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wandring in the foul ways of sin, God out of Chap. 5. his immense Love, sent no less person than his only begotten Son to seek us, and bring us back unto himself, that we might be for ever happy in the fruition of him.
The greatness of this Love will yet further appear, if we consider the manner how the Son of God was given for us. The lower a man stoops and condescends to do another good, the higher and more eminent is his Love; the steps wherein the Son of God came down and humbled himself for us, evidently declare the infinite height of that Love, which made him stoop so low to compass our Salvation. The first step was his Incarnation, the word was made flesh ; he, who was in the form of God, took on him an humane Nature. In the Creation infinite produced finite, but here infinite assumed finite; there Eternal brought forth Temporal, but here Eternal took Temporal into it self: and what a wonderful Condescension was this? It's true, Reason in the Socinian laughs at it, but Faith in the Christian must needs admire it. Had the greatest Monarch on Earth confined himself to the poorest Cottage there, it would have been nothing to God Tabernacling in the Aesh. Should the highest Angel in Heaven have put off his Perfections, and come down into an humane Nature; and from thence have passed into a brutal bestial one, and so on into a tree or stone, and at last into nullity ; it would not have been a Condescension comparable to that of the Son of God coming in the flesh. His Sacred Person was infinitely more above humane Nature, than an Angel is above matter or nullity it M 2
Chap: 5: self: and what unparalleld Love was here? The
Creator became a Creature; the Son of God assumed
our nature, and that after it was in us tainted with Dr.Bates of the sin. Attributes
“ The natural distance ( faith that excellent fol. 171.
“Man) between God and the Creature is infinite 3 " the Moral between God and the sinful Creature, if
possible, is more than infinite. Yet the mercy of our Redeemer overcame this distance. What an “extasie of Love transported the Son of God so far,
as to espouse our nature, after it was defiled and “debased with sin? He was essential Innocence and “Purity; yet he came in the similitude of sinful flesh, “ which to outward view was not different from “what was really sinful. Thus he. St. Austin calls Love, junctura duo copulans, a coupling of two together: That after man had rent off himself from God by his Apostacy, God should assume an humane Nature into himself, to make up the breach, and reduce Man into an Union with himself again,
must needs be Love in a transcendent excess infinite. utero Virginis: This made St. Cyprián overlook the wonders in Namiror onnipo
ture, that he might ravish himself in the admirations bulis: miror of an Incarnate God. The Condescension was here quomodo verbo fo great, that God feems to neglect his own Majesty, Serit, Cypr. de that he may comply with our necessities; yet'intiNat. Christi. nite Love would have the Son of God stoop a little
lower; and do honour to that Sacred Law which we had violated. His humane Nature being an inmate in his infinite Person, could not but have a right to Heaven , and might have been immediately rapt up thither; but Love set him another task. He, the great Lawgiver, was made under the Law: He who knew the Father in an infinity of light, now
Miror Deum in
tentem in Cun4
knew him in a finite Reason: He who embraced Chap. š. the Father in an infinity of Love, now loved him in a finite Will : He, who was Lord of all, was subject to Parents and Magistrates: He, who upholds the world, went up and down as a man doing of good ; he stooped as low as the Ceremonial Law : His
pure flesh was circumcised, he kept the Passeover, and so obedientially stood under his own shadow. This is a Condescension much greater, than if all the Angels in Heaven had put themselves under the Laws of the lowest matter ; yet infinite Love would have the Son of God go down a little lower. We have him hungry, thirsty, weary, weeping, fuffering the contradiction of Sinners, enduring the temptations of Satan, all his life-through a man of sorrows: at last we have him bleeding on a Cross, hanging there as a spectacle of shame ; his hands and his feet were pierced, his body was racked and tortured to death in a stinking Golgotha. But, which was the greatest of all, he bore the Wrath of God : and what was that Wrath, which was due to the sin of a World ? or what those Sufferings, which satisfied Justice for it? What a great thing was the Passion of God ? and how much beyond the dissolution of a World? Words cannot utter it, thoughts cannot measure it. That Love must be no less than immense, which made the Son of God stoop so low, to take us up out of the ruins of the Fall.
The Love of God will yet more appear, if we take notice of the persons for whom Christ was. given ; it. was for man, poor impotent man, a creature worth nothing, a bankrupt in Spirituals, one void of all those Primitive Excellencies, which at
Chap. 5. first Crowned the humané Nature ; for him it was,
that God was at so vast an expence, as that of his Spord. Annal. own blood. 'Twas great Charity in Paulinus ,
Bishop of Nola, that he would give himself in pawn to the Vandals for a poor Child ; but it was transcendent superlativé Love in God, to give his Son, one worth Millions of Worlds, and as rich in Excellencies as a Deity could make him, to be emptied and humbled to death for poor worthless worms, such as we are. Te know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for our fakes he became poor, that je through his poverty might be rich, faith the Apostle, 2 Cor. 8.9. The Riches of a Cod were laid out to set up broken man again. But further, it was for Sinners, for Enemies, such as were in Arms against God ; such as had broken his Laws, despised his Authority, cast off his Soveraignty, and as much as in them lay, stained his Glory. These were the persons, upon whose Salvation infinite Love fet so high a rate, that rather than fail, the Life of God should be paid down for it. The Apostle notably sets forth this, Scarcely for a righteous man will one dye , yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to dye : But God commended his love towards us, in that while we were yet finners, Christ died for us, Rom. 5.7, 8. Sometimes possibly, though but rarely, one may dye for a righteous good Man, who is a blessing to the place where he lives. But this was Christs Prerogative to dye for Sinners: this was the supereminency of Divine Love to give him so to do. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends, Joh. 15. 13. Thus our Saviour. A greater proof or effect of Love than death there cannot be ; but Chap. 5. Love is then in an higher and more excellent degree, when that death is, as in our Saviours case it was, for Enemies, than it is, when the death is for Friends. Damon and Pythias, two intimite friends, were wil. ling to dye one for another ; but Christ died for Enemies. In Creation God overcame Nullity, but in Redemption he overcomes Enmity it felf, and that in a wonderful way: He assumes an humane Nature, and in it pours out his precious blood, to melt and break that horrible Enmity, which was in us againft him.
If we would see more of this Love, let us turn our eyes upon the evils removed, and the good procured by our Saviour Christ.
All evils are either Moral, such as lin; or which waits upon the other, Physical, such as punishment: all of them are removed by our Saviour, who saves from Sin and Wrath. Man was under the guilt of Sin, and so under the Wrath of God. Wrath in the threatning hung as an horrible Tempest over his head, and within there was the dreadful Eccho of it in Conscience. But the Sufferings of Christ were so satisfactory and meritorious for us, that as foon as we return and believe on him, all our guilt is done away. It's true, the guilt in it self, in the intrinsecal desert of punishment, is perpetual, because sin cannot cease to be fin ; but it doth no longer redound upon our persons, to oblige us to punishment. The heavy burden is now lifted off from Conscience, the black Cloud of Wrath is dissolved, the cursing Law hath nothing to say against us ; There is no condemnation to them which are in Chrift,