HE; Eternally seems to be so far away from us. He is infinite, and we are such little creatures. There appears to be a great gulf fixed between man and God, even in the matter of our creatureship. But He, who is God, has also become man.
We never heard that God took the nature of angels into union with Himself; we may therefore say that, between Godhead and angelhood, there must be an infinite distance still; but the Lord has actually taken manhood into union with Himself. There is, therefore, no longer a great gulf between Him and us. On the contrary, here is a marvelous union; Godhead has entered into marriage bonds with manhood.
O my soul, thou dost not stand now, like a poor lone orphan, ,Nailing across the deep sea after thy Father, who has gone far away, and cannot hear thee; thou dost not now sob and sigh, like an infant left naked and helpless, its Maker having gone too far away to supply its wants, or listen to its cries! No, thy Maker has become like thyself. Is that too strong a word to use? He, without whom was not anything made that was made, was made flesh; and He was made flesh in such a way that He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. O manhood, was there ever such good news as this for thee? Poor manhood, thou weak worm of the dust, far lower than the angels, lift up thy head, and be not afraid! Poor manhood, born in weakness, living in toil, covered with sweat, and dying at last to be eaten by the worms, be not thou abashed even in the presence of seraphs, for next to God is man, and not even an archangel can come in between; nay, not merely’ next to God, for Jesus, who is God, is man also; Jesus Christ, eternally God, was born, and lived, and died as we also do.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is, in some senses, more completely man than Adam ever was. Adam was not born; he was created as a man. Adam never had to struggle through the risks and weaknesses of infancy; he knew not the littlenesses of childhood, — he was full-grown at once. Father Adam could not sympathize with me as a babe and a child. But how manlike is Jesus!
He does not begin with us in mid-life, as Adam did; but He is cradled with us, He accompanies us in the pains, and feebleness, and infirmities of infancy, and He continues with us even to the grave.
There is sweet comfort in the thought that He who is ‘this day God, was once an infant; so that, :if my cares are little, and even trivial and comparatively infantile, I may go to Him with them, for He was once a child. Though the great ones of the earth may sneer at the child of poverty, trod say, “You are too mean for us to notice, and your trouble is too slight to evoke our pity;” I recollect,, with humble joy, that the King of Heaven was wrapped in swaddling-bands, and carried in a woman’s arms; and therefore I may tell Him all my griefs. How wonderful that He should have been an infant, and yet should be God, blessed for ever! The Holy Child Jesus bridges the great gulf between me and God.
There was never a subject of sweeter song than this, — the stooping down of Godhead to the feebleness of manhood. When God manifested His power in the works of His hands, the morning stars sang together, and the sons of God shouted for joy; but when God manifests Himself,, what music shall suffice for the grand psalm of adoring wonder? When wisdom and power are seen, these are but attributes of Deity; but in the Incarnation of Christ, it is the Divine Person Himself who is revealed, though He is, in. a measure, hidden in our inferior clay. Well might Mary sing, when earth and Heaven even now are wondering at the condescending grace by which “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.”
We can never think that God sits on high, indifferent to the wants and woes of men; for He has visited us in our low estate.. No longer need we lament that we can never participate in the moral glory and purity of God, for if God in glory can come down to His sinful creature, it is certainly less difficult for Him to bear that creature, blood-washed and purified, up the starry way, that the redeemed one may sit down for ever with Him on His throne. Let us dream no longer, in somber sadness, that we cannot draw near to God, so that He can really hear our prayers, and relieve our necessities, for Jesus has become bone of our bone, and flesh, of our flesh, and, bowing His head to death for us, He has opened that new and living way, by which we may come with boldness, and have access to the throne of the heavenly grace.
Angels sang’ the story of Christ’s birth; yet, perhaps, they scarcely knew why they did so. Could they understand why God had become man? They must have known that herein was a great mystery of condescension; but all the loving consequences which · the Incarnation involved, even their acute minds could hardly have guessed; but we see the whole, and comprehend the grand design most fully’. The manger of Bethlehem. was big with glory; in Christ’s Incarnation was wrapped up all the blessedness by which a soul, snatched from the depths of sin, is lifted up to the heights of glory.
Shall not our clearer knowledge lead us to heights of song’ which angelic guesses could not reach? Shall the lips of cherubs move to flaming sonnets, and shall we, who are redeemed by the blood of the incarnate God, be treacherously and ungratefully silent? “ Did archangels sing Thy coming?
Did the shepherds learn their lays?
Shame would cover me ungrateful, Should my tongue refuse to praise. ”