By Thomas Brooks, 1675
The Divinity and Humanity of Christ
6. Sixthly, If Jesus Christ did feel and suffer the very torments of hell, though not after a hellish manner, then let me infer that certainly the papists are greatly mistaken, and do greatly err—who boldly and confidently assert that Christ's soul in substance, went really and locally into hell.Bellarmine takes a great deal of pains to make good this assertion—but this great champion of the Romish church may easily be confuted. First, Because that limbus patrum, and Christ's fetching the fathers from the skirts of hell, about which he makes so great a noise, is a mere fable, and not founded upon any solid grounds of Scripture. Secondly, Because upon Christ's dying, and satisfying for our sins, his soul went that very day into paradise—as Adam sinning was that very day cast out of paradise—and his soul could not be in two places at once. Thirdly, Because this descent of Christ's soul into hell was altogether needless, and to no purpose. What need was there of it, or to what end did he descend? Not to suffer in hell, for that was finished on the cross; not to redeem or rescue the fathers out of hell, for the elect were never there, and redemption from hell was wrought by Christ's death, as the Scriptures do clearly evidence; not to triumph there over the devils, etc., [Luke 23:43; Gen. 3:23-24; John 18:30; Heb. 9:12; 1 Thes. 1:10; Eph. 4:8; Heb. 2:14-15; Col. 2:14-15.] for Christ triumphed over them when he was on the cross.
Christ, in the day of his solemn inauguration into his heavenly kingdom, triumphed over sin, death, devils, and hell. When Christ was on the cross, he made the devils a public spectacle of scorn and derision; as Tamerlane did Bajazet the great Turk, whom he shut up in an iron cage made like a grate, in such sort as that he might on every side be seen, and so carried him up and down all Asia, to be scorned and derided by his own people. By these few hints you may see the vanity and folly of the papists, who tell you that Christ's soul and substance went really and locally into hell. I might make other inferences—but let these suffice at this time.
7. Seventhly, As Jesus Christ did feel and suffer the very torments of hell, though not after a hellish manner, so Jesus Christ was really, certainly made a curse for us.Jesus Christ did in his soul and body bear that curse of the law, which by reason of transgression was due to us. "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree," Gal. 3:13. He does not say that Christ was cursed—but made a curse, which is more: it shows that the curse of all did lie upon him. The death on the tree was accursed above all kinds of deaths, as the serpent was accursed above all the beasts of the field, Gen. 3:14. This scripture refers to Deut. 21:33, "Anyone who is hung on a tree is under God's curse." [Not that all who are hanged should be damned, for the contrary appears in that Luke 23:43. Neither is hanging in itself, or by the law of nature, or by civil law, more execrable than any other death.]
The holy and wise God appointed this kind of punishment, as being the most cruel and reproachful, for a type of the punishment which his Son must suffer to deliver us from the curse. Hanging on a tree was accounted the most shameful, the most dishonorable, the most odious and infamous, and accursed, of all kinds of death, both by the Israelites and other nations, because the very manner of the death did intimate that such men as were thus executed were such execrable, base, vile, and accursed wretches, that they did defile the earth with treading on it, and would pollute the earth if they should die upon it, and therefore were hanged up in the air, as people not fit to converse among men, or touch the surface of the ground any more.
But what should be the reason why the ceremonial law affixed the curse to this death rather than any other death?
I answer, first, because this was reckoned the most shameful and dishonorable of all deaths, and was usually therefore the punishment of those who had by some notorious wickedness provoked God to pour out his wrath upon the whole land, and so were hanged up to appease his wrath; as you may see in the hanging of those princes that were guilty of committing whoredom with the daughters of Moab, Num. 25:4; and in the hanging of Saul's seven sons in the days of David, when there was a famine in the land because of Saul's perfidious oppressing of the Gibeonites, 2 Sam. 21:6-9; and in Joshua's hanging of the five kings of the Amorites, Josh. 16:26.
But, secondly and mainly, it was with respect to the death Christ was to die. God would have his Son, the Lord Jesus, to suffer this kind of death, that hence it might be the more evident that in his death he bore the curse due to our sins, according to that of the apostle, Gal. 3:13. Christ was certainly made that curse which he redeemed us from, otherwise the apostle does not reason either soundly or fairly, when he tells us we are redeemed from the curse because Christ was made a curse for us; he remits that curse to us which he received in himself. He hit the mark on the head, who says, Christ has taken our punishment without guilt, to loose the guilt and end the punishment. We were subject to the curse, because we had transgressed the law; Christ was not subject, because he had fulfilled it. He therefore took that curse, to the which he was not subject, when he hanged upon the tree, to loose the curse which was against us. Such a curse or execration was Christ made for us, as was that from which he redeemed us; and that curse from which he redeemed us was no other than the curse of the law, and that the curse of the law included all the punishment which sinners were to bear or suffer for transgression of the law, of which his hanging on the cross was a sign and symbol; and this curse was Christ made for us, that is—he did bear and suffer it to redeem us from it. Christ was truly made a curse for us, and did bear both in his body and soul that curse, which by reason of the transgression of the law was due to us; and therefore I may well conclude this head with that saying of Jerome, "The Lord's injury is our glory."
The more we ascribe to Christ's suffering, the less remains of ours; the more painfully that he suffered, the more fully are we redeemed; the greater his sorrow was, the greater our solace; his dissolution is our consolation, his cross our comfort; his annoy our endless joy; his distress in soul our release, his calamity our comfort; his misery our mercy, his adversity our felicity, his hell our heaven. Christ is not only accursed—but a curse; and this expression is used both for more significancy and usefulness, to note out the truth and realness of the thing, and also to show the order and way he took for bringing us back unto that blessedness which we had lost. The law was our righteousness in our innocent condition, and so it was our blessedness. But the first Adam, falling away from God by his first transgression, plunged himself into all unrighteousness, and so inwrapped himself in the curse, James 1:24. Now Christ the second Adam, that he may restore the lost man into an estate of blessedness, he becomes that for them which the law is unto them, namely, a curse; beginning where the law ends, and so going backward to satisfy the demands of the law to the uttermost, he becomes first a curse for them, and then their righteousness, and so their blessedness, Romans 10:24.
Christ's becoming a curse for us, stands in this, that whereas we are all accursed by the sentence of the law because of sin, he now comes in our place, and stands under the stroke of that curse which of right belongs to us; so that it no longer lies on the backs of poor sinners—but on him for them and in their stead; therefore he is called a surety, Heb. 7:22. The surety stands in the room of a debtor, malefactor, or him who is any way liable to the law. Such is Adam and all his posterity. We are by the doom of the law, evil-doers, and transgressors, and upon that score we stand indebted to the justice of God, and lie under the stroke of his wrath. Now the Lord Jesus, seeing us in this condition, he steps in and stands between us and the blow; yes, he takes this wrath and curse off from us—unto himself. Christ Jesus does not expect that we should pay the debt ourselves—but he takes it wholly to himself. As a surety for a murderer or traitor, or some other notorious malefactor, that has escaped prison and has run away—he undergoes whatever the malefactor is chargeable with for satisfying the law; even so, the Lord Jesus Christ stands surety for us renegade malefactors, making himself liable to all that curse which belongs to us, that he might both answer the law fully and bring us back again to God.
