RPM, Volume 16, Number 50, December 7 to December 13, 2014

Sermons on John 17

Sermon IV

By Thomas Manton

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. JOHN 17:3.

DOCT. 2. The next proposition is, that this God is but one, 'Thee the only true God.'

Deut. vi. 4, 'Hear, O Israel; the Lord thy God is one Lord.' The heathens multiplied gods according to their own fancies: they 'had lords many and gods many.' Austin in one of his epistles speaketh of one Maximius, a heathen, who excuseth the polytheism of the gentiles, that they worshipped but one supreme essence, though under divers names. Ejus quasi quaedam membra variis supplicationibus prosequimur, ut totum colere valeamus- that they had several deities, that they might, as by so many several parcels, adore the whole divine essence. The truth is, nature hath some sense of it; for as it showeth there is a God, so it showeth there is but one God. Socrates was a martyr to this truth. The Platonics worshipped one supreme essence, whom they called ho basileus. The philosophers sometimes called God to on, that being; sometimes to en, that one thing. Tertullian proveth that the soul was naturaliter Christiana, as he speaketh, O testimonium animae naturaliter Christianae; which he proveth from the forms of speech then in use. Deus videt, etc. - what God shall award; God seeth; let God determine of me, and for me. And in troubles they cried out, O God! and in straits they did not look to the Capitol, the imagined seat of such gods as the Romans worshipped, but to heaven, the seat of the living God. Thus it is with the soul, saith he, when recovered out of a distemper. The truth is, it was the dotage and darkness of their spirits to acknowledge many gods, as drunkards and madmen usually see things double, two suns for one. But besides the consent of nations, to give you reasons: There is a God, and therefore but one God; there can be but one first cause, and one infinite, one best, one most perfect, one omnipotent. If one can do all things, what need more gods? If both be omnipotent, we must conceive them as agreeing or disagreeing; if disagreeing, all would be brought to nothing; if agreeing, one is superfluous. God hath decided the controversy: Isa. xliv. 8, 'Is there a God besides me? Yea, there is no God, I know not any.' As if he said, If any have cause to know, I have, but I know none.

This point is useful, not only to exempt the soul from the anxious fear of a false deity, and to confute the Manichees, Marcion, Cerdo, and others, that held two sorts of gods, and those that parted the god-head into three essences, and the pagan fry. But practically -

1. It checketh those that set up other gods besides him in their hearts. If there be but one God, why do we make more, and give divine honour to creatures? A worldling maketh his money his god, and a sensualist his belly his god. Covetousness is called idolatry; and Phil. iii. 19, 'Whose god is their belly.' How is covetousness idolatry? and how can any make their belly their god? Who ever was seen praying to his pence, or worshipping his own belly? I answer - Though it be not done corporally and grossly, yet it is done spiritually. That which engrosseth our love, and confidence, and care, and choice, and delight, that is set up in the room and place of God; and this is to give divine honour to a creature. Now this is in worldlings and sensualists. For confidence, they trust in their riches for a supply, do not live on providence: 1 Tim. vi. 17, 'Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God;' Prov. x. 15, 'A rich man's wealth is his strong city; he is provided of a defence against all the chances and strokes of providence. So for care; a man devoteth his time to his god, and the sensualist sacrificeth his estate, his health, his soul to his own gullet, many sacrilegious morsels to his own throat; every day he offereth a drink-offering, and meat-offering to appetite. O brethren! take heed of gods of man's making. He is as much an idolater that preferreth his wealth to obedience, his pleasures before God's service, as he that falleth down to a stock. It would be sad if on your death-beds God should turn you back, as he did the Israelites in their distress: Judges x. 14, 'Go and cry to the gods whom ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.' Go to your wealth, to your pleasures.

