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ther was legally espoused; and though Luke gives us the true natural line of his descent by the progenitors of the Virgin, yet he names her not, only mentioning her espousals; he begins with her father Heli. Luke iii. 23.
From this miraculous creation of the body of Christ, it became a meet habitation for his holy soul. We have not only the general depravity of our nature, but the obliquity of our particular constitutions to conflict with. Hence, one is disposed to anger, another to levity, a third to sensuality, and another to sloth. But the body of Christ being perfectly pure, there was no tendency in his constitution to the least deviation from perfect holiness. The exquisite harmony of his natural temperature, made love, meekness, gentleness, patience, benignity and goodness, natural to him, as having an incapacity of such motions as should have a contrary tendency. Hence also, though he took on him those infirmities which belong to human nature, yet he took none of our particular infirmities, which cleave to us through the vice of our constitutions. Those natural passions of our minds, which are capable of being means of trouble, as grief and sorrow, he took upon him; and also those infirmities of nature which are troublesome to the body, as hunger, thirst, weariness, and pain; but as to our bodily diseases and distempers, he was absolutely free from.
Secondly. The human nature of Christ being thus miraculously formed, was sanctified from its conception, and filled with grace according to its capacity. Being not begotten by natural generation, it derived no taint of original sin from Adam; but was absolutely innocent, as Adam was in the day he was created. Besides, it was positively endowed by the Spirit with all grace: There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots; and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord.' Isa. xi. 1, 2, 3. The Spirit's first sanctifying work in the womb, is principally intended in this promise. The soul of Christ, from the first moment of its infusion, was a subject capable of a fulness of grace, as to its habitual
residence, though the actual exercise of it was suspended till the organs of the body were fitted for it.
Thirdly. The Spirit carried on this work:-and here we must observe two things: (1.) Christ, as man, exercised all grace by the rational powers of his soul, his understanding, will, and affections; for he acted grace as a man. His divine nature did not supply the place of a human soul, nor did it immediately operate the works he performed; but being a perfect man, his rational soulwas the immediate principle of all his moral operations. In the improvement and exercise of these faculties, he made a progress like other men, accompanied with a progression in grace also. The child grew,' (Luke ii. 40.) that is, in bodily stature, and waxed strong in spirit,' (v. 52.) or in the faculties of his mind; he is said to 'increase in wisdom and in stature' (v. 47.); he was (mpuses Gas) continually filling and filled with new degrees of wisdom, as the rational faculties of his mind were capable of it. And this growth was the peculiar work of the Holy Ghost. (2.) His human nature was capable of having new objects presented, of which before it had a simple nescience'; and this is as inseparable from human nature as such, as weariness or hunger; but is no vice or blameable defect. Ignorance of any thing one ought to know, is a moral defect, and can never be ascribed to Christ; but as it is merely a nescience of some things, it is only a denial of infinite omniscience, not inconsistent with the highest holiness of human nature. Hence our Lord says of himself, that he knew not the day and hour of the end of all things;' and our apostle says of him, that he learned obedience by suffering.' In the representation of things anew to his human nature, the wisdom of it was objectively increased; and in new trials he learned experimentally the new exercise of grace. And this was the constant work of the Spirit, who dwelt in him without measure.'
Fourthly. The Holy Spirit anointed him with all those extraordinary powers which were necessary for the discharge of his office. The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives; and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.'
Isa. Ixi. 1. The prophetical office of Christ is here intended, by which he instructed men,in the nature of his other offices. For this work he was fitted by the unction of the Spirit; he received, at his baptism, the visible pledge which confirmed him in, and testified to others, his calling of God to the office of a prophet. Then the Spirit descended like a dove, and rested on him; and lo, a voice from Heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in ar whom I am well pleased.' Matt. iii. 16, 17. Hereby was the great seal of Heaven put to his commission. John vi. 27. He now entered fully on his public ministry. Before this, he had only occasionally manifested" the presence of God with him, as when he filled men with astonishment at his discourse with the doctors in the temple. And though he probably performed many extraor dinary actions during his course of a private life, yet he did not receive the fulness of gifts for his work till the time of his baptism. On this he was full of the Holy Ghost; he was continually filling before, but now he was full of the Holy Ghost,'-possessed of all that fulness of spiritual gifts which he needed with respect to which the Evangelist says, God giveth not his Spirit by measure to him.' John iii. 34. To every one of us is given grace, according to the measure of the gift of Christ; but the Spirit was given to the Lord Christ immeasurably. 'It pleased the Father, that in him all fulness should dwell,' that in all things he might have the pre-eminence.
