OF THE INCARNATION OF CHRIST;
The Incarnation of the Son of God is the mistery of Godliness, and, without controversy, great, 1 Tim. 1ix. 16. It is the basis of ihe christian religion; a fundamental article of it; and without the belief of it no man can be a christian ; Every spirit that confessetb that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is BfGod; And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God, 1 John iv. 2$ 3. The heathens had some faint notions of it. Confucius said, that the Word would be made flesh ; several of the deities and heroes, of the heathens, Greeks and Romans, are represented as having no father. Now whatever notion the heathens had of an incarnate God, was the broken remains of a revelation their ancestors were acquainted with* I shall consider,
I. The subject of the incarnation, or the divine Person that became incarnate. The evangelist John says it was the Word, the essential Word of God ; The Word was made flesh, and dwelt, among us, John i. 14. The divine Person who came in the flesh, or became incarnate, is always distinguished from
the Father, as be'mg sent by him, God sending his Son, &?c. Rom. Viii- 3. And again, God sent forth his Sen made of a woman, Gal. iv. 4. The Logos, the Word and Son of God, who is made flesh, or become incarnate, is not to be understood of the human soul of Christ; for this Word was in the beginning with God, that is, was with him from all eternity; whereas the human soul of Christ is one of the souls that God has made, a creature, a creature of time. I proceed,
II. To observe, in what sense the Word, or Son of God, was made flesh. It will be proper to enquire, both what is
' meant by fltsh, and what by being made flesh. I. By flesh is meant, not a part of the human body ; but a whole individual of human nature, consisting of soul and body , as when it is said,' There shall no flesh be justified in his sight; and again, That no flesh should glory in his presence, Rom. iii. 20. Such acts as being justified and glorying, can never be said cf the flesh or body, abstractly considered ; but of the whole man.— i. He took a true body, not a mere phantom, spectre, or apparition, as some fancied. His body is called, the body of his flesh, his fleshly body, Col. i. 22. to distinguish it from the to. ken of his body in the supper; and from his mystical body, the church: all his actions, and what is said of him from his birth to his death, and in and after it, shew it was a true body he assumed. 2. Christ assumed a reasonable soul, with his true body, which make up the nature he took upon him. The Ariaris deny that Christ has an human soul; they say, that the Logus, or the divine nature in him, iuch a one as it is, supplied the place of an human soul. But Christ asserts, that he had a soul; and which, he says, was exceeding sorrowful. Had he not an human soul, he would not be a perfect man ; he could not be in all things like us ; being deficient in that
•> Which is the most excellent and most noble part of man. He had an human understanding, Luke ii. 52. and human will, John vi. 38. and human affections, as love, Mark x. 21. and joy, Luke x. 21. n. In what sense the word, or Son of God, Was made flesh, and so became incarnate. By the incarnation nothing is added to, nor altered in the divine nature and personality of Christ. God the Word or Son, became manifest in the flesh, so that both natures, divine and human, are united in one Person. The Nestorians so divided and separated these natures, as to make them distinct and separate Persons, which they are not, but one. And the Eutychians, running into the other extreme, mixed aid confounded the natures to. gather; just as two sorts of liquors, mixed together, make a third different from both. But this is to make Christ neither truly God, nor truly man. This union of natures is such, that though they are closely united, and not divided, yet they retain their distinct proper ties and operations; as the divine nature to be uncreated, infinite, omnipresent, impassible, &c.
II I. The causes of the incarnation, are efficient and moving, or to whom and what it is to be ascribed; and the final cause, for the sake of whom, and what. J. The efficient cause of it, God, Father, Son, and Spirit; all the three Persons have a concern in it, it being a work ad extra. The Father, Heb. x. 5. The Son, Heb. ii. 14, 1G. The Holy Ghost, Luke i. 35. 2. The moving cause of the incarnation of Christ, is the love of the Father, and of ths Son, to mankind. God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, John iii. 16. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is well known; who, though rich in his divine Person, became poor in human nature, to make his people rich, Phil. ii. 6—?8. 3. The final cause was for the sake of the elect of God. But of this more hereafter.
IV. The parts of the incarnation are to be next considered, conception and nativity, i. Conception ^ this is a most wonderful, abstruse, and mysterious affair; and which to apeak of is very difficult- 1. This conception was by a virgin : Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son! 2. This
conception was through the power and influence of the Holy
Ghost overshadowing the virgin. 3. It was a nature, and not a person that Christ assumed ; it is called the holy Thing,
and not a person ; The seed of Abraham, or the nature of the seed of Abraham. I shall farther observe some things concerning the union of the two natures, which took place at the conception; and of the effects of it. i. Of the union itself; concerning which let it be observed, 1. That though Christ, by assuming the human nature," united it to his divine Person ; yet there is a difference between assumption and union ; assumption is only of one nature ; union is of both. 2. This union is hypostatical, or personal, not an union of persons ; but of two natures in one person. 3. This is an union of natures; but not a communication of one nature to another. The properties of each nature remain distinct. 4. This union lies in making the personality of the Word, common to the human nature; or giving it a subsistence in the Person of the Word or Son of God. Hence it is called, The Son of God, Luke i. 35. S. This union is indissoluble, John ii. 19. II. The effects of this union, both with respect to the human nature, and to the Person of Christ. With respect to the human nature: 1. Pre-eminence to all other individuals of human nature. 2. Perfect holiness and impeccability. 3. A communication of habitual grace to it in the greatest degree. 4. A very high and glorious exaltation of it, after his ueath and resurrection from the dead.
With respect to the Person of Christ, the effects of this union are, 1. A communicatiou of idioms, or properties, as the ancients express it. Hence we read of God purchasing the church with his blood; and on the oiher haud, the Sou of man is described by a property which belongs to the divine nature, which is to be omnipresent, John iii. 13. 2. A communion of office, and of power and authority to exercise it in both natures : thus by virtue of this union Christ bears the office of Mediator, and exercises it in both nature;, ; there is one Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jetus, 1 Tim. ii. 5. 5. A communion of operations in both natures, to the perfecting of the same work ; which, therefore, may be called theandric, or the work of the God-man ; there being a concurrence of both natures in the performance of it; which, when done, is ascribed to his Person. 4. The adoration of the Person of Christ, having both natures united in him, is ano. ther effect of this union. The human nature of Christ is not the formal object of worship ; it is a creature. But then the divine Person of Christ having that nature in union with him, is worshipped, Heb. i. 6. ii. The birth, or nativity of Christ, the other part of the incarnation, is next to be considered. i. Of whom born; of a virgin, of the house of David, and of the tribe of Judah. 1. Of a virgin : this was hinted at in the first promise of the seed of the woman; and is fully expressed by Isaiah : A virgin shall conceive and bear a Son. 2. Christ was born of a virgin of the house of David; as in Luke i. 27. and is therefore called the Son of David, and of the tribe of Judah. It is manifest, as the apostle says, that our Lord sprung from the house of Judah, Heb. vii. 14. 2. The birth of Christ, or his coming into the world, was after the manner of men ; he was the common time in his mother's womb; for it is said, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered* 3. The place cf his birth was Bethlehem, according to the prophecy in Mic. v. 2. Matt. ii. 4—6. Bethlehem signifies the house of bread; a fit place for the Messiah to be born in, who is the bread that came down from ' heaven, and gives life unto the world. 4. The time of his birth was as it was fixed in prophecy ; before the sceptre, or civil government, departed from Judah. It was at the time pointed at in Daniel's weeks, Dan. ix. 24. &c. The exact year is not agreed on by chronologers ; but it was about, or a little time before or after the four thousandth year of the world; nor can the season of the year, the month and day in which he was born, be ascertained. The vulgar account seems not probable ; the circumstance of the shepherds watching their flocks by night, agrees not with the winter season. However, it was in the fulness of time; in time, and not before time.
V. The ends of Christ's incarnation are many ; there is a cluster of them in the song of the angels at his birth ; Glory
to God in the highest; and on earth peace, good will towards men, Luke ii. 14. Particularly, Christ became man that he might be our Goel, our near kinsman, and might have a right to redeem us ; and that he might be a Mediator, a Priest, a Prophet, and a Ruler ; and so sit and reign upon the throne of his father David.
OF CHRIST'S STATE OF HUMILIATION.
Christ's state of humiliation began at his incarnation, and was continued through the whole of his life unto death, which is fully and clearly expressed in a few words in Phil. ii. 7, 8. he made himself of no reputation, fcfc.
I. The humiliation of Christ took place at his incarnation. i. It appeared both in his conception and h'rth. It may be observed,—1. That he was born of a woman, which very phrase is expressive of meanness, Job xiv. 1. 2. Born of a poor woman ; for though his mother, the virgin, was of the house of David, of that illustrious family, yet when that family was become very low, like a tree cut down to its roots, she was obliged to lay her new born infant in a manger. The of. fering of the poorer sort at her purification was hers. 3. He was born in a poor country village, John i. 46. 4. The nature he was born in had all the sinless infirmities of human nature ; into such alow estate and condition did Christ come. N. The humiliation of Christ appeared in all the stages of life. He was an infant of days, he grew in body as children do; and his reasoning faculties opened ctradually, he increased in wis. dom as well as in stature, Luke ii. 40, 52. It seems as if lie was brought up to the mechanical business, Is not this the carpenter ? Mark vi. 3. His whole life, until he was thirty years of age, was a life of obscurity: what astonishing humility is this, that the Son of God in human nature, should be in the world thirty years running, and scarce be known at all by the inhabitants of it. ni. The public life of Christ began at his baptism, for by that he was made manifest in Israel. Yet his submission to the ordinance itself was an instance of his humiliation ; his coming many miles on foot, from Galilee to Jordan, to John to be baptized of him, is a proof of it.
