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obedience received a just recompence of reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation, which at first began to be spoken to us by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by them that heard him, God also bear ing them witness?" Heb. 2: 2-4. But, perhaps you say, if they be certain, yet they are not near; it will be a long time before they come. Poor soul! how dost thou cheat thyself! It may be not one twentieth part so long a time as thy own fancy paints for thee; thou art not certain of the next moment.
And suppose what thou imaginest; what are twenty or forty years when they are past? yea, what are a thousand years to vast eternity? Go, trifle away a few days more; sleep out a few nights more, and then lie down in the dust; it will not be long ere the trump of God shall awaken thee, and thine eyes shall behold Jesus coming in the clouds of heaven, and then you will know the price of this sin. Oh, therefore, if there be any sense of eternity upon you, any pity or love for yourself in you; if you have any interests more than the beasts that perish, despise not your own offered mercies, slight not the richest gift that ever was yet opened to the world; and a sweeter cannot be opened to all eternity.
OF CHRIST'S WONDERFUL PERSON.
"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." John, 1:14.
We have contemplated the covenant of redemption. It is such as infinitely exceeds the power of any mere
creature to perform. He that undertakes to satisfy God by obedience for man's sin, must himself be God; and he that performs such a perfect obedience, by doing and suffering all that the law required, in our room, must be man. These two natures must be united in one person, else there could not be a co-operation of each nature in his mediatorial work. How these natures are united, in the wonderful person of our Immanuel, is the first part of the great mystery of godliness: a subject studied and adored by angels! and the mystery thereof is wrapped up in the passage before us. Wherein we have,
1. The Person assuming, • Aoyos, the Word, that is, the second Person or Subsistent in the most glorious Godhead; called the Word, either because he is the scope or principal matter, both of the prophetical and promissory word; or because he expounds and reveals the mind and will of God to men, as verse 18: "The only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared" or expounded "him."
2. The nature assumed, caps, flesh, that is, the entire human nature, consisting of a true human soul and body. For so this word caps, in Rom. 3: 20, and the Hebrew word Basar, which answers to it, by a usual metonymy of a part for the whole, is used, Gen. 6: 12. The word flesh, rather than man, is doubtless used here to enhance the admirable condescension and abasement of Christ; implying man's vileness, weakness, and opposition to spirit. Hence the whole nature is denominated by that part, and called flesh.
3. The assumption itself, eyever, he was made; not fuit, he was, (as Socinus would render it, designing thereby to overthrow the existence of Christ's glorified body now in heaven,) but factus est, he was made, that is, he took or assumed the true human nature into the unity of his Divine person, with all its integral parts
and essential properties; and so was made, or became a true and real man, by that assumption. The apostle speaking of the same act, Heb. 2: 16, uses another word, He "took on him," or he assumed. And when it is said, he was made flesh, misconceive not, as if there was a mutation of the Godhead into flesh; for this was performed, "not by changing what he was, but by assuming what he was not," as Augustine well expresses it. As when the Scripture, in a like expression, says, " He was made sin," 2 Cor. 5:21, and made a curse, Gal. 3: 13, the meaning is not, that he was turned into sin, or into a curse; no more may we think here the Godhead was turned into flesh, and lost its own being and nature, because it is said he was made flesh.
This assertion "that the Word was made flesh," is also here strongly confirmed. He "dwelt among us," and we saw his glory. This was no phantasm, but a most real and indubitable thing. For, εσκήνωσεν εν ημιν, he pitched his tent, or tabernacled with us. And we are eye-witnesses of it. "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life, declare we unto you." 1 John, 1:1–3. Hence,
Jesus Christ did really assume the true and perfect nature
of man, into a personal union with his Divine nature, and still remains true God, and true man, in one person, for ever.
The proposition contains one of the deepest mysteries of godliness, 1 Tim. 3: 16. A mystery, by which apprehension is dazzled, invention astonished, and all expression swallowed up. If ever the tongues of angels were desirable to explicate any word of God, they are so here. The proper use of words is of great impor tance in this doctrine. We walk upon the brink of danger. The least tread awry may ingulf us in the
bogs of error. Arius would have been content, if the council of Nice would but have gratified him in a letter, quibos, for 80s.* The Nestorians also desired but a letter, doxos, instead of OTROS. These seemed but small and modest requests, but, if granted, had proved no small prejudice to the truth. I desire therefore the reader would, with greatest attention of mind, apply himself to these truths. It is a doctrine hard to under stand, and dangerous to mistake. As Prosper has well said, "It is better not touch the bottom, than not keep within the circle." Christ did assume a true human body; that is plainly asserted, Phil. 2: 7, 8, &c. Heb. 214, 16. In one place it is called taking on him the seed of Abraham, and in the text, flesh. He did also assume a true human soul; this is undeniable by its ope rations, passions, and expiration at last, Matt. 26: 38, and 27:50. And that both these natures make but one person, is as evident from Rom. 1: 3, 4, "Jesus Christ was made of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." So Rom. 9: 5, "Of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen." Let us then consider the nature; the effects; and the reasons or ends of this wonderful union.
I. The nature of this union. The assumption of which I speak, is that whereby the Second Person in the Godhead did take the human nature into a personal union with himself, by virtue whereof the manhood subsists in the Second Person, yet without confusion, both making but one person, Immanuel, God with us.
So that though we truly ascribe a twofold nature to Christ, yet not a double person; for the human nature of Christ never subsisted separately and distinctly, by
• Of a like substance, for, of the same substance.
any personal subsistence of its own, as it doth in all other men, but, from the first moment of conception, subsisted in union with the Second Person.
To explicate this mystery more particularly, let it be considered:
1. The human nature was united to the Second Person miraculously and extraordinarily, being supernatu rally framed in the womb of the virgin, by the overshadowing power of the Highest. Luke, 1:34, 35. And this was necessary to exempt the assumed nature from the stain and pollution of Adam's sin, which it wholly escaped; inasmuch as he received it not, as all others do, in the way of ordinary generation, wherein original sin is propagated; but this being extraordinarily produced, was a most pure and holy thing. Luke, 1: 35. And indeed this perfect shining holiness, in which it was produced, was absolutely necessary, both in order to its union with the Divine Person, and the design of that union; which was both to satisfy for, and to sanctify us. The two natures could not be conjoined in the person of Christ, had there been the least taint of sin upon the human nature. For God can have no fellowship with sin, much less be united to it. Or, supposing such a conjunction with our sinful nature, he being thus a sinner himself, could never satisfy for the sins of others; nor could any unholy thing ever make us holy. "Such an High Priest therefore became us a is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners." Hcb. 7:26. And such a one he must needs be, whom the Holy Ghost produced in such a peculiar way, To ay, "that holy so thing."
2. As it was produced miraculously, so it was as sumed integrally; that is to say, Christ took a complete and perfect human soul and body, with all and every faculty and member pertaining to it. And this was necessary, (as both Augustin and Fulgentius have well