is Christ coming to His temple: this may be regarded as the last and crowning demonstration that the Jehovah of the Old Testament is the LORD of the New

1 Isa. 9:11; 2 Isa. 7:14; 3 Mic. 5:2,5; 4 Jer. 23:6; 5 2 Cor. 5:12; 6 Zec. 12:10; 7 Mat. 24:30; 8 Rev. 1:7; 9 Dan. 7:13; 10 Mal. 3:1

(3.) It must be added that the Incarnate Person thus foreshadowed, and more than foreshadowed, in the earlier Scriptures is both in psalm and prophecy exhibited as the subordinate Agent of the work of the Mediatorial Trinity. Reserving the fuller treatment of this for its own place, we need only to indicate that the future Christ is the Lord's Anointed, 1 or Messiah; the Minister of God: Behold My Servant, Whom I uphold. 2 The Word of the Lord 3 in Samuel's days is the eternal Wisdom, God Himself and yet distinct: personified in the Proverbs, 4 He is incarnate by that name in the New Testament; but in both the revealer of the Divine counsel. These latter terms, however, like that of the Angel, are not specifically connected in the Old Testament with the human nature of our Lord. They belong rather to His unrevealed Divine-human Person: the ANGEL-SERVANT or the SERVANT-SON of Jehovah

1 Psa 2:2; 2 Isa. 42:1; 3 1 Sam. 3:21; 4 Pro. 8:30,31

(4.) The Old-Testament testimony, read in the light of the New, is thus most abundant and most clear. But the incarnation of the Son of God was a mystery until He came. Later Jewish theology does not indicate that it was anticipated by the nation. And St. Paul tells us that Christ was the mystery of God, 1 even as the revelation of salvation to the world was, until the fullness of the time.2

1 Col. 2:2; 2 Gal. 4:4

II. Our Lord's witness to His One indivisible Divine-human Person is in the nature of things supreme: it explains the pre-intimations of the Old Testament, and it gives all the elements which, under the teaching of the Holy Ghost, were more or less developed by Evangelists and Apostles. It is to be sought simply and only in His own sayings upon earth and from heaven

1. The testimony given by Jesus concerning this mystery while on earth has been anticipated in the earlier treatment of the One Personality. It may be stated more fully, though in epitome, and with necessary repetition, as follows: — (1.) He adopts for Himself three names, THE SON OF GOD, THE SON OF MAN, and THE SON

The first, employed but seldom, refers to His Divine nature; the second, habitually used, makes Him one with mankind; and the third is very generally if not always applied to His indivisible Person as including the two former

(2.) While this is generally true, it is true also that each of these three names is referred by the Redeemer to His One Person as pre-existing in an equality with the Father; as Man among men; and as one and the same in time and in eternity, in heaven and upon earth

His use of them may be studied with advantage

2. This may be illustrated by a few passages which give our Lord's self-revelation as found in the Evangelists

(1.) The term Son of God He seldom Himself used; but He accepted the title, in its Divine significance, from His disciples and from His enemies. The latter understood Him to make Himself equal with God; 1 and this our Lord confirmed, both then and on many other occasions: That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. 2 I and My Father are One. He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father. 3 He was accused of blasphemy for calling Himself the Son of God. He had not given Himself the name; but He accepted it and appealed to His works for evidence that it was His right: the Father is in Me and I in Him. 4 But, as the Son of the living God He is also the Son of Man; and, when Simon Peter uttered that confession, 5 His Master declared the knowledge of His Divine-human Person to have been given by the revelation of the Father Himself. Only once does the Lord as it were spontaneously term Himself the Son of God; and then He offers Himself to the healed blind man in the Temple as a human speaker: Dost thou believe on the Son of God? . . It is He that talketh with thee. 6 This is a very remarkable instance

1 John 5:18-23; 2 John 10:30; 3 John 14:9; 4 John 10:38; 5 Mat. 16:16,17; 6 John 9:35,37

(2.) Generally He speaks as The Son absolutely: always with reference to the Father, but always in His incarnate relation. It is needless to quote any other passages than those in which the One Lord, the Son, declares His pre-existence and equality with God. As the Son He said: Before Abraham was I am, 1 declaring both His pre-existence and His eternity. So also when He claimed to have from the Father life in Himself: 2 life originated in the Father, but eternal or without beginning. Neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son: 3 the Son in His incarnate person as Man alone revealeth the Father. And it is the Son approaching the cross as man who prays: glorify Thou Me with Thine own Self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.4

