« PreviousContinue »
These four Particulars then we see are manifestly contain'd in, or naturally deduc'd from the words of the Text.
1. The Divinity of our Saviour
preexistent to his Humanity.
II. His Assuming in time the Human Na. ture into that Divine Nature which he had with the Father from all Eternity.
III. The Infinite Grace and Love to Mankind express'd in preferring Them; in Assuming Their Nature rather than that of the lapsed Angels, who equally stood in need of a Redeemer.
IV. The Admirable Wisdom and fitness of this Method of Our Redemption, by Christs becoming the Son of Man to advance us to the high Privilege of being the Sons of God.
Of which in their order, and as briefly as may be, that I may in the last place proceed to make fome Practical Inferences from the whole.
I. And First of the first, namely; The Di. vinity of Our Saviour, the Eternat Son of the Eternal Father and His Everlasting ExiAtence before His appearing in the Flesh,
plainly here taught us, In That He took not on Him the Nature of Angels but took on him the Seed of Abraham. For tho' the Original says only, as in the Margin of Our Bible it is Own'd, He taketh not hold of Angels, yet how could it be worth the Remark of a Divinely inspir’d Apostle' that Chrift should not, in any Sense that in Scripture usage the word Parapbavest is capable of, lay hold of Angels, Creatures of fo Different and Superior a Nature to his own, if He was meerly Man, either to save them from falling (as the word is us’d in St Matthews Gospel to express our Saviours carching Peter as he was finking) or to help them up and restore them when they were fallen? Is it to be thought, if according to Arius He was one of the Supremest Order of Angels that He would not lay hold of Them if he could? Or if according to Socinus he was a Man only, can it be conceiv'd How He could if He would ? But let the Translation which Our Church has upon very good grounds so long Authoris’d, so juft, so confonant to the whole tenor of the Apostles design, and so agreeable to the Analogy of Faith be allow'd, as no reason appears why it should not, and from thence we may rightly inferr, as was before hinted, That He must have been neither Angel nor Man while it was in deliberation whether of those
two Natures he would take upon him, and therefore must have needs been God, there being no third Nature besides the Divine that can possibly be ascribd to Him. He must also actually have had a Being, before he could make that choice, rejecting the One Nature and assuming the Other, out of his Own good pleasure. Accordingly He, who the Apostle here says took upon him the Seed of Abraham tells us of Himself, Before Abraham was I am. I am declaring hereby not only his Existence, but His Essence, His Divine Nature not only That He was, but What He was, that is no other than the Lord Jehovah, He whose incommunicable Name is I am, as Himself spake to Moses Exod. 3. 14. Thou falt say unto them I AM bath fent me. But is it needful in a Christian Auditory to undertake the Defence of the Divinity of Christ? Is it needfull to go about to industriously prove to you that in the whole Solemnity and Worship of This day we have not all been committing the most grofs Idolatry? For if Chritt be not God our whole Religion is no better. Is it needful to cite to you all those plain Texts of Scripture so many and so obvious, in which this Fundamental Truth is contain'd? That the Word was God, and that That Word was made Flesh, that Christ himself tells us, That He and the Father are One, that He came
forth from the Father, and what if ye fall fer the Son of Man ascend up where he was before? and that solemn address of Christ to the Father just before his Passion, and Now 0 Father Glorify me with thine Ownfélf with the Glory which I had with Thee before the World was. And again, No man has ascended into Heaven but He that came down from Heaven, the Son of Man who is in Heaven, which being spoken by our Lord while he was yet on Earth implys that he so came down from Heaven as still to be in Heaven, that is in respect of his Divinity, by which He is Every where present. But not to multiply Texts in a matter so clear, as this is to every one that without prejudice or prepossession has ever read the Gospel; If Christ were a meer Man only, as the Heresy that grows and thrives so much dayly among us, if without Allowance or Encouragement, yet without Check or Controll, pretends, to what purpose do's our Saviour and his Apostles lay so great stress upon God's Sending Him into the World to redeem it? Why do they so frequently and so Emphatically magnify and extoll this Action as the Highest and chiefest Mark of Gods Love to Mankind ? God so loved the World that He gave his only begotten Son! says He himself; and St John, In This was manifefted the Love of God, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the World
II. that We might live through Him. If we look upon all this as no more but that God should cause a Man to be born after another Manner than the rest of Men, and then deliver Him up, who by his Own Nature was Mortal, to dye for the Expiation of the Sins of the whole World, if the Death of a Man could in this Case avail any thing, what such mighty and wonderful Expreslion of his Love to Us can we discover in this
way of Redemption more than would have appear'd if he had redeem'd us any Other way? It had been indeed a greater and more wonderful Love to Christ if He had been Man only, for God to employ him in this Glorious work, and for his reward to advance him, if such a thing were possible, to the partnership of his Own Divinity. For it is more to make One Man a God, than to make all Mankind Kings and Saints, and capable of Enjoying God and reigning with him to all Eternity. But it is not God's Love to Christ in this wonderful Dispenfation, for He gave Him for Us, He spared not Him that He might spare Us, but God's Love to the World, to the whole Race of loft Mankind that the Scripture every where so justly magnifys and extolls. Nor is it so much the Redemption it felf as the surprizing Method and means of it, and the infinite dignity of the Redeemer that both