Abbildungen der Seite

given unto him who never sinned, and consequently could never lose it; and he being of the seed of David, in him the throne of David was without interception or succession con tinued. Of him did the angel Gabriel speak at his conception, “ The Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end." (Luke i. 32, 33.) Thus the throne of Christ is called the throne of David, because it was promised unto David, and because the kingdom of David was a type, resemblance, and representation of it; insomuch that Christ himself, in respect of this kingdom, is often called David, as particularly in that promise, “I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them.” (Jer. xxx. 9. Ezek. xxxvii. 24, 25. Hos. lii. 5. Ezek. xxxiv. 23, 24.)

Now as David was not only first designed, but also anointed king over Israel, (1 Sam. xvi. 13.) and yet had no possession of the crown; seven years he continued anointed by Samuel, .and had no share in the dominion; seven years after he continued anointed in Hebron only king over the tribe of Judah; (2 Sam. ii. 4.) at last he was received by all the tribes, and so obtained full and absolute regal power over all Israel, and seated himself in the royal city of Jerusalem. So Christ was born king of the Jews, and the conjunction of his human nature with his divine in the union of his person was a sufficient unction to his regal office, yet as the Son of man he exercised no such dominion, professing that his “ kingdom was not of this world ;” (John xviii. 36.) but after he rose from the dead, then, as it were in Hebron with his own tribe, he tells the apostles, “all power is given unto him;" (Matt. xxviii, 18.) and by virtue thereof, gives them injunctions; and at his ascension he enters into the Jerusalem above, and there sits down at the right hand of the throne of God, and so makes a solemn entry upon the full and entire dominion over all things; then could St. Peter say, "Let all the house of Israel kuow assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ." (Acts ii. 36.)

The immediate effect of this regal power, the proper execution of this office, is the subduing of all his enemies; for he is “set down on the right hand of God, from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.” (Heb. x. 12, 13.) This was the ancient custom of the oriental conquerors, to tread upon the necks of their subdued enemies; as when Joshua had the five kings as his prisoners, he "said unto the men of war which went with him, Come near, put your feet upon the necks of them.” (Josh. x. 24.) Thus to signify the absolute and total conquest of Christ, and the dreadful majesty


- و

[ocr errors]

of his throne, all his enemies are supposed to lie down before him, and he to set his feet upon them.

The enemies of Christ are of two kinds, either temporal or spiritual; the temporal enemies I call such as visibly and actually oppose him and his apostles, and all those which profess to believe in his name. Such especially and principally were the Jews, who rejected, persecuted, and crucified him ; who, after his resurrection, scourged, stoned, and despitefully used his disciples; who tried all ways and means imaginable to hinder the propagation, and dishonour the profession, of Christianity. A part of his regal office was to subdue these enemies, and he sat down on the right hand of God, that they might be made his footstool: which they suddenly were according to his prediction, “There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” (Matt. xvi. 28.) For within few years the temple, the city, and the whole polity of the Jews, were destroyed for ever in a revenging manner by the hands of the Ronans, which they made use of to crucify the Lord of life. The Romans themselves were the next enemies, who first complied with the Jews in Christ's crucifixion, and after, in defence of their heathen deities, endeavoured the extirpation of Christianity by successive persecutions. These were next to be made the footstool of the King of kings; and so they were, when Rome the regnant city, the head of that vast empire, was taken and sacked; when the Christians were preserved, and the heathens perished; when the worship of all their idols ceased, and the whole Roman empire marched under the banner of Christianity. In the same manner all those persons and nations whatsoever, which openly oppose and persecute the name of Christ, are enemies unto this King, to be in due time subdued under him, and when he calleth, to be slain.

