« PoprzedniaDalej »
good their jealousies, and (may be) groundless suspicions.
34. To omit many examples, I will produce only these few. It lies upon us to maintain, that St. John's baptism was one and the same sacrament with that of Christ's, contrary to express words of Scripture: and something else: that Christ is a mediator, secundum divinam naturam; which borders, I fear, upon an old dangerous heresy: as likewise (which especially concerns this place) that Christ merited nothing to himself by his passion, neither was the exaltation of his human nature to the dominion and rule over all creatures a reward of his humility, but a preferment due to his person, though by special dispensation the exercise thereof was deferred for a time, but should have been conferred upon him as fully as he now enjoys it, though he had never suffered.
35. But Scripture teacheth us, that Christ was to be made perfect by sufferings: that, because he had drank of the brook by the way, therefore he should lift up his head: that, "for the joy which was set before him (that is, having an eye to the glorious reward and fruit of his suffering) he endured the cross, and despised the shame, and therefore is set up at the right hand of glory.". Because "being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient to the death, even the death of the cross;" dio, "therefore (for this reason) God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name, which is above every name," &c. Nay, St. Paul makes the obtaining a rule and dominion over mankind, a main end of
* Phil. ii. 8, 9.
his death; for in Rom. xiv. 9. he saith, Eis TOUTO, "For this end, Christ both died and rose again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living:" by his death, meriting this dominion; by his resurrection, receiving it. But I will forbear controversy, because I desire to seek out no adversary, especially in my preaching, but only the devil and sin.
36. This therefore I think we shall agree upon, that it was the purpose and immutable decree of God, that after the fall and misery of man, whatsoever good should befall us toward our restitution and repairing to our lost happiness, should be conveyed unto us by our own nature; that the seed of the woman should break the serpent's head; that is, not only, in St. John's phrase, destroy the works of the devil, but also, in St. Paul's, destroy his kingdom and power, which is death. So that, as by man came sin and error, so by man also should come grace and truth. "As by man came death, so by man also should come the resurrection from the dead." By man also, life and immortality should be brought to light.
37. Now that these great projects and intendments might be brought about, and that the human nature might be furnished with ability to discharge this province, and to go through with this great undertaking, God the Father, for the merit of Christ's great humility, by his resurrection, * .. hath highly exalted him far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this
Eph. i. 20.
world, but also in that which is to come: * And hath given him a name above all names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in the earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess, that Jesus is the Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
38. And thus much Christ himself confesseth and acknowledgeth presently upon his resurrection for then he saith, "All power is given unto me in heaven and earth." It was then only he received the dominion, whereof his father David's kingdom was but a type and shadow: and as his father David was anointed and deputed by God to the kingdom, but received not actual possession of it till after many persecutions and afflictions at the hands of his master Saul; in like manner, though our Saviour, even in the days of his humility, teacheth us, that the Father judgeth no man, but resigneth all judgment to the Son; notwithstanding these words are to be understood only by way of anticipation or prophecy of what should befall him, after he should have performed the work of our redemption: for while he lived here among men, he professed he was so far from being a king, that he had no sufficient
thority given him to be a petty judge in a case of inheritance; and that wicked Pilate himself had power given him from heaven to become his judge: so that, though in the days of his flesh, he was heir of all things, yet he was only a conditional heir; and, therefore, till the conditions were performed, and himself seized of the inheritance,
*Phil. ii. 9-11.
even the heir himself differed nothing from a ser
89. But within three days after his passion, the case was much altered: for, whereas before he was allowed no authority, no, not in Israel; at his resurrection, he obtains the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession. Now it would be a hard undertaking to describe the limits and borders of Christ's kingdom; as also to define the polity, whereby it is administered. Therefore, leaving the most glorious part of it, which is in heaven, undiscovered; we find in Holy Scripture, that according to the several dispositions and qualifications of men here on earth, he hath both a sceptre of righteousness, to govern and protect his faithful subjects and servants; and a rod of iron, to break the wicked in pieces like a potter's vessel. And though the greatest part of the world will acknowledge no subjection to Christ's kingdom, notwithstanding, this does not take away his authority over them, no more than the murmuring and rebellion of the Israelites did depose Moses their governor. But there will come a time, when that prophetical parable of his shall be resolved, and interpreted to their confusion; when he shall indeed say, "Where are those my enemies, which would not have me to reign over them? Bring them hither, and slay them before me."
40. But the most eminent and notorious exercise of Christ's dominion is seen in the rule over his church, which he purchased with his own blood. Now the first business he took in hand, presently upon his resurrection, when all power
and dominion was given him, was, to give commission and authority to his ambassadors the apostles, and disciples, to make known to the world that so great salvation, which he had wrought at his passion. Now, though the apostles were sufficiently authorized, by virtue of that commission, which Christ gave to them in those words: "As my Father sent me, so send I you"-notwithstanding, they were not to put this authority presently in practice, but to wait for the sending of the Holy Ghost, which Christ before had promised them; that by his virtue and influence they might be furnished with abilities to go through with that great employment of reconciling the world unto God, by subduing men's understandings to the truth and obedience of the gospel.
41. We read in the Gospel of St. John, that, during the life which Christ lived in the flesh, the Holy Ghost was not sent; and the reason is added, "Because the Son of man was not yet glorified." The strength and vigour of which reason doth excellently illustrate the point in hand. For the sending of the Holy Ghost was one of the most glorious acts of Christ's kingly office, and the most powerful means of advancing his kingdom. Therefore, in the days of his humiliation, whilst he lived in the form of a servant, before he had purchased to himself a church by his own blood, his human nature obtained no right of dominion and power over mankind. For till we were redeemed from the power and subjection of the devil and sin, by the merit of Christ's death, we were none of Christ's subjects, but servants and slaves, sold under sin and Satan.
42. So that it being necessary, that the Son of