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ly affect, the heart of a compassionate father, Gen. xxii. 2. “ Také now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah, and offer him there for a burnt-offering,' &c. It greatly heightened Abraham's obedience, that notwithstanding of all aggravations, yet he was willing to sacrifice his beloved Son upon God's command. Just so here God heightens and sets forth his matchless love towards us. He takes his own Son, his only Son, the Son of his eternal delight and love, and cheerfully offers him up as a sacrifice for the sins of men. This is the greatest instance of the love of God that ever was given.
(2.) God's love is exalted here, in that he freely sent his only begotten Son to be the Redeemer of an elect world. He was God's free gift, or else he could never have been obtained. If devils and men had joined their forces, and combined all their strength and power, and thus made an assault upon heaven, yet they could never have plucked the Son of God's love from his eternal embraces. God gave Christ freely to redeem a sinful world, not only without, but against all merit and desert in them, nay, unasked and unsolicited to do so. From all eternity God foresaw that they would despise and reject his Son, so that they would shed his precious blood, and then trample it under their feet, as an unholy thing; yet such was the height of his astonishing love, that he bestowed him freely upon them.
(3.) See the matchless love of the Son of God to poor sinhers. It was love that induced him to substitute himself in their room, and to undertake to pay their ransom. He * loved me (says Paul), and gave himself for me,' Gal. i. 20. His love in this, as the apostle speaks, passeth know. ledge. How cheerfully did he engage to make his soul an offering for sin, that thereby he might pay their ransom! Though he knew the difficulty of the work, and the greatness of that wrath which he was to bear, yet he cheerfully complied with the first motion of it that was made unto him by the Father. He knew very well, what a vast burden of sin was to be laid on his back, and the dreadfulness of that wrath he was to undergo; yet he did not shrink from the imputation of the one, or from the suffering of the other. He was willing to be reproached, that we might be glorified; to become poor, that we might be made rich; to
be accused and condemned, that we might be justified ; to enter into prison, that we might go free ; and to die a cursed and ignominious death, that we might live, and reign in honour for ever. O how great was his love to poor sinful men !
4. All who live and die out of Christ must perish ; for there is no other Mediator between God and men but the man Jesus Christ, who gave himself a ransom for sinners, and invites sinners to come and take the benefit thereof. Now, if men will not come unto him, that they may have life, their blood must be on their own heads, Christ is the only ordinance of God for life and salvation, and if men will slight and despise this ordinance, they must perish in their sins; for there is no other way of being saved but by him. If sinners will not enter by this door in time, the door of heaven will be shut against them for ever,
5. How highly is our nature exalted and dignified in the person of the Lord Jesus! He took not on him the nature of angels, a nature far superior to the human, but the seed of Abraham, and united it to his divine person. In that nature he performed his whole Mediatory undertaking, and wears it in his exalted state. It is corrupt in the multitude of those that partake of it, yet it is pure and spotless in Christ the Redeemer. Man's nature became so depraved and abominable by Adam's transgression, that it could never again appear before God; but in Christ it is so perfectly pure, that it was capable of an immediate union with the Godhead in his person. Though it be low and mean in it. self, yet it is highly honoured and exalted in its union with the Son of God; and shall be the object of the delightful sight and admiration of the redeemed from among men through eternal ages.
6. It is impious and absurd to ascribe any part of man's redemption to any other. In the close of his sufferings on the cross, he cried with a loud voice, It is finished,' and gave up the ghost; intimating, that he had then perfected and completely finished the great work of redemption committed to and undertaken by him. It is therefore dishonourable to Christ, and dangerous for men, to join any thing of their own to his righteousness, in point of justification before God. The blessed Redeemer will never endure it. It reflects upon his Mediatory undertaking. If he be the only Redeemer of
God's elect, then certainly there can be no other. If he hath finished that work, then there is no need of our additions. And if that work be not finished by him, how can it be finished by men ? It is simply impossible for any creature to finish that which Christ himself could not. But men would fain be sharing with him in this honour, which he will never endure. He is the only Saviour of sinners; and he will never divide the glory of it with us. Men would fain have something of their own to atone offended justice. There is a legal strain, a strong tang of the first covenant, running in the hearts of all men by nature. We would do something for ourselves, and are unwilling to be obliged to another for our deliverance from that wretched condition that sin hath brought us into. "What good thing shall I do (said the young man in the gospelthat I may have eternal life. But all our righteousnesses are but as filthy rags. Though your heads were waters, and your eyes a fountain of tears, and you should weep day and night continually ; nay, though you should weep tears of blood, all would be in vain; for it could not cleanse you from the guilt and pollution of the least sin. To depend upon any thing that ever he did, or can possibly do, is but like the setting up of a paper-wall to keep off a devouring fire : for it cannot screen you from the consuming flames of God's wrath and fiery indignation. By the works of the law (says the apostle), no flesh can be justified.?
