Flavel, Fountain of Life, File 18.
( ...continued from File 17)
Sermon 18. Of the Necessity of Christ's Humiliation, in order to the 
Execution of all these his blessed Offices for us; and particularly 
of his Humiliation by Incarnation. 
Phil. 2:8 
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became 
obedient to death, even the death of the cross. 
You have heard how Christ was invested with the offices of prophet, 
priest, and king, for the carrying on the blesses design of our 
redemption; the execution of these offices necessarily required that 
he should be both deeply abased, and highly exalted. He cannot as 
our Priest, offer up himself a sacrifice to God for us, except he be 
humbled, and humbled to death. He cannot, as a King, powerfully 
apply the virtue of that his sacrifice, except he be exalted, yea, 
highly exalted. Had he not stooped to the low estate of a man, he 
had not, as a Priest, had a sacrifice of his own to offer; as a 
Prophet, he had not been fit to teach us the will of God, so as that 
we should be able to bear it; as a King, he had not been a suitable 
head to the church: and, had he not been highly exalted, that 
sacrifice had not been carried within the vail before the Lord. 
Those discoveries of God could not have been universal, effectual 
and abiding. The government of Christ could not have secured, 
protected, and defended the subjects of his kingdom. 
    The infinite wisdom prospecting all this, ordered that Christ 
should first be deeply humbled, then highly exalted: both which 
states of Christ are presented to us by the apostle in this context. 
    He that intends to build high, lays the foundation deep and 
low. Christ must have a distinct glory in heaven, transcending that 
of angels and men, (for the saints will know him from all others by 
his glory, as the sun is known from the lesser stars.) And, as he 
must be exalted infinitely above them, so he must first, in order 
thereunto, be humbled and abased as much below them: "His form was 
marred more than any man's; and his visage more than the sons of 
men." The ground colours are a deep sable, which afterwards are laid 
on with all the splendour and glory of heaven. 
    Method requires that we first speak to this state of 
    And, to that purpose, I have read this scripture to you, which 
presents you the Son under an (almost) total eclipse. He that was 
beautiful and glorious, Isa. 4: 2. yea, glorious as the only 
begotten of the Father, John 1: 14. yea, the glory, James 2: 1. yea, 
the splendour and "brightness of the Fathers glory," Heb. 1: 3. was 
so veiled, clouded, and debased, that he looked not like himself; a 
God, no, nor scarce as a man; for, with reference to this humbled 
state, it is said, Psal. 22: 6. "I am a worm, and no man:" q. d. 
rather write me worm, than man: I am become an abject among men, as 
that word, Isa 53: 8. signifies. This humiliation of Christ we have 
here expressed in the nature, degrees, and duration or continuance 
of it. 
    1. The nature of it, "etapeinosen heauton", he humbled himself. 
The word imports both a real and voluntary abasement. Real; he did 
not personate a humbled man, nor act the part of one, in a debased 
state, but was really, and indeed humbled; and that not only before 
men, but God. As man, he was humbled really, as God in respect of 
his manifestative glory: and, as it was real, so also voluntary: It 
is not said he was humbled, but he humbled himself: he was willing 
to stoop to this low and abject state for us. And, indeed, the 
voluntariness of his humiliation made it most acceptable to God, and 
singularly commends the love of Christ to us, that he would chose to 
stoop to all this ignominy, suffering, and abasement for us. 
    2. The degrees of his humiliation; it was not only so low as to 
become a man, a man under law; but he humbled himself to become 
"obedient to death, even the death of the cross." Here you see the 
depth of Christ's humiliations both specified, it was unto death, 
and aggravated, even the death of the cross: not only to become a 
man but a dead corpse, and that too hanging on a tree, dying the 
death of a malefactor. 
    3. The duration, or continuance of this his humiliation: it 
continued from the first moment of his incarnation, to the very 
moment of his vivification and quickening in the grave. So the terms 
of it are fixed here by the apostle; from the time he was found in 
fashion as a man, that is, from his incarnation, unto his death on 
the cross, which also comprehends the time of his abode in the 
grave; so long his humiliation lasted. Hence the observation is, 
    Doct. That the estate of Christ, from his conception to his 
    resurrection, was a state of deep abasement and humiliation. 
