RPM, Volume 18, Number 6, January 31 to February 6, 2016

Sermons on John 17

Sermon VI

By Thomas Manton

And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. JOHN XVII. 5.

JESUS CHRIST, as God-man, in this chapter, prayeth to God. His prayer is first for himself, and then for his members. In all things he to have the pre-eminence, as being infinitely of more worth and desert than all. His prayer for himself is to be glorified, which he enforceth and explaineth. He enforceth it by sundry reasons; the last that he pleaded was, that he had done his work, and therefore, according to the covenant and agreement that was between them, he sueth out his wages. In the suit, he explaineth how he would be glorified: 'I have glorified thee on earth, and now, O Father, glorify thou me with thyself, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.'

For the opening of this request, I shall propound several questions:

1. According to what nature this is spoken?
2. What is this glory?
3. Why he seeketh of the Father, the first person? Could he not glorify himself?
4. Why is he so earnest for his own glory?

Quest. 1. According to what nature is this spoken, the divine or human?

The reason of the doubt is, because to the divine nature nothing could be given, and the human nature cannot be said to have this glory which Christ had before the world was, for then it would remain no longer human.

I answer - The request is made in the person of the mediator. God-man is distinctly and separately to be applied to neither nature, but to the whole person. The person of Christ was hitherto beclouded during the time of his humiliation; now he desireth to he glorified, that is, that the divine majesty may shine forth in the person of the mediator; and that laying aside the form of a servant, he might return to the form of God, and that he might appear in his whole person, the human nature not excluded, as he was before the foundation of the world.

Quest. 2. The next question is, What is this glorifying?

I answer - There is a twofold glorifying - (l.) Per gloriae manifestationem; (2.) Per gloriae collationem; by way of manifestation, and by way of gift and collation. Both are intended; the manifestation concerneth both natures, and the collation or gift only the human nature. It must be understood according to the properties of each nature. Quae in tempore Christo dantur, secundum humanam naturam dantur.

1. For the divine nature, Christ prayeth that it may be glorified by the clearer manifestation of his godhead, for that cannot receive any intrinsecal improvement or glory. It is antarkhv kai ametayhtov; but so far as it was humbled, so far it was glorified. Now Christ humbled himself, not by putting off his divine glory, but by suffering it to be overshadowed; as the light of a candle in a dark lanthorn, there is a light in it, but you cannot see it till the cover be taken away. Now Christ desireth that the cover and veil may be taken away. His glory was not lessened, but beclouded ; the divine essence that was hidden under the weakness of the flesh was now to be manifested and made known to all men. But you will say, it is para patri, not para anyropoiv, he desireth the glory he had with him might be restored, not the glory with men.

I answer —

[1.] The glory which he had with him may be more clearly manifested to the world; he had it with the Father, yet beggeth it of the Father.

[2.] I answer again - There is somewhat more than manifestation in the world, for he saith, para seautw, 'with thyself'. The Father was glorified by the Son, epi thv ghv, 'upon the earth;' but now 'glorify thou me,' para seautw, 'with thyself.' So John xiii. 32, 'If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself,' or with himself. So that he beggeth a full use and exercise of the divine power, from which he had abstained in the time of his humiliation and abasement. Now that time being finished, he prayeth that it may be restored, that he may be exalted in the full manifestation and exercise of his divine power; that his whole person might be exalted again at the right hand of majesty.

2. For his human nature. The flesh was not yet glorified, and taken up to God's right hand, that is, exalted to the fruition of eternal glory, as afterwards it was above all creatures in heaven and earth. The human nature was to have as much glory as it is capable of, by being united to the divine person, immortality, power, clarity, knowledge, grace; but not to have the properties of the divine nature really transfused, for then it would no longer be finite, nor remain a creature. It was to be raised to the full fruition of the glory of the divine nature, and freed from those infirmities to which, by the exigence of Christ's office upon earth, it was subjected. Thus what this glorifying is; but I shall speak more fully to it by and by.

Quest. 3. Why he seeketh it of the Father?

Could he not glorify himself, and exalt his own person and human nature? I answer - He could, but would not.

