In a previous post, I mentioned the value of Herman Witsius’ Sacred Dissertations on the Apostles’ Creed as a work of catechetical theology.
Witsius’ chapter on the incarnation of the Son of God discusses four topics central to a proper understanding and appreciation of the doctrine: (1) the subject of the incarnation, (2) the mode of the incarnation, (3) the cause of the incarnation, and (4) the fruit and benefit of the incarnation. As is typical, his treatment of the doctrine is thoroughly scriptural, theologically precise, and devotionally warm. It repays careful reading.
He concludes his discussion with three practical meditations on how we may apply the mystery of the incarnation to our benefit and God’s glory. The last of these is an extended doxology on the incarnation, wherein Witsius summons us to follow the example of the angels who glorified God on the occasion of Jesus’ birth.
Below is Witsius’ doxology, which provides an apt meditation and prayer for the season of Advent.
As at his birth, choirs of heavenly angels praised the incarnate Son of God in joyful strains, it is incumbent upon us to celebrate that great mystery of godliness, and God the author of it, with devout and unceasing praises. The blessed angels begin the song; let us follow them with the voice and the heart. ‘Glory to God in the highest,’ who has exhibited a brighter display of his admirable perfections in this illustrious work, than he did of old in the creation of the whole universe! Glory to the Father, who has raised up, admitted, and given us such a Surety! Glory to the Son, who clothed himself with human flesh, and so cheerfully accomplished his surety-undertaking on our behalf! Glory to the Holy Spirit, the revealer and witness of so deep, so momentous, so precious a truth; and the earnest of so invaluable and longed-for a salvation! Hosanna, blessed Jesus, thou true and eternal God, thou true and holy man! In the unity of thy person, we recognize both natures, each possessing its own distinct properties. Thee we acknowledge. Thee we worship. From thy hand alone we expect salvation. May the whole world of thine elect unite with us in knowing, acknowledging, and adoring thee, and thus be saved through thy blessed name! Amen.Herman Witsius, Sacred Dissertations on the Apostles’ Creed, Vol. 2, 35.