« PreviousContinue »
caught him.hately Jesus streehold of one:
Apostle wrote those things, he would not speak of it in the present tense, as he does here, but in the preterpe:fect, as he did ver. 14. 3dly, As it would be an uncouth expression to say, the Son of God assumed or took man, if we suppose he only meant, that the Son of God assumed human nature ; and in like manner this other expression would appear harsh, the Son of God did not assume angels, to denote that he did not assume the nature of angels. 4thly, In the Scripture stile sfidapBànobud signifies to deliver by laying hold of one : thus Mat. xiv. 31. « andimmediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and exidapito èpts caught him:” and this signification is most opposite to the context. For, in the preceding verse, the Apostle had said, that Christ delivered them who thro' fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage, alluding it seems to the bondage of Egypt. But God is represented to us in Scripture, as with a stretched out hand laying hold on, and bringing his people out of Egypt, Jer. xxxi. 32. “ in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt. Which the Apostle expresses by saying, “ in the day when I took them by the ha id, to lead them out of the land of Egypt:" where we have the same word iti daußereotan. And in profane authors, it denotes to claim something as one's property, and say, according to Virgil, these are mine. Thus Plato, Xll. de legibus o?den T05 xIxina milos ñ, rai pendiis etindenlai, - if one is in possession of any thing, and none claims it as his own." To this answers the Hebrew sa Which makes me, with many learned men, think that these words of the Apostle, whose genuine sense we have been en... quiring into rather contain an argument for the incarnation of Christ, than assert the incarnation itself. .
X. Moreover, it may be proved by invincible arguments, that it was necessary our surety should be man. Let us pause a little here, and see whether we may not possibly search this truth to the bottom. The legal covenant entered into with the first man, is founded on the very nature of God; at least with respect to the commands of the covenant, and thie threatenings annexed to them. So that it would be a contra.. diction if these precepts of the law of nature should not be proposed to man, or if man, after the violation of them, should be saved without a satisfaction, which I now pre-suppose, as having proved it before, and shall further confirin it in the sequel. I therefore proceed: this satisfaction can be nothing else but the performing the same precepts and the undergoing the same penalty with which God had threatened the sinner. Because from our hypothesis it appears to be unworthy of God to grant life to man but on condition of his obeying those Vol. I.
precepts; nor possible for the truth and justice of God to be ! satistied, unless the punishment which the sinner deserved should be inflicted. I add, that as those precepts were given to man, so no creature but man could perform them. This appears, Ist, Because the law, which is suited to the nature of man, requires, that he love God with all his soul, and serve him with all the members of his body, seeing both are God's. None can do this but man, who consists of soul and body. 2dly, The same law requires the love of our neighbour ; but notte is our neighbour but man, who is of the same blood with us.. To this purpose is that emphatical saying of God to Israel; Isa. lviii. 7. " that thou hide not thyself from thine own flegh.” And thus our surety ought to cherish us, as one does his own flesh, and consequently we ought to be of his Hesh and of his bones, Eph. v. 30. 3dly, It requires also, that we lay down our lives for our brethren, which we have shewn was contained in the royal law of love, and none but man can do this. For who else is our brother? Heb. ii. II. or who besides could lay down his life for us. No other creature but man could undergo the same sufferings, as hunger, thirst, weariness, death. It became God to threaten sinning man with these things : that even the body, which was the instrument of sin; might also undergo its share of the punishment. And after the threatening, the truth of God could not but inflict these things, either on the sinner or the surety. The dignity of the sufferer might indeed sufficiently compensate for the duration of the punishment. But the truth of God admits of no commutation of the species of punishment. Wherefore our surety was “ partaker of flesh and blood that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death,” Heb. ii. 14. All these things put together, incontestably prove that our surety ought to be man ; that he might satisfy the law for us.
VI. This is what the Apostle means when joining these two together by an inseparable connection, Gal. iv. 4. “ made of a woman, inade under the law.” For he intimates, that the principal and immediate scope and end of Christ's incaré nation was, that in the human nature he might be subject to · the law, to which it is under obligation : and so that God, · according to the same right, might renew with him the same covenant which he had before entered into with the first man; which he could not have done with any other created nature, without a contradiction.
