Imatges de pÓgina

of the world by office, and given him to us for our Saviour, and presents him accordingly for our acknowledgement.

USE. I exhort you then to believe, that Christ is on his birth presented to you as his relations. And if ye enquire what is your duty on that occasion? I answer,

1. Embrace him cordially; Psalm xxiv. 7, "Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall come in." Old Simeon, when he was presented in the temple, took him in his arms with full satisfaction of soul; Luke ii. 28, 29. He is now in heaven as to his bodily presence; but he is presented to you in the gospel, embrace him by faith, with the heart believing on him for all his salvation, renouncing all other saviours for him, betaking yourselves to him for all, for a rest to your consciences and your hearts.

2. Kiss him, Psalm ii. 12, with a kiss of love; giving him your hearts, "My son, give me thine heart;" with a kiss of honour, honouring him in your hearts, lips, and lives; and with a kiss of subjection, receiving him as your Lord, King, Head, and Husband.

3. Bless him; his name; Psalm xcvi. 2, "Bless his name." He is God blessed for ever. But we are to bless him, as we bless God, declaratively, proclaiming him blessed; Psalm 1xxii. 17; praying from the heart that his kingdom may come; Psalm lxxii. 15.

4. Worship him. So did the wise men of the east; Matth. ii. 11. He is the everlasting God, therefore to be adored; Psalm xlv. 11. "He is thy Lord, and "worship thou him;" thy Husband, thy King, thy God. Worship him with internal worship, consecrating your whole souls to him; and worship him with external worship.

5. Lastly, Present unto him gifts. So did the wise men, Matth. ii. 11. Make a gift of your hearts to him; Prov. xxiii. 26; of yourselves wholly, 2 Cor. viii. 5; to glorify him in your souls, and bodies, your substance, your all.


ISAIAH ix. 6,

Unto us a Son is given.

THIS is a second part of the glad tidings which did so much affect the prophet. And therein Christ is proposed, (1.) As a Son. This is not to denote the sex; that was done already in the former part.

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But it denotes a Son by way of eminency, "fairer than the sons of
men." Our Lord Jesus was the Son of God from eternity, he be-
came the Son of Mary in time; Luke ii. 7. According to his human
nature, he was the Son of Mary; but he is not in respect of that
nature called the Son of God, though even in that respect he was a
he was without Fa-
Son quite extraordinary. For as he was man,
ther;" Heb. vii. 3; and as he is the Son of God, he was
of the Father;" Psalm ii. 7, and "the only begotten of the Father;"
John i. 18. But as he was man, he was not begotten at all; and
he has "brethren;" Heb. ii. 11. Therefore he is not called "the Son
of God" in respect of his human nature. Now, in the preceding clause,
he is proposed as a Son in respect of his human nature, being called
a lad-child born; therefore here he is called a Son, as the Son of God
in respect of his divine nature. And thus he is held forth to us here
as God-man, with two distinct natures. (2.) As a "Son given to
us." The Father has made a free gift to us poor sinners, of his own
Son, for the remedy of our misery. As our misery was great, so the
gift is fully proportioned to it, being the greatest that Heaven had
to afford, or the world could receive.

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DOCTRINE, The Son of God in man's nature, is given to us poor sinners for remedy of our misery.

Here let us consider,

I. The gift itself.

II. The Giver.

III. The party to whom he is given.

IV. Lastly, Apply the doctrine.

I. First, Let us consider The gift itself. Many precious gifts have come from heaven to earth, yea, all we have is Heaven's gift; James i. 17, "Every good gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights." But this is the great gift. On this head, let us consider,

1st, What this gift is.

2dly, Wherein it appears and comes to us.

3dly, What a gift it is.

First, Let us consider What this gift is. It is,

1. A person. Persons are more excellent than things, in their All a man hath he will give for his life; a soul is several kinds. more precious than a world. So this gift is more precious than the Whatever thou wantest, if thou have Christ, thou whole world. art better than to be emperor of the world; if thou hast him not, thou hast nothing that can compensate that want.

2. A divine person. This gift of God is God; John i. 1, "In the

beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." O what a gift must God himself be! it is therefore an "unspeakable gift;" 2 Cor. ix. 15. The possesser of this gift must needs be blessed; Psalm cxliv. 15, “ Happy is that people whose God is the Lord." Here is a mystery, a divine person gifted to poor sinful persons. God has given angels to be ministering spirits to his people; Heb. i. 14; but we will cease to wonder at that, when this comes in view.


3. The second person, the Lord Jesus Christ; John iv. 10, Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The third person, the Holy Spirit, is also given to poor sinners; Luke xi. 13,-"How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" But here it is the Son that is given, and the gift of the Spirit follows thereupon. Man, by creation the son of God, fell out of God's family; and the beloved Son of the Father is given to bring him in again. He was pitched upon; for he only could be both sent, and send the Spirit, according to the manner of working of the adorable Trinity.

