« السابقةمتابعة »
under review. My only aim shall be to recom- tion, subsisting between God and Jesus Christ: mend to your most serious attention the ex- 1. A relation of nature; and 2. A relation of pressions, one after another, the heart-affect- economy. Jesus as God is “one with the Faing, the penetrating expressions of the dying ther;" he is likewise so in his character of MeSaviour of mankind. So far from going abroad , diator. in quest of enemies to combat, I could even 1. There subsists between God and Christ a wish to confine my address, at the present unity of nature. hour, to such of my hearers as have a heart We perceive more than one proof of this in susceptible of those tender sentiments with the words of my text. For what are we to which the religion of Jesus Christ inspires all understand by “that glory" of which_Jesus who cordially embrace it. On hearts possessed Christ speaks, which he had with the Father of such sensibility I could wish to engrave the before the world was," unless it be that he is last expressions of the Redeemer's love: I God, as the Father is God? could wish this sermon might accompany you I am well aware that in the very chapter we up to your dying hour: I could wish that, in are attempting to explain, some have pretendthe moment of expiring agony, you might be ed to discover an argument which militates enabled to oppose, to the fearful threats of the against this doctrine. The enemies of the diking of terrors, these fervent petitions of the vinity of our blessed Lord have frequently emSaviour of the world, which set open to you ployed the words which we have recited, as a the gates of heaven, and which establish your bulwark to defend their error: “this is life eternal felicity on a foundation more unmove- eternal, that they might know thee the only able than those of heaven and earth: “Father true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast I will that they also whom thou hast given me sent,” ver. 3. They tell us, that Jesus Christ be with me where I am; that they may behold here distinguishes himself from “the true my glory which thou hast given me." Amen. God," and they have thence concluded, that
We shall arrange our subject in the order of he is of a different nature. But it is an easy the three following ideas, and shall endeavour matter to refute this objection by permitting to point out to you,
Jesus Christ to explain his own meaning, and 1. The relation in which Jesus Christ stands interpreting Scripture by Scripture. Let us, to God.
from other passages, see how Jesus Christ has II. The relation which subsists between the distinguished himself from the true God. Is it apostles and Jesus Christ.
because he is not a true God? By no means; JII. The relation subsisting between believ- for ít is expressly declared in another place, ers and the apostles.
that he is "the true God, and eternal life," 1 We shall distinguish these three ideas only John, v. 20. for the purpose of afterward establishing and If then, Jesus Christ has referred to two sublimating the mystery of their union. For classes, every branch of Christian knowledge: the perfect obedience which Jesus Christ yield- if he has placed in one class the knowledge ed to the supreme will of his heavenly Father, relating to “the true God,” and in the other has united him to God in a manner ineflable, class, all knowledge relating to the Son, whom so that he is one with God, not only as par- the true God has sent into the world, this is taking of the divine nature, but considered as simply reducing the whole of Christian theoa creature.
logy to the two great questions which were the Again, the glorious manner in which the subject of discussion in his time, and which apostles have executed the functions of their contained a summary of all the topics which apostleship; having not only believed the doc- can be discussed on the subject of religion. trines which their master taught them, but The first was the point in dispute between the diffused them over the whole world; and, like pagan and the Jew: the other, between the him, sealed them with their own blood, has Jew and the Christian. united them in the closest intimacy with Jesus The matter in dispute between the pagan and Christ, so that they are 6 one with them as the Jew was, whether there were only one God, Jesus Christ is one with the Father."
or more than one. Respecting this question, Finally, the respect with which believers Jesus Christ pronounces a clear decision: that receive, and acquiesce in, the doctrine of the “eternal life consists in knowing the one true apostles, and that of Jesus Christ, raises them God.” The point in dispute between the Jew to a participation of the same exalted glory and the Christian relates to Christ's being the and felicity; so that believers being united with Messiah, the sent of God. But this Jesus whom the apostles, the apostles with Jesus Christ, God has sent, is he, God Creator, or is he a and Jesus Christ with God, there results, from creature merely? Neither the negative nor this union, a society, a whole, noble, sublime, the affirmative side of this question is directly possessing the perfection of glory and blessed- established in these words: “ this is life eternal,
to know thee the only true God, and Jesus Now it is the complete union of this whole, Christ whom thou hast sent.” Once admit it is the perfection of this communion among what Jesus Christ demands on the subject of all these orders of beings, that Jesus Christ the first two questions, and the third will here asks of the Father.
