This is a bonus edition of Wednesdays with Watson — a weekly reading taken from my favorite Puritan writer, Thomas Watson. This week’s selection is taken from A Body of Divinity, Part IV: “The Covenant of Grace and Its Mediator;” it follows this morning’s post, “Why was Jesus Christ made flesh?”
Use one: Of instruction. (1.) See here, as in a glass, the infinite love of God the Father; that when we had lost ourselves by sin, God, in the riches of his grace, sent forth his Son, made of a woman, to redeem us. And behold the infinite love of Christ, in that he was willing thus to condescend to take our flesh. Surely the angels would have disdained to have taken our flesh; it would have been a disparagement to them. What king would be willing to wear sackcloth over his cloth of gold? but Christ did not disdain to take our flesh. Oh the love of Christ! Had not Christ been made flesh, we had been made a curse; had he not been incarnate, we had been incarcerate, and had been for ever in prison. Well might an angel be the herald to proclaim this joyful news of Christ’s incarnation: ‘Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy; for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.’ The love of Christ, in being incarcerated, will the more appear if we consider
(i) Whence Christ came. He came from heaven, and from the richest place in heaven, his Father’s bosom, that hive of sweetness.
(ii) To whom Christ came. Was it to his friends? No; he came to sinful man. Man that had defaced his image, and abused his love; man who was turned rebel; yet he came to man, resolving to conquer obstinacy with kindness. If he would come to any, why not to the angels that fell? ‘He took not on him the nature of angels.’ Heb 2:16. The angels are of a more noble origin, more intelligent creatures, more able for service; ay, but behold the love of Christ, he came not to the fallen angels, but to mankind. Among the several wonders of the loadstone it is not the least, that it will not draw gold or pearl, but despising these, it draws the iron to it, one of the most inferior metals: thus Christ leaves angels, those noble spirits, the gold and the pearl, and comes to poor sinful man, and draws him into his embraces.
(iii) In what manner he came. He came not in the majesty of a king, attended with his life-guard, but he came poor; not like the heir of heaven, but like one of an inferior descent. The place he was born in was poor; not the royal city Jerusalem, but Bethlehem, a poor obscure place. He was born in an inn, and a manger was his cradle, the cobwebs his curtains, the beasts his companions; he descended of poor parents. One would have thought, if Christ would have come into the world, he would have made choice of some queen or personage of honour to have descended from; but he comes of mean obscure parents, for that they were poor appears by their offering. ‘A pair of turtledoves,’ Luke 2:24, which was the usual offering of the poor. Lev 12:2. Christ was so poor, that when he wanted money he was fain to work a miracle for it. Matt 17:77. When he died he made no will. He came into the world poor.
(iv) Why he came. That he might take our flesh, and redeem us; that he might instate us into a kingdom. He was poor, that he might make us rich. 2 Cor 8:8. He was born of a virgin, that we might be born of God. He took our flesh, that he might give us his Spirit. He lay in the manger that we might lie in paradise. He came down from heaven, that he might bring us to heaven. And what was all this but love? If our hearts be not rocks, this love of Christ should affect us. Behold love that passeth knowledge! Eph 3:19.