RPM, Volume 17, Number 19, May 3 to May 9, 2015

A Practical Exposition of The Lord's Prayer

VOL. r. Part 17

By Thomas Manton

Note: some of the "words" in the original text in unintelligible. We have left the original "words" just as they are presently found in the text.


And he is 'before all things, and by him all things consist. COL. 1. 17.

THE apostle had asserted the dignity of Christ's person by ascribing the work of creation to him: now the work of conservation and providence. By the same divine power by which Christ made all things he doth preserve and sustain all things.

In this verse two things are ascribed to Christ:

First, His precedency in point of time, or his antiquity before all creatures: and lie is before all things that is, he had an eternal being before anything that now is created.

Secondly, His sustaining all things by his almighty power: and by him all things do consist. All creatures owe their continuance and preservation to him.

The first point is his precedency and pre-existence before all creatures whatsoever.

Doct. That Jesus Christ had a being before any of the creatures were made.

1. That he had a being long before he was born of the Virgin, for he was in the time of the patriarchs, as John viii. 48, 'Before Abraham was, I am;' to say nothing of that godlike way of speaking I am; not I was, but I am; that which I now plead for is, that he was before Abraham. The words are occasioned by Christ saying that Abraham saw his day and was glad, which the Jews understood not of a prophetical but of a real vision, and therefore objected the impossibility that he was not yet fifty years old, and how could he see Abraham, or Abraham see him? Christ doth not answer to their ill interpretation, but showeth that their very objection contained no absurdity if taken in their own sense, for he was not only in the time of Abraham, but long before, and so affirmeth more than that objection required. The Jews thought it absurd that Christ should be in the time of Abraham, but Christ affirmeth more, and that with a strong asseveration. He was not only by the constitution of God, but really existing before Abraham, for the predestination not only of Christ but of Abraham, and all the elect, was before the foundation of the world. If, in respect of special prediction, mark then what must follow. Then Cyrus must be in the time of Isaiah, Josiah must be in the time of Jeroboam, the calling of the Gentiles must be in the time of Moses, for they prophesied of these things.

2. That he had a being at the time of the creation, that is also clear; for it is said, 'In the beginning was the Word' John i. 1 that is, when Christ set himself to create all things. The word beginning, signifies many things, but chiefly the beginning of all time, especially when it is put absolutely, without any limitation to the matter in hand. So John viii. 44, 'The devil was a murderer from the beginning' that is, almost as soon as created; Mat. xix. 4, 'He that made them at the beginning, made them male and female' So Heb. i. 10, 'And thou in the beginning hast laid the foundations of the earth;' and in many other places. Therefore Christ had a being when the world and all creatures were made, visible and invisible. So Prov. viii. 22- 31, 'The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: while as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: when he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: when he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; rejoicing in the habit able parts of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men' There the Wisdom of God, or the eternal Word, describeth the antiquity of his person. All the question is, what this Wisdom is that is there spoken of?

(1.) It is not human, but divine; for the Wisdom there spoken of was before the world was.

(2.) Whatever it be, it is not a divine attribute, but a divine person; for those things which are there ascribed to Wisdom cannot properly belong to an attribute, to be begotten, brought forth, ver. 23, 24. to have the affections of love, ver. 27, delight, ver. 31. All along the expressions agree only to a person. That Wisdom which inviteth sinners, promises the Spirit, threatens eternal destruction to those which hearken not to him, commendeth not the laws of Moses, but requireth obedience to his own laws what can this Wisdom be but a person? If the intent were only to express that God is wise, what strange expressions would these be! To what purpose were it to give us notice that he was wise from the beginning, if there were no other mystery in it?

(3.) This person was Christ, who is the Wisdom of God, 1 Cor. i. 24; 'And in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,' Col. ii. 3.

3. Thirdly, That Christ was before the world was, from all eternity: Micah v. 2, 'His goings forth are from everlasting.' The prophet there speaketh of his birth at Bethlehem, and his eternal generation, and distinguishes the one from the other: But thou, Bethlehem Ephrata, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting; or from the days of eternity. This last clause is added lest any should look upon this ruler as only man, and beginning to be at his incarnation. He that was born at Bethlehem was also true God, begotten of the Father from all eternity.

4. Fourthly, That Christ was God subsisting in the divine nature. I shall bring two places to prove that. The first, Phil. ii. 6, 'Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but emptied himself, and made himself of no reputation.' He was first in the form of God, before he appeared in the form of a servant. The form of God is his divine glory and blessedness, every way equal to God; the form of a servant is either his coming in the similitude of sinful flesh, or his subjecting himself to the curse of the law, or his humble and mean condition while he lived among men. It consists in one of these, or in all three. Now before he submitted to this, he existed in the form of God that is, was clothed with divine majesty, and in all things equal with God the Father: his being and existence which he then had was truly divine. The form of God is the very divine essence, as clothed with glory and majesty; this did justly and naturally belong to him, and was not usurped by him. The other place is Christ's prayer: John xvii. 5, 'And now, Father, glorify thou me with thy own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.' God is said to glorify any person when he giveth him glorious qualities and powers; or by revealing and manifesting those glorious qualities which he hath; or when he doth receive him and treat him agreeably to his glory. The meaning of Christ's prayer, then, must be of one or other of all these senses. When he prayeth that the Father would glorify him with that glory that he had with him before the world was, if you take it in the first sense, he desireth that God would bestow upon him as Mediator, or God incarnate, a glory suitable to that glory be had with him from all eternity; if in the second sense, he desireth his glory may be revealed, or become conspicuous in his human nature; if in the third, that God would receive him honourably and agreeably to that glory: which sense is the chiefest, for it containeth the other two. The meaning, then, in short, is, that he might be received to the full enjoyment of that glory which he had before the world was. Christ was from all eternity the glorious God. This glory of his Godhead, by his humiliation was not diminished and lessened, but obscured and hidden; and therefore prayeth that he may be received by the Father, and openly declared to the world to be the Son of God; or that the glory of his Godhead might shine forth in the person of Christ, God-man. Well, then, before any creature was, Christ had a divine glory. How had it he? The enemies of this truth say, By decree or designation, not by possession. But that can not be: he that is not, hath nothing. If he had not a divine being, how 'could he have divine glory before the world? None can say Paul was an apostle of Christ before the world was, because he was appointed or designed to this work; yea, none can say he had faith and brotherly love when he was yet an unbeliever and persecutor; yet it pleased God to separate him from his mother's womb, and predestinated him to have these things. Again, then, all true believers may thus pray to God, 'Glorify me with,' &c., for they are thereunto appointed. But this is absurd. Besides, if he had it then, how could he want it now? The decree is the same. It remaineth, then, that Christ had a being and substance in the Godhead before any of the creatures were made.

Use 1. This serveth for the confutation of those atheists, that say, Christ took upon him the appellation of a god to make his doctrine more authentic and effectual. They confess the morals of Christianity are most excellent for the establishment of piety and honesty, but, men's inclination carrying them more powerfully to vice than virtue, this doctrine would not be received with any reverence if it came recommended to them by a mere man, and therefore Christ assumed the glorious appellation of the Son of God, or pretended to be God a blasphemy very derogatory both to the honour of Christ and Christianity, and quite contrary to the drift of the scriptures, both of the Old and New Testament. The Messiah promised in the Old Testament was to be God, all the prophets agree in that. Jesus Christ proved himself to be God by his word and works, and the apostles still assert it. Could they that lived in so many several ages as the prophets and apostles did, lay their heads together and have intelligence one with another to convey this imposture to the world? Surely, if Christ be the Messiah promised in the Old Testament, as clearly he is, then he is God, for that describeth him to be such; and if Christ usurped this honour, how did God so highly favour him with such extra ordinary graces, by inspiring him with the knowledge of the "best religion in the world, to authorise him with miracles, to raise him from the dead? And must this religion, that condemneth all frauds, and doing evil that good may come of it, be supported by a lie? Or cannot God govern the world without countenancing such a deceit? Or is it possible that such holy persons as our Lord Jesus and his apostles were, could be guilty of such an imposture? Did they do this by command of God? No, surely; for God, which is the God of truth, would not command them to teach a lie, or to make use of one. He hath power enough to cause the truth to be embraced by some other means; and a greater injury cannot be done him than to go about to gratify him with what he hateth; much less would God have commanded a mere man to call himself his eternal Son, and God equal to him, which is a blasphemy and sacrilege as well as a lie the greatest of the kind, for mortal man to take upon himself to be the eternal God. If it were not by his express commandment, would he suffer such an attempt to go unpunished? Would he witness from heaven, 'This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased'? Would he have raised him from the dead, and so engaged the world to believe in him and adore him? Acts xvii. 31.

2. If Christ were before all things, let us prefer him above all things. This consideration is of great use to draw off our hearts from all created things, and to lessen our respects to worldly vanities, that they may be more earnestly fixed on what is eternal and glorious. He that was before the world was will be when the world shall be no more. Christ is from everlasting to everlasting, Ps. xc. 2. To him should we look, after him should we seek: he is first and last, the beginning and ending. It is for an everlasting blessedness, for the enjoyment of an eternal God, that our souls were made. He that was from the beginning, and will be when all things shall have an end, it is he that should take up our minds and thoughts. How can we have room for so many thoughts about fading glories, when we have an eternal God and Christ to think of? What light can we see in a candle when the sun shineth in his full strength? All things in the world serve only for a season, and then wither; and that season is but a short one. You glory in your riches and pre-eminence now, but how long will you do so? To-day that house and lands is thine, but thou canst not say it will be thine to-morrow. But a believer can say, 'My God, my Christ, is mine to-day, and will be mine to all eternity.' Death taketh all from us honours and riches, and strength, and life; but it cannot take God and Christ from us. They are ours, and everlastingly ours.

Secondly, We come now to the second point his sustaining all things by his almighty power: 'and by him all things consist.'

Doct. 2. That as Christ made all things, so he doth sustain them in being and working.

Let me explain this, how the creatures are preserved by Christ.

1. This is to be understood not only meritoriously as a moral cause, but efficiently as a natural cause of the creature's sustentation: for the apostle doth not consider here so much what Christ doth as a Mediator, as what he doth as God. It is true Christ, as Mediator, hath reprieved the world from that ruin which might come upon it for man's sin; but here his merit is not considered, but his power: Heb. i. 3, 'He upholdeth all things by the word of his power.' The weight of the whole creation lieth upon his hands. As Daniel telleth Belshazzar, that his breath and his ways were in the hand of God, Dan. v. 23, so is the being, life, and operation of all the creatures. If he should withdraw his withholding hand, they would quickly return to their first nothing; which showeth the great power of our Redeemer. Moses complaineth, Num. xi. 11, 12, 'Thou hast laid the burden of all this people upon me. Have I conceived this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldst say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom?' But Christ hath the care and charge of all the world, not to rule them only, but to sustain them. A king or a governor hath a moral rule over his subjects, but Christ giveth them being and existence, and doth preserve and keep them in their present state and condition from dissolution.

2. Not only indirectly, but directly. Indirectly, Christ may be said to sustain and preserve the creatures, as he keepeth off evil, or removeth those things that may be destructive to them: as he preserveth a town that repelleth their enemies. But directly, he preserveth them as he continueth his providential influence: Acts xvii. 28, 'For in him we live, and move, and have our being;' as the root feedeth the fruit, or the breath of the musician maintains the sound: Ps. civ. 29, 'Thou takest away thy breath, and they die, and return to their dust.' Life, and all the joys and comforts of it, every minute depend upon God. It is by his providential influence and supportation we subsist. The greatest creature cannot preserve itself by its power and greatness, and the least is not neglected; both would sink into nothing without this continued influence.

3. He doth this not only mediately, by means appointed, but immediately, as his efficacy pierceth through all. God preserveth the creatures by means, for he giveth them those supplies which are proper for them: as to man, food and raiment; for other creatures, what may relieve them; and the wise dispensing these supplies, without any care and solicitude of the creatures, is a notable part of his providence. But here we consider his intimate presence with all things, by which he upholdeth their beings; which all the means of the world cannot do without him. God doth as it were hold the creatures in his own hand, that it may not sink into its old nothing, as a man holdeth a weighty thing. This is supposed to be alluded unto, Job vi. 9, 'Let him loose his hand and cut me off.' If he doth but loose his almighty grasp, all the creatures fall down.

4. Christ doth this so as that he doth not overturn their nature; he worketh by natural and necessary causes necessarily, with voluntary causes voluntarily. He that enlighteneth the world by the sun, causes man to discourse and reason; the sun would not shine if Christ were not the light of it, nor man discourse if he did not continue the faculty: John i. 4, 'In him was life, and this life was the light of man.' It is man seeth, man heareth, man talketh, man acteth, but yet 'the seeing eye, and hearing ear, is of the Lord,' Prov. xx. 12. As God hath made both, so he sustaineth both in their operation and exercise. All that we do naturally and spiritually we have from Christ.

5. He is not the bare instrument of God in sustaining the creature, but as a co-equal agent. As he made the world, and with the Father created all things, so he doth support and order all things. It is as well the work of the Son as of the Father, for he is God, equal with him in glory and power: John v. 17, 'My Father worketh hitherto, and I work' And he hath a command of all the creatures, that they can do nothing without him, how much soever they attempt to do against him.

Secondly, Let me give you the reasons of this, why all things must subsist by him.

1. Because preservation is but a kind of continued creation, or a continuance of the being which God hath caused. God's will in creation maketh a thing to be, his will in preservation maketh it continue to be. The same omnipotency and efficacy of God is necessary to sustain our beings as at first to create them. Therefore, it is said, Ps. civ. 2, 'Thou stretchest out the heavens like a curtain,' which noteth a continued act. God erected them at first, and still sustaineth them by his secret power in this posture; so that, with respect to God, it is the same action to conserve as to create. That the creature may have a being, the influence of God is necessary to produce it; that the creature may continue its being, it is necessary that God should not break off that influence, or forsake the creature so made; for the being of the creature doth so wholly depend on the will of God, that it can not subsist without him. Nothing can be without the will of God, which is the cause both of the being and existence of all creatures. Therefore their being cannot be continued unless God will; therefore it belongeth to the same power to make anything out of nothing, and to keep anything that is made from returning to its first nothing.

2. It is impossible to cut off the dependence of the creature upon the first cause, for no creature hath a self-sufficiency to maintain and support itself. Things of art may subsist without the artificer, as a carpenter maketh a house, and then leaveth it to stand of itself, the shipwright maketh a ship, and then leaveth it to the pilot to guide it; but all things of nature depend upon God that made them, because they have their whole being from him, matter, and form, which he continueth no longer than he pleaseth, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven, visible or invisible. No impression of the agent remaineth in the effect when his action ceaseth; when the effect wholly dependeth on the cause, as when the air is enlightened which receiveth light from the sun, but when the sun is gone the light ceases: so when God withdraws the creature vanishes, for they have no other being than God is pleased to bestow upon them.

3. If it were not so, many absurdities would follow; as, for instance [1.] If things do subsist by themselves, then they would always be;

for nothing would destroy itself.

[2.] Then the creature would be independent, and whether God will or no they would conserve their being; and then how should God govern the world? Therefore it undeniably followeth, 'Thou hast made all things, and thou preservest them all'

4. It would destroy all worship, and our piety and respect to God would be cold and languid. The service we owe to God is reducible to these four heads:

1.] Adoration of his excellent nature above all other things.

2.] Affiance in his goodness, with expectation of relief from him.

3.] Thankfulness for his benefits.

4.] Obedience to his precepts and commands.

Now, unless we acknowledge his intimate presence with and preservation of all things, these necessary duties will either be quite abolished, or degenerate into a vain and needless superstition.

[l.] The adoration we owe to his excellent nature, above all other things in the universe. Alas! we see how little reverence and respect we have for the great potentates of the earth, whose fame we hear of indeed, but are not concerned in their favour or frowns, or have no dependence on them at all. The least justice of peace or constable in our neighbourhood is more to us than all these mighty foreign princes, with whom we have nothing to do but only to hear and read the reports of their greatness, when we have no other business to divert us. So cold and careless would be our respect to God if we did not depend on him every moment, and were neither concerned in his wrath nor love. Those practical atheists that were settled on their lees, and lived in a secure neglect of God, they fostered it by this presumption 'Tush! he will neither do good nor evil,' Zeph. i. 13. Fine things may be told us of the excellency of his nature, but what is that to us? He hath so shut up himself within the curtain of the heavens, that he takes no notice or care of things here below. How soon would such a conceit dispirit all religion, and take away the life and vigour of it! But if you would plant a reverence and due veneration of God, you must do it by this principle, 'In his hands is the soul of every living thing^ and the breath of all mankind' No creature can subsist with out him for a moment. Now this respect is due not only to God the Father, but our Lord Jesus Christ.

[2.] As to trust and dependence on his goodness for relief in all our straits and necessities. This is the grand principle that keepeth up an acknowledgment of God in the world, by prayers and supplications: Ps. Ixii. 8, 'Trust in the Lord at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him' When you retire your souls from all secular Confidences, and repose all your trust in him, you will be instant in prayer, and earnestly beg his relief; you see all things subsist by him, and it is in vain to expect any real assistance from the creature, but what God will communicate to us by it. Now, if it be not so, but the creatures could stand of themselves, and live of them selves, this would blast all devotion, and prayer be withered and dried up at the root; humbling ourselves to God in our straits and necessities would look like dejection or poorness of spirit, whining to no purpose.

[3.] For thankfulness for benefits received, which is the great means to knit the hearts of men to God, and the bellows which bloweth up the fire of love and religion in our hearts. How can we ascribe our deliverances to God, if he hath not a hand in all things? But when we acknowledge his sustaining and governing power, we see God in the face of the creature, and every benefit we receive representeth his good ness to us. But, alas! they have no thought or care of praise and thanksgiving that think not themselves obliged to God for the least hair of their heads. God is banished out of their sight, because they look for all from the creature. But they cannot enough praise and bless God, who is the strength of their lives, and the length of their days. They acknowledge that every good gift cometh from him, that he heareth their prayers, relieveth their necessities, continues their lives to them every moment; therefore God is all in all with them, but to others he is a shadow or nothing. His memory is kept up in the world by his benefits, Acts xiv. 17.

