The Son of God:

His Deity, Incarnation, and Manhood.
Hamilton Smith

Contents.
INTRODUCTION
THE DEITY OF CHRIST
THE INCARNATION
THE MANHOOD OF CHRIST
CONCLUSION

Introduction.

From the advent of the Son of God into the world His hands had made, His Person has been the object of unceasing attack by His arch-enemy the devil. Moreover, in the flesh with its unchanging enmity to God, the devil has ever found a ready instrument to wage his warfare against the One who was manifested to destroy the works of the devil.

On the other hand, during the long period of the absence of Christ, the Holy Spirit has been the abiding witness to the glory of the Son. Guiding believers into all truth, and showing to them the things of Christ, He has formed them into vessels fitted to express the graces and perfections of Christ.

And as "the day goeth away" and "the shadows of the evening are stretched out," as the attacks become more persistent, and the battle grows more fierce, so too it becomes more imperative that every true-hearted saint should give a clear and unequivocal witness to the glories of the Son of God. Love will not be content with any uncertain sound as to the One to whom we owe every blessing for time and eternity. Love will be very jealous of any slight cast upon the fame of One of whom each believer can say "The Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."

Discussion upon such a holy theme we should all deprecate. Our spiritual instincts warn us that to discuss His Person is to lose touch with Himself. Who could discuss the Person of Christ in the presence of Christ?

So too may we all feel the danger of being drawn into controversy on such a holy theme, even though it be in the honest endeavour to meet and expose error. Does not history, past and present, warn us that too often those who set out to combat one heresy fall into an opposite heresy? The word is "earnestly contend for the faith," though at times it would seem as if we had interpreted this Scripture as an exhortation to earnestly combat error. We are far from saying that we are never to do battle with the wrong; but let us remember in so doing we are occupied with what the mind of man has put forth, and thus are in danger of thinking we can meet the mind of man by the power of our own minds. In contending for the faith we are occupied with what God has revealed, and the very greatness of the truth casts us upon God; and, cast upon Him, we may count upon His support.

While therefore feeling the danger of discussion or controversy we should also feel the constant necessity to contend for the faith.

In contending for the truth we must of necessity turn to the Scripture of truth, remembering that it is written, "we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God" (1 Cor. 2:12). Through dullness of affection we may fail to profit by what is revealed; or through the activity of our minds we may go beyond what is written. May we then take heed, seeking with quickened affections, and minds controlled by the Spirit to enter more fully into all that has been revealed concerning the Person of the Son without going beyond that which is written. To contemplate the glory of the Son, the wonder of the Incarnation, or the perfection of His Manhood, is to enter a region where human speculation, and our own conjectures, must have no place. In the presence of His glory the very Seraphim fold their wings about their faces, the prophet wraps his mantle about his face, and Moses, the man of God, puts his shoes from off his feet. And though in this day of grace we behold the glory of the Lord with "unveiled face," let it still be with "unshod feet" that we approach the holy mysteries that surround His Person.

Among the many privileges given to the Lord's people none can be greater than to maintain the glories of the Son amid the lengthening shadows of the approaching apostasy. May we be found faithful stewards of the mysteries of God, and strong in that grace which alone will enable us to efface ourselves, make everything of Christ, and "CROWN HIM LORD OF ALL."

The Deity of Christ

Everything in Christianity is based on the uncreated existence of the One who created all things. To call in question the Deity of the Son is to undermine the foundation upon which all blessing for man is based. It matters not what elaborate religious systems men may build, or how much they may profess to honour the name of Christ, if they are not building on this foundation all will come to ruin.

The absolute Deity of the Son is brought before us in many passages of Scripture, but in none more strikingly than the opening verses of the Gospel of John. This Gospel opens with the sublime statement "In the beginning was the Word." All created things, and every created being in the universe had a beginning, but the Word was in the beginning. At the beginning of all things the Word was there, without any beginning. "In the beginning was the Word," is the formal assertion of the eternal existence of the Word.

Then we are told "the Word was with God." He was a distinct Person in the Godhead, for He was "with God." Furthermore we read "the Word was God." Though distinct in Person He was not different in nature, for He was God — a divine Person.