II. Immediately after his baptism, Christ was harrassed with the temptations of Satan ; which was another branch of his humiliation and low estate he came into ; for he suffered being tempted; and he was tempted in all points like as we are, Hcb. ii. 18. and iv. 15. The first temptation was by putting an if upon the Sonship of Christ; -f thou be the Son of God; though there could be no doubt made of this, since a testimony of it from heaven had just been given; and the devils ihem- selves have acknowledged it, Luke, iv. 41. Thus the children of God are sometimes tempted to call in question their sonship, because of inward corruptions and outward afflictions. The second temptation was, after he suffered him to take him to the city of Jerusalem, and place him on the pinnacle of the temple, to cast himself down from thence ; in order to give proof of his divine Sonship, in a public manner, before the inhabitants of Jerusalem ; by which he might suggest it would gain him great credit aud esteem. In like manner ihe children of God are often tempted by Satan to destroy themselves; which shews the similarity between Christ's temptations and theirs. The third temptation was, after the devil had taken Christ by his permission, to an exceeding high mountain, and had shewed him, by a diabolical and false representation of things to the sight, all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; alluring him with a promise of these to fall down and worship him: but yet he got the victory over them all. v. Christ's humiliation appeared in the reproaches, indignities, and persecutions he endured from men. Sometimes his enemies upbraided him, with the meanness of his decent; with his illiberal education, and the illiterateness of his followers: sometimes ihey attacked his moral character, and affirmed they knew him to be a sinner. They not only rejected him a3 the Messiah; but sought to take away his life ; sometimes by having him to the brow of an hill, to cast him down headlong; and at other
times they took up stones to stone him. vi. There was a very great degree of meanness and poverty which appeared throughout the whole life of Christ, both private and public, 2 Cor. viii. 9. He, who was Lord of all became poor, to make us beggars rich; the foxes, and the birds of the air, enjoyed more than he did, Matt. viii. 20. He lived upon the contributions of some good women, Luke, viii. 2, 3. When the collectors of the tribute came to him for the tribute-money, he had none to pay them, but ordered Peter to take up a fish, and eut of that a piece of money, Matt, xviii. 24—27. At his death he had nothing to leave to his mother for her support. Nor had he any tomb of his own, but was laid in one belonging to another, vn. Upon the whole, it clearly appears that Christ indeed humbled himself and made himself of no reputation, as in Phil. ii. T, 8. or emptied himself.
OF THE ACTIVE OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST IN HIS STATE OF HUMILIATION.
The humiliation of Christ may be seen in his obedience to God, through the whole course of his life, even unto death; in order to which,
I. He took upon him the form of a servant, and really became one ; he appeared very diligent and constant ; nor did he leave working till he had completed the whole, justly did he obtain the character of God's righteous Servant, Isai. xi. 5.
II. When Christ took upon him the form of a Servant, he was subject to the law of God : hence these two things are joined together, as having a close connection with each other; Made of a woman ; made under the Jaw, Gal. iv. 4. 1. Christ was made under the judicial, or civil law of the Jews; he was by birth a Jew, and is called one, Zech. viii. 23. to this law he submitted,—1. That it might appear he was of the nation of the Jews. 2. That t might be manifest thai he came before the Jewish polity was at n end ; as it was foretold he should, 3, To teach his followers subjection to civil magistrates. ii. Christ was made under the ceremonial law, he was c:r
cumcised when eight days old, it was his custom constantly to attend synagogue worship; awl it was one of the last actions of his life, to keep the passover with his disciples. Now he became'subject to this latv. 1. Because it looked to him, and centred in him. 2. He was made under this law, in order to fulfil it. 3. He was made under it, that by fulfilling it he might abolish it. ni. Christ was made under the moral law ; under this he was as a man ; thy law is within my heart, Psal. xl. 7, 8. 1. He was made under it, in. order to fulfil the precepts of it; and which he perfectly obeyed. 2. He submitted tc the penal part of the lav; ; Christ therefore as the substitute of his people, became obedient to death, even ihe death of the cross. 3. All this he became and did, to fulfil the law in their room.
III. Christ taking upon him the form of a servant, was obedient throughout the whole course of his life. i. There is the obedience of Christ to men : to his earthlv parents ; particularly to his mother; to civil magistrates, he is called, the Servant of rulers, Isai. xlix. 7. n There is the obedience of Christ to God; there are many things in which Christ was obedient to God, which do not come into the account of his obedience for the justification of men; as, i. The miraculous actions which were performed by him : these were done to prove his proper Deity, and his being the true Messiah; yet are no part of that obedience by which men are made righteous. 2. His obedience in the ministration of the gospel. 3. His obedience to the ceremonial law, which he was under, as has been shewn ; and to which he yielded obedience ; of which many instances have been given, but this is no part of our justifying righteousness ; for the greater number of those that are made righteous by Christ's obedience, were never under this law ; and so under no obligation to yield obedience to it. But, 4. It is Christ's obedience to the moral law, and is what all men are subject to, and for lack of which obedience, Christ has yielded a perfect one, concerning which may be observed. i. The qualifications and capacity of Christ to yield perfect obedience to the law.—1. His assumption of human nature. 2. He was made under the law, for this purpose. 3. He Had a pure and holy nature, quite conformable to the holy law of God. 4. Was possessed of a power of free-will to that which is holy, just, and good, agreeable to the law of God. 5. He had a natural love to righteousness, and an hatred of sin, Psal. xlv. 7. ii. His actual performance of it; the moral law consists of two tables, and both have been exactly observed and obeyed by Christ, i. The first table of the law; which includes —1. Love to God. 2. Faith and trust in God. 3. The whole worship of God. 4. Honour and reverence of the name of God. 5. Sanctification of the sabbath, n. The second table of the law; which includes,—1. Honouring of parents, 2. Love to our neighbour as one's self. 3. Doing all good to men 4. As all malice, impurity, and eVil concupiscence, are forbid in this table of the law ; none of these appeared in Christ; no, not the least shadow of them so that the law, in both its tables, was precisely obeyed by him. in. The obedience which Christ yielded to the law, has these peculiar excellencies in it.—1. It was voluntary, Heb. x. 1. 2. It is perfect, 3. It excels the obedience of men and angels. 4. It was wrought out in the room of his people. 5. It is the measure and matter of the justification of them that believe in him, Hom. v. 19. 6. It is an obedience well-ple*sing in the sight tof God.
OF THE PASSIVE OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST.
As Christ had received a commandment from his Father to lay down his lire, as well as to take it up again ; he readily and voluntarily obeyed that commandment; and this is what is sometimes called his passive obedience.
I. t shall observe what the sufferings of Christ were which he endured. They were foretold by the prophets ; and the apostles said no other things than what Moses and the prophets did sayi that Christ should suffer, &fc. Acts xxvi. 22, 23. The twenty-second Psalm, and fiity-third of Isaiah, and ninth of Daniel, are illustrious prophecies of his sufferings, and which have had their exact accomplishment, i. The things preparatory to his death, and which led on to it, and issued in it wtre, 1. The conspiracy of the chief priests and elders to take away his life, Matt. xxvi. 3, 4. 2. The offer of Judas Iscariot to them, to betray him into their hands. 3. After Christ had eat his last passover with his disciples, he went into a garden, and prayed that, if possible, the cup might pass from him ; and the agony he was in was so great, and the pressure on his mind so heavy, and so much affected his body, that his sweat was, as it were, great drops of blood falling to the ground, Matt. xxvi. 38, 39. 4. Judas knowing the place where Christ resorted to, and where he npw was, came with a band of soldiers, and with a kiss he betrayed him to them; who laid hold on him, bound him as a malefactor, and had him to Caiaphas the high priest. 5. In whose palace he endured much: some spat in bis face, and buffetted him, and others smote him with the palms of their hands. 6. Still more he endured in the hall of Pilate the Roman governor. He was accused of sedition, he was scourged, and was delivered to the Roman soldiers, who used him extremely ill; who platted a crown of thorns, and put it upon his head, put a reed in his right hand, and on him a soldier's coat, as fit apparel for a king; and then when they had sated themselves with sport, led him forth to be crucified: which leads me to consider, n. The death itself he died. He was obedient to the death of the cross. This kind of death was a shameful one, uservile one, and a painful and cruel one, as the thing itself speaks; to have the whole body stretched to the uttermost; the hands and feet, those sensible parts of it, pierced; and to have the weight of the body depending on them! it was so crue], that the most humane among the R omans, wished to have it disused, even to servants ; and the more mild and gentle of the emperors would order persons to be strangled before they were nailed to the cross: it was also reckoned an accursed death.
There were seyeral circumstances which attended the death of Christ, which made it more ignominious and distressing ;
as the place where he suffered, Golgotha, so called from the skulls of malefactors executed there. Here he was crucified between two thieves. Instead of a cup of wine with frankincense, they gave Christ vinegar mixed with gall. The}' parted his garments, and cast lots upon his vesture; by which it seems that he was crucified naked, the more to expose him to shame and contempt. He endured the trial of cruel mockings ; and for three hours together, whilst he was on the cross, there was darkness over all the land. And when this was over, he quicklv gave up the ghost. Let it be observed, that Christ was put to death in t!tcflesh; as the apostle expresses it, 1 Pet. iii. 18. that is, in the body; that only suffered death ; not his soul, that died not; but was commended into the hands of his divire Father; nor his Deity, or divine nature, which was imppssahl'.., and not capable of suffering death. The death of Christ was real, not in appearance only, as some of the ancient heretics afErir.cd. And lastly, his death was voluntary ; he gave himself freely to be a sacrifice.
Now, besides this corporal death which Christ endured, there was a death in his soul, though not of it, which aasv cred to a spiritual and an eternal death. The sorrows of hell compassed him about. Eternity is not of the essence of punishment; and only takes place when the person punished cannot bear the whole at once, as that cannot be sustained by a finite creature, it is continued ad infinitum; but Christ being an infinite Ptrson, was able to bear the whole at once; and the infinity of his Person abundantly compensates fcr the eternity of the punishment.