As the first Adam stood in the place of all mankind fallen; so Christ the second Adam stands in the room of all mankind which is to be restored; he sustains the person of all those which do spiritually descend from him, and unto whom he bears the relation of a head, Eph. 1:22-23. Christ did actually undergo and suffer the wrath of God, and the fearful effects thereof, in the punishments threatened in the law. As he became a debtor, and was so accounted, even so he became payment thereof; he was made a sacrifice for sin, and bore to the full, all that ever divine justice did or could require, even the uttermost extent of the curse of the law of God. He must thus undergo the curse, because he had taken upon him our sin. The justice of the most high God, revealed in the law, looks upon the Lord Jesus as a sinner, because he has undertaken for us, and seizes upon him accordingly, pouring down on his head the whole curse, and all those dreadful punishments which are threatened in it against sin; for the curse follows sin as the shadow the body, whether it be sin inherent or sin imputed; even as the blessing follows righteousness, whether it be righteousness inherent or righteousness imputed. But,
8. Eighthly, He who did feel and suffer the very torments of hell—though not after a hellish manner—was God man.Christ participates of both natures, being God and man, God-man. Such a mediator, sinners needed. No mediator but such a one who has interest in both parties, could serve their turns or save their souls, and such a one is the Lord Jesus; he has an interest in both parties, and he has an interest in both natures—the Godhead and the manhood. The blessed Scriptures are so express and clear in these points, that they must shut their eyes with a witness against the light, that cannot see Christ to be God-man, to be God and man.
1. First, That the godhead of Christ is clearly asserted, and manifested both in the Old and New Testament.Take a taste of some of those many scriptures which may be cited: Isaiah 43:10-12, "That you may know and believe, and understand that I am he, I, even I am Jehovah, and besides me there is no Savior." Isaiah 41:21-25, "There is no God else besides me: a just God and Savior, there is none besides me. Look unto me and be you saved, all the ends of the earth, for I am God, and there is none else. To me every knee shall bow. . . . . In Jehovah have I righteousness. . . . In Jehovah shall the seed of Israel be justified." [Compare these scriptures of the Old Testament with these in the New Testament. Heb. 1:2, 8; 1 John 1:7; Acts 4:12; Eph. 4:8; Romans 9:30; and also Jer. 33:23; Psalm 6, 68:18-20.] Compare this with Romans 14:10-11. We ought to conclude from these scriptures, that Jesus Christ is not a different God from the Father—but is one and the same God with him. Just so, he is called "The mighty God, the everlasting Father," Isaiah 9:6.
Take a few clear places out of the New Testament, as that in Romans 9:5, "Of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for evermore." Christ is here himself called God blessed forever. Just so, Titus 2:13, "Looking for that hope, and the glorious appearance of the great God, and our Savior Jesus Christ." Who is it that shall appear at the last day in the clouds—but Christ? who is called the great God and our Savior? "God blessed forever," says Paul to the Romans. "The great God," says Paul to Titus. 1 John 5:20, "And we know that the Son of God is come, and has given us an understanding, that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life." Phil. 2:6, "He was in the form of God, and thought it no robbery to be equal with God." Col. 2:9, "In him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily." John 20:28, "My Lord, and my God." 1 Tim. 3:16, "God manifested in the flesh." To which of the saints or angels did God say at any time, "You are my Son?" Heb. 1:1. "The heir of all things, the illustrious brightness of my glory, and lively character of my person." "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and all the angels of God shall worship you."
Certainly he who is God's own proper, natural, consubstantial, co-essential, only-begotten Son, he is God; wherever this sonship is, there is the deity or the divine essence. Now Christ is thus God's Son, therefore he is God. What the Father is as to his nature, that the Son must also be. Now the first person, the Father of Christ, is God; whereupon he too who is the Son must be God also. A son always participates of his father's essence, there is between them evermore an identity and oneness of nature. If therefore Christ is God's Son, as is most evident throughout the Scripture he is, then he must needs have that very nature and essence which God the Father has, insomuch that if the second person be not really a God, the first person is but equivocally a Father. These scriptures are so evident and pregnant to prove the godhead of Christ, that they need no illustration; yes, they speak so fully for the divinity of Christ, that all the Arians and Socinians in the world do but in vain go about to elude them. But,
2. Secondly, Let us ponder seriously upon these scriptures:John 3:13, "And no man has ascended up to heaven—but he who came down from heaven, even the Son of man, who is in heaven;" verse 31, "He who comes from above is above all: he who comes from heaven is above all." John 8:23, "You are from beneath, I am from above." John 16:28, "I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world; and again I leave the world, and go to the Father." Now from these blessed scriptures we may thus argue: he who was in heaven before he was on the earth, and who was also in heaven while he was on the earth, is certainly the eternal God—but all this does Jesus Christ strongly assert concerning himself, as is evident in the scriptures last cited; therefore he is the eternal God, blessed forever. But,
3. Thirdly, Christ's eternal deity, co-equality, and consubstantiality with the Father, may be demonstrated from his divine names and titles. As,
(1.) First, Jehovah is one of the incommunicable names of God, which signifies his eternal essence.
The Jews observe that in God's name Jehovah, the Trinity is implied. Je signifies the present tense, ho the preterperfect tense, vah the future. The Jews also observe that in his name Jehovah, denotes rest, implying that in God and from God is all our rest. Every gracious soul is like Noah's dove, he can find neither rest nor satisfaction but in God. God alone is the godly man's ark of rest and safety. Jehovah is the incommunicable name of God, and is never attributed to any but God: Psalm 83:19, "You whose name alone is Jehovah." Jehovah is a name so full of divine mysteries, that the Jews hold it unlawful to pronounce it. [Exod. 15:3; Gen. 2:4. The Jews called it nomen Dei inefabile. But this name Jehovah is not unspeakable in regard of the name—but in regard of the essence of God, set forth by it, as Zanchius notes. This name was always thrice repeated when the priest blessed the people, Num. 6:24-26.] Jehovah signifies three things—
[1.] That God is an eternal, independent being of himself.
[2.] That he gives being to all creatures, Acts 17:28.
[3.] That he does, and will give, being to his promises.
God tells Moses, Exod. 6:3, that he "appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob by the name of El Shaddai, God Almighty—but by my name Jehovah was I not known to them." The name Jehovah was known to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—but not the mystery of the name. [Gen. 20:14, "Abraham called the name of the place Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord will see, or provide." Besides, the fathers of old are said not to have known God by his name Jehovah—in comparison of that which their posterity knew afterwards; for to them God made himself more clearly and fully known.] This was revealed to Moses from God, and from Moses to the people. It is meant of the performances of his great promises made to Abraham. God did promise to give the land of Canaan to Abraham's seed for an inheritance, which promise was not performed to him—but to his seed after him; so that this is the meaning, God appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, El Shaddai, God Almighty, in protecting, delivering, and rewarding of them—but by his name Jehovah, he was not known to them. God did not perform his promise made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—but unto their seed and posterity after them.
This name Jehovah is the proper and peculiar name of the one, only true God, a name as far significant of his nature and being, as possibly we are enabled to understand; so that this is taken for granted on all hands—that he whose name is Jehovah is the only true God. Whenever that name is used properly, without an image or figure—it is used of God only.
