In studying the history of the controversy that centres round the manner of the Incarnation it is very difficult to keep within the limits of the enquiry. The somewhat narrow question of the actual manner of the union of the divine and human natures in the one person, Christ, is only too easily lost sight of in the many wider problems that are presented by the mystery of the Incarnation. In order, therefore, to a due limitation of our subject, let us attend strictly to our search for the adequate subject, or ego, of the manhood of the Incarnate.
I am aware that this phrase does not in itself suggest the early centuries of the Church, and that many writers would have been surprised to hear that their work could be so interpreted. But in fact it is so. Men's difficulty lay in explaining the union of the divine person, the Son, with manhood; with manhood as it were impersonal: the sum of human faculties and powers apart from a human ego or person as subject thereof. They knew that impersonal as this manhood was on the human side, yet in order to be effective and real it must be constituted in a person: in an adequate subject of human actions and human experience; one who could express himself humanly, and in so doing could carry humanity to its goal.
Who is this subject? Many answers are found, and it is in studying these answers that we come to a clear idea of the history of the struggle over the manner of the Incarnation.
I. The first answer is that which issues from Athanasian Christology. It is not formulated; it rather emerges from our study of the Christological statement of his school.
The Athanasian school is the direct descendant of the Apostolic school. The basis of study is the record of the facts of the life of the Saviour as written in the Gospels, with the interpretation put upon them by the writers of the New Testament. Its method is that of juxtaposition: putting one set of facts over against the other without any attempt at a reconciliation: contemplating at once the reality of divine nature and its wondrous powers, and the reality of the human nature and its limitations. Its aim is to avoid the perils attending philosophic explanations, and to appeal to the authority of the Apostolic teaching.
The great teachers of this school are Ignatius, Justin, Irenaeus, Athanasius, Gregory of Nazianzum, acid Basil. [See note II.]
They taught that in becoming man the Incarnate had assumed a second nature, impersonal manhood: a human body, and a human soul: and therefore He possessed a twofold means of self-expression. He could act either through His divine nature or through His human nature, separately, as He willed. As acting through His divine nature He is God the Son in full exercise of all His divine powers; and as acting through His human nature He is God the Son self-restrained, self-limited, or as Irenaeus puts it, quiescent.
The main contentions of these writers may be stated thus-
(1) The Incarnate is the eternal Son of God, who condescends to be clothed in our manhood; taking it into Himself that He may redeem it, and through it reveal God to us and exhibit manhood to God.
(2) The manhood is complete and real; because that which is not assumed by the Saviour is not redeemed. Also it is impersonal, for He took manhood, not a man, into Himself.
(3) The eternal Son must therefore restrain His powers from time to time, becoming quiescent or inactive, so that actions or sufferings that are proper to manhood may not be rendered impossible by manifestations of His divine power. As man He was limited, sorrowful, in pain, dishonoured, and ignorant of the day of judgement; while as God He was free from all such limitations. Hence it behoved Him to restrain Himself and His power partially and on occasions: otherwise His manhood would have been at the best ineffective and perhaps docetic.
(4) Hence the Incarnate, being both God and man, can act either humanly or divinely within the sphere of His incarnate life, although He is only one person. He who died and He who rose again is one and the same person; as man dying, and as God rising from the dead.
Who, then, is the ultimate subject of manhood in the Incarnate?
At first sight it is the eternal Son, exercising all His divine powers. In the state of the Incarnation there is none but He. If we look further, however, we shall see that the Son is the subject of the manhood only when He restrains Himself and His powers. Athanasian writers all imply that He cannot be an adequate subject of His manhood so long as He freely manifests His divine powers: for the divine would overwhelm the human, making human action impossible, and human experience a mere empty phrase. Thus they assume the Son as self-limiting to be the subject of the human nature in the Incarnate; while as subject of the divine nature they acknowledge the Son as exercising all His divine strength.
There is no logical statement of the two subjects: no recognition that these two subjects are, in fact, terms of different content. Their whole position is studiously scriptural, and free from the dangers that attend the rationalizing theologian.
This position has been maintained by many down the ages. It became the basis of the doctrine developed by St. Cyril and St. Leo; it is claimed by many Christologians, who are far more rationalistic than scriptural; and it is widely defended at the present day. Dr. Liddon became famous by his presentment of it: [Bampton Lectures of 1866.] and among the many things for which Dr. Stubbs [Stubbs, Ordination Addresses, pp. 173182.] will be remembered, not the least is that Ordination address in which he recalled his candidates from the following of modern teachers to the acceptance of the Apostolic method of simple loyalty to the Gospel picture.