II. Let us next enquire into the cause, reason, and occasion of the sufferings and death of Christ; and hew he came to undergo them. t. With respect to God, and his concern in them. To trace this we must go back as far as the eternal purposes of God. The moving cause of ali was, the great Jove he bore to his chosen ones in Christ. n. With respect to Christ, we must have recourse to the council and covenant of grace and peace; in which the plan of salvation was formedjapon his death. in. With respect to Satan, it arose from that old enmity that was between him and the woman's seed* iv. Wjth respect to men; these acted from different motives: Judas from covetouscess, the Jews from envy, Pilate to continue an interest in the affections cf the Jews, and .retain the good will of \'te Roman emperor. v. But the true causes and reasons why it was the pleasure of God, and the will of Christ that he should suffer, were their sins and transgressions; to make satisfaction for them.
III. The effects of the sufferings and death of Christ, are many. i. The redemption of his people from sin, from Satan, and from the wrath to come, Htb. ii. 10. n. Reconciliation, Rom. v. 10. in. Pardon of sin, Matt xxvi. 28. iv. Justification, Horn. v. 9. v. In short, complete salvation. vi. In all which the glory of God is great; the glory of his mercy, grace, and goodness; the glory of his wisdom, truth, and faithfulness; the glory of his power, and the glory of his justice and holiness.
IV. The properties of Christ's death and sufferings. i. They were real, and not imaginary. n. They were voluntary ; he freely surrendered himself, in. They were neces* sary. iv. They were efficacious, or effectual to the purposes for which they were endured. v. They are expiatory and satisfactory.
OF THE BURIAL OF CHRIST.
The last degree vf Christ's humiliation, and which it end. ed in, is his being laid in the grave. This is one of the articles of the christian faith, that he was buried, according to the scriptures, 1 Cor. xv. 4. Wherefore it will be proper to observe,
I. That Christ was to be buried, according to the scripture prophecies and types. i. Scripture prophecies ; which are the following. 1. Psal. xvi. 10. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hill. Some understand this text of his descent into hell; but it is certain, that the soul of Christ, upon its separation from his body, went not to hell, but to heaven. Now this prophecy manifestly implies that Christ's dead body sould be laid in the grave, though it should not be left there ; and and though it should not lie there so long as to be corrupted. 2. Another passage is in Psal. xxii. 15. Thou hast brought me into the dust of death. 3. Some take the words in Isai. xi. 10. to be a prophecy of Christ's burial; And his rest shall be glorious. The vulgate Latin version of the words is, His grave shall be glorious. 4. Isai. liii. 9. And he made his grace with the wicked, and with thi rich in his death. The general sense, of the words may be this, that after his death both rich men and wicked men were concerned in his burial, and were about his grave, n. There was a scripiure-type of his burial, and which our Lord himself takes notice of; for as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, Matt. xii. 40.
II. As Christ should be buried according to prophecy and type, so in fact he was buried, as all the evangelists relate; from the whole we learn,—1. That the body being begged of Pilate by Joseph of Arimathea, a rich man, it was taken down from the cross, and was wrapped or wound about in fine clean linen, as was the manner of the Jews; see John xi. 44. 2. Nicodemus, another rich man, brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pounds weight; which spices, along with the linen clothes, were wound about the body of Christ. 3. The body being thus enwraped was laid in Joseph's own tomb, a new one, in which no man had been laid ; and this was cut out of a rock. It was a new tomb in which Christ was laid ; which was so ordered in providence, that it might not be said that not he hut another man rose from the dead. Moreover, his tomb was hewn out in the rock, and this prevented any such objection to be made to the resurrection of Christ, that the apostles through some subterraneous passages, got to the body of Christ and took it away. 4, The tomb in which Christ's body was laid was in a garden ; nor was it unusual for great personages to have their sepulchres in a garden, and there to be buried. Manasseh and Amon his son, kings of Judah, were buried in a garden, 2 Kings xxi. 18, 19. Christ's sufferings began in a garden, and the last act of his humiliation was in one. A garden is a place where fruit trees grow, and fruit is in plenty ; and may direct us to think of the fruits of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. 5. The per. sons concerned in the burial of Christ, and attended his grave, were many and of divers kinds, and on different accounts; the ^fersons principally concerned in the interment of him, were Joseph of Arimathea aud Nicodemus, both rich men. That it might appear, that though Christ was loaded with the reproaches of the multitude of the people of all sorts, yet he had ' some friends among the rich and honourable. There were some women also who attended his cross, and continued sitting over against the supulchre. Here the power and grace of God were seen spiriting and strengthening the weaker vessels to act for Christ, and shew their respect to him, when all his disciples forsook him and fled; and this conduct of the women was a rebuke of theirs. Besides these, there were the , Roman soldiers, who were placed as a guard about the sepulchre ; and which not only gave proof of the truth of his death, and of the reality of his burial; but also of his resurrection ; though they were tampered with to be an evidence against it. The continuance of Christ in the grave, was three days and three nights; that is, three natural days, or parts of them ; which answered the type of Christ's burial, Jonas, who lay so long in the belly of the whale, Matt. xii. 40. Christ was buried on the sixth day, and so lay in the grave part of that natural day, and the whole seventh day, another naturalday, and rose again on the first day, and so must lie a part of that day in it; and in like manner, and no longer, it may reasonably be supposed, Jonas lay in the whale's belly.
III. The ends, uses, and effects of Christ's burial, require some notice. l.To fulfil the prophecies, and type before mentioned ; for as this was predicted of him, it was necessary it should be fulfilled in him. 2. To shew the truth and reality of his 'fc .iih. 3. That it might appear, that by his death and sacnhce, he had made full satisfaction for sin ; his body being taken down from the cress, and laid in the grave, was a token that the curse was at an end, agreeably to the law, in Deut. xxi. 23, 4. To sanctify the grave, and make that easy and familiar to the saints, and take off the dread and reproach of it. Christ pursued death, the last enemy, to his last quarters and strong hold, the grave ; 'and drove him out from thence, and snatched the victory out of the hand of liit grave; so that believers may, with pleasure, go and see the place where the Lord lay. For,—5. In Christ's burial, all the sins of his people are buried with him; as the old man was crucified with him ; that the body ofgin might be destroyed, Hom. vi. 6. C. "J liis is an instance of the great humiliation of Christ, not only to he brought to death, but to the dust of death. But though he died once, he will die no more ; death shall have no more dominion over him ; though whilst he was in the grave it had dominion over him ; now he is loosed from the cords and pains of death, and lives forevermore. having the keys of hell and death.
OF THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST FROM THE DEAD.
Having gone through Christ's state of humiliation, I pass on to his estate of exaltation ; which immediately took place on the ending of the former; these two are closely connected by the apostle, Phil. ii. 6—10. The several steps and instances of his exaltation are, his resurrection from the dead, as. cension to heaven, session at the right hand of God, and his second coming to judge the world at the last day. I shall begin with the first of these.
I. I shall first consider the prophecies and types of Christ's resurrection from the dead, and how they have been fulfilled. i. Scripture prophecies ; and the apostle Paul takes notice of several of them in one discourse of his, in Acts xiii, 33—35.
1. A passage in Psal. ii. 7. Thou art my Soy, this day have 1 begetten thee. The sense is that by his resin.ection from the dead, he would be declared, as he was, to be the Son oS '~ '* with power; and the truth of his divine Sonship confirmed thereby; 2. Another prophecy of Christ's resurrection, is in Psal. xvi. 10. which is produced both by the apostle Peter, and by the apostle Paul, as foretelling the resurrection of Christ, Actsii. 31. and xiii. 35—37. 3. Another scripture quoted by the apostle Paul; Acts xiii. 34. as referring to the resurrection of Christ, and as a proof of it, is in Isai. lv. 3. i will give ytu the sun mercies of David \ by David is meant Christy as he often is called in prophecy, and by his mercies, the blessings of the covenant of grace, which are with him. 4. There is another passage, foretelling the resurrection of Christ in Isai. xxvi. 19. Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise ; or if the words are to be rendered, As my dead body; or as sure as my dead body shall they arise; either way they predict the resurrection of Christ's dead body ; which is the exemplar, earnest, and pledge of the resurrection of the saints. 5. Another prophe. cy of the resurrection of Christ, and of its being on the third, day, is, as is generally understood, in Hos. vi. 2. After two. days will he revive us, fcfe. ii. Scripture-types; some of which are, 1. Types of the thing itself in general, or at least thought to be so ; as the first Adam's awaki g out of a deep sleep; the deliverance of Isaac: the budding and blossoming of Aaron's dry rod ; the living bird let fly ; and the scapegoat, let go in the wilderness, when the other taken with it was slain. 2. Others are types of the time of it in particular ; as well as of the thing itself; as the rescue of Isaac from the jaws of death, on the third day ; the preferment of Joseph in Pharaoh's court, on the third year from his being cast into prison by Potiphar: but the principal type of all,respecting this matter, is, that of the deliverance of Jonas.
II. As it was foretold that Christ should rise, and that •n the third day; accordingly he did; of which therfl
were many witaetses and full evidence. As,—The testimony ofangeU. a»J the women that came to the sepulchre, Matt ~ . \\\. 2. 5,6. Even the soldiers that guarded the sepulchre, were witnesses of Christ's resurrection; Christ was seen of many men, even of many hundreds. Now the apostles were witnesses chosen before of God for this purpose, Acts x. 41. and are to be credited; for,—1. There were such who knew Christ full well, who had not only a glance or two of him; but he was seen by them at certain times, for the space of forty days, Acts i. 3. 2. They were men not over credulous, though the women that had been at the sepulchre, gave such a plain account of things, with such striking circumstances ; yet their words seemed to them a» idle tales, and they itlieved them not. 3. The disciples were men of holy lives, it may be said of them, what the apostle Paul says of himself, that in simplicity and godly Sincerity, tbey had their conversation in the world. 4. They could have no sinister end, or any worldly advantage in view, they risqued their credit and reputation, and exposed themselves to the severest sufferings, and most cruel death, 1 Cor. xv. 29-^-32. The Holy Ghost himself is a witness of it, by the miracles which were wrought under his influence, that is, with miracles, signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds, gave witness of the resurrection of the L$rd Jesus Christ, Acts, v. 30^-32.