7. Lastly, If ye would be delivered from the state of sin and misery into which ye are brought by your fall in the first Adam, come unto and accept of the Lord Jesus Christ as your Redeemer, God has laid help for you upon this mighty One, who is both able and willing to save all that come unto God by him. Close with him by faith, and you shall be redeemed from the guilt 'of sin, have its power subdued in you, and at last be delivered from the inbeing of it, and from all the penal consequents and effects thereof. He is now saying, Behold me, behold me; O do not refuse him, lest ye perish for ever.
OF CHRIST'S INCARNAȚION.
LUKE i. 35.-The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the
power of the Highest shall overshadow thce; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. "HESE words are the angel's answer to Mary, who, un
derstanding the angel as speaking of a thing presently to be done before Joseph and she should come together, de. sires to know how she, being a virgin, should conceive, Here,
1. The angel tells her how she should conceive and bring forth à Son, namely by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the power of the Highest, the Spirit of God being the true God, and so the Highest. The author of this conception is the Holy Ghost, not to exclude the Father and the Son, who also concurred to this work, as to all works without God himself; and besides the power of all the three persons is one. But it is appropriated to the Spirit, as creation to the Father, and redemption to the Son, so the consummation of all things to the Spirit. The way of the Spirit's powerful working to this miraculous conception is denoted by two words. One is, that the Holy Ghost should come upon her, not in an ordinary way, as in the conception of all men Job x. 8. “ Thine hands have made me, and fashioned me together round about ;' but in an extraordinary way, as on the prophets, and those that were raised to some extraordinary work. The other is, that the power of the Highest, which is infinite power, should overshadow her, to wit, make her, though a virgin, to conceive by virtue of the efficacy of infinite power, by which the world was created, when the same Spirit moved on the waters, cherished them, and framed the world. I shall say no more of this, seeing the Holy Spirit did overshadow or cast a cloud over the virgin in this operation, that men might not pry curiously into this mystery.
2. He shews what should follow on this miraculous conception, namely, that the fruit of her womb, the child she should bear, should be called the Son of God. Where the angel teaches two things. . (1.) The immaculate sinless conception of the child Jesus, that holý thing, a holy thing though proceeding from a sinful creature, not tainted with sin, as all other children are. Job asks, 'Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? and answers, Not one.' But though this be impossible with men, yet it is possible with God, whose infinite power can do every thing. The pow. erful operation of the divine Spirit sanctified that part of the virgin's body of which the human nature of Christ was formed, so that by that influence it was separated from all impurity and defilement. So that, though it proceeded from a creature infected with original sin, there was no sin or taint of impurity in it. This was a glorious instance of the power of the Highest. (2.) He tells the virgin, that therefore, see, ing that child to be thus conceived, he should be called, that is, owned to be, the Son of God. He says not, Therefore that holy thing shall be the Son of God, for he was the Son of God before, by virtue of his eternal generation; but, There. fore he shall be called, i. e, owned to be really so, and more than a man. The reason of this is, because Isaiah had pro. phesied that the Son of God should be the Son of a virgin, When therefore you, a virgin, shall conceive, your child shall be acknowledged to be the Son of God in man's nature. Matth. i. 22, 23. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, say. ing, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, whịch, being interpreted, is, God with us.' He was promised to the church as the Messiah, a child born unto us, a son given unto us.' Isa, ix. 6. And he actually was so, Luke ü. 11. Doct. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became man, by
taking to himself a true body and a reasonable soul, be. ing conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the virgin Mary, and born of her, yet without sin.'
In discoursing from this doctrine, I shall shew, 1. Who she was that was the mother of Christ as man. II. What we are to understand by his becoming man. III. That he was true man.
IV. What we are to understand by his being conceived of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the virgin Mary,
V. Why he was born of a virgin,
I. Iam to shew who she was that was the mother of Christ as man. Christ as God had no mother, and as man no fae