1. The Father is the fountain of the divinity; he is first in order, and so all such actions are ascribed to him. However, to show the unity of essence, Christ is said to do it as well as the Father: John v. 19, 'What things soever the Father doth, these doth the Son likewise.' The Father is said to 'sanctify the Son,' John x. 36, and the Son is said to 'sanctify himself.' The Father raiseth the Son from the dead. Eph. i. 10; and Christ saith, John ii. 19, 'Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again.' The Father placeth the Son at his right hand, Eph. i. 20; and the Son is said to 'sit down at the right hand of the Father.' However, because Christ came into the world to glorify the Father, and to show him to be the original and fountain of the divinity, therefore he saith, 'Father, glorify thou me with thyself.'

2. Because the Father is to be looked upon as judge and chief in the work of redemption. Man is the debtor, Christ the surety, and the Father the judge, before whose tribunal satisfaction is to be made. Therefore God the Father, after the price and ransom was paid, was to give Christ power and leave to rise from the dead, to ascend into heaven, and to govern and judge the world. And yet he raised himself by his own power. There is potestas and potentia, dunamiv, and exousia, authority, leave, and power. Christ had power in himself, but he had leave from the Father: John x. 18, 'I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again.' Potentiam resurgendi Christus habet a seipso, sed potestatem a patre. In this whole business, Christ is to be considered as the surety, that took our whole business upon himself, and rendered himself liable to the judgment of God so long, till the Father should declare himself to be satisfied, and so dismiss Christ from punishment. After full satisfaction, he was to raise him from the power of death, and to glorify him. As the Father delivered him for us, so the Father dismissed him, raised him again; he was not to break prison, but honourably to be brought out and rewarded by the judge.

Quest. 4. Why is he so earnest for his own glory?

I answer - All Christ's mediatory acts were for our sake, and so are his prayers.

1. To comfort his disciples against his sufferings; they were dejected, and therefore Christ in their hearing prayeth for divine glory: John xvii. 13, 'And these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.' There is not a more excellent way of gaining upon others than to commend them to God in prayer for that which they desire.

2. To give the world an instruction, that suffering for God is the highway to glory: 2 Cor. iv. 17, 'Our light affliction, that is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,' as a necessary antecedent. We may suffer more for men than they are able to recompense, but there is nothing lost for God: 2 Peter i. 11, 'An entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.' The whole scriptures witness the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow; according to the measure of afflictions, there shall be a suitable weight of glory. There are notable passages in the story of Christ, to show the coupling of the cross and glory. The same disciples, Peter, James, and John, were the witnesses of his agonies, Mat. xxvi. 37, and of his transfiguration, Mat. xvii. 1. So where Christ began his passion there he began his ascension: Luke xxii. 39, 'He went out to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him;' and Acts i. 12, he ascended from Mount Olivet.

3. For the advantage of his members. Christ knew it could not go well with the church unless it went well with himself; it was for our profit. The holy ointment was first poured on the head of the high priest, then on his members, Ps. cxxxiii.3. His glory and grace is an argument of ours. He is endowed with the Spirit without measure, that we might have an unction from the Holy One. We are glorified with him, and are said to ascend with him: Eph. ii. 6, 'He hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.' Christ's glorification is a pledge of ours; he is gone thither as our forerunner, to seize on heaven in our right: Heb. vi. 20, 'Whither our forerunner is for us entered;' and to 'prepare a place for us,' John xiv. 2. In heaven he is at God's right hand, and can procure it for us, and administereth and governeth the world for our good. He is in a greater capacity to do us good. He is our intercessor and the world's governor; all things necessary to salvation can better be despatched by his intercession and power.

These things premised, the words will be easily opened.

'Father, glorify thou me with thine own self;' that is, suffer me to return to the glory which I had in common with thee in the divine nature, by the resurrection of my body, ascension, and sitting down at thy right hand. Para seautw, is opposed to edoxasa se epi thv ghv, it is with thy self: John xiii. 31, 32, 'Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him.' God was glorified by Christ as a servant, with an extrinsic glory in the view of the world. And now Christ prays to be glorified in or with the Father himself, with his own proper essential glory, the Godhead being restored to its full use and exercise, and the humanity being raised to the full fruition of the comfort of it.

