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CHAPTER XVII.

Proofs of Divinity of Christ’@s Sufferings derived from Old Testament—-Fifty--third Chapter of Isaiah—-Isaiah 63lxiii. 3: “I have trodden the winiie-press alone”l@—-Isaiah 63Ixiii. 9: “In all their affliction he was afflicted” 2—-Zechariah, 13xiii. 7: “Awake, sword, against my Shepherd”—-Zecharxiah, 12xii. 10: “And they shall look upon Me whomra they have pierced.”

IN the progress of our argument, we have hitherto confined ourselves to evidence deduced from the New Testament. But the Old Testament is not to be overlooked or undervalued. Though its holy patriarchs and prophets saw . as “,through a glass darkly,” yet does the wonderful fulfilment of their inspired visions afford one of the most striking proofs of the verity of our holy religion. The Old Testament shadows forth the Messiah to come in colours not to be mistaken. It plainly intimates his miraculous conception ; it places the glorious truth of his divinity beyond peradventure; it announces him as the sufferer for the sins of others in terms peculiar and significant; and when it thus alludes to him as a sufferer, it limits not his sufferings to a single department of his being; it speaks of him, not as a partial, but as a general sufferer. The prevalent theory of later times, that the sufferings of Christ were confined to his humanity, finds no countenance in the Old Testament. The Old Testament leaves us to believe that the expected Messiah would suffer in the same undivided and indivisible natures in which hlie was to be born into our world.

The last three verses of the fifty-second chapter of Isaiah, and the whole of the fifty-third chapter of that sublimest of the sons of men, have Christ for their absorbing theme. Their reference to the Messiah who was to come is so palpable that, in reading the passages, we may consider the name of Christ as actually substituted for the nameless sufferer, whose heart-touching story is there told with a pathos not to be found in the “ multitudinous” volumes of uninspired lore. With a pen dipped in his tears, the rapt prophet recounted the imputed imperfections and outward pangs of his beloved Saviour; his marred visage; his want of form and comeliness to the carnal eye; his rejection by men; his privations; his lamb-like submission. But when he drew near to the furnace of expiatory suffering burning within, pervading the spiritual elements of the incarnate God in the most inaccessible recesses of his sacred being, the prophet’s”s powers of expression, copious as they were, seemed utterly inadequate to the overpowering thoughts that were hovering around him. He could but say, “His soul” shall be made ”an offering for sin;” “he shall pour out his soul unto death;” “he shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.”—-Isaiah, 53Iiii. 10-12.

The Hebrew word here translated “,soul” " is of most capacious import. It signifies breathing, living immateriality, wherever found. In the first chapter of his inspired history, Moses applied this Hebrew term to designate the vital principle of the lower ranks of animated nature, though our translators have there rendered it “ creature.”—-Genesis, 1i. 24. The royal psalmist used this identical Hebrew word to denote the ethereal essence of the Deity. “ The Lord trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.”—@Psalm 11xi. 5. The same Hebrew word was used for the same purpose in Judges. “ And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the Lord: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.”—-Judges, 10x. 16. The same Hebrew word was also four times used in Jeremiah to express the ethereal essence of God. “

Shall I not visit for these thingo-s, saith the Lord: and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?” Jeremiah, 5v. 9. This same verse is afterwards twice repeated, forming the twenty-ninth verse of the same chapter, and also the ninth verse of the ninth chapter. “Yeao, I” (the Lord) ,“will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and my whole soul.”—-Jeremiah, 32xxxii. 41. Isaiah himself, in his first chapter, represents the Majesty of heaven as declaring to rebellious Israel, ”Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth.”—-Isaiah, 1i. 14.