1 John 8:58; 2 John 5:26; 3 Mat. 11:27; 4 John17:5

(3.) But, as the name Son of Man was that which the Redeemer elected for Himself, so it is that which brings into fullest expression the unity of the Incarnate Person. He assumed it instead of the more limited Messiah or Christ: as being the Messianic designation that allied Him with all mankind. And it is the subject of an endless variety of predicates taken from His two natures interchangeably. This has been already sufficiently shown. It may suffice to appeal once more to His first use of the Name He loved so well. And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man which is in heaven. 1 Here are the pre-existence, the descent, and the return of Him Who in His one person is the Son of Man. Another saying recorded by St. John as spoken at the end of the Saviour's ministry transfers this to the Son absolutely: I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world; again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.2 The entire doctrine of our Lord's Divine and Divine-human Sonship is here

1 John 3:13; 2 John 16:28

3. The testimony given from heaven is the supplement of that in the Gospels; and it removes any slight vestige of doubt which some of the sayings uttered in His subordination may have left. Of it we may use the Apostles' words: now speakest Thou plainly. 1 The final Apocalypse, or Revelation concerning Jesus Christ, was given by Jesus to St. John, and through him to the Church for ever. The Redeemer Himself appears in His final and most glorious manifestation in His human form, as One like a Son of man; 2 but says as God, Fear not, I am the First and the Last. And, after many words which show that He is still the exalted Servant of the Trinity, He leaves lingering in our ears the last of all His testimonies: It is done.... I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. 3 Thus the supreme witness is His own

1 John 16:29; 2 Rev. 1:11 3 Rev. 22:13

III. The testimony of the Evangelists and Apostles is that of the Savior Himself through the Spirit: it is the fulfillment of the promise, He shall glorify Me.1

1 John 16:14

1. The Evangelists take precedence. But, as St. John's must be regarded as Apostolic testimony, there remains only that of the Synoptists. St. Matthew and St. Luke give them in the Genealogies. In the former, the Seed of David is Immanuel, God with us; 1 in the latter, the Seed of the Woman is the Son of God;2 the former connects Him with Joseph, His reputed father, with Judaism and the Old Testament, the latter with Mary, with the World and the New Dispensation. The Synoptists and St. John perfectly agree; though St

John, as will be seen, makes more direct reference to the Divine nature of the Incarnate

1 Mat. 1:23; 2 Luke 1:35

2. It is common to the Apostles to call their Master LORD, a title which bases the mediatorial supremacy of the Redeemer upon the fundamental dignity of Jehovah the LORD; and it is common to them also to assign to Him attributes and to demand for Him homage which imply His Divinity. The distinct types of their teaching as to the One Person may be briefly indicated

(1.) St. Peter, preaching in the Acts to strangers gathered into Jerusalem, proclaims the Messianic authority of Christ in general, and does not as yet dwell on the mystery of the Divine-human origin of the Man approved of God. 1 He accumulates names which imply Divine dignity, such as the Holy One and the Just, the Prince of life; 2 but the subordination of the Servant of God of Whom Isaiah spoke is uppermost: God, having raised up His Son, paida, 3 not the Son absolutely, but the Servant-Son. In his Epistles he continues the tribute to the mediatorial Messiah, and opens with a benediction of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 4 Afterwards he speaks of Christ as put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit; 5 here bringing the two natures into conjunction by the same formula which St. Paul uses. In the Second Epistle we read of the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ; 6 believers are said to partake of His Divine nature; and with the Lord a thousand years a/re as one day. 7 Moreover St. Peter closes his ministry with a Doxology, which only God can receive: Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. 8 St. James calls the Savior the Lord of Glory: 9 that worthy Name which belongs to Deity alone. And St. Jude ascribes to the only wise God our Savior glory and majesty.10

1 Acts 2:22; 2 Acts 3:14,15; 3 Acts 3:26; 4 1 Pet. 1:3; 5 1 Pet. 3:18; 6 2 Pet. 1:1-4;3:8; 7 2 Pet. 3:18; 8 2:pet. 3:18; 9 James 2:1,7; 10 Jude 25

