RPM, Volume 17, Number 15, April 5 to April 11, 2015

A Practical Exposition of The Lord's Prayer

VOL. r. Part 12

By Thomas Manton

2. When there is a joyful and blessed condition beyond them, it is some comfort in this shipwreck of man's felicity that we can see banks and shores, a landing-place where we may be safe and enjoy our re pose. 'To you that are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus Christ shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,' 2 Thes. i. 7. Here our days are sorrow and our travail grief, but there is our repose.

3. That our joy and contentment is so infinitely above our sorrow and trouble, 2 Cor. iv. 7, so that in all the troubles and sorrows of this life, we may look beyond them and through them to the joy and comfort of the life to come. This joy is set before us in the promises of the gospel: Heb. xii. 2, Christ, 'for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross,' &c., and Heb. vi. 18, 'Who have fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before us,' we see it by faith, though not by sense.

Doct. 2. That one of the diseases of mankind is that we catch at felicity, without considering the way that leadeth to it.

Peter seeing and apprehending this estate to be an estate of happiness and glory, doth not consider what he must first do and first suffer before he could come to converse with Christ and the glorified saints. Our Saviour had lately told him that he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow him; but Peter overlooketh all this, and saith, 'It is good to be here.' He would be glorified before he was abased and had suffered all the afflictions foretold, and would have his wages before he had done his work. Every one would enjoy Christ's glory and happiness, but we do not like his yoke are loth to submit to his cross. If we would enjoy happiness with Christ and the glorified saints, we must be humbled with them and suffer with them first. But we would triumph before we had fought any battle, and receive the crown before we have run our race, and reap in joy before we have sowed in tears, or performed that necessary work that God requires at our hands.

Now the reasons of it are these:

1. Because by nature we love our own ease and contentment: Gen. xlix. 15, 'He saw that rest was good.' We are loth to undergo the cross, and desirous to enjoy happiness and glory before and without afflictions; but this is an untimely and preposterous desire, proceeding from self-love. God hath appointed another order, that the cross should go before the crown: Horn. viii. 17, 'If so be that we suffer with him, that we may be glorified together'

2. From the libertinism and yokelessness of our natures, and that spirit of unsubjection which is so natural to us: Rom. viii. 7, 'The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be;' Ps. ii. 3, 'Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.' Duties are more dis pleasing to the flesh than happiness, and we like pardon and life more than we like strictness, purity, and that watching and striving, and waiting, and exercising ourselves unto godliness which the scripture calleth for.

Use. To press us to get this disease cured, and our hearts reconciled to our duty as well as to our happiness. These considerations may be a help to you.

1. God is a governor as well as a benefactor, and must be respected in both relations; and therefore we must not only desire and wait for his benefits, but submit to his government. His government is seen in his laws and providence. In his laws he appoints our duty, in his providence he appoints our trials; to refuse either is to question his sovereignty: Ps. xii. 4, 'Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail: our lips are our own: who is lord over us?' Exod. v. 2, 'And Pharaoh said, Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go;' so also not to submit to his trials. Therefore now, if we love God as a benefactor, we must be subject to him as our true and proper sovereign, who will bring us to heaven in what way he pleaseth.

2. The terms and means appointed conduce to mortify our love to the false happiness, for one great part of religion is to draw off our hearts from the vain pleasures and honours of the world, the other part is to carry us on in the pursuit of the true happiness a recess from the world and an access to God, mortification and vivification. We shall sit down with present things if we abandon ourselves to our sensual inclinations, Luke xvi. 25, so that our desires of the true happiness will be feeble and easily controlled if we submit not to the means.

3. The care and due observance of the means showeth the value and respect to the true happiness. If we do not labour for it and suffer for it, we do not value it according to its worth. There is a simple, naked estimation, and a practical esteem. Naked approbation, Rom. ii. 18, 'And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are ex cellent, being instructed out of the law.' The practical esteem is a self-denying obedience, Rom. ii. 7, 'To them who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory,' &c. Then they respect means and end together, and submit to the one to obtain the other. If the wicked are said to despise eternal happiness, it is not simply as happiness, nor as eternal, for they that love themselves would be happy, and everlastingly happy; but it is in conjunction with the means, as the Israelities despised the pleasant land, and murmured in their tents: Ps. cvi. 24, 'Yea, they despised the pleasant land; and they believed not his word; but murmured in their tents, and hearkened not to the voice of the Lord.' The land was a good, fertile land, but afar off, and because of giants and walled towns, and so not thought worthy the pains and difficulties to be undergone. Heaven is a good place, but out of indulgence to the ease of the flesh we dislike difficulties and strictness of holy walking.

4. The difficulty of salvation lies not in a respect to the end but the means, and therefore the trial of our sincerity must rather be looked for there. There is some difficulty about the end, to convince men of an unseen felicity; but that may be done in part by reason, but savingly and thoroughly by the Spirit of revelation: Eph. i. 18, 'The eyes of your understandings being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.' But man is sooner convinced than converted, than drawn off from worldly vanities, that he may seek after this happiness; and usually we have a quicker ear for offers of happiness than precepts of duty and obedience. Balaam, Num. xxiii. 10, 'Oh that I could die the death of the righteous, and that my latter end were like his!' John vi. 34, 'Evermore give us this bread' of life; but a true Christian,' If by any means I may attain to the resurrection of the dead,' Phil. iii. 11.

5. The necessity of this self-denying resignation of ourselves to God, to bring us to heaven in his own way, is necessary. That we may begin with God: Luke xiv. 26, 'If any man come to me, and hate not father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.' And also that we may be true to him, and go on with him, and be fortified against all the difficulties we meet with in the way to heaven: Heb. xi. 35, 'Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection.' 'But none of these things move us,' Acts xx. 24: Mat. xx. 22, 'Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?'

6. There is such an inseparable connexion between the end and means, that God will not give us the one without the other. If we believe, mortify, wait, suffer, then shall we reign with him other wise not.

Doct. 3. Much evil would ensue if we had our desires in all those things that we think good for us.

Peter said, 'It is good for us to be here;' but, alas! how ill would it have been for the world if Christ had abode still in the mount. Peter's instance showeth us two things:

1. That we are apt to consult with our own profit rather than public good. The world needed him, he had great business to do in the valley; but he would be in the mount. It is our nature, if it be well with ourselves, to forget others. Peter little minded his fellow- apostles, the redemption of the world, the conversion of nations, &c.

2. How much we are out when we judge by present sense and the judgment of flesh. We consult with the ease of the flesh, and so desire rest more than pains and labour; what pleaseth rather than what profiteth. Peter saith, 'It is good to be here' but he must labour first, suffer first, before he entereth into glory.

Well, then, let us learn by what measure to determine good or evil.

1. Good is not to be determined by our fancies and conceits, but by the wisdom of God; for he knoweth what is better for us than we do for ourselves, and the divine choices are to be preferred before our foolish fancies; and what he sendeth and permitteth to fall out is better for us than anything else. Could we be persuaded of this, how would we be prepared for a cheerful entertainment of all that is, or can, or shall come, upon us. God is wiser than we, and loves us better than we do ourselves. The child is not to be governed by his own fancy, but his father's discretion, nor the sick man by his own appetite, but the skill of the physician. It is expedient God should displease his people, for their advantage: John xvi. 6, 7, 'Because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is expedient for you that I go away'

We are too much addicted to our own conceits: Christ's dealing is expedient and useful, when yet it is very unsatisfactory to us. He is to be judge of what is good for us, his going or tarrying, and not we ourselves. We are short-sighted creatures, distempered with passions; our requests many times are but ravings, we ask of God we know not what, as the two brethren, Mat. xx. 22, we pray ourselves into a mischief and a snare, and it were the greatest misery if God would carve out our condition according to our own fancies and desires.

