Devries The Incarnate Son of God is a larger work by a reformed author on the various points of the humanity of Jesus Christ, the incarnate God.
THE INCARNATE SON OF GOD
A SERIES OF DEVOTIONAL STUDIES ON THE PERSON OF CHRIST
HENRI DEVRIES Minister of the Gospel and Teacher of the Bible and Biblical Subjects Translator of Dr. Abraham Kuyper ‘s “ THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT ”
“ That I may know Him ” – St. Paul.
THE CHRISTIAN ALLIANCE PUBLISHING Co.
18 West 39th Street New York
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BY CHRISTIAN ALLIANCE PUBLISHING Co.
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
Introduction by the Reverend David J. Burrell, D. D. XIX
CHAPTER I THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION,
The Historical Record of the Fact. . 5
The Holy Conception…. . 8
Its Significance…. . . 10
The Vital Importance of the Doctrine. . 12
The Result…. . . 17
Its Necessity…. . 26
CHAPTER II THE ABSOLUTE SINLESSNESS OF THE LORD JESUS, 37
How to Account for It…. …. 38
The Solution of the Gospel…. . . 43
CHAPTER III THE IMPECCABILITY OF OUR LORD, 48
Testimonies of Ancient and Modern Authorities…. . 49
Potuit Non Peccare or Non potuit Peccare?
(Ability Not to Sin or Inability to Sin?)…. …. 50
The Lord ‘s Holiness Is Human – divine…. …. …. …. 52
The Holiness of God…. . . 53
Christ ‘s Holiness Not the Result of Moral Conflict. . 57
The Human Holiness of Our Lord…. …. . . . 59
His Inability to Sin Not the Ground of His Impeccability…. . . . 65
The Divine and the Human Organically Combined in Our Lord…. …. . . 63
Van Oosterzee on the Impeccability…. …. . . . 66
CHAPTER IV A HUMAN NATURE Not a HUMAN PERSON, 72
Modern Views…. . . . 75
The Answer of Scripture to the Foregoing Views…. . 83
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The Cosmical Prophetism of the Logos. . . 87
Is Sin the Cause of the Incarnation?…. . 93
The Union of the Two Natures…. . . 99
Indissoluble Even in His Own Thought. . 102
CHAPTER V THE HUMILIATION OF THE SON OF GOD, 108
The Limit of the Kenosis…. …. …. …. . . 113
Could the Logos Become Man and Remain God?…. 115
Was the Incarnation of Our Lord a Self – Humbling?. . 122
Denial by Modernism…. . . 123
Why This Denial?…. …. 125
Emptying and Humbling. . . 132
His Glorification and Exaltation…. …. . . 136
CHAPTER VI IN THE LIKENESS OF SINFUL FLESH, 139
In All Their Afflictions He was Afflicted…. …. …. . 142
His Absolute Dependance Upon the Father…. …. . . 144
His Divine Omnipotence Was Not to Relieve His Human Weakness 149
CHAPTER VII THE LEGAL STATUS AND CONDITION OF OUR LORD, 151
The Legal Status of Our Lord was That of the Unjust, 154
His Condition Responded to His Legal Status…. …. 156
As Jonas So the Son of Man. . 160
He Descended into Hades…. . 162
CHAPTER VIII. THE TEMPTATIONS OF THE LORD JESUS, 165
Scriptural Data…. . 165
Personal and Official…. . . . 169
Anointed as the God – Man…. . . 170
The Temptation in the Wilderness…. …. . . 175
The Şubject of the Temptation…. . . 178
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Himself He Could Not Save…. . . 180
The Object of the Temptation. . . 181
The Reality of the Temptation…. …. 186
Why Was He Tempted?…. 191
Made Perfect Through Suffering…. …. 193
The Faith of Our Lord…. . . . 194
Our Lord ‘s Obedience 197
To Inspire with Perfect Confidence…. …. …. . . 201
How His Temptations and Ours Differentiate…. . . . 203
CHAPTER IX. THE TRANSFIGURATION, 207
The Transfiguration – Scene…. …. …. …. …. . . 211
Was the Transfiguration – Glory Human or Divine…. . 212
The Divine Glory Indescribable…. . . 213
Official and Personal…. . 217
Sinless and Therefore Deathless…. . . 218
Ministry and Sacrifice. . . 220
Moses and Elias…. …. . . . 223
He Must Accomplish It. . 225
Peter ‘s Suggestion…. …. 228
Jesus Tempted…. …. …. 231
Ego and Nature…. …. 232
Satanic Influences…. . 235
Consciousness and Realization 236
Now and Then…. . . . 238
Realization and Choice…. 241.