2. If God be but one, worship him with an entire heart. The story goeth, that the senate, hearing of the miracles in Judea, decreed divine worship to Christ; but Tiberius the emperor crossed it, when he heard that he would be worshipped alone. God is but one; our hearts should close with him as an all-sufficient portion: there is enough in one. The scripture speaks of 'believing with all the heart.' Other comforts and confidences must be disclaimed. Sometimes carnal persons set their hearts upon other comforts; Christ is not their whole delight: they would have Christ for their consciences, and the world for their hearts; Christ in an extremity, but their affections go out to other things. Sometimes they will have other confidences: they would trust Christ for their eternal salvation, to salve conscience; but the world engrosses their care, as if they were to shift for themselves in temporal things, and be masters of their own fortunes; as it appeareth when temporal supplies fail; when visible supplies are absent, then they despair. It is a mere mistake and folly to think it is easier to trust Christ for pardon of sins and eternal life, than for daily bread; as Christ said, Mark ii. 9, 'Whether is easier to say, Thy sins are forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, take up thy bed and walk?' The truth is, temporal wants are more pressing and urging than spiritual, and men are careless in the business of their souls.

Doct. 3. The next proposition is, that this God is one in three persons.

This also is collected from the text. 'To know thee,' that is, the Father, with all the co-essential persons. They are undivided in essence, though distinguished in personality. Take a place of scripture: 1 John v. 7, 'There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one.' Let me a little open the doctrine of the Trinity by some short observations.

This is a mystery proper to the scriptures. Other truths are revealed in nature, but this is a treasure peculiar to the church. There are some passages in heathens that seem to look this way; as Plato speaketh of nous, logos, pneuma, mind, word, and spirit; and Trismegistus, prota theos, etc. But these were either some general notions, received by tradition from the Jews, and by them misunderstood, for they dreamed of three distinct separate essences, or else passages foisted into their writings by the fraud and fallacy of some Christians, who counted it a piece of their zeal to lie for God. It is not likely that God would give the heathens a more clear revelation of these mysteries than he did to his own people, the church of the Jews. We find it but sparingly revealed in the Old Testament, though I might bring many places where it is sufficiently hinted; but more distinctly in the New, after the visible and sensible discovery of the three persons at Christ's baptism: Mat. iii. 17, 'The Spirit of God descended like a dove, and lighted upon him, and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.' Voce Pater, Natus corpore, Numen ave. The whole Trinity were present at that solemnity. Some darkness there is still upon the face of this deep; we shall have more perfect knowledge of it in the heavens: John xiv. 20, 'At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.' Trinity in unity and unity in trinity still troubleth the present weakness of reason; but when we shall see God face to face, our knowledge shall be more satisfactory and complete. For the present, we must come to this truth with a sober mind, and adore it with a humble piety, lest we puzzle faith while we would satisfy and inform reason. There are many words which the church hath used in the explication of this mystery, as unity, trinity, essence, person, consubstantial; which though they be not all found in the scriptures, yet they are the best that we can use in so deep a matter, and serve to prevent the errors and mistakes of those who would either multiply the essence, or abolish the persons. Some terms must be used, and these are the safest. They be three, and yet one; and the most commodious way to solve it to our understandings is, one in essence and three persons; for there being three in the divine essence, the Father, the Word, and the Spirit, each having the whole divine essence, and yet the essence undivided, there must be some words to express the mystery. God, being one, cannot be divided in nature and being; and there being three, every one having the whole godhead in himself, distinguished by peculiar relative properties, what term shall we use? Three ways of existence there are in the nature of God, because of those three real relations - paternity, filiation, and procession. One they are, and distinct they are really. There is and must be a distinction, for the essence and particular way of existence do differ. Whatever is said of the essence is true of every