« ZurückWeiter »
made1 Flesh, that is to say, "God's" own Son being made of a woman," and so becoming truly and really "thew fruit of her womb." Neither did he take the substance of our nature only, but all the properties also and the qualities thereof: so as it might be said of him, as it was of Elias* and the apostles5'; that he was a man subject to like passions as we are. Yea he subjected himself " in* the days of his flesh" to the same weakness» which we find in our own frail nature, and was compassed with like infirmities; and in a word, in all things was made like unto his brethren, sinb only excepted. Wherein yet we must consider, that as he took upon him, not an human person, but an human nature; so it was not requisite he should take upon him any personal infirmities, such as are madness, blindness, lameness, and particular kinds of diseases, which are incident to some only and not to all men in general; but those alone which do accompany the whole nature of mankind, such as are hungering, thirsting, weariness, grief, pain, and mortality.
We are further here also to observe in this our Melchisedechc, that as he had no mother in regard of one of his natures, so he was to have no father in regard of the other; but must be born of a pure immaculate virgin, without the help of any man.
And this also was most requisite, as for other respects so for the exemption of the assumed nature from the imputation and pollution of Adam's sin. For sind having by that one man entered into the world; every father be- cometh an Adam unto his child, and conveyeth the corruption of his nature unto all those whom he doth beget. Therefore our Saviour assuming the substance of our
• John, chap. 1. ver. 14. * Gal. chap. 4. ver. 4. "Luke, chap. I. ver. 42.
• 'H\iac avOpuiroc fiv ipoioiraOr/c iiftiv. Jam. chap. 5. ver. 17.
» 'Hfiar 6/ioiojradcTf lapiv vft'tv avOpuirot. Acts, chap. 14. ver. 15.
* Heb. chap. 5. ver. 7.
* 2 Cor. chap. 13. ver. 4. Heb. chap. 2. ver. 17, 18. and chap. 4. ver. 15.
b Inter Trinitatem, et hominum infirmitatem, et iniquitatem, Mediator factus est homo non iniquus, sed tamen intimius: ut cx eo quod non iniquus jungeretur Deo; ex co quod infirmus, propinquaret tibi. Aug. prsef. in enarrat. 2. Psal. 29.
c Heb. chap. 7. ver. 3. * Rom. chap. 5. ver. 12.
nature, but not by the ordinary way of natural generation, is thereby freed from all the touch and taint of the corruption of our flesh; which by that means only is propagated from the first man unto his posterity. Whereupon he being made of man, but not by man, and so becoming the immediate fruit of the womb, and not of the loins, must of necessity be acknowledged to be that* Holy Thing, which so was born of so blessed a mother. Who although she were but the passive and material principle of which that precious flesh was made, and the Holy Ghost the agent and efficient; yet cannot the man Christ Jesus thereby be made the Sonr of his own Spirit; because fathers do beget their children out of their own substance: the Holy Ghost did not so, but framed the flesh of him, from whom himself proceeded, out of the creature of them both, "the8 handmaid of our Lord;" whom from thence "all generations shall call blessed."
That blessed womb of her's was the bride-chamber, wherein the Holy Ghost did knit that indissoluble knot betwixt our human nature and his Deity: the Son of God assuming into the unity of his person that which before he was not; and yet without change (for so must God still be) remaining that which he was; whereby it came to pass that this "holyh thing which was born of her," was indeed and in truth to be called the Son Of God. Which wonderful connexion of two so infinitely differing natures in the unity of one person, how it was there effected, is an inquisition fitter for an angelical intelligence, than for our shallow capacity to look after: to which purpose we may also observe, that in the fabric, of the ark of the covenant, the1 posture of the faces of the cherubims toward the Mercy-seat, the type of our Saviour, was such, as would point unto us, that these are things which " the angels desire to stoopk and look into."
'Luke, chap. I. vcr. 35.
1 Gal. chap. 4. vcr. 6, Rom. chap. 8. ver. 9.
v. Luke, chap. I. vcr. 38, 48. h Ibid. ver. 35.
1 Exod. chap. 37. ver. 9.
k napaxi'pai. Pet. chap. 1. ver. 12.
And therefore let that satisfaction, which the angel gave unto the mother virgin (whom it did more especially concern to move the question: "How1 may this be?") content us, "TheTM power of the Highest shall overshadow thee." For as the former part of that speech may inform us, that "with" God nothing is impossible:" so the latter may put us in mind, that the same God having overshadowed this mystery with his own veil, we should not presume with the men of Bethshemesh" to look into this ark of his; lest for our curiosity we be smitten as they were. Only this we may safely say, and must firmly hold, that as the distinction of the persons in the holy Trinity hindereth not the unity of the nature of the Godhead, although every person entirely holdeth his own incommunicable property; so neither doth the distinction of the two natures in our Mediator any way cross the unity of his person, although each nature remaineth entire in itself, and retaineth the properties agreeing thereunto, withoutp any conversion, composition, commixion, or confusion.
