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ated nature; it was necessary it should be that which is common to men. The law being given to man, the obedience required by it, as the condition of life, was to be performed by man, a real though sinless man.. For the wisdom and equity of the supreme Legislator could not have appeared in enacting a law for the use of mankind, if it had never, so much as in one instance, been honoured with perfect obedience by any in our nature. And as man was become a transgressor of the law, under its curse, and bound to suffer eternal misery, it was necessary that he who should undertake his deliverance by vicarious sufferings, should be himself a man. It would not have appeared agreeable that a different nature from that which sinned, should have suffered for sin. Had the infinite Sovereign been pleased to have redeemed the angels that fell, we may with reverence suppose that it would have appeared suitable to divine wisdom that their Redeemer should have assumed the angelic nature. But as man, having lost his happiness, was the creature to be redeemed; and the human nature, having lost its excellence, was the nature to be restored; it was necessary that redemption, and this restoration, should be effected in the human nature. For as by the disobedience of one man many were made sinners, brought under condemnation, and liable to eternal death; even so, by the obedience of one man, Jesus Christ, must many be made righteous, be delivered from condemnation, and accepted to everlasting life.
It was necessary also that the human nature of Christ, in which he was to accomplish our deliverance, should be derived from the common root and fountain of it in our first parents. For it does not appear suitable to answer the various purposes designed by the assumption of it, that it should be created immediately out of nothing; nor yet that his body should be formed out of the dust of the earth, as was the body of the first man. Because, on that supposition, there would have been no such alliance between him and us as to lay a foundation for our hope of salvation by his under
taking. It was necessary that he who should sustain the character and perform the work of a Redeemer, should be our God, or near kinsman; one to whom the right of redemption belonged.* So it was declared in the first promise, The seed of the woman, and no other, shall bruise the serpent's head. He was not only to assume the nature of man, but to partake of it by being made of a woman. Thus he became our kinsman, our brother; according to that saying, Both he that sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified, are all of one nature; for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren.'†Amazing condescension this! that the Son of the Highest should become the child of the virgin; that the God of nature should become the seed of her who, with a bold presumptuous hand, plucked the fatal fruit, which entailed death on all our species; that He, whom angels adore, should appear in our nature when sunk in ruin, that He might obey, and bleed, and die, for our deliverance. What words can express, what heart can conceive, the depth of that condescension, and the riches of that grace, which appeared in such a procedure !
It was absolutely necessary, notwithstanding, that the nature in which the work of redemption was to be performed, should not be so derived from its original fountain as to be tainted with sin, or partake, in any degree, of that moral defilement in which every child of Adam is conceived and born. It behoved us to have such an high-priest as was 'holy, harmless, and separate from sinners;' for, as a priest, he was to atone for our sins, and ransom our souls. If the human nature of Christ had partaken, in any measure, of that pollution which is hereditary to us since the fall, it would have been destitute of the holy image of God, as we are before regeneration; and, consequently, he would have been rendered incapable of making the least atonement for us. He that is himself sinful, cannot
* Lev. xxv. 48, 49. Ruth ii. 20. and iii. 9. Margin.
satisfy justice on the behalf of another; for by one offence be forfeits his own soul. Here, then, the adorable wisdom of God appears in its richest glory, in that though it was necessary our Surety should be man, and the seed of a woman, yet he should be conceived in such a manner as to be entirely without sin. Yes, Jesus, though born of a woman, was absolutely free from the guilt of the first transgression, and from every degree of that natural depravity which is common to all the offspring of Adam. And as the immaculate purity of our Mediator's hu manity is an article of the last importance to the salvation of our perishing souls, so it is frequently and strongly asserted in the sacred writings. The perfect rectitude of his heart, and the unspotted sanctity of his life, are there displayed in the most lively colours.
