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and known, we have no liberty to chuse, but must conform
The doctrine natively arising from the text is,
people, executes that office, in revealing to them, by his
In discoursing this doctrine, I shall shew,
II. What is that will of God that Christ reveals.
IV. For what ends he reveals the will of God, and the ne cessity of this revelation in order to our salvation.
V. Lastly, Make some improvement.
1. I am to shew what is implied in Christ's revealing the will of God for our salvation, wherein Christ's prophetical work lies. It implies,
1. That as it is God's determined will and purpose that some of mankind shall be saved, so he has laid down a certain way and method for their salvation, out of which none can be saved, and in which all that take it shall be saved.
2. That the discovery of this method of salvation was a secret of God that man could never have found out, John i. 18. It was a counsel in the breast of God, which, for man or angel, might for ever have lain hid.
3. That our Lord Jesus was intimately acquainted with this will of God, John i. 18. He was in the bosom of the Father. He was privy to his eternal counsels, as being the eternal Son of God. And therefore he needed not be carried to heaven, to hear and learn from God what he was to teach ere he began to preach to the world, being God manifested in the flesh,' 1 Tim. iii. 16. Neither did he as;
cend unto heaven oftener than once, and that only after he had suffered, Heb. ix, 12.
4. That unto Jesus Christ we owe the discovery and revelation of the divine will. He is the fountain of all that light which points out the way to salvation, Isa. lv. 4. 'I have given him, (says the Lord), for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people. He is that true pillar of cloud that guides to the heavenly Canaan ; and no beams of såving light shine on the world but from him, John iii. 19. and in the face of Jesus, 2 Cor. iv. 6.
II. I proceed to shew what is that will of God that Christ as a Prophet reveals. It is the will of God for the salvation of sinners, and that the whole will of God in all things concerning their edification and salvation. It is the word of his grace which is able to build them up,' Acts xx. 32. It is ' written, that ye might believe and that believing ye might have life.
This may be reduced to two heads.
1. Faith. Man was broken off from God and his favour and fellowship. It was the will of God, that man should come and be re-united to him in the way of believing in a slain Redeemer. This Christ has revealed in the gospel. Therein he has laid open the mystery of reconciliation, as laid down betwixt the Father and him from eternity, in all the parts thereof, and this by his word and Spirit to teach his own children.
2. Obedience. Man, as he could not, so he knew not how to serve God acceptably. Christ has also fully discovered that point. And therefore we find him at his prophetical work, expounding the law, and vindicating it from the false glosses of the Pharisees, Matth. v. vi. vii. and every where not only shewing men what to do, but how to do it.
More particularly, as the will of God denotes all that God would have us to know, believe, and do, in order to our salvations and as there are some things to be known as the foundation of our faith, some things to be believed, and some things to be done in point of duty, as the fruits and effects of true saving faith ; so these particulars being the objects of Christ's teaching, I shall mention a few of them very briefly.
1. Christ makes known to us our original state, that holy and happy condition in which man was made; of which I gave you a specimen in the discourse concerning the creation Vol. Í.
of man. Man was then a holy and happy creature, the pe. culiar favourite of heaven, and endued with choicer prerogatives than all the creatures in this lower world. It is necessary for us to know this, that we diay not accuse God of that sin and disorder which now prevails in our constitution, and renders us objects of the divine abhorrence; and may be unwearied till we regain our forfeited felicity. This is a matter of pure revelation, and is accordingly taught us in the inspired volume.
2. Christ reveals to us our misery and wretchedness by the fall. This I also endeavoured to open up to you in the course of this work. Man, by sin, lost communion with God, fell under his wrath and curse, and is liable to temporal and eternal miseries. This miserable state, though also a matter of revelation, is well known to all the descendants of Adam, so that they feel it in their sad experience, and they have no need to be taught it. But Christ teaches his people this doctrine in a manner that the rest of the world are strangers to. And therefore,
3. Christ reveals to us our woful impotency and inability to help ourselves. This is the fatal consequence of the fall, and has been partly mentioned in the foregoing part of this work. Israel, (says the Lord), thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help,' Hos: xiii. 9. which says, that though our ruin is of us, our help is not in us. Hence men in their natural state are said to be without strength, incapable to deliver themselves from the wretched state into which they are plunged by sin. Man is so deeply sunk in the horrible pit, that it passes the skill and ability of men or angels to pull him out. He cannot atone offended justice, or expiate his sin. This deplorable state of man is revealed in scripture, and savingly only to the elect, by the Saviour of sinners.
