« VorigeDoorgaan »
the threats, and sceptres of the greatest princes,--to labour that not only present, but absent we may be accepted of him,--to do his hardest works of self-denial, of overcoming and rejecting the assaults of the world, of standing out against principalities, and powers, and spiritual wickedness, of suffering and dying in his service,-needs must there be faith in the heart to see him present by his Spirit, to set our seal to the truth, authority, and majesty of all his commands, to hear the Lord speaking from Heaven, and to find, by the secret and powerful revelations of his Spirit out of the Word to the soul, evident and invincible proofs of his living by the power of God, and speaking mightily in the ministry of his Word to our consciences. Therefore when the apostle had said, “We are absent from the Lord,” he presently adds, “We walk by faith ;” that is, We labour to yield all service and obedience to this our Lord though absent; because by faith (which giveth presence to things unseep, and subsistence to things that are yet but hoped) we know that he is, and that he is a rewarder of those that diligently seek him.
And indeed, though every man call him · Lord, yet no man doth in truth and sincerity of heart so esteem him, but those who do in this manner serve him, and by faith walk after him. “If I be a master, saith the Lord, where is my fear a ?" It is not every one that saith Lord, Lord,' but he that doth my will, that trembleth at my Word, that la boureth in my service, who declares himself to be mine indeed. For the heart of mán cannot have two masters ; because, which way so ever it goes, it goes whole and undivided. We cannot serve Christ, and any thing else which stands in competition with him: First, Because they are contrary masters ; one cannot be pleased, or served, without the disallowance of the other. The Spirit that dwelleth in us, lusteth to envy,—that is, grudgeth, and cannot endure that any service should be done to the Lord; for “ the friendship of the world is enmity against God b." And therefore saith the apostle, “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him," and the reason is, because they are contrary principles, and have contrary spirits, and lusts; and therefore must needs overrule unto contrary services.
a Mal. i. 6.
b Jam. iv. 4, 5.
cl John ii. 15.
Secondly, Because both masters have employments enough to take up a whole man. Satan and the world have lusts to fill the whole head and heart of their most active and industrious servants; for the apostle saith, that “all which is in the world, is lusts." —And the heart of man is wholly, or most greedily, set in him to do that evil which it is tasked withal 4. The all that is in man, all his faculties, all his affections, the whole compass of his created abilities, are all gone aside, or turned backward ; there is no man, no part in man, that doth any good, no, not one Christ likewise is a great Lord; hath much more business than all the time, or strength of his servants can bring about. He requireth the obedience of every thought of the heart'; grace and edification and profit in all the words, that proceed out of our mouth 8; a respect unto the glory of God in whatsoever works we go about"; the whole soul, body, and spirit should be sanctified throughout, and that even 'till the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ Christ hath service much more than enough to take up all the might, strength, studies, abilities, times, callings of all his servants : -businesses towards God and himself, worship, fear, communion, love, prayer, obedience, service, subjection : businesses towards and for ourselves, watchfulness, repentance, faith, sincerity, sobriety, growth in grace: business towards other men as instruments and fellow-members, exhortation, reproof, direction, instruction, mourning, rejoicing, restoring, relieving, helping, praying, serving in all ways of love. So much evil to be avoided, --so many slips and errors to be lamented, -80 many earthly members to be crucified, - so much knowledge and mysteries to be learned,-so many vain principles to be unlearned,-so much good to be done to myself,-so much service to be done to my brother,-so much glory to be brought to my master; every Christian hath his hands full of work. And therefore Christ expostulateth it as an absurd thing, to call him “ Lord, Lord,” to profess and ingeminate a verbal subjection, and “yet not do the things which he requires k.”
The third thing observed touching the kingdom of Christ, is the glory and power thereof, intimated by his sitting at the Lord's right hand. — God's right hand ' in the Scrip. ture, is a metonymical expression of the strength, power, majesty, and glory, that belong unto him. “ This is mine infirmity,” saith the Psalmist; “but I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High m;” where we find God's 'power' under the metonymy of a right hand,' opposed to the infirmity of his servant: 'My infirmity, and weak faith, made me apt' to sink under the sense of God's displeasure ; but when I called to mind the experiences of God's former power in like distresses, I recollected my spirits, and was refreshed again. So the right hand of the Lord is said to span, or extend the heavens"; and the Psalmist expresseth the strength and salvation of the Lord by his right hand. And “his fury is the cup of his right hand P.” And he strengtheneth, and helpeth, and upholdeth his people by 'the right hand of his righteousness;' that is, by his power and faithful promises, which in their weakness strengthens them,-in their fear and flagging, helps them,-in their sinking and falling, upholds them. So the Psalmist saith of wicked men, that “their right hand, is a right hand of falsehood";" that is, either confidence in their own power will deceive themselves, or they will deceive others to whom they promise succour and assistance. Therefore God's right hand is called “the right hand of majesty s ;” and “the right hand of power t.” To sit then at God's right handų, noteth that great honour and judiciary office, and plenitude of power, which God the Father hath given to his Son; after his manifestation in the flesh, in his nativity, and justification by the Spirit, in his resurrection, he was then, amongst other dignities, received up into glory. This we find amongst those expressions of honour, which Solomon showed unto his mother, that “she sate at his right hand y.” And herein the apostle puts a great difference between Christ and the Levitical priests, that they
d Eccles. viii. 11. e Psalm xiv. 2, and liij. 3. f2 Cor. x. 5.
& Ephes. iv. 29. b1 Cor. x. 31. il Thes, v. 23. k Luke vi. 46.
