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worthily showing forth the moral perfections of our Heavenly Father. But the official and ethical senses of the term are rooted in a deeper sense, which St. Luke connects with it at the beginning of his Gospel. "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee,' so ran the angel-message to the Virgin-mother, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that Holy Thing Which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God v.' This may be contrasted with the prediction respecting St. John the Baptist, that he should be filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother's womb 2. St. John then is in existence before his sanctification by the Holy Spirit; but Christ's Humanity Itself is formed by the agency of the Holy Ghost. In like manner St. Matthew's record of the angel's words asserts that our Lord was conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost a. But St. Matthew's reference to the prophetic name Emmanuel b points to the full truth, that Christ is the Son of God as being of the Divine Essence.
2. Indeed the whole history of the Nativity and its attendant circumstances guards the narratives of St. Matthew and St. Lukec against the inroads of Humanitarian interpreters. Our Lord's Birth of a Virgin-mother is as irreconcileable with 'an Ebionitic as it is with a Docetic conception of the entrance of the God-man into connexion with humanity! The worship of the Infant
· St. Luke i. 35, where the abstract td yevváuevov aylov points to a superhuman Being, so far described indefinitely. But His Birth results from the επισκιάζειν of the δύναμις Υψίστου, and He is presently announced to be Yίος Θεού.
• Ιbid. ver. 15: Πνεύματος Αγίου πλησθήσεται έτι εκ κοιλίας μητρός αυτού. * St. Μatt. 1. 20: το γαρ εν αυτή γεννηθέν εκ Πνεύματός έστιν Αγίου.
Ibid. ver. 23. This prophecy was fulfilled when our Lord was called Jesus. Cf. Pearson on the Creed (ed. Oxf. 1847), art. ii. p. 89, and note.
c For a vindication of these narratives against the mythical theory of Strauss, see Dr. Mill's Christian Advocate's Publications for 1841, 1844, reprinted in his work on the ‘Mythical Interpretation.'
d Martensen, Christl. Dogm. § 39 (Clark's transl.): 'Christ is born, not of the will of a man, nor of the will of the flesh; but the holy Will of the Creator took the place of the will of man and of the will of the flesh. That is, the Creating Spirit, Who was in the beginning, fulfilled the function of the plastic principle. Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, the chosen woman of the chosen people. It was the task of Israel to provide, not, as has often been said, Christ Himself, but the mother of the Lord; to develope the susceptibility for Christ to a point where it might be able to manifest itself as the profoundest unity of nature and spirit-an unity which found expression in the pure Virgin. In her the pious aspirations of Israel and of mankind, and their faith in the promises, are centred. She is the purest point in history and in nature, and she therefore becomes the appointed
Significance of the Evangelical Canticles. 251
Christ, in St. Matthew by the wise men, in St. Luke by the shepherds of Bethlehem, represents Jesus as the true Lord of humanity, whether Jewish or Gentile, whether educated or unlettered. Especially noteworthy are the greetings addressed to the Mother of our Lord by heavenly as well as earthly visitants. The Lord is with her; she is graced and blessed among women. Her Son will be great; He will be called the Son of the Highest; His kingdom will have no end f. Elizabeth echoes the angel's words; Mary is blessed among women, and the Fruit of her womb is Blessed. Elizabeth marvels that such an one as herself should be visited by the Mother of her Lord 8.
The Evangelical canticles, which we owe to the third Gospel, remarkably illustrate the point before us. They surround the cradle of the Infant Saviour with the devotional language of ancient Israel, now consecrated to the direct service of the Incarnate Lord. Mary, the Virgin-mother, already knows that all generations shall call her blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things unto her h. And as the moral and social fruits of the Incarnation unfold themselves before her prophetic eye, she proclaims that the promises to the forefathers are at length fulfilled, and that God, 'remembering His mercy, hath holpen His servant Israel i' Zacharias rejoices that the Lord God of Israel has in the new-born Saviour redeemed His peoplek. This Saviour is the Lord, whose forerunner has been announced by prophecyl; He is the Day-star from on high, bringing a new morning to those who sat in the darkness and death-shadows of medium for the New Creation. And while we must confess that this Virgin Birth is enveloped in a veil impenetrable to physical reasonings, yet we affirm it to be the only one which fully satisfies the demands of religion and theology. This article of our Creed, 'conceived of the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary,' is the only sure defence against both the Ebionitic and the Docetic view of the entrance of the God-man into connexion with humanity.'
• St. Luke i. 28: χαίρε, κεχαριτωμένη" ο Κύριος μετά σου, ευλογημένη συ έν γυναιξίν.
Ibid. ver. 32: ούτος έσται μέγας, και υιός υψίστου κληθήσεται. Ver. 33 : της βασιλείας αυτού ουκ έσται τέλος. .
