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Image of God, but man alone, so no other creature in regard of degeneration, can beare the Image of death and hell but man alone: Therefore it is that Christ is said, to descend into the lower-most parts of the earth for our redemption, which is wrought in us, or in our nature only; Therefore he saith, thou wilt not leave my soule in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine holy one to see corruption; therefore of necessitie must he be brought forth, in respect of his death by man alone.
The second thing to be observed, is, What is 2 meant by flesh and blood 1
Answ. By flesh in Scripture, sometimes is meant, that which our Lord, or any of his were never nourished, nor in the least refreshed by; and that is the Arme of flesh, which is a curse to all them that strengthen themselves by it in the things of God; for in that sense, shall flesh and blood never inherit the Kingdome of God; nay adde further, in that sence it is true, That if you live after the flesh, it is death, which is to live according to the wisdome, skill, strength, study, and fore-cast, about the things of God, that a creature (meerly as he is a creature) is able to produce and bring forth, which is to live according to the wealth, power, and honour of the creature, whose goodlinesse is as the flower of grasse that withereth, consumeth, and is brought to nought; for the best thing that is in it (which is his wisdom) is enmitie with God, for it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can be. But secondly, we are to understand by flesh, that weaknesse, frailty, and imbecillity of man, when he is deprived, and laid waste in himselfe, of all created glory, which is only then, when the spirit of the Lord blowes, or breathes upon him; and so becoms nothing in himselfe but weaknesse and infirmity: And in this sense the Prophet saith; Now the ^Egyptians are men, and not God, their Horses flesh, and not spirit: So saith the Psalmist in the same sence, my flesh also resteth in hope, that is my weaknesse, and tired out condition, hath rest, and strength in an other, though not in my selfe; for hope that is seen is no hope, so that my nature affords no such thing, but only that nature to which I am united: And in an other place, Thou art a God that heareth prayers, and unto thee shall all flesh come, that is, thou art strength, and able to supply abundantly in all things, for thou art God, and we bring nothing but weaknesse and infirmitie unto thee, for unto thee nothing but flesh comes; and so the Sonne of God is truly said, to be made flesh, that is
weak weak and frayle, in regard of our nature which he tooke, or (as a continued act) takes upon himselfe.
Againe, by blood is here meant the life, spirit, and power of the Sonne of God, as he descends from the Father, even as the vigour, life and spirit of the creature runs in the blood, in the heat thereof: such is the life, spirit, power, vertue, and vigor of the sonne of man, as he is of the life, descent, and power of the Father from above, and so is God blessed for ever Amen; and in this sence is blood taken by our Apostle, where he saith, This is he that came by tvater and blood, that is, by weaknesse and strength, not by water only, but by water and blood; that is, not by weaknesse only, but by weaknesse and strength, that is, weaknesse in us, or in our nature, but power in God, or in that nature divine; so is he said in the like sense, to be crucified in the flesh, but quickned in the spirit; and so is it also said, That tvhat the Law could not doe, in that it was weake concerning the flesh, yet the Sonne of God taking upon him that similitude, and by sinne condemned sinne in the flesh, that the righteousnesse of the Law might be fulfilled in us, that is, even as he became flesh in us, so doe we become spirit, and life in him, which is the fulfilling and perfection of the Law.
The third thing observed is, what it is to eat this flesh, and to drinkc this blood 1
Answ. Is that as it is in the body of a man naturally in that respect, even so also it is in that mysticall body of Christ spiritually; for if a man should eat, or communicate in (as the meaning is) only in food for the body, and not take in moysture, or drinke, for the digestion thereof, it is the destruction of the body, because moysture, as well as heat, must be maintained, those being the two Radicall humours; else doth the Lampe goe out, and is extinct; yea, meate without moysture doth suffocate, and choak the spirits, to the surfetting of the body, and so becomes the over-throw of it, which otherwise would maintaine and uphold it. Againe, if wee should take in only drinke, without meat, upon which it operateth, and worketh, then doth the moysture presently overflow to the quenching of the heat, and so breedeth either some dropsie in the body, to the sinking and overthrow of it in that way, or else it fumeth up into the head, and breeds madnesse, and giddinesse in the brain, unto all foolish, wanton, and lascivious wickednesse: Even so it is in that mysticall body of Christ: And hence it is said (by an elegant allusion) to eating and drinking naturally) that we eat the flesh of the sonne of man, and drinke his blood; that is, if we eat or communicate with that weaknesse and frailty which is naturally in man, and which the Sonne of God assumed and tooke into unity with himselfe, without alike drinking in, or communication with, that spirit and life ivherein he visits us, and comes into our nature from on high (even out of the bosome of the Father) then doe we surfeit, & suffocate the spirit, and die in our selves, and in our sinnes, and so also, if we neglect that weaknesse that is in us (as though no such thing were) and dream of a high and spirituall estate, which doth not arise out of, and is the result, (through the wisdom of God) of that weaknesse that is in us, then doe we either sinke in our folly, and become sottish in the things of God, being drunke up only with the things of this naturall life, else are we puffed up, and become giddy in our selves, thinking we know something, when as indeed we know nothing as we ought to know, but are meerly, and vainly puft up in a carnall, aspiring, proud, vaine-glorious, and fleshly mind. So that to eat the flesh, and drinke the blood of the Son of man, is to communicate in the things that are of Jesus Christ, both as he is God, and as he is mau, and to hold the unity of strength and weaknesse; that is, how he is made weak in taking our nature, and so carries and bears our infinities away for ever (he being that scapeGoat, whose office it is so to doe :) And also, how our nature is, thereby made strong and mighty, through that strength of the Sonne of God, in whom we find no infirmity, but are furnished with his power everlastingly, so that death which is naturally in us (as we are the sonnes of men) is swallowed up of that victory and life, which is in him, as he is that victorious, and eternall Sonne of God, and without a sutable correspondent, and hermonious feeding of these two, as in one individual! subsistance, we cannot have life in us, no more then our bodies can be sustained by meat without drinke, or by drinke only without meat: and that is the fourth particu- 4