2. That good is to be determined with respect to the chief good and true happiness. Now what is our chief happiness, but the enjoyment of God? Our happiness doth not consist in outward comforts, riches, health, honour, civil liberty; or comfortable relations, as husband, wife, children; but our relation to and acceptance with God. Other things are but additional appendages to our happiness: Mat. vi. 33, Trpoa-Ted^a-erai, 'they shall be added to you.' Therefore poverty is good, afflictions are good; they take nothing from our essential, solid happiness, rather help us in the enjoyment of it, as it increaseth grace and holiness, and so we enjoy God more. Surely that is good that sets us nearer to God, and that evil that separateth us from him. Therefore sin is evil because it makes an estrangement between us and God: Isa. lix. 2, 'Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you.' But affliction is good, because many times it makes us the more earnestly to seek after him: Hosea v. 16, 'In their affliction they will seek me early.' Therefore every condition is good or evil, as it sets us farther off or draweth us nearer to God; that is good that tendeth to make us better, more like unto God, capable of communion with him, and conduceth to our everlasting happiness. So it is good that man 'bear the yoke from his youth' that he be trained up under the cross, in a constant obedience to God, and subjection to him, and so be fitted to entertain communion with him. If afflictions conduce to this end they are good, for then they help us to enjoy the chief good.

3. That good is not always the good of the flesh, or the good of out ward prosperity; and, therefore, certainly the good of our condition is not to be determined by the interest of the flesh, but the welfare of our souls. If God should bestow upon us so much of the good of the outward and animal life as we desire, we could not be said to be in a good condition: if he should deny us good spiritual, we should lose the one half of the blessings of the covenant by doting upon and falling in love with the rest. The flesh is importunate to be pleased, but God will not serve our carnal appetites. We are more concerned as a soul than as a body: Heb. xii. 10, 'He verily chasteneth us for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.' Certain it is God will chasten us for our profit. What do we call profit? the good things of this world, the great mammon which so many worship? If we call it so, God will not; he meaneth to impart some spiritual and divine benefit, which is a participation of his own holiness. And truly the people of God, if they be in their right temper, value themselves, not by their outward enjoyments, but by their inward improvement of graces: 2 Cor. iv. 16, 'For this cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.' A discerning Christian puts more value upon holiness wrought by affliction than upon all his comforts; so that though affliction be evil in itself, it is good as sanctified.

4. A particular good must give way to a general good, and our personal benefit to the advancement of Christ's kingdom and the glory of God. The advancement of Christ's kingdom, or the good of the church, must be preferred before our personal benefit or contentment. Paul could want the glory of heaven for a while, if his continuance in the flesh were needful for the saints: Phil. i. 24, 'To- abide in the flesh is more needful for you.' We must not so desire good to ourselves as to hinder the good of others. All elements will act contrary to their particular nature, for the conservation of the universe, so for the glory of God. That may be good for the glory of God which is not good for our personal contentment and ease. Now the glory of God is our greatest interest; if it be for the glory of God that I should be in pain, bereft of my comfort, my sanctified subjection to the will of God must say it is good: John xii. 27, 28. Here you must have the innocent inclination of Christ's human nature, 'Father, save me from this hour;' and the overruling sense of his duty, or the obligation of his office, 'but for this cause came I to this hour.' We are often tossed between inclination of nature and con science of duty; but in a gracious heart the sense of our duty and the desire of glorifying God should prevail above the desire of our own comforts, ease, safety, and welfare. Nature would be rid of trouble, but grace submits all our interests to God's honour, which should be dearer to us than anything else.

5. This good is not to be determined by the judgment of sense, but by the judgment of faith; not by present feeling, but future profit. That which is not good may be a means to good. Affliction for the present is not pleasant to natural sense; nor for the present is the fruit evident to spiritual sense; but it is good, because in the issue it turneth to good: Rom. viii. 28, 'All things work together for good to them that love God,' &c. While God is striking, we feel the grief and the cross is tedious; but when we see the end, we acknowledge it is good to be afflicted: Heb. xii. 11, 'No affliction for the present seems joyous, but grievous; nevertheless afterwards it yields the peaceable fruits of righteousness to them that are exercised therein.' A good, present, is the cause of joy; and an evil, present, is the cause of sorrow. But there are two termini diminuentes, terms of abatement, TO jrapbv, and So'cet, present sense, and the conceits of the sufferer. When we are but newly under the affliction, we feel the smart, but do not presently find the benefit; but within a while, especially in the review, it is good for me. It is matter of faith under the affliction, it is matter of sense afterwards. God's physic must have time to work. That which is not good may be good; though it be not good in its nature, it may be good in its use; and though for the present we see it not, we shall see it. Therefore good is not to be determined by feeling, but by faith. The rod is a sore thing for the present, but the bitter root will yield sweet fruit. If we come to a person under the cross, and ask him, What! is it good to feel the lashes of God's correcting hand? to be kept poor, sickly, exercised with losses and reproaches, to part with friends and relations, to lose a beloved child? he would be apt to answer, No. But this poor creature, after he hath been exercised, and mortified, and gotten some renewed evidences of God's favour; ask him, then, Is it good to be afflicted? Oh yes, I had been vain, neglectful of God, wanted such an experience of the Lord's grace. Faith should determine the case when we feel it not. Well, then, let us learn to distinguish between what is really best for us and what we judge to be best. Other diet is more wholesome for our souls than that which our sickly appetite craveth. It is best many times when we are weakest, worst when strongest: all things are good as they help on a blessed eternity: so sharp afflictions are good. That part of the world that is governed by sense will never yield to this. You cannot convince a covetous man that the loss of an estate is good; or a worldly, rich man that poverty is good; or an ambitious man that it is good to be despised and contemned; or a sensual, voluptuous man that it is good to be in pains, that the body be afflicted for the good of the soul: they will never believe you. But those that measure all things by eternity, they know that poverty makes way for the true riches, and ignominy for the true glory, want for fulness of pleasures, and misery mortifies sin.


While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold, a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. MAT. XVII. 5.

IN this branch of the story two things are remarkable, and there is a behold prefixed before either of them to excite our attention. First, they see a bright cloud, and then they hear a voice out of the cloud.

First, Of the cloud: and while he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them. It was not a dark cloud, as upon Mount Sinai, when God gave the law, but a bright one, yet not so bright and lightsome but that it was mixed with some obscurity. It was no natural and ordinary cloud, such as are commonly engendered in the air above us, but extraordinary and supernatural, created by God for this occasion. The use of it was double.

1. To convey Moses and Elias out of their sight when this conference was ended. Therefore some expound that which is said, Luke ix. 34, 'They feared as they entered into the cloud,' after this manner, the disciples feared when they saw Moses and Elias entering into the cloud that is, involved and covered in it. It is said of Jesus Christ himself, when he ascended into heaven, Acts i. 9, 'A cloud received him out of their sight.'

2. To be a token of the extraordinary presence of God, whose voice immediately came out of the cloud, as also to veil the glory thereof, which was best done by a cloud, a thing of a middle nature between terrestrial and celestial bodies. When Solomon builded the temple the Lord showed his special presence there by filling the house with a cloud, 1 Kings viii. 10. This way of apparition God useth to moderate the splendour of his excellent glory. We are not able to behold God as he is, and must not pry into his glory; there is a cloud and veil upon it.

Secondly, They heard a voice: and behold, a voice out of the cloud which said, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.

1. Observe, That there was a voice distinctly and audibly heard. Though God did sensibly now manifest his presence in the mount with Christ, and did audibly speak to them, yet he did not appear in any distinct form and shape, either of man or any other living creature, but all was done by a voice out of the cloud; so Deut. iv. 12, 'Ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude,' and ver. 15, 'Take good heed to yourselves, for ye saw no similitude in the day that the Lord spake to you in Horeb, lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make to you any graven image.' The similitude of any figure, &c. The voice of God may with less danger come to us than any sight or representation of him.