VII. There is this further consideration : our surety oughť to have such a nature, in order to our being united to him in
faction of one be
who fits for a the head to us
equently this is the inviolable law of
of the saine nature :
- Ciego. IV.] OP THL SURETY.
ane body. For it is necessary that the satisfaction of one
spiritual marriage of the
" and they two shall be one fles.),”
one fles:5," Gen. 11. 24. Paul hath
GHTEOUS and HOLY MAN: in
IX. And this also is clear from what has been already
I, for by one sin he forfeits his own soul? “ For who
rom among sinful men) that can engage his heart to ach unto me " says God, Ter. xxx. 21. Or who but
is free from every sin can be our priest, familiarly
tercession to him ? Hac Such an High-Priest became
26. He then can offer himself, as a lamb “ with.
himself, for by one sin he i
approach unto me?” says o
spot, can purge the
... 'And Tohul is
the High Priest, without which, it was such a crime for any to intermeddle in holy things, that he was to be punished by death ; and by the purity of the beasts, which were to be without any blemish. And seeing it is well known that “ God heareth not sinners,” John ix. 31. whose “ prayers are an abomination to him," Prov. xxviii. 9. who else can be the general intercessor and advocate of all with the Father, but he who is eminently righteous? I John ii, I. In fine, how could he who is himself impure, “ sanctify the church, and present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish," Eph. v. 26. 27: there cannot be more in the effect than there is in the cause. Since then all these things ought to be done by the surety, it appears necessary that he be a holy man.
X. But here the adorable wisdom of our God shines forth: our surety ought not only to be man, but also taken from among men, that he might be the son of man; for if his human nature was created out of nothing, or out of the earth, he would certainly be true man, yet not our kinsman, not our brother. In order to this therefore, it became him, like other “ children, to be a partaker of flesh and blood,” Heb. i. 14. and to be “ born of a woman,” Gal. iv. 4. But it seemed inconsistent with the uńspotted holiness of the surety, that he should be descended of the posterity of Adam, who all derive hereditary pollution from him : for “ who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean ?” Job xiv. 4. Here let us adore the unsearchable wisdom of God. Though he would have a surety to be born of a woman, yet she was to be a virgin. For this, if there was nothing else intended, was at least an evidence of these two things : Ist, That the surety was not from Adam's covenant, as not being born according to the law of nature, and consequently not under the imputation of Adam's sin. 2dly, Nay that he could not be so much as considered as existing in Adam when Adam sinned. Seeing he was not born in virtue of that word where. by God blessed the state of marriage before the fall; encrease and multiply; but in virtue of the promise concerning the seed of the woman, which was made after the fall. And thus he was created a second Adam in opposition to the first. ** For the Lord hath created a new thing in the earth, 733 adidn mapy a woman shall compass a man,” Jer, xxxi. 22. We are it seems to take this in the utmost signification the words can admit of. That a woman, who is only such, and withpuit any thing of the woman but the sex, should compass, not
by embrace, but by conception. (For such a compassing is meant, as is the work of God alone, and not the voluntary operation of man.) A male, denoting the more excellent sex, as Rev. xii. 5. " and she brought forth a male child." This then is a new thing, and a creation altogether divine. On this
depend the blessing of the earth, and the satiating the weary che soul, which are promised in the following verses.
XI. It may here be enquired, whether the miraculous na, E tivity from a virgin does of itself, and from the nature of the
thing, secure to the human nature of Christ immunity from sin : or whether indeed it was only appointed by God as a symbol? I shall here present the reader, for his more accurate meditation, with the words of two great men who condeive differently of this matter. One of them speaks thus : “ That miraculous nativity from the virgin, really bears no
other relation to the holiness of the conception and nativity sy of Christ, but that of a symbol appointed by God, whereby he Es was separated from sinners : nor could that miracle of itself
alone, namely, the impregnation of the virgin's womb, secure in the least an exemption to the flesh of Christ from the inheritance of sin: for the origin of sin is not derived from the
male sex alone, or male seed; nor did the Apostle, Rom. v. 2. so understand one man Adam, as to exclude Eve : which is
here the leading error of some.” The other of these learned The men reasons in this manner : “ He could be born of the vir- : al gin without any pollution : because what is in the body of a di sinner, as it is God's creature, is no wise under curse and bi pollution, but in so far as it is a part of the sinner when he p is to be punished, or is the instrument of sin, or the means
of the ordinary propagation of nature, as that something should be born resembling what generates. There might therefore be something in the virgin's body that was not under a curse ; as the sweats, and other evacuations from the human body are not under curse or guilt, nor a means · of transferring guilt ; but are parts of matter created by God, and are no longer any part of man.” Perhaps the same learned person has elsewhere expressed himself more clearly, as follows : “ He who was born not of father and mother, but of a virgin, was not under guilt and condemnation. For he only received from his mother what was prepared by God; that thence the Son of God might take to himself the materials for building a temple. For though what belongs to the sinner is, on account of the sinner to whom it belongs, under the same condemnation with the sinDer himself; yet that which is so contained in the substance