person. God is infinite, eternal, incomprehensible; so is the Father, Son, and Spirit. But now, whatever is said of the existence, as existence, cannot be said of the essence; every one that is God is not Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. I say, then, there being a distinction between the nature and particular existences, there must be some terms to express it. The Greek Church in the Nicene Council, some three hundred and sixty years after Christ, worded it thus: The occasion was this, some heretics said, If Christ be God, of the same substance and being with the Father, then, when Christ was incarnate, the Father was incarnate also. No, say the orthodox, though the ousia, the substance or essence be the same, it is not the same hupostasis; the same subsistence in the godhead; and then began the public and received distinction of ousia and hupostasis; ousia signifying the nature or substance; hupostasis, the several manners of existence. And the determination of the church was, that these were the fittest terms to explicate this mystery. Not but that these words were used before in this matter; as may appear out of divers authors that lived and wrote before that famous Nicene Council, but they were not so accurately distinguished, nor so publicly received. And indeed, though the word ousia, essence, be not in scripture, yet hupostasis is. There is ground for ousia, for when the nature of God is expressed, it is expressed by a word equivalent to essence, 'I Am that I Am,' Exod. iii. 14. So 'ho on, ho ein, kai erchomenos,''He that was, and is, and is to come,' Rev. i.4. Then for hupostasis, Christ is called, Heb. i. 3, characteir teis hupostaseos autou, 'The express image of his person.' It cannot be rendered essence, but subsistence; for then Arius would have carried the day, and Christ would be only homoiousios. And the Father's essence cannot properly be said to be impressed on the Son, since the very same individual essence and substance was wholly in him, as it was wholly in the Father; and the Son cannot be said to be like: but now 'the express image of his subsistence;' or, as we now render it 'person,' doth provide for the consubstantiality of the Son; against Arius; and for the distinction of the subsistences, against Sabellius. Thus for a long time it was carried in the terms of substance and subsistence. But how came the word person in use? I answer - The Latin Church expressed it by 'person,' upon these grounds: partly because they would have a word in their own language that might serve for common and vulgar use, and the right apprehension of this mystery; partly because hupostasis and subsistence were ambiguous, and of a doubtful signification, being both often in common acceptation put for the same thing; and the Latin fathers, timidius usi sunt eo vocabulo, were shy in using that word; partly because this word is very commodious, as being proper to particular, distinct, rational substances. Whatever is a person must be a substance, not an attribute or accident, as white or black; a particular substance, not a general essence or nature. It must be living; we do not call a book or a board a person. It must be rational; we do not call a tree or a beast a person, though they have life; but only man. And it must not be a part of a man, as the soul; it must not be that which is sustained in another, but subsisteth of itself. So the humanity of Christ is not a person, because it hath no subsistence in itself, but is sustained by the godhead. Now a person in the godhead is an incommunicable subsistence in the divine essence, or the divine essence or nature distinguished by its incommunicable property; or more plainly, a diverse and distinct subsistence in the godhead. And the word is not to be taken in the extreme rigour, to infer any separation or division in the godhead. Three persons among men make three separate essences, three men; but not here three Gods; for in the godhead the persons are not separate and divided, but only distinguished by their relative properties; they are co-eternal, infinite, and may be in one another, the Father in the Son, the Son in the Father, both in the Spirit. We are material, and though we communicate in the same nature, yet we live separate. In short, the word person is used to show that they are not only three acts, offices, attributes, properties, qualities, operations, but distinct subsistences, distinguished from one another by their unchangeable order of first, second, and third - Father, Word, and Spirit - and their incommunicable properties of paternity, filiation, and procession, or unbegotten, begotten, and proceeding, and by their special and personal manner of operation, creating, redeeming, sanctifying. Creation is by the Father, redemption by the Son, sanctification by the Spirit. More may be said, but when shall we make an end?

