« PoprzedniaDalej »
Luk.1.46. A. In that admirable Hymn called the Magni
ficat, wherein she shews such a thankful Sense of the great Honour that was conferred upon her, and expresses at the same Time, in so full a Manner, her Humility and Devotion, as well as the infinite Power and Goodness of God, that it appears, as she was highly favoured, so she was also full of Grace, and had a Mind plentifully enriched with the Gifts of God's Holy Spirit. This Hymn was fo respected among
the Primitive Christians, that they used it as a Part of their Devotions; and the Church of England has retained it in her divine Service, as proper to express the pious Affections of godly and devout Minds.
Q. What may we learn from this Hymn we lo frequently repeat ?
A. The infinite Mercy and Goodness of God, in fending his Son into the World to redeem us from a State of Sin and Misery when we were Enemies to him by our evil Works. That all the Faculties of our Souls, our Reason, our Will, and our Affections ought be'employed in bleffing and praising his holy Name'; and though we cannot add to his Greatness, yet we are then said to magnify the Lord, when we publish and proclaim to the World our Sense of his mighty Perfections. That the best Method to engage God's Favour, is to govern all our Actions by a Fear to offend him. That to obtain the Blessings of Heaven, we must have a great Sense of our Want of them. That we may advance ourselves into the Rank of those that had the great Honour of being related to our Saviour; by conceiving Christ in our Hearts by Faith and Obedience; for by doing the Will of God, we are esteemed
by him as his Brethren, Sisters, and Mother:
Q. Hath this Festival only a Relation to the 50. Blessed Virgin Mary?
A. It hath farther a particular Respect to the Incarnation of our blessed Saviour ; who being the Eternal Word of the Father, was at this Time made Flesh. And thus the Festival is by Albanafius reckoned as one of the chiefest that relate to our Lord; whether we consider the Order and Method of those Things that the Evangelists declare concerning our Saviour, or the profound Mystery we this Day celebrate.
Q. What are we to believe concerning the Incarnation ?
A. That the Son, who is the Word of the Artic. 2. Father, begotten from everlasting of the Father, the very and eternal God, of one Substance with the Father, took Man's Nature in the Womb of the blessed Virgin, of her Substance fo that two whole and perfect Natures, that is to say, the Godhead and Manhood, were joined together in one Person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, very God and very Man ; who truly fuffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, to reconcile his Father to us, and to be a Sacrifice not only for the original Guilt, but also for the actual Sins of Men.
Q. What do you mean by the Godhead and Manhood being jcined together in one Person, whereof is one Christ?
A. The true Design of the Church, in using the Word Perfon, was to express a Vital Subftantial Union; as that thence did result a true proper Communication of Names, Characters, and Properties, from the two Natures to the Perfon, made up of them. For tho' the Eternal
Word was a Person before the Incarnation, yet he is not considered under the same formal Notion after it. Before he subsisted only in the Divine Nature, afterwards in the Human as well as the Divine; yet without any change or Alteration, but under both Respects continues but one and the same Person.
Q. But are there not many Difficulties and. Absurdities that flow from attributing the Actions, Passions, and Properties of two fucb difinat Natures, as the Human and Divine, to the same Subjeet, viz. our blessed Saviour ?
4. Though they are absolutely inconsistent in themselves, and cannot be affirmed of the Jame Nature, yet they may and must be averred of the same Person, who is made up of both. And this will plainly appear, if we consider it in Perfons compounded of two distinct Parts, as Men, made of Body and Soul. Eating, drinking, and walking are performed chiefly by the Ministry of the Body; knowing, considering, willing, and chusing proceed from the Soul, yet it is the Person made up of both, who is said to eat and drink, to understand and chuse. Thus Colour, Features, and Symmetry, from whence arises Beauty, cannot be in the Soul, which is immaterial ; Learning and Virtue, Wisdom and Righteousness cannot inhere in the Body, because, being Matter, it is not a Subject capable of them ; for which Reason it would be abfurd to fay, the Soul is white or black, beautiful or deformed; or, on the other hand, to say the Body is wise or foolish, learned or ignorant, just or unjult: Yet of the Man, who is made up of both these Parts, all these may be truly and properly aifirmed. This being remembered, it will help
us to solve the seeming Difficulties and Absurdities of attributing the Actions, Paffions, and Properties of two such distinɛt Natures, as the Human and Divine, to the fame Subject, viz. our blessed Saviour.
Q. Wby is the blessed Virgin Mary filed the Mother of God?
A. Because the second Person in the blejledTrinity, the Son of God, by virtue of an eternal Generation, vouchsafed to descend from Heaven, and to stoop so low as to enter into the Womb of the Virgin; where being united to our Nature, which was formed and conceived there, he submitted to a second Generation according to the Flesh. So that this Son of God. was truly the Son of the Virgin, and consequently the that brought forth the Man, was really the Mother of God, and by her Cousin Eliza- Luke 1. beth she is stiled the Mother of ber Lord; which 43. Word Lord was accounted equivalent to the Word God.
Q. But can the Divine Nature be born, and suffer, and die, and be buried, and rise from the Grave?
A. No, it cannot; and so wild a Thought hath always been disclaimed by all orthodox Christians, with the utmost Abhorrence and De. testation. But this they have said, that he was God, that he was made of a Woman, who was seen and handled; who was arraigned, condemn-. :ed, and crucified, and afterwards laid in the Grave; (not indeed in his Divine, but Human Nature, but it was one and the fame Person which fubfifted in both Natures.
Wbat Instances are there in Scripture that juftify the Menner of these Expressions.
John 1. A. John Baptist says, that he who cometh after 27, 30. me, was before me ; which could not be true if
affirmed of the same Nature, but yet was verified of the same Perfon. St. Peter affirms, that
the Son of Man was the Christ the Son of the Mat. 16. living God. Cbrift avers himself, that he was
the Son of God, truly and properly, as his Words were understood by his Friends and Enemies.
The Apostles still preached the same Doctrine, Aas 20. that the Church was purchased with the Blood of
God: That the Man whom the Jews crucified, Car.2.8.
was the Lord of Glory : The fame Lord who was nailed to a Cross, was afterwards laid in the Grave, and rose from thence; and this Lord was God.
Q. It being sufficient, as to the Mystery of tbe Incarnation, that when our Saviour was conceived and bori bis Mother was a Virgin ; what is reasonable to believe concerning her continuing in tbe fame State of Virginity ?
A. The peculiar Eminency, and unparallelled Privilege of that Mother; the special Honour and Reverence due unto that Son, and ever paid by her ; the Regard of that Holy Ghost that came upon her; the singular Goodness and Piety of Foseph to whom she was espoused ; have persuaded the Church of God in all Ages to believe, that she still continued in the same Virginity, and therefore is to be acknowledged The EverVirgin Mary.
Q. How ought we to reverence the blessed Virgin Mary?
A. By entertaining a great Opinion of her Virtue and Piety, who had the of being the Mother of the Messiah. It being reasonable to believe, that a Person chose for