Now this glorious name Jehovah, that is so full of mysteries, is frequently ascribed to Christ: Isaiah 6:1, he is called Jehovah, for there Isaiah is said to see "Jehovah sitting upon a throne," etc. And, John 12:41, this is expressly by the holy evangelist applied to Christ, of whom he says, that "Isaiah saw his glory, and spoke of him." Exod. 17:1, the people are said to "tempt Jehovah;" and the apostle says, 1 Cor. 10:9, "Let us not tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents." It is said of Jehovah, "Of old have you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of your hands; they shall perish—but you shall endure," etc., Psalm 102:25-26; and the apostle clearly testifies, Heb. 1:10, that these words are spoken of Christ. Just so, Jehovah rained fire and brimstone from Jehovah out of heaven, Gen. 19:24; that is, Jehovah, the Son of God, who stayed with Abraham, Gen. 18, rained fire and brimstone from Jehovah the Father; and Christ is called Jehovah-Tsidkenu, the Lord our righteousness; and in that Zech. 13:7, Christ is called the Father's fellow. The Lord Christ is that Jehovah, to whom every knee must bow, as appears by comparing Isaiah 45:21-25, compared with Romans 14:9-12 and Phil. 2:6, 9-11.
I might further insist upon this argument, and show that the title of 'Lord', so often given to Christ in the New Testament, does answer to the title of Jehovah in the Old Testament. And, as some learned men conceive, the apostles did purposely use the title of Lord, that they might not offend the Jews with frequent pronouncing of the word Jehovah: "You shall fear Jehovah your God." Deut. 6:13 and 10:20 is rendered by the apostle, "You shall worship the Lord your God;" and so Deut. 6:5, "You shall love Jehovah your God," is rendered, Mat. 22:37, "You shall love the Lord your God." Thus you see that in several precious scriptures Jesus Christ is called Jehovah; and therefore we may very safely and confidently conclude that Jesus Christ is very God, God blessed forever. But,
(2.) The second name or title which denotes the essence of God is Ehieh, "I am that I am," or, I will be what I will be, Exod. 3:14. [The Hebrew Ehieh properly signifies, "I will be that I will be." The Septuagint renders it, I am he who is; and in that Rev. 16:5, God is called, He who is, and that was, and that will be.] It has the same root with Jehovah, and signifies that God is an eternal, unchangeable being. Some make this name to be God's extraordinary name. Damascene says this name contains all things in it, like a vast and infinite ocean without bounds. This glorious name of God, I AM THAT I AM, implies these six things.
[1.] God's incomprehensibleness: as we say of anything we would not have others pry into, it is what it is, so God says here to Moses, I AM WHAT I AM.
[2.] It implies God's immensity, that his being is without any limits. Angels and men have their beings—but then they are bounded and limited within such a compass—but God is an immense being that cannot be included within any bounds.
[3.] It implies that God is of himself, and has not a being dependent upon any other. "I am," that is, by and from and of myself.
[4.] It implies God's eternal and unchangeable being in himself. It implies God's everlastingness. "I am before anything was, and shall forever be." There never was nor shall be time wherein God could not say of himself, "I am."
[5.] It implies that there is no succession of time with God. And,
[6.] It implies that he is a God who gives being to all things. [Every creature is temporary and mutable. No creature can say, I will be that I will be.] In short, the reason why God names himself, "I AM THAT I AM," or will be that I will be, is because he is the Being of beings, subsisting by himself; as if he should say, "I am my being, I am my essence; my existence differs not from my essence, because I am that I am, and as I am, so will I be to all eternity," "the same yesterday, today, and forever." "There is no shadow of change, no variableness at all in me."
Now this glorious name is given to Jesus Christ: Rev. 1:8, "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, says the Lord, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." [In this verse you have a clear and pregnant proof of Christ's deity.] This kind of speaking is taken from the Greek alphabet, in which language John wrote this book. Alpha, being their first letter, and Omega, the last. The sense is, I was before all creatures, and shall abide forever, though all creatures should perish; or I am he from whom all creatures had their beginning, and to whom they are referred, as their uttermost end. Christ, in calling of himself Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end; and that absolutely, does therein assume unto himself absolute perfection, power, dominion, eternity, and divinity, which is, and which was, and which is to come. Christ assumes all those epithets here to himself by which John, verse 4, described God; and what wonder is it if Christ, who is God, does take to himself whatever is due to God?
The Almighty: this is another epithet proper to God, which Christ also takes to himself, showing that he is the true, eternal, and omnipotent God, in all things equal and co-essential with the Father and the Holy Spirit. He is the first and the last, who is, was, and is to come, and the Almighty, and therefore he is, without any question—God eternal; for so Jehovah says of himself, "I the Lord, the first and the last, I am he; I am the first, and I am the last, and besides me there is no God; I am God Almighty." [Isaiah 41:4, 44:6, and Gen. 17:1.] But Christ does take to himself, all these divine attributes; therefore he is Jehovah—that one, eternal, and omnipotent God with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Oh, the stateliness and majesty of our Lord Jesus Christ! What an excellent and stately person is he, there being not a property attributed to God, but is agreeable to Christ! Every word in this Rev. 1:8, is a proper attribute of God. He is infinite in power, sovereign in dominion, and not bounded as creatures are. And that this is clearly spoken of Christ is most evident, not only from the scope, John being to set out Christ, from whom he had this revelation—but also from the 11th and 17th verses following, where he gives him the same titles over again, or rather, if you please, Christ, speaking of himself, takes and repeats the same titles. [See Rev. 21:6, and 22:13.]
Heb. 13:8, "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever." "Yesterday," that is, the time past, before his coming in the flesh; "today," while in the flesh; and "forever," that is, after time. The same—before time, in time, and after time. "Jesus Christ the same," that is, unchangeable in his essence, promises, and doctrine. Jesus Christ was always the same, and is still the same, and will abide forever the same, as being one selfsame God, and one selfsame Mediator, as well in the Old as in the New Testament.
John 8:58, "Jesus said unto them, Truly, truly, I say unto you, before Abraham was—I am." According to my divine nature, which is from everlasting, before Abraham was—I am. I who, according to my humanity, am not above fifty years old, according to my divine nature am eternal, and so before Abraham and all the creatures, Micah 5:1-2. I have a being from all eternity, and so before Abraham was born; and therefore, as young as you take me to be in respect of my age here, I may well have seen and known Abraham, though he died over two thousand years since. But,
(3.) The third name or title which denotes the essence of God is Elohim,which signifies the persons in the essence. It is a name of the plural number, expressing the trinity of persons in the unity of essence; and, therefore, it is observed by the learned, that the Holy Spirit begins the story of the creation with this plural name of God, joined with a verb of the singular number, as the mighty Gods, or all the three persons in the godhead, created, Gen. 1:1-2. Just so, Gen. 3:22, "And Jehovah Elohim said, Behold, the man has become as one of us." It is a holy derision of man's vain affectation of the deity. God upbraids our first parents for their vain attempt of being like unto him in that ironical expression, "Behold, the man has become as one of us—knowing good and evil;" meaning, that by his sin he was become most unlike him.
