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in his glory, Rev. i. 17. When the eye gazes on the sun, it is more tormented with the brightness, than pleased with the beauty of it; but when the beams are transmitted through a coloured medium, they are more temperate and sweetened to the sight. The eternal Word shining in his full glory, the more bright, the less visible is he to mortal eyes; but the incarnate Word is eclipsed and allayed by a “ veil of flesh," and so made accessible to us. God, out of tender respect to our frailty and fears, promised to raise up a prophet clothed in our nature, that we might comfortably and quietly receive his instructions, Deut. xviii. 15. Guilt makes us fearful of his presence. The approach of God awakens the conscience, which is his spy in our bosoms, and causes a dreadful apparition of sin in its view. When one beam of Christ's divinity broke forth in the miraculous draught of fishes, Peter cries out, “ Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord,” Luke v. 8. Holiness, armed with terror, strikes a sinner into consternation. Now when the mind is shaken with a storm of fear, it cannot calmly attend to the counsels of wisdom. But the Son of God appearing in our nature to expiate sin and appease divine justice, we are encouraged to draw near to him, and sit at his feet, to hear the “ words of eternal life.” Thus God complied with our necessity, that with a freer dispensation we might receive the counsels of our Saviour.

(3.) He is qualified for the kingly office, by the union of the two natures in him. He must be God to conquer Satan, and convert the world. As eminent an act of power was necessary to redeem, as to create; for although the supreme Judge were to be satisfied by humble sufferings, yet Satan, who usurped the right of God (for man had no power to alienate himself) was to be subdued: having no just title, he was to be cast out by power. And no less than the divine power could accomplish our victorious rescue from him. In his love he pitied us, and “his holy arm got him the victory." He is the author of “eternal salvation,” which no inferior agent could ever accomplish. It is God alone death,” and him that had “the power of death,” and bring us safely to felicity.

Besides, our king must be man, that by the excellency of his example, he might lead us in the way of life. The most rational method to reform the world, is, not only to enact laws to be the rule of virtuous actions, but for lawgivers to make virtue honourable and imitable by their own practice.

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And to encourage us in the holy war against our enemies visible and invisible, it was congruous that the prince of our salvation should take the human nature, and submit to the inconveniences of our warfaring state; as kings, when they design a glorious conquest, go forth in person, and willingly endure the hardships of a military conditon, to animate their armies. The apostle tells us, Heb. ii. 10. that it “became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” God, the great designer of all things, foreseeing the sufferings to which the godly would be exposed in the world, ordained it as most convenient, that the author of their deliverance, should, by sufferings obtain the reward, that by his example, he might strengthen and deliver those that suffer to the end. Again; the Son of God entered into our family, and is not "ashamed to call us brethren,” Heb. ii. 11. To make his sceptre amiable to us, he exerciseth his dominion with a natural and sensible touch of pity; he pardons our failings, and puts a value on our sincere though mean services, as an honour done to him. Briefly; in him there is a combination of power and love; the power of the Deity with the tenderness and clemency of the human nature.

He is the mighty God, and Prince of peace, Isa. ix. 6. He is a king just and powerful against our enemies, but mild and gentle to his people, Zech. ix. 9. He is willing to remove from us all the evils we cannot endure, our sins and sorrows; and able to convey to us all the blessings we are capable to enjoy. In all his glory, he remembers that he is our Saviour. At the day of judgment, when he shall come with a train of mighty angels, he will be as tender of man, as when he suffered on the cross.

And from hence we may discover the excellency of God's contrivance in uniting the divine and human nature in our Redeemer, that he might have ability and affection to qualify him for that great and blessed work.

3. The divine wisdom appears in the designation of the person ; for God resolving to save man in a way that is honourable to his justice, it was expedient a person in the blessed Trinity should be put into a state of subjection, to endure the punishment due to sin, but it was not convenient the Father should; for he must then have been sent into the world, which is incongruous to the relations that are between those glorious persons; for as they subsist in a certain order, so their operations are according to the manner of their sub. sistence. The Father is from himself, and the first motions in all things are ascribed to him; the Son is from the Father, and all his actions take their rise from him. “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do," John v. 19. The effecting of our redemption is referred to the Father's will as the supreme cause; our Saviour, upon his entrance into the world to undertake that work, declares, “I come to do thy will, O God,” Heb. x. 7. Upon this account the apostle addresses his thanks to the Father as the first agent in our salvation, Col. i. 12; which is not to lessen the glory of the Son and Spirit, but to signify, that in the accomplishment of it, their working follows their being.-It was not fit that the Father should be incarnate; for he must then have sustained the part of a criminal, and appeared in that quality before the supreme Judge; but this was not consonant to the order among the persons; for although they are of equal majesty, being one God, yet the Father is the first person, and to him belongs most congruously to be the guardian of the laws and rights of heaven, to exact satisfaction for offences, and to receive intercessions for the pardon of the penitent.