III. The manner of Christ's rising from the dead, comes next to be considered.—1. It was in his body ; when Christ said destroy this temple, and in thiree days I will raise it up ,the evangelist observes, that he spoke of the temple of his hay, John il. 19*^-21. 2. It was the same body that was raised that died, as appears from the print of the nails in his hands, and the mark in his side made by the spear, Luke xxiv. 39, 40. 3. It was raised immortal, clear of all former infirmities, as weariness, hunger, thirst, &c. 4. It was raised very glorious ; being crowned with glory and honour, his body is a glorious One, according to which the bodies of the saints will be fashioned, at the resurrection of the just> Phil. Hi. 21. 5. Yet it has the same ctstntMparts and properties of a body it ever had, it is circumscribed by space; was received up into heaven, and there retained, and will be retained, until the restitution of all things. 6. And lastly, the resurrection of Christ was attended with wonderful events; as with an earthquake, and with a resurrection of m any of the saints, Matt xxvii. 52, 53
IV. The causes of the resurrection of Christ from the dead, deserve notice ; it is frequently ascribed to God, without any distinction of persons, Acts ii. 24, 32. yet being a work ad txtra, all the three divine persons were concerned in it, as in Eph. i. 17—20. John ii. 19, 21. Rom. viii. 11.
V. The effects of Christ's resurrection from the dead, or the ends to be answered by it. 1. With respect to God, the chief end of all, was his glory,; for Christ was raised from the dead by, some read it, to the glory of the Father., Kom. vi. 4. that is, to the glory ofGtd the Father, Phil. ii. 11. to the glory of his perfections; as particularly, his truth and faithfulness, his power and justice, n. With respect to Christ.-—1. Hereby is given further proof of his proper Deity, and divine Sonship. 2. By this it is a clear case, that Christ has done his work as the Surety of his people. 3. This shews that he has got the victory over death and the grave ; he has done what he resolved to do; 0 death, I will be thy plague ! 0 grmve, I will be thy destruction ! so thadthe believer, in a view of inter, est in a risen Saviour, may triumph, and say, 0 death, where is thy sting t 0 grave, where is thy victory ? Hos. xiii. 14. 1 Cor. xv. 55. 4. It was necessary that Christ should rise from the dead, in order to enter into the glory promised him, 1 Pet. i. 11. 21. ili. With respect to his people; the power of Christ's resurrection it great; the effects of it are many, Phil, iii. 10.—1. The blessings of the covenant of grace in general are enjoyed by the saints, in virtue of it, Rom. v. 10.—2. Justification in particular, is observed as one special end, He was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. 3. Regeneration is another effect of Christ's resurrection ; they are quickened in regeneration, in consequence and virtue of his resurrection, to which it is acribed, 1 Pet. i. 3. 4. The resurrection of the saints at the last day, is the fruit and effect of Christ's resurrection, and which is ensured by it. Christ's resurrection being certain, the resurrection of the saints is also.
OF THE ASCENSION OF CHRIST TO HEAVEN.
Christ himself gave hints of it to his disciples, even before his death, as well as alter his resurrection ; What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before ? John vi, 62. It was also pre-signified.
I. By scripture-prophecies ; 1. A passage in Psal. xlvii. 5. God is gone up without a shout; the L•rd with the sound of a trumpet. He ascended amidst the shouts and acclamations of angels; and the rather, Bince he went upas a triumphant Conqueror, over all his and our enemies; leading captivity captive, Ii, The words of the Psalmist, in Psal. ex. 1. The Lord said unto my Ijrd, Sit thou at my right fund, &fc. plainly ini| 1;, t..e ascension of Christ to heaven ; for unless he ascended to heaven, how could he sit down at the right hand of God there, in. The vision Daniel had of the Son of man, in chap. vii. 13, 14, is thought by some to have respect to the ascension of Christ to heaven ; he is undoubtedly meant by on? ise unto the Son of man. Though this vision will have a farther accomplishment at the second coming of Christ. iv. The prophecy in Mic. ii. 13. may be understood as referring to this matter ; The breakir is come up before tbem ; at his ascension he broke up, and broke his way through the region of the air, and through legions of devils; at the head of those that were raised with him when he rose, angels and men shouting as he passed along, v. What most clearly foretold the ascension of Christ to heaven, is in Psal. lxviii. 18. which is, by the apostle Paul, quoted and applied to the ascension of Christ, Eph. iv. 8—10. and all the parts of it agree Wi h him ; he is spoken of in the context, in the words both before and after.
II. The ascension of Christ was pre-signified by the scrip, ture types ; personal ones, as those of Enoch and Elijah. The one in the times of the patriarchs, before the flood, and hefore the law; the other in the times of the prophets, after the flood, and after the law was given. More especially the high priest was a type of Christ, when he entered into the holiest of all once a year with blood and incense. The ark in which the two tables were, was a type of Christ, who is the fulfilling end of the law for righteousness ; and the bringing up of the ark from the place where it was, to mount Zion. As it was foretold by prophecies and types, that Christ should ascend to heaven, so it is matter of fact; concerning which may be observed, i. The evidence of it; as the angels of God, who were witnesses of it. The eleven apostles were together, and others with them, when this great event was, Luke xxiv. 33*—.51* When he had ascended to heaven, and was set down on the right hand of God, he was seen by Stephen, the proto-martyr, and by the apostle Paul, Acts, vii. 55, 56. Acts xxvi. 16. The extraordinary effusion of the Spirit, on the day of Pentecost, is a proof of Christ's ascension to heaven, Acts ii. 33. for before this time, the Spirit was not given in an extraordinary manner; because Jesus was not yet glorified, n. The time of Christ's ascension, which was forty days from his resurrection, which time he continued on earth, that his disciples might have full proof, and be at a certainty of the truth of his resurrection. m. The place from whence, and the place whither Christ ascended, may next be considered. 1. The earth on which he was when he became incarnate ; the particular spot of ground from whence he ascended, was mount Olivet, as appears from Acts i. 12. 2. The place whither he ascended was heaven, even the third heaven; hence Christ is often said to be carried up into heaven, taken up into heaven towards which the disciples were gazing as he went up ; from whence he is expected, and from whence he will descend at the last day. iv. The manner of Christ's ascension, or in hat sense he might be said to ascend; not figuratively, as God is sometimes said to go down and to go up, Gen. zi. 6. and Gen. xvii. 22. which must be understood, not of any motion from place to place; nor was it in a visionary way, as the apostle Paul was caught up into the third heaven; but really, visibly, and locally: this ascension of Christ was a real motion of his human nature, which was visible to the apostles, and was by change of place, even from earth to heaven. v. The cause or causes of Christ ascension; it was a of almighty power to cause a body to move upwards with such swiftness, and to such a distance; it is ascribed to the power God, by which he is said to be lifted up and exalted, Acts ii. 33. and v. 31. and therefore it is sometimes passively expressed, that he was carried up, taken up, and received up into heaven; and sometimes actively, as done by himself; so God went up xuith a shout; see Acts ii. 10. The procuring or meritorious cause of it was the blood of Christ, by which he made full satisfaction to divine justice, and obtained eternal redemption for his people; hence it it said by his own blood; ht entered in once into the holy place, hning obtained eternal redemption for us, Heb. ^x. 12. The instrumental or ministering causes, were the cloud and the attending nngels. vi. The effects of Christ's ascension, or the ends to be answered, and which have been answered, are, i. To fulfil the prophecies and types concerning it, and particularly that of the high-priest's entering into the holiest of all. 2. To take upon him more openly the exercise of his kingly office : to this purpose is the parable of the nobleman, Luke xix. 12. 3. To receive gifts from men, both extraordinary and ordinary; and this end has been answered, he has received them, and he has given them. 4. To open the way into heaven for his people, and to prepare a place for them there ; he has by his blood entered into heaven himself, and made the way into the holi. est of all manifest; given boldness and liberty to his people to enter thither also, and is gone beforehand to prepare by his presence and intercession a mansion of glory for them in his Father's house. 5. To assure the saints of their ascension also; for it is to his God and their God, to his Father and their Father, that he is ascended ; and therefore they shall ascend also, and be where he is, and be glorified together with him ; and all this is to draw up their minds to heaven, to seek things above, where Jesus is.
SESSION OF CHRIST AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD.
I Shall treat this article much in the same manner as the former.
I. Shew that it was foretold in prophecy, that Christ should sit at the right of God.; hence it may be thought, that in prophetic language, and by anticipation, he is called the man of God's right hand, Psal. lxxx. 17. The words were spoken by Jehovah the Father, to his Son, in the everlasting council and covenant of grace ; even to him who was David's Adon, or Lord; Christ himself also foretold it, that he should sit down ai the right hand of God ; Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of Power, Matt. xxvi. 64.