2. The matter, or what this voice said: This is my beloved Son; hear ye him. By this voice there is:

[1.] A testimony given to Christ.

[2.] A command to hear him; or,

(1.) The dignity of Christ. He is the beloved Son of God, in whom he is well pleased.

(2.) A suitable respect bespoken for him.

The words are few, but yet contain the sum of the whole gospel, and they are spoken, not by a man, nor by an angel, but by the Lord himself, and therefore they should be entertained with the more reverence. The apostle Peter, who was one of the parties present, could never forget this testimony of the Father concerning his Son Jesus Christ: 2 Pet. i. 17, 'He received from the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory. This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased;' and besides, what Christ speaketh of another voice from heaven is true of this: John xii. 30, 'This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes,' not so much to encourage him in his suffering as to our edification and instruction. All the testimonies given unto Christ from heaven tended to point him out to sinners as the true Messiah, approved and accepted of God; therefore these words should ever be in our minds, especially when we draw nigh to God in solemn duties.

I shall begin with the dignity, honour, and glory of Christ, solemnly declared from heaven. There are three things in it:

1. The relation between him and the Father: he is a Son.

2. The dearness of that relation: his beloved Son.

3. The complacential satisfaction which he taketh in him, and the price of our redemption paid by him: in whom I am well pleased.

Doct. That it is the main and principal point of the gospel, and of great necessity to be known and believed to salvation, that Jesus Christ is the beloved Son of God, in whom he is well pleased.

1. I shall open this testimony given to Christ.

2. Speak of the importance and weight of it.

I. Of the testimony given to Christ.

1. Let me open the term that expresseth his filiation, that he is God's Son. Christ is the Son of God properly so called, a Son only- begotten: John iii. 16, 'God so loved the world that he gave his only- begotten Son;' eternally begotten, Prov. viii. 22, 23, 'I was set up from everlasting, the Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.' A Son co-equal with his Father, John v. 18. The Jews sought to kill him because he said God was his Father, making himself equal with God, irarepa iSiov e\eye TOV @eoz>, his own proper Father. So co-essential, of the same substance with his Father, John i. 1, 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God' Now thus is he the Son of God.

Why is it mentioned there?

[1.] To show the special dignity of Christ above all others. He is the Son of God: Christians are the sons of God, but in a different manner he by nature, we by adoption. Though God have many sons by creation and adoption, yet Christ is his Son in a peculiar and proper way, by eternal generation, and communication of the same essence, o uཅ ayaTrrjTos, that Son, that beloved Son; so a Son as none else is; the Son of God, properly so called.

[2.] To distinguish him from Moses and the prophets. From Moses, Heb. iii. 5, 6, 'Moses verily was faithful in all his house as a servant, but Christ as a Son over his own house, whose house we are' &c.; so from the rest of the prophets: Heb. i. 1, 2, 'God at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, but hath in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the world' This is the great doctor of the church; now as to meekness above Moses, as to zeal above Elias, as to familiarity and communion he was with God and was God.

[3.] To show the old prophecies were fulfilled, which foretold the union of the two natures in his person, the predictions concerning one whose name should be Immanuel, God with us, and who should save and redeem the church, Isa. vii. 14; and of a child that should be 'the mighty God, the everlasting Father' Isa. ix. 6. This the prophets foretold, that he should be God, and the Son of God: Micah v. 2, 'His going forth is from everlasting' though born at Bethlehem; so the bud of the Lord and the fruit of the earth, Isa. iv. 2. The man God's fellow, Zech. xiii. 7; and in many other places the union of the two natures is asserted.

2. He is the beloved Son.

[1.] That God loved Christ. Christ is the object of his Father's love, both as the second person and as mediator. As the second person of the Trinity two things are wont to attract love, nearness and likeness, they are both here. Nearness, he was in the bosom of the Father: John i. 18, 'The only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.' Likeness is another load stone of affliction: 1 Heb. i. 3, He is 'the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person' Such as the Father is so is Christ.

* Qu., 'affection '?- ED.

[2.] As mediator, so God loveth him on the account of his obedience: John x. 17, 'Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life for the sheep;' John iii. 35, the Father hath loved him and put all things into his hand. The Father approved Christ's undertaking for sinners, delighted in it as an excellent way of glorifying his name, and recovering poor creatures out of their lost condition; and rested satisfied, and was pleased with his death, as a sufficient ransom for poor souls. Well, then, God loved him so as to trust the souls of all mankind in his hands, and to appoint him to be the great mediator, to end all differences between him and us; and the more he doth in pursuance of his office, the more beloved he is and acceptable to God.

[3.] The testimony of his love to him as mediator; for his unspeakable rejoicing in him, as second person in the Trinity, we are not competent judges of. It is described: Prov. viii. 30, 'I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him' The mutual complacency which the divine persons take in one another is there set forth; God delighted in Christ, and Christ in God. But in the second love as mediator, God expressed his love to him in two things: the gift of the Spirit, and the glory of his human nature.

(1.) The gift of the Spirit: John iii. 34, 'God giveth not the Spirit in measure to him, for the Father loveth the Son, and hath put all things into his hands.' This was the great expression of his love to Christ as mediator, not to make him a visible monarch of the world, but by the gift of his Spirit to be head of the church.

(2.) The other expression of his love to him as mediator was the gift of everlasting glory: John xvii. 24, 'Father, I will that those whom thou hast given me should be where I am, and behold my glory, for thou hast loved me before the foundation of the world' God's love to Christ, as mediator, was manifested in exalting him to glory, and this everlasting. These are the great expresses of God's love to Christ, as God incarnate, or appearing in our nature.

Why is it put here?

[1.] To show the end for which Christ came; to represent the amiableness of God that he is love, 1 John iv. 8, and hath love for his children. Christ is the pattern of all, for he is first beloved, and the great instance and demonstration of God's love to the world.

[2 ] To intimate the redundancy of this love; it overfloweth to us, for Christ being beloved, we are beloved also: Eph. i. 6, 'He hath made us accepted in the beloved,' to the praise of his glorious grace. It is an overflowing love; he is loved, and all that have an interest in him are loved. There is a twofold love in God the love of benevolence and complacency. The elect from all eternity are loved by God with a love of benevolence, whereby he willed good unto them, and decrees to bestow good upon them; but the love of complacency and delight is that love whereby God accepteth us, delighteth in us, when he hath made us lovely as his own children, reconciled them by the death of Christ, renewed them by the Spirit of Christ, and furnished them with all the graces which make us acceptable to him, and precious in his sight.

[3.] To show the kind and manner of the expressing of his love to his redeemed ones. Christ prayed: John xvii. 23, 'That the world may know that thou hast loved them as thou hast loved me.' And ver. 26: 'That the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them' that is, by the gift of the Spirit and everlasting glory. Though Christ was the beloved. Son, yet his state was but mean and despicable in the world; 'lie was afflicted' 'a man of sorrows' pursued to the death, even a shameful, painful, accursed death; yet all this while he was full of the Holy Ghost, of his graces, comforts, and afterwards received to glory; and so will he love us. At this rate and tenor, his love bindeth him not to give us worldly greatness, but if we have the Spirit, and may be welcomed to heaven at the last, we have that which is the true discovery of God's love. So he manifested his love to the only-begotten Son, and therefore the adopted children should be con tented with this love, if by the Spirit they may be enabled to continue with patience in well-doing, till they receive eternal glory and happiness.

