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this mystical conjunction between Christ and the church hath its virtue and efficacy before it be actually consummate.
3. There is a federal conjunction between distinct persons; and as this is various, according unto the variety of the interests and ends of them that enter into it; so that is most eminent, where one, by the common consent of all that are concerned, undertakes to be a sponsor or surety for others, to do and answer what on their part is required of them for attaining the ends of the covenant. So did the Lord Christ undertake to be surety of the new covenant in behalf of the church, Heb. vii. 22. and thereon tendered himself unto God to do and suffer for them, in their stead, and on their behalf, whatever was required, that they might be sanctified and saved. These things I have treated of at large elsewhere, as containing a great part of the mystery of the wisdom of God in the salvation of the church. Here, therefore, I do only observe, that this is that whereby the mystical conjunction that was between Christ and the church, whereon it was meet, just, and equal in the sight of God, that what he did and suffered should be imputed unto us, is completed.
These are some of the foundations of that mystery of transmitting the sins of the church, as unto the guilt and punishment of them, from the sinners themselves unto another, every way innocent, pure, and righteous in himself, which is the life, soul, and centre of all Scripture revelations. And herein is he exceedingly glorious, and precious unto them that believe. No heart can conceive, no tongue can express the glory of Christ herein. Now because his infinite condescension and love herein have been spoken to before, I shall here only instance its greatness in some of its effects.
1. It shines forth in the exaltation of the righteousness of God in the forgiveness of sins. There is no more adequate conception of the divine nature, than that of justice in rule and government. Hereunto it belongs to punish sin according unto its desert; and herein consisted the first actings of God as the governor of the rational creation; they did so in the eternal punishment of the angels that sinned, and the casting of Adam out of Paradise, an emblem also of everlasting ruin. Now all the church, all the elect
of God are sinners; they were so in Adam; they have been and are so in themselves. What doth become the justice of God to do thereon? Shall it dismiss them all unpunished? Where then is that justice which spared not the angels who sinned, nor Adam at the first? Would this procedure have any consonancy thereunto, be reconcilable unto it? Wherefore, the establishment of the righteousness of God on the one hand, and the forgiveness of sin on the other, seem so contradictory, as that many stumble and fall at it eternally. See Rom. x. 3, 4.
But in this interposition of Christ, in this translation of punishment from the church unto him, by virtue of his conjunction therewith, there is a blessed harmony between the righteousness of God, and the forgiveness of sins; the exemplification whereof, is his eternal glory. “O blessed change! O sweet permutation!' as Justin Martyr speaks.
By virtue of his union with the church, which of his own accord he entered into, and his undertaking therein to answer for it in the sight of God, it was a righteous thing with God, to lay the punishment of all our sins upon him, so as that he might freely and graciously pardon them all, to the honour and exaltation of his justice, as well as of his grace and mercy; Rom. iii. 24—26. Herein is he glorious in the sight of God, angels, and
In him there is at the same time, in the same divine actings, a glorious resplendency of justice and mercy; of the one in punishing, of the other in pardoning. The appearing inconsistency between the righteousness of God and the salvation of sinners, wherewith the consciences of convinced persons are exercised and terrified, and which is the rock at which most of them split themselves into eternal ruin, is herein removed and taken away. In his cross were divine holiness and vindictive justice exercised and manifested; and through his triumph, grace and mercy, are exerted to the utmost. This is that glory which ravisheth the hearts, and satiates the souls of them that believe. For what can they desire more, what is farther needful unto the rest and composure of their souls, than at one view to behold God eternally well pleased in the declaration of his righteousness, and the exercise of his mercy, in order unto their salvation? In due apprehensions hereof, let my soul live; in the faith hereof let me die, and let present admiration of this glory make way for the eternal enjoyment of it in its beauty and fulness.
He is glorious in that the law of God in its preceptive part, or as unto the obedience which it required, was perfectly fulfilled and accomplished. That it should be so, was absolutely necessary from the wisdom, holiness, and righteousness of him, by whom it was given. For what could be more remote from those divine perfections, than to give a law, which never was to be fulfilled in them unto whom it was given, and who were to have the advantages of it? This could not be done by us; but through the obedience of Christ, by virtue of this his mystical conjunction with the church, the law was so fulfilled in us by being fulfilled for us, as that the glory of God in the giving of it, and annexing eternal rewards unto it, is exceedingly exalted. See Rom. viii. 3, 4,
This is that glory of Christ whereof one view by faith, will scatter all the fears, answer all the objections, and give relief against all the despondencies of poor, tempted, doubting souls; and an anchor it will be unto all believers, which they may cast within the veil, to hold them firm and steadfast, in all trials, storms, and temptations in life and death.