(2.) St. Paul has an order of testimonies peculiar to himself. Most of them, however, have been already quoted; and those which belong to the subordination of the Person of Christ must be reserved. The Epistle to the Romans is pre-eminently the Mediatorial treatise, and contains the clearest expression of the unity and distinction in the two natures. In the beginning it is thus stated: The Seed of David according to the flesh, 1 or the human nature, and declared or defined to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, or the Divine. Here is a twofold sonship and a twofold nature. The same distinction is varied afterwards: Of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, Who is over all, God blessed for ever. 2 There cannot be a doubt that it is the express design of the Apostle to unite the two natures here. Between these there is another of great importance. God sent His own Son, the Son of Himself, in the likeness of sinful flesh; 3 that own Son whom He spared not, where the idiou Huiou corresponds to the Patera idion of the Jews' correct inference: He called God His own Father. 4 In the Corinthian Epistle, remarkable for the fullest expression of the mediatorial subordination, there are some plain announcements of the Divine-human dignity. Christ is the Lord of glory5 Whom as to His human nature the princes of this world crucified. And where His subordination is most expressly taught He is the Lord from heaven and a quickening Spirit 6 in His Divine nature, while the second Adam in His human. The Lord is that Spirit, 7 Who is God; and it is at the close of these Epistles, in which the head of Christ is God, 8 that the Trinitarian benediction is pronounced, placing the Incarnate in the Trinity as the channel of all the grace that flows from the love of God, and is made the common possession of believers through the Holy Spirit. The Epistles of the Roman Captivity — the three Christological Epistles proper — contain another type of expression: in harmony with that of St. Paul's previous and subsequent writings but very different. In that to the Colossians the Person of Christ, the Son of the Father's love, is the Image of the invisible God, the Firstborn of (or before} every creature; 9 and in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. 10 Now these wonderful words describe the Incarnate Person; not rising however from the lower nature, as in the Romans, but descending from the higher. It is said of Him Whose blood redeemed men that HE is the Image of God: Himself invisible as Spirit but manifesting the Godhead in the flesh; that HE IS the Firstbegotten before every creature—for in Him were all things created, and He is before all things, —but also the Firstborn of the created human race as the heir and representative of all: Firstborn in two senses. The Ephesian Epistle contains no express statement on this topic. But, as the special document of the Mediatorial Trinity, it assigns to our Lord a place in relation to God and to the Church and to the individual soul which belongs to no creature. It is observable that here alone St. Paul joins St. Peter in blessing the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 11 words that might seem to refer the former appellation to the humanity and the latter to the Divinity of Christ, but really belong to the doctrine of His subordination. The Epistle to the Philippians is peculiar as giving the only passage in which St. Paul approaches the mystery of the incarnation. Christ Jesus 12 is the one subject of every predicate in that paragraph where the whole career of the Redeemer is condensed into one sublime example of condescension. As to His Divinity He was, or rather is, in the form of God: hupárchoon establishes the consubstantial Deity, and morpho Theou the personal subsistence in the Trinity. As to His manhood, He is in fashion as a man; rather, as Man in the likeness of men. The word made connects the passage with those words to the Galatians, made of a woman, 13 and more remarkably with St. John's, The Word was made flesh; 14 while St. Paul's likeness of men shows us that St. John's expression must not be misinterpreted into declaring a real change from one nature into another. The form of a servant expresses the unity of the mediatorial subordinate Person. The Pastoral Epistles contain the Apostle's final testimony: his FAITHFUL SAYINGS. One or two new forms of the doctrine appear. The glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior: 15 these words are not absolutely unparalleled in St

Paul; they are the final echo of that early God over all, blessed for ever. 16 The words God and Savior grammatically belong to one person, just as the God and Father of Christ is one in the Philippian Epistle. Theologically, they belong to the one Person Who is God, and, as Incarnate, our Savior. It must not be forgotten that God our Savior 17 has been before made synonymous with Jesus Christ our Savior. In the First Epistle to Timothy there is a new example of the method of conjoining the two natures: the Mystery of godliness Who was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit. 18 And this throws its light back on those words: for there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 19 or Christ Jesus, MAN. The two passages mutually explain each other

In the last of these Pastorals the Apostle takes his farewell of the subject in the doxology in which he invites the universal Church to say Amen: And the Lord shall deliver me. 20 TO WHOM BE GLORY FOR EVER AND EVER. AMEN