    We are now entering upon Christ's humbled state, which I shall 
cast under three general heads, viz. his humiliation, in his 
incarnation, in his life, and in his death. My present work is to 
open Christ's humiliation, in his incarnation, imported in these 
words, He was found in fashion as a man. By which you are not to 
conceive that he only assumed a body, as an assisting form, to 
appear transiently to us in it, and so lay it down again. It is not 
such an apparition of Christ in the shape of a man, that is here 
intended; but his true and real assumption of our nature, which vas 
a special part of his humiliation; as will appear by the following 
    1. The incarnation of Christ was a most wonderful humiliation 
of him, inasmuch as thereby he is brought into the rank and order of 
creatures, who is over all, "God blessed for ever," Rom. 9: 5. This 
is the astonishing mystery, 1 Tim. 3: 16. that God should be 
manifest in the flesh; that the eternal God should truly and 
properly be called the Man Christ Jesus, 1 Tim. 2: 5. It was a 
wonder to Solomon, that God would dwell in that stately and 
magnificent temple at Jerusalem, 2 Chron. 6: 18. "But will God in 
very deed dwell with men on earth! Behold the heaven, and heaven of 
heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have 
built?" But it is a far greater wonder that God should dwell in a 
body of flesh, and pitch his tabernacle with us, John 1: 14. It 
would have seemed a rude blasphemy, had not the scriptures plainly 
revealed it, to have thought, or spoken of the eternal God, as born 
in time; the world's Creator a creature; the Ancient of Days, as an 
infant of days. 
    The Heathen Chaldeans told the king of Babel, that the 
"dwelling of the gods is not with flesh," Dan. 2: 11. But now God 
not only dwells with fleshy but dwells in flesh; yea, was made 
flesh, and dwelt among us. 
    For the sun to fall from its sphere, and be degraded into a 
wandering atom; for an angel to be turned out of heaven, and be 
converted into a silly fly or worm, had been no such great 
abasement; for they were but creatures before, and so they would 
abide still, though in an inferior order or species of creatures. 
The distance betwixt the highest and lowest species of creatures, is 
but a finite distance. The angel and the worm dwell not so far 
asunder. But for the infinite glorious Creator of all things, to 
become a creature, is a mystery exceeding all human understanding. 
The distance betwixt God and the highest order at creatures, is an 
infinite distance. He is said to humble himself; to behold the 
things that are done in heaven. What a humiliation then is it, to 
behold the things in the lower world! but to be born into it, and 
become a man! Great indeed is the mystery of godliness. "Behold, 
(saith the prophet, Isa. 40: 15, 18) the nations are as the drop of 
a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance; he 
taketh up she isles as a very little thing. All nations before him 
are as nothing, and they are accounted to him less than nothing, and 
vanity." If, indeed, this great and incomprehensible Majesty will 
himself stoop to the state and condition of a creature, we may 
easily believe, that being once a creature, he would expose him to 
hunger, thirst, shame, spitting, death, or any thing but sin. For 
that once being a man, he should endure any of these things, is not 
so wonderful, as that he should become a man. This was the low step, 
a deep abasement indeed! 
    2. It was a marvellous humiliation to the Son of God, not only 
to become a creature, but an inferior creature, a man, and not an 
angel. Had he taken the angelical nature, though it had been a 
wonderful abasement to him, yet he had staid (if I may so speak) 
nearer his own home, and been somewhat liker to a God, than now he 
appeared, when he dwelt with us: for angels are the highest and most 
excellent of all created beings: For their nature, they are pure 
spirits; for their wisdom, intelligences; for their dignity, they 
are called principalities and powers; for their habitation, they are 
stiled the heavenly host, and for their employment, it is to behold 
the face of God in heaven. The highest pitch, both of our holiness 
and happiness in the coming world, is expressed by this, we shall be 
"isangeloi", "equal to the angels," Luke 20: 36. As man is nothing 
to God, so he is much inferior to the angels; so much below them, 
that he is not able to bear the sight of an angel, though in a human 
shape, rendering himself as familiarly as may be to him, Judges 42: 
22. When the Psalmist had contemplated the heavens, and viewed the 
celestial bodies, the glorious luminaries, the moon and stars which 
God had made, he cries out, Psal. 8: 5. "What is man, that thou art 
mindful of him, or the son of man that thou visitest him!" Take man 
at his best when he came a perfect and pure piece out of his Maker's 
hand, in the state of innocence: yet he was inferior to angels. They 
always bare the image of God, in a more eminent degree than man, as 
being wholly spiritual substances and so more lively representing 
God, than man could do, whose noble soul is immersed in matter, and 
closed up in flesh and blood: yet Christ chooses this inferior order 
and species of creatures, and passeth by the angelical nature; Heb. 
