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exercise, without an actual respect of faith unto his person, , whence all their life and power is derived.
God gave of old both kings, priests, and prophets, unto the church. He both anointed them unto their offices, directed them in their discharge, was present with them in their work, and accepted of their duties; yet by none of them, nor by all of them together, was the church supernaturally enlightened, internally ruled, or eternally saved, nor could it so be. Some of them, as Moses in particular, had as much power, and as great a presence of God with him, as any mere man could be made partaker of; yet was he not in his ministry the saviour of the church, nor could he be so any otherwise than typically and temporally. The ministry of them all was subservient unto that end, which by its own power it could not attain.
It is evident, therefore, that the redemption and salvation of the church do not depend merely on this, that God hath given one to be the king, priest, and prophet of the church, by the actings of which offices it is redeemed and saved; but on the person of him who was so given unto us, as is fully attested, Isa. ix. 6–8.
This must be declared.
of Christ, that his offices might be effectual unto the salvation of the church ; and without them they could not so have been. And they are such as that their contrivance in the constitution of one and the same person, no created wisdom could reach unto. Wherefore, the infinite wisdom of God is most gloriously manifested therein.
1. The first of these is that he should have a nature provided for him, which originally was not his own. For in his divine nature singly considered, he had no such relation unto them for whom he was to discharge his offices, as was necessary to communicate the benefit of them, nor could he discharge their principal duties. God could not die, nor rise again, nor be exalted to be a prince and a saviour in his divine nature. Nor was there that especial alliance between it and ours, as should give us an especial interest in what was done thereby.
It was mankind in whose behalf he was to exercise these offices. He was not to bear them immediately with respect
unto the angels, and therefore, he took not their nature on him; Ηeb. ii. 16. ου γαρ δήπου αγγέλων επιλαμβάνεται, “He took not the nature of angels unto him,' because he was not to be a mediator for them, a saviour unto them. Those of them who had sinned were left unto everlasting ruin; and those who retained their original righteousness, needed no redemption. But God prepared a body for him; that is, a human nature, Heb. x. 5. The promise hereof, namely, that he should be of the seed of the woman, was the foundation of the church; that is, he was made so unto the church in and by that promise; Gen. iii. 15. In the accomplishment thereof he was 'made of a woman,' that so he might be made under the law,' Gal. iv. 4. 'And took upon him the seed of Abraham,' Heb. ii. 16. •For because the children were partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself took part of the same,' ver. 14. For in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren that he might be a merciful and faithful high-priest in things pertaining to God;' ver. 17. And this was absolutely necessary unto the discharge of his offices, on the twofold account before-mentioned. For,
(1.) Those acts of his offices whereon the sanctification and salvation of the church do principally depend, could not be performed but in and by that nature. Therein alone could he yield obedience unto the law that it might be fulfilled in us, without which we could not stand in judgment before God, see Rom. viii. 3. x. 3,4. Therein alone could he undergo the curse of the law, or be made a curse for us, that the blessing might come upon us; Gal. iii. 13, 14. It was necessary that as a priest he should have something of his own to offer unto God, to make atonement for sin; Heb. viji. 3. The like may be said of his whole ministry on the earth, of all the effects of his incarnation.
(2.) Herein that cognation and alliance between him and the church, which were necessary to entitle it unto a participation of the benefits of his mediation, do depend. For hereby he became our goel, the next of kin, unto whom belonged the right of redemption, and from whom alone we could claim relief and succour in our lost condition. This is divinely and at large declared by the apostle, Heb. ii. 10—18. Having at large explained this context in our exposition of that chapter, and therein declared both the ne
cessity and benefit of the cognation between the church and its high-priest, I shall not here farther insist upon it. See to the same purpose, Eph. v. 25–27. Wherefore, had he not been partaker of our nature, we could have received no benefit, not that without which we must eternally perish, by any office that he could have undertaken. This, therefore, was necessary unto the constitution of his person with respect unto his offices. But,
2. There was yet more required thereunto, or to render his offices effectual unto their proper ends.
Not one of them could have been so had he been no more than a man, had he had no nature but ours. This I shall particularly demonstrate, considering them in their usual distribution, unto the glory of his divine person, and our own edification in believing
(1.) He could not have been the great and singular prophet of the church, had he been a man only, though never so excellent and glorious, and that for these three reasons.
[1.] He was to be the prophet of the whole Catholic church, that is, of all the elect of God, of all that shall be saved in all ages and places, from the beginning of the world unto the end thereof. He had a personal ministry for the instruction of the church whilst he was on the earth, but his prophetical office was not confined thereunto. For that was limited unto one nation; Matt. xv. 24. Rom. xv. 8. and was for a short season only. But the church was never without a prophet; that is, one on whom it was incumbent to reveal unto it, and instruct it in the will of God, nor can be so unto the consummation of all things. This is Christ alone. For
Ist. I take it for granted, that from the beginning, from the giving of the first promise, the Son of God did in an especial manner undertake the care of the church as unto all the ends of the wisdom, will, and grace of God. And I take it for granted here, because I have proved it at large elsewhere. It evidently followeth on the eternal compact between the Father and him unto this end. In the work which belonged hereunto, that which concerned its instruction in the will of God, its saving illumination and spiritual wisdom, is of such importance as that without it, none can be partaker of any other blessings whatever. In this instruc
tion and illumination consists the discharge of the prophetical office of Christ.
2dly. Upon the account of his susception of his office even before his incarnation, considered as God, he is said to act in it so as to be sent of God unto his work; Micah v. 2. • The ruler of Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.' His goings forth are not his eternal generation, which consists in one individual, eternal act of the Father ; but it is the egress, the exercise of his power and care for the church, that is so expressed. These were from the beginning, the first foundation of the church, in answer unto his everlasting counsels ; Zech. ii. 8,9. * Thus saith the Lord of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations that spoiled you: and I will shake mine hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants, and ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me.' He who is sent calleth himself the Lord of hosts,' and affirms that he will destroy the nations by the shaking of his hand, who can be no other but God himself. That is, it was the Son of God who was to be incarnate, as is declared in the next words : 'Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Sion: for lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord. And many nations shall be joined unto the Lord in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto thee;' ver. 10, 11. He promiseth that he will dwell in the midst of the people, which was accomplished when the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us;' John i. 14. which was the time of the calling of the Gentiles, when many nations were to be joined unto the Lord; and those that were so called, were to be his people; ‘They shall be my people.' And yet in all this he was sent by the Lord of hosts; Thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto thee.' Wherefore, with respect unto his susception of his offices towards the church, the Lord of hosts in the person of the Son, is said to be sent by the Lord of hosts; that is, in the person of the Father. So was he the prophet of the church even before his incarnation, sent or designed by the Father to instruct it, to communicate spiritual and saving light unto it. So he testified concerning himself unto the Jews, ' Before Abraham was, I am ;' John viii, 58. . Which,
as it invincibly proves his eternal pre-existence unto his incarnation, so it is not only intended. He was so before Abraham, as that the care of the church was then and always from the beginning on him. And he discharged this office
(1st.) By personal appearances in the likeness of human nature, in the shape of a man as an indication of his future incarnation; and under those appearances instructing the church. So he appeared unto Abraham, to Jacob, to Moses, to Joshua, as I have proved elsewhere. And those peculiar appearances of the person of the Son for the instruction of believers, are a full demonstration that the care and work of it were committed unto him in a peculiar manner.
And I am not without thoughts, although I see some difficulty in it, that the whole Old Testament, wherein God perpetually treats with men, by an assumption of human affections unto himself, so to draw us with the cords of a man, proceeded from the person of the Son, in a preparation for, and prospect of, his future incarnation.
(2dly.) By the ministry of angels. Upon his undertaking to be the mediator for the church with God, the angels were in a peculiar manner put into dependance on him, even as he became a new and immediate head unto the whole creation. This belonged unto that especial glory which he had with the Father before the world was,' whereof we have treated before. All things were to be anew gathered into a head in him, 'both which are in heaven, and which are on earth;' Eph. i. 10. And he became the 'first-born of every creature ;' Col. i. 15. the Lord and proprietor of them. Hence the whole ministry of angels was subordinate unto him; and whatever instruction was thereby given unto the church in the mind and will of God, it was immediately from him, as the great prophet of the church.
(3dly.) By sending his Holy Spirit to inspire, act, and guide the prophets, by whom God would reveal himself. God spake unto them by the mouth of his holy prophets from the beginning of the world ; Luke i. 70. But it was the Spirit of Christ that was in them, that spake by them, that revealed the things which concerned the redemption and salvation of the church ; 1 Pet. i. 11, 12. And by this Spirit he himself 'preached unto those that were disobedient