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saith he; but Christ as a Son over his own house; whose house are we, verse 6. This now is the general nature of this great authority that our Lord Jesus, as High Priest, hath over the house of God; it is divine, it is absolute in all things, it is communicable to none, it passes not from him to any body. The first typical priesthood was put into Aaron's hands ; when he died, it was left to his son, and so from one to another's son ; says the apostle, They could not continue in their office by reason of death: but this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood, Heb. vii. 24. It were well then, if so be, that the name of a priest had been buried in the ruins of the temple at Jerusalem : for that name and the office did alone belong to that constitution, and is quite foreign to the ministry of the gospel : but Antichrist hath brought it in, as he makes himself the grand high-priest, and ordinary ministers as underlings unto him; and he hath framed a sacrifice for them, which is the very abomination of abominable Popery, he has a priest, and altar, and sacrifice, for they will be perpetually together; where there is no altar, nor sacrifice, wherefore should there be a priest? If our Lord hath offered the grand sacrifice, and be the everlasting Priest, and about his work in heaven, and has ended all his work on earth, there is no work for any man under that name, and in that office upon earth.
Now, the other thing that I promised to speak to about the power of our Lord, is to shew you some particular instances of it, that we may not rest only in generals about Christ's power over the house of God.
1. Christ's power over the house of God is seen in this, that he calleth and bringeth into the house of God whom he will; he calls strangers, he hath the key of the house of David, and he opens when he will, and shuts when he will, Rev. iii. 7. Do of
you partake of the grace of God ? are you brought in truly to this spiritual house of God? All the thanks is owing to this great High Priest. Our Lord puts forth his power and saves whom he will; he brings men to God; he follows after strangers; he knows them well. There is not an elect person in the purpose of God, and there is not a redeemed person in the design of Christ's dying, but
our Lord knows them, and will pursue them, and follow them, and overtake them and bring them in: Other sheep, says he, I have, which are not of this fold; them also. I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, John X. 16.
2. Christ's power over the house of God is seen in this, that he dispenses and disposes the treasure of the house as he sees good. All the riches of this great house of God are given forth by our Lord Jesus, as he thinks good : Unto every one of us, saith the apostle, is given grace, according to the measure of the gift of Christ, Eph. iv. 7. No wonder that our Lord has great power in dispensing his grace, for it is all his own; all that is given out of his house is the purchase of his blood, and what he hath dearly bought, that he might be the Lord thereof: Of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
3. Christ's power over the house of God is seen in this, that he welcomes all his people to the mansions in his Father's house, which he has prepared for them. After he hath brought them into the lower house here, and hath enriched them as he sees good, he at last brings them into his presence above, and they enter by him as the gate. John xiv. 2, 3. our Lord speaks of his going to prepare a place for them, and of his receiving them to himself. The crown of eternal life is given particularly by Christ Jesus to every saved one, as cere tainly as every bit of saving grace is Christ's free gift. Now, the crown of eternal glory is his free gift: Looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life, saith the apostle, Jude, verse 21. They are vain lookers for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life, that are rejecters of the mercy of our Lord Jesus in fitting us for eternal life now. But a poor believer that hath partaked of eternal life in its seed, and hath received a great deal of Christ's mercy, this man may easily expect, and confidently look for the greatest at last; he that hath lived upon Christ's grace and mercy all his days, may expect the last gift when he stands in need of it, and when our Lord's time is to give it.
Lastly, The last instance of Christ's great power over the house of God is in his coming again, and fetching the whole family together. Now heaven is filled with the spirits of just
men made perfect, as Christ calls them. We do not know how heaven is filled now ; sometimes we see believers expiring, and they breathe out their breath, and leave a carcase lying upon the bed; we can see no further; how the immortal soul maketh its passage into the heavens, and is received there, passeth our understandings. But there is one filling of heaven that is a coming, which every one of you will be witnesses of, God grant you may be joyful witnesses thereof; that is, when our Lord shall come again, and gather the dust of his people, and raise up glorious temples out of their vile bodies, and shall carry up soul and body to heaven. This is a proof, 1 say, of the last great instance of Christ's power over the house of God, that as he did ascend himself, and entered heaven with his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption ; so the day is coming, and may be nearer than you apprehend, when he shall come again and gather all his people, and judge them, and save them, and carry them up to heaven, and present them to the Father. The one is as sure as the other. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment : so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time, without sin unto salvation. As if the apostle had said, As sure as Christ died without the gates of Jerusalem, and there were thousands then alive that knew it, and saw it, as sure as that was, he will make another appearance without sin to salvation, to all them that look for him. This is the last act of our Lord's conduct in his great guidance of the house of God, that he then puts down all power, and authority, and rule, and lays aside his own mediatory dispensation of the kingdom, that God may be all in all, as the apostle speaks of it, 1 Cor. xv. 26.
