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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.
(3.) In the third place, there subsists between the Father and the Son, a unity of dominion. Magnificent displays of this were visible even while our blessed Lord tabernacled among men. Is the expression too strong, if we say, that God Almighty, when he sent Jesus Christ into the world, made him the positary of his omnipotence? The winds, the waves, men, devils, life, death, the elements, universal nature, all, all submitted to his sovereign will.
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 upon us, my brethren; that he hears, and regards, and answers the prayers which, in our indigence, we present at the throne of grace; thence it is he beholds St. Stephen, and grants the petition of that martyr, from amidst the shower of stones which is overwhelming him: de-"Lord Jesus, receive my spirit," Acts vii. 59. Thence it is he draws to himself the souls of our expiring believers, and says to all those who combat under the banner of the cross: "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne," Rev. iii. 21. "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life," Rev. ii. 10.
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 divine omnipotence in the person of that Man, consigned over to the hands of executioners, dragged before a tribunal of iniquity, and nailed to a cross. There is a dominion, with which it implies a contradiction to suppose Jesus Christ invested before he suffered death, for this dominion was to be expressly the reward of suffering: "he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore, God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the 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 possession. 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,
Such is the glory which must follow the sufferings and death of the Saviour of the world. Such must be the perfection of that unity which subsists between Jesus Christ the Mediator and his Father: "Father, the hour is come: glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee. . . . I have manifested thy name unto the men whom thou gavest me out of the world. . . . Those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost but the son of perdition. . . . I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do: and now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory I had with thee, before the world was."
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,
crates and Seneca.
II. Consider the relation subsisting between | treating St. Peter and St. Paul, as we do SoJesus 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.
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?" I 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 preach
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
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 reasoned 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
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 trifle 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 self:" 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 flame, 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 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.
This is not all, he is expressing an earnest wish, that assistance from Heaven might supply 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."
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 his apostles? Among a variety of ideas which may be formed of it, we must, in a particular manner, understa as implying the gift of miracles. In virtue of this power, those sacred ministers were enabled to carry conviction to the human mind, with an energy of eloquence altogether divine. The resurrection of one who had been dead is the great exordium of their sermons. This argument they oppose to all the sophisms of vain philosophy: "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
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 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.
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.
Lofty idea of the apostleship! lofty idea of the office of the gospel ministry! The apostles entered with Jesus Christ into the plan of the redemption of mankind, as Jesus Christ entered into it with God. And the ministers of the gospel, to this day, enter into the same plan with the apostles, as the apostles entered into it with Jesus Christ. The eternal Father, "before the foundation of the world," Matt. xxv. 34, foreseeing the deplorable misery in which the wretched progeny of Adam were to
*The French reads, qu'il leur donne a faire, which he had given them to do. I. S.
involve themselves, traced the plan of redemp- | different relations, of Jesus Christ with God, tion: from that period he provided the victim: of the apostles with Jesus Christ, have been from that period he set apart for us a Redeemer: formed only in the view of producing others, from that period, he prepared for us a kingdom. and these affect you. Attend to the interest Jesus Christ, in the fulness of time, came and which you have in the prayer of Jesus Christ: executed this plan. He assumed our flesh. "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them He lived among us. He suffered. He died. also which shall believe on me through their "I have glorified thee upon the earth. I have word: that they all may be one, as thou, Father, finished the work which thou gavest me to do," art in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us," ver. 20, 21.
Awake to a sense of the dignity of your high calling, contemplate the unbounded extent of your privileges. Behold to what a height of glory you are encouraged to aspire, and what unspeakable benefits you already derive from the religion of the blessed Jesus! Already you possess with God, as does Jesus Christ, a unity of ideas, and you partake, in some sense, of his infallibility, by subjecting your faith to his divine oracles, and by seeing, if I may use the expression, by seeing with his eyes. Already you have with God, as Jesus Christ has, a unity of will, by the reception of his laws, and by exerting all your powers, that his will may be done on earth as it is done in heaven. Already you enjoy with God, as does Jesus Christ, a unity of dominion: "all things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death," 1 Cor. iii. 21, 22. "You are already partakers of a divine nature," 1 Pet. i. 4. "You are already transformed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the Lord," 2 Cor. iii. 18.
