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entered into covenant with him: on which account he is called the man at his right hand, Psal. 1xxx. 17, before the union took place. Thus the dear Redeemer, as chosen, appointed, and set up, as our covenant head and glorious Mediator, was viewed as man from eternity; and therefore said to be the Son of man that came down from heaven; and, on the account of his agreeing to be future man to redeem us, it is said that he went forth in unparalleled love, and, in this eternal council, from everlasting; as it is written, “ But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity,” Mic. v. 2. On account of this decree of God, and the covenant made, and the office to which the Saviour was appointed, he tells us that his love to the chosen, who were given to him in eternity, who were to be created by him in time, and who would be ruined by the fall, I say his love to them was such, that, at the creation, while the terraqueous globe was framing, he was then rejoicing in the habitable parts of his earth, and his delights were with the sons of men, Prov. viii. 31; when at that time the earth was not inhabited, nor had the children of men any existence but in the decree and purpose of God.
Furthermore, the Father fixed an eternal love upon the future seed appointed to be united to the
Word; and, having chosen that seed, and appointed it to this future union, he chose an innumerable company of the children of men in him, called the elect; and gave them to him; united them with him, and loved them with an eternal love in him; and this is called his good will to them, and the thoughts of his heart, which stand fast to a thousand generations. Thus " he that sanetifieth, and they that are sanctified, are both of one;" of one God, and of one Father. “ I ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”
In the fulness of time the eternal Word assumed the appointed seed, the child was born to us, and to us a son was given. And now was fulfilled the ancient prophecy; “ And their noble one,” for that is the right reading, “ shall be of themselves, and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them; and I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto me: for who is this that engageth his heart to approach unto me? saith Jehovah," Jer. xxx. 21. Mark, the noble one is by Christ applied to himself, and is called a certain nobleman who went to receive a kingdom, Luke xix. 12. Thus God performed the good thing promised to the house of Israel, by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and who was God manifest in the flesh.
From the union that took place between the divine person of the Son of God, and the woman's seed in the virgin's womb, by incarnation, and which union continued throughout the Saviour's life, which subsisted also undissolved in death, and which will continue to all eternity, for in it he is a Priest of an everlasting priesthood, and King of an everlasting kingdom; from this union, I say springs all the invaluable and intrinsic merit of the Saviour. He thought it no robbery to be equal with God when he took on him the form of a servant; hence springs the dignity of an everlasting righteousness. He was God's fellow when he was smitten upon the cross, and therefore perfected for ever all that are sanctified. He was the Prince of life when he died; and so the Author of eternal salvation to all that obey him.
As to the human nature, it was entirely free from all original sin, nor did it ever contract any sin. It was filled with every grace in perfection; grace was poured into his lips, and an eternal blessing was on him; the Holy Ghost, with all his gifts, and in all his fulness, was on the manhood, and abode upon it; and that holy thing was in union with the eternal I AM. This is the Christ of God, the foundation that he has laid in Zion, and the darling of every believing soul. And without this union it is not easy to conceive how God and man, at an infinite distance, could ever come together, so as for man to have fellowship with the Father. But God was manifest in the flesh. And this is the great mystery of godliness, which the heavens have revealed to men, and is the fountain of all the godliness that ever was, or ever will be, revealed in men. ‘All religion, that is not received from the fulness of Christ, is nothing but a shew, a form of godliness without the power; which renders the performer, in the sight of God, no more than a hypocrite, or a wolf in sheep's clothing. For, as God appointed the union between the two natures of Christ in eternity, and likewise the union between Christ and his seed, so from eternity he predestinated them to be conformed, in time, to the image of his Son. Hence, when he sent him forth, it was to gather in him the predestinated children of God that were scattered abroad. He was lifted up upon the cross to draw all these men unto him; he was exhibited as the promised Shiloh, to whom the gathering of the people was to be; and exalted to the right hand of God, that we might be called to the fellowship of him, and, by the reception of the Holy Spirit of promise, be joined to him and made one spirit with him, and so have our affections set at the right hand of God where Christ sitteth. Christ being the fountain of all godliness, all fulness dwells in him, so out of his fulness all grace must be received, and be continually derived from him, by virtue of union with him; of which union I intend now to speak.
And, first, there are many things which the Spirit of God performs in the elect sinner before this eternal union can take place, so as to be manifested, known, felt, and enjoyed, in time. And, first, the poor sinner is naturally proud, and God
beholds the proud afar off. The soul being by pride at a distance from God, shews the need of humbling grace; for God says he will dwell with the humble and the contrite spirit.
2. All men are by nature unbelievers. God has concluded all men in unbelief; and an evil heart of unbelief is called a departing from the living God. Hence appears the need of a work of faith on the soul; and faith is God's work.
3. The sinner's carnal mind is enmity against God; not subject to his law, nor can be; which shews the need of a powerful application of the word of reconciliation.
4. The will is biassed wholly to evil, as appears by the following parable: “Son, go work to day in my vineyard; but he answered and said, I will not.” But Omnipotence bows the will, and evangelical repentance makes the sinner willing. “ Thy people shall be willing in the day of my power;" which the parable explains, by saying, “ But afterwards he repented and went.”
5. The sinner is by nature whole hearted; and, “The whole need not the physician, but them that are sick.” This shews the need of a wounded spirit. Christ was sent to bind up the broken hearted, and to heal that which was sick.
6. It is sin that separates between God and the soul; which shews the need of pardon, before God and the sinner can come together. “ He shall give them the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of sins."