8 Ιbid. ver. 42: ευλογημένη συ έν γυναιξί, και ευλογημένος ο καρπός της κοιλίας σου. Ver. 43: και πόθεν μοι τούτο, ίνα έλθη ή μήτηρ του Κυρίου μου
Η Ιbid. ver. 48: από του νυν μακαριουσί με πάσαι αι γενεαί: ότι εποίησέ μου μεγαλεία και δυνατός. i Ibid, vers. 51-55.
* Ibid. ver. 68. Ibid. i. 69, Christ is the képas owinplas. Ibid. ver. 76; to St. John it is said, προπορεύση γάρ προ προσώπου Κυρίου, ετοιμάσαι οδούς αυτού. Cf. Mal. iii. 1, iv. 5.
πρός με ;
the world m. Simeon desires to depart in peace, since his eyes have seen his Lord's Salvation. The humble Babe Whom the old man takes in his arms belongs not to the lowly scenes of Bethlehem and Nazareth; He is the destined inheritance of the world. He is the Divine Saviour; all nations are interested in His Birth; He is to shed light upon the heathen; He is to be the pride and glory of the New Israel n.
The accounts then of our Lord's Birth in two of the synoptic Evangelists, as illustrated by the sacred songs of praise and thanksgiving which St. Luke has preserved, point clearly to the entrance of a superhuman Being into this our human world. Who indeed He was, is stated more explicitly by St. John; but St. John does not deem it necessary to repeat the history of His Advent. The accounts of the Annunciation and of the Miraculous Conception would not by themselves imply the Divinity of Christ. But they do imply that Christ is superhuman; they harmonize with the kind of anticipations respecting Christ's appearance in the world, which might be created by St. John's doctrine of His pre-existent glory. These accounts cannot be forced within the limits, and made to illustrate the laws, of nature. But at least St. John's narrative justifies the mysteries of the synoptic Gospels which would be unintelligible without
and it is a vivid commentary upon hymns the lofty strains of which might of themselves be thought to savour of exaggeration.
3. If the synoptists are in correspondence with St. John's characteristic doctrine when they describe our Lord's Nativity and its attendant circumstances, that correspondence is even more obvious in their accounts of His teaching and in the pictures which they set before us of His Life and work. They present Him to us mainly, although not exclusively, as the Son of Man. As has already been hinted, that title, besides its direct signification of His true and representative Humanity, is itself the product of a self-consciousness, for which the being human is not a matter of course, but something secondary and superinduced. In other words, this title implies an original
η St. Luke 1. 78: επεσκέψατο ημάς ανατολή εξ ύψους, επιφάναι τοίς εν σκότει και σκιά θανάτου καθημένους του κατευθύνει τους πόδας ημών εις οδόν eiphuns. Isa. ix. 1, xlii. 7, xlix. 9, 1x. 2, are thus applied in a strictly spiritual sense.
2 St. Luke ii. 30-32: το σωτήριόν σου, και ητοίμασας κατά πρόσωπον πάντων των λαών φώς είς αποκάλυψιν εθνών, και δόξαν λαού σου Ισραήλ. Cf. Isa. xxv. 7, xliv. 4. o cf. Dorner, Person Christi, Einl. p. 82: "Von einem Selbstbewusstseyn
implies His Divinity.
253 Nature to Which Christ's Humanity was a subsequent accretion, and in Which His true and deepest Consciousness, if we may dare so to speak, was at home. Thus, often in the synoptic Gospels He is called simply the Son P. He is the true Son of Man, but He is also the true Son of God. In Him Sonship attains its archetypal form ; in Him it is seen in its unsullied perfection. Accordingly He never calls the Father, our Father, as if He shared His Sonship with His followers. He always speaks of My Father 4. To this Divine Sonship He received witness from Heaven both at His Baptism and at His Transfiguration. In the parable of the vineyard, the prophets of the old theocracy are contrasted with the Son, not as predecessors or rivals, but as slavest. Thus He lives among men as the One True Son of His Father's home. He is Alone free by birthright among a race of born slaves. Yet instead of guarding His solitary dignity with jealous exclusiveness, He vouchsafes to raise the slaves around Him to an adopted sonship; He will buy them out of bondage by pouring forth His blood; He will lay down His Life, that He may prove the generosity of His measureless love towards them.
