Chapter VII

Power and Efficacy Communicated unto the Office of Christ, for the Salvation of the Church, from his Person

It is by the exercise and discharge of the office of Christ--as the
king, priest, and prophet of the church--that we are redeemed,
sanctified, and saved. Thereby does he immediately communicate all
gospel benefits unto us--give us an access unto God here by grace, and
in glory hereafter; for he saves us, as he is the mediator between God
and man. But hereon an inquiry may be made--whence it is that the acts
and duties of this office of Christ, in their exercise and discharge,
should have such a power and efficacy, with respect unto their
supernatural and eternal ends; for the things which depend upon them,
which are effected by them, are all the principal means of the glory
of God, and the only concernments of the souls of men. And this, I
say, is his holy, mysterious person; from thence alone all power and
efficacy is derived, and transfused into his offices, and into all
that is due in the discharge of them.

A truth this is, of that importance, that the declaration and
demonstration of it is the principal design of one entire book of the
holy Scriptures, viz., of the Epistle of Paul the Apostle unto the
Hebrews. That the glorious excellency of the person of Christ does
enable him, in the discharge of his offices, to accomplish those ends,
which none other, though vested with the same offices, could, in the
exercise of them, attain unto--is the sum and substance of the
doctrinal part of that discourse. Here, therefore, we must a little
fix our meditations--and our interest calls us thereunto. For if it be
so, it is evident that we can receive no good, no benefit, by virtue
of any office of Christ, nor any fruits of their exercise, without an
actual respect of faith unto his person, whence all their life and
power is derived.

God gave of old both kings, priests, and prophets, unto the church.
He both anointed them unto their offices, directed them in their
discharge, was present with them in their work, and accepted of their
duties; yet by none of them, nor by all of them together, was the
church supernaturally enlightened, internally ruled, or eternally
saved: nor could it so be. Some of them--as Moses in particular--had
as much power, and as great a presence of God witch him, as any mere
man could be made partaker of; yet was he not, in his ministry, the
saviour of the church--nor could he be so any otherwise than typically
and temporally. The ministry of them all was subservient unto that end
which, by its own power, it could not attain.

It is evident, therefore, that the redemption and salvation of the
church do not depend merely on this--that God has given one to be the
king, priest, and prophet of the church, by the actings of which
offices it is redeemed and saved; but on the person of him who was so
given unto us: as is fully attested, Isa. 9: 6, 7.

This must be declared.

Two things were required, in general, unto the person of Christ, that
his offices might be effectual unto the salvation of the church, and
without which they could not so have been. And they are such, as that
their contrivance in the constitution of one and the same person, no
created wisdom could reach unto. Wherefore the infinite wisdom of God
is most gloriously manifested therein.

I. The first of these is, that he should have a nature provided for
him, which originally was not his own. For in his divine nature,
singly considered, he had no such relation unto them for whom he was
to discharge his offices, as was necessary to communicate the benefit
of them, nor could he discharge their principal duties. God could not
die, nor rise again, nor be exalted to be a prince and a Saviour, in
his divine nature. Nor was there that especial alliance between it and
ours, as should give us an especial interest in what was done thereby.

It was mankind in whose behalf he was to exercise these offices. He
was not to bear them with respect immediately unto the angels; and,
therefore, he took not their nature on him. "Ou gar depou angeloon
pilambanetai"--"He took not the nature of angels unto him;" (Heb. 2:
16;) because he was not to be a mediator for them, a saviour unto
them. Those of them who had sinned were left unto everlasting ruin;
and those who retained their original righteousness needed no
redemption. But God prepared a body for him--that is, a human nature:
Heb. 10: 5. The promise hereof--viz, that he should be of the seed of
the woman--was the foundation of the church; that is, he was made so
unto the church in and by that promise: Gen. 3: 15. In the
accomplishment thereof he was "made of a woman," that so he might be
"made under the law;" (Gal 4: 4;) and "took upon him the seed of
Abraham". For because the children were partakers of flesh and blood,
"he also himself took part of the same:" Heb. 2: 14. For "in all
things it behaved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might
be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God:"
verse 17. And this was absolutely necessary unto the discharge of his
offices, on the twofold account before mentioned. For--

(1.) Those acts of his offices, whereon the sanctification and
salvation of the church do principally depend, could not be performed
but in and by that nature. Therein alone could he yield obedience unto
the law, that it might be fulfilled in us--without which we could not
stand in judgment before God. See Rom. 8: 3; 10: 3,4. Therein alone
could he undergo the curse of the law, or be made a curse for us, that
the blessing might come upon us: Gal. 3: 13, 14. It was necessary
that, as a priest, he should have something of his own to offer unto
God, to make atonement for sin: Heb. 8: 3. The like may be said of his
whole ministry on the earth--of all the effects of his incarnation.