3. The next thing is ev < evSo'crjaa, 'in whom I am well pleased.' This is to be interpreted of Christ as mediator, or God incarnate; for this was twice spoken at Christ's baptism, Mat. iii. 17, and now at his transfiguration. Both imply his mediatorship; for his baptism had the notion of a dedication; he did then present himself to God as a mediator for us, to be the servant of his decree, as we in baptism dedicate ourselves to fulfil the precepts which belong to us, and as we are concerned to promote his glory in the world. Christ presented him self as a mediator, that is, as a prophet to acquaint us with the way of salvation, as a priest to pay a perfect ransom for us, as a king to give us all things, and defend and maintain all those who submit to his government till their glory be perfected, and they attain unto their final estate of bliss and happiness. Now, then, God from heaven declared himself well pleased; and now, again, when Christ had made some progress in the work, confirmeth it for the assurance of the world.

This, then, must be interpreted:

[1.] As to Christ.

[2.] As to those who have benefit by him and interest in him.

[1.] As to Christ. He was well pleased; partly, as to the design the reparation of lost mankind; partly, as to the terms by which it should be brought about; partly, as to the execution and management of it by Christ.

(1.) As to the design. God was well pleased that lapsed mankind should be restored. At the first, God was pleased with his creation, Exod. xxxi. 17. 'On the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed; 'that is, recreated in the view of his works, as the effects of his wisdom, power, and goodness. And Ps. civ. 31, 'The Lord shall rejoice in his works.' The Lord saw all to be good in the beginning and working, not to be repented of. This was God's rest and Sabbath, to take delight in his works. When he looked on it altogether, behold it was exceeding good; but afterwards man, the ungrateful part of the creation, though the masterpiece of it in this visible and lower world, fell from God his creator, and preferred the creature before him, to his loss and ruin; then God was so far displeased that he had reason to wish the destruction of mankind. It is said, Gen. vi. 6, that 'it repented God that he had made man;' that is, he was displeased with us, estranged from us, no more contented with us than a man is in what he repenteth of. For, properly, God cannot repent; but this is an expression to show how odious we were grown to him: Ps. xiv. 2, 3, 'The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and did seek after God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.' Alas! there is a lamentable appearance of mankind to God's sight, now nothing good to be found in them; an universal defection, both in piety and humanity. But then Christ undertook the reparation of mankind, and the design was pleasing to God, that he might not lose the glory of his creation, and all flesh be utterly destroyed: Col. i. 19, 20, 'It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself.' The restoring of fallen man to friendship with God, and all things tending to it, were highly pleasing to God, namely, that Jesus Christ, the second person in the Trinity, should become a mediator; for that end he had a great affection and liking to this thing: evSotcrjae, it is the same word used here, the thing is highly pleasing to God, that the breach should be made up; that man, who had lost the image, favour, and fellowship with God, should be again restored, by renewing his heart, reconciling his person, and admitting him again into communion with God, who was so justly provoked by him. God stood in no need of our friendship, nor could any loss come to him by our hatred and enmity; only it pleased the Father to take this way: Isa, liii. 10, for 'it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the' Lord shall prosper in his hand.'

(2.) He is pleased with the terms. God, who is the supreme governor of the world, and the offended party, stood upon these terms, that the honour of his governing justice should be secured, and the repentance and reformation of man carried on. Strictly these must be done, or else man must lie under his eternal displeasure; if one be done and not the other, no reconciliation can ensue. Now that God is highly pleased with the satisfaction and compensation made to his governing justice: Heb. x. 6, 7, 'In burnt-offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come to do thy will, God;' ver. 10, 'By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Christ once for all.' God rejected all other sacrifices, but was fully satisfied with this, as enough to expiate the sin of man. Christ delighted to give it, and God delighted to accept of it. He paid a perfect ransom for us, besides or above which he craved no more, but rested fully content in it. For the other, the renovation of man's nature, to put him into a capacity to serve and please God, for God would not admit us to privileges without change of heart and dis position: Acts v. 31, 'God exalted him to be a prince and saviour, to give repentance and remission of sins.' In short, God is so satisfied with these terms, that (1.) He seeketh no further amends for all their wrongs: Rom. iii. 25, 'Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past;' (2.) No further price for what they need: 1 Pet. i. 18, 19, 'Ye are not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb with out spot and blemish.' The repentance of a sinner is pleasing to him, there is joy in heaven: Luke xv. 7, 'Joy in the presence of the angels over one sinner that is converted.' A feast was made at the return of the prodigal: 'As I live, saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of a sinner.' Our conversion is more pleasing to God than our destruction.

(3.) He is pleased with the execution and management of it by Christ. He carried himself in the office of the mediator according to what was enjoined him: John viii. 29, 'I do always the things that please him' John v. 30, 'I can of myself do nothing; as I hear I judge, and my judgment is just; because I seek not my will, but the will of the Father which sent me.' And did finish all that was necessary for the redemption of the elect before he died: John xix. 30, 'When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.' Evidences of this are his resurrection from the dead: Acts v. 30, 31, 'The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and remission of sins.' Heb. xiii. 20, 'The God of peace brought again the Lord Jesus from the dead, through the blood of the everlasting covenant.' As pacified in Christ, 'received into glory' 1 Tim. iii. 16. Certainly God is well pleased, since he hath given not only a discharge, but a reward. The gift of the Spirit, for renewing the heart of man, which is the great pledge of God's being satisfied: John vii. 39, 'This he spake of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive, for the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified;' a sure evidence that our ransom is paid: Acts v. 32, 'And we are his witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Ghost, which he hath given to them that obey him.' A sacrifice of infinite value and esteem.

[2.] That he is well pleased with us who have an interest in him. In our natural estate we are all displeasing unto God. Whatever we are in the purpose of his decree, we must look upon ourselves as we are in the sentence of his law; so 'Children of wrath' Eph. ii. 3: 'Enemies by our minds in evil works' Col. i. 21: 'Estranged from the womb' Ps. Iviii. 3; so that all of us were cut off from the favour of God, obnoxious to his wrath; this is our miserable condition by nature, that we were no way pleasing to him, 'for without faith it is impossible to please God' Heb. xi. 6. A sinner as a sinner can do nothing acceptable; indeed, God having found a ransom, is placabilis, but not placates, not actually reconciled to us till we are in Christ; and he is placandus antequam placendus, to be appeased before he can be pleased; he is riot actually reconciled till we are in Christ.

(2.) Awakened sinners are not easily satisfied, so as to look upon themselves as pleasing unto God; for the conscience of sin is not easily laid aside, nor is the stain soon got out passed in heaven, yet we have not the sense of it in. our own hearts; for it is the blood of Christ can only do it: Heb. ix. 14, 'How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?' The carnal offer thousands of rams, and rivers of oil, and 'the fruit of the body for the sin of their soul,' Micah vi. 6, 7. They would give anything for a sufficient sin-offering; yea, the renewed and pardoned have not so firm a peace as to be able always to look upon themselves in a state of well-pleasing, therefore often beg that God would dissipate the clouds and cause the light of his countenance to break forth upon them: Ps. Ixxx. 19, 'Turn us, Lord God of hosts; cause thy face to shine, and we shall be saved' So that when there is a grant of pardon, and peace, and access to God, we have not always the sense.

(3.) Yet the ground is laid. As soon as we have an interest in Christ, God is well pleased with us; if you consent to his mediation, and take him in his three offices, as a prophet, priest, and king. As a prophet, hear him; the business is put out of all question, that God will love you because he loved Christ. When you depend on him as a priest, you have reconciliation and access to God: Rom. v. 1, 2, 'Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into the grace wherein we stand.' When you subject yourselves to him as a king, Col. i. 13, 'He hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.' Christ is dear to God, and to him all the subjects of his kingdom are dear also. So that if you will be more explicit in your duty, you may be more explicit in your comforts; if you will receive his doctrine, so as it may have authority over your hearts; if in the anguish of your souls you will depend on the merit of his sacrifice, and give up your selves to live in a constant obedience to his laws; you will find him to be a dear Son indeed, one very acceptable with God, for you also will be accepted with him, for his sake.

