ON THE WONDERS OF GOD IN THE INCARNATION OF HIS SON
Consider first, how after the blessed Virgin’s consent, and offering herself with a profound humility, with an entire obedience and a perfect conformity to the sacred will of God, by those words: ‘Behold the handmaid of the lord, be it done to me according to thy word,’ Luke i. 38, the greatest of all the wonders of God, and of all his works, was immediately effected: even a Man-God, the miracle of miracles. For a human body perfect in all its parts, was formed in an instant by the Holy Ghost, out of the purest blood of the blessed Virgin, and a most excellent rational soul was at the same time created; and this body and soul were joined with and assumed by the eternal Word, the second person of the most adorable Trinity. Thus God was made man, and man was made God; and the blessed Virgin was made mother of God. Thus in her womb was celebrated that sacred wedding of our human nature with the divine person of the Son of God, to the feast of which we are invited, Matt. xxii. Thus was our humanity exalted to the very highest elevation, by being united with, and subsisting by the person of, the eternal Word, and we all in consequence of this elevation of our human nature, have also been wonderfully dignified and exalted, by being raised up to a kindred with the most high God, who by taking to himself our nature, has made us all his brothers and sisters; and by assuming our humanity has made us in some measure partakers of his divinity. O my soul, stand thou astonished at these wonders, which will be a subject of the greatest astonishment both to men and angels for all eternity! O admire and adore, praise and love, with all thy power, and with all thy affections, that infinite goodness that has wrought all these wonders out of love to thee!
Consider 2ndly, the wonders of God in all those graces and excellences which he conferred on the soul of Christ and on his sacred humanity, in the first instance of his conception, in consequence of its being united with the divine person – graces and excellences which are all immense and incomprehensible, and which exceed, without any comparison, all the rest of the wondrous works of God, and all whatsoever he has done at any time in favour of any of his saints, or of all of them put together. For God did not give to this his Son his spirit by measure, (John iii. 34,) as to the rest of his saints, but gave all things into his hands, ‘and of his fullness we all receive,’ John i. 16, even all grace and truth, according to the measure of his giving it to us, Eph. iv. 7. Now these graces and excellences we may reduce under the following heads: 1. An immense purity from all manner of sin or imperfection whatsoever – not as by privilege but in his own right, as being the Lamb of God, who came to take away the sins of the world. 2. The grace of sanctity, incomparable exceeding that of all the angels and saints put together; from whence he is called the holy of holies, Dan. ix., that is, the saint of all saints – the Spirit of God resting on him with all his gifts, with an incomprehensible plenitude, Isaias ii. 3. The grace of the beatific vision of the divine essence, and that in the most consummate degree, with proportionable love of the deity and job in God. 4. All the treasures of the wisdom and knowledge of God. 5. The power of working all kinds of miracle and of raising the dead to life by his own will, with a general command over all the elements and over all nature. 6. The power of excellency in forgiving sins, converting sinners, changing their hearts, ordaining sacraments and sacrifices, and distributing amongst men graces and super-natural gifts. 7. The grace of being the perpetual head of all the church, both of heaven and earth, and the source of all blessings, gifts, and graces that either have been, are at present, or shall at any time be bestowed upon this his mystical body, or any of its members. O what subject have we here, my soul, to bless and praise the eternal Father for all these excellent gifts and graces with which he has enriched his Son, the man Christ Jesus! How ought we also to rejoice and congratulate with the sacred humanity of our Saviour on this occasion, and to give thanks without ceasing for all that share or portion of divine grace we continually derive from this overflowing fountain!
Consider 3rdly, in all these graces and excellences conferred on the humanity of Christ in his incarnation, how that of the prophet was verified, Isaias ix. 6, ‘A child is born to us, and a son is given to us, and the government is upon his shoulders, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, God, the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace.’ Yes, Christians, these great titles here bestowed on your Saviour by the Spirit of God abundantly declare both the wonders that God wrought for him and those which, through his incarnation, he has wrought also for you in giving him to you; that he might be not only your Saviour, your redeemer, and your deliverer, but also your king, your lawgiver, your teacher, your model, your advocate, your physician, your friend, your high priest, and your victim, your father, and your head – in a word, the source of all your good; the way, the truth and the life, in your regard, by whom alone you can go to God. And do not all these great things, effected by the incarnation of the Son of God, show forth the power, the wisdom, the mercy, and goodness of God, with all the other divine attributes, infinitely more than any of the rest of the works of the Almighty!
Conclude to honour by a lively faith, by a serious and frequent meditation, and a sincere devotion, all those wonders of God, wrought, in the incarnation of his Son, both in favour of him and of us, and to lead henceforward such lives as become those who, by this mystery, have been so highly exalted, and brought so near to the very source of all grace and sanctity.