2: 16. "He took not on him the nature of angels but the seed of 
    3. Moreover, Jesus Christ did not only neglect the angelical, 
and assume the human nature; but he also assumed the human nature, 
after sin had blotted the original glory of it, and withered up the 
beauty and excellency thereof. For he came not in our nature before 
the fall, whilst as yet its glory was fresh in it; but he came, as 
the apostle speaks, Rom. 8: 3 "In the likeness of sinful flesh," 
i.e. in flesh that had the marks, and miserable effects, and 
consequent of sin upon it. I say not that Christ assumed sinful 
flesh, or flesh really defiled by sin, That which was born of the 
Virgin was a holy thing. For by the power of the Highest (whether by 
the energetical command and ordination of the Holy Ghosts as some; 
or by his benediction and blessing, I here dispute not) that whereof 
the body of Christ was to be formed, was so sanctified, that no 
taint or spot of original pollution remained in it. But yet though 
it had not intrinsical native uncleanness in it, it had the effects 
of sin upon it; yea, it was attended with the whole troop of human 
infirmities, that sin at first let into our common nature, such as 
hunger, thirst, weariness, pain, mortality, and all these natural 
weaknesses and evils that clog our miserable natures, and make them 
groan from day to day under them. 
    By reason whereof, though he was not a sinner, yet he looked 
like one: and they that saw and conversed with him, took him for a 
sinner; seeing all these effects of sin upon him. In these things he 
came as near to sin as his holiness could admit. O what a stoop was 
this! to be made in the likeness of flesh, though the innocent flesh 
of Adam, had been much; but to be made in the likeness of sinful 
flesh, the flesh of sinners, rebels; flesh, though not defiled, yet 
miserably defaced by sin! O what is this! and who can declare it! 
And indeed, if he will be a Mediator of reconciliation, it was 
necessary it should be so. It behaved him to assume the same nature 
that sinned, to make satisfaction in it. Yea, these sinless 
infirmities were necessary to be assumed with the nature, forasmuch 
as his bearing them was a part of his humiliation, and went to make 
up satisfaction for us. Moreover, by them our High Priest was 
qualified from his own experience, and filled with tender compassion 
to us. 
    But O the admirable condescensions of a Saviour, to take such a 
nature! to put on such a garment when so very mean and ragged! Did 
this become the Son of God to wear? O grace unsearchable! 
    4. And yet more, by this his incarnation he was greatly 
humbled, inasmuch as this so veiled, clouded, and disguised him, 
that during the time he lived here, he looked not like himself, as 
God; but as a poor, sorry, contemptible sinner, in the eyes of the 
world; they scorned him. This fellow said, Matth. 26: 61. Hereby "he 
made himself of no reputation," Phil. 2: 6. It blotted his honour 
and reputation. By reason hereof he lost all esteem and honour from 
those that saw him, Matth. 13: 55. "Is not this the carpenter's 
son?" To see a poor man travelling up and down the country, in 
hunger, thirst, weariness, attended with a company of poor men; one 
of his company bearing the bag, and that which was put therein, John 
13: 29. Who that had seen him, would ever have thought this had been 
the Creator of the world, the Prince of the kings of the earth? "He 
was despised, and we esteemed him not." Now which of you is there 
that would not rather chose to endure much misery as a man, than to 
be degraded into a contemptible worm, that every body treads upon, 
and no man regards it? Christ looked so unlike a God in this habit, 
that he was scarce allowed the name of a man; a worm rather than a 
    And think with yourselves now, was not this astonishing self- 
denial? That he, who from eternity had his Father's smiles and 
honours, he that from the creation was adored, and worshipped by 
angels, as their God, must now become a footstool for every 
miscreant to tread on; and not to have the respects due to a man; 
sure this was a deep abasement. It was a black cloud that for so 
many years darkened, and shut up his manifestative glory, that it 
could not shine out to the world; only some weak rays of the Godhead 
shone to some few eyes, through the chinks of his humanity, as the 
clouded sun sometimes opens a little, and casts some faint beams, 
and is muffled up again. "We saw his glory, as of the only begotten 
Son:" but the world knew him not, John 1: 14. If a prince walk up 
and down in a disguise, he must expect no more honour than a mean 
subject. This was the case of our Lord Jesus Christ, this disguise 
made him contemptible, and an object of scorn. 
