« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." Rom. 5: 8–10.
3. If the greatest love hath been manifested in giving Christ to the world, then it follows, that the greatest evil and wickedness is manifested in despising, slighting, and rejecting Christ. It is sad to abuse the love of God manifested in the least gift of providence; but, to slight the richest displays of it, even that peerless gist, wherein God commends his love in the most astonishing manner, this is sin beyond description. Blush, O heavens, and be astonished, 0 earth! yea, be ye horribly afraid ! No guilt like this. But, are there any such in the world? Dare any slight this gift of God? Indeed, if men's words might be taken, there are few or none that dare do so; but if their lives and practices may be believed, this, this is the sin of the far greater part of the christianized world. Witness the lamentable stupidity and supineness; witness the contempt of the Gospel ; witness the hatred and persecution of his image, laws, and people. What is the language of all this, but a vile esteem of Jesus Christ?
And now let me a little expostulate with those ungrateful souls that trample under foot the Son of God; that value not this love that gave him up to die. What is that mercy which you so contemn and undervalue ? is it so vile and cheap a thing as your conduct speaks it to be? is it indeed worth no more than this in your eyes! Surely you will not be long of that opinion ! Will you be of that mind, think you, when death and judgment shall have thoroughly awakened you? Oh, no: then a thousand worlds for Christ! Or, think ye, that any
besides you in the world are of your mind ? You are deceived if
; To them that believe he is precious," 1 Pet. 2:7, through all the world. And in the other world they are of a quite contrary mind. Could you but hear what is said of him in hea.
ven, in what a dialect the saved of the Lord extol their Saviour; or could you but imagine the self-revenges, the self-torments, which the damned suffer for their folly, and what a value they would set upon one tender of Christ, if it might but again be hoped for ; you would see that such as you are the only despisers of Christ. Besides, methinks it is astonishing that you should despise a mercy in which your own souls are so dearly, so deeply, so everlastingly concerned, as they are in this gift of God. If it were but the soul of another, nay, less, if but the body of another, and yet less than that, if but another's beast, whose life you could preserve, you are obliged to do it; but when it is thyself, yea, the best part of thyself, thine own invaluable soul, that thou ruinest and destroyest thereby, oh, what à monster art thou to cast it away thus! What! will you slight your own souls ? care you not whether they be saved, or whether they be damned ? is it indeed an indifferent thing with you which way they fall at death? have you imagined a tolerable hell ? is it easy to perish? are you not only turned God's enemies, but your own too? Oh, see what monsters sin can turn men into ! Oh the stupifying, besotting, intoxicating power of sin !
But perhaps you think that all these are but uncertain sounds with which we alarm you ; it may be thine own heart will preach such doctrine as this to thee:
" Who can assure me of the reality of these things ? why should I trouble myself with an invisible world, or be so much concerned for what my eyes never saw, nor did I ever receive the report from any that have seen them ?" Well, though we cannot now show you
these things, yet shortly they shall be shown you, and your own eyes shall behold them. You are convinced and satisfied that many other things are real which you never saw; but be assured, that " if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and dis
obedience received a just recompence of reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation, which at first began to be spoken to us by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by them that heard him, God also bearing them witness ?” Heb. 2 : 2–4. But, perhaps you say, if they be certain, yet they are not near; it will be a long time before they come. Poor soul! how dost thou cheat thyself! It may be not one twentieth part so long a time as thy own fancy paints for thee; thou art not certain of the next moment.
And suppose what thou imaginest; what are twenty or forty years when they are past? yea, what are a thousand
years to vast eternity ? Go, trifle away a few days more ; sleep out a few nights more, and then lie down in the dust ; it will not be long ere the trump of God shall awaken thee, and thine eyes shall behold Jesus coming in the clouds of heaven, and then you will know the price of this sin. Oh, therefore, if there be any sense of eternity upon you, any pity or love for yourself in you; if you have any interests more than the beasts that perish, despise not your own offered mercies, slight not the richest gift that ever was yet opened to the world ; and a sweeter cannot be opened to all eternity.
OF CHRIST'S WONDERFUL PERSON.
" And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." John, 1 : 14.
We have contemplated the covenant of redemption. It is such as infinitely exceeds the power of any mere
creature to perform. He that undertakes to satisfy God by obedience for man's sin, must himself be God; and he that performs such a perfect obedience, by doing and suffering all that the law required, in our room, must be man.
These two natures must be united in one person, else there could not be a co-operation of each nature in his mediatorial work. How these natures are united, in the wonderful person of our Immanuel, is the first part of the great mystery of godliness: a subject studied and adored by angels! and the mystery thereof is wrapped up in the passage before us. Wherein we have,
1. The Person assuming, Argos, the Word, that is, the second Person or Subsistent in the most glorious Godhead; called the Word, either because he is the scope or principal matter, both of the prophetical and promissory word; or because he expounds and reveals the mind and will of God to men, as verse 18: " The only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared” or expounded " him.”
2. The nature assumed, oupě, flesh, that is, the entire human nature, consisting of a true human soul and body. For so this word ospě, in Rom. 3 : 20, and the Hebrew word Basar, which answers to it, by a usual metonymy of a part for the whole, is used, Gen. 6:12. The word flesh, rather than man, is doubtless used here to enhance the admirable condescension and abasement of Christ; implying man's vileness, weakness, and opposition to spirit. Hence the whole nature is denominated by that part, and called flesh.
3. The assumption itself, 7eYtto, he was made; not fuit, he was, (as Socinus would render it, designing thereby to overthrow the existence of Christ's glorified body now in heaven,) but factus est, he was made, that is, he took or assumed the true human nature into the unity of his Divine person, with all its integral parts
and essential properties, and so was made, or became a true and real man, by that assumption. The apostle speaking of the same act, Heb. 2:16, uses another word, He "took on him," or he assumed. And when it is said, he was made flesh, misconceive not, as if there was a mutation of the Godhead into flesh; for this was performed, "not by changing what he was, but by assuming what he was not,” as Augustine well expresses it. As when the Scripture, in a like expression, says, "He was made sin,” 2 Cor. 5:21, and made a curse, Gal. 3: : 13, the meaning is not, that he was turned into sin, or into a curse; no more may we think here the Godhead was turned into flesh, and lost its own being and nature, because it is said he was made flesh.
This assertion " that the Word was made flesh," is also here strongly confirmed. He " dwelt among us,” and we saw his glory. This was no phantasm, but a most real and indubitable thing. For, εσκηνωσεν εν ημιν, he pitched his tent, or tabernacled with us. And we are eye-witnesses of it. "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life, declare we unto you." 1 John, 1:1-3. Hence, Jesus Christ did really assume the true and perfect nature
of man, into a personal union with his Divine nature, and still remains true God, and true man, in one per. son, for ever.
The proposition contains one of the deepest mysteries of godliness, 1 Tim. 3:16. A mystery, by which apprehension is dazzled, invention astonished, and all expression swallowed up. If ever the tongues of angels were desirable to explicate any word of God, they are 80 here. The proper use of words is of great impor. tance in this doctrine. We walk upon the brink of danger. The least tread awry may ingulf us in the