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birth had not been agreeable to the first promise, which calls him tho seed of the woman, not of the man; and so the truth and veracity of God had suffered some detriment by it. The seed of the woman only is set in opposition to the seed of the serpent. By his being born of a virgin, the holiness of his nature is effectually secured. This exempted him from the stain and pollution of Adam's sin, which his nature wholly escaped, in that he received it not as all others do, in the way of ordinary generation, wherein original sin is propagated : but this being extraordinarily produced, was a most pure and holy thing. Christ was an extraordinary person, and another Adam; and therefore it was necessary he should be produced a new way. At first Adam was produced neither of man nor woman; Eve of a man without a woman; all others of a man and a woman. The fourth way remained, viz. of a woman without a man; and so Christ was born. And the wisdom of God appeared in that he was born of a virgin espoused; for thereby the reproach of illegitimacy was warded off; he had Joseph to take care of him in his infancy; his mother's good name and life were preserved from the malicious Jews; and our faith was the more confirmed by Joseph's testimony concerning Mary.
Thus we may be thoroughly satisfied,
1. That Christ had a true human body; and that though he was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, he had not merely the likeness of flesh, but true flesh, Luke xxiv. 39. Heb. ii. 14.
2. That he had a reasonable soul, which was a created spirit, and that the divine nature was not instead of a soul to him. When he died, he commended his spirit to God, Luke xxii. 46. There is in him a created and an uncreated understanding and will, Mark xiii. 32. Luke xxii. 42. Thus he was true man, consisting of soul and body. And the human nature being united to the divine, there were great gifts of holiness, wisdom, &c. in the human nature of Christ, by virtue of this union, which yet were not infinite, Luke ii. 52.
3. That Christ's body was not made of any substance sent down from heaven, but of the substance of the virgin, Gal. iv. 4. He was the seed of the woman,' Gen. iii. 15. and the fruit of Mary's womb, Luke i. 42. otherwise he had not been our brother.
4. That the Holy Ghost cannot be called the Father of Christ, since his human nature was formed, not of his substance, but of that of the virgin, by his power.
5. That though as to the nativity of Christ there was nothing as to the way of it extraordinary, but ho was at the ordinary time brought forth as others, Luke ii. 22, 23. and that as a general truth,
'A woman, when she is in travail, hath sorrow, because her hour is come,' John xvi. 21. yet he was born without sin, being that holy thing. He could not have been our Redeemer, had he not been so. Heb. vii. 26. Neither could he have sinned, seeing the human nature was put beyond that capacity, by its union with the divine ; and whatsoever Christ did or could do was the action of that person who was God, and so free from sin.
6. That the reason why Christ was born without sin, and the sin of Adam did not reach him, was because he came not of Adam by ordinary generation, not by the blessing of marriage, but by a special promise after the fall.
I shall conclude all with some inferences.
1. Jesus Christ is the true Messiah promised to Adam as the seed of the woman, to Abraham as his seed, the Shiloh mentioned by Jacob on his death bed, the Prophet spoken of by Moses to be raised from among the children of Israel, the Son of David, and the Son to be born of a virgin.
2. Behold the wonderful love of God the Father, who was content to degrade and abase his dear Son, in order to bring about the salvation of sinners. How astonishing is it, that he should send his only-begotten Son to assume our nature, and bear that dreadful wrath and punishment that we deserved ?
3. See here the wonderful love, and astonishing condescendency of the Son, to be born of a woman, in order that he might die in the room of sinners. O how low did he stoop and humble himself, in assuming human nature, with all its sinless infirmities, in being subject to his own law, exposed to all manner of injurious usage from wicked men, to the temptations of Satan, and at last suffering a shameful and ignominious death! What great love to sinners, and what unparalleled condescension was here!
4. See here the cure of our being conceived in sin, and brought forth in iniquity. Christ was born of a woman for us, and he was born without sin for us, that the holiness of his nature might be imputed to us as a part of that righteousness which constitutes tho condition of our justification before God. In him is a complete righteousness for our guilt, and a fountain for washing away.our spiritual pollution.
5. Christ is sensibly touched with all the infirmities that attend our frail nature, and has pity and compassion upon his people under all their pressures and burdens. Hence the apostle says, Heb. ii. 17, 18. ‘In all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren; that ho might be a merciful and faithful High Priest, in things partaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people :
for in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.' How comfortable is it to believers to consider, that he who is their great High Priest in heaven, is clothed with their nature, to capacitate and qualify him to have compassion on them in all their troubles and distresses.
6. Let this encourage sinners to come unto him, that they may be united unto him by faith, and so partake of the blessings of his purchase. Come and enter into a marriage-relation with him. Sin shall not stop the match, if ye be willing. He that could sanctify the virgin's substance to make it a sinless piece of flesh, can easily sanctify yon.
And he that united the human nature to his divine person, can also unite you to himself, so as ye shall never be separated from him.
OF CHRIST'S OFFICES IN GENERAL.
Zech. vi. 13.—Even he shall build the temple of the Lord, and he shall
bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne, and he shall be a Priest upon his throne.
Having shown that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only Redeemer of elect sinners, and that it was necessary ho should be God and man in one person, to qualify him for his Mediatory undertaking, I come now to speak of the offices which Christ executes as our Redeemer, from the text now read.
