Page images

Thirdly, he is the Son of God, as being by the Power of God the first begotten of the Dead', restored to Life to die no more. For thus St. Paul expreffes it: God hath raised up Jefus again, as it is also written, Thou art my Son: this Day have I begotten theen

Fourthly, he is so, as being Heir of all Things", and by this Inheritance having obtained a more excellent Name, than Men or Angels • : they being as Servants in the Houje of God, be as a SonP.

But the most important and eminent Sense, in which Christ is the Son of God, remains yet to be mentioned : as, in Respect of his divine Nature, he derived his Being from the Father, by an eternal Generation ; not as Creatures do, who are made out of Nothing, and were made by him ; but in a Manner peculiar to himself, and inconceivable to us: by which all the Fulness of the Godhead dwells in him?: and he and the Father are, in the strictest Union, one". For God was his Father, with whom he bad Glory before the World was 8: and he in the Beginning was with God, and was God. God over all, blessed for ever Of this mysterious Doctrine, I shall speak somewhat further, under the Article of the Holy Ghost : and therefore shall only say at present, that being expressly revealed, it ought to be implicitly believed ; without attempting in vain to be wise above what is written ; to know more, than God hath enabled us.

And now,

4thly, From all these Things arises, what the Creed mentions in the last Place, his Relation to us; our Lord. For being the only Son of God, he is Heir and Lord of all in his Father's House. Having triumphed over the Power of Darkness, which held Mankind in Bondage, we are his by Right of Conquest: and though other Lords have bad Diminion over us, we are now to make Mention of his Name only ", as such : having purchafed

1 Rev. i. 5. P Heb. iii. 5, 6. xvii. 5.

m Atts xiii. 33.

a Col. ii. 9.

Heb. i. 2.

John X. 30. u Rom, ix, 5.

Ibid. 4.

John Ifa, xxvi. 13.


* John i. 1.

us to himself for a peculiar People* with his own Blood, we are not our own; for we are bought with a Price : and he died for all, that they, which live, should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him, which died for them, and rose again. For to this End Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living & : that he might be fuch, not in Name only, but in Deed and Reality also. For not every one, that faith unto him, Lord, Lord, Jhall enter unto the Kingdom of Heaven: but be, that doth the Will of his Father, which is in Heaven b. To all others his Words will be at the great Day, what they were whilft on Earth: Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the Things which I say? Obedience, conftant, universal Obedience, is the only Manner of acknowledging him, that will finally prove acceptable to him: and in that Manner we have solemnly promised that we will acknowledge him, and serve him all our Days. Thus then let us ever honour him ; thus let us ascribe to him, who is our Prophet, our Prieft, and our King, our Saviour, our Lord, and our God, Glory and Dominion, for ever and



[blocks in formation]

Article III. Who was conceived by the Holy Ghof,

born of the Virgin Mary. FTER setting forth, in general, the Name and

, the Father and toʻus; our Creed goes on to recount the

several we are not.

Several Particulars of what he did and suffered, what he continues to do ftill, and will do finally, for our Salvation.

The first of these is, that the Word was made Flesh : that the eternal Son of God, wonderfully joining to himself a Body and Soul like ours, united the human Nature with the divine into one Person : thus becoming liable to the same Necessities and Wants, Infirmities and Pains; and endued with the same innocent Passions, Appetites and Affections, that we are: on which Account we read in the Gospels of his feeling Hunger, and Pity, and Grief, and Anger, nay, and increasing, as in Stature, so in Wisdom also : not surely in Respect of that Nature, which in the Beginning was with God, and was God', but of the other, by which he was the Man Christ Jesus d. Further than these Facts, we are not distinctly acquainted with the Extent and Properties of this unparalleled Union. And it is no Wonder, that

For eyen that of our own Souls with our own Bodies hath many Things in it, utterly beyond our Comprehension. We must therefore, in all Reason, without insisting to know, how these things can be ; confine ourselves to learn from Scripture, what they are. And it hath plainly taught us, that our blessed Lord was conceived by the Holy Ghost, and born of the Virgin Mary.