    5. Again, Christ was greatly humbled by his incarnation, 
inasmuch as thereby he was put at a distance from his Father, and 
that ineffable joy and pleasure he eternally had with him. Think 
not, reader, but the Lord Jesus lived at a high and inimitable rate 
of communion with God while he walked here in the flesh: but yet to 
live by faith, as Christ here did, is one thing; and to be in the 
bosom of God, as he was before, is another. To have the ineffable 
delights of God perpetuated and continued to him, without one 
moment's interruption from eternity, is one thing; and to have his 
soul sometimes filled with the joy of the Lord, and then all 
overcast with clouds of wrath again; to cry, and God not hear, as he 
complains, Psal. 32: 2. nay, to be reduced to such a low ebb of 
spiritual comforts, as to be forced to cry out so bitterly, as he 
did, Psal. 22: 1. "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" This 
was a thing Christ was very unacquainted with, till he was found in 
habit as a man. 
    6. And lastly, It was a great stoop and condescension of Christ 
if he would become a man, to take his nature from such obscure 
parents, and chose such a low and contemptible state in this world 
as he did. He will be born, but not of the blood of nobles, but of a 
poor woman in Israel, espoused to a carpenter: yea, and that too, 
under all the disadvantages imaginable; not in his mother's house, 
but an inn; yea, in the stable too. He suited all to that abased 
state he was designed for; and came among us under all the humbling 
circumstances imaginable: "You know the grace of our Lord Jesus 
Christ (saith the apostle) how that though he was rich, yet for our 
sakes he became poor," 2 Cor. 8: 9. And thus I have shown you some 
few particulars of Christ's humiliation in his incarnation. Next we 
shall infer some things from it that are practical. 
    Inference 1. Hence we gather the fullness and completeness of 
Christ's satisfaction, as the sweet first-fruits of his incarnation. 
Did man offend and violate the law of God? Behold, God himself is 
become man to repair that breach, and satisfy for the wrong done. 
The highest honour that ever the law of God received, was to have 
such a person as the man Christ Jesus is, to stand before its bar, 
and make reparation to it. This is more than if it had poured out 
all our blood, and built up its honour upon the ruins of the whole 
    It is not so much to see all the stars in heaven overcast, as 
to see one sun eclipsed. The greater Christ was, the greater was his 
humiliation; and the greater his humiliation was, the more full and 
complete was his satisfaction; and the mote completeness there is in 
Christ's satisfaction, the more perfect and steady is the believers 
consolation. If he had not stooped so low, our joy and comfort could 
not be exalted so high. The depth of the foundation is the strength 
of the superstructure. 
    Inf. 2. Did Christ for our sakes stoop from the majesty, glory 
and dignity he was possessed of in heaven, to the mean and 
contemptible state of a man? What a pattern of self-denial is here 
presented to Christians? What objection against, or excuses to shift 
off this duty, can remain, after such an example as is here 
propounded? Brethren, let me tell you, the pagan world was never 
acquainted with such an argument as this, to press them to 
self-denial. Did Christ stoop, and cannot you stoop? did Christ 
stoop so much, and cannot you stoop at the least? Was he content to 
become any thing, a worm, a reproach, a curse; and cannot you digest 
any abasement? Do the least slights and neglects rankle your hearts, 
and poison them with discontent, malice and revenge; O how unlike 
Christ are you! Hear; and blush in hearing, what your Lord saith in 
John 13: 14. "If I then your Lord and Master, wash your feet; ye 
ought also to wash one another's feet." "The example obliges not, 
(as a learned man well observes) to the same individual act, but it 
obliges us to follow the reason of the example;" i.e. after Christ's 
example, we must be ready to perform the lowest and meanest offices 
of love and service to one another. And indeed to this it obliges 
most forcibly; for it is as if a master, seeing a proud, sturdy 
servant, that grudges at the work he is employed about, as if it 
were too mean and base, should come and take it out of his hand; and 
when he has done it, should say, does your Lord and Master think it 
not beneath him to do it; and is it beneath you? I remember it is an 
excellent saying that Bernard has upon the nativity of Christ: saith 
he, "What more detestable, what more unworthy, or what deserves 
severer punishment, than for a poor man to magnify himself, after he 
has seen the great and high God, so humbled, as to become a little 
child? It is intolerable impudence for a worm to swell with pride, 
after it has seen majesty emptying itself; to see one so infinitely 
above us, to stoop so far beneath us." O how convincing and shaming 
should it be! Ah how opposite should pride and stoutness be to the 
Spirit of a Christian! I am sure nothing is more so to the spirit of 
Christ. Your Saviour was lowly, meek, self-denying, and of a most 
condescending spirit; he looked not at his own things, but yours, 
Phil. 2: 4. And does it become you to be proud, selfish, and stout? 
