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way in which, and end for which it comes. Observe the order in which Providence sends your mercies. See how one is linked strangely to another, and is a door to let in many. Sometimes one mercy is introductive to a thousand. And lastly, observe the constancy of them, "they are new every morning." Lam. 3: 23. How assiduously doth God visit thy soul and body! Think with thyself, if there were but a suspension of the care of Christ for one hour, that hour would be thy ruin.
Could we thus study the providence of Christ in all the good and evil that befalls us in the world, we should be in every state content. Phil. 4: 11. Then we should never be stopped, but furthered in our way by all that occurs; then would our experience swell to great vo lumes, which we might carry to heaven with us; and then should we answer all Christ's ends in every state he brings us into. Do this, and say, Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ.
CHRIST'S HUMILIATION-IN HIS INCARNATION.
"And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross." Phil. 2: 8.
You have seen how Christ was invested with the offices of Prophet, Priest, and King, for effecting the blessed design of our redemption; the execution of these offices necessarily required that he should be both deeply abased and highly exalted. He cannot, as our Priest, offer up himself a sacrifice to God for us, except he be humbled, and humbled to death. He cannot, as a King,
powerfully apply the virtue of that his sacrifice, except he be exalted, yea, highly exalted. Had he not stooped to the low estate of a man, he had not, as a Priest, had a sacrifice of his own to offer; he had not been fit, as a Prophet, to teach us the will of God, so as that we should be able to bear it; he had not been, as a King, a suitable head to the church: and, had he not been highly exalted, that sacrifice had not been carried within the vail before the Lord. Those discoveries of God could not have been universal, effectual, and abiding. The government of Christ could not have secured, protected, and defended the subjects of his kingdom.
The infinite wisdom foreseeing all this, ordered that Christ should first be deeply humbled, then highly exalted: both which states are presented to us by the apostle in the context.
He that intends to build high, lays the foundation deep and low. Christ must have a glory in heaven, infinitely transcending that of angels and men. And, as he must be exalted infinitely above them, so he must first, in order thereunto, be humbled and abased as much below them: "His form was marred more than any man's; and his visage more than the sons of men." The ground colors are dark, but the picture is filled with all the splendor and glory of heaven.
Method requires that we first speak of his state of humiliation; and
The scripture I have now selected presents you the sun almost under a total eclipse. He that was beautiful and glorious, Isa. 4 : 2, yea, glorious as the only begotten of the Father, John 1: 14, yea, the glory, James 2: 1, yea, the splendor and "brightness of the Father's glory," Heb. 1:3, was so veiled, clouded, and debased, that he looked not like himself, a God; no, nor scarcely as a man; for, with reference to this humbled state, it is said, "I am a worm, and no man," Psa. 22:6; I am become
an abject among men, as the language, Isa. 53: 3, signifies. This humiliation of Christ we have here expressed in the nature, degrees, and duration of it.
1. The nature of it, "he humbled himself." The word imports both a real and voluntary abasement. It is not said, he was humbled, but, he humbled himself; he was willing to stoop to this low and abject state for us. And, indeed, the voluntariness of his humiliation made it most acceptable to God, and singularly commends the love of Christ to us: that he would choose to stoop to all this ignominy, suffering, and abasement for us.
2. The degrees of his humiliation it was not only so low as to become a man, a man under law; but he humbled himself to become "obedient to death, even the death of the cross." Here you see the depth of Christ's humiliation, it was unto death, even the death of the cross, the death of a malefactor.
3. The duration, or continuance of his humiliation : it continued from the first moment of his incarnation to the moment of his resurrection from the grave; so long his humiliation lasted. Hence we derive this proposition: The state of Christ, from his conception to his resurrection, was a state of deep abasement and humiliation.
We are now entering upon Christ's humbled state, which I shall describe under three general heads, namely, his humiliation in his incarnation, in his life, and in his death. We now consider his humiliation in his incarnation, implied in the words, "Being found in fashion as a man." By which you are to understand, not that he merely assumed a body, to appear transiently to us in it, and so lay it down again; but his true and real assumption of our nature, which was a special part of his humiliation; as will appear by the following particulars:
1. The incarnation of Christ was a most wonderful humiliation, inasmuch as thereby he, who is "over all, God blessed for ever," is brought into the rank and order of
creatures. This is the astonishing mystery, that God should be manifest in the flesh, 1 Tim. 3: 16, that the eternal God should truly and properly be called the MAN Christ Jesus. 1 Tim. 2:5. It was a wonder to Solomon, that God would dwell in the stately and magnificent temple at Jerusalem: "But will God in very deed dwell with men on earth? Behold, the heaven, and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!" 2 Chron. 6:18. But it is a far greater wonder that God should dwell in a body of flesh, and pitch his tabernacle with us. John, 1: 14.
The heathen Chaldeans told the king of Babel, that the "dwelling of the gods is not with flesh." Dan. 2: 11. But now God not only dwells with flesh, but dwells in flesh; yea, was made flesh, and dwelt among us." For the sun to fall from its sphere, and be degraded into a wandering atom; for an angel to be turned out of heaven, and be converted into a fly or a worm, had not been such abasement; for they were but creatures before, and so they would abide still, though in an inferior rank. The distance between the highest and lowest species of creatures is but a finite distance. The angel and the worm dwell not so far asunder. But for the infinite glorious Creator of all things to become a creature, is a mystery exceeding all human understanding. The distance between God and the highest order of creatures is an infinite distance. He is said to humble himself to behold the things that are done in heaven. What a humiliation then is it, to behold the things in the lower world! but to. be born into it, and become a man! great indeed is the mystery of godliness. "Behold, (saith the prophet, Isa. 40: 15, 17,) the nations are as the drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance; he taketh up the isles as a very little thing. All nations before him are as nothing, and they are accounted to him less than nothing, and
vanity." If, indeed, this great and incomprehensible Majesty will himself stoop to the state and condition of a creature, we may easily believe that, being once a creature, he would expose himself to hunger, thirst, shame, spitting, death, or any thing but sin. For that once being a man, he should endure any of these things, is not so wonderful, as that he should become a man. This was the low step, a deep abasement indeed!
2. It was a marvellous humiliation to the Son of God, not only to become a creature, but an inferior creature, a man, and not an angel. Had he taken the angelic nature, though it had been a wonderful abasement to him, yet he had staid, if I may so speak, nearer his own home, and been somewhat more like to a God than now he appeared, when he dwelt with us; for angels are the highest and most excellent of all created beings. For their nature, they are pure spirits; for their wisdom, intelligences; for their dignity, they are called principalities and powers; for their habitations, they are styled the heavenly host; and for their employment, it is to behold the face of God in heaven. One description both of our holiness and happiness in the coming world is this, we shall be "equal to the angels." Luke, 20:36. As man is nothing to God, so he is much inferior to the angels; so much below them, that he is not able to bear the sight of an angel, though in a human shape. Judges, 13:22. When the psalmist had contemplated the heavens, and viewed the celestial bodies, the glorious luminaries, the moon and stars which God had made, he cries out, "What is man, that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man, that thou visitest him! thou hast made him a little lower than the angels." Psalm 8:5, 6. Take man at his best, when he came perfect and pure from his Maker's hand, in the state of innocency; yet he was inferior to angels. They always bore the image of God in a more eminent degree than man, as being