II. It is a fact: Christ is set down at the right.hand of God, and the above prophecies are fulfilled; the evidences of this fact are,—1. The effusion of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, after Christ had ascended and took his place at the right-hand of God, having received of the Father, the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear, says the apostle, Acts ii. 33. 2. Stephen, the proto.martyr, while he was suffering, was an eye-witness \>f this ; he saw him standing, at the right hand of God ; having risen up, as it were, from his seat, to shew his resentment at the usage his servant, Acts vii. 55, 56. I shall,
III. Endeavour to explain this article, and shew what is meant by it; what by the right-hand of God ; and what by sitting at it; how long Christ will sit there ; and what the use and benefits of his session there are to his people, t. What is meant by the right hand of God, at which Christ is said to sit. This is variously expressed; sometimes by the right-hand pf the throne of God; sometimes by the right-hand of the Majesty in the heavens; and elsewhere, by the right-hand of the Majesty on high, Hcb. xii. 2. andviii. 1. and i. 3. By Majesty, is meant God himself; by his Throne, heaven and may be put for him that sits upon it; the right-hand of God is not to be taken in a literal sense, but figuratively, and signifies the power of God, and the exertiun of that, Psal. Ixxxix. IS. and cxviii. 16. u. What is meant by Christ's sitting at God's right-hand. 1. It is expressive of great honour and dig. nity; the allusion is to kings and great personages, who, to their favourites, and to whom they would do an honour, when they come into their presence, place them at their fight-hand 1 Kings ii. 19. in allusion to which, the queen, the church, is said to stand on the right-hand of Christ, Psal. xlv. 9. 2. It is expressive of his government and dominion over all; for this phrase of sitting ai the right-hand of God is explained by reigning or ruling; for it follows, in the original text, asexplanitive of it; Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies, Psal. ex. 2. and so the apostle interprets it, in 1 Cor. xVi 25. 3. Sitting at the right hand of God, supposes Christ has done his work, and that to satisfaction, and with acceptance: as the work of redemption, Heb. ix. 12. the work of making atonement for sin, Heb. i. 3. and the work of bringing in an everlasting righteousness, for the justification of his people, Rom. iv. 25. 4. Sitting at God's right hand, supposes ease and rest from labour ; for Christ, upon his resurrection and ascension to heaven, came into the presence of God ; in whose presence is fulness of joy, and at whose right hand are pleasures for evermore ; and when he was made glad with the light of his countenance ; and when having entered into his rest, he ceased from his works, as God did from his, at creation, Psal. xvi. 11. Heb. iv. 10. 5. Sitting denotes continuance; Christ sits as a priest upon his throne, and abides continually, the priests under the law did not abide continually, by reason of death. Which leads, in. To observe how long Christ will sit at the right hand of God; namely* until his enemies are put under
his feet, and made his footstool. Some are subdued already) as sin, which is made an end of; the devil, who is destroyed ; and tJie world, which is overcome by him; others remain to be destroyed: as the man of sin, and son of perdition, who will be destroyed with the breath of his mouth; the anti-christian kings, who will be gathered to the battle at Armageddon, and slain, the beast, and the false prophet, who will be cast into . the burning' lake. iV. The use of Christ's session at the right hand of God to his people, and the benefits and blessings arising from thence to them, are, 1. Protection from all their enemies. 2. In consequence of this, freedom from fear of all enemies, 1 Cor. xv. 25—.27. 3. The perpetual and preva* lent intercession of Christ, on the behalf of his chosen ones, is another benefit arising from his session at the right hand of God ; there he sits as their high priest; and being made high* er than the heavens, ever lives to make intercession for them.
4. Hence great encouragement to come with boldness and freedom to the throne of grace; and to set our affections on things in heaven, and not on things on earth, Heb. iv. 14—-16.
5. This raises the expectation of the saints, with respect td Christ's second coming; which is another branch of Christ's exaltation. But that I shall reserve to treat of in a more pro* per place.
OF THE PROPHETIC OFFICE OF CHRIST.
His office in general is that of Mediator, which is but one j the branches of it are three fold, his Prophetic, Priestly, and Kingly offices; all which are included in his name, Messiah, or Christ, the anointed ; prophets, priests, and kings, being anointed, when invested with their several offices ; as Elisha the prophet, by Elijah; Aaron the priest, and his Sons, by Moses ; Saul, David, and Solomon kings of Israel: these offices, seldom, if ever, met in one Person ; Mekhizedek was king and priest, but not a prophet; Aaron was prophet and priest, but not a king; David and Solomon were k'ngs and fcrophets, but not priests: the greatest appearance ef them wMfc
in Moses, but whether all together is not so clear; but in Christ they all meet- The case and condition of his people required him to take upon him, and execute these offices. They are dark, blind, and ignorant, and need a prophet to enlighten them ; they are sinful, guilty creatures, and need a priest to make atonement for them; in their unconverted state they are enemies to God, and disobedient to him, and need a powerful prince to subdue them; and in their converted state are weak and helpless, and need a king to rule over them, protect and defend them. It may be observed, that these offices are executed by Christ in the order in which they are here placed. I shall begin with his prophetic office. . I. It was foretold that Christ should appear in the character of a prophet, and therefore was expected by the Jews as such; hence when they saw the miracles he wrought, they said, This is of a truth, that Prophet, &?c. John vi. 14. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren like unto thee, Dent, xviii. 15. 18. The qualifications of Christ for his prophetic office, were also foretold ; which lie in the gifts and graces of the Spirit, which he received without measure. The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek, Isai. Ixi. 1. from which passage of scripture Christ preached his first sermon, at Nazareth ; and having read the text, said, This day is this scripture fulfilled in i/our ears, Luke iv. 16—21. There are also several names of Christ, by which he is called in the Old Testament, which refer to his prophetic office, as a messenger, an interpreter, one among a thousand. He goes by the name of Wisdom, and Prov. viii. 1. is called a Councellor, Isai. ix. G. a Teacher, Isai. xlii. 4. a Speaker, Isai. 1. 4. a Light to lighten the Gentiles, Isai. xlii. 6. And likewise, a Witness of the people, Isai. Iv. 4.
II. The evidence and proof of Jesus being that Prophet that was to come, are the miracles which were wrought by him ; upon Christ's working the miracle of feeding five thousand persons with five loaves and two small fishes; some of the Jews that saw the miracle, were convinced, and said, This is of a truth that Prophet that should come into the world, John vi. 14. And upon his raising from the dead the widow's son of Nairn, as he was carrying to the grave, they said, A great Prap/iet is risen up among us, Luke vii. 16. So Nicodemus was convinced that Christ was a Teacher from God, from his miracles, John iii. 2. He frequently appeals to his miracles, not only as proofs of his Deity, but of his Messiahship.
III. The parts of the prophetic office executed by Christ; and which lay, i. In foretelling future events; as he is Cod omniscient, he knew all things future, even the more contingent, and did foretel them; as of a colt tied at a certain place. More particularly, Christ foretold his sufferings and death; and the kind and manner of it, crucifixion, Matt. xx. l8, 19. When the time drew nigh for the execution of the scheme Judas had formed, Christ said to his disciples with him, He is at hand that doth betray me; and immediately Judas appeared with a great multitude, John xiii. 18* 21. Christ fore old the behaviour of his disciples towards him, upon his being apprehended ; his resurrection from the dead, on the third day. He predicted the destruction of Jerusalem; the 6igns going before it, its distresses, and what followed upon it, Matt. xxiv. which in every particular was accomplished, as the history of Josephus abundantly shews. To observe no more, the Book of the Revelation is a prophecy delivered by Christ to John concerning all that were to befal the church and world, so far as the church was concerned with it, from the resurrection of Christ to his second coming. II. Another part of the prophetic office of Christ lay in the ministration of the word ; which is sometimes in scripture called prophecy, not only in interpreting the law, but in preaching the gospel; and with such wisdom, prudence, and eloquence, as never man spake, John vii. 46. and with such gracefulness as was astonishing to those that heard him, Luke iv. 22. and this part of his prophetic office lay not only in the external ministry of th? word, but in a powerful and internal illumination of the mind, in opening the heart, as Lydia's was, to attend to the things spoken.
IV. The time when this office was executed by Christ; and it mav he observed, that this office may be considered as executed either immediately or mediately. 1. Immediately, by Christ, in his own Person, by himself; and this was here on earth, in his state of humiliation. 2. Mediately, by his Spirit, and bv the prophets of ihe Old Testament, and by ihe apostles and ministers of the New ; and in this sense he exercised the office of a Prophet both before and after his state of humiliation. 1. Before his incarnation: he did indeed sometimes personally appear ip an human form, and preached the gospel to men, as to our first parents in the garden of Eden, immediately after their fall. Under the name of the Angel of the Lord, and very probably in an human form, he appeared to Abraham, and preached the gospel to him, saying, In thy teed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, Gen. xxii. 15—18. He was with the thousands of angels at mount Sinai, Acts vii. 38. Noah was a preacher of righteousness, even of the righteousness of faith ; and Christ preached in him, and by him, to those who were disobedient in the times of Noah; the same who in the times of the apostle were spirits in prison, 1 Pet. iii. 18—20. 2. Christ continued to exercise his prophetic office, after his state of humiliation was over, he appeared to his disciples, expounded to them the scriptures concerning himself. and renewed their commission to preach and baptize, and promised his presence with them, and with their successors to the end of the world.
OF THE PRIESTLY OFFICE OF CHRIST.
I. Chrit was to be a Priest; this was determined on in the purposes and decrees of God: God sent him forth prothelo, fore.ordained him, to be a propitiation, Rom. iii. 25. He was verily fore,ordained before the foundation of the world, 1 Pet. i. tS—2X). In the prophecies of the Old Testament Christ is spokenof as a Priest. Some think he is meant in 1 Sana. ii. 35* the characters agree with him; however it is certain, David, under divine inspiration, had knowledge of the above divine transactions, in which the Son of God was constituted a priest, and spoke of him as such, Psal. xl. 6, 7. and ex. 4. but still more plainly in Zech. vi. 12, 13. where the Messiah is said to be a priest upon his throne. He sometimes appeared in the habit of a priest, clothed in linen.
There were several types of Christ as a priest; among these the first and principal was Melchizedek, king of Salem, and priest of the most high God ; he was a type of Christ in his person, and the eternity of it; in his offices, his name was Melchizedek, king of righteousness ; and his title, king of Salem, that is, peace, agrees with Christ; Christ's perpetual never changing priesthood is shadowed out by his being a priest, after the power of an endless life, Heb. vii. 1G. Aaron the high priest was an eminent type of Christ, though Christ was not of the same tribe with him in his priesthood, in ihe unction of him when installed into his office ; in his habit and several vestments with which he was clothed ; but especially in the sacrifices which he offered, which were all typical of the sacrifice of Christ; and his entrance into the most holy place, bearing the names of the children of Israel in the breast, plate of judgment on his heart; in carrying in the burning coals and incense, when the blood of slain beasts. .Indeed all the sacrifices offered up from the beginning of the world, were all typical of the sacrifice of Christ our great high priest.
