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under review. My only aim shall be to recommend to your most serious attention the expressions, one after another, the heart-affecting, the penetrating expressions of the dying Saviour of mankind. So far from going abroad in quest of enemies to combat, I could even wish to confine my address, at the present hour, to such of my hearers as have a heart susceptible of those tender sentiments with which the religion of Jesus Christ inspires all who cordially embrace it. On hearts possessed of such sensibility I could wish to engrave the last expressions of the Redeemer's love: I could wish this sermon might accompany you up to your dying hour: I could wish that, in the moment of expiring agony, you might be enabled to oppose, to the fearful threats of the king of terrors, these fervent petitions of the Saviour of the world, which set open to you the gates of heaven, and which establish your eternal felicity on a foundation more unmoveable than those of heaven and earth: "Father I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me." Amen. We shall arrange our subject in the order of the three following ideas, and shall endeavour to point out to you,
1. The relation in which Jesus Christ stands to God.
II. The relation which subsists between the apostles and Jesus Christ.
III. The relation subsisting between believers and the apostles.
We shall distinguish these three ideas only for the purpose of afterward establishing and sublimating the mystery of their union. For the perfect obedience which Jesus Christ yielded to the supreme will of his heavenly Father, has united him to God in a manner ineffable, so that he is one with God, not only as partaking of the divine nature, but considered as a creature.
Again, the glorious manner in which the apostles have executed the functions of their apostleship; having not only believed the doctrines which their master taught them, but diffused them over the whole world; and, like him, sealed them with their own blood, has united them in the closest intimacy with Jesus Christ, so that they are "one with them as Jesus Christ is one with the Father."
Finally, the respect with which believers receive, and acquiesce in, the doctrine of the apostles, and that of Jesus Christ, raises them to a participation of the same exalted glory and felicity; so that believers being united with the apostles, the apostles with Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ with God, there results, from this union, a society, a whole, noble, sublime, possessing the perfection of glory and blessed
Now it is the complete union of this whole, it is the perfection of this communion among all these orders of beings, that Jesus Christ here asks of the Father.
I. Let us first examine the relations in which Jesus Christ stands to God. Jesus Christ may be considered under two different ideas, as God, and as Mediator.
There are, accordingly, two kinds of rela
tion, subsisting between God and Jesus Christ: 1. A relation of nature; and 2. A relation of economy. Jesus as God is "one with the Father;" he is likewise so in his character of Mediator.
1. There subsists between God and Christ a unity of nature.
We perceive more than one proof of this in the words of my text. For what are we to understand by "that glory" of which Jesus Christ speaks, which he "had with the Father before the world was," unless it be that he is God, as the Father is God?
I am well aware that in the very chapter we are attempting to explain, some have pretended to discover an argument which militates against this doctrine. The enemies of the divinity of our blessed Lord have frequently employed the words which we have recited, as a bulwark to defend their error: "this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent," ver. 3. They tell us, that Jesus Christ here distinguishes himself from "the true God," and they have thence concluded, that he is of a different nature. But it is an easy matter to refute this objection by permitting Jesus Christ to explain his own meaning, and interpreting Scripture by Scripture. Let us, from other passages, see how Jesus Christ has distinguished himself from the true God. Is it because he is not a true God? By no means; for it is expressly declared in another place, that he is "the true God, and eternal life," 1 John, v. 20.
If then, Jesus Christ has referred to two classes, every branch of Christian knowledge: if he has placed in one class the knowledge relating to "the true God," and in the other class, all knowledge relating to the Son, whom the true God has sent into the world, this is simply reducing the whole of Christian theology to the two great questions which were the subject of discussion in his time, and which contained a summary of all the topics which can be discussed on the subject of religion. The first was the point in dispute between the pagan and the Jew: the other, between the Jew and the Christian.
The matter in dispute between the pagan and the Jew was, whether there were only one God, or more than one. Respecting this question, Jesus Christ pronounces a clear decision: that "eternal life consists in knowing the one true God." The point in dispute between the Jew and the Christian relates to Christ's being the Messiah, the sent of God. But this Jesus whom God has sent, is he, God Creator, or is he a creature merely? Neither the negative nor the affirmative side of this question is directly established in these words: "this is life eternal, to know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." Once admit what Jesus Christ demands on the subject of the first two questions, and the third will presently resolve itself. For if we know that there is only one God, and that Jesus Christ is sent by him, we must receive, without hesitation, the doctrine which God has taught us by this Son whom he has sent: and if we receive this doctrine, we must believe from the doctrine
itself, that he who is sent must be God: be- | thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee," cause the divinity of his nature is one point of the doctrine which he has taught.