Then we have the additional statement, "He was in the beginning with God." The mind of man might argue, and indeed has done so, that while it is true the Word is now a distinct Person, yet He was not always so. But this verse rebukes such a thought and tells us plainly that His distinct Personality is as eternal as His deity.

Here then we have the solid foundation of our Christian faith — the glory of the Person of the Son — an eternal Person, a distinct Person, a Divine Person, and an eternally distinct Person.

Many other passages are equally plain in witnessing to the Deity of the Son, but one more direct Scripture may be cited. In Hebrews 1 the Son is addressed as God. "Unto the Son He saith, Thy throne O God, is for ever and ever." He is worshipped by the Angels; in the beginning He laid the foundations of the earth. He is addressed as the abiding and unchanging God — "Thou remainest" and "Thou art the same."

Scripture thus gives a direct and definite witness to the absolute Deity of the Son. A difficulty may arise, however, in the minds of some, by reason of certain expressions used in connection with the Son, which may be briefly examined: —  

First we read of the Son as the only-begotten Son. The expression "only-begotten" might be thought of necessity to imply a birth and a beginning. Faith if unable to meet this difficulty knows full well that Scripture cannot contradict itself, and the clear statements of the opening verses of the Gospel of John forbid any such interpretation. But does Scripture give any light as to the meaning of the expression "Only-begotten" as applied to the Son? It surely does. The expression occurs nine times in the New Testament, and on five of these occasions is applied to the Son (John 1:14, 18: John 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9). One passage — Hebrews 11:17 — is specially instructive as showing the meaning with which the word is used, There we read "By faith Abraham when he was tried offered up Isaac; and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son." It is evident that the term ''only-begotten son" cannot mean that Isaac was the only son begotten of Abraham, for we know that he had other sons. It is equally plain that there was a special relationship between Isaac and Abraham which was unique, and belonged to no other son. It is surely this unique relationship that the term "only-begotten" is used to express. While Scripture makes very plain that there are distinct Persons in the Godhead, it also shows that the Persons of the Godhead are not independent but related. And, as with Abraham and Isaac, so with Divine Persons, the expression "only-begotten" is used to set forth the unique relationship eternally existing between the Son and the Father. "We beheld," says the Apostle, "His glory, a glory as of an only-begotten with a father" (John 1:14. N. Tr.); again we read of "the only-begotten Son in the bosom of the Father" — passages which bring before us the mutuality of divine and eternal affections between the Father and the Son. The Father delighting in the Son as an only-begotten; the Son in the bosom of the Father rejoicing in the Father's love. Well we know that believers are loved with the same love wherewith the Father loved the Son as Man (John 17:23), but for ever there will be the special affection between Divine Persons — the Father and the Son — which none other will share, and which is set forth in the expression "only-begotten."

Further we have the expression "begotten" used in connection with the Son in Psalm 2 where we read "Thou art my Son this day have I begotten Thee." This passage is quoted in Acts 13:33, Hebrews 1:5 and Hebrews 5:5. This however presents no difficulty as it plainly refers to Christ as a man, Jehovah's Anointed and Jehovah's King, in connection with this world. The expressions used, "the hill of Zion," "the uttermost parts of the earth," and ''this day," are clearly connected with the earth and time, thus confirming this view.

Lastly we have the word "firstborn," used in connection with Christ, setting forth His pre-eminence in relation to persons, and things, in time, even as "only-begotten" sets forth His eternal relation to His Father before time was.

Beside the positive declarations of the Deity of the Son in the direct Scriptures to which allusion has been made, there are other passages, and other ways, to a few of which we may briefly refer, and which, if in a less positive, yet, perhaps, more moving way, present the Deity of the Son to the affections of His people.

The claim to be one with the Father involves His Deity. The Lord can say "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30). At once His enemies reply, "Thou being a Man makest Thyself God." The truth indeed is, that He being God became Man, but at least they rightly recognise that One using such words is laying claim to Deity.

The claim to equal honours with the Father involves Deity. He can say "The Father . . . hath committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honour the Son even as they honour the Father" (John 5:22, 23).

The claim to pre-existence involves His Deity. He can say, "Before Abraham was I am." This is truly a claim of pre-existence, but it is more, for the Lord does not say "I was" but "I AM." This is the consciousness of eternal existence, as well as the claim of pre-existence. This is the language of One who knows no past, and will know no future — the One to Whom time is as if it were not, who has neither beginning nor end — the Eternal I AM.