(2.) Herein that cognation and alliance between him and the church,
which were necessary to entitle it unto a participation of the
benefits of his mediation, do depend. For hereby he became our goel--
the next of kin--unto whom belonged the right of redemptions and from
whom alone we could claim relief and succour in our lost condition.
This is divinely and at large declared by the apostle, Heb. 2: 10-18.
Having at large explained this context in our exposition of that
chapter, and therein declared both the necessity and benefit of the
cognation between the church and its High Priest, I shall not here
farther insist upon it. See to the same purpose, Eph. 5: 25-27.
Wherefore, had he not been partaker of our nature, we could have
received no benefit--not that without which we must eternally perish--
by any office that he could have undertaken. This, therefore, was
necessary unto the constitution of his person, with respect unto his
offices. But--

II. There was yet more required thereunto, or to render his offices
effectual unto their proper ends. Not one of them could have been so,
had he been no more than a man--had he had no nature but ours. This I
shall particularly demonstrate, considering them in their usual
distribution--unto the glory of his divine person, and our own
edification in believing.

(1.) He could not have been the great and singular prophet of the
church, had he been a man only, though ever so excellent and glorious;
and that for these three reasons:--

[1.] He was to be the prophet of the whole catholic church; that is,
of act the elect of God, of all that shall be saved in all ages and
places, from the beginning of the world unto the end thereof. He had a
personal ministry for the instruction of the church, whilst he was on
the earth; but his prophetical office was not confined thereunto. For
that was limited unto one nation, Matt.15:24; Rom.15:8, and was for a
short season only. But the church was never without a prophet--that
is, one on whom it was incumbent to reveal unto it, and instruct it
in, the will of God--nor can be so unto the consummation of all
things. This is Christ alone. For--

1st, I take it for granted that, from the beginning, from the giving
of the first promise, the Son of God did, in an especial manner,
undertake the care of the church--as unto all the ends of the wisdom,
will, and grace of God; and I take it for granted here, because I have
proved it at large elsewhere. It evidently followeth on the eternal
compact between the Father and him unto this end. In the work which
belonged hereunto--that which concerned its instruction in the will of
God, its saving illumination and spiritual wisdom, is of such
importance, as that, without it, none can be partaker of any other
blessings whatever. In this instruction and illumination consists the
discharge of the prophetical office of Christ.

2dly, Upon the account of his susception of his office even before
his incarnation, considered as God; he is said to act in it so as to
be sent of God unto his work, Micah 5: 2, "The Ruler of Israel, whose
goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." His goings
forth are not his eternal generation, which consists in one individual
eternal act of the Father; but it is the egress, the exercise of his
power and care for the church, that is so expressed. These were from
the beginning the first foundation of the church, in answer unto his
everlasting counsels, Zech 2: 8, 9, "Thus saith the LORD of hosts,
After the glory has he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you;"
and "I will shake mine hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to
their servants: and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me."
He who is sent calleth himself "The Lord of hosts," and affirms that
he will destroy the nations by the shaking of his hand; who can be no
other but God himself. That is, it was the Son of God, who was to be
incarnate, as is declared in the next words: "Sing and rejoice, O
daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of
thee, saith the LORD. And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in
that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of
thee; and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts has sent me unto
thee," verses 10, 11. He promiseth that he will dwell in the midst of
the people; which was accomplished when "the Word was made flesh, and
dwelt among us," John 1: 14; which was the time of the calling of the
gentiles, when many nations were to be joined unto the Lord; and those
that were so called were to be his people: "They shall be my people."
And yet in all this he was sent by the Lord of hosts: "Thou shalt know
that the LORD of hosts has sent me unto thee." Wherefore, with respect
unto his susception of his offices towards the church, the Lord of
hosts in the person of the Son is said to be sent by the Lord of
hosts; that is, in the person of the Father. So was he the prophet of
the church even before his incarnation, sent or designed by the Father
to instruct it--to communicate spiritual and saving light unto it. So
he testified concerning himself unto the Jews, "Before Abraham was, I
am," John 8: 58. Which, as it invincibly proves his eternal pre-
existence unto his incarnation, so it is not only intended. He was so
before Abraham, as that the care of the church was then and always
from the beginning on him. And he discharged this office four ways:--

