(Owen, Christologia, Part 18)

Chapter XVIII. The Nature of the Person of Christ, and the 
Hypostatical Union of his Natures Declared 
 The nature or constitution of the person of Christ hath been commonly 
spoken unto and treated of in the writings both of the ancient and 
modern divines. It is not my purpose, in this discourse, to handle 
anything that hath been so fully already declared by others. Howbeit, 
to speak something of it in this place is necessary unto the present 
work; and I shall do it in answer unto a double end or design:--First, 
To help those that believe, in the regulation of their thoughts about 
this divine person, so far as the Scripture goes before us. It is of 
great importance unto our souls that we have right conceptions 
concerning him; not only in general, and in opposition unto the 
pernicious heresies of them by whom his divine person or either of his 
natures is denied, but also in those especial instances wherein it is 
the most ineffable effect of divine wisdom and grace. For although the 
knowledge of him mentioned in the Gospel be not confined merely unto 
his person in the constitution thereof, but extends itself unto the 
whole work of his mediation, with the design of God's love and grace 
therein, with our own duty thereon; yet is this knowledge of his 
person the foundation of all the rest, wherein if we mistake or fail, 
our whole building in the other parts of the knowledge of him will 
fall unto the ground. And although the saving knowledge of him is not 
to be obtained without especial divine revelation, Matt. 16: 17--or 
saving illumination, 1 John 5: 20--nor can we know him perfectly until 
we come where he is to behold his glory, John 17:. 24; yet are 
instructions from the Scripture of use to lead us into those farther 
degrees of the knowledge of him which are attainable in this life. 
 Secondly, To manifest in particular how ineffably distinct the 
relation between the Son of God and the man Christ Jesus is, from all 
that relation and union which may be between God and believers, or 
between God and any other creature. The want of a true understanding 
hereof is the fundamental error of many in our days. We shall manifest 
thereupon how "it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness 
dwell," so that in all things "he might have the pre-eminence," Col. 
1: 18, 19. And I shall herein wholly avoid the curious inquiries, bold 
conjectures, and unwarrantable determinations of the schoolmen and 
some others. For many of them, designing to explicate this mystery, by 
exceeding the bounds of Scripture light and sacred sobriety, have 
obscured it. Endeavouring to render all things plain unto reason, they 
have expressed many things unsound as unto faith, and fallen into 
manifold contradictions among themselves. Hence Aquinas affirms, that 
three of the ways of declaring the hypostatical union which are 
proposed by the Master of the Sentences, are so far from probable 
opinions, as that they are downright heresies. I shall therefore 
confine myself, in the explication of this mystery, unto the 
propositions of divine revelation, with the just and necessary 
expositions of them. 
 What the Scripture represents of the wisdom of God in this great work 
may be reduced unto these four heads:--I. The assumption of our nature 
into personal subsistence with the Son of God. II. The union of the 
two natures in that single person which is consequential thereon. III. 
The mutual communication of those distinct natures, the divine and 
human, by virtue of that union. IV. The enunciations or predications 
concerning the person of Christ, which follow on that union and 
 I. The first thing in the divine constitution of the person of Christ 
as God and man, is assumption. That ineffable divine act I intend 
whereby the person of the Son of God assumed our nature, or took it 
into a personal subsistence with himself. This the Scripture 
expresseth sometimes actively, with respect unto the divine nature 
acting in the person of the Son, the nature assuming; sometimes 
passively, with respect unto the human nature, the nature assumed. The 
first it does, Heb. 2: 14, 16, "Forasmuch as the children are 
partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of 
the same. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels, but he 
took on him the seed of Abraham;" Phil. 2: 6, 7, "Being in the form of 
God, he took upon him the form of a servant;" and in sundry other 
places. The assumption, the taking of our human nature to be his own, 
by an ineffable act of his power and grace, is clearly expressed. And 
to take it to be his own, his own nature, can be no otherwise but by 
giving it a subsistence in his own person; otherwise his own nature it 
is not, nor can be. Hence God is said to "purchase his church with his 
own blood," Acts 20: 28. That relation and denomination of "his own," 
is from the single person of him whose it is. The latter is declared, 
John 1: 14, "The Word was made flesh;" Rom. 8: 3, God sent "his own 
Son in the likeness of sinful flesh;" Gal. 4: 4, "Made of a woman, 
made under the law ;" Rom. 1: 3, "Made of the seed of David according 
to the flesh." The eternal Word, the Son of God, was not made flesh, 
not made of a woman, nor of the seed of David, by the conversion of 
his substance or nature into flesh; which implies a contradiction,-- 
and, besides, is absolutely destructive of the divine nature. He could 
no otherwise, therefore, be made flesh, or made of a woman, but in 
that our nature was made his, by his assuming of it to be his own. The 
same person--who before was not flesh, was not man--was made flesh as 
man, in that he took our human nature to be his own. 