presently resolve itself. For if we know that I. Let us first examine the relations in which there is only one God, and that Jesus Christ is Jesus Christ stands to God. Jesus Christ may sent by him, we must receive, without hesitabe considered under two different ideas, as tion, the doctrine which God has taught us by God, and as Mediator.
this Son whom he has sent: and if we receive There are, accordingly, two kinds of rela- 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 ver. 1. the doctrine which he has taught.
(2.) The second unity, subsisting between There are, therefore, relations of nature be- Jesus Christ Mediator and the Father, is a tween Jesus Christ and God. There is a unity unity of will. Observe to what an extent it of Jesus Christ as God with bis Father. There has been carried. The incarnation was an is a glory which Jesus Christ “had with God, effect of the entire submission of this divine before the world was,” and which he always Saviour to the will of his Father: “when he possessed, even at the period of his deepest cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and humiliation. This union is as unchangeable as offering thou wouldst not, but a body bast Deity itself. The glory which Jesus Christ thou prepared me: in burnt-offerings and saderives from it is not susceptible of increase or crifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure: then diminution. All that he prays for in respect said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book of it, is, that it might be known among men: it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God," and in this sense we may understand the ex- Heb. x. 5—7. When Joseph and Mary found pression in our text: “Father, glorify me with fault with him for having parted company the glory which I had with thee, before the with them, he replied, “how is it that ye world was,” ver. 5. But,
sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about 2. There subsists likewise a relation of eco- my Father's business?” Luke ii. 49. When nomy between Jesus Christ and the Father. his disciples presented him with food," saying, Jesus Christ as Mediator is “one with God.” | Master eat: he said unto them, I have meat I have a conception of three kinds of Unity in to eat that ye know not of:
• my meat is this respect: 1. Unity of idea: 2. Unity of will: to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish 3. Unity of dominion.
his work,” John iv. 31, &c.; and, in the text, (1.) There is a unity of idea. I mean, that he says, that for the “sake” of the disciples the human soul of Jesus Christ Mediator was whom the Father had given him, he “sanctiendowed with so much intelligence, that he fied himself.” had the same ideas with God, that he formed It is, however, demonstrably certain, that in the same judgments, and that he possessed proportion as the human soul acquires more the same infallibility. This truth had been light and knowledge, according as it is less dispredicted of him by the prophets: “the Spirit tracted by the sinless infirmities of nature, it of the Lord God is upon me: because the Lord takes the loftier flight towards the love of hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto order, and conceives a more powerful attachthe meek,” Is. Ixi. 1. It was taught by Jesus ment to the sovereign will of Heaven. There Christ himself: “my doctrine is not mine, but were certain moments in the life of Jesus his that sent me," John vii. 16. “I am the Christ, during his abode on earth, in which he light of the world: he that followeth me shall was entirely absorbed by those objects which not walk in darkness, but shall have the light incessantly engage the attention of the angels of life,” John viii. 12. It is the foundation of of God. He was led of the Spirit into the the faith which we have, in the truths which wilderness; there “he fasted forty days and flowed from his lips.
