I. What is the unction or anointing of Christ?
Anointing was a ceremony by which prophets, priests and kings were confirmed in their office by being anointed either with common, or with a particular kind of oil. This anointing signified: 1. An ordination, or calling to the office for which they were thus set apart; 2. It signified the promise and bestowment of the gifts necessary for the purpose of sustaining those upon whom the burden of either of these offices was imposed. There was also an analogy between the sign, or the external anointing, and the thing signified thereby because as oil strengthens, invigorates, renovates, and makes firm the dry and feeble members of the body, and renders them active and fit for the discharge of their office, so the Holy Spirit enlivens and renews our nature, unfit of itself for the accomplishment of any thing that is good, and furnishes it with strength and power to do that which is agreeable to God, and to discharge properly the duties imposed upon us in the relations in which are called to serve him.

Moreover, those who were anointed under the Old Testament were types of Christ, so that it may be said that their anointing was only a shadow and so imperfect. But the anointing of Christ was perfect. For “in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” (Col. 2:9.) He alone received all the gifts of the Spirit in the highest number and degree. Another point of difference is seen in this, that none of those who were anointed under the Old Testament received all the gifts some received more, others less, but no one received all, neither did all receive them in the same degree. Christ, however, had all these gifts in the fullest and highest sense. Therefore, although this anointing was proper to those of the Old Testament, as well as to Christ, yet it was real and perfect in no one excepting Christ.

Obj. But we no where read of the anointing of Christ in the Holy Scriptures.

Ans. It is true, indeed, that it is no where said that Christ was anointed ceremoniously, but he was anointed really and spiritually, that is, he received the thing signified thereby, which was the Holy Ghost. “Therefore God, thy God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me.” (Ps. 45:7. Heb. 1:9. Is. 61:1.) The anointing of Christ is, therefore, spoken of both in the Old and New Testament. It behooved Christ to be, not a typical prophet, priest and king, but that one which was signified and true, of whom all the others were but shadows. Hence it behooved him to be anointed, not typically, but really; for it was necessary that there should be an analogy between the office and the anointing, and as a matter of consequence, it became necessary that his anointing should not be sacramental, but spiritual; not typical, but real.

Christ was, then, anointed,
1. Because he was ordained to the office of mediator by the will of his Heavenly Father. "I am not come of myself, but the Father hath sent me.” “God hath spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things.” (John 7:28. Heb. 1:1.)

2. Because his human nature was endowed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit without measure; so that he had all the gifts and graces necessary for restoring, ruling and preserving his church, and for administering the government of the whole world, and directing it to the glory of God, and the salvation of his people. “For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God; for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.” (John 3:34.) These two parts of the anointing of Christ differ from each other in this manner, that the conferring of gifts has respect to the human nature only, whilst his ordination to the office of mediator has respect to both natures. Hence, an answer is readily furnished to another objection which we sometimes hear: God cannot be anointed Christ is God. Therefore, he could be anointed.

Ans. We grant the whole if understood of that nature in which Christ is God, that he cannot be anointed,

1. Because it is impossible for us to add anything of justice, wisdom and power to the Godhead.

2. Because the Holy Spirit, by whom the anointing was effected, is the proper Spirit of Christ, no less, than of the Father. Therefore, just as no one can give thee thy spirit which is in thee, because what thou hast cannot be given to thee, so no one can give the Holy Spirit to God, because he is in him, from him, is his proper Spirit, and is given to others by him.

Obj. But if Christ could not be anointed as to his Divinity, he is then prophet, priest, king and mediator, according to his humanity only for he is mediator according to that nature only which could be anointed. But it was possible for him to be anointed only as to his humanity. Therefore, he is mediator according to his humanity alone. The minor proposition is proven by the definition of anointing, which is to receive gifts. But he received gifts only as to his human nature. Therefore, it was in respect to this alone that he was anointed. Ans. We deny what is here affirmed, because the definition which is given of anointing is not sufficiently distinct nor full; for anointing does not merely include the reception of the gifts which pertain only to the humanity of Christ, but also an ordination to the office of mediator which has respect to both natures. Therefore, although the humanity of Christ alone could receive the Holy Spirit, yet it does not follow that his Divinity was excluded from this anointing, in as far as it was a designation to the office of mediator. Or we may present the argument clearer by considering it negatively: Christ is not mediator according to the nature in which he is not anointed. He is not anointed as to his Divinity. Therefore he is not mediator in respect to his Godhead.

Ans. There are here four terms. In the major, the anointing is taken for both parts thereof, or for the whole anointing for the designation to the office, and the bestowment of gifts. In the minor, it is considered only in relation to one part of the anointing. Therefore, it follows that Christ was anointed according to each nature, although in a different manner, as has been shown. Hence, Christ is prophet, priest, king and mediator, in respect to each nature, which is confirmed in the word of God by these two fundamental rules :

1. The properties of the one nature of the mediator, are attributed to the whole person in the concrete, according to the communication of properties; but in respect to that nature only to which they are peculiar, as God is angry, suffered, died, viz., according to his humanity. The man Christ is omnipotent, eternal, everywhere, viz., according to his Divinity.

2. The names, also, of the office of mediator, are attributed to the whole person in respect to both natures, yet preserving the properties of each nature, and the differences in the works peculiar to each; because, both the divine and human nature, together with the operations thereof, are necessary to the discharge of the office of mediator. So that each may perform that which is proper to it, in connection with the other.
Irenaeus says, in relation to this subject, that this anointing is to be understood as comprehending the three persons of the Godhead: the Father, as the anointer, the Son, as the anointed, and the Holy Spirit, as the unction, or the anointing.