II. Concerning the weight and importance of this truth.

1. It is propounded as the foundation upon which God will build his church: Mat. xvi. 16-18, 'And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my church: and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.'

2. It is the question put to those that would enter upon Christianity: Acts viii. 37, 'If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest: and he answered and said, I believe that Jesus is the Son of God.' When they were serious in the profession, that was enough: 1 John v. 1, * Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.'

3. This engaged the hearts of the disciples to tarry with him when others murmured at his doctrine. He that cleaveth to this profession carrieth himself accordingly, whatever temptations he hath to the contrary: we believe and are Sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

4. For this end the scriptures were written: 'These things are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name,' John xx. 31. By obedience to his laws, dependence on his promises.

5. This is the ground of submission to Christ in all his offices, why we should hear him as a prophet in this place (which I shall more fully make manifest in the next sermon), why we should depend on him as a priest, for the virtue of his oblation and intercession: 'If God spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?' Rom. viii. 32. 1 John iv. 10, 'Herein is love, not that we loved God, but he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins' 1 John ii. 1, 'If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous' The blood of Christ is of high esteem and infinite value, both as to merit and satisfaction, to purchase all manner of blessings for us, and to satisfy God's provoked justice for our sins. And if the Father be so well pleased with him, what can he not obtain at his hands? which is an encouragement in our prayers and supplications. So for our improvement of his kingly office, which respects duties and privileges; our duty with respect to the kingly office is subjection: Ps. ii. 12, 'Kiss the Son lest he be angry, and you perish in the midway' Because Christ Jesus is the Son of God, he should be submitted unto and embraced with the heartiest love and subjection; for to kiss, is a sign of religious adoration, Hosea xiii. 2; as they kissed the calves, and offer homage and hearty subjection; as Samuel kissed Saul, because God had anointed him to be king over his people, 1 Sam. x. 1. So for privileges; he is God co-equal, co- eternal with his Father, able to protect all those that apply themselves to him, till he bring them to eternal glory and happiness; and, there fore, it is said, 1 John v. 5, 'Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?' That is the fortifying truth; this both cautioneth us against all the delights and snares, and supports us against all the terrors and fears of the world. If we have the Son of God for our prophet, priest, and king, we ought to carry ourselves with greater reverence, trust, and subjection.

Use 1. Believe it, lay up this truth in your hearts by a firm and sound belief. There are in faith three things assent, acceptance, dependence. The matter in hand calleth for all these.

[1.] A firm assent; for here we have the testimony of God concerning his Son. The apostle tells us, that 'he that believeth not hath made God a liar, because he believeth not the testimony of God concerning his Son,' 1 John v. 10. The great testimony is this, that we have in hand that Jesus is his beloved Son, with whom he is well pleased; that he will give pardon and life to all that hearken to him, embrace his person, receive his doctrine, believe his promises, fear his threats, obey his precepts, the strictest of them. Oh! labour to work it into your hearts that indeed it is so. In matters of fact we receive the testimony of men, two 1 or three credible men; why not in matters of faith? the testimony of God evidenced to us by this solemn action, an account of which we have from ear-witnesses and eye-witnesses, who were men that hazarded their all for the delivery of this truth, and yet referred us to the surer word of prophecy, 1 Pet. i. 19. He was owned as a Son: Ps. ii. 7, 'Thou art my Son: this day have I begotten thee.' As a beloved Son, in whom God is well pleased: Isa. xlii. 1, 'Behold my servant whom I uphold, my elect in whom my soul delighteth.' If you be not wanting to yourselves, you may have this witness in your hearts: 1 John v. 10, 'He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself.' Oh! let us not give the flat lie to God. House up this languid faith. Is this true, or is it a cunningly devised fable?

[2.] Faith is an acceptance of Christ, or an entering into a covenant with God by him. You must have the Son: 1 John v. 12, 'He that hath the Son hath life.' John i. 12, 'As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them which believe on his name.' Receiving, respects God's offer. God gives Christ, and we receive what God giveth, to what end? Why, he giveth him as king, priest, and prophet, to dwell in our hearts by faith, to rule us and guide us by his word and Spirit, and maintain God's interest in us against the devil, the world, and the flesh, till we come to everlasting glory.

[3.] Dependence. He is able to save to the uttermost all that come to God by him; therefore on him alone should we depend for all things necessary to salvation. Two things persuade this dependence:

(1.) That nothing can be done without Christ: Acts iv. 12, 'Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.' Nothing can be done without Christ that may be effectual to our recovery, either for the paying of our ransom, or for the changing of our hearts. Alas! what could we do to please God, or profit our own souls? The work would cease for ever if it should lie upon our hands.

(2.) That he can do what he pleaseth for the good of his redeemed ones: John xvii. 2, 'As thou hast given power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.' All that Christ did for our salvation did highly content and please the Father; he is satisfied with him; he can make us lovely in his sight: Eph. i. 6, 'To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved' And will now joy in his people, Isa. Ixv. 19, and rest in his love, Zeph. iii. 17. Well, then, let us believe; faith is a ratifying God's testimony concerning his Son; we believe what God hath said, that Christ is his Son; we receive him as he is freely offered, and subscribe to this declaration. The Father saith from heaven, 'This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear him.' So penitent believers must answer back again, This is our beloved Redeemer, in whom we are well pleased; let the Father hear him. He hath somewhat to say to the Father as well as to us; his doctrine concerneth us, but his intercession is made to God.

Use 2. Entertain it with thankfulness. That such a remedy should be provided for us argueth the unspeakable love of God: 1 John iv. 9, 'Tn this was manifested the love of God to us, because that God sent 1m only-begotten Son into the world, that we might live by him.' That God should bestow his Son upon us to procure our salvation. God tried Abraham's love in sacrificing his son, but manifested his love to us in sending his own Son; 'He spared him not, but delivered him up for us all.' Now that such a remedy and ransom is found out for us, it should leave an impression of God's love on our hearts, that we may love him again who first loved us, 1 John iv. 19. Think nothing too dear for God, who thought no rate too dear to purchase our life and peace. As our salvation was precious to him, let his glory be dear to us; only let me tell you, this love must not be con fined to a bare act of our reason, but you must pray to God to shed abroad this love in your hearts by the Holy Spirit, Horn. v. 5, that so you may study to love and please God, prize Christ and his precious benefits above all things in the world, and live to him who died for you, that you may feel the constraining efficacy and force of love.


This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased; hear ye him. MAT. XVII. 5.

I. THE design and intent of this scripture is to set forth the Lord Jesus as the great mediator, as appeareth

1. From the occasions upon which this voice came from heaven. At his baptism, which was Christ's dedication of himself to the work of a redeemer and saviour; and now at his transfiguration, to distinguish him from Moses and the other prophets, and publicly to instal him in the mediatory office.

2. The matter of the words show his fitness for this office, for here you have:

[1.] His dignity: not a servant, but a Son: Heb. iii. 5, 6, 'Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, but Christ as a Son over his own house.' Now the old prophecies foretold the union of the two natures in his person, and necessary it was that our mediator should be God-man. There is a congruity between his person and office, one fit to be familiar with man, and naturally interested in his concerns, and yet so high and near the Father as may put a sufficient value upon his actions, and so meet to mediate with God for us.

[2.] The dearness between God and him: 'My beloved Son.' Christ is the object of his Father's love, both as the second person in the Trinity and mediator. The one is the ground of the other, for because he loved him he intrusted him with souls: John iii. 35, 'The Father hath loved him, and put all things into his hands' the elect and all things else, all power that conduceth to their salvation. Afterwards loved him as mediator: John x. 17, 'Therefore doth my' Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again'' Now such a beloved Son is fittest to mediate for us, and to come upon a design of love, to demonstrate God's great love to wretched sinners, and to be a pledge of that love which God will bestow upon us who are altogether so unworthy of it.

