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yet at the same instant be in heaven? that the Father of Eternity should be born in time? and that the Mighty God should become a child; which is the weakest state of man himself? we must call to mind, that the first letter of this great name, is WONDERFUL. When he appeared of old to Manoah, his name was Wonderful, and he did wondrouslyd. But that, and all the wonders that ever were, must give place to the great mystery of his incarnation; and in respect thereof, cease to be wonderful; for of this work that may be verified, which is spoken of those wonderful judgments that God brought upon Egypt; when he would shewe his power, and have his name declared throughout all the earth. "Before them were no such; neither after them shall be the like."
Neither the creation of all things out of nothing, which was the beginning of the works of God (those six working days putting as it were an end to that long Sabbath that never had beginning; wherein the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost did infinitely glorify themselves and rejoice in the fruition one of another, without communicating the notice thereof unto any creature) nor the resurrection from the dead and the restoration of all things, the last works that shall go before that everlasting Sabbath, which shall have a beginning, but never shall have end: neither that first, I say, nor these last, though most admirable pieces of work, may be compared with this, wherein the Lord was pleased to shew the highest pitch (if any thing may be said to be highest in that which is infinite and exempt from all measure and dimensions) of his wisdom, goodness, power, and glory.
The heathen Chaldeans, to a question propounded by the king of Babel, make answer; that it was " a rare thing" which he required, and that none other could shew it, "except the Gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh."
d Judg. chap. 13. ver. 11, 19.
f Ibid. chap. 10. ver. 14. et chap. 11. ver. 6.
John, chap. 17. ver. 5.
i Dan. chap. 2. ver. 11.
* Exod. chap. 9. ver. 16.
h Prov. chap. 8. ver. 30.
But the rarity of this lyeth in the contrary to that which they imagined to be so plain: that he "who is over all, God blessed for ever," should take our flesh and dwell, or pitch' his tabernacle with us. That as the glory of God filled the tabernacle (which was a figure" of the human nature of our Lord) with such a kind of fulness, that Moses himself was not able to approach unto it; (therein coming short, as in all things, of the Lord of the house) and filled the temple of Solomon (a type likewise of the body of our Prince of Peace) in such sort as the priests could not enter therein: so "in him all the fulness of the Godhead should dwell bodily."
And therefore, if of that temple, built with hands, Solomon could say with admiration: "Buts will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house, which I have built?" of the true temple, that is not of this building, we may with great wonderment say with the apostle, "Without controversy, great is the mystery of religion: God was manifested in the flesh;" yea, was made of a woman, and born of a virgin; a thing so wonderful", that it was given for a sign unto unbelievers seven hundred and forty years before it was accomplished; even a sign of God's own choosing, among all the wonders in the depth, or in the heighth above. "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign, Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call his name Immanuel."
A notable wonder indeed, and great beyond all comparison. That the Son of God should be "made of a woman;" even made of that woman, which was made by
Rom. chap. 9. ver. 5.
m Exod. chap. 40. ver. 34, 35.
Heb. chap. 3. ver. 3, 6.
2 Chron. chap. 7. ver. 1,
w Gal. chap. 4. ver. 4.
* John, chap. 1. ver. 3. Col. chap. 1. ver. 16.
okývwσE, John, chap. 1. ver. 14.
"Heb. chap. 9. ver. 9, 11.
P John, chap. 2. ver. 19, 21.
himself. That her womb then, and the heavens now, should contain him whom "The heaven of heavens cannot contain." That he who had both father and mother, whose pedigree is upon record even up unto Adam, who in the fulness of time was brought forth in Bethlehem, and when he had finished his course, was "cut off out of the land of the living at Jerusalem;" should yet notwithstanding be in truth, that which his shadow Melchisedech was only in the conceit of the men of his time, "without father, without mother, without pedigree, having neither beginning of days nor end of life." That his Father should be greater than he; and yet he his Father's equal. That he is, before Abraham was; and yet Abraham's birth preceded his, well nigh the space of two thousand years. And finally, that he who was David's Son, should yet be David's Lord: a case which plunged the greatest rabbies among the Pharisees: who had not yet "learned this wisdom, nor known this knowledge of the holy."
