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hence comes the enabling of our nature to the work of salvation, that was wrought in our nature; it came from hence, God was in the flesh. From whence was the human nature enabled to suffer? whence was it upheld in suffering, that it did not sink under the wrath of God? God was in the flesh; God upheld our nature. So that both the riches, and dignity, and the ableness of our nature to be saving and meritorious, all came from this, that God was in our nature. And hence comes this likewise, that whatsoever Christ did in our nature, God did it; for God appeared in our nature: he took not upon him the of any man, but the nature : and therefore, our flesh and the Second Person being but one person, all that was done was done by the person that was God (though not as God). He could not die as God; therefore (because in love he would die, and be a sacrifice) he would take upon him such a nature, wherein he might be a sacrifice. Hence comes also the union between Christ and us. Whence is it that we are sons of God? Because he was the Son of man, God in our flesh. There are three unions: the union of natures, God to become man ; the union of Grace, that we are one with Christ; and the union of Glory. The first is for the second ; and the second for the third. God became man, that man might be one with God; God was manifest in the flesh, that we might be united to him, and, being brought again to God the Father, we might come to a glorious union. By flesh, here, is meant human nature; the property of human nature, both body and soul. And by flesh, also, is usually understood the infirmities and weakness of man, the miserable condition of man. So God manifest in the flesh—that is, in our nature, and the properties of it-he put that on; and not only so, but our infirmities and weakness, our miseries: and, which is more, he took our flesh when it was tainted with treason ; our base nature, after it was fallen; which was a wondrous fruit of love. And he took our nature upon him when it was at the worst; not in innocency, but with all the infirmities that are natural infirmities, not personal. Oh what boldness have we now to go to God in our flesh! To think of God absolutely, without God in the flesh, he is a consuming fire, every way terrible: but to think of God in our nature, we may securely go to him: he is bone of our bone, and Desh of our flesh : we may securely go to God our Brother, to Him that is of one nature with us, and now having our nature in heaven. Conceive of God in this flesh of ours, lovely to us, and now our nature must needs be lovely to him. The nature of God must needs be lovely to us, since he hath joined our poor beggarly flesh to the unity of the Second Person. Let us thus think of God manifest in the flesh. To think of God alone, it swallows up our thoughts; but to think of God in Christ, of God manifest in
the flesh, it is a comfortable consideration. We cannot too often meditate of these things : it is the life and soul of a Christian, it is the marrow of the Gospel, it is the wonder of wonders; we need not wonder at any thing after this. It is no wonder that our bodies shall rise again, that mortal man should become afterwards immortal in heaven, since the immortal God hath taken man's nature, and died in it. All the articles of our faith, and all miracles, yield to this grand thing, God manifest in the flesh. Believe this, and believe all other. Therefore let us often have these sweet cherishing conceits of God in our flesh, that it may strengthen, and feed, and nourish our faith, especially in the time of temptation.”--Sibbes, pp. 52, 64.
" That which is conceived is of the Holy Ghost. Our Saviour Jesus was conceived and born ; that is, the only Son of God,
; our Lord and Redeemer, the same who was from the beginning, and did from all eternity exist with God (John i. 1; 1 Johni. 1), the eterna! Word of God, by whom all things were made, was in the fulness of time conceived and born; that is, had a production agreeable to the nature of man, becoming thereby truly and really a man. Which wonderful mystery is in Scripture by various phrases expressed or implied; by the Word being incarnated, that is, being made or becoming flesh; God being manifested in the flesh; the Son of God being sent in the likeness of sinful flesh; partaking of flesh and blood ; His taking the form of a servant; being made in the likeness of men; being found in fashion as a man; assuming the seed of Abraham ; His descending from heaven; coming forth from the Father; being sent, and coming into the world ; the Day.spring from on high visiting us ; Eternal Life being manifested. The result of what is signified by these and the like expressions, that the blessed and glorious Person, who before from all eternity did subsist in the form or nature of God, being the Son of God, one in nature with his Father (the express image or exact character of his substance), did, by a temporal generation, truly become man, assuming human nature into the unity of his person by a real conjunction and union thereof to the Divine nature, in a manner incomprehensible and ineffable. He did, I say, truly become man, like unto us in all things (as the Apostle saith), sin only excepted ; consisting, as such, of all the essential ingredients of our nature; endued with all our properties and faculties ; subject to all passions, all infirmities, all needs adherent or incident to our nature and condition here.
“ He was not only (as the Gnostics and some other heretics have conceited, Ath.con. A pol.) in shape and outward appearance (as a spectre deluding men's sight and fancy), but in most real truth, a very perfect man: having a real body, figured and circumscribed as ours, compacted of flesh and blood, visible and tangible; which was nourished and did grow; which needed and received sustenance; which was tender and sensible, frail and passible; which was bruised with stripes, torn with scourges, pricked with thorns, pierced with nails, transfixed with a spear; which was mortal, and underwent death by expiring its breath and being disjoined from the soul that enlivened it. He had also a soul endued with the same faculties as ours; with an understanding capable of learning and improvement (for he was, as man, ignorant of some things which he might know; and he grew, 'tis said, in wisdom and stature); with a will, subject and submissive to the Divine will (for, Let this cup, said he, if it be possible, pass from me; but, however, let not my will, but thy will be done : and, I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me); with several appetites, of meat, of drink, of sleep and rest (for we read that he was hungry, that he thirsted, that he was weary); yea, with various passions and affections (that is, natural and irreprehensible passions), and these of the most troublesome and affictive sort, such as zeal, pity, sorrow—the which were sometimes declared by very pathetical significations, and are expressed in high terms; as upon occasion of his friend Lazarus his death 'tis said · He groaned in spirit and was troubled :' he then, and upon other occasions, out of pity and sorrow did weep: and ye know what excesses of sorrow, what anxieties and agonies, what tribulations, disturbances, and amazements, the Evangelists, using those very terms, describe him to have undergone at his passion : So that, as the Apostle to the Hebrews speaketh, We have not an High Priest that could not compassionate our infirmities, but who was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin (Matt. xxvi. 33–37; Luke xxii. 24; John xii. 27 ; Mark xiv. 33; Luke xxii. 28; Heb. iv.)