Neither was it fit that the third person should undertake that work; for besides the sacrifice of propitiation, it was necessary the divine power should be exerted, to enlighten the minds and incline the wills of men to receive the Redeener, that the benefits of his death might be applied to them. Now, the Redeemer is considered as the object, and the Holy Spirit as the disposer of the faculty to receive it; and in the natural order of things, the object must exist before the operation of the faculty upon it. There must be light before the eye can see. So in the disposition of the causes of our salvation, the Redeemer must be ordained and salvation purchased, before the divine power is put forth to enable the soul to receive it; and accordingly it is the office of the Spirit, who is the power of God, Luke i. 35, and by whom the Father and the Son execute all things, to render effectual the redemption procured by the Son.

Briefly; the mission of the persons is according to their principle. The Father sends the Son to require salvation for us, John iii. 17; the Son sends the Spirit to apply it, John xvi. 7. Thus there is no disturbing of their sacred order.


More particularly; in appointing the Son to assume the human nature, and to restore lapsed man, the wisdom of God is evident; for by that,

(1.) The properties of the sacred persons are preserved entire: the same title is appropiated to both natures in our Mediator. His state on earth corresponds with his state in heaven. He is the only Son from eternity, and the first born in time: and the honour due to the eternal and divine, and to the temporal but supernatural sonship, is attributed to him.

(2.) To unite the glorious titles of Creator and Redeemer in the same person. The Father made the world by the Son, Heb. i. 2. By this title he had an original propriety in man, which could not be extinguished. Though we had forfeited our right in him, he did not lose his right in us.

Our contract with Satan could not nullify it. Now it was consonant that the Son should be employed to recover his own, that the Creator in the beginning should be the Redeemer in the fulness of time.

(3.) Who could more fitly restore us to favour and the right of children, than the only begotten and only beloved Son, who is the singular and everlasting object of his Father's delight ? Our relation to God is an imitation and expression of Christ's. He is a son by nature, a servant by condescension; we are servants by nature, and sons by grace and favour. Our adoption into the line of heaven is by the purchase of his blood. The eternal Son “took flesh,” and was “ made under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons,” Gal. iv. 5; Rom. viii. 29. Who was more fit to repair the image of God in man, and beautify his nature that was defiled with sin, than the Son who is “ the express image” of his Father's person, and brightness and beauty itself? Who can better communicate the divine counsels to us, than the eternal World ?

4. The wisdom of God appears in making the remedy to have a proportion to the cause of our ruin ; that as we fell in Adam, our representative, so we are raised by Christ, the head of our recovery, 1 Cor. xv. 22. The apostle makes the comparison between the first and second Adam; Therefore as by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous,"

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Rom. v.

18, 19. They are considered as causes of contrary effects. The effects are sin and righteousness, condemnation and justification. As the disobedience of the first Adam is meritoriously imputed to all his natural posterity, and brings death upon all; so the righteousness of the second is nieritoriously imputed to all his spiritual progeny, to obtain life for them. The carnal Adam, having lost original righteousness, derives a corrupt nature to all that descend from him; and the spiritual, having by his obedience purchased divine grace for us, (that being the price without which so rich a treasure as holiness could not be obtained,) conveys a vital efficacy to renew his people. The same spirit of holiness which anointed our Redeemer, does quicken all his race, that as they have borne the image of the earthly, they may bear the image of the heavenly Adam, 1 Cor. xv. 49.

5. The divine wisdom is visible in the manner whereby our redemption is accomplished; that is, by the humiliation of the Son of God. By this he did counterwork the sin of angels and man. Pride is the poison of every sin, for in every one the creature prefers his pleasure, and sets up his will, above God's; but it was the special sin of Adam. The devil would have levelled heaven by an unpardonable usurpation; he said, " I will be like the Most High:” and man infected with his breath, “ You shall be like God,” became sick of the same disease. Now Christ, that by the quality of the remedy he might cure our disease in its source and cause, applied to our pride an unspeakable humility.

Man was guilty of the highest robbery in affecting to be equal with God; and the eternal Son, who was " in the form of God,” and equal to him in majesty and authority without sacrilege or usurpation, emptied himself by assuming the human nature in its servile state, Phil. ii. 6. “ The Word was made flesh;" the meanest part is specified, to signify the greatness of his abasement. There is such an infinite distance between God and flesh, that the condescension is as admirable as the contrivance. So great was the malignity of our pride, for the cure of which such a profound humility was requisite. By this he destroyed the first work of the devil, 1 John iii. 8.

6. The wisdom of God appears in ordaining such contemptible, and, in appearance, opposite means, to accomplish such glorious effects. The way is as wonderful as the work. That Christ by dying on the cross, a reputed malefactor,

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