[3.] His acceptableness to God, who is well pleased with the terms, the management of it.

II. This work of mediator Christ executeth by three offices, of king, priest, prophet. For he is head and lord of the renewed state; a priest to offer a sacrifice for sin, which, having once offered, he for ever represents in heaven; he was also to be teacher of mankind, to acquaint us with the way of salvation. These offices are often alluded unto in scripture: Rev. i. 5, 'The faithful witness, the first-begotten from the dead, the prince of the kings of the earth;' so Heb. i. 2, 3, 'God hath spoken to us by his Son, he having by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high' The effect of them is more briefly described: John xiv. 6, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life.' The way was opened by his passion, and is kept open by his intercession. Truth as a prophet. Life we have from him, as prince of life, or head of the renewed estate. So the effects: 1 Cor. i. 30, 'But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and redemption' Wisdom as a prophet to cure our ignorance and folly; righteousness and sanctification as a priest; redemption as the king and captain of our salvation. The same benefits which he purchaseth as a king, he bestoweth as a priest, revealeth as a prophet. These three offices were typed out by the first-born, who were heads of families, and also prophets and priests.

That though all the three offices be employed, yet the prophetical office is more explicitly mentioned, partly as suiting with the present occasion, which is to demonstrate that Christ hath sufficient authority to repeal the law of Moses, which the prophets were to explain, confirm, and maintain till his coming. But now Moses and Elias appear in person to certify their consent, and God his approbation, from heaven, to that new law of grace which Christ should set up; partly because it is not necessary that in every place all the offices should be mentioned; sometimes but one, as where Christ is called either king, priest, or prophet; sometimes two together, Heb. iii. 1, prophetical, sacerdotal: 'Consider the apostle and high priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;' sometimes his prophetical and kingly, Isa. Iv. 4, 'Behold I have given him for a witness to the people, and for a leader and commander to the people:' partly because if Christ be received in this one office he will be received in all the rest; for as a prophet he hath revealed that doctrine which establisheth his kingly and priestly office, for he hath revealed all things necessary to salvation, and therefore his own sacrifice and regal power. Lastly, some think all expressly mentioned here. Thus Christ is God's beloved Son, and therefore the heir of all things, and lord and king, in whom he is well pleased that is, pacified and satisfied with his offering as a priest, or appeased by his complete sacrifice. Hear him as the great prophet and doctor of the Church.

This premised, I come now to observe:

Doct. That Christ is appointed by God the Father to be the great prophet and teacher, whose voice alone must be heard in the Church.

I. That Christ is the great prophet and teacher of the Church appeareth:

1. By the titles given to him. He is compared with Moses the great lawgiver among the Jews: 'The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of you like unto me, unto him shall ye hearken,' Deut. xviii. 15. He was to be like a Moses, but greater than Moses. A lawgiver as he, a man as he, one that saw God face to face as he, a mediator as he; but far other in all respects a better law, a more glorious person, a more blessed mediator, working greater miracles than ever did Moses. So he is called our rabbi or master: Mark xxiii. 8, 'One is your master, even Christ, and ye are brethren.' The supreme authority, the original right is in Christ. We are not leaders and teachers, but fellow disciples; so Heb. iii. 1, 'Consider the apostle and high priest of our profession, Jesus Christ.' Again, he is called the angel or messenger of the covenant, Mai. iii. 1. Christ with a; great condescension took upon him the office of his Father's ambassador to the church, to promote the covenant of reconciliation between God and man, and make offers of it in preaching the gospel; and he it is that doth by his Spirit persuade the elect, and doth make his covenant sure to them. Once more, he is called 'Amen, the faithful and true witness,' Rev. iii. 14. There can be no prejudice against his testimony; he can never deceive nor be deceived; it is so, it will be so, as he hath said, Amen is his name.

2. By the properties of his office: he hath three things to quality him for this high office:

[1.] Absolute supreme authority: and therefore we must hear him and hearken to him. This is usually made the ground and reason of the gospel invitation, to invite sinners to submit themselves to seek after God in this way: as Mat. xi. 27, 28, 'All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden,' &c. There is no true knowledge of God but by Christ and the gospel revelation which he hath established, therefore here we must seek rest for our souls: so John iii. 35, 36, 'The Father loveth the Son, and hath put all things into his hands. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son hath not seen life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.' First, his mediatorial authority is acknowledged; and then faith and obedience to the gospel is called for, for to the sentence of the Son of God we must stand or fall. - So when Christ instituted and sent abroad his messengers to invite the world to the obedience of the gospel: Mat. xxviii. 18-20, 'All power is given to me both in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.' He hath absolute and supreme authority to gather his church, to appoint ministers and ordinances, to bestow the Spirit, to open and close heaven and hell as he pleaseth, to dispose of all affairs in the world for the furtherance of the gospel, and to enjoin the whole world obedience to his commands, and to embrace his doctrine.

[2.] All manner of sufficiency and power of God to execute this office: John iii. 34, 'For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God, for God giveth not the Spirit by measure to him.' The former prophets had the Spirit in a limited measure bestowed on them by God, for such particular purposes as best pleased him; therefore all their prophecies begin, Thus saith the Lord, as having for every particular message and errand new revelation. But on Christ the Spirit descended once for all, and commanded the belief of all and obedience to all that he should say. Therefore it is said, Col. ii. 3, 'In him are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge' He is ignorant of none of those things which are to be known and practised in order to our eternal salvation; they are deposited with him to be dispensed to us.

[3.] There is in him, a powerful efficacy. As he hath absolute authority to teach in his own name, and fulness of sufficiency to make known the mind of God to us; so he hath power to make his doctrine effectual. As when he dealt with his disciples, after he had opened the scriptures, he 'opened their understandings' Luke xxiv. 25; so he 'opened the heart of Lydia' Acts xvi. 14. He can teach so as to draw, John vi. 44, 45. He can excite the drowsy mind, change and turn the rebellious will, cure the distempered affections, make us to be what he persuadeth us to be. There is no such teacher as Christ, who doth not only give us our lesson, but an heart to learn; there fore to him we must submit, hear nothing against him, but all from him.

II. About hearing him, that must be explained also.

First, What it is to hear; it being our great duty, and the respect bespoken for him. In the hearing of words there are three things considerable the sound that cometh to the ear, the understanding of the sense and meaning, and the assent or consent of the mind. Of the first the beasts are capable, for they have ears to hear the sound of words uttered. The second is common to all men, for they can sense such intelligible words as they hear. The third belongeth to disciples, who are swayed by their Master's authority. So that, Hear him, is not to hear as beasts, nor barely to hear as men, but to hear as disciples; to believe him, to obey him; to believe his doctrines and promises, and to obey his precepts. For his authority is absolute, and what he doth say, doth warrant our faith, and command our practice and obedience. I gather this partly from the word 'hear,' which not only signifies attention and belief, but obedience: as 1 Sam. xv. 22, 'To obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams' where to obey and hearken are put as words of the same import and signification. Partly from the matter of Christ's revelation; he hath revealed not only doctrines to inform the mind, but precepts to reform the heart and practice. If we assent to the doctrine, but do not obey the precepts, we do not hear him. Therefore to hear him is to yield obedience to what he shall teach you; and when Christ cometh to take an account of the entertainment of the gospel, 'he shall come in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.' Partly too from the intimate connexion there is between his prophetical and regal office. Christ is so a prophet, that he is also a sovereign; and doth not only give us counsel and direction, but a law, which we are to observe under the highest penalties. If the gospel were an arbitrary direction,, which we might observe or not observe, without any great danger to ourselves, surely it were folly to despise good counsel; but it hath the force of a new law from the great king and lawgiver of the world, therefore it must not only be believed but obeyed: Heb. v. 8, He that is the chief prophet of the church is also the king of saints. Partly also from the near connexion that is between faith and obedience. The matter which we believe is of a practical concernment, and doth not require only a simple faith, or bare belief, which were enough in points merely speculative, but a ready obedience. It is said, Rom. xvi. 26, 'The mysteries of the gospel are made manifest to all nations for the obedience of faith.' They are not matters of speculation and talk, but practice; and blessedness is pronounced on such as hear them and keep them: Luke xi. 28, 'Blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it.' Many hear and talk, hear and stuff their minds with notions, but they do not frame themselves to the practice of what they hear. Many question not Christ's authority, but yet they do not regard his doctrine. Now, faith doth not only silence our doubts, but quicken our affections and enliven our practice.