After – Effects…. . 246
The Father ‘s Approval…. …. 248
The Unity of Revelation…. . . . 250
Suffering and Superior Glory. 252
Transfiguration and Parousia. . 257
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This volume is affectionately dedicated to the Missionaries and Christian Workers, scattered in many parts of the world, to whom in their student years these lectures were delivered in Hepzibah House Bible Training School, New York City The Christian Workers ‘ Training School, ” i ” ” The N. Y. Missionary Training School, ” ” ”
The Missionary Institute at Nyack, N. Y. ļy their former teacher and devoted friend,
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This little book contains the subject matter of lectures on Christian Doctrine originally delivered to students in three Bible Training Schools in the City of New York; and the book is published at the urgent and oft – repeated requests of those students who are now serving their Lord either in the Christian Ministry at home or in the foreign fields of China, Japan, India, Africa and South America.
The object of the lecturer on any subject is primarily to instruct; systematically to impart sound
views on the matter under consideration. And such has been my aim in the writing and delivering of these lectures on Christian Doctrine for the last fifteen years, and such it is now in publishing the same. Intellectual knowledge of Divine Truth is necessary for the spiritual apprehension thereof. The fact that Divine Truth can not be fully grasped by the human intellect is no reason why the believer should noť with his understanding, enlightened by the Holy Spirit through the Scriptures, seek to penetrate into the beauty of Divine Truth as much as his limitations allow. For although Divine Truth is above the human reason yet it is not unreasonable, nor contrary to reason. And it is our experience that the flame of devotion never burns more brightly and steadily than when it is fed with the pure oil of Divine Truth.
The question regarding the relation of faith to knowledge has been discussed in every period of the history of doctrine. Eminent teachers have
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held different opinions on this subject. Some have excluded knowledge from the domain of faith. Tertullian held that the believer is perfectly satisfied with faith. He denied that knowledge had any voice in the matter and indignantly cried out: ” What hath Athens to do with Jerusalem, and the Academy with the Church? ” On the other hand, S. Anselm nobly confessed that it was through faith that he attained understanding, ~ ” I believe, ” said he, ” in order that I may understand. ” And he was right. It is through faith that we obtain clear and correct knowledge of spiritual things and not the reverse. Mere intellectual knowledge never leads to the apprehension of spiritual truth; without faith this is impossible.
And that was the error of the Gnostics, who created so much disturbance in the early church. Their motto was ” Gnósis above Pístis, ” i. e., knowledge above faith. Faith, they taught, was the ladder leading men up to the attainment of knowledge; and after having reached the higher level of the knowing ones, faith could be cast aside. Some of the Scholastics in the Middle Ages held the same doctrine (Scotus, Erigena, Abelard) and so did the Socinians in the Sixteenth Century and the Ration alists of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. In the present time the same ancient error has re appeared in various forms. What the human rea son cannot fathom the heart cannot believe.
And while this is very erroneous, for the reason that the little pitcher of the intellect cannot contain
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we have refer larkened by sing of the Holy!
the mighty ocean of the Being and thoughts of God, yet this error holds a grain of truth. The human reason has a right to be heard. Is not God the Author of man ‘s mind? Is not man in this very respect the bearer of the Divine image? Of course we have reference to the believer, whose understanding, formerly darkened by sin, has been renewed and illumined by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and is able to discriminate spiritual things. “ The natural man, (i. e., the psychical, the unregenerate man) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things ” (1 Cor. 2:14, 15).