Let us apply it.

Use. Let us bless God that we have such a complete object for our faith.

We can want nothing that have Father, Son, and Spirit, the co-operation of all the persons for our salvation; that we can consider the Father in heaven, the Son on the cross, and feel the Spirit in our hearts; yea, that the whole Godhead should take up its abode, and come and converse with us: 2 Cor. xiii. 14, 'The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.' Oh! what a treble privilege is this! Grace, love, and communion; election, merit, and actual grace. This is a mystery, felt as well as believed. We have a God to love us, a Christ to redeem us, and a Spirit to apply all to the soul: 1 Peter ii. 3, 'If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.' Our spiritual estate standeth upon a sure bottom; the beginning is from God the Father, the dispensation from the Son, and the application from the Holy Ghost. The Father's electing love is engaged by the merit of Christ, and conveyed by the power of the Holy Ghost. There was a purpose by the Father, the accomplishment was by the Son, and exhibition is by the Spirit; it is free in the Father, sure in the Son, ours in the Spirit; the Father purposeth, the Son ratifieth, the Spirit giveth us the enjoyment of all. Oh! let us adore the mysterious Trinity; we are not thankful enough for this glorious discovery.

Doct. 4. That God, who is one in three persons, is the only true God,

se ton aleithinon theon, 'Thee the only true God; 1 Thes. i. 9, 'Ye turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God.' All others are but idols and false gods; they are not able to avenge the contempt of them that wrong them, or to save those that trust in them: Gal. iv. 8, 'Then when ye knew not God, ye did service to them that by nature were no gods.' An idol is nothing but what it is in the valuation and esteem of men. Oh! then, let us not look upon religion as a mere fancy. God is, whether we acknowledge him or no. Usually, in great turns and changes, many turn atheists. Some turn short from gross idolatry to rest in superstition; others turn over, and lay aside religion itself, as if all were fancy and figment. Oh! consider, a God there is; who else made the world? And then, 'who is a god like unto the Lord our God? Go, search abroad among the nations. It is some advantage sometimes to consider what a God we serve, above the gods of the Gentiles. God alloweth you the search for settlement and satisfaction: Jer. vi. 16, 'Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.' If you will make a serious comparison, see where you can anchor safer than in Christianity. Where can you have more comfortable representations of God than in the Christian religion? And where can you have a purer representation of the Christian religion than in the churches of the Protestants? All else is as unstable as water. Here God is represented as holy, yet gracious; and here you may meet with a strict rule of duty, and yet best for your choice. Let it confirm you in your choice; and bless God for the advantages of your birth and education. If you had been born among heathens, you had been liable to their darkness: 'The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart,' Ps xix. 10.

Secondly, Now we come to speak to the second head of Christian doctrine, what is to be known concerning Jesus Christ? I shall not wander and digress from the circumstances of the text.

Here are three things offered to our consideration:- (1.) That he is sent; (2.) That he is Jesus, or a saviour; (3.) That he is Christ, or an anointed saviour.

First, That he is sent. I in part opened this in the explication; now I shall open it more fully. It implieth -

1. Christ's divine original; he was a person truly existing before he came into the world, as a man must be before he is sent; he came forth from God: Gal. iv. 4, 'When the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law;' exapesteilen, the word is a double compound, sent forth from God. Jesus Christ was in the Godhead; to note his intimacy and familiarity with God, he is said to be en kolpoi patros, John i. 18, 'The only-begotten Son of God, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. He is not only legatus a latere, from the side of God, but from the bosom of God; so equals and dear friends are admitted into the bosom. Therefore he is said 'to come forth from God,' John xvi. 30. Not only to note the authority of his message, but the quality of his person, he came from out of the Godhead. No inferior mediator could serve the turn; such an errand required a God himself: nothing but an infinite good could remedy an infinite evil. Sin had bound us over to an eternal judgment, and nothing could counterpoise eternity but the infiniteness and excellency of Christ's person. He that came on such an errand must needs be God, both to satisfy God and to satisfy us. God could not be satisfied unless his sufferings had received a value from his person. To satisfy God offended there must be a God satisfying for the offence; therefore his blood is called 'the blood of God;' Acts xx. 28, 'Feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.' The satisfaction must carry proportion with the merit of the offence. A debt of a thousand pounds is not discharged by two or three brass farthings. Creatures are finite, their acts are due, and their sufferings for one another, if they had been allowed, would have been of a limited influence. Merit is above the creature; no act of ours can lay an engagement upon God: 1 Sam. ii. 25, 'If a man sin against another, the judge shall judge him; but if he sin against God, who shall entreat for him?' The judge may accord a difference between man and man, and one man may make satisfaction to another; but to take up matters between us and God, a person must be sent out of the Godhead itself. So to satisfy us; he had need be able to grapple with divine wrath that would undertake our cause; he was not only to undergo it, but to overcome it. The creature would never have been satisfied if he had perished in the work; if our surety were kept in prison, and held under wrath and death, we should have had no assurance that the debt was paid: Acts xvii. 31, 'Whereof he hath given assurance to all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.' Christ's resurrection is our acquittance and discharge: John xvi. 10, 'Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more.' Well, then, we see the reasons why a person of the Godhead is employed in this work. You need not doubt but that it is accomplished to the full, since it is in the hands of such an able surety. Besides, it showeth the greatness of our sin and misery, that a person of the Godhead must be sent to rescue us. Sin fetched the Son of God from heaven, and if we subdue it not, it will sink us into hell.

