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INTRODUCTORY REMARK BY THE TRANSCRIBER

When this sermon was preached, the average listener had a

considerably greater attention span than his modern counterpart.

The reader may therefore be daunted by the length of the sermon. I

had considered abridging it, but finally decided not to.

Some readers will also complain that it gets off to a slow start.

This is standard for an extended speech in any context. An

experienced speaker intending to speak at length will give his

audience a minute or so to settle down into listening mode before he

says anything essential, anything that they must hear if they are

not to miss the whole point of the speech. And those who stick with

him will find that the pace does pick up after the first page.

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THE EXCELLENCY OF CHRIST

a Sermon by Jonathan Edwards

TEXT

+ And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion

+ of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to

+ open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I

+ beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne, and of the four

+ beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had

+ been slain --. Rev. 5:5-6

INTRODUCTION

The visions and revelations the apostle John had of the future

events of God's providence, are here introduced with a vision of the

book of God's decrees, by which those events were fore-ordained.

This is represented (Revelation 5:1) as a book in the right hand of

him who sat on the throne, "written within and on the back side, and

sealed with seven seals." Books, in the form in which they were wont

of old to be made, were broad leaves of parchment or paper, or

something of that nature, joined together at one edge, and so rolled

up together, and then sealed, or some way fastened together, to

prevent their unfolding and opening. Hence we read of the roll of a

book Jer. 36:2. It seems to have been such a book that John had a

vision of here; and therefore it is said to be "written within and

on the back side," i. e. on the inside pages, and also on one of the

outside pages, namely, that which it was rolled in, in rolling the

book up together. And it is said to be "sealed with seven seals," to

signify that what was written in it was perfectly hidden and secret;

or that God's decrees of future events are sealed, and shut up from

all possibility of being discovered by creatures, till God is

pleased to make them known. We find that seven is often used in

Scripture as the number of perfection, to signify the superlative or

most perfect degree of anything, which probably arose from this,

that on the seventh day God beheld the works of creation finished,

and rested and rejoiced in them, as being complete and perfect.

When John saw this book, he tells us, he "saw a strong angel

proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and

to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth,

neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look

thereon." And that he wept much, because "no man was found worthy to

open and read the book, neither to look thereon." And then tells us

how his tears were dried up, namely, that "one of the elders said

unto him, "Weep not, Behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah hath

prevailed" etc. as in the text. Though no man nor angel, nor any

mere creature, was found either able to loose the seals, or worthy

to be admitted to the privilege of reading the book, yet this was

declared, for the comfort of this beloved disciple, that Christ was

found both able and worthy. And we have an account in the succeeding

chapters how he actually did it, opening the seals in order, first

one, and then another, revealing what God had decreed should come to

pass hereafter. And we have an account in this chapter, of his

coming and taking the book out of the right hand of him that sat on

the throne, and of the joyful praises that were sung to him in

heaven and earth on that occasion.

Many things might be observed in the words of the text; but it

is to my present purpose only to take notice of the two distinct

appellations here given to Christ.

1) He is called a Lion. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

He seems to be called the Lion of the tribe of Judah, in allusion to

what Jacob said in his blessing of the tribe on his death-bed; who,

when he came to bless Judah, compares him to a lion, Gen. 49:9.

"Judah is a lion's whelp; from the prey, my son, thou art gone up:

he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall

rouse him up?" And also to the standard of the camp of Judah in the

wilderness on which was displayed a lion, according to the ancient

tradition of the Jews. It is much on account of the valiant acts of

David that the tribe of Judah, of which David was, is in Jacob's

prophetical blessing compared to a lion; but more especially with an

eye to Jesus Christ, who also was of that tribe, and was descended

of David, and is in our text called "the Root of David"; and

therefore Christ is here called "the Lion of the tribe of Judah."

2) He is called a Lamb. John was told of a Lion that had

prevailed to open the book, and probably expected to see a lion in

his vision; but while he is expecting, behold a Lamb appears to open

the book, an exceeding diverse kind of creature from a lion. A lion

is a devourer, one that is wont to make terrible slaughter of

others; and no creature more easily falls a prey to him than a lamb.

And Christ is here represented not only as a Lamb, a creature very

liable to be slain, but a "Lamb as it had been slain," that is, with

the marks of its deadly wounds appearing on it.

That which I would observe from the words, for the subject of

my present discourse, is this, namely --

THERE IS AN ADMIRABLE CONJUNCTION

OF DIVERSE EXCELLENCIES IN JESUS CHRIST.

The lion and the lamb, though very diverse kinds of creatures,

yet have each their peculiar excellencies. The lion excels in

strength, and in the majesty of his appearance and voice: the lamb

excels in meekness and patience, besides the excellent nature of the

creature as good for food, and yielding that which is fit for our

clothing and being suitable to be offered in sacrifice to God. But

we see that Christ is in the text compared to both, because the

diverse excellencies of both wonderfully meet in him, -- In handling

this subject I would

FIRST, Show wherein there is an admirable conjunction of

diverse excellencies in Christ.

SECOND, Show how this admirable conjunction of excellencies

appear in Christ's acts.

THIRD, make application.

***** PART ONE *****

First, I would show wherein there is an admirable conjunction

of diverse excellencies in Jesus Christ. which appears in three

things:

A) There is a conjunction of such excellencies in Christ, as,

in our manner of conceiving, are very dlverse one from another.

B) There is in him a conjunction of such really diverse

excellencies, as otherwise would have seemed to us utterly

incompatible in the same subject.

C) Such diverse excellencies are exercised in him towards men

that otherwise would have seemed impossible to be exercised towards

the same object.

A) There is a conjunction of such excellencies in Christ as, in

our manner of conceiving, are very diverse one from another. Such

are the various divine perfections and excellencies that Christ is

possessed of. Christ is a divine person, and therefore has all the

attributes of God. The difference between these is chiefly relative,

and in our manner of conceiving them. And those which, in this

sense, are most diverse, meet in the person of Christ. I shall

mention two instances.

1) There do meet in Jesus Christ infinite highness and infinite

condescension.

Christ, as he is God, is infinitely great and high above all.

He is higher than the kings of the earth; for he is King of kings,

and Lord of lords. He is higher than the heavens, and higher than

the highest angels of heaven. So great is he, that all men, all

kings and princes, are as worms of the dust before him; all nations

are as the drop of the bucket, and the light dust of the balance;

yea, and angels themselves are as nothing before him. He is so high,

that he is infinitely above any need of us; above our reach, that we

cannot be profitable to him; and above our conceptions, that we

cannot comprehend him. Prov. 30:4 "What is his name, and what is his

Son's name, if thou canst tell?" Our understandings, if we stretch

them never so far, cannot reach up to his divine glory. Job 11:8 "It

is high as heaven, what canst thou do?" Christ is the Creator and

great Possessor of heaven and earth. He is sovereign Lord of all.

He rules over the whole universe, and doth whatsoever pleaseth him.

His knowledge is without bound. His wisdom is perfect, and what none

can circumvent. His power is infinite, and none can resist Him. His

riches are immense and inexhaustible. His majesty is infinitely

awful.

And yet he is one of infinite condescension. None are so low or

inferior, but Christ's condescension is sufficient to take a

gracious notice of them. He condescends not only to the angels,

humbling himself to behold the things that are done in heaven, but

he also condescends to such poor creatures as men; and that not only

so as to take notice of princes and great men, but of those that are

of meanest rank and degree, "the poor of the world," James 2:5. Such

as are commonly despised by their fellow creatures, Christ does not

despise. I Cor. 1:28 "Base things of the world, and things that are

despised, hath God chosen." Christ condescends to take notice of

beggars Luke 16:22 and people of the most despised nations. In

Christ Jesus is neither "Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free" (Col.

3:11). He that is thus high condescends to take a gracious notice of

little children Matt. 19:14. "Suffer little children to come unto

me." Yea, which is more, his condescension is sufficient to take a

gracious notice of the most unworthy, sinful creatures, those that

have no good deservings, and those that have infinite ill

deservings.

Yea, so great is his condescension, that it is not only

sufficient to take some gracious notice of such as these, but

sufficient for every thing that is an act of condescension. His

condescension is great enough to become their friend, to become

their companion, to unite their souls to him in spiritual marriage.

It is enough to take their nature upon him, to become one of them,

that he may be one with them. Yea, it is great enough to abase

himself yet lower for them, even to expose himself to shame and

spitting; yea, to yield up himself to an ignominious death for them.

And what act of condescension can be conceived of greater? Yet such

an act as this, has his condescension yielded to, for those that are

so low and mean, despicable and unworthy!