When Isaiah appropriated the same Hebrew term to the expected Messiah; the predicted Immanuel; the , “child” that should be born ; the “s"ton” that should be given; whose name should be called “Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace,” he must have meant to use the term in as comprehensive a sense as it was used by his brother-prophets, and as he had himself used it in his opening chapter. He must have intended to designate the whole breathing, animated, living immateriality of the God “ manifest in the flesh,” whose advent had, from the creation, formed the glowing theme of inspired prediction and heaven-taught song. The Hebrew word is used by the evangelical prophet without stint or limitation. The human soul of the anticipated Messiah, the,, “Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father,” was so small a speck in the distant and boundless horizon of his united a-nd infinite spirituality as scarcely to engage, much less to absorb the expanded vision of the ravished seer.

The prophet Isaiah must, then, be understood as saying, that the whole immaterial nature of Christ should be made an offering for sin; that his whole immaterial nature should be poured out unto death; that he should see of the travail of his whole imrnmaterial nature and be satisfied. If any biblical critic should wish to limit the Hebrew word translated “,soul” to the mere human soul of Christ, I let him test the accuracy of his criticism by actually inserting before the substantive “I “ soul” as of@ten as it is here repeated, the adjective “ human.” We do not perceive how the critic can object to this test; for, if the adjective is to be silently incorporated byv intendment, it might as well be actually incorporated “by an overt act. We have already alluded to this test as applicable to passages in the New Testament; but its importance seems to justify its repetition here.

The prophecy of Isaiah contains other passages bearing on our subject. “ I have trodden the winepress alone.”—-Isaiah, 63Ixiii, 3. If this passage referred to the passion of Christ, it is full of demonstration that both his natures unitedly suffered. The wine-press trodden was not the wine-press of some earthly vintage. It was, what it was elsewhere called in Scripture, “the wine-press of the wrath and fierceness of almighty God.” “I have trodden the wine-press alone” was a declaration of too lofty and awful an import to have been designed by the Holy Ghost for the “,meek and lowly” human son of the Virgin. The solitary Treader of “the wine-press of the fierceness and wrath of almighty God” was the second person of the Trinity, arrayed, indeed, in the habiliments of manhood. None but a God could have trodden the terrible wine-press of the wrath of God. The human son of Mary had not physical capabilities to tread this wine-press alone; and had his humanity been expanded for the awful event by the omnipotence of its indwelling God, it would thenceforth have ceased to be the humanity of our common race.

The Treader of the wine-press had trodden it alone. If the man had been its treader, strengthened by the divinity within, solitariness could not have been predicated of him. He is not alone w“Who knows himself to be attended and supported by an indwelling Deity. Gabriel is not alone, though, apart from his fellow-angels, he may stand in more close attendance on the inaccessible majesty of the Highest. The three holy men, “ upon whose bodies the fire had no power,” were not alone in the Babylonian furnace. There was a fourth present; “,and the form of the fourth” was “like the Son of God.” He walked with them through the flames, and saved them untouched by the conflagration. Well was it said of them that they were not alone.—-Daniel, 3iii. 25, 27. Hei- who trod the wine-press alone, clothed in his garment of flesh, was none other than he who, in the beginning, raised his solitary trumpet note, and behold, the dark profound straightway beamed with joyous light.

We are not ignorant that by a ma@ijority of the advocates of the prevalent theory, the Treader of the wine-press is supposed to have been, not the suffering Christ, but Christ the Avenger. Many biblical critics, respectable for talents, learning, and piety, have thought differently. We felt bound to notice the passage, without intending, however, to make it a main pillar of our argument. If the reader shall concur in its more general interpretation, he has but to subtract from the sum total of our scriptural proofs, this single item. We are confident that the aggregate of our proofs drawn from Holy Writ may well sustain this insulated subtraction.

“Iin all theiri- affliction he was afflicted.”—-Isaiah, 63Ixiii. 9. This wonderful declaration was predicated, not of the Word made flesh, but of the Old Testament Jehovah. Of him, also, the Bible often affirmed that he was “ grieved.” To be “ afflicted” or to be “ grieved,” implies actual suffering. If, therefore, these scriptural passages are to be taken literally, they cannot fail to overthrow the hypothesis of divine impassibility. The advocates of the prevalent theory, in attempting to evade the force of the passages, must needs clothe them in a figurative meaning. In deciding whether a figurative interpretation relieves the advocates of the theory from the pressure of the passages, it must be borne in mind that Bishop Pearson, and all his associates of the olden and modernm times, claim as the strongest position of their theory, that the imputation of even voluntary paossibility to the divine nature would imply its “ imperfection” and“infirmity.”