II. Christ is come in the flesh, and is come as an high priest, for which he was abundantly qualified, being both God and man. i. As man; he is Mediator according to both natures, but the mediator is particularly said to be the man Christ jfesus, 1 Tim. ii. 5. he became man, and was made in all things like unto his brethren, persons of that nature elect; that he might be fit to be a priest, and officiate in that office, and that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to Cod, the glory of the divine perfections, and particularly his justice; to make reconciliation for the sins of the people, Heb. ii. 17. Christ being man, is taken from among men, and ordained for men, as the priests of old were; and being man he had something to offer for them ; by being man he has another qualification of a priest, which is to be compassionate to persons in ignotance, difficulties and distress; to which may be added, that Christ's human nature is holy, is suitable for us, since he could, as he did, offer himself without spot to God. Ii. As God, or a divine person, being the great God, he was able to be a Saviour, and to work out a great salvation; and being an infinite person, could make infinite satisfaction for the sins of men.
III. Christ has executed, and is executing, and will continue to execute, his priestly office; the parts of which are more principally offering sacrifice, making intercession, and blessing his people, i. Offering a sacrifice. It may be enquired, 1. Who is the sacrificer ? Christ is altar, sacrifice, and priest. He offered up himself unto God—He gave himself an offering and sacrifice, Wc. Heb. ix. 14. 2. What it was he offered? or what was the sacrifice ? Not slain beasts ; their blood could not take away sin; it was his flesh he gave for the life of the world ; and it was his soul that was made an offering for sin ; and all as in union with his divine Person. 3. To whom was t;he sacrifice offered ? It was offered to God, as it is often said to be ; to God, against whom sin is committed. Christ was set forth and appointed to be the propitiation for sin, to declare the righteousness of God, and give it satisfaction, Rom... Hi. 25. 4. For whom was the sacrifice offered ? Not for himself; he needed none, as did the priests under the law : nor for angels ; the elect angels needed no sacrifice, and evil angels were not spared; but for his church, his sheep, his children. He died for the ungodly, or they must have died. 5. What the nature, excellency, and properties of this sacrifice of Christ? It is a sufficient sacrifice, Heb. x. 1—14. It was an ■unblemished sacrifice, as all under the law were to be, which was typical of this. This sacrifice was voluntary; Christ gave himself an offering; he laid down his life freely; he shewed no reluctance, but was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, £s?c. Isai. liii. 7. It was but one offering, and but once offered up. Wherefore in the Lord's supper, which is only a commemoration of this sacrifice, there is no reiteration of it; it is not an offering up again the body and blood of Christ, as the papists in their mass pretend ; that has been done, once done, and it is needed no more. What are the ends and uses of this sacrifice, and the blessings which come by it ? Christ is come an High priest of good things to come, Heb. ix. 11. His sacrifice is a full expiation of sin ; his sanctified ones he has perfected for* ever; they are perfectly redeemed,justified, pardoned, and saved ; peace is made for them by the blood of his cross, Rom. v. 10. In a word, eternal salvation is the fruit and effect of this sacrifice.
OF THE INTERCESSION OF CHRIST.
Akother branch of Christ's priestly office, is his intercession : this may be considered, by shewing,
I. That Christ was to be an Intercessor, or was to make intercession for his people: When Christ was called to the office of a priest, and invested with it, which was done in the council and covenant of grace; he was put upon making request on the behalf; he is bid to ask them of his Father, as his portion and inheritance, to be possessed and enjoyed by him ; which is promised him on making such a request, as he did, and they were given him, Psal. ii. 8. John xvii. 6. and he not only asked them, but life for them, spiritual and eternal life, with all the blessings and comforts of life ; which upon asking, were given ; God gave him the desires of his heart, and did not withhold the request of his lips: all blessings were bestowed upon his chosen in him ; and grace which is comprehensive of all blessings, were given them in him, before the world began, Eph. i. 3. 2 Tim. i. 9. and this asking, or requesting, is a species of Christ's intercession, and an early instance of it, and of his success in it; and a specimen of what was to be done bv him hereafter. The interces
sion of Christ was spoken of in prophecy, in the books of the O'd testament; Elihu, in Job xxxiii. 23. speaks of him as an advocate, in Psal. xvi. 4. which is a Psalm concerning Christ; two sorts of persons are spoken of; one who are called saints, in whom was all Christ's delight; another sort hastened after another god, another saviour, and not Christ: concerning whom he says, I will not take up their names unto my lips, as the words in John xvii. 9. I pray for them ; I pray not for the world; but what most clearly foretels the intercession of Christ, and is prophecy of it, is a passage in Isai. liii. 12. • And made intercession f»r the trangressors. The types of Christ's intercession are many. It is said of Abel, that he, being dead, yet spe«keth, Heb. xi. 4. Melchizedek prayed for Abraham, that he might be blessed, with blessings both in heaven and on earth ; so Christ prays and intercedes for his people. Abraham likewise was a type of Christ in his intercession, when he interceded for Sodom and Gomorrah. Aaron being a good spokesman, was a type of Christ, who has the tongue of the learned, and can speak well on the behalf of his distressed ones. Particularly the entrance of the high priest once a year, with the blood of beasts, with a censer of burning coals, and an handful of incense, was an eminent type of Christ's entrance into heaven, and his intercession there.
II. Christ is an intercessor; he has executed, is executing, and will continue to execute this office; the enquiries to be made concerning it are,, i. Where, when, and in what manner his intercession has been and is performed. 1. Be. fore his incarnation: that he then interceded, and was a Mediator between God and man, is evident from that access to God which was then had. Daniel prayed to be heard for the Lord's sake, that is, for Christ's sake, Dan. ix. 17. We have an instance of Christ's intercession for the people of the Jews, when in distress, who is represented as an Angel among the myrtle frees in the bottom ; signifying the low estate tht Jews were in ; and as interceding; and pleading with God for tht.m ; And the Lord answered the angel that talked with met with good and comfortable words; his intercession was acceptable, prevalent, and succeeded, Zech. i. 11—13. But a more clear and full instance of Christ's intercession for his people in distress, through sin, is in chap. iii. 1—4. 2. Christ acted as intercessor in his state of humiliation. We often read of his praying to God, and sometimes a whole night together: at other times we find him praying for particular persons; as at the grave of Lazarus; and for Peter particularly, Luke xxii. 32. He prayed for all his disciples, John xvii. which is a specimen of his intercession in heaven. 3. Christ is now interceding in heaven for his people; he is gone to heaven, entered there, and is set down at the right hand of God ; where he ever lives to make intercession, Rom. viii. 34. Heb. vii. 25. and which is performed, perhaps not vocally, as on earth ; nor as litigating a point in a court of judicature ; but by appearing in the presence of God there for his people. Christ intercedes, not as asking a favour, but in an authoritative way, declaring it as his will, on the foot of what he has done and sufTered, that so it should be ; a specimen of this we have in the finishing blessing of all, glorification, John xvii. 24. Christ performs this his office also by offering up the prayers and praises of his people, which become acceptable to God through the sweet incense of his mediation and intercession, Rev. viii. 3, 4. Heb. xiii. 15. 1 Pet. ii. 5. Xi. The next thing to be considered is, what Christ makes intercession for more particularly ? for the conversion of his unconverted ones ; Neither fray I for those alone, says he, meaning his disciples that were called, but for them also which shall believe en me through their word, John xvii. 20. and for the comfort of those that are convinced of sin ; particularly for discoveries and applications of pardoning grace and mercy ; If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, for strength for his people to bear up under temptations. Lastly, he intercedes for their glorification ; one principal branch of which will He in beholding his glory, John xvii. 24. ni. The persons Christ makes intercession for, are the same with those of election, redemption, and
effectual calling; to whom Christ is a propitiation, for them he is an advocate, John xvii. 9. The high priest bore upon his heart, in the breast plate of judgment, only the names of the children of Israel. As Christ died for such, yea, the chief of sinners calls them by his grace, and receives them into fellowship with himself, it is no wonder that he should pray and intercede for them. iv. The excellent properties and use of Christ's intercession. Christ is an only intercessor; There is but one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 1 Tim. ii* 5. He is mighty to plead, thoroughly to plead the cause of his people ; and having the tongue of the learned, can speak well for them. He is a prevalent advocate and intercessor; he is always heard; he was when on earth, and is now in heaven; his mediation is always acceptable and ever succeeds, John xi. 41, 42. and he performs this his office freely; he never rejects any case put into his hands. His intercession is perpetual; though he was dead he is alive, and lives forevermore ; and he ever lives to make intercession for them that come unto God by him, Heb. vii. 25.
Ofr CHRIST'S BLESSING HIS PEOPLE AS A PRIEST.
I. That Christ was to bless his people; this was promised, and prophesied concerning him, and was prefigured in types of him. i. It was promised to Abraham, that in his seed all the nations of the earth should be Messed, and this promise was renewed to Isaac, Gen. xxvi. 4. and again to Jacob, Gen. xxviii. 14. the apostle interprets and explains the phrase; " In thy seed ihcll all the kindreds of the earth be blessed?' Unto you first, God having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, &fc. Acts in. 25,26. n. Christ's blessing his people, was prefigured in Melchizedek, the type of him, and of whose order he was. This illustrious person met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him, and said. Blessed be Abraham of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth, Gen. xiv. 19.
