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“ of the devil.” For he “ prophesied, saying, Be“ hold the Lord cometh y :” and this prophecy is by no means to be confined to Christ's second coming, although it shall have its full and final completion in this great event.
It has been supposed by many learned writers, that our first parents, after being turned to God, were so big with expectation of a divine delivers er, that Eve mistook Cain for him. Therefore they thus render the words that she uttered, on the birth of her first-born; “I have gotten a “ man the Lord 2."
With respect to the preludes of the incarnation of the eternal Word, the following things may be observed.
1. This glorious Person frequently appeared in the likeness of human nature. His appearance, as the Angel of the LORD, or the Angel-JEHOVAH, we have already considered, as an evidence that the doctrine of the Trinity was revealed under the Old Testament. But here it demands our at. tention, that when he revealed himself in this character, he often assumed the likeness of man; and made himself known by fuch language, or such acts, as clearly expressed the work that he was to perform, as “ the Word made flesh," and respected his various functions, as the Pro phet, Priest, and King of his Church. When the LORD, attended by two of his ministering fpirits, appeared to Abraham in the plains of Mamre,
they > Jude, ver, 14.
z Gep. iv, 1.
they seemed to be all clothed with humanity. Hence Abraham took them for three ordinary travellers; and made the same preparations for them, that he was wont to do, when exercising hospitality a. It was only by the language of one of these celestial visitors, particularly as foretelling the birth of the promised seed, and by the discovery he made of his heart-searching power in rebuking Sarah for her secret ridicule, that Abraham was undeceived b. But during the whole of the interview, this divine person retained the same likeness; and when he arose to depart, was brought on his way by Abraham, as a man is accompanied by his friend.
In the same manner did he appear unto Jacob, when he was preparing to meet with his incensed brother Efau. The patriarch“ was left alone ; “ and there wrestled a man with him until the
breaking of the day.” This expression," he “was left alone,” especially as connected with what is previously mentioned concerning his sending all his family " over the brook,” is plainly meant to inform us, that he, who wrestled with him, was not one of the fons of men. On this occasion, the Son of God not only assumed the likeness of our nature, so that he might be seen ; but condescended to assume so near a resemblance of its reality, that he might be felt. What a wonderful prelude of that grace which was afterwards to be manifested, when the eyes of the disciples
a Gen. xviii.
Ver. 10. 13.-15.
c Gen. xxxii. 24.
should not only see, but handle the self-fame Word of life d!
Jacob knew that he had wrestled with God; for the thing for which he wrestled was the bleffing, which no creature could confer. As the appearance of God in the likeness of man, especially as he made himself known both to the fight and to the touch, was a striking prelude of the incarnation ; the testimony given to Jacob, as to his success, included no inconfiderable intimation with respect to the union of the divine and human nature in one person. The Angel said to him : “ As “ a prince hast thou power with God, and with
men, and hast prevailed.” The word men is in the plural, indeed; as implying an assurance of protection wherever he should go, and particularly of his having power over his enraged brother. But what was the pledge of this ? His prevalence in this astonishing interview, when he “ had
power,” even in the way of bodily wrestling,
over the angel” who appeared in the form of man ; because “ he had power with” him as “ God,” by his faith and importunity, his tears and fupplications
To inform Jacob, and the Church in succeeding ages, that the condescension of the Son, in afsuming our nature, should nowise impair or derogate from his essential majesty and power ; this divine wrestler, during the struggle, touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh, so that it was out of joint. This is understood of the focket in which
di John i, 1.
€ Hof. xii. 4.
the ball of the thigh-bone moves: and it has been observed, that such is the situation of this place, that Jacob must have been assured no mere man could have so touched it in wrestling, as to have effected a dislocation.
In the same form did he appear unto Joshua, while he blockaded Jericho.
“ There ftood a “ man over against him, with his sword drawn in “ his hand,” who said to hin, “ As prince of the “ host of Jehovah am I now come.” From this testimony Joshua must have known, that this was he who had been promised as God's Angel, who should go before Israel, and deliver their enemies into their hands f By the form he assumed, it was also declared to Joshua, and by him to the Church, that this Angel fhould afterwards “par“ take of flesh and blood.” This appearance, indeed, was not merely a prelude of his incarnation in general. It “ testified beforehand,” that he should be manifested in human nature, as Immanuel, as God with us, “ for us," and not " for " our adversaries , as the King and Lord of the Church ; that in this nature he should conquer the serpent and his feed, and exercise absolute dominion over all the enemies of his true Ifrael. For he said to Joshua, “ See, I have given into “ thine hand Jericho.” It was also declared, that He who should come in our nature, should, even as incarnate, be the object of religious adoration. For, as if the homage given by Joshua, in falling on his face to the earth, and worshipping, had
f Exod. xxiii. 23.
& Josh. v. 13.
been too little ; this man said to him, “ Loose thy “shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon " thou standeft is holy h."
That JEHOVAH appeared in the likeness of man to Gideon, is evident from the fear that seized him, when, by the miraculous consumption of his facrifice, he perceived that this was a heavenly visitanti. That he made a similar appearance to the wife of Manoah, is no less clear from the account she gave to her husband of the visit she had received ; from the prayer afterwards presented by Manoah ; as well as from the questions he put to the Angel, and the amazement of both when they discovered that this was a vision of God k. They at first confidered him only as “a man of “ God,” or a prophet. By both these apparitions, the divine Word taught the Church, that he should at length actually appear as her great High-priest. When he consumed the facrifice of Gideon, by causing fire to rise out of the rock, he symbolically signified, that he should appear both as her priest and sacrifice; as her priest, presenting an offering acceptable to God through the fire of his own Spirit ; as a sacrifice for expiating all her guilt, as he should himself be burnt in the sufferings of his human nature, by the fire of di. vine wrath. His ascending in the flame of the altar, when Manoah had presented a burnt-offering, might intimate that, as “the High-priest of our profession,” he would ascend to heaven, and VOL. II.
enter h Josh. v. 13.-15. ; vi. 1, 2.
i Judges vi. 22. Judges xiii. 6. 8. 11. 17. 21, 22.