Now if impassibility is in truth one of the everlasting attributes of Jehovah, changeless as his wisdom, power, or holiness—-if the imputation to him of voluntary paossibility would indeed imply his “imperfection” and “infirmity,” then, as affliction and grief are synonymous with suffering, the Bible could never have declared of him, even figuratively, ,that he was “afflicted”—-that he was “grieved.” For by such declarations, the Bible would have imputed “imperfection” and “ infirmity” to its own all-perfect Author; it would, under the guise of a metaphor, have libelled the God of the Bible. Inspiration deals, it is true, in figures of speech; but not in figures of speech calculated to misrepresent the awful attributes of Jehovah. In imputing to the Most High material form and lineaments, the Bible misleads not; for it elsewhere takes pains to affirm that “,God is a Spirit,” and that 4”6 a spirit hath not flesh and bones.”

But its imputation of paossibility to him who is alleged to be impassible, finds no explanatory qualification in the sacred pages. The imputation, then, according to the prevalent theory, stands forth on Holy R” Itecord as a palpable and unexplained misrepresentation of the divine attributes, disguised but not mitigated by its figurative form. We would scarcely believe our senses of sight and hearing should they unitedly inform us that the Bible, under the garb of metaphor, had somewhere misrepresented God’s”s power, or omniscience, or wisdom, or justice, or holiness. And if it be indeed true that God could not suffer without ceasing to be God, by what species of moral arithmetic can it be ascertained that the impeachment of his impassibility is less reprehensible than would be the attempt to pluck from its sphere any of the other fixed and everlasting stars which form the glorious constellation of his perfections ?

The following passage carries on its face its own demonstration: “Awake, sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of Hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.”—-Zechariah, 13xiii. 7. In this sublime and wonderful passage, the speaker is the infinite Father. The Son had been speaking in the preceding chapter under the name of the “Lord;” but in this passage the Father appeared as the speaker, by the appellation of the “Lord of Hosts.” "What was the subject to be smitten?

To show that it was to be the Christ, we need scarcely refer to Matthew, 26xxvi. 31 ; Mark, 14xiv. 27. The face of the passage itself demonstrates, not only that the Father was the speaker, but also that the subject to be smitten was the incarnate Son. In what nature was the incarnate Son to be smitten? Was it in his two united natures, or in one of them only, leaving the other altogether scathless? Our opponents allege that the subject to be smitten was the mere humanity of the Son incarnate. This they are obliged to allege; for if the smiting was but to touch the divine nature of the incarnate God, their theory must utterly fail.

We suppose that the humanity of the incarnate Son was not to be the sole subject of the smiting. Of all the wonders of the vast creation, visible or invisible, not the least is the -wonder, often pressed on our contemplations, of the exact economy of the almighty Creator, in his use of means to accomplish his wise and gracious ends. The energies invoked, like the manna of the desert, are always just sufficient; there is nothing wanting, nothing to spare. The wastefulness of human prodigality can find no precedent or countenance in the example of the Most High. And did he, so wisely provident of the resources even of his own exhaustless and infinite treasury, indeed awaken from its repose his own almighty sword-the highest resort of avenging omnipotence-only to smite the frail humanity of the man of Nazareth? Had the smiting of his mere humanity been the sole object of the Lord of Hosts, its sure execution might have been left to the irons of the cross, or to the soldier’s”s spear, if the irons proved too dilatory in their work. There would have been no seeming need for invoking the sword of the Lord of Hosts.

