were any works distinct from the law, and not required by it, which, if not performed, would be sin; then the apostle's definition of sin, as a transgression. of the law, would not be a full and proper one, 1 John iii. 4. since then there would be sins which were not transgressions of the law; wherefore, as all evil works are transgressions of the law, all good works are required and enjoined by it.




HAVING treated, in the preceding Book, of the exhibition of the covenant of grace, both under the Old and New Testament-dispensations, and of the law and gospel, as held forth in both; and of the latter only in a general way; I shall now proceed to consider, the particular, special, and important doctrines of the gospel, which express the grace of Christ, and the blessings of grace by him; and shall begin with the Incarnation of the Son of God. This is a very considerable part of the glad tidings of the gospel, and which give it that name: when the angels related to the shepherds the birth of Christ, he said unto them; I bring you good tidings of great joy, &c. Luke ii. 10, 11. The whole gospel is a mystery; the several doctrines of it are the mysteries of the kingdom; the knowledge of which is given to some, and not to others: it is the mystery of godliness, and, without controversy, great; and this stands the first and principal article of it; God manifest in the flesh, 1 Tim. iii. 16. This is the basis of the christian religion; a fundamental article of it; and without the belief of it no man can be a christian; Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God; born of God, and belongs to him, and is on the side of God and truth; And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God, 1 John iv. 2, 3.

The incarnation of Christ is a most extraordinary and amazing affair; it is wonderful indeed, that the eternal Son of God should become man; that he should be born of a pure virgin, without any concern of man in it; that this should be brought about by the power of the Holy Ghost, in a way unseen, imperceptible and unknown, signified by his overshadowing; and all this in order to effect the most wonderful work that ever was done in the world, the edemption and salvation of men; it is a most mysterious thing, imcomprehen


sible by men, and not to be accounted for upon the principles of natural reason: and is only to be believed and embraced upon the credit of divine revelation, to which it solely belongs. The heathens had some faint notions of it; at least say some things similiar to it. The Brachmans among the Indians, asserted, that Wistnavius, the second person of the trine-une god with them, had nine times assumed a body, and sometimes an human one; and would once more do the same again; and that he was once born of a virgin'. Confucius, the famous Chinese philosopher, who lived almost five hundred years before Christ, it is said, foresaw that the Word would be made flesh; and foretold the year in which it would be; and which was the year in which Christ was born: but this seems to favour too much of the tale of a christian in later times. However, several of the deities and heroes of the heathens, Greeks and Romans, are represented as having no father. Now whatever notion the heathens had of an incarnate God, or of a divine person born of a virgin, in whatsoever manner expressed; this was not owing to any discoveries made by the light of nature, but what was traditionally handed down to them, and was the broken remains of a revelation their ancestors were acquainted with. Otherwise the incarnation of the Son of God, is a doctrine of pure revelation; in treating of which I shall consider,

I. The subject of the incarnation, or the divine Person that became incarnate. The evangelist John says it was the Word, the essential Word of God; The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, John i. 14. And therefore not the order of the Trinity,

Father; for he is distinguished from the Word, in the 1 John v. 7. And he is said to be the Word with God; that is, with God the Father; and therefore must be distinct from him, John i. 1. Besides, the Father never so much as appeared in an human form; and much less took real flesh; nay, never was seen in any shape by the Jews, John v. 37. And though their ancestors heard a voice, and a terrible one at Sinai, they saw no similitude. And wherever we read of any visible appearance of a divine Person in the Old Testament, it is always to be understood, not of the first, but of the second Person. And it may be further observed, that the Father prepared body, an human nature in his puspose, council and covenant, for another, and not for himself, even for his Son, as he acknowledges; A body hast thou prepar ed me, Heb. x. 5. To which may be added that the divine Person who came in the flesh, or became incarnate, is always distinguished from the Father, as being sent by him; God sending his son, &c. Rom. viii. 3. And again; God sent forth his Son made of a woman, Gal. iv. 4. that is, God the Father, in both passages; as appears from the relation of the Person to him, sent in the flesh, his Son. Once more, if the Father had been incarnate, he must have suffered and died; for that is the end of the incarnation, that the Person incarnate, might obey, suffer, and die, in the room of sinners; so Christ suffered in the flesh,