Concerning the Holy Ghost, there will be a proper Place to speak more at large, in that Article of the Creed, which directly relates to him. At present wę are only to consider his Influence in the Conception of our Saviour: which Conception was not in the ordinary Course of Things; but God himself, being already his Father with respect to that divine Nature, which he had from the Beginning, became again fo, in a new Sense, with refpect to his human Nature too, by the incomprehensible Operation of his Spict. For the Birth of fejus Chrijl, to use the Words of Scripture, was c# • john i. 14. o Luke ii. 52.

• John i. I. do Tim. ij. S. Jubo iii. 9. C5


this wife. When as his Mother Mary was espoused to Joseph; before they came together, she was found with Child of the Holy Ghof'; in pursuance of what the Angel had told her, Thou shalt conceive and bring forth a Son, and malt call his Name Jesus. Then said Mary unto the Angel ; How mall this be, seeing I know not a Man? And the Angel answered and said unto her : The Holy Ghoft fall come upon thee, and the Power of the Highest Mall overJadow thee: therefore also that holy Thing, which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God

5. And thus, in the Fulness of Time, was accomplished, what had been intimated as early as the Fall of Man, by that remarkable Expression, that the Sud of the Woman jould bruise the Serpent's Headh; and what had been expressly spoken out by the Prophet Isaiah, 700 Years before our Saviour's Incarnation, Behold a Virgin shall be with Child, and bring forth a Son, and they shall call his Name Emmanuel : which, being interpreted, is, God with us i. When the Scripture says, that such a Person or Thing shall be called by such a Name; it frequently means no more, than that they shall have a Right to be so called ; that what that Name signifies, shall be verified in them, Thall be true in Relation to them. There are many Instances of this in the Old Testament. And therefore, as our Saviour's coming in the Flesh was the most effectual and illustrious Manifestation of God's Presence with Men, and Favour towards them, that could be ; though perhaps in common Speech he was seldom, if ever, called, yet in the Language of Prophecy he was very justy called, Emmanuel, or, God is with us. For in his Person God was really amongst Men, in such a Manner, and to such Purposes of Grace and Salvation, as he had never been before. And therefore this Name agrees perfectly in Sense, though it differs in Sound, from his common Name, Jesus, i. e. Saviour.

After saying, that he was born of a Virgin, the Creed adds, that it was of the Virgin Mary: not that we are Matth. i. 18. & Luke i. 31, 34, 35.

. Gen. iii. 15. "Ifa. vii. 14. Matth. 1, 23


to seek for any peculiar Mystery in her being called Mary; as some in the Church of Rome have inagined, and accordingly formed groundless and ridiculous Derivations of the Word. But indeed the Name was a very common one among the Jews : by which several Women, mentioned in the New Testament, and several in other Histories, went: and no Intimation was given in Scripture of its having any especial Propriety, or Meaning, in Relation to her. But the Reason of inserting it into the Creed most probably was, because it is set down in Scripture, and that, by naming the particular Person, of whom our Saviour sprung, he might appear to be of that Family, from which it was foretold he should arise, being born of this Virgin of the House of Davidk,

Still we are very far from thinking lowly of one, whom first an Angel from Heaven, then Elizabeth filled with the Holy Ghost, declared to be blessed among Women': and who, with the greatest Reason, said of herself, He, that is mighty, hath magnified me, and holy is his Name m. For greatly without Doubt she was magnified, a high Honour the received, in becoming, as Elizabeth ftiles her, the Mother of our Lord.". But this, however singular, was not the most valuable Distinction of the holy Virgin. In Scripture, no Advantage of any other Kind is ever put on a Level with that of a pious Heart, and a virtuous Life. On the contrary, when on hearing one of our Saviour's Discourses, a certain Woman of the Company, in a Transport of Admiration and Affection, had cried out, Blessed is the Woman that bare thee, and the Paps which thou hast sucked: his Answer was; rea, rather bleffed are they, that hear the Word of God, and keep it °. Now of this truest Blessedness the Virgin Mary enjoyed a most eminent Share: appearing, in all that is said of her, to have been pious and devout, reasonable and considerate, humble and modest, mild and gracious, in the utmost Degree.

Luke i. 28, 41, 42. : Luke i. 43.

o Luke xi. 27, 28.
C 6


* Luke i. 27

m Luke i. 29.

« PreviousContinue »