[4.] For obedience and service to him. Certainly dependence begets allegiance and observance. We are obsequious to those from whom we expect our dole and portion: Ps. cxxxi. 2, 'As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, and the eyes of a maiden unto the hands of her mistress, so do our eyes wait on the Lord our God' The masters gave the men-servants their portion and allowance; and the mistress to the maid-servants: they looked for all from their hands, and therefore to them they performed their service; so do the people of God. What reverence do we owe to him who is our Creator and pre server, as well as Redeemer! As he made all things, so he supporteth all things. Did we see God in us and in all things round about us, these thoughts would be more frequent in us, and we will still be considering what we shall render unto the Lord for all his benefits to wards us. But obedience soon languisheth where men think they subsist of themselves without God: Ps. Iv. 19, 'Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God.' They are not interrupted in their sinful course, and therefore have no reverence and respect to God.

Use 1. This doth strengthen our dependence and reliance on our blessed Redeemer. By him all things do subsist, therefore he can hear all prayers, relieve us in all our straits, supply us in all wants, preserve us in all dangers. All nations are in his hands, our whole life is in his keeping, and upheld by his intimate presence with us; our days cannot be longer nor shorter than he pleaseth. If he were absent from us, he might forget us or neglect us; but he is within us, and round about us in the effects of his power and goodness. Since he is so near us, why should we doubt of his particular care and providence? All nations are in his hands, the lives and hearts of friends and enemies, therefore our eyes should be upon him: Ps. xvi. 8, 'I have set the Lord always before me, he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.' We set the Lord before us both in point of reverence and dependence for fear and trust agree in their common nature and so it may note our care to please him, or our trust and quietness in him. All means are nothing to us, can do nothing for us without him.

2. It teaches us a lesson of humility. We depend on him every moment, can do nothing without him, either in a way of nature or grace; not in a way of nature, for God hath not left us to stand by ourselves on the first foundation of our creation. The creatures are not capable of subsistence without dependence on the first cause, but merely live and act by his power: 'In him we live and move and have our being:' Ps. civ. 29, 'Thou takest away their breath and they die, and return to their dust.' The withdrawing his concurrence and supportation is the cause of all our misery. When he sees fit, all the creatures soon return to the elements of which they are compounded; all the strokes and judgments which light upon them are dispensed according to his pleasure. In a way of grace we are nothing, can do nothing without him, John xv. 5. He must have all the praise, Luke xvi. 14, 1 Cor. xv. 10, Gal. ii. 20. The more perfections we have, the more prone we are to fall if he sustain us not: witness the fallen angels, and Adam in innocency.

3. It teaches us a lesson of reverence and obedience. If God be so near, let us observe him, and take notice of his presence. He knoweth what he doth when he sustaineth such a creature as thou art. This thought should continually affect us that God is with us, still by us, not only without us, but within us, preserving our life, upholding our being. It should be a check to our sluggishness, and mispense of time Doth God now continue me? to what end and purpose? If God were absent or gone, it were more justifiable to loiter or indulge the ease of the flesh; but to spend my time vainly and foolishly, which he continueth for service, what have we to say?


And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre eminence. COL. 1. 18.

THE context is spent in representing the dignity and excellency of Christ. He is set forth by three things:

1. By the excellency of the benefits we have by him the greatest the fallen creature is capable of for the present, ver. 14.

2. By the excellency of his person; so he is set forth as the eternal and only-begotten Son of God, ver. 15, and proved by his being the Creator and preserver of all things. The Creator, ver. 16; the preserver, ver. 17. Now the apostle cometh to the third thing.

3. The excellency of his office. This is done in the text; where, observe, that next after the Son of God there is nothing more venerable and august than Christ's being head of the church. And again, that Christ hath another title to us than that of Creator: he is Redeemer also. The same God that created us by his power hath redeemed us by his mercy. By the one he drew us out of no thing, by the other he recovered us out of sin. Therefore, after he had declared what Christ is to the world and the church too, he showeth what Christ is particularly to the church. He hath a superiority over angels and all creatures, but he is our head: Eph. i. 22, 'He hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church.' Christ is the sovereign of the world, but, by a special relation to his people, 'he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead,' &c.

In which words observe:

1. The titles which are given to Christ with respect to the church: he is the head, the beginning, the first-born from the dead.

2. The consequence of it: that in all things he might have the pre eminence.

1. The titles ascribed to Christ. They are three:

[1.] The first is 'the head of the body, the church' where observe two correlatives, the head and the body; the head is Christ, the body is the church. The head is the most eminent part of the body, the noblest both as to nature, and place, or situation. As to nature, the head is the most illustrious throne of the soul, as being the seat not only of the nerves and senses, but of the memory and understanding. In place, as nearest heaven, the very situation doth in a manner oblige the other parts to respect it. These things agree to Christ, who, as to his essence, is infinitely of much more worth than the church, as being the only-begotten Son of God. As to office, in him there is a fulness of perfection to perform the office of a head to such a crazy and necessitous body as the church is. All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in our head for the use of the body, Col. ii. 3; and he is also the fountain of life and grace to every particular member, John i. 16. And, for place, he reigneth in heaven with his Father, and from thence he vieweth all the necessities of the body, and sendeth forth such influences of grace as are needful to every particular member.

For the other correlative the church is the body. By the church is meant the church mystical, or all such as are called out of the world to be a peculiar people unto God. Now, these considered collectively or together, they are a body; but singly and separately, every believer is a member of that body: 1 Cor. xii. 29, 'Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.' All the parts and members joined together are a spiritual body, but the several persons are members of that body. Yea, though there be many particular churches, yet they are not many bodies, but one body, so it is said, 1 Cor. xii. 12, 'As the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.' He is the head, and the many and divers members of the universal Christian church are but one body. The universal invisible church of real believers is one mystical body knit by faith to Christ, their head, and by love among themselves. And the visible universal church is one politic body, conjoined with Christ their head, and among themselves, by an external entering into covenant with God, and the serious profession of all saving truths. They have all the same king and head, the same laws the word of God the same sacraments of admission and nutrition, which visibly, at least, they subject themselves unto, and have a grant of the same common privileges in the gospel. But of this more anon.

[2.] The next title is a')%^, the beginning. I understand it that he is the root and the beginning of the renewed estate. The same degree which Christ hath in the order of nature, he hath in the order of grace also: he is the beginning both of creation, so also of redemption: he is origo mundi meliorism, still the beginning and ending of the new creature as well as the old, Rev. i. 8. He is called, in short, the beginning, with respect to the life of grace; as in the next title, 'the first born from the dead,' with respect to the life of glory.

[3.] The third title is, the first-born from the dead. He had before called him the first-born of every creature, now the first-born from the dead: Rev. i. 5, 'The first-begotten from the dead,' because those that arise from the dead are, as it were, new-born; whence also the resurrection from the dead is called a regeneration, Mat. xix. 20: and St Paul referreth that prophecy, Ps. ii. 7, 'Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee,' in Acts xiii. 33, to the resurrection of Christ. Things are said to be when they are manifested to be: com pare Rom. i. 4, 'Declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.' He was declared to be the true, and everlasting Son of, God, and head of the church": so the adoption of believers shall appear by their resurrection: Rom. viii. 19, 'The earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God;' ver. 23, 'We ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of the body.'

2. The sequel and consequent of these things: that in all things lie might have the pre-eminence that is, as well in the spiritual estate of the church as in the creation and natural estate of the world: Rom. viii. 29, 'That he might be the first-born among many brethren.'

I begin with the first.

Doct. 1. That this is the honour appropriate and peculiar to Jesus Christ, to be head of the church.

1. Here I shall show what the church is to which Christ is an head.

2. How is he an head to this body.

3. The reasons why this body must have such an head.

1. What the church is. A society of men called out of the world by God's effectual grace, according to the purpose of his election, and united to Christ by faith and the participation of his Spirit, and to one another by the band of charity that after remission of sins obtained in this world, together with regenerating grace, they may at length be brought to eternal life. Let us a little open this description. By effectual calling God worketh faith, which uniteth us to Christ, and that effectual calling is the fruit of election; and the effect of this union is remission of sins, and the necessary consequence of this communion is salvation or eternal life. This society of men is called a church in the text. The word church is taken in divers acceptations.

First, and most properly, it signifies those whom I have now de scribed, the universal collection of all and every one of those who, according to the good pleasure of God, are, or may be, called out of a state of sin into a state of grace, to obtain eternal glory by our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the church of the first-born whose names are written in heaven, Heb. xii. 22 that chosen generation, that royal priesthood, that holy nation, that peculiar people, whom to show forth his praises God hath called out of darkness into his marvellous light, 1 Pet. ii. 9. This church, most generally and properly taken, is the kingdom of God, the body and spouse of Christ: Cant. vi. 9, 'My dove, my undefiled one, is but one.' This is that one fold under one shepherd, John x. 16. And it was prophesied of Christ that he should die to gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad, John xi. 52.

Secondly, Of this universal church there are two parts one of travellers, the other of comprehensors, or the church militant and triumphant; they both belong to God's family: Eph. iii. 15, 'Of whom the whole family, whether in heaven or earth, is named;' so Col. i. 10. That part of the family which is in heaven triumpheth with God there that which is in earth is yet warring against sin, Satan, and the world.

Thirdly, This part, which is the military, comes in the second place to be called by the name of the universal church, because, being scattered and dispersed throughout the whole world, it comprehendeth all and every one that belongeth to Christ's flock, which are found in several folds: known to God they are, and to themselves, and do indeed belong to Christ's body and his kingdom. This is often and not un deservedly called the invisible church, because, so far as it is the church of God, their reality and sincerity is rather believed by faith than seen by the eyes of the body. This church, this kingdom of God, though it be yet in this world, yet it is not of the world, neither doth it come with observation, for the faithful have this kingdom of God within them, Luke xvii. 20. The world knows them not, other believers know them not, but God knoweth those that are his, 2 Tim. ii. 19.

Fourthly, The universal visible church. While they are in the way, and in the midst of their conflicts, it is possible many hypocrites may take up the profession, as in the great house are many vessels, some to honour, some to dishonour. From these ariseth an external promiscuous multitude, who also are called the catholic church, for the sake and with respect to those holy ones among them who truly belong to Christ's mystical body. We read often the kingdom is like to a net wherein are good and bad fishes, Mat. xiii.; to a thrashing- floor wherein is chaff and wheat; to a field wherein groweth good corn and also tares, Mat. xiii. 24, 25. Now all these ways is the universal church taken.

Fifthly, There are particular churches wherein the ordinances and means of grace are dispensed, as the church of Corinth, Cenchrea, Galatia, Greek, Roman. None of these particular churches contain all believers or the elect of God, that out of them or any of them there should be no salvation. Again, the universal church may remain in the world total and entire, though these particular churches, one or other of them, may successively be destroyed, as it hath often fallen out. And it is a great sin so to cry up a particular church as to exclude all the rest from saving communion with Christ; and for any one particular church to arrogate power over the others, they being but members.

This church is called a body in two respects:

(1.) In regard of the union of all the parts.

(2.) Dependence upon one and the same head.

(1.) With respect to union, as in man all the members make but one body, quickened by the same soul, so in the mystical body of Christ all the parts makeup but one body, animated by the same vital principle, which is the Spirit of Christ, and are joined together by certain bonds and ligaments faith and love; and all is covered with the same skin the profession of the faith of Christ. Look, what the soul is in man, the form in the subject, life in the body, and proportion in the building; that in the universal church of God is the union and communion of the several and single parts, with the head among themselves. Take away the soul from man, the form from the subject, life from the body, proportion and conjunction from the parts of the building, and what will man be but a carcase, and the building but ruin and confusion? So take away union and communion from the universal church, then Jerusalem will become a Babel, and Bethel a Bethaven, and for life there will be death, and for salvation eternal destruction. How else shall all that come out from one, return again to one, and all and every one have all things in one, that at length they may acquiesce in the enjoyment of one that is God as their chiefest good? Alas! without this union with the head, and among themselves in necessary things, what can they expect but wrath and the curse, and everlasting destruction?

(2.) With respect to dependence on one head: Rom. xii. 5, 'We, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members of one another' that is, all things make up one body, of which Christ is the head, and are fellow-members in respect of one another. As necessary and as desirable as it is to be united to God, to life and glory ever lasting, so necessary and desirable it is to depend upon Christ, the head; for no man, after the entrance of sin, can return to God, or enjoy God, without Christ the mediator: John xiv. 6, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh to the Father but by me' Acts iv. 12; 'There is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved, but only Jesus Christ' 1 Cor. iii. 11; 'Other foundation can no man lay, but that which is laid, Jesus Christ' 1 John v. 12; 'He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son hath not life' God pro claimed from heaven, Mat. iii. 17, 'This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased' He being one God with the Father and the Spirit, of the same substance and essence, he only can procure merit, and effect our union with God. He first assumed our nature, and united it to his own person, and so became one flesh with us: but then all those that belong to that nature, if they believe in him, and enter into his covenant, are not only literally one flesh, but mystically one body, and so also one Spirit, 1 Cor. vi. 17 that is, by the bond of the Spirit he hath brought them into the state and relation of a body to himself. To gather up all: Man's return to God is necessary to his blessedness, that he may be inseparably conjoined to him as his chiefest good. To this purpose the Son of God assumed our nature in the unity of his person, and there by bringeth about the union of the church with himself as our head, and our communion with one another in faith and charity, if we desire to be blessed, and so is according to Christ's prayer: John xvii. 21, 'That they may be all one, as thou, Father, art in me and I in thee, that they also may be one in us;' ver. 23, 'I in them and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one.' So that as 'there is one God, and one mediator between God and man,' and one church united to Christ as his body, to this church we must every one of us be united if we mean to be saved, and in the church with Christ, and by Christ with God; therefore out of this mystical body there is no salvation.

2. How is Christ a head to this body? This must be explained by answering two questions:

[1.] What are the parts of his headship?

[2.] According to what nature doth this office belong to him divine or human?

[1.] The parts and branches of this headship. He is our head with respect to government and sovereignty; and in regard of causality and influence; he governeth, he quickeneth.

(1.) It implies his authority to govern, as is manifest by Eph. v. 22, 23, 'Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as unto the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church.' So that to be the church's head implies superiority or right to govern.

(2.) For the other notion, in regard of influence, that is evident in scripture also: Col. ii. 19, 'Not holding the head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increases with the increase of God.' The head is the root from whence the vital faculty is diffused to all the members. We use to say Homo est arbor inversa, a tree turned upside down; if this be so, the head is the root of this tree. So doth life flow from Christ to the church; the Spirit is from him either to begin the union or to continue the influence. But let us speak of these branches apart.

(1st.) His authority and power to govern. His excellency gives him fitness, but his office right to rule and govern the church. When he sent abroad his officers and ambassadors to proselyte the world in his name, he pleadeth his right: Mat. xxviii. 18, 'All power is given to me both in heaven and in earth.' Now the acts which belong to Christ as a governor may be reduced to these heads: First, To make laws that shall universally bind all his people. Secondly, To institute ordinances for worship. Thirdly, To appoint officers.

Fourthly, To maintain them in the exercise of these things. First, The first power that belongeth to a governing head is legislation or making laws. Now Christ's headship and empire being novum jus imperil, a new right which he hath as mediator for the recovery of lapsed mankind, his law is accordingly. It is lex remedians, a law of grace, which is given us in the gospel of our salvation. The sum of his own proper remedial laws are faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and repentance towards God, Acts xx. 21. Without repentance our case is not compassionable, without faith we do not own our Redeemer, by whom we have so great a benefit: yet because this new right of empire is accumulative, not privative, beneficial to us, indeed, but not destructive of our duty to God; therefore the whole law of God, as purely moral, hath still a binding force upon the conscience, as it is explained in the word of God. Now to these laws of Christ none can add, none diminish, and therefore Christ will take an account of our fidelity at the last day, 2 Thes. i. 8.

Secondly, He hath instituted ordinances for the continual exercise and regulation of our worship and the government of his people, that they may be kept in the due acknowledgment and obedience to him, such as the preaching of the word, sacraments, and the exercise of some government. Now all the rules and statutes which Christ hath made for the ordering of his people must be kept pure until his coming. His institutions do best preserve his honour in the world. Great charges are left: 1 Tim. v. 21, 'I charge thee before God and our Lord Jesus Christ, and his elect angels, that thou observe these things;' where he speaketh of ecclesiastical censures and disciplines; he conjureth him by all that is sacred and holy, that it be rightly used: 1 Tim. vi. 14, 'Keep this commandment without spot and unrebukable unto the appearing of Jesus Christ' The doctrines are so deter mined by Christ that they cannot be changed, the worship not corrupted, the discipline not abused, to serve partial humours and private or worldly interests.

Thirdly, God hath appointed officers, who have all their ministries and services under Christ and for Christ: Eph. iv. 11, 'He gave some apostles, some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.' Mark there, he doth not describe all the officers, for the deacon is not mentioned, but only such as labour in the word and sacraments; and observe, he mentioneth ordinary and extraordinary apostles to write scripture, prophets to attest it, pastors and teachers to explain and apply it. And mark, Christ gave some; it is his prerogative, as head of the church, to appoint the several sorts of offices and officers. He gave them at first, and will raise up some still, according as the exigence of the times requireth it. The end why, 'to perfect the saints' that is, to help them on to their final perfection' and for the work of the ministry.' All offices under Christ are a ministry, not a power; and imply service, not lordship or domination over the flock of Christ. Lastly, the great end is to prepare and fit men more and more to become true members of Christ's mystical body.

Fourthly, To maintain and defend his people in the exercise of these things, to preserve the verity of doctrine and purity of worship. Alas! many times, where neither worship nor government is corrupted, yet the church may be in danger to be dissipated by the violence of persecutions. Now, therefore, it is a part of Christ's office, as head of the church, to maintain verity of doctrine, purity of worship, and a lawful order of government, for all which he hath plenty of spirit. The papists think this cannot be without some universal visible head to supply Christ's office in his absence; and so are like the Israelites: Exod. xxxi. 1, 'Make us gods that shall go before us' They would have a visible head that should supply Christ's room in his absence an external, infallible head. But that is a vain conceit; for since the pope hath his residence in Home, and cannot perform these functions but by the intervention of ordaining pastors, why should it be more difficult for Christ in heaven to govern the church than for the pope in Home when he sitteth at the right hand of God till he hath made his foes his footstool? Is he less powerful to govern the church, and to preserve and defend his people against the violence of those that would root out the memorial of religion in the world? Who is more powerful than Jesus Christ, who hath all judgment put into his hands? John v. 22.

(2d.) In regard of influence: So Christ is an head to the church as he giveth us his Spirit. That Spirit which gives life to believers is often called Christ's Spirit: Gal. iv. 6, 'God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts.' It is purchased by his merit, Titus iii. 6; conveyed to us by his power: John xv. 26, 'I will send the Comforter from the Father.' The communication is by his ordinances. The word: 2 Cor. iii. 18, 'Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord' Sacraments: 1 Cor. xii. 13, 'For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free: and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.' To promote the religion which he hath established: John xvi. 13, 14, 'When the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear that he shall speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.' He comes to us as his members, and by influence from him, as in the natural body the animal spirits are from the head, are by the members conveyed to all the parts of the body. So Christ in this spiritual union worketh in us a quickening Spirit: Eph. iv. 15, 16, 'We grow up to him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom the whole body joined together maketh increase,' &c. ^ The Spirit is not given to any one believer, but derivatively from Christ to us. First, it is given to Christ, as mediator, and to us only by virtue of our union with him. He is in Christ as radically inherent, but in us operatively, to accomplish certain effects; or he dwelleth in our head by way of radiation, in us by way of influence and operation.

[2.] According to what nature doth this office belong to Christ- divine or human?

I answer Both; for it belongeth to him as God incarnate.

(1.) He must be man, that there may be a conformity of nature between the head and the rest of the members; therefore Christ and the church have one common nature between them: he was man as we are men 'bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh,' Eph. v. 30. We read of a monstrous image that was represented to Nebuchadnezzar in a dream, where the head was gold, the breast and arms of silver, the belly and thighs of brass, and the legs and feet part of iron and part of clay, Dan. ii.; all the parts of a different nature. In every regular body there is a proportion and conformity. So it is in the mystical body of Christ' because the brethren took part of flesh and blood, he also took part of the same.' The Godhead, which was at such a distance from us, is brought down in the person of Christ in our nature, that it might be nearer at hand, and within the reach of our commerce; and we might have more encouragement to expect pity and relief from him.

(2.) God he also must be. None was fit to be head of the church but God, whether you respect government or influence.

First, For government: to attend all cases, to hear all prayers, to supply all wants, defend us against all enemies, to require an absolute and total submission to his laws, ordinances, and institutions, so as we may venture our eternal interests upon his word: Ps. xlv.'ll 'He is thy God, worship thou him.'

Secondly, For influence: none else hath power to convey the Spirit, and to become a vital principle to us, for that is proper to God to have life in himself, and to communicate it to others: 1 Tim. vi. 13, 'I charge thee in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things' '&c. Whatever men may think of the life of grace, yet surely as to the life of glory he is the only life-making Spirit, 1 Cor. xv. 45. Now this honour is not given to the angels, much less is it due to any man, nor can it be imagined by him, for none can influence the heart of man but God.

3. The reasons why this body must have such a head. [1.] Every society must be under some government, without which they would soon dissolve and come to nothing. Much more the church, which, because of its manifold necessities, and the high ends unto which it is designed, more needs it than any other society.

[2.] The privileges are so great, which are these: pardon of sins and sanctifying grace, and at length eternal glory.

(1.) Pardon of sins. By this union with him, 'he is made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him' 2 Cor v. 21. A sacrifice for sin, that we might be justified and accepted with God.

(2.) Sanctifying grace by the communication of his Spirit. We not only agree with him in the same common human nature, but the same holy nature may be in us that was in Christ, Heb. ii. 11. We are doubly akin, ratione incamationis suce, et regenerationis nostrce.

(3.) At length eternal glory followeth. For what is the condition of the head, that is also the condition of the members. First Christ then they that are Christ's. And also Christ is set up as a pattern, to which the church must be conformed, Horn. viii. 29. Bating the pre eminence due to the head, we are to be glorious as he is glorious.

[3.] The duties are far above bare human power and strength therefore we need the influence of our head, John xv. 5. To obey God' to believe in his name, to deny ourselves in what is most dear and precious to us in the world, to be fortified against all temptations are duties not so easily done as said.

[4.] We have so foully miscarried already that he will no more trust his honour in our hands, but hath put the whole treasure of grace into the hands of Christ for our use, John i. 16. So John iii. 35, 36, 'The Father hath put all things into his hands. He that believes on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believes not the Son hath not seen life.' God would not leave us to ourselves to live apart from him, but hath put all things that belong to our happiness into his hands, that, being united to him, virtue might be communicated to us, even all the gifts and graces of the Spirit. They are not intrusted with us, but with him; and we shall have no more of pardon, grace, and glory, but what we have in and from the Son of God.

Use 1. Is information, to show how much we are bound to God for putting this honour upon us, that Christ should be our head. Christ is over the angels in point of superiority and government, but not properly said to be an head to them, in that strict notion which implies relation to the church. As to influence, he is not a head to them. You will say they are confirmed by him; but the mediation of Christ presupposes the fall of Adam, for Christ had not been mediator if Adam had never fallen. Now, if Christ should come to confirm angels, if this had not been, is groundless; besides, Christ merited for those that have benefit by him, and the consummate act of his merit is his death. But where is it said that he died for angels?

Use 2. It informs us of the shameless usurpation abetted by the papists, who call the pope head of the church. None can be a head of the church to whom the church is not a body; but it would be strange to say the church is the pope's body. None can be a governing head of the church but he who is a mediatorial head of vital influence. The papists, indeed, distinguish these things ascribe the one to the pope, the other to Christ; but the scripture allows not this writ of partition. None can be the one but he must also be the other. But they say he is a ministerial head; but a ministerial universal head that shall give law to other churches and Christian societies, and if they depend not on him, shall be excluded from the privileges of a Christian church. This is, as to matter of right, sacrilege; for this honour is too great for any man, and Christ hath appointed no such head, and therefore it is a manifest usurpation of his royal prerogative without his leave and consent. And, as to matter of fact, it is impossible the church being scattered throughout all parts of the world, which can have no commerce with such an head in matters essential to its government and edification. They that first instituted such an universal head, besides that they had no authority or commission so to do, were extremely imprudent, and perverters of Christianity. Therefore let us consider how it came up at first, and how it hath been exercised. It came up at first for the prevention of schisms and divisions among Christians. They thought fit the church should be divided into certain dioceses, according to the secular divisions of the empire, which at first were thirteen in number, under the names of patriarchs and bishops of the first see, who should join in common care and counsel for the good of the Christian commonwealth. Among these, some who, in regard of the cities wherein they resided, were more eminent than the rest, and began to encroach upon the others' jurisdiction, till at length they were reduced to four. The bishop of Home, being the imperial city, had the precedency, not of authority super reliquos, but of place and order inter reliquos. It was potestas honoraria a difference or authority by courtesy, afterwards ordinaria, an ordinary power; then what was de facto given was afterwards challenged de jure.

2. Let us consider how this power hath been exercised to the introduction of idolatry, and divers corruptions and superstitions, to the destruction of kingdoms, the blood of the martyrs, and tumults and confusions too long to relate.

Use 3. To persuade you to accept Christ as your head. We are to preach him as Lord, 2 Cor. iv. 5; you are to receive him as Lord, Col. ii. 6; our consent is necessary. God hath appointed him, and the church appointeth him God by authority, the church by consent. We voluntarily acknowledge his dignity, and submit unto him, both with a consent of dependence and subjection. Some God draweth to Christ and ^ gives them to him, and him to them, John vi. 44. All that live within hearing have means to seek this grace, and if they so do, they shall not lose their labour. God sets not men about unprofitable work: mind but the duties of the baptismal covenant, and the business is at an end, Acts ii. 39.

Use 4. To put us upon self-reflection. If Christ be your head

1. You must stand under a correspondent relation to Christ; be members of his mystical body, which is done by faith and repentance.

2. None can be a true member of Christ's body who doth not receive vital influence from him, Rom. viii. 9. It is not enough to be members of some visible church; they that are united to him have life, there is an influence of common gifts according to the part we sustain in the body. A common Christian hath common graces, those gifts of the Spirit which God gives not to the heathen world; as know ledge of the mysteries of godliness, ability of utterance about heavenly things, Heb. vi. 4.

3. If Christ be our head, we must make conscience of the duties which this relation bindeth us unto; as obedience and self-denial.

[1.] Obedience to his laws and the motions of his Spirit. His laws Luke vi. 46, Why 'call you me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?' The motions of his Spirit: Rom. viii. 14, 'As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God'

[2.] Self-denial. Christ spared not his natural body to promote the good of his mystical body; he exposed his life for our salvation, we should hazard all for his glory. Nature teaches us to lift up the hands to save the head.

4. There must be suitableness and imitation: 1 John ii. 6, 'He that abideth in him, ought to walk as he walketh.'

5. If you be planted into this mystical body, you will make con science of love and tenderness.

Use 5. Let us triumph in this head, depend on him. There are two arguments his ability and his sympathy.

1. His ability. He can give us life, strength, health: Eph. iii. 16, That he would grant you according to the riches of his glory to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man:' Col. i. 11, 'Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness.'

2. His sympathy. He is touched with the feeling of our infirmities: Heb. iv. 15, 'We have not an high-priest, which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.' The head is concerned for the members.


Who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead. COL. I. 18.

I COME now to consider the first particular title which is given to Christ.

There are two other titles given to Christ the one respects the state of grace, the other the state of glory. And,

First, With respect to the state of grace, he is called apxrj, the be ginning that is, Origo mundi meliorism, the beginning of the new creature as well as the old; for the same place and dignity which Christ hath in the order of nature he hath in the order of grace also. Therefore he is called 'the beginning of the creation of God' Rev. iii. 14. The word apxrj is not taken there passively, as if it were the first thing that was created, but actively, that he giveth a being and beginning to all things that are created, and by the creation of God is meant the new creation. So that the point is

Doct. That Jesus Christ is the author and beginning of the new creation.

I shall briefly explain this, and pass to the next branch. Christ is the beginning two ways:

I. In a way of order and dignity.

II. In a way of causality.

I. In a way of order, as first and chief of the renewed state. This is many ways set forth in scripture. Two things I shall take notice of:

1. That he is the builder of the church.

2. The lord and governor of it.

1. As founder and builder of the church: Mat. xvi. 18, 'Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my church.' Christ challenges it to himself as his own peculiar prerogative to build the church. More fully, the apostle, Heb. iii. 3-5, 'For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he that builded the house hath more honour than the house; for every house is built by some man, but he that buildeth all things is God. And again, Moses was faithful in all his house as a servant, but Christ as a Son over his own house.' The scope of the apostle is to prove that Christ must have the pre-eminence above all others that have been employed in and about God's house. Moses was one of the chief of that sort, that had greater familiarity with God than others, and intrusted by him in very great and weighty matters; yet Christ was not only equal to Moses, but far above him. He proveth it by a comparison taken from a builder and an house, and from a lord of the house and a servant in the house; but Christ is the builder of the house, and Moses but a part of the house. Christ is the Lord, and Moses but the servant, therefore Christ is more excellent and worthy of greater honour. One of the noblest works of God is the church of the first-born; none could build, frame, and constitute this but the Son of God coming down in our flesh, and so recovering the lost world into an holy society which might be dedicated to God. For the materials of this house are men sinful and guilty. Neither men nor angels could raise them up into an holy temple to God; none but the eternal Word or the Son of God incarnate: 'he that buildeth all things is God' ra iravra, all these things, the things treated of; he doth not speak of the first creation, but the second, the restoring of the lapsed world to God.

2. The other honour is that Christ is Lord of the new creation, as well as the founder and builder of it; for the world to come is put in subjection to him, not to the angels, Heb. ii. 7. By the world to come is not meant the state of glory, but the state of the church under the times of the gospel. It is made subject to God the Redeemer; it is solely and immediately in his power, and under his authority, and cast into a dependence upon him.

II. In a way of causality. So he is the beginning, either as a moral or efficient cause.

1. As a moral meritorious cause. We are renewed by God's creating power, but through the intervening mediation of Christ, or God's creating power is put forth with respect to his merit. The life of grace is purchased by his death: 1 John iv. 9, 'God sent his only- begotten Son into the world, that we might live by him' Here spiritually, hereafter eternally. For life is opposite to death incurred by sin. We were dead legally, as sentenced to death by the law; and spiritually, as disabled for the service of our Creator. And how by him? That he speaketh of ver. 10 by his being a propitiation. We were in the state of death when the doors of mercy were first opened to us, under the guilt and power of sin; but we live when the guilt of sin is pardoned, and the power of sin broken. But this life we have not without Christ being a propitiation for our sins, or doing that which was necessary, whereby God without impeachment of honour might show himself placable and propitious to mankind.

2. As an efficient cause; by the efficacy of his Spirit, who worketh in us as members of Christ's mystical body. Wherefore it is said, 2 Cor. v. 17, 'If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature;' and Eph. ii. 10, 'We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.' Whatever grace we have cometh from God through Christ as Mediator, and from him we have it by virtue of our union with him. It is first applied by the converting grace, and then continually supplied by the confirming grace of the Spirit. The influence we have from him as our head is life and likeness.

[1.] Life: Gal. ii. 20, 'I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh,' &c. Christ is the beginning of the new life, therefore he is called the prince, or author of life. All life is derived from the head to the body, so we derive life from Christ: John vi. 57, 'As I live by the Father, so he that eateth me shall live by me.' We derive life from Christ, as he from the Father.

[2.] Likeness: Gal. iv. 19, 'My little children, of whom I travail in birth till Christ be formed in you,' and 2 Cor. iii. 18. It is for the honour of Christ that his image and superscription should be upon his members, to distinguish them from others. In short, as to life, he is the root: John xv. 1, 2, 'I am the true vine, and' &c. As to like ness, he is the pattern: Rom. viii. 29, 'Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate, to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren.' Secondly, The reasons of this.

1. It is for the honour of the Son of God that he should be head of the new world. In the kingdom of Christ all things are new. There is a new covenant, which is the gospel; a new paradise, not that where Adam enjoyed God among the beasts and trees of the garden, but where the blessed enjoy God amongst the angels. A new ministry, not the family of Aaron, or tribe of Levi, but the ministry of reconcilation, whom God hath qualified and fitted to be dispensers of these holy mysteries. New ordinances; we serve God not in the oldness of the letter, but the newness of the Spirit; new members, or new creatures, that are made partakers of the benefits, therefore also a new head, or a second Adam, that must be the beginning of this new creation, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ, who is made a quickening spirit to all his members: 1 Cor. xv. 45, 'The first Adam was made a living soul, the second a quickening spirit' Adam communicated natural life to his posterity, but from Christ we have the Spirit.

2. It is suited to our lost estate. We were in a state of apostasy and defection from God, averse from all good, prone to all evil. Now that we might have a new being and life, the Son of God came in our nature to rectify the disordered creation. The scripture representeth man as blind in his mind, perverse in his will, rebellious in his affections, having no sound part left in him to mend the rest; therefore we must be changed. But by whom? who shall make us of unclean to become pure and holy? Not one amongst all the bare natural sons of men, Job xiv. 4. Of carnal to become spiritual? We must be new made and new born: John iii. 6, 'That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit;' that we may mind the things of the Spirit, and not of the flesh. Of worldly to become heavenly? 'He that formeth us for this very thing is God' 2 Cor. v. 5. He that is the framer and maker of all things; a God of infinite wisdom, power, and love, he frameth and createth us anew.

Use 1. To show us the necessity of regeneration.

Use 2. The excellence of it.

1. The necessity. We must have another beginning than we had as bare creatures: it is one thing to make us men, another to make us saints or Christians. We have understanding, will, affections, and senses as men, but we have these sanctified as Christians. The world thinketh Christianity puts strange names upon ordinary things; but is it an ordinary thing to row against the stream of flesh and blood, and to raise men to those inclinations and affections to which nature is an utter stranger to have a divine nature put into us? 2 Pet. i. 4. The necessity is more bound upon us if we look upon ourselves not only as men but Christians' for whosoever is in Christ is a new creature. Some are in Christ by external profession, de jure; they are bound to be new creatures, that they may not dishonour their head. Others by real internal union. They not only ought to be, but de facto are, new creatures, because they are made partakers of his Spirit, and by that Spirit are renewed and sanctified. Little can they make out their recovery to God, and interest in Christ, who are not sensible of any change wrought in them, who have the old thoughts, the old discourses, the old passions, and the old affections, and their old conversations still; the same deadness to holy things, the same proneness to please the flesh, the same carelessness to please or honour God; and the drift and bent of their lives is as much for the world, and as little for God and heaven as before.

2. The excellency of regeneration or renewing grace. What a benefit it is, it appeareth in two things:

1. That it is the fruit of reconciling grace: 2 Cor. v. 18, 'All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation' God gives grace only as the God of peace, as pacified by the death of Christ. The Holy Spirit is the gift of his love, and the fruit of this peace and reconciliation which Christ made for us. Our Lord Jesus Christ merited this grace by the value of his sacrifice and bloody sufferings, Titus iii. 5, 6.

2. It is applied to us by the almighty power of his Spirit. Christ is first the ransom for, then the fountain of life to, our souls; and so the honour of our entire and whole recovery is to be ascribed only to our Redeemer, who, as he satisfied the justice of God for our sins, so he also purchased a power to change our hearts; and he purchased this power into his own hands, not into another's, and therefore doth accomplish it by his Spirit, 2 Cor. iii. 18. We should often think what a foundation God hath laid for the dispensation of his grace, and how he would demonstrate his infinite love in giving us his Son to be a propitiation for us, and at the same time showeth forth his infinite power in renewing and changing the heart of man, and all to bring us back to him, to make us capable of serving and pleasing him.

