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Holy Ghost in it? The Psalmist, Psal. cxix. 18, begs of God, “That he would enlighten his eyes, that he might behold wondrous things out of his law.” The scriptures are full of
wondrous things. Those histories which are commonly read as
if they were only histories of the private concerns of such and such particular persons, such as the histories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and Joseph, and the history of Ruth, and the histories of particular lawgivers and princes, as the history of Joshua and the Judges, and David, and the Israelitish princes, are accounts of vastly greater things, things of greater importance, and more extensive concernment, than they that read them are commonly aware of. The histories of scripture are commonly read as if they were stories written only to entertain men's fancies, and to while away their leisure hours, when the infinitely great things contained or pointed at in them are passed over and never taken notice of. Whatever treasures the scriptures contain, we shall be never the better for them if we do not observe them. He that has a Bible, and does not observe what is contained in it, is like a man who has a box full of silver and göld, and does not know it, does not observe that it is any thing more than a vessel filled with common stones. As long as it is thus with him, he will be never the better for his treasure : For he that knows not that he has a treasure, will never make use of what he has, and so might as well be without it. He who has a plenty of the choicest food stored up in his house, and does not know it, will never taste what he has, and will be as likely to starve as if his house were empty. VIII. What has been said, may show us how great a person Jesus Christ is, and how great an errand he came into the world upon, seeing there was so much done to prepare the way for his coming. God had been doing nothing else but prepare the way for his coming, and doing the work which he had to do in the world, through all ages of the world from the very beginning. If we had notice of a certain stranger's being about to come into a country, and should observe that a great preparation was made for his coming, that many months were taken up in it, and great things were done, many great alterations were made in the state of the whole country, and that many hands were employed, and persons of great note were engaged in making preparation for the coming of this person, and the whole country was overturned, and all the affairs and concerns of the country were ordered so as to be subservient to the design of entertaining that person when he should come ; it would be natural for us to think with ourselves, why, surely, this person is some extraordinary person indeed, and it is some very great business that he is coming upon. How great a person then must he be, for whose coming into the world the great God of heaven and earth, and governor of all things, spent four thousand years in preparing the way, going about it soon after the world was created, and from age to age doing great things, bringing mighty events to pass, accomplishing wonders without number, often overturning the world in order to it, and causing every thing in the state of mankind, and all revolutions and changes in the habitable world from generation to generation to be subservicht to this great design : Surely this must be some great and extraordinary person indeed, and a great work indeed it must needs be that he is coming about. : We read, Matth. xxi. 8, 9, 10, that when Christ was coming into Jerusalem, and the multitudes ran before him and cut down branches of palm trees, and strewed them in the way, and others spread their garments in the way, and cried, “Hosannah to the son of David,” that the whole city was moved, saying, Who is this? They wondered who that extraordinary person should be, that there should be such an ado made on occasion of his coming into the city, and to prepare the way before him. But if we consider what has been said on this subject, what great things were done in all ages to prepare the way for Christ's coming into the world, and how the world was often overturned to make way for it, much more may we cry out, Who is this? What great person is this? And say, as in Psal. xxiv. 8, 10. “Who is this King of glory,” that God should show such respect, and put such vast honor upon him : Surely this person is honorable indeed in God's eyes, and greatly beloved of him ; and surely it is a great errand upon which he is sent into the world.
HAviNG shown how the work of redemption was carried on through the first period, from the fall of man to the incarnation of Christ, I come now to the second period, viz. the time of Christ's humiliation, or the space from the incarnation of Christ to his resurrection. And this is the most remarkable article of time that ever was or ever will be.... Though it was but between thirty and forty years, yet more was done in it than had been done from the beginning of the world to that time. We have observed, that all that had been done from the fall to the incarnation of Christ, was only preparatory for what was done now. And it may also be observcd, that all that was done before the beginning of time, in the eternal counsels of God, and that eternal transaction there was between the persons of the Trinity, chiefly respected this period. We therefore now proceed to consider the second firoflosition, viz.
That during the time of Christ's humiliation, from his incarnation to his resurrection, the purchase of redemption was made.
Though there were many things done in the affair of redemption from the fall of man to this time, though millions of sacrifices had been offered up ; yet nothing was done to purchase redemption before Christ's incarnation : No part of the purchase was made, no part of the price was offered till now. But as soon as Christ was incarnate, then the purchase began immediately without any delay. And the whole time of Christ's humiliation, from the morning that Christ began to be incarnate, till the morning that he rose from the dead, was taken up in this purchase. And then the purchase was entirely and completely finished. As nothing was done before Christ's incarnation, so nothing was dene after his resurrec
tion, to purchase redemption for men. Nor will there ever be any thing more done to all eternity. But that very moment that the human nature of Christ ceased to remain under the power of death, the utmost farthing was paid of the price of the salvation of every one of the elect.
BUT for the more orderly and regular consideration of the great things done by our Redeemer to purchase redemption for us,
1. I would speak of Christ's becoming incarnate to capacitate himself for this purchase ;-and,
2. I would speak of the purchase itself:
FIRST, I would consider Christ's coming into the world, or his taking upon him our nature to put himself in a capacity to purchase redemption for us. Christ became incarnate, or, which is the same thing, became man, to put himself in a capacity for working out our redemption : For though Christ, as God, was infinitely sufficient for the work, yet to his being in an immediate capacity for it, it was needful that he should not only be God, but man. If Christ had remained only in the divine nature, he would not have been in a capacity to have purchased our salvation ; not from any imperfection of the divine nature, but by reason of its absolute and infinite perfection : For Christ, merely as God, was not capable either of that obedience or suffering that was needful. The divine nature is not capable of suffering ; for it is infinitely above all suffering. Neither is it capable of obedience to that law that was given to man. It is as impossible that one who is only God, should obey the law that was given to man, as it is that he should suffer man's punishment.
And it was necessary not only that Christ should take upon him a created nature, but that he should take upon him our nature. It would not have sufficed for us for Christ to have become an angel, and to have obeyed and suffered in the angelic nature. But it was necessary that he should become a man, and that upon three accounts.
1. It was needful to answer the law, that that nature should obey the law, to which the law was given. Man’s law could not be answered, but by being obeyed by man. God insisted upon it, that the law which he had given to man should be honored and submitted to, and fulfilled by the nature of man, otherwise the law could not be answered for men. The words that were spoken, Thou shalt not eat thereof, Thou shalt, or Thou shalt not do thus or thus, were spoken to the race of mankind, to the human nature ; and therefore the human nature must fulfil them.
2. It was needful to answer the law, that the nature that sinned should die. These words, “ Thou shalt surely die,” respect the human nature. The same nature to which the command was given, was the nature to which the threatening was directed.
3. God saw meet, that the same world which was the stage of man’s fall and ruin, should also be the stage of his redemption. We read often of his coming into the world to save sinners, and of God's sending him into the world for this purpose It was needful that he should come into this sinful, miserable, undone world, to restore and save it. In order to man's recovery, it was needful that he should come down to man, to the world that was man’s proper habitation, and that he should tabernacle with us : John i. 14, “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.”
CoNCERNING the incarnation of Christ, I would observe
these following things. I. The incarnation itself; in which especially two things are to be considered, viz. 1. His conception, which was in the womb of one of the race of mankind, whereby he became truly the Son of man, as he was often called. He was one of the posterity of Adam, and a child of Abraham, and a son of David, according to. God’s promise. But his conception was not in the way of os