Secondly, How can we now hear Christ, since he is removed into the heaven of heavens, and doth not speak to us in person?

Ans. Surely it doth not only concern the believers of that age, who conversed with Christ in the days of his flesh, but it is the general duty of all Christians to hear Christ; for during the whole gospel dispensation, God speaketh to us by his Son, Heb. i. 2: the revelation is settled, and not delivered by parcels, as it was to the ordinary prophets. Now we hear Christ in the scriptures: Heb. ii. 3, 4, 'How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation? which was first spoken by the Lord, and afterwards confirmed to us by them that heard him' He began to speak and to declare the gospel both before and after his resurrection; and they that heard him were especially the apostles, who, being induced by the Holy Ghost, declared it first to the Jews, and then to the Gentiles, to whom it was continued by divers signs and wonders, as to the apostles, and to extraordinary messengers. Christ saith. Luke x. 16, 'He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.' The despising of the messenger is the despising him that sendeth the message. A man's apostle is himself, is a Jewish proverb. As to ordinary ministers he saith, 'Lo, I am with you to the end of the world' Mat. xxviii. 20; they are taken into part of the apostolical commission and blessings; they preach in Christ's name, and we, as in his stead, pray you to be reconciled, 2 Cor. v. 20; so that it is his voice and his message; he affordeth his presence and assistance unto the world's end. If you receive it with faith and obedience, you are in a course and way which will bring you to everlasting blessedness; but if you stand out obstinately against his message, you are in the way to everlasting misery, for refusing God's methods for your redemption.

Thirdly, The properties of this hearing or submission to our great prophet.

1. There must be a resolute consent or resignation of ourselves to his teaching and instruction. All particular duties are included in the general. First, we own Christ in his offices, before we perform the duties which each of those offices calleth for at our hands ml from us-before we depend on him as a priest, or obey him as a king.' As we receive him with thankfulness and love as our dearest Saviour, and with reverence and a consent of subjection as a sovereign lord, so also with a consent of resolution to follow his directions as our prophet and teacher, being convinced that he is sent from God to show us the way or life and happiness: John vi. 63, 'Lord to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.' His doctrine showeth that there is such a thing, how it was purchased, which way it may be had, by God's offer and the terms prescribed. Before we take any particular direction from Christ about this or that duty, we must first consent in the general that he shall be our teacher and prophet. A particular consent to Christ in this relation is a necessary as to any of the rest.

2. This resignation of our souls to Christ as a teacher as it must be resolute, so it must be unbounded and without reserves We must submit absolutely to all that he propoundeth, though some mysteries be above our reason, some precepts against the interest and inclination of the flesh, some promises seem to be against hope, or contrary to natural probabilities. There are some mysteries in the Christian religion, though not against reason, yet above natural reason. Now we must believe them upon Christ's word, captivantes omnem intellectum in obsequium Christi, 2 Cor. x. 5, 'Bringing into captivity every thought into the obedience of Christ.' All our disputings and reasonings against the Christian doctrine must be captivated by a submission to the authority of our teacher and prophet. A disciple is to be a learner, not a caviller; and some principles are not to be chewed but swallowed as pills on the credit of the physician, when it appeareth on other grounds that Christ is the great teacher sent from God. An as there are mysteries above our reason, so there be duties against the interest and inclination of the flesh. Many of Christ's precepts are displeasing to corrupt nature—to deny ourselves, to take up the cross, to mortify our appetites and passions, to cut off right hands, and to pluck out right eyes; that none shall be saved that are not regenerate and holy; that the non-condemnation is the privilege of those that walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit; that if we live after the flesh we shall die; that we must not seek great things for ourselves; that we must hate father and mother, and our own life, if we will be Christ's disciples. Flesh and blood can hardly down with these things—that there shall be such an exact day of account, such eternal torments in the other world; yet if this be revealed by our great prophet, as reason must not be heard against Christ, so the flesh must not be heard against Christ, nor the world heard against Christ; so if some of our hopes exceed the probability of natural causes: Rom. iv. 18, he 'against hope believed in hope,' as the resurrection of the body. We must believe and obey him in what he offereth and commandeth, notwithstanding the contradiction of our carnal minds and hearts, in what is hard to be believed and practised, as well as in what is easy.

3. It must be speedy as to the great solemn acts of submission. Do not delay to hear him: Heb. iii. 7, 'To-day, if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.' Christ must not be put off with dilatory shifts; if we refuse to hear to-day, Christ may refuse to speak to-morrow. The Father hath his time of waiting, the Son of his gospel-offers, the Spirit of his earnest motions: it is dangerous to slip our day; therefore, if you will hear him, hear him now! Hear him betimes; the season falleth under the precept as well as the duty: 'Now, while it is called to-day.'

4. Your consent to hear him must be real, practical, and obediential, verified in the whole tenor and course of your lives and actions; for Christ will not be flattered with empty titles. 'Why call ye me lord and master, and do not the things which I say?' Luke vi. 46. If you pretend to hear his word, you must do it also, for you do not hear to please your minds with knowing, but that you may make it your serious care and business to serve, love, and please God. Many study Christianity to form their opinions rather than reform their hearts and practice. The great use of knowledge and faith is to behold the love of God in the face of Jesus Christ, that our own love may be quickened and increased to him again. If it serve only to regulate opinions, it is but dead speculation, not a living faith. A naked belief is but the sight of a feast,—it is the gracious soul doth eat and digest it; when our faith is turned into love and obedience, that is the true faith.

III. The reasons why this prophet must be heard.

1. Consider whose voice it is who speaketh—the only beloved Son of God, or God himself—and surely when he speaketh he must be heard: Heb. xii. 25, 'See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake from earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven.' It is Christ doth speak, and God by him, commanding us to repent and believe the gospel; now to refuse him is a high contempt. God, when he gave the law, he spake on earth; but when he spake by Christ, he spake from heaven; for Christ came from heaven to acquaint us with the mind of God, and having done it, is returned to heaven again, from whence he sent down his Spirit on the apostles, who revealed his gospel to the world. This was a mystery hidden in the bosom of God, and brought to us thence by his only-begotten Son. Surely, with all humble submission, we should attend unto and obey his word: Ps. ciii. 20, 'Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening to the voice of his word.'

2. The matter which he speaketh and we hear—the doctrine of the gospel; it is the most sweet, excellent, and comfortable doctrine that can be heard, or understood by the heart of man: Prov. viii. 6, 'Hear,' saith Wisdom, 'for I will speak of excellent things: and the opening of my lips shall be of right things.' This is the brightest light that ever shone from heaven, the profoundest wisdom, the greatest love and mercy that ever was or can be shown to sinful wretches, of the highest concernment to man; because his everlasting state lieth upon it, a state of everlasting woe or weal.