The untying of this knot dependeth upon the right understanding of the wonderful conjunction of the divine and human nature in the unity of the person of our Redeemer. For by reason of the strictness of this personal union, whatsoever may be verified of either of those natures, the same may be truly spoken of the whole person, from whethersoever of the natures it be denominated. For the clearer conceiving whereof, we may call to mind that which the apostle hath taught us touching our Saviour. "In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily," that is to say, by such a personal and real union, as doth inseparably and everlastingly conjoin that infinite Godhead with his finite manhood in the unity of the self-same individual person.
Ile in whom that fulness dwelleth, is the PERSON:
› Acts, chap. 3. ver. 21.
21 Kings, chap. 8. ver. 27.
a Heb. chap. 7. ver. 3. with Esai, chap. 53. ver. 8. and Mic. chap. 5. ver. 2. John, chap. 14. ver. 28.
c John, chap. 5. ver. 18. Philipp. chap. 2. ver. 6.
d John, chap. 8. ver. 58.
Col. chap. 2. ver. 9.
Matt. chap. 22. ver. 42, 43, &c.
that fulness which so doth dwell in him, is the NATURE. Now there dwelleth in him not only the fulness of the Godhead, but the fulness of the manhood also. For we believe him to be both perfect God, begotten of the substance of his father before all worlds; and perfect man, made of the substance of his mother in the fulness of time. And therefore we must hold, that there are two distinct natures in him and two so distinct, that they do not make one compounded nature: but still remain uncompounded and unconfounded together. But he in whom the fulness of the manhood dwelleth is not one, and he in whom the fulness of the Godhead, another: but he in whom the fulness of both those natures dwelleth, is one and the same Immanuel, and consequently it must be believed as firmly, that he is but one person.
And here we must consider, that the divine nature did not assume an human person, but the divine person did assume an human nature: and that of the three divine persons, it was neither the first nor the third that did assume this nature; but it was the middle person, who was to be the middle one, that must undertake this mediation betwixt God and us; which was otherwise also most requisite, as well for the better preservation of the integrity of the blessed Trinity in the Godhead, as for the higher advancement of mankind by means of that relation which the second person, the Mediator, did bear unto his Father. For if the fulness of the Godhead should have thus dwelt in any human person, there should then a fourth person necessarily have been added unto the Godhead and if any of the three persons, beside the second, had been born of a woman, there should have been two Sons in the Trinity. Whereas now the Son of God and the Son of the blessed virgin, being but one person, is consequently but one Son; and so no alteration at all made in the relations of the persons of the Trinity.
Again, in respect of us, the apostle sheweth, that for this very end "God sent his own Son, made of a wo
Gal. chap. 4. ver. 4, 5, 7.
man; that we might receive the adoption of SONS:" and thereupon maketh this inference: "Wherefore thou art no more a servant but a son, and if a son, then an HEIR of God through Christ;" intimating thereby, that what relation Christ hath unto God by nature, we being found in him have the same by grace. By nature he is "the" only begotten Son of the Father:" but this is the high grace he hath purchased for us; that "as many as received him, to them he gave power," or privilege, "to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." For although he reserve to himself the preeminence, which is due unto him in a peculiark manner, of being "the first born among many brethren:" yet in him, and for him, the rest likewise by the grace of adoption are all of them accounted as first borns.
So God biddeth Moses say unto Pharaoh : " Israelm is my son, even my first born. And I say unto thee; Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold I will slay thy son, even thy first born." And the whole Israel of God, consisting of Jew and Gentile, is in the same sort described by the apostle to be "the" general assembly and Church of the first born enrolled in heaven." For the same reason that maketh them to be sons, to wit, their incorporation into Christ, the self same also maketh them to be first borns: so as (however it fall out by the grounds of our common law) by the rule of the Gospel this consequence will still hold true; "If children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ." And so much for the soN, the person assuming.
The nature assumed, is "the seed of Abraham," "the seed of David," " the seed of the Woman," the WORD, the second person of the Trinity, being
h John, chap. 1. ver. 14. and chap. 3. ver. 16.
John, chap. 1. ver. 12.
* Propter quod unumquodque est tale, illud ipsum est magis tale.
Rom. chap. 8. ver. 29.
m Exod. chap. 4. ver. 22, 23.
n Heb. chap. 12. ver. 23.
• Rom. chap. 8. ver. 17.
P Heb. chap. 2. ver. 16.
4 Rom. chap. 1. ver. 3.
Gen. chap. 3. ver. 15.
1 John, chap. 5. ver. 7.