But how is this union still marred and interrupted! How imperfect still this "participation of the divine nature" and this "transformation into the same image!" Let this be to us, my brethren, a source of humiliation, but not of dejection. A more glorious state of things is to succeed the present: "it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when he shall appear we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is," 1 John iii. 2. A new influx of light with which the soul shall be replenished, a new influx of divine love with which the heart shall be inflamed, a new influx of felicity and delight with which the immortal nature shall be inundated, are going, ere long, to place in its brightest point of view, all the sublimity, all the excellency of our condition. "Father, I pray not for my disciples alone, but for them also who shall believe in 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."
But how is it possible for the miserable posterity of Adam, how is it possible for wretched creatures born in sin, how is it possible for frail mortals, a compound of dust and ashes, "that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth," Job iv. 19, how is it possible for beings so mean, so degraded, to become "one" with God, as Jesus Christ is "one" with him?
The apostles succeeded their Master. these holy men, with that heroic courage which the idea of a commission so honourable inspires into generous minds, braved and surmounted all the difficulties which opposed their progress. "They trod upon the lion and adder: the young lion and dragon they trampled under feet," Ps. xci. 13. "Power was given them to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy," Luke x. 19. They took as a model in their course (it is an idea of the psalmist,) that glorious orb of day, whose "going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it," Ps. xix. 6. "Yes, verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world," Rom. x. 18. They rose superior to the powers of sense and nature: they subdued the passions which have naturally the greatest influence over the heart of man: they "knew no man after the flesh," 2 Cor. v. 16. They carried on their souls the impress of their Saviour's virtues, as they bare his marks imprinted on their
The ministers of Jesus Christ assume the place of the apostles: they have one and the same vocation: they are called to the same work: they have to teach the same truths; the same vices to reprove; the same maxims to establish; the same threatenings to denounce; the same consolations to administer; the same felicity and the same glory to promise. "Who is sufficient for these things?" 2 Cor. ii. 16. But we are upheld by you, all-powerful intercession of Jesus Christ with his Father! From your energy it is that we obtain, in our retirement, that attention, that composure, that concentration of thought of which we stand in need, in order to penetrate into those lively oracles which it is our duty to announce to this people. From your powerful energy it is we obtain that clearness, that fervour, that courage, that elevation of spirit of which we stand in need in this chair of verity, to exalt us above the malignant censure of a murmuring multitude, ever disposed to find fault with those who preach the truth. To you we must stand for ever indebted for the success of our ministry, and for the hope we entertain that this people, to whom we minister in holy things, shall one day be "our joy and our crown," I Thess. ii. 19.
III. Thus are we led forward, my brethren, to the third division of our discourse, in which you are most particularly interested. It is truly delightful to behold "the Author and Finisher of our faith" united, in a manner so intimate with the Deity. It is delightful to behold those apostles, whose writings are in our hands, and whose doctrine is the rule of our faith, intimately united to Jesus Christ as he is with God. There is, however, something behind still more particular and more consolatory. All these
Away, Christians, away with every shade of incredulity. Nothing is too great for this prayer to procure. There is nothing that God can deny to this dying Intercessor. Let the mind be filled to its utmost capacity, with all that is vast and affecting in the sacrifice which Jesus Christ was about to present to his Father. Consider that "God is love," 1 John iv. 16.
And what could the God who is "love" refuse to the Redeemer of the world, at the moment when he was going to devote himself, with such ardour of affection, for the salvation of mankind? Behold him the Redeemer of a lost world, behold him ready to affix the seal to the great work which God had committed to him: behold him prepared to be "led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep, dumb before her shearers," Isa. liii. 7; behold him prepared to undergo that punishment, the bare idea of which makes nature shudder: behold him prepared to enter into "the deep mire where there is no standing," of which the prophets speak, Ps. Ixix. 2, and all this out of that love, and all this from that principle of charity which glowed in his compassionate breast.