(1st,) By personal appearances in the likeness of human nature, in
the shape of a man, as an indication of his future incarnation; and
under those appearances instructing the church. So he appeared unto
Abraham, to Jacob, to Moses, to Joshua, as I have proved elsewhere.
And those peculiar appearances of the person of the Son for the
instruction of believers, are a full demonstration that the care and
work of it were committed unto him in a peculiar manner. And I am not
without thoughts, although I see some difficulty in it, that the whole
Old Testament, wherein God perpetually treats with men by an
assumption of human affections unto himself, so to draw us with the
cords of a man, proceeded from the person of the Son, in a preparation
for, and prospect of, his future incarnation.

(2dly,) By the ministry of angels upon his undertaking to be the
mediator for the church with God, the angels were in a peculiar manner
put into dependence on him, even as he became a new and immediate head
unto the whole creation. This belonged unto that especial glory which
he had with the Father "before the world was," whereof we have treated
before. All things were to be anew gathered into a head in him, "both
which are in heaven, and which are on earth," Eph. 1: 10. And he
became "the firstborn of every creature," Col. 1: 15, the Lord and
proprietor of them. Hence the whole ministry of angels was subordinate
unto him; and whatever instruction was thereby given unto the church
in the mind and will of God, it was immediately from him, as the great
prophet of the church

(3dly,) By sending his Holy Spirit to inspire, act, and guide the
prophets, by whom God would reveal himself. God spoke unto them by the
"mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began,"
Luke 1: 70. But it was the Spirit of Christ that was in them that
spoke by them, that revealed the things which concerned the redemption
and salvation of the church, 1 Peter 1: 11, 12. And by this Spirit he
himself preached unto those that were disobedient in the days of Noah,
who are now in prison for their disobedience, 1 Peter 3: 19, 20. For
he was so to prophet of the church always as to tender manifold
instructions unto the perishing, unbelieving world. Hence is he said
to lighten "every man that comets into the world," John 1: 9, by one
way or other communicating to them some notices of God and his will;
for his light shineth in, or irradiates darkness itself--that darkness
which is come on the minds of men by sin--though the "darkness
comprehend it not," verse 5.

(4thly,) By the ministry of holy men, acted and moved by his Spirit.
So he gave forth the word that was written for an everlasting rule of
faith and obedience unto the church.

Thus were the office and work of instructing and illuminating of the
church on his hand alone from the beginning, and thus were they by him
discharged. This was not a work for him who was no more but a man. His
human nature had no existence until the fullness of time, the latter
days, and therefore could effect or operate nothing before. And
whereas the apostle distinguisheth between the speaking of God in the
Son and his speaking in the prophets, opposing the one to the other,
(Heb. 1: 1, 2,) he does it with respect unto his personal ministry
unto the Church of the Jews, and not with respect unto his being the
peculiar fountain of life and light unto the whole church in all ages.

It is true, we have under the gospel many unspeakable advantages from
the prophetical office of Christ, above what they enjoyed under the
Old Testament; but he was the prophet of the church equally in all
ages. Only he has given out the knowledge of the mind of God in
different degrees and measures; that which was most perfect being for
many reasons reserved unto the times of the Gospel; the sum whereof
is, that God designed him unto a preeminence above all in his own
personal ministry.

If any shall now inquire how the Lord Christ could be the prophet of
the church before he took our nature on him and dwelt among us; I
shall also ask how they suppose him to be the prophet of the church
now he has left the world and is gone to heaven, so as that we neither
see him nor hear him anymore? If they shall say that he is so by his
Spirit, his Word, and the ministry which he has ordained; I say, so
was he the prophet of the church before his incarnation also. To
confine the offices of Christ, as unto their virtue, power and
efficacy, unto the times of the Gospel only, is utterly to evacuate
the first promise, with the covenant of grace founded thereon. And
their minds are secretly influenced by a disbelief of his divine
person, who suppose that the respect of the church unto Christ, in
faith, love, trust, and instruction, commenceth from the date of his

[2.] The full comprehension of the mind and will of God, of the whole
divine counsel concerning his glory in the sanctification and
salvation of the church, could not at once reside in the mind of any
mere creature. Yet was this necessary unto him who was to be the
prophet of the church; that is, the fountain of truth, life, and
knowledge unto it. Hence is his name "Wonderful, Counselor," as he
who was participant of all the eternal counsels of God; whereon in him
as incarnate all the treasures of divine wisdom and knowledge were
hid, Col. 2: 3. In him this could be alone, in whom was life, and "the
life was the light of men," John 1: 4. God did reveal his mind and
will by angels and men. But as he did it at sundry times, so he did it
by several parts, or various parcels--not only as the church was fit
to receive it, but as they were able to communicate it. The whole of
the divine counsels could not be comprehended, and so not dewed, by
any of them. Hence the angels themselves--not withstanding their
residence in the presence of God, beholding his face, and all the
glorious messages wherein they were employed--learned more of his mind
after the personal ministry of Christ, and the revelation of the
mysteries of his counsel therein, than ever they knew before, Eph 3:
8, 9, 11; 1 Peter 1: 12. And on the account of their imperfection in
the comprehension of his counsels, it is said that "he charged his
angels with folly," Job 4: 18. And the best of the prophets not only
received divine truth by parcel, but comprehended not the depths of
the revelations made unto them, 1 Peter 1: 11, 12.

To this purpose is that divine testimony, John 1: 18, "No man has
seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of
the Father, he has declared him." It is of all the prophets concerning
whom it is affirmed, that no man has seen God at any time. So is it
evident in the antithesis between Moses the principal of them, and the
Lord Christ, in the verse foregoing: "For the law was given by Moses,
but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." Wherefore no man, no other
man or prophet whatever has seen God at any time; that is, had a
perfect comprehension of his counsels, his mind and will, as they were
to be declared unto the church. This is the privilege of the
only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father; not only as
being his eternal delight and love, but also as one acquainted with
all his secret counsels--as his fellow and participant of all his
bosom thoughts.

He says that "all that ever came before him were thieves and robbers,
but the sheep did not hear them," John 10: 8. This some of old
impiously applied unto the prophets of the Old Testament; whereas he
intended it only of those false prophets who pretended of themselves
that they, any of them, were the Messiah, the great Shepherd of the
sheep, whom his elect sheep would not attend unto. But it is true that
all who went before him, neither separately nor jointly, had the
knowledge of God, so as to declare him fully unto the church.

It is the most fond and wicked imagination of the Socinians, invented
to countenance their disbelief and hatred of his divine person, that
during the time of his flesh he was taken up into heaven, and there
taught the doctrine of the Gospel, as Muhammad feigned concerning
himself and his Alkoran. The reason and foundation of his perfect
knowledge of God was, his being the only-begotten Son in the bosom of
the Father, and not a fictitious rapture of his human nature.

To this purpose have we his own testimony, John 3: 13, "And no man
has ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the
Son of man which is in heaven." The matter whereof he treats is the
revelation of heavenly things; For, finding Nicodemus slow in the
understanding of the doctrine and necessity of regeneration, which yet
was plain and evident in comparison of some other heavenly mysteries,
he asks of him, "If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe
not," (things wrought in the earth and in your own breasts,) "how
shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things?" if I declare unto
you the deep counsels of the will of God above, verse 12. But hereon a
question might arise, how he should himself come to the knowledge of
these heavenly things whereof they had never heard before, and which
no other man could tell them of, especially considering what he had
said before, verse 11, "We speak that we do know, and testify that we
have seen." Hereof he gives an account in these words. Wherefore the
ascending into heaven, which he denies unto all men whatever--"No man
has ascended up to heaven"--is an entrance into all the divine,
heavenly counsels of God; no man either has or ever had a full
comprehension of these heavenly things but he himself alone. And unto
him it is ascribed on a double account: first, That he came down from
heaven; secondly, That when he did so, he yet still continued in
heaven: which two properties give us such a description of the person
of Christ as declare him a full possessor of all the counsels of God.
He descended from heaven in his incarnation, whereby he became the Son
of man; and he is and was then in heaven in the essence and glory of
his divine nature. This is the full of what we assert. In the
knowledge and revelation of heavenly mysteries, unto the calling,
sanctification, and salvation of the church, does the prophetical
office of Christ consist. This he positively affirms could not
otherwise be, but that he who came down from heaven was also at the
same instant in heaven. This is that glorious person whereof we speak.
He who, being always in heaven in the glory and essence of his divine
nature, came down from heaven, not locally, by a mutation of his
residence, but by dispensation in the assumption of our nature into
personal union with himself--he alone is meet and able to be the
prophet of the church in the revelation of the heavenly mysteries of
the counsels of the will of God. In him alone were "hid all the
treasures of wisdom and knowledge," Col. 2: 3, because in him alone
"dwelt the fullness of the Godhead bodily," verse 9.

