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Wendelin's "Christian Theology": Doctrine of the Effects of the Personal Union, Part 2

THESIS IV:  Charisma is a gift bestowed upon the human nature of Christ through the grace of the personal union.  Whence charismata are applicable to Christ according to His human nature alone.  And so the communication of the charismata is a consequence of the personal union, whereby the human nature of Christ, because of the hypostatic union, is endowed with gifts, finite indeed, but the most excellent.

EXPLANATION:  I.  The charismata, or gifts, of this sort are the greater knowledge and wisdom of Christ’s human nature, than falls to any other creature:  likewise also holiness and perfect righteousness, dignity, excellence, and the greatest blessedness.

The charismata are properly to be distinguished from the divine idiomata.

(1.)  The charismata are effects of the divine idiomata:  the divine idiomata are the very nature of God.

(2.)  The charismata are finite:  the idiomata are infinite.

(3.)  The charismata are subjectively in the human nature:  the divine idiomata are in the divine nature, indeed are the very nature of God.

II.  Exception is taken by our adversaries, the Lutherans.

(1.)  To Christ is given the Spirit without measure, John 3:34.  To Him God does not measure out the Spirit, or, does not give by measure.

Therefore, infinite gifts are bestowed upon the human nature of Christ.

The rationale of the consequencewhat does not have measure is infinite:  for what has no measure is called immense.

Response:  I deny the consequence.  The rationale is:  1.  There is no necessary consequence from the person to a nature.  The antecedent, as also the saying of John, speaks of the person of Christ:  the consequence, concerning the human nature of Christ.  But what is attributed to the person of Christ is not immediately applicable to the human natureTherefore, this is able to be the sense:  The Father did not give to the Son, that is, according to the divine nature, or as far as He is the second person of the Deity absolutely considered, the Spirit by measure; but He communicated the whole plenitude of Deity to Him by eternal generation.  Or, the Spirit was given to Christ not by measure, because through the hypostatic union the whole plenitude of Deity dwells in Him, Colossians 2:9.

2.  If the passage in John is to be taken of the human nature of Christ, yet the communication of immense gifts is not able to be evinced from it:  because not to measure, or to give not by measure, signify the totality of spiritual gifts, and their perfections, as far as it is suitable for a creature, opposed to the particularity and imperfection of the same, which sort are granted to those renewed in this life; in which God does not give all to all, but some to individuals; but all to Christ.  Whence it is evident, that this argument is ineffectual and nothing.

(2.)  If to Christ according to His human nature, by the personal union, only finite gifts were communicated, there would be no distinction between Him, as He is a man, and other saints.

But the consequent is false.  Therefore also the antecedent.

Response:  The hypothetical is false:  for there are distinct degrees in habitual gifts:  for what are consummately perfect in Christ as man, are far inferior in other men.  But in this there is the greatest distinction, that not one of the saints is personally united to God; not one assumed into the society of the mediatorial office:  which is applicable to the humanity of Christ alone. 

Council of Chalcedon

THESIS V:  Apotelesma is the work of Christ the mediator, concerning our salvation, to which both natures of Christ lend their own.  Whence the apotelesmata are applicable to the person according to both natures; and so the communication, or, if you prefer, the communion, of the apotelesmata is a consequence of the personal union, whereby the person of the mediator produces mediatorial works regarding our salvation according to both natures; with one acting with the communication of the other:  the divine, doing what is divine; the human, what is human.

EXPLANATION:  I.  The apotelesmata are elsewhere called theandric works, because they proceed from the theandric person of Christ, or the θεανθρώπου/Theanthropos/God-man, which in the production of these works exercises each nature, divine and human.  Therefore, there are, with respect to apotelesmata, properly four things to be considered and distinguished, according to the received doctrine of the Church, of which Damascenus is an illustrious witness.

(1.)  Ὁ ἐνεργῶν, that is, He who produces the apotelesmata, who is the Christ, or the single person of the Mediator.

(2.)  Τὸ ἐνεργητικὸν, that is, that through which is produced an apotelesma, or the active principium, whereby the Mediator acts; which is twofold, namely, the human nature and the divine nature.  Whence in the production of works of this sort one nature is said to act with the communication of the other:  because each, inasmuch as it is His own, contributes to them.

(3.)  Ἡ ἐνέργεια, that is, the action, or operation, whereby is produced an apotelesma through each nature.  This action is no less twofold, than the active principium or nature τοῦ ἐνεργούντος, the one working, namely, divine action and human action.

(4.)  Τὸ ἐνέργημα, that is, that which is produced is one work, which we call an apotelesma, or theandric.