When Mosesq beheld the bush burning with fire, and yet no whit consumed, he wondered at the sight, and said, " I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt." But when God thereupon called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, "Draw not nigh hither," and told him who he was; Moses trembled, hid his face, and durst not behold God. Yet although being thus warned, we dare not draw so nigh; what doth hinder but we may stand aloof off, and wonder at this great sight?" Ourr God is a consuming fire;" saith the apostle: and a question we find propounded in the prophet, " Who* among us shall dwell with the de
1 Luke, chap. 1. ver. 34. ■ Ibid. ver. 35.
■ Ibid. ver. 37. ° 1 Samuel, chap. 6. ver. 19.
P Aovyxvrut, drpt»rr<»f, aiiaipirut, d^wpiffrwc. Concil. Chalced. Act. cap. 5. et apud Evag. lib. 2. hist. Eccles. cap. 4. inconfuse, incommutabiliter, indivise, inseparabiliter. Jo. Maxentius in Catholics sua: professions init. Concil. Rom. sub Martino I.
i Enod. chap. 3. ver. 2, 3,5, 6. Acts, chap. 7. ver. 31,32.
r Heb. chap. 12. ver. 29, * Esai. chap. 33. ver. 14.
vouring fire? who among us shall dwell with the everlasting burnings?" Moses was not like other prophets, but God' spake unto him face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend: and yet for all that, when he besought the Lord that he would shew him his glory, he received this answer: "Thou" canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live." Abraham before him, though a special "friend" of God," and the father1' of the faithful, the children of God; yet held it a great matter that he should take upon him so much as to speak' unto God, being " but dust and ashes." Yea, the very angels themselves "which" are greater in power and might" are fain to coverb their faces, when they stand before him; as not being able to behold the brightness of his glory.
With what astonishment then may we behold our dust and ashes assumed into the undivided unity of God's own person; and admitted to dwell here, as an inmate under the same roof? and yet in the midst of those everlasting burnings, the bush to remain unconsumed, and to continue fresh, and green for evermore. Yea, how should not we with Abraham rejoice to see this day, wherein not only our nature in the person of our Lord Jesus is found to dwell for ever in those everlasting burnings; but, in and by him, our own persons also are brought so nigh thereunto, that Godc doth set his sanctuary and tabernacle among us, and dwell with us; and (which is much more) maketh us ourselves to be the housed and the habitation6, wherein he is pleased to dwell by his spirit; according to that of the apostle: "Yef are the temple of the living God, as God hath said: I will dwell in them and
< Num. chap. 12.ver. 6, 7, 8. Exod. chap. 33. ver. 11. "Exod. chap. 33. ver. 19,20.
* Esai. chap. 41. ver. 8. 2 Chron. chap. 20. ver. 7. Jam. chap. 2. ver. 23. > Rom. chap. 4. ver. 11, 16. Gal. chap. 3. ver. 7.
1 Gen. chap. 18. ver. 27. * 2 Pet. chap. 2. ver. 11.
b Esai. chap. 6. ver. 2.
* Lev. chap. 26. ver. 11, 12. F.zek. chap. 37. ver. 26, 27. Rev. chap. 21. ver. 3.
'Heb. chap. 3. ver. 6. • F.ph. chap. 2. ver. 22.
f 2 Cor. chap. 6. ver. 16.
walk in them, and I will be their God and they shall be my people;" and that most admirable prayer, which our Saviour himself made unto his Father in our behalf: "Ig pray not for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word: that they all may be one, as thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me.
To compass this conjunction betwixt God and us, he that was to be our Jesus1' or Saviour, must of necessity also be Immanuel; which being interpreted is, "God with us;" and therefore in his person to be Immanuel, that is, God dwelling with our flesh; because he was by his office too to be Immanuel, that is, he who must make God to be at one with us. For this being his proper office, to be "Mediator' between God and men," he must partake with both: and being from all eternity consubstantial with his Father, he must at the appointed time become likewise consubstantial with his children. "Forasmuch1" then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood; he also himself likewise took part of the same," saith the apostle. We read in the Roman history, that the Sabines and the Romans joining battle together, upon such an occasion as is mentioned in the last chapter of the book of Judges; of the children of Benjamin, catching every man a wife of the daughters of Shiloh; the women being daughters to the one side, and wives to the other, interposed themselves and took up the quarrel, so that by the mediation of these, who had a peculiar interest in either side, and by whose means this new alliance was contracted betwixt the two adverse parties; they who
» John, chap. 17. ver. 20, 21, 22, 23.
h Matt. chap. 1. ver. 21, 23. See Anselm'j Cur Deus homo.
1 1 Tim. chap. 2. ver. 5. k Heb. chap. 2. ver. 14,