I do not hereby ascribe the infusion of omniscience, of infinite
understanding, wisdom, and knowledge, into the human nature of Christ.
It was and is a creature, finite and limited, nor is a capable subject
of properties absolutely infinite and immense. Filled it was with
light and wisdom to the utmost capacity of a creature; but it was so,
not by being changed into a divine nature or essence, but by the
communication of the Spirit unto it without measure. The Spirit of the
LORD did rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the
spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear
of the Lord, and made him of quick understanding in the fear of the
LORD, Isa. 11: 2, 3.

[3.] The Spirit of God dwelling in him, in all the fullness of his
graces and gifts, gave him an understanding peculiar unto himself; as
above that of all creatures, so beneath the essential omniscience of
the divine nature. Hence some things, as he was a man, he knew not,
(Mark 13: 32,) but as they were given him by revelation, Rev. 1: 1.
But he is the prophet of the church in his whole entire person, and
revealed the counsel of God, as he was in heaven in the bosom of the
Father. Cursed be he that trusteth in man, that maketh flesh his arm,
as to the revelations of the counsels of God. Here lies the safety,
the security, the glory of the church. How deplorable is the darkness
of mankind, in their ignorance of God and heavenly things! In what
ways of vanity and misery have the generality of them wandered ever
since our first apostasy from God! Nothing but hell is more full of
horror and confusion than the minds and ways of men destitute of
heavenly light. How miserably did those among them who boasted
themselves to be wise, was foolish in their imaginations! How woefully
did all their inquiries after the nature and will of God, their own
state, duty, and happiness, issue in curiosity, uncertainty, vanity,
and falsehood! He who is infinitely good and compassionate, did from
the beginning give some relief in this woeful state, by such parcels
of divine revelations as he thought meet to communicate unto them by
the prophets of old--such as they were able to receive. By them he set
up a Light shining in a dark place, as the Light of stars in the
night. But it was the rising of the Sun of Righteousness alone that
dispelled the darkness that was on the earth, the thick darkness that
was on the people, bringing life and immortality to light by the
gospel. The divine person of the Son of God, in whom were hid all the
treasures of wisdom and knowledge, who is in the bosom of the Father,
has now made known all things unto the church, giving us the perfect
idea and certainty of all sacred truth, and the full assurance of
things invisible and eternal.

Three things are necessary, that we may have the benefit and comfort
of divine light or truth--1st, The fullness of its revelation; 2dly,
The infallibility of it; and, 3dly, The authority from whence it does
proceed. If either of these be wanting, we cannot attain unto
stability and assurance in the faith of it, or obedience unto it.

1st, Full it must be, to free us from all attempt of fear that any
thing is detained or hidden from us that were needful for us to know.
Without this the mind of man can never come to rest in the knowledge
of truth All that he knows may be useless unto him, for the want of
that which he neither does nor can know, because not revealed.