The glory of Christ in the communication of himself unto believers. Another instance of the glory of Christ, which we are to behold here by faith, and hope that we shall do so by sight hereafter, consists in the mysterious communication of himself and all the benefits of his mediation, unto the souls of them that do believe, to their present happiness and future eternal blessedness.
Hereby he becomes theirs as they are his; which is the life, the glory, and consolation of the church; Cant. vi. 3. ï. 16. 11. 10. He and all that he is being appropriated unto them by virtue of their mystical union. There is, there must be, some ground, formal reason, and cause of this relation between Christ and the church, whereby he is theirs, and they are his; he is in them, and they in him ; so as it is not between him and other men in the world.
The apostle, speaking of this communication of Christ unto the church, and the union between them, which doth ensue thereon, affirms that it is a great mystery; for · I speak,' saith he, concerning Christ and the church ;' Eph. v. 32.
I shall very briefly inquire into the causes, ways, and means of this mysterious communication, whereby he is made to be ours, to be in us, to dwell with us, and all the benefits of his mediation to belong unto us. For, as was said, it is evident that he doth not thus communicate himself unto all by natural necessity, as the sun gives light equally unto the whole world ; nor is he present with all by a ubiquity of his human nature; nor, as some dream, by a diffusion of his rational soul into all; nor doth he become ours by a carnal eating of him in the sacrament; but this mystery proceeds from, and depends on, other reasons and causes, as we shall briefly declare.
But yet, before I proceed to declare the way and manner whereby Christ communicateth himself unto the church, I must premise something of divine communications in
general, and their glory. And I shall do this by touching a little on the harmony and correspondency that is between the old creation and the new.
1. All being, power, goodness, and wisdom, were originally, essentially, infinitely in God. And in them, with the other perfections of his nature, consisted his essential glory.
2. The old creation was a communication of being and goodness by almighty power, directed by infinite wisdom, unto all things that were created for the manifestation of that glory. This was the first communication of God unto any thing without himself, and it was exceeding glorious. See Psal. xix. 1. Rom. i. 21. And it was a curious machine, framed in the subordination and dependency of one thing on another; without which they could not subsist, nor have a continuance of their beings. All creatures below live on the earth, and the products of it; the earth for its whole
production depends on the sun, and other heavenly bodies, as God declares, Hos. ii. 21, 22. ‘I will hear, saith the Lord, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth, and the earth shall hear the corn and the wine, and the oil, and they shall hear Jezreel.' God hath given a subordination of things in a concatenation of causes, whereon their subsistence doth depend. Yet,
4. In this mutual dependency on, and supplies unto, one another, they all depend on, and are influenced from, God himself, the eternal fountain of being, power, and goodness. He hears the heavens,' and in the continuation of this order, by constant divine communication of being, goodness and power, unto all things, God is no less glorified than in the first creation of them; Acts xiv. 15—17. xvii. 24–29.
5. This glory of God is visible in the matter of it, and is obviated unto the reason of mankind; for from his works of creation and providence they may learn his eternal power and Godhead, wherein he is essentially glorious.
6. But by this divine communication God did not intend only to glorify himself in the essential properties of his nature, but his existence also in three persons of Father, Son, and Spirit. For although the whole creation in its first framing, and in its perfection, was and is by an emanation of power and goodness from the divine nature, in the person of the Father, as he is the fountain of the Trinity, whence he is said peculiarly to be the Creator of all things; yet the immediate operation in the creation was from the Son, the power and wisdom of the Father; John i. 1–3. Col. i. 16. Heb. i. 3. And as upon the first production of the mass of. the creation, it was under the especial care of the Spirit of God to preserve and cherish it, unto the production of all distinct sorts of creatures ; Gen. i. 2. so in the continuance of the whole there is an especial operation of the same Spirit in all things. Nothing can subsist one moment by virtue of the dependance which all things have on one another, without a continual emanation of power from him. See Psal. civ. 29, 30.
By these divine communications in the production and preservation of the creature, doth God manifest his glory, and by them alone in the way of nature he doth so; and without them, although he would have been for ever essen