Such a conjunction of infinite highness and low condescension,

in the same person, is admirable. We see, by manifold instances,

what a tendency a high station has in men, to make them to be of a

quite contrary disposition. If one worm be a little exalted above

another, by having more dust, or a bigger dunghill, how much does he

make of himself! What a distance does he keep from those that are

below him! And a little condescension is what he expects should be

made much of, and greatly acknowledged. Christ condescends to wash

our feet; but how would great men, (or rather the bigger worms,)

account themselves debased by acts of far less condescension!

2) There meet in Jesus Christ, infinite justice and infinite

grace.

As Christ is a divine person, he is infinitely holy and just,

hating sin, and disposed to execute condign punishment for sin. He

is the Judge of the world, and the infinitely just Judge of it, and

will not at all acquit the wicked, or by any means clear the guilty.

And yet he is infinitely gracious and merciful. Though his

justice be so strict with respect to all sin, and every breach of

the law, yet he has grace sufficient for every sinner, and even the

chief of sinners. And it is not only sufficient for the most

unworthy to show them mercy, and bestow some good upon them, but to

bestow the greatest good; yea, it is sufficient to bestow all good

upon them, and to do all things for them. There is no benefit or

blessing that they can receive, so great but the grace of Christ is

sufficient to bestow it on the greatest sinner that ever lived. And

not only so, but so great is his grace, that nothing is too much as

the means of this good. It is sufficient not only to do great

things, but also to suffer in order to do it, and not only to

suffer, but to suffer most extremely even unto death, the most

terrible of natural evils; and not only death, but the most

ignominious and tormenting, and every way the most terrible that men

could inflict; yea, and greater sufferings than men could inflict,

who could only torment the body. He had sufferings in his soul, that

were the more immediate fruits of the wrath of God against the sins

of those he undertakes for.

B) There do meet in the person of Christ such really diverse

excellencies, which otherwise would have been thought utterly

incompatible in the same subject; such as are conjoined in no other

person whatever, either divine, human, or angelical; and such as

neither men nor angels would ever have imagined could have met

together in the same person, had it not been seen in the person of

Christ. I would give some instances.

1) In the person of Christ do meet together infinite glory and

lowest humility. Infinite glory, and the virtue of humility, meet in

no other person but Christ. They meet in no created person; for no

created person has infinite glory, and they meet in no other divine

person but Christ. For though the divine nature be infinitely

abhorrent to pride, yet humility is not properly predicable of God

the Father, and the Holy Ghost, that exist only in the divine

nature; because it is a proper excellency only of a created nature;

for it consists radically in a sense of a comparative lowness and

littleness before God, or the great distance between God and the

subject of this virtue; but it would be a contradiction to suppose

any such thing in God.

But in Jesus Christ, who is both God and man, those two diverse

excellencies are sweetly united. He is a person infinitely exalted

in glory and dignity. Phil. 2:6. "Being in the form of God, he

thought it not robbery to be equal with God." There is equal honor

due to him with the Father. John 5:23. "That all men should honor

the Son, even as they honor the Father." God himself says to him,

"thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever," Heb. 1:8. And there is

the same supreme respect and divine worship paid to him by the

angels of heaven, as to God the Father, ver. 6. "Let all the angels

of God worship him."

But however he is thus above all, yet he is lowest of all in

humility. There never was so great an instance of this virtue among

either men or angels, as Jesus. None ever was so sensible of the

distance between God and him, or had a heart so lowly before God, as

the man Christ Jesus. Matt. 11:29. What a wonderful spirit of

humility appeared in him, when he was here upon earth, in all his

behavior! In his contentment in his mean outward condition,

contentedly living in the family of Joseph the carpenter, and Mary

his mother, for thirty years together, and afterwards choosing

outward meanness, poverty, and contempt, rather than earthly

greatness; in his washing his disciples' feet, and in all his

speeches and deportment towards them; in his cheerfully sustaining

the form of a servant through his whole life, and submitting to such

immense humiliation at death!

2) In the person of Christ do meet together infinite majesty

and transcendent meekness. These again are two qualifications that

meet together in no other person but Christ. Meekness, properly so

called, is a virtue proper only to the creature: we scarcely ever

find meekness mentioned as a divine attribute in Scripture; at least

not in the New Testament; for thereby seems to be signified, a

calmness and quietness of spirit, arising from humility in mutable

beings that are naturally liable to be put into a ruffle by the

assaults of a tempestuous and injurious world. But Christ, being

both God and man, hath both infinite majesty and superlative

meekness.

Christ was a person of infinite majesty. It is he that is

spoken of, Psalm 45:3. "Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most

mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty." It is he that is mighty,

that rideth on the heavens, and his excellency on the sky. It is he

that is terrible out of his holy places; who is mightier than the

noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea: before

whom a fire goeth, and burneth up his enemies round about; at whose

presence the earth quakes, and the hills melt; who sitteth on the

circle of the earth, and all the inhabitants thereof are as

grasshoppers, who rebukes the sea, and maketh it dry and drieth up

the rivers, whose eyes are as a flame of fire, from whose presence,

and from the glory of whose power, the wicked shall be punished with

everlasting destruction; who is the blessed and only Potentate, the

King of kings, and Lord of lords, who hath heaven for his throne,

and the earth for his footstool, and is the high and lofty One who

inhabits eternity, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and of

whose dominion there is no end.

And yet he was the most marvellous instance of meekness, and

humble quietness of spirit, that ever was; agreeable to the

prophecies of him, Matthew 21:4f "All this was done, that it might

be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the

daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and

sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass." And, agreeable

to what Christ declares of himself, Matt. 11:29. "I am meek and

lowly in heart." And agreeable to what was manifest in his behavior:

for there never was such an instance seen on earth, of a meek

behavior, under injuries and reproaches, and towards enemies; who,

when he was reviled, reviled not again. He had a wonderful spirit of

forgiveness, was ready to forgive his worst enemies, and prayed for

them with fervent and effectual prayers. With what meekness did he

appear in the ring of soldiers that were contemning and mocking him;

he was silent, and opened not his mouth, but went as a lamb to the

slaughter. Thus is Christ a Lion in majesty and a Lamb in meekness.

3) There meet in the person of Christ the deepest reverence

towards God and equality with God. Christ, when on earth, appeared

full of holy reverence towards the Father. He paid the most

reverential worship to him, praying to him with postures of

reverence. Thus we read of his "kneeling down and praying," Luke

22:41. This became Christ, as one who had taken on him the human

nature, but at the same time he existed in the divine nature;

whereby his person was in all respects equal to the person of the

Father. God the Father hath no attribute or perfection that the Son

hath not, in equal degree, and equal glory. These things meet in no

other person but Jesus Christ.

4) There are conjoined in the person of Christ infinite

worthiness of good, and the greatest patience under sufferings of

evil.

He was perfectly innocent,and deserved no suffering. He

deserved nothing from God by any guilt of his own, and he deserved

no ill from men. Yea, he was not only harmless and undeserving of

suffering, but he was infinitely worthy; worthy of the infinite love

of the Father, worthy of infinite and eternal happiness, and

infinitely worthy of all possible esteem, love, and service from all

men.

And yet he was perfectly patient under the greatest sufferings

that ever were endured in this world. Heb. 12:2. "He endured the

cross, despising the shame." He suffered not from his Father for his

faults, but ours; and he suffered from men not for his faults but

for those things on account of which he was infinitely worthy of

their love and honor, which made his patience the more wonderful and

the more glorious. 1 Pet. 2:20, "For what glory is it, if when ye be

buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently, but if when ye

do well. and suffer for it, ye take it patiently; this is acceptable

with God. For even hereunto were ye called; because Christ also

suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow his

steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who

when he was reviled, reviled not again, when he suffered, he

threatened not, but committed himself to him that judgeth

righteously: who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the

tree, that we being dead to sin, should live unto righteousness: by

whose stripes ye were healed." There is no such conjunction of

innocence, worthiness, and patience under sufferings, as in the

person of Christ.

5) In the person of Christ are conjoined an exceeding spirit of

obedience, with supreme dominion over heaven and earth.

Christ is the Lord of all things in two respects: he is so, as

God-man and Mediator, and thus his dominion is appointed, and given

him of the Father. Having it by delegation from God, he is as it

were the Father's vicegerent. But he is Lord of all things in

another respect, namely, as he is (by his original nature) God; and

so he is by natural right the Lord of all, and supreme over all as

much as the Father. Thus, he has dominion over the world, not by

delegation, but in his own right. He is not an under God, as the

Arians suppose, but to all intents and purposes supreme God.