 This ineffable act is the foundation of the divine relation between 
the Son of God and the man Christ Jesus. We can only adore the 
mysterious nature of it,--"great is this mystery of godliness." Yet 
may we observe sundry things to direct us in that duty. 
 1. As unto original efficiency, it was the act of the divine nature, 
and so, consequently, of the Father, Son, and Spirit. For so are all 
outward acts of God--the divine nature being the immediate principle 
of all such operations. The wisdom, power, grace, and goodness exerted 
therein, are essential properties of the divine nature. Wherefore the 
acting of them originally belongs equally unto each person, equally 
participant of that nature. (1.) As unto authoritative designation, it 
was the act of the Father. Hence is he said to send "his Son in the 
likeness of sinful flesh," Rom. 8: 3; Gal. 4: 4. (2.) As unto the 
formation of the human nature, it was the peculiar act of the Spirit, 
Luke 1: 35. (3.) As unto the term of the assumption, or the taking of 
our nature unto himself, it was the peculiar act of the person of the 
Son. Herein, as Damascen observes, the other persons had no 
concurrence, but only "kata boulesin kai eudokian"--"by counsel and 
 2. This assumption was the only immediate act of the divine nature on 
the human in the person of the Son. All those that follow, in 
subsistence, sustentation, with all others that are communicative, do 
ensue thereon. 
 3. This assumption and the hypostatical union are distinct and 
different in the formal reason of them. (1.) Assumption is the 
immediate act of the divine nature in the person of the Son on the 
human; union is mediate, by virtue of that assumption. (2.) Assumption 
is unto personality; it is that act whereby the Son of God and our 
nature became one person. Union is an act or relation of the natures 
subsisting in that one person. (3.) Assumption respects the acting of 
the divine and the passion of the human nature; the one assumeth, the 
other is assumed. Unions respects the mutual relation of the natures 
unto each other. Hence the divine nature may be said to be united unto 
the human, as well as the human unto the divine; but the divine nature 
cannot be said to be assumed as the human is. Wherefore assumption 
denotes the acting of the one nature and the passion of the other; 
union, the mutual relation that is between them both. 
 These things may be safely affirmed, and ought to be firmly believed, 
as the sense of the Holy Ghost in those expressions: "He took on him 
the seed of Abraham"--"He took on him the form of a servant;" and the 
like. And who can conceive the condescension of divine goodness, or 
the acting of divine wisdom and power therein? 
    II. That which followeth hereon, is the union of the two natures 
in the same person, or the hypostatical union. This is included and 
asserted in a multitude of divine testimonies. Isa. 7: 14, "Behold, a 
virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name 
Emmanuel," as Matt. 1: 23. He who was conceived and born of the virgin 
was Emmanuel, or God with us; that is, God manifest in the flesh, by 
the union of his two natures in the same person. Isa. 9: 6, "Unto us a 
child is born, unto us a son is given: and his name shall be called 
Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, the 
Prince of Peace." That the same person should be "the mighty God" and 
a "child born," is neither conceivable nor possible, nor can be true, 
but by the union of the divine and human natures in the same person. 
So he said of himself, "Before Abraham was, I am," John 8: 58. That 
he, the same person who then spake unto the Jews, and as a man was 
little more than thirty years of age, should also be before Abraham, 
undeniably confirms the union of another nature, in the same person 
with that wherein he spoke those words, and without which they could 
not be true. He had not only another nature which did exist before 
Abraham, but the same individual person who then spoke in the human 
nature did then exist. See to the same purpose, John 1: 14; Acts 20: 
28; Rom. 9: 5; Col. 2: 9; 1 John 3: 16. 
