“Infinite highness and infinite condescension” by Jonathan Edwards

“There do meet in Jesus Christ infinite highness and infinite condescension. Christ, as He is God, is infinitely great and high above all. He is higher than the kings of the earth, for He is King of kings, and Lord of lords. He is higher than the heavens, and higher than the highest angels of heaven.

So great is He, that all men, all kings and princes, are as worms of the dust before Him; all nations are as the drop of the bucket, and the light dust of the balance; yea, and angels themselves are as nothing before Him.

He is so high, that He is infinitely above any need of us; above our reach, that we cannot be profitable to Him; and above our conceptions, that we cannot comprehend Him. Prov. xxx. 4. ‘What is his name, and what is his Son’s name, if thou canst tell?’

Our understandings, if we stretch them never so far, cannot reach up to His divine glory. Job xi. 8. ‘It is high as heaven, what canst thou do?’ Christ is the Creator and great Possessor of heaven and earth.

He is sovereign Lord of all. He rules over the whole universe, and doth whatsoever pleaseth Him. His knowledge is without bound. His wisdom is perfect, and what none can circumvent. His power is infinite, and none can resist Him. His riches are immense and inexhaustible. His majesty is infinitely awful.

And yet He is one of infinite condescension. None are so low or inferior, but Christ’s condescension is sufficient to take a gracious notice of them.

He condescends not only to the angels, humbling Himself to behold the things that are done in heaven, but He also condescends to such poor creatures as men; and that not only so as to take notice of princes and great men, but of those that are of meanest rank and degree, ‘the poor of the world,’ James ii. 5.

Such as are commonly despised by their fellow-creatures, Christ does not despise. 1 Cor. i. 28. ‘Base things of the world, and things that are despised, hath God chosen.’ Christ condescends to take notice of beggars, Luke xvi. 22. and people of the most despised nations. In Christ Jesus is neither ‘Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free,’ Col. iii. 11.

He that is thus high, condescends to take a gracious notice of little children, Matt. xix. 14. ‘Suffer little children to come unto Me.’ Yea, which is more, His condescension is sufficient to take a gracious notice of the most unworthy, sinful creatures, those that have no good deservings, and those that have infinite ill-deservings.

Yea, so great is His condescension, that it is not only sufficient to take some gracious notice of such as these, but sufficient for every thing that is an act of condescension. His condescension is great enough to become their friend; to become their companion, to unite their souls to Him in spiritual marriage.

It is enough to take their nature upon Him, to become one of them, that He may be one with them. Yea, it is great enough to abase Himself yet lower for them, even to expose Himself to shame and spitting; yea, to yield up Himself to an ignominious death for them.

And what act of condescension can be conceived of greater? Yet such an act as this, has His condescension yielded to, for those that are so low and mean, despicable and unworthy!

Such a conjunction of infinite highness and low condescension, in the same person, is admirable. We see, by manifold instances, what a tendency a high station has in men, to make them to be of a quite contrary disposition.

If one worm be a little exalted above another, by having more dust, or a bigger dunghill, how much does he make of himself! What a distance does he keep from those that are below him! And a little condescension is what he expects should be made much of, and greatly acknowledged.

Christ condescends to wash our feet; but how would great men, (or rather the bigger worms,) account themselves debased by acts of far less condescension!”

–Jonathan Edwards, “The Excellency of Christ,” The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 1. Ed. Edward Hickman (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1834/1998), 1:680-681. The sermon may be read here in its entirety.

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Filed under Christian Theology, Christology, Glory of Christ, Incarnation, Jesus Christ, Jonathan Edwards, Preaching, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, The Gospel

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