Hence the believer has the right to ask of faith as many questions as he pleases. The relation of faith to knowledge is like that of mistress to maid. Mistress Faith has engaged the Maid Knowledge to assist her in apprehending Divine Truth. Why should not the latter be permitted to inquire into the particulars of the service which she is to render? Faith may therefore not say to the Reason, ” I have no need of thee.” Van Oosterzee says: ” The believer (pistikos) as such will and must be come a knowing – one (gnostikos), ” or, “ A believer, just because he believes, must become one that knows.” There comes a time in the life of faith when the believer wants to know the basis and con tent of his faith. And just because he knows that faith is strong and massive, resting upon the Di
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vine foundation of the imperishable Word of God, he is not afraid to subject it to the severest test of intellectual research. Unbelief has never injured the Christian faith, no more than the most destructive criticism of the German and Dutch schools have done the least injury to the Word of God. Heretics and heresies have served a high purpose.
Unconsciously they have proven what Melanchton said, that the Bible is an anvil upon which many a hammer has been broken to pieces. And turning to the Scriptures themselves we find that they fully uphold our position. In fact, we took our position from the Scriptures. St. Paul clearly teaches that ” faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God ” (Rom. 10:17). The Lord Himself in all His dealings with men never ignored either the voice of reason or of the natural feelings. (Matt. 21:24; I Cor. 10:15, etc.) “ Search the Scriptures, ” He said, ” for they are they which testify of me ”
(John 5:30). We remember the testimony of Luke regarding the Bereans, that they were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they searched the Scriptures daily whether those things were so. (Acts 17:14). John in his first epistle uses the verb ” to know ” in subjective sense nearly twenty times. St. Paul uses the still stronger verb ” to be persuaded ” again and again. The Greek noun pístis, faith is derived from the Greek verb peítho to persuade. And to persuade is an intellectual act inducing one by words to believe,
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All of which shows that the Scriptures not only allow the believer intellectually to search out and investigate the grounds and content of his faith, but urge it as an imperative duty: the neglect of it exposes one to grave danger. “ My people perish for lack of knowledge, ” cries out the prophet. If our church people, speaking in general, were more thoroughly rooted and grounded in the knowledge of the Christian doctrine contained in the Scrip tures, they could not be so easily beguiled by the un – and anti – Christian isms and vagaries of the day. Much is lost by the lack of that knowledge. Souls not nourished with the pure milk or strong meat of the Scriptures are lean and subject to many infirmities. They lack conviction not only and the joy thereof, but also the power to overcome the evil – one with the testimony of Jesus. Their light is like that of a smoking flax instears of the white electric glow of a five hundred candle power. And this is cause of sin and failure.
It is cause of rejoicing, therefore, to see how in the present time the Scriptures are being studied more diligently, more scientifically, more spiritually and by a larger number of people, young and old, than ever before. He that thinks that the Bible is out of date, and the Salvation whereof it speaks a delusion, an exploded fallacy, would find himself much mistaken if he should visit the various Bible Training Schools of our land, where young people, men and women, with all of life before them, flock together in ever increasing numbers, year after year,
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to spend from two to four years in earnest, diligent study of that old and ever new Bible; and then, after prayerful preparation, go out into the field which is the world and which is white unto the harvest, to preach the Gospel to every creature. What earnestness, what devotion and heart – consecration, what spirit of sacrifice and surrender do these young people manifest! With what hunger do they master the contents of the Bible, Old and New Testaments, history and prophecy, doctrines and ethics, as found in the Gospels and the Epistles, with the auxiliary sciences of church history and history of doctrine, Christian evidences, Biblical introduction, hermeneutics, the sacred languages, etc. The motto of one of these schools is: “ The Whole Bible for the Whole World, ” and they do not go out until they have mastered the Bible — and the Bible has mastered them and they are perfectly and delightfully at home with the Prophets, the Gospels and the Epistles and the soul – saving doctrines of grace thereof, which they have learned to interpret in the everyday speech of pure and Christ loving lives.
