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union of his natures, the separation had been made in his : life, and not at his death; for he made this dolorous complaint before he gave up the ghost. But these words infer no more, but that he was bereft of such joy and comfort from the Deity, as should allay and mitigate the bitterness of his present troubles. And therefore, when our Saviour yielded up the ghost, he suffered only an external violence; and what was subject to such corporeal force did yield unto these dolorous impressions: and the imbecility and frailty of our nature being such, that life cannot subsist long in exquisite torments, the disposition of his body failed the soul, and the soul deserted his body. But because no power hath force against omnipotence, nor could any finite agent work upon the union made with the Word, therefore that did still remain entire, both as to the soul and to the body:
V. I now proceed to shew, why Christ was born of a virgin. That Christ was to be born of a virgin, was prophesied and foretold many ages before his incarnation, as Isa. vii. 14. ! Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.' Now, that the mother of Jesus was that virgin spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, is evident from the testimony of the evangelists, particularly Mat. i. 18, &c. It was not convenient that he should be born in the cominon order of father and mother; for if he had been so born, he would have been a natural son of Adam, and so represented by him in the covenant of works, and an heir of Adam's sin, as others are that are born by virtue of the blessing of marriage. By such a birth he had been polluted and defiled with sin: "For who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean ;' Job xiv. 4. The Redeemer of the world be. hoved to be so born, as not to derive the stain of man's nature by his generation. For if he had been tainted with the least spot of our corruption, he had been incapable of being a Redeemer : he could never have redeemed others who stood in need of redemption himself. And although God by his almighty power, had perfectly sanctified an earthly father and mother from all original spot and tang, that so the human nature might have been transmitted immaculate to him, as well as the Holy Ghost did purge that part of the flesh of the virgin of which the body of Christ was made, yet it was not convenient, that that person, who was God blessed for ever, as well as man, in partaking of our Vol. I.
nature, should have a conception in the same manner with ours, but different from it, and in some measure conformable to the infinite dignity of his person; which could not have been, had not a supernatural and a divine person been concerned as an aetive principle in it. Besides, such a birth had not been agreeable to the first promise, which calls him the seed of the woman, not of the man, and so the truth and veracity of God had suffered some detriment by it. The seed of the woman only is set in opposition to the seed of the serpent. By his being born of a virgin, the holiness of his nature is effectually secured. This exempted him from the stain and pollution of Adam's sin, which his nature wholly escaped, in that he received it not as all others do, in the way of ordinary generation, wherein original sin is propagated: but this being extraordinarily produced, was a most pure and holy thing. Christ was an extraordinary person, and another Adam; and therefore it was necessary he should be produced a new way. At first Adam was produced neither of man nor woman; Eve of a man without a woman; all others of a man and a woman. The fourth way remains ed, viz. of a woman without a man; and so Christ was born. And the wisdom of God appeared in that he was born of a virgin espoused; for thereby the reproach of illegitimacy was warded off; he had Joseph to take care of him in his infancy; his mother's good name and life were preserved from the malicious Jews; and our faith was the more confirmed by Joseph's testimony concerning Mary.
Thus we may be thoroughly satisfied,
1. That Christ had a true human body; and that though he was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, he had not the likeness of flesh, but true flesh, Luke xxiv. 39. Heb. ii. 14.
2. That he had a reasonable soul, which was a created spirit, and that the divine nature was not instead of a soul to him. When he died, he commended his spirit to God, Luke xxiii. 46. There is in him a created and an uncreated understanding and will, Mark xiii. 32. Luke xxii. 42. Thus he was true man, consisting of soul and body. And the human nature being united to the divine, there were great gifts of holiness, wisdom, &c. in the human nature of Christ, by virtue of this union, which yet were not infinite, Luke ii. 52.
3. That Christ's body was not made of any substance sent down from heaven, but of the substance of the virgin, Gal.
iv. 4. He was the seed of the woman,' Gen iii. 15. and the fruit of Mary's womb, Luke i. 42. otherwise he had not been our brother.
4. That the Holy Ghost cannot be called the Father of Christ, in regard his human mature was formed, not of his substance, but of that of the virgin by his power.
5. That though in the nativity of Christ there was nothing as to the way of it extraordinary, but he was at the ordinary time brought forth as others, Luke ii. 22, 23, and that as a general truth, 'A woman, when she is in travail, hath sor; row, because her hour is come, John xvi. 21. yet he was born without sin, being that holy thing. He could not have been our Redeemer, had he not been so. Heb. vii. 26. Neither could he have sinned, seeing the human nature was put beyond that capacity, by its union with the divine; and whatsoever Christ did or could do was the action of that person who was God, and so free from sin.
