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This does not in the least militate against the infinite value of his merit in suffering for the infinite offences of mankind, arising from the union of his created nature with Deity; but rather illustrates this ancient and glorious union, so necessary, so precious a consideration in the great work of man's salvation by Christ.
4. Another advantage that this doctrine claims is, that it greatly magnifies the self-denial and the condescending love of our Lord Jesus Christ, in his state of humiliation and death ;-it casts a thousand rays of glory upon all the scenes of his humbled state;--it makes his subjection and obedience to the will of God appear much more illustrious, and his charity and compassion to perishing mankind, stand in a very surprizing light.
Conceive of this glorious Being, the only begotten Son of God, vested with such dignity before the creation of the world, united to Deity, adored by angels, appearing in the form of God, with rays of divine majesty,-governing the nation of Israel, the church of God in formerages:—behold this holy, this happy Being descending from heaven to take upon bim, not flesh only, but the likeness of SINFUL
flesh; -uniting himself to animal nature in mean and despicable circumstances, actually, really, and sensibly feeling the hardships of pressing poverty and low estate!-See that illustrious Being who had been surrounded with ministring angels for many ages,—one higher than angels, and every created power,-coming into our world with all the marks of poverty and meanness,-made a little lower, or for a little while lower than angels, by being confined to flesh and blood, lower than the common ranks of men, brought forth in a stable beside the ox and ass,-united to the flesh and limbs of an helpless infant, wrapt in swaddling bands, and
laid to sleep in a manger!-See the glorious Spirit replenished with all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, crampt and confined in its operations by the feeble engine of the body of a babe, wil. lingly submitting to have a veil cast over its intellectual qualifications, and recover ideas by human degrees: for the child Jesus “grew in wisdom and knowledge, as he grew in stature!"-Contemplate this most excellent Being who was with God when he built the heavens, and said, “ Let there be light,' the first among the sous of God who shouted for joy when he laid the foundations of the earth.-Behold him now enduring all the feeble and innocent frailties of an infant state, wearing the years of childhood among the poor and necessitous children in the lower ranks of life,-the reputed son of a carpenter,—subject to his earthly parents,-sweating and toiling for daily bread, -spending thirty years in mean obscurity!-Consider this ancient ornament of heaven, the brightest created Spirit there,—the delight of God, who rejoiced in his presence before the earth was made,- he who had lived four thousand years in the midst of divine splendors,--attended with the chariots of God, and the legions of angels at Sinai, when in tremendous majesty and terror he delivered the law.–Trace him now wandering through the villages, hungry, thirsty, weary,—travelling on foot to preach the gospel, attended with poor fishermen,--abused, reproached, and called a blasphemer, a devil, by those he came to save,-arraigned at the impious tribunal, and condemned to the shameful cross as a scandalous malefactor!-See the ancient, original King of Israel, who had David, Solomon, and all their race, as his deputies;—now erowned with thorns instead of glory;--the fairest image of God scourged, buffeted, nailed to the cursed tree between two thieves, his hands and feet pierced, limbs stretched out in grievous torture, - himself groaning, expiring in blood and anguish!-Behold the original favorite of God forsaken in the dreadful hour of darkness,-assaulted by the armies of hell with rage, impudence, and horrid temptations, the sport of the Jewish rabble,-a sacrifice to the fury of men, and the arrows of divine justice,-amazed with inward agonies,-his soul exceeding sorrowful even unto death,--the sword of Jehovah awakened against the shepherd of Israel, the man that was his neighbour, his companion, before angels existed,-think of this holy soul just departing, driven out of the sacred mansion of flesh, the body prepared for him by God, all by the force of exquisite torments,-banished out of the world by the very criminals, the merciless rebels for whose salvation he came to dwell in it! Collect the astonishing ideas together, survey them in one view, and who can help crying out, 0 how divinely glorious was the love of God in parting with such a Son from his bosom!-How amazing was the condescension and self-denial of the glorious Savior in giving himself for us sinners!-How inimitable his holy submission to his Father's will!-His zeal for his Father's glory, and his god. like charity and compassion to rebel men!-How astonishing is the thought when we consider his holy, happy soul, in the exalted state of glory, foreknowing and surveying all these humbling circumstances, indignities, agonies, and deaths, and yet cheerfully resolving to descend into flesh, and endure all for the redemption of sinners, because it was the will of God; to what an inconceivable height of sacred amazement doth this raise all the wonders of his painful life and powerful love! How doth it awaken all that is tender in the bosom of the christian, and penetrate the heart and soul with divine affection and gratitude to the Son of God, his divine Savior.
This idea of the love of CHRIST answers to those sublime characters which the apostle gives it. It is a love that hath lengths and breadths, heights and depths in it;- it is a " love that passeth knowledge!"
But if we shall keep to the common opinion, that he was merely born, and trained up for this great service without his own previous consent, we at once lose sight of his admirable condescension in accepting the abasing, bloody terms so cheerfully,--his profound humility, and absolute submission and obedience to his Father's will,-bis unspeakable love to sinful miserable men!
Should it be said, that most part of this representation is true in some sense, if we only suppose the Deity of Jesus Christ existed before his incarnation, and consenting that his human nature should suffer all this.
It may be replied that many of these things by the help of tropes and figures, may be said concerning the Deity of CHRIST, or God manifest in the flesh.-But we will find that such a sentiment signifies only God's will that the man Christ should suffer these sorrows; and that the man Jesus passively consented to suffer them when it was revealed to him after his incarnation, and that he was made flesh and born for this purpose.
The divine nature itself could suffer nothing of all this; the utmost condescension of Deity was, that he stood related to the man who suffered; but Deity itself is impassible still, and cannot suffer pain or loss; nor undergo proper sensible humiliation, shame, or sor
Whereas by the plain scriptural account, without trope or figure, we see that very same glorious Being itself who suffered all this, actually leaving the bosom, or beautifying presence of his Father, really divesting himself of his primeval glories and joys in the literal sense, and without a figure freely devoting his very self to all these calamitous circumstances: we see him descending from heaven to take a body upon him that he might be capable of all the various stages of misery, and complicated scenes of sorrow, anguish, and death; persevering in his resolution till the dreadful work was perfectly finished!
Now when by explaining the language of scripture in a literal and proper sense, we do unspeakable honor to God, and his love in sending such a Son,—to Jesus Christ, and his grace in coming down from heaven to suffer such sorrows; -and at the same time, can lay a just foundation for raising our own love, zeal, and gratitude to both the Father and the Son, to such unknown and superior degrees,-and can set before our eyes such an astonishing example of humility, charity, and self-denial;—surely these are such advantages to the christian scheme, and such honors to the blessed gospel, as requires the attention of every serious christian, and® forbid the rejecting of a doctrine which carries such evidences and advantages along with it.
It should here be considered what a plausible objection the Arians have to the common doctrine of the trinity, which the sober appeal to a Turk or an Indian, lays a great weight upon, because it supposes only a relative humiliation, a relative or nominal suffering of the Son of God by his uniting himself to man, while he himself suffered nothing, underwent no diminution, but was all the while possessed of the highest glory, and of the same unchangeable blessedness. Whereas this doctrine sets the