2. It implieth his distinct subsistence, that Christ is a distinct person from the Father; for he that sendeth and he that is sent are distinguished. Mark, I say, it implieth distinction, but not inferiority, against the Arians. Persons equal by mutual consent may send one another, as we see among men; and Christ was equal with God: Phil. ii. 6, 'Who being in the form of God, thought it no robbery to be equal with God;' he might take that honour upon him without usurpation. Now this sending is ascribed to the Father; as John x.36, 'Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into the world,' etc., and in other places. Partly because the Father in those places is not taken personally, but essentially; for the decree of the Father is the decree of the Son and Spirit; they are one in essence, and one in will, their actions are undivided. Partly because this peculiar personal operation is especially ascribed to the first person. The Father is said to send, and the Holy Ghost to qualify and fit him. It is ascribed to the Father, he sent the Spirit to accomplish it; to God the Son, who took human nature, and united it to his own godhead; to the Spirit of God, who formed, and sanctified, and furnished it with gifts without measure. In the economy of salvation, the original authority is made to reside in God the Father. So that here is a sensible argument to confirm the doctrine of the Trinity. Christ was sent, one of the persons took flesh by order and appointment of the whole Godhead. The distinction of the persons is by this discovered: Heb. i. 5. 6, 'For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the first-begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.'

3. It implieth the incarnation of Christ: 'Sent into the world,' John x. 36. So Gal. iv. 4, 'God sent forth his own Son, made of a woman.' Christ's sending doth not imply change of place, but assumption of another nature. Now this was necessary, otherwise Christ neither ought to nor could suffer. Justice required that the same nature that sinned should be punished. If he had not been made of a woman he could not be under the law, the duty, or the penalty of it: Gal. iv. 4, 'He was made of a woman, made under the law.' Our sin was not to be punished in angels, or in any other creature that had not sinned, nor in man made out of nothing, or out of a piece of earth, or out of the dust, as Adam. God might have made Christ true man out of that matter, but he was made of a woman, one that was of our blood, of the same nature and essence with them that sinned. Our Saviour was not to be a sinner, but partaker of the same nature with them that sinned.

4. It implieth the quality of Christ's office; he is the messenger of heaven, and therefore called 'the angel of the covenant,' Mal. iii. 1. He is sent by God after lost sinners. He is called 'the apostle and high priest of our profession,' Heb. iii. 1. God sendeth out a messenger to bring sinners to himself, as wisdom sent out her maids; but Christ is the chief messenger and apostle. And mark, he is called there not only the apostle but high priest; partly to show that in all ages of the church Christ is the chief officer, therefore the highest calling, both in the Jewish and Christian church is ascribed to him; but chiefly to show that Christ, as he is the ambassador to treat with us from God, so the high priest to treat with God and appease his wrath for us. Christ is the messenger that goeth from party to party; if he had not been sent to us we should neither know God nor enjoy him; he came from God to men that he might bring men to God. There was no knowing of the Father without him: Mat. xi. 27, 'No man knoweth the Son but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son shall reveal him.' There is no coming to the Father without him: John xiv. 6, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh to the Father but by me.' He came from heaven on purpose to show us the way and to remove all obstacles. This is Christ's office.

5. It implieth the authority of his office. Jesus Christ had a lawful call. He was designed in the council of the Trinity; his holiness, miracles, and divine power are his commission: 'Him hath God the Father sealed,' John vi. 27; as every ambassador hath letters of credence under the hand and seal of him from whom he is sent. Christ is the plenipotentiary of heaven; he hath his commission under the seal of heaven; all is valid that he doth in the Father's name; he hath authorised the Redeemer. Which is not only for the comfort of our faith; Christ entered upon his calling by authority, which I shall improve by and by; but for moral instruction, to look to our mission: Christ came not till he was sent. It is not good to cast ourselves upon offices and places without a lawful call and designation of God. In ordinary functions, education and abilities are call enough, and there we must keep. It is a tempting of providence to think God will bless us out of our way. A desire of change usually proceedeth from disdain, or distrust, or a thirst of gain, all which are sinful. But now, in higher callings, there must be a solemn mission: Rom. x. 15, 'How shall they preach except they be sent?' They must be authorised by God, the rules he hath left in the church. Our Lord Jesus Christ did not glorify himself by intrusion; he had a patent from the council of the Trinity, indited by the Father, accepted by himself, and sealed by the Holy Ghost.

