Of Desiring Jesus in respect to His birth.
Let us desire Jesus carrying on the great work of our salvation at his first coming or incarnation. It is not enough to know and consider, but we must desire. Now, what is desire, but a certain motion of the appetite, by which the soul darts itself towards the absent good, purposely to draw near, and to unite itself thereunto? The incarnation of Christ, according to the letter, was the desire of all nations. O how they that lived before Christ, desired this coming of Christ! Abraham desired to see that day, two thousand years and more before it came. It was the expectation of all the patriarchs: O when will that day come! And surely the incarnation of Christ in the fruit or application, is, or should be, the desire of all Christians.
There is virtue in Jesus Christ, in every passage of Christ, in his conception, incarnation, in his birth, and in those consequents after his birth. Now, to make these ours, that we may have our share and interest in them, we must here begin. O my soul, do thou desire, do thou seek to possess thyself of Christ! Set thy desire (as the needle point) aright, and all the rest will follow: never will union be with the absent good, but the soul, by desire, must first dart itself towards it. True it is, millions of souls stand at a distance from Christ; and why? they have no desire towards him: but, O that my soul, and thy soul, whosoever thou art that reads, would desire! O that we could desire and long after him until we languish, and be compelled to cry out with the spouse, “Comfort me, for I am sick of love.”
Is there not good reason for it? what is there in Christ that is not desirable? View over all those excellencies of his conception; of his two natures really distinguished, and yet wonderfully united; of his birth; of those few consequents after his birth: but above all, see the fruit of all; he was conceived, that our conceptions might be sanctified; he was the Son of man, that he might suffer for us; and the Son of God, that he might satisfy divine justice; he was God and man in one person, that we might be one with him, “members of his body, of his flesh, of his bones.” He was born of the Virgin, that there might be a spiritual birth of Christ in our virgin-hearts. Are not these desirable things? Never tell me of thy present enjoyments; for never was Christ so enjoyed in this life, but thou hast cause to desire more of Christ. It is worth thy observation, that spiritual desires after Christ do neither load nor cloy the heart, but rather open and enlarge it for more and more. Who was better acquainted with God than Moses? and yet who was more importunate to know him better? “I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.” And who was more acquainted with Christ than Paul? and yet who was more importunate to be with him nearer? “I desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ.” Further and further, union with Christ and communion with Christ, are most desirable things, and are not these the fruits of his incarnation, the effects of his personal union? More and more peace, and love, and reconciliation, betwixt God and us, are desirable things: and are not these the fruits of Christ’s birth? was it not then that “righteousness looked down from heaven? that mercy and truth met together, and righteousness and peace kissed each other?” An higher degree of holiness, likeness to God and Christ, are desirable things: and are not these the fruits of circumcision, and presentation to the Lord, the effects of all those consequents that follow after his birth? Come, stir up thy desires: true desires are not wavering, but resolute and full of quickness.