At that moment of love, at that moment which embraces an eternity-pardon me the expression, my friends, and condemn me not, if in a subject which has nothing human, I am constrained to employ modes of speech which are not in common use among men at that moment which embraces a whole eternity, when charity was carried as far as it could go, this Redeemer presents himself before the God of love, and asks of him, that in virtue of this sacrifice of love, which he is going to offer up, all the faithful, this people, you, my dearly beloved brethren, you might be crowned with the felicity and with the glory with which he himself was to be crowned; but to which, love would have rendered him insensible, had he not promised himself to communicate them, one day, to men, the objects of his tenderest affection.
O mysteries of redemption, how far you transcend all expression, all thought! Ye angels of light, who live in the bosom of glory, turn aside your eyes from beholding wonders which dazzle the heaven of heavens: bend lowly over the mystical ark, and search it to the bottom. And you, for whom all these wonders are wrought, children of fallen Adam, bow down in gratitude and adoration, and measure, if you can, the dimensions, "the length, the breadth, the height, the depth, of that abyss which passeth knowledge," Eph. iii. 18, 19.
My brethren, there is an air of credulity and uperstition in what passes between a dying person, and a minister who is endeavouring to fortify him against the fears of death. The minister has the appearance of an impostor, and the dying person of a visionary. We promise to a man extended on a sick bed, to a man who is in a few days to be shut up in a tomb, and to become a prey to worms, we promise him an eternal abode, and rivers of pleasures: we assure him that he is the favourite of heaven, at the very moment when he is going to become the abhorrence of the earth, at the very moment when corruption and rottenness are hastening to put to flight from his person his most affectionate friends. These pretensions are, however, incontestable. They are founded on the charitable prayers which the Redeemer of men addressed to the God of love, at the time when he himself was perfected in love: "I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do," and I am going to seal with my blood that awful ministry which thou hast committed unto me. Grant to my obedience, grant to the prayers and to
the blood of thy expiring Son, that which is most capable of supporting him amidst those fearful objects with which he is surrounded; it is the salvation of that world of believers, who are to embrace my doctrine: "Father, I will that where I am, those whom thou hast given me may may be there also with me, that they may behold my glory: and I pray not for them only, but also for those who shall believe in thee through their word."
These prayers, my brethren, are still presented. Jesus Christ is still doing in heaven, what, in the days of his flesh, he did upon earth: he is "even at the right hand of God," where he still "maketh intercession for us," Rom. viii. 34. He is still "able to save them to the uttermost, that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them," Heb. vii. 25. But do we avail ourselves of these prayers? But are we seconding this intercession? Alas! I was preparing to set open to you all the treasures of consolation which we see issuing from a dying Saviour's prayers. But I find, in that prayer, one word which stops me short; one word which terrifies me; one word which suggests an inquiry that awakens a thousand solicitudes: are we in the class of those for whom Jesus Christ prayed to the Father; or are we of those for whom, he tells us, he prayed not? Does it contain the sentence of our absolution; or that of our eternal condemnation? You have heard this word; but have you seriously weighed its import? Have you listened to it with that composure, and with that application which it demands? The word is this: "I pray not for the world; I pray for those whom thou hast given me," ver. 9. My disciples for whom I pray to thee, of the world, even as I am not of the world," ver. 14.
We frame for ourselves a morality that suits our own fancy. We look upon a worldly spirit as a matter of trivial importance, which it is scarcely worth while to think of correcting. A preacher who should take upon him to condemn this disposition of mind, would pass for a mere declaimer, who abused the liberty given him, of talking alone from the pulpit. A worldly life, wasted in dissipation, in pleasure, at play, at public spectacles, has nothing terrifying in our eyes. But be pleased to learn from Jesus Christ whether or not a worldly spirit be a trivial matter. But learn of Jesus Christ what are the fatal effects of a worldly mind. It is an exclusion from the glorious catalogue of those for whom Jesus Christ intercedes. It destroys the right of pretending to those blessings which the Saviour requests in behalf of his church: "I pray not for the world; I pray for them whom thou hast given me." My disciples, for whom I pray to thee, "are not of the world, even as I am not of the world."
Would you wish to know whether Jesus Christ is an intercessor for you? Would you wish to know whether you are of the number of them who shall, one day, be where Jesus Christ is? See whether you can distinguish yourself by this character," they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." And what is it not to be of the world?
Not to be of the world, is not to live in deserts and in solitudes: it is not for a man to bury