Use. It showeth three things: -

1. The love of God. Here are many circumstances to heighten it in your thoughts; that he would not trust an angel with your salvation, but send his Son; he is to come in person: 1 John iv. 10, 'Herein is love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.' He thought nothing too near and too dear for us. Usually man's love descendeth, and all his happiness is laid up in his children. Again, God had no reasons; he was moved by his own goodness; he had reasons to the contrary. We were enemies, but he sent his Son for enemies: Rom. v. 10, 'If when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son,' etc. What was his Son sent for? Not to treat with us in majesty, but to take our nature, to be substituted into our room and place. Oh! praise the Father: Eph. i. 3, 'Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ;' 2 Cor. i. 3, 'Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.'

2. Christ's condescension. He submitteth to be sent: Ps. xl. 7, 8, 'Lo, I come; in the volume of the book it is written of me. I delight to do thy will, 0 my God; yea, thy law is within my heart.' We could never have asked so much as God hath given. He would not only borrow our tongue to speak to us, but our bowels to mourn for us, and our bodies to die for us. He layeth aside his majesty, and taketh on himself the condition of a servant. It is irksome to us to go back ten degrees in pomp or pleasure upon just and convenient reasons. Oh I the wonderful self-denial of Christ! He laid aside the majesty of God, and submitted to the greatest abasement and suffering.

3. The value of souls and spiritual privileges. If we despise them, we put an affront upon the wisdom of heaven, and undervalue Christ's purchase. Freedom from sin, justification, holiness, they are the only things. Christ was sent from heaven to purchase them. Gold and silver would not buy them; money is not current in heaven, though it doth all things in the world: 1 Peter i. 18, 'We are not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from our vain conversations, but with the precious blood of the Son of God, as of a lamb without spot and blemish.' Christ must come from heaven, and take a body, and shed his blood. Scourge your hearts with that question, Heb. ii. 3, 'How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?' Sure we should be more serious, and think that worthy of our best endeavours and greatest earnestness which Christ thought worthy a journey from heaven, and all the pains and shame he suffered.

Secondly, The next thing in the text is that he is Jesus: Mat.i.21, 'Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.' It is there interpreted to signify a saviour; an angel himself is the expositor. So here Christ is sent to be a saviour; that is a principal object of faith, to look upon Christ as the Saviour of the world. A saviour properly is one that delivereth from evil. Now Christ doth only deliver us from evil, from sin, the wrath of God, the accusations of the law, and eternal death, but positively he giveth us grace and righteousness and eternal life. He is a saviour to defend us, and a saviour to bless us: Ps. lxxxiv. 11, 'The Lord God is a sun and a shield; he will give grace and glory, and no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.' The mercies of the covenant are privative and positive. Many enter into a league that they will not hurt one another; but God is in covenant with us to bless us. If Christ had only procured some place for us, unacquainted with pain or pleasure, it had been much; but we have not only a ransom, but an inheritance; instead of horrors and howlings, everlasting joys. Again, many are called saviours either because of their subordinate subserviency to Christ, instruments in inward and outward salvation; but these saviours needed a saviour. Christ is the true Jesus, who saveth as an author of grace, not as an instrument and means of conveyance. Now Christ is a saviour partly by merit, partly by efficacy and power; he doth something for us and something in us: for us, he prevaileth by the merit of his death; in us, by the efficacy of his Spirit; all his work is not done on the cross. Both are necessary, partly in regard of the difference of the enemies; God and the law are in a distinct rank from sin and death, Satan and the world. God was an enemy; ho cannot be overcome, but must be reconciled; the law an enemy that could not be disannulled, but must be satisfied. Sin, the world, and Satan assault us out of malice, they make themselves our enemies; the law and God are made enemies out of our rebellion; therefore Christ must satisfy as well as overcome. To reconcile God, he shed his blood on the cross. Justice must have a sacrifice and the law satisfaction; the curses of the law are not to fall to the ground; somebody must be made a curse to keep up the authority of the law; the law was an innocent enemy, and therefore not to be relaxed or repealed. Partly in regard of the different fight of the other enemies, that are enemies out of malice. Satan is not only a tempter but an accuser. As a tempter, so Christ was to overcome him by his power; as an accuser, by his merit. When Satan condemneth, Christ is to intercede and represent his own merit; the plaster must be as broad as the sore; so far as Satan is an enemy, so far must Christ be a saviour and redeemer, by his power against the temptations, by his merit against the accusations of Satan. As the devil is an accuser, Christ is an advocate. Partly because Satan hath a double power over a sinner - legal and usurped. Legal, as God's executioner, by the ordination of God's justice: Heb. ii. 14, 'That through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.' Christ is to die to put Satan out of office usurped, as the god of this world. God made him an executioner, we a prince: John xii. 31, 'Now shall the prince of this world be cast out.' Christ rescueth prisoners: Isa. xlix. 9, 'That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth.' He will rescue and recover the elect when by their own default they put themselves in Satan's hands. Partly for our comfort. By his own obedience and merit Christ giveth us a right and title, but by his efficacy and power he giveth us possession. He is to buy our peace, grace, comfort, and then to see that we are possessed of it.

