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As I have shown and confessed to you the firm foundation of. the incarnation of the Lord, that he did not become flesh of Mary, but that he became flesh in Mary; and as I have also, in part, adduced the reasons and Scriptures by which we are forced to such belief therefore I will now briefly reply to your Scriptures and arguments, hitherto advanced, by which you teach and undertake to prove that he did not simply become flesh in Mary but of Mary.
First, you ask, "If he is not the seed of woman?" We answer, Yes, Gen. 3:15.
From this you conclude that if he is the seed of woman, he is also man born of woman. We answer by asking, had not the deceiving serpent a body? You must answer, Yes. For God said, "Upon thy belly shalt thou go and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life." Again, Was not the deceived woman corporeal? Doubtlessly so. If the natural and corporeal seed of the deceived woman be bodily, then the seed of the serpent must also be a natural, bodily seed, of which God himself has spoken and testified in Genesis. Or else you must admit and confess that the one should be understood spiritually and the other literally. Not at all, beloved brethren. But the bodily serpent represents the spiritual serpent, namely Satan, Rev. 12:14, and has his spiritual seed, which is falsehood, Jn. 8:44. Thus also, the woman, who is the mother of all mankind, a like image of Adam, flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone; subject to her husband, after she had sinned‑the image of the new spiritual bride, namely, of the church of Christ, which is the image of Christ, Rom. 8:29, flesh of Christ's flesh and bone of his bone, subject to Christ, Eph. 5:3(). If the bride be spiritual then the seed must be spiritual, namely, the eternal truth, which truth is Christ himself, Jn. 14:6. Behold, most beloved, thus the serpent is spiritual and his seed is spiritual of which he begets all his children of accursed falsehood. On the contrary, the bride is spiritual and her seed is spiritual, of which she begets all her children of the saving truth. Between these is constant opposition, as may be plainly seen. Yet truth triumphs, and falsehood is vanquished, notwithstanding falsehood opposes with all its power. O, brethren, do understand the Scriptures aright, lest we, through misunderstanding or pernicious obduracy, deceive ourselves and with us many souls. If you be not satisfied with the clear explanation of these Scriptures, but still maintain that both the woman and the seed must be corporeal, then we know and confess that this same woman conceived in her womb the beforementioned seed, which is God's word, Jn. 1:1; not from her body nor of her body, but of God, by the power of the Holy Ghost, Matt. 1:18, through faith, Luke 1:34.
Secondly, You ask, If he is not called the seed of Abraham? We answer: Yes, Gal. 3:16. From this you conclude that he must, according to the flesh, be descended from the flesh and blood of Abraham. In confirmation you cite the saying of Paul, "For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham; wherefore in all things it behooved him to be named like unto his brethren," Heb. 2:16, 1'7. To this iih the first place we reply, That your conclusion is according to the flesh and not with the word of God. John says, "The word was made flesh, and dwelt among us;" and it is of the Holy Ghost, Matt. 1:25; therefore it was not Abraham's natural flesh and blood. But by grace it was promised the beloved father Abraham, that he, that is, the true blessing of all nations, should not come of the seed of his brethren, nor of the gentiles nor uncircumcised, but of his seed, that is, of his generation, as it is written, " In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed," Gen. 12:3. Thus is Christ Jesus promised, to Abraham and born of his seed, according to the promise, as Christ himself says; that "salvation is of the Jews," Jn. 4:22, and thus he is called the seed and son of Abraham, Gal. 3:16; Matt. 1:1. For he 334is, doubtlessly, according to his blessed flesh which is conceived of the Holy Ghost of Abraham's seed, come and born for the salvation of us all.