1 Rom. 1:3; 2 Rom. 9:5; 3 Rom. 8:3,32; 4 John 5:18; 5 1 Cor. 2:8; 6 1 Cor.15:45-47; 7 2 Cor. 3:17; 8 1 Cor. 11:3; 9 Col. 1:15,16,17; 10 Col. 2:9; 11 Eph. 1:3; 12 Phil. 2:6,8; 13 Gal. 4:4; 14 John 1:14; 15 Tit. 2:13; 16 Rom. 9:5; 17 Tit. 1:3,4; 18 1 Tim. 3:16; 19 1 Tim. 2:5; 20 2 Tim. 4:18

(3.) The Epistle to the Hebrews adds nothing positively new to the form of the doctrine; but it is abundantly clear in the doctrine itself. The first chapter is simply an exhibition of the Divinity of the Incarnate as such. It begins with another reading of St. Paul's teaching to the Colossians: the Son incarnate—for God hath spoken in His Son1 is the effulgence of His glory, and the express image of His person. 2 He is called God by the Father, Who seats Him on His mediatorial throne; and to Him is ascribed the production of all phenomena, which He creates and lays aside, being Himself THE SAME. 3 The second chapter exhausts the verity of our Lord's manhood. Both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one. 4 He took part of the same; the children's flesh and blood. 5 After the two chapters have dwelt on the two natures severally, we are called upon in the third—the mystery of the junction of the two natures being behind the veil— to consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, [Christ] Jesus. 6 This Person, from God to man Apostle and from man to God High Priest, through the eternal Spirit offered HIMSELF: 7 that is, as Divine, His eternal Spirit offered His humanity as a sacrifice. And the Apostle at the close revolves back into the thought which closed the first chapter, in words which condense the whole doctrine of the Indivisible Person: Jesus Christ, the Same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.8

1 Heb. 1:2 2 Heb. 1:8; 3 Heb. 1:10; 4 Heb. 2:11; 5 Heb. 2:14; 6 Heb. 3:1; 7 Heb. 9:14; 8 Heb. 13:8

(4.) St. John's personal testimony—apart from his record of our Lord's—is found in the Prologue and Appendix of his Gospel, in his Epistles, and in the Apocalypse. The Prologue assigns to the Divine nature of the Redeemer three names: the Logos, the Son, the God Only-begotten. 1 The human nature is called Flesh. And the union is described as the being made, or becoming, flesh; and as the dwelling in that flesh as a tabernacle: He dwelt among us. The Logos is a term which signifies what Wisdom signified in the Old Testament; it had become current in Jewish theology, and had been perverted; St. John vindicates it, and then uses it no more. The Son is the revelation of the Only-begotten God in the flesh. He became flesh; but not by any transformation, for He only dwelt among us: here the future Eutychian error is obviated. He dwelt among us} but not as a Stranger, for He became flesh, and is glorified in the flesh: here the future Nestorianism is condemned. The high words of the introduction to the Gospel must interpret the whole

After the Prologue St. John rarely speaks; but when he does it is nearly always to exhibit the Divine glory of the Incarnate which, he says, we beheld. 2 Having recorded the first miracle, he adds that Jesus manifested forth His glory. 3 Again he comments on the words of the Lord, He spake of the temple of His body: 4 an evident remembrancer of the tabernacling with us. Similarly the private note on the Lord's symbolical teaching of the mystery of His incarnation: Jesus knowing . . . that He was come from God and went to God. In the First Epistle St. John takes up his Logos term, but combines with it the life: the Word of life. 5 As in his Gospel, he soon passes from that designation, and rests on that of Son. The verity of the union of the two natures is declared by the whole tenor of the opening paragraph: the Life was manifested and we have seen it. He Who in the Gospel is said to have been made flesh is here said to have come in the flesh. 6 It is remarkable that the Epistle, which begins with the Word of Life that was manifested, ends with the same: This is the true God, and eternal life. 7 And Who is the true God? St

John's answer is his last testimony, and perhaps the last testimony of the Bible: we are in Him that is true, in His Son Jesus Christ.8

