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united to and assumed into conjunction with him, so neither ought we to worship our shechinah, viz. the humanity of our Saviour, separately from his divinity, but in union and conjunction with it; and in short, as it was utterly unlawful for the Jews to worship God in any other shechinah, or sensible appearance, either unshapen or shaped, than in that glorious one which he himself vouchsafed to them, that being sufficient to affect their sense, and thereby to raise up their minds and affections to him ; so is it utterly unlawful for us Christians to worship God in any other shechinah, image, similitude, or visible appearance, than that of the glorified humanity of our Saviour, that being sufficient to assist our imaginations, to elevate our hearts and devotions to him. For though we cannot behold his glorified humanity with our bodily eyes, now he is removed into heaven, yet so neither did the Jews the glory of the Lord (at least but very rarely) after the ark, whereupon it sat, was removed into the holy of holies, which was a figure of heaven: yet as they, being assured it was there, could easily view it in their imaginations, and thereby assist their devotion; so we being assured from scripture that Christ's humanity is in heaven, can look up thither in our imagination, and, by beholding its glory there, lift up our heavy minds and affections to the eternal divinity that inhabits it. So that if we Christians make any other shechinah or image to worship God in, besides his own humanity, which he himself made, and wherein he now dwells above in the heavens, we are of all false worshippers the most inexcusable; because by assuming our humanity God hath vouchsafed to us such an image and shechinah of himself, as is of all others the most proper and effectual to excite and determine our devotions.
III. God hath chosen to govern us by his own eternal Son in our nature, that he might thereby the more powerfully encourage us to obedience: for now we have all the assurance in the world, that the great design of his government is to do us good, and to advance our happiness; and that under his blessed empire we shall be sure to enjoy all the graces and favours that can be wisely indulged on his part, or modestly expected on ours. Had he governed us immediately by himself, we could not have been so secure of our interest in him, as we have reason to be of our interest in his Son hypostatically united to our nature; because the divine nature, considered purely as such, is infinitely distant from ours, and has no other relation to it, than as it is the common cause of all things; and being so distant in nature from us, it would have been hard for us to imagine how he could be touched with the same tender and compassionate regard for us, as he would be, if he were nearer allied to us; especially when we reflected upon our own demerit, and considered that by our sins we had set ourselves at a wider distance from him, than we were by our natures. This, together with that anxiety which naturally arises in guilty minds, could not but have rendered us very suspicious of God's intentions towards
governed us immediately by himself: but now that he governs us by his own Son, clothed in our own nature, at his hands we may with full confidence expect a most gracious and merciful treatment. For now we are assured we have a close and most intimate inte
rest in him, by reason of his kindred and alliance to us in the same common nature, which makes him every man's another self, under different accidents and circumstances; and his nature being perfectly happy, and perfectly pure from all irregular passions and appetites, cannot but be affected with a most tender regard to all the individuals of its own kind : because being completely happy himself, he can have nothing farther to desire for himself, but that his kindred by nature, who are all his own substance dilated and multiplied, may be happy too; and being entirely good, he can have nothing of that sordid selfishness in him which doth too often contract and narrow our benevolence, and cause us like serpents to enfold ourselves within ourselves, and to turn out our stings to all the world besides. Upon both these accounts therefore, as he is a perfectly happy and perfectly good man, he cannot but bear a hearty and universal good-will to mankind; and that he doth so, he hath given us too many dear experiments to make the least doubt of it: for while he was among us, he all along preferred our interest before his own; he made himself poor to enrich us, exposed himself to contempt to raise us to glory, took upon him our guilt to release us from punishment, and willingly underwent a most miserable death, that we might live happily for ever. In all which he gave us the most glorious demonstrations, how infinitely dear the human nature, of which he participated, was to him in all those numberless individuals into which it hath been multiplied. The consideration of which is exceeding pregnant with encouragements to obedience: for seeing God governs us by one who is as well our brother by nature as our king by office, seeing he carries our kind in his own person, and is flesh of our flesh, and bone of our bone, we may certainly depend upon it, that he will be as kind and as gracious to us as his government, and our happiness, which is involved in it, will permit him; that so long as we are sincere to him, he will compassionate our weakness; and that when we have gone astray from him, he will graciously receive us upon our humble submissions; that he will not load us beyond our strength, nor punish us beyond our demerit, but that he will readily assist us in all our needs, and tenderly pity us in all our pitiable cases, and kindly accept of our honest endeavours, and reward them beyond all our hopes and expectations; in short, that nothing shall be able to separate us from his favour, but only our own obstinacy and wilful rebellion; and that though in this case he will be angry with us, yet he will wait to be gracious again, in expectation of our repentance, and not hastily abandon us to everlasting ruin, till we have sinned ourselves past all hope of recovery. For as to all these things the human nature in him is our constant advocate, which being our nature as well as his, makes our case its own, and is as much concerned for us, as it could reasonably be for itself, if it were in our circumstances; than which what higher encouragement to loyalty and obedience can there be given to ingenuous minds, to consider that he who reigns above in the heavens, and hath the disposal of my fate, is my kinsman by nature, who, by assuming my substance, hath assumed my interest; so that whatsoever he doth for me, he doth it for himself, that is, for his own human nature that is in me; and that therefore it is impossible but he must continue kind to me whilst I continue dutiful to him, seeing that without great provocation he can never be unkind sure to his own nature. For this reason therefore God governs us by his Son in our own nature, that so, by this his near kindred to us, he might the better assure our diffident mind of a most gracious and merciful treatment at his hands, and thereby excite us to a free and cheerful obedience to him.
IV. God governs us by his own eternal Son in our nature, that so he might the more powerfully excite our gratitude and ingenuity, and thereby oblige us to render him a more free and generous obedience,
a which is the obedience he delights in, and that alone which answers the end of his government. For that which he aims at in governing us, is to subdue the rebellion of our nature against the eternal laws of right reason, that thereby he may render us more and more rational, and consequently more and more prepared to participate of the happiness of a rational nature, which is never to be effected by a forced and constrained obedience; for so long as our obedience is forced, our wills and affections are unsubdued, and all our outward submissions are only the disguise of a treacherous and rebellious nature: we would still fly out into acts of rebellion, but we dare not; our inclinations are as stiff and obstinate as ever, and the restraint which our fear lays upon them is so far from conquering them, that it only heightens and enrages them. Till therefore our obedience becomes generous and free, and doth proceed from a willing mind, from a mind that is influenced by ingenuous motives, it will signify little or nothing to the amendment of our nature; which, notwithstanding its beautiful rind and outside, will