I remember Jerome, in his epistle to Pamachius, a godly young 
nobleman, advised him to be eyes to the blind, feet to the lame; 
yea, saith he, if need be, I would not have you refuse to cut wood, 
and draw water for the saints: And what, saith he, is this to 
buffeting and spitting upon, to crowning with thorns, scourging and 
dying! Christ did undergo all this, and that for the ungodly. 
    Inf. 3. Did Christ stoop so low as to become a man to save us? 
Then those that perish under the gospel must needs perish without 
apology. What would you have Christ do more to save you? Lo, he has 
laid aside the robes of majesty and glory, put on your own garments 
of flesh, come down from his throne, and brought salvation home to 
your own doors. Surely, the lower Christ stooped to save us, the 
lower we shall sink under wrath that neglect so great salvation. The 
Lord Jesus is brought low, but the unbeliever will lay him yet 
lower, even under his feet: he will tread the Son of God under foot, 
Heb. 10: 28. For such (as the apostle there speaks) is reserved 
something worse than dying without mercy. What pleas and excuses 
others will make at the judgement seat, I know not; but once, it is 
evident, you will be speechless. And, as one well observes, the 
vilest sinners among the Gentiles, nay, the devils themselves, will 
have more to say for themselves than you. 
    I must be plain with you; I beseech you consider, how Jews, 
Pagans, and Devils will rise up in judgement against you. The Jew 
may say, I had a legal yoke upon me, which neither I nor my fathers 
were able to bear; Christ invited me only into the garden of nuts, 
where I might sooner break my teeth with the hard shells of 
ceremonies, than get the kernel of gospel promises. - In the best of 
our sacrifices, the smoke filled our temple; smoke only to provoke 
us to weep for a clearer manifestation. We had but the old edition 
of the covenant of grace, in a character very darkly intelligible: 
You have the last edition, with a commentary of our rejection, and 
the world's reception, and the Spirit's effusion. You had all that 
heart could wish. - I perish eternally, may the poor Pagan say, 
without all possibility of reconciliation, and have only sinned 
against the covenant of works; having never heard of a gospel 
covenant, nor of reconciliation by a Mediator. O had I but heard one 
sermon! had Christ but once broke in upon my soul, to convince me of 
my undone condition, and to have shown a righteousness to me! But 
woe is me! I never had so much as one offer of Christ. - But so have 
I, must you say that refuse the gospel: I have, or might have beard 
thousands of sermons; I could scarce escape hearing one or other 
shewing me the danger of my sin, and my necessity of Christ. But 
notwithstanding all I heard, I wilfully resolved I would have 
nothing to do with him. I could not endure to hear strictness 
pressed upon me: It was all the hell I had upon earth, that I could 
not sin in quiet. - Nay, may the devil himself say, it is true, I 
was ever since my fall maliciously set against God. But alas! as 
soon as I had sinned, God threw me out of heaven, and told me he 
would never have mercy upon me: and though I lived in the time of 
all manner of gracious dispensations, I saw sacrifices offered, and 
Christ in the flesh, and the gospel preached; yet how could all this 
chose but enrage me the more, to have God, as it were, say, Look 
here, Satan, I have provided a remedy for sin, but none for thine! 
This set me upon revenge against God, as far as I could reach him. 
But alas! alas! had God entered into any covenant with me at all; 
had God put me on any terms, though never so hard for the obtaining 
of mercy; had Christ been but once offered to me, What do you think 
would I not have done? &c. 
    O poor sinners! Your damnation is just, if you refuse grace 
brought home by Jesus Christ himself to your very doors. The Lord 
grant this may not be thy case who readest these lines. 
    Inf. 4. Moreover; hence it follows, that none does, or can love 
like Christ: His love to man is matchless. The freeness, strength, 
antiquity, and immutability of it, puts a lustre on it beyond all 
examples. Surely it was a strong love indeed, that made him lay 
aside hit glory, to be found in fashion as a man, to become any 
thing, though never so much below himself, for our salvation. We 
read of Jonathan's love to David, which passed the love of women; of 
Jacob's love to Rachel, who for her sake endured the heat of summer, 
and cold of winter; of David's love to Absalom; of the primitive 
Christians love to one another, who could die one for another but 
neither had they that to deny which Christ had, nor had he those 
inducements from the object of his love that they had. His love, 
like himself, is wonderful. 