1 . '
II. Christ has blessed his people, does bless them, and will
continue to bless them: he blessed them under the Old Testament ; and after he had offered himself a sacrifice, and was risen from the dead, and befflre his ascension to heaven ; He lijt *p. his hands and blessed his disciples, &c. Luke xxiv. 50, 51. r. Observe the qualifications of Christ to bless his people, his fitness, ability, and sufficiency for such a work. 1. As he is God, or a divine Person, he must be able to bless, blessedness is a perfection of Deity. Now Christ is over all, G$d, blessed for ever, Rom. ix. 5. and able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, Kph. iii. 20. 2. Christ, as Mediator, has a fitness, ability, and sufficiency to bless his people ; as such, God has made him most blessed for evermore. &JV. Psal. xxi. 3—6. Who can doubt of his ability to bless his people with deliverance from sin, Satan, the law, since he has obtained eternal redemption for them ? or with a justifying righteousness ; since he is become the end of the law; or with spiritual peace, since he has made peace by the blood of his cross f or with salvation, since he is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him ? n. The persons who are blessed. 1. All that are blessed of the Father are blessed by Christ, Come, ye blessed of my Father, Eph. i. 3. Matt. xxv. 34. 2. All that are chosen of God in Christ are blessed by him, otherwise there would be no strength nor force in the triumphant challenge of the apostle, Hom. viil. 33. 3 i. 3. All that are given to Christ by the Father are blessed by him; he confers grace on them, keeps them by his power, and gives unto them eternal life, John xvii. 2.—12,24.—4. All the covenant.ones are blessed by Christ. The covenant of Grace is ordered in all things and sure; and Christ, the mediator of it gives them the sure mercies of David. 5« All the spiritual Israel of God, the elect of God among all nations, are the seed of Israel that are justified in,Christ, and saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation. in. The blessings Christ blessed his people with, some of which are as follow.— 1. With a justifying righteousness ; this is a great blessing; David describes The blessedness ofthe man to whom God imputeth righteousnees without Works, Rom. iv. 6. 2. Wr.h the pardon of their sins, which is another great blessing ; Blessed is the man whose transgressions is forgiven, Psal. \xxii. I. 3. Christ blesses his people with the adoption of children : John, i, 12.tt4. Those are blessed by Christ with regeneration arid conversion by his Spirit and grace through the ministration of his gospel, Acts iii. 26. 5. The same persons are blessed with the Spirit, shed on them, through Chris:, their Saviour. 6. The Lord blesses his people with peace, Pal. xxix. 11. 7. He blesses them with the gospel, the ordinances of it, and the privileges of his house. 8. And lastly, Christ blesses his people with eternal life and happiness, according to his promise he will come and take them to himself, iv. The nature and excellencies of these blessings.—1. They are cove, nant blessings. 8. They are spiritual blessings, Eph. i. 3. 3. They are solid and substantial xtnts; blessings indeed such as Jabez prayed for ; saying, 0 that thouwauldest bless me indeed! 1 Chron. iv. 1Q. 4. They are irreversible blessings ; the blessing with which Isaac blessed Jacob, was confirmed by him with a resolution not to alter it: without repentance, Hom. xi. 29. 5, These blessings are eternal, whatever is done in this way of Christ blessing his people is for ever, Eccles. iii.
OF THE KINGLY OFFICE OF CHRIST.
Christ is King in a two-fold sense : he is a king by nature as he is God, he is God over all; as the Son of God, he is heir of all things ; he has a two. fold kingdom, the one natural, essential, universal and common to him with ihe other divine persons; the kingdom of nature and providence is his, what he has a natural right unto, and claitn upon ; it is essential to him as God ; besides this, there is another kingdom that belongs to Christ as God.man and Mediator ; this is a special, limited kingdom; this concerns only the elect of God, hence the title and character of Christ with respect to them is, King of saints ; this kingdom and government of his is what is put into his hands to dispense and administer, and may be called a dispensatory, delegated government.
I. I shall shew that Christ was to be a King; 1. That he was to be a King, appears by the detignationoihim by hisFather to this office; Ihuvt set my King upon my holy hill of Zion, says Jehovah, Psal. ii. 6. he appointed a kingdom to him which is observed by Christ; I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath apptinted unto me, Luke xxii. he was invested with the office of a King,and was considered as such; Unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, 0 God, is for ever and ever, Heb. i. 8. u. It appears from the types and figures of Christ, in his kingly office Melchizedek was a type of him ; so was David, hence Christ, his antitype, is often, with respect to the Jews, in the latter days, called David their Kmg, Jer. xXx. 9. Ezek. xxxiii. 23. Solomon also was a type, hence Christ, is frequently called Solomon, and King Solomon, and who, speaking of himself, says, a Greater than Solomon is here. Matt. xii. 42. Ni. This still more fully appears, that Christ was to be a King, by the prophecies concerning him, in this respect; as in the very first promise or prophecy of him, that the seed of the woman, meaning Christ, should break the serpent's head ; that is, destroy the devil, and all his works ; which is an act of Christ's kingly power. Balaam foretold, that there should come a Star out tf Jacob, and a Sceptre, that is a Seeptre-bearer, a King, should rite out of Israel, Numb. xxiv. 17. which prophecy, coming to the knowledge of the magi, upon the appearance of a new star, led them to take a journey into Judea, to enquire after the birth of the King of the Jews. In Isaiah, ix. 6, 7. it is said, that the government should be upon his shoulders ; to the same purpose is another prophecy in Jeremiah, chap, xxiii. 5, 6. To which may be added, another Rejoice greatly, 0 daughter of Zion—behold thy King cometh unto thee, Zech. ix. 9. the angel that brought the news to the virgin Mary, foretold that the Lord God would give unto him the throat of his Father David; Luke i. 32, 33. ' II. proceed to shew, that Christ is a King. i. Christ was a King before his incarnation, during the Old Testament dispensation ; as such he is acknowledged by the church in the times of Isaiah ; The Lord is our Judge; the Lord is our Lawgiver; the Lord is our King, Isai. xxxiii. 22. and xxvi. 13. N. Christ was King in his state of incarnation; he was born a King, as the wise men understood it. Christ himself acknowledges as much, when he was asked by Pilate, whether 'he was a king? he answered in a manner which gave assent unto it, John xviii. 36, 37. He began his ministry with giving notice, that the kingdom of heaven was at hand. Nathaniel made the following noble confession of faith in him, Thou art the King of Israel! John i. 49« The disciples, in so many words, said, Blessed he the King that cometh in the name of the Lord, Matt. xxi. 4—9. It is true indeed, m. Upon his ascension to heaven, he was made both Lord and Christ, Acts ii. 36. not but that he was. both Lord and Christ before ; but then he was declared to be so, and made more manifest as such. He received the promise of the Spirit; sent his apostles forth into all the world, preaching his gospel with great success ; and went forth by them with his bow and arrows, conquering and to conquer. lv. All the rites and ceremonies used at the inauguration of kings, and their regalia, are to be found with Christ. Were kings anointed? as Saul, David, and Solomon were, so was Christ; / have set, or as in the Hebrew text, / have anointed my King upon my holy hill of Zion, Psal. ii. 6. Were kings crowned at the time of their inauguration ? so was Christ at his ascension to heaven, he was then crowned with glory and honour. Do kings sometimes sit on thrones when in state ? Isaiah, in vision, saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, when he saw the glory of Christ, and spake of him. Do kings sometimes hold sceptres in their hands, as an ensign of their royalty ? so does Christ; his sceptre is a sceptre of righteousness, Psal. xlv. 6. Do kings sometimes
appear in robes of majesty and state ? Christ is arrayed with majesty itself; The Lord riegneth,be is clothed with majesty, Psal. xciii. 1.
III. Having shewn that Christ was to be a King, .and is one ; I shall next consider the exercise and administration of the kingly office by him; and observe, 1. His qualifications for it. David who well knew what was requisite to a civil ruler, or governor says, He that rulelh over men, must be Just ; and this he said with a view to the Messiah, as appears by what follows, 2 Sam. xxiii. 3, 4. One of the characters of Zion's King, by which he is described, is just, Jer. xxiii. 5, 6. A king should be as wise as an angel of God; and such is David's Son and Antitype, the Messiah; on whom rests the Spirit of wisdom aud understanding, of council and of knowledge; to which may be added, the spirit of might rests upon him, lsai. xi. 2. he has power and authority; yea, he is the Lord God omnipotent. The next. enquiry is, n. Who are his subjects ? a king is a relative term, and connects subjects; a king without subjects, is no king. Christ is said to be King of Israel; to reign over the house of Jacob; to be set King upon the holy hill ofZion; and to be King of saints, Luke i. 33. Psal. ii. 6. Rev. xv. 4. ni. The form and manner of Christ's executing his kingly office ; which is done externally, and internally. i. Externally, by the word and ordinances, and church discipline. 1. By the ministry of the word ; which is his sceptre he holds forth ; it is the rod of his strength he sends out of Zion, and which is the power of God unto salvation to them that believe; it is the rule and standard of their faith and practice ; the maga charta which contains all their privileges, and which he as their King, inviolably maintains. 2. By the administration of ordinances; as baptism: Christ, in virtue of that power in heaven and earth, which he received as King of saints, issued out a command, as to preach the gospel, so to baptize. The Lord's Supper is another of the ordinances kept by the church at Corinth, as delivered to them; and which he suggests was to be observed throughout his kingdom, to the end of the world. Public Prayer in the house of God, is another appointment in Christ's kingdom, the church; and which was attended to by the first christians. Singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, in a public manner, in the churches, is another ordinance of Christ, enjoined them, Eph. v. 19. and in doing which, they express their joy and gladness in Zion's King. 3. In the exercise of church discipline ; about which, Christ, as King in his church, has given orders and directions. 4. For the execution and due performance of all this, the ministry of the word, administration of ordinances, and exercise of church discipline, Christ has appointed officers in his church and kingdom; whom he qualifies and empowers for such purposes, Eph. iv. 12. n. The kingly office of Christ is exercised internally, 1. In the convtrtion of his people; which is no other than a rescue of them out of the hands of those who have usurped a dominion over them. Whilst in a state of nature, other lords have dominion over them, sin reigns in their mortal bodies. Satan, the prince of the power of the air, works in them; but Christ being set up as an ensign to the people, ihey flock unto him, and enlist themselves under his banner, and become volunteers, in the day of his power, and declare themselves willing to endure hardness, as good soldiers of Christ; when they are clad by him with the whole armour of Cod, and become more than conquerors. 2. Christ's kingly office is further exercised, in the protection and preservation of his people from their enemies. They are protected and preserved from sin; not from the indwelling and actings of it in them ; but from its dominion and damning power; and the grace that is wrought in them is preserved, and its reigning power is continued and confirmed. They are protected by him from Sa;an; not from his sssaults and temptations, to which the most eminent saints are exposed, but from bting destroyed by him. Christ is able to succour them, and knows how to deliver them out of temptation, and bruises .Satan under their feet. In short, he protects them
from -very enemy; and from the last enemy, death; not from dying a corporal death, but from the sting of it; and from it as a penal evil; and from a spiritual death ever more taking place in them ; and from an eternal death, which shall have no power over them. 3. Christ's kingly office appears to be exercised in the uttfer destruction of the said enemies of his people. He came to destroy Satan and his works. He has also overcome the world; so that it could not hinder him from doing the work he came about: and he gives his people that faith by which they overcome it also.' iv. The properties of Christ's kingdom and government; shewing the nature and excellency of it. 1. It is a spiritual, not carnal, earthly, and worldly, My kingdom, says Christ, is not of this world, John xviii. 36; Though it is in the world, it is not of it; its original is not from it; it is not founded on maxims of worldly policy; it is not established by worldly power, nor promoted and increased by worldly means, nor attended with worldly pomp and grandeur. The true Messiah was neither to destroy his" enemies with carnal weapons; but smite them with the rod of his mouth, and consume them with the breath of his lips, his gospel; nor to save his people by bow, by sword, by horses and horsemen ; but by himself, his righteousness and sacrifice. His throne is spiritual, he reigns in the hearts of his people by faith; his sceptre is a spiritual sceptre ; his subjects are spiritual men, born of the Spirit, and savour the things of the Spirit of God ; they are spiritual promises Christ makes to them, to encourage them in their obedience to him ; and spir* itual blessings and favours are bestowed upon them by him. 2. Christ's kingdom is a righteous one; just and true are his ways, who is King of saints. 3. Christ's kingdom is a peaceable kingdom ; he is the Prince of peace; his gospel, which is his sceptre, is the gospel of peace; his subjects are Sjhs of peace. 4. Christ's kingdom is gradually carried on: so it has been from the first; it has met with some stops in some periods, yet it has revived again ; as at the reformation ; and will hereafter be extended from sea to sea; and ths internal
kingdom of Christ in the hearts of his people is gradually carried on, until it arrives to the fulness of the stature of Christ. 5. Christ's kingdom is durable; of his government there will be no end ; his throne is for ever and ever; he will reign over the house of Jacob evermore; his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. The Babylonian monarchy gave way to the Persian and Median, and was succeeded by that; the Persian to the Grecian ; and the Grecian to the Roman: but Christ's kingdom will stand for ever ; the gospel is an everlasting gospel, the word of God, which abides for ever: and the ordinances of baptism, and the Lord's supper, are to be administered until the second coming of Christ.
