Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

116 SCRIPTURE WORDS TO BE SEARCHED INTO, NOT GENERALIZED.

all collectively, mutually cast upon and receive from each other.

It is not in vain that this language recurs so frequently', on so many different occasions, with different modifications of meaning or of application, sometimes bringing more prominently the relation to our Lord Himself; at others, our individual connexion with Him through His Church ; at others, our relation through Him to the Father; at others, His gifts in us, or the degree in which we severally continue in Him, as we have profited by His gifts, and are ruled by His Spirit ; but still one and the same fundamental doctrine in all, that we are “ in Him ;" of course, in some unearthly way, but still really and mystically. No mere external relation, (as the being members of the visible body, called by His Name) exhaust the inwardness of the words “ in Christ;" nor, though a meaning could be given here and there to a passage, by substituting “by,” “ through," or the like, may this be done, now that the frequency of the recurrence of the language marks out its use as designed ; it stands there in deep simplicity, at first sight hardly seeming to convey more than that these our blessings came to us through Him, yet opening a greater fulness of mystery to those who would penetrate below the surface, and would wish to see what they may see—the hidden mystery of union with Christ, and of the reality of our dwelling in Him, and He in us. It is not any unity of will, though worked by Him; no mere conformity of mind, though by Him wrought; no act of faith, casting itself upon His mercy; no outward imputation of righteousness; no mere ascription of His perfect obedience in our stead ; no

1 It were trifling with the truth, to say, that in some cases év is equivalent to did ; or to speak of the Hebraisms of the N. T.; for this is only throwing the question further back as to what is meant by that very Hebrew usage ; and certainly that Hebrew idiom itself expresses that the agent employed is not a mere instrument, but that God, e. g. “spoke in Hosea," as well as by Him (Hos. i. 2.); and the Holy Ghost, for some end, directed the adoption of this idiom in the N. T. Again, it were a mere assumption to say, that "created in the image of God" is simply equivalent to “created after, according to;" there is some reason why what is written, is written; much more in the N. T. does the great frequency of this usage (and passages have been accumulated, in order to impress this fact,) imply that there is some special meaning in it.

TO BE IN CHRIST, AS IN ADAM, REAL NOT BY IMPUTATION ONLY. 117

being clothed upon (as people speak) with His righteousness ; not being looked upon by the Father as in Him ; none of these things come up to the reality of being " in Him :” and why, when Scripture speaks of being "in Him;" speak of being regarded “as in Him ?" why when Scripture speaks of being “ clothed " with Him," speak of having His righteousness cast around us to interpose between our sins and the sight of God? Why when Scripture speaks of realities, talk of figures ? No, there is a reality in this Scripture language, which is not to be exchanged away for

any

of these substitutions. As we are in Adam, not merely by the inputation of Adam's sin, but by an actual community of a corrupt nature, derived to us from him by our natural descent from him, and because all mankind “ were in his “ loins,” in and after his fall ; so that we have a sad share in him, as having been in him, and being from him, and of him, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh ; and this stream of bitterness, which flows into, and spoils all men's natural actions, was derived from him as its fountain head ; so, on the other hand, are we in Christ, not merely by the imputation of His righteousness, but by an actual, real, spiritual origin from Him, not physical, but still as real as our descent from Adam. And that, our actual descent from Adam is cut off by this our new lineage in Christ; our birth in Adam is corrected and replaced by our birth of God in Christ: as we are really sons of man by physical birth, so are we as really and as actually " sons of God," by spiritual birth : sons of man, by being born of Adam, sons of God by being members of Him Who is the Son of God.

This actualness of our birth by Baptism is well realized in the language of St. Hilary', when refuting the Arians, who interpreted our Lord's words “I and the Father are One," of an unity of will only. The acknowledged actualness of the unity of Christians,—the one nature, through one Baptism, pervading and giving unity to the whole Body, as contained in this saying of the Apostle, is forcibly assumed as the groundwork of the argument, that the Unity of the Father and the Son is an Unity of Nature,

i De Trin. viii. 7-9.

118 REAL UNITY OF BAPTISM PROVES REAL UNITY OF THE TRINITY.

not of will only, “Setting aside then, for the present, that property " of Unity, which there is in God the Father, and in God the Son,

they are to be refuted out of those things, whereof themselves

partake. For they whose soul and heart was one (unum,) I ask “ whether it was one through faith in God? By faith, surely; “ for by it was the soul and heart of all, one'i' And I ask,

was faith one or more ? One, assuredly : on the authority of " the Apostle himself, setting forth one faith,' as well as 'one

