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that is, assumed our nature and became man; for so the word flesh is frequently used in Scripture for man or human nature: 0 thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come;' that is, to thee shall all men address their supplications : again, · The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; that is, all men shall behold and acknowledge it; and then it follows, 'all flesh is grass,' speaking of the frailty and mortality of man: and so likewise in the New Testament, our blessed Saviour, foretelling the misery that was coming upon the Jewish nation, says, ' Except those days should be shortened no flesh should be saved ;' that is, no man should escape and survive that great calamity and destruction which was coming upon them : By the works of the Law,' says the Apostle, shall no flesh,' that is, no man, " be justified.'

“So that by the Word's being made flesh, the Evangelist did not intend that he assumed only a human body without a soul; and was united only to a human body; which was the heresy of Apollinaris and his followers; but that he became man"; that is, assumed the whole human nature, body and soul. And it is likewise very probable, that the Evangelist did purposely choose the word flesh, which signifies the frail and mortal part of man, to denote to us that the Son of God did assume our nature with all its infirmities, and become subject to the common frailty and mortality of human nature.

“ The words thus explained contain that great mystery of godliness— God was manifested in the flesh; that is, he appeared in human nature, he became man. That God should employ his eternal and only begotten Son, who had been with him from all eternity, partaker of his happiness and glory, to save the sons of men by so infinite and amazing a condescension : That God should vouchsafe to become man, to reconcile man to God : That he should come down from heaven to earth, to raise us from earth to heaven: That he should assume our vile and frail and mortal nature, that he might clothe us with glory and honour and immortality : That he should suffer death to save us from hell, and shed his blood to purchase eternal redemption for us.—And as he was pleased to assume our nature, so should we put on the Lord Jesus Christ; and should be very careful not to abuse ourselves by sin and sensuality, upon this very consideration, that the Son hath put such an honour and dignity upon us :

We should reverence that nature which God did not disdain to assume and to inhabit here on earth, and in which he now gloriously reigns in heaven at the right hand of his Father.” pp. 3-5, 47-52.

“ Another thing implied in the Word's being made flesh, is, that this was done peculiarly for the benefit and advantage of

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men : as it is said in the Nicene Creed, “Who for us men and our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate,' &c. For ' verily he took not on him the nature of angels, but of the seed of Abraham. The word signifies to take hold of a thing which is falling, as well as to assume or take on him : He did not take hold of the angels when they were falling—but he took hold of human nature when it was falling, and particularly of the seed of Abraham.-The Evangelist uses the very same word for taking hold of one that was ready to sink. When St. Peter was ready to sink, Matt. xiv. 31, Christ put forth his hand and caught hold of him, and saved him from drowning: and thus the Son of God caught hold of mankind, which was ready to sink into eternal perdition : he laid hold of our nature, that in our nature he might be capable of effecting our redemption and deliverance.

“ He was contented to be clothed with the rags of humanity and to be made in the likeness of sinful flesh, that is sinful

The Son of God did not only condescend to be made man, but also to become mortal and miserable for our sakes : He submitted to all those things which are accounted most grievous and calamitous to human nature: To hunger and want, to shame and contempt, to bitter pains and agonies, and to a most cruel and disgraceful death : So that in this sense also he became flesh, not only by being clothed with human nature, but by becoming liable to all the frailties and sufferings of it; of which he had a greater share than any of the sons of men ever had : for never was sorrow like to his sorrow, nor sufferings like to his sufferings, the weight and bitterness whereof was such as to wring from him, the meekest and most patient endurer of sufferings that ever was, that doleful complaint, 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me!'

“ All this does signify to us the wonderful and amazing condescension and love of God to mankind in sending his Son into the world, and submitting him to this way and method for our salvation and recovery. The Word was made flesh! What a step is here made in order to the reconciling of men to God; from heaven to earth, from the top of glory and majesty, to the lowest gulf of meanness and misery! The Evangelist seems here to use the word flesh, which signifies the meanest and vilest part of humanity, to express to us how low the Son of God was contented to stoop for the redemption of man,

The Word was made flesh :' two terms at the greatest distance from one another, are here brought together : The Son of God is here expressed to us by one of his highest and most glorious titles, the Word, which imports both power and wisdom ; . Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.' And human nature is here described by its vilest part, flesh; which imports frailty

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and infirmity. The Word became flesh, that is, submitted to that from which it was at the greatest distance : He who was the power of God, and the wisdom of God, submitted not only to be called, but really to become a frail and miserable man; not only to assume our nature, but to put on all the infirmities, and, which is the greatest of all, the mortality of it." p. 152.

“That the Son of God should condescend to inhabit our vile nature—that he should become man on purpose that he might dwell among us, and shew us the way to eternal life and as it were take us by the hand and lead us in that way by the perfect and familiar example of a most blameless and holy life; shewing us how God himself thought fit to live in the world, when he was pleased to become man. That by this means we might, for our greater encouragement in holiness and virtue, see all that which the law of God requires of us exemplified in our nature, and really performed and practised by a man like ourselves. And that likewise in our nature he might conquer and triumph over the two great enemies of our salvation, the world and the devil : and by first suffering death and then overcoming it, and by rescuing our nature from the power of it by his resurrection from the dead, he might deliver us from the fear of death, and give us the glorious hopes of a blessed immortality : For by assuming our frail and mortal nature he became capable of suffering and of shedding his precious blood for us, and by that means of purchasing forgiveness of sins and eternal redemption for us. And further yet, that by being subject to the miseries and infirmities of humanity, he might from his own experience, the surest and most sensible sort of knowledge and instruction, learn to have a more compassionate sense of our infirmities, and be more apt to commiserate us in all our sufferings and temptations, and more ready to succour us labouring under them. And finally, that as a reward of his obedience and sufferings in our nature, he might in the same nature be exalted to the right hand of the Majesty on high, there to continue for ever to make intercession for us.”

