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of his only begotten Son: Which is a Work of such a mylterious Nacure, as Faises the Curiosity a of Angels to pry into it; and allows not the most enlarged of human Capacities fully to understand it. Though we puç our intellectual Faculties upon the utmost Stretch, we thall still behold this Mystery as through à Glass, darkly; all our Knowledge of it will be but in Part: And to think that Ave can by searching find it out to Perfection, is Vanity of Vanities, and nothing but Vanity.
Alas! the corruptible body presleth down the Soul; and the earthly Tabernacle weigheth down the Mind that muleth up0:2 many things ; so that imperfect and uncertain is our Acquaintance even with the Things thac are of the Earth: How much more doubtful and imperfect must our Learning their be, in the chings which are from Heaven? We are very much in the dark as to the Union of our Souls and Bodies. We cannot give a fure and satisfactory Account, how two such different Beings as Spirit and Marcer in Huence one another in their several Motions, as Experience certifies they do: What absurd Arrogance then muft it be, to pretend to a Pct. i. 12.
conceive the nature of the Hypostatick Union of God and Man? Or clearly to apprehend the Manner in which the Di. vine and Human Natures are joined together in one Person, and yet remain two complear and distinct Nacures, so that the fame Person is at the same time truly God, and truly Man?
These things are far beyond our reach; and therefore when we commemorace them, we ought humbly to admire the Proceedings of Divine Wisdom, without attempting to measure them by the scanty Line of finite Understanding. When we celebrate the coming of Christ into the World, it behoveth us readily to embrace this Doctrine which is worthy of all acception, without puzling ourselves with unnecessary Inquiries concerning it. We fhould not boldly examine into that which God hath kept secret, but content ourfelves with knowing and believing that which he hath revealed, in the Simplicity wherewith he hath revealed it. · If we follow these Rules, our Faith will be preserved pure and undefiled; whereas by endeavouring có comprchend Things incomprehensible, and to explain Things inexplicable ; 'cis very probable that we
Thall become Hereticks; 'tis very certain we cannot become more Orthodox. .
Wherefore instead of amusing ourselves with such dangerous and empty Speculations, let us contemplate those glorious Artributes of God which were most ncarly concerned in the Accomplishment of our Redemption. Revere we his Justice which would not forgive Sin, without in. ficting the Punishment it deserved. Admire we bis Wisdom which found out a Way to indict thar Punishment without destroying the Sinner. Stand we in Awe of his Power which so wonderfully brought to pass his Delign. But above all, Praise we and Adore his infinite Love which inclined him, to exercise the fore-mentioned Attributes in such a gracious Manner. ''Twas his Love which put his Wildom upon contriving a Propitiation for our Sins. 'Twas his Love which moved his Power to effect that which his Wifdom contriv'd. 'Twas his Love which abated the Rigour of his Justice, render'd it willing to accept the vicarious Suffering of an innocent Person, and concur with the Efforts of his Wisdom and Power. In this then the LOVE of God seems principally to be manifested, because that God lent bis only begotten Son into the World
that we snight live through him. Herein is LOVE, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and fe'nt bis Son to be the Propitiation for our Sins. Beloved, if God Jo loved us, we ought also to love one ano ther. Which Words naturally lead us to reflect upon these Things:
First, The Dignity of the Person who, as at this cimes, was sent into the World; together with the Humiliation and Abasement which he condescended to submit unto: God sent his only-begotten Son into the World.
Secondly, The End for which he was fent into the World, and submitted to that Humiliation and Abasement! God sent his only-begotten Son into the World, that we might live through bim, or to be the Propitiation for our sins.
Thirdly, The exceedingly great Love of God to Mankind evidenc'd by this Action. In THIS was manifested the Love of God towards us, because that God sent his only-begotten Son into the World, that we might live through him. HERE IN is Love, not that we loved God, but that be loved us, and fent his Son to be the Propitiation for our Sins. Preached on Christmas.sag. B: 3
: Lastly, The Inference which the Apoftle draws froin this Love of God towards us Beloved, if God fo loved us, we ought also to love one ancther.
First, Then we are to reflect upon the Dignity of the Person who, as at this time, was sent into the World, cogether with the Humiliation and Abasement which he condescended to submit unto. As to the Dignity of his Person, our Opinions of That be very disproportionate and unworthy, if with the Arians we believe him to be a Creature, though of never lo excellent or angelical an Order. Neither will our Efteem be any more just or suita able to his Worth, if, with the e Socini. ans, we look upon him only as a great Propher, commissioned by God in a most extraordinary manner. For notwithstanding that Beings in this Order and Relation, are vastly superior to others in Dignity; yet their Dignity is infinitely below the Dignity of ChrIST JESUS, who justly thought it no Robbery to be equal with God; and whom therefore we shall rob of his Honour by denying that Equality: Inalmuch as all the fullness of the Godhead dwelleth in him; he being as St. Jobri
* Sie Bihop Burnet's Exposition on xxxix Articles, Art. II. Ibidem. **