Three things I shall take notice of:—

[1.] The way of reconciliation with God manifested and discovered out of his intimate love to us. Man had fallen from the love of God to the creature, and was conscious to himself of having displeased his Maker, and so lay under the fears of his vindictive justice. Now God by Christ declareth his love to the offender in the fullest and most astonishing way, reconciling himself to him, and showeth his readiness to forgive and save him: 1 Tim. i. 15, 'This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save aimers: of whom I am chief;' and, 2 Cor. v 19 'God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself.' Oh, what should be more welcome to the creature than this news of this pardoning covenant founded in the blood of Christ!

[2.] Our duty exactly stated, with convenient motives to enforce it. Not only the comfort of man is provided for but also our subjection to God, and that upon the freest and most comfortable terms, that we should serve him in love and glorify and please him, that we may be happy m his love to us; for the sum of religion is to love him and keep his commandments: John xiv. 21, 23, 'He that keepeth my commandments, he it is that loveth me: and if any man love me, he will keep my words.' To love him is our work, and to be beloved of him is our happiness; and ver. 24: 'He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which you hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.' The gospel is the very word of God, both the Father's and the Son's; it is an act of loving, serving and pleasing God; for this is the word Christ preached, that we love God, and Christ loveth us again.

[3.] A prospect of eternal happiness: 2 Tim. i. 10, 'He hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.' This is news but darkly revealed before, and without this man knew not how to satisfy all his capacities and desires, but was like Leviathan in a little pool. Nay, we have not only a prospect of it, but the offer of it as a reward appointed, if we will be sincere in our faith, love, and obedience: 1 John ii. 25, 'This is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.' Everlasting joy and blessedness is propounded to us; Ph, then, hear him, if this be that he speaketh of.

3. The danger of not hearing this prophet.

[1.] For the present: to continue to slight and contemn the gospel is the mark that you are in a carnal, perishing condition: 2 Cor iv. 3, 'If our gospel is hid, it is hid to them that are lost;' John x. 3, 'My sheep hear my voice;' and ver. 16, 'Other sheep are there which are not of this fold, and they shall hear my voice.' Christ's sheep, whether Jew or Gentile, they have all the same character, they all hear his voice; and ver. 27, 'My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me.' They distinguish his voice, own his voice, obey his voice. So John viii. 47, 'Whosoever is of God heareth God's words; ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God;' so that you lose all this comfort if ye do not hear the voice of Christ and his faithful servants.

[2.] For the future: Deut xviii. 19, 'Whosoever will not hearken to the words which that prophet shall speak in my name, I will require or him;' that is he must look to answer it another day. Peter rendereth it: Acts iii. 23, 'Whosoever will not hearken to that prophet shall be destroyed among the people.' It is not a bodily punishment but eternal torment: John iii. 36, 'The wrath of God abideth on him;' Mark xvi. 16, 'He that believeth not shall be damned.' Thus you see how dangerous it is to refuse this prophet.

Use 1. Of conviction to the carnal Christian for not submitting to Christ's authority. All Christians do it in pretence, but few that do it in reality. Doth his word come to you not only in word but in power?

[1.] Do you seriously come to him that you may have pardon and life. When Christ had proved that he was the Son of God, the great prophet of the church, by the testimony of John, the testimony of his works, the testimony of his Father, and the testimony of the scriptures: John v. 40, 'And ye will not come unto me that ye may have life;' —though John, his works, the Father, the scriptures, will prove him to be what he was, the Messias, the Saviour and Redeemer of the world, yet they would not come to him, nor believe, but wilfully rejected him, and their own blessedness. What the Jews did wilfully, carnal Christians do lazily; they prize his name and slight his office, do not come to him to be taught, sanctified, and drawn to God.

[2.] Do you respect the word of the gospel, entertain it with reverence and delight, as the voice of the great prophet? Do you meditate on it, digest it as the seed of the new life, as the rule of your actions, as the charter of your hopes? A good man is described to be one that 'delighteth in the law of the Lord, and meditateth therein day and night,' Ps. i. 2; and, again, Ps. cxix. 97, 'Oh, how I love thy law! it is my meditation all the day long.' But, alas! few are of this temper: Hosea viii. 12, 'I have written to them the great, things of thy law, but they were counted as a strange thing, they contemned the word of God.' as if its directions were of little importance, or did not concern them. Most men live like strangers to the word of God, little conversant in it, as there were no great hazard in breaking it.

[3.] Do you mingle it with faith in the hearing, that it may profit you, Heb. iv. 2, and feel the power of it for your good? But rather you shun it—run from it: John iii. 20, 'They that do evil hate the light, and will not come to the light, lest their deeds should be reproved.' The word is a torment rather than a comfort to you; you are afraid it will be found too true.

[4.] Do you receive it as the word of God? 1 Thes. ii. 13. It may be you do not contradict the divine authority in the scriptures, but do you soundly believe them, and know the certainty of those things wherein you are instructed? Luke i. 4. Have you done anything to prove the supreme truth that Jesus is a teacher sent from God? Most men's faith is so weak and slight, because it is taken hand-over-head, there is no deepness of earth, Mark xiii. 6. You have some light sense of religion, but slight impressions are soon defaced, and truths easily taken up are as soon quitted; the more we search into the grounds of things the more we believe, Acts xvii. 11. The Bereans 'searched the scriptures whether those things were so or no.'

[5.] Doth it come to you as the Mediator's word?—'not in word only but in power,' 1 Thes. i. 5. There is a convincing power in the word: Acts ii. 37, 'When they heard these things, they were pricked in the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren what shall we do?' Many have not felt this power but they fear it: John iii. 20, 'Every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.' A converting power when it becometh the seed of a new life: 1 Pet. i. 23, 'Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.' A comforting power, giving the heirs of promise strong consolation, Heb. vi. 18. Do you find anything of this in your hearts? is it engrafted in your souls? James i. 21, 'Receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.'

[6.] Do you hear him universally? It is said of the great prophet, Acts iii. 22, 'Him shall ye hear in all things that he shall say unto you.' Many will hear him in the offers of pardon, but not in the precepts of duty: you must take his whole covenant, the promises for your happiness, the duty for your work.

[7.] Do you hear him so as to prefer God and Christ and the life to come above all the sensual pleasures and vain delights and worldly happiness which you enjoy here? Religion is obstructed, not soundly received, if your hearts be not taken off from these things: Luke viii. 14, 'That which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.' He is not a scholar of Christ who is not more devoted to the love and obedience of God than any sensual satisfaction here below—unless you can renounce the devil, the world, and the flesh, and give yourselves to Christ, to be taught, sanctified, and saved, and brought home to God, to enjoy him in everlasting glory, and taught how to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, Titus ii. 12.

Use 2. Advice to weak Christians:—

[1.] To excite themselves to obedience by this hear him, when dead and lifeless. Many times the heart is dull and needeth quickening. Conscience groweth sleepy and needeth awakening—you are too bold in sinning, cold and careless in spiritual and heavenly things. Now the first means to quicken us is Christ's divine authority: 2 Pet. i. 16, 'For we have not followed cunningly-devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye-witnesses of his majesty, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.' When you are customary in prayer and hearing—It is Christ's will; I must do it as I will answer it to him another day.

[2.] When you do renounce some beloved lust or pleasing sin, urge your hearts with Christ's authority. Remember who telleth you of cutting off your right hand, and plucking out your right eye. How can I look the Mediator in the face, if I should wilfully break any of his laws, prefer the satisfaction of a base lust before the mercies and hopes offered me by Jesus Christ.

[3.] In deep distresses, when you are apt to question the comfort of the promises. It is hard to keep the rejoicing of hope, without regarding whose word and promise it is: Heb. iii. 6, 'Whose house are ye, if ye hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of hope firm unto the end.'

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