“ It is objected, that it seems to be a thing very incongruous, and much beneath the dignity of the Son of God, to be united to human nature, and to submit to so near an alliance with that which is so very mean and despicable: yea to be infinitely more below Him; than for the greatest prince in this world to match with the most contemptible beggar. But herein surely we measure God too much by ourselves; and because we who are evil have seldom so much goodness as to stoop beneath ourselves for the good of others, we are apt to think that God hath not so much goodness neither, and presently conclude that it does not become God. But as Pliny said to Trajan, “ Cui nihil ad augendum fastigium super est, hoc uno modo crescere potest, si

p. 156.

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se ipse submittat, securus magnitudinis suæ :' He that is at the top, and can rise no higher, hath yet this one way left to become greater, by stooping beneath himself ; (which he may very safely do) being secure of his own greatness. The lower any being, be he never so high, condescends, to do good, the glory of his goodness shines so much the brighter. God, whose ways are not as our ways, and whose thoughts are as much above our low and narrow thoughts as the heavens are high above the earth, did not disdain nor think it below him to become man for the good of mankind : so that in truth, and according to right reason, it was no disparagement to the Son of God to become man for the salvation of mankind : but, on the contrary, it was a most glorious humility, and the greatest instance of the truest goodness that ever was. And if God for our sakes did submit himself to a condition which we may think did less become him, here is great cause of thankfulness, but none surely of cavil and exception. We have infinite reason to acknowledge and admire his goodness, but none at all to upbraid him with his kindness, and to quarrel with him for having descended so much beneath himself to testify his love to us, and his tender concernment for our happiness. Besides, God himself is the best and most competent judge what is fit for God to do; and that he needs not take counsel of any of his creatures, what will best become him in this or any other case :

• Behold in this thou art not just; I will answer thee, that God is greater than man: why dost thou dispute against him ? for he giveth not account of any of his matters. Job xxxiii. 12, 13. p. 159.

Jesus Christ the Exemplar and Pattern in all Obedience to the Divine Will, and in the Reward of that Obedience :Oxford, 1680.—“God sent forth his Son, assuming first the same infirm nature we bear, to become an example also of that perfection he proposed; to be, as the truth, so the way; to walk first himself in those paths wherein he directed others; to beat the ways that we might follow him: to perform first himself, clothed with our weak flesh, the hard tasks he set us : lest he might seem with the Pharisee, to lay heavy burdens on other men's shoulders, and not to touch them with one of his own fingers. _That this was the chief end of his coming see 1 Pet. ii. 21, ' For even hereunto were ye called, Christ leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:' 1 John ii. 6, “He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself also to walk, even as he walked :' John xiii, 12, 15, Know ye what I have done to you, and I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you :' John xvii. 19, “For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified : Matt. xi. 29,

Learn of me' (by my example), for I am meek,' &c. Therefore in all those ways of God he pointed out unto us, he never

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said, 'Let him take up his cross and go;' but' follow,' Luke ix. 23; John x. This Shepherd followed not, but led, his sheep; and for every rule gave his scholars an example; an example in himself, to all those hardest lessons in his sermons : according to his doctrine, kept all, both the least and greatest commandments ; left not a tittle unfulfilled, for none could accuse him of sin.

And as for the moral, so for the ceremonial law: very punctual he was in all obedience, though useless and non-significant in him, as it related to remission of sin, &c. Yet coming (at best) in the likeness of sinful flesh, Rom. viii. 3, he was circumcised, baptized, &c.; though, always full of the Holy Ghost, and free from sin, he needed no cleansings nor expiation -kept the solemn feasts—was obedient to every human ordinance-to parents and governors—fasted—sought by prayer, what he might command; Luke xxii. 32,-prayed whole nights to teach us by his example the lesson-suffered such anguish and affliction for our sins, in the garden : for 'thus it became him to fulfil all' that, being our Leader, the doing of which was necessary righteousness and obedience in his followers.

“ Thus God sent his Son to be an example to us, and a forerunner in all holy obedience to his commands. God again decreeing, that all that yield this obedience shall in this world suffer persecution, 2 Tim. iii. 12, that there may be a vicissitude in all things, sent his Son to be a pattern to the rest of his servants of all sufferings: to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings, Heb. ii. 10, that so he also might first sound the depths of human miseries; and being just of our pitch, might wade before us through them all, and shew them easily passable; that we might follow him with cheerfulness and courage, and not expostulate with the Almighty, if here perchance he useth us no better (yet whom doth he not so?) than he did his only Son; his Son in whom he was always so well pleased, Matt. iii. 17. And thus in obedience to his father, first clothed with all the innocent) infirmities of our nature, and indulging himself none of the contentments thereof, Rom. xv. 3, but exercising a perfect abnegation of himself and of his own will, 1 John v. 30; Matt. xxvi. 39. “In all things made,' Heb. ij. 17, and tempted,' 18, 'like unto his brethren.' Undergoing temptations from the often necessities, and natural inclinations of the flesh ; as may be sufficiently discovered in that passionate sad blood-sweating prayer (many times iterated) to be freed from death ; which he so resignedly concluded with ‘Not my will but thine be done,' for our example, as if himself would have learnt patience by the things which he suffered,' Heb. v. 8. He voluntarily became of no reputation, Phil. ii. 7; 'a man of sorrows,' Isa. liii. 3; put

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