Monday, January 14, 2013

The condescension of God

Now our whole souls are filled with one thought - the condescension of God. Now we shall not be stumbled at passages which speak of the exceeding humiliation to which he stooped. As we assign no limit to the height of his glory, we shall assign none to the depths of his grace. Yea, so far from taking offence at the inferiority of the position which he assumed, the very lowliness of his incarnation and very degradation of the death he died, will kindle in us a brighter and more burning gratitude, when we remember that though rich it was for your sakes he became poor; and that for us, his wayward and wandering sheep, the chief Shepherd offered up himself as the Lamb of God, laying down his life of his own accord, and taking it up again to die no more.
The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." There is a majestic condescension in these few words that nothing can equal. He was made man. "By himself, by his friends and disciples, by his enemies and persecutors, Jesus Christ was spoken of, as a proper human being. His childhood was adorned with filial affection, and the discharge of filial duty. His intellectual powers, like those of other children, were progressive. In his earliest years, he embraced with eagerness the means of improvement. He had large experience of human suffering. His lot was one of severe labour, poverty, weariness, hunger, and thirst. He affected no austerity of manners, nor did he enjoin it upon his followers. While he mingled in the common sociability and the innocent festivities of life, he sustained a weight of inward anguish which no mortal could know. He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He looked forward to the accumulation of suffering which he knew would attend his last hours, with feelings on the rack of agony, with a heart exceedingly sorrowful even unto death, but with a meek and resigned resolution, a tender and trembling constancy, unspeakably superior in moral grandeur to the stern bravery of the proudest hero. In his last hours, with a bitterness of soul more excruciating than any bodily sufferings, he cried, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" while yet, he promised heaven to a penitent fellow-sufferer, and died in an act of devotional confidence, triumphing that his work was finished.

From The Trinity, Edward Henry Bickersteth, quoted by Glenn Miller in a discussion of the Trinity
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