32588 There is evil
The strict justice of God, and even his revenging justice, and that against the sins of men, never was so gloriously manifested. He manifested an infinite regard to the attribute of God's justice, in that, when he had a mind to save sinners, he was willing to undergo such extreme sufferings, rather than that their salvation should be to the injury of the honour of that attribute. And as he is the Judge of the world, he doth himself exercise strict justice, he will not clear the guilty, nor at all acquit the wicked in judgment. Yet how wonderfully is infinite mercy towards sinners displayed in him!
His humility and meekness wonderfully appeared in his subjection to his mother and reputed father when he was a child. Herein he appeared as a lamb. But his divine glory broke forth and shone when, at twelve years old, he disputed with doctors in the temple. In that he appeared, in some measure, as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. And so, after he entered on his public ministry, his marvellous humility and meekness was manifested in his choosing to appear in such mean outward circumstances; and in being contented in them, when he was so poor that he had not where to lay his head, and depended on the charity of some of his followers for his subsistence, as appears by Luke 8, at the beginning.
And what glorious and ineffable grace and love have been and are exercised by him, towards sinful men! Though he is the just Judge of a sinful world, yet he is also the Saviour of the world. Though he is a consuming fire to sin, yet he is the light and life of sinners. Rom. 3:25f. "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus."
So the immutable truth of God, in the threatening of his law against the sins of men, was never so manifested as it is in Jesus Christ, for there never was any other so great a trial of the un-alterableness of the truth of God in those threatening as when sin came to be imputed to his own Son. And then in Christ has been seen already an actual complete accomplishment of those threatening, which never has been nor will be seen in any other instance; because the eternity that will be taken up in fulfilling those threatening on others, never will be finished.
Christ manifested an infinite regard to this truth of God in his sufferings. And, in his judging the world, he makes the covenant of works that contains those dreadful threatening, his rule of judgement. He will see to it, that it is not infringed in the least jot or title: he will do nothing contrary to the threatening of the law, and their complete fulfilment. And yet in him we have many great and precious promises, promises of perfect deliverance from the penalty of the law. And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. To show how this admirable conjunction of excellencies appears in Christ's acts; in his taking of human nature, in his earthly life, in his sacrificial death, in his exaltation in heaven, in his final subduing of all evil when he returns in glory. It appears in what Christ did in taking on him our nature.
In this act, his infinite condescension wonderfully appeared that he who was God should become man; that the word should be made flesh, and should take on him a nature infinitely below his original nature! And it appears yet more remarkably in the low circumstances of his incarnation: he was conceived in the womb of a poor young woman, whose poverty appeared in this, when she came to offer sacrifices of her purification, she brought what was allowed of in the law only in case of poverty, as Luke 2:24. "According to what Is said in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtle-doves, or two young pigeons." This was allowed only in case the person was so poor that she was not able to offer a lamb. Lev. 12:8. And though his infinite condescension thus appeared in the manner of his incarnation, yet his divine dignity also appeared in it; for though he was conceived in the womb of a poor virgin, yet he was conceived there by the power of the Holy Ghost.
And his divine dignity also appeared in the holiness of his conception and birth. Though he was conceived in the womb of one of the corrupt race of mankind, yet he was conceived and born without sin; as the angel said to the blessed Virgin, Luke 1:35. "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee, therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God." His infinite condescension marvellously appeared in the manner of his birth.
He was brought forth in a stable because there was no room for them in the inn. The inn was taken up by others that were looked upon as persons of greater account. The Blessed Virgin, being poor and despised, was turned or shut out. Though she was in such necessitous circumstances, yet those that counted themselves her betters would not give place to her; and therefore, in the time of her travail, she was forced to betake herself to a stable; and when the child was born, it was wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lay in a manger. There Christ laid a little infant, and there he eminently appeared as a lamb.
But yet this feeble infant, born thus in a stable, and laid in a manger, was born to conquer and triumph over Satan, that roaring lion. He came to subdue the mighty powers of darkness, and make a show of them openly, and so to restore peace on earth, and to manifest God's good-will towards men, and to bring glory to God in the highest, according as the end of his birth was declared by the joyful songs of the glorious hosts of angels appearing to the shepherds at the same time that the infant lay in the manger; whereby his divine dignity was manifested. This admirable conjunction of excellences appears in the acts and various passages of Christ's life.
Though Christ dwelt in mean outward circumstances, whereby his condescension and humility especially appeared, and his majesty was veiled; yet his divine divinity and glory did in many of his acts shine through the veil, and it illustriously appeared, that he was not only the Son of man, but the great God. Thus, in the circumstances of his infancy, his outward meanness appeared; yet there was something then to show forth his divine dignity, in the wise men's being stirred up to come from the east to give honour to him their being led by a miraculous star, disciples; his discourses with them, treating them as a father his children, yea, as friends and companions. How patient bearing such affliction and reproach, and so many injuries from the scribes and Pharisees. In these things he appeared as a Lamb.
And yet he at the same time did in many ways show forth his divine majesty and glory, particularly in the miracles he wrought, which was evidently divine, works, and manifested omnipotent power, and so declared him to be the Lion of the tribe of Judah. His wonderful and miraculous works plainly showed him to be the God of nature; in that it appeared by them that he had all nature in his hands, and could lay an arrest upon it, and stop and change its course as he pleased. In healing the sick, and opening the eyes of the blind, and unstopping the ears of the deaf, and healing the lame, he showed that he was the God that framed the eye, and created the ear, and was the author of the frame of man's body. By the dead rising at his command, it appeared that he was the author and fountain of life, and that "God the Lord, to whom belong the issues from death."