Again, the saying of Paul which you allege to sustain your cause was not taught and spoken by the Holy Ghost in such a sense as you claim; but Paul says, "Both, he that sanctifieth and they who are. sanctified are all of one (that is, you say of "of one Adam." But we say they are of one, that is, of one God), for which cause he (the Savior) is not ashamed to call them (the sanctified) brethren, saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren; in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee," Heb. 2:11, 12. For as Christ Jesus was born from above of the Father and is therefore called God's child or Son, having God as Father, thus, also, all who receive Christ " to them gave he power to become the sons of God," Jn. 1:12. Such also have God as their Father. As the regenerated are born, together with Christ Jesus, of one God, and have one Father, therefore he calls the sanctified who, with him, are born of God, his brethren, not because of the flesh but because of the new birth. If it were otherwise you would have to consent and admit that all wicked, unbelieving and perverse men and women were brethren and sisters of Christ Jesus as well as the believing, sincere and pious ones. Not so, for Christ Jesus says, "Whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother and sister, and mother, Matt. 12:60. Read and understand it rightly. Further, Paul says,‑" Behold I and the children which God hath given me," Heb. 2:13. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself partook of the same (that is, mortal, as a consequence); that through death he might destroy. him that had the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage, which was the seed and generation of Abraham, and, by the terrible threat, subject to the heavy burden and intolerable yoke of the law of Moses. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; if you understand it as meaning the good, then you should know that they did not sin; but if you take it as meaning the evil ones, then you should know that he rejected them and keeps them in the bondage of eternal darkness unto the great judgment day. Therefore Paul says, "For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on‑ him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren (to wit: weak and mortal), that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted," Heb. 2:16‑18. Now, judge for yourselves whether this is not the right meaning of this Scripture of Paul. In the third place you declare and say thus: Paul plainly teaches that Christ Jesus is born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and is proven to be the Son of God, with power; according to the spirit of sanctification. Therefore he is,, you conclude, according to the flesh, of the seed or loins of David, and according to the Spirit, alone, born of God.
To which we reply: It is true that it would follow in the common course of nature that Christ was born of the seed or loins of David; but it is not in accordance with the testimony of Scripture. The reason is this
Because the Scripture teaches that the "Word was made flesh," and that it came forth from the Holy Ghost, Jn. 1:14; Matt. 1:20; Rom. 1:2. Therefore, beloved brethren this is the true meaning of Paul in regard to this and like Scriptures; the consoling promise of the future Savior was given to Abraham; that he should be born of his seed or generation. Abraham's offspring were, Ishmael, Isaac, and the children of Keturah. The promise of the patriarch was again given to Isaac, and not to the others. Isaac begat Esau and Jacob. Not Esau, but Jacob again received the promise given to his father Abraham and Isaac. Jacob multiplied into twelve tribes; and, that the promised Savior might not be looked for from the tribe of Reuben, Dan, Gad, or any of the eleven .tribes, therefore the Holy Ghost points to Judah and not to any of the other tribes, Gen. 49:10. Judah, multiplying into many branches, the promise335 is renewed in David, 2 Kin. 7:12. Thus the merciful Father has ever testified and shown beforehand, from one patriarch to another and from one generation to another, that all men might know from which patriarchs and generations the promised Savior and Deliverer of all mankind should be born, according to the flesh, as the Jews well knew by such showing of. Scripture, saying, " Hath not the Scripture said that Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem," Jn. 7:42. "He came unto his own and his own received him not." He is come of the seed or generation of David, according to the promise; but they did not receive him. Yea, the appointed hour is come. Gabriel was sent of God to a virgin named Mary who was promised to a man. Mary believed the word of the Lord; the Holy Ghost overshadowed her, &c. The Word, in her, became flesh, Jn. 1:14. It is conceived and brought forth of the Holy Ghost, Matt. 1:20; and according to this same flesh, or with this same flesh, which was conceived of and brought forth of the Holy Ghost, he is born of Mary, the pure virgin, who was of the seed and generation of David; David was of Judah; Judah of Jacob; Jacob of Isaac; Isaac of Abraham; and thus the divine promise was fulfilled, which God through grace alone had promised and given to the abovementioned patriarchs; and thus was born, according to the flesh, as was said above, of the seed or generation of David; and by his saving Spirit is proven to be‑the living Son of God, Rom. 1:4. For if he were to prove or declare himself to be the Son of God, it must, without doubt, be according to his sanctifying Spirit, inasmuch as he could not be such according to the flesh as he had humbled himself, and was forsaken of the Father, was weak, despised, hungry, thirsty, passive, mortal, and like unto us in all things, yet without sin. Beloved brethren, take heed. The alleged Scripture of Paul is very clear, and has every where a scruple, Rom. 1:13.
