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self. But as to the manner of this generation, or communia cation of the divine essence to the Son, it is altogether ineffable and inconceivable by us. It is simply impossible for poor weak worms, such as we are, to understand or explain wherein it consists. It is not natural, but supernatural, and wholly divine, and therefore incomprehensible by us. Yea, it is incomprehensible even by the angels themselves, who far excel men in intellectual abilities. We may justly hereunto apply what we have, Isa. liii. 8. Who shall declare his generation ? This whole mystery is incomprehensible by us : we ought humbly and reverently to adore what we cannot comprehend. There is a communication of the whole essence or Godhead from the Father to the Son, in receiving whereof the Son doth no more lessen and diminish the majesty or Godhead of the Father, than the light of one candle doth the light of another from which it is taken. Whereupon the council of Nice said well, that Christ is God of God, light of light, very God of very God, not proceeding but begotten. Hence it is clear, that he had a being before he was born of a virgin, yea from eternity; and that he is the true God, and the most high God, equal with the Father, Phil. č. 6. John i. 1.; for no being can be eternal but God.
Secondly, The Son of God became man. It was not the Father, nor the Holy Ghost, that was incarnate, but the Son, John i. 14. - The word was made flesh. He was God manifested in the flesh,' 1 Tim. iii. 16. But though he was from eternity God, yet the world had lasted well nigh four thousand years ere he became man.
Thirdly, Why did it behove Christ, in order to be our Redeemer, to be God and man? he could not be our Redeem: er, if he had not been both.
1. He behoved to be God, (1.) That he might be able to bear the weight of the infinite wrath of God due to the e. lect's sins, and come out from under that heavy load, Acts ii. 24. (2.) That his temporary sufferings might be of infinite value, and afford full satisfaction to the law and justice of God, Heb. ix. 14. In these respects none other but one who was God could redeem us.
2. He behoved to be man (1.) That he might be capable to suffer death, Heb. ii. 14. (2.) That the same nature which sinned might suffer, Ezek. xviii. 4. • The soul that sinneth, it shall die.' (3.) That he might be a merciful
High Priest, Heb. ii. 16, 17. and that we might have cotnfort and boldness of access to the throne of grace having an High Priest of our own nature as our Intercessor there.
III. I come now to prove, that Christ is God and man, in two distinct natures, and one person. Christ is God and man by a personal union of two natures. The two natures in Christ remain distinct: the Godhead was not changed into the manhood, nor the manhood into the Godhead : tor the scripture speaks of these as distinct, Rom. i. S. 1 Pet. ii. 18. Heb. ix. 14.; and of two wills in Christ, a human and a divine, Luke xxii. 42. These natures remain still with their distinct properties, that as the divine nature is not made finite, so neither is the human nature adorned with the divine attributes. It is not omnipotent, 2 Cor. xiii. 4; nor omnipresent, John xi. 15; nor omniscient, Mark xiii. 22. &c. Yet are they not divided ; nor is Christ two persons, but one; even as our soul and body though distinct things, make but one person. This is clear from the text, which shews that the Son of God was made of a woman; which seeing it cannot be understood of his divine nature, but of the human, it is plain that both natures make but one per.
And elsewhere he is described as one person consisting of two natures, Rom. i. 3. and ix. 5. And it was necessary that the natures should be distinct; because otherwise, either his Divinity would have advanced his humanity above the capacity of suffering, or his humanity depressed his Divinity below the capacity of meriting. And it was necessary that he should be one person; because otherwise his blood had not been the blood of God, Acts xx. 28. nor of the Son of God, 1 John i. 7. and so not of infinite value. Wherefore Christ took on him the human nature, but not a human person.
Lastly, Christ was, and so will continue God and man for ever. This union never was dissolved. He died in our flesh to save us; he rose again in it, and ascended to heaven in it, and will continue ever in it, Heb. vii. 24. It will be a part of the happiness of the saints after the resurrection, that they shall feed their eyes for ever in beholding the glorified body of the blessed Redeemer.
I shall finish this subject with a few inferences. 1. The redemption of the soul is precious. The salvation of sinners was a work greater than the making of the world. The powerful word commanded, and the universe sprung
up into being; but much more was to be done ere a sinner could be saved from wrath. The eternal Son of God must become man, lay aside the robes of his glory, and clothe himself with the infirmities of human nature, and in that nature purchase redemption by the price of his inatchless blood for poor miserable prisoners, and deliver them from the pit of hell and wrath by an exertion of his almighty power.
2. See here the wonderful love and grace of God in sending his own Son to be the Redeemer of sinful men. It was he that contrived this method of redemption, in the adorable depths of his infinite wisdom. He pitched upon his own Son as the only fit person to set miserable captives free. He fitted and furnished him for this work, and sent him to the world with full power and authority to go about it. It was God the Father that was gracious to sinners, saying, “ Deliver them from going down to the pit, I have found a ran. som. What an illustrious display of the astonishing love and grace of God is it, that he should have remembered them in their low estate, and laid help upon one that is mighty to save them. To enlarge upon this a little further, I offer a twofold consideration.