What, then, is the inner meaning of this teaching as it affects the problem of the manner of the Incarnation?
In the first place we notice that it assumes the existence of the Logos in two states simultaneously: the state of divine glory and the state of humiliation. These two states coexist: the Person inhabiting both is the one Word of God, the eternal Son, in full possession of His divine prerogatives and powers.
Next, within the state of the humiliation the Logos is seen to have what we must call a double centre of consciousness. Generally speaking, He is conscious of Himself as God the Son exercising full divine powers: occasionally He is conscious of Himself as God the Son limiting Himself and His powers. These two states of consciousness are coexistent; for the full life of the Son in the state of humiliation allows for an occasional, limited self-consciousness as man; the Logos life is never suspended or maimed.
The direction in which the difficulty of this doctrine lies is that of the manhood. Before manhood can act the Logos must become quiescent, must limit Himself. But this is only an occasional condescension on His part; He is not always quiescent. So that, in fact, the manhood has not any one permanent subject.
A subject to manhood is provided to meet every case named in Scripture in which the Incarnate acted humanly; more than this the Athanasian school does not attempt. It is impossible to say who is the subject of the manhood at those times when the Incarnate is manifesting His divine power, as in the raising of Lazarus, or in the Transfiguration, or at the Resurrection. It would appear that either the manhood is constituted sometimes in the Word as unlimited, and sometimes in the Word as self-limiting, in which case it is constituted in two subjects of unequal content; or it is not constituted in one permanent subject, in which case it becomes merely a vesture of the Son of God: an instrument of His works, and a medium of His self-revelation.
In either case, Athanasian Christology must be said to have failed to find a permanent subject to the manhood: but in so far as there is a self-conscious ego in it, it is found in the eternal Son viewed as self-limiting or quiescent.
Nevertheless, the Athanasian position is a very strong one. It allows for the reality of the human character of all the phenomena which are ascribed to the humanity in the Gospels, though it does not provide for the conception of a manhood constituted in an adequate and permanent subject. Again, it lays stress upon the continuance of the divine activity of the Logos; and it finds a way for the Logos to manifest Himself in a limited way through manhood without parting with His divine powers. It allows for a special manifestation of the eternal Son, together with and in addition to His normal manifestation of Himself in the universe.
For myself, I believe that the Athanasian position is the gate to the truth. But two points at least require reconsideration.
First, ought not the self-limiting of the Logos to be regarded as an act belonging to the sphere of His divine activities, to the sphere of glory?
The weakness of the Athanasian view lies in placing together in one set of relations the Logos as unlimited and the Logos as self-limiting. I shall try to shew later that this patristic doctrine would reach its perfection if it confined the conception of the Logos as self-limiting to the eternal, divine relations; and made the Logos as self-limited to be the permanent subject, or ego, of the human nature in the relationship set up by the Incarnation. The difference is enormous. For the act of self-limiting is as different from the state of being self-limited as an act of choice between two actions is different from the act of performing the selected action. This point it will be my duty to draw out at length later on. I have here only indicated what I think to be one necessary line of development of Athanasian Christology.
Secondly, does the Athanasian doctrine sufficiently take into account the place that the manhood occupies in the relations of the Incarnate with the Father?
It has been pointed out that St. Athanasius does not make mention of the human soul of our Lord. Not that he can for a moment be charged with any thought of denying its existence, or of minimizing the humanity of the Incarnate: but his attention was not concentrated upon the relation which the human soul mediates between the Incarnate and the Heavenly Father.
The Athanasian teacher regards the prayers of our Lord not as necessary to the Incarnate as such, but as made necessary to His state of humiliation by the needs of those for whom He came. The necessity lay partly in the weakness of the assumed manhood, which could only be real if the Incarnate would allow it to have its normal course, and partly in the requirements of redemption viewed as depending on the presentation of manhood before God. The soul has no essential place between the Incarnate and the Father as the medium of His communion with the Father, in the doctrine we are considering.
The absence of all discussion on this point is of course to be explained by the state of the Christological controversy at the time. But I do not think that we are well advised to acquiesce in its absence today. It is a point that much needs discussion.