This name Elohim, by which God expresses his nature, denotes the power and strength of God; to show us that God is strong and powerful, and that he can do great things for his people, and bring great desolations and destructions upon his and his people's enemies. O sirs, God is too strong for his strongest enemies, and too powerful for all the powers of hell! Though Jacob, a worm in his own eyes, and in his enemies' eyes—yet Jacob need never fear; for Elohim, the strong and powerful God, will stand by him, and help him, Isaiah 41:10, 13-14.
Now this name is also attributed unto Christ: Psalm 45:6, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever: the scepter of your kingdom is a righteous scepter." "Your throne, O God," Hebrew, gods—"Your throne, O Gods," Elohim. It signifies the trinity of persons in the unity of essence, as I have before noted. The prophet directs his speech, not to Solomon but to Christ, as is most evident by the clear and unquestionable testimony of the Holy Spirit: Heb. 1:8, "But unto the Son he says, Your throne, O God, is forever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom." Christ is called God, not by an excellency only as the angels are, nor by office and title only as magistrates are called gods, nor ironically as the heathen gods are called, nor a diminutive God, inferior to the Father, as Arius held—but God by nature every way, co-essential, co-eternal, and co-equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit. [Psalm 8:5, compared with Heb. 2:6-8, and Psalm 82:16.] Hold fast all truth—but, above all, hold fast this glorious truth—that Jesus Christ is God blessed forever!
(4.) The fourth name or title which denotes the essence of God is El Gibbor, the strong and mighty God.God is not only strong in his own essence—but he is also strong in the defense of his people, and it is he who gives all strength and power to all other creatures, 2 Chron. 16:9. There are no men, no powers, which are a match for the strong God.
Now this title is also attributed to Christ: Isaiah 9:6, "El Gibbor, the strong God, the mighty God." The word signifying God, does also signify strong. He is so strong that he is almighty, he is one to whom nothing is impossible. Christ's name is God, for he is the same essence with God the Father. This title, "the mighty God," fits well to Christ, who has all the names of the deity given to him in Scripture; and who, by the strength and power of his godhead, did satisfy the justice of God, and pacify the wrath of God, and make peace, and purchase pardon and eternal life for all his elect.
(5.) The fifth name or title which denotes the essence of God is El Shaddai,God omnipotent or all-sufficient, Gen. 17:1. He lacks nothing—but is infinitely blessed with the infinite perfection of his glorious being. By this name, God makes himself known to be self-sufficient, all-sufficient, absolutely perfect. Certainly that man can lack nothing who has an all-sufficient God for his God. He who loses his all for God, shall find all in an all-sufficient God, Mat. 19:29. Esau had much—but Jacob had all, because he had the God of all, Gen. 33:9-11. "What are riches, honors, pleasures, profits, lands, friends, yes, millions of worlds, compared to one Shaddai, God Almighty, God All-sufficient?" (Augustine.) [This name Shaddai belongs only to the godhead, and to no creature; no, not to the humanity of Christ.] This glorious name Shaddai, was a noble foundation for Abraham to act his faith upon, though in things above nature or against it, etc. He who is El Shaddai is perfectly able to defend his servants from all evil, and to bless them with all spiritual and temporal blessings, and to perform all his promises which concern both this life and that which is to come.
Now this name, this title Shaddai, is attributed to Christ, as you may clearly see by comparing Gen. 35:6, 9-11, and 32:24-30, with Hosea 12:3-5. That angel who appeared to Jacob was Christ—the angel of the covenant. Mark, you shall never find either God the Father or the Holy Spirit called an angel in Scripture; nor was this a created angel, for then Jacob would never have made supplication to him—but he was an uncreated angel, even the Lord Almighty, the Almighty God, who spoke with Jacob in Bethel. He who in this divine story is said to be a man, was the Son of God in human shape, as is most evident by the whole narration. The angel in the text is the same angel who conducted the Israelites in the wilderness, and fought their battles for them, Exod. 3:2; Acts 7:30; 1 Cor. 10:4, 5, 9, even Jesus Christ, who is styled once and again the Almighty, Rev. 1:8, and 4:8. In this last scripture is acknowledged Christ's holiness, power, and godhead. Ah Christians! When will you once learn to set one Almighty Christ against all the mighty ones of the world, that you may bear up bravely and stoutly against their rage and wrath, and go on cheerfully and resolutely in the way of your duty.
(6.) The sixth name or title is Adonai—my Lord. Though this name Adonai is given sometimes analogically to creatures—yet properly it belongs to God alone. This name is often used in the Old Testament; and, in Mal. 1:6, it is used in the plural number to note the mystery of the holy Trinity, "If I be Adonim, Lords, where is my fear?" Some derive the word Adonai from a word in the Hebrew that signifies judicare, to judge, because God is the Judge of the world; others derive it from a word which signifies basis, a foundation, intimating that God is the upholder of all things, as the foundation of a house is the support of the whole building.
Now this name is given to Christ: Dan. 9:17, "Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, O Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary." Daniel pleads here no merits of their own—but the merits and mediation of the Messiah, whom God has made both Lord and Christ. Just so, Psalm 106:1, "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool." [Acts 2; Luke 1:43, and 2:11-12; Heb. 1:13.] Christ applies these words to himself, as you may see in that Mat. 22:24, "Jehovah said," that is, God the Father said, La-adoni, "unto my Lord," that is, to Christ; "sit at my right hand," sit with me in my throne. It notes the advancement of Christ, as he was both God and man in one person, to the supremest place of power and authority, of honor and heavenly glory, Mat. 28:18; John 3:35. God's right hand notes a place of equal power and authority with God, even that he should be advanced far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, Eph. 1:21; Heb. 1:3; Luke 22:69.
Christ's reign over the whole world is sometimes called "the right hand of the majesty," and sometimes the "right hand of the power of God." "Until I make your enemies your footstool." This implies,
[1.] That Jesus Christ has ever had, and will have enemies, even to the end of the world.
[2.] Victory, a perfect conquest over them. Conquerors used to make their enemies their footstool. Those proud enemies of Christ, who now set up their crests, look up to heaven, and strut it out against him; even those shall be brought under his feet.
[3.] It implies ignominy, the lowest subjection. Sapores, King of Persia, overcoming the Emperor Valerian in battle, used his back for a stirrup when he got upon his horse. Just so, Tamerlane served Bajazet.
[4.] The footstool is a piece of state, and both raises and easeth him who sits on the throne; so Christ will both raise himself and ease himself by that vengeance that he will take on his enemies, etc.