“ So it appeareth that the Son of God (co-eternal and coessential with the Father) became the Son of Man; truly and entirely partaking of the nature and substance of man ; deficient in no essential part; devoid of no property belonging to us; exempt from no imperfection or inconvenience consequent upon our nature, except only sin : the which is not a natural so much as a moral evil; did not arise from man's original nature, but proceedeth from his abused will ; doth rather corrupt than constitute a man”- Barrow: Serm. xxiii. vol. ij.
335. “ The redemption and salvation of man did import an honour too august for any creature to be dignified with ; it was a work too difficult and mighty for any but God to achieve; it was not proper that any creature should be principal in managing an affair of such height and importance: needful and expedient therefore it was, that our Saviour should be God.
“ It was also requisite, upon many accounts, that he should be man: that, by perfectly obeying God's commands and submitting patiently to God's will as man, he might procure God's favour towards man; that, as man had deeply wronged and offended God, so man also should highly content and please him: in St. Paul's language, that ‘as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners' (that is, were condemned and exposed to death, upon God's just displeasure for that one man's transgression, backed with the like in his posterity), ‘so by the obedience of one man many should be made righteous :' (that is, all who would imitate his obedience should be absolved from guilt, exempted from punishment, and received into grace; God being well pleased with and reconciled to mankind, especially to His followers, in regard to that man's dutiful observance of his will). Decent it was, that as man did approve, so man also should condemn sin in the flesh; that as man by wilful self-pleasing did incur misery, so by voluntary suffering he should recover happiness : ' For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings' (Heb. ii. 10). In fine, it was most congruous, that he who was designed to recapitulate and reconcile all things in heaven and earth (Eph. i. 10; Col. i. 20; 1 Tim. ii. 5)—to be the great mediator and peacemaker between God and man, for the repairing God's honour and dispensing his grace, for the purchasing our peace and procuring our salvation—that he should be most nearly allied unto both parties; that, consequently, if possible (and what is to God, the author of this economy, impossible ?) he should be both God and man; Son to God, and brother to us; the same in nature with God, in kind with us.
Such reason and wisdom is discernible in this dispensation. We may easily conceive, that God could have immediately created a nature in kind and properties like to ours, and have assumed it; but that would not have so fitly served the design of reconciling himself to us, and redeeming us. To the effecting that in the most congruous way, not only a resemblance in nature, but a cognation and proximity in blood, was needful, or at least was very convenient and suitable : for, our blood being tainted, our whole stock having forfeited its dignity and estate by the rebellious disloyalty of our common ancestors, it was expedient that it should be purged and restored by the satisfactory merit and acceptable fidelity of One who was of our race and kindred. We being to be adopted, and received into God's family, it was proper that business should be transacted by intervention of a common relation ; according to the discourse of St. Paul, Gal. iv. 4, 5, God sent forth, &c. (that, accord
ing to the obligation undertaken by him, he, performing the obedience required by the law, might redeem those who, being tied to obey the law, had yet transgressed it); “that we might receive the adoption '--that is, that we by virtue and in consequence of that birth from a woman, and of that obedience to the law performed by our brother, might be in capacity to receive the quality or state of sons of God.”—Ibid. pp. 340, 350.
“The WORD was made flesh. As the Word and the Only-begotten refer to one ; so doth caro and in nobis, flesh and in us; that is, such flesh as is in us, human flesh. 1. To express the union fully, a better word could not be chosen. It is a part for the whole; and the worser part for the whole, of purpose. For in this case our nature is best set out by the worser part.
For this we know; if the worse be taken, the better will not be left behind : if he abhor not the flesh, of the spirit there will be no question. More forcible it is to say, he was made flesh, than he was made man; though both be true. He vouchsafed to become man, nothing so much as to become flesh, the very lowest and basest part of man. Besides, from the flesh (as from Eve) caine the beginning of transgression, longing after the forbidden fruit, refused the Word quite ; so, of all other, least likely to be taken. The Word not refusing it, the rest have good hope. But there is a kind of necessity to use the term fesh. If he had said man, man may be taken for a person. He took no person, but our nature he took : flesh is no person, but nature only; and so best expresseth it. And if soul, it might have been taken as if he took not the flesh, but mediante anima; but so he did not, but as immediately, and as soon the flesh as the soul : in one instant both. Yet one word more. It will not be amiss to tell you, the word that is Hebrew for flesh, the same is also, in Piel, Hebrew for good tidings (as we call it, the Gospel); sure not without the Holy Ghost so dispensing it. There could be no other meaning, but that some incarnation, or making flesh, should be generally good news for the whole world. To let us know this good tidings is come to pass, he tells us, the Word is now become flesh : thus why flesh. Now why the Word flesh. Caro verbum was our bane; flesh would be the Word ; nay, wiser than the Word, and know what was evil better than it. If caro verbum our bane, then Verbum caro our remedy. Surely, if the Word would become flesh, it were (so) most kindly. The Word was pars læsa, the party that was most offended. If He would undertake it; if He, against whom the offence was, would be the author of the reconciliation, there were none to that: it were (so) most proper. But in another respect He were fit too. He had said above, . All things were made by him:' a kind of meetness there were, He that first made them, should restore them; He that