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of his only begotten Son: Which is a Work of such a mysterious Nature, as raises the Curiosity a of Angels to pry into ir; and allows not the most enlarged of human Capacities fully to understand it. Though we put our intellectual Faculrics upon
che utmost Stretch, we fall still behold this Mystery as through , Glais
, 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 D'anity of Vanities, and nothing but Vanity.
Alas! the corruptible body presseth down the Soul; and the earthly Tabernacle weigbeth down the Mind that museth up0:2 many things; so that imperfect and uncertain is our Acquaintance even with the things thac are of the Eartb: How much more doubtful and imperfect must our Learning their be, in the things whicliare from Hegven? We are very much in the dark as to the Union of our Souls and Bodies: We cannot give a fure and sarisa factory Account, how two such different Beings as Spirit and Marcer influence one another in their several Motions, as Experience certifies they do: What ablurd Arrogance then must it be, to pretend to conceive the nature of the Hypostatick Union of God and Man? Or clearly to apprehend the Manner in which the Divine and Human Natures are joined cogether in one Person, and yet remain two compleat and distinct Natures, so that the fame Person is at the same time truly God, and truly Man?
a i Put. i. 12.
These things are far beyond our reach; and therefore when we commemorate them, we oughe 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 ; 'ris very probable shat we
fhall become Hereticks; ʼtis very certain we cannot become more Orthodox.
Wherefore instead of amuling ourselves with luch dangerous and empty Speculations, let us contemplate those glorious Attributes of God which were most ncarly concerned in the Accomplishment of our Redemption. Revere we his Justice which would not forgive Sin, without inficting the Punishment it deserved. Admire we his Wisdom which found out a Way to indict that Punishment without destroying the Sinner. Stand we in Awe ofhis Power which so wonderfully brought to pass his Design. But above all, Praise we and Adore his infinite Love which inclined him, to exercise the fore-menrionetActributes in such a gracious Manner. Twas his Love which
his Wif. dom 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 abaced 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 his only.begotten Son into the World
that we sight lite through him. Herein is LOVE, not that we loved God, but that he lovedus, and sent bis Son to be the Propitiation for our Sins. Beloved, if Gord Jo loved us, we ought als 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 time, was sent into the World; together with the Humiliation and Abasement which he condescended to submic 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 fent bis only-begotten Son into the World, that we might live through bim, or to be the Prom pitiation for our ins.
Tbirdly, 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 jent bis only-begotten Son into the World, that we might live through bim. HEREIN is Love, not that we loved God, but that be loved us, and sent his Son to be the Propitiation
for our Sins.
Lastly, The Inference which the ApoAtle draws from this Love of God towards us Beloved, if God fo loved us, we ought also to love one another,
First, Then we are to reficet Dignity of the Person who, as at this time, was sent into the World, together 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 Eftecm be any more just or suicable 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 fuperior 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 thar Equality: Inalmuch as all the fullness of the Godhead dwelleth-in bim; he being as St. Jobri
S:e Bishop Burnet's Exposition on xxxix Articles, Art. II. Ibidem,