His claim to absolute authority involves His Deity. The prophets open their inspired utterances with a "Thus saith the Lord." They appeal to their hearers on the authority of the Lord. It is otherwise with the sayings of Christ which are introduced with, "Verily I say unto you." He can make no appeal to a higher authority for He is the Lord.

The Lord's personal claims involve His Deity. Others bear witness to the dignities of the Lord. He claims them for Himself. David can say "The Lord is my shepherd," but Christ can say, "I am the Good Shepherd." The Baptist can bear witness to the light; the Lord can say "I am the Light." Martha can bear her witness to the resurrection, saying of the dead brother, "I know that he shall rise again;" the Lord can reply, "I am the resurrection and the life."

That He was an object for heaven, proclaims His Deity. Others to be blessed must have an object outside themselves; Jesus was the object of heaven instead of having one. Stephen, looking up, finds in Jesus a glorious Object in the heavens to support him in that last sharp passage on his way to glory. But heaven looks down upon Jesus, and the Father's voice declares, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

That He gathers to Himself is a proof of His Deity. He can say, "Come unto Me." It has been truly said, had He not been God this would have been frightful. For one who was only man to use such words would have been the attempt to turn men from God.

His words proclaim His Deity. How true is the verdict of the world, "Never man spake like this Man." As we listen to Jesus at the grave side speaking words of tender comfort to broken-hearted women, and then, in a little, we pass to the Upper Room, and listen to the sublime words of the last discourse, that carry our hearts above earth's sorrows into the Father's home, we realize indeed that we are in the presence of the God of whom it is written, "He healeth the broken in heart . . . He telleth the number of the stars" (Ps. 147:3, 4).

These are some of the shining ways that witness to us the Divine glory of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Meditating on the Scriptures which, directly or indirectly, speak of His Deity, and entering in some little measure into their deep significance, we shall surely turn to the One of whom they speak, delighting to own,

Thou art the everlasting Word,
The Father's only Son;
God manifest, God seen and heard,
The Heaven's beloved One;
Worthy, O Lamb of God, art Thou
That every knee to Thee should bow.

The Incarnation.

In order to have clearly before us the great truth of the incarnation it will be well to quote the following Scriptures which refer in a direct way to this momentous truth.

"The Word became flesh" — John 1:14.

"God was manifest in the flesh" — 1 Tim. 3:16.

"Who subsisting in the form of God, . . . emptied Himself, taking a bondman's form, taking His place in the likeness of men; and having been found in figure as a man, humbled Himself." — Phil. 2:5-8.

"Since therefore the children partake of blood and flesh, He also in like manner took part in the same." —  Heb. 2:14.

"Thou hast prepared Me a body." — Heb. 10:5.

"Jesus Christ come in flesh." — 1 John 4:3.

These passages clearly show that the truth of the incarnation consists in the great fact that a Divine Person — the Son — became flesh, took a bondman's form, took a place in the likeness of men, was found in figure as a man, partook of blood and flesh, and dwelt in the body prepared for Him.

What can exceed the wonder of the incarnation? "God manifest in the flesh." Manifestation supposes a previous existence but a hidden existence; and that the One hitherto hidden comes into manifestation. The One who in His own essential Being dwells "in the light which no man can approach unto, whom no man hath seen or can see," becomes manifest in flesh — was seen of Angels, while the adoring hearts of his disciples could say "we have heard, we have seen with our eyes, we have looked upon, and our hands have handled the Word of life."

Moreover the way of the incarnation is as marvellous as the fact is wonderful. For we read "Ye shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger" — the divine answer to the cry that went up from a human heart, "Oh that Thou wouldest rend the heavens, that Thou wouldest come down" (Isa. 64:1-3). God has indeed come down, though not in such fashion as the Prophet desired — like melting fire and boiling water, to make the nations tremble at His presence — He has answered the cry, but in His own way and according to His own heart, a way, indeed, that stills our fears and captivates the heart that is touched by grace and love Divine. Truly has it been said, "nothing in human life makes us so much at home . . . as an infant in its cradle." God has drawn near to us at the lowest point of our weakness, and in the greatest depth of our poverty. He ignored the imperial city of Rome, He passed by the royal city of Jerusalem, and He chose Bethlehem, though "little among the thousands of Judah:" and even so He passed by such poor fare as the village inn could supply and chose the shelter of the oxen's stall. There in Bethlehem's stable the One "whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting," was brought forth and cradled in a manger. The womb of the virgin, the manger of Bethlehem, the arms of Simeon, and the home of Nazareth mark the stages in this wondrous story of the Incarnate Son — God manifest in the flesh.