Such schools are an inspiration to every lover of the Word of God. A visit to them is a spiritual tonic in the strength whereof one may travel many a day without weariness. No, life in these institutions is not spiritually over – strained and unnatural, as it has been reported. After several years of close acquaintanceship the writer of these lines feels con strained to say that the very opposite is true. Life
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among the students is natural. Even romance, in the wholesome sense of the term, is not a stranger within their spacious halls. Many a holy, life – long matrimonial union was begun and consummated there. The life of faith knows no strain; it is free from strain and stress, having cast its burdens upon Him the great Burden – bearer Who carries all that are His and their burdens. They worship and sing and pray and labor and sacrifice in the fellowship of the Spirit of Christ; and this is a vital part of their training
We look to our Seminaries to be the leaders in the development and reconstruction of sacred theology, in order to meet the strenuous demands and exigencies of these critical times, as well as to be the teachers of the various branches of sacred learning and to prepare and send forth ministers and leaders of the denominational churches. We hold in high and affectionate esteem all those among them that honor the Bible as the inspired record of a Divine, special revelation, and that are determined, like the holy Apostle, in all their teaching to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified. May the great Head of the Church prosper and bless and enrich them with all spiritual riches in Christ our Lord.
But there is a need among our people and in the world which the seminaries cannot meet. The number of their graduates is insufficient to supply the growing demand of popular teachers of the English Bible, at home and abroad. Our Sunday Schools need superintendents able to have oversight
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over this precious charge of the Church; our City Missions need leaders; the Churches themselves need assistant pastors and helpers trained for parochial services in the tenement districts and slums of the cities. And, above all, vast and still unoccupied foreign fields cry for pioneers who do not hesitate gladly to obey the call to labor among savages and even cannibals; and if need be, without the backing of well – organized church boards. And all such needed workers our Bible Training Schools, undenominational and interdenominational, prepare by a training demanded for such work and in such positions. They have been established in the Providence of God for present day needs and emergencies. And so long as the Bible remains their principle text – book and study, and in that study to Christ be given the preeminence, He the Center and Circumference of all their faith and knowledge and devotion, I am sure that our Lord will largely use them for the hastening of His Coming and His Kingdom in the earth.
I gratefully acknowledge the wonderful assist ance derived from the long – continued study of Dr. Abraham Kuyper ‘s theological works. I always find his writings stimulating to the mental and spiritual life. They are a rich gold mine, satisfying the claims of mind and heart. I have frequently quoted him and never without mentioning his name; unless I was not aware of citing him either verbally or in substance. In every other instance of quot
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ing, as far as I know, I have given due credit to authors.
The lectures whose subject – matter fills these pages were delivered the last time to the students of the Missionary Institute at Nyack. The request of those that attended for their publication was so urgent that it could scarcely be resisted. Hence these are the first lectures that appear in print. I hope and pray that time and opportunity may be given me to prepare the material in manuscript for the press in the near future.
No criticism however severe can add to my own conviction of the imperfections which abound in these pages. Dr. Philip Schaff tells us somewhere that his professor of theology, Dr. Julius Muller, owing to his humility and modesty, forbade the publication of any of his valuable manuscripts. This used to appeal to me. I would gladly follow this illustrious example if I did have any valuable manuscripts to publish, which is by no means the case. And yet, after all, if the writers of past and present, great and small, had shared Dr. Muller ‘s sentiment, where would the books be that now fill our libraries and that have enriched the mind and hearts of God ‘s children all over the world? And again, if authors were to delay the publication of their works until they had reached perfection, surely their works would never see the light.
Finally, I owe it to my brother, ‘ Rev. John H. de Vries, D. D., of Trinity Church, Canton, Mass.,
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here to acknowledge the valuable assistance which he has rendered in reviewing and preparing the manuscript for the press. – HENRI DEVRIES.
DAVID JAMES BURRELL. Not every one can think as analytically or ex press his thought as synthetically as the author of this book. Thinking is an art, a difficult art, so difficult that artists — particularly in the province of religion – are comparatively few and far beween.