Secondly, Let us consider, Wherein this gift appears and comes to us. Those who send gifts, precious gifts, to others, wrap them up in something that is less precious. And a treasure sent in earthen vessels, is the method of conveyance of the best gifts from heaven to earth. And the Son of God being the gift, was sent vailed and wrapped up in our nature; (Tim. iii. 16.) to us. The Son becomes a lad-child, born of a woman. This vai laid over the gift sent to poor sinners, was,

1. Less precious than the gift itself. The human nature of Christ was a created thing, his divine nature uncreated. What disproportion is between the clay and potter, the creature and the Creator; that was between the vail and the gift wrapped up in it. Hence it was like a most precious pearl, sent in an earthen pitcher; which uses not to contain such a precious thing. Therefore the world received him not, because they perceived him not, seeing only the vail, a few only excepted; Mark iv. 11, "Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables." Nay, the gift was never clearly seen, till the pitcher it was in was broken in pieces, by his death; and the shells gathered up, by his resurrection, and new cast; and set up in the upper house, by his ascension.

2. Howbeit, it was a cleanly thing. Though men send their precious gifts in some coarse thing, yet it will always be cleanly; they

will not send their gifts in a foul thing. The human nature of Christ, though infinitely below the dignity of his divine nature, yet was a holy thing; Luke i. 35, "That holy thing which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God." His soul was holy, and his body too, perfectly holy; without the least stain or spot; Heb. vii. 26, "Such an High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separated from sinners." This gift could not have remained in a vail, having the least spot of sin, more than flaming fire in a tainted cloth, which it would presently burn up. Now, this gift appeared and was sent to us in the vail of the human nature,

(1.) That it might be capable of the treatment it behoved to undergo for our relief. It behoved the Son of God to suffer; Luke xxiv. 26, "For without shedding of blood, there could be no remission;" therefore he behoved to be incarnate, and to appear in our flesh. He put on our nature, as his suffering attire, as prison garments; and so the gift was, as it were, sent us in a windingsheet; and the Son, the Lord of life, came down, as it were, in a suit of dead-clothes of our flesh; because he was to die in it. Howbeit, this suit of our flesh is not now laid aside, but turned into a suit for the court, being no more mortal, but immortal, bright, and shining more gloriously than the sun; so that the gift now appears through it, and will for ever most illustriously. A pledge hereof was given in his transfiguration; Matth. xvii. 2.

(2.) That it might be suited to the weakness of the capacity of the receivers. As he who gifts a sword, sends it in a scabbard, and not naked, lest it should harm the receiver; so God giving his Son to sinners, gave him wrapped up in the vail of human flesh. The Son of God in his unvailed glory would have no more been an object for our eyes to have looked on, than the shining sun to the eyes of an owl. A few rays of his glory, breaking out from under the vail, made his enemies fall to the ground; what would have come of us then, if there had been no vail at all?

Thirdly, Let us consider, What a gift this is. The gift of the Son of God to poor sinners as a matchless gift, singular for,

1. The worth of it; Prov. viii. 11, "Wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired, are not to be compared to it." Many worthy gifts God has given; but this is "the gift of God" by way of eminency, as if he had never given another; John iv. 10, "If thou knewest the gift of God," &c. Never did Heaven's bounty appear so much as in this gift; John iii. 16, "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son," &c. If it were led in the balance with ten thousand worlds, they would be lighter than vanity in comparison of it; nay, balanced with the gift

of created graces, and the created heavens, it would downweigh them; as the bridegroom's person is more worth than his jewels and palace.

2. The unsuitableness of it. Ransack the earth and seas, the whole vault of heaven; go through the upper house amongst all the shining angels; no person, no thing, shall be found so suitable for our case as this gift which is given us; Acts iv. 12, "Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved." Heb. vii. 25, "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost, that come to God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." The earth, seas, and air, afford for the back, belly, and purse; but there is nothing there to give life to a dead body, far less to a dead soul. But (1 John v. 12.) "He that hath the Son, hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God, hath not life." The angels in heaven might have condoled our loss, but could not repair it like him; Ruth iv. 6, " And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance; redeem thou my right to thyself, for I cannot redeem it." Nay, they could not have shown how to do it; Rev. v. 3, 5. But there is in Christ what is suitable to all the cases of all sinners.

3. The seasonableness of it. Many a gift has been marred, by its coming out of season; but this gift was given most seasonably. No sooner was mankind broken and ruined, but as soon the upmaking gift was proclaimed, Gen. iii. 15, in a promise that the seed of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent. Seasonably was the ram afforded for Isaac, while he lay bound on the altar; a type of the Son given to and for poor sinners, when justice had the knife at their throat.

4. The comprehensiveness of it. It is all in one; Rom. viii. 32, "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" Whoever have Christ, have all in him, and are complete in him; Col. ii. 9, 10, "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power." All grace is in him, relative and real. God giving Christ to sinners, gives them remission of sin, and sanctification. All glory and happiness is in him; 1 John v. 11, "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life; and this life is in his Son." All that is necessary for our bodies in this life is in him, for he is " heir of all things," and is Lord of the whole creation; Psalm viii. 6, &c. Whatever we want is in him, formally or virtually. He is meat, drink, and clothing, lodging for the soul

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