« ForrigeFortsæt »
his humanity when he ascended, and has no human body in heaven. The Nestorians so rent the two names of Christ asunder, as to make two distinct persons of them.
But ye, beloved, have not so learned Christ. Ye know he is, 1. True and very God; 2. True and very man ; that, 3. These two natures make but one person, being united inseparably; 4. That they are not confounded or swallowed up one in another, but remain still distinct in the person of Christ. Hold ye
the sound words which cannot be condemned. Great things hang upon all these truths. O suffer not a stone to be loosed out of the foundation.
2. Adore the love of the Father and the Son, who valued your souls so highly, and were willing to save you at such a cost.
The love of the Father is herein admirably conspicuous, who so vehemently willed our salvation, that he could degrade the beloved of his soul to so vile and contemptible a state.
And how astonishing is the love of Christ, that would make such a stoop as this to exalt us! Oh that you would get your hearts suitably impressed and affected with this love both of the Father and the Son! How is the courage of some noble Romans celebrated in history, for the brave adventures they made for the commonwealth ; but they could never stoop as Christ did, being so infinitely below him in personal dignity.
3. And here infinite wisdom has also left a famous and everlasting mark of itself, which invites, yea, even chains the eyes of angels and men to itself. Had there been a general council of angels to devise a way of recovering poor sinners, they would all have been at an everlasting demur and loss about it. It could not have entered their thoughts, (though they are most intelligent and sagacious,) that ever mercy, pardon, and
grace, should find such a way as this to issue forth from the heart of God to the hearts of sinners. Oh, how wisely is the method of our recovery laid! so that Christ
may be well called "the power and wisdom of God," 1 Cor. 1 : 24; forasmuch as in him the Divine wisdom is more glorified than in all the other works of God upon which he has impressed it.
4. Hence also we infer the incomparable excellency of the christian religion, that shows poor sinners such a sure foundation on which the trembling conscience may rest. While poor distressed souls look to themselves, they are perpetually in darkness. The cry of the distressed natural conscience is, " Wherewith shall I come before the Lord ?” Conscience sees God arming himself with wrath, to avenge himself for sin, and cries out, Oh, how shall 1 prevent him; if he would accept the fruit of my body (those dear pledges of nature) for the sin of my soul, he should have them ! But now we see God coming down in flesh, and so intimately uniting our nature to himself, that it had properly no personal separate subsistence, but is united with the Divine person: hence it is easy to imagine what worth and value must be in that blood; and how eternal love, springing forth triumphantly from it, flourishes into par. don, grace,
peace. Here is a way in which the sin. ner may see justice and mercy kissing each other, and the latter exercised freely without prejudice to the former. All other consciences, through the world, lie either in a deep sleep in the devil's arms, or else are rolling, sea-sick, upon the waves of their own fears and dismal presages. Oh, happy are they that have dropped anchor on this ground, and not only know they have peace, but why they have it.
5. Of how great moment is it, that Christ should have union with our particular persons, as well as with our common nature! For, by this union with our na
ture alone, never any man was, or can be saved. Yea, let me add, that this union with our natures is utterly in vain to you, and will do you no good, except he have union with your persons by faith also. It is indeed infinite
mercy that God is come so near you as to dwell in
your flesh; and that he has fixed upon such an excel. lent method to save poor sinners. And has he done all this ? Is he indeed come home, even to your own doors, to seek peace ? Does he veil his insupportable glory under flesh, that he may treat the more familiarly ? and yet do you refuse him, and shut your heart against him? Then hear one word, and let thine ears tingle at the sound of it: thy sin is thereby aggravated beyond the sin of devils, who never sinned against a mediator in their own nature ; who never despised, or refused, because, indeed, they were never offered terms of mercy, as you are. And I doubt not but the devils themselves, who now tempt you to reject, will, to all eternity, upbraid your solly for rejecting this great salvation, which in this excellent way is brought down even to your own doors.
6. If Jesus Christ has assumed our nature, then he is sensibly touched with the infirmities that attend it, and so hath pity and compassion for us under all our burdens. And indeed this was one end of his assuming it, that he might be able to have compassion on us: "Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest, in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.” Heb. 2 : 17, 18. Oh what a comfort is this to us, that he who is our High Priest in heaven, has our nature to enable him to take compassion on us !
7. Hence we see to what a height God intends to build up the happiness of man, in that he hath laid the foundation thereof so deep, in the incarnation of his Son. They that intend to build high, lay the foundation low. The happiness and glory of our bodies, as well as our souls, are founded in Christ's taking our flesh upon him ; for therein, as in a model or pattern, God intended to show what in time he resolves to make of our bodies ; for he will transform our vile bodies, and make them one day conformable to the glorious body of Jesus Christ. Phil. 3:21. This flesh was therefore assumed by Christ, that in it might be shown, as in a pattern, how God intends to honor and exalt it. And, indeed, a greater honor cannot be done to the nature of man, than what is already done by this grace of union; nor are our persons capable of higher glory than what consists in their conformity to this glorious Head.
8. How wonderful a comfort is it, that he who dwells in our flesh is God! What joy may not a poor believer make out of this! God and man in one person! Oh! thrice happy conjunction ! As man, he is full of experimental sense of our infirmities, wants, and burdens; and, as God, he can support and supply them all. The aspect of faith upon this wonderful Person, how relieving, how reviving, how abundantly satisfying is it! God will never divorce the believing soul and its comfort, after he hath married our nature to his own Son, by the hypostatical, and our persons also, by the blessed mystical union.
OF THE AUTHORITY BY WHICH CHRIST, AS MEDIATOR, ACTED.
"For him hath God the Father sealed.”—John, 6 : 27.
This Scripture is a part of Christ's excellent reply to an earthly-minded multitude, who followed him, not for any spiritual excellencies that they saw in him, or souladvantages they expected by him, but for bread. Instead of making his service their meat and drink, they only served him that they might eat and drink. Self may creep into the best hearts and actions ; but it only predominates in the hypocrite. These people had sought Christ from place to place, and having at last found him, they salute him with the question, "Rabbi, whence camest thou hither ?” verse 25. Christ's reply is partly dissuasive, and partly directive. He dissuades them from putting the secondary and subordinate in the place of the principal and ultimate end; from preferring their bodies to their souls, their fleshly accommodations to the glory of God. " Labor not for the meat that perisheth:” by which he does not take them off from their law. ful labors and callings, but dissuades them from minding those things too intently; and from the odious sin of making religion but a pretence for sensual gratification. " But labor for that meat which endureth to eternal life :” to get bread for your souls to live by eternally. And, that he might engage their diligence in seeking it to purpose, he shows them not only where they may have it," which the Son of man shall give you,”—but also how they may be fully satisfied that he hath it for them, "For him hath God the Father sealed.” In these words are three parts observable.
.1. The Person sealing or investing Christ with au