'Which I had with thee before the world was.' - Grotius and others say, Non reali possessione, sed divina praedestinatione, that is, by thy decree, in thy purpose and predestination. But that is not all, because he speaketh here of that infinite and essential glory, which is one and the same in all the persons, and so Christ had it as God blessed for ever ; and Christ having abstained from the use and exercise of it in a way proper to itself, now craveth a restitution.

The points are :-

Doct. 1. That Christ is God, true God, and hath an eternal co-equal glory with the Father before the world was. Before the world there was nothing but the eternal infinite essence, that was common to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The Socinians seem to grant that he is of God, but not eternal God by nature; but here is a clear proof, 'Which I had with thee before the world was.'

Doct. 2. We may plead to God his own promises in deep and weighty cases: 'Put me in remembrance,' saith God, Isa. xliii. 26; as when death approacheth, or difficulties come upon us. Christ himself takes this course.

Doct. 3. The ground of all sound hope is what was done before all worlds. Christ had glory actually, and we have a grant of it: 2 Tim. i. 9, 'According to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus, before the world began.' There was a grant of heaven and grace, and Christ received it for us. So Titus i. 2, 'In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, hath promised before the world began.' There was a solemn promise, which Christ received on our behalf. The frame of grace was ancient; God sealed up a large charter, and indented with Christ before ever there were any men in the world. Let us not look for our happiness in this world; our comforts do not depend upon the standing of it; when the world is no more, you may be happy.

Doct. 4. The chief point which I shall handle is, that Christ, in the economy or dispensation of grace, was reduced to such an exigence that he needeth to pray to be glorified: 'Father, glorify thou me with thyself, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.' It is a matter of weighty consideration that Christ should pray his Father to bestow on him the glory which he wanted.

But how could Christ want glory, who was God-man in one person?

To clear this, I shall a little state both his humiliation and his exaltation. First, How far he humbled himself and wanted glory; what was, indeed, the utmost of his humiliation.

Here I shall show —

(I.) What glory he retained in the midst of it;

(2.) What he wanted. Certainly though in his outward appearance he had no form and comeliness in him, yet inwardly he was the fairest of men; Isa. liii. 2, compared with Ps. xlv. 2.

1. What glory he was possessed of at the present. Christ had a double glory - the glory of his person, and the glory of his office.

[1.] The glory of his person. There was the union of the two natures; he did not lose his godhead though he took flesh; he was still the eternal Son of the Father, 'the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person,' Heb. i. 3; John i. 14, 'The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,' eskhnosen, he pitched his tent, 'and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father.' He was still co-equal with his Father; the fulness of the Godhead dwelt in him; his flesh was taken into the fellowship of the divine nature as soon as it began to have a being in the womb of the virgin, the highest dignity a creature is capable of. The person of the Son was truly communicated to the nature of man, and the nature of man truly communicated to the person of the Son. He that was the Son of man was truly the Son of God, and he that was the Son of God was truly the Son of man; and by virtue of this union there was a communion higher than all other communions; the fulness of grace was subjectively and inherently in his human nature: 'He was anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows,' Ps. xlv. 7. And he is said, John iii. 34, 'to receive the Spirit without measure,' both for the essence and virtue of it, to all effects and purposes, for himself and others; so that there needed nothing to be added to his full happiness. Christ was comprehensor; he perfectly knew upon earth what we shall know in heaven, and was perfectly holy and perfectly good.

[2.] The glory of his office was to be mediator between God and man; an office of so high a nature that it could be performed by none but him who was God and man in the same person; for he that would be mediator was to be prophet, priest, and king. As a prophet, he was to be arbiter, to take knowledge of the cause and quarrel depending between them; and as an internuncius and legate, to propound and expound the conditions of peace that are to be concluded upon. As he was a priest, he was to be an intercessor, to make interpellation for the party offending; and then to be a fidejussor, or surety, making satisfaction to the party offended for him. As he was a king, having all power both in heaven and earth, he was to keep and present the church of God so reconciled in the state of grace, and to tread down all enemies thereof. Here is a great deal of glory far above any creature.