Well, then, own him as Jesus, as the only Saviour. Acts iv. 17, the apostles were charged 'not to preach any more in the name of Jesus.' Rest upon his merit, and wait for his power.

1. Rest upon his merit. Troubled consciences, that think to help themselves by their own care and resolution, are like men that are like to perish in the waters, and when a boat is sent out to help them, think to swim to shore by their own strength. You would be a saviour to yourselves, your own Jesus, and your own Christ. God is very jealous of the creature's trust; and Christ saith, Isa. xlv. 5, 'I am the Lord, and there is none else; there is no saviour besides me.' You would purchase your peace, conquer your own enemies, and then come to Christ. No money of yours is current in heaven; the jewels of the covenant are not sold for any price but Christ's blood and Christ's obedience. God saith, Isa. lv. 1, 'He that hath no money, let him come and buy wine and milk, without money and without price.' He sold to Christ, but he giveth to you; he asketh nothing of you but acceptance. Will you take it? They that refuse Christ and refuse comfort till they be holy in themselves, they have a show of humility, they would wear their own garments, spend their own money; but the spirit is never more proud than when under a legal dejection; we scorn to put on Christ's robes, and are better contented with our own spotted garments; as in outward things we prefer a russet coat of our own before a velvet coat of another's. This is peevish pride.

2. Wait for his power and efficacy in the use of means. It is bestowed on us by virtue of his intercession: 'We are saved by his life,' Rom. v. 10; 'If when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.' We are reconciled by his merit, but saved by his life. He liveth in heaven, and procureth influences of his grace: 'Therefore he is' (said to be) 'able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God through him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for us, Heb. vii. 25. In heaven he accomplisheth the other part of his priesthood. He doth not work out a part of man's salvation, and leave the rest to our free will: the sacrificing part is ended, and by his intercession we get the merit applied to us. But we must not be idle, we must come with supplications, and present the case to Christ, that Christ may present it to God. Our groans must answer to the earnestness of his intercession, and then we shall receive supplies. The word is called, 'The power of God to salvation,' Rom. i. 16. Those that conscionably use prayer, and wait for Christ in the word, will find him to be a saviour indeed. The word is the effectual means to save men, how foolish and despicable soever it seem in the world. God would work with us rationally. We cannot expect a brutish bent, etc.;

Thirdly, The next thing is that he is Christ, an anointed saviour. This fitly followeth the former. Jesus signifies his divinity, and Christ his humanity. We are not only to know his person, but his office: John i. 41, 'We have found the Messiah, which is, being interpreted, the Christ, or anointed. This is often expressed in scripture: Ps. xlv. 8, 'He is anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows;' Isa. lxi. 1, 'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek.' So Acts iv. 27, 'Against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were gathered together.' So Acts x. 38, 'How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power.' Out of all which places we see that Christ's anointing is not to be understood properly, but by a trope; the sign is put for the thing signified.