And yet in the same person is found the greatest spirit of

obedience to the commands and laws of God that ever was in the

universe; which was manifest in his obedience here in this world.

John 14:31 "As the Father gave me commandment, even so I do."-- John

15:10. "Even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in

his love." The greatness of his obedience appears in its perfection,

and in his obeying commands of such exceeding difficulty. Never any

one received commands from God of such difficulty, and that were so

great a trial of obedience, as Jesus Christ. One of God's commands

to him was, that he should yield himself to those dreadful

sufferings that he underwent. See John 10:18. "No man taketh it from

me, but I lay it down of myself." "This commandment received I of my

Father." And Christ was thoroughly obedient to this command of God.

Heb. 5:8. "Though he were a Son, yet he learned obedience by the

things that he suffered." Philip. 2:8. "He humbled himself, and

became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Never was

there such an instance of obedience in man or angel as this, though

he was at the same time supreme Lord of both angels and men.

6) In the person of Christ are conjoined absolute sovereignty

and perfect resignation. This is another unparalleled conjunction.

Christ, as he is God, is the absolute sovereign of the world,

the sovereign disposer of all events. The decrees of God are all his

sovereign decrees; and the work of creation, and all God's works of

providence, are his sovereign works. It is he that worketh all

things according to the counsel of his own will. Col 1:16f. "By him,

and through him, and to him, are all things." John 5:17. "The Father

worketh hitherto, and I work." Matt. 8:3. "I will, be thou clean."

But yet Christ was the most wonderful instance of resignation

that ever appeared in the world. He was absolutely and perfectly

resigned when he had a near and immediate prospect of his terrible

sufferings, and the dreadful cup that he was to drink. The idea and

expectation of this made his soul exceeding sorrowful even unto

death, and put him into such an agony, that his sweat was as it were

great drops or clots of blood, falling down to the ground. But in

such circumstances he was wholly resigned to the will of God. Matt

26:39. "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me:

nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt. Verse 42. "O my

Father, if this cup may not pass from me, except I drink it, thy

will be done."

7) In Christ do meet together self-sufficiency, and an entire

trust and reliance on God, which is another conjunction peculiar to

the person of Christ.

As he is a divine person, he is self-sufficient, standing in

need of nothing. All creatures are dependent on him, but he is

dependent on none, but is absolutely independent. His proceeding

from the Father, in his eternal generation, argues no proper

dependence on the will of the Father; for that proceeding was

natural and necessary, and not arbitrary.

But yet Christ entirely trusted in God: -- his enemies say that

of him, "He trusted in God that he would deliver him," Matt. 27:43.

And the apostle testifies, I Pet. 2:23. "That he committed himself

God."

C) Such diverse excellencies are expressed in him towards men,

that otherwise would have seemed impossible to be exercised towards

the same object; as particularly these three, justice, mercy, and

truth. The same that are mentioned in Psalm 85:10. "Mercy and truth

are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other."

The strict justice of God, and even his revenging justice, and

that against the sins of men, never was so gloriously manifested. as

in Christ. He manifested an infinite regard to the attribute of

God's justice, in that, when he had a mind to save sinners, he was

willing to undergo such extreme sufferings, rather than that their

salvation should be to the injury of the honor of that attribute.

And as he is the Judge of the world, he doth himself exercise strict

justice, he will not clear the guilty, nor at all acquit the wicked

in judgment.

Yet how wonderfully is infinite mercy towards sinners displayed

in him! And what glorious and ineffable grace and love have been and

are exercised by him, towards sinful men! Though he be the just

Judge of a sinful world, yet he is also the Savior of the world.

Though he be a consuming fire to sin, yet he is the light and life

of sinners. Rom. 3:25f. "Whom God hath set forth to be a

propitiation, through faith in his blood, to declare his

righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the

forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his

righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him which

believeth in Jesus."

So the immutable truth of God, in the threatenings of his law

against the sins of men, was never so manifested as it is in Jesus

Christ, for there never was any other so great a trial of the

unalterableness of the truth of God in those threatenings, as when

sin came to be imputed to his own Son. And then in Christ has been

seen already an actual complete accomplishment of those

threatenings, which never has been nor will be seen in any other

instance; because the eternity that will be taken up in fulfilling

those threatenings on others, never will be finished. Christ

manifested an infinite regard to this truth of God in his

sufferings. And, in his judging the world, he makes the covenant of

works, that contains those dreadful threatenings, his rule of

judgement. He will see to it, that it is not infringed in the least

jot or tittle: he will do nothing contrary to the threatenings of

the law, and their complete fulfilment. And yet in him we have many

great and precious promises, promises of perfect deliverance from

the penalty of the law. And this is the promise that he hath

promised us, even eternal life. And in him are all the promises of

God yea, and Amen.

***** PART TWO *****

Having thus shown wherein there is an admirable conjunction of

excellencies in Jesus Christ, I now proceed,

SECONDLY, To show how this admirable conjunction of

excellencies appears in Christ's acts, [ namely:]

A) in his taking of human nature,

B) in his earthly life,

C) in his sacrificial death,

D) in his exaltation in heaven,

E) in his final subduing of all evil when he returns in glory.]

A) It appears in what Christ did in taking on him our nature.

In this act, his infinite condescension wonderfully appeared,

That he who was God should become man; that the word should be made

flesh, and should take on him a nature infinitely below his original

nature! And it appears yet more remarkably in the low circumstances

of his incarnation: he was conceived in the womb of a poor young

woman, whose poverty appeared in this, when she came to offer

sacrifices of her purification, she brought what was allowed of in

the law only in case of poverty, as Luke 2:24. "According to what Is

said in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtle-doves, or two young

pigeons." This was allowed only in case the person was so poor that

she was not able to offer a lamb. Lev. 12:8.

And though his infinite condescension thus appeared in the

manner of his incarnation, yet his divine dignity also appeared in

it; for though he was conceived in the womb of a poor virgin, yet he

was conceived there by the power of the Holy Ghost. And his divine

dignity also appeared in the holiness of his conception and birth.

Though he was conceived in the womb of one of the corrupt race of

mankind, yet he was conceived and born without sin; as the angel

said to the blessed Virgin, Luke 1:35. "The Holy Ghost shall come

upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee,

therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee, shall be

called the Son of God."

His infinite condescension marvelously appeared in the manner

of his birth. He was brought forth in a stable because there was no

room for them in the inn. The inn was taken up by others, that were

looked upon as persons of greater account. The Blessed Virgin, being

poor and despised, was turned or shut out. Though she was in such

necessitous circumstances, yet those that counted themselves her

betters would not give place to her; and therefore, in the time of

her travail, she was forced to betake herself to a stable; and when

the child was born, it was wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in

a manger. There Christ lay a little infant, and there he eminently

appeared as a lamb.

But yet this feeble infant, born thus in a stable, and laid in

a manger, was born to conquer and triumph over Satan, that roaring

lion. He came to subdue the mighty powers of darkness, and make a

show of them openly, and so to restore peace on earth, and to

manifest God's good-will towards men, and to bring glory to God in

the highest, according as the end of his birth was declared by the

joyful songs of the glorious hosts of angels appearing to the

shepherds at the same time that the infant lay in the manger;

whereby his divine dignity was manifested.

B) This admirable conjunction of excellencies appears in the

acts and various passages of Christ's life.

Though Christ dwelt in mean outward circumstances, whereby his

condescension and humility especially appeared, and his majesty was

veiled; yet his divine divinity and glory did in many of his acts

shine through the veil, and it illustriously appeared, that he was

not only the Son of man, but the great God.

Thus, in the circumstances of his infancy, his outward meanness

appeared; yet there was something then to show forth his divine

dignity, in the wise men's being stirred up to come from the east to

give honor to him their being led by a miraculous star, and coming

and falling down and worshipping him, and presenting him with gold,

frankincense, and myrrh. His humility and meekness wonderfully

appeared in his subjection to his mother and reputed father when he

was a child. Herein he appeared as a lamb. But his divine glory

broke forth and shone when, at twelve years old, he disputed with

doctors in the temple. In that he appeared, in some measure, as the

Lion of the tribe of Judah.

And so, after he entered on his public ministry, his marvellous

humility and meekness was manifested in his choosing to appear in

such mean outward circumstances; and in being contented in them,

when he was so poor that he had not where to lay his head, and

depended on the charity of some of his followers for his

subsistence, as appears by Luke 8. at the beginning. How meek,

condescending, and familiar his treatment of his disciples; his

discourses with them, treating them as a father his children, yea,

as friends and companions. How patient, bearing such affliction and

reproach, and so many injuries from the scribes and Pharisees, and

others. In these things he appeared as a Lamb.