What, we may ask, was the great purpose of the incarnation? The Scripture that so vividly presents the incarnation, speaks with equal clearness of the purpose of incarnation. Having declared the great fact that "The Word became flesh," the Apostle proceeds to tell us that the One who became incarnate "dwelt among us," and moreover that the One who dwelt among us is the Only-begotten Son, who declares the Father. Here surely we have a bright intimation of the two-fold purpose of incarnation. God dwelling in the midst of men, and God known by men.

If the first step of the fulfilment of this blessed purpose was taken on that great day when the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, the last step of the journey will be reached on that yet greater day when, in the new heavens and the new earth the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them. We know indeed that between the beginning and the end of this great journey there must of necessity come the Cross, and the great work of atonement. For man is fallen and guilty, and if God is to dwell with men, it must be with men made suited to God by the work of His own Son — a work which glorifies God and puts away the sin of man. The incarnation involves the Cross and leads to the glory. And when at last that glory is reached, God will dwell with infinite satisfaction in the midst of a people made infinitely happy in the knowledge of Himself.

Furthermore if the Scriptures unfold to us the wonder and purpose of the incarnation, they are equally careful in guarding the glory of the One who became incarnate. The incarnation has given fallen man the opportunity to express in word and deed the enmity of his heart against his God. The Lord Himself could say, "The reproaches of them that reproached Thee are fallen upon Me" (Ps. 69:9). Such is the hatred of man towards God that he attacks every Person in the Godhead, but by reason of the incarnation the Person of the Son has ever been the special object of man's hostility. Men have seized upon the lowly grace of His Manhood to deny the glories of His Deity, and to call in question His moral perfection. The Scriptures have forestalled the wickedness of men by clearly revealing that the incarnation of the Son implies no change in His glorious Person, and communicates no taint from fallen humanity.

As to the glory of His Person. Scripture is careful to show that the Incarnation involves no change in the Person, and no addition to the Person, of the One who became incarnate. He was ever the Son and remains the Son. There was indeed a great change in the "form" which He took, the "likeness" in which He was found and the nature of which He partook, but there was no change as to His Person; Nothing that in grace He became, could add to, or take from, what He was. There was no dual personality in the Son become incarnate. He can say, "I and the Father are one," He never said "I and the Son are one," for He was the Son, and the Manhood that He took conferred upon Him no fresh personality distinct from, or in conjunction with, the Person of the Son. The Person was one and to that nothing could be added by what He became. He comes forth from the Father, sent by the Father, having the very nature of the Father, but was born of a woman, and so partook of human nature, while ever remaining a Divine Person. We do not see two persons united in Christ, as some have falsely taught, but two natures in One Person, which are surely distinct though nevermore to be viewed as separate.

He, by birth, partook of human nature while ever remaining a Divine Person; we, by grace, partake of the divine nature while ever remaining human persons.

Personality, whether human or divine, ever remains the same however much the conditions in which it may be found may vary.

A well known servant of the Lord has said, speaking of Christ, "He could say 'I' as God — 'Before Abraham was I am.' And He could say 'I' as man — 'I will put my trust in him.' But these were not two 'I's,' the person was one — 'the Son'". Again referring to Scripture he says, "I read there of a Person — the Word, existing in eternity, Himself the Creator. I read of that same Person become flesh, a man on earth amongst men, a true, real, individual man, but the same blessed Person — God manifest in the flesh, the Son whom God sent in likeness of flesh of sin, God's Son, come of a woman. There is no thought of a change in the Person, the real 'I'. He is always the same, though His 'form' is changed, and the condition in which He has life. When 'He' took part in flesh and blood who was 'He'? Personal identity does not change, though form and condition may.