I come now to the other title, which respects the life of glory: 'The first-born from the dead' The same appellation almost is given to Christ when he is called, Rev. i. 5, 'The first-begotten from the dead' The reason of both is, because those that arise from the dead are, as it were, new born, and, therefore, the resurrection from the dead is called a regeneration, Mat. xix. 28. And as to Christ in particular, the grave, when he was in it, is represented as being under the pains and throes of a woman in travail: Acts ii. 24, \va-as ras wftlvas TOV Oavdrov, 'God having loosed the pains of death, for it was not possible that he should beholden of it;' but which is not only a metaphor, but a higher mystery. St Paul referreth that prophecy, Ps. ii. 7, 'Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee,' in Acts xiii. 33, to the resurrection of Christ: 'God hath raised up Jesus from the dead; as it is also written, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.' Things are said to be done when they are manifested to be done. Compare Rom. i. 4, 'Declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead' So the adoption of believers shall appear by their resurrection: Horn. viii. 19, 'The earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God;' ver. 23, 'And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body;' 1 John iii. 2, 'It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.' This for the title of 'First-born from the dead.'

Doct. That Christ's rising from the dead is the evidence and assurance of a Christian's happy resurrection.

1. Let me open the terms.

2. Vindicate the notion.

3. Show you how this is an evidence and assurance to all good Christians of their happy and joyful resurrection.

1. For the terms. He is here called 'The first-born from the dead.' If the grave was as the womb to him, and his resurrection as a birth, then Christ was in a manner born when he rose again. Only he hath the precedency he is the first-born, he rises first, and surely others will follow after him. So we read, Acts xxvi. 23, 'That he should be the first-born that should rise from the dead;' as he saith elsewhere, 'First Christ, then they that are Christ's.' Christ hath the primacy of order and the principality of influence. So again he is said to be 'the first- fruits of them that slept,' 1 Cor. xv. 20. As in the consecrating of the first-fruits the whole harvest is also consecrated, so Christ by rising himself raises all others with him to eternal glory and happiness. And so his resurrection is a certain proof that others shall have a resurrection also.

2. Let us vindicate the notion here used by the apostle. How was he the first-born, the first-fruits, the first raised from the dead? Two objections lie against it:

[1.] That many were raised from the dead before Christ.

[2.] Concerning the resurrection of the wicked. They are not parts of his mystical body, and in respect of them how could Christ rise as the first-born and the first-fruits?

I. For the first objection, how was Christ the first, since many were raised before him? As the widow of Sarepta's son, who was raised to life by Elijah, 1 Kings xvii.; the Shunammite's son by Elisha,

2 Kings iv.; a dead man by the touch of Elisha's bones, 2 Kings xiii. 21. Our Saviour in his lifetime raised the widow of Nam's only son, Luke vii. 15; Jairus's daughter, Luke viii. 55; Lazarus, John xi. 44; some others at his death, Mat. xxvii. 52. How was he then the first? I answer

[1.] We must distinguish of a proper and an improper resurrection. Christ was the first-born from the dead, because he arose from the dead by a proper resurrection, which is to arise again to a life immortal; others were raised again to a mortal estate, and so the great disease was rather removed than cured. Christ's resurrection is a resurrection to immortality, not to die any more; as the apostle saith, 'Death hath no more power over him.' They only returned to their natural life, they were raised from the dead, but still mortal; but 'he whom God raised again shall see no corruption,' Acts xiii. 34.

[2.] Others are raised by the power and virtue of his resurrection, but he hath risen again by his own power, John x. 18, 'I have power to lay down my life, and power to take it up again' Raising the dead is a work of divine power, for it belongs to him to restore life who gave it at first. Therefore Christ is said not only to be raised again, but to rise from the dead: Rom. iv. 25, 'He died for our offences, and rose again for our justification' as the sun sets and rises by his own motion.

[3.] All those that rose again before Christ, arose only by special dispensation, to lay down their bodies once more when God should see fit, and rose only as private and single persons; but Christ rose as a public person. His resurrection is the cause and pattern of ours, for head and members do not rise by a different power; he rose again to show the virtue that should quicken our mortal bodies, and raise them at length.

2. The second objection is concerning the raising of the wicked. Christ cannot be the first-born or the first-fruits to them, they belong not to his mystical body. The first-born implieth a relation to the rest of the family; and offering of the first-fruits did not sanctify the tares, the cockle, or the darnel, or the weeds that grow amongst the corn, but only the corn itself. I answer

[1.] Certain it is that the wicked shall rise again, there is no question of that, Acts xxiv. 15. I believe a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust, all that have lived, whether they have done good or evil: Mat. v. 45, 'He makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust;' and it is said, John v. 28, 29, 'All that are in their graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth, they that have done good to the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil to the resurrection of damnation.' Both must rise, that both may receive a full recompense according to their several ways; and though it be said, Ps. i. 5, 'The ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous' it doth not infringe this truth. The sense is, those unhappy miscreants shall not be able to abide the trial, as being self-condemned. To stand in the judgment is to make a bold de fence. And whereas it is said, also, they shall not stand in the congregation of the righteous, you must know that at the day of doom there is a congregation or a gathering together of all men, then a segregation, a separating the sheep from the goats, then an aggregation 'He shall set the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left' so that they make up two distinct bodies, one of the good, which is there called the congregation of the righteous, the other of the wicked, who are to be judged by Christ as a just and righteous judge, assisted with his holy angels, and the great assembly and council of saints. Not one of the sinners shall remain in the company of the righteous, nor appear in their society.

[2.] The wicked are raised ex officiojudicis, not beneficio mediatoris; they are raised by Christ as a judge, but not by him as a Redeemer. The.one sort are raised by the power of his vindicative justice, the other by the Holy Ghost by virtue of his covenant: Rom. viii. 11, 'He shall quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.' The one by Christ's power from without, put forth by him as judge of dead and living; the other by an inward quickening influence that flows from him as their proper head. When the reaper gathers the wheat into his barn, the tares are bound in bundles and cast into unquenchable fire, Mat. xiii. 30.

[3.] The wicked are forced to appear, and cannot shift that dreadful tribunal, the other go joyfully forth to meet the bridegroom; and when the sentence of condemnation shall be executed upon the one, the other by virtue of Christ's life and resurrection shall enter into the possession of a blessed and eternal life, wherein they shall enjoy G-od and Christ, and the company of saints and angels, and sing hallelujahs for ever and ever.

Thirdly, How is this an evidence and assurance to all good Christians of their happy and glorious resurrection?

1. The resurrection of Christ doth prove that there shall be a resurrection.

2. That to the faithful it shall be a blessed and glorious resurrection.

1. There shall be a resurrection: it is necessary to prove that; partly because it is the foundation of all godliness. If there were not another life after this, there were some ground for that saying of the atheists, 'Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we shall die,' 2 Cor. xv. 32. If there be no future estate nor being after this life, let us enjoy the good things of the world whilst we can, for within a little while death cometh, and then there is an end of all. These atheistical discourses and temptations to sensuality were more justifiable if men were annihilated by death. No! the soul is immortal, and the body shall rise again, and come into the judgment; and unless we live holily, a terrible judgment it will be to us. Partly because we cannot easily believe that the same body shall be placed in heaven which we see committed to the grave to rot there. Of all articles of religion this is most difficultly assented unto. Now there is relief for us in this business in hand: 'Christ is the first-born from the dead.' There were many prcdudia resurrectionis, foretokens and pledges of the resurrection given to the old world, in the translation of Enoch, the rapture of Elijah, the reviving of these few dead ones which I spake of before; but the great and public evidence that is given for the assurance of the world is Christ's rising from the grave. This makes our resurrection:

1.] Possible.

ƈ.] Easy.

3.] Certain and necessary.

1.] Possible. The least that we can gather from it is this, that it is not impossible for dead men to rise; for that which hath been may be. We have the proof and instance of it in Christ; see how the apostle reasoneth: 1 Cor. xv. 13, 'If there be no resurrection from the dead, then Christ is not risen, and then our whole faith falleth to the ground.' For all religion is bottomed on the resurrection of Christ; if therefore Christ be risen, why should it seem an incredible thing to us that others should be raised also?

[2.] It is easy. For by rising from the dead he hath conquered death and gotten the victory of it, 1 Cor. xv. 57. A separation there will be of the soul from the body, but it is not such as shall last for ever. The victory over sin is the victory over death, and the conquest of sin makes death an entrance into immortality. The scriptures often speak of Christ destroying the power of death: Heb. ii. 14, 'That through death he might destroy him that had the power of death.' The devil's design was, by tempting men to sin, to keep them for ever under the power of death, but Christ came to rescue men from that power by a resurrection from death to life. Again it is said, 'He hath abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light in the gospel.' He hath voided the power of death by taking a course for the destruction of sin, and made a clear revelation of that life and immortality which was not so certainly known before. We look to the natural impossibilities, how what is turned to dust may be raised again, because we do not consider the power of God; but the moral impossibility is the greater, for 'the sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law;' that which makes sin able to do us hurt is the guilt of sin, otherwise it would be but as a calm sleep; and this guilt is bound upon us by the law of the righteous God, which threateneth eternal death to the sinner. Now get free from sin, and it is easy to believe the conquest of death. I will prove two things that Christ's resurrection shows both his victory over sin, and his victory over death.

[1.] His victory over sin. That he hath perfectly satisfied for sin, and appeased the wrath of God, who is willing to be reconciled with all those that come to the faith and obedience of the gospel, which could not be if Christ had remained under the power of death; for the apostle saith, 1 Cor. xv. 17, 'If Christ had not risen, ye are yet in your sins' that is, God is not pacified, there is no sufficient means of atonement or foundation laid for our reconciliation with him. But his resurrection declareth that he is fully satisfied with the ransom paid for sinners by Jesus Christ, for it was in effect the releasing of our surety out of prison; so it is said, Rom. iv. 15, 'He was delivered for our offences, and raised up for our justification.' He died to expiate and do away sin, and his resurrection showeth it was a sufficient ransom, and therefore he can apply the virtue of it to us.

[2.] His victory over death. For he got out of it, which not only shows there is a possibility for a man by the power of God to be raised from death to life, but a facility; as a second Adam he brought resurrection into the world there were two Adams, the one man brought death, and another brought resurrection into the world. The sentence of death is gone out against all the children of Adam as such, and the regenerate believers that are recovered by Christ shall be raised to immortal life: he hath gotten out of the power of death, so shall we.

[3.] Certain and necessary. For several reasons.

First, Our relation to Christ, he is the head of the body. Now the head will not live gloriously in heaven and leave his members behind him under the power of death. Believers are called the fulness of him that filleth all things, Eph. i. 23. Head and members make up one perfect man, or mystical body, which is called the fulness of Christ, Eph. iv. 13. Otherwise it would be a maimed Christ, or a head without a body, and therefore we should not doubt but he will raise us up with him.

Secondly, The charge and office of Christ, which he will attend upon and see that it be carefully performed: John vi. 39, 'This is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but raise it up again at the last day;' as none so nothing; in the prophet's expression concerning the good shepherd, not so much as a leg or a piece of an ear, that he should be careful to preserve every one who belongs to his charge, and what ever befalls them here, he is to see them forthcoming at the last day, and to give a particular account of them to God. Now certainly Christ will be very careful to fulfil his charge and make good his office.

,p>Thirdly, There is the mercy of God through the merits of Christ towards his faithful ones who have hazarded their bodies and their bodily interests for his sake: 1 Thes. iv. 14, 'If we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even those also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him' Upon the belief of Christ's death and resurrection depends also the raising of their bodies that die for the testimony of Christ, or by occasion of faith in Christ, and that so certainly and speedily, that they that die not at all shall at the day of judgment have no advantage of those that have lain in the grave so many years, the raising of the one being in the same twinkling of an eye with the change of the other, for the apostle saith, they that are alive shall not prevent them that are asleep. So 2 Cor. iv. 14, 'Knowing that he that raised up the Lord Jesus, shall raise us up also with Jesus, and present us with you.' He gives it as the reason why he had the same spirit of faith with David, who in his sore afflictions professed his confidence in God, because he believed he spake. So they do profess the faith of Christ, though imminent death and danger is always re presented to them as before their eyes. Because they steadfastly believed that God would raise them to a glorious estate through Christ, there fore did they openly proclaim what they did believe concerning him. To the same purpose to confirm Timothy against all danger of death: 1 Tim. vi, 13, 'I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things' that is, as thou believest that God is able and will raise thee from the dead, that thou hold out constantly unto the death, and do not shrink for persecution.

2. It proveth that to the faithful it shall be a blessed and a glorious resurrection.

[1.] Because Christ's resurrection is not only a cause but a pattern of ours; there is not only a communion between the head and members in the mystical body, but a conformity. The members were appointed to be conformed to their head, as in obedience and sufferings, so in happiness and glory; here in the one, hereafter in the other: Rom. viii. 29, 'He hath predestinated us to be conformed to the image of his Son.' As Christ was raised from the dead, so we shall be raised from the dead. God 'raised him from the dead, and gave him glory and honour, that your faith and hope might be in God,' 1 Pet. i. 21. So God will raise us from the dead and put glory and honour upon us. There is indeed a glory put upon Christ far surpassing the glory of all created things; but our glory is like his for quality and kind, though not for quantity, degree, and measure, as to those prerogatives and privileges which his body in his exaltation is endowed withal. Such a glory it is that Christ shall be admired in his saints; the world shall stand gazing at what he means to do.

[2.] By the grant of God. They have a right and title to this glorious estate; being admitted into his family, they may hereafter expect to be admitted into his presence. The Holy Spirit abideth in them as an earnest, till it be accomplished: Eph. i. 14, 'Ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our in heritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession' The Spirit of holiness marketh and distinguished them as heirs of promise from all others. The mark or seal is the impression of Christ's image on the soul; this seal becomes an earnest or part of payment, which is a security or assurance to us that more will follow, a fuller conformity to Christ in the glorious estate; and this earnest doth continue till the redemption of the purchased possession; the purchased possession is the church, and their redemption is their final deliverance, Eph. iv. 30, when their bodies are redeemed from the bands of the grave. See Rom. viii. 28.

Use 1. Is to persuade you to the belief of two grand articles of faith the resurrection of Christ, and your own resurrection.

1. The resurrection of Christ. The raising of Christ from the dead is the great prop and foundation of our faith: 1 Cor. xv. 14, 'If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith also is vain.' All the apostles' preaching was built upon this supposition, that Christ died and rose again. Partly because this is the great evidence of the truth of the Christian religion; for hereby Christ was evidenced to be what he gave out himself to be, the eternal Son of God, and the Saviour of the world, 'whereof he hath given assurance to all men, in that he raised him from the dead,' Acts xxiii. 31, that is the ground of faith and assurance. So Acts xiii. 33, 'God hath raised Jesus from the dead, for it is written, Thou art my Son,' &c. Partly to show that he is in a capacity to convey life to others, both spiritual and eternal; which, if he had remained under the state of death, could not be. The life of believers is derived from the life of Christ: John xiv. 19, 'Because I live' &c. If he had been holden of death, he had neither been a fountain of grace nor glory to us: 1 Pet. i. 3, 'He hath begotten us unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Christ from the dead.' Partly because the raising of Christ is the pledge of God's omnipotency, which is our relief in all difficult cases; the power which raised Christ exceedeth all contrary powers, Eph. i. 20, 21. Now the resurrection of Christ, besides the veritableness of the report manifested by the circumstances, when a great stone was rolled at the mouth of the sepulchre, a guard of soldiers set to watch against all fraud and impostures, yet he brake through; his frequent apparitions to the apostles, yea, to five hundred disciples at once, 1 Cor. xv. 6, a great part of which were alive to testify the truth of it for some competent space of time; his pouring out of the Spirit; the apostles witnessing the truth of it in the teeth of opposition; his appearing from heaven to Paul; the prophecies of the Old Testament foretelling of it; the miracles wrought to confirm it; the holiness of the persons who were employed as chosen witnesses; their unconcernedness in all temporal interests; their hazarding of all; their success. It would make a volume to give you the evidences.

2. Your own resurrection, what may facilitate our belief and hope of it?

[1.] Consider it is a work of omnipotency. We are apt to say, How can it be, that when our bodies are turned into dust, and that dust mingled with other dust, and hath undergone many transmutations, that every one shall have his own body and flesh again? Why, consider the infinite and absolute power of God, and this will make it more reconcilable to your thoughts, and this hard point will be of easier digestion to your faith. To an infinite power there is no difficulty at all: Phil. iii. 21, 'According to the working whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself.' He appeals to God's power, how much God's power out- works our thoughts; for he were not infinite if he might be comprehended. We are not fit judges of the extent of his power; many things are marvellous in our eyes which are not so to his, Zech. viii. 6. Therefore we must not confine God to the limits of created beings or our finite understandings. Alas! our cockleshell cannot empty an ocean: we do no more know what God can do than a worm knoweth a man. He that made the world out of nothing, cannot he raise the dead? He that brought such multitudes of creatures out of the dark chaos, hath he forgotten what is become of our dust? He that gave life and being to that which before was not, cannot he raise the dead? He that turned Moses' rod into a serpent, and from a serpent into a rod again, cannot he raise us out of dust into men, and turn us from men into dust, and from the same dust raise us up into the same men and women again?

[2.] We have a relief from the justice of God. All will grant that God is, and that God is a rewarder of good and bad. Now in this life he doth not dispense these rewards. Many times here instruments of public good are made a sacrifice to public hatred, and wicked men have the world at will; therefore there is a judgment when this life is ended; and if there be a judgment, men must be capable to receive reward and punishment. You will say, so they are by having an immortal soul; ay! but the soul is not all of a man, the body is a part: it hath had its share in the work, and therefore it is most equal to conceive it shall have its share in the reward and punishment. It is the body which is gratified by the pleasure of sin for a season, the body which hath endured the trouble and pain of faithful obedience unto Christ, therefore there shall be a resurrection of just and unjust, that men may receive according to what they have done in the body. God made the whole man, therefore glorifies and punishes the whole man. The apostle urgeth this as to the godly, 1 Cor. xv. 29,

[3.] God's unchangeable covenant love, which inclines him to seek the dust of his confederates. God hath taken a believer into covenant with himself, body and soul; therefore Christ proveth the resurrection from God's covenant title, Mat. xxii. 31. To be a God is certainly to be a benefactor, Gen. xxv. 26; not 'Blessed be Shem,' but 'Blessed be the Lord God of Shem.' And to be a benefactor, becoming an infinite eternal power. If he had not eternal glory to bestow upon us, he would not justify his covenant title, Heb. xi. 16. To whom God is a benefactor, he is a benefactor not to one part only, but to their whole persons. Their bodies had the mark of his covenant upon them, their dust is in covenant with him, and wherever it is dispersed, he will look after it. Their death and rotting in the grave doth not make void his interest, nor cause his care and affection towards them to cease.

