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the Son of God can neither want Interest, nor Merit, nor Power to save ; for he is the Son of his Love, does always that which pleases him, and has the Power of God. This is such Security as those can never have who believe our Saviour to be a Creature. For the most excellent Creature can never have the Interest, the Merit, the Power of the Son of God. And if we must be saved by a Saviour, our Security of Salvation can be no greater than the personal Intereft, Merit, and Power of our Saviour. That Christ is Man qualifies him to the Saviour of Mankind; but that he is God makes him able to fave. A Creature Saviour can no otherwise save us, than a Creature Prophet can work Miracles; they have no Power of their own to do either, but are only God's Ministers to declare his Will, and to give the signal; but God does all himself by his own immediate Power ; which gives us no other Aflurance of our Salvation than the Word of a Prophet can give us. But God has done better for us, has given his own Son to be our Saviour, who is the Arm, the Power, and the Wisdom of God, who in his own Person is Eternal Life, and therefore can bestow Eternal Life. And what greater Assurance can we desire of Life and Immortality, than that God has given us Eternal Life to be our Saviour, that God has given us eternal Life, and this Life is in bis Son?
The visible Reconciliation of human Nature
in the Incarnation of the Son of God.
Aving thus shewn you that we niust be sav'd
by a Saviour, and who this Saviour is, no less Person than the Eternal Son of God; there wants nothing to compleat this Demonstration, and to give us the most absolute Security, that we can possibly have, of Salvation and Immortal Life, but to see the actual accomplishment of our Redemption in what Christ our Saviour has done and suffered for us, in his Incarnation, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension into Heaven, where he now fits at the right Hand of God to make Intercession for us. I shall begin with the Incarnation ; that this Eternal Word was made Flesh and dwelt among us, the Son of God became Man, that is, took Human Nature into a personal Union with himself; was not a Human Perfon, nor united to any particular Man, but God incarnate, the Son of God, living and acting in Human Nature, as the Soul lives and acts in the Body. This is the Catholick Faith of the Incarnation, and the visible beginning of our Salvation.
For, 1. This is a visible Reconciliation of Human Nature to God in the Person of Christ. The Proof of this wholly depends upon our Saviour's being perfect God and perfect Man in one Person; and whoever denies either of these, destroys this great Evidence we have of God's Reconciliation to Sinners. Can there be a nearer and closer Union between God and Man, than
for for the Son of God to take Human Nature into a personal Union with himself? And can there be such an Union as this without a Reconciliation? When God becomes Man, I think there needs no other Proof, nor can there any greater be given, of his Kindness for human Nature. For certainly God hath a great good will for Man, when his own Eternal Son becomes Man himself.
This is not so well considered by the genera- . lity of Christians; and yet it is one of the most comfortable and transporting Thoughts in the World. All Catholick Christians acknowledge the great Love and Humility, and Condescension of our Saviour in becoming Man; but all that most Men consider in his becoming Man, is only this, that it made him a proper Sacrifice and Expiation for the Sins of Men. And certainly this was one great End of it ; because without pedding of Blood there is no Remision: And none but he who is truly Man, can be a Sacrifice and make an Atonement for the Sins of Men, as the Apostle to the Hebrews tells us : For as much as the Children are Partakers of Flesh and Blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same, that through Death he might destroy him that had the Power of Death, that is, the Devil, and deliver them, who through fear of Death were all their life time subječt to Bondage, Heb. ii. 14, 15. But Human Nature was reconciled to God in the Incarnation of his Son, before the Sins of Mankind were expiated by his Death.
The Son of God incarnate, God-Man, is by Nature a middle Person between God and Man; he is one with his Father, and he is one with Mankind; God and Man meet in him. And can we doubt, whether he, who has united God
and Man in one Person, will reconcile God to Mankind ? He himself is the Medium of this Union; he unites all his sincere Disciples to himself in his Myftical Body, as belonging to his Human Nature, to which all Mankind have a natural relation; and this unites them to God the Father, with whom he is inseparably One, according to our Saviour's Prayer for his Difciples, I pray for them, I pray not for the World, but for them which thou hast given me ; for they are thine, and all mine are thine, and thine are mine, I am glorified in them, John xvii. 9, 10. Neither pray I for them alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word, that they may all be one, as thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us, 20, 21. Nothing can be plainer than this, that we are united to God by our Union to Christ, who is in the Father, and the Father in him; and the Medium of our Union to Christ is his personal Union to Human Nature, which gives him a natural relation to all Mankind, and is the Foundation of a Covenant-relation and Union to all Believers. This is a viGble Reconciliation and kind of natural Union of Human Nature to God, which intitles all Mankind, according to the Terms of the Gospel Covenant, to all the Benefits and Advantages of it.
For, 2. The Incarnation of the Son of God intitles Mankind, according to the Terms of the Gospel Covenant, to the Merits of all that he did and suffered in Human Nature. For so the Scripture declares, that he took Human Nature on him for no other reason but to save and redeem Mankind. For why should the Son of God become Man, but to advance Men to the Glory and Happiness of being the Sons of God?
as the Apostle tells us, Verily be took not on bim the Nature of Angels, but the Seed of Abraham, Heb. ii. 16. By which he proves, that he is the Saviour of Mankind, not of Angels. For he could take no created Nature upon him with any other design than to save it, nor fave any other Nature than what he took ; he first saves human Nature in his own Person, and when human Nature is saved, Mankind have a Covenant Title to the Salvation of human Nature. Thus he is in his own Person a visible Pattern of the Redemption of Mankind; as he united human Nature in a personal Union to himself, so he unites all his Disciples to God in his myftical Body, takes away the Distance and Enmity, and makes them his adopted Sons : As he died and rose again from the Dead in human Nature, so he has conquered Death for all his Disciples, and will raise them into immortal Life: As he hath ascended up into Heaven, into the immediate Presence of God in human Nature, so he is gone before to prepare a Place for us, and will come again and receive us to bimfelf, that where he is, there we may be also ; as he prayed his Father, that his Disciples might be where he is, to behold his Glory. Of which more hereafter.
3. The Incarnation of the Son of God makes human Nature immortal. Tho' the human Nature of Christ was by God's Appointment to die upon the Cross, yet being personally united to the Fountain of Life, it could not perish in the Grave. Eternal Life can never die, and it is a Contradiction to say, that what is personally united to eternal Life, can finally die and perilh. In which Sense St. Peter tells us of Christ, Whom God hath raised up, baving loosed the Pains