And Christians may find their faith strengthened by finding the conclusions reached by the Bible arrived at by other roads.I. Scripture: John 1:1–3. There are many who are loving but not faithful; many sternly honest, but not kind. )The Person and work of ChristW. )The ideal fitness of the IncarnationJ. God could not travel faster than the conditions of humanity admitted. It is no longer possible; we are reminded to think of this earth as the centre for whose benefit all else exists. THE TESTIMONY WHICH WE WHO HAVE SEEN HIS GLORY ARE SURE TO BEAR. There was nothing in His age, home, or contemporaries calculated to produce a perfect man.2. Full of grace.3. That of two distinct natures and persons by one spirit: mystically.3. Two streams. We, not one but many.3. It intimates His condition. TO CHRISTIAN WORK IN RELATION TO THE EVANGELIZATION OF THE WORLD. THE DOCTRINE OR THE FACT HOLDS A LIKE CENTRAL AND INCLUSIVE POSITION IN HOLY SCRIPTURE. These two facts point to an incarnation. From the benignant character of His religion.II. In the moment of creation He became to man the mysterious basis of that strong mysterious thing which we call life; the indwelling light, through whose guidance and illumination man might know God, and become like God. THE RESULTS that flow from the reality of the Incarnation.1. Wherever, in human nature, there is a trace or vestige of light, there we have a manifestation of the presence of the indwelling Word, the same Eternal Word, who dwells in our souls as Light.(D. The perpetuity of Christ's human nature is the guarantee of an immortalized personality° And our individual interest in Jesus will not prevent us sharing the enthusiasm we may rightly feel concerning the destiny of His Church. At His Transfiguration.4. And He who could bring together matter and Spirit in man might surely raise both matter and spirit to union with His own Divinity under the control of His eternal Person. — He moves before our vision in the form of a man; we look inquiringly and affectionately, and then we penetrate the outward guise and behold the inner splendour. There was nothing in His age, home, or contemporaries calculated to produce a perfect man.2. (1)He had a true body, not merely the appearance of one. In this sublime unity, effected in the Incarnation, is contained the fundamental truth of Pantheism without the grave and multiform errors thereof. His WONDROUS LOVE, which prompted Him to go about doing good.VI. Creation is not a dead level, but an ascending series. Flavel. Christianity has softened men, it has softened manners, it has softened art. This dignified Person was made flesh. "Whoso layeth his hand on a human body toucheth heaven," said Novalis and Carlyle. It involved the possibility of the fall. It is the same with the Word made flesh — with Jesus. (2) Others to Philo, who spoke much of a semi-divine person called the Word of God. With the audacity which is the true work of Divine revelation, the text draws together the two discordant ideas "Word" and "flesh"; not this tremulous, feeble, mortal body with its needs, weaknesses, pains, desires, corruption, not the whole humanity, body, soul, spirit, the entire sweep and range of what a man is.3. Glory terrifies. Not A NIMBUS or halo as seen in pictures, or it would never have been denied. God is something more than the constructor of this curious clock. The reality of Christ's Deity gave sacrificial efficacy to His death on our behalf.2. Finally, it is the duty of Christians to imitate the example of Christ. What an inheritance! There, in those pages, the inward voice of conscience becomes an outward voice also; the latter attested by the former, the former cleared and deepened and intensified by the latter. O. Why, if he is only an animal, should the question of his life be followed more anxiously than that of an ox or a sheep? There was nothing in His age, home, or contemporaries calculated to produce a perfect man.2. C. Jones, D. D.)Beholding the glory of ChristThough the Israelites were not able to look on the face of Moses, we saw the glory of the only-begotten. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.In the life of Jesus we see —I. Acts 3:22). THAT MANY MAY HAVE A SYMPATHETIC AND POWERFUL MEDIATOR at the right hand of God. The intensity of kindness may always be measured by the sacrifices to which it leads. The depth and manifoldness of Christ's character form the reason for the well-nigh two hundred lives and harmonies which have been launched upon the world. AN INCARNATION OF GOD IS NOT IMPROBABLE.1. We learn the amazing condescension of the Saviour. If we regard Christianity as a philosophy, the doctrine of the Incarnation is its essence. This, then, is St. John's contention. THE ANALOGY between those two Incarnations.1. AN INCARNATION OF GOD IS NOT IMPOSSIBLE. In the previous verses of the chapter St. John has been speaking of the Word, though only in the fourteenth verse does he begin to speak of the Word Incarnate. The parts take their due proportions.IV. Were I to write it you would know it, because the word would be made ink, and you see it. R. Howat.I am thinking of a word. This is seen in His Incarnation; in His being made perfect through sufferings, so that He might be a sympathetic High Priest; in His life, words, and actions; in His death, as our substitute and representative; and in His union with His people. To be made the Head of angels a humiliation, much more lower than the angels, much more "despised and rejected of men." meets in it, the A.D. starts from it. Culross, D. D.Here is an answer to Solomon's wondering exclamation: "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? By faith.2. At His Ascension.II. What responsibilities!