ing given to mankind the fullest knowledge of God's will, and confirmed his doctrine by the most illustrious miracles and predictions. Hence Isaiah, speaking in his name, long before his appearance, gave that description of him, which he so justly, in the synagogue, applied to himself-"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; he hath "anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor."" And St. Peter, after his resurrection, says, that "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth, with the Holy "Ghost, and with power." What these words mean, the next explain: "who went about doing "good, and healing all that were oppressed of the "devil; for God was with him ;"7 and the whole means just the same thing, with what he elsewhere says, that he was "a Man approved of God by "miracles, and wonders, and signs.""

In the next place, he is a Priest of an Order, strictly speaking, confined to his own person, and of which no other ever was or can be: though in some respects the priesthood of Melchizedeck peculiarly resembled and prefigured it. He offered up himself for the sins of mankind, as shall hereafter be explained to you. With this sacrifice he appeared before God, "not in the holy places "made with hands, which are the figures of the "true, but in heaven itself;' "9 made reconciliation for us with him, derives to us continually blessings from him, and thus remains for ever an "high priest over the house of God;" compared with whom, the Jewish priesthood, and the sacrifices, which they were daily making, were but as empty shadows to the real substance.


But lastly, he is, in the highest sense, a King; King and Lord of all. Hence, in the second

(5) Chald. doth not understand the anointing here to be with material oil. Luke iv. 18.

(6) Isa. lxi. 1.

(7) Acts x. 38.
(9) Heb. ix. 24.

(8) Acts. ii. 22.
(1) Heb. x. 21.


Psalm, he is called the "Lord's anointed, whom "he hath set to be king on his holy hill of Sion." Hence, in Isaiah, it is prophesied, that he should "sit upon the throne of David, (that is, reign "over the people of God) to order and establish "it for ever."3 And hence his title in Daniel is, Messiah the Prince, or the anointed Prince: the "Son of man, to whom dominion shall be given, "and a kingdom: that all people, nations, and 5 languages, should serve him." The completion of these prophecies we find in the New Testament: whereas he professes himself a "King; "but not of a kingdom of this world;"" so we find him, "after the suffering of death, crowned "with glory and honour," infinitely superior to the highest of mortal potentates: "all power being given unto him in heaven and in earth;"8 "and a name above every name that is named in




this world, and that which is to come;"9 for which reason he is, in the Revelation, styled "King of Kings, and Lord of Lords."1 This kingly power he exercises, partly by giving laws, which every one is bound to obey, and no one may alter, diminish, or add to them; partly by protecting his Church against all his enemies, visible and invisible-so that neither shall, at any time, totally prevail against it; partly by conducting every member of it, who is dutiful to him, in the way of peace and happiness, through the grace of his spirit, and the ministry of his ordinances; and finally he will, in the most conspicuous manner, display his regal power, by everlastingly rewarding his faithful subjects; and punishing all who have rejected his authority, rebelled against it, or disobeyed it.

(2) Psal. ii. 2, 6.

(4) Dan. ix. 25.
(6) John xviii. 33, 36.
(8) Matt. xxviii. 18.

(3) Isa. ix. 7.

(5) Dan. vii. 13, 14.

(7) Heb. ii. 9.

(9) Phil. ii. 6. Eph. i. 21.

(1) Rev. xix. 16.

These, then, are the offices to which God hath anointed that is, raised and exalted him; and in respect of which he is called the Christ. Let us all be careful to receive him suitably to them; and to hearken to him as our Prophet; that we may partake of his atonement, as our Priest; and live under his protection, as our King, for ever and ever.

3. The next thing mentioned in the Creed concerning our Saviour, is, the relation which he bears to God, as the only Son of the Father Almighty. Indeed the Scripture speaks of God as the Father of all men; and of all that are good, as his sons. Good Christians are so in a higher sense than other good men. Angels are the sons of God, in a degree still superior to them but yet, all other sonships are so inconceivably inferior to that of Christ, that they are in comparison as nothing; and he deserves, notwithstanding, to be called, as he is several times called in Scripture, "the only begotten Son of God," which greatest of titles appears to be his due, on several


First, because, being born of a virgin, he had no earthly father; but was begotten of God by his holy Spirit. This reason the angel gives, in St. Luke," The Holy Ghost shall come upon


thee, and the power of the highest shall over"shadow thee: therefore, that holy thing, which "shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of "God."2

Secondly, as by virtue of the above-mentioned offices, to which he was anointed, he received higher marks of divine favour, and higher degrees of divine likeness, than any other person ever did for, as himself argues with the Jews,


(1) John i. 14, 18. iii. 16, 18. 1 John iv. 9.
(2) Luke i. 33.

if, on account of mere earthly power and dignity, men were called "Gods, and children of the Most "High;" much more might he, "whom the "Father sanctified, and sent into the world," in so vastly superior a character, be styled, by way of eminence, the Son of God."4 And thus he is accordingly styled, on this account: "I will be "his Father, and he shall be my Son :" also, I will make him, my first-born, higher "than the kings of the earth.”6


Thirdly, he is the Son of God, as being by the, power of God, "the first-begotten of the dead,"7 restored to life to die no more: For thus St. Paul expresses it" God hath raised up Jesus again, "as it is also written, Thou art my Son: this day "have I begotten thee."8


Fourthly, he is so, as being "heir of all things;' and, "by this inheritance having obtained a more "excellent name than men or angels :" they being as servants in the house of God-he as a



But the most important and eminent sense, in which Christ is the Son of God, remains yet to be mentioned as, in respect of his divine nature, he derived his being from the Father, by an eternal generation; not as creatures do, who are made out of nothing, and were made by him; but in a manner peculiar to himself, and inconceivable to us; by which "all the fulness of the Godhead "dwells in him ;" and "he and the Father are 66 (in the strictest union) one."4 For God was his "Father, with whom he had glory, before the "world was:"5 and he, "in the beginning was

[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

"with God, and was God;" "God over all, "blessed for ever."7 Of this mysterious doctrine I shall speak somewhat further, under the Article of the Holy Ghost; and, therefore, shall only say at present, that being expressly revealed, it ought to be implicitly believed, without attempting, in vain, to be wise above what is written, to know more than God hath enabled us. And now,

[ocr errors]


Fourthly, from all these things arises, what the Creed mentions in the last place, his relation to us: our Lord. For being the only Son of God, he is heir and lord of all in his Father's house. Having triumphed over the power of darkness, which held mankind in bondage, we are his by right of conquest; and though "other lords have had domi"nion over us, we are now to make mention of his "name only," as such: having purchased us to himself for a peculiar people," with his own blood, we are not our own: for we are bought "with a price:"1 "and he died for all, that they, "which live, should not henceforth live unto "themselves, but unto him which died for them, "72 "For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be "lord both of the dead and living:"3 that he might be such, not in name only, but in deed and reality also. For, not every one that saith unto


and rose again."


"him, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom "of heaven: but he that doeth the will of his "Father, which is in heaven." To all others his words will be at the great day, what they were whilst on earth; "Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, "and do not the things which I say "5 Obedience, constant, universal obedience, is the only

[blocks in formation]
« VorigeDoorgaan »