APPLICATION. Is Christ a great Priest over the house of God? Then I would, 1. Exhort you to have great and high thoughts of Christ Jesus. Pay a great deal of honour to him. Never think so highly of Christ as to be afraid to employ him ; but, in all your employings of him, have a great sense of his grandeur and power. With what reverence, and adoration, and submission, should we employ him, when we exercise faith on him! Believing on Jesus Christ, and exercising faith
on him, trusting him with the concerns of our eternal salvation, is one of the most bold and familiar, and also one of the most reverent and awful things that a poor creature
2. Learn to pay your due respect unto the true house of God, because of its Master's sake. Every thing that concerns the house of God should be regarded reverently by us, because it is Christ's charge.
1st, All the orders, and all the ordinances of the house of God are to be reverently regarded, because they are under Christ's charge; he is the Lord and Master of them all. All gospel-ordinances are Christ's appointments, and they are to be used as such; and we are to submit to them, and use them reverently as such. What our Lord said of his supper, may be said of every appointment, Do this, saith our Lord, in remembrance of me; hear the word in remembrance of Christ that appointed it; pray in remembrance of him that commands men every where to follow his example, and to lift up holy hands without wrath and doubting. All the ordinances and order of his house are to be reverently regarded, because of the Master thereof. The word is the word of Christ: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, Col. iii. 16. This would make your Bibles dearer to you, and make you use them spiritually, if every time you open your books, you thought, This is Christ's will, and this is a letter to me sent by Jesus Christ from heaven; and he by his Spirit can speak them to me, and I by faith may vent that back in prayer, that may make as true confort and converse with him, as if he were upon the earth.
2dly, There is in Christ's house the dwellers, the inhabitants; his people are of the house, they dwell there. That charge our Lord gave, and the Lord grant its power may reach our hearts : Take heed, says he, that ye despise not one of these little ones that believe on me, Matth. xviii. 6, 10. They are little, they are weak as to a great many things; wherefore they may be despised. There is a deep providence of God in this, that there is not a perfect siuless Christian on the earth. I do not believe the world would like them the better, if they were so ; I do believe, if there were a perfectly holy person
upon earth, that perfectly holy person would be more perfectly hated by all the ungodly than any. But whatever the infirmities and weaknesses of the children of God are, which things commonly make them to be despised, our Lord warns against it. Now, if I may so speak, our Lord's argument is not so great, though it be a good one, as that which this text does afford. Our Lord's argument is only drawn from a smaller thing: Take heed, that ye despise not one of these little ones that believe on me; for as mean as they be, their angels behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. You would think it a great thing to have the company of an angel, you would be loath to despise an angel; but you can despise a weak silly believer, says our Lord; that weak one that believes in me is under the guard of these angels, yea of him who is the Master of angels, of our Lord Jesus, who is the head of all principalities and powers; take heed therefore you despise not such a believer.
3dly, There are the concerns of the house of God, that you should be concerned about greatly. It is a shame to think, how we are outstripped by Old Testament saints in this point. What great things are spoken of the zeal of the people of God of old ! The zeal of thine house hath enten me up, saith David, typically of Christ. And Psal. cxxii. 7, 8. For my brethren and companions sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee; peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. How much more may we say, for our Lord's sake, who is the Master of his house, we wish well to the church of Christ. There is a great want of public-spiritedness, and it is a great sign that God hath no great mind to do any great public work for his glory, and for his people, in that he hath restrained the spirit of due concernment about the house and interest of Christ. All men seek their own things, but no man the things of Jesus Christ. If a particular church, and a particular city or land have the gospel in any tolerable quietness amongst them, and all is well with them, very unconcerned are they about the great dishonour that Christ sustains in the world. For Christ's sake we should be concerned about all the affairs of his house, about the prosperity and adversity of it ; rejoice when it is well with Zion, and mourn when it is otherwise.