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IV. Shew what is the importance of this truth implied in the asseveration verily. - V. Apply.
I shall endeavour brevity on these heads.
1. The first thing is, to make it evident, that Christ, the Son of God, took not on him the nature of angels.
Of all created beings, angels are the most excellent, they being pure inmaterial spirits, approaching nearest to the nature of God, who is the infinite, eternal, and uncreated Spin sit, Psal. civ. 4. “ He maketh his angels spirits, his minifters a flaming fire ;” and yet when they fell from their first state, and so needed a Saviour as much as fallen man, yet the apostle here tells us, with a verily, that the took not on their nature, or did not catch hold of them, to save them from ruin. This is clear and evident from the terms in which the first promise is uttered, Gen. ji. 15. where, at the same time that the rea medy and relicf is promised to fallen man, vengeance and wrath is denounced against Satan, “ It shall bruise thy head,” says the Lord to Satan, viz. the “ feed of the woman.” This is upon the matter repeated, Il. lxiii. 4. “ The day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come;" as if he had said, " The old quarrel with Satan, the enemy of man's falvation; is still in mine heart, I am to execute vengeance upon him when I come in the flesh, to redeem my people from his slavery and bondage.' And accordingly, we are told, Col. ii. 15. That he “ spoiled principalities and powers,” and triumphed over them in his cross. Eternal war is proclaimed from heaven against the fallen angels: hence we are told, Jude 6. “ The angels which kept not their first estate, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness, unto the judgement of the great day.” From all which it is clear, that he is fo far from showing such a regard to the fallen angels, as to take their nature upon him, that he hath taken up, and will pursue an everlasting quarrel against them. And I make no doubt but it fills those evil spirits with horror and torment, to hear these tidings cold in this assembly, where we are met together to commemorate the love of God, in taking on the human nature, and giving it a sacrifice for the fin of man.
I know some divines pretend to align some reasons, why God passed by the nature of angels, 'when he took on him the human nature : but seeing the Spirit of God is silent as to this matter, it is safest for us to resolve it into the will of that sovereign Lord, “ who doth in the armies of heaven, and amongst the inhabitants of the earth," what pleasech him;
and to say with Chrilt, Matth. xi. 26. “ Even so, O Father, for so it hath pleased thee.” And therefore I proceed to
II. The second thing proposed, which was, to prove, that the glorious Son of God, who thinks it not “ robbery to be equal with God," hath indeed taken upon him the human nature, although he hath passed by the nature of angels.
Sirs, we need all, much to be established in the faith of this glorious and fundamental truth. A flaw in our faith as to this, makes the whole building totter; and I am afraid that they who think it an easy matter to believe it, never yet saw the infinite distance between the nature of God and the nature of man; for, without controversy, this is a great mystery, “ God made manifest in the flesh.” And the truth and certainty of it may be cleared and confirmed,
ift, From scripture prophecy concerning him, Pfal. xxi. where he speaks of his hands and his feet being pierced; of his being cast upon his Father's care from the womb : Thou art he that took me out of my mother's belly. So, IL. lii. through the whole, the prophet speaks of his being wounded and bruised for our iniquities, of his death and resurrection, which all plainly suppose his taking on our nature.
2dly, Scripture history makes it evident, that he took on him our nature in the feed of Abraham, particularly his genealogy, Matth i. and Luke iii. Yea, the whole history of the four evangelists concerning his birth, life, death, resurredlion, and ascension, in our nature, into heaven, prove, that verily he took on him the feed of Abraham: how could his hands and his feet be pierced with nails, and his side with a spear? how could blood and water ifsue forth at the wound? if he had not verily taken on him the feed of Abraham. . .
3dly, This is clear from plain scripture testimony. I only mention these two or three : The testimony of the apostle here, in the 14th verse of this chapter: "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the fame. Rom. i. 3. “ Jesus Christ, who was made of the feed of David, according to the flesh.” Rom. ix. 5. “Of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all God blefled for ever.” John i. 14. “ The Word was made flen, and dwelt among us," &c.
4thly, Take the testimony of angels unto this great truth: the angel Gabriel attests it, when he said to the virgin Mary, Luke i. 30.-32. “ Frar not, Mary, for thou hast found favour with God: and behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forih a son, and shalt call his name Jesus; he shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest.” So in
the 2d chapter, roth verse, the angels tell the shepherds, “ We bring you good tidings of great joy; for unto you is born, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
Sthly, He goes yet higher, and gives you the testimony of the " three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Spirit.” The Father attests it by preparing a body for him. The Son atteits it by putting it on; he took on him the feed of Abraham; he wore it on earth for about 33 years, and from hence has carried it away to heaven with him, and from heaven declares the truth of his incarnation and death, fay. ing, “I am he that liveth and was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore, and have the keys of hell and of death,” Rex, i. 18. The Holy Ghost attests it, by his forming the human nature in the womb of the virgin, by his. overshadowing power. But I do not in Gst. The titles that are every where given him from his human nature, make this evi. dent: he is called a Man, and the Son of man, a title in which he himself delights, and repeats every now and then; he is called frequently the seed of the woman, the feed of Abra. ham, the feed of David, a branch that sprung out of the root of Jeffe. From all which we may conclude, with the apostle, in the words of my text, that verily he took on him the seed of Abraham.