Δεξιάν του πατρός λέγομεν την δόξαν και την τιμήν της θεότητος, έν ή και του Θεού υιός τρό αιώνων υπάρχων, ως Θεός και το σατρί ομοούσιος, επ' εσχάτων σαρκωθείς, και σωματικώς κάθηται συνδοξασθείσης της σαρκός αυτού. Damasc. lib. 4. de Orthodox. Fid. cap. 2. m Psalm lxxvii. 10. n Isa. xlviii. 13. o Psalm cxviii. 14, 15, 16. p Hab. ii. 16. 9 Isai. xli, 10. r Psalm cxliv. 11. s Heb. i. 3. Luke xxii. 69. u Verbum' sedere' Regni significat potestatem. Hieron. in Eph. cap. 1.— Sedere' quod dicitur Deus, non membrorum positionem, sed judiciariam significat potestatem. Aug. de Fide et Symbol. cap. 7. *l Tim, jjj. 16. y 1 Kings ii. 19.
stood' daily ministering, but Christ, after his offering, 'sate down' at the right hand of God. Noting two things : First, that Christ was the Lord ;-and they, but servants; for standing is the posture of a servant or minister, and not sitting. Secondly, that their work was daily repeated ; whereas Christ's was consummate in one offering once for all, after which he rested or sate down again.
This sitting then of Christ at the right hand of majesty and glory, notes unto us, first, the great exaltation of the Lord Christ, whom God hath highly honoured and advanced, and given a name above every name.
First, His divine nature, though it cannot possibly receive any intrinsecal improvement or glory, (all "fulness of glory" essentially belonging thereunto,) yet so far forth as it was humbled, for the economy and administration of his office, so far it was re-advanced again. Now he emptied and humbled himselfd, not by putting off any of his divine glory; but by suffering it to be overshadowed with the similitude of sinful flesh, and to be humbled under the form of a servant, as the light of a candle is hidden in a dark and close Janthorn : so that declaratorily, or by way of manifestation, he is, in that respect, magnified at God's right hand,-or, as the apostle speaks, “declared to be that Son of God by power in rising from the dead," and returning to his glory again. Again, however in “abstracto' we cannot say, that the deity or divine nature was exalted in any other sense, than by evident manifestation of itself in that man who was before despised, and accused as a blasphemer, for that he made himself equal with God; yet in 'concreto,' and by reason of the communication of properties from one nature to another in the unity of one person; it is true, that as God saved the world by his blood, and as it was the Prince of Life that was crucified, and the Lord that lay in the grave; so God likewise was in the form of a servant humbled, and at the right hand of majesty exalted again.
2 Heb. x. 11, 12. a Luke i. 19. 1 Kings xvii. 1. b Deut. x. i. and xvii. 12. Ezek. xliv. 24. c Luke xvii. 7. 2 Chro. xviii. 18. d Ου γαρ ή προς το σον ασθενές συγκατάβασις ελάττωσις οφείλει γίνεσθαι της αξίας του δυνατού· αλλά την μεν φύσιν νόει θεοπρεπώς, τα δε ταπεινότερα των ρημάτων δέχoυ οικονομικώς. Βasil. Mag. Homil. de Fide.-Ut sol cum in nube tegitur, claritas ejus comprimitur, non cæcatur ; sic Homo ille, quem Dominus Salvatorque noster i. e. Deus, Dei Filius, induit, Deitatem in illo non intercepit, sed abscondit. Greg. Nazian. Οrat. 49. de Fide.-Συνεκάθισε την ανθρωπίνην φύσιν εν τω θρόνω το βασιλικό, και @poo Kvveitai vûv and wions tîs Ktíoews. Theophylact. in Joh. 17.–Accepit ut homo, quæ habebat ut Deus. Theodoret. in Phil. 2. • Rom. i.4.
Secondly, The human nature of Christ is most highly exalted by sitting at God's right hand : for in the right of his hypostatical union, he hath an ample and immediate claim to all that glory, which might, in the human nature, be conferred upon him. So that though during the time of his conversation amongst men, the exigence and economy of the office which he had for us undertaken, made him a man of sorrows, and intercepted the beams of the godhead and divine glory from the other nature ; yet having finished that dispensation, there was, in the virtue of that most intimate association of the natures in one person, a communicating of all glory from the Deity, which the other nature was capable of. For as, by the Spirit of holiness, he was filled with treasures of wisdom, and knowledge, and grace, and thereby fitted for the office of a mediator, and made the first-fruits, the first-born, the heir of all things, the head, and captain of the church; furnished with a residue and redundancy of the Spirit to sanctify his brethren, and to make them joint heirs and first-born with himself ;-so, by the Spirit of glory, is he filled with unmatchable perfections, beyond the capacity or comprehension of all the angels of heaven; being not only full of glory, but having in him all the fulness of glory, which a created nature, joined to an infinite and bottomless fountain, could receive.
From hence, therefore, we should learn to let the same mind be in us which was in Christ; to humble ourselves first, that we may be exalted in due time,-to finish our works of self-denial, and service which we owe to God, that so we may enter into our master's glory. For he himself entered not but by a way of blood. We learn likewise to have recourse and dependence on him for all supplies of the Spirit', for all strength of grace, for all influences of life, for the measure of every joint and member ; he is our treasure, our fountain, our head; it is his free grace, his voluntary influence which habituateth and fitteth all our faculties, which animateth us unto a heavenly being, which giveth us both the strength and first act, whereby we are qualified to work,
f Phil. i. 19, and iv. 13. Eph. iv. 16.