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may still be said that the value of these sufferings is to be estimated only by the nature of that in which he suffers. When a martyr suffers death, as it is the body only that dies, there cannot belong to his death a worth proportioned to his soul. In like manner, when Christ suffers, as Deity cannot suffer, his sufferings, it may be said, can possess only the worth of humanity. But this is to leave out of consideration altogether a circumstance which is allowed by all to have the effect of increasing the value of certain acts and sufferings. The circumstance to which I refer is dignity of character. There are some things which are of the same value, by whomsoever performed. Money, for example, paid by a prince, is of no more mercantile value than money paid by any other man. But there are other things in which the case is widely different, their value depending, in some measure, on the dignity of him by whom they are performed. The relative value of certain actions depends on the rank in the scale of intellectual, or moral, or social being of the person who performs them. To the action of an inferior animal we attach less value than to that of a human creature;-to that of a man less, again, than to that of an angel. On the same principle, the action of a peasant and that of a king may differ materially, with regard to relative worth. In one point of view, the life of a slave and the life of a monarch are of equal value; they are both human creatures. But, in another point of view, the life of a king is of far greater value than the life of a slave: and the act of laying down
his life involves a higher degree of worth in the one than in the other. This distinction is recognized in the address of the people to king David, when he would go forth with them to battle: "Thou shalt not go forth: for if we flee away, they will not care for us; neither if half of us die, will they care for us: but noW THOU ART WORTH TEN THOUSAND OF US.' 3 For a king to submit to excruciating tortures and an ignominious death, with a view to save some one of his subjects, will be reckoned by all a more meritorious piece of conduct than if such had been submitted to by one who held the place merely of a fellow subject. Yet here it might be said, it is humanity and not royalty which suffers, and why attach to it a value arising from the latter, rather than confine it to that which springs from the former circumstance? The case is parallel to that of which we are now speaking. The humanity of Christ alone could either suffer or die, but that humanity belonged to a person who is divine, and this gave to his sufferings and death the value of divinity."
3 2 Sam. xviii. 3.
4 To suppose, because humanity only is capable of suffering, that therefore humanity only is necessary to atonement, is to render dignity of character of no account. When Zaleucus, one of the Grecian kings, had made a law against adultery, that whosoever was guilty of this crime should lose both his eyes, his own son is said to have been the first transgressor. To preserve the honour of the law, and at the same time to save his own son from total blindness, the father had recourse to an expedient of losing one of his own eyes, and his son one of his. This expedient, though it did not conform to the letter of the law, yet was well adapted to preserve the spirit of it, as it served to evince to the nation the determination of the king to punish adultery, as much, perhaps more than if the sentence had literally been put into execution against the offender. But if instead of this he had appointed that one eye of an animal should be put
How it comes to pass, that the personal dignity of the sufferer conveys to the sufferings of his humanity a worth proportioned to him who suffers rather than to that which suffers, we pretend not fully to explain. The above observations, however, serve to show that the principle on which this is affirmed, is one on which we are not altogether unaccustomed to reason. It is not meant to be inferred that any analogies, such as that resorted to above, can give us a complete idea of the nature of a case which is transcendently and awfully peculiar. It is enough if they serve to neutralize the objections of such as are disposed to cavil at the truth. On a subject of this nature, it ill becomes us to speak either with carelessness or with precipitation. It is to be approached only with cautious reverence. Here, if anywhere, we should be careful to be 'lowly wise.' Yet we may be permitted to show the reasonableness of a doctrine, and to expose the temerity and presumption of its adversaries, without laying ourselves open to the charge of being wise above what is written. The following statement may not altogether be without its use, in shedding a ray of light on this acknowledgedly great and profound mystery:-A person
out, in order to save that of his son, or if a common subject had offered to lose an eye, would either have answered the purpose? The animal, and the subject, were each possessed of an eye, as well as the sovereign. It might be added, too, that it was mere bodily pain; and seeing it was in the body only that this penalty could be endured, any being that possessed a body was equally capable of enduring it. True, they might endure it, but would their suffering have answered the same end? Would it have satisfied justice? Would it have had the same effect upon the nation, or tended equally to restore the tone of injured authority.'-Works of And. Fuller, v. V.
only can perform moral acts: The human nature of Christ possessed no personal subsistence: Of course, although the human nature of Christ alone could either suffer or obey, the obedience and sufferings of his humanity, viewed in themselves could have no moral character: To give them a moral character they must be viewed in connexion with his person: Whence it follows that, the obedience and sufferings of Christ, physically considered, possessed only the worth of humanity, but morally considered possessed a worth proportioned to the dignity of his divine person. Now, the sufferings and death of Christ for the sins of his people were of a moral character, being endured with a view to meet the claims of the divine moral government, to satisfy the law and justice of God. It follows that there attached to them all the value which divine dignity could impart.
5 On this delicate point, I beg to confirm the view I have given, by referring the reader to the following paragraphs by Dr Pye Smith.
'J. The assumption of human nature by the eternal word, who is God, was the act of an infinite mind, knowing, intending, and contemplating all the results of that act of assumption, through the period of the designed humiliation and for To the divine mind, nearness and remoteness of time or space are equal. Consequently, as the actual assumption of human nature was the first result of the omnipotent will, so the same act, or volition, must equally have carried forwards and communicated its original divine value to all the subsequent moral and mediatorial acts of the incarnate Saviour.
II. The union of the divine and human natures, in his person, was constant and invariable. The scriptures afford us no reason to think that the Messiah's human nature, though retaining always its essential properties, had ever a separate subsistence. To the mother of Jesus it was announced, 'The holy Being which is born of thee, shall be called the Son of God:' and according to the prophetic declaration, as soon as men could say, 'Unto us a child is born,' so soon was it the fact that his name was called 'The wonderful, the counsellor, the mighty God.' It was the Mediator, in his whole person, that
But we are more concerned with the evidence of the fact, than with the explanation of the mode, of this great and important truth. Those who hold the doctrine of Christ's divinity, can never hesitate to admit that the sufficiency or efficacy of his atonement springs from the supreme dignity of his person as the Son of God. The validity of his sacrifice takes its rise from his true and essential divinity. To this the testimony of scripture is distinctly borne. The epistle to the Hebrews, which treats professedly of the insufficiency of the legal sacrifices, and the intrinsic validity of that of Christ, commences with an elaborate demonstration of Christ's divinity, as the basis on which the subsequent reasoning is made to rest. The High Priest of the Christian profession is explicitly shown to be the brightness of the Father's glory and the express image of his person; to be much better than the angels; to be God whose throne is for ever and ever; to be Jehovah who laid the foundations of the earth, who shall remain
acted for the salvation of man; though it was impossible that the divine nature could be subject to suffering.
"From these two positions I infer a third, which I venture to propose, as an unexceptionable mode of stating this important, though profound and difficult subject:
III. All the acts of our Lord Jesus Christ that were physical, or merely intellectual, were acts of his human nature alone, being necessary to the subsistence of a human nature: but all his moral acts, and all the moral qualities of his complex acts; or, in other terms, all that he did in and for the execution of his mediatorial office and work ;—were impressed with the essential dignity and moral value of his divine perfection.
'These reasons appear to me sufficient to authorize our attributing to this holy sacrifice, a value properly INFINITE, on account of the divine nature of him who offered it. A most important conclusion! Rich in blessing to the contrite sinner full of joy to the obedient believer.'-Disc. on Sac. pp. 69-71.