Fifthly. It was by the power of the Holy Spirit he wrought those miraculous works whereby his ministry was confirmed. Hence it is said that Jesus of Nazareth was a man approved of God, by miracles and wonders, and signs which God did by him.' So when he cast out devils, it was by the finger of God,' that is, by the infinite power of God, which was exerted by the Holy Spirit. And therefore, when the Jews ascribed his miracles to Beelzebub, he tells them that they blasphemed the Holy Ghost, whose works they were.
Sixthly. By him he was directed, comforted, and supported in the whole course of his ministry, temptations, obedience, and sufferings. A few instances may suffice. Soon after his baptism, he was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,' to begin his contest with the Devil. Hereby
he made an entrance into his ministry. By his assistance he was carried triumphantly through his temptations, and obtained a perfect conquest of his adversary, who endeavoured by all means to oppose and hinder him in his work. The temptation being finished, he returned from the wilderness to preach the gospel in the power of the Spirit;' and thence, in his first sermon at Nazareth, he took those words of the prophet for his text; 'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor. And as he thus began his ministry in the power of the Spirit, he continually put forth his wisdom and grace, to the astonishment of all, stopping the mouths of his enemies. By him he was strengthened, and comforted in his whole course from first to last.
Seventhly. He offered himself up to God through the eternal Spirit. Heb. ix. 14. Those who look only at the outward part of Christ's death, can see nothing but suffering in it. The Jews took him, and with the soldiers scourged and slew him. But the principal consideration of it is, his own offering himself a sacrifice to God, to make atonement for sinners; and this he did by the eternal Spirit; wherein we may notice the following in
1. He sanctified, or dedicated himself to God, to be a sacrifice. For their sakes I sanctify myself.' John xvii. 9. He was before this perfectly sanctified as to all inherent holiness, but he now consecrated himself to be a sacrifice, as the victim to be sacrificed of old was first devoted to that purpose. This was his first sacerdotal act; and this he did through the effectual operation of the eternal Spirit.
2. He went voluntarily to the garden, which answered to the bringing of the victim to the door of the tabernacle, according to the law; for there he not only gave himself up into the hands of his enemies, but he also actually entered upon the offering up of himself to God in his agony, when he offered up prayers and supplications.'
3. In all that ensued, he offered himself to God by those actings of the graces of the Holy Spirit in him, which accompanied him to the last; and on these depends the efficacy of his atonement. We may therefore enquire what those graces were.
(1.) Love to mankind. This is frequently expressed where the offering of Christ is mentioned: Who loved me, and gave himself for me;' and compassion is the first grace required in an High Priest. Love in the holy soul of the Lord Jesus was then in its most inconceivable advancement; and the intenseness of it supported him under all his sufferings. As Jacob, through the greatness of his love to Rachel, made light of seven years service for her, so Christ endured the cross and despised the shame,' for the joy of saving his elect.
(2.) That which principally actuated him in the whole was his unspeakable affection for the glory of God. Herein he aimed at (1.) The manifestation of God's righteousness, holiness, and severity against sin; to repair the glory of God which seemed to suffer by sin; to make satisfaction to the justice of God for sin; to be a propitiation to declare his righteousness. And he came to do this with full ardour of soul: Lo, I come,' said he;
I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is in the midst of my bowels; and when preparing for suffering, he says, with desire have I desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer;' and at another time,
I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straitened (or pained) till it be accomplished! (2.) Jesus Christ designed the exercise of his grace and love. This he knew was the way to open the treasures of grace and love, that they might be poured out on sinners, to the everlasting glory of God. This zeal and affection, which was wrought in the heart of Christ by the eternal Spirit, was that wherein principally he offered himself up to God.
(3) His holy submission and obedience to the will of God, which were now in the height of their exercise, was another special part of his offering up himself. He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, the death of the cross;' and though he was a Son, yet he learned obedience by the things that he suffered;' that is, he experienced obedience in suffering. It is true, he had always yielded obedience to God; but now he came to the great trial of it, with respect to that special command of the Father, to lay down his life.' This was the highest possible act of obedience; and therefore God expressed the greatest satisfaction in it. This holy submis