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of the established church are carrying on, with might and main. The cry is given, “Who is on the Lord's side ?" let
" them come up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the
66 Lord against the mighty.” Some, both ministers and Christians, profess friendship to the cause of Christ, his covenanted doctrine, discipline, worship, and government; but they love to dwell at ease, and, like Issachar, to couch under the burden : but I have little skill if that be the Lord's way, and the Lord's call, when others are jeoparding themselves “in the high places of the field,” for the cause and testimony of Jesus. I may say to such, be who they will, as the prophet said to Israel, in a day of defection from the Lord, “ How long halt
between two opinions? If Baal be God, serve him, and if Jehovah he God," then serve and follow him. If the judicatories of the church be fighting the cause of Christ, and building the Lord's house, then cleave to them, and good reason: but if they be building Jericho, instead of Jerusalem ; if they be pulling down the work of God, instead of building it up; if the ark of God, bis covenanted cause, and testimony, be carried without the camp, it is time to follow it; let “ us go out, therefore, unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.” And if folk shift following Christ, his cause and sworn testimony, especially when it is espoused by a handful upon all hazards, they need to consider upon it in time, lest that sentence go against them; “Curse ye Meroz, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof, because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty." Christ and his cause will carry the day without you; but take heed that he do not resent it, ere all be done; his frowns and down-looks are heavier than the frowns of all the men on earth, or angels in heaven, or devils in hell.
THE HUMAN NATURE PREFERRED TO THE ANGELIC.
For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the
seed of Abraham.-HEB. 11. 15.
The apostle, ver. 10, had spoken of Christ as the Captain of our salvation: he shows, ver. 14, and 15, how, according
to the first promise, Gen. iii. 15, he had taken the field, and bruised the head of the old serpent; why, says he, ver. 14: “ He took part of the children's flesh, that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death,” &c. The legal power of death fell, by virtue of the sentence of a broken law, into the hand of the devil, as God's executioner; and it had continued there, unless law and justice had been satisfied by the death of the Surety; but Christ, “ through death, destroyed him that had the power of death;” that is, he sapped the foundation of his authority and power, by his justice-satisfying blood: he, as it were, wrung the keys of hell and death out of the devil's hand, upon Mount Calvary, and so “ spoiled principalities and powers, and made a show of them openly.” The use that we, law-condemned sinners, are to make of this, is (verse 15,) to pull up our sinking spirits, and triumph over death as a conquered and slain enemy, saying, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" for he did all this “to deliver them, who, through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Now the apostle, in the words of my reading, gives a good reason why Christ, as the Captain of our salvation, destroyed death, “and him that had the power of it,” and delivers poor men from the sting and fear of it. Why, says he, he is our kinsman, to whom the right of redemption belonged; for verily he took not on him the nature of angels, &c.
Where we have, first, a negation or denial of a great dignity to the angelic nature; he took not on him the nature of angels, or, as it reads in the margin, he taketh not hold of angels : when an innumerable company of them fell from the state in which they were created, he took not hold of their nature, to recover them from wo and misery; it is plainly supposed, that they were not the objects of his love, and therefore he did not become a God-angel, as he became a God
In the words following, we have, secondly, an affirmation of this honour to the human nature, which he denied to the angelic; he took on him the seed of Abraham, in the margin, of the seed of Abraham he taketh hold; that is, he joined the human nature, in the seed of Abraham, to himself, in a personal union, that so, being our Kinsman, he might become our Redeemer and our Husband. The apostle, when he is writing to the Galatians, who were Gentiles, tells them, Gal. iv. 4, that he was “made of a woman,” according to the first promise, Gen. iii. 15; but when he writes to the Hebrews, he speaks in the style of the promise made to Abraham, “in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;" by telling them, that, according to that promise, he took on
him the seed of Abraham, that so they might be encouraged to believe in him; for ministers, in preaching Christ, are to bring the sinner and the Saviour as near to one another as possible.
Thirdly, In the words we have a strong asseveration, showing the certainty and importance of this matter, that he took not on him the nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham: Verily, says he, it is so; it is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation;" and therefore, let all the seed of Israel, or Abraham, believe it, and set to their seal of faith to it.
OBSERV. “That it is a truth of the greatest certainty and. moment, that the Son of God, when he passed by the nature of angels, took on him the human nature, in the seed, or family, of Abraham."