[4.] We have relief also from the redemption of Christ, which extendeth to the bodies of the saints, as it is often interpreted in scripture; as where Christ speaks of his Father's charge this was a special article in the eternal covenant: John vi. 39, 40. 'This is the will of my Father, that of all that he hath given me I should lose nothing, but raise it up at the last day.' Christ hath engaged himself to this; he is the guardian of the grave, as Rispah kept the dead bodies of Saul's sons, 2 Sam. xxi. 10. Christ hath the keys of death and hell; he hath a charge of the elect to the very day of their resurrection that he may make a good account of them, and may not lose so much as their dust, but gather it up again. What shall I say? When the intention of his death is spoken of: 1 Thes. v. 10, 'That whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him;' that is, whether dead or alive; for they that are dead in the Lord, are said to be fallen asleep. Whether we live or die, we should live a spiritual life here, and eternal life in glory hereafter. So where the obligation: 1 Cor. vi. 20, 'Ye are bought with a price.' There would be no consequence if Christ had not purchased the body as well as the soul, and Christ will not lose one jot of his purchase; if he expect duty from the body, you may expect glory for the body; so redemption is particularly applied to the body: Rom. viii. 23, 'Waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our bodies.' Then is Christ's redemption full, when the body is exempted from all the penalties induced by sin.

[5.] The honour which is put upon the bodies of the saints.

(1.) They are members of Christ: 1 Cor. vi. 15, 'Know ye not that your bodies are members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of an harlot? God forbid.' No members of Christ can for ever remain under death, but shall certainly be raised up again. When a godly man dieth, the union between soul and body is dissolved, but not the union between him and Christ, as Christ's own natural body in the grave was not separated from his person, and the hypostatical union was not dissolved; it was the Lord of glory which was crucified, and the Lord of glory which was laid in the grave, so the mystical union is not dissolved between Christ and his people, who are his mystical body, when they are dead.

(2.) They are temples of the Holy Ghost; therefore if they be destroyed they shall be built up again: 1 Cor. vi. 19, 'Know ye not that your bodies are temples of the Holy Ghost?' As Christ redeemed not the soul only, but the whole man, so the Spirit in Christ's name takes possession both of body and soul; the body is cleansed and sanctified by the Spirit, as well as the soul; and therefore it is quickened by the Spirit: Rom. viii. 11, 'If the Spirit of him that raised Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit which dwelleth in you.' The Holy Ghost will not leave his mansion or dwelling-place; the dust of believers belongs to them who were once his temple. So it is a pledge of the resurrection. Now therefore labour with yourselves, think often of it.


For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell. COL. I. 19; with,

For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Chap. II. 9.

THESE words are produced to prove that there is no defect in the evangelical doctrine, and therefore there needeth no addition to it from the rudiments of men. That there is no defect, he proveth from the author of it, Jesus Christ, who was not only man, but God; and beyond the will of God we need not look. If God will come from heaven to teach us the way thither, surely his teaching is sufficient, his doctrine containeth all things necessary to salvation. This is the argument of these words, 'For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.'

In which words, observe three things:

First, The house: in Him.

Secondly, The inhabitant: all the fulness of the Godhead.

Thirdly, The manner of dwelling: in the word bodily.

First, the house, or place of residence: 'in Him.' In the man Christ Jesus, or in that human nature in which he carried on the business of our salvation; as despicable and abject as it was in the eyes of men, yet it was the temple and seat of the Godhead.

Secondly, The inhabitant: 'the fulness of the Godhead;' not a portion of God only, or his gifts and graces (as we are made partakers of the divine nature, 1 Pet. i. 4.), but the whole Godhead.

Thirdly, The manner, crco'iaTi'co)?, 'bodily.' The word may relate

1. To the shadows and figures of the law, and so it signifieth essentially, substantially. God dwelt in the tabernacle, temple, or ark of the covenant, cru'i'SoXt'cw?, because of the figures of his presence. In Christ, o-tw'Aart'ctw?, bodily, as his human nature was the true tabernacle or temple in which he resideth. Christ calls his human nature a temple, John ii. 19. Or else,

2. With respect to the intimacy and closeness of the union. So

Doct. That Jesus Christ is true God and true man in one person. I shall prove the point:

1. By testimonies of scripture.

2. By types.

3. By reasons taken from Christ's office.

1. By testimonies of scripture. I shall pass by those that speak of the reality of either nature apart, and only allege those that speak of both together. Now these do either belong to the Old Testament or the New. I begin with the former, the testimonies of the Old Testament, because this union of the two natures in the person of Christ is indeed a mystery, but such as was foretold long before it came to pass; and many of the places wherein it was foretold were so understood by the ancient Jews. The controversy between them and Christians was not whether the Messiah were to be both God and man they agreed in that but whether this was fulfilled, or might be applied to Jesus of Nazareth. But the latter Jews, finding themselves not able to stand to the issue of that plea, say that we attribute many things to Jesus of Nazareth which were not foretold of the Messiah to come, as namely, that he should be God-man in one person; therefore it is necessary that this should be proved, that the Old Testament aboundeth with predictions of this kind. Let us begin with the first promise touching the Messiah, which was made to Adam after his fall, for the restoring of mankind: Gen. iii. 15, 'The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head.' That is to say, one of her seed, to be born in time, should conquer the devil, death, and sin. Now, when he is called the 'seed of the woman' it is apparent he must be man, and made of a woman. And when it is said that 'he shall break the serpent's head,' who can do this but only God? It is a work of divine omnipotency, for Satan hath much more power than any bare man. Therefore it is said, Rom. xvi. 20,' The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.' Come we next to the promise made to Abraham, Gen. xii. 3,' In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.' In thee, that is, in thy seed, as it is often explained: Gen. xxii. 18,' In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.' This seed was Christ, the Messiah to come. Now he was to be God-man: he was to be man, for he is the seed of Abraham; God, because that blessedness is remission of sins, or justification. For it is said, Gal. iii. 8,' The scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations of the earth be blessed.' Regeneration and the renovation of our natures is also included in it, as a part of this blessing: Acts iii. 25, 26, 'Ye are children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, In thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Therefore unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities' There is also redemption from the curse of the law, and the gift of eternal life included in it. Now all these are works proper to God alone. Let us come to the promise made to David: 2 Sam. vii. 12, 13,' I will set up thy seed after thee, and I will establish the throne of thy kingdom for ever.' It is spoken in the type of Solomon, but in the mystery of Christ, who is true man as David's seed, and true God, for his kingdom is everlasting. And so David interpreteth it: Ps. xlv. 6,' Thy throne, God, is for ever and ever.' The kingdom of the Messiah is never to have an end. And the apostle affirmeth expressly that those words are spoken to Christ the Son of God, Heb. i. 7. Let me next allege Job's confession of faith, which was very ancient: Job xix. 25, 26,' I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh I shall see God.' His Redeemer was true man, as appeareth by his title Goel; and because he shall stand on the earth, and be seen by his bodily eyes; true God, for he calleth him so: 'I shall see God.' Go we on in the scriptures: Isa. iv. 2, Christ is prophesied of: 'In that day the branch of the Lord shall be beautiful, and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely.' When he is called 'the branch of the Lord,' his Godhead is signified; when he is called' the fruit of the earth,' his manhood. So again, Isa. vii. 14,' A virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and thou shall call his name Immanuel 'that is to say,' God with us; 'which can agree to none but to him that is God and man. So that this mystery of God incarnate was not hid from the church of the Old Testament, for his very name did import God with us, or God in our nature reconciling us to himself. So Isa. ix. 6, 'To us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulders, and his name shall be called The Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the ever lasting Father, the Prince of Peace.' Who can interpret these speeches and attributes but of one who is God-man? How could he else be a child and yet the everlasting Father born of a virgin, and yet the mighty God? So Isa. xi. 1, with the 4th verse, 'A rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots:' therefore man; and ver. 4, 'He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked:' therefore God. So Isa. liii. 8, 'He shall be taken from prison and judgment:' therefore man; yet 'who shall declare his generation?' therefore God. So Jer. xxiii. 5, 6, 'A branch raised unto David from his dead stock:' therefore man: yet 'the Lord, or Jehovah our righteousness;' therefore God. Shall I urge that speech whereby Jesus did silence divers of the learned pharisees? Ps. ex. 1, 'The Lord said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool.' He was born in the mean estate of human flesh and King David's seed, and yet David's Lord; which he could not be if he were not God himself, the King of kings, and Lord of lords. Well, then, he was David's son as man, but David's Lord as he was God. And so do many of the ancient Jewish rabbins interpret this place. So again, Micah v. 2, 'Thou Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from old, from everlasting.' He is born in Bethlehem, yet his goings forth are from everlasting. He came out of Bethlehem, and therefore man; his goings forth are from everlasting, and therefore God. So Zech. xii. 10, 'I will pour out the spirit of grace and supplication, and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced.' He is God, because he giveth the Spirit of grace; man, because he is pierced or crucified. So Zech. xiii. 7, 'Against the man, my fellow.' A man he was, but God's companion, his only-begotten Son, and co-essential with himself, and so God.

Secondly, Come we now to the New Testament, in which this mystery is more plainly and fully demonstrated. There often the Son of Man is plainly asserted to be also the Son of God. Thomas calleth him his Lord, his God, John xx. 28. We are told that the Word was made flesh, John i. 14; that God purchased the church with his own blood, Acts xx. 28, which can be understood of no other but Christ, by whose blood we are redeemed, and who, being incarnate, hath blood to shed for us. But God, as a pure spirit, hath not flesh and blood and bones as we have: so Rom. i. 3, 4, 'Jesus Christ was made of the seed of David, according to the flesh, but declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness,' &c. In respect of his divine subsistence, he was begotten, not made; in regard of his human nature, made, not begotten. True man, as David was, and true God, as the Spirit and divine nature is. Again, Rom ix. 5, 'Whose are the Father's, and of whom as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever.' Than which nothing can be said more express as to that nature which is most apt to be questioned; for surely he that is God over all cannot be said to be a mere creature. The Jews confessed him to be man, and one of their blood, and Paul asserteth him to be God over all; they accounted him to be accursed, and Paul asserteth him to be blessed for ever; they thought him inferior to the patriarchs of whom he descended; and Paul over all. So that no word is used in vain; and when he saith 'according to the flesh,' he insinuateth another nature in him to be considered by us. The next place is 1 Cor. ii. 8, 'They crucified the Lord of glory' He was crucified there his human nature is acknowledged; but in respect of the divine nature he is called 'the Lord of glory:' as in the 24th Psalm, the Lord or King of glory is Jehovah Sabaoth, 'the Lord of hosts' Go we further: Phil. ii. 6, 7, 'Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.' By the form of God is meant not only the divine majesty and glory, but also the divine essence itself for without it there can be no true divine majesty and glory. Now this he kept hidden under his human nature, letting only some small rays sometimes to shine forth in his miracles. But that which was most "sensible and conspicuous in him was a true human nature in a low and contemptible estate. Again, 1 Tim. iii. 16, 'Great is the mystery of godliness, God manifested in our flesh' that is, the eternal Son of God became man, and assumed the human nature into the unity of his person. Once more: 1 Pet. iii. 18, 'He was put to death in the flesh, but quickened in the Spirit' that is, died according to his human nature, but by his divine nature raised from the dead. It is not meant of his soul. Quickened signifies not one remaining alive, but made alive that power belongeth to God., Secondly, By types. Those that come to hand are these:

1. Melchisedec: Gen. xiv. 18, 'Melchisedec, King of Salem brought forth bread and wine to Abraham.' Which type is interpreted by the apostle, Heb. vii. 2, 3, 'First being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of peace; without father and without mother; having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like unto the Son of God, abideth a priest continually.' What Melchisedec was is needless to dispute. The apostle considereth him only as he is represented in the story of Moses, who maketh no mention of his father or mother, birth or death. Certainly he was a very man; but as he standeth in scripture there is no mention of father or mother, beginning or end, what he was, or of whom he came. So is Christ as God without mother, as man without father; as God without beginning, as God-man without ending of life.

2. Another type of him was Jacob's ladder, the top of which reached heaven, and the bottom reached earth, Gen. xxviii. 12; and the angels of God were ascending and descending upon it. This ladder represented Christ the Son of man, upon whom the angels of God ascend and descend, John i. 51. The bottom, which reached the earth, represented Christ's human nature and conversing with men; the top, which reached heaven, his heavenly and divine nature; and in both his mediation with God for men. Ascende per hominem, et pervenies ad Deum. Christ reaches to heaven in his divine original; to earth in his manhood, and him the angels serve. By his dwelling in our nature, this commerce between earth and heaven is brought about.

The third type is the fiery cloudy pillar: Exod. xiii. 21, 'And the Lord went before them in the day in a pillar of a cloud; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night.' This figured Christ's guidance and protection of his church travelling through this world to his heavenly rest. The cloud signified his humanity, the fire his divinity. There were two different substances, the fire and the cloud, yet but one pillar. So there are two different natures in Christ, his divinity shining as fire, his humanity darkening as a cloud, yet but one person. That pillar departed not from them all the while they travelled in the wilderness; so, while the church's pilgrimage lasteth, Christ will conduct us, and comfort and shelter us by his presence. His mediatory conduct ceaseth not.

The fourth type is the tabernacle, wherein God dwelt symbolically, as in Christ bodily. There God sat on the mercy-seat, which is called iXao-rripLov, Heb. ix. 5. So Christ: Rom iii. 25, 'A propitiation.' He there dwelt between the cherubim s, and did exhibit himself graciously to his people, as now he doth to us by Christ. The next shall be of the scape-goat on the day of expiation, Lev. xvi. 10. One goat was to be slain, the other kept alive. The slain goat signified TTJV o-dp'ca, TO TraOrjTov, his flesh, or human nature suffering; the live goat, TO avaOes rijs Seori^ro^, his immortal deity, or as the apostle expresseth it, 2 Cor. xiii. 4, That Christ was to be 'crucified through weakness,' yet to 'live by the power of God;' or as we heard before, 1 Pet. iii. 18, 'Put to death in the flesh, and quickened by the Spirit.' Because these two things could not be shadowed by any one beast, which the priest having killed, could not make alive again; and it was not fit that God should work miracles about types, therefore he appointed two, that in the slain beast his death might be represented, in the live beast his immortality. The like mystery was represented also in the two birds for the cleansing of the leper, Lev. xiv. 6, 7.

Thirdly, I prove it by reasons taken from his office, which may be considered in the general; and so it is expressed by one word, Mediator; or in particular, according to the several functions of it, ex pressed by the terms of King, Priest, and Prophet; or with respect to the persons that are to be considered and concerned in Christ's mediation.

1. His office considered in the general: so he is called, 'Jesus the mediator of the New Testament,' Heb. xii. 24. It was agreeable that 'Lteo-tT???, a mediator, should be pea-rj, a middle person, of the same essence with both parties, and that his operative mediation should presuppose his substantial mediation; that, being God-man in the same person, he should make an atonement between God and man. Sin hath made such a breach and distance between us and God, that it raiseth our fears, and causeth backwardness to draw nigh unto him, and so hindereth our love and confidence in him. How can we depend upon one so far above us, and out of the reach of our commerce? Therefore a mediator is necessary, one that will pity us, and is more near and dear to God than we are. One in whom God doth condescend to man, and by whom man may be encouraged to ascend to God. Now, who is so fit for this as Jesus Christ, 'God manifested in our flesh'? The two natures met together in his person, and so God is nearer to man than he was before in the pure deity; for he is come down to us in our flesh, and hath assumed it into the unity of his person; and man is nearer to God, for our nature dwelleth with him so closely united, that we may have more familiar thoughts of God, and a confidence that he will look after us, and concern himself in our affairs, and show us his grace and favour, for surely he will not hide himself from his own flesh, Isa. Iviii. 7. This wonderfully reconcileth the heart of man to God, and maketh our thoughts of him more comfortable, and doth encourage us to free access to God.

2. Come we now to the particular offices by which he performeth the work of a mediator, and they all show the necessity of both natures: these offices and functions are those of prophet, priest, and king.

[1.] Our mediator hath a prophetical office belonging to his administration, that he may be made wisdom to us, and therefore he must be both God and man. God, that he may not only teach us outwardly, as an ordinary messenger or minister, but inwardly, putting his law into our minds, and writing it upon our hearts: Heb. viii. 10, and 2 Cor. iii. 3, 'Ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in the fleshly tables of the heart.' Men may be the instruments, but Christ is the author of this grace, and therefore he must be God. To convince men's understandings of their duty, and to incline their hearts to perform it, requireth no less than a divine power. If such an infinite virtue be necessary to cure the blindness of the body; how much more to cure the natural blindness and darkness of the mind! A man he must also be; for the great prophet of the church was to be raised up among his brethren like unto Moses, Deut. xviii. 15. Till such an one came into the world, they were to hear Moses; but then they were to hearken to him. He that was to come was to be a lawgiver as Moses was, but of a far more absolute and perfect law a lawgiver that must match and overmatch Moses every way. He was to be a man as Moses was in respect of our infirmities, such an one as Moses was whom the Lord had known face to face; but of a far more divine nature, and approved to the world by miracles, signs, and wonders, as Moses was. Again, it was prophesied of him that, as the great prophet of the world, he should be anointed, that he might come and preach the gospel to the poor, Isa. Ixii. 1; which could not be if he had spoken from heaven in thunder, and not as a man conversed with men. Again, he was to approve himself as one who had grace poured into his lips, Ps. xlv. 2; that all might wonder at the gracious speeches that came from his mouth, as they did at Christ's. In short, that Wisdom of the Father, which was wont to assume some visible shape for a time, when he would instruct the patriarchs concerning his will, that he might hide his majesty and put a veil upon his glory, was now to assume our nature into the unity of his person, not a temporary and vanishing appearance; that 'God who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, might in these last days speak to us by his Son,' Heb. i. 1, 2. Then God delivered his will by parcels, now by him he would settle the whole frame of the gospel.