(Bp. For He pitched His tent or tabernacled with us. The glory of the holy place was the Shekinah. (1) Some have traced it to the Jewish Targums, where the angel of the Lord of the Old Testament is designated the Word of God. Then it is a great pity; certainly it deserves to be true. BUT IT WAS IN THE FORM OF MAN THAT GOD'S COMMAND HAD BEEN ORIGINALLY DISHONOURED, AND THEREFORE CHRIST ASSUMED IT.1. Because painting is more feminine, and therefore more capable of expressing the softer, gentler virtues. This dignified Person was made flesh. Then it is a great pity; certainly it deserves to be true. The gracious character of the Saviour appears from the great design of His dispensation. (2) Most fit "all things were made by Him." When we "have told its isles of light, and fancied all beyond," there must yet be heights and depths in that High and Lofty One who inhabiteth eternity which no fancy, however soaring, can penetrate. Were I to write it you would know it, because the word would be made ink, and you see it. What responsibilities!(Bp. Nature does not disclose this manifestation of love. In order to understand the statement thoroughly, we must ask: First, what does St. John mean by "The Word?" Yet the Positivist tries to keep his religion after he has denied his God. How did this happen? (1) Grace and truth are spoken of in the concrete; not full of the news of grace and truth. There was nothing in His age, home, or contemporaries calculated to produce a perfect man.2. Four thousand years were needed to accomplish the former; but the instant it was brought to pass, "God sent forth His Son into the world, made of a woman, made under the law."(J. Only faith in the Incarnation can create missionaries. Others were that. That He is —1. Class Jesus, as some do, with Plato and Shakespeare, and He would receive no more honour than they. (5) Inseparably. The poor prisoner in the dock represents the ineffaceable, indestructible greatness of man. Now for THE BENEFIT.1. The soundest, shortest argument for the Being of God is Christ. He is "full of grace."2. meets in it, the A.D. starts from it. All His actions and words are in harmony with the idea that He was the Word made flesh. It reveals the intrinsic Fatherhood. Being made flesh, all flesh may come to him to present their request.3. From the benignant character of His religion.II. No, or Mary would have seen Him in Gabriel. Spurgeon. But it is difficult to decide.2. )The NativityBp. )The ideal fitness of the IncarnationJ. And Christians may find their faith strengthened by finding the conclusions reached by the Bible arrived at by other roads.I. There is a unity in the sacred writings, and that unity is the person of the Incarnate Word. Utterance, action, suffering, all were one continuous and incessant testimony to an unseen Father in heaven.2. The incarnation took place between these utterances.2. There is truth in others; but in Him dwell the depth, the essence of the fact. God could not travel faster than the conditions of humanity admitted. WE WANT SYMPATHY IN OUR WEAKNESS, INFIRMITIES, AND SORROWS; therefore that we may know that He can and does feel for us THE WORD WAS MADE FLESH.VI. Braden. It shows us a Son, not by creation in time, but by generation in eternity, and consequently shows us a Father, not in virtue of His creative, but of His generative energies. Through the lantern of Christ's humanity, we may behold the light of the Deity shining.God incarnateR. Conclusion: Jesus is a perfect Saviour — perfect in His power to save, being able to save to the uttermost; perfect in His willingness to save, declaring that whosoever cometh unto Him, He will in no wise cast out; perfect in His sympathy, knowing our frame, remembering that we are dust, and declaring that He will carry the lambs in His arm, and deal with peculiar kindness with those in special trials; perfect in His wisdom, knowing His sheep and knowing the way that they take; perfect in His faithfulness, being the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever, and promising never to leave nor forsake His own disciples. But man has desired this God-Man: He only has blessed the race.2. Although Christ's soul and body were divided at death, yet neither of them from the Divine nature.II. But we can only surrender ourselves to its power when we admit that it is the life of the Word made flesh. A man may be a Christian who does not accept all the doctrines of the creeds. His heart was an overflowing fountain of love, a plenary spring of goodness, which perpetually sent forth streams of grace, to bless a barren and desert world. Of Christ's complex person as God and man.2. Sin and suffering are inseparable, they say, and thus those who preached a gospel of love without law, now preach a gospel of law without love. God was ready, the Son was ready. C. Jones, D. D.The noblest objects never disclose their best meaning at first sight. The gracious character of the Saviour is an encouragement to sinners to come to Him.2. THAT MAN MAY POSSESS A FULL AND FAITHFUL REVELATION OF GOD'S CHARACTER. This is the confession of friends and foes of His own day and ours. Yet the Positivist tries to keep his religion after he has denied his God. If you are doing this one at home, take the keys around to doors or have a lock box that can be opened. It dignifies the human body, demonstrates the potentiality of human nature, and reduces the duality of being, finite and Infinite, into an adorable unity in the indivisible person of the blessed Saviour.