These are sound and sober words, and to them we may add the testimony of yet another, who, commenting on our Lord's words, "Before Abraham was I AM" very truly remarks, "I AM is the proper expression of His existence. While time rolls on 'I AM' remains unchanged, and when time has rolled away 'I AM' subsists the same." This too is a true testimony in accord with the Scripture which declares "THOU REMAINEST" and "THOU ART THE SAME." The same glorious Person whether in the bosom of the Father, the womb of the virgin, or the arms of Simeon; whether in the manger of Bethlehem, the garden of Gethsemane, or on the Cross of Calvary; whether before the foundation of the world, through the ages of time, or when the world shall be no more. "FROM EVERLASTING TO EVERLASTING THOU ART GOD."

Further let us note that though the Creator comes into His own creation, and draws nigh to His creature, yet in so doing He never ceases to be the Creator and Upholder of all things. The manner of the conception in the virgin's womb cuts off the entail with Adam — the created man. By Divine generation the Babe was formed and grew in the virgin's womb. It is not said that the body He took was "created," but that it was "prepared." Adam was created, the women was formed from Adam, and Christ was the "seed of the woman," and that by Divine generation. Thus we judge, with jealous care the unholy thought is excluded, that would speak of Christ as a "creature" because He became Man in His own creation.

As to His moral perfection. If the glory of the Person who has become incarnate is carefully maintained, so too His Person is jealously guarded from all taint of evil by reason of the incarnation. This is assured to us by the manner of the incarnation as recorded in the gospel of Luke. There we learn that Mary is told that "The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee and the power of the Highest overshadow thee wherefore the Holy thing also which shall be born shall be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35). One has said, "The Holy Ghost should come upon her, should act in "power upon this earthen vessel, without its own will, or the will of any man. Therefore 'that holy thing' which was born of Mary was called the Son of God. God acting upon Mary . . . was the divine source of His existence on the earth as Man." He was not man innocent, still less man fallen, He was Man holy. "The entail of transmitted sin is in Him cut off by His supernatural birth of a virgin mother."

The Manhood of Christ.

The inscrutable mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God leads us to contemplate the perfection of the Manhood that He took. In connection with this great theme, we may first ask, "In what does manhood consist?"

The Apostle Paul in expressing his closing desire for the Thessalonian saints writes as follows: — "Now the God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly: and your whole spirit, and soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thess. 5:23). Here the Apostle desires the sanctification of the whole man, and leaves us in no doubt as to what he means by a complete man: for he is not content to desire that the saints may be sanctified "wholly," but he definitely defines the component parts of a man — spirit, soul, and body.

In the light of this passage the conclusion would seem to be irresistible that, according to Scripture, spirit, soul and body, make up a man and, as J. N. Darby has said, "a man is not a man without body, soul, and spirit."*

{*So true is it that a man is composed of spirit, soul and body, that we cannot recall an instance in scripture where the term "man" — meaning a human being — is applied to those who have passed by death into the intermediate state. We read indeed of "the spirits of just men made perfect," and oftentimes, of the bodies of dead men, but neither the body without the spirit and soul, ''or the spirit and soul without the body are designated by the term "man." 2 Kings 13:21, and Luke 7:12 may appear to be exceptions but are not really so. In the passage in Kings the original word for man is not the word "adam" signifying a "human being," but the word "ish" signifying a man as contrasted with a woman, and is evidently used to designate the sex of the body. In the passage In Luke it is the only occasion on which the Greek word is translated "man." In the other twelve instances of the use of the word it is translated by the word "dead," It means simply one that is dead.}

The above passage agrees with the account we have in Genesis of the creation of man. There we read "Jehovah Elohim formed man, dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul" (Gen. 2:7. N. Tr.). Does this not teach that as to the material part of man — the body — he was formed from the dust of the ground: then, the body having been formed, God communicated life by breathing into his nostrils the breath of life. This surely is the spiritual, or immaterial, part of man which he received direct from God.