The spiritual enemies of this King are of another nature; such as by an invisible way made opposition to Christ's dominion, as sin, Satan, death. Every one of these hath a kingdom of his own, set up and opposed to the kingdom of Christ. The apostle hath taught us, that “sin hath reigned unto death;" (Rom. v. 12.) and hath commanded us not to “let it reign in our mortal bodies, that we should obey it in the lusts thereof." (Rom. vi. 12.) There is therefore a dominion and kingdom of sin set up against the throne of the immaculate Lamb. Satan would have been like the Most High, and, being cast down from heaven, hath erected his throne below; he is “ the prince of this world :” (John xii. 31.) “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience, is the prince of the power of the air;" (Eph. ii. 2.) and thus the rulers of the darkness of this world" (Eph. vi. 12.) oppose themselves to“ the true light of the world.” (John i. 9.) Death also hath its dominion, and, as the apostle speaks,“reigned from Adam to Moses; even by

anse 4?/

one offence death reigned by one,” (Rom. v. 14. 17.) and so set up a ruling and a regal power against the “ Prince of life.” (Acts iii. 15.)

For the destruction of these powers was Christ exalted to the right hand of God, and by his regal office doth he subdne and destroy them all. And yet this destruction is not so universal, but that sin, Satan, and death, shall still continue. It is true he shall “ put down all rule, and authority, and power,” (1 Cor. xv. 24.) but this amounts not so much to a total destruction, as to an absolute subjection : for as he is "able,” so will he " subdue all things unto himself.” (Phil. i. 21.) The principal end of the regal office of the Mediator, is the effectual redemption and actual salvation of all those whom God hath given him; and whosoever or whatsoever opposeth the salvation of these, is by that opposition constituted and become an enemy of Christ. And because this enmity is grounded upon that opposition, therefore so far as any thing opposeth the salvation of the sons of God, so far it is an enemy, and no farther : and consequently Christ, by sitting at the right hand of God, hath obtained full and absolute power utterly to destroy those three spiritual enemies, so far as they make this opposition; and farther than they do oppose, they are not destroyed by him, but subdued to him: whatsoever hindereth and obstructeth the bringing of his own into his kingdom, for the demonstration of God's mercy, is abolished; but whatsoever may be yet subservient to the demonstration of his justice is continued.

Christ then as King destroyeth the power of sin in all those which belong unto his kingdom, annihilating the guilt thereof by the virtue of his death, destroying the dominion thereof by his actual grace, and taking away the spot thereof by grace habitual. But in the reprobate and damned souls, the spot of sin remaineth in its perfect dye, the dominion of sin continueth in its absolute power, the guilt of sin abideth in a perpetual obligation to eternal pains : but all this in subjection to his throne, the glory of which consisteth as well in punishing rebellion as rewarding loyalty.

[merged small][ocr errors][subsumed]

Again, Christ sitting on the right hand of God, destroyeth all the strength of Satan and the powers of hell: by virtue of his death perpetually represented to his father," he destroyeth him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” (Heb. ii. 14.) But the actual destruction of these powers of darkness hath reference only to the elect of God. In them he preventeth “the wiles,” those he taketh “out of the snare;” in them he destroyeth “ the works,” those he preserveth from the condemnation of the devil.” (Eph. vi. 11. 2 Tim. ii. 26. 1 John iii. 8. 1 Tim. iji. 6.) He freeth them here from the prevailing power of Satan by his grace; he freeth them hereafter from all possibility of any infernal opposition by his glorv.




But still the reprobate and damned souls are continued slaves unto the powers of hell; and he which sitteth upon the throne, delivereth them to the devil and his angels, to be tormented with and by them for ever: and this power of Satan still is left as subservient to the demonstration of the divine justice

Thirdly, Christ sitting on the throne of God, at last destroyeth death itself: for “the last enemy which shall be destroyed, is death.” (1 Cor. xv. 26.) But this destruction reacheth no farther than removing of all power to hinder the bringing of all such persons as are redeemed actually by Christ into the full possession of his heavenly kingdom. “He will ransom them from the power of the grave, he will redeem them from death. O death, he will be thy plague; O grave, he will be thy destruction.” (Hos. xiii. 14) The trump shall sound, the graves shall open, the dead shall live, the bodies shall be framed again out of the dust, and the souls which left them shall be reunited to them, and all the sons of men shall return to life, and death shall be" swallowed up in victory.” (1 Cor. xv. 54.) The sons of God shall then be made completely happy both in soul and body, never again to be separated, but to inherit eternal life. Thus he who sitteth at the right hand of God,“ hath abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light.” (2 Tim. i. 10.) But to the reprobate and damned persons, death is not destroyed but improved. They rise again indeed to life, and so the first death is evacuated; but that life to which they rise is a second, and a far worse death. And thus Christ is set down at the right hand of God, that he might subdue all things to himself.

The regal power of Christ, as a branch of the mediatorship, is to continue, till all those enemies be subdued. “ For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.” (1 Cor. xv. 25.) “ But now we see not yet all things put under him.” (Heb. ii. 8.) Therefore he must still continue there : and this necessity is grounded upon the promise of the Father, and the expectation of the Son. “Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool,” (Psal. cx. 1.) saith the Father; upon which words we may ground as well the continuation as the session. Upon this promise of the Father, the Son“ sat down at the right hand of God, from henceforth expecting till bis enemies be made his footstool.” (Heb.x. 12, 13.) Being then the promise of God cannot be evacuated, being the expectation of Christ cannot be frustrated; it followeth, that our Mediator shall exercise the regal power at the right hand of God, till all opposition shall be subdued.

When all the enemies of Christ shall be subdued, when all the chosen of God shall be actually brought into his kingdom, when those which refused him to rule over them, shall be slain, that is, when the whole office of the Mediator shal! be completed and fulfilled, then every branch of the execution shall cease. As therefore there shall no longer continue any act of


the prophetical part to instruct us, nor any act of the priestly part to intercede for us, so there shall be no farther act of this regal power of the Mediator necessary to defend and preserve us. The beatifical vision shall succeed our information and instruction, a present fruition will prevent oblation and intercession, and perfect security will need no actual defence and protection. As therefore the general notion of a Mediator ceaseth when all are made one, because “a Mediator is not a Mediator of one;” (Gal. iii. 20.) so every part or branch of that mediatorship, as such, must also cease, because that unity is in all parts complete. “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father, when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him, that hath put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” (1 Cor. xv. 24. 28.)

Now though the mediatorship of Christ be then resigned, because the end thereof will then be performed; though the regal office as part of that mediatorship be also resigned with the whole; yet we must not think, that Christ shall cease to be a king, or lose any of the power and honour, which before he had.* The dominion which he hath, was given him as a reward for what he suffered : and certainly the reward shall not cease, when the work is done. He hath promised to make us kings and priests, which honour we expect in heaven, believing we shall “reign with him” for ever, (2 Tim. ii. 12.) and therefore for ever must believe him King. "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of the Lord, and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever;" (Rev. xi. 15.) not only to the modificated eternity of his mediatorship, so long as there shall be need of regal power to subdue the enemies of God's elect; but also to the complete eternity of the duration of his humanity, which for the future is coeternal to his Divinity:

Lest we should imagine that Christ should ever cease to be King, or so interpret this Article, as if he were after the day of judgment to be removed from the right hand of God, the ancient fathers added those words to the Nicene Creed, whose kingdom shall have no end,+ against the heresy which then arose, denying the eternity of the kingdom of Christ.

Videamus an traditio regni defectio longer, $. 120 and 121. hath these words sit intelligenda regnandi; ut quod tradi. in both. After this, they were added er. dit Filius Patri, tradendo non teneat.' pressly in the Constantinopolitan Creed. S. Hilar. de Trin. I. xi. $. 29.

And the reason of their insertion, without + ου της βασιλείας ουκ έσται τέλος. We question, was that which St. Cyril insiand not these words in the Nicene Creed, nuateth in his Explication, that is, the as it was in itself before the additions at heresy which was then newly begun : Constantinople. But not long after, St. Καν ποτέ τινος ακούσης λέγοντος, ότι τέλος έχει Cyril expounds them in his Catechism, η Χριστού βασιλεία, μίσησαν την αίρεσιν, του and Epiphanius in Ancorato, repeating δράκοντός εστιν. άλλη κεφαλή προσφάτως περί two several Creeds, a shorter and a την Γαλατίαν αναφυείσα ετόλμησε λέγειν, ότι

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »