Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Whatever Happened To Preaching Like This?


The following quote is from a sermon by Bishop Horsley (1733 – 1806). It is a sermon on the Hypostatic Union, that is, the union of two natures in the one Person of Christ the God-Man.

I am dumbfounded whenever I read this paragraph! It is thick and heavy theology. It speaks volumes to me about the calibre of Horsley's congregation to hear material like this on a regular basis. Oh, for theologically profound sermons again!

“Neither of the two natures was absorbed in the other, but both remained in themselves perfect, notwithstanding the union of the two in one person, the Divine Word, to which the humanity was united, was not, as some ancient heretics imagined, instead of a soul to inform the body of the man; for this could not have been without a diminution of the divinity, which upon this supposition must have become obnoxious to all the perturbations of the human soul, - to the passions of grief, fear, anger, pity, joy, hope, and disappointment, - to all which our Lord without sin was liable. The human nature in our Lord was complete in both its parts, consisting of a body and a rational soul. The rational soul of our Lord’s human nature was a distinct thing from the principle of divinity to which it was united; and being so distinct, like the souls of other men, it owed the right use of its faculties, in the exercise of them upon religious subjects, and its uncorrupted rectitude of will, to the influence of the Holy Spirit of God. Jesus indeed ‘was anointed with this holy oil above His fellows,’ inasmuch as the intercourse was uninterrupted, - the illumination by infinite degrees more full, and the consent and submission, on the part of the man, more perfect than in any of the sons of Adam; insomuch that He alone of all the human race, by the strength and light imparted from above, was exempt from sin, and rendered superior to temptation. To Him the Spirit was given not by measure. The unmeasured infusion of the Spirit into the Redeemer’s soul was NOT THE MEANS, BUT THE EFFECT, of its union to the second person of the Godhead. A union of which this had been the means had differed only in degree from that which is, in some degree, the privilege of every believer, - which, in an eminent degree, was the privilege of the apostles, who, by the visible descent of the Holy Ghost upon them on the day of Pentecost, were, in some sort, like the Lord, anointed with the unction from on high. But in Him the natures were united, and the uninterrupted perfect commerce of His human soul with the Divine Spirit was the effect and privilege of that mysterious conjunction.”

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