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by the creation of a human nature out of nothing, or by its descending from heaven; for then he would indeed have been man, but not the son of man, nor our kinsman, nor one of the brethren; which, as we shall show immediately, it was necessary for him to become. 4thly, Nor, in fine, by a shortlived form and representation* in a body not personally united to himself; such as that in which, as we have just mentioned, he appeared of old; and that in which the pious ancients supposed, and not without reason, that the Father and the Holy Spirit also appeared.z 2
VIII. But the incarnation of the Son of God was accomplished, by the assumption of the human nature into the individual unity of the Divine person. The Holy Spirit himself makes use of the term assumption, Philip. ii. 7." He assumed the form of a servant, and "was made in the likeness of men."+ "The form of "a servant" does not indeed signify precisely human nature as such; for although, after his resurrection, he laid aside the form of a servant, and although, no longer concealing his majesty, he now manifests himself as equal to God, he still retains the human nature. But "the form of a servant" denotes the debased condition of humanity, or human nature in a servile state. This humble form was assumed by our Lord, when he emptied himself, and began to exist in the likeness of men; still remaining what he was from eternity, "being in the "form of God," that is, truly God, and manifested, known, and acknowledged as such. The word form denotes the real thing itself, and that made manifest.
+ Μόρφην διυλου λαβων, ἐν ὁμοιωματι ἀνθρώπων γινομενος.
z Gen. xviii. 1, 2.
See NOTE II.
IX. The same truth is intimated Heb. ii. 14. " For“asmuch then as the children are partakers* of flesh " and blood, he also himself, likewise, took part of the "same." Christ has the same flesh and blood which the children have, but not in the same way with them. They are partakers of it; they possess the human nature in common, and have no other nature. But Christ took part of it; after he began to have flesh and blood like them, he possessed their nature in union with another nature which he had from eternity. He existed prior to that nature into the participation of which he then came; for he was "in the beginning, when the "foundation of the earth was laid."
x. Nor did the Apostle intend any thing else, when he said, 1 Tim. iii. 16. "God was manifest in the flesh." That is, he who is God, and could not cease to be what he was, was seen and heard, and handled in the flesh, in a human body actuated by a rational soul, which, as Athanasius expresses it, "he appropriated to himself "as an instrument personally united to him," with whose eyes he might see, with whose ears he might hear, with whose hands he might act, with whose feet he might walk among his people, and in which he might both suffer and be glorified, both die and revive: So that, on account of the very intimate union of that human nature with God the Son, the actions performed by it might be no less the actions of God than the creation or government of the universe, and it might be justly said of him when exhibited to view; "Lo! this " is our God, we have waited for him, and he will save
† Μισίσχε τῶν ἀυτῶν.
† Οργανον ἐνυποστατον ἰδιοποίησε.
a Heb. i. 10.
us; this is JEHOVAH, we have waited for him, we "will be glad and rejoice in his salvation." This expression of the Apostle corresponds with the language of the Prophet, "And the glory of the Lord shall be "revealed." To this prophecy John also alludes, when he says; "We beheld his glory."
XI. John i. 14. is to the same effect. "And the "Word," which was from the beginning, which was with God, and was God, "was made flesh,"* began to be man: Not by a transmutation of the Divinity into humanity, but by so close a union of human flesh with himself, that that person who hitherto was nothing else than God, now also became man. A similar phrase occurs in the account of the creation of the first man ;"And man became a living soul:"e which the Apostle renders thus, "The first man Adam was made a living "soul." Man had previously been a piece of dust; but after God had breathed into him the breath of life, "he was made a living soul," not casting off the nature and qualities of dust, but receiving a soul. After the same manner, if we may compare human with Divine things, the Word was made flesh; not ceasing to be what he was, but receiving a human nature which he had not formerly possessed. The force of this expression did not escape the notice of the ancient Doctors, Tertullian observes that," in particular, the very preface of "John the Evangelist shows what he, who was pleased "to be made flesh, had formerly been."†
ε Εγένετο ὁ πρῶτος ἄνθρωπος ̓Αδαμ εις ψυχην ζῶσαν, 1 Cor. xv. 45.
XII. Socinus urges that the expression should be translated, " And the Word was flesh." This clause was added, he contends, lest any should infer from the metaphorical language John had employed when describing the dignity of the Word, that the Word was an incorporeal substance, or a divine and eternal nature. He alleges that the Evangelist plainly confesses he was flesh, a weak, despised, and sorrowful man, in order to obviate every doubt that might arise in the minds of his readers. And that none might think it strange that YVETO, was made, is explained by 'ny, was, he adduces the expression, ̔ος ἐγένετο ἀνης προφητης, which he renders, "who was a prophet."s
XIII. But here, reason entirely abandons the heretic. John had not described Christ as a metaphorical divinity, but as "the true God," and on that account distinct from all "that are called Gods." Nor was it necessary for him to correct his expressions in any degree, to prevent us from forming too exalted sentiments of Christ; for all human thoughts, and all human language, fall far short of the dignity of Him, "who is "over all, God blessed for ever."i Had he entertained any such intention, too, as that which Socinus ascribes to him, he would not have made use of a term which, without question, generally and properly signifies was made, or began to be, and which therefore supports that doctrine which the heretic brands as an error; but would have said in clear language, ‘ο λογος ην σας, the Word was flesh. Besides, although perhaps yεo Dai, to be made, sometimes occurs in Greek writers instead of inva, to be, yet, as a laborious Interpreter has observed
"Qui fuit vir Propheta," Luke xxiv. 19.
b 1 John v. 20.
J Rom. ix. 5.
i 1 Cor. viii. 5, 6.
from Moschopulus, that sense of the word is rather uncommon, poetical, and improper. Nor can an instance of that signification be easily produced from the sacred volume. The passage mentioned by Socinus, is not in point. The term you, indeed, is often employed to signify, to show one's self such, to conduct one's self as such, to be found such k and this is the sense in the passage referred to. The meaning is, he was found to be a Prophet, and showed himself such before God and all the people. And the words may be explained by the following expression of Peter:-" A "man approved of God among you by miracles, and "wonders, and signs."
XIV. Let us now proceed, as we promised, in the third place, to inquire into the CAUSES of the incarnation. Here we must, first of all, give glory to God himself, the principal Author of so wonderful a thing. "The LORD hath created a new thing in the earth, “A woman shall compass a man." A certain woman, in whom nothing but her sex comes to be considered here, shall compass, not by embracing, but by conceiving in her womb, a man, that is, a man-child. And this compassing of a man by a woman, is the work of God alone, not the consequence of her having associated with a husband, or any man. The Lord performs or "creates it,"*-effects it by the mere command of his will,—as “a new thing," to which nothing equal or similar was ever seen. It is now seen, however," in the earth," or in the land, namely, the land of Israel, to which God repeatedly promised that he
* Sec Mat. v. 45. 1 Thes. ii. 5, 7, 10. Rom. iii. 4.
Luke xxiv. 19.
m Acts ii. 22.
"Jer. xxxi. 22.
• Rev. xii. 5.