1. Who was anointed? Among the Gentiles, the wrestlers were anointed. Which may be applied to Christ, who was now to wrestle and conflict with all the prejudices and difficulties of man's salvation. But it is rather taken from the customs of the ceremonial law. Three sorts of persons we find to be anointed among the Jews: - Kings; as Saul, David, Solomon: 1 Sam. ix. 16, 'Thou shalt anoint him to be captain over my people Israel.' Therefore they were called, 'the Lord's anointed,' 1 Sam. xxvi. 11. Priests; all the priests that ministered in the tabernacle or temple, chiefly the high priest, who was a special figure of Christ: Exod. xxix. 29, 'And the holy garments of Aaron shall be his sons' after him, to be anointed therein, and to be consecrated in them.' Prophets: 1 Kings xix. 16, 'Elisha the son of Shaphat shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room.' As oil strengtheneth and suppleth the joints, and maketh them agile and fit for exercise, so it noteth a designation and fitness for the functions to which they were appointed. So Christ, because he was not to be a typical priest, or prophet, or king, therefore he was not typically but spiritually anointed; not with a sacramental, but real unction; not of men but of God immediately. Therefore we shall inquire how Christ was anointed. It implieth two things:-

[1.] The giving of power and authority: Heb. v. 5, 'Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.' Therefore though Christ be of the same power and authority with the Father, yet as mediator he must be appointed. Christ took not on him the honour of a mediator, but received it of his Father. God needeth not to appoint a mediator; it was his free grace. To save sinnners is not proprietas divinae naturae, but opus liberi consilii. This counsel had its rise from the mercy and free grace of the Father; he might have required this punishment of ourselves. If any had interposed to mediate for us without God's will and calling, his mediation would have been of no value; a pledge whereof we have in Moses: Exod. xxxii. 32, 33, 'Yet now, if thou wilt, forgive their sins; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of the book of life. And the Lord said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.' And besides, where should we have found a sufficient mediator, unless he should have given us one? Therefore there is much in the Father's anointing or appointment; therefore is the mediation of Christ so effectual; it is made by his own will: John viii. 42, 'I proceeded forth, and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me;' John vi. 27, 'Him hath God the Father sealed;' as a magistrate hath the king's broad seal. Which is a great comfort; when we go to God, we may offer him Christ, as authorised by himself: Thou hast sent thy own Son to be a mediator for me. And we may plead it to ourselves in faith: God the supreme judge, the wronged party, hath appointed Christ to take up the controversy between him and me.

[2.] The bestowing on him the Holy Ghost, who might make the human nature fit for the work. So Acts x. 38, 'Him hath God anointed with the Holy Ghost and with power.' The human nature of Christ was fitted for the employment; for though it were exalted to great privileges, yet it could not act beyond its sphere; and sanctification is the personal operation of the third person. Now the work of the Holy Ghost was in the womb of the virgin, to preserve the human nature of Christ from the infection of sin. From a sinner nothing could be born but what was unclean and sinful; by this anointing Christ was made perfectly just, strengthened to all offices, especially to offer up himself: Heb. ix. 14, 'Who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God.' To overcome all difficulties and temptations: Isa. xlii. 1, 'Behold my servant whom I uphold, my elect in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my Spirit upon him.' The work of redemption was a weighty work: Christ had to do with God, devil, and man, to bear the wrath of God for the whole world.

2. To what was Christ anointed? To the office of a mediator in general; particularly to be king, priest, and prophet of the church. To be a prophet, to teach us by his word and Spirit: Mat. xvii. 5, 'This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased; hear ye him.' God bespeaketh audience. To be a priest, to intercede and die for us. To be a king, to rule us by his Spirit, and to give grace and glory to us.

Use 1. Let us receive Christ as an anointed saviour. Christ is set over us by authority; let us come to him as a prophet, denying our own reason and wisdom; as a priest, seeking all our acceptance with God through his merit. Let us plead, Lord, thou hast anointed Christ to offer himself a sacrifice for me. As a king, let us give up ourselves to the authority and discipline of his Spirit. God's anointing is the true reason and cause why we should come to Christ.

Use 2. Comfort; we are anointed too. Christ's ointment is shared amongst his fellows; he was anointed more than we, but we have our part: Ps. cxxxiii. 2, 'Like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard, that went down to the skirts of his garment;' 1 John ii. 27, 'The anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you.' We are made prophets, priests, and kings; prophets meet to declare his praises, priests fit for holy ministering, kings to reign over our corruptions here, and with Christ for ever in glory, as the queen is crowned with the king.

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