Now from these divine names and titles which are given to Jesus Christ, we may thus argue—He to whom the incommunicable titles of the most high God are attributed, he is the most high God. These incommunicable titles of the most high God are attributed unto Christ, consequently, he is the most high God. But,
4. Fourthly, Christ's eternal deity, co-equality, and con-substantiality with the Father may be demonstrated from his divine properties and attributes.I shall show you for the opening of this—that the glorious attributes of God are ascribed to the Lord Jesus. I shall begin,
(1.) First, with the ETERNITY of God. God is an eternal God. "From everlasting to everlasting you are God," Psalm 90:2. "The eternal God is your refuge," Deut. 33:27. "He inhabits eternity," Isaiah 57:15. He is called "the ancient of days," Dan. 7:9; and he is said to be "everlasting," and to be "king of old," Psalm 74:12. This shows he had no beginning. In respect of his future eternity, he is called "the everlasting God," Romans 16:26. "The everlasting king," 1 Tim. 1:17. That there is no change with God—he is from everlasting to everlasting the same, we may see Psalm 102:26-27, "The heavens shall perish—but you shall endure; yes, all of them shall wax old like a garment, and as a vesture shall you change them, and they shall be changed. But you are the same, and your years shall have no end." There is no succession or variation in God—but he is eternally the same. Eternity is an interminable existence and duration before any time, and beyond all time; it is a fixed duration, without beginning or ending. [Eternity is taken three ways. [1.] Properly, so it notes to be without beginning and end, so God only is eternal. [2.] Improperly, so it notes to have a beginning but no ending; so angels, so the souls of men are eternal. [3.] Abusive, so some things are said to be eternal which have had a beginning, and shall also have an end. They are called eternal in respect of their long continuance and duration; so circumcision and other Mosaic ceremonies were called eternal or everlasting.]
The eternity of God is beyond all possible conception of measure or time. God ever was, ever is, and ever shall be. Though the manifestations of himself unto the creatures are in time—yet his essence or being never did, nor ever shall be bound up by time. Look backward or forward, God from eternity to eternity, is a most self-sufficient, infinite, perfect, blessed being—the first cause of our being, and without any cause of his own being—an eternal infinite fullness, and possession to himself and of himself. What God is, he was from eternity; and what God is, he will be so to eternity. Oh, this glorious attribute drops myrrh and mercy, oil and honey!
Now this attribute of eternity is ascribed to Jesus Christ: John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word;" "was" notes some former duration, and therefore we conclude that he was before the beginning, before any creation or creatures, for it is said he was God in the beginning, and his divine nature whereby he works is eternal, Heb. 9:14. "He is the first and last," Rev. 1:17. Hence it is that he is called "the firstborn of every creature," because he who created all, and upholds all, has power to command and dispose of all, as the firstborn had power to command the family or kingdom, Col. 1:15-17; compare Isaiah 66:6, with Rev. 22:13.
John 17:5, "Father glorify you me with your own self, with the glory I had with you before the world was." Such glory had the Lord Christ with his Father, namely, in the heavens, and that before the world was. This glory he had, in regard of actual possession. "The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way," says Christ the Son of God, Proverbs 8:22. And as his Father possessed him, so he was possessed of the selfsame glory with his Father before the world was, from eternity. "His goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting," from the days of eternity, says the prophet Micah, speaking of the Messiah, Micah 5:2. See the eternity of Christ further confirmed by these scriptures. [John 8:58, and 17:24; Rev. 1:8, 17; Heb. 1:10-12, and 7:3; Isaiah 9:6, etc. Christ is without beginning of days—or end of time.] But,
(2.) Secondly, As the attribute of eternity is ascribed to Christ, so the attribute of OMNISCIENCE is ascribed to Christ; and this speaks out the godhead of Christ. He knows all things: John 21:17, "Lord, you know all things!" "All things present and future; what I now am, and what I shall be," says Chrysostom on the words: John 2:25, "He needed not that any should testify of man, for he knew what was in man." Shall craftsmen know the nature and properties of their crafts, and shall not Christ know the hearts of men, which are the craft of his own hands? Rev. 2:23, "And all the churches shall know that I am he which searches the thoughts and hearts." Now of all a man's inwards—the heart and the thoughts are the most inward. Christ is nearer to us than we are to ourselves. The Greek word that is here rendered searches, signifies to search with the greatest seriousness, exactness, and diligence that can be; the word is metaphorically taken from such as use to search in mines for silver and gold. Christ is also frequently said to know the thoughts of men, and that before they betrayed themselves by any outward expressions. [Mat. 9:24, and 12:26; Luke 5:22, 6:18, 11:17, and 24:38, etc.]
Now this is confessedly God's peculiar, "God—who knows the hearts." He is the wisdom of the Father, 1 Cor. 1:24. He knows the Father, and does, according to his will, reveal the secrets of his Father's bosom. The bosom is the seat of love and secrecy, John 1:18. Men admit those into their bosoms, with whom they impart all their secrets. The bosom is the place of counsels; that is, Christ reveals the secret and mysterious counsels, and the tender and compassionate affections of the Father to the world. Being in the bosom implieth communication of secrets: the bosom is a place for them. It is a speech of Tully to a friend that had betrusted him with a secret, crede mihi, etc., Believe me, says he, what you have committed to me, it is in my bosom still, I am not ungirt to let it slip out. But Scripture adds this hint too, where it speaks of the bosom as the place of secrets: Proverbs 17:23, "A wicked man takes a gift out of the bosom, to pervert the ways of judgment," speaking of a bribe: Proverbs 21:14, "A gift in secret pacifieth anger, and a reward in the bosom expiateth wrath." Here is "secret" and "bosom" all one, as gift and reward are one. Just so, Christ lies in the Father's bosom; this intimates his being conscious to all the Father's secrets. But,
(3.) Thirdly, As the attribute of God's omniscience is ascribed to Christ, so the attribute of God's OMNIPRESENCE is ascribed to Christ; Mat. 18:20, "Where two or three are gathered together in my name—there am I in the midst of them;" and chapter 28:29, "I am with you always, even to the end of the world." He is not contained in any place—who was before there was any place, and did create all places by his own power. Proverbs 8:22, and John 1:1, 3.
While Christ was on earth in respect of his bodily presence, he was in the bosom of his Father, which must be understood of his divine nature and person. He did come down from heaven, and yet remained in heaven. [John 1:18, 3:13; Psalm 139:7-11.] Christ is universally present, he is present at all times and all places, and among all people; he is universally everywhere, inclusively nowhere. Diana's temple was burnt down when she was busy at Alexander's birth, and could not be at two places together—but Christ is present both in paradise and in the wilderness at the same time. Where he is not by his gracious influence, there he is by his vindictive power. Empedocles could say that God is a circle, whose center is everywhere, whose circumference is nowhere. The poor blind heathens could say that God is the soul of the world; and thus, as the soul is, so is he, that his eye is in every corner, etc. To which purpose they so portrayed their goddess Minerva, that whichever way one cast his eye, she always beheld him. But,
(4.) Fourthly, As the attribute of God's omnipresence is ascribed to Christ, so the attribute of God's OMNIPOTENCY is ascribed to Christ, and this speaks out the Godhead of Christ, "All power is given unto me, in heaven and in earth," Mat, 28:18; John 5:19. "Whatever things the Father does, these also does the Son," Phil. 3:21. He is called by a metonymy "the power of God," 1 Cor. 1:24. "He is the Almighty," Rev. 1:8. "He made all things," John 1:3. "He upholds all things," Heb. 1:3. "He shall change our vile body," says the apostle, "that it may be like unto his glorious body, according to the mighty working whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself," Phil. 3:21.
Now from what has been said we may thus argue, He to whom the incommunicable properties of the most high God are attributed, he is the most high God. The incommunicable properties of the most high God are attributed to Christ, consequently, Christ is the most high God. [See Col. 1:16-17, Psalm 102:26, compared with Heb. 8, 10, John 1:10.] But,
5. Fifthly, Christ's eternal deity, co-equality, and con-substantiality with the Father, may be demonstrated from his DIVINE WORKS. The same works which are peculiar to God, are ascribed to Christ. Such proper and peculiar, such divine and supernatural works as none but God can perform—Christ did perform. As,
[1.] Election. The elect are called his elect, Mat. 24:31; John 13:18. "I know whom I have chosen," John 15:16. "I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain;" verse 19, "But I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you."