The doctrine is clearly founded upon the words, For rerily he took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
In discoursing upon the doctrine a little, I shall, through divine assistance, make it evident,
I. That the Son of God took not on him the nature of angels.
II. Make it appear, that he has taken to him the human nature, and is become one of our tribe and family.
III. Show what may be imported in his taking on him the seed of Abraham, or his taking hold of it as in the margin.
IV. Show what is the importance of this truth, implied in the asseveration verily.
I. The first thing is, to make it evident, that Christ, the Son of God, took not on him the nature of angels.
Of all created beings, angels are the most excellent, being pure immaterial spirits, approaching nearest to the nature of God, who is the infinite, eternal, and uncreated Spirit, Psal. civ. 4: “ He maketh his angels spirits, his ministers a flaming fire;" and yet when they fell from their first state, and so needed a Saviour as much as fallen man, yet the apostle here tells us, with a verily, that he took not on their nature, or did not catch hold of them, to save them from ruin. This is clear and evident from the terms in which the first promise is uttered, Gen. iii. 15; where, at the same time that the remedy and relief is promised to fallen man, vengeance and
wrath is denounced against Satan, “ It shall bruise thy head," says the Lord to Satan, namely, the “ seed of the woman.' This is upon the matter repeated, Is. Ixiii. 4: “The day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come;" as if he had said, “The old quarrel with Satan, the enemy of man's salvation, is still in mine heart, I am to execute vengeance upon him when I come in the flesh, to redeem my people from his slavery and bondage. And, accordingly, we are told, Col. ii. 15. That he “ spoiled principalities and powers," and triumphed over them in his cross. Eternal war is proclaimed from heaven against the fallen angels: hence we are told, Jude 6, “ The angels which kept not their first estate, he has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day." From all which it is clear, that he is so far from showing such a regard to the fallen angels, as to take their nature upon him, that he has taken up, and will pursue an everlasting quarrel against them. And I make no doubt but it fills those evil spirits with horror and torment, to hear these tidings told in this assembly, where we are met together to commemorate the love of God, in taking on the human nature, and giving it a sacrifice for the sin of man.
I know some divines pretend to assign some reasons, why God passed by the nature of angels, when he took on him the human nature: but seeing the Spirit of God is silent as to this matter, it is safest for us to resolve it into the will of that sovereign Lord, “who doth in the armies of heaven, and amongst the inhabitants of the earth,” what pleaseth him ; and to say with Christ, Matth. xi. 26, “ Even so, O Father, for so it seemeth good in thy sight.” And therefore I proceed to
II. The second thing proposed, which was, to prove, that the glorious Son of God, who thinks it not “ robbery to 'be equal with God,” has indeed taken upon him the human nature, although he has passed by the nature of angels.
Sirs, we need all much to be established in the faith of this glorious and fundamental truth. A flaw in our faith as to this, makes the whole building totter; and I am afraid that they who think it an easy matter to believe it, never yet saw the infinite distance between the nature of God and the nature of man; for, without controversy, this is a great mystery,
“God made manifest in the flesh.” And the truth and certainty of it may be cleared and confirmed,
1st, From scripture prophecy concerning him, Psal. xxii., where he speaks of his hands and his feet being pierced; of his being cast upon his Father's care from the womb: “ Thou art he that took me out of my mother's womb," So, Is. liii., through the whole, the prophet speaks of his being wounded and bruised for our iniquities, of his death and resurrection, which all plainly suppose his taking on our nature.
2dly, Scripture history makes it evident, that he took on him our nature in the seed of Abraham, particularly his genealogy, Matth. i., and Luke iii. Yea, the whole history of the four evangelists concerning his birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension, in our nature, into heaven, proves, that verily he took on him the seed of Abraham: how could his hands and his feet be pierced with nails, and his side with a spear? how could blood and water issue forth at the wound? if he had not verily taken on him the seed of Abraham.
3dly, This is clear from plain scripture testimony. I only mention these two or three: The testimony of the apostle here, in the 14th verse of this chapter: "Forasmuch, then, as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same.” Rom. i. 3: “ Jesus Christ, who was made of the seed of David, according to the flesh.” Rom. ix. 5: “Of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all God blessed for ever." John i. 14: “ The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us; (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”.
4thly, Take the testimony of angels to this great truth: the angel Gabriel attests it, when he said to the virgin Mary, Luke i. 30-32: “ Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favour with God: and behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus; he shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest.” So in the 2nd chapter, 10th verse, the angels tell the shepherds, “We bring you good tidings of great joy; for. unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."
5thly, He goes yet higher, and gives you the testimony of the “ three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Spirit.” The Father attests it by preparing a body for him. The Son attests it by putting it on; he took on him the seed of Abraham ; he wore it on earth for about thirtythree years, and from hence has carried it away to heaven with him, and from heaven declares the truth of his incarnation and death, saying, “ I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, and have the keys of hell and of death,” Rev. i. 18. The Holy Ghost attests it, by his forming the human nature in the womb of the virgin, by his overshadowing power, But I do not insist, The titles