To begin with, there are many who really do no thinking at all. At times, of course, they think they are thinking; but that is a very different thing. The trouble is that the instant a problem offers the least difficulty they begin to pussyfoot (Thanks, Colonel, for that word), like easy – going schoolboys in the presence of an algebraic x. And if the problem happens to involve mystery, as all religious problems do, they shut their eyes and behave like raw recruits running from gunfire. It goes without saying, therefore, that they are agnostics. Their opinions, in so far as they have any, are mere impressions, never convictions: for ” the Kingdom of heaven suffereth violence and the violent take it by force. ” Neither slackers nor quitters get any where in religion. It should, however, be the prime concern of every man who really regards himself as better than a sheep to face the fundamental problems of religion and face them until he has either vanquished or been vanquished by them. This is to ” quit oneself like a man.” Then there are half – way thinkers who argue to
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no conclusion. They are like timorous old ladies on the railway who set out for somewhere but never arrive because they lose courage and abandon their journey at the first jumping – off place. These are they of whom it is written, “ ever learning, they never come to a knowledge of truth. ” As a rule, however, this failure to arrive gives them no annoyance; on the contrary, they are usually as boast ful as Sophomores in College who not only lord it over their fellow students but even patronize the faculty. They are (themselves being witnesses), the learned, the liberals, the modernists, the progressives; and wisdom will die with them. In their philosophy they are neither yea – men nor nay – men, but middle – of – the – road – men. The dictionary is their bete noir. Their jugglery with words that have an established meaning (such as divinity, inspiration, incarnation, atonement, and resurrection is startling enough to make honest men lift their eyebrows and Noah Webster turn over in his grave. You may know these shortdistance thinkers by their wind instruments and the cock – feathers in their hats.
But there are thinkers who arrive. When they undertake to solve a difficult problem they think it over and under and round about and clear through. They are, therefore, dogmatists, in the necessity of the case; for when a man believes a thing — that is, when it gets not only into his intellectuals but into his heart and conscience and will — in other words when it ceases to be an impression and assuines the dimensions and formidableness of a con
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viction, or a quod enat demonstrandum – how can he help standing for it? When a man in the pulpit keeps silence or speaks doubtfully with respect to the Incarnation, e. g., his people in the pews are safe in concluding that he does not believe in it. Faith is substantial and evidential, being ” the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. ” For this reason the man who really believes does not say ” if ” or ” perhaps ” or ” peradventure, ” but ” This I know. ” This is not to say that every ‘ thing is knowable, but only that every man can know some things and certainly the things that are necessary to salvation. Job confessed that many things were ” too wonderful ” for him; but of one thing he was sure; ” I know that my Redeemer liveth! ” Paul, while confessing his bewilderment as to the state secrets of heaven, could say with an even voice “ I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” This is dogmatism, surely, but it is the warrantable dogmatism of a man who has climbed up out of the misty regions of doubt into a mountain top of vision. And this is possible to any man who has the will to climb. Truth is a temple with an open door, so that who soever will may enter it. But the door that leads to salvation is the only one; and ” he that climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” Jesus said ” I am the way; no man cometh unto the Father but by me; ” He also said ” Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and
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they are they which testify of me.” Christ is the Word; and the Scriptures are the Word; and together they constitute a complete revelation of God. Therefore, to think Christward with the Bible in hand is to find out all that need be known as to God and the life – giving truths which center in Him.
To my mind the author of this book is such a thinker. With Christ as his authoritative teacher and the Bible as his text – book he pursues his quest to a definite conclusion and is able to give a reason for the faith that is in him. He begins with the virgin birth of Jesus; and this is as it should be; for to put an if into that story would be like placing a charge of dynamite under the whole Christian system.” If the foundations be removed, what shall the righteous do? ” But the foundations are unshaken, and unshakable. Christ, the Rock of Ages, abides the same yesterday, today and for ever. He is Alpha and Omega, first, last, midst and all in all. : But this word of mine is merely by way of introduction. From now on the learned author will take charge of the gentle reader and guide him competently through the winding ways of logic to some of the most bewilderingly beautiful and satisfying truths that a loving God has ever revealed to mortal men.
More Works on the Incarnation
- Athanasius – On the Incarnation
- Best Christ Emptied Himself
- Briggs Incarnation
- Custance Virgin Birth and Incarnation
- Devries The Incarnate Son of God
- Gifford Incarnation Philippians 2:5-11
- Glover, T.R. – Jesus of History
- Harsha, David – Star of Bethlehem, a Guide to the Savior
- Miller Bethlehem to Olivet
- Morgan Purposes of the Advent (Incarnation)