(J. Did you ever see a Hebrew book? (3) Full of grace and truth as dealing truthfully in matters of grace concerning our salvation; encouraging many gracious hopes which are all truthfully realized; working both in His people.II. Positively. Huntington.There was an end sought; by what means should it be reached? That is to say, the Divine laid hold of the human in such a way as to make the human, so far as it could be made, a true image and reflection of itself. Communion.III. Yes, but so was Creation, and Creation involved possibilities which led to much else beyond. So in Christ. At best they give a God for philosophers, for the intellect, not one who has influence over life, moulding and fashioning the heart. Whence does this belief spring? THE RESULTS that flow from the reality of the Incarnation.1. (1) Miraculously (Luke 1:34, 35); which was necessary to exempt the assumed human nature from Adam's sin (Luke 1:15). But He was as remarkable for His firmness. de Pressense, D. D.)Bethlehem and its good newsH. Thomas, D. D.(text in conjunction with Ephesians 3:17): — There are two births of Christ — one unto the world, the other into the soul. And DWELT.1. TO APOLOGETICS. THE PERSON ASSUMING. To express His union with human flesh fully. When a Jew heard this he must have denied it, inasmuch, as there was little in Christ which answered to his conception of Messianic glory. Thus "the Word was made flesh," that we might be able to say, "we saw His glory. Just now the deprivatory account is the popular one. Although Christ's soul and body were divided at death, yet neither of them from the Divine nature.II. TO THE PURPOSES OF GOD. Who would have thought that the kindness and grace of our Lord would have rested upon such a man as Saul?4. Here is a man who, before he became a criminal, threaded his way unnoticed through the crowd; but put upon his trial for his life he becomes a centre of universal interest. THE DIGNIFIED CHARACTER WHO WAS MADE FLESH. Sensibility was deemed a sign of weakness. They saw the moral glory of purity and benevolence in the Lord's Person and character, in the "grace" which he displayed in dealing with suppliants and penitents, in the "truth" which he uttered and embodied. Man's ideas were always far in advance of his noblest achievements; in Christ both go hand in hand.VI. What privilege! Grace, too, as opposed to the rigour, threats, and curses of the law; and truth as set against the shadows and ceremonies of the law. The singular advancement of Christ's human nature, it being hereby replenished with an unparalleled measure of Divine graces (Psalm 45:8), and so He becomes the object of worship (Acts 7:59).3. That the Word — being what He has been from the first, and still is, to man, the metaphysical basis of life, the indwelling light — should Himself become a man, and dwell for some thirty-three years amongst men, full of grace and truth, need not surprise us; ought to be no stumbling-block to us; has nothing incredible or unnatural about it. And this impression is deepened by the vicissitudes to which men are exposed, and the cheapness of human life. The gracious character of the Saviour appears from the great design of His dispensation. His PERFECT WISDOM, which spake as never man spake. The paradox of the Bible is the severity with which God looks on sin, and the tenderness with which He regards the sinner. Not by surrounding influences. AN INCARNATION OF GOD IS NOT IMPROBABLE.1. If we study His example there is that which proclaims His Divine perfections; and yet His human, helpful, imitable brotherhood.VIII. The man who worships the Lord Jesus as God, and gives Him the homage of his heart is a Christian, although he may not accept the Athanasian statement. He continues to reveal to the loving earnest gaze His glory, "the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father."(J. R. Howat.I am thinking of a word. There are three illustrious unions m Scripture.1. It was inevitable that the possibility of the Incarnation should be questioned; but what is man but a sample, at an immeasurably lower level of a union of two totally different substances, one material, the other immaterial, under the control of a single human personality? From the tiniest atom to Absolute Being there is one continuous ascent.II. But the new creation was to proceed from the same hand as the first.1. When a Jew heard this he must have denied it, inasmuch, as there was little in Christ which answered to his conception of Messianic glory. "The Word became flesh": such is St. John's statement. We can proceed by way of philosophy and prove our need of a Saviour, and by way of history prove the fact of a Saviour who reveals the nature and fatherhood of God.II. These two facts point to an incarnation. The Word, "by whom all things were made," came to be made Himself. When a sinner is brought to find peace, he realises the glory of Christ. The singular advancement of Christ's human nature, it being hereby replenished with an unparalleled measure of Divine graces (Psalm 45:8), and so He becomes the object of worship (Acts 7:59).3. He effects a great deliverance, and bestows an infinite wisdom. No one was ever more energetic in opposition to wickedness; but what strikes us more forcibly is His unprecedented meekness under wrong; and thus He originated a new type of goodness. TO THE PURPOSES OF GOD. THE REAL KISSING THE IDEAL. