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which is virtually denying his proper and essential humanity. It is therefore, a point worthy of serious consideration, whether Jesus of Nazareth, who appeared in the character of mediator, and died without the gates of Jerusalem, was really man. If we search the New-Testament, we shall find, that the inspired writers have said a great many things, which clearly prove the real humanity of Christ. He is there called man, and the son of man, more than forty times by himself and others. He appeared in fashion as a man, and was taken to be such, by all who beheld him and conversed with him. Though some thought he was John the Baptist risen from the dead ; others that he was Elias ; others that he was Jeremias, or one of the prophets; yet none doubted whether he was really man and one of the descendants of Adam. Accordingly, Josephus and all profane historians, who have mentioned Jesus of Nazareth, have always spoken of him as really man, and generally nothing more than man. This is such evidence of Christ's humanity as might well be considered as full and satisfactory. But since I propose to treat this subject distinctly and largely, I shall enter into a more particular consideration of the evidence of Christ's being really man.
Here it may be observed,
1. That he was really man, because he had a human body. It was formed and fashioned in his mother's womb, by the great parent of all flesh. says the inspired writer, that while his mother was at Bethlem," the days were accomplished that she
56 should be delivered. And she brought forth her first born son, and wrapt him in swaddling clothes.” This representation plainly supposes, that Christ's body was truly human and derived in an ordinary way from human nature. And this is further corroborated by the account given of his corporal increase in stature and magnitude through the several stages of infancy, childhood, youth, to complete manhood, by the same means of nourishment, by which other children come to maturity. Christ's body appears to have been, in
66 So it was,
every respect, similar to that of other men. It was subject to heat and cold, pleasure and pain, hunger and thirst, strength and weakness, and to every corporeal infirmity which does not arise from human depravity. His having such a human body is a strong presumptive evidence, that he had a human soul, which was necessary to constitute him a real man.
2. He was really man, because he had a human soul as well as a human body. This is necessarily implied in what is said of him in the text. - He increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” Here both his wisdom and piety is asserted ; and we know, that these are properties of the soul, and not of the body. He possessed every intellectual power and faculty, which was necessary to constitute him a free, voluntary, moral agent, and capable of that wisdom and piety, which rendered him perfectly amiable in the sight of God and man. And his growing in wisdom and holiness is a conclusive evidence, that he possessed the same kind of intellectual powers and faculties, which are peculiar to a human soul, which gradually comes to maturity. Though his
, mind strengthened and expanded gradually ; yet it strengthened and expanded rapidly, and made greater progress in knowledge and virtue, than other children of the same age, and under similar advantages. There is no doubt but that his pious parents instructed him as early and as well as they were capable. It is to be presumed, that they taught him to speak and to read, and improved every opportunity of pouring useful instruction into his attentive and docile mind. He heard them from day to day read the word of God, and call upon his name. He was soon capable of reading the scriptures himself
, and of understanding what the prophets had said concerning his character, his office, and mediatorial conduct. He early knew much more concerning these great things than his parents. This appears from his extraordinary conversation with the Jewish teachers in the temple, who more astonished at his understanding and answers, and from
his reply to the gentle reproof of his mother for staying behind in the temple, "Wist ye not that I must be about my father's business ?” His improvements in
? knowledge were surprising to all who heard him preach. While he taught in the temple, “ the Jews
. marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, hav. ing never learned." Though he employed most of his time in a laborious occupation with his father; yet he found many leisure seasons and opportunities, which other children, and youths, and even men, spend in trifling, that he wisely improved in reading and contemplating upon the most important and divine subjects. And if we consider the purity of his heart, the strength of his mind, and the rectitude of all his views, desires, and pursuits, it is natural to conclude, that his human soul, though at first weak and feeble, should gradually and rapidily increase, wax strong, and be filled with spiritual and divine wisdom. This account of Christ's mental improvements affords infallible evidence, that he possessed not an angelick, or superangelick, but a human soul, which being united with a human body, constituted him, in the strictest sense, a real man.
3. That Christ was properly a human person will appear, if we consider the state and circumstances in which he was placed while he lived in this world. For,
1. He was fixed in a state of dependence. This he repeatedly and plainly acknowledged." Then Jesus
66 answered and said unto them, Verily, rerily, I say unto you, the son of man can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth his father do." Again he said, “When ye have lifted up the son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but ab my Father hath taught me, I speak these things."? And again, “ The words I speak unto you, I speak not of myself, but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.” These are plain expressions of his dependence upon his Father. his Father. And it was upon
And it was upon this ground, that he so frequently and devoutly prayed to his Father. Prayer always implies dependence upon him to
whom it is addressed. The prayers of Christ, therefore, prove that he lived, and moved, and had his being in God, as really as other men, and was as much dependent upon him for divine assistance, direction, and preservation, through the whole course of his life as any other of the human race. He prayed for divine direction in the choice of his twelve disciples. Не prayed for divine assistance to raise Lazarus from the grave. He prayed for Peter and for all his apostles and followers at the last passover he ever attended. And he prayed to be divinely strengthened and supported through all his agonies in the garden and his sufferings on the cross. His continual prayers were a
. continual and practical expression of his state of dependence during his continuance on earth ; and his dependence was a demonstration of his real humanity.
2. He was placed under law, which implies that he was a human moral agent, and accountable to God like other men. We are told that " when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law." Christ was as much bound as any other man by the divine law, to love the Lord his God with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his mind, and with all his strength, and his neighbour as himself. As a child, he was bound to obey his father and mother. As a Jew, he was bound to observe all the rites and ceremonies of the Mosaick law. As a subject, he was bound to obey magistrates and all the higher powers. And as a dependent creature, he was bound to obey the whole will of his Creator. There was not a divine law in being in his day, but what bound him to universal and perfect obedience, as much as any
other man. This he knew, and accordingly. paid a strict, cheerful, and constant obedience to every divine precept and prohibition. He said, “it is my meat to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work." And his Father proclaimed by a voice from heaven, " This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” When he came from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be
baptised of him, “ John forbade him, saying, I have need to be baptised of thee, and comest thou to me ? And Jesus answering, said unto him, suffer it to be so now : for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. 66 It becometh us," that is, it becometh me as well as others to fulfil all righteousness, by universal obedience to the divine commands. And this he more expressly declared in his sermon on the Mount. 66 Think not that I come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” And again he said, “ I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work." No law, whether human or divine, can bind any but those to whom it is given. So the apostle declares with respect to the divine law. 6 Whatsoever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law.” If Christ had not been man, he could not have been made under the law to man. But he was made under the law to man, which demonstrates, that he was really man. I must add,
3. T'hat Christ was placed, like all other men, in a state of probation, from his birth to his death. His own eternal happiness, as well as the eternal happiness of mankind, was suspended upon his entire, constant, and persevering obedience through life. If he had failed in one point, he would have forfeited the divine favour, defeated the great design he came to accomplish, and plunged himself in hopeless ruin. Disobedience in him would have been far more criminal than disobedience in any other man, and drawn after it far more fatal consequences. This is what is meant by his being in a state of probation. For any person is strictly and properly in a state of probation, where future good or evil is suspended upon his future conduct. Thus Solomon placed Shimei in a state of probation when he suspended his life, or death, upon the condition of his keeping within, or going beyond the bounds he had set him. So God the Father made great and precious promises to Christ, upon the condition of his perfect faithfulness in performing the work