2dly, And it must be infallible also. For this divine truth whereof
we treat, being concerning things unseen--heavenly, eternal mysteries,
transcending the reach of human reason--nothing but the absolute
infallibility of the reviler can bring the mind of man to assurance
and acquiescency. And whereas the same truth enjoins unto us duties,
many of them contrary unto our inclinations and cross unto our several
interests--the great guides of corrupted nature--the revelation of it
must proceed from sovereign authority, that the will may comply with
the mind in the embracement of it. All these are absolutely secured in
the divine person of the great prophet of the church; His infinite
wisdom, his infinite goodness, his essential veracity, his sovereign
authority over all, give the highest assurance whereof a created
understanding is capable, that nothing is detained from us--that there
is no possibility of error or mistake in what is declared unto us, nor
any pretence left of declining obedience unto the commands of the
truth that we do receive. This gives the soul assured rest and peace
in the belief of things which "eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor
can enter into the heart of man to conceive." Upon the assurance of
this truth alone can it with joy prefer things invisible and eternal
above all present satisfactions and desires. In the persuasion hereof
can it forego the best of present enjoyments, and undergo the worst of
present evils; namely, in the experience of its present efficacy, and
choice of that future recompense which it does secure. And he believes
not the Gospel unto his own advantage, or the glory of God, whose
faith rests not in the divine person of Jesus Christ, the great
prophet of the church. And he who there finds rest unto his soul,
dares not admit of any copartners with him as to instruction in the
mind of God.

3dly, It was requisite unto the office of this great prophet of the
church, and the discharge thereof, that he should have power and
authority to send the Holy Spirit to make his revelations of divine
truth effectual unto the minds of men. For the church which he was to
instruct, was not only in darkness, by reason of ignorance and want of
objective light or divine revelations, but was incapacitated to
receive spiritual things in a due manner when revealed. Wherefore, it
was the work of this prophet, not only to make known and declare the
doctrines of truth, which are our external directive light, but also
to irradiate and illuminate our minds, so that we might savingly
apprehend them. And it is no wonder if those who are otherwise minded,
who suppose themselves able to receive spiritual things, the things of
God, in a due manner, upon their external proposal unto them, are
regardless of the divine person of Christ as the prophet of the
church. But hereon they will never have experience of the life and
power of the doctrine of the Gospel, if the apostle is to be believed,
1 Cor. 2: 9-12. Now, this internal illumination of the minds of men
unto the acknowledgment of the truth can be wrought in them only by
the Holy Spirit of God, Eph. 1: 17-19; 2 Cor. 3: 18. None, therefore,
could be the prophet of the church, but he who had the power to send
the Holy Spirit to enable it to receive his doctrine by the saving
illumination of the minds of men. And this alone he could do, whose
Spirit he is, proceeding from him; whom he therefore frequently
promised so to send.

Without a respect unto these things, we cannot really be made
partakers of the saving benefits and fruits of the prophetical office
of Christ. And this we can have only in the exercise of faith on his
divine person, which is the eternal spring from whence this office
derives all life and efficacy.

The command of God, in respect unto him as the prophet of the church,
is, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear him."
Unless we actually regard him by faith as the only begotten Son of
God, we can perform no duty aright in the hearing of him, nor shall we
learn the truth as we ought. Hence it is that those who deny his
divine person, though they pretend to attend unto him as the teacher
of the church, do yet learn no truth from him, but embrace pernicious
errors in the stead thereof. So it is with the Socinians, and all that
follow them. For whereas they scarcely own any other office of Christ
but his prophetical--looking on him as a man sent to teach the mind of
God, and to confine his doctrine by his sufferings, whereon he was
afterward highly exalted of God--they learn nothing from him in a due

But this respect unto the person of Christ is that which will
ingenerate in us all those holy qualifications that are necessary to
enable us to know the mind and will of God. For hence do reverence,
humility, faith, delight, and assurance, arise and flow; without whose
continual exercise, in vain shall men hope to learn the will of God by
the utmost of their endeavours. And the want of these things is the
cause of much of that lifeless unsanctified knowledge of the doctrine
of the Gospel which is amongst many. They learn not the truth from
Christ, so as to expect all teachings from his divine power. Hence
they never come to know it, either in its native beauty drawing the
soul into the love and delight of what they know, or in its
transforming efficacy changing the mind into its own image and

(2.) The same also is the state of things with respect unto his
kingly office and power. But this I have at large treated on
elsewhere, and that much unto the same purpose; namely, in the
exposition of the 3d verse of the 1st chapter of the Epistle unto the
Hebrews. Wherefore I shall not here enlarge upon it.