2. What he wanted, that he should pray to be glorified. The glory of his person and office was yet but imperfect.

[1.] Of his person in both natures, it is said, Phil. ii. 7, 'He made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man, ekenwsen eauton, he made himself empty and void, not simply and absolutely, for then he would cease to be himself, and then he would cease to be God; but economically and dispensatively, veiling and covering his godhead under the cloud of his flesh, the beams of his divinity, as it were, wholly laid aside, only now and then it broke out in his works and speeches. Certainly he abstained from the full use and manifestation of it. He did not cease to be what he was, but laid aside the manifestation of it, and hid it in the form of a servant, as if he had none at all. The world could not discern him; to his own familiar friends he was now and then discovered, as occasion did require it. Otherwise in his whole course, his incarnation, nativity, obedience to the law of nature, to the law of Adam, law of sin, of Abraham, were a veil upon him. He suffered hunger, thirst, weariness, bitter agonies, shame of the cross, pain of death, ignominy of the grave; yea, he was not only in the form of a servant to God - 'This commandment have I of my Father,' John vi. 38 - but he was subject to worldly powers, 'a servant of rulers,' Isa. xlix. 7, wholly at their dispose. His human nature was subject to natural infirmities, hunger, thirst, fear, sorrow, anguish; he had not attained incorruption, impassibility, immortality, nor that glorious purity, strength, agility, clarity of body, which he expected, Phil. iii. 21, together with the fulness of inward joys and comforts in his soul. He lost, for a while, all sense and actual fruition of his Father's love: Mat. xxvi. 46, 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?' So that though he had the Spirit without measure in holiness, and righteousness, yet he was still humbled with unpleasing and afflictive evils.

[2.] For his office. It was managed as suited with his humiliation, and all his actions of prophet, priest, and king, could not be performed gloriously, but in a humble manner, as suited with his present state. He was an ordinary prophet, teaching in the world; as a priest, hanging on the cross; as a king, but he had but few subjects; therefore it is said, Acts v. 31, 'Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a prince and a saviour,' as if he had not exercised any of his kingly office before, but he was but as a king anointed; he did not so evidently show forth the kingly office as afterward. Now he doth not overcome his enemies by force or by power. 1 Sam. xvi. 13: David was a king as soon as anointed, but for a long time he suffered exile and wandered in the wilderness before he was taken into the throne; so it was with Christ.

Secondly, His exaltation.

What Christ prayed for might be known by the event. His exaltation begun at his resurrection, and received its accomplishment by his sitting at God's right hand. His exaltation answered his humiliation, his death was answered by his resurrection, his going into the grave by his ascending into heaven, his lying in the grave by his sitting at God's right hand, which is a privilege proper to Christ glorified. In the other we share with him, we rise, we ascend, but we do not sit at God's right hand. By his grave, though his body was freed from corruption, his human nature was discovered, but his body had not those glorious qualities as afterwards at his ascension.

Therefore, leaving his resurrection, let us speak of his ascension, and sitting on the right hand of God.

1. His ascension. Three things happened to Christ at his ascension.

[1.] The exaltation of his body and human nature; it was locally taken from the earth, and carried into heaven: Acts i. 9, 'While they beheld, he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight,' into the same heaven into which we shall be translated. They err who say that Christ's ascension standeth in this, that Christ is invisibly present everywhere, which destroyeth the properties of a body. There was not only a change of state, but a change of place; it was a created nature, still finite.

[2.] The glorification of his person, which is the thing spoken of in this text; then all the thick mists and clouds which eclipsed his deity were removed. Not that there was any deposition or laying aside of his human nature; that is an essential part of his person, and shall continue so to all eternity; but only of all human infirmities. He laid aside his mortality at his resurrection, and necessity of meat and drink, but was not restored to his glory till his ascension; his body was so bright, that it shall pass though the air like lightning, clearer than the sun. Upon the earth he was ignorant of something of the day of judgment; now he hath all wisdom, not only in habit, but in act. Before he grew in wisdom, which he manifested by degrees; now the glory of his deity shineth forth powerfully.