There are, therefore, relations of nature between Jesus Christ and God. There is a unity of Jesus Christ as God with his Father. There is a glory which Jesus Christ "had with God, before the world was," and which he always possessed, even at the period of his deepest humiliation. This union is as unchangeable as Deity itself. The glory which Jesus Christ derives from it is not susceptible of increase or diminution. All that he prays for in respect of it, is, that it might be known among men: and in this sense we may understand the expression in our text: "Father, glorify me with the glory which I had with thee, before the world was," ver. 5. But,
2. There subsists likewise a relation of economy between Jesus Christ and the Father. Jesus Christ as Mediator is "one with God." I have a conception of three kinds of Unity in this respect: 1. Unity of idea: 2. Unity of will: 3. Unity of dominion.
(1.) There is a unity of idea. I mean, that the human soul of Jesus Christ Mediator was endowed with so much intelligence, that he had the same ideas with God, that he formed the same judgments, and that he possessed the same infallibility. This truth had been predicted of him by the prophets: “the Spirit of the Lord God is upon me: because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek," Is. lxi. 1. It was taught by Jesus Christ himself: "my doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me," John vii. 16. "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life," John viii. 12. It is the foundation of the faith which we have, in the truths which flowed from his lips.
(2.) The second unity, subsisting between Jesus Christ Mediator and the Father, is a unity of will. Observe to what an extent it has been carried. The incarnation was an effect of the entire submission of this divine Saviour to the will of his Father: "when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldst not, but a body hast thou prepared me: in burnt-offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure: then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God," Heb. x. 5-7. When Joseph and Mary found fault with him for having parted company with them, he replied, "how is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" Luke ii. 49. When his disciples presented him with food, "saying, Master eat: he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of: my meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work," John iv. 31, &c.; and, in the text, he says, that for the "sake" of the disciples whom the Father had given him, he “sanctified himself."
It is, however, demonstrably certain, that in proportion as the human soul acquires more light and knowledge, according as it is less distracted by the sinless infirmities of nature, it takes the loftier flight towards the love of order, and conceives a more powerful attachment to the sovereign will of Heaven. There were certain moments in the life of Jesus Christ, during his abode on earth, in which he was entirely absorbed by those objects which incessantly engage the attention of the angels of God. He was led of the Spirit into the wilderness; there "he fasted forty days and forty nights," Matt. iv. 2; and these days and nights were, undoubtedly, passed in contemplation, in rapture, in an ecstacy of zeal and fervour. But after these forty days and forty nights were over, "he was afterwards an hungered."
In like manner, he beheld the glory of God on the holy mountain, and the transfiguration which he underwent, kindled to a higher and a higher degree, the desire which he felt, to discharge, in a manner worthy of his exalted character, the commission which he had received of the Father. But those rays of glory were to be eclipsed, and from that sacred place he must descend. During the whole course of his life, he kept constantly in view the end of his mission, he expressed many an ardent wish to accomplish the sacrifice which he came into the world to offer up.
But however perfect this unity may have been, it was nevertheless susceptible of degrees. Jesus Christ, considered as Mediator, never could be in an error, but he did not always know the whole truth. He had not in the cradle the same extent of knowledge which he possessed at the age of "twelve years," Luke ii. 42; when in the temple, he, by his profound knowledge, excited astonishment in the most learned of the doctors. Most probably, likewise, he did not yet possess at the age of twelve years, the illumination which he attained unto in the sequel of his ministry. The evangelist expressly remarks that "he grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom," Luke ii. 40. Never did he attain during his abode on earth that height of intelligence which he had, after his ascension into heaven. It is expressly said, that, as "the Son of man," he knew But at the idea of death he is for a season not the day" of judgment. The soul, to which in heaviness: there is an appearance of desirhis mortal body was united, acquired, un-ing, as it were, to compound matters with doubtedly, after that body left the tomb, an Deity; and this, some interpreters consider as extension of knowledge which it had not, so the sense of these words: "Father, if it be long as the body to which it was united was possible, let this cup pass from me, that I may yet in a mortal condition. This is the first not drink it," Matt. xxvi. 39; and, perhaps, it glory that Jesus Christ asks of his Father. He is likewise the sense of those which follow: prays that he would grant him to partake, in "now is my soul troubled: and what shall I a manner more intimate, in his counsels, and say? Father, save me from this hour," John to draw from the unbounded ocean of light xii. 27. Not that Jesus Christ ever thought more abundant supplies of divine wisdom and he could be saved from that hour, or delivered knowledge: "Father, the hour is come, glorify from drinking that cup which was going to
be put into his hand, but it was the language of innocent human infirmity, excited by the first ideas of extreme approaching agony. It is only in the possession of perfect blessedness, that our virtues shall acquire all the activity, all the extent, of which they are susceptible. And it is, yes, it is this activity, it is this extent of virtue, which had the power of still farther strengthening the hand 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 Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee," ver. 1.