[2.] Jesus Christ, as he is the apostle of our profession, so also he is the high priest, Heb. iii. 1, and so must be both God and man. Man, that he might be made sin for us; God, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him, 2 Cor. v. 21. Man, to undertake our redemption; God, to perform it. Man, that he might suffer; God, that he might satisfy by suffering and make our atonement full we are purchased by the blood of God. Man, that he might have a sacrifice to offer; God, that the offering might be of an infinite price and value, Heb. ix. 14. Man, that he might have a life to lay down for us; God, that the power of laying it down and taking it up again might be in his own hands: John x. 17, 18, 'I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.' This was fit that his suffering should be a pure voluntary act, required, indeed, by God, but not enforced by man. He had a liberty, at his own pleasure, as to anything men could do, and thereby commendeth his love to sinners. What shall I say? He was man that he might die; he was God that by death he might destroy him that had the power of death. He was man, that by his death he might ratify the new covenant; God, that he might convey to the heirs of promise these precious legacies of pardon and life. Man, that he might be a merciful high priest, touched with the feeling of our infirmities; God, that we, coming boldly to the throne of grace, might find mercy and grace to help in every time of need, Heb. iv. 15, 16.

[3.] His kingly office. He that was to be King of kings and Lord of lords needed to be both God and man. God, that he might cast out the prince of this world, and having rescued his church from the power of darkness, might govern it by his word and Spirit, and finally present it to himself a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing. Man he needed to be for his own glory, 'that he might be the first-born among many brethren' and head and members might suit, and be all of a piece, and for our consolation, that we might be heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, Rom. viii. 17, and for the greater terror and ignominy of Satan, that the seed of the woman might break the serpent's head. In short, God, that he might govern and influence a people so scattered abroad upon the face of the earth, and raise them up at the last day; man, that our nature (the dignity of which was so envied by Satan) might be exalted at the right hand of Majesty, and placed so near God, far above the angelical.

Thirdly, With respect to the persons who are to be considered and concerned in Christ's mediation: God, to whom we are redeemed; Satan, from whom we are redeemed; and we ourselves who are the redeemed of the Lord. And you shall see, with respect to God, with respect to Satan, with respect to ourselves, our Mediator ought to be both God and man.

1. God he need to be. With respect to God, that he may be appeased by a valuable compensation given to his justice. No mere man could satisfy the justice of God, appease his wrath, procure his favour; therefore our surety needed to be God to do this. And with respect to Satan, that he might be overcome. Now none can bind the strong one and take away his goods but he that is stronger than he, Luke xi. 21. Now no mere man is a match for Satan; the conqueror of the devil must be God, that by strong hand he may deliver us from his tyranny. And with respect to man, that he may be saved. Not only because of the two former respects must he be God, but also there is a special reason in the cause the two former respects evince it; for unless God be appeased, man cannot be reconciled, and unless the devil be overcome, man cannot be delivered. If a God be needful for that, man cannot be saved unless our Redeemer be God; but there is a special reason, because of our own obstinacy and rebellion, which is only overcome by the divine power. It is necessary man should be converted and changed, as well as God satisfied and Satan overcome. Now who can convert himself or change his own heart? That work would cease for ever unless God did undertake it by his all-conquering Spirit. Therefore our Mediator must be God, to renew and cleanse our hearts, and by his divine power to give us a divine nature.

2. Man also he ought to be with respect to these three parties: With respect to God, that the satisfaction might be tendered in the nature which had sinned, that 'as by man came death, by man also might come the resurrection from the dead,' 1 Cor. xv. 21, 22; that 'as in Adam all die, so by Christ shall all be made alive.' So with respect to the devil, that he might be overcome in the nature that was foiled by his temptations. And with respect to us, that 'he that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified, might be of one,' Heb. ii. 11. The priest that wrought the expiation, and the people for whom it was wrought, were of one stock; the right of redeeming belonged to the next kinsman. Christ is our God who redeemed us, not only jure proprietatis, as his creatures to God as God but jure propinquitatis, as his kinsmen. So as man we are of kin to him, as he came in our nature, and as he sanctifieth; doubly akin, not only by virtue of his incarnation but our regeneration, as he was made of a woman, and we born of God. These are the reasons.

Use. Let me press you to admire this mystery of godliness. The man Christ Jesus in whom the fulness of the Godhead dwelt bodily. The life and strength of our faith depends upon it, for as he is true man, flesh of our flesh, and bone of our bone, he will not be strange to us, and as he is God, he is able to help us.

Two things I will press you to:

1. Consider what a fit object he is for your faith to close with.

2. Own him as your Lord and your God.

First, To raise your trust and confidence, consider what a fit object he is for your faith, how he is qualified for all his offices of prophet, priest, and king.

1. As your prophet, consider how necessary it was that God dwelling in man's nature should set afoot the gospel. Partly because when ever you come seriously to consider this matter, this thought will arise in you, that this blessed gospel could not be without repealing the law of Moses, given with such solemnity by God himself, and it was not fit it should be abrogated by any but him who was far above Moses, to wit, by the Son of God himself, not any fellow- servant equal to Moses. The apostle telleth us that Moses was faithful in God's house as a servant, but Christ as a Son over his own house, Heb. iii. 5, 6. The servant must give place when the Son and Lord himself cometh. But rather take it from what Moses foretold himself: Deut. xviii. 18, 19, 'I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren like unto thee, and I will put my words into his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I command him; and it shall come to pass, that he that will not hearken to my word which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him' Now these words cannot be verified in any other prophet after Moses until Christ, for that of these prophets there arose none in Israel like unto Moses, Deut. xxxiv. 10. They had no authority to be lawgivers as Moses had, but were all bound to the observation of his law till Christ should come, whom Moses calleth a prophet like unto himself, that is a law-maker, exhorting all men to hear and obey him. None of the prophets did take upon them that privilege; they must let that alone till the Messiah should come, whose office it is to change the law given upon Mount Sinai, and instead thereof to propagate or promulgate a new law to begin at Zion: Isa. ii. 3, 'The law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.' And in another place, 'The isles shall wait for his law,' Isa. xlii. 4. Well, now, this is a mighty confirmation of our religion, and bindeth both our faith and obedience to consider Christ's authority, that a greater than Moses is here. Partly because it concerneth us to receive the gospel as an eternal doctrine that shall never be changed, for it is called an everlasting covenant; and nothing conduceth to that so much as to consider that it is promulgated by the eternal God himself, by him 'in whom the fulness of the Godhead dwelleth bodily.' Partly because the gospel, if we would profit by it, is to be received by all believers, not only as an everlasting covenant, but as certain, perfect, and saving. Now if the fulness of the Godhead dwelt in him who gave this covenant, we cannot deny either the certainty or the perfection, or the savingness of it; for if we receive it from him who is truth itself, we cannot be deceived. It is certain if he taught us in person; surely all his works are perfect. Subordinate ministers may mingle their weaknesses with their doctrine; if we have it from a Saviour, surely it is a doctrine that bringeth salvation.

2. Consider what a fit object here is for your faith. As Christ is a priest, so his great business is to reconcile us to God in the body of his flesh through death, who once were strangers and enemies, Col. i. 21. Consider how fit he was for this; God and man were first united in his person, before they were united in one covenant. If you consider the fruits of his redemption and reconciliation; the evil from whence we were to be delivered, the good that was to be procured, Christ is every way a commodious Mediator for us as God-man. If you consider the evil from whence we are delivered, he was man, that the chastisement of our peace might be put upon his shoulders; God, that by his stripes we might be healed, Isa. liii. 5. Or, if you consider the good to be pro cured, he doth it as God-man. He was a man, that as by the disobedience of one many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one many might be made righteous; God, that as sin reigned unto death, so grace might reign through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord, Rom. v. 19, 21. As he is God, his merit is full; as he is man, we are partakers of the benefit of it.

3. Consider how fit an object he is for our faith as king. For as the fulness of the Godhead dwelt in him bodily, he is the greatest and most glorious person that ever was in the world, infinitely superior above all power that is named in this world, or in the world to come. The man who is our shepherd is fellow to the Lord of hosts. The thought of Immanuel maketh the prophet startle, and break out into a triumph when Sennacherib brake in with his forces like a deluge in the land of Judah: 'They fill thy land, Immanuel,' Isa. viii. 8. Then ver. 9, 10, 'Associate yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; take counsel together, it shall come to nought; speak the word, it shall not stand: for God is with us.' Or because of Immanuel. Surely Christ is the foundation of the church's happiness, and may afford us comfort in the most calamitous condition; we are in his hands, under his pastoral care and protection: John x. 28, 'I give unto them eternal lite, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand.' Neither man nor devil can break off totally and finally their union with him. In short, he that assumed our nature to himself, will communicate himself to us. All union is in order to communion here is a commodious and a blessed Saviour represented unto you.

Secondly, Own him as your Lord and your God. This was the profession of Thomas's faith: John xx. 28, 'My Lord and my God.' I shall insist on that scripture. In the history there are these remarkables:

1. Thomas, his absence from an assembly of the disciples, when Christ had manifested himself to them, ver. 24. Being absent, he not only missed the good news which many 1 brought, but also the comfortable sight of Christ, and was thereby left in doubts and snares.

2. When these things were told him he betrays his incredulity, ver. 25. When they told him, 'he said unto them, Except I see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe' This un belief was overruled by God's providence for the honour of Christ. His incredulity was an occasion to manifest the certainty of Christ's resurrection. If credulous men, or those hasty of belief, had only seen Christ, their report had been liable to suspicion. Solomon maketh it one of his proverbs, 'The simple believeth every word.' Here is one that had sturdy and pertinacious doubts, yet brought at last to yield. However, this is an instance of the proneness of our hearts to unbelief, especially if we have not the objects of faith under the view of the senses, and how apt we are to give laws to heaven, and require our terms of God.

1 Query, 'Mary'? ED.

3. Christ's condescension in two things:

[1.] In appearing again, ver. 26, on the first day of the next week, to show how ready he is to honour and bless his own day, and to give satisfaction to poor doubting souls by coming again to them; and it was well Thomas was there at this time.

[2.] In giving Thomas the satisfaction of sense: ver. 27, 'Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands, and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side' With what mildness doth our Lord treat him, though under such a distemper. Unbelief is so hateful to Christ, that he is very careful to have it removed, and in condescension grants what was his fault to seek.

4. The next thing is Thomas his faith: ver. 28, 'And he answered and said, My Lord, and my God' He presumeth not to touch Christ, but contents himself only to see him, and having seen him, makes a good confession, 6 icvpios pov, 6 eo? 'JLOV.

[1.] Observe the two titles given to Christ: God and Lord. He is God, the fountain of all our happiness, and Lord, as he hath a dominion over us, to guide and dispose of us at his own pleasure.

[2.] Observe the appropriation or personal application to himself my God and my Lord.

Hence we may observe:

1. That God leaveth some to themselves for a while, that them selves and others may be more confirmed afterwards. Thomas his faith was as it were dead and buried in his heart, and now, upon the sight of Christ, quickened and revived. We must not judge of men by a fit of temptation, but stay till they come to themselves again. Who would have thought that out of an obstinate incredulity so great a faith should spring up suddenly?

2. We may observe Thomas, that is with much ado awakened, makes a fairer confession than all the rest. They call him their Lord, but he his Lord and God.

3. We may observe, again, that true believing with the heart is joined with confession of the mouth: Ps. cxvi. 10, 'I believed, there fore have I spoken.'

4. Hence you may take notice of the reality of the two natures in the unity of Christ's person, for he is both Deus and Dominus. But how cometh he to acknowledge Christ's Godhead? He did not feel the divinity of Christ in hands, or side, or feet. Videbat tangebatque hominem, et confitebatur Deum, quern non videbat neque tangebat, saith Austin. Herein his faith was beyond sense, he felt the manhood and acknowledged the deity.

5. Hence we may observe, that those that are rightly conversant about Christ and the mysteries of his death and resurrection, should take Christ for their Lord and their God. Thomas saith, 'My Lord and my God' and his confession should be the common confession of all the faithful. I shall quit the three first, and insist only on the two last. I therefore begin with the fourth observation.

Fourthly, Hence you see the reality of the two natures in the unity of Christ's person. The name of God is joined with the title of Lord; therefore the name of God belongeth to him no less than the title of Lord. Thomas, when he saith my Lord, he seemeth not to have satisfied himself till he had added this other name and title, my God: now this importeth the reality of his divine nature, for these three reasons:

1. Those things which are proper to God cannot, ought not, to be transferred to a mere creature; but this title of my God is a covenant title, and so often used in scripture, and therefore Christ was God.

2. To whom truly and properly the names and titles of things do belong, to him that which is signified by those names and titles doth belong also; for otherwise this would destroy all certainty of speech. You cannot speak or write, unless words signify what in vulgar use they are applied unto; there could be no reasoning a signo ad rem significatam, from the sign to the thing signified. If I should call a brute a man, or a creature God, how can we understand what is spoken or written? The argument is the more cogent, because a name is an implicit contracted definition, as a definition is a name explained and dilated. As when I say a man is a reasonable creature, so a God is one that hath power over all, blessed for ever.

3. The greater any person is, the more danger there is of giving him titles that do not belong to him; for that is to place him in an honour to which he hath greater pretensions than others, but no right; especially doth this hold good in religion it is true in civils. To give one next the king, the title of king, would awaken the jealousy of princes, and breed much inconvenience. But especially doth this hold good in religion, where God is so jealous of giving his glory to another, Isa. xlii. 8. Therefore the greater the dignity of Christ was above all other creatures, the more caution was necessary that the name of God might not be ascribed to him, if he were only mere man, and it did not properly agree to him; for the more dangerous the error, the more cautiously should we abstain from it.

4. Consider the person by whom this title was given; by a godly man. No godly man would call an idol, or a magistrate, or a teacher, or a king, or an angel, or any created thing above an angel, his Lord and his God. But this was done by Thomas, one bred up in the religion taught by Moses and the prophets; and the chief point of that religion was, that God is but one: Deut. vi. 4, 'Hear, Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.' This was one of the sentences written on the fringes of their garments, and it is quoted by Christ, whose disciple Thomas also was, Mark xii. 29, and explained by a learned scribe which came to him: Mark xii. 32, 'Well, master, thou hast said the truth, for there is but one God, and there is none other but him.' Now, Thomas knowing this, and the first commandment, 'Thou shalt have no other gods before me,' if he were not persuaded of it, would he say to Christ, 'My Lord and my God '?

5. The person to whom he spake it: 'He said to him;' not to the Father, but to Jesus of Nazareth:' My Lord and my God.' Surely as the saints would not derogate from God, so Christ would not arrogate what was proper to his Father. Therefore as his disciples would have been tender of giving it to him, so he would have refused this honour, being so holy, if it had not been his due. But Christ reproved not, but rather approved this confession of faith; therefore it was right and sound. Christ had said to him, 'Be not faithless, but believing,' and then Thomas saith, 'My Lord and my God.' 'And Jesus saith to him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.' There is no rebuke for ascribing too much to him.

6. The conjunction of the divine and human nature is so necessary to all Christ's functions and offices, that less would not have been sufficient than to say, 'My Lord, my God.' The functions and offices of Christ are three to be a prophet, priest, and king.

[1.] To be a prophet, Mat. xxiii. 10, 'One is your master, even Christ.' Now to be our master and teacher, it is necessary that he should have the human nature and divine conjoined. The human nature, that he might teach men by word of mouth, familiarly and sweetly conversing with men; and also by his example, for he perfectly teacheth that teacheth both ways, by word and deed. And it is a mighty condescension, that God would come down, and submit to the same laws we are to live by. His divine nature was also necessary, that he might be the best of teachers; for who is such a teacher as God? and that he might teach us in the best way, and that is, when God, taking the nature of man, doth vouchsafe to men his familiar converse, eating and drinking and walking with them, offering him self to be seen and heard by them; as he of old taught Abraham, Gen. xviii., accepting his entertainment; nothing more profitable, or honourable to men can be thought of. In Christ's prophetical office, four things are to be considered:

(1.) What he taught.

(2.) How he taught.

(3.) By what arguments he confirmed his doctrine.

(4.) How he received it from the Father.

(1.) What he taught. Christ preached, but chiefly himself; he revealed and showed forth God, but by revealing and showing forth him self, John xiv. 9; he called men, but to himself; he commanded men to believe, but in himself, John xiv. 1; he promised eternal life, which he would give, but to men believing in himself; he offered salvation to miserable sinners, but to be had by himself; he wrought a fear of judgment to come, but to be exercised by himself; he offered remission of sins, but to those that believed in himself; he promised the resurrection of the dead, which he by his own power and authority would bring to pass. Now who could do all this but God? A mere man, if faithful and holy, would have turned off men from himself to God: 2 Cor. iv. 5, 'For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.' They designed no honour to themselves, but only to Christ; they were loth to transfer any part of this glory to themselves; so would Christ if he had not been God. Therefore what should his disciples say, but 'My Lord, my God'?

(2.) How he taught. There is a twofold way of- teaching one human, by the mouth, and sound of words striking the ear; the other divine, opening and affecting the heart. Christ used both ways. As the human nature was necessary to the one, so the divine to the other. As the organs of speaking cannot be without the human nature, so the other way of teaching cannot be without a divine power. When the disciples came to Christ, 'Lord, increase our faith,' Luke xvii. 5, he 4 did not answer, as Jacob did to Rachel (when she said, 'Give me children or I die'), 'Am I in the place of God?' Christ after his resurrection did not only open the scriptures, as was said before, but, Luke xxiv. 45, 'He opened their understandings, that they might understand the scriptures.' And he opened the heart of Lydia, Acts xvi. 14; and poured the Holy Spirit on the apostles on the day of Pentecost, Acts ii.; and by the same efficacy teacheth the church, wherever it is scattered.

(3.) If you consider by what arguments he confirmed his doctrine. By many, and the greatest miracles, not done by the power of another, but his own; and he required men to believe it: Mat. ix. 28, 'Believe ye that I am able to do this?' Whence had he the power to know the thoughts of men, to cure all sorts of diseases in a moment, to open the eyes of the blind, to raise the dead, to dispossess devils, but from that divine nature which was in him? Was it in his body and flesh? then it was finite, and in some sort material. Was it in his soul, understanding, will, or phantasy, or sensitive appetite? How could it work on other men's bodies? Therefore it was from his divine nature: 'My Lord, my God.'