    Inf. 5. Did the Lord Jesus so deeply abase and humble himself 
for us? What an engagement has he thereby put on us, to exalt and 
honour him, who for our sakes was so abused? It was a good saying of 
Bernard, "By how much the viler he was made for me, by so much the 
dearer he shall be to me." And O that all, to whom Christ is dear, 
would study to exalt and honour him, these four ways. 
    1. By frequent and delightful speaking of Him, and for Him. 
When Paul had once mentions(I his name, he knows not how to part 
with it, but repeats it no less than ten times in the compass of ten 
verses, in 1 Cor. 1. It was Lambert's motto, "None but Christ, none 
but Christ." It is said of Johannes Milius, that after his 
conversion, he was seldom or never observed to mention the name of 
Jesus, but his eyes would drop; so dear was Christ to him. or. Fox 
never denied any beggar that asked an alms in Christ's name, or for 
Jesus' sake. Julius Palmer, when all concluded he was dead, being 
turned as black as a coal on the fire, at last moved his scorched 
lips, and was heard to say, Sweet Jesus, and fell asleep. Plutarch 
tells us, that when Titus Flaminius had freed the poor Grecians from 
the bondage with which they had been long ground by their 
oppressors, and the herald was to proclaim in their audience the 
articles of peace he had concluded for then, they so pressed upon 
him, (not being half of them able to hear), that he was in great 
danger to have lost his life in the press; at last, reading them a 
second time, when they came to understand distinctly how their case 
stood, they shouted for joy, "Soter, Soter", "a Saviour, a Saviour," 
that they made the cry heavens ring gain with their acclamations, 
and the very birds fell down astonished. And all that night the poor 
Grecians, with instruments of music, and songs of praise, danced and 
sung about his tent, extolling him as a god that had delivered them. 
But surely you have more reason to be exalting the Author of your 
salvation, who, at a dearer rate, has freed you from a more dreadful 
bondage. O ye that have escaped the eternal wrath of God, by the 
humiliation of the Son of God, extol your great Redeemer, and for 
ever celebrate his praises! 
    2. By acting your faith on him, for whatsoever lies in the 
promises yet unaccomplished. In this you see the great and most 
difficult promise fulfilled, Gen. 3: 15. "The seed of the woman 
shall break the serpent's head;" which contained this mercy of 
Christ's incarnation for us in it: I say, you see this fulfilled; 
and seeing that which was most improbable and difficult is come to 
pass, even Christ come in the flesh, methinks our unbelief should be 
removed for ever, and all other promises the more easily believed. 
It seemed much more improbable and impossible to reason, that God 
should become a man, and stoop to the condition of a creature, than 
being a man, to perform all that good which his incarnation and 
death procured. Unbelief usually argues from one of these two 
grounds, Can God do this? or, Will God do that? It is questioning 
either his power or his will; but after this, let it cease for ever 
to cavil against either. His power to save should never be 
questioned by any that know what sufferings and infinite burdens he 
supported in our nature: and surely his willingness to save should 
never be put to a question, by any that consider how low he was 
content to stoop for our sakes. 
    3. By drawing nigh to God with delight, "through the veil of 
Christ's flesh," Heb. 10: 19. God has made this flesh of Christ a 
veil betwixt the brightness of his glory and us: it serves to rebate 
the unsupportable glory, and also to give admission to it, as the 
veil did in the temple. Through this body of flesh, which Christ 
assumed, are all decursus et recurs us gratiarum, "outlets of grace 
from God to us; and through it, also, must be all our returns to God 
again." It is made the great medium of our communion with God. 
    4. By applying yourselves to him, under all temptations and 
troubles, of what kind soever, as to one that is tenderly sensible 
of your case, and most willing and ready to relieve you. O remember, 
this was one of the inducements that persuaded and invited him to 
take your nature, that he might be furnished abundantly with tender 
compassion for you, from the sense he should have of your 
infirmities in his own body. Heb. 2: 17. "Wherefore in all things it 
behaved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a 
merciful and faithful High-priest, in things pertaining to God, to 
make reconciliation for the sins of the people." You know by this 
argument the Lord pressed the Israelites to be kind to strangers; 
for, (saith he) "you know the heart of a stranger," Exod. 22: 9. 
Christ, by being in our nature, knows experimentally what our wants, 
fears, temptations, and distresses are, and so is able to have 
compassion. O let your hearts work upon this admirable condescension 
of Christ, till they be filled with it, and your lips say, 
                 Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ. 

(continued in file 19...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: flafn-18.txt