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Objections, it may ftill appear to us very ftrange that God who could without all this circumftance, and condefcenfion even almoft beneath the Majefty of the Great God, at leaft as we are apt to think, have given Laws to Mankind, and have offer'd forgiveness of Sins and eternal life upon their Repentance for fins paft, and fincere though imperfect obedience for the future; I fay, it may seem strange, that notwithftanding this God fhould yet make choice of this way and method of our Salvation: I fhall therefore in the last place endeavour to give some probable account of this ftrange and wonderful Difpenfation, and fhew that it was done in great condefcenfion to the weakness and common prejudices of Mankind; and that when it is throughly confidered it will appear to be much more for our comfort and advantage than any other way which the wisdom of this World would have been apt to devise H 3

and

.

and pitch upon. And in all this I fhall all along take either the plain declarations of Scripture, or the preg nant intimations of it for my ground and guide.

I. I fhall confider rnore diftinctly what may reasonably be fuppofed to be implied in this expreffion of the Word's being made flesh; namely these five things.

First, The truth and reality of the thing That the Son of God did not only appear in the form of hu man flesh, but did really affume it: the Word was made flesh, as the Evan-» gelift exprefly declares: For if this had been only a Phantafm and Apparition,as fome Hereticks of old did fancy, it would in all probability have been like the appearance of Angels mentioned in the old Teftament, fudden and of fhort continuance, and would after a little while have vanifh'd and dif appear'd. But he dwelt among us, and convers'd familiarly with us a long time, and for many years to

gether,

gether; and the Scripture useth all the expreffions which are proper to fignify a real Man, and a real Human Body, and there were all the figns and evidences of reality that could be: For the Word is faid to be made flesh, and Chrift is faid to be of the feed of David according to the flesh, and to be made of a Woman; and all this to fhew that he was a real Man, and had a real and substantial Body: For he was born, and by degrees grew up to be a Man, and did perform all fuch actions as are natural and proper to Men: He continued a great while in the World, and at laft fuffer'd and dy'd, and was laid in the Grave; He did not vanifh and disappear like a Phantasm or Spirit, but he dyed like other Men: And his Body was raised again out of the Grave; and after he was rifen, he conversed forty days upon Earth, and permitted his Body to be handled, and last of all was visibly taken up into Heaven.

So that either we must grant Him to have had a real Body, or we have cause to doubt whether all Mankind be not mere Phantafms and Apparitions: For greater evidence no Man can give that he is really clothed with and carries about him a true and substantial Body, than the Son of God did in the days of his flesh. It is to me very wonderful upon what ground, or indeed to what end, the Hereticks of old, Marcion and others did deny the reality of Christ's flesh. Surely they had a great mind to be Hereticks who took up fo fenfless an Opinion for no reason, and to no purpose.

Secondly, Another thing implyed in the Word's being made flesh, is, that this was done peculiarly for the benefit and advantage of Men: The Word was made flesh, that is, became Man; for fo I have fhewn the word flesh to be often used in Scripture. And this the Author of the Epistle to the Hebrews takes very special notice

of

of as a great grace and favour of God to Mankind, that his Son appear'd in our Nature, and confequently for our Salvation; as it is faid in the Nicene Creed, who for us Men and for our Salvation came down from Heaven, and was incarnate, &c. For verily, fays the Apostle, He took Heb. 2. not on him the nature of Angels, but 16. of the feed of Abraham, & dπsayyiτων Επιλαμβάνεται, he did not affume the Angelical Nature, fo our Tranflators understood the phrafe; but the word also fignifies to take hold of a thing which is falling, as well as to affume or take on him: He did not take hold of the Angels when they were falling, but fuffered them to lapfe irrecoverably into mifery and ruin: but he took hold of Human Nature when it was falling, and particularly of the Seed of Abraham; and by the Seed of Abraham, that is, by himself, in whom all the Nations of the Earth were blef fed, he brought Salvation firft to the Jews, and then to the reft of

Man

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