The terms of designation in the passage are demonstrative that the subject of the smiting was not the humanity of Christ alone. “Awake, sword, against my shepherd.” And again, the divine speaker said, “, Smite the shepherd.” Who was the Shepherd of the Lord of Hosts ? He was the great , “Shepherd of Israel”9l that dwelt “between the cherubims.”—-Psalmrns, 80lxxx. 1I. Isaiah, 40xl. 11. “This was the Shepherd who meekly descended to earth, to redeem with his blood, and gather in from every nation and every climey his Father’s”s dispersed and lost flock. The humanity of Bethlehem’s”s babe was not the Shepherd of the Lord of Hosts; it was but the adjunct of that Shepherd; the vestment in which that Shepherd arrayed himself; the tabernacle of flesh in which that Shepherd dwelt.

“Father is That same Shepherd of the in“ finite Father is yet his Shepherd. In the green pastures of paradise he still feeds his Father’s”s flock; still he folds the lambs in his bosom. There, clothed in his now glorified vestment of humanity, he willf continue -the Shepherd of the Most High as long as the golden walls of the great sheepfold of heaven 4m shall rest secure on their everlasting foundations.

This was the Shepherd against w-%vhose divine, as well as human nature, the Lord of Hosts invoked his almighty sword. Spare the God, but sm” ite the man, was not his high command. His omnipotent mandate went forth without exception or restriction ; general, universal; pervading every element, searching out every recess of the united natures ; brief, simple, majestic ; yet more lucid than the sunbeam. “ Smite the Shepherd.”

There is in the passage another term of designation equally significant of the subject to be smitten. The Lord of Hosts invoked his slumbering sword “6 6 against the man that is my fellow.” The ethereal essence of the second person of the Trinity formed the divine .nature of the incarnate Son ; the body and soul of an ordinary man, cleansed from the stain of sin, formed his human nature. The union of these two natures is often styled, in Christian phraseology, the God-man@l.” It may be denominated, with, perhaps, equal force and propriety, the man-God. In arranging the two elements of this-the complex name, we may as well ascend from the human nature to the divine as to descend from the divine nature to the human. It is in the ascending grade that the infinite Father himself ranked the two natures. He invoked his awakening sword, n1-iot only against “my Shepherd,” but also “against the man that is my fellow;” that is to say, against the man-God. It was not the man alone, but the man-God, that was to be smitten.

The “,fellow” of the Lord of Hosts was to be smitten. But the mere humanity of the Virgin’s”s son was not the, “fellow” of the Highest. The fellow of the everlasting Father, like his infinite self, must have been one who “inhabiteth eternity”—-the eternity of the past as well as the eternity of the future. The -word “,fellow” as here used is synonymous with equal. The appellation -was inapplicable to the mere manhood of the incarnate Son ; yet there was veiled within that humanity the ethereal essence of the second of the, Sacred Three, who was indeed the fellow of the infinite Father; who had occupied the right hand seat of the Father’s”s throne for countless ages ere time was known in the universe. That the humanity of Christ was not the fellow of the Most High, is proved by- the declaration fresh from the lips of the incarnate God, when speaking of the inferiority of his human nature, “For my Father is greater than I.”—-John, 14xiv. 28.

The unique being to be smitten, compounded of manhood and divinity, styled by the Lord of Hosts, “the man that is my fellow,” was the Emanuel of the Gospel, “the Christ. of God.” He was to be smitten, not in his mortal nature alone, but in both the elements, human and divine, which constitutied, his inkdividuality. If the awakened sword touched&he& the “m“@an” only, the “fellow” of the Most High was not smitten; the complex being of the text was not smitten; he who was smitten was but the man, and not the man-God; the divine prediction, so august in its promulgation, must, we speak it with reverence, have sunk in its fulfilment from heaven down to earth. The mandate of the Lord of Hosts to his omnipotent sword cannot be thus capriciously depressed to the mere humanity of Mary’s”s son, without crucifying its palpable, breathing, living letter and spirit. Such distortion of divine language would have found no place in Christian faith, but for the misleading hypothesis of divine impassibility.