In the fourth place, you say, Christ is called a fruit of the loins of David. Therefore he must be the natural and pleasing seed of David.
Answer. These words, according to the letter were spoken of Solomon and not of Christ; which Solomon was naturally born of the loins of David. Thus Nathan spoke unto David, "And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou‑shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish thy kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son (now note of whom it is spoken). If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children. of men," 2 Sam. 7:12‑14. Now, Christ never committed iniquity; for he knew not sin; neither was guile found in his mouth, 1 Pet. 2:22. Again, in the Psalms, "The Lord bath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; of the fruit of thy body will f set up on thy throne. If thy children will keep my covenant, and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for ever more," Ps. 132:11, 12. That this is literally spoken of Solomon, he himself testifies in plain words, 1 Kin. 3: (3; 8:20; which Solomon, without doubt, represented in figure, Christ Jesus, as _ in his glory, wisdom, building of the temple, &c. Behold, most beloved, thus we should not take the letter for the spirit and the spirit for the letter. But that the promise according to the Spirit had reference to Christ, is incontrovertible; for this the holy prophets of God plainly show; and particularly, Isa. 9:6; Jer. 23:5; 33:15.
In the fifth place you ask, If he is not a fruit of the womb of Mary
Answer. Yes, Luke 1:38. From this you conclude,
If he be a fruit of the womb of Mary then he is also brought forth of her flesh and blood by the power of the Holy Ghost. For if he were not of her flesh and blood then he could not be called a fruit of her womb. But because he is of her flesh he is called the fruit of her body, as an apple is called the fruit of a tree, because it grows upon the tree, and partakes of its nature, through the strength of the earth.
Answer. According to the course of nature your conclusion is in part right, but according to scriptural testimony quite wrong. For the Scriptures say, that Mary, the pure virgin, by faith, conceived the eternal word of God which in the beginning was with God, and was God, that it became 336flesh, Jn. 1:14; conceived and brought forth of the Holy Spirit, Matt. 1:20; that it was human and natural‑like; nourished in her; and was in due time born as a natural child is born of its mother. Thus Christ Jesus remains the precious, blessed fruit of the womb of Mary, according to the words of Elizabeth, which was conceived not of her womb but in her womb wrought by the Holy Spirit through faith, of God the omnipotent Father, from high heaven, as we have frequently shown.
You allege a natural reason concerning the tree and its fruits in proof of your assertion. Inasmuch as you do so, I will reply to your reasoning according to nature, namely, I have a well prepared field, well pulverized and manured, bearing abundance of wheat, corn, or rye. I say, ah, that is a beautiful crop, which fruit this field could not produce of itself, however welltilled and rich the same was, and however much it was induced to do so by the heat of the sun and the moisture of the atmosphere, until the seed was sown in by the sower. Being sown, and grown up it is called the fruit of the field, notwithstanding it was first sown thereon. An apple is called the fruit of the tree, although it is produced and grown by the soil on which the tree is grown.
In the same manner the heavenly seed, namely, the word of God, was sown in Mary, and by her faith, being conceived in her by the Holy Ghost, became flesh; and thus it is called the fruit of her womb, the same as a natural fruit or offspring is called the fruit of its natural mother, Jn. 1:14. For Christ Jesus, of his origin, is no earthly man, that is, a fruit of the flesh and blood of Adam; but he is a heavenly fruit or man. For his beginning or origin is of the Father, Jn. 16:28, like unto the first Adam, yet without sin. Given to Adam and his children, in case they hear and receive him in his holy word, to their everlasting salvation and deliverance, of God the merciful Father alone through grace and mercy; without price and without any previous mention on our part.
In the sixth place you say, God could not suffer. If Christ's flesh were not of earth or of Adam, but from heaven, then he could not have been passive, and conae• quently he could not have died.