Heut. Quæst. Alnetam. 1. 2. c. 13. p. 234. & c. 15. p. 241. see Philosoph. Transact, abridg ed, vol. 5. part 2. p. 168

and was put to death in the flesh. There were a set of men in ancient times,, who embraced the Sabellian folly, and were called Patripassians, because they held that the Father suffered; and, indeed, if there is but one Person in the Deity, and Father, Son, and Spirit, are only so many names and manifestations of that one Person; then it must be equally true of the Father as of the Son, that he became incarnate, obeyed, suffered, and died. But this notion continued, not long, but was soon rejected, as it must be by all that read their Bible with any care, Nor is it the holy Spirit that became incarnate, for the same reasons that the Father cannot be thought to be so; and besides, he had a peculiar hand, and a special agency, in the formation of the human nature, and in its conception and birth: when the virgin hesitated about what was told her by the angel, she was assured by him, that the Holy Ghost should come upon her, and the power of the Highest should overshadow her; and accordingly the birth of Christ was on this wise, when Joseph and Mary were espoused, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost; and Joseph was told, in order to encourage him to take her to wife, that what was conceived in her, was of the Holy Ghost; and therefore he himself was not incarnate; Luke 35. It remains, that it is the second Person, the Son of God, who is meant by the Word that was made flesh, or became incarnate; and, indeed, it is explained of him in the same passage; for it follows; And we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father. And it is easy to observe, that the same divine Person that bears the name of the Word, in order of the Trinity, in one place, has that of the Son in another; by which it appears they are the When this mystery of the incarnation is expressed by the phrase, God manifest in the flesh; not God the Father, nor the holy Spirit, but God the Son is meant, as it is explained 1 John iii. 8. for this purpose the Son of God was manifested; that is, in the flesh; and as before observed, it was the Son of God that was sent in the likeness of sinful flesh, and in the fulness of time was sent forth, made of a woman, Rom, viii, 3. He, therefore, is the subject of the incarnation, or the divine Person that became incarnate.

Now the Logos, the Word and Son of God, who is made flesh or become incarnate, is not to be understood of the human soul of Christ; for this Word was in the beginning with God; that is, was with him from all eternity; whereas the human soul of Christ is one of the souls that God has made; a creature, a creature of time, as all creatures are; time is an inseparable adjunct and concomitant of a creature; a creature before time, is a contradiction: besides, this Word was God, a divine Person, distinct from the Father; though, with him, the one God; which cannot be said of the human soul. Likewise, to it is ascribed the creation of all things; All things were made by him; not as an instrument, but as the efficient cause; And without him was not any thing made that was made; and since the human soul is what is made, being a creature; if that is the Word and Son of God, it must be the maker of itself, seeing

nothing that is made is made without it; which is too great an absurdity to be admitted. So the creation of all things is elsewhere ascribed to the Son of God, who therefore cannot be a creature; see Heb. i. 1, 2. Col. i. 16, 17. To which may be added, that the human soul of Christ is a part of the human nature assumed by him; it is included in the word flesh, the Word, or Son of God, is said to be made, as will be shewn presently; it is a part of that nature of the seed of Abraham, in distinction from the nature of angels, which the Word, or Son of God, a divine Person, took upon him, and into union with him, and therefore cannot be the assumer; the assumer and the assumed cannot be the same, but must be distinct from each other.

Nor by the Logos, or Word made flesh, are we to understand the divine nature, essentially considered, or the essence of God, as common to the three divine Persons, Father, Son and Spirit; for then it would be equally true of the Father and the Spirit, that they are made flesh, or become incarnate, as of the Son; as it must needs be, if the divine nature, so considered, was incarnated; or the human nature was united to it as such: such phrases are therefore unsound, unsafe, and dangerous; as that the man Christ stands in the divine nature; and that the human nature is united to Deity: this is not the truth of things; the human nature is not united to Deity absolutely considered; but as that in a distinct mode of subsisting, is in the second Person, the Son of God; it was the Son of God, by whom God made the world, and by him speaks to men, in these last days, who is the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his Person; the Creator of angels, and the object of their worship and adoration; and who upholds all things by the word of his power, who partook of the same flesh and blood with the children, and has taken upon him and assumed to him, not the nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham; he who was in the form of God, of the same nature with him, and thought it no 1obbery to be equal with God, is he that took upon him the form of a servant, the nature of man in a servile state, was made in the likeness of man, and found in fashion as a man, or really became man. I proceed,

II. To observe, in what sense the Word, or Son of God, was made flesh, became a partaker of flesh and blood, came in the flesh, and was manifest in the flesh all which phrases are made use of to express his incarnation, John i. 14. Heb. ii. 14. 1 John iv. 2, 3. 1 Tim. iii. 16. and signify, that he who is truly God really became man, or assumed the whole human nature, as will be seen presently, into union with his divine person. Socinus is so bold as to say, that if any passages of scripture could be found, in which it is expressly said that God was made man, or put on and assumed human flesh, the words must be taken otherwise than as they sound, this being repugnant to the Majesty of God. The contrary to this will soon appear; and though this is not to be found in scripture just syllabically, the sense clearly is, as in the scriptures referred to. But there is no dealing with such a man, who elsewhere says, on another ac

Opera, tom. 1. de Christi Natura Disput. p. 784. Ibid, Ep. 2. ad Balcerovicium, p. 425.

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