6. That the reason why Christ was born without sin, and the sin of Adam did not reach him, was because he came not of Adam by ordinary generation, not by the blessing of marriage, but by a special promise after the fall,
I shall conclude all with some inferences.
1. Jesus Christ is the true Messiah promised to Adam as the seed of the woman, to Abraham as his seed, the Shiloh mentioned by Jacob on his death bed, the Prophet spoken of by Moses to be raised from among the childsen of Israel, the Son of David, and the Son to be born of a virgin.
2. Behold the wonderful love of God the Father, who was content to degrade and abase his dear Son, in order to bring about the salvation of sinners. How astonishing is it, that he should send his only-begotten Son to assume our nature, and bear that dreadful wrath and punishment that we deserved?
3. See here the wonderful love and astonishing condescendency of the Son, to be born of a woman, in order that he might die in the room of sinners, " Q how low did he stoop and humble himself, in assuming human nature, with all its sinless infirmities, in being subject to his own law, exposed to all manner of injurious usage from wicked men, to the temptations of Satan, and at last suffering a shameful and ig. nominious death! What great love to sinners, and what unparalleled condescension was here?
4. See here the curé of our being conceived in sin, and brought forth in iniquity. Christ was born of a woman for us, and he was born without sin for us, that the holiness of his nature might be imputed to us as a part of that righteousness which constitutes the condition of our justification before God. · In him is a complete righteousness for our guilt, and a fountain for washing away our spiritual pollution,
5. Christ is sensibly touched with all the infirmities that attend our trail nature, and has pity and compassion upon his people under all their pressures and burdens. Hence the apostle says, Heb. ii. 17, 18. In all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren; that he might be a mer. ciful and faithful High Priest, in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people: for in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.' How comfortable is it to believers to consider, that he who is their great High Priest in heaven, is clothed with their nature, to capacitate and qualify him to have compassion on them in all their troubles and distresses.
6. Let this encourage sinners to come unto him, that they may be united unto him by faith, and so partake of the blesșings of his purchase. Come and enter into a marriage-rela. tion with hin, Sin shall not stop the match, if ye be willing. He that could sanctify the virgin's substance to make it a sinless piece of flesh, can easily sanctify you. And he that united the human nature to his divine person, can also unite you to himself, so as ye shall never be separated from him.
OF CHRIST'S OFFICES IN GENERAL.
Zech. vi. 13.-Eren he shall build the temple of the Lord, and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule
his throne, and he shall be a Priest upon his throne.
AVING shewn that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only
Redeemer of elect sinners, and that it was necessary he should be God and man in one person, to qualify him for his Mediatory undertaking, I come now to speak of the offices which Christ executes as our Redeemer, from the text now read.
In the 11th verse of this chapter, there is a typical action
crowning Joshua the high priest with two crowns, which is applied and explained in the following verses as representing Christ in his offices, who has on his head many crowns. In the 12th verse, there is a prophecy of the incarnation of Christ, under the metaphor of a branch, as sprung from the famiiy of David, and making but a mean appearance in the world,' as a root out of a dry ground.' In the verse where our text lies, we have the offices which he was to execute as our Redeemer ; which are three.
1. The office of a Prophet: He shall build the temple of the Lord, that is, his own church, whereof the temple was a type, by the word of the gospel, which it is his work to promulgate as a Prophet. For the church is built upon the foundation of the prophets and apostles, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone, and the revealer of those truths which the prophets and apostles taught.
2. The office of a Priest ; namely to expiate the sins of his people, to purchase peace for them, and to manage their cause with God.
3. That of a King; for he has a throne, which denotes his kingly office. He is a Priest upon his throne, denoting the reward of his sufferings, and the high dignity he is advanced to in consequence of his humiliation and satisfactory suffer. ings. And he is represented as sitting on his throne, not a King in name only, or an inactive monarch, but exercising acts of jurisdiction and government. In him all the glory of these offices is to meet : ard these offices he shall hold and exercise in spite of all opposition: He shall sit and rule upon . his throne.
The text affords foundation for the following doctrine, viz. Doct. ' Christ, as our Redeemer, executeth the offices of
a Prophet, of a Priest, and of a King, both in his estate of humiliation and exaltation.'
In discoursing from this doctrine, I shall shew, I, The verity of these offices in Christ. II. The necessity of his exercising them as our Redeemer. III. When he did exercise these offices. IV. Lastly, Deduce some inferences.
I. I am to shew the verity or reality of these offices in Christ. I say then, that Christ as our Redeemer is actually invested with these offices; he is truly a Prophet, a Priest,