[3.] A new qualification of his office. Christ hath exercised the mediatory office from the beginning of the world till now, before his coming in the flesh, when on earth, and after his ascension.

2. The next thing we are to speak of in the glorification of Christ is his sitting at God's right hand: Ps. cx. 1, 'The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy foot stool.' It is Christ's welcome as soon as he came to heaven. The angels guarded and attended him, and they brought him near the ancient of days: Dan. vii. 13, 'I saw in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.' They, that is, the angels did it, they are his ministers: Heb. i. 6, 7, 'When he bringeth in the first- begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.' He cometh royally attended. Then the Father welcometh him with, 'Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thy inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession,' Ps. ii. 8. As mediator, Christ was to have a grant of the kingdom by pleading his right, and then God seateth him on the throne, 'Sit thou on my right hand,' Ps. cx. 1. God doth, as it were, take his Son by the hand, and seat him on the throne. This sitting on God's right hand implieth -

[1.] The giving of all power, or a restoration of him to the full use of the godhead. He had an eternal right, as the second person, but he was to receive a new grant: Mat. xxviii. 18, 'All power is given to me in heaven and in earth.' Christ, as God, hath all power, equal power with the Father by eternal generation; but as God incarnate, it is given to him. So Phil. ii. 9, 10, 'Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;' to make all enemies stoop to him, that he might receive adoration from angels, men, and devils.

[2.] A grant of authority to rule according to pleasure. He is made prince of angels: Col. ii. 10, 'He is the head of all principality and power;' he is to be their sovereign Lord, and 'head of the church,' Eph. i. 22. Christ is to us the head of all vital influences, and judge of the world: Acts xvii. 39, 'He hath appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he hath ordained, whereof he hath given assurance to all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. This is the sum of Christ's glorification.

The uses of the whole.

Use 1. In that Christ prayeth for glory, it presseth us -

1. To take heed of dishonouring Christ, now he prayeth to be glorified. It was a great sin that the Jews crucified the Lord of glory; but they have some excuse, in that they knew not what they did: 1 Cor. ii. 8, 'Whom none of the princes of this world knew; for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.' His glory was not easily seen in his exinanition and abasement. But now we know more, and we cross his prayers, if we 'crucify him again afresh, and put him to open shame,' Heb. vi. 6. We cannot indeed crucify Christ really, but we may draw the guilt of his enemies that crucified him upon us. By your scandalous lives, you do in effect, as to your intentions, deprive him of his glory, and approve the act of the Jews against him; you live as if no such thing had been done to Christ as his translation into heaven.

2. Since Christ so earnestly sued for his glorification, it is our duty, by all means, to procure and further his glory. We cannot do anything as his Father doth; we cannot bestow anything upon him but praise, and magnify him by a steadfast faith, and by a holy life. Mortified Christians are the glory of Christ.

3. It is comfort against the reproaches and oppositions of men as to the kingdom of Christ. Though the Jews scorn it, the Turks blaspheme it, heretics undermine it, yet Christ's prayers will do more than all their endeavours; still he will appear God manifest in the flesh. Christ's glory cannot be hindered, he hath prayed for it.

Use 2. In that Christ was glorified (for he cannot be denied what ever he demands), it is useful for our comfort, for our instruction.

1. For our comfort.

[1.] Christ's glorification is the pledge and earnest of ours. Had not he risen and ascended, and been received up into glory, neither we; the gates of death had been barred upon us, and the gates of heaven shut against us, and we should have been covered with eternal shame and ignominy. But now Christ, like another Samson, hath broken through the gates, and carried them away with him, our head is risen, and we in him, we receive of his fulness, glory for glory, as well as grace for grace. Nobis dedit arrhabonem spiritus, et a nobis recepit arrhabonem carnis. We have livery and seisin of the kingdom of heaven already in Christ. We are ascended with him: Eph. ii. 6, 'And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.' In contracts, pledges are usually taken and given. Our head is crowned, and shall not the members? The human nature is already placed in the highest seat of glory.

