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ture alone, never any man was, or can be saved. Yea, let me add, that this union with our natures is utterly in vain to you, and will do you no good, except he have union with your persons by faith also. It is indeed infinite mercy that God is come so near you as to dwell in your flesh; and that he has fixed upon such an excellent method to save poor sinners. And has he done all this? Is he indeed come home, even to your own doors, to seek peace? Does he veil his insupportable glory under flesh, that he may treat the more familiarly? and yet do you refuse him, and shut your heart against him? Then hear one word, and let thine ears tingle at the sound of it: thy sin is thereby aggravated beyond the sin of devils, who never sinned against a mediator in their own nature; who never despised, or refused, because, indeed, they were never offered terms of mercy, as you are. And I doubt not but the devils themselves, who now tempt you to reject, will, to all eternity, upbraid your folly for rejecting this great salvation, which in this excellent way is brought down even to your own doors.
6. If Jesus Christ has assumed our nature, then he is sensibly touched with the infirmities that attend it, and so hath pity and compassion for us under all our burdens. And indeed this was one end of his assuming it, that he might be able to have compassion on us: "Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest, in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted." Heb. 2: 17, 18. Oh what a comfort is this to us, that he who is our High Priest in heaven, has our nature to enable him to take compassion on us!
7. Hence we see to what a height God intends to
build up the happiness of man, in that he hath laid the foundation thereof so deep, in the incarnation of his Son. They that intend to build high, lay the foundation low. The happiness and glory of our bodies, as well as our souls, are founded in Christ's taking our flesh upon him; for therein, as in a model or pattern, God intended to show what in time he resolves to make of our bodies; for he will transform our vile bodies, and make them one day conformable to the glorious body of Jesus Christ. Phil. 3: 21. This flesh was therefore assumed by Christ, that in it might be shown, as in a pattern, how God intends to honor and exalt it. And, indeed, a greater honor cannot be done to the nature of man, than what is already done by this grace of union; nor are our persons capable of higher glory than what consists in their conformity to this glorious Head.
8. How wonderful a comfort is it, that he who dwells in our flesh is God! What joy may not a poor believer make out of this! God and man in one person! Oh! thrice happy conjunction! As man, he is full of experimental sense of our infirmities, wants, and burdens; and, as God, he can support and supply them all. The aspect of faith upon this wonderful Person, how relieving, how reviving, how abundantly satisfying is it! God will never divorce the believing soul and its comfort, after he hath married our nature to his own Son, by the hypostatical, and our persons also, by the blessed mystical union.
OF THE AUTHORITY BY WHICH CHRIST, AS MEDIATOR, ACTED.
"For him hath God the Father sealed.”—John, 6: 27.
This Scripture is a part of Christ's excellent reply to an earthly-minded multitude, who followed him, not for any spiritual excellencies that they saw in him, or souladvantages they expected by him, but for bread. Instead of making his service their meat and drink, they only served him that they might eat and drink. Self may creep into the best hearts and actions; but it only predominates in the hypocrite. These people had sought Christ from place to place, and having at last found him, they salute him with the question, "Rabbi, whence camest thou hither?" verse 25. Christ's reply is partly dissuasive, and partly directive. He dissuades them from putting the secondary and subordinate in the place of the principal and ultimate end; from preferring their bodies to their souls, their fleshly accommodations to the glory of God. "Labor not for the meat that perisheth :" by which he does not take them off from their lawful labors and callings, but dissuades them from minding those things too intently; and from the odious sin of making religion but a pretence for sensual gratification. "But labor for that meat which endureth to eternal life:" to get bread for your souls to live by eternally. And, that he might engage their diligence in seeking it to purpose, he shows them not only where they may have it,—" which the Son of man shall give you,”—but also how they may be fully satisfied that he hath it for them, "For him hath God the Father sealed." In these words are three parts observable.
1. The Person sealing or investing Christ with au
thority and power; which is said to be God the Father. Though all the persons in the Godhead are equal in nature, dignity, and power, yet in their operation there is an order observed among them: the Father sends the Son, the Son is sent by the Father, the Holy Ghost is sent by both.
2. The subject in which God the Father lodges this authority, "Him," that is, the Son of man. God the Father hath so sealed him, as he never sealed any other before him, or that shall arise after him. No name is given in heaven, or earth, but this name, by which we are saved. Acts, 4: 12. "The government is upon his shoulder." Isa. 9:6.
3. The way and manner of the Father's delegating and committing this authority to Christ; and that is, by sealing him. Where we have both a metonymy, the symbol of authority being put for the authority itself; and a metaphor, sealing, which is a human act for ratifying and confirming an instrument or grant, being here applied to God. Like as princes, by sealed credentials, confirm the authority of those they send. Hence, Jesus Christ did not of himself undertake the work of our redemption, but was solemnly sealed unto it by God the Father.
When I say he did not of himself undertake this work, I mean not that he was unwilling, for his heart was as fully and ardently engaged in it as the Father's: so he tells us, "Lo, I come to do thy will, O God; thy law is in my heart." Psa. 40: 7, 8. But the meaning is, he came not without a due call, and full commission from. his Father. And this is the meaning of that scripture, "I proceeded and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me." John, 8:42. And this the apostle plainly expresses, "No man taketh this honor to himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron: so also Christ glorified not himself to be made an High
Priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son." Heb. 5:4, 5. And on account of these sealed credentials which he received from the Father, he is called "the Apostle and High Priest of our profession," Heb. 3:1, that is, one called and sent forth by the Father's authority. Our present business, then, is to open Christ's commission, and to view the great seal of heaven by which it was ratified.
I. What was that office, or work, to which his Father sealed him? I answer, more generally, he was sealed to the whole work of mediation for us, thereby to reco ver and save all whom the Father had given him: so John, 17:2; it was to "give eternal life to as many as were given him :" it was "to bring Jacob again to him," Isa. 49:5, or, as the apostle expresses it, "that he might bring us to God." 1 Pet. 3: 18. More particularly, in order to the sure and full effecting of this most glorious design, he was sealed to the offices of a Prophet, Priest, and King, that so he might bring about and compass this work.
1. God sealed him a commission to preach the glad tidings of salvation to sinners. This commission Christ opened and read in the audience of the people; "And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and the recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised; to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, &c. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.' Luke,
2. He also sealed him to the priesthood, and that the most excellent; authorizing him to execute both the parts of it, namely, expiatory and intercessory. He call