And yet he at the same time did in many ways show forth his

divine majesty and glory, particularly in the miracles he wrought,

which were evidently divine works, and manifested omnipotent power,

and so declared him to be the Lion of the tribe of Judah. His

wonderful and miraculous works plainly showed him to be the God of

nature; in that it appeared by them that he had all nature in his

hands, and could lay an arrest upon it, and stop and change its

course as he pleased. In healing the sick, and opening the eyes of

the blind, and unstopping the ears of the deaf, and healing the

lame, he showed that he was the God that framed the eye, and created

the ear, and was the author of the frame of man's body. By the

dead's rising at his command, it appeared that he was the author and

fountain of life, and that "God the Lord, to whom belong the issues

from death." By his walking on the sea in a storm, when the waves

were raised, he showed himself to be that God spoken of in Job 9:8.

"That treadeth on the waves of the sea." By his stilling the storm,

and calming the rage of the sea, by his powerful command, saying,

"Peace, be still," he showed that he has the command of the

universe, and that he is that God who brings things to pass by the

word of his power, who speaks and it is done, who commands and it

stands fast; Psalm 115:7. "Who stilleth the noise of the seas, the

noise of their waves." And Psalm 107:29. "That maketh the storm a

calm, so that the waves thereof are still." And Psalm 139:8f. "O

Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord like unto thee, or to thy

faithfulness round about thee? Thou rulest the raging of the sea:

when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them." Christ, by

casting out devils, remarkably appeared as the Lion of the tribe of

Judah, and showed that he was stronger than the roaring lion, that

seizes whom he may devour. He commanded them to come out, and they

were forced to obey. They were terribly afraid of him; they fall

down before him, and beseech him not so torment them. He forces a

whole legion of them to forsake their hold, by his powerful word;

and they could not so much as enter into the swine without his

leave. He showed the glory of his omniscience, by telling the

thoughts of men; as we have often an account. Herein he appeared to

be that God spoken of, Amos 4:13. "That declareth unto man what is

his thought." Thus, in the midst of his meanness and humiliation,

his divine glory appeared in his miracles, John 2:11. "This

beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested

forth his glory."

And though Christ ordinarily appeared without outward glory,

and in great obscurity, yet at a certain time he threw off the veil,

and appeared in his divine majesty, so far as it could be outwardly

manifested to men in this frail state, when he was transfigured in

the mount. The apostle Peter, 2 Pet. 1:16,17. was an "eye-witness of

his majesty, when he received from God the Father honor and glory,

when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This

is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; which voice that came

from heaven they heard, when they were with him in the holy mount."

And at the same time that Christ was wont to appear in such

meekness, condescension, and humility, in his familiar discourses

with his disciples, appearing therein as the Lamb of God; he was

also wont to appear as The Lion of the tribe of Judah, with divine

authority and majesty, in his so sharply rebuking the scribes and

Pharisees, and other hypocrites.

C) This admirable conjunction of excellencies remarkably

appears in his offering up himself a sacrifice for sinners in his

last sufferings.

As this was the greatest thing in all the works of redemption,

the greatest act of Christ in that work; so in this act especially

does there appear that admirable conjunction of excellencies that

has been spoken of. Christ never so much appeared as a lamb, as when

he was slain: "He came like a lamb to the slaughter," Isaiah 53:7.

Then he was offered up to God as a lamb without blemish, and without

spot: then especially did he appear to be the anti-type of the lamb

of the passover: 1 Cor 5:7. "Christ our Passover sacrificed for us."

And yet in that act he did in an especial manner appear as the Lion

of the tribe of Judah; yea, in this above all other acts, in many

respects, as may appear in the following things.

1) Then was Christ in the greatest degree of his humiliation,

and yet by that, above all other things, his divine glory appears.

Christ's humiliation was great, in being born in such a low

condition, of a poor virgin, and in a stable. His humiliation was

great, in being subject to Joseph the carpenter, and Mary his

mother, and afterwards living in poverty, so as not to have where to

lay his head; and in suffering such manifold and bitter reproaches

as he suffered, while he went about preaching and working miracles.

But his humiliation was never so great as it was, in his last

sufferings, beginning with his agony in the garden, till he expired

on the cross. Never was he subject to such ignominy as then, never

did he suffer so much pain in his body, or so much sorrow in his

soul; never was he in so great an exercise of his condescension,

humility, meekness, and patience, as he was in these last

sufferings; never was his divine glory and majesty covered with so

thick and dark a veil; never did he so empty himself and make

himself of no reputation, as at this time.

And yet, never was his divine glory so manifested, by any act

of his, as in yielding himself up to these sufferings. When the

fruit of it came to appear, and the mystery and ends of it to be

unfolded in its issue, then did the glory of it appear, then did it

appear as the most glorious act of Christ that ever he exercised

towards the creature. This act of his is celebrated by the angels

and hosts of heaven with peculiar praises, as that which is above

all others glorious, as you may see in the context, (Revelation

5:9-12) "And they sang a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take

the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain and

hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and

tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings

and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I

heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the

beasts, and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand

times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud

voice Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and

riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and

blessing."

2) He never in any act gave so great a manifestation of love to

God, and yet never so manifested his love to those that were enemies

to God, as in that act.

Christ never did any thing whereby his love to the Father was

so eminently manifested, as in his laying down his life, under such

inexpressible sufferings, in obedience to his command and for the

vindication of the honor of his authority and majesty; nor did ever

any mere creature give such a testimony of love to God as that was.

And yet this was the greatest expression of his love to sinful

men who were enemies to God; Rom. 5:10. "When we were enemies, we

were reconciled to God, by the death of his Son." The greatness of

Christ's love to such, appears in nothing so much as in its being

dying love. That blood of Christ which fell in great drops to the

ground, in his agony, was shed from love to God's enemies, and his

own. That shame and spitting, that torment of body, and that

exceeding sorrow, even unto death, which he endured in his soul, was

what he underwent from love to rebels against God to save them from

hell, and to purchase for them eternal glory. Never did Christ so

eminently show his regard to God's honor, as in offering up himself

a victim to Justice. And yet in this above all, he manifested his

love to them who dishonored God, so as to bring such guilt on

themselves, that nothing less than his blood could atone for it.

3) Christ never so eminently appeared for divine justice, and

yet never suffered so much from divine Justice, as when he offered

up himself a sacrifice for our sins.

In Christ's great sufferings did his infinite regard to the

honor of God's justice distinguishingly appear, for it was from

regard to that that he thus humbled himself.

And yet in these sufferings, Christ was the target of the

vindictive expressions of that very justice of God. Revenging

justice then spent all its force upon him, on account of our guilt;

which made him sweat blood, and cry out upon the cross, and probably

rent his vitals--broke his heart, the fountain of blood, or some

other blood vessels--and by the violent fermentation turned his

blood to water. For the blood and water that issued out of his side,

when pierced by the spear, seems to have been extravasated blood,

and so there might be a kind of literal fulfilment of Psalm 22:14.

"I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my

heart is like wax, it is melted in the midst of my bowels.'' And

this was the way and means by which Christ stood up for the honor of

God's justice, namely, by thus suffering its terrible executions.

For when he had undertaken for sinners, and had substituted himself

in their room, divine justice could have its due honor no other way

than by his suffering its revenges.

In this the diverse excellencies that met in the person of

Christ appeared, namely, his infinite regard to God's justice, and

such love to those that have exposed themselves to it, as induced

him thus to yield himself a sacrifice to it.

4) Christ's holiness never so illustriously shone forth as it

did in his last sufferings, and yet he never was to such a degree

treated as guilty.

Christ's holiness never had such a trial as it had then, and

therefore never had so great a manifestation. When it was tried in

this furnace it came forth as gold, or as silver purified seven

times. His holiness then above all appeared in his steadfast pursuit

of the honor of God, and in his obedience to him. For his yielding

himself unto death was transcendently the greatest act of obedience

that ever was paid to God by any one since the foundation of the

world.

And yet then Christ was in the greatest degree treated as a

wicked person would have been. He was apprehended and bound as a

malefactor. His accusers represented him as a most wicked wretch.

In his sufferings before his crucifixion, he was treated as if he

had been the worst and vilest of mankind, and then, he was put to a

kind of death, that none but the worst sort of malefactors were wont

to suffer, those that were most abject in their persons, and guilty

of the blackest crimes. And he suffered as though guilty from God

himself, by reason of our guilt imputed to him; for he who knew no

sin, was made sin for us; he was made subject to wrath, as if he had

been sinful himself. He was made a curse for us.

