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accidental cause : and such occafional diversities cannot enter into the description of the fpecies in general.
I may add, that the atonement enjoined under the law for every woman “ who had conceived “ seed, and born a child,” conveys the same inStruction. She was not only to continue in a state of purification forty days, for å male-child, and eighty for a female ; but it was necessary that, when the time appointed was elapsed, she should “ bring an offering, and that the priest should
make an atonement for her u."
vii. The miraculous (conception of our Sáviout affords a strong argument in support of the doctrine under confideration. It was promised that he should be the feed of the woman'. For had he descended from Adam in the way of ordinary generation, he must also have finned and died in him; and thus he could never have bruised the head of the ferpent. The Messiah, indeed, could not himself be subjected to death by means of the first Adam ; and yet by dying procure life, as the fecond. As this great promise was made immediately after the entrance of fin, and just before the denunciation of the sentence on the woman, as to forrow in conception; with respect to the time and the connexion, merits our attention, that God proclaimed deliverance from fin by means of a deviation from the ordinary law which he had established for the propagation of our species. The curse, written in conception, and transmitted by means of it, was to be remo
ved # Lev. xii. 1.-8.
v Gen. ill. s . .
ved by a conception of so extraordinary a nature, that " a woman should compass a man w."
This “ new thing in the earth” took place, when the Virgin Mary conceived by the power of the Holy Ghoft. That the Messiah might have a right to redeem us, it was necessary that he should be our near kinsman. He inust be of the fame stock with ourselves, that he might “ not “ be ashamed to call us brethren,” and that his obedience and suffering might be imputed to finners of the same family. As this was requisite from his character as a Redeemer; it was equally fo, from the greatness of that humiliation which was necessary for our redemption. He must “ be
come in all things like unto us," as far as this conformity was attainable “ without sin.” When, therefore, he assumed our nature, without the intervention of man; we may be assured that the only reason of this difference was, that he could not otherwise assume it without being subjected to fin. While the word was really “ made flesh," he was made only “ in the likeness of sinful “flesh.” Accordingly, we are expressly informed, that this feed of the woman, this “ holy
thing, ” is called “ the Son of God,” in confequence of the “ Power of the Highest oversha“ dowing" the Virgin *.
What reason have we for the deepest humiliation, when we contemplate our natural state! Well may we cry out with the leper under the
law, “ Unclean, unclean !” Let us imitate the exercise of David, in his penitential Psalm, in tracing up our actual transgressions to the corrupt and bitter fountain of original fin. Let us compare our own deformity with that purity which the law requires, and in which we were created in our first father, and this will be our language to the Searcher of hearts : “ Behold! thou de“ firest truth in the inward parts ;” but “ I was
shapen in iniquity, and in fin did my mother « conceive me." How ill does pride become a fallen, a polluted worm, especially in relation to infinite holiness! Well may “our mouth be stop
ped,” in the presence of that God, in whose fight “ the heavens are not clean."
Let us beware of accusing divine justice, in entrusting our holiness and felicity in the hand of one person. Let us rather admire his mercy, in providing a remedy. Let us remember that God hath eternally displayed and vindicated the juftice of his procedure in the old covenant, by the plan he pursues in the new : and that if we obstinately deny his justice in the imputation of fin, we disclaim any interest in the imputation of righteousness. We cannot renounce our interest in the first Adam, as a representative, without at the same time renouncing all claim to the second. For “ as by one man's disobedience many were “ made sinners; so by the obedience of one shall many
be made righteous.”
The Incarnation of the Son of God.--His frequent
Appearance in the likeness of Man, a prelude of this.—Prefigured by the Smoking Furnace and Burning Lamp ;-the Burning Bush ;-Jacob's Ladder ;--the Cloud of Glory._Respected in the Rights of Primogeniture ;-Law of the Levirate ;-Circumcision ;-Patriarchal Mode of Swearing ;-Abstinence from the Sinew that forank.
Jesus Christ is the great subject of the Holy Scriptures. , “ The spirit of prophecy is the tes
timony of Jesus.” The mystery of the incarnation of a divine person is “ without contro
versy great.” On this mystery, rests the whole doctrine, revealed in the word of God, concerning our salvation. We need not wonder then, that, while this is the subject of so many prophecies and promises, it should also have been exhibited to the faith of the Church, by various fymbols and prelude; or that it was taught. not merely in a doctrinal way, but by historical illustration.
Before entering on the confideration of what is chiefly in view, it may be necessary to observe, that the foundation of the Church's faith, as to the incarnation of a divine person, lay in the first promise. In this it was declared, that the feed of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent. The person, whose appearance is here foretold, being called the seed of the woman; faith, in embracing the promise, must have viewed him as truly man. But such is the nature of the work ascribed to him, that there was an equal necessity for considering him as God. The old serpent had already thewn, that man could not enter the lists with him. He had deceived, and been the inftrument of destroying our nature ; although he found it in a state f innocency. Now, when it is faid, “ It shall bruise thy head," the meaning is, that the seed of the woman should retort on himself the fatal stroke given by this destroyer ; that he should overthrow that external dominion in the world, which he had acquired in consequence of the fall ; nay, that he should subdue his power in the heart of man, by the destruction of sin, which, as it is the offspring of the serpent, is the great support of his kingdom. Could faith ever expect the accomplishment of such a work by any mere creature ?
If any doubt had remained as to this being the meaning of the first promise, it must have been fully re noved by the prediction of Enoch, the seventh from Adam, h expressly declared who it was that should come and “ destroy the works