[2.] It is a sign God hath received satisfaction. The Lord sent an angel to remove the stone, not to supply any power in Christ; but as a judge, when he is satisfied, sends an officer to open the prison doors. Our surety is delivered out of prison with glory and honour, God hath taken him up to himself. What is done to our surety concerneth us. Christ hath perfectly done his work, there is no more to be done by way of satisfaction. God was well pleased with him, or else he had not been at his right hand. Certainly all the work of his mediation was not accomplished on earth, he is now in exaltation, performing those other offices that remain to be fulfilled by him in heaven.

[3.] Hence we have confidence in his ability to do his people good. He is now restored to the full use and exercise of the godhead; he can give the Spirit, and perform all the legacies of the covenant. There were many repaired to Christ in the days of his flesh, when he was under poverty, crosses, death; the thief on the cross said, 'Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.' What shall we not expect now he is entered into glory? Faithful servants follow their prince in banishment, but they have greater encouragement when he is on the throne. Those that adhered to David in the desert might look for much from him crowned at Hebron: Acts ii. 33, 'Therefore 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.' Not that then only he was endowed with the gifts of the Spirit; for whilst he was on earth, he was filled with the Spirit without measure; but then he received the accomplishment of the promise, of pouring out the Spirit upon us; for by promise is meant the accomplishment of the promise, for the promise was long before: Luke xxiv. 49, 'And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem till ye be endued with power from on high; Acts i. 4, 'And being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem. but wait for the promise of the Father.' When he came to heaven, he received the fulfilling of this promise; for God did not bring Christ into heaven, as we are brought into heaven, merely to rest from labour, and to enjoy the reward of glory, but that he might sit in the throne of majesty and authority, to have power to send the Spirit, and gather the church, and condemn the world, and to apply to all the elect the privileges that he had purchased for them. There are effects of Christ crucified, and there are effects of Christ raised and exalted: Ps. lxviii. 18, 'Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive, thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them.' He gave gifts when he ascended, as kings do at their coronation. The humiliation of Christ hath its effects, in fulfilling the curses of the law, pacifying God's wrath and justice, the annihilation of the right which the devil had in elect sinners, purchasing a right of returning to God, and enjoying the grace of eternal life. The exaltation of Christ hath its effects, viz., the application of this righteousness, and to possess us of this right. When Christ was dead, it was lawful for those for whom he died to return to God, and enjoy his grace; but it was not possible, for they were dead in sins. Therefore God raised up Christ, and gave him authority to pour out the Holy Ghost, that we should seek in grace, not only the force of satisfaction, but of regeneration; that the effect of his abasement, this of his advancement. What a comfort this is, that Christ would not only die for us, but rise again, and pour out his Spirit, that his blood might not be without profit!

[4.] Here is comfort for the church; while our head is so highly magnified, and made Lord of all, he will rule all for the best; certainly no good shall be wanting to them that are his: Ps. cx. 1, 'The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.' There shall come a time when the church shall have no enemies, so far shall it be from its being overcome by its enemies, that they shall curse themselves that ever they resisted the church.

[5.] Our sins shall not prejudice our happiness, seeing he sitteth at the right hand of God the Father to be our intercessor: 1 John ii. 1, 'If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.' We have a friend at court, a favourite in the court of heaven. If it were not for Christ's intercession, what should we do? Those that know the majesty of God, their own unworthiness, the pollution of their prayers, what should they do? The Spirit is our notary here: Rom. viii. 26, 'The Spirit helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what to pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.' And Christ is our advocate in heaven: Rev. viii. 3, 'And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer, and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints, upon the golden altar which was before the throne.' Our prayers have an ill savour as they come from us.

2. For our instruction. It teacheth us to seek heavenly things: Col. iii. 1, 'If ye then be risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God;' Phil. iii 20, 'Our conversation is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ.' We should imitate Christ; whatever he did corporally, we must do spiritually. There is our treasure; if you are the children of God, he is your delight. There is our head; the inferior parts never do well when they are severed from the head. All that we expect cometh from thence, and therefore a natural desire of happiness carrieth the saints thither.

Subscribe to RPM
RPM subscribers receive an email notification each time a new issue is published. Notifications include the title, author, and description of each article in the issue, as well as links directly to the articles. Like RPM itself, subscriptions are free. Click here to subscribe.