Clement of Alexandria [See note III.] used to emphasize the importance of the soul of Christ, regarding it as the ransom for sin. Origen spoke of it as the seat of union of the eternal Son and His human body. But what is required is that emphasis should be laid upon the place that the soul of Him who became man must occupy between the divine Self and His Father. For in this point will be found to lie the root of the doctrine of Christ's mystical body, and the basis of His high-priestly office. If the eternal Son took manhood into Himself that He might "deify" it; if His manhood is to be the Door of our approach to the Father, the Mirror in which we are to behold the Beatific Vision, the Instrument of His eternal Priesthood, and the Mouthpiece of His Intercession: must it not be really and completely His own nature, the nature in which He as Head of the Church approaches the Father? And if this is so, as indeed it must be, must not the subject of the manhood be permanent? Can we conceive of a single moment, during the thirty-three years of His earthly life, in which He was not approaching the Father through His manhood, in prayer, in offering of obedience, in communion, and in the reception of all that which He shewed to His disciples?
Surely there must be a permanent subject of manhood, and one Who is not in that full exercise of His divine powers which belongs to His life as Creator. Rather He must be one Who is continually conscious, even in His new relations with His Father, of the limits and conditions which His manhood has imposed upon Him. To this point also I must return. I have referred to it here, as indicating a second point in which the Athanasian doctrine requires development.
We may then briefly describe the position by saying that the Athanasian school of thought found no permanent subject to the manhood of Christ; and that the temporary subject to which they felt their way in obedience to the demands of Scripture is the eternal Son conceived as self-limiting and quiescent. But I can see nothing in their doctrine that is fundamentally incompatible with the development of it in the two directions that I have ventured to indicate.
II. A natural outcome of the Athanasian position was found in that of the Cyrilline school. Of this school St. Cyril of Alexandria and St. Leo are pre-eminently the leaders; but it may be taken to include Gregory of Nyssa, Hilary, Ambrose, and the great Augustine. [See note IV.] The first assumption of this school is the coexistence of the state of glory and divine functions of the Logos with His state of humiliation. In this it entirely agrees with the Athanasian school.
The second assumption is that while the manhood is real, it cannot exhibit in action anything that is ultimately incompatible with exercise of the divine fullness of power. The manhood may be weary, may suffer, and may die: but in no way can the human mind be capable of real growth, or of any the least ignorance. The real meaning of this teaching is that to the Cyrilline Christologians it was necessary to find one permanent subject of the manhood, it being impossible to postulate two subjects in one state; and therefore they ruled out as a possible subject the Logos as quiescent; and predicated of the manhood that its permanent subject must be the unlimited Logos.
In this position they provided for the human weariness, suffering, and death by the theory that these were all due rather to acts of divine will than to the inherent weakness of the flesh. Each act of weakness, each act of endurance was due to a corresponding act of divine will; thereby possessing an ethical value as redemptive beyond anything that could be ascribed merely to the weakness of human flesh.
They do not minimize the condescension of God the Son in assuming human flesh; they are astonished at the love that led Him to subject Himself to the necessary laws of the human body, as He voluntarily willed to allow them to have their course, that He might prove His manhood, endure His passion, and complete the Atonement.
But on the other hand they did undoubtedly minimize the reality of the manhood. For they allowed it no activity that is not due to a momentary act of will on the part of the eternal, unlimited Son of God; an act of will, I mean, in the restraining of His proper divine powers in order to make room for any human action on which He was determined. The Incarnate can, of course, do nothing apart from His divine will; but in this case the divine will cannot express itself humanly unless first it renders inactive all its own power. The Cyrilline school failed to explain the manner of the Incarnation because they did not see that human nature can never adequately mediate the self-expression of the eternal Son so long as He exercises all His divine powers in their fullness.
The truth of our criticism is confirmed by the denial of the reality of our Lord's growth in wisdom and of His ignorance, which is characteristic of this school. In the one case they say that He merely revealed more of His wisdom as the human powers developed, and in the other case He affected an ignorance that was not really His.
It will, I hope, appear later that this view of the effect of the human growth upon the manifestation of divine power has a large element of truth; and also that there is a very real sense in which the humanity received power by its union with the Person of the Son of God.