forty nights,” Matt. iv. 2; and these days and But however perfect this unity may have nights were, undoubtedly, passed in contembeen, it was nevertheless susceptible of degrees. plation, in rapture, in an ecstacy of zeal and Jesus Christ, considered as Mediator, never fervour. But after these forty days and forty could be in an error, but he did not always know nights were over," he was afterwards an hunthe whole truth. He had not in the cradle the gered.” same extent of knowledge which he possessed In like manner, he beheld the glory of God at the age of "twelve years,” Luke ii. 42; on the holy mountain, and the transfiguration when in the temple, he, by his profound know which he underwent, kindled to a higher and ledge, excited astonishment in the most learned a higher degree, the desire which he felt, to of the doctors. Most probably, likewise, he discharge, in a manner worthy of his exalted did not yet possess at the age of twelve years, character, the commission which he had rethe illumination which he attained unto in the ceived of the Father. But those rays of glory sequel of his ministry. The evangelist ex- were to be eclipsed, and from that sacred place pressly remarks that “he grew, and waxed he must descend. During the whole course strong in spirit, filled with wisdom,” Luke ii. of his life, he kept constantly in view the end 40. Never did he attain during his abode on of his mission, he expressed many an ardent earth that height of intelligence which he had, wish to accomplish the sacrifice which he came after his ascension into heaven. It is expressly into the world to offer up. 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 and be yo lift up, ye everlasting doors, and the of innocent human infirmity, excited by the King of glory shall come in,” Ps. xxiv. 7. first ideas of extreme approaching agony. It On his arrival at the habitation of his glory, is only in the possession of perfect blessedness, he assumes his place at the Father's right that our virtues shall acquire all the activity, hand. And thence it is that he exercises the all the extent, of which they are susceptible. dominion to which bis sufferings and death And it is, yes, it is this activity, it is this ex- have exalted him: thence it is he beholds the tent of virtue, which had power of still impotent designs of the enemies of the church, farther strengthening the hand which united and, to use the expression of Scripture," laughs Jesus Christ to his father. For this reason it at them,” Ps. ii. 4. Thence it is he brings is that he promises to the glory of God, that down to thė ground the heads of the haughtiest return and increase of glory which he asks of potentates; thence it is he controls the power him: “ Father, glorify thy Son, that thy Son of tyrants, or permits it to act, and to accomalso may glorify thee,” ver. 1.
plish 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 Thence it is he draws to himself the souls of waves, men, devils, life, death, the elements, our expiring believers, and says to all those universal nature, all, all submitted to his sove- who combat under the banner of the cross: reign will.
“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit But, if the power of Jesus Christ was un- with me in my throne," Rev. iii. 21. "Be bounded, as considered in itself, it was limited, thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a however, in its exercise. It was no easy crown of life," Rev. ii. 10. 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
SERMON LXXII. 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.
CHRIST'S SACERDOTAL PRAYER. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron,
PART II. thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.” This is the dominion of which he took pos
JOHN xvii. 18-21 session. On the third day after his death, As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have angels alight upon his tomb, not to effect bis I also sent them into the world. And for resurrection from the dead, but to admire the their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also wonders of it; to render their profoundest might be sanctified through the truth. Neither homage to that divine Man, the only dead pray I for these alone, but for them also which person who had ever revived by his own power; shall believe on me through their word: that and to yield obedience to that mandate of the they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, great Supreme: “let all the angels of God and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: worship him,” Heb. i. 6. Forty days after his that the world may believe that thou hast sent resurrection, he makes a cloud to serve him as a triumphal chariot, on which he is borne aloft, We have seen the relation which subsists and disappears from the eyes of his beloved between Jesus Christ and his heavenly Father. disciples. As he ascends through the regions 1. A relation of nature, iinplied in that “glory of the air, to occupy a throne above the skies, which he had with the Father before the world the church triumphant, and all the spirits in was.” 2. There is a relation of economy: bliss, unite in celebrating his return to heaven, Jesus Christ as Mediator is “one with God.” with songs of praise: the celestial arches re- And this relation consists of three particulars: sound with their joyful acclamations, while 1. Unity of idea: 2. Unity of will: 3. Unity of they cry aloud, “lift up your heads, O ye gates, dominion. Let us,
II. Consider the relation subsisting between treating St. Peter and St. Paul, as we do SoJesus Christ and his apostles, not in their cha- crates and Seneca. racter simply, of believers in Christ, but prin- Now, if such be our condition, what advancipally in the view of their public character as tage has the Christian over the pagan? Whereapostles. Let us inquire, in what sense it is in consists the superiority of the gospel over that Jesus Christ makes it his request, that the systems of mere human philosophy Away they may be one with the Father and with with a suspicion so injurious to the great Auhimself, as he was one with the Father. This thor and Finisher of our faith. He has supis the second object, this the second mystery, plied his church with every thing necessary io to which we now call upon you to direct your a clear knowledge, and a well grounded beserious attention.