lar, else wc cannot have life in us, that is, we can have no life, spirit, or breathings of the Sonne of that living God in us: For as the body without the soulc is dead, so also the soule without the life, and spirit of the Lord lesus is dead, and as the body lives not without meat and drink, heate and moysture, so the soule lives not without communicating alike, in this strength and ivcaknesse, or in this life and death, which is in the Sonne of God, who dies concerning the flesh, but is
quickned quickned in the spirit, and the spirit of God proceeds ever i'rom these two, when ever it uttereth it selfe, in that lively Oracle or speech, from off the covering Mercy-seat, it is ever from between these two Cherubims, and never speaks evidently, what perillous times are in the last dayes, but only as it proceeds from these twain, that is, from a dying unto the flesh, and a being quickned in, and living unto the spirit, by which life, spirit, or breath it ever preachcth, from the dayes of Noah, even until I now, both in our selves, and by our selves to others; lor as it is a Maxim, that the spirit proceedeth both from the Father and the Son, so is it here, for the fiesh, or infirmity of Christ is the Father, &. the spirit or power is the •Son, as he is brought forth in that way of his death, without which he had never been a Saviour, and the Spirit or power is the Father, and the flesh is the Son, in as much as he brings forth life in this death, without which be had never been as he is man, in respect of that life, by which hee liveth the life of God, never to dye any more, so have we eating and drinking made one in that way of the jaith of the Son of God, without which we cannot live the life of that Saint or holy one of Israel.
5 The fifth particular in this point is, how it can
be said, that we eat this flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood; in which consider two things, first who are meant in that he speaks plurally, except yc eat, &c. Secondly, how we can be said to eat and drink in such a high nature, seeing that we of our selves cannot thinke a good thought, much lesse performe such an act as this.
For the first, who are meant in that he speaks in the second person plurall, Ye.
Answ. It is not properly to be understood, as beiug meant of man and man, no not as of Saint and Saint, but of one Saint as he consists of a two-fold nature, according to that faith of the Sonne of God; so is it, Yee, that is, every one that is in Christ, and so through those precious promises, or gracious Covenant, is made partaker of that nature divine; yea, who ever is one of those children that have flesh and blood, of which the Sonne of God also tooke part with them, namely, they that are partakers of those two natures by faith, that are in Jesus Christ, to every one of those this is spoken, as to such as are eaters, and drinkers in this case; for Christ as he is God, feeds upon nothing but our infirmities; that is, strengthens himselfe in point of our salvation, with nothing but our frailties and imperfections, and so of weak becoms strong, yea of an abject,
the the Lord of all, For he in no case taketh hold on Angels, that is, of any power or excellency in the creature to deliver us thereby, but only on the seed of Abraham (a Pilgrim and stranger in the Land) he taketh hold; that is, on our weaknesses, and imperfections, and out of them he brings his owne power and strength and other food the Sonne of God never tooke into unitie, nor digested, to gather strength unto himselfe by. Againe, as he is man he drinketh the blood, that is, takes in, or receives that blood, life, spirit, and power of God, whereby he is inabled to doe all things, according to the purpose of his will, and other drinke he never drunke, as he is man; for our poor nature is of that vast emptinesse, that nothing but the fulnesse and power of an infinit and al-sujjicient God, can possibly supply and perfect it, and so there is a compleat eating and drinking, which is that full satisfaction and nourishment, that can be found in none, save only in the Sonne of God himselfe, for it is a weaknesse of that nature and latitude, that nothing can supply and make up but God himselfe; and it is a power of that fulnesse and perfection that can take nothing into unitie with it selfe that may be thought to adde any thing (no not in the least) unto that strength and vigour that is in God; for then it were not an Almighty power of God that saves us.
And so it is ( We) that eat and drinke, that is, We, humane nature and divine; for tn eating, the word eats up, and consumes our infirmities, and so there is a plurality in the act, not only of natures in that one act, but of eating also in sundry kinds and wayes; for as our infirmities are multiplyed, and that aptitude that is in us to fall, such is the multiplication of that restoration which is in that good word of God; it is ( We) also in drinking, that is, our vast emptinesse, drinks and takes in that fulnesse, power, and spirit that is in the word of God, in which we are expressed and made manifest to be the sonnes and daughters of God, and in that mutuall eating and drinking our life, strength, and comfort doth consist.
The fifth particular, how it is said (that we doe eat) that are not able to doe any thing; alike answer is to be given to this as to the former, when he saith, Fee, he means not only divers men, but he meaneth every one as considered, in him, who is not only of man, but also of God; so that if we speak of man separated from the Word of God (which hath sufficient power in it selfe) we misse of the meaning, and of the mind of God, and so of that communion or eating that is in the faith of Jesus