A little to explain and illustrate the important truth, it may be of use to consider, How it is that we, who are the natural descendants of Adam, became guilty through the first transgression, and are made partakers of a depraved nature. As to the guilt of the first disobedience, it may be observed, that the whole human nature subsisted in our original parents when it was committed, and that Adam was our federal head and public representative. Hence it is that his sin became the sin of us all, is justly imputed to us, and charged upon us. In him, as our common repre sentative, we all sinned. Such being our natural state, as the descendants of an apostate head, we justly bear this humbling and awful character, children of wrath by nature. But Adam was not a federal head to Christ. The Lord from heaven was neither included in him, nor represented by him. He was not included in him; for the blessed Jesus was conceived in a way entirely supernatural, and born of a virgin. He was not born in virtue of that prolific word by which the great Creator blessed the connubial state before the fall, Increase and multiply ;' but in virtue of the promise made after the fall, when
Adam ceased to be any longer a public person. He was not represented by him. For our grand progenitor was a representative to none but his natural offspring. The holy Jesus, therefore, not being naturally descended from him, could not be represented by him. And indeed it appears highly incongruous for us to imagine, that he who was of the earth, earthy, should be the representative of Him who is the Lord from heaven-of him who is, in all respects, his great Superior. It could not be that one in personal union with the Son of God should acknowledge Adam for his covenant-head. Our Lord, therefore, had no concern in his guilt, as a descendant from him; which is the case of all his natural posterity. The promised seed not being included in that covenant under which the first human pair stood, could not be chargeable with any part of that guilt which attended the violation of it. Original guilt becomes ours in virtue of Adam's relation to us as our representative, and hence it is imputed to us by a righteous God. If we had not been some way involved in the first transgression before it was imputed to us, it could not justly have been charged upon us. It is not the imputation of Adam's offence that makes it ours; but being legally ours in consequence of our relation to him, it is justly imputed to us.
Nor could the Lord Redeemer be liable to the necessary consequence of Adam's sin-that is, a depravation of nature. This immediately followed as the natural effect of his first transgression; which transgression, being committed by him as our representative, is legally ours; and hence it is that we share with him in its natural and awful effects. In other words, we derive a corrupt nature from him, because we were guilty with him. Nor was the imputation of his offence to us the cause of this woful effect, his offence being legally ours prior to that imputation. But as Christ was not concerned with him in original guilt, having no connexion with him as a federal head, the natural consequence of that guilt could not take T
place in Him, as it does in us, being represented by Adam, and descended from him, according to the common course of nature. Thus was the human nature of Jesus Christ entirely free from all contamination; and thus that holy thing, which was formed in the womb of the virgin by the power of the Most High, was constituted a second Adam, in opposition to the first. This production of the human nature of our glorious Immanuel, being in a way supernatural and divine, is called the creation of a new thing in the earth.' Thus Christ became a partaker of the nature which had sinned, without the least sinfulness of that
It was absolutely necessary also that our Mediator and Surety should be God as well as man. For as he could not have obeyed or suffered at all, if he had not been possessed of a created nature, so, if he had been a mere man, however immaculate, he could not have redeemed one soul. Yea, though he had been possessed of the highest possible created excellencies, they would not have been sufficient; he would still have been a dependent being. For as it is essential to Deity to be underived and self-existent, so it is essential to a creature to be derived and dependent. The loftiest seraph that sings in glory is as really dependent on God, every moment of his existence, as the meanest worm that crawls. In this respect, an angel and an insect are both on a level. Every rational creature, therefore, whether human or angelic, having received existence from the Almighty, and being continually dependent on him as the all-producing, allsupporting first cause, must be bound to perpetual obedience by virtue of that relation in which he stands to God as his Maker and Preserver. It is highly impious to suppose it possible for any creature to supererogate, or do more in a way of obedience to Him from whom he received his all, than he is under the *Mr. Brine's Sermon on 2 Cor. v. 21. p. 6-8.
+ Jer. xxxi. 22. See Wits. Econ. lib. 3. c. 4. § 10., Dr. Owen on the Person of Christ, chap. 10.