Christ never so greatly manifested his hatred of sin, as

against God, as in his dying to take away the dishonor that sin had

done to God; and yet never was he to such a degree subject to the

terrible effects of God's hatred of sin, and wrath against it, as he

was then. in this appears those diverse excellencies meeting in

Christ, namely, love to God, and grace to sinners.

5) He never was so dealt with, as unworthy, as in his last

sufferings, and yet it is chiefly on account of them that he is

accounted worthy.

He was therein dealt with as if he had not been worthy to live:

they cry out, "Away with him! away with him! Crucify him." John

19:15. And they prefer Barabbas before him. And he suffered from the

Father, as one whose demerits were infinite, by reason of our

demerits that were laid upon him.

And yet it was especially by that act of his subjecting himself

to those sufferings that he merited, and on the account of which

chiefly he was accounted worthy of the glory of his exaltation.

Philip. 2:8, 9. "He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death;

wherefore God hath highly exalted him."And we see that it is on this

account chiefly, that he is extolled as worthy by saints and angels

in the context: "Worthy," say they, "is the Lamb that was slain."

This shows an admirable conjunction in him of infinite dignity, and

infinite condescension and love to the infinitely unworthy.

6) Christ in his last sufferings suffered most extremely from

those towards whom he was then manifesting his greatest act of love.

He never suffered so much from his Father, (though not from any

hatred to him, but from hatred to our sins,) for he then forsook

him, or took away the comforts of his presence; and then "it pleased

the Lord to bruise him, and put him to grief." as Isaiah 53:10. And

yet he never gave so great a manifestation of love to God as then,

as has been already observed.

So Christ never suffered so much from the hands of men as he

did then; and yet never was in so high an exercise of love to men.

He never was so ill treated by his disciples; who were so

unconcerned about his sufferings, that they .would not watch with

him one hour, in his agony; and when he was apprehended, all forsook

him and fled, except Peter, who denied him with oaths and curses.

And yet then he was suffering, shedding his blood, and pouring out

his soul unto death for them. Yea, he probably was then shedding his

blood for some of them that shed his blood, for whom he prayed while

they were crucifying him; and who were probably afterwards brought

home to Christ by Peter's preaching. (Compare Luke 23:34. Acts

2:23,36,37,41. and chap. 3:17. and chap. 4.) This shows an admirable

meeting of justice and grace in the redemption of Christ.

7) It was in Christ's last sufferings, above all, that he was

delivered up to the power of his enemies; and yet by these, above

all, he obtained victory over his enemies.

Christ never was so in his enemies' hands, as in the time of

his last sufferings. They sought his life before; but from time to

time they were restrained, and Christ escaped out of their hands,

and this reason is given for it, that his time was not yet come. But

now they were suffered to work their will upon him, he was in a

great degree delivered up to the malice and cruelty of both wicked

men and devils. And therefore when Christ's enemies came to

apprehend him, he says to them, Luke 22:53. "When I was daily with

you in the temple ye stretched forth no hand against me: but this is

your hour, and the power of darkness."

And yet it was principally by means of those sufferings that he

conquered and overthrew his enemies. Christ never so effectually

bruised Satan's head, as when Satan bruised his heel. The weapon

with which Christ warred against the devil, and obtained a most

complete victory and glorious triumph over him, was the cross, the

instrument and weapon with which he thought he had overthrown

Christ, and brought on him shameful destruction. Col. 2:14,15.

"Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances,--nailing it to his

cross: and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show

of them openly, triumphing over them in it." In his last sufferings,

Christ sapped the very foundations of Satan's kingdom, he conquered

his enemies in their own territories, and beat them with their own

weapons as David cut off Goliath's head with his own sword. The

devil had, as it were, swallowed up Christ, as the whale did Jonah--

but it was deadly poison to him, he gave him a mortal wound in his

own bowels. He was soon sick of his morsel, and was forced to do by

him as the whale did by Jonah. To this day he is heart-sick of what

he then swallowed as his prey. In those sufferings of Christ was

laid the foundation of all that glorious victory he has already

obtained over Satan, in the overthrow of his heathenish kingdom in

the Roman empire, and all the success the gospel has had since; and

also of all his future and still more glorious victory that is to be

obtained in the earth. Thus Samson's riddle is most eminently

fulfilled, Judges 14:14. "Out of the eater came forth meat, and out

of the strong came forth sweetness." And thus the true Samson does

more towards the destruction of his enemies at his death than in his

life, in yielding up himself to death, he pulls down the temple of

Dagon, and destroys many thousands of his enemies, even while they

are making themselves sport in his sufferings--and so he whose type

was the ark, pulls down Dagon, and breaks off his head and hands in

his own temple, even while he is brought in there as Dagon's

captive. (1 Samuel 5:1-4)

Thus Christ appeared at the same time, and in the same act, as

both a lion and a lamb. He appeared as a lamb in the hands of his

cruel enemies; as a lamb in the paws, and between the devouring

jaws, of a roaring lion; yea, he was a lamb actually slain by this

lion: and yet at the same time, as the Lion of the tribe of Judah,

he conquers and triumphs over Satan; destroying his own destroyer;

as Samson did the lion that roared upon him, when he rent him as he

would a kid. And in nothing has Christ appeared so much as a lion,

in glorious strength destroying his enemies, as when he was brought

as a lamb to the slaughter. In his greatest weakness he was most

strong; and when he suffered most from his enemies, he brought the

greatest confusion on his enemies.

Thus this admirable conjunction of diverse excellencies was

manifest in Christ, in his offering up himself to God in his last

sufferings.

D) It is still manifest in his acts, in his present state of

exaltation in heaven. Indeed, in his exalted state, he most

eminently appears in manifestation of those excellencies, on the

account of which he is compared to a lion; but still he appears as a

lamb; Rev. 14:1. "And I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on mount Sion";

as in his state of humiliation he chiefly appeared as a lamb, and

yet did not appear without manifestation of his divine majesty and

power, as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. Though Christ be now at

the right-hand of God, exalted as King of heaven, and Lord of the

universe; yet as he still is in the human nature, he still excels in

humility. Though the man Christ Jesus be the highest of all

creatures in heaven, yet he as much excels them all in humility as

he doth in glory and dignity, for none sees so much of the distance

between God and him as he does. And though he now appears in such

glorious majesty and dominion in heaven, yet he appears as a lamb in

his condescending, mild, and sweet treatment of his saints there,

for he is a Lamb still, even amidst the throne of his exaltation,

and he that is the Shepherd of the whole flock is himself a Lamb,

and goes before them in heaven as such. Rev. 7:17. "For the Lamb,

which is in the midst of the throne, shall feed them, and shall lead

them unto living fountains of waters, and God shall wipe away all

tears from their eyes." Though in heaven every knee bows to him, and

though the angels fall down before him adoring him, yet he treats

his saints with infinite condescension, mildness, and endearment.

And in his acts towards the saints on earth, he still appears as a

lamb, manifesting exceeding love and tenderness in his intercession

for them, as one that has had experience of affliction and

temptation. He has not forgot what these things are, nor has he

forgot how to pity those that are subject to them. And he still

manifests his lamb-like excellencies, in his dealings with his

saints on earth, in admirable forbearance, love, gentleness, and

compassion. Behold him instructing, supplying, supporting, and

comforting them; often coming to them, and manifesting himself to

them by his Spirit, that he may sup with them, and they with him.

Behold him admitting them to sweet communion, enabling them with

boldness and confidence to come to him, and solacing their hearts.

And in heaven Christ still appears, as it were, with the marks of

his wounds upon him, and so appears as a Lamb as it had been slain,

as he was represented in vision to St John, in the text, when he

appeared to open the book sealed with seven seals, which is part of

the glory of his exaltation.

E) And lastly, this admirable conjunction of excellencies will

be manifest in Christ's acts at the last judgement.

He then, above all other times, will appear as the Lion of the

tribe of Judah in infinite greatness and majesty, when he shall come

in the glory of his Father, with all the holy angels, and the earth

shall tremble before him, and the hills shall melt. This is he (Rev.

20:11.) "that shall sit on a great white throne, before whose face

the earth and heaven shall flee away." He will then appear in the

most dreadful and amazing manner to the wicked. The devils tremble

at the thought of that appearance, and when it shall be, the kings,

and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains. and the

mighty men, and every bond-man and every free-man, shall hide

themselves in the dens, and in the rocks of the mountains, and shall

cry to the mountains and rocks to fall on them, to hide them from

the face and wrath of the Lamb. And none can declare or conceive of

the amazing manifestations of wrath in which he will then appear

towards these, or the trembling and astonishment the shrieking and

gnashing of teeth, with which they shall stand before his

judgment-seat, and receive the terrible sentence of his wrath.