Lord, and one baptism, and one hope, and one God.' If then by faith, that is, by the nature of one faith, all were one, how can you understand other than an unity of nature in those, who • by the nature of one faith are one ? For all were re-born to in

nocence, to immortality, to the knowledge of God, to the faith " of hope. And if these severally cannot be more than one, since " there is both one hope, and one God, just as the LORD' is .one,' and the 'Baptism' of regeneration one,' if these things

are one by harmony, and not by nature, then to them also, who are re-born to them, ascribe an unity of will only! But if they were re-generated into the nature of one life and eternity, whereby' their soul and heart is one,' then there is no more an

unity of harmony only, in them who are one in the nature of “ the same regeneration. We do not herein speak our own

words, nor are any of these things feigned, put together by us,

corrupting the meanings of words, to deceive the ears of the “ hearers; but 'holding the form of sound doctrine,' we savour “ of and speak things uncorrupt. For the Apostle teaches that “ this unity of the faithful is from the nature of Sacraments, in " that he writes to the Galatians, ' As many of you as have been “baptized in Christ, have put on Christ. There is in Him (non inest) neither Jew, nor Greek, there is in Him neither slave

nor free, there is in Him neither male nor female ; for ye are all

one in Christ Jesus.' For, that amid such diversity of nations, conditions, sexes, they are one, is this from the assent of the “ will, or rather from the unity of the Sacrament, because there was " to all ‘one Baptism,' and all were 'clothed with one Christ?

I Acts iii. 32.

BAPTISMAL PUTTING ON OF CHRIST, OF OLD, SOURCE OF ACTION. 119

“What then has mere harmony of wills to do here, when they are

one thereby, that by the nature of one Baptism,' they are clothed “with One Christ ? Or when he who planteth and he who “ watereth are one,' are they not thereby one, because being “reborn in 'one Baptism, they are the means of dispensing “ (dispensatio) one regenerating Baptism ? Do they not the same ? “Are they not one in One ? Therefore they who are one by “the same thing, are one also by nature, not by will only, because “they have both been themselves made the same thing, and are “ministers of the same thing, and of the same efficacy.”

Such then was the doctrine seen by the ancient Church in these words of St. Paul : such the privileges which the ancient Church felt that they enjoyed ; an imparted union with Christ; an actual sonship to God; a partaking of the holiness of Christ, by being partakers of Himself; a separation from the lineage of Adam; a restoration, yea a more than restoration of that bright garment, wherewith Adam was in his innocence invested, stripped whereof he found himself naked; a more than restoration of the image of God, in which man was created, in that he was now re-created in Him, who is "the Image of the invisible God.” And for incentives to holiness, or brotherly kindness, or contempt of the world, — whether they would persuade men to zeal in keeping themselves holy, in retaining the garment with which they had been invested, or to love for those who having, with them, “put on Christ,” were, with them, one in Christ, or to despise things transitory, as having things eternal, the truth thus realized gave a spring to high Christian action, which we must now feel to be unstrung. member then suffered, every other member suffered with it, because they felt themselves to be members of one Body, having been baptized into One. It was not then simply that they had been redeemed by the same precious Blood, bought by the same price, and had the same hopes, but that they were actually one, being in One; and so Christian sympathy vibrated through every member of the whole Church, and what we should scarcely acknowledge as a conclusion of the intellect, they felt. Thus St. Cyprian', sending in the name of " liis brotherhood a large sum, which all

| Ep. 59. ad Episc. Numidus.

If one

“had promptly, largely, and liberally contributed,” for the redemption of some Christian captives, writes, “Wherefore, now " both the captivity of our brethren is to be accounted by us our

own captivity, and the sorrow of those endangered our own sor"row, since our body, being united, is one; and not feeling only, “but religion ought to instigate and strengthen us to redeem the “members of our brothers.--For since the Apostle Paul says, "" As many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put

on Christ,' in our captive brethren Christ is to be contem“plated, and redeemed from the peril of captivity, Who redeemed

us from the peril of death ; that so He who drew us out of the “jaws of the devil, and now remaineth and dwelleth in us, may “ be withdrawn out of the hands of the barbarians, and He be “ redeemed by a sum of money, Who redeemed us by His Cross “ and Blood.” Or as to the ordinary cases of every-day charity, St. Gregory' of Nazianzum, in the midst of similar applications of Baptismal privileges, “ Is there any sick and full of “sores ? respect thy own health, and the wounds from which “ Christ has freed thee. Seest thou one naked ? clothe him, "reverencing thy own garment of immortality--and that is

Christ, 'for as many as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ; or as to content amid outward privation, “ let us not continue,” says St. Chrysostom’ to the candidate for Baptism, "to gape after the things of this life, the luxury of " the table, or the splendour of dress ; for thou hast a most "glorious garment: thou hast a spiritual table: thou hast the “glory which is on high; and Christ becometh every thing to "thee, table and garment, and dwelling-place, and head and root ; 'for as many as have been baptized into Christ have "put on Christ.'" And again, as to the petty infirmities of our nature, " When the poor man sees the wealthy clad in a “sumptuous garment, he is cast down, and thinks himself of "all men most unhappy. Here is this want also removed; for “there is one garment for all, Saving Baptism : for he saith,

1 Orat. 40 in S. Bapt. § 29. 2 Ad Illuminandos Catech. 2. t. ii. p. 237. 3 Chrys. c. ebrios. et de Res. $ 3.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »