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the possession of perfect blessedness, that our virtues shall acquire all the activity, all the extent of, which they are suscepi tible. And it is, yes, it is this activity, it is this extent of vir, tue, which had the power of still farther strengthening the band which united Jesus Christ to his Father. For this reason it is, that he promises to the glory of God that return and increase of glory which he asks of him: Father, glorify thy Sori, that thy Son also may glorify thee, ver. 1.
(3) In the third place, there subsists between the Father and the Son, a unity of dominion. Magnificent displays of this were visible even while our blessed Lord tabernacled among them. Is the expression too strong, if we say that God Almighty, when he sent Jesus Christ into the world, made him the depositary of his omnipotence. The winds, the waves, men, devils, life, death, the elements, universal Nature all, all submitted to his sovereign will.
But, if the power of Jesus Christ was unbounded as consi dered in itself, it was limited, however, in its exercise. It was no easy matter to discover the depositary of the divine omnipotence in the person of that Man, consigned over to the hands of executioners, dragged before a tribunal of iniquity, and nailed to a cross. There is a dominion, with which it implies a contradiction to suppose Jesus Christ invested, before he suffered death, for this dominion was to be expressly the reward of suffering : he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name ; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth : and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father, Phil: ii. 8-11. and in the second psalm, ver. 8, 9. ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron, thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
This is the dominion of which he took possession. On the third day after his death, angels alight upon his tomb, not to effect his resurrection from the dead, but to adinire the wonders of it; to render their profoundest homage to that divine Man, the only dead person who had ever revived by his owu power : and to yield obedience to that mandate of the great Supreme : let all the angels of God worship him, Heb. 1, 6.
Forty days after his resurrection, he makes a cloud to serve him as a triumphal chariot, on which he is borne aloft, and disappears from the eyes of his beloved disciples. As he ascends through the regions of the air, to occupy a throne above the skies, the church triumphant, and all the spirits in bliss, unite in celebrating his return to heaven with songs of praise : the celestial arches resound with their joyful acclamations, while they cry aloud : lift up your heads, 0 ye gates, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall come in, Ps. xxiv. 7.
On his arrival at the habitation of his glory, he assumes his place at the Father's right hand. And thence it is that he exercises the dominion to which his sufferings and death have exalted him : thence it is he beholds the impotent designs of the enemies of the church, and, to use the expression of scripture, laughs at them, Ps. ii. 4. Thence it is he brings down to the ground the heads of the haughtiest potentates: thence it is he controls the power of tyrants, or permits it to act, and to accomplish his purpose: thence it is he bends his eyes upon us, my brethren; that he hears, and regards, and answers the prayers which, in our indigence, we present at the throne of grace: thence it is he beholds St. Stephen, and grants the petition of that martyr, from amidst the shower of stones which is overwhelming him: Lord Jesus, receive my spirit, Acts vii. 59. Thence it is he draws to himself the souls of our expiring believers, and says to all those who combat under the banners of the cross : to him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, Rev. iii. 21. be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life, Rev. ii. 10.
Such is the glory which must follow the sufferings and death of the Saviour of the world. Such must be the perfection of that unity, which subsists between Jesus Christ Mediator and his Father: Father the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee .... I have manifested thy name unto the men whom thou gævest me out of the world. ... Those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost but the son of Perdition.... I have glorified thee on the earth : I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do : and now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine ownself, with the glory which I had with thee, before the world was.
CHRIST'S SACERDOTAL PRAYER.
John xvii. 18---21.
As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent
them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one ; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us : that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
E have seen the relation which subsists between Jesus
1. A relation of ture, implied in that glory which he had with the Father before the world was. 2. There is a relation of economy : Jesus Christ as Mediator is one with God. And this relation consists of three particulars : (1) Unity of Idea : (2) Unity of will : (3) Unity of dominion. Let us,
II. Consider the relation subsisting between Jesus Christ and his appostles, not in their character, simply, of believers in Christ, but principally in the view of their public character as apostles. Let us inquire, in what sense it is that Jesus Christ makes it his request, that they may be one with the Father and with himself, as he was one the Father. This is
the second object, this the second mystery, to which we now call upon you to direct your
serious attention. Weigh the import of these remarkable words: As thout hast sent me into the world; even so have I also sent them into the world: and for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Jesus Christ had entered into the plan of the eternal Gather, respecting the salvation of the human race; and had come into the world to put it in execution. It was necessary, in like manner, that the apostles should enter into the plan of this divine Saviour, and to the utmost extent of their ability, should labour, together with him, in executing the merciful design. And as Jesus Christ, in order to acquit himself, with success, of this mystery which was committed unto him, must have possessed, with the Father, a unity of idea, of will, and of dominion, it was likewise necessary that the apostles should possess this threefold unity with Jesus Christ, and this precisely is the substance of what Jesus Christ prays for in their behalf.
1. In order to acquit themselves successfully of the functions of their ministry, it was necessary that the apostles should participate in the ideas of Jesus Christ, and in the infallibility of his doctrine. He had himself said to them, He that heareth you, heareth me ; Luke x. 16. He had given them this commission; Go ye, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit ; and, lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world, Matt. xxviii. 19, 20.
How could they possibly have executed this commission, to any advantage, unless they had participated in the ideas of Jesus Christ, and in the infallibility of his decisions? What dependance could we repose on their testimony had it been liable to error? How should we implicitly admit the oracles which emanated from the apostolic college, if they were to be subjected to examination at the tribunal of human reason, as those of mere human teachers ? The slightest alteration affecting the assertion of the infallibility of the doctrine of those holy men, subverts it from the very foundation. The moment that human reason assumes a right to appeal from their decisions, it is all over, and we are at once brought back to the religion of nature. And the moment we are brought back to the religion of nature, we are bewildered in all the uncertainty of the human understanding: we are still seeking the Lord, if haply we might feel after him, and find him : Acts xvii. 27. as did the Pagan
world. We are still saying, as did the greatest philosophers of the Gentile nations, respecting inquiries of the highest importance to mankind: Who can tell? Peradventurë. We are treating St. Peter and St. Paul, as we do Socrates and Seneca.
Now, if such be our condition, what advantage has the Christian over the Pagan? Wherein consists the superiority of the gospel over the systems of mere hunan philosophy? Away with a suspicion so injurious to the great Author and Finisher of our faith. He has supplied his church with every thing necessary to a clear knowledge, and a wellgrounded belief of all needful truth. When he committed, to the hands of his disciples, the ministry of his gospel, he obtained for them, in substance, the illumination which he himself possessed, for the successful exercise of it.
2. But is it sufficient to possess superior illumination, in order to the honourable and useful exercise of the Christian ministry? Is it sufficient to speak with the tongues of men and of angels? Is it sufficient to be endowed with the gift of prophecy; to understand all mysteries, to have all knowledge? I Cor. xiii. 1. Ah! how fruitless are the most pathetic sermons, if the preacher himself pretends to 'exemption from the obligations which he would impose' upon other men !
Ah! how the inost dazzling and sublime eloquence languishes, when tarnished by the vices of the orator ! This position, my brethren, admi's not of a doubt and let the reflection, however humiliating, be ever present to our thoughts; one of the most insurmountable obstacles to the cfficacy of preaching, is the irregular life of preachers.
If this reflection, at all times, rests on a solid foundation, it was particularly the case with regard to those ministers whom God set apart to the office of laying the very first foundations of his church, and to be themselves the pillar and ground of the truth, 1 Tim. iii. 15. With what dreadful suspicions inust not our minds have been perplexed, had we seen in the person whom Jesus Christ himself immediately chose to be his successors, the abominations which are visible in many of those who, at this day, pretend to fill his place in the church? What dreadful suspicions would agitate our minds, had St. Peter lived in the manner of some of those who have called them, selves the successors of St. Peter ? If out of the same mouth, from which issued those gracious maxims which the Holy Spirit has preserved for our instruction, there had proceeded, at the same time, those iniquitous sentences, those sanguinary VOL. VI.