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touched with the feeling of them, than ready in his own time and way, to remove them.
Lastly, Christ assumed the human nature, that, in its exalted state at the right hand of God, it might be the pattern or model of that glory which will be conferred on the souls and bodies of his redeemed after the resurrection. The apostle Paul informs us, that their bodies shall be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the
working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unhour to himself," Phil. iii. 21. Oh, the transcendently bright
is the glory, how resplendent the lustre, that is to be seen
and immense love can make them !
From what has now been said, the following inferences may be drawn:
1. If the love of our Divine Redeemer to us was so ineffably great as to determine him to stoop so low as to become man, in order that he might be like unlo us in all things, sin only excepted, should not the same amazing love constrain you whom he hath redeemed, to press toward perfect likeness to Him in the beauty of holiness ? Did he take unto him our nature, that he might be capable of dying for our offences, and of rising again for our justification; and should not we desire and endeavour above all things to be planted together in the likeness of his death, by dying to sin, and of his resurrection, by rising to righteousness, and walking with him in newness of life?
2. Is the union of the Divine and human nature in the person of Christ a sure foundation of his people's perseverance in union with him, and conformity to him ?--Let believers, then, be encouraged to "press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” This personal union is, and will continue to be, an everlasting security for the perpetuity of the mystical union between his
persons of believers. It will be as easy for an enemy to ascend to the celestial throne, and tear asunder the glorified humanity from the Divine person of our exalted Immanuel, as it will be to dissolve the union which subsists between him and the weakest member of his mystical body. “Because I live, ye shall live also.”
3. Is the human nature of Christ intended to be the pattern after which his spiritual seed are renewed and advanced to perfection of holiness? Then let the believer, by the renewed exercise of particular trust in him, constantly derive from his fulness grace to make him come “ to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ,” or, “grow up into him in all things who is the head.” 4. Let us meditate often on the glory of the person
of Christ. There are such mysteries in his adorable person as will be sufficient to employ the contemplative mind, and to afford new matter of admiration to it throughout all eternity. “Without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness ; God was manifest in the flesh.” The spiritual and devout contemplation of the glory of the great mystery would be attended with many advantages to the exercised Christian ; it would promote establishment in faith, increasing resemblance to Christ in his image, and the cure of earthly mindedness. All the spiritual exercise of the saints proceeds upon, and relates to, the mediatorial person of Christ.
5. How tender, how great, is the compassion of the Lord Jesus to his afflicted children! He is touched with the feeling of their infirmities. He is as willing as able to sympathise with and relieve them. What high encouragement, then, have they to come boldly to the throne of grace, and plead the promises in his name !
6. In conclusion : How highly is our nature dignified in the person of our Redeemer! Human nature in its first creation was made a little lower than that of the angels; in the
of Christ, it is exalted far above their's. “ To which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool ?" Heb. i. 13. Should not this distinguishing honour, believers, constrain you to glorify your exalted Redeemer in your bodies and in your spirits, which are his?
ON THE INCARNATION OF CHRIST.
“ The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.”—John i. 14.
IV. I PROCEED now to the fourth general head, which was,—To consider the import of the assertion in the text, “ He dwelt among us.”
The original verb, which is here translated “ dwell,” properly signifies, He tabernacled, or pitched his tabernacle ; that is, he dwelt in human nature among us. This is foretold in Zech. ii. 10. “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion ; for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord.” It is hinted also in Psalm lxviii.
“ Thou hast received gifts for men ; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them.” And in Rev. xxi. 3. “I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying, Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them.” Now, this
expression in the text, “ He tabernacled or dwelt among us,"
1. Does not imply that he had never dwelt in the Church before; for it is evident, that, by his Spirit, and by his prophets, by typical representations of him, and by sacrifices, he dwelt in it long before his incarnation. Hence, long before his assumption of human nature, he said concerning the Church, " This is my rest for ever : here will I dwell; for I have desired it,” Psal. cxxxii. 14. And we read in the Revelation, that he was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world; but he could not be said to be slain, when he was in no respect present. The expression, then, does not imply that he never dwelt in his Church previously to his incarnation, but only, that he never tabernacled or dwelt in human nature in it before.
2. It shows his amazing condescension and grace. He dwelt, says the evangelist, among us—among us men and us apostles. He dwelt among us who are counted less than nothing and vanity,—among us who were by nature sinners, the chief of sinners, who were rebellious also, and his most inveterate enemies. If he had, in this affair, consulted his own ease or pleasure, to dwell among us would be worse to him than it was to David to dwell in Mesech, or to Ezekiel to dwell among scorpions. How mean, how sinful, and how dangerous, is this world which we inhabit! and how difficult to a devout and contemplative mind to be reconciled to dwell in it always! and yet our Divine Redeemer dwelt in it for more than thirty-three years, and that in circumstances of the deepest abasement !
3. The expression also implies, that he lived in the meanest circumstances during his state of humiliation. He tabernacled among us; he lived in a low condition, as shepherds do who dwell in tents. When he was in this world, he did not reside under a gilded roof, nor in a splendid habitation, as the rich and honourable of the earth do ; but he dwelt as in a tent or tabernacle. He was like a stranger and a sojourner, and he had not where to lay his head, in order that he might exalt all who believe in him, to a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, that we through his poverty might be rich.
4. It imports, that while he was in this world, the rays of his Divinity or Divine glory shone through the vail of his humanity, in the view of those whose eyes had been opened to behold them. “ The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father.” The eternal “Word, the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his person,” was made flesh, and dwelt among us. He tabernacled or dwelt in flesh among us. The expression evidently contains an allusion to the shechinah, or cloud of glory which hovered about the mercy-seat and between the cherubim, in the tabernacle of Móses. This cloud was a lively representation of Jehovah and his glory, as peculiarly present in the most holy place of the tabernacle. Now, as the Son of God dwelt in the Mosaic tabernacle, by the shechinah, or cloud of glory, so he tabernacled or dwelt for a time in the human nature upon earth. He dwelt among us in flesh, which the apostle Paul calls “ this tabernacle,” as he did formerly in the Jewish tabernacle and temple, by the cloud of glory. And as the high priest, who went once in the year
into the holy of holies, had access to see this cloud of glory shining in it, so those who were kings and priests to God, and had access to see the Lord Jesus in the days of his flesh, beheld a spiritual glory in him, which, especially on some occasions, shone with refulgent lustre to their view. And, indeed, all true believers behold as in a glass the glory of the Lord Jesus ; and so are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, by the Spirit of the Lord. Their spiritual sight of the glory of Christ in human nature is an assimilating sight.
5. The expression suggests, that Christ's state in this world was a state of warfare. In time of war, soldiers who sojourn in a country which is the seat of war commonly dwell in tents. The Son of God had, long before his incarnation, proclaimed war against the god of this world ; and now he enters the enemy's country, and pitches his tent, to carry on the war. He that speaketh in righteousness, mighty to save, travelled through this enemy's country : he marched through it in the greatness of his strength, conquering and to conquer. He spoiled principalities and powers, made a show of them openly, and triumphed over them in his cross, Col. ii. 15.
Finally, It intimates, that the Lord Jesus was not to continue long in human nature upon earth. He dwelt here as in a tent, and not as in a fixed habitation. He so inhabited this world as to show that here he had no con. tinuing city. The ancient patriarchs dwelt in tabernacles, and thereby confessed that they were strangers and pil