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 (3.) In the third place, there subsists be- upon us, my brethren; that he hears, and retween the Father and the Son, a unity of do- gards, and answers the prayers which, in our minion. Magnificent displays of this were indigence, we present at the throne of grace; visible even while our blessed Lord tabernacled thence it is he beholds St. Stephen, and grants among men. Is the expression too strong, if the petition of that martyr, from amidst the we say, that God Almighty, when he sent Je- shower of stones which is overwhelming him: sus Christ into the world, made him the de-"Lord Jesus, receive my spirit," Acts vii. 59. positary of his omnipotence? The winds, the waves, men, devils, life, death, the elements, universal nature, all, all submitted to his sovereign will.
Thence it is he draws to himself the souls of
But, if the power of Jesus Christ was unbounded, as considered in itself, it was limited, however, in its exercise. It was no easy matter, to discover the depositary of the di- Such is the glory which must follow the vine omnipotence in the person of that Man, sufferings and death of the Saviour of the consigned over to the hands of executioners, world. Such must be the perfection of that dragged before a tribunal of iniquity, and unity which subsists between Jesus Christ the nailed to a cross. There is a dominion, with Mediator and his Father: "Father, the hour which it implies a contradiction to suppose is come: glorify thy Son, that thy Son also Jesus Christ invested before he suffered death, may glorify thee. . . . I have manifested thy for this dominion was to be expressly the re- name unto the men whom thou gavest me out ward of suffering: "he humbled himself, and of the world. . . . Those that thou gavest me became obedient unto death, even the death I have kept, and none of them is lost but the son of the cross. Wherefore, God also hath high- of perdition. . . . I have glorified thee on the ly exalted him, and given him a name which earth: I have finished the work which thou is above every name; that at the name of Je-gavest me to do: and now, O Father, glorify sus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, thou me with thine own self, with the glory I and things in earth, and things under the had with thee, before the world was." 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 session. On the third day after his death, angels alight upon his tomb, not to effect his resurrection from the dead, but to admire the wonders of it; to render their profoundest homage to that divine Man, the only dead person who had ever revived by his own power; and to yield obedience to that mandate of the great Supreme: "let all the angels of God worship him," Heb. i. 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, O ye gates,
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
WE have seen the relation which subsists between Jesus Christ and his heavenly Father. 1. A relation of nature, 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 apostles, 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 with 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 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." Jesus Christ had entered into the plan of the eternal Father, 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 ministry 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 these 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 saving, as did the greatest philosophers of the gentile nations, respecting inquiries of the highest importance to mankind; Who can tell? Peradventure. 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 human 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 well grounded 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 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?" 1 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 most dazzling and sublime eloquence languishes, when tarnished by the vices of the orator! This position, my brethren, admits not of a doubt: and let the reflection, however humiliating, be ever present to our thoughts: one of the most insurmountable obstacles to the efficacy of preaching, is the irregular lives 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 must not our minds have been perplexed, had we seen in the persons 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 themselves 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 decrees, those insolent decisions, which have fulminated from the mouths of certain pontiff's bearing the Christian name? If these same apostles, who preached nothing but superiority to the world, nothing but humility, but charity, but patience, but chastity, had been, like some of their pretended successors, addicted to the spirit and practice of revenge, of ambition, of simony; magicians, fornicators; men polluted with abominations which the majesty of this place, and the sanctity of the pulpit, hardly permit me to insinuate? What must not have been the infamy of committing such things, when the bare idea of them puts modesty to the blush?