To the Cyrilline doctrine of the Incarnation as a whole the Church owes her present peace on Christological questions, and her strength against her adversaries. But on the side issue of the manner of the union we cannot be content with St. Cyril's view. For in the first place this theory explains away two facts of the Gospel story for which it should have accounted. The growth of Christ in wisdom and His ignorance of the day of judgement are two facts vouched for by the Evangelists, but they are explained away by the writers of this school. And, secondly, it requires as subject of manhood the Logos conceived as unlimited: a view that must inevitably end in the deification of the humanity at the cost of what is proper to man, or in a semidocetic conception of it as a mere veil or instrument of Godhead.
It is, in fact, only too clear that there was a real tendency in this school to regard the manhood as a veil between God the Son and men, rather than as the very proper nature of the Incarnate in His mediatorial action Godward and manward. All that I ventured to advance in criticism of the Athanasian view on this point applies with even greater force to the Cyrilline position. But the best criticism of the theory is found in the logical development of it that meets us in many Catholic writers of later ages, of whom we may take as typical St. John the Damascene [Bruce, Humiliation, pp. 68 ff.] and St. Thomas Aquinas. [Summa, III: x., xi,, xii. Dorner, Div, 2: Vol. I. pp 206 ff.]
They both hold fast the postulate that the eternal Word as unlimited is the true subject of the manhood; and they both maintain the completeness of the manhood in every particular. But they inevitably come to a position from which they see the manhood so filled with divine powers as to cease to belong to the human order. The manhood of the Incarnate is a thing apart. It is not divine, for in the last resort it cannot possess divine attributes as such: it cannot be actually omniscient and omnipotent. Neither is it really human: for in the last resort, again, the manhood that is God's cannot exhibit any of those weaknesses and limitations which, though proper to manhood, are incompatible with the self-manifestation of the eternal Son as unlimited.
Thus according to them the human will of Christ is not itself omnipotent, but it was the instrument of the Logos Who was all the while exercising full omnipotence in His incarnate state. Nor is His human mind itself omniscient, but it was the instrument of the Logos Who was all the while exercising full omniscience in His incarnate state. Apart from His human soul, the Christ, according to St. Thomas, exercised knowledge proper to the eternal Logos in His unlimited power and glory with the Father; whilst His mind from its birth possessed a complete knowledge of all things that can conceivably be revealed by God to a human mind of perfect capability on all subjects; and also it came by experience to a complete knowledge, of a different kind, on every matter that a human mind can learn by the exercise of merely human faculties.
Thus St. Thomas provides on the one hand for the subject of manhood, the eternal Son in that full exercise of all His power and prerogative which is proper to Him as Creator; while on the other hand he thinks to postulate a real humanity. But in fact he has made the manhood merely a medium of divine self-revelation and an instrument of redemption.
We shall see that St. Thomas is right in his thought that the manhood must receive much by union with Godhead; we can admire the skill and the reverence with which he has struggled to solve the problem of Christ's human knowledge; but we still feel that he has failed to make the manhood real, and that he has not found its true subject.
In spite of the authority and devotion of the writers who support this view, it must still be emphatically said that the manhood of Christ cannot be an efficient medium of the manifestation of the unlimited Godhead and at the same time an adequate representation before God of our weak and limited manhood. The present teaching of some Catholic theologians on this point removes the humanity of Christ from human order. That manhood is of like nature with ours, in the sense that it was taken from the womb of a woman and that its elements are in their essence the same as ours; but in its life, in the degree of its powers, and in its sphere of operations it is made to be entirely unlike our own.
The excellence of this teaching lies in its insistence upon the divinity of the Person who is the subject of manhood; upon the divine nature of the consciousness of Christ, and upon His possession of His divine nature in its entirety. The weakness of it lies in the inability of its exponents to admit a continuous limitation of the exercise of divine power by the Incarnate, in their refusal to allow that the conditions of manhood could prevail over the freedom of Deity, and in their tendency to explain away whatever in the manhood seems incompatible with the exercise of full divine power in the Incarnate Being. They are all too ready to confine the Kenosis, or self-emptying, of the Word to that act of will by which the Logos consented to allow the physical laws of manhood to have their way in His flesh. In this they are St. Cyril's disciples. In a word, they reiterate the teaching that the subject of the manhood is the eternal Son in the full possession and exercise of all His divine powers and prerogatives; Who, by a series of acts of divine love, in His divine power, condescends to allow certain physical laws to have their proper course in His flesh from time to time. Thus they would say that the Babe, as Babe, ruled the universe from Mary's knee, and that by an act of divine power He allowed the hunger of the body to prevail upon Him so that He chose to depend en Mary for His nourishment.