[2.] Redemption. O sirs, none but the great God could save us from wrath to come, none but God blessed forever could deliver us from the curse of the law, the dominion of sin, the damnatory power of sin, the rule of Satan, and the flames of hell. [1 Thes. 1:10; Gal. 3:13; Romans 6:14, and 8:1; Luke 1:68-80.] Ah, friends, these enemies were too potent, strong, and mighty for any mere creature, yes, for all mere creatures, to conquer and overcome. None but the most high God could everlastingly secure us against such high enemies.
[3.] Remission of sins. Mat. 9:6, "The Son of man has power to forgive sins." Christ here positively proves that he had power on earth to forgive sins, because miraculously, by a word of his mouth, he causes the palsy man to walk, so that he arose and departed to his house immediately. Christ forgives sin authoritatively. Preachers forgive only declaratively, John. 20:23, as Nathan to David, "The Lord has put away your iniquity," 2 Sam. 12:7. I have read of a man who could move mountains—but none but the man Christ Jesus could ever remit sin. All the persons in the Trinity forgive sins—yet not in the same manner. The Father bestows forgiveness, the Son merits forgiveness, and the Holy Spirit seals up forgiveness, and applies forgiveness.
[4.] The bestowing of eternal life. John 10:28, "My sheep hear my voice, and I give unto them eternal life." Christ is the prince and principle of life, and therefore all out of him are dead while they live, Col. 3:3, 4. Eternal life is too great a gift for any to give, but a God.
[5.] Creation. John 1:3, "All things are made by him;" and verse 10, "The world was made by him." Col. 1:16, "By him were all things created which are in heaven, and which are in the earth, visible and invisible." Now the apostle tells you "he who built all things is God;" Christ built all things, consequently, Christ is God. The argument lies fair and undeniable. The all things that were created by Christ, Paul reduces to two heads—visible and invisible; but Zanchius adds a third branch to this distinction, and makes it more plain by saying that all things that were made are either visible or invisible, or mixed. Visible, as the stars and fowls and clouds of heaven, the fish in the sea, and beasts upon the earth; invisible things, as the angels, they also were made; then there is a third sort of creatures which are of a mixed nature, partly visible in regard of their bodies, and partly invisible in regard of their souls, and those are men.
Eph. 2:9, "Who created all things by Jesus Christ." Heb. 1:2, "He has, in these last days, spoken to us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things; by whom also he made the worlds." This may seem somewhat difficult, because he speaks of worlds, whereas we acknowledge but one—but this seeming difficulty you may easily get over if you please but to consider the people to whom he writes, which were Hebrews, whose custom it was to style God Rabboni, the Lord of the worlds. They were accustomed to speak of three worlds—the lower world, the higher world, and the middle world. The lower world contains the elements, earth and water and air and fire; the higher world that contains the heaven of the blessed; and the middle world that contains the starry heaven. They now being acquainted with this language, and the apostle writing to them, he says that God by Christ made the worlds—those worlds which they were accustomed to speak so frequently of. And whereas one scruple might arise from that expression in the Ephesians, "God created all things 'by' Jesus Christ," and this to the Hebrews, "by whom he made the worlds," as if Christ were only an instrument in the creation and not the principal efficient; therefore another place in this chapter will clear it, which speaks of Christ as the principal efficient Creator of all things. Heb. 1, compare the 8th and 10th verses together, "To the Son he says, Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;" then Christ is God. Then, "You, Lord," verse 10, "have laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of your hands." Namely "your," that is, the Son, which he spoke of before. Christ is the principal efficient of the creation; and in this sense it is said, "By him were all things made," not as by an instrument—but as by the chief efficient.
[6.] The preservation and sustentation of all things. Col. 1:17, "By him all things are held together." They would soon fall asunder, had not Christ undertaken to uphold the shattered condition thereof by the word of his power. All creatures which are made, are preserved by him in being, life, and motion. Heb. 1:3, "He upholds all things by the word of his power." Both in respect of being, excellencies, and operations, sin had hurled confusion over the world, which would have fallen about Adam's ears—had not Christ undertaken to uphold the shattered earth. "He keeps the world together," says one, "as the hoops do the barrel." Christ bears up all things, continuing to the several creatures their being, ordering and governing them, and this he does by the word of his power. By this word he made the world. "He spoke, and it was done." And by this word he governs the world—by his own mighty word, the word of his power. Both these are divine actions, and being ascribed unto Christ, evidence him to be no less than God.
Now from what has been said we may thus argue, he to whom those actions are ascribed, which are proper to the most high God—he is the most high God—but such actions or works are ascribed to Christ, consequently, he is the most high God. But,
6. Sixthly, Christ's eternal deity may be demonstrated from that divine HONOR and WORSHIP that is due to him; and by angels and saints given unto him. The apostle shows, Gal. 4:8, that pious worship ought to be performed to none but to him who is God by nature; and that they are ignorant of the true God who worship those who are no gods by nature; and therefore, if Christ were not God by nature, and consubstantial with the Father, we ought not to perform worship to him. [This is a clear and full evidence that Jesus Christ is, and must be more than mere man, or yet a divine man.] Divine worship is due to the second person of this co-essential Trinity—to Jesus Christ our Lord and God. There is but one immediate, formal, proper, adequate, and fundamental reason of divine worship or adorability, as the schools speak, and that is the sovereign, supreme, singular majesty, independent and infinite excellency of the eternal Godhead; for by divine worship we do acknowledge and declare the infinite majesty, truth, wisdom, goodness, and glory of our blessed God. We do not esteem anything worthy of divine honor and worship which has but a finite and created glory, because divine honor is proper and peculiar to the only true God, who will not give his glory to any other who is not God. God alone is the adequate object of divine faith, hope, love, and worship, because these graces are all exercised, and this worship performed, in acknowledgment of his infinite perfection and independent excellency; and therefore no such worship can be due to any creature or thing below God.
There is not one kind of divine honor due to the Father and another to the Son, nor one degree of honor due to the Father and another to the Son; for there can be no degrees imaginable in one and the same excellency, which is single because infinite; and what is infinite does excel and transcend all degrees and bounds. And if there are no degrees in the ground and adequate reason of divine worship, there can be no reason or ground of a difference of degrees in the worship itself. The Father and the Son are one, John 10:30—one in power, excellency, nature—one God, and therefore to be honored with the same worship, "that all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father," John 5:23.