"The preacher" in speaking of death also refers to the two parts of man — the material and the spiritual — when he says, "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it" (Eccles. 12:7). Again Elihu refers to the material and the spiritual when speaking of God, he says, "If He set his heart upon man, if He gather unto Himself his spirit and his breath, all flesh shall perish together, and man shall return again unto dust" (Job 34:14, 15). This Scripture gives us further light inasmuch as the spirit is linked with the thought of breath, suggesting that the breath of life, in Genesis 2:7, is the spirit of a man.

Thus by the communication of his spirit directly from God, man became a living soul, the body forming the material part, and the spirit and soul the spiritual part of a man.*

{*We need not puzzle ourselves by attempting to draw a hard and fast line between "spirit" and "soul." Together they form the immaterial part of a man and, though for a time, they may be separated from the body at death yet they are not separated from one another, any more than the joints and marrow of the body, or the thoughts and intents of the heart. Yet such is the searching character of the Word of God. that it can distinguish between things so intimately connected that they cannot be separated, (Heb. 4:12).}

Moreover it is clear that the spirit is the higher part of a man by which he is set in responsibility to God, and being such, may we not say that the spirit of a man is the distinctive and most important part of a man, that which is most necessary to constitute him a man as distinct from the animal creation (See Eccles. 3:21).

If then the Son becomes Man it is surely to become a true Man, spirit, soul and body, for, as Scripture says "in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren" (Heb. 2:17). But on such a holy theme we are not left to draw our own conclusions, for in Scripture we find every component of man ascribed to the Son as Man. Let us quote some of these Scriptures: —

As to the body, the Lord can say,
"She hath poured this ointment on my body" — Matt. 26:12.
He refers to "the temple of His body" — John 2:21.
He can say "A body hast Thou prepared Me" — Heb. 10:5.
Then we read of "The offering of His body'' — Heb. 10:10.
Again we read, "His own self bare our sins in His own body" — 1 Peter 2:24.

As to the spirit (pneuma) we read,
He "waxed strong in spirit" — Luke 2:40.
He "perceived in His spirit" — Mark 2:8.
"He sighed deeply in His spirit'' — Mark 8:12.
He "rejoiced in spirit" — Luke 10:21.
"He groaned in the spirit" — John 11:33.
"He was troubled in spirit" — John 13:21.
"He delivered up His spirit" — John 19:30. Again He can say.
"Into Thy hands I commend my spirit" — Luke 23:46.

As to the soul (psuche), He can say,
"My soul is exceedingly sorrowful" — Matt. 26:38.
"Now is my soul troubled" — John 12:27. And it is written
"Thou wilt not leave my soul in hades " — Acts 2:27: and again
"His soul was not left in Hades" — Acts 2:31.

These then are some of the Scriptures that directly speak of the spirit, soul, and body, in connection with the Manhood of our Lord. There are however other Scriptures which involve body, and spirit, and soul, without using these words, to which we may briefly refer: —

As to His spirit — the higher part of man, by which man is constituted an intelligent being in responsibility to God — we read that in childhood, He was "filled with wisdom," and again that He "increased in wisdom" (Luke 2:40, 52). Wisdom surely refers to the intelligent spirit of a man. We know too, that "in Him dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily"; but here was something very different, for who could connect ''increase" with the "fulness of the Godhead"? This surely is spirit with the characteristics that are proper to the spirit of a man. Again, in His pathway through this world, how constantly the Lord is found in prayer: further, at the last supper He can say, "with desire I have desired to eat this passover:" in the Garden He is seen in an agony of conflict, but submits to the Father's will. Again we ask, Is not prayer, and desire, and conflict, and submission connected with the spirit, and characteristic of the spirit of a man in connection with his God?

As to His soul — with which we connect the emotions and affections — we read of the Lord being moved with compassion, weeping over Jerusalem, weeping at the grave, at times moved with indignation, and looking upon His hypocritical opposers with anger. Again we ask, Do not compassion and weeping, indignation and anger express the deep feelings of a human soul?

As to His holy body. It is conceived in the womb of the virgin. When born the babe was laid in the manger, circumcised the eighth day; fed at the breasts of a human Mother (Luke 11:27); carried in the arms of Simeon. He grew in body from infancy to youth, and from youth to manhood. We read of the Lord eating and drinking, both before and after the resurrection. He hungers in the wilderness, and thirsts on the Cross. He is weary at the well, and sleeps in the boat.