OF THE SPIRITUAL REIGN OF CHRIST.
ThERE are two remarkabe periods of time yet to come ; in •which Christ will exercise his kingly office in a more visible and trWious manner ; the one may be called, the spiritual reign "and the other his personal rtign; it is the former of these that will now be attended to; and which is no other than the present reign continued; and which will be administered in the same manner: but,
I. With greater purity, and to a greater degree of perfection both as to doctrine and practice, t. The kingdom of Christ ivill be carried on by the ministry of the word, as now, and in this the spiritual reign will differ from the personal one, in which there will be nd ministry of the word, all the saints being in a perfect state but in the spiritual re;gn it will be preach.
ed, 1. With more Ughl and cltarnets than now. The light
bf the present time is fitly described as being neither clear nor dark. It is one day, a remarkable uncommon day; known to the Lord, how long it will last, and to him only ; and at evening time, when a greater darkness may be expected to be coming on, it shall be light, Zech. xiv. 6, T. a blaze of light shall break out, and that to such a degree, that the light of the moon, shall be seven-fold, as the light cif seven days collected together. 2. The gospel will be pteacheil with greater consistence ;
a principal fault in the present ministry of the word is inconsistence ; not only in different ministers, bat in the same minis, ter at different times, and even in the same discourse ; but the ministry of the word then will be all of a piece. 3. There wdl be an agreement in the ministers of it; now they clash with one another, scarce two persons think and speak the same thing; but in the spiritual reign the watchman, Christ's ministers, shall see eye to eye. 4. There will be one doctrine of faith which will be preached, one religion professed by all that name the name of Christ,Zech. xiv.9—*J.The gospel will have a greater spread than now ; at present it lies in a narrow compass. chiefly iq the isles ; but hereafter evangelical knowledge will be increased ; the earth shall be full of it 6. The gospel will be preached with greater success ; there will be no more such complaints, as who hath believed our report i the power of God will go along with the word, to the conversion of multitudes) the church shall break forth on the right hand an 1 on the left, and her seed shall inherit the Gentiles, Isai. xlix. 18. 20. n, The same ordinances will be administered in the spiritual reign as now ; the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's supper will be selebratcd; for they are to continue till Christ's second coming and personal appearance, Malt. xxviii. 19. 20. 1 Cor. xi. 26. but not as. they are commonly administered now, but as they were first delivered ; clear of all innovation and corruption ; we shall no more hear of that absurd notion of transubstantiation, or of the bread and wine in the ordinance of the supper being transubstantiated in.o cue very body and blood of Christ; nor of withholding .he cup from the laity ; nor shall we hear any more of the childish practice of Infant.sprinkling ; the ordinance of baptism will be administered only to its proper subjects, believers in Christ, and in its proper manner, by immersion. ni. The same discipline will be observed in the churches of Christ as now ; only with greater strictness. Churches will be forrm d and governed upon the plan they were in the times of the apostlea.
II. The spiritual reign of Christ will be more large and ample than noiv it is ; it will reach all over the world, i. The first step towards the increase and enlargement of Christ's kingdom, will be the destruction of antichrist; who, in the prophecy of Daniel, is spoken of as a little horn, Dan. vii. 3G—26. and xi. 45. In the New Testament he is called, the man \ of sin, because extremely wicked ; and the son of perdition, because not only deserving of it, but shall certainly come into it. In the book of Revelation, he is described by two beasts one rising out of the sea, the other out of the earth ; signifying his two-fold capacity, civil and ecclesiastical; and his twofold power, temporal and spiritual: great things are ascribed to him, and said to be done by him ; who shall continue long, but at last go into perdition ; see Rev, xiii. and xvii. 8—16. The reign of antichrist is fixed in prophecy, for a c' ttain time in Daniel vii. 25. for a time, and times, and the dividing of time; that is, for three years and a half; the same with fortytwo months, and one thousand two hundred and sixty days ; which are so many years: but when these will end, cannot be said with any precision, because it is difficult to settle the beginning of his reign ; could that be done, it would easily be known when it would end : however, what is said of the ruin of antichrist, will be fulfilled by the Lord in his own time. n. The next step to the increase and enlargement of Christ's kingdom and government in the world, will be the conversion of the Jews, which will follow upon the destruction of antichrist. There are many prophecies that speak of their conversion ; as that they shall be born at once, and shall seek the Lord their God, and David their king, and this will be universal; all Israel shall be saved, the whole nation shall be born at once, suddenly. In the reign of the late king, and within our knowledge and memory, was a very surprizng event respecting this people, yet little taken notice of; a Bill was brought into our British Parliament to naturalize them ; I then thought in my own mind it would never pass ; God would not suffer it in providence, being so contrary to scripture-revelation and
prophecy, and the state of that people, in which they are to continue until their conversion ; but the Bill did pass to my great astonishment, not knowing what to think of prophecy, and of what God was about to do in the world, and with that people. But lo ! the Bill was repealed, and that before one Jew was naturalized upon it; and then all difficulties were removed, and it appeared to be the will of God, that an attempt should be made, and that carried into execution as near as possible, without crossing purposes, and contradicting prophe. cy ; and to let us sec what a watchful eye the Lord keeps upon the counsels of men, and that there is no counsel against the Lord ; and that the Jews must remain a distinct people until the time of their conversion. These two sticks, Jews and Gentiles, will become one; but it will be in and by the hand of the Lord ; it will not be effected by Acts of Parliament, but by.works of grace upon the souls of men ; the Jews will never be naturalized until they are spiritualized ; and when they are, they will return to their own land and possess it, being assisted, as they will be, by Protestant princes, who will drive out the Turk, and establish them in it; this will be another addition to the kingdom of Christ. 111. By this means, a way will be opened for the great spread of the gospel in the Eastern na« tions, and for the enlargement of Christ's kingdom there; the river Euphrates, which will be dried up ; an emblem of the utter destruction of the Ottoman empire ; whereby way will be made for the kings of the East; or for the gospel being carried into the kingdoms of the East; not only in Turkey, but Tartary, Persia, China, and the countries of the great Mogul; which, upon the passing away of the second, or Turkish woe, the kingdoms of this world, those vast kingdoms just mentioned, will become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ, Rev. xvi. 12. and xi. 14,15. And now will the fulness of the Gentiles be brought in; and those vast conversions made among them, prophesied of in Isai. Ix. Now will be the time when the kingdom, and dominion, and greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of
the saints of the most High, Dan. ix. 27. Yet such will be the spirituality of this state, that it will be a counterbalance to ihe grandeur and riches of it, so that the saints shall not be hurt thereby; as in the times of Constantine; which leads me fur. ther to observe,
III. That the reign of Christ in this state, will be more spiritual than now; from whence it has its name. i. There will be more plentiful effusions of the Spirit of God upon ministers and churches, in this state ; the wilderness of the Gentiles shall become a fruitlu. field, Isai. xxxiii. 15. n. The saints in general will be more spiritualized than now ; they will have more spiritual frames of soul; there will be less of that frofhiness, vanity, and emptiness, which now too often appear in them ; they will frequently meet together, and speak often one to another, about divine, spiritual, and experimental things, in. The graces of the Spirit of God will be more in exercise. The grace of love will be the distinguishing character of this state ; and which will answer to its name, Philadelphia, which signifies brotherly love. iv. There will be abundance of peace in this reign, even of outward peace; no more wars, nor rumours of wars ; swords and spears will be beaten into plough shares and pruning hooks, and war shall be learnt no more. Wolves, and leopards, and bears, shall be as tame as lambs, kids, and calves; and shall feed and lie down together, v. There will be a great degree of holiness In all saints, of every class and rank; all the Lord's people will be righteous ; Every pot in Jerusalem, and in Judea, that is, every member of the church, shall be heliness unto tie Lord; in his sight, and to his glory ; yea, holiness to the Lord shall be vpon the Mis of the horses.