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XII. Socinus urges that the expression should be translated," And the Word was flesh." This clause was added, he contends, lest any should infer from the metaphorical language John had employed when describing the dignity of the Word, that the Word was an incorporeal substance, or a divine and eternal nature. He alleges that the Evangelist plainly confesses he was flesh, a weak, despised, and sorrowful man, in order to obviate every doubt that might arise in the minds of his readers. And that none might think it strange that yeVETO, was made, is explained by 'n, was, he adduces the expression, ος έγενετο άνης προφητης, which he renders, "who was a prophet."s

XIII. But here, reason entirely abandons the heretic. John had not described Christ as a metaphorical divinity, but as "the true God," and on that account distinct from all "that are called Gods." Nor was it necessary for him to correct his expressions in any degree, to prevent us from forming too exalted sentiments of Christ; for all human thoughts, and all human language, fall far short of the dignity of Him, "who is "over all, God blessed for ever."i Had he entertained any such intention, too, as that which Socinus aseribes to him, he would not have made use of a term which, without question, generally and properly signifies was made, or began to be, and which therefore supports that doctrine which the heretic brands as an error; but would have said in clear language, το λογος ην σαρξ, the Word was flesh. Besides, although perhaps ywedai, to be made, sometimes occurs in Greek writers instead of war, to be, yet, as a laborious Interpreter has observed "Qui fuit vir Propheta," Luke xxiv. 19.

h 1 John v. 20.

j Rom. ix. 5.

i 1 Cor. viii. 5, 6.

from Moschopulus, that sense of the word is rather uncommon, poetical, and improper. Nor can an instance of that signification be easily produced from the sacred volume. The passage mentioned by Socinus, is not in point. The term you, indeed, is often employed to signify, to show one's self such, to conduct one's self as such, to be found such and this is the sense in the passage referred to. The meaning is, he was found to be a Prophet, and showed himself such before God and all the people. And the words may be explained by the following expression of Peter:-" A "man approved of God among you by miracles, and "wonders, and signs."


XIV. Let us now proceed, as we promised, in the third place, to inquire into the CAUSES of the incarnation. Here we must, first of all, give glory to God himself, the principal Author of so wonderful a thing. "The LORD hath created a new thing in the earth, "A woman shall compass a man." A certain woman, in whom nothing but her sex comes to be considered here, shall compass, not by embracing, but by conceiving in her womb, a man, that is, a man-child. And this compassing of a man by a woman, is the work of God alone,-not the consequence of her having associated with a husband, or any man. The Lord performs or "creates it,"*-effects it by the mere command of his will,—as "a new thing," to which nothing equal or similar was ever seen. It is now seen, however," in the earth," or in the land, namely, the land of Israel, to which God repeatedly promised that he


* Sec Mat. v. 45. 1 Thes. ii. 5, 7, 10. Rom. iii. 4.

Luke xxiv. 19. "Jer. xxxi. 22.

m Acts ii. 22.

• Rev. xii. 5.

would come, to dwell in the midst of his people. This explication is plain, consonant to the analogy of faith and to the proper sense of the words, and also very well adapted to the scope of the Prophet's discourse. He is here recalling the virgin of Israel, a backsliding daughter, to that right and sure way which her believing fathers had trodden. Now, it is certain, that the great and capital error of backsliding Israel is this, that she does not acknowledge the Messiah, whom God has given her. He had in the preceding chapter foretold his birth, saying,-" Their Governor shall pro"ceed from the midst of them." In this same chapter, he had related particularly one of its concomitant circumstances, namely, the slaughter of the infants of Bethlehem. He now adds another sign, the creation of a new thing in the earth, a birth from a virgin ;expostulating with Israel in these words, "How long "wilt thou go about" in devious paths, which lead thee away from thy God, from happiness, and from the ways of the ancient fathers," O thou backsliding daughter," carried about with divers errors; listen to what I am about to say; an extraordinary thing has taken place in the earth, which has not been heard of from the beginning, which yet the fathers expected, "A woman "shall compass a man." Believe me, the reparation of thy loss, the refreshing of thy wearied soul, and the replenishing of thy sorrowful soul, depend on this mystery, and on the acknowledgment of it.

xv. The whole adorable Trinity concur in this work; and hence it is ascribed to each of the persons; to the Father,'-to the Son,-and to the Holy Ghost.

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It is said, "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, " and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee;" also," She was found with child of the Holy Ghost;"u and again," That which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost." It is much more natural to refer these expressions to the third person of the Godhead, than to the Son according to the Divine nature. But with regard to the manner of the Spirit's operation on the Blessed Virgin, it is far more consistent with prudence and chastity, to cover it, after the example of God himself, with a veil of sacred silence, than to determine with audacious mind, or to presume to explain it with the tongue or the pen. Let it suffice to know, that the work of the Holy Spirit was distinguished by a double miracle, 1st, The fructifying of the virgin's womb; 2dly, The sanctification of the fruit of the womb, which the virgin conceived and brought forth.

XVI. This conception, however, although attributed in a special manner to the Holy Ghost, doth not make him the Father of Christ; for there is an obvious difference betwixt forming any thing of matter derived from another quarter, and generating from one's own substance. We do not deny, that God is metaphorically called the Parent of all men, because he creates and preserves them; and that, in a similar sense, the Holy Spirit might be termed in some respect the Father of the human nature of Christ. Yet since generation does not properly terminate on a nature but on a person, since the person of Christ is not begotten by the Holy Spirit, and since the Holy Spirit is no where called the Father of Christ in sacred writ, we, too, ought scrupulously to avoid that expression.

* Luke i. 35.

u Mat. i. 18.

Mat. i. 20.

XVII. This event took place according to an agree ment between the Father and the Son, or, as it is

expressed by Zechariah," according to "the counsel of peace," which was between "the LORD of Hosts," the Father, and "the man," the Son, who was to become man, "whose name is the BRANCH," being raised up by God, and being the new root of a new family, or of the sons of God according to the Spirit. This Branch "shall


grow up out of his place; that is, as Aben Ezra understands it, of himself,† by his own proper power, without sowing, without human agency; since he was to be born of a virgin. "And he shall build the temple "of the LORD, even he shall build the temple of the "LORD." Here the repetition of the same words directs our thoughts to more than one temple. He builds the temple of his natural body,y" in which dwelleth "all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."z This he built, in the first instance, when by his own will he became man, and, afterwards, when he rose again from the dead; and by means of both he became "a Sanctuary" to his people. He builds also the temple of his mystical body, that is, the Church.b 3


XVIII. But whilst we are considering the Causes of the incarnation, MARY must not be entirely overlooked. Three things chiefly respecting her, are worthy of notice. 1st, Her pedigree, being of the seed of Abraham, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Judah, of the house of David. 2dly, Her condition, as in a state

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