ON THE OTHER BENEFITS OF OUR SAVIOUR TO MANKIND BY HIS INCARNATION
Consider first, that the Son of God, by his incarnation, came amongst us to be the Father and the head of all mankind, according to the Spirit and according to grace, as Adam was according to the flesh and according to nature. He came as the second Adam to undo all that evil which the first Adam had done and brought upon us all, and to impart to us all that good which our first father had deprived us of. That as by one man sin entered into this world, and by sin death, and so both sin and death passed upon all men, justice and grace should in like manner enter into this world by one man, in order to our eternal life. Hence, in quality of our Father, he imparts to us a new generation, a second birth, by which we who, by our natural birth, (by which we descend from the first Adam,) are children of wrath, corrupted by sin, and condemned to hell, are born again by grace, cleansed from sin by his blood, incorporated in him, made children of God, and heirs of everlasting life. In quality of our head, he communicated to us all manner of graces, which in virtue of his merits, are derived from him upon all the members of his mystical body who, by faith and obedience, adhere to him, St. John xv. 4, 5.
Consider 2ndly, the other near relations, marked down in the word of God, which our Lord has been pleased we should have with him by means of his incarnation; such as that of our being now his brethren, (as he has been pleased to call us, Ps. xxii., ‘I will declare his name to my brethren,’) by his taking our flesh and blood. A relation which gives us an honour not granted to the angels, of being near akin, even by consanguinity, to the Son of God himself; for he never took upon him the nature of the angels, but took our nature, that he might be like to us in all things excepting sin; for so it behoved him that was to be our high priest to make a reconciliation for our sins, Heb ii. 16, 17. He is our eldest brother in the order of God’s election, ‘the firstborn among many brethren,’ Rom. viii. 29, in whom and for whose sake we also are elected, to be conformable to his image here by grace, and hereafter in glory, through him. In this quality of our eldest brother he is also our priest, (as under the law of nature, before the written law, the firstborn were priests) to officiate for us in all things that appertain to God, Heb v. 1; as also our prince, our leader and captain in our warfare, our tutor and governor, our truest friend to promote all our interests, to manage all our causes, to defend us from all our enemies, and to bring us on in our pilgrimage, till he presents us to his Father and our Father in his eternal kingdom. O how happy are we in such a brother.
Consider 3rdly, that by means of the incarnation of the Son of God, we are related to him, not only as children to our father, as members to our head, and as brothers to our eldest brother, but also as a holy building to our foundation, in which he is the cornerstone, in whom all the building framed together groweth up into a holy temple in the Lord – a habitation of God in the spirit, Eph. ii. 20, 21, 22; and as branches to the stock into which we are engrafted, and planted by baptism. Hence our Lord tells us, John xv. 4, 5, ‘Abide in me, and I in you. as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; so neither can you, except you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing.’ But of all the relations we have to the Son of God in consequence of his incarnation, there is none more endearing than that of our being made his spouse – the church being the bride, the wife of the Lamb, brought out of his side as eve was from the side of Adam, cast into the deep sleep of death upon the cross; and espoused to him by an everlasting and inviolable contract, of which Christian matrimony is the sacred and mysterious sign – and every particular soul that is in the state of grace, partaking in the dignity and happiness of this near and dear relation of spouses to the Lamb of God. Christians, are you sensible how great this dignity and happiness is, for your souls to be espoused to the Son of God? In consequence of which you should be one spirit with Christ, as Adam and Eve were one flesh. O take care to be ever faithful and true to this divine Spouse, who has loved you and delivered himself up for you, that he might sanctify and cleanse you for himself, with his own most precious blood.
Conclude to behave in your whole life and conversation agreeable in all respects to these sacred relations which you now have with the Son of God; and never to degenerate from such a Father, such a head, such a brother, and such spouse, by any actions unworthy of either the dignity or sanctity of a Christian.