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age of twelve, declares that the doctors were “astonished at His understanding," and intimates His knowledge of the mystery of His birth (Luke ii. 47, 49.), but gives no hint of His needing correction.
The same must be said of the inference that because the Word so truly became man that He could hunger and thirst, could weep and be weary, and could lay down His life, therefore He was subject to bodily disease, * and consequently to death, like the natural offspring of Adam. Such teaching is often based upon Hebrews ii. 14, as though the expression “the same ” signified the same flesh and blood as the children's. But the passage simply states the great fact that was the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise partook of the same (things).”+ And mark the object of this. Death was the very citadel of Satan ; to be perfectly defeated he must be conquered there, and He who would enter into that stronghold must be capable of dying. The Lord therefore took flesh and blood “in order that through death He might render powerless him that had the power of death.” Who could do this but One who, though capable of death, was not liable to death ?
“By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin ; and so death passed upon all men, for that all sinned.” (Rom. v. 12.) Everyone therefore springing from Adam by natural generation may truly be described as being chargeable with inherited guilt, and as only possessing a forfeited life. All such must either enter the dark fortress of death as captives in chains, or be delivered from its fear and its sting by a power outside themselves. But
* These words of warning are not given without cause, as some will understand.
+ Tŵv autwv does not qualify, but is equal to the repetition of the words, “flesh and blood.”
with no inherited guilt, and therefore under no condemnation, and with no seeds of mortality in His blessed person, did the Holy One of God come into the world. For though, of course, He was the son of Adam as truly as He
, was the son of Abraham, or of David, and though He was truly man, the seed of the woman, yet it was by the direct operation of the Holy Ghost, and the overshadowing power of the Highest that He was conceived in the womb of the virgin, and therefore as born of her He was emphatically a “holy thing." Here was indeed “a new thing," one who was very man, but with no stain of sin, under no subjection to death, and therefore able when the time came to offer Himself without spot to God, and “to GIVE His life a ransom for many.” He thus died the only death it was possible for Him to die, the death of atonement as the substitute of His people.
It is very important to maintain the principle that all interpretation of type and prophetic experience must be guided by plain statements of New Testament Scripture, and therefore any assertions that the Lord actually suffered bodily disease may well be met by the affirmation that there is not a single verse in the Gospels that gives any foundation for such an idea; and, it may be added, all those Scriptures that speak of the perfectness of His sacrifice most emphatically repudiate it. He was "with
“ out blemish and without spot” (1 Peter i. 18), and “He offered Himself without spot to God.” A leprous spot in His sacred body would have rendered Him as unfit for God's altar as would a spot of sin in His soul. In this respect
. also it is incumbent upon us to remember that Scripture speaks of the whole person. He Himself, in the entirety of His being, was without spot. And where a distinction is made between soul and body, it is the body that is emphatically said not to have seen corruption. (Psalm xvi. 10; Acts ii. 31.) He was the Holy One at His birth, and He was the Holy One at His death, and through all the intervening years nothing defiling could possibly affect Him.
When the Holy Ghost would set forth the sympathy of our great High Priest, He puts Him in marked contrast with mere human high priests. They could sympathize with others because they were compassed with infirmity, but the very thing which gave them the power of sympathy made it necessary that they should offer for their own sins. The sympathy of our High Priest, on the contrary, springs not from inherent infirmity, but from the fact that He was “tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin,” that He “suffered, being tempted," and that by the pathway of varied and manifold sufferings endured in doing the will of God, He reached that position of glory and dignity which is His for ever, as the
High Priest after the order of Melchisedek.” (Heb. v. 1-10.) “For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore." (Heb. vii. 28.)
As we behold Him there, let us indeed ponder the pathway of deep humiliation once trod by Him, but in so doing let us keep to inspired statements, and not add our inferences from them, lest we unintentionally dishonour Him whom it is surely the earnest desire of every thoughtful child of God to adore and magnify.
W. H. B.
FRAGMENT. - In the writings of the disciple whom Jesus loved, and who reclined upon His bosom, we have the fulness of the truth as to the twofold nature of the one glorious Person who alone is the “Christ of God.”
JOHN xviii. l-12.
THOUGH there is now, through God's mercy, an unexpected time of quiet in these lands, we know that wars and rumours of wars will again prevail, and it is well to keep in remembrance the "troublous times” and sad scenes of misery and bloodshed in which our fellow-saints of other days have lived. Patriarchs, prophets and apostles could all tell us of terrible events which they themselves witnessed, and they would wonder, perhaps, at the outwardly smooth and easy lives that we have lived. Of course such troubles are not distinctively “the afflictions of Christ for His body's sake the Church ;' nor are they “the afflictions of the gospel”; they are simply the evils and sorrows of a sinful world, which Christians may have to witness and more or less to share in. But even these sore calamities of war few of us have ever seen. Yet it is well to be prepared, for to the wise, to be forewarned is to be forearmed; and God's word by His Spirit clothes us with a panoply of Christian meekness and submission and patience in readiness for such a day.
Our Master Himself was painfully acquainted with man's use of the sword. Herod's massacre of the infants of Bethlehem occurred in His early years, and armed soldiers nailed Him to the cross. But concerning all such things that may have come before Him we are sure He said in spirit what in the "garden ” He said in words— “The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” (John xviii. 11)--and that too, when most of the weapons in view were directed against Himself.
But Gethsemane was the place of PRAYER, as well as of calmness amidst "weapons." And surely it was the depth and continuance of His prayer on that same spot which made Him ready to meet the instruments of torture and of death with which He was surrounded. As Gethsemane, that is, an “olive press,” it had been to Him the place of an unutterable weight of woe, and He had sunk to the ground under the dreaded "cup" of God's wrath against sin. But whilst sinking He still had cried “Not as I will, but as Thou wilt." This expression shows us the dark and silent character of the olive press, but its exceeding pressure drew from Him only the oil of a self-surrendering obedience to God and of a love that was stronger than death.
Presently the whole scene changed. Judas knew the spot, and led thither band of men and officers temple hirelings—with lanterns and torches and weapons to take Him. These sons of Belial as thorns and briars (2 Sam. xxiii. 6) compassed Jesus and His disciples, and filled the garden, as John calls it, and he is the only evangelist who does so; but it was no “garden ” to any. one then in it except to Him who was every moment doing the will of God: and Jesus, God's beloved Son, was to Him the only pleasant and fruit-bearing plant that the
garden ” contained. In our Lord's thoughts and words and actions there was at that spot the sweetest fragrance and richest fruit to God. Taught by God's word and Spirit He knew all that should come upon Him; every utterance of His lips was only glorifying to God; and He stepped forward, the first to face the foe, and then He healed the wound that Peter's rash sword had made. Thus it was indeed a “garden,” for Jesus made it such. So
a calm was His soul that His own prayer of John xvii. was not forgotten. In it He had said, “Of them that Thou