There are yet other expressions, hitherto unnoticed, in this astounding passage, indicating that it was something infinitely beyond the mortal death of him of Nazareth which called forth the sword of the Lord of Hosts from its scabbard. It was summoned to awake; which implies that it had previously been in a state of repose—-a repose, perhaps, until then unbroken in the flight of eternal ages. It was summoned not only to awake, but to awake and “,smite” ;" to awake, therefore, in the majesty of its might, in the te6rrors of its wrath. It was to do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act!”—-Isaiah, 28xxviii. 21—-that the infinite Father invoked his slumbering sword. A God was to be smitten by a God! The infinite Father was to smite his other self; his own beloved, only-begotten, Son; his meek and unresisting Shepherd; the fellow of his everlasting reign! No wonder that the sword of the Lord of Hosts—-the keenest weapon in the armory of heaven—-was summoned to awake from its long repose. Nothing but the sword of a God should, could have smitten a God.

In this awful passage we seem to hear the audible voice of the Eternal, as it was once heard from Sinai, announcing prophetically the tremendous truth, since reiterated by the Holy Ghost, God “s”spared not his own Son.” How feeble and evanescent was the purposed sacrifice by the faithful Abraham, even to typify the finished, the efficient, the universe--pervading sacrifice by the infinite Father. We say universe-pervading, and, we trust, without irreverence; for who can doubt that the whole vast empire of the Godhead was benignly affected, to an extent nameless, illimitable, inconceivable, in its peace, in its prosperity, in the enduring happiness of its countless worlds, by the one great sacrifice on Calvary, seen and viewless!

There is a preceding passage in the same prophet, which demands our attention: “,And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications ; and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one that mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born.”—-Zechariah, 12xii. 10. This prophecy was uttered by the second person of the Trinity. The infinite Father became the speaker in the next chapter. In this chapter the speaker was the infinite Son. The subject to be pierced was the God “manifest in the flesh.”—-John, 19xix. 37.

The corporeal piercing was not merely the perforation of the sufferer’s”s inanimate side by the Roman spear; his living hands and feet were to be pierced. They shall pierce “ my hands and my feet.” Psalm 22xxii. 16. “ Corporal sufferance” was not, however, the sole price to be paid for the salvation of man. The “iron entered the soul” of the vicarious victim. This is generally allowed, even by the advocates of the prevalent theory. The majority believe that the soul of the sufferer was pierced ; but their faith stops at the dividing line between his human and divine spirit. Why stop at that line? No such stopping-place is indicated on the scriptural chart.

The God was also to be pierced. The speaking God of the prophet was to be the pierced God of the evangelist. The awakened sword of the Lord of Hosts was to penetrate the most sacred recesses of his divine essence. The speaking God of the prophet was the mighty “ me” of the prediction. “They shall look upon me whom they have pierced.” And now mark well the sudden and significant change of phraseology: “ And they shall mourn for him.” Why this sudden transmutation of the third for the first person ? It was no idle play of words; the transition was big with meaning. The speaker was God the Son. He designated by the pronoun “me” his own ethereal essence. But at the time of the fulfilment of the prophecy, a new nature was to be added, consisting of a perfect man, corporeally and intellectually. To that adjunct nature—-the man to be united to the God—-the pronoun “him” was applied: “They shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him.” The viewless sword of the Lord of Hosts was to pervade the whole united spirituality of the incarnate Deity.

The human piercers,. when “the spirit of grace and of supplications” should be poured into their hearts, would look upon the pierced God, and won-der, and repent, and adore; they would mourn for the pierced man with the same deep and affectionate mortal grief with which one “mourneth for his only son,” and “,be in bitterness for him as one is in bitterness for his first-born.” The human piercers, fiendish as was their intent, were but the instruments of infinite retribution. The efficient Piercer of the divine substitute for sinners was the Lord of Hosts.

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