Every tongue must confess that Jesus Christ, who is man, is God also, and therefore equal to his Father, Phil. 2:6, 11-12; and it can be no robbery, no derogation to the Father's honor, for us to give equal honor to him and his co-equal Son, who subsists in the form of God, in the nature of God. Thus you see the divine nature, the infinite excellency of Jesus Christ, is an undeniable ground of this co-equal honor; and therefore the worship due to Christ as God, the same God with his Father, is the very same worship, both for kind and degree, which is due to the Father. But, for the further and clearer opening of this, consider,
(1.) First, that all INWARD worship is due to Christ. As,
[1.] Believing on him. Faith is a worship which belongs only to God, enjoined in the first commandment, and against trusting in man there is a curse denounced, Jer. 17:5-6. But Christ commands us to believe in him, John 14:1, "You believe in God, believe also in me." John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish—but have everlasting life." Verse 36, "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life, and he who believes not the Son, shall not see life—but the wrath of God abides on him." John 6:47, "Truly, truly, I say unto you, he who believes on me has everlasting life." The same respect that Christians give unto God the Father, they must also give unto the Son, believing on him; which is an honor due only to God. Other creatures, men and angels, may be believed—but not believed on, rested on. This were to make them gods; this were no less than idolatry.
[2.] Secondly, Loving of Jesus Christ with all the heart, commanded above the love, nay, even to the hatred, of father, mother, wife, children, yes, and our own lives! Luke 14:26. He who is not disposed, where these loves are incompatible, to hate father and all other relations, for the love of Christ, cannot belong to Christ. I ought dearly and tenderly to love father and mother—the law of God and nature requiring it of me—but to prefer dear Jesus, who is God blessed forever, before all, and above all, as Paul and the primitive Christians and martyrs have done before me. "Your house, home, and goods, your life, and all that ever you have," says that martyr, "God has given you as love-tokens, to admonish you of his love, to win your love to him again." Now will he try your love, whether you set more by him or by his tokens, etc. When relations or life stand in competition with Christ and his gospel—they are to be abandoned, hated, etc. But,
(2.) Secondly, All OUTWARD worship is due to Christ. As,
[1.] First, Dedication in baptism is in his name. Mat. 28:19, "Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit:" into the name, by that rite initiating them, and receiving of them into the profession of the service of one God in three persons, and of depending on Christ alone for salvation. Baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, is the consecrating of them unto the sincere service of the sacred Trinity.
[2.] Secondly, Divine invocation is given to Jesus Christ. In Acts 7:59, Stephen calls upon the Lord Jesus to receive his spirit. 1 Cor. 1:2, "All who in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord." 1 Thes. 3:11, "Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you." Eph. 1:2, "Grace be to you, and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ." It is the saints' character that they are such as call on the Lord Jesus, Acts 2:21; Acts 9:14. [Ponder upon these scriptures: 2 Cor. 12:8, 9; 1 Thes. 1:1; 2 Thes. 1:1-2; 2 Cor. 1:2.] But,
[3.] Thirdly, Praises are offered to our Lord Jesus Christ: Rev. 5:9, "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation." Verse 11-12, "Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!" [This is taken out of Daniel, chapter 7:10, whereby the glory and power of God and Christ is held forth, they being attended with innumerable millions of angels, which stood before the fiery throne of God, etc.] Verses 13-14, "Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: 'To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, forever and ever!' The four living creatures said, 'Amen!' and the elders fell down and worshiped." Here you have a universal confession of Christ's divine nature and power. All the creatures, both reasonable and unreasonable, do in some sort set forth the praises of Christ, because in some sort they serve to illustrate and set forth his glory. Here you see that Christ is adored with pious worship by all creatures, which does evidently prove that he is God. Since all the creatures worship him with pious worship, we may safely and boldly conclude upon his deity. Here are three parties that bear a part in this new song: 1. The redeemed of the Lord; and they sing in the last part of the 8th verse, and in the 9th and 10th verses. Then, 2, the angels follow, verses 11th and 12th. In the third place, all creatures are brought in, joining in this new song, verse 13. That noble company of the church triumphant and church militant, sounding out the praises of the Lamb, may sufficiently satisfy us concerning the divinity of the Lamb. But,
[4.] Fourthly, Divine adoration is also given to him: Mat. 8:2, "A leper worshiped him." Mark says he kneeled down, and Luke says he fell upon his face, Mark 1:40; Luke 5:12. He showed reverence in his gesture. "Lord, if you will, you can make me clean." [So that he touched Christ's feet, as the word signifies; not kneeled, as the word is translated, Mark 1:40. This leper came to know Christ was God, 1. By inspiration; 2. By the miracles which Christ did.] He acknowledged a divine power in Christ, in that he says he could make him clean if he would. This poor leper lay at Christ's feet, imploring and beseeching him, as a dog at his master's feet, as Zanchy renders the word, which shows that this leper looked upon Christ as more than a prophet or a holy man; and that believing he was God, and so able to heal him if he would, he gave him pious worship. He does not say to Christ, "Lord, if you will pray to God, or to your Father for me, I shall be whole." He says, "Lord, if you will, I shall be whole." He acknowledges the leprosy curable by Christ, which he and all men knew was incurable by others, which was a plain argument of his faith; for leprosy, physicians acknowledge incurable.
As Avicenna observes on Mat. 2:11, "Though the wise men of the east, who saw Herod in all his royalty and glory, worshiped him not—yet they fell down before Christ." No doubt but that by divine instinct they knew the divinity of Christ, hence they worshiped him, not only with civil worship, as one born king of the Jews—but with divine worship; which was, it is like, the outward gesture of reverence, and kneeling, and falling down, for so the Greek words signify. Is it probable that they would worship a young babe, that by reason of his infancy understands nothing, except they did believe some divine thing to be in him? and therefore not the childhood—but the divinity in the child, was worshiped by them, (Chrysostom.) Certainly if Christ had been no more than a natural child, they would never have undertaken so long, so tedious, and so perilous a journey to have found him out; principally, considering, as some conceive, they themselves were little inferior to the kings of the Jews. It is uncertain what these wise men, who were Gentiles, knew particularly concerning the mystery of the Messiah—but certainly they knew that he was something more than a man, by the internal revelation of the Spirit of God, who by faith taught them to believe that he was a king though in a cottage, and a God though in a cradle; and therefore as unto a God they fell down and worshiped him, etc. But,
[5.] Fifthly, When Jesus Christ was declared to the world, God commanded even the most glorious angels to worship him, as his natural and co-essential Son, who was begotten from the days of eternity, in the unity of the Godhead; for, when he brought in his first-begotten and only-begotten Son into the world, he said, "And let all the angels of God worship him," Heb. 1:6—the glorious angels who refuse divine honor to be given to themselves: "No, don't worship me!" says the angel to John, when John fell at his feet to worship him, "I am your fellow-servant," etc., Rev. 19:10, and 22:9—yet they give, and must give, divine honor unto Christ, Phil. 2:9. The manhood of itself could not be thus adored, because it is a creature—but as it is received into unity of person with the Deity, and has a partner agency therewith, according to its measure in the work of redemption and mediation. All the honor due to Christ, according to his divine nature, was due from all eternity; and there is no divine honor due to him from and by reason of his human nature, or any perfection which does truly and properly belong to Christ as man. He who was born of Mary, is to be adored with divine worship—but not because he was born of Mary—but because he is God, the co-essential and eternal Son of God. From what has been said we may thus argue—He to whom pious worship is truly exhibited, is the most high God. But pious worship is truly exhibited unto Christ, consequently, Christ is the most high God. But,
7. Seventhly, Christ's eternal deity may be demonstrated from Christ's oneness with the Father, and from that claim that Jesus Christ does lay to all that belongs to the Father, as God. [Never did any mere creature challenge to himself the honor due to God—but miscarried and were confounded. Witness the angels that God cast out of heaven, 2 Pet. 2:4; and Adam whom he cast out of paradise, Gen. 3:22-24; and Herod, whom the angel smote with a fatal blow, Acts 12:23; and those several Popes that we read of in ecclesiastical histories; and therefore had Jesus Christ been but a mere creature, divine justice would have confounded him for making himself a God.] Now, certainly, if Jesus Christ were not very God, he would never have laid claim to all that is the Father's, as God.