(4.) How he received this doctrine from the Father. Did God ever speak to him, or appear to him? Is there any time, or manner, or speech noted by the evangelists when God made this revelation? None at all. If he were a mere creature, or nothing but a man, surely that should have been done. He revealed the most intimate counsels and decrees of God, as perfectly knowing them; but when or how they were revealed to him by his Father is not said, which, if he had been mere man, would have conduced to the authority of his message and revelation. But all this needed not, he being a divine person, of the same essence with his Father. Therefore, 'My Lord, my God.'

[2.] His priestly office. The human nature was necessary for that, for the reasons alleged by the apostle, Heb. ii. 14, 17. And also the divine nature, that there might be a priest as well as a sacrifice. There had been no sacrifice if he had not been man, and no priest, if he had not been God, to offer up himself through the eternal Spirit, Heb. ix. 14. The sacrifice must suffer, the priest act; and besides, he could not enter into the heavenly sanctuary to present himself before God for us, Heb. ix. 24. Then the heavenly sanctuary and tabernacle need first to be made before he entered. For as the earthly priest made the earthly tabernacle before he ministered in it, so the true priest was to make the heavenly tabernacle, as the author to the Hebrews saith in many places. But to leave that; the priest was to expiate sins by the offering of a sacrifice instead of the sinner. So Christ was to satisfy the justice of God for sinners by his mediatory sacrifice. Now this he could not do unless he had been God as well as man. The dignity of his person did put a value upon his sufferings. Without this, how shall we pacify conscience, representing to us the evil of sin, and the dreadfulness of God's wrath, and the exact justice of the judge of all the world, Rom. iii. 25, 26; especially when these apprehensions are awakened in us by the curse of the law and the stinging sense of God's threatenings, which are so absolute, universal, and every way true and evident, unless we know a sufficient satisfaction hath been made for us? If you think the promises of the gospel are enough, alas! when the threatenings of the law are so just, and built upon such evident reason, the soul is exposed to doubtful ness. And if the threatenings of the law seem altogether in vain, the promises of the gospel will seem less firm and valid. The truth and honour of God's government must one way or other be kept up, and that will not be unless there be a fair passage from covenant to covenant, and that the former be not repealed or relaxed but upon valuable consideration, as it is when our mediator and surety beareth our sorrows and griefs, and satisfieth for us. But now, if he were mere man, it would not have that esteem and value as to be sufficient for so many men, and so many sins as are committed against an holy God. Therefore he needeth to be God also.

[3.] His kingly office. How can that be exercised without an infinite power? Because by our king and judge, all our enemies are to be overcome; the world, sin, death, and the devil. And what is necessary to do this every man may soon understand. And as an infinite power is necessary, so an infinite knowledge; that all things in heaven and earth may be naked and open to him, and that he search the heart, and try the reins: and then, that he may subject all things to himself, raise all the dead to life, govern and protect the faithful in all the parts of the world; that he may be present with them, in every age and place, to help and relieve them. In short, to do all things both in heaven and in earth, that fall within the compass of his office. Now what is a divine and infinite power, if this be not? What can the Father do which the Son cannot do also? yea, what doth the Father do which the Son doth not likewise? John v. 19. Is there any work which the one doth that the other cannot do? Besides, there needeth infinite authority and majesty, therefore the king of the church must be in finite. But how is he infinite, if he hath only a finite nature, such as a mere creature hath? Or how could his finite nature, without change and conversion into another nature, be made infinite? For without doubt that nature is infinite which hath an infinite power of under standing, willing, and acting. Well, then, Christ cannot be truly owned, unless he be owned as Lord and God.

Fifthly, Those that are rightly conversant about Christ, and the mysteries of his death and resurrection, should take Christ for their Lord and their God. Every one of them should say, My God, on whom I depend; my Lord, to whose use I resign myself. I shall

1. Explain in what sense these words may and ought to be used.

2. Give you the reasons why it becomes Christians to be able to say, 'My Lord, my God.'

1. In what sense these words may and ought to be used, 'My Lord, and my God' There are two things considerable in those words:

[1.] An appropriation or a claim, and challenge of interest in him.

[2.] A resignation or dedication of ourselves to his use and service.

Both are implied in these titles, 'My Lord, my God.' Christ was his God or benefactor, and also his Lord and Master. However that be in the mutual stipulation of the covenant, it is evident: Cant. ii. 16, 'I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine' There is the appropriation of faith, and the resignation of obedience: Ezek. xxxvi. 28, 'Ye shall be my people, and I will be your God;' Zech. xiii. 9, 'I will say, It is my people, and they shall say, The Lord is my God.'

(1.) The one is the fruit and effect of the other. God saith, 'I am thy God;' and the soul answereth, 'I am thy servant.' As when Christ said, 'Mary,' she presently said, 'Rabboni.' God awakeneth us by the offer of himself and all his grace to do us good, and then we devote ourselves to his service, and profess subjection to him. If he will be our God, we may well allow him a dominion and lordship over us, to rule us at his pleasure. We choose him, because he chooseth us, for all God's works leave their impression upon our hearts he cometh with terms of peace, and we with profession of duty. God loveth first, and most, and purest, and therefore his love is the cause of all.

(2.) The one is the evidence of the other. If God be yours, you are his. He is yours by gift of himself to you, and you are his by gift of yourselves to him. The covenant bindeth mutually. Many will be ready to apply, and call God their God, that do not dedicate and devote themselves to God. If you be not the Lord's, the Lord is not yours. He refuseth their claim that say, Hosea viii. 2, 'Israel shall cry unto me, My God, we know thee. Israel hath cast off the thing that is good.' In their distress they pleaded their interest in the covenant, but God would not allow the claim, because they denied obedience.

(3.) The one is more sensible and known to us than the other. A believer cannot always say God is mine, but he will always say, I am his: Ps. cxix. 94, 'I am thine, save me.' I am thine, and will be thine, only thine, wholly thine, and always thine. Appropriation hath more of a privilege in it, resignation is only a duty. We have leave and allowance to say God is my God, but we cannot always say it without doubt and hesitancy, because our interest is not always alike evident and clear. When you cannot say, My God, yet be sure to say, My Lord. We know God to be ours by giving up ourselves to be his. His choice and election of us is a secret till it be evidenced by our choice of him for our God and portion our act is more sensible to the conscience. Be more full and serious in the resignation of your selves to him, and in time that will show you your interest in God.

(4.) God's propriety in us by contract and resignation speaketh com fort, as well as our propriety and interest in God. You are his own, and therefore he will provide for you and care for you: 1 Tim. v. 8, 'If any provide not for his own, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel' Interest doth strangely endear things to us. 'The world will love its own,' John v. 19; and will not God love his own, and Christ love his own? John xiii. 1. You may trust him, and depend upon him, and serve him cheerfully, for you are his own. So that if we had no interest in God established by the covenant, if God had not said to us, I am yours, yet our becoming his would make it comfortable. For every one taketh himself to be bound to love his own, provide for his own, and to defend his own, and do good to his own. Indeed, God is ours, as well as we are his; but our being his draweth along with it much comfort and blessing. But to speak of these apart:

(1st.) The appropriation or claim of interest is a sweet thing. If God be your God, why should you be troubled? Ps. xvi. 5, 6, 'The Lord is the portion of my inheritance, and of my cup. Thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places, yea, I have a goodly heritage' You have a right to God himself, and may lay claim to all that he hath for your comfort and use. His attributes yours, his providences yours, his promises yours, what may not you promise yourselves from him? Support under all troubles, relief in all necessities. You may take hold of his covenant, Isa. Ivi. 4, and lay claim to all the privileges of it. It is all yours.

(2nd.) This dedication, this resignation of ourselves to God's use, to be at his disposing without reservation or power of revocation, is often spoken of in scripture: Isa. xliv. 5, 'One shall say, I am the Lord's, another shall call himself by the name of Jacob, and another shall subscribe with his hand to the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel.' The meaning is, to give up their names to God, to be entered into his muster-roll, and to be listed in his service: Rom. vi. 13, 'Yield up yourselves to God, as those that are alive from the dead.' It is the immediate fruit of grace and new life infused in us. A natural man liveth to himself, to please himself, and give satisfaction to his own lusts. Grace is a new being and life, that inclines us to live and act for God. As soon as this life is begotten in us by the power of his Spirit, our hearts are inclined towards God, and you devote yourselves to serve and please him. As your work and business was before to serve the devil, the world, and the flesh, so now to please, serve, and glorify God.

Secondly, The reasons why it becometh Christians to be able to say, 'My Lord, my God.'

1. Because our interest in him is the ground of our comfort and confidence. It is not comfortable to us that there is a God, and that there is a Lord, that may be terrible to us. The devils believe, and the damned spirits feel there is a God and there is a Lord; but their thoughts of God is a part of their misery and torment, James ii. 19. The more they think of God, the more their horror is increased; to own a God, and not to see him as ours, the remembrance of it will be troublesome to us: 1 Sam. xxx. 6, 'David comforted himself in the Lord his God.' There was the comfort, that he had a God to go to when all was lost, and that God was his God. So Hab. iii. 18, 'I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.' If God be our God, we have more in him than trouble can take from us. So Luke i. 47, 'My spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.' When you make particular application to yourselves, it breeds strong comfort.

2. Because nothing strikes upon the heart with such an efficacy, as what nearly concerns us affects us most. The love of Christ to sinners in general doth not affect us so much as when it is shed abroad in our own hearts by the Spirit: Gal. ii. 20, 'He loved me, and gave himself for me;' that draws out our hearts to God again, and is a quickening motive to stir us up to the life of love and faith. So Eph. i. 13, 'In whom ye trusted, after ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation.' It is not sufficient to know that the gospel is a doctrine of salvation to others only, but to find it a doctrine of salvation to themselves in particular, that they may apply the promises to their own heart. A Christian is affected most with things according as he is concerned in them himself. It bindeth our obedience the more firmly when we know that we are particularly engaged to God, and have chosen him for our God and our Lord.

3. Because without a real personal entering into covenant, the covenant doth us no good; unless every one of us do choose God for our God and Lord, and particularly own him. Every man must give his hand to the Lord, and personally engage for himself. It is not enough that Christ engage for us in being our surety, but we must take a bond upon ourselves. Something Christ did for us and in our name, he interposed as the surety of a better testament, Heb. vii. 22. Something must be done personally by us before we can have benefit by it. You must give up yourselves to the Lord. It is not enough that the church engage for us, but every man must engage his own heart to draw nigh to God: Jer. xxx. 21, 'Who is he that engageth his heart to draw nigh to me?' It is not enough that our parents did engage for us, Deut. xxix. 10-12. They did in the name of their little ones avouch God to be their God, as we devote, dedicate, and engage our children to God in baptism; but no man can savingly transact this work for another. We ratify the covenant in our own persons, 2 Cor. ix. 13, by a professed subjection to the gospel of Christ. This is a work cannot be done by a proxy, or assignees; unless we personally enter into covenant with God for ourselves, our dedication by our parents will not profit us, we shall be as children of the Ethiopians unto God, Amos ix. 7; though children of the covenant, all this will not serve these are visible external privileges. But there is something required of our persons, every one must say for himself, 'My Lord, and my God.' And this must not only be done in words, and by some visible external rites that may signify so much. As for instance, coming to the Lord's Supper, that is the new testament in Christ's blood, Luke xxii. 20". It is interpretative a sealing the new covenant between Christ and us. God giveth, and you take the elements as a pledge and token that God and you are agreed. That he will give you himself, his Christ, and all his benefits; and you will walk before him in newness of life. Now to rest in the ceremony, and neglect the substance, is but a mockery of God. As many rend the bond yet prize the seal, care much for the sacrament, that never care for the duty it bindeth them unto. If your hearts be hearty and well with God, you come now personally to enter into covenant with him; but this business must not be done only externally, but internally also. It is a business done between God and our souls, though no outward witnesses be conscious to it. God cometh speaking to us by his Spirit in this transaction: Ps. xxxv. 3, 'Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.' And we speak to God, Lam. in. 24, 'The Lord is my portion, saith my soul.' There is verbum mentis, as well as verbum oris. This covenant is carried on in soul language: Ps. xvi. 21, 'my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord, Thou art my Lord.' So Ps. xxvii. 8, 'When thou saidst, Seek ye my face, my heart said, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.' The Lord offereth or representeth himself as our Lord, and we profess ourselves to be the Lord's. No eye seeth, or ear heareth what passeth between God and the soul. Now, without this personal inward covenanting, all the privileges of the covenant will do us no good. And this personal inward covenanting amounts to full as much as 'My Lord, my God.' Therefore it concerneth every one of us to see whether we have thus particularly owned Christ; if there have been any treaty between God and our souls; and whether it came to any conclusion, and particular soul engagement; that you could thus own Christ, not only as God and Lord, but as your God and your Lord.


And having made peace by the blood of his cross, to reconcile all things to himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. COL. I. 20.

IN these words observe:

First, What Christ was to do.

Secondly, The manner how he did it; or,

First, The end for which he was appointed. To be our Mediator and Redeemer, and accordingly promised and sent into the world to reconcile all things to God, 'Whether they be things in heaven, or things in earth.'

Secondly, The means by which he accomplished it: 'Having made peace by the blood of his cross;' that is, by his bloody sacrifice on the cross, thereby answering the sacrifices of atonement under the law. In the first branch take notice of:

1. The benefit: reconciliation with God.

2. The person procuring it: by him; and it is repeated again, I say, by him.

3. The persons to whom this benefit is intended, expressed

[1.] Collectively, irdvra, all things.

[2.] Distributively: whether they be things in earth or things in heaven.

As they are collectively expressed, it teaches us that grace is revealed and offered in the most comprehensive expressions, that none may be excluded, or have just cause to exclude themselves. As it is distributively expressed, the latter clause is of a dubious interpretation. Some 'by things on earth,' understand men, but by 'things in heaven' the angels. Surely not the fallen angels, for they are not in heaven, neither was Christ sent to reconcile them, nor relieve them in their misery and reduce them to God, Heb. ii. 16, OVK GTriXa^dverai rwv ayryeXcw. What then shall we understand by 'things in heaven'? Some think the holy angels, others the glorified saints. (1.) Those that assert the first argue thus: that the angels are properly inhabitants of heaven, and so fitly called things in heaven; and they are enemies to men whilst they are ungodly, idolatrous, and rebels to God (as good subjects hold with their prince, and have common friends and enemies with him), but are reconciled to them as soon as they partake of the benefits of Christ's death, as we are told of 'joy in heaven among the angels of God, at the conversion of one sinner' Luke xv. 10. Now if there be so much joy over one sinner repenting, how much more when many sinners are snatched out of the jaws of hell? They make the sense to be thus: before, for the sins of men, they were alienated from them, but then reconciled. But this scripture speaks not of the re conciliation of angels and men, but the reconciliation of all things to God; for so it is expressly in the text, to reconcile all things to him self. Now the good angels cannot be said to be reconciled to God, for there was never a breach between them, Se nunquam cum matre in gratiam rediisse. (2.) Therefore, I interpret it of the glorified saints. See the like expression, Eph. i. 10, 'To gather together in one all things to Christ which are in heaven and in earth' And more clearly, Eph. iii. 15, 'Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named' Meaning thereby the faithful who are already in heaven, and those who are now remaining upon earth. This is a comfortable note, and teaches us:

1. That the apostle Paul knew no purgatory, or third place for souls after death.

2. That the saints departed are now in heaven as to their souls, and gathered to the rest of the spirits of just men made perfect.

3. The souls now in heaven once needed the merit of Christ, even as we do. None come thither but they were first reconciled to God. By him their peace was made, and they obtained remission of sins by the blood of his cross, as ye do. In short, all that go to heaven go thither by the mediation, sacrifice, and meritorious righteousness of the same Redeemer.

Doct. One great benefit we have by Christ is peace and reconciliation with God. Here I shall show:

1. What this reconciliation is.

2. How it was obtained.

3. What assurance we have that it is obtained.

4. How and upon what terms it is applied to us. 1. What this reconciliation is.

,p>I answer: It is not an original peace, but a returning to amity after some foregoing breach. Now the breach by sin consisted in two things an aversion of the creature from God, and an aversion of God from the creature. So before peace and reconciliation can be made, two things must be removed God's wrath, and our sinful nature: God must be pacified, and man converted. God's wrath is appeased by the blood of Christ, and our natures are changed and healed by the Spirit of grace. First, God's wrath is appeased, and then the Spirit is bestowed upon us; for while God is angry and offended, no saving benefit can be expected from him. This text speaks not how he took away our enmity, but how he appeased God for us, not so much of the application as the impetration of this benefit. The application is spoken of ver. 21, how it is applied to us, but here the apostle more directly speaks of the impetration, how it was procured and obtained for us namely, by Christ's satisfying God's justice for that wrong which caused the breach, or the dying of the Son of God for a sinful world. Now this hath an influence on God's pardon and our conversion, for by virtue of this reconciliation we are justified and pardoned. There fore, we are said to be justified by his blood, Rom. viii. 9, that is, the price is paid by Christ and accepted by God. There needeth nothing more to be done on the Mediator's part. By virtue of the same peace made we are also sanctified and converted unto God, 2 Cor. v. 18. The gift of the sanctifying Spirit is given us as the fruit of Christ's death.

2. How it was obtained by the blood of his cross he made peace. This implieth death, and such a death as in appearance was accursed; for the death of the cross is the vilest and most cruel death: Gal. iii. 13, 'Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made accursed for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree' Now we must see the reasons of this course or way of reconciling the world, that we may not mistake God's design, nor be possessed with any imaginations which are derogatory to God's honour as, sup pose, if we should hence conceit that God is all wrath and justice, unwilling of himself to be reconciled to man, or that he delighteth in blood, and is hardly drawn to give out grace. Oh, no! these are false misprisions and misrepresentations of God. Therefore let us a little inquire into the reasons why God took this way to reconcile all things to himself, and ordained Christ to bear the chastisement of our peace. I answer: That the justice of God might be eminently demonstrated, the law giver vindicated, and the breach that was made in the frame of government repaired; and God manifested to be a hater of sin, and yet the sinner saved from destruction; and that the love of God might be eminently and conspicuously discerned; and our peace the better secured. As let us a little see these things more particularly. I begin

[1.] With the holiness of God's nature, who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, Hab. i. 13, that is, so as to approve of it, or altogether connive at it, so as to let it go without punishment or mark of his displeasure; therefore some way must be found out to signify his purest holiness, and his hatred and detestation of sin, and that it should not be pardoned without some testimony of his displeasure against it. We are told God hateth the workers of iniquity, Ps. v. 5, and the righteous Lord loveth righteousness, Ps. xi. 7; and, therefore, when God was to grant his universal pardon he would not do it without this propitiatory atonement.