We must not for one moment depart from the main tenets of their position on the cardinal facts of the Incarnation. But on the narrow issue of the manner of the union of manhood with Deity I do not see my way to follow them. We cannot explain the Gospel story on their theory. For example, the fourth cry from the Cross, the cry that announces the forsaking of the Incarnate by His Father, ceases to have any meaning if the Incarnate Himself was exercising full divine power at the very moment that He cried "Why hast thou forsaken me?" I am as far from accepting the extreme Kenotic view of this incident, and this will become clear as I proceed. But we must see to it that our theory, whatever it be, preserves all the conditions of manhood in its entirety if we are to account for the facts of the Gospels; and these conditions cannot be real and complete if the subject of the manhood be the eternal Son in the unlimited exercise of all His powers.
In adopting this critical attitude towards the Cyrilline view of the manner of the Incarnation, and the consequent scholastic interpretation of the manhood of Christ, I do not plead guilty to any disloyalty to the Catholic Church. The decrees of the Church do not bind us to any one view of the manner of the union of the divine and the human nature in our Lord: much less do they require our acquiescence in scholastic Christology. We are free within the limits laid down by the Creeds of Christendom. If Cyril could differ from Athanasius upon the matter of our Lord's mind, it cannot be a sin to differ from Cyril. No Father is infallible. The consent of the Fathers is something more than the sum of their private opinions; otherwise it were not uncatholic to ignore it. But in this case we have only two opposite opinions of two large schools of patristic thought to guide us. The reasoning that would make me a sinner for differing from Cyril would make him a sinner for differing from Athanasius. Far otherwise would be the position of a man who should set aside the whole patristic teaching on the fundamental dogma of the Incarnation. He would be convicted of ignoring the consent of the Fathers, that is the universal belief of the Church of their age upon which the seal of authority has been set by Councils, or of ignoring a doctrine which cannot be rejected without endangering the truths that have received that seal.
My excuse for so bold an attitude towards the received authorities is that having followed them along the main road, on which they are Christ's authorized guides, I find them unable to direct me along a bypath by which my circumstances make it necessary for me to travel for a time. To guide me along this byroad they have received no authority, and in my judgement some of them are so familiar with the main road, so accustomed to its straightness and its level surface, that they rather hinder than help me along the tortuous and rough path that it is my fate to follow.
Does this make my meaning clear? St. Cyril and St. Thomas fail us with regard to the manner of the union of the manhood with the divine Logos, just because they are so profoundly concerned to emphasize the main truth of His divinity, and His exercise of the fullness of the divine power and prerogatives. They do not help those who wish to think out a side-issue; to discover the exact, definite, and permanent content of the subject in whom the assumed manhood is constituted.
III. There were developments of the Cyrilline theory which proved to be quite incompatible with the orthodox dogmas of the Faith. More logical and less cautious minds were able to see that the true issue of Cyril's teaching lay in the deification of Christ's manhood, or in an entirely docetic view of it. Thus we find a general tendency towards emptying it of its reality and its meaning; a tendency made famous first by the pathetic case of the old monk Eutyches, [Donner, Div. 2, Vol. I, pp. 83 ff. Bruce, Humiliation of Christ, pp. 59 ff. Bright, St. Leo on the Incarnation, pp. 162 ff.; 221 ff.] who thought to follow the teaching of St. Cyril, and succeeded only in winning his own excommunication. The same tendency lay behind the intellectual movement that so seriously disturbed the Church of the fifth and sixth centuries, called Monophysitism: a name the sound of which is as unpleasing as the history of the heresy is perplexing. Again, the same tendency found expression in the Nihiliariism of which Peter Lombard was the leading exponent.
Eutyches started from the conception of the presence of the unlimited Son of God in the state of the Incarnation; and he framed his view of the manhood so as to make both unnecessary and impossible any the least limitation of His exercise of divine powers. He boldly brought over the manhood into the pleroma of the divine activity, and let it be lost in the glory of the divine nature. For all practical purposes it ceased to be manhood. The eternal Son became man, as it were, in the single moment of His conception in Mary's womb, swallowed up manhood into deity, and so carried it, and all who share it, to redemption and glory. What He exhibited of manhood in His daily life and in His Passion was at the best an apparition due to His divine power.