And yet he will at the same time appear as a Lamb to his

saints; he will receive them as friends and brethren, treating them

with infinite mildness and love. There shall be nothing in him

terrible to them, but towards them he will clothe himself wholly

with sweetness and endearment. The church shall be then admitted to

him as his bride; that shall be her wedding-day. The saints shall

all be sweetly invited to come with him to inherit the kingdom, and

reign in it with him to all eternity.

***** PART THREE *****

[I would now show how the aforesaid teaching is of benefit to

us, in that

A) it gives us insight into the names of Christ in Scripture,

B) it encourages us to accept him as our Savior,

C) it encourages us to accept him as our Friend.]

A) From this doctrine we may learn one reason why Christ is

called by such a variety of names, and held forth under such a

variety of representations, in Scripture. It is the better to

signify and exhibit to us that variety of excellencies that meet

together and are conjoined in him. Many appellations are mentioned

together in one verse Isaiah 9:6. "For unto us a Child is born, unto

us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder:

and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God,

the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." It shows a wonderful

conjunction of excellencies, that the same person should be a Son,

born and given, and yet be the everlasting Father, without beginning

or end, that he should be a Child, and yet be he whose name is

Counsellor, and the mighty God; and well may his name, in whom such

things are conjoined, be called wonderful.

By reason of the same wonderful conjunction, Christ is

represented by a great variety of sensible things, that are on some

account excellent. Thus in some places he is called a Sun, as Mal.

4:2, in others a Star, Numb. 24:17. And he is especially represented

by the Morning star, as being that which excels all other stars in

brightness, and is the forerunner of the day, Rev. 22:16. And, as in

our text, he is compared to a lion in one verse, and a lamb in the

next, so sometimes he is compared to a roe or young hart, another

creature most diverse from a lion. So in some places he is called a

rock, in others he is compared to a pearl. In some places he is

called a man of war, and the Captain of our Salvation, in other

places he is represented as a bridegroom. In the second chapter of

Canticles, the first verse, he is compared to a rose and a lily,

that are sweet and beautiful flowers; in the next verse but one, he

is compared to a tree bearing sweet fruit. In Isaiah 53:2 he is

called a Root out of a dry ground; but elsewhere, instead of that,

he is called the Tree of Life, that grows (not in a dry or barren

ground, but) "in the midst of the paradise of God." Rev. 2:7.

B) Let the consideration of this wonderful meeting of diverse

excellencies in Christ induce you to accept of him, and close with

him as your Savior. As all manner of excellencies meet in him, so

there are concurring in him all manner of arguments and motives, to

move you to choose him for your Savior, and every thing that tends

to encourage poor sinners to come and put their trust in him: his

fullness and all-sufficiency as a Savior gloriously appear in that

variety of excellencies that has been spoken of.

Fallen man is in a state of exceeding great misery, and is

helpless in it; he is a poor weak creature, like an infant cast out

in its blood in the day that it is born. But Christ is the lion of

the tribe of Judah; he is strong, though we are weak; he hath

prevailed to do that for us which no creature else could do. Fallen

man is a mean despicable creature, a contemptible worm; but Christ,

who has undertaken for us, is infinitely honorable and worthy.

Fallen man is polluted, but Christ is infinitely holy; fallen man is

hateful, but Christ is infinitely lovely; fallen man is the object

of God's indignation, but Christ is infinitely dear to him. We have

dreadfully provoked God, but Christ has performed that righteousness

which is infinitely precious in God's eyes.

And here is not only infinite strength and infinite worthiness,

but infinite condescension, and love and mercy, as great as power

and dignity. If you are a poor, distressed sinner, whose heart is

ready to sink for fear that God never will have mercy on you, you

need not be afraid to go to Christ, for fear that he is either

unable or unwilling to help you. Here is a strong foundation, and an

inexhaustible treasure, to answer the necessities of your poor soul,

and here is infinite grace and gentleness to invite and embolden a

poor, unworthy, fearful soul to come to it. If Christ accepts of

you, you need not fear but that you will be safe, for he is a strong

Lion for your defense. And if you come, you need not fear but that

you shall be accepted; for he is like a Lamb to all that come to

him, and receives then with infinite grace and tenderness. It is

true he has awful majesty, he is the great God, and infinitely high

above you; but there is this to encourage and embolden the poor

sinner, that Christ is man as well as God; he is a creature, as well

as the Creator, and he is the most humble and lowly in heart of any

creature in heaven or earth. This may well make the poor unworthy

creature bold in coming to him. You need not hesitate one moment;

but may run to him, and cast yourself upon him. You will certainly

be graciously and meekly received by him. Though he is a lion, he

will only be a lion to your enemies, but he will be a lamb to you.

It could not have been conceived, had it not been so in the person

of Christ, that there could have been so much in any Savior, that is

inviting and tending to encourage sinners to trust in him. Whatever

your circumstances are, you need not be afraid to come to such a

Savior as this. Be you never so wicked a creature, here is

worthiness enough; be you never so poor, and mean, and ignorant a

creature, there is no danger of being despised, for though he be so

much greater than you, he is also immensely more humble than you.

Any one of you that is a father or mother, will not despise one of

your own children that comes to you in distress: much less danger is

there of Christ's despising you, if you in your heart come to him.

Here let me a little expostulate with the poor, burdened, distressed

soul.

1) What are you afraid of, that you dare not venture your soul

upon Christ? Are you afraid that he cannot save you, that he is not

strong enough to conquer the enemies of your soul? But how can you

desire one stronger than "the almighty God"? as Christ is called,

Isa. 9:6. Is there need of greater than infinite strength? Are you

afraid that he will not be willing to stoop so low as to take any

gracious notice of you? But then, look on him, as he stood in the

ring of soldiers, exposing his blessed face to be buffeted and spit

upon by them! Behold him bound with his back uncovered to those that

smote him! And behold him hanging on the cross! Do you think that he

that had condescension enough to stoop to these things, and that for

his crucifiers, will be unwilling to accept of you, if you come to

him? Or, are you afraid that if he does accept you, that God the

Father will not accept of him for you? But consider, will God reject

his own Son, in whom his infinite delight is, and has been, from all

eternity, and who is so united to him, that if he should reject him

he would reject himself?

2) What is there that you can desire should be in a Savior,

that is not in Christ? Or, wherein should you desire a Savior should

be otherwise than Christ is? What excellency is there wanting? What

is there that is great or good; what is there that is venerable or

winning; what is there that is adorable or endearing; or, what can

you think of that would be encouraging, which is not to be found in

the person of Christ? Would you have your Savior to be great and

honorable, because you are not willing to be beholden to a mean

person? And, is not Christ a person honorable enough to be worthy

that you should be dependent on him? Is he not a person high enough

to be appointed to so honorable a work as your salvation? Would you

not only have a Savior of high degree, but would you have him,

notwithstanding his exaltation and dignity, to be made also of low

degree, that he might have experience of afflictions and trials,

that he might learn by the things that he has suffered, to pity them

that suffer and are tempted? And has not Christ been made low enough

for you? and has he not suffered enough? Would you not only have him

possess experience of the afflictions you now suffer, but also of

that amazing wrath that you fear hereafter, that he may know how to

pity those that are in danger, and afraid of it? This Christ has had

experience of, which experience gave him a greater sense of it, a

thousand times, than you have, or any man living has. Would you have

your Savior to be one who is near to God, that so his mediation

might be prevalent with him? And can you desire him to be nearer to

God than Christ is, who is his only-begotten Son, of the same

essence with the Father? And would you not only have him near to

God, but also near to you, that you may have free access to him? And

would you have him nearer to you than to be in the same nature,

united to you by a spiritual union, so close as to be fitly

represented by the union of the wife to the husband, of the branch

to the vine, of the member to the head; yea, so as to be one spirit?

For so he will be united to you, if you accept of him. Would you

have a Savior that has given some great and extraordinary testimony

of mercy and love to sinners, by something that he has done, as well

as by what he says? And can you think or conceive of greater things

than Christ has done? Was it not a great thing for him, who was God,

to take upon him human nature: to be not only God, but man

thenceforward to all eternity? But would you look upon suffering for

sinners to be a yet greater testimony of love to sinners, than

merely doing, though it be ever so extraordinary a thing that he has

done? And would you desire that a Savior should suffer more than

Christ has suffered for sinners? What is there wanting, or what

would you add if you could, to make him more fit to be your Savior?

But further, to induce you to accept of Christ as your Savior,

consider two things particularly.

