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that is to say, his flesh, and the anchorage of hope within the vail; between God, and the flesh in which God was manifested; between the throne of grace, which is the human nature, Isai. xxii. 22, 23, and he that fills the throne, who is the first and the last, the Almighty; between the temple of his body, and he that raised it up in three days; between the virgin's substance, and the everlasting Father; between the body, and all the fulness of the Godhead that dwells bodily in it; between the manhood, which grew in wisdom and in stature, and infinite wisdom, and immensity itself, to whose wisdom there can be no addition, and to whose stature nothing can be added; between the Son, who knew not the day of Jerusalem's destruction, and the omniscient God, who can be ignorant of nothing. Until Mr. Loud can learn to distinguish a little better, he will never appear wise to salvation, though he may be wise above what is written, and too wise in his own conceit to become a fool that he may be wise indeed. God will stain the pride of all vain glory, he will hide his mysteries from the wise and prudent; and, as he takes the wise in their own craftiness, let not the wise man glory in his wisdom; for he that thinketh he knoweth any thing, of these things, knows nothing yet as he ought to know; for who is sufficient for these things, where a slip of the pen or tongue might lay a foundation for destructive heresies? But our sufficiency here must be of God, and our wisdom from the Father of lights, as it is
only in his light that we see light. But Mr. Loud objected to my asserting that Emmanuel, God with us, signifies God in our nature; because, as he observed, the text says, God with us, not in us; much less God in our nature. These curious quibbles may serve to stumble the weak, and to entangle himself in the labyrinth of error; but he will never be able to fix any other sense upon the word, if he pursues the safest method; I mean, that of comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
The Prophet tells King Ahaz, that the Lord himself shall give him a sign, a miracle, or a wonder; and such a sign as never was given before in this world. But if Emmanuel, a name that never appeared in holy writ before, and which signifies, God with us, means no more than God's presence with his people, this was no new sign, but what has been common to every saint, in every age. God was with Adam; with Abel, Seth, and Enoch, with whom he walked three hundred years; with Noah, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses; and with Israel always, either in the tabernacle or temple, and even in Babylon, and down to the death of Christ. « Israel hath not been forsaken of his God.” In this sense Emmanuel can be no new sign, but a very old one, and even as old as the word; but this mysterious sign has never been till these last days; and Jeremiah says it is a new sign, such as never was or had been before. “ The Lord hath created a new thing in the earth, a woman shall compass a man.” The
Prophet intimates that the creating power of God in this work is to be put forth, under which a woman is to compass a man; that is, she shall, under the overshadowing power of the most High, compass this strange work, of bringing forth a man child, without the help of man. This Isaiah calls a sign, and Jeremiah calls it a new thing; and such a thing as never was before; a new thing under the sun.
Nor can the compound word Emmanuel be construed to mean, as Mr. Loud suggested, no more than God in us; for God has dwelt in all his saints from the creation of the world; their bodies have ever been temples of the living God; as God hath said, “I will dwell in them, and walk in them.” It remains, therefore, that the word Emmanuel must have a meaning different from both the above; and signify God with us in a way that he never was before. “ Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign,” saith the prophet, “ Behold a virgin shall conceive a son) and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel,” which the Apostle tells us is God with us. The first wonder is, that a pure virgin should conceive. And the word conceive, or conception, implies that this man, that she was to compass, was to be of her seed; for, if not of her seed, how can we understand conception, seeing the scriptures witness that Satan's head is to be bruised by the woman's seed; whereas Deity, abstractedly considered, is the Father of all, but the seed of none. And true it is that
Christ was, according to the flesh, made of a woman, of the substance of her body; and so flesh of our flesh, and bone of our bone. This is a great mystery, but it is a true one. The third part of the sign is, that after this son is conceived and born, two natures remain: The divine nature is called God, the human nature expressed by the word, us; which is a plain contradiction of Mr. Loud's notion, I mean that of transubstantiating the Godhead into flesh, as the papists pretend to turn the Saviour into a wafer: for this would amount to no more than flesh with us; whereas Emmanuel is God with us. And the prophet here shews when and where this union took place; namely, at the virgin's conception, and in the virgin's womb; not after the infant was formed, nor after it was born, as before observed; for this had been no more than a union of two persons, and is what every believer may claim, who has fellowship with the Lord, seeing such are in union with him, joined to him, and of one spirit with him. But this union took place as soon as the seed passed from the loins to the womb; “ Thou shalt conceive in thy womb,” said the angel; and the Word was made flesh in the womb; that is, Christ assumed the human nature there. Hence it appears plain that a union of two natures in one person should be this wonder, this miracle, this glorious sign, which God would give; and which is the good thing promised to the house of Israel, and the new thing which God would create in
the earth. Hence it must follow, and we may safely conclude, that Emmanuel, God with us, signifies God in human nature; “ God manifest in the flesh;” or, as the scriptures witness, all the fulness of the Godhead dwelling bodily in the human nature of Christ; and so Emmanuel, Christ. or God with us as he never was before; and God with all his children, who were flesh and blood, and on whose account he himself took part of the same. But himself taking part of the same is not a converting himself into the same: it is not a change of nature, but an incarnation, as Besor, one of the cities of refuge, a type of Christ, signifies. For the Saviour's union with a body prepared can never be called a change into that body. Moreover, it is a matter of doubt with me whether Deity changed into flesh and blood be a proper object of trust, or of divine worship, seeing we are not to trust in an arm of flesh, nor to have any confidence in the flesh, nor to worship any but the Lord our God. But God in the tabernacle, and in the temple, was worshipped by all the Israelites, whether far off or near, wherever prayer was to be made; and God in the temple of human nature is worshipped, both in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; for, “ When he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, Let all the angels of God worship him;” and of Zion it is said, “ He is thy Jehovah, and worship thou him.”
Your other notion, of the Godhead when