[2.] The honour of his governing justice was to be secured, and freed from any blemish, that the awe of God might be kept up in the world. In the mystery of our redemption we must not look upon God only as pars Iccsa, the wronged party; but as rector mundi. God was to carry himself as the governor of the world. Now there is a difference between a private person and a governor private persons may pass by offences as they please, but a governor must do right, and what conduces to the public good. There is a twofold notion that we have of public right, justum est quod fieri debet, and justum est quod fieri potest. That which ought to be done, or we are unjust; as for instance, to punish the righteous equally with the wicked, that Abraham pleadeth, Gen. xviii. 25, 'That be far from thee, to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked, and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee. Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?' Not that Abraham mindeth God of his office, but he was confidently assured of the nature of God that he could not do otherwise. But now there is justum quod fieri potest, which if it be done, or if it be not done, the party is not unjust. The first part of justice is paying of debts; the second, exacting or requiring of debts. Now the Judge of the world doth all things wisely and righteously. The question is, therefore, whether God, passing by the offences of the world without any satisfaction required, doth deal justly? As a free Lord he may make what laws he pleases; but as a just Judge, with respect to the ends of government, he doth that which is for public good. The right of passing by a wrong, and the right of releasing a punishment, are different things; because punishment is a common interest, and is referred to a common good to pre serve order and government, and for example to the future. The government of the world required it that God should stand on the satisfaction of Christ, and the submission of the sinner, that he may be owned and reverenced as the just and holy governor of the world. A valuable compensation is insisted on for this end: Rom. ii. 25, 26, '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, through the forbearance of God. To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.'

[3.] To keep up the authority of his law. God had made a former covenant, which was not to be quitted and wholly made void but upon valuable consideration; therefore if it be broken, and no more ado made about it, all respect and obedience to God would fall to the ground. The law may be considered either as to the precept or sanction. The authority of the precept is kept up by Christ's submission to the law, and living by the same rules we are bound to live by, and performing all manner of obedience to God; for it behoved him to fulfil all righteousness, Mat. iii. 15, being set up as a pattern of holiness in our nature, to which we are to be conformed. But that which is most considerable in this case is the sanction or penalty. If this should be relaxed, and no satisfaction required, it might leave upon God the blemish of levity, mutability, and inconstancy. The law was not given in jest, but in the greatest earnest that ever law was given; and so solemn a transaction was not constituted to no purpose, therefore God will not part with the law upon light terms: Gal. iv. 4, 5, 'When the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law.' That men may know that it is a dangerous thing to transgress his law, and that they may fear and do no more presumptuously; partly that it might not foster in us hopes of impunity, which are very natural to us, Gen. iii. 5. The devil seeks to weaken the truth of God's threatenings, Deut. xxix. 19, 20. We are apt to look upon the threatenings of the law as a vain scarecrow; therefore, for the terror and warning of sinners for the future, God would not release us from the punishment till our surety undertook our reconciliation with God by bearing the chastisement of our peace.

[4.] Christ's death was necessary to make sin odious, and obedience more acceptable to us.

(1.) Sin more odious or hateful no other remedy would serve the turn to procure the pardon and destruction of it than the bloody death of the cross, Rom. viii. 3. Surely it is no small thing for which the Son of God must die. When you read or hear of Christ's sufferings, you should never think an extenuating and favourable thought of it more.

(2.) To commend obedience: for Christ's suffering death at the command of his Father was the noblest piece of service, and highest act of obedience that ever could or can be performed unto God. It is beyond anything that can be done by men or angels. There was in it so much love to man, so much self-denial, humility, and patience, so much resignation of himself to God, who had appointed him to be our Redeemer, that it cannot be paralleled. The great and most remarkable thing in Christ's death was obedience: Rom. v. 18; Phil. ii. 7, 8. God delighteth not in mere blood, but blood offered in obedience as the best way to impress upon man a sense of his duty, and to teach him to serve and please God at the dearest rate.

[5.] This death commendeth the love of God to us, for it is the great demonstration of it. Many draw a quite contrary conclusion, as if he were with much ado brought to have mercy on us; but they forget that he is first and chief in the design: 2 Cor. v. 19, 'God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself.' Christ came from heaven to declare to us the greatness of God's love. God thought nothing too dear for us not the Son of his love, nor his death, ignominy, and shame: Rom. v. 8, God commendeth his love in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. When we had alienated our hearts from God, refused his service, and could expect nothing but the rigour of his law and vindictive justice, then he spared not his own Son to bring about this reconciliation for us.

[6.] As God is pacified, so it gives us hopes our business lieth not with a God offended, but with a God reconciled. If we had not to do with a pacified God, who could lift up his face to him, or think a comfortable thought of him? But this gives us hope: Rom. v. 10, 'For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.' We were enemies by sin in us, which God hateth, and declareth his wrath against it in the law. Then by the satisfaction wrought by Christ we were restored to his favour, so far that free and easy conditions were procured in the gospel, and his Spirit is offered to pre pare and fit us for a life of glory. We have heard what Christ hath done.

Thirdly, What assurance have we that this peace is obtained?

Consciences are not easily settled, therefore some visible evidences are necessary that God is pacified. I shall name three or four:

1. Christ's resurrection and ascension into glory. This shows that God was propitiated, and hath accepted the ransom that was given for souls. We read, Horn. iv. 25, that he died for our offences, and rose again for our justification. His dying noteth his satisfaction, his rising again the acceptance of it. God by raising him up from the dead showed that he had received the death of his Son as a sufficient ransom for our sins for he died in the quality of a surety, and in that quality was raised up again. By his death he made the payment; by his resurrection the satisfaction of it was witnessed to the world for then our surety was let out of prison: Isa. liii. 8, 'He shall be taken from prison and from judgment.' In his death he was in effect a prisoner, under the arrest of divine vengeance; but when he rose again he was discharged. Therefore there is great weight laid upon it as to our acquittance: Rom. viii. 34, 'Yea, rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God.' There is some special thing in his resurrection comparatively above his death which hath influence on our justification that is, it was a visible evidence given to the world that enough was done for the expiation of sins, and to assure us of our deliverance if we be capable; and his ascension into glory doth further witness it. He being exalted to the greatest dignity, is able to defend and protect his people, and hath the advantage of interceding with his Father for the supply of all our wants.

2. The grant of the new covenant which is therefore called the covenant of his peace: Isa. liv. 10, 'The covenant of my peace shall not be removed;' Ezek. xxxvii. 26, 'I will make a covenant of peace with them.' It is so called not only because thereby this peace and reconciliation is offered to us, but the terms are stated, and the conditions required are far more equitable, gracious, and commodious for us than the terms of the law covenant. Man, as a sinful creature, is obnoxious to God's wrath for the violation of the law of nature, and so might perish without remedy, and no impeachment to God's goodness can happen thereby. But when God will give bounds to his sovereignty over him, and enter into terms of covenant with him, and give him a bottom to stand upon, whereon to expect good things from him, upon the account of his faithfulness and righteousness this is a condescension; and so far condescended in the first covenant, that after that man hath cast away the mercies of his creation, and his capacity to fulfil that covenant, this was mere mercy and grace. That God would enter into a second covenant, it is not from any mutableness in God, but from the merit and satisfaction of a Redeemer. Surely there must be some great and important cause to change, alter, and abrogate a covenant so solemnly made and established to lay aside one covenant, and to enter into another, especially since the former was so holy, righteous, and equal, fit for God to give, and us, in the state we then were in, to receive. Now, what was the important reason? Christ came to salve God's honour in the first covenant, and to secure the ends of his government. Though a second covenant should be set up, the blood of his cross hath made this covenant everlasting, Heb. xiii. 20, and upon gracious terms doth convey great and precious privileges to us.

Thirdly, The pouring out of the Spirit, which certainly was the fruit and effect of Christ's death, and also an evidence of the worth and value of it. The apostle telleth us that Christ was 'made a curse for us, that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles by faith in Jesus Christ.' And what blessing was that? The gift of the Spirit, Gal. v. 13, 14. And in another place, when he interpreteth the types of the law, he telleth us that the fathers 'did all eat of the same spiritual meat that we do, and did all drink of the same spiritual drink, for they drank of the rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ.' If the rock was Christ, the water that gushed out of the rock was the Spirit, often compared to waters in scripture, John iv. 14, vii. 38, 39; and the rock yielded not this water till it was smitten with the rod of Moses a figure of the curses of the law. Christ was stricken and smitten of God, and so procured the Spirit for us: John vii. 39, 'The Holy Ghost was not yet given, for Jesus was not yet glorified; that is, had not finished his passion, and the acceptance of it was not yet attested to the world, till he was advanced at the right hand of God, and then this effect declared it. The Spirit was given before, but more sparingly, because it was given upon trust, and with respect to the satisfaction that was afterwards to be made and accepted. And then it was witnessed to the world by a more copious and plentiful effusion of the Spirit. Therefore it is said: Acts ii. 33, 'Therefore Jesus being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.' The merit and value of the sacrifice is thus visibly attested, therefore this is one of the witnesses: Acts v. 30-32, '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, for to give repentance to Israel, and remission of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.' And what was the evidence given to the church in genera], is the evidence given also to every particular believer.

Fourthly, Some have obtained the effects and fruits of Christ's death; this peace begun here hath been perfected in heaven. The text saith, 'He hath reconciled all things to himself, whether they be things in heaven, or things in earth.' Here many are pardoned and accepted with God, and have the comfort of it in their own souls. Others are gone home to God, and have the full of this peace. All were by nature children of wrath, under the curse as well as others. Now, if some in all generations have enjoyed the love, favour, and friendship of God in this world, and upon their departure out of it have entered into glory upon this account, it is evident that Christ is accepted to the ends for which God sent him thus Abraham, the father of the faithful, and all the blessed souls who are gathered into his bosom, and are alive with God in heaven. Certain it is they were all sinners by nature, for there is no difference between any of the children of men, and yet God admits them into his peace. Was it a personal privilege peculiar to them only? No; the apostle tells us, Rom. iv. 23, 'It was not written for his sake alone;' and Paul obtained mercy 'for them that should hereafter believe on Christ for life everlasting,' 1 Tim. i. 16. Therefore all penitent believers may be assured that this sacrifice is sufficient, and will avail for their acceptance with God. We take it for a good token of a healing water when we see the crutches of cripples that had been cured. All the blessed saints in heaven are witness to a sincere soul they all obtained this blessed condition through the blood of his cross reconciling them to God. There is none in glory but had his pardon sealed through the blood of Christ.

4. How and upon what terms is it applied to us? for we have considered hitherto only how Christ hath made peace or made the atonement. Yet if we receive not the atonement we may perish for ever for all that; besides the work done on the cross by Christ alone, there is a work to be done in our hearts; the work of making peace is sufficiently done by Christ, there needeth nothing to be added to it, no other ransom, nor sacrifice, nor propitiation. Christ hath so fully satisfied divine justice, that he hath obtained the new covenant; but we are not actually admitted into this peace till we have personally accepted the covenant. Now here it sticketh. God hath been in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, there was the foundation laid; but, therefore, we pray you to be reconciled, 2 Cor. v. 20. There is our title, claim, actual right, security. But how do we receive this atonement? or how are we interested in it? The conditions and terms are gracious, such as the nature of the business calleth for. As to our entrance into this peace, no more is required but faith and repentance. The gospel is offered to all; but the penitent believer, as being only capable, is possessed of it.

1. Faith is required; that we believe what the Son of God hath done and purchased for us: Rom. v. 1, 'Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.' If we sincerely embrace the gospel, we are reconciled to God and accepted with him. The faith that justifieth is partly an assent to the truth of the Christian religion, especially the fundamental truth that Jesus is the Son of God and Saviour of the world; and partly an acceptance of Christ as God offers him, a serious, thankful, broken-hearted acceptance of Christ as your Lord and Saviour: serious, because of the weight of the business; broken-hearted, because of the condition of the person accepting, a self-condemning sinner, or one that hath an awakening sense of his sin and misery. Thankful, because reconciliation with God and fruition of them in glory is so great a benefit: and you take him as Lord; for every knee must bow to Christ, he is a Saviour by merit and efficacy. By his meritorious righteousness you obtain all benefits; by the efficacy of his Spirit you perform all duties. The last thing is trust and dependence, Eph. i. 13. Trust is such an expectation of the benefits offered by Christ, that forsaking all other things you entirely give up yourselves to the conduct of his word and Spirit.

2. The next thing is repentance, which is a turning from sin to God. We turn from sin by hatred, and we turn to God by love. We turn from sin by hatred; hatred of sin is the ground of all mortification. There is a twofold hatred of abomination and of enmity. We turn to God by love, which is the great principle to incline us to God, and is the bottom of vivification or living to God. Now all this is necessary to actual peace, for our refreshing begins in conversion, Acts iii. 19. There is no peace allowed to the wicked; we must take Christ's yoke, or we shall find no rest for our souls, Mat. xi. 29. We are not reconciled to God till our enmity be broken and overcome: then, of enemies, we become friends; of strangers, intimates then we are reconciled. This, then, is required of you; only let me add this caution, what is at first vows and purposes must be afterwards deeds and practices; and having engaged yourselves to God, to live to him, to keep your selves from sin, and to follow after holiness, this must be your business all the days of your lives, for so you continue your peace and interest in God: Gal. vi. 16, 'And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and on the Israel of God.'

Use 1. To exhort you to enter into this peace, that you may be partakers of the fruit of Christ's blood, and the virtue of his cross may be effectual in you.

[1.] Let me reason, a periculo, from the danger. Consider what it is to be at odds with God, and how soon and how easily be can revenge his quarrel against you, and how miserable they will be for ever that are not found of him in a state of peace: Ps. vii. 11-13, 'God is angry with the wicked every day. If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and will make his arrows ready.' There the psalmist representeth God and man as in a state of hostility against each other. The wicked man affronts his holiness, questions his justice, slights his wrath, breaks his laws, wrongeth his people, and saith, Tush! I shall have peace though I add drunkenness to thirst. God for a while giveth time and warning; but every moment can break in upon us, for he is able easily to deal with us, comminus, hand to hand, for he hath his sword; eminus, at a distance, for he hath his bow. He is not only able to deal with them, but ready, for he is whetting his sword and hath bent his bow, the arrow is upon the string, though not as yet sent or shot out. What remedy, then, is there? There is but one exception: 'if he turn not.' If he be not reduced and brought home to God by a timely repentance, he falleth into the hands of the living God. Now, no persons are in so dangerous an estate as those that have peace offered and despise it: Isa. xxvii. 4, 'Let him take hold of my strength;' when God is ready to strike. A man that is fallen into the power of his enemy will take hold of his arm. We are always in God's power, his vengeance may surprise us before we are aware. What is our business, but to be found of him in peace?

[2.] Ab utili, from the happiness of being at peace with God. Your great work is over, and you have a world of benefit by it you stop all danger at the fountain-head. When you are at peace with God, you are at peace with the creatures: Ezek. xxxiv. 25, 'I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land. Danger might waylay us at every turn. Then for men: Prov. x. 17, 'When a man's ways please the Lord, he makes his enemies to be at peace with him.' Then peace in your own consciences: Rom. xv. 13, 'Now the God of hope fill you with joy and peace in believing.' To have a man's conscience settled on sound terms is a great mercy. Peace with the holy angels; instead of being instruments of vengeance, they are 'ministering spirits' Heb. i. 14. Lastly, Communion with God himself: 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,' &c.; Eph. ii. 17, 18, 'Preaching peace, by whom also we have access by one Spirit unto the Father.'

[3.] I reason from the confidence we may have of this benefit' if we submit to godly terms.

1. God is willing to give it: ver. 19, 'It pleased the Father that in him all fulness should dwell.' There is God's authority and good pleasure in it. The first motive came from God, who received the wrong, not from him that gave it. God was in Christ, 2 Cor. v. 14. Among men, the inferior should seek to the superior, the party off ending to the party offended, the weaker to the stronger, they that need the reconciliation, to him that needeth it not; but here all is contrary.

2. You may be confident of it upon another ground, the sufficiency of Christ to procure all fulness. The whole divine nature did inhabit and reside in the man Christ Jesus, and so he is completely fitted and furnished for this work. He hath paid a full price for this peace when he bare our sins and carried our sorrows; and by his Spirit he changes our hearts as well as pacifies the wrath of God. And then he preserveth this peace by his constant intercession, Heb. ii. 17, 18. Now, shall we doubt of it but that we may get it?

[1.] Let us take the way of entrance by faith and repentance. It concerns us much to see whether we be in peace or trouble: if in trouble, you see the cure; if in peace, the next question is, is it God's peace? That is had by the blood of Christ, the merit of which we must depend upon, and devote ourselves to God, break off our old league with sin, and bind ourselves with a bond to live unto God, to be the Lord's for evermore.

[2.] When this peace is made, be very tender of it, that no breach fall out between you and God: Ps. Ixxxv. 8, 'He will speak peace to his people, and to his saints: but let not them turn again to folly.'

[3.] Let us be thankful to God for this fruit of Christ's death; it is an act of free and undeserved mercy, and to be imputed to nothing but his mere grace that God hath appointed such a way: 'It pleased the Father to bruise him,' Isa. liii. 9. That he sendeth ambassadors to publish it: Acts x. 36, 'The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all):' and that he appointeth a ministry. It is a great privilege in itself; for by this peace we have not only the beginnings but the increase of grace till all be perfected in heaven: Heb. xiii. 20, 21, 'Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight.' 1 Thes. i. 23, 'The God of peace sanctify you, that you may be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.' This peace doth encourage us in all tempta tions from the devil: Rom. xvi. 20, 'The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.' From the world: Eph. vi. 15, 'Shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.' Fears of the wrath of God, and doubts about our eternal condition: Rom. xiv. 17, 'The kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.' Here are three words comfort, peace, and joy. These succeed one another as so many degrees: comfort is sup port under trouble, peace a ceasing from trouble, joy a lively sense of the love of God.



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