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.Inasmuch as God is unchangeable, and the love exhibited in Bethlehem was in Him from days of old, I make bold to affirm that He embraced the first opportunity to work out the redemption of the race. A man may be a Christian who does not accept all the doctrines of the creeds. He who is the creative Word is also the indwelling Light. (1) Manicheus holding that he had no true body. THE DOCTRINE OF GOD. We become "partakers" of it. Who is that Teacher? We can see now what the real ground of all such rejoicing is, and how solid it is. Let us pitch our tents around this central tabernacle, as the Israelites did round theirs.2. That is marked by a tone of serious, disheartened scepticism. No one indeed could see His glory who was not healed by His humiliation; for there had flown into man's eyes, as it were, dust from the earth; the eye itself had become diseased, and earth was sent to heal it again; the flesh had blinded man, the flesh restores him; the soul, by consenting to carnal affection, had become carnal; hence the eye of the mind had been blinded: then the Physician made for us ointment; He came in such wise, as that by the flesh He destroyed the corruption of the flesh. There was nothing in His age, home, or contemporaries calculated to produce a perfect man.2. Why the Word, flesh? Both result from Divine interposition.2. One may say with tolerable accuracy that fine art is the creation of Christianity. (4) Not made by compounding, and so a third thing produced of both, as Eutyches.2. "Christ did not gain one perfection more by becoming man, nor could He lose anything of what He possessed as God. THE RELATION OF THE INCARNATION, THEN, TO THE BODY OF CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE is not difficult to be determined.1. Of His self-sacrifice.4. But the Deist gives us instead of the living, consummate God an abstract and distant Divinity. God Himself. He was in the bosom of His father. His ALMIGHTY POWER, able to minister to every need and relieve every suffering.V. And when it is said, He was made flesh, misconceive not, as if there was a mutation of the Godhead into flesh; for this was performed, not by changing what He was, but by assuming what He was not. (3) Not made as friends are made, who continue two several persons still, and while the flesh suffered the Word stood by and looked on as Nestorius. When the court of Olympus was constituted, the conviction — universal among the Indo-European peoples — that the gods could not be strangers to men, made it natural to believe that they came down to earth from time to time. It reveals the intrinsic Fatherhood. Let us pitch our tents around this central tabernacle, as the Israelites did round theirs.2. Howat. God Himself. The inward motion of the mind taketh into it a natural body of air, and so becometh vocal; it is not changed into it, the Word remaineth still as it was, yet they two become one voice.IV. Think what the difference is between saying, "Jesus is only a man seeking God, adding one more to the many guesses as to the nature of God:" and saying, "In Jesus we see God seeking man, and seeking him out of pure love in order to save him": "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." H. Spurgeon.I. 3. He was known by this name in the Jewish Church long before His advent.2. "Beheld His glory": not heard or read of. Adore the love of the Father and the Son who devised this method for your recovery (Philippians 2:7; John 3:16; Hebrews 2:16).3. A stable His palace; a manger His cradle; poor clouts His array. The mind of man had to be prepared. Believers in the Incarnation, therefore, burn with a quenchless desire to go and rescue poor, down-trodden, despised human nature in lands afar off. (2) Grace and truth are blended. We may see Him, may read about Him, but before we can know Him we must get help from some one who knows Jesus Christ and also knows us. (3) Not made as friends are made, who continue two several persons still, and while the flesh suffered the Word stood by and looked on as Nestorius. No one indeed could see His glory who was not healed by His humiliation; for there had flown into man's eyes, as it were, dust from the earth; the eye itself had become diseased, and earth was sent to heal it again; the flesh had blinded man, the flesh restores him; the soul, by consenting to carnal affection, had become carnal; hence the eye of the mind had been blinded: then the Physician made for us ointment; He came in such wise, as that by the flesh He destroyed the corruption of the flesh. 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