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the Son of God can neither want Intereft, nor Merit, nor Power to fave; for he is the Son of his Love, does always that which pleases him, and has the Power of God. This is fuch Security as thofe can never have who believe our Saviour to be a Creature. For the moft excellent Creature can never have the Intereft, the Merit, the Power of the Son of God. And if we must be faved by a Saviour, our Security of Salvation can be no greater than the perfonal Intereft, Merit, and Power of our Saviour. That Chrift 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 fave us, than a Creature Prophet can work Miracles; they have no Power of their own to do either, but are only God's Minifters to declare his Will, and to give the fignal; but God does all himself by his own immediate Power; which gives us no other Affurance 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 Perfon is Eternal Life, and therefore can beftow Eternal Life. And what greater Affurance can we defire 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 vifible Reconciliation of human Nature in the Incarnation of the Son of God.
that we must be fav'd
H by a Saviour, and who this Saviour is, no
lefs Perfon than the Eternal Son of God; there wants nothing to compleat this Demonstration, and to give us the moft abfolute Security, that we can poffibly have, of Salvation and Immortal Life, but to fee the actual accomplishment of our Redemption in what Chrift our Saviour has done and fuffered for us, in his Incarnation,
Death, Refurrection, and Afcenfion into Heaven, where he now fits at the right Hand of God to make Interceffion for us. I shall begin Iwith 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 perfonal 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 vifible beginning of our Salvation.
For, 1. This is a visible Reconciliation of Human Nature to God in the Perfon of Chrift. The Proof of this wholly depends upon our Saviour's being perfect God and perfect Man in one Perfon; and whoever denies either of thefe, deftroys this great Evidence we have of God's Reconciliation to Sinners. Can there be a nearer and clofer Union between God and Man, than for
for the Son of God to take Human Nature into a perfonal Union with himfelf? And can there be fuch 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 fo well confidered by the generality of Chriftians; and yet it is one of the most comfortable and tranfporting Thoughts in the World. All Catholick Chriftians acknowledge the great Love and Humility, and Condefcenfion of our Saviour in becoming Man; but all that moft Men confider 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; becaufe without hedding of Blood there is no Remiffion: 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, be alfo himself likewife took part of the fame, 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 fubject 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 Perfon 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 T 4
and Man in one Perfon, will reconcile God to Mankind? He himself is the Medium of this Union; he unites all his fincere Difciples to himfelf 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 infeparably 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 alfo 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 Chrift, who is in the Father, and the Father in him; and the Medium of our Union to Chrift is his perfonal 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 vifible 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 fuffered in Human Nature. For fo the Scripture declares, that he took Human Nature on him for no other reafon but to fave and redeem Mankind. For why fhould 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 he took not on him 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 defign than to fave it, nor fave any other Nature than what he took; he first faves human Nature in his own Perfon, and when human Nature is faved, Mankind have a Covenant Title to the Salvation of human Nature. Thus he is in his own Perfon a visible Pattern of the Redemption of Mankind; as he united human Nature in a perfonal Union to himself, fo he unites all his Difciples to God in his mystical Body, takes away the Distance and Enmity, and makes them his adopted Sons: As he died and rofe again from the Dead in human Nature, fo he has conquered Death for all his Disciples, and will raise them into immortal Life As he hath afcended up into Heaven, into the immediate Presence of God in human Nature, fo he is gone before to prepare a Place for us, and will come again and receive us to himfelf, that where he is, there we may be also; as he prayed his Father, that his Difciples 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 Chrift was by God's Appointment to die upon the Crofs, yet being perfonally united to the Fountain of Life, it could not perish in the Grave. Eternal Life can never die, and it is a Contradiction to fay, that what is perfonally united to eternal Life, can finally die and perish. In which Senfe St. Peter tells us of Christ, Whom God hath raised up, having loofed the Pains of