 This union the ancient church affirmed to be made "atreptoos", 
"without any change" in the person of the Son of God, which the divine 
nature is not subject unto;--"adiiretoos", with a distinction of 
natures, but "without any division" of them by separate subsistences;- 
-"asugchutoos", "without mixture" or confusion;--"achooristoos", 
"without separation" or distance; and "ousioodoos", "substantially," 
because it was of two substances or essences in the same person, in 
opposition unto all accidental union, as the "fulness of the Godhead 
dwelt in him bodily". 
 These expressions were found out and used by the ancient church to 
prevent the fraud of those who corrupted the doctrine of the person of 
Christ, and (as all of that Sort ever did, and yet continue so to do) 
obscured their pernicious sentiments under ambiguous expressions. And 
they also made use of sundry terms which they judged significant of 
this great mystery, or the incarnation of the Son of God. Such are 
"ensarkoosis", "incarnation;" "ensoomatoosis", "embodying," 
"enanthroopesis", "inhumanation;" "he despotike epidwmia, kai 
parousia, he oikonomia", to the same purpose; "he dia sarkos homilia", 
"his conversation in or by the flesh;" "he dia anthroopotetos 
faneroosis", "his manifestation by humanity;" "he eleusis", "the 
advent;" "he kenoosis", "the exinanition", or humiliation; "he tou 
Christou epifaneia", "the appearance" or manifestation "of Christ;" 
"he sugkatabasis", "the condescension". Most of these expressions are 
taken from the Scripture, and are used therein with respect unto this 
mystery, or some concernments of it. Wherefore, as our faith is not 
confined unto any one of these words or terms, so as that we should be 
obliged to believe not only the things intended, but also the manner 
of its expression in them; so, in as far as they explain the thing 
intended according unto the mind of the Holy Ghost in the Scripture, 
and obviate the senses of men of corrupt minds, they are to be 
embraced and defended as useful helps in teaching the truth 
 That whereby it is most usually declared in the writings of the 
ancients, is "charis henooseoos", "gratia unionis", the "grace of 
union;"--which form of words some manifesting themselves strangers 
unto, do declare how little conversant they are in their writings. 
Now, it is not any habitual inherent grace residing subjectively in 
the person or human nature of Christ that is intended, but things of 
another nature. 
 1. The cause of this union is expressed in it. This is the free 
grace and favour of God towards the man Christ Jesus--predestinating, 
designing, and taking him into actual union with the person of the 
Son, without respect unto, or foresight of, any precedent dignity or 
merit in him, 1 Pet. 1: 20. 
 Hence is that of Austin, "Ea gratia fit ab initio fidei suae homo 
quicunque Christianus, qua gratia homo ille ab initio factus est 
Christus," De Praedest. Sanct., cap. xv. For whereas all the inherent 
grace of the human nature of Christ, and all the holy obedience which 
proceeded from it, was consequent in order of nature unto this union, 
and an effect of it, they could in no sense be the meritorious or 
procuring causes of it;--it was of grace. 
 2. It is used also by many and designed to express the peculiar 
dignity of the human nature of Christ. This is that wherein no 
creature is participant, nor ever shall be unto eternity. This is the 
fundamental privilege of the human nature of Christ, which all others, 
even unto his eternal glory, proceed from, and are resolved into. 
 3. The glorious meekness and ability of the person of Christ, for 
and unto act the acts and duties of his mediatory office. For they are 
all resolved into the union of his natures in the same person, without 
which not one of them could be performed unto the benefit of the 
church. And this is that "grace of our Lord Jesus Christ", which 
renders him so glorious and amiable unto believers. Unto them "that 
believe he is precious." 
 The common prevalent expression of it at present in the church is 
the hypostatical union; that is, the union of the divine and human 
nature in the person of the Son of God, the human nature having no 
personality nor subsistence of its own. 
 With respect unto this union the name of Christ is called 
"Wonderful," as that which hath the pre-eminence in all the effects of 
divine wisdom. And it is a singular effect thereof. There is no other 
union in things divine or human, in things spiritual or natural, 
whether substantial or accidental, that is of the same kind with it,-- 
it differs specifically from them all. 