To this pertains that eminent canon of the Council of ChalcedonEach nature or form does, with the communion of the other, that which is proper:  that is, by the Word working that which belongs to the Word, and by the flesh carrying out what belongs to the flesh:  which was set in opposition to the Eutychians and Monotheletes:  the former of which were acknowledging only one nature in Christ; the latter, two natures, yet only one will and one action of both.  Let Canons 13-15 of the Council of Martin[1] be considered, against whom the Church of Christ acknowledges as in one person, which is ὁ ἐνεργῶν, two natures, which are two ἐνεργητικά, and so it also confesses two wills, and two ἐνεργείας, which concur in one apotelesma, or theandric work:  which one person produces, through distinct natures, wills, and operations, and one nature, or form, is said to work with the communion of the other:  for neither alone produces a theandric work, but rather both conjointly; in such a way indeed that the divine nature flows in divine action, and the human nature flows in human action:  which is signified by those words, which is proper, that is, by the Word working, etc.  How Lutheran, and especially Suebic, theology draws this Canon to a Eutychian and Monotheletic sense, I have shown at length in Exercitation 59.

To the orthodox interpretation they object another cherished canon:  by divided operations the person is divided:  but they also interpret this in the same faith:  as I have shown in that place.  Those that distinguish the operations do not thereby divide the person:  neither do those that distinguish separate.

II.  The principal sorts of apotelesmata are the redemption of mankind, the donation of the Holy Spirit, cleansing from sins, vivification, the government of the Church, the administration of the judgment:  to which are also added the working of miracles.  In the production of these and similar works one nature acts with the communication of the other, in this manner:

To the apotelesma of redemption Christ’s human nature contributed sufferings and death, whereby He made satisfaction for our sins:  it also contributes intercession, that sinners might be received unto grace because of the ransom paid.  Christ’s divine nature contributed to the same the upholding of the human nature, groaning under the weight of divine wrath, and the sanctification and resurrection from the dead of the same:  finally, it also contributed worth to the ransom, which is esteemed according to the worth of the suffering person.

Christ cleanses us from sins, according to His human nature, by meriting cleansing through His passion and death; and by willing, that our sins be forgiven us because of the ransom, and that the image of God be restored in us:  according to His divine nature, by acquiring value for that ransom, by receiving the same together with the Father, by not imputing sins to us,[2] and by renewing the image of God in us through the Spirit, because of ransom paid.

Christ vivifies us, according to His human nature, by dying in order to merit eternal life for us, and by giving His own life for us:  According to His divine nature, by restoring life to us by His omnipotent power, because of the satisfaction rendered to divine justice.

The Lutherans, so that they might prove that the divine attribute is attributed to the human nature in particular (not to the person), and is applicable to it by communication, all flee to the vivification of the flesh; to vivify, say they, is applicable to the human nature through communication, and to vivify is a divine attribute:  Therefore, a divine attribute, etc.

Response:  The minor is false; to vivify, in the doctrine concerning the mediatorial office of Christ, is not a divine attribute, but an apotelesma, or a theandric work, which is one by one person, through distinct natures and operations of natures:  as we have recently explained.  Now, that vivification, as it is attributed to Christ and His flesh, is not a divine attribute, but an apotelesma, to which each nature of Christ contributes its own, the divine what belongs to the divine, and the human what belongs to the human, is most evident from this:  that our vivification was not able to be accomplished without the Passion and death of the Redeemer.  But the Redeemer was not able to suffer and to die, except according to the flesh or human nature.

Christ governs the Church, according to His human nature, by interceding for it continually, by procuring spiritual gifts for it by virtue of His merit, by sending and distributing the protection of holy Angels, and by consenting with the divine in that consummately powerful government:  According to His divine nature, by attending everywhere in omnipresent and omnipotent power, by ruling over souls, by disposing and ordaining means, by instilling terror in enemies, and by fixing certain limits to their fury,[3] etc.

Christ shall administer judgment, according to His human nature, by bringing into the light the good or evil works of men by revelation of the divine nature, by pronouncing sentence of damnation or absolution with a resounding voice, and by committing the execution to the Angels, whether good or bad:  According to His divine nature, by searching the reins and hearts, by exhibiting through omniscience and omnipotence the individual deeds of each one, by examining consciences, and finally by punishing with eternal terrors and torments.

Finally, the human nature of Christ formerly concurred in the working of miracles alsofor example, in the resurrection of Lazarus from the dead, by calling to Lazarus with a loud voice and commanding resurrection authoritatively.  But the divine nature, by returning his soul to his body, and by restoring his lost life.  Thus the operations of the natures are to be distinguished in the other miracles also.

