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the mother, he was necessarily an inbabitant of this material world ; nor could he return, as he expresses it in John, to the Father, and “be glorified with the glory which he had with him,” as the Divine Truth or Word in union with the Di. vine Good or Love, 66 before the world was,'
* until his external part, even to the very body, by the assumption of which " the Word was made flesh,”+ was glorified or made Divine : por, till then, was the whole Humanity the appropriate Divine Form of the Divine Essence that was resident within, and which was continually endeavoring to bring it into a state of perfect agreement with itself, that it might impart itself to it, and thus dwell in fulness in it, as the soul in its body. Thus our Lord's state by birth bore an exact analogy to man's state by birth. Man has, we know, an internal man and an external man, which are by birth in opposition to each other, the internal man inclining to heavenly things and the external only to earthly things; wherefore man, before he can be elevated to heaven, must be regenerated, that is, his external man must be formed anew, so as to become the image of the internal, and to incline, like it, to heavenly things, and only to earthly in subordination to heavenly.
But that which, in our Lord, may be called his internal man, was Jehovah, or the Essential Divinity itself; but his external man, being taken from a human parent, was at first merely human and finite, and partook of human, finite and earthly things; wherefore, before the Lord could return to complete oneness with the Father, his external man was to be formed anew, so as to become the exact image of his internal, thus like it, Divine and Infinite. Now this .renewal of his external part was going on during the whole course of his life in the world.
That the Lord was not born Divine as to his external part, but only as to his internal part, is generally known: but that he was continually engaged in rendering his external part Divine also, which at last was completely effected, is as generally overlooked. That as to his external man, he advanced in intel. ligence as well as in bodily growth, is evident from the declaration of Luke, that, when a child, “ Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and favor with God and man;"| where by his increasing in favor with God and man, is meant his approximation to union with his Divinity, and his reception of Divine principles from his Divine Essence in his Humanity. The same truth is further evident from the circumstance, that he is stated to have been about thirty years old before he enter ed on his public ministry. This is a fact which cannot possibly be accounted for on any principles but ours.
* John xvii. 5. † Ch. i. 14. | Ch. ii. 52.
Can it be sup:
posed that these thirty years, of the history of which only two or three. particulars are recorded, were spent by him in doing nothing? Would a Divine Being have remained so long in a body taken from the elements of this world, were there not a gradual process going on essential to the accomplishment of the work for which he came into this world, and previous to the arrival at a certain stage of which he was not in a capacity of working those miracles, and of speaking those words of eternal Truth, by which his public career was distinguished ? When he had so far advanced to oneness with the Father that his external man, by which he spoke and acted in the world, was open even to him, that is was in immediate communication with his Divine Essence, (of which the descent of the dove at his baptism, as a symbol of the Holy Spirit, or Divine Life, Aowing into him immediately from his Divine Essence, was the token), he went about the world performing the wonderful works which are recorded of him; and when his external man was perfectly united with the Father, thus was rendered Divine by the full reception of the Divine Essence in all its faculties, he appeared on earth no longer, but ascended up into heaven,* “and sat on the right hand of God.”+ By this phrase is not meant that he literally sat down by the side of another Divine Person; but, as the hand is the part of the body by which all of its powers are exerted, it is always used in the Word to signify power; as is also the practice in many eastern nations at the present day: hence by the right hand of God is signified by Divine Omnipotence, to the possession of which the Lord as to his Human Nature, was now exalted : as he says himself, in reference to the same subject in Mat. thew, “ All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." “All power” is Omnipotence: by “ME,
," he means the Hu. man Nature, to which were now given, that is, communicated, all the attributes of the Essential Divinity, rendering it a perfect One therewith.
We are now in possession of every thing that is requisite to the solution of all the objections to the doctrine of the sole Di. vinity of the Lord Jesus Christ, which are drawn from the fact, that, while in the world, he sometimes spoke as if the Father were a Being separate from himself. So long as he was in the world, we have seen there was a part of his nature which was not Divine : and so far as the sphere of his thoughts de. scended into it, he would have a sense of separate existence. Thus there are various occasions on which Jesus is recorded to have prayed to the Father, and at sometimes with the greatest distress and anxiety; the reason of which was, because he was
* See also above, pp. 17, 18. † Mark xvi. 19. | Matt. xxviii. 18
then in his state of humiliation, or the sphere of his consciousness was chiefly in the infirm Humanity taken from the mother ; and, being engaged in combats with the infernal hosts, these at such times prevailed so far as to shut out the perception of communication with his Divine Essence, and to occasion doubt, to his unglorified human nature, whether its union therewith could ever be effected, and, of consequence, whether the salvation of the human race, which depended upon that union, could be accomplished. Man, in his Christian progress, undergoes states in some degree similar. He cannot always be kept in a state of elevation, — in the perception of those heavenly principles which he has received by the internal man from the Lord ; but he sometimes sinks into the external man merely, and finds himself there so beset with impressions opposite to heavenly ones, as to be brought to doubt whether he has ever really received anything of a heavenly nature or not.