John 16:15, "All things that the Father has," as God, are mine. "The Father has an eternal godhead, and that is mine. The Father has infinite power and wisdom, and that is mine. The Father has infinite majesty and glory, and that is mine. The Father has infinite happiness and blessedness in himself, and that is mine," says Christ. The words are very emphatic, having in them a double universality. [1.] "All things:" there is one note of universality; [2.] "Whatever:" there is another note of universality. Well, says Christ, there is nothing in the Father, as God—but is mine. "All that the Father has is mine;" the Father is God, and I am God; the Father is life, and I am life; for whatever the Father has is mine.
John 10:30, "I and my Father are one;" we are one eternal God, we are one in consent, will, essence, nature, power, dominion, glory, etc. "I and my Father are one;" two persons—but one God. He speaks this as he is God, one in substance, being, and deity, etc. As God, he says, "I and my Father are one;" but, in respect of the form of a servant, his assumed humanity, he says, John 14:28, "My Father is greater than I." John 10:37, "If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not." Verse 38, "But if I do, though you believe not me, believe the works," etc. The argument of itself is plain. No man can of himself, and by his own power, do divine works, unless he is truly God. I do divine works by my own power, yes, "I do the works of my Father;" not only the like and equal—but the same with the Father. Therefore I am truly God; neither deserve I to be called a blasphemer, because I said I was one with the Father.
1 John 5:7, "And these three are one," one in nature and essence, one in power and will, and one in the act of producing all such actions, as without themselves any of them is said to perform. Look, as three lamps are lighted in one room, albeit the lamps be different—yet the lights cannot be severed; so in the godhead, as there is a distinction of persons, so a simplicity of nature. From the scriptures last cited we may safely and confidently conclude that Christ has the same divine nature and godhead with the Father, that they both have the same divine and essential titles and attributes, and perform the same inward operations in reference to all creatures whatever.
To make it yet more plain, compare John 17:10 with John 16:15. "All things that the Father has are mine," John 16:15; "Father, all mine are yours, and yours are mine," John 17:10. That is, whatever belongs to the Father, as God, belongs to Christ; for we speak not of personal but essential properties. Christ does lay claim to all that is natural, to all that belongs to the Father, as God, not to anything which belongs to him as the Father, as the first person of the blessed Trinity. "All things that the Father has are mine." This he speaks in the person of the mediator, "Because of his fullness we all receive grace for grace," John 1:16; and herein shows the unity of essence in the holy Trinity, and community of power, wisdom, sanctity, truth, eternity, glory, majesty. Such is the strict union of the persons of the blessed Trinity, that there is among them a perfect communion in all things, for "all things that the Father has are mine." And let thus much suffice for the proof of the godhead of Christ.
Jews and Gentiles originally alike descended of the woman, who both had a like interest in the woman and her seed, though the Jews did and might challenge greater propriety in the seed of Abraham than the Gentiles could, Romans 3:1-2. But they having been a long time, as it were, God's favorites, a selected people, a chosen nation, did wholly appropriate the Messiah to themselves, and would endure no co-partners, Exod. 19:6; 1 Pet. 2:9; nor that any should have any right, title, or interest in him but themselves; and therefore they would never talk otherwise than of the Messiah, the King of Israel, the son of David, never naming him once, as the light of the Gentiles, the expectation of the Gentiles, the hope and desire of the eternal hills, the hope of all the ends of the earth, the seed of the woman, the Son of man, as descending from Eve, extracted from Adam, and allied unto all mankind. [Isaiah 42:6; Hab. 3:6; Psalm 65:5; Gen. 3:15; Luke 3:23, to the end.]
And it is observable that the evangelist Luke, at the story of Christ's baptism, when he was to be installed into his ministry, and had that glorious testimony from heaven, derives his pedigree up to the first Adam, the better to draw all men's eyes to that first promise concerning the seed of the woman, and to cause them to own him for that seed there promised, and for that effect that is there mentioned of dissolving the works of Satan. And as that evangelist gives that hint when he is now entering this quarrel with Satan, even in the entrance of his ministry, so does he very frequently and commonly by this very phrase give the same intimation for the same purpose. No sooner had Nathanael proclaimed him the Son of God in John 1:49, "Nathanael answered, and said unto him, Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the King of Israel," but he instantly titles himself the Son of man, verse 51; not only to show his humanity, for that Nathanael was assured of by the words of Philip, who calls him Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph, verse 45—but also to draw the thoughts of the hearers to the first promise, and to work them to look for a full recovery of all that by the second Adam which was lost in the first. Though the gates of heaven were shut against the first Adam by reason of his fall—yet were they open to the second Adam: verse 51, "And he said unto him, Truly, truly, I say unto you"—this double asseveration, "Truly, truly," puts the matter beyond all doubt and controversy—"hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man,"—the Jacob's ladder, the bridge that joins heaven and earth together—as Gregory has it. This 51st verse does greatly illustrate Christ's glory, and further confirm believers' faith, that Christ is Lord of angels even in his state of humiliation, and has them ready at his call, as he or his people shall need their service, to move from earth to heaven, and from heaven to earth. This title, "the Son of man," shows that the Son of God was also the Son of man; and that he delighted to be so, and therefore does so often take this title to himself, "the Son of man."
Now concerning the manhood of Christ, the prophet plainly speaks: Isaiah 9:6, "Unto us a child is born, and unto us a son was given." Parvulus, a child, that notes his humanity; Filius, a Son, that notes his deity. Parvulus, a child, even man of the substance of his mother, born in the world, Mat. 1:25; Filius, a Son, even God of the substance of his Father, begotten before the world, Proverbs 8:22 to the end. Parvulus, a child: behold his humility, "she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger," Luke 2:7; Filius, a Son: behold his dignity; when he brings his first-begotten Son into the world, he says, "And let all the angels of God worship him," Heb. 1:6.
To prove that he was man, it is enough to say, that he was born, he lived, he died. God became man by a wonderful, unspeakable, and inconceivable union. Behold God is offended by man's affecting and coveting his wisdom and his glory—for that was the devil's temptation to our first parents, "You shall be as gods," Gen. 3:5. And man is redeemed by God's assuming and taking his frailty and his infirmity. Man would be as God, and so offended him; and therefore God becomes man, and so redeems him. Christ, as man, came of the race of kings. As man he shall judge the world, Acts 17:31. As man, he was wonderfully born of a virgin, Mat. 1:23; Isaiah 7:14; called therefore by a peculiar name, Shiloh, intimating that Christ is he who has brought us peace and tranquility; and that he might be our peacemaker, it was necessary that he should be Shiloh, born of the sanctified seed of a woman without the seed of man.
The apostle expounds the name where he says of Christ, that he was "made of a woman," not of a man and woman both—but of