O how much better has Jesus Christ, our
most formidable strokes of celestial indignation on some of those who had dared to trifle with the oath of fidelity plighted to their divine Master. Ananias and Sapphira fall dead at their feet, Acts v. 9. "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty, through God, to the pulling down of strong holds, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ: and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience," 2 Cor. x. 4-6.
great leader and commander, provided what- forth this which ye now see and hear," Acts ever was necessary for the good of his church! ii. 32, 33. They confound those who continue During the whole course of his life, he pre-proof against conviction. They call down the sented a model of the most pure and consummate virtue. One of the great ends of his devotedness to death, was to engage his beloved disciples thence to derive motives to the practice of holiness; this is the sense which may be assigned to that expression in the prayer, which he here addresses to his Father: "For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they may be sanctified," ver. 19. "For them I sanctify myself" the meaning may be, "I labour incessantly to excite thy love within me to a brighter and a brighter flame, not only because it is a disposition of soul the most becoming an intelligent creature, but that I may serve as a model to them who are to diffuse the knowledge of my gospel over the world."
Or, according to the interpretation of others, "for them I sanctify myself, that they may be sanctified," that is, "I devote myself to death for my disciples, to the end that, beholding in my sacrifice the horrors of sin, which I am about to expiate, and the overflowings of my affection for those in whose place I am substituting myself, they may be engaged to exhibit an inviolable attachment to thy holy laws." Which ever of these two senses we affix to the words of our blessed Lord, they strongly mark that intense application of thought by which he was animated, to inspire his disciples with the love of virtue.
But this is not the whole of that authority, and the whole of that power, which Jesus Christ wishes to be conferred on his disciples. He asks, in their behalf, that when they had, like him, finished the work which they had given them to do, they should be exalted to the same glory; that after having "turned many to righteousness," they might "shine as the brightness of the firmament, and as the stars for ever and ever," Dan. xii. 3. This is what he had promised them: "I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel." This is what he asks for them: "Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory which thou hast sup-given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. . . . that they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee: that they also may be one in us," ver. 24. 21.
This not all, he is expressing an earnest wish, that assistance from Heaven might ply what his absence was going to deprive them of: "For them I sanctify myself, that they may be sanctified." But now I leave the world. My disciples are going to lose the benefit of my instructions, and of my example. May a celestial energy, may divine communications of resolution and strength occupy my place: "I pray not thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth: 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."
We conclude this head with a reflection of no small importance: namely this, that among the graces which Jesus Christ prays for in behalf of his apostles, must be comprehended those which were necessary to the persons who were after them to exercise the gospel ministry. Whatever difference there may be between these two orders of ministers, they are the objects of the same prayer. Their talents were to differ only in degree, and God, at this day, limits the measure of them, only because circumstances have varied, and miracles are no longer necessary to the church. But as the apostles had, in substance, the same gifts with Jesus Christ, the ministers of the gospel likewise partake in the gifts of the apostles, because they have received the same commission, and are called to build up the church, of which those holy men laid the foundations.
3. Finally, Jesus Christ asks, in behalf of his disciples, a participation in the dominion of which he himself had taken possession. He had already, in part conveyed to them that dominion: "The glory which thou gavest me, I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one," ver. 22. What is that glory, which the Father had given to Jesus Christ, and which Jesus Christ had given to Lofty idea of the apostleship! lofty idea of his apostles? Among a variety of ideas which the office of the gospel ministry! The apostles may be formed of it, we must, in a particular entered with Jesus Christ into the plan of the manner, understand it as implying the gift of redemption of mankind, as Jesus Christ entered miracles. In virtue of this power, those sa- into it with God. And the ministers of the cred ministers were enabled to carry convic- gospel, to this day, enter into the same plan tion to the human mind, with an energy of with the apostles, as the apostles entered into eloquence altogether divine. The resurrection it with Jesus Christ. The eternal Father, of one who had been dead is the great exor-"before the foundation of the world," Matt. dium of their sermons. This argument they xxv. 34, foreseeing the deplorable misery in oppose to all the sophisms of vain philosophy: which the wretched progeny of Adam were to "This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses; therefore being by the right hand of God exalted. . . . . he hath shed VOL. II.-21
*The French reads, qu'il leur donne a faire, which he had given them to do. I. S.