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August 17, 2005

Ch. XVIII. 109. The Exaltation of Christ

ALTHOUGH subject to the necessary limitations of a truly human earthly life, limitations which involved infinite self-abasement on Christ's part, His Manhood, by virtue of its being that of a divine Person, was endowed from the beginning with a supernatural grace of union, whereby its spiritual faculties were enhanced to a unique degree. Moreover, it could not, as His Manhood, be holden of death;1 but as a just reward for His self-effacement, Christ was exalted even in His human nature, to divine glory,—His human name, Jesus, thenceforth receiving the homage due to God.

2. The grace of Christ's Manhnod was due to its mysterious and ineffable communion with the Godhead in His inner Self. It was also due to that Manhood being filled with the Holy Spirit. These two explanations are not independent. The Holy Spirit eternally exists in the Son, and is proper to Him. As Man, Christ was endowed with a Spirit who eternally proceeds from the Father through Himself, as divine. In brief, His Manhood was endowed with His own Spirit.2

3. "Grace," as here employed, signifies an operation of the divine upon the human which cannot in any person be observed as a phenomenon of consciousness. Psychological analysis and description is applicable only to its effect—a spiritual enlargement and strengthening of our psychical powers, which leaves undisturbed their laws of development and methods of exercise. No reason exists for supposing otherwise in the case of Christ. The Godhead and the Manhood of Christ met in Himself, and the grace which flowed, sic from His Godhead into His Manhood came from Himself. This is as much as can be affirmed; and no description in terms of psychology or in regional figures—such as "sub-liminal"—can add to our knowledge of the method of grace, which wholly transcends such descriptions.3

4. But the Gospel narratives make clear the effects of grace upon our Lord's human mind and powers. He was not exempt from having to grow in human wisdom after the normal human manner4 and He gained human knowledge by experience just as we do.5 He also was subject to human motives and felt human cravings in a perfectly natural way. But His mental growth was characterized by an absolutely unique perfection, and He was morally invincible against inducements to sin. His positive virtues were incomparable. The wisdom which He displayed was invariably adequate to the exigencies of His experience and mission, and afforded satisfying evidence that His human understanding was protected from all spiritual error.6

5. His subjective advantages for moral and spiritual purposes have no parallel in history; and yet He is not thereby removed from sympathetic and helpful contact with mankind. He was so unique because He was the firstfruits; and the grace which declared itself in Him is the grace which, because of His redemptive work, and through our sacramental union with Him, will gradually declare itself in us, if we practice in the use of it by persevering self-discipline.7

6. Our Lord became man, among other reasons, for the very purpose of actualizing and exhibiting the spiritual and resourceful splendor of mind and character which is given to men ultimately to acquire through Him. And the glorification of His Manhood is not only the reward of His obedience unto death, but is the mystery whereby that Manhood is made the nucleus of His mystical body and the source of grace to us.8

1 Acts ii. 24.

2 Incarnation, ch. v. 8; viii. 4; St. Thomas. III. ii. 10-12; vii; Rich. Hooker, Eccles. Polity, V. liv. 6; H.P. Liddon, Divinity of Our Lord, pp. 209-214. Cf. St. John iii. 34.

3 W. Sanday uses this description, Christology avid Personality, chh. vi-vii; and D. Stone, Church Qly. Review, Oct., 1910, art. II, welcomes it. Per contra, Bp. of Ossory, in Hibbert Journal, Jan. 1911, art. I. Cf. Incarnation, ch. vi. 11, E.D. la Touche, Person of Christ, pp. 380-386.

4 St. Luke ii. 52.

5 K. Theory, ch. x.

6 St. John viii. 38. C.F. Nolloth, Person of Our Lord, pp.149-159. E.D. la Touche, pp. 393-400; H.P. Liddon, Worth of the Old Test., pp. 25-28, note c.; Ch. Qly. Review, July, 1897, pp. 288-292; Archd. Wilberforce, Incarnation, pp. 74-78.

7 Incarnation, ch. viii. 9, 12.

8 Col. i. 18-20

Posted by AKMA at August 17, 2005 12:08 PM