1 John 1:1-18; 2 John 1:14; 3 John 2:11; 4 John 2:21; 5 John 8:3; 6 1 John 1:1,2; 7 1 John 4:3; 8 1 John 5:20

(5.) But, with regard to St. John as to all the other recorders of the Saviour's history and work, the best argument of their teaching concerning the unity, uniqueness and supremacy of the Divine-human Person is the general tone and character of their common presentation. It is not so much the result of a fair estimate of the meaning of certain passages, nor the induction derived from a comparison of many, as the impression made upon the thoughtful reader, especially if he is a devout reader, by the spirit and manner of their communications. Wherever we enter the presence of Jesus we feel that we are before One Who is God and yet not only God, man and yet not only man. There is scarcely a page or an incident on a page which can be understood on the theory of either nature being alone in Christ: always some residuum requires the other nature. There is nothing similar in all literature; it is a conception that has no parallel. And that all the writers so wonderfully agree in their testimony as to One Person Who is God and man must be ascribed to the fulfillment of His promise. He shall testify of Me.1

1 John 15:26


Generally speaking, it may be said that discussion concerning the Two Natures of Christ has occupied the Christian Church more or less from the beginning; but the controversies that bore upon the One Person as such were limited to the first five centuries. The theories and opinions of those who have denied the Divinity of our Lord do not in strict propriety come into consideration here, since they admit no Person of Christ as our theology understands it. We have to mark, first, the heresies that erred concerning the Two Natures respectively; and, secondly, those which misapprehended the nature of their Union

I. The controversy touching the question of the Divinity of Jesus enters here only in an indirect way

1. It took its first form in the Ebionites and Nazarenes, Christians with the old leaven of Judaism not purged out. The EBIONITES derived their name either from Ebion or an adjective signifying poverty, and asserted that Christ was only man; the NAZARENES improved upon this abject view by adding that He was miraculously conceived and endowed. Thus these primitive precursors of HUMANITARIAN doctrine were respectively the representatives of the Socinianism of the sixteenth century and the later Unitarianism of our own age. SOCINIANISM, akin to the Nazarene opinion, allowed that Christ was miraculously born, that He had transcendent fellowship with God in heaven during His life, and that after His resurrection He was exalted above every other creature. It held the inspiration of Scripture, which however it endeavored by a new translation and strange comments to harmonies with its views. By slow degrees this ancient Socinianism lost its distinctive and nobler features, and descended into modern UNITARIANISM, akin to the Ebionite view. Thus the Humanitarian error has completed its circle, ending in these latter days where it began in the post-Apostolic age

2. During the second and third centuries these primitive errors were revived and combined. Theodotus and Artemon in the second century, 180, asserted that Christ was mere man, psilon anthropon, but supernaturally born of a virgin. Paul of Samosata, in the third century, 261, held the same view; but admitted that the Logos was in Him as a spirit in a higher sense than in the prophets. But the opinions of these heretics were bound up with their erroneous views of the Trinity, and vanished from the Church or were merged in other forms of error

II. Of the early heresies which assailed the natures of our Lord, while all retaining faith in His Person, some erred as to both the Divinity and the humanity, and others as to each of these respectively

1. The Gnostic errors were very various, but they agreed generally in making the Godhead of Christ an emanation and His manhood a semblance only of man. The Divine in Him was an AEon, and the human not a material body, but a psychical or ethereal appearance that had nothing to do with the substance of the Virgin. These heretics were therefore termed Docetae (from dokeo). In the earliest form of Docetism, that of Cerinthus, condemned by St. John, the Man Jesus had a true body on which the Christ descended at his baptism, to abide with him only till his death. Hence the emphasis of the Apostolic statement that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh: 1 not in the mere likeness of flesh

1 1 John 4:2

2. The heresies of Arius and Apollinaris dishonored the two natures respectively: the former denying our Lord's eternal con-substantiality with the Father, the latter denying to Him the human spirit; the former impairing the Godhead, the latter the Manhood. These errors were, however, intimately connected

(1.) Both had their preliminaries in the ante-Nicene age. Origen asserted the eternal generation of the Logos, and gave its due prominence to the doctrine of the Eternal Sonship; but by laying undue stress on the subordination of the Son in the Godhead he paved the way for Arianism. His followers forgot the eternity in his doctrine of the Sonship and his watchword God-man. And when once the Logos in Christ was regarded as a created essence it became in their theory only an earlier and nobler edition of the human spirit, which might well take the place of the reason and intellectual nature of man in man's great Representative