The synoptic Gospels record parables in which Christ is Himself the central Figure. They record miracles which seem to have no ascertainable object beyond that of exhibiting the superhuman might of the Worker. They tell us of His claim to forgive sins, and that He supported this claim by the exercise of His miraculous powerst. Equally with St. John they represent Him as claiming to be not merely the Teacher but the Object of aus muss diese Bezeichnung ausgeprägt seyn, für welches das Mensch-oderMenschensohnseyn nicht das Nächstliegende, sich von selbst unmittelbar Verstehende, sondern das Secundäre, Hinzugekommene, war. Ist aber Christi Selbstbewusstseyn so geartet gewesen, dass das Menschseyn ihm als das Secundäre sich darstellte : so muss das Primäre in Seinem Bewusstseyn ein Anderes seyn, dasjenige, was sich, z. B. bei Johannes xvii. 5 ausspricht; und das Ursprüngliche, worin Sein Selbstbewusstseyn sich unmittelbar heimisch weiss (vgl. Luc. ii. 49) muss wenigstens von der Zeit an, wo Er sich selbst ganz hat, wo sein Innerstes Wirklichkeit geworden ist, das Göttliche gewesen seyn.'
p St. Matt. xi. 27, xxviii. 20.
* St. Μatt. xxi. 34: απέστειλε τους δούλους αυτού προς τους γεωργούς. Ιbid. ver. 36: πάλιν απέστειλεν άλλους δούλους. Ιbid. ver. 37: ύστερον δε απέστειλε προς αυτούς τον υιόν αυτού, λέγων, Εντραπήσονται τον υιόν μου
• Ibid. xx. 28: roe... doûval Thv Yuxiv aŭtoll Nút pov årti modôv. Ibid. Χxvi. 28: το αίμα μου, το της καινής διαθήκης, το περί πολλών εκχυνόμενον εις άφεσιν αμαρτιών. .
+ St. Matt. ix. 2-6; St. Luke v. 20, 24.
His religion. He insists on faith in His own Person u. He institutes the initial Sacrament, and He deliberately inserts His own Name into the sacramental formula; He inserts it between that of the Father and that of the Spirit . Such self-intrusion into the sphere of Divinity would be unintelligible if the synoptists had really represented Jesus as only the teacher and founder of a religious doctrine or character. But if Christ is the Logos in St. John, in these Gospels He is the Sophia 3. Thus He ascribes to Himself the exclusive knowledge of the Highest. No statement in St. John really goes beyond the terms in which, according to two synoptists, He claims to know and to be known of the Father. No man knoweth the Son but the Father, neither knoweth any man the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him 2' Here then is a reciprocal relationship of equality: the Son alone has a true knowledge of the Father; the Son is Himself such, that the Father Alone understands Him. In these Gospels, moreover, Christ ascribes to Himself, sanctity; He even places Himself above the holiest thing in ancient Israel a. He and His people are greater than the greatest in the old covenantb. He scruples not to proclaim His consciousness of having fulfilled His mission. He asserts that all power is committed to Him both on earth and in heaven . All nations are to be made disciples of His religion d.
When we weigh the language of the first three Evangelists, it will be found that Christ is represented by it as the Absolute Good and the Absolute Truth not less distinctly than in St. John. It is on this account that He is exhibited as in conflict not with subordinate or accidental forms of evil, but with the evil principle itself, with the prince of evile. And, as the
St. Matt. xvi. 16, 17. * Ibid. xxviii. 19. Cf. Waterland's Eighth Sermon at Lady Moyer's Lecture, Works, vol. ii. p. 171.
* St. Luke vii. 35 : εδικαιώθη η σοφία από των τέκνων αυτής πάντων. St. Matt. xi. 19, and apparently St. Luke xi. 49, where ń oopía Toll coll corresponds to ływ in St. Matt. xxiii. 34.
* St. Μatt. xi. 27: ουδείς επιγινώσκει τον Υιόν ει μή ο Πατήρ ουδε τον Πατέρα τις επιγινώσκει, ει μή ο Υιός, και ώ εαν βούληται ο Υιός αποκαλύψαι. St. Luke X. 22 : ουδείς γινώσκει τίς έστιν ο Υιός ει μή ο Πατήρ, και τις έστιν ο Πατήρ, ει μή ο Υιός, και εάν βούληται ο Υιός αποκαλύψαι. See Mill on Myth. Interp. p. 59.
* St. Μatt. xii. 6: λέγω δε υμίν ότι του ιερού μείζον (Tisch.] έστιν ώδε. • Ibid. xi. 11, xii. 41, 42, xxi. 33, sqq.; St. Luke vii. 28.
• St. Matt. xi. 27; St. Luke x. 22 ; St. Matt. xxviii. 18: edbon mol não a εξουσία εν ουρανό και επί γης. .
d St. Matt. xxviii, 19. • St. Luke x. 18: εθεώρουν τον Σατανάς ως αστραπήν εκ του ουρανού TEGÓVTA. St. Matt. iv, 1-11, xii. 27-29, xiii. 38, 39.