4. Christ reveals, as a Prophet, that there is a way found out, and a method laid down in the adorable depths of divine wisdom, whereby poor sinners may be delivered from sin and wrath, and obtain eternal salvation. For this discovery we are indebted to divine revelation. Of this I have spoke under the covenant of grace. And Christ, as a Prophet, teaches this article to 'his people so efficaciously, that they acquiesce in this method of salvation.
5. He reveals to us that he is a full and sufficient Saviour,
able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him, Heb. vii. 25. So that his own people cordially embrace him as their only Saviour, and accept him as their sole Re. deemer, looking for expiation of guilt, pardon of sin, and peace with God, only from and through him.
6. He teaches, that we must have union with him through faith, or else we can have no benefit by his blood, 1 John v, 12. He that hath the Son, hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God, hath not life;' that is, he that is united to Christ is spiritually alive, and shall not enter into condemnation; but he that is not united to him is still under the curse, and the wrath of God abideth on him. It is by being in Christ, united to him, that we escape condemnation, Rom. viii. 1.
7. Christ teaches us, that we must believe in, and receive him as our only Saviour and Redeemer, resting upon him alone for life and salvation. Hence it is said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.?
8. Another part of the will of God that Christ reveals to us is our sgnelification ; and we are told, that without holiness no man shall see the Lord.' Holiness of heart and life is absolutely necessary to qualify men for the enjoyment of God in heaven, as no unclean thing can enter the celestial abode.
III. I come now to shew how Christ reveals this will of God for sąlyation, namely, by his word and Spirit, jointly or together; for both are absolutely necessary for attaining that end.
First, Christ reveals his by his word. This is the external revelation of it, without the knowledge of which no man can be sayed. The personal Word of God teaches us by his word written or preached, or extraordinarily revealed. So there are three ways of Christ's teaching by his word.
1. The word extraordinarily revealed as appears from Heb. i. 1. and Gen. jii. 15. which method having long ago ceased, we need not enļarge upon it.
2. By the word preached; which has been managed two ways,
wherein the kindness of the Divine Teacher appears, (1.) By his own personal preaching, Heb. i. 1. in the days of his flesh, when he went about the work of preaching the gospel to the Jews, for which cause he is called the minister of the circumcision,' Rom. xv. 8. putting a glory on the ministerial calling by himself performing that office. He spake as never man spake. An heavenly authority and majesty appeared in his preaching, which attracted the attention of his hearers, and forced them to acknowledge he was more than a human being.
2. By his ambassadors in his name, So he exercised his prophetical office.
[1.] Before his incarnation, under the Old Testament, 1 Pet. iii. 19. instructing his church sometimes by extraordinary teachers, the prophets; sometimes by ordinary teach. ers, or both. And this he did both before and after the word was written : for although before the scripture the church was supplied by extraordinary revelation, yet all were not so taught, but many were trained up by the exter. nal teaching of the patriarchs; as appears from Abraham's practice, Gen. xviii. 17, 19,
[2.] After his incarnation, by the apostles, who were infallibly guided, and to this day by ordinary ministers, by whom Christ still exercises his prophetical office, Eph. iv. 11. and so he promised to be with them, Mat. xxviii. ult. In this respect they have that awful hedge set about them, He that heareth
me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me. On this ground he obligeth people to repair to them for clearing, from the word, the matters of salvation, sin, and duty to them, Mal, ii, 7. • They should seek the law at his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.'
3. By the word written, John xx. 31. ? These things are written, that ye might believe,' &c. Thereby it is that the prophets and apostles, and all the inspired writers, being dead, yet speak to us, and Christ by them, to shew us the will of God for our salvation, Thus was the church taught from the days of Moses, and in this manner it is taught to this day, We need not say, · Who will ascend into heaven?' or 'who shall descend into the depths' that is, for the revelation of the method of salvation. The word is nigh to us, it is among our hands. To that, Christ sends us to know his mind, Isa. viii. 20. - To the law and to the testimony; yet not to justle out men's teaching from it, Eph. iv. 11, 12
Yet the word itself is not sufficient to teach us the will of God for our salvation. Not the word preached; for even