(2.) The doctrine of Christ's Person, as taught by Arius, a presbyter of Alexandria, assigned to the Divine Sonship an origination by the will of God before time and the world existed: the Son hon pote ote ouk hon, and was generated not phusei, but Homoousion. He was the First Creature, though distinguished from the creation as the mediator between God and it. The Nicene Creed (A.D. 325) gives in its defensive clauses the best explanation of the heresy it condemned: BEGOTTEN NOT MADE, OF ONE SUBSTANCE WITH THE FATHER. The term omoousion, OF ONE SUBSTANCE, became the watchword of orthodoxy as represented by Athanasius and the Nicene Council. The Semi-Arians softened this into omoiousion, OF A LIKE SUBSTANCE. The difference, however, between the two terms, though indicated by a single letter, is really unlimited: no creature can be in essence like God. From the Nicene Council downwards there has been no community of Arians, nor any creed of Arianism, in Christendom

(3.) It was soon proved that the Homoousion, "of one substance," was as important for the human nature of Christ as for the Divine. Apollinaris, Bishop of Laodicaea (A.D. 362), so defended the Divinity of Christ as to take from Him the integrity of His manhood. The human nature was in God before the incarnation, and brought with Christ from heaven

And the incarnation was only the assumption of the flesh and animal soul of man. The Divine nature rendered the human spirit needless: the Person of Christ was a composite of God and two elements only of human nature. Hence the true God was retained, but not the true nature of man. It was urged against Apollinaris by the great divines of the fourth century that man could not be redeemed without the redemption of his spirit. The Article HE DESCENDED INTO HELL in the Apostles' Creed was in due time inserted for the defense of the separate spirit in Christ; but the condemnation of the doctrine was formally proclaimed at the Second (Ecumenical Council of Constantinople, A.D. 381. It is observable that this Council, which asserted the integrity of the human nature of Christ, proclaimed also the Divinity of the Holy Spirit. The Apollinarian errors reappeared, as will be seen, in later forms

III. The heresies which assailed the union of the two natures of our Lord in His one person were two, the Nestorian and the Eutychian: the latter, confounding the Natures, was a recoil from the former, which divided the Person

1. Nestorius was Patriarch of Constantinople (A.D. 428), and a bigoted opponent of heresy. He took offence, however, at one of the current watchwords of orthodoxy, which termed the Virgin the MOTHER OF GOD, THEOTOKOS. He had been trained in the Antiochian school of theology; as a presbyter in Antioch he had imbibed the teaching of Theodore of Mopsuestia—the real founder of Nestorianism—who laid much stress upon the union of the Logos with a man who was born of Mary. Nestorius conceded to his opponents that the Virgin was MOTHER OF CHRIST; but he denied the personal union, taught that a perfect man became the organ and instrument of the Logos, or the temple in which He dwelt. The tendency—perhaps only the tendency—of his teaching was to represent Christ as two persons, united by a bond not essentially different from that which unites God with any other pre-eminent organ of His will. The two natures in the Redeemer were in this theory united by an asugchutos sunapheia: not in one personality, but by a conjunction merely, though of an undefinable nature. Nestorius was formally condemned at the Third (Ecumenical Council, held at Ephesus A.D. 431. His chief opponent was Cyril of Alexandria

2. The followers of Cyril, who died A.D. 444, exaggerated his statements as to " the union in one hypostasis of the Logos from the Father and the human flesh." The mystical Alexandrian school of thought, represented by Eutyches, refused to admit that anything pertaining to Christ was otherwise than Divine after the incarnation. His avowal was this: "I confess that, before the union, our Lord was of two natures (EK DUO PHUSEON); but, after the union, I confess only one nature." The tendency—perhaps here again only the tendency—of this doctrine was not to merge the Divine in the human, nor the human in the Divine, but to establish a composite nature, neither God nor man: one Nature and one Person; not One Person in two Natures. The history of the controversies which led to the assembling of the Fourth (Ecumenical Council, held at Chalcedon A.D. 451, is a painful record of human infirmity overruled by the Spirit of Truth