1) How much Christ appears as the Lamb of God in his

invitations to you to come to him and trust in him. With what sweet

grace and kindness does he, from time to time, call and invite you,

as Prov. 8:4. "Unto you, O men, I call, and my voice is to the sons

of men." And Isaiah 55:1-3 "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to

the waters, and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat-- yea

come, buy wine and milk without money, and without price." How

gracious is he here in inviting every one that thirsts, and in so

repeating his invitation over and over, "Come ye to the waters,

come, buy and eat - - yea come!" Mark the excellency of that

entertainment which he invites you to accept of; "Come, buy wine and

milk!" your poverty, having nothing to pay for it, shall be no

objection, "Come, he that hath no money, come without money, and

without price!" What gracious arguments and expostulations he uses

with you! "Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread?

and your labor for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently

unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight

itself in fatness." As much as to say, It is altogether needless for

you to continue laboring and toiling for that which can never serve

your turn, seeking rest in the world, and in your own righteousness

-- I have made abundant provision for you, of that which is really

good, and will fully satisfy your desires, and answer your end, and

I stand ready to accept of you: you need not be afraid; If you will

come to me, I will engage to see all your wants supplied, and you

made a happy creature. As he promises in the third verse, "Incline

your ear, and come unto me: Hear, and your soul shall live, and I

will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of

David." And so Prov. 9 at the beginning. How gracious and sweet is

the invitation there! "Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither;" let

you be never so poor, ignorant, and blind a creature, you shall be

welcome. And in the following words Christ sets forth the provision

that he has made for you, "Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the

wine which I have mingled." You are in a poor famishing state, and

have nothing wherewith to feed your perishing soul; you have been

seeking something, but yet remain destitute. Hearken, how Christ

calls you to eat of his bread, and to drink of the wine that he hath

mingled! And how much like a lamb does Christ appear in Matt. 9:28

30. "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will

give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek

and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest to your souls. For my

yoke is easy, and my burden is light." O thou poor distressed soul!

whoever thou art, consider that Christ mentions thy very case when

he calls to them who labor and are heavy laden! How he repeatedly

promises you rest if you come to him! In the 28th verse he says, "I

will give you rest." And in the 29th verse, "Ye shall find rest to

your souls." This is what you want. This is the thing you have been

so long in vain seeking after. O how sweet would rest be to you, if

you could but obtain it! Come to Christ, and you shall obtain it.

And hear how Christ, to encourage you, represents himself as a lamb!

He tells you, that he is meek and lowly in heart, and are you afraid

to come to such a one! And again, Rev. 3:20. "Behold, I stand at the

door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will

come in to him, and I will sup with him and he with me." Christ

condescends not only to call you to him, but he comes to you; he

comes to your door, and there knocks. He might send an officer and

seize you as a rebel and vile malefactor, but instead of that, he

comes and knocks at your door, and seeks that you would receive him

into your house, as your Friend and Savior. And he not only knocks

at your door, but he stands there waiting, while you are backward

and unwilling. And not only so, but he makes promises what he will

do for you, if you will admit him, what privileges he will admit you

to; he will sup with you, and you with him. And again, Rev.

22:16,17. "I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright

and morning star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let

him that heareth, say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And

whosoever will let him take of the water of life freely." How does

Christ here graciously set before you his own winning attractive

excellency! And how does he condescend to declare to you not only

his own invitation, but the invitation of the Spirit and the bride,

if by any means he might encourage you to come! And how does he

invite every one that will, that they may "take of the water of life

freely," that they may take it as a free gift, however precious it

be, and though it be the Water of life.

2) If you do come to Christ, he will appear as a Lion, in his

glorious power and dominion, to defend you. All those excellencies

of his, in which he appears as a lion, shall be yours, and shall be

employed for you in your defense, for your safety, and to promote

your glory, he will be as a lion to fight against your enemies. He

that touches you, or offends you, will provoke his wrath, as he that

stirs up a lion. Unless your enemies can conquer this Lion, they

shall not be able to destroy or hurt you; unless they are stronger

than he, they shall not be able to hinder your happiness. Isaiah

31:4. "For thus hath the Lord spoken unto me, Like as the lion and

the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is

called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor

abase himself for the noise of them; so shall the Lord of hosts come

down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof."

C) Let what has been said be improved to induce you to love the

Lord Jesus Christ, and choose him for your friend and portion. As

there is such an admirable meeting of diverse excellencies in

Christ, so there is every thing in him to render him worthy of your

love and choice, and to win and engage it. Whatsoever there is or

can be desirable in a friend, is in Christ, and that to the highest

degree that can be desired.

Would you choose for a friend a person of great dignity? It is

a thing taking with men to have those for their friends who are much

above them; because they look upon themselves honored by the

friendship of such. Thus, how taking would it be with an inferior

maid to be the object of the dear love of some great and excellent

prince. But Christ is infinitely above you, and above all the

princes of the earth; for he is the King of kings. So honorable a

person as this offers himself to you, in the nearest and dearest

friendship.

And would you choose to have a friend not only great but good?

In Christ infinite greatness and infinite goodness meet together,

and receive lustre and glory one from another. His greatness is

rendered lovely by his goodness. The greater any one is without

goodness, so much the greater evil; but when infinite goodness is

joined with greatness, it renders it a glorious and adorable

greatness. So, on the other hand, his infinite goodness receives

lustre from his greatness. He that is of great understanding and

ability, and is withal of a good and excellent disposition, is

deservedly more esteemed than a lower and lesser being with the same

kind inclination and good will. Indeed goodness is excellent in

whatever subject it be found; it is beauty and excellency itself,

and renders all excellent that are possessed of it; and yet most

excellent when joined with greatness. The very same excellent

qualities of gold render the body in which they are inherent more

precious, and of greater value, when joined with greater than when

with lesser dimensions. And how glorious is the sight, to see him

who is the great Creator and supreme Lord of heaven and earth, full

of condescension, tender pity and mercy, towards the mean and

unworthy! His almighty power, and infinite majesty and

self-sufficiency, render his exceeding love and grace the more

surprising And how do his condescension and compassion endear his

majesty, power, and dominion, and render those attributes pleasant,

that would otherwise be only terrible! Would you not desire that

your friend, though great and honorable, should be of such

condescension and grace, and so to have the way opened to free

access to him, that his exaltation above you might not hinder your

free enjoyment of his friendship? -- And would you choose not only

that the infinite greatness and majesty of your friend should be, as

it were, mollified and sweetened with condescension and grace; but

would you also desire to have your friend brought nearer to you?

Would you choose a friend far above you, and yet as it were upon a

level with you too? Though it be taking with men to have a near and

dear friend of superior dignity, yet there is also an inclination in

them to have their friend a sharer with them in circumstances. Thus

is Christ. Though he be the great God, yet he has, as it were,

brought himself down to be upon a level with you, so as to become

man as you are that he might not only be your Lord, but your

brother, and that he might be the more fit to be a companion for

such a worm of the dust. This is one end of Christ's taking upon him

man's nature, that his people might be under advantages for a more

familiar converse with him than the infinite distance of the divine

nature would allow of. And upon this account the church longed for

Christ's incarnation, Cant. 8:1. "O that thou wert my brother that

sucked the breast of my mother! when I should find thee without, I

would kiss thee, yea, I should not be despised." One design of God

in the gospel is to bring us to make God the object of our undivided

respect, that he may engross our regard every way, that whatever

natural inclination there is in our souls, he may be the centre of

it; that God may be all in all. But there is an inclination in the

creature, not only to the adoration of a Lord and Sovereign, but to

complacence in some one as a friend, to love and delight in some one

that may be conversed with as a companion. And virtue and holiness

do not destroy or weaken this inclination of our nature. But so hath

God contrived in the affair of our redemption, that a divine person

may be the object even of this inclination of our nature. And in

order hereto, such a one is come down to us, and has taken our

nature, and is become one of us, and calls himself our friend,

brother, and companion. Psalm 122:8. "For my brethren and

companions' sake, will I now say, Peace be within thee."

But is it not enough in order to invite and encourage you to

free access to a friend so great and high, that he is one of

infinite condescending grace, and also has taken your own nature,

and is become man? But would you, further to embolden and win you,

have him a man of wonderful meekness and humility? Why, such a one

is Christ! He is not only become man for you, but far the meekest

and most humble of all men, the greatest instance of these sweet

virtues that ever was, or will be. And besides these, he has all

other human excellencies in the highest perfection. These, indeed,

are no proper addition to his divine excellencies. Christ has no

more excellency in his person, since his incarnation, than he had

before; for divine excellency is infinite, and cannot be added to.