III. The third thing was, what may be imported in the expression of the text, of his taking on bim the feed of Abra. ham !
I cannot enlarge upon such a subject; only it imports,
1/1, That the human nature was upon the point of perishing with the fallen angels, till Chrilt took hold of it.
2dly, It implies his pre-existence, as God, unto his actual incarnation, whereby the Socinian error falls, who assert, that he had no being till he was born of the virgin; for if so, how could he take to him the human nature ? Sirs, let Arians and Socinians be for ever confounded : for our Immanuel was God, co-equal with his Father, from eternity; and, in the . fulness of time, seventeen hundred and forty-two years ago, was “ made of a woman: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
3dly, It implies the verity and reality of his incarnation, of which I spoke already. His human nature was no phantom, or appearance, but the real human nature, and the whole nature of man, consisting of a true body and reasonable foul; for, says the apostle, he verily took on him the feed of Abraham.
4thly, The expreshon implies, that it was a voluntary deed; he took on him ; as a man puts on his clothes with his own hands, so the Son of God voluntarily put on the human nature ; voluntarily agreed to it in the council of peace, Pfal. xl. 8. and, from eternity, rejoiced “ in the habitable parts of the earth,” and he was a volunteer when it came to the execution.
Sthly, It implies, that the assumption of the human nature terminates in the person of the Son of God. Although the other persons, Father and Spirit, had their own peculiar agency, in forming and preparing the human nature ; yet it is the Son, the second person of the glorious Trinity, that wears it: so that it cannot be said of the Father or Holy Ghoft, but only of the Son, that he“ took unto him the seed of Abraham;" so that is not an effential, but a personal union, between the divine and human nature.
6thly, It implies, that though the union be personal, yet it is without any confusion of the two natures : they still remain elsentially distinct, although indeed, through the intimacy of the union, the properties of each nature 'are frequently ascribed to the whole person. . '
gthly, It implies, that it was an act of amazing love, grace, and condescenlion, that he took our nature upon him. Hence the apostle cries out with wonder, 1 Tim. iii. ult. “Without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the fielh." This is such a depth, that the angels desire to look into it. Hence the cherubims were made with their faces pointing towards the mercy-seat.
8thly, It implies, that the human nature did not constitute the person of Christ : for here we see that he, as a person, took the human nature to himself, or took it into his own person. If the human nature were a person, then he would have two persons, as well as two natures : but this is an error long lnce conclemned ; and the expression in the text bears, that it was only the nature, therefore called the feed of A'roham; agreeable to this is that, Luke i. 35. " That holy thing which shall be born of thee:" it is not that loly person, but that holy thing, viz. the innocent nature of man, consisting in a true body and reasonable foul. So much for what is imported in the expression.
IV. The fourth in the method was, To touch a little at the importance of this matter pointed at in the word of afleveration VERILY, Verily he took not on him the nature of angels but the seed of Abraham,
It is observed in the history of the evangelifis, when our blefled Lord is to declare any doctrine that is of great conse
quence and moment, to arrest the attention of his audience, he ushers it in with a VERILY; and sometimes he doubles it with a “ VERILY, VERILY, I say unto you ;" as in his discourse unto: Nicodemus, concerning the necessity of regeneration, John iii. 3. “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God," so here the apostle, after his example, when he is asserting the doctrine of the incarnation of the Son, ushers it in with a VERILY, that we may advert to it as a thing of the last moment. The importance of it will appear, if we consiủer that this point of the incarnation, or union of the two natures, was the main leading matter that was upon the carpet, in the council of peace, between the Father and the Son : it was the hardest thing to be determined and effected, and that without it, nothing could be done, for the redemption and salvation of loft finners of Adam's family. There were three things that justice demanded, in order to the salvation of loft man: 1st, That the human nature be presented to God, in its original purity, without spot or blemilh. 2dly, That the holy law be perfcctly obeyed, and the honour of it maintained. 3dly, That seeing the law is broken, the penalty of it, or its curse, be endured by one in man's nature, whose blood must be of infinite value for the satisfaction of juftice. Well, in this case, the eternal Son of God looked, and " there was none to help or uphold, and therefore his own arm brought salvation." Come (says he unto his Father), since there is no sacrifice nor offering that will please, Lo, I come; I delight to do thy will; a body halt thou prepared for me, in the feed of Abraham ; I will put it on, and satisfy all these hard demands of justice : 1, as a fecond Adam, a public head and representative of the feed thou hast given me, will present the human nature entire in my own person; and will, through my fanctifying Spirit in them, present them also unto thee, at the end of time, without spot or blemith, or any such thing. I also, as their Covenant-head and Surety, will, in their nature, fulbl the whole law as a covenant, and bring in an everlasting righteousness for their juftification, and write it as a rule upon their hearts, and, by ny Spirit put within them, will cause them to walk in my statutes. And because justice demands that the same nature that finned fhould also fuffer, therefore I will give my human nature a facrifice for their lin; I will be wounded for their iniquities, bruised for their tranfgressions: of my hand iialt thou require the debt that they owe to justice.' In a word (for I cannot in Gn), the incarnation of the Son of God is such a material and important matter, that without it the whole business of man's salvation and redemption ceases for ever ; all the other supernatural mysteries of our holy religion