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TO THE READER.
COURTEOUS Reader,—These Ten Sermons, lately taken by an expert hand, as they fell from the mouth of the sweet preacher of them, contain so great a variety of heavenly matter, so much of the very marrow and quintessence of the gospel, that thou wilt no sooner begin to read them, but wilt presently find that the heart of the reverend author of them hath lain long asoke in the blood of Jesus, and that he hath been no stranger to his very bosom love. Buy them therefore with what speed thou canst, and read them over diligently, it will be a good bargain for thy soul, and one of the richest commodities that ever thou meetedst with at so cheap a rate. It is put into so small a letter and bulk, purposely for thy better accommodation, and that not only in the ease of thy purse, but principally that thou mayest make it as well thy pocket as thy heart's.companion, wherever thou goest. Farewell.
CHRIST AND THE COVENANT.
CHRIST'S PERSONAL EXCELLENCIES THE OBJECT
OF OUR LOVE.
· If ye loved me ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father, for my Father is greater than I.”—John xiv. 28.
THESE words are part of the last sweet sermon which our Saviour preached unto his disciples before his death and departure from them; wherein he labours to allay their sorrow and grief upon the occasion of his departure : therefore he tells them at the 2nd
Father's house are many mansions ;" and at the 3rd
verse, “ I go to prepare a place for you.”
Then he tells them at the 16th, 17th and 18th verses, that “ he would send them another Comforter;" and " I will not leave you comfortless, I will come unto you."
Then he labours to persuade them unto comfort by their protestation of their own love unto him. “ Ye say you love me (saith he), if ye loved me ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father, for my Father is greater than I.”
“ If ye loved me;" that is, if you loved me so much as you should. It is usual with Scripture to speak of things absolutely when they are meant comparatively. If you loved me so much as you profess, and so much as you should; for they did love him.
“ If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I go unto my Father.”
Joy is the top of comfort as comfort is the top of peace. Joy is the cream of comfort. If ye loved me, ye would be so far from being troubled at my going, that you would be very much comforted, for I go unto my Father who “is greater than I;" than I am as Mediator: who upon my coming to him will exalt me: and therefore if
ye loved me ye would rather rejoice, " because I go unto my Father who is greater than 1.” From whence then I take up this doctrine :
That true love unto the person of Christ will make us rejoice in his personal exaltment, though it may be in some respects unto our debasement or present loss.
For the opening and prosecuting whereof,
First, We must inquire what there is in Christ's going to the Father that is matter of our rejoicing.
Secondly, I shall labour to shew you that it is our duty to rejoice in the personal exaltment of Christ, though in some respects it
be to our own loss and debasement. Thirdly, That true love to the person of Christ will enable us to do this.
Fourthly, That it is possible that Christ's own and best disciples may be wanting in their love to Christ's person.
Fifthly, What an excellent thing it is to love the person of Christ rather than the benefits of Christ; to have our hearts drawn out in love to his person, more excellent than to have a love to him upon the account of benefits. And,
Sixthly, What we should do that our hearts may be drawn out in love to the very person of Christ, so as we may be able to rejoice in his exaltment though to our own debasement.
First, If you ask what there is in Christ's going to the Father that is matter of rejoicing, of a disciple's rejoicing.
I answer, Much every way. Much in reference to our own concernments; much in reference to the concernments of Christ; much in reference to the concernments of God the Father.
As for our own concernments.
If Christ had not gone unto the Father, his satisfaction for our sins had not been accepted, nor our redemption perfected. “ Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us," Heb. ix. 12. It doth relate and allude unto the manner of the old testament: when the blood of goats and calves was poured out, the priest “ took the blood and carried it into the holy of holiest, and sprinkled
But though the blood of bulls or calves had been poured out, yet if the priest had not carried it into the holy of holiest, the typical satisfaction and redemption had not been obtained. And so here, though the blood of Jesus had been shed, and poured out upon the cross, if he had not gone unto the Father, and carried his blood into
66 If I
heaven, into the holy of holiest, his satisfaction for our sin had not been accepted, and our redemption had not been perfected.
If Christ had not gone unto the Father, he had not made the application of his death and blood and merits unto our souls. He came into the world that we should have repentance and remission. Both were purchased by his death. But now if he had not gone unto the Father there had not been an application. Both were purchased by his death on earth. But was the business so left at a loose ? No, but by his going to the Father, what he purchased by his death, he doth apply. In Acts v. it is said, “ Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance unto Israel and forgiveness of sins.” So that had he not gone unto the Father, there had not been an application of his blood and death and merit unto our souls.
If Christ had not gone unto the Father, the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, had not come.
the Comforter will not come.” But why might not the Comforter, or
” the Holy Ghost, come, though Christ had been here on earth, if he had not gone unto the Father ?
I answer, the gifts, graces and comforts of the Holy Ghost were the dona regia which were given out upon the coronation of Christ; for by this going to the Father he was crowned with glory and honour," as in Heb. ii. When the Holy Ghost comes, he doth bear witness to our spirits that we are the children of God, and God reconciled to us. But how should God give such a testimony of his reconciliation unto us, if Christ had not first gone into heaven and given up his accounts of what he had done here on earth. It is said expressly in John vii. “ This spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive; for the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified.” And if Jesus Christ had not gone unto the Father, and so sent the Spirit, how should we have known that he had so much care for us and love to us when he was in heaven as by the sending of the Holy Ghost. We are never more fit for the Holy Ghost than when we are weaned from the carnal presence of Christ. And therefore if Christ had not gone unto the Father, the Spirit, the Holy Ghost had not come.
If our Lord and Saviour Christ had not gone unto the
Father, we should have had no advocate in heaven to plead our cause in heaven upon all occasions. It is a great matter, we say, to have a friend at court, an agent there that may plead for us. What a mercy is it to have an agent in heaven to negotiate our business there! Why now, saith the apostle, “ If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." If Christ had not gone unto the Father, we had not had this Advocate in heaven to plead for us upon all occasions. And,
If Christ had not gone unto the Father, we should have no entrance into heaven. Heaven was locked up, the gates of paradise were shut, and kept by an angel with a flaming sword. This paradise was opened upon the cross : “This day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” And we enter into it by Christ's going into heaven, by his going into the holy of Foliest. “I go to prepare a place for you;” not as sent
' before to take up your lodgings, but as one friend goes before
, another, to make a great entertainment for his friends. But, I
say, if Christ had not gone unto the Father, we had had no entrance into heaven. Why now, is it not a matter of joy and of great comfort, that we have entrance into heaven; that the Comforter is come; that we have always one in heaven to plead our cause upon all occasions ? These and
many other things we obtain by Christ's going to the Father. This for our own concernment. And,
As for the concernment of Christ: by his going to the Father he was exalted and glorified (as Mediator I speak).
And if you ask what was the glory and greatness that was put upon Christ, as Mediator, by his going to the Father? It consists in two things : the royalty of his entertainment when he came unto his Father; and the greatness of his advancement.
And if you ask yet, what was the entertainment that he had when he came unto the Father ?
Why, it was an entertainment suitable to such a Father, and to such a Son. When that great sinner, the prodigal, returned unto his father, “ his father fell upon his neck and kissed him.” Bring out the robes, kill the fatted calf, bring out the ring. And if such an entertainment for a prodigal son, what entertainment then for the natural Son of God, the obedient Son of God, that had been upon his