lief of all needful truth. When he committed Weigh the import of these remarkable to the hands of his disciples the ministry of his words: “As thou hast sent me into the world, gospel, he obtained for them, in substance, the even so have I also sent them into the world: illumination which himself possessed, for the and for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they successful exercise of it. also might be sanctified through the truth." 2. But is it sufficient to possess superior ilJesus Christ had entered into the plan of the lumination, in order to the honourable and eternal Father, respecting the salvation of the useful exercise of the Christian ministry? Is human race; and had coine into the world to it sufficient to “speak with the tongues of men put it in execution. It was necessary, in like and of angels?” Is it sufficient to be endowed manner, that the apostles should enter into with the “gift of prophecy: to understand all the plan of this divine Saviour, and to the mysteries, to have all knowledge?" I Cor. xiii. utmost extent of their ability, should labour, 1. Ah! how fruitless are the most pathetic together with him, in executing the merciful sermons, if the preacher himself pretends to design. And as Jesus Christ, in order to ac exemption from the obligations which he quit himself, with success, of this ministry would impose upon other men! Ah! how which was committed unto him, must have the most dazzling and sublime eloquence lanpossessed, with the Father, a unity of idea, of guishes, when tarnished by the vices of the will, and of dominion, it was likewise neces- orator! This position, my brethren, admits sary that the apostles should possess this three- not of a doubt: and let the reflection, however fold unity with Jesus Christ, and this precisely humiliating, be ever present to our thoughts: is the substance of what Jesus Christ prays for one of the most insurmountable obstacles to in their behalf.
the efficacy of preaching, is the irregular lives 1. In order to acquit themselves successfully of preachers. of the functions of their ministry, it was ne- If this reflection, at all times, rests on a solid cessary that the apostles should participate in foundation, it was particularly the case with the ideas of Jesus Christ, and in the infalli- regard to those ministers whom God set apart bility of his doctrine. He had himself said to to the office of laying the very first foundathem, “He that heareth you heareth me,”tions of his church, and to be themselves “the Luke x. 16. He had given them this com- pillar and ground of the truth,”
” 1 Tim. ii. 15. mission: “Go ye, and teach all nations, bap- With what dreadful suspicions must not our tizing them in the name of the Father, of the minds have been perplexed, had we seen in Son, and of the Holy Spirit: and, lo, I am the persons whom Jesus Christ himself imwith you, always, even to the end of the mediately chose to be his successors, the aboworld,” Matt. xxviii. 19, 20.
minations which are visible in many of those How could they possibly have executed who, at this day, pretend to fill his place in this commission to any advantage, unless they the church? What dreadful suspicions would had participated in the ideas of Jesus Christ, agitate our minds, had St. Peter lived in the and in the infallibility of his decisions? What manner of some of those who have called dependance could we repose on their testi- themselves the successors of St. Peter? If out mony had it been liable to error? How should of the same mouth, from which issued those we implicitly admit the oracles which emanat- gracious maxims which the Holy Spirit has ed from the apostolic college, if they were to preserved for our instruction, there had probe subjected to examination at the tribunal of ceeded, at the same time, those iniquitous senhuman reason, as those of mere human teach- tences, those sanguinary decrees, those insolent ers? The slightest alteration affecting the as- decisions, which have fulminated from the sertion of the infallibility of the doctrine of mouths of certain pontiff's bearing the Christhese holy men, subverts it from the very tian name? If these same apostles, who preachfoundation. The moment that human reasoned nothing but superiority to the world, noassumes a right to appeal from their decisions, thing but humility, but charity, but patience, it is all over, and we are at once brought back but chastity, had been, like some of their preto the religion of nature. And the moment tended successors, addicted to the spirit and we are brought back to the religion of nature, practice of revenge, of ambition, of simony; we are bewildered in all the uncertainty of the magicians, fornicators; men polluted with human understanding; we are still "seeking abominations which the majesty of this place, the Lord, if haply we might feel after him and and the sanctity of the pulpit, hardly permit find him,” Acts xvii. 27, as did the Pagan me to insinuate? What must not have been world. We are still saving, as did the greatest the infamy of committing such things, when philosophers of the gentile nations, respecting the bare idea of them puts modesty to the inquiries of the highest