Such also was the case with our Lord; except that his internal part was not only, as with others, formed by principles of goodness and truth received from the Divine Being, but Divine Goodness and Truth themselves; and that, in his external part, he had to combat with the whole infernal host, under forms of horror and overwhelming terror that would infallibly have destroyed any merely finite being — any man whose soul was any other than Di. vinity itself.
No wonder, then if, when in such states, he sometimes appeared at a distance from his Father, and prayed to him in a manner that might lead us to regard the Father as a Being different from himself! At other times, he gives thanks to the Father; which, though not implying so great an idea of distance as in the former case, still conveys to the uninformed mind, an idea of separation. To give thanks to the Lord, in the language of Scripture, implies an acknowledgment, that all that we receive, which is the subject of our thanks, is from him. This also is the meaning when Jesus gives thanks to the Father; he acknowledges by the action, that it is from his Divine Essence, that Divine Love, Wisdom, and Life, are imparted to his Humanity. Our Lord, accordingly, constantly declares that he does nothing of himself, 66 but that the Father that dwelleth in him, he doeth the ;*** by which he instructs us, that his Humanity alone, were it separate from his Divinity, would be powerless, but that by union with the Divinity it has Omnipotence. This may be clearly illustrated by the case of the soul and body of man; the body separate from the soul would be a mass of dead matter; but in union with the soul it has all the power of the soul in it: nay, further, ine soul, without the body would have no power whatever in this world
* John xiv. 10.
of nature to which the body belongs ; and just so, when man had sunk into a merely natural state, the divine influences were rendered incapable of affecting him in a saving manner, till they had invested themselves with the requisite instrument, by clothing themselves with a Humanity capable of making them felt in that sphere of life in which man then stood. It would, however, be absurd, because the body has nothing but what it receives from the soul, to regard the body as a distinct person from the soul ; nor is it less so, because all the power of the Lord's Humanity is a consequence of the Divinity's dwelling within it, to consider it as a distinct person from the Fa. ther. Accordingly, it was only while the work of glorification was in progress, that Jesus either prayed to the Father or gave him thanks. After it was accomplished, he never did either the one or the other; but although, for the sake of conveying the notion of Divinity and Humanity in the Lord, distinct mention continues to be made of the Son and of the Father, both in the gospels after the resurrection and in the Apocalypse throughout, there is no hint whatever of any address from the one to the other. Only let this fact be fairly looked at, and it must be seen to be decisive. From the period of the resurrection, there is no hint whatever of any address of any kind, from the Son to the Father or from the Father to the Son; all trace of inferiority on the part of the Son disappears; the angelic hosts, with equal reverence, sing "Blessing and honor, glory and power, be unto Him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever." The reason is, because, the union between them being fully accomplished, all the Divine Essence belongs equally to the Humanity, and the Humanity is the perfect form and adequate instrument of action of the Divine Es
While this work was in progress only, our Lord prayed and gave
thanks to the Father - ascribed all to him : but after its accomplishment he does so no longer, because there is no longer anything in him which is not absolutely one with the Father: on the contrary, he now assumes to himself the most absolute and incommunicable of the Father's attributes; as when he says, “I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and che Ending, the First and the Last, who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
Thus, when it is known that there was no Son of God born from eternity, but this is the proper title of the Humanity born in time; and when it is known that this Humanity, though not Divine when born, was rendered such by a process which it was undergoing during the whole period of our Lord's existence on earth. It is obvious that all objections to the doctrine of the New Church respecting the Divine Trinity, as concentered in
the Glorified or Divine Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, fall completely to the ground ; and we see how it is true, that not. withstanding his having appeared in the form of an ordinary man in the world, - in a form which was liable to infirmities, to sufferings, and to death, - he now ever liveth and reigneth with the Father, an Indivisible One, the only God of Heaven and Earth.
THE TRINITY AS CENTERED IN THE PERSON OF THE LORD
PART III. Tritheism the Alternative of the True Doctrine of the Trinity.
ABUNDANT proof has been now given, in the preceding Parts of this Section, as I Trust will be acknowledged by the Candid and the Reflecting, of the grand doctrine of the New Church which we believe to be prefigured by the New Jerusalem in the Revelation, that the whole Divine Trinity is centered in the single Glorious Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Copious stores of Scripture evidence have been adduced, directly establishing his Sole Divinity; and such explanations of particular parts of the Doctrine have been offered, as indirectly es. tablish the same truth, and take away the ground of all the objections that can plausibly be raised against it. Virtually then, every objection advanced by the writer, whom, in this work, I principally follow, and by all other adversaries, has already been answered. Every difficulty that has ever been raised has in effect been solved, and all further refutation is unnecessary. Nevertheless, as I wish every thing to be fully met that is ad. vanced by the author of the Anti-Swedenborg, whose objections and arguments are the same as those of other assailants, of all of whom he may be taken as the representative; I will specifically apply the principles already developed to the solution of the difficulties which he has attempted to raise. The result if I do not grossly mismanage the discussion, cannot fail to be the more irrefragable establishment of the truth ; for how can the genuine truth, that the whole Trinity is centered in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, be more powerfully corroborated, than when it is seen that its only real alternative is the doctrine of Tritheism, or the avowal of the existence of three distinct Gods ? The only way in which the doctrine of che Sole Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ, and, consequently,