Answer. Be impartial and judge rightly. Your meaning is, that Christ Jesus according to the Spirit alone, is of the Father, in which Spirit he was impassive and immortal, as you say, but that he was not of the Father according to the flesh. But according to the flesh, in which he suffered and died, you teach that he is of earth, that thus the law (wherewith earthly man was cursed on account of his disobedience) concerning the earthly man, namely Christ, might be fulfilled, that he by obedience might save, and we in him, by the communion of his human nature and blood, whereby he has fulfilled the righteousness of the Father in our flesh. This foundation is implied in your Latin syllogisms. We will not controvert this by subtle syllogisms nor by acute human cavilings, for we do not have them; but we controvert it by the plain testimony of the word alone, which cannot. be turned by flatterings, nor broken by human reason.
First, we confess and consent before all the world that God, the Almighty, eternal Father is quite impassive and immortal; for with him there is no change, Jas. 1:1'7. Ego Deus, inquit Propheta, &c., non motor. But God, the Son, the eternal Word is humbled, has denied himself, became less than the angels, miserable, mortal flesh or man, Jn. 1:14.
You say, God cannot suffer; but the Scripture says otherwise, that God, the Son, has suffered, for he himself says, I am the first and the last, I am he that liveth and was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore, Rev. 1:18; 22:13. Adam's flesh was not the first and the last; but he who was before every creature, by whom all things were created, Eph. 3:9. Whose goings forth were from the beginning and from eternity. This is the first and the last; this same one is become flesh; he has suffered, he died, he again became living and shall live forever. Take heed, lest you willfully oppose the Scriptures. Christ can not be divided into two parts, as you think.
I repeat, the Father is impassive, immortal and unchangeable; but for our sakes the Son is humbled, became passive and mortal, according to the testimony of the Scriptures, Phil. 2:'7; Heb. 2:14; 1 Pet. 1:19, and many other Scriptures. Therefore he 337prayed his beloved Father that he might again acquire the glory that he had with the Father, which he had lost in becoming man, Jn. 1'7: G. If he remained unchanged in his divine form, and if he suffered in that which he took of Bart)i, as you say, then tell me, beloved, what he had lost that he desired again to acquire of his Father 8 Examine the Scriptures rightly and pray, and by the grace of God, your eyes will be opened to behold the truth of Christ.
Again, in the second place we answer, that the whole Christ Jesus went forth from his Father, Jn. 1:14; 3:31; 6:27; 8:.42; 14:24; 16:28; 17:8; that the word of God became flesh in Mary, the Lord himself from heaven, 1 Cor.16:4'7; and that he was afflicted and oppressed in the flesh, soul and Spirit, according to the testimony of the Scriptures. In the flesh, because he was crucified. In his soul, because he himself says, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death. In the Spirit, as he said Jn. 13:21, Turbatus est Jesus spiritu, " He was troubled in spirit." Which Christ Jesus (that he might be an offering unto God), suffered the judgment of the unrighteous; died according to the flesh, but was made alive according to the Spirit.
Again,. in the third place we reply to your syllogisms, thus: The commandment was not given to the heavenly Christ, but to the earthly Adam and his seed, through Christ, that is, through the word. Adam, transgressing, was condemned to death through the Word Christ, Gen. 3:19. As the righteousness of God is unchangeable and eternal, as you yourselves say, therefore disobedient Adam must die according to the immutable righteousness of God. As Adam was earthly and of earth, and was cursed by the word on account of his disobedience and had to die, therefore nothing could be expected nor taken from earth but earth, from curse nothing but curse, and from death nothing but death, as Paul plainly shows, Rom. 6:12. Adam, being disobedient to the word which created him, in not giving heed to it, and eating what it had forbidden, had to die involuntarily the death, with his seed, which the word had promised him. Because it was for righteousness' sake that Adam and his descendants had to die, he having sinned and not having wherewith to requite; therefore it is solely grace, mercy and love that he should live. But how? Through the righteousness of Adam's flesh? Not at all; but the word which had made Adam a living being, which gave him the commandment and promised him death, if he should commit iniquity, as was said above. This same word (as death had to be the consequence, according to righteousness, as truth had spoken) which God again promised to Adam, was to become flesh; that, as he was deceived by the liar, and therefore, according to the justice of God, had to die, he might again be delivered by the promised truth, and thus by grace and mercy alone, inherit life eternal. Adam believed it and was consoled, and as a sign of the truth of the promised favor and love, God made unto Adam and unto his consort, coats of skins and clothed them, Gen. 3:21.