(1.) Who he was that was sent and came into the world to redeem the elect; not an angel or archangel, nor any of the glorious seraphims that stand about God's throne. "Indeed, if it had been so, divine love, even in this, had infinite. ly advanced itself, that God should be pleased to spare one of his own retinue from attending on him, and give such a glorious servant as an angel is, for the redemption of such a rebellious and miserable worm as man. But O! how may it raise and heighten our admiration, when we consider that it was not an angel, if he had been capable for the mighty task, but the Lord of angels, not a servant but a Son, that the Father plucked from his own bosom, and sent upon this business ! He spoke to him as it were to this purpose : Go, haste thee down to the earth; for there are thousands of miserable creatures sinning themselves down to hell, and must for ever fall under the strokes of my dreadful and incensed justice; step thou in between them and it, and receive the blows thyself; die thou under the band of vindictive justice; that they may be saved and live.' WhenGod tried Abraham's obedience, he aggravates his command by many piercing words, which must needs tenderly touch, and greatVOL. I.
ly affect, the heart of a compassionate father, Gen. xxii. 2. “ Také now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah, and offer him there for a burnt-offering,' &c. It greatly heightened Abraham's obedience, that notwithstanding of all aggravations, yet he was willing to sacrifice his beloved Son upon God's command. Just so here God heightens and sets forth his matchless love towards us. He takes his own Son, his only Son, the Son of his eternal delight and love, and cheerfully offers him up as a sacrifice for the sins of men. This is the greatest instance of the love of God that ever was given.
(2.) God's love is exalted here, in that he freely sent his only begotten Son to be the Redeemer of an elect world. He was God's free gift, or else he could never have been obtained. If devils and men had joined their forces, and combined all their strength and power, and thus made an assault upon heaven, yet they could never have plucked the Son of God's love from his eternal embraces. God gave Christ freely to redeem a sinful world, not only without, but against all merit and desert in them, nay, unasked and unsolicited to do so. From all eternity God foresaw that they would despise and reject his Son, so that they would shed his precious blood, and then trample it under their feet, as an unholy thing; yet such was the height of his astonishing love, that he bestowed him freely upon them.
(3.) See the matchless love of the Son of God to poor sinhers. It was love that induced him to substitute himself in their room, and to undertake to pay their ransom. He * loved me (says Paul), and gave himself for me,' Gal. i. 20. His love in this, as the apostle speaks, passeth know. ledge. How cheerfully did he engage to make his soul an offering for sin, that thereby he might pay their ransom! Though he knew the difficulty of the work, and the greatness of that wrath which he was to bear, yet he cheerfully complied with the first motion of it that was made unto him by the Father. He knew very well, what a vast burden of sin was to be laid on his back, and the dreadfulness of that wrath he was to undergo; yet he did not shrink from the imputation of the one, or from the suffering of the other. He was willing to be reproached, that we might be glorified; to become poor, that we might be made rich; to
be accused and condemned, that we might be justified ; to enter into prison, that we might go free; and to die a cursed and ignominious death, that we might live, and reign in honour for ever. O how great was his love to poor sinful men !
4. All who live and die out of Christ must perish; for there is no other Mediator between God and men but the man Jesus Christ, who gave himself a ransom for sinners, and invites sinners to come and take the benefit thereof. Now, if men will not come unto him, that they may have life, their blood must be on their own heads, Christ is the only ordinance of God for life and salyation, and if men will slight and despise this ordinance, they must perish in their sins; for there is no other way of being saved but by him. If sinners will not enter by this door in time, the door of heaven will be shut against them for ever,
5. How highly is our nature exalted and dignified in the person of the Lord Jesus! He took not on him the nature of angels, a nature far superior to the human, but the seed of Abraham, and united it to his divine person. In that nature he performed his whole Mediatory undertaking, and wears it in his exalted state. It is corrupt in the multitude of those that partake of it, yet it is pure and spotless in Christ the Redeemer. Man's nature became so depraved and abominable by Adam's transgression, that it could never again appear before God; but in Christ it is so perfectly pure, that it was capable of an immediate union with the Godhead in his person. Though it be low and mean in it. self, yet it is highly honoured and exalted in its union with the Son of God; and shall be the object of the delightful sight and admiration of the redeemed from among men through eternal ages.
6. It is impious and absurd to ascribe any part of man's redemption to any other. In the close of his sufferings on the cross, he cried with a loud voice, It is finished, and gave up the ghost; intimating, that he had then perfected and completely finished the great work of redemption committed to and undertaken by him. It is therefore dishonourable to Christ, and dangerous for men, to join any thing of their own to his righteousness, in point of justification before God. The blessed Redeemer will never endure it. It reflects upon his Mediatory undertaking. If he be the only Redeemer of