 (1.) The most glorious union is that of the Divine Persons in the 
same being or nature; the Father in the Son, the Son in the Father, 
the Holy Spirit in them both, and both in him. But this is a union of 
distinct persons in the unity of the same single nature. And this, I 
confess, is more glorious than that whereof we treat; for it is in God 
absolutely, it is eternal, of his nature and being. But this union we 
speak of is not God;--it is a creature,--an effect of divine wisdom 
and power. And it is different from it herein, inasmuch as that is of 
many distinct persons in the same nature;--this is of distinct natures 
in the same person. That union is natural, substantial, essential, in 
the same nature;--this, as it is not accidental, as we shall show, so 
it is not properly substantial, because it is not of the same nature, 
but of diverse in the game person, remaining distinct in their essence 
and substance, and is therefore peculiarly hypostatical or personal. 
Hence Austin feared not to say, that "Homo potius est in filio Dei, 
quam filius in Patre;" De Trin., lib. 1 cap 10. But that is true only 
in this one respect, that the Son is not so in the Father as to become 
one person with him. In all other respects it must be granted that the 
in-being of the Son in the Father--the union between them, which is 
natural, essential, and eternal--doth exceed this in glory, which was 
a temporary, external act of divine wisdom and grace. 
 (2.) The most eminent substantial union in things naturals is that 
of the soul and body constituting an individual person. There is, I 
confess, some kind of similitude between this union and that of the 
different natures in the person of Christ; but it is not of the same 
kind or nature. And the dissimilitudes that are between them are more, 
and of greater importance, than those things are wherein there seems 
to be an agreement between them. For,--1st, The soul and body are so 
united as to constitute one entire nature. The soul is not human 
nature, nor is the body, but it is the consequent of their union. Soul 
and body are essential parts of human nature; but complete human 
nature they are not but by virtue of their union. But the union of the 
natures in the person of Christ doth not constitute a new nature, that 
either was not or was not complete before. Each nature remains the 
same perfect, complete nature after this union. 2dly, The union of the 
soul and body doth constitute that nature which is made essentially 
complete thereby,--a new individual person, with a subsistence of its 
own, which neither of them was nor had before that union. But although 
the person of Christ, as God and man, be constituted by this union, 
yet his person absolutely, and his individual subsistence, was perfect 
absolutely antecedent unto that union. He did not become a new person, 
another person than he was before, by virtue of that union; only that 
person assumed human nature to itself to be its own, into personal 
subsistence. 3dly, Soul and body are united by an external efficient 
cause, or the power of God, and not by the act of one of them upon 
another. But this union is effected by that act of the divine nature 
towards the human which we have before described. 4thly, Neither soul 
nor body have any personal subsistence before their union; but the 
sole foundation of this union was in this, that the Son of God was a 
selfsubsisting person from eternity. 
 (3.) There are other unions in things natural, which are by mixture 
of composition. Hereon something is produced composed of various 
parts, which is not what any of them are. And there is a conversion of 
things, when one thing is substantially changed into another,--as the 
water in the miracle that Christ wrought was turned into wine; but 
this union hath no resemblance unto any of them. There is not a 
"krasis", "a mixture," a contemperation of the divine and human 
natures into one third nature, or the conversion of one into another. 
Such notions of these things some fancied of old. Eutyches' supposed 
such a composition and mixture of the two natures in the person of 
Christ, as that the human nature at least should lose all its 
essential properties, and have neither understanding nor will of its 
own. And some of the Asians fancied a substantial change of that 
created divine nature which they acknowledged, into the human. But 
these imaginations, instead of professing Christ to be God and man, 
would leave him indeed neither God nor man; and have been sufficiently 
confuted. Wherefore the union we treat of hath no similitude unto any 
such natural union as is the effect of composition or mutation. 
 (4.) There is an artificial union wherewith some have illustrated 
this mystery; as that of fire and iron in the same sword. The sword is 
one; the nature of fire and that of iron different;--and the acts of 
them distinct; the iron cuts, the fire burns;--and the effects 
distinct; cutting and burning; yet is the agent or instrument but one 
sword. Something of this nature may be allowed to be spoken in way of 
allusion; but it is a weak and imperfect representation of this 
mystery, on many accounts. For the heat in iron is rather an accident 
than a substance, is separable from it, and in sundry other things 
diverts the mind from due apprehensions of this mystery. 
