« السابقةمتابعة »
1. I AM to make some enquiry into the fulness of the Mediator.
The subject of the Redeemer's fulness must be highly interesting to every gracious soul, and cannot fail to afford matter of very pleasant reflection, as all its salvation lies in it. This subject opens an extensive field and will ever present something new to the contemplative mind. To rest in mere speculative notions and discussions of this subject, will not be productive of any valuable consideration to the soul, we should therefore bę solicitous to know this fulness experimentally, by receiving plentiful supplies from it. But I proceed to observe
1. That the Mediator possesses the fulness of Deity. This was necessary to the execution of that work which was assigned him by his Father.
So early as the times of the Apostle, certain heretics appeared denying the supreme Deity of the Saviour. In opposition to these he introduces his gospel with that doctrine, and ascribes supreme Deity to him.
66 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” To prevent men from conceiving that no more was meant, than that he was an agent inferior to the Father, or merely an attribute, it is twice affirmed that he was with God, and the creation of every thing that was made, a work proper only to God, is ascribed to him. It is also asserted, “ That in him was life-That he is the only begotten of the Father,” displaying a glory truly divine. It is impossible to conceive him to be a creature, as, in this passage he is discriminated from every thing that is made, as the Creator. If, then, he were only a creature, he could not be Creator, and if he is the Creator of every thing that is made, it is impossible that
himself can be a creature, unless we suppose him to have created himself, which is absurd. If it is admitted, that the Father possesses all the fulness of Deity, it cannot be denied to the Son, unless his own testimony is refused. Speaking of the absolute security of his sheep, he says,
My Father who gave them me, is greater than all--I and my Father are one." John X. 29, 30. The Jews at once concluded that he claim. ed equality with the Father, or supreme Deity; nor did he in the most distant manner insinuate that they had misunderstood him. The unity with his Father, which he claimed, could not be meant of affection or design, as this could be no ground for a charge of blasphemy; but it is evidently meant of unity with his Father in greatness; a word which cannot, in this passage be restricted merely to power, but extended to whatever constitutes the divine greatness, and fits God for affording perfect security to his sheep. When Jesus affirmed that his father was greater than all, he excluded himself from among these all, and connected himself with his Father, as also in the same sense with him, greater than all. The assertion therefore implies no inferiority of the Son to the Father, more than the Apostle meant to place the Father in subordination to the Son when he said " That the Father had put all things under him, and also excepted him that put all things under him. If then he who put all things un. der the Son is excepted, it may also be affirmed, that he who is one with the Father must, like the Father, be greater than all. Paul puts this matter beyond all doubt, Col. ii. 9. 66 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the God-head bodily." Is it possible that more than this can dwell in the Father? Though the shoals of modern Unitarians had been present, and denied
the Deity of Christ in presence of the Apostle, he could not have invented terms less equivocal, or stronger than these. It is on this account that Christ
thought it no robbery to be equal with God.”
Though this fulness belongs properly and essentially to him as God, it belongs no less necessarily to his mediatory character. He could no more execute his work without his divine nature, than without the human nature. It has been usual, though very impro. perly, to distinguish between the essential and mediatory fulness of Christ. Such a distinction would seem to exclude all that belongs to him as God from his mediatory character, consequently to restrict his mediatory fulness to his human nature. These two natures are equally necessary to fit the Mediator for his work, in all their fulness and perfection. Whatever belongs essentially to his divine and human natures, is his natural fulness, and when the economical character and work are brought into view, it is his mediatory fulness. Because we derive all that we enjoy from him, we are apt to conceive of his mediatory fulness as something communicated to him. Though on many ac counts there is a propriety and beauty in Christ's participation of human nature, yet it was absolutely necessary only to his substitutionary obedience and sufferings in the room of sinners. Every part of his work required him to be God. To what part of that great work can we direct our attention, which will not ap. pear, on close consideration, to demand divine perfections to execute? The certain knowledge of
individual given him by the Father, of the time and means of their effectual calling, of the numerous lusts which even after conversion, work in their hearts, and are to be kept in check and mortified, of their extensive
spiritual wants which constantly demand a supply, of the exceedingly diversified circumstances in which they exist, the many accidents to which they are liable, of the numberless adversaries that meditate their ruin, and of frequent injuries which they suffer, is proper and possible to omniscience only. All these are inseparably connected with the work of salvation, which cannot be carried forward without a perfect knowledge of them. The confession of Peter well expressed this perfect knowledge of the Messiah; “ Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.” To this agree the words of the Apostle Heb. iv. 13. “ Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and open unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” This truth, practically verified in the Saviour's management of the work of salvation, discovers what consolation his people may find in his own declaration, in all dangers, and under all trials from enemies. “ I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he that searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.” 'Rev. ii. 23. The final judgment, while it requires omniscience in the judge, will afford, above every thing besides, the most astonishing, extensive and convincing evidence of that perfection in him. At that day, many, many millions of rational creatures will be stationed before the judge, each of whom he must perfectly know, and discriminate from
every other individual; he must also know the extent of the divine will, as the rule of judgment, concerning them; all the privileges, means and opportunities of improvement, in all circumstances; and he must know also how far every individual has, in thought,
word, or action, conformed to the divine will, or de. viated from it, as these are the very things to be tried; “ For God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Eccles. xii. 14. Of this work, and of that knowledge necessary to conduct it, no creature can form any conception; but to him whose understanding is infinite, the matter is easy. This perfect knowledge so necessary at the last day, is no other than that knowledge which Christ has of all these creatures from the first moment of their existence. But how he should have such knowledge of them can be accounted for only on the supposition of his possessing the divine perfection of omnipresence. His knowledge must be owing, either to his omnipresence, or to information from others; not to the latter, as no finite mind is capable of receiving such extensive information. He has promised to be present in every assembly of his followers to the end of the world. And the same omnipresence which he ascribes to his Father he claims to himself.
“ If any man love me, my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our ABODE with him." John xiv. 23. He not only conies but abides, and abides with every one that loves him. He is therefore uncircumscribed by space, and unlipiited in operation, and so must necessarily observe all things. Jesus is also omnipotent. The creation of all things puts it out of doubt, ' “ He spake, and it was done." By the word of his power he upholds all things. Heb. i. 3. If, as some maintain, the Apostle means the power of the Father, the argument for Christ's Deity is equally strong, for he could not uphold all things by the power of the Father, unless þimself could exert that power, but that he could not