The Monophysites [Ottley, Incarnation, Vol. II, pp. 113 ff.; 127 ff. Dorner, Div. 2, Vol. I, pp. 79 ff.; 121 ff.; 156 ff. Bruce, ibid., pp. 67 ff.] were careful to avoid the utmost logical statement of this position, taking warning from the fate of Eutyches, bringing to their task a greater intellectual power, and working out their theory under less hurried conditions. But no amount of caution in speaking of the reality of the manhood, and no refinements for which the various schools of Monophysites became famous, could affect their fundamental position, or save it from condemnation. Their interest lay always in so exalting the manhood to a level not its own, or in so explaining away its functions and operations as to secure to the eternal Son, as subject of the assumed humanity, the fullest use of all His divine powers.
A very great deal of the Monophysite and Monothelite controversies were concerned with a question subsidiary to ours. They had argued for the unlimited Logos as the subject of manhood: it then behoved them to determine how and to what extent a human will could exist side by side with a divine will, without introducing at least a logical possibility of disagreement between the divine and human wills in action. They looked at the manhood, that is to say, from the Cyrilline position: and instead of revising the theory of Cyril, they sought to remove from the manhood the obstacles to its interpretation in accordance with his teaching. They denied the human will.
So Peter Lombard, [See Dorner, Div. 2, Vol. I, pp. 310 ff. Daley, Vol. II, pp. 199 ff. Gore, Dissertations, pp. 175 ff.] in the twelfth century, arrived at his theory that the assumed manhood had no effect at all upon Him who assumed it. It is merely a veil: an instrument: to be taken and used for the purposes of revelation and redemption. Peter was alarmed at a growing tendency to postulate of the Incarnate a composite personality: a teaching to which we must shortly allude: and in his zeal to maintain the Catholic doctrine he reduced the manhood to a shadow, so that the Incarnation ceased to be the coming of the Son of God in human flesh.
With these theories must, I think, be classed the Christology of the Lutheran Church in its first days. [Bruce, pp. 82 ff. Dorner, Div. 2, Vol. II, pp. 266 ff.]
Their view was based on a theory of the union of the two natures of the Incarnate as necessitating a mutual communication of properties; and all the stress came to be laid upon the reception by the manhood of divine powers. This stress was largely due to the desire to establish the doctrine of the real presence of the humanity of Christ in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. The Lutherans thought to make this dogma the more easy of acceptance by ascribing to the manhood the attribute of ubiquity. Thus the manhood of Jesus was said practically to possess the divine quality of omnipresence. Of course no such glorification of the manhood could stop short at one attribute; and ultimately the manhood of the Incarnate was made to possess a majesty that is really divine. The theologians, it is true, did not agree as to the extent to which this majesty was revealed in action; but their theory fails because it postulates the possession of such majesty, with the divine attributes that go to constitute it. Such a manhood would cease to be manhood, as men use the term; and the Incarnate, had He so deified His humanity, would have deprived Himself of His one link with the race that He came to represent, and by representing to redeem.
Thus did the Athanasian doctrine of the manner of the Incarnation develope. First, the subject of the manhood is the eternal Son, occasionally limiting His powers. Then in the Cyrilline school it is the eternal Son in unlimited exercise of His powers at all times; powerfully willing to submit Himself to certain physical laws proper to the flesh. With the Cyrilline position is postulated a manhood that is not subject to the normal limitations of humanity. And thirdly there is the ever-growing tendency to exalt the manhood, denying limitation after limitation, until it comes to have almost nothing in common with our own, except human birth, and tangible passible flesh. And alongside with this is the condemned tendency to make the manhood disappear in the glory of the divine operation, so that for all practical purposes it is not a second abiding nature of the Son at all. [The theory of Apollinaris, which makes the Divine Logos take the place of the human soul in Christ, need not be considered. For a school of thought that denies to the Incarnate a complete manhood, does not concern those who are seeking for the Subject of His perfect manhood.]
Here we must leave this particular class of attempts to find a subject of the manhood of the Christ.
It is by far the most luminous class: it contains within it all the teachers to whose doctrines we cling today. But I hope I have made it a little clear that, when all is said, no one of them has defined for us the true content of the ego, or subject, of the Saviour's humanity.
The truth which must be maintained is that the manhood is revealed to us in the Scriptures; that it is through the manhood that we move to God; and no doctrine of the manner of the Incarnation will finally satisfy us that takes its start from a preconceived view of the Godhead, to which we have no right, rather than from our acceptance of the revelation of God in manhood, which has been conceded to our weakness and ignorance.