Some seem to imagine, that the kingly power of Christ towards the
church consists only in external rule by the Gospel and the laws
thereof, requiring obedience unto the officers and rulers that he has
appointed therein. It is true, that this also belongs unto his kingly
power and rule; but to suppose that it consisteth solely therein, is
an ebullition from the poisonous fountain of the denial of his divine
person. For if he be not God over all, whatever in words may be
pretended or ascribed unto him, he is capable of no other rule or
power. But indeed no one act of his kingly office can be aright
conceived or acknowledged, without a respect had unto his divine
person. I shall instance only unto this purpose in two things in

[1.] The extent of his power and rule gives evidence hereunto. It is
over the whole creation of God. "All power is given him in heaven and
earth." Matt. 28: 18. "A11 things are put under his feet, he only
excepted who put all things under him," 1 Cor. 15: 27; and he is made
"head over all things unto the church," Eph. 1: 22. Not only those who
are above the rule of external law, as the holy angels; and those who
have cast off all such rule, as the devils themselves; but all things
that in their own nature are not capable of obedience to an external
law or rule, as the whole inanimate creation, heaven, and earth, and
the sea, with all things in them and under them, (Phil. 2: 10,) with
the dead bodies of men, which he shall raise at the last day.

For this power over the whole creation is not only a moral right to
rule and govern it; but it is also accompanied with virtue, force, or
almighty power, to act, order, and dispose of it at his pleasure. So
is it described by the apostle from the Psalmist, Heb. 1: 10-12,
"Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth;
and the heavens are the works of thine hands: they shall perish, but
thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as does a garment; and as a
vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou
art the same, and thy years shall not fail." That power is required
unto his kingly office whereby he created all things in the beginning,
and shall change them all, as a man folds up a vesture, in the end.
Omnipotence, accompanied with eternity and immutability, are required

It is a vain imagination, to suppose that this power can reside in a
mere creature, however glorified and exalted. All essential divine
properties are concurrent with it, and inseparable from it. And where
are the properties of God, there is the nature of God; for his being
and his properties are one and the same.

If the Lord Christ, as king of the church, be only a mere man, and be
as such only to be considered, however he may be exalted and glorified-

  • however he may be endowed with honour, dignity, and authority--yet he cannot put forth or act any real physical power immediately and
    directly, but where he is present. But this is in heaven only; for the
    heaven must receive him "until the times of the restitution of all
    things," Acts 3: 21. And hereon his rule and power would be the
    greatest disadvantage unto the church that could befall it. For
    suppose it immediately under the rule of God, even the Father; his
    omnipotence and omnipresence, his omniscience and infinite wisdom--
    whereby he could be always present with every one of them, know all
    their wants, and give immediate relief according to the counsel of his
    will--were a stable foundation for faith to rest upon, and an
    everlasting spring of consolation. But now, whereas all power, all
    judgment, all rule, is committed unto the Son, and the Father does
    nothing towards the church but in and by him, if he have not the same
    divine power and properties with him, the foundation of the church's
    faith is cast down, and the spring of its consolation utterly stopped

    I cannot believe in him as my heavenly king, who is not able by
    himself, and by the virtue of his presence with me, to make what
    changes and alterations he pleaseth in the minds of men, and in the
    whole creation of God, to relieve, preserve, and deliver me, and to
    raise my body at the last day.

    To suppose that the Lord Christ, as the king and head of the church,
    has not an infinite, divine power, whereby he is able always to
    relieve, succour, save, and deliver it--if it were to be done by the
    alteration of the whole or any part of God's creation, so as that the
    fire should not burn, nor the water overwhelm them, nor men be able to
    retain their thoughts or ability one moment to afflict them; and that
    their distresses are not always effects of his wisdom, and never from
    the defect of his power--is utterly to overthrow all faith, hope, and
    the whole of religion itself.

    Ascribe therefore unto the Lord Christ, in the exercise of his kingly
    office, one a moral power, operative by rules and laws, with the help
    of external instruments--deprive him of omnipresence and omniscience,
    with infinite, divine power and virtue, to be acted at his pleasure in
    and over the whole creation--and you raze the foundation of all
    Christian faith and hope to the ground.

    There are no true believers who will part with their faith herein for
    the whole world; namely, that the Lord Jesus Christ is able, by his
    divine power and presence, immediately to aid, assist, relieve, and
    deliver them in every moment of their surprisals, fears, and dangers,
    in every trial or duty they may be called unto, in every difficulty
    they have to conflict withal. And to expect these things any otherwise
    but by virtue of his divine nature, is woefully to deceive our own
    souls. For this is the work of God.