III.  The power and virtue of exercising these theandric works, which is applicable to Christ according to each nature, yet in such a way that it is partly infinite, partly finite, according to the diversity of the natures, infinite and finite, divine and human; renders the nature of apotelesmata.  The rationale of the worship of adoration is also the same; which is due to Christ according to each nature:  yet in such a way that the same is not attributed to each nature, but divine adoration to the divine, human adoration to the human:  Yet all at the same time to the Person.

Therefore, when we invoke Christ, we trust that our prayers are known to Him even according to His human nature, but by revelation of the divine nature; we promise to ourselves a hearing even by His human nature, with respect to the ransom paid for us, and His most efficacious intercession for us, and also His ready will in helping us:  we refer the remaining things to the divine nature.  At the same time, as an object of adoration, after the incarnation, it is not one or the other nature considered separately, but the person, according to both natures:  thus there is only one adoration, direct to the person, with respect to both natures.  For He is adored, says Damascenus, the one ὑπόστασις/hypostasis with the flesh by one adoration, book 4, chapter 2, Exposition of the Orthodox Faith; that this is the unchanging doctrine of the Orthodox Churches, I have shown in Exercitation 59, § 31.  And with good reason we reject what the Hassiaci press against the Suebi, that Christ in the state of humiliation according to the human nature was not ordinarily invoked or to be invoked; whom Thumm sharply, and indeed rightly, contradicts in his Tapeinosigraphia, page 764.

And so the virtue of cleansing from sins and vivifying, the power of remitting sins, of exercising judgment, of ruling the Church, etc.; in the doctrine of the person of Christ, they are not divine idiomata, but ἀξιώματα or dignities, which are applicable to Christ according to both natures, after the likeness of the apotelesmata, yet in a diverse manner.  Whence it is evident, what is to be responded to this objection of the Lutherans:

Christ, even according to the human nature, has the might of cleansing from sins and vivifying, and the power and virtue of remitting sins, of governing the Church, and of exercising government.

Therefore, He, even according to His human nature, has divine idiomata.

Response:  I deny the consequence.  The rationale of the denial:  because the might of cleansing from sins and of vivifying, the power of remitting sins and of exercising judgment, etc., are not divine idiomata, but axiomata/ dignities, which recall the nature of apotelesmata, etc.  See Exercitation 59.

* It is asked:  Are we bound to invoke Christ?

Response:  We uphold the affirmative against the Socinians.

(1.)  Christ was invoked by saints, Acts 7:59; 1 Thessalonians 3:11; 2 Corinthians 12:8, 9; Revelation 4:9, 10.  But religiously to adore anyone that ought not to be adored is idolatry, of which the saints were not guilty.

(2.)  Christ expressly prescribes the adoration of Himself, John 16:24.

(3.)  Christ is God:  therefore, we are bound to invoke Him.

(4.)  Christ is also to be adored by the Angels, Hebrews 1:6.  Therefore, we are bound with them.

(5.)  Upon whom we are bound to believe, Him also we are bound to invoke.  For faith is the foundation of invocation, Romans 10:14.

(6.)  Infants ought to be baptized no less in the name of the Son than of the Father or Holy Spirit.  Therefore, the Son is to be invoked no less than the Father and the Holy Spirit:  because in the name of no one ought Baptism to be administered, except Him who is able and ought to be invoked religiously.

(7.)  Christ is to be honored, just like the Father, John 5:23.

[1] The Lateran Council of 649 was convened by Pope Martin I in order to condemn Monotheletism.

[2] 2 Corinthians 5:19.

[3] See Psalm 76:10.

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Westminster Confession of Faith 8:7: Christ, in the work of mediation, acteth according to both natures, by each nature doing that which is proper to itself:1 yet, by reason of the unity of the person, that which is proper to one nature is sometimes in Scripture attributed to the person denominated by the other nature.2 

1 Heb. 9:14; 1 Pet. 3:18.

2 Acts 20:28; John 3:13; 1 John 3:16.

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Westminster Confession of Faith 8:2: The Son of God, the second person in the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one substance and equal with the Father, did, when the fulness of time was come, take upon Him man's nature,1 with all the essential properties and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin;2 being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, of her substance.3 So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion.4 Which person is very God, and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man.5 

1 John 1:1,14; 1 John 5:20; Phil. 2:6; Gal. 4:4.

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An Introductory Theology Course! free and online! 

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