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DOCTRINE OF THE TWO NATURES OF CHRIST.
“ The Hypothesis of two natures in Christ supposes an infinite nature with all its essential attributes of omnis. cience, omnipotence, and omnipresence, incapable of change or suffering, was indissolubly united in the person of Jesus Christ, with a finite nature, possessing all its properties, as weakness, imperfect knowledge, liability to sorrow, pain, and death, so that the two natures remain forever distinct, each retaining unaltered all its appropriate attributes.”
The Council of Chalcedon, A. D. 451, which claims the merit of having ascertained and settled the doctrine of the incarnation, describes the doctrine of the Two Natures thus: “ Jesus Christ is truly God and man, perfect in both natures, consubstantial with the Father with respect to his divinity, and consubstantial with us with respect to his humanity; the two natures, the divine and human, are indissolubly united in him without confusion or change, each retaining all its former attributes, yet so united as to form one person."
Dr. Barrow on the subject says, “the two natures, the divine and human, were united without any confusion or commixture. The same person never ceased to be both God and man; not even then, when our Lord as man did undergo death-the union between God and man persist-. ing, when the union between human body and soul was dissolved."
The Church of England, like the Catholic church, says:
says, “ He
" The Son-took man's nature-so that two whole and perfect natures, that is to say, the Godhead and manhood were joined together in one person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, very God and very man.”
Professor Stewart, speaking of Jesus Christ, must, as it seems to me, be God omniscient and omnipotent, and still a feeble man and of imperfect knowledge."
Now this doctrine is to be rejected, because, like that of the Trinity, it is essentially incredible. It is not a mystery, but as palpable a contradiction as can be stated. By the nature of any person or being, is always meant his essential qualities. If Christ possess a Divine and Human nature, he must possess the essential qualities of God and the distinctive qualities of man. But these qualities are totally incompatible with one another. The qualities of God are eternity, independence, immutability, exemption from pain, sorrow and death, omniscience, omnipotence, and opnipresence. But the qualities of man are derived existence, dependence, mutability, susceptibility of pain, sorrow and death, comparative weakness and ignorance, and locomotivity. To assert, therefore, that the same mind possesses both a Human and a Divine nature, is to assert that the same mind is both created and uncreated, both finite and infinite, both dependent and independent, both mutable and immutable, both mortal and immortal, both susceptible of pain and unsusceptible of it, both able to do all things and unable, both acquainted with all things and not acquinted with the r, both ignorant of some things and possessed of the most intimate knowledge of them, both in all places and only in one place at the same time. Now if this doctrine is not an absurdity, I know not how to conceive of or describe an absurdity. It is a doctrine " which councils and parliaments may decree, but which miracles cannot prove." It is not pretended that any passage of
Scripture expressly asserts the doctrine of the Two Natures. Like that of the Trinity, it is a mere inference from the premises laid down by Trinitarians. I know of no allusion in the Bible to the doctrine of the Two Natures, either with or without modification.
But an objection of a graver character lies against the doctrine of the Two Natures. It implicates the moral character of the Holy Jesus; it impeaches his veracity; and exposes him to the charge of equivocation, duplicity, and falsehood. These are weighty charges; and we cannot endure, for a moment, a hypothesis which throws suspicion of dishonesty upon our blessed Saviour.
Jesus said, I can of mine own self do nothing." The Trinitarian
Jesus can of himself do every thing that God can do. Jesus said, " My Father is grealer than I." The Trinitarian says, Jesus is as great as the Father. To one unacquainted with the use that is made of the doctrine of the Two Natures, these assertions appear to be palpable contradictions. He cannot perceive how the assertions of Jesus, and those of Trinitarians, can both be true. But here comes in the doctrine of the Two Natures to reconcile the apparent contradictions. " Jesus is both God and man,” says the Trinitarian.
" And though as man, he can do nothing of himself, yet as God, he can do every thing. Though as man, he is not his Father's equal, yet as God, he is equal with the Father in substance, and power, and glory." But if he is God, can he say in truth, that he can do nothing of himself? What, can God do nothing of himself!
If he is God, can he say in truth, My Father is greater than I? What, is the Father greater than God! For a mun to assert that he cannot do what he is conscious that he can do, is to say what is not true. For what a man can do, in any way, or by any means, he can certainly do. Suppose a man should be required to.
subscribe his name to a written instrument; and that he should refuse to do it, saying, “I cannot write. I cannot wield the pen.
I never learned to write. Suppose it should be known that this man could write; that an explanation should be demanded; and that he should say, he only meant that he could not write with his left hand, though he could use the
pen with his right hand as well as Would not such a man subject himself to the charge of equivocation, duplicity, and falsehood ?
The disciples came to Jesus with these questions : "Tell us, when shall these things be ? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled ?" After some ex. planation and caution, Jesus answered thus : “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the FATHER only." The Trinita
The Trinitarian says, the Son knew perfectly both the day and the hour. Here the doctrine of the Two Natures is again employed to solve the difficulty. "Jesus being God as well as man,” says the Trinitarian," he must have known the day and hour as God, though he did not know it as man. When he said he did not know the day and hour, he spoke of his human nature only." But is this satisfactory? The disciples came to Jesus not to inquire into
any distinctions in his nature, but to obtain information of a different kind. Now if Jesus had two natures, the one omniscient, and the other "of imperfect knowledge," would he not consider the questions addressed to the nature that knew, rather than the nature that did not know, the subject about which the disciples came to inquite? Most certainly. Yet Jesus not only said that the Son did not know, but that the Father only knew, All other persons, besides the Father, whether they be persons in the Trinity or out of it, are excluded from the knowledge of the day and hour.
Let us suppose that a murder is committed in the city of Boston, at noon, by some person or persons unknownthat suspicion fastens upon an innocent man, who, at the time of the murder, was in New-York—and that he is charged with the crime, apprehended, and brought to trial. The prisoner summons in his defence a witness, who saw himn in New-York, about noon, the same day the murder was committed in Boston. This witness, being under oath, is asked, “ Did you see the prisoner in New-York on that The witness answers,
I did not." This being the only witness for the defendant, he is convicted, and hanged. After the execution, this witness confesses that he did see the man that was hanged, in New-York, on the day and hour specified at the trial. Being required to answer for himself, he says, under oath, that his left eye was defective; only his right eye was sound. And when he testified in court that he did not see the prisoner, he meant that he did not see him with his defective eye ; but he saw him distinctly with his sound eye.
Now, I ask, would not all honest men consider such a witness perjured ? The only difference I can see, between the conduct of such a witness, and that which the doctrine of the Two Natures imputes to Jesus, is, that what Jesus said was not said under the solemnity of an oath. Knowledge is the
of the mind. Jesus is said to have two capacities of knowledgemhis divine and his human nature. The one is strong and piercing, knowing all things. The other is weak and defective, being ignorant of many things. As such an one, he says, in regard to the time of a certain event, he does not know the day nor the hour. He makes no exception of one of his capacities of knowledge; but says, absolutely, he does not know the time. No one knows but the Father. Yet the doctrine of the Two Natures supposes that Jesus did know the day and hour; and that