3. The Formula drawn up at that Council gives in its careful statements the best explanation of the two opposite errors. " Following the holy Fathers, we unanimously teach one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, perfect as to His Godhead and perfect as to His manhood, truly God and truly Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting: consubstantial with His Father as to His Godhead, and consubstantial with us as to His manhood: like unto us in all things, yet without sin; as to His Godhead begotten of the Father before all worlds; but, as to His manhood, in these last days born, for us men and our salvation, of the Virgin Mary, the mother of God; one and the same Christ; Son, Lord, Only-begotten, known and acknowledged in two natures, without confusion, without severance, and without division; the distinction of the natures being in no wise abolished by their union, but the peculiarity of each nature being maintained, and the two concurring in one Person and Hypostasis. We confess not a Son divided and sundered into two persons, but one and the same Son, and Only-begotten, and God-Logos, our Lord Jesus Christ, even as the prophets had before proclaimed concerning Him, and He Himself hath taught us, and the symbol of the Fathers hath handed down to us." The four terms in the original Greek deserve careful attention. The two natures are said to be united, asugchutos, without commixture, and atreptos, without transmutation or conversion: these as against Eutyches. The One Person is retained, adiairetos, undividedly, and achoristos, inseparably: these as against Nestorius. Thus was concluded, at the Chalcedonian Council, the long controversy concerning the Person of Christ: "truly" God, " perfectly " Man, "inseparably" One Person, " unconfusedly" in Two Natures. The Athanasian Creed added an analogy: " One not at all from confusion of substance, but from unity of person. For as a rational soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ." Later controversies, and later decisions, were but feebler reproductions of these bold, strong, and incontrovertible statements

IV. The later developments of the Christological dogma have to do rather with the doctrine of our Lord's Two Estates than with that of His One Person. So far, however, as they affect the latter, they must have brief notice

1. Eutychianism reappeared, or rather continued, in the Monophysite and Monothelite heresies which long disturbed the Eastern Church

(1.) The MONOPHYSITE theory is, as the name imports, that of "One Nature" in Christ. It was held with many subtle distinctions by a number of sects, which concurred in blending the Lord's Manhood with His Godhead, and differed according to their views of it as a property or as an accident of the Divine nature. These sects have continued to the present day as represented by Jacobites, Copts, Abyssinians, and Armenians

(2.) The MONOTHELITE variation turned upon the question as to the unity or duality of the Redeemer's will. The Sixth AEcumenical Council, at Constantinople, A.D. 680, condemned the doctrine of One Will in Christ: the Catholic Church, East and West, agreed that in two natures there must be two wills, and that in Christ the Divine and the human wills harmoniously cooperated, the human following the Divine. Much controversy issued in the rejection of the Monothelite heresy, which allowed no place for limitation in knowledge and human temptation or moral test in Christ. With it was rejected also—in ecclesiastical formula at least—the compromise aimed at in the expression mia Theandriko energeia, " one Theandric or Divine-human operation." But, though this term was not accepted generally, it alone expresses the truth of the one mediatorial agency of that Person in Whom the Divine will governed the free volitions of the human. This heresy also has lingered among the Oriental sects to the present time

2. Nestorianism reappeared, long after the Chalcedonian decision, in the West, as Eutychianism reappeared in the East. Two Spanish bishops, Elipandus of Toledo and Felix of Urgella, taught that in His human nature the Redeemer was Son of God only by adoption: an adoption which was the seal of His excellence, foreseen at the incarnation and consummated at the resurrection. The arguments of Alcuin, and other theologians, based upon the impersonality of our Lord's human nature—"in adsumtione carnis a Deo persona perit hominis, non natura"—were sufficient to secure the condemnation of this form of Nestorian heresy, which is known as ADOPTIANISM, at the Council of Frankfurt, A.D. 794

3. It may be said that no controversy concerning the Person of Christ has since the Sixth AEcumenical Council disturbed Christendom. The decisions of the Council of Chalcedon, the Fourth AEcumenical, were really decisive. Mediaeval discussions revolved around philosophical and mystical theories of the incarnation, but issued in no new development of dogma and in no very definite new heresy. The discussions in which the Lutheran and the Reformed Churches were engaged, and those which divided the Lutheran divines, touched rather the relation of our Lord's two natures respectively to His two Estates of humiliation and exaltation; and therefore belong to another section. They were all agreed as combatants, and agreed with the Roman and Greek Churches, in holding the Unity of the Divine-human Person as in some inexplicable way resulting from the assumption of the human by the Divine. They differed only as to the measure in which the attributes of the Deity were hidden or suppressed. It is true that the more modern forms of this controversy involve questions which, seeming to touch only the Humiliation of our Lord, really touch the perfection of one or other or both of His natures. For instance, the theories of many German and French divines which regard the Son of God as literally limiting Himself for a season to the bounds of a human spirit are certainly reproductions of what has been described as Eutychianism. But to this subject we must return when treating of the Two Estates of the Redeemer.