importance to man- blush? kind; Who can tell? Peradventure. We are O how much better has Jesus Christ, our 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 consum- most formidable strokes of celestial indignamate virtue. One of the great ends of his de- tion on some of those who had dared to triflo votedness to death, was to engage his beloved with the oath of fidelity plighted to their didisciples thence to derive motives to the prac- vine Master. Ananias and Sapphira fall dead tice of holiness; this is the sense which may at their feet, Acts v. 9. “ The weapons of be assigned to that expression in the prayer, our warfare are not carnal, but mighty, through which he here addresses to his Father: "For God, to the pulling down of strong holds, casttheir sakes I sanctify myself, that they may be ing down imaginations, and every high thing sanctified,” ver. 19. “For them I sanctify my- that exalteth itself against the knowledge of solf:” the meaning may be, "I labour inces- God, and bringing into captivity every thought santly to excite thy love within me to a bright to the obedience of Christ: and having in a er and a brighter Harne, not only because it is readiness to revenge all disobedience,” 2 Cor. a disposition of soul the most becoming an in- x. 4—6. telligent creature, but that I may serve as a But this is not the whole of that authority, model to them who are to diffuse the know- and the whole of that power, which Jesus ledge of my gospel over the world.”
Christ wishes to be conferred on his disciples. Or, according to the interpretation of others, He asks, in their behalf, that when they had, "for them I sanctify myself, that they may be like him, finished the work which they* had sanctified,” that is, “I devote myself to death given them to do, they should be exalted to the for my disciples, to the end that, beholding in same glory; that after having "turned many my sacrifice the horrors of sin, which I am to righteousness,” they might "shine as the about to expiate, and the overflowings of my brightness of the firmament, and as the stars affection for those in whose place I am sub- for ever and ever,” Dan. xii. 3. This is what stituting myself, they may be engaged to ex- he had promised them: “I appoint unto you a hibit an inviolable attachment to thy holy kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto laws." Which ever of these two senses we af me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in fix to the words of our blessed Lord, they my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the strongly mark that intense application of twelve tribes of Israel.” This is what he asks thought by which he was animated, to inspire for them: “Father, I will that they also whom his disciples with the love of virtue.
thou hast given me be with me where I am; This is not all, he is expressing an earnest that they may behold my glory which thou hast wish, that assistance from Heaven might sup- given me: for thou lovedst me before the founply what his absence was going to deprive dation of the world . . . . that they all may them of: “For them I sanctify myself, that be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in they may be sanctified.” But now I leave the thee: that they also may be one in us,” ver. world. My disciples are going to lose the be- 24. 21. nefit of my instructions, and of my example. We conclude this head with a reflection of May a celestial energy, may divine communi- no small importance: namely this, that among cations of resolution and strength occupy my the graces which Jesus Christ prays for in beplace: “I pray not thou shouldst take them half of his apostles, must be comprehended those out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep which were necessary to the persons who were them from the evil . . . . Sanctify them after them to exercise the gospel ministry. through thy truth: thy word is truth: as thou Whatever difference there may be between hast sent me into the world, even so have I these two orders of ministers, they are the obalso sent them into the world; and for their jects of the same prayer. Their talents were sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might to differ only in degree, and God, at this day, be sanctified through the truth.”
limits the measure of them, only because cir3. Finally, Jesus Christ asks, in behalf of cumstances have varied, and miracles are no his disciples, a participation in the dominion of longer necessary to the church. But as the which he himself had taken possession. He apostles had, in substance, the same gifts with had already, in part conveyed to them that Jesus Christ, the ministers of the gospel likedominion: The glory which thou gavest wise partake in the gifts of the apostles, because me, I have given them; that they may be they have received the same commission, and one, even as we are one,” ver. 22. What is are called to build up the church, of which those that glory, which the Father had given to Jesus holy men laid the foundations. 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
* The French reads, qu'il leur donne a faire, which he hand of God exalted . . . . . he hath shed had given them to do.' I. $.