Birth and growth, eating and drinking, hunger and thirst, weariness and sleep, are essentially connected with the human body and, being presented in connection with the body of the Lord, prove how real was the body He took, and how truly marked by all that is characteristic of the human body, sin apart.

What, we may ask, is the plain force of these Scriptures that, directly or indirectly, refer to spirit, soul, and body, in connection with our Lord's Manhood? What is the impression that they are intended to convey to our minds? What is the truth they teach? Is it not that the perfect Manhood of Christ comprised all three — spirit, soul and body — each possessing all the characteristics that are proper to a perfect Man in a fallen world. Thus, "in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren." (Heb. 2:17).

Furthermore we judge that Scripture distinguishes between "personality" — the conscious "I" — and spirit, soul and body inasmuch as it does not definitely, and much less exclusively, identify personality with any one of the three. We read that "The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets" (1 Cor. 14:32). We have the verse in the Old Testament which says, "He that ruleth his spirit" (Prov. 16:32). In connection with the soul, David said, "I humbled my soul" (Ps. 35:13); "I lift up my soul (Ps. 86:4). Solomon speaks of a man destroying his soul and wronging his soul (Prov. 6:32 and Prov. 8:36). In reference to the body Paul can say, "I keep under my body" (1 Cor. 9:27). These and many other Scriptures of a like character, would show that in man there is the union of the material and spiritual under a single personality, as one has said, "Day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute we observe, each within himself, a central authority, directing and controlling, on the one hand, the movements and operations of an animal frame, and on the other the faculties and efforts of an intelligent spirit, both of which find in this central authority or person their point of unity. How this can be we know not." To this we may add that if death supervenes the "I" is identified with that which is immaterial — the spirit and the soul — yet when in the body, whether now or in the resurrection state, the "I" is surely identified with spirit, soul and body.

Is not this distinction between personality and spirit, soul and body equally seen in the utterances of our Lord as Man, (as quoted on page 26), though in the Manhood of Christ, let us ever remember that the Person was Divine — the Son unchanging and unchangeable as to His Person. Though here again, we have to be on our guard, lest by the frailty of human language it might be argued that an impersonal humanity is suggested. Though in Person ever the Son, yet He personally entered into Manhood — spirit, soul, and body, and so really that, as one has said, "there was in Him nothing lacking of all that pertained to perfect manhood — that He was all and felt all that man should be and feel — made in all things like to his brethren" . . . "He was made of a woman, partook of flesh and blood — was truly the woman's seed, and from her derived the nature of a man which placed Him in relation to God and things here as a responsible Man on earth."

"In becoming Man He entered into the reality of the place He took as Man" . . . "The Lord entered into all the conditions of human life, its sensibilities feelings and affections, everything dependent on man's condition and organisation apart from sin."

So near, indeed, has He come to His people that Simeon could hold in his arms the One who "hath measured the waters in the hollow of His hand," and the beloved Apostle could lean on the bosom of the One who dwells in the bosom of the Father. Here we find ourselves in the presence of One who surpasses the comprehension of our minds, and yet calls forth the worship and adoration of our hearts.

CONCLUSION

In writing on this great theme we have sought to follow where Scripture leads, with the desire to learn what is revealed, as well as the meaning of the revelation, concerning God's beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. But while seeking to profit by that which is written, we must never forget there is in the Person of the Son, the Incarnation and the Manhood of Christ, that which for ever will be inscrutable to the finite mind of man. "No man knoweth the Son" is a word we do well to heed. We are only permitted to know divine Persons AS and WHEN revealed.

How a divine Person can come in flesh we do not know. We have to beware of any statement which seeks to make clear to the human mind the inscrutable mystery of the incarnation. Any statement with this avowed end should at once arouse our suspicion. We may be sure that any such attempt, will not only fail of its purpose but will end in propounding theories that corrupt the truth and dishonour the Son.

Our great concern should be to learn what is written, and accept the truth as written, without question and without reasoning. God gives short shrift to the man who questions His revelation, for when in relation to that which is inscrutable man asks "How?" God answers, "Thou fool" (1 Cor. 15:36). But when proud reason is left behind, simple faith and affection will travel far into depths of glory, "As it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him." May it be ours to love, to listen and adore.