Thus has not the earthly, guilty, transgressing, accursed and mortal flesh of Adam requited the righteousness, and appeased his wrath, as you claim, but only the heavenly, innocent, obedient, blessed and quickening flesh of Christ, as the Scriptures testify; that he bare our sins, 1 Pet. 2:24; Isa. 63:8; by his wounds are we healed. For the promised Word, Christ Jesus, is become man and has fulfilled the righteousness required by the law, as Paul says, "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh. That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit," Rom. 8:3, 4.
Hence. it follows that all those who are born of Adam, and remain his in not receiving by faith the promised seed (I am speaking of those of understanding age), must, by the immutable righteousness of God, inherit the curse of Adam, that is, death, as a reward of sin. Christ himself says, "He that believeth not shall be damned," Mark 16:16. Again, Paul says, "The wages of sin is death," Rom. 6:23. For they have no communion of the most holy flesh and blood of Christ Jesus; nor can they ever enjoy his deliverance, kindness338, merits and blessing unless they be truly converted from the shameful darkness of unbelief and sin, to the eternal, clear, heavenly light, Christ Jesus, 1 Jn. 1:7. But those who, with Adam, truly receive the promised seed and thus become renewed and consoled in God, who are born anew by this same seed; who are changed or converted from the disobedient nature of Adam, into the obedient nature of the Word, Christ Jesus, these he calls flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone; he gives these unto himself, by mere grace, and makes them partakers of his righteousness, merits, cross, blood and bitter death, yea, his whole life, love and Spirit; for they are one body and one Spirit with him; so that they willingly fulfill, by this spirit of love which they have received of him, for God is love, all that which the merciful Father, by his saving truth, Christ Jesus has commanded as John testifies, saying, "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things. that are pleasing in his sight," 1 Jn. 3:22. Again, Paul‑says, "Love is the fulfilling of the law," Rom. 13:10. Again, Christ says, "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me," Jn. 14:21.
Besides you say, What is born of the spirit is spirit. Just brethren, we do, not say Christ is born of the Spirit, but we do say with the Scripture that he is incarnate and conceived by the Spirit. Now it is different as you know, to be born of the Spirit and to be incarnate and conceived by the Spirit. Who doubts, moreover, but that to be born of the Spirit is regeneration! I beseech you therefore, through the Lord as not being led rightly by the Scriptures, if you hold these things, you are ready to defend your cause. Herewith, beloved lords, friends and brethren, I conclude this my confession of the incarnation of our beloved Lord Jesus Christ. I write you this in accordance to your desire, and place it before you in all clearness, as one who is not ashamed of his faith; although I do not thus deeply go into the matter in my admonitions to the brethren; but, alone, in an apostolic manner admonish them to regeneration and love. I desire; by the grace of the Lord, that you will rightly see into all things and rightly observe who have sinned. On the contrary, who has requited sin; that we may put on Adam and his descendants, their unrighteousness, darkness, sin and shame; and give to Christ Jesus his righteousness, brightness, praise and honor. Praying you, I say, not to follow in this and other matters, human wisdom, but the wisdom of God; not intelligence, but Scripture; not flesh, but Spirit; not the writings and opinions of the learned, but alone the testimony of Christ and his apostles, fearing God in purity of heart from your inmost souls, as I should, also myself, that we may not be like unto them who are ever learning and never come to the knowledge of the truth. Observe well that you do not otherwise ask, hear and answer, but by sincere zeal. Before God, faith and works avail. In all things be prepared ‑to do the will of God and not the will of your idle,. vain unwilling flesh.
I know there are many who are disposed to nothing but to search, inquire and dispute, and have never once confessed and received the most necessary things, without which none can be saved, namely, the piercing, regenerating and sanctifying faith, the urging fear of the Lord, and the burning love of God and their brethren. Be not like unto them. But, beloved brethren, seek and strive after true wisdom; open unto her; she stands before your door; behold her beauty; taste of her fruits; search her strength, and you will love, embrace and gladly receive her; your flesh will go under and the Spirit arise, and go before you in the word and truth of the Lord, until Adam dieth in you and Christ prevail. May God give us all his divine grace, Amen.
" Take ye heed, watch and pray," Mark 13:33.
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