In the 11th verse of this chapter, there is a typical action crowning Joshua the high priest with two crowns, which is applied and explained in the following verses as representing Christ in his offices, who has on his head many crowns. In the 12th verse, there is a prophecy of the incarnation of Christ, under the metaphor of a branch, as sprung from the family of David, and making but a mean appearance in the world, as a root out of a dry ground.' In the verse where our text lies, we have the offices which ho was to execute as our Redeemer; which are three.
1. The office of a Prophet; He shall build the temple of the Lord ; that is, his own church, whereof the temple was a type, by the word of the gospel, which it is his work to promulgate as a Prophet. For the church is built upon the foundation of the prophets and apostles, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone,' and the revealer of those truths which the prophets and apostles taught.
2. The office of a Priest; namely to expiate the sins of his people to purchase peace for them, and to manage their cause with God.
3. That of a King; for he has a throne, which denotes his kingly office. He is a Priest upon his throne, denoting the reward of his sufferings, and the high dignity he is advanced to in consequence of his humiliation and satisfactory sufferings. And he is represented as sitting on his throne, not a King in name only, or an inactive monarch, but exercising acts of jurisdiction and government. In him all the glory of these offices is to meet: and these offices he shall hold and exercise in spite of all opposition : He shall sit and rule upon
his throne. The text affords foundation for the following doctrine, viz.. Doct. ' Christ, as our Redeemer, executeth the offices of a Prophet,
of a Priest, and of a king, both in his estate of humiliation and exaltation.' In discoursing from this doctrine, I shall shew, I. The verity of these offices in Christ. II. The necessity of his exercising them as our Redeemer. III. When he did exercise these offices. IV. Lastly, Deduce some inferences.
1. I am to shew the verity or reality of these offices in Christ. I say then, that Christ as our Redeemer is actually invested with these offices; he is truly a Prophet, a Priest, and a King; and also that he executes them, that is, performs the functions of, or what belongs to these offices. This clearly appears,
1. From plain scripture testimony, (1.) To his having or being possessed of these offices. He is a Prophet, that Prophet foretold by Moses, who was to be heard in all things that he should say ; and of whom it is said, 'That every soul that would not hear him, should be destroyed from among the people, Acts iii. 22, 23. which passage is applied to Jesus Christ by the apostle Peter, and can agree to none but him, who teacheth as never man taught, even with authority and power. He is a Priest. So he is expressly called, Heb. v. 6. • Thou art a Priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedec;' and in several other places of that epistle, where the reality, nature, and end of his priesthood are largely described.He is a King: Psal. ii. 6. ' Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion.' Psal. ed. 2. 'Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.' He has all the ensigns of royal authority. The ceremony of inauguration or anointing to his office, Psal. ii. 6. Heb. ‘I have anointed my King upon my holy hill of Zion;' a crown, Psal. xxi. 3; a sword, Psal. xlv. 3; a sceptre, Psal. Ixv. 6; subjects, Luke i. 33. John i. 49. (2.) The scriptures bear witness to his executing these offices. Hence he says himself, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life,' John xiv. 6. He is the way to life and happiness by
his death; the truth in his word, the sum and substance of all revealed truth; and the life in his Spirit, quickening and preserving his people by his power. He of God is made unto his people wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption:' wisdom as a Prophet, righteousness as a Priest, and sanctification and redemtion as a King.
2. We learn this also from his name Christ, or Messiah, which signifies the anointed One. I told you in a former discourse, that three sorts of persons used to be anointed under the law, viz. Prophets, 1 Kings xix. 16; priests, as Aaron, Exod. xxix. 7; and kings, as David and others. But all these offices meet in Christ, who was anointed for the execution of them. Hence he says himself, Isa. Ixi. 1. 'The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek, he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.' He is anointed to preach good tidings unto the meek, as a Prophet; to bind up the broken-hearted, as a Priest; and to proclaim liberty, as a King. He was not anointed with material oil, as tho prophets, priests, and kings, under the Old Testament dispensation were, but with the oil of the Spirit; ' The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me (says he), because the Lord hath anointed me.' And God is said to have anointed him with the oil of gladness above his fellows,' Psal. xlv. 7. Now, this unction signified, (1.) His being set apart to the Mediatory work, and to these offices : the Father sanctified him, and sent him into the world, John x. 36. (2.) His being fully furnished with gifts and qualifications suitable to these offices, in respect of his human nature, to which the Spirit was given, not by measure, Isa. xi. l, 2. &c. but in fulness, not of sufficiency only, but abundance, not the fulness of a vessel, but of a fountain, in order to communicate liberally unto his people, John i. 16. He was solemnly inaugurated to these offices at his baptism, Mat. iii. 17. at his transfiguration, Mat. xvii. 5. and at his exaltation, Acts ii. 36. And he was as solemnly called to these offices, Heb. v. 4, 5. No man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron: so also, Christ glorified not himself, to be made an High Priest; but he that said unto him, ' Thou art my Son, to-day have I begotten thee.
II. Let us next consider the necessity of his exercising these offices. Christ's incarnation and taking on him the work of our redemption was entirely voluntary, without the least shadow of coaction and compulsion; but seeing he was pleased out of his great kindness to us, to become our Redeemer, it was necessary for our