    [2.] The rule of Christ, as king of the church, is internal and
    spiritual, over the minds, souls, and consciences of all that do
    believe. There is no one gracious acting of soul in any one believer,
    at any time in the whole world, either in opposition unto sin or the
    performance of duty, but it is influenced and under the guidance of
    the kingly power of Christ. I suppose we have herein not only the
    common faith, but also the common spiritual sense and experience, of
    them all. They know that in their spiritual life it is he that liveth
    in them as the efficient cause of all its acts and that without him
    they can do nothing. Unto him they have respect in every the most
    secret and retired acting of grace, not only performed as under his
    eye, but by his assistance; on every occasion do they immediately, in
    the internal acting of their minds, look unto him, as one more present
    with their souls than they are with themselves; and have no thoughts
    of the least distance of his knowledge or power. And two things are
    required hereto.

    1st, That he be "kardiognoostes"--that he have an actual inspection
    into all the frames, dispositions, thoughts, and internal acting, of
    all believers in the whole world, at all times, and every moment.
    Without this, he cannot bear that rule in their souls and consciences
    which we have described, nor can they act faith in him, as their
    occasions do require. No man can live by faith on Christ, no man can
    depend on his sovereign power, who is not persuaded that all the
    frames of his heart, all the secret groans and sighs of his spirit,
    all the inward labourings of his soul against sin, and after
    conformity to himself, are continually under his eye and cognizance.
    Wherefore it is said, that all things are naked and opened unto his
    eyes, Heb. 4: 13. And he says of himself, that he "searcheth" (that
    is, knoweth) "the hearts and reins of men," Rev. 2: 23. And if these
    things are not the peculiar properties of the divine nature, I know
    nothing that may be so esteemed.

    2dly, There is required hereunto an influence of power into all the
    acting of the souls of believers;--all intimate, efficacious operation
    with them in every duty, and under every temptation. These all of them
    do look for, expect, and receive from him, as the king and head of the
    church. This also is an effect of divine and infinite power. And to
    deny these things unto the Lord Christ, is to raze the foundation of
    Christian religion. Neither faith in, nor love unto him, nor
    dependence on him, nor obedience unto his authority, can be preserved
    one moment, without a persuasion of his immediate intuition and
    inspection into the hearts, minds, and thoughts of all men, with a
    real influence into all the acting of the life of God in all them that
    believe. And the want of the faith hereof is that which has disjoined
    the minds of many from adherence unto him, and has produced a lifeless
    carcass of the Christian religion, instead of the saving power thereof

    (3.) The same may be said concerning his sacerdotal office, and all
    the acts of it. It was in and by the human nature that he offered
    himself a sacrifice for us. He had somewhat of his own to offer, Heb.
    8: 3; and to this end a body was prepared for him, chap. 10: 5. But it
    was not the work of a man, by one offering, and that of himself, toexpiate the sins of the whole church, and forever to perfect them that
    are sanctified, which he did, Heb. 10: 14. God was to purchase his
    church "with his own blood," Acts 20: 28. But this also I have spoken
    to at large elsewhere.

    This is the sum of what we plead for: We can have no due
    consideration of the offices of Christ, can receive no benefit by
    them, nor perform any act of duty with respect unto them, or any of
    them, unless faith in his divine person be actually exercised as the
    foundation of the whole. For that is it whence all their glory, power,
    and efficacy are derived. Whatever, therefore, we do with respect unto
    his rule, whatever we receive by the communication of his Spirit and
    grace, whatever we learn from his Word by the teachings of his Spirit,
    whatever benefit we believe, expect, and receive, by his sacrifice and
    intercession on our behalf; our faith in them all, and concerning them
    all, is terminated on his divine person. The church is saved by his
    offices, because they are his. This is the substance of the testimony
    given concerning him, by God, even the Father, 1 John 5: 10, 11. "This
    is the record" that God has testified concerning his Son, "that God
    has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son." Eternal
    life is given unto us, as it was wrought out and procured by the
    mediation of Christ on our behalf. But yet in him it was originally,
    and from him do we receive it in the discharge of his office; for this
    life is in the Son of God.

    Hence it is that all those by whom the divine person of Christ is
    denied, are forced to give such a description of his offices, as that
    it is utterly impossible that the church should be saved by the
    discharge of them.

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