Yet his human excellencies are additional manifestations of his

glory and excellency to us, and are additional recommendations of

him to our esteem and love, who are of finite comprehension. Though

his human excellencies are but communications and reflections of his

divine, and though this light, as reflected, falls infinitely short

of the divine fountain of light in its immediate glory; yet the

reflection shines not without its proper advantages, as presented to

our view and affection. The glory of Christ in the qualifications of

his human nature, appears to us in excellencies that are of our own

kind, and are exercised in our own way and manner, and so, in some

respect, are peculiarly fitted to invite our acquaintance and draw

our affection. The glory of Christ as it appears in his divinity,

though far brighter, more dazzles our eyes, and exceeds the strength

of our sight or our comprehension; but, as it shines in the human

excellencies of Christ, it is brought more to a level with our

conceptions, and suitableness to our nature and manner, yet

retaining a semblance of the same divine beauty, and a savor of the

same divine sweetness. But as both divine and human excellencies

meet together in Christ, they set off and recommend each other to

us. It tends to endear the divine majesty and holiness of Christ to

us, that these are attributes of one in our nature, one of us, who

is become our brother, and is the meekest and humblest of men. It

encourages us to look upon these divine perfections, however high

and great; since we have some near concern in and liberty freely to

enjoy them. And on the other hand, how much more glorious and

surprising do the meekness, the humility, obedience, resignation,

and other human excellencies of Christ appear, when we consider that

they are in so great a person, as the eternal Son of God, the Lord

of heaven and earth!

By your choosing Christ for your friend and portion, you will

obtain these two infinite benefits.

1) Christ will give himself to you, with all those various

excellencies that meet in him, to your full and everlasting

enjoyment. He will ever after treat you as his dear friend; and you

shall ere long be where he is, and shall behold his glory, and dwell

with him, in most free and intimate communion and enjoyment.

When the saints get to heaven, they shall not merely see

Christ, and have to do with him as subjects and servants with a

glorious and gracious Lord and Sovereign, but Christ will entertain

them as friends and brethren. This we may learn from the manner of

Christ's conversing with his disciples here on earth: though he was

their Sovereign Lord, and did not refuse, but required, their

supreme respect and adoration, yet he did not treat them as earthly

sovereigns are wont to do their subjects. He did not keep them at an

aweful distance, but all along conversed with them with the most

friendly familiarity, as a father amongst a company of children,

yea, as with brethren. So he did with the twelve, and so he did with

Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. He told his disciples, that he did not

call them servants, but friends, and we read of one of them that

leaned on his bosom: and doubtless he will not treat his disciples

with less freedom and endearment in heaven. He will not keep them at

a greater distance for his being in a state of exaltation; but he

will rather take them into a state of exaltation with him. This will

be the improvement Christ will make of his own glory, to make his

beloved friends partakers with him, to glorify them in his glory, as

he says to his Father, John 17:22, 23. "And the glory which thou

hast given me, have I given them, that they may be one, even as we

are one I in them" etc. We are to consider, that though Christ is

greatly exalted, yet he is exalted, not as a private person for

himself only, but as his people's head; he is exalted in their name,

and upon their account, as the first fruits, and as representing the

whole harvest. He is not exalted that he may be at a greater

distance from them, but that they may be exalted with him. The

exaltation and honor of the head is not to make a greater distance

between the head and the members, but the members have the same

relation and union with the head they had before, and are honored

with the head; and instead of the distance being greater, the union

shall be nearer and more perfect. When believers get to heaven,

Christ will conform them to himself, as he is set down in his

Father's throne, so they shall sit down with him on his throne, and

shall in their measure be made like him.

When Christ was going to heaven, he comforted his disciples

with the thought, that after a while, he would come again and take

them to himself, that they might be with him. And we are not to

suppose that when the disciples got to heaven, they found him

keeping a greater distance than he used to do. No, doubtless, be

embraced them as friends, and welcomed them to his and their

Father's house, and to his and their glory. They who had been his

friends in this world, who had been together with him here, and had

together partaken of sorrows and troubles, are now welcomed by him

to rest, and to partake of glory with him. He took them and led them

into his chambers, and showed them all his glory; as he prayed, John

17:24. "Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me, be

with me, that they may behold the glory which thou hast given me."

And he led them to his living fountains of waters, and made them

partake of his delights, as he prays John 17:13. "That my joy may be

fulfilled in themselves," and set them down with him at his table in

his kingdom, and made them partake with him of his dainties,

according to his promise, Luke 22:30, and led them into his

banqueting house, and made them to drink new wine with him in the

kingdom of his heavenly Father, as he foretold them when he

instituted the Lord's supper, Matt. 26:29.

Yea the saints' conversation with Christ in heaven shall not

only be as intimate, and their access to him as free, as of the

disciples on earth, but in many respects much more so; for in

heaven, that vital union shall be perfect, which is exceeding

imperfect here. While the saints are in this world, there are great

remains of sin and darkness to separate or disunite them from

Christ, which shall then all be removed. This is not a time for that

full acquaintance, and those glorious manifestations of love, which

Christ designs for his people hereafter; which seems to be signified

by his speech to Mary Magdalene, when ready to embrace him, when she

met him after his resurrection; John 20:17. "Jesus saith unto her,

Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father."

When the saints shall see Christ's glory and exaltation in

heaven, it will indeed possess their hearts with the greater

admiration and adoring respect, but it will not awe them into any

separation, but will serve only to heighten their surprise and joy,

when they find Christ condescending to admit them to such intimate

access, and so freely and fully communicating himself to them. So

that if we choose Christ for our friend and portion, we shall

hereafter be so received to him, that there shall be nothing to

hinder the fullest enjoyment of him, to the satisfying the utmost

cravings of our souls. We may take our full swing at gratifying our

spiritual appetite after these holy pleasures. Christ will then say,

as in Cant. 5:1. "Eat, O friends, drink, yea, drink abundantly O

beloved." And this shall be our entertainment to all eternity! There

shall never be any end of this happiness, or any thing to interrupt

our enjoyment of it, or in the least to molest us in it!

2) By your being united to Christ, you will have a more

glorious union with and enjoyment of God the Father, than otherwise

could be. For hereby the saints' relation to God becomes much

nearer; they are the children of God in a higher manner than

otherwise could be. For, being members of God's own Son, they are in

a sort partakers of his relation to the Father: they are not only

sons of God by regeneration, but by a kind of communion in the

sonship of the eternal Son. This seems to be intended, Gal. 4:4-6.

"God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to

redeem them that are under the law, that we might receive the

adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the

Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." The

church is the daughter of God not only as he hath begotten her by

his word and Spirit but as she is the spouse of his eternal Son.

So we being members of the Son, are partakers in our measure of

the Father's love to the Son, and complacence in him. John 17:23.

"I in them, and thou in me, -- Thou hast loved them as thou hast

loved me." And ver. 26. "That the love wherewith thou hast loved me

may be in them." And chap. 16:27. "The Father himself loveth you,

because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from

God." So we shall, according to our capacities, be partakers of the

Son's enjoyment of God, and have his joy fulfilled in ourselves,

John 17:13. And by this means we shall come to an immensely higher,

more intimate and full enjoyment of God, than otherwise could have

been. For there is doubtless an infinite intimacy between the Father

and the Son which is expressed by his being in the bosom of the

Father. And saints being in him, shall, in their measure and manner,

partake with him in it, and of the blessedness of it.

And thus is the affair of our redemption ordered, that thereby

we are brought to an immensely more exalted kind of union with God,

and enjoyment of him, both the Father and the Son, than otherwise

could have been. For Christ being united to the human nature, we

have advantage for a more free and full enjoyment of him, than we

could have had if he had remained only in the divine nature. So

again, we being united to a divine person, as his members, can have

a more intimate union and intercourse with God the Father, who is

only in the divine nature, than otherwise could be. Christ, who is a

divine person, by taking on him our nature, descends from the

infinite distance and height above us, and is brought nigh to us;

whereby we have advantage for the full enjoyment of him. And, on the

other hand, we, by being in Christ a divine person, do as it were

ascend up to God, through the infinite distance, and have hereby

advantage for the full enjoyment of him also.

This was the design of Christ, that he, and his Father, and his

people, might all be united in one. John 17:21 23. "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 me. And the glory which thou hast given me, I have given them,

that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them and thou in me,

that they may be made perfect in one." Christ has brought it to

pass, that those whom the Father has given him should be brought

into the household of God, that he and his Father, and his people,

should be as one society, one family; that the church should be as

it were admitted into the society of the blessed Trinity.

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