 (5.) There is a spiritual union,--namely, of Christ and believers; 
or of God in Christ and believers, which is excellent and mysterious, 
such as all other unions in nature are made use of in the Scripture to 
illustrate and represent. This some among us do judge to be of the 
same kind with that of the Son of God and the man Christ Jesus. Only 
they say they differ in degrees. The eternal Word was so united unto 
the man Christ Jesus, as that thereby he was exalted inconceivably 
above all other men, though ever so holy, and had greater 
communications from God than any of them. Wherefore he was on many 
accounts the Son of God in a peculiar manner; and, by a communication 
of names, is called God also. This being the opinion of Nestorius, 
revived again in the days wherein we live, I shall declare wherein he 
placed the conjunction or union of the two natures of Christ,--whereby 
he constituted two distinct persons of the Son of God and the Son of 
man, as these now do, and briefly detect the vanity of it. For the 
whole of it consisted in the concession of sundry things that were 
true in particular, making use of the pretence of them unto the denial 
of that wherein alone the true union of the person of Christ did 
 Nestorius allowed the presence of the Son of God with the man Christ 
Jesus to consist in five things. 
 [1.] He said he was so present with him "kata parastasin", or by 
inhabitation, as a man dwells in a house or a ship to rule it. He 
dwelt in him as his temple. So he dwells in all that believe, but in 
him in a more especial manner. And this is true with respect unto that 
fulness of the Spirit whereby God was with him and in him; as he is 
with and in all believers, according unto the measures wherein they 
are made partakers of him. But this answers not that divine testimony, 
that in him dwelt "all the fulness of the Godhead bodily," Col. 2: 9. 
The fulness of the Godhead is the entire divine nature. This nature is 
considered in the person of the Son, or eternal Word; for it was the 
Word that was made flesh. And this could no otherwise dwell in him 
bodily, really, substantially, but in the assumption of that nature to 
be his own. And no sense can be given unto this assertion to preserve 
it from blasphemy,--that the fulness of the Godhead dwelleth in any of 
the saints bodily. 
 [2.] He allowed an especial presence, "kata schesin", as some call 
it; that is, by such a union of affections as is between intimate 
friends. The soul of God rested always in that man [Christ];--in him 
was he well pleased: and he was wholly given up in his affections unto 
Gods. This also is true; but there is that which is no less true, that 
renders it useless unto the pretensions of Nestorius. For he allowed 
the divine person of the Son of God. But whatever is spoken of this 
nature concerning the love of God unto the man Christ Jesus, and of 
his love to God, it is the person of the Father that is intended 
therein; nor can any one instance be given where it is capable of 
another interpretation. For it is still spoken of with reference unto 
the work that he was sent of the Father to accomplish, and his own 
delight therein. 
 [3.] He allowed it to be "kata axian", by way of dignity and honour. 
For this conjunction is such, as that whatever honour is given unto 
the Son of God is also to be given unto that Son of man. But herein, 
to recompense big sacrilege in taking away the hypostatical union from 
the church, he would introduce idolatry into it. For the honour that 
is due unto the Son of God is divine, religious, or the owning of all 
essential divine properties in him, with a due subjection of soul unto 
him thereon. But to give this honour unto the man Christ Jesus, 
without a supposition of the subsistence of his human nature in the 
person of the Son of God, and solely on that account, is highly 
 [4.] He asserted it to be "kata tautoboulian", or on the account of 
the consent and agreement that was between the will of God and the 
will of the man Christ Jesus. But no other union will thence ensue, 
but what is between God and the angels in heaven; in whom there is a 
perfect compliance with the will of God in all things. Wherefore, if 
this be the foundation of this union, he might be said to take on him 
the nature of angels as well as the seed of Abraham; which is 
expressly denied by the apostle, Heb. 2: 16, 17. 
 [6.] "Kath homoovumian", by an equivocal denomination, the name of 
the one person, namely, of the Son of God, being accommodated unto the 
other, namely, the Son of man. So they were called gods unto whom the 
word of God came. But this no way answers any one divine testimony 
wherein the name of God is assigned unto the Lord Christ,--as those 
wherein God is said "to lay down his life for us," and to "purchase 
his church with his own blood," to come and be "manifest in the 
flesh," wherein no homonyms or equivocation can take place. By all 
these ways he constituted a separable accidental union, wherein 
nothing in kind, but in degree only, was peculiar unto the man Christ 
 But all these things, so far as they are true, belong unto the third 
thing to be considered in his person,--namely, the communion or mutual 
communication of the distinct natures therein. But his personal union 
consists not in any of them, nor in all of them together; nor do they 
answer any of the multiplied testimonies given by the Holy Ghost unto 
this glorious mystery. Some few of them may be mentioned. 
 "The Word was made flesh," John 1:14. There can be but two senses of 
these words (1st,) That the Word ceased to be what it was, and was 
substantially turned into flesh (2dly,) That continuing to be what it 
was, it was made to be also what before it was not. The first sense is 
destructive of the Divine Being and all its essential properties. The 
other can be verified only herein, that the Word took that flesh--that 
is, our human nature--to be his own, his own nature wherein he was 
made flesh; which is that we plead for. For this assertion, that the 
person of the Son took our nature to be his own, is the same with that 
of the assumption of the human nature into personal subsistence with 
himself. And the ways of the presence of the Son of God with the man 
Christ Jesus, before mentioned, do express nothing in answer unto this 
divine testimony, that "The Word was made flesh". 
 "Being in the form of God, he took upon him the form of a servant, 
and became obedient," Phil. 2: 6-8. That by his being "in the form of 
God," his participation in and of the same divine nature with the 
Father is intended, these men grant; and that herein he was a person 
distinct from him Nestorius of old acknowledged, though it be by ours 
denied. But they can fancy no distinction that shall bear the 
denomination and relation of Father and Son; but all is inevitably 
included in it which we plead for under that name. This person "took 
on him the form of a servant,"--that is, the nature of man in the 
condition of a servant. For it is the same with his being made of a 
woman, made under the law; or taking on him the seed of Abraham. And 
this person became obedient. It was in the human nature, in the form 
of a servant, wherein he was obedient. Wherefore that human nature was 
the nature of that person,--a nature which he took on him and made his 
own, wherein he would be obedient. And that the human nature is the 
nature of the person of him who was in the form of God, is that 
hypostatical union which we believe and plead for. 
 "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and his name shall 
be called The mighty God," Isa. 9: 6. The child and the mighty God are 
the same person, or he that is "born a child" cannot be rightly called 
"The mighty God." And the truth of many other expressions in the 
Scripture hath its sole foundation in this hypostatical union. So the 
Son of God took on him "the seed of Abraham," was "made of a woman," 
did "partake of flesh and blood," was "manifest in the flesh." That he 
who was born of the blessed Virgin was "before Abraham,"--that he was 
made of the "seed of David according to the flesh,"--whereby God 
"purchased the church with his own blood,"--are all spoken of one and 
the same person, and are not true but on the account of the union of 
the two natures therein. And all those who plead for the accidental 
metaphorical union, consisting in the instances before mentioned, do 
know well enough that the true Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ is 
opposed by them. 
 III. Concurrent with, and in part consequent unto, this union, is 
the communion of the distinct natures of Christ hypostatically united. 
And herein we may consider,--1. What is peculiar unto the Divine 
nature; 2. What is common unto both. 
 1. There is a threefold communication of the divine nature unto the 
human in this hypostatical union. (1.) Immediate in the person of the 
Son. This is subsistence. In itself it is "anupostatos",--that which 
hath not a subsistence of its own, which should give it individuation 
and distinction from the same nature in any other person. But it hath 
its subsistence in the person of the Son, which thereby is its own. 
The divine nature, as in that person, is its suppositum. (2.) By the 
Holy Spirit he filled that nature with an all-fulness of habitual 
grace; which I have at large explained elsewhere. (3.) In all the acts 
of his office, by the divine nature, he communicated worth and dignity 
unto what was acted in and by the human nature. 
 For that which some have for a long season troubled the church 
withal, about such a real communication of the properties of the 
divine nature unto the human, which should neither be a transfusion of 
them into it, so as to render it the subject of them, nor yet consist 
in a reciprocal denomination from their mutual in-being in the same 
subject,--it is that which neither themselves do, nor can any other 
well understand. 
 2. Wherefore, concerning the communion of the natures in this 
personal union, three things are to be observed, which the Scripture, 
reason, and the ancient church, do all concur in. 
 (1.) Each nature doth preserve its own natural, essential 
properties, entirely unto and in itself; without mixture, without 
composition or confusion, without such a real communication of the one 
unto the other, as that the one should become the subject of the 
properties of the other. The Deity, in the abstract, is not made the 
humanity, nor on the contrary. The divine nature is not made 
temporary, finite, united, subject to passion or alteration by this 
union; nor is the human nature rendered immense, infinite, omnipotent. 
Unless this be granted, there will not be two natures in Christ, a 
divine and a human; nor indeed either of them, but somewhat else, 
composed of both. 
 (2.) Each nature operates in him according unto its essential 
properties. The divine nature knows all things, upholds all things, 
rules all things, acts by its presence everywhere; the human nature 
was born, yielded obedience, died, and rose again. But it is the same 
person, the same Christ, that acts all these things,--the one nature 
being his no less than the other. Wherefore,-- 
 (3.) The perfect, complete work of Christ, in every act of his 
mediatory office,--in all that he did as the King, Priest, and Prophet 
of the church,--in all that he did and suffered,--in all that he 
continueth to do for us, in or by virtue of whether nature soever it 
be done or wrought,--is not to be considered as the act of this or 
that nature in him alone, but it is the act and work of the whole 
person,--of him that is both God and man in one person. And this gives 
 IV. Unto that variety of enunciations which is used in the Scripture 
concerning him; which I shall name only, and conclude. 
 1. Some things are spoken of the person of Christ, wherein the 
enunciation is verified with respect unto one nature only; as--"The 
Word was with God, and the Word was God," John 1: l;--"Before Abraham 
was, I am," John 8: 68,--"Upholding all things by the word of his 
power," Heb. 1": 3. These things are all spoken of the person of 
Christ, but belong unto it on account of his divine nature. So is it 
said of him, "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given," Isa. 
9: 6;--"A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief," Isa. 53: 3. They 
are spoken of the person of Christ, but are verified in human nature 
only, and the person on the account thereof. 
 2. Sometimes that is spoken of the person which belongs not 
distinctly and originally unto either nature, but doth belong unto him 
on the account of their union in him,--which are the most direct 
enunciations concerning the person of Christ. So is he said to be the 
Head, the King, Priest, and Prophet of the church; all which offices 
he bears, and performs the acts of them, not on the singular account 
of this or that nature, but of the hypostatical union of them both. 
 3. Sometimes his person being denominated from one nature, the 
properties and acts of the other are assigned unto it. So they 
"crucified the Lord of glory." He is the Lord of glory on the account 
of his divine nature only; thence is his person denominated when he is 
said to be crucified, which was in the human nature only. So God 
purchased his church "with his own blood," Acts 20: 28. The 
denomination of the person is from the divine nature only--he is God; 
but the act ascribed unto it, or what he did by his own blood, was of 
the human nature only. But the purchase that was made thereby was the 
work of the person as both God and man. So, on the other side, "The 
Son of man who is in heaven," John 3: 13. The denomination of the 
person is from the human nature only,--"The Son of man." That ascribed 
unto it was with respect unto the divine nature only,--"who is in 
 4. Sometimes the person being denominated from one nature, that is 
ascribed unto it which is common unto both; or else being denominated 
from both, that which is proper unto one only is ascribed unto him. 
See Rom. 9: 5; Matt. 22: 42. 
 These kinds of enunciations the ancients expressed by "enallage", 
"alteration;" "alloioosis", "permutation," "koinotes", "communion;" 
"tropos antidoseoos", "the manner of mutual position;" "koinoonia 
idioomatoon", "the communication of properties," and other the like 
 These things I have only mentioned, because they are commonly 
handled by others in their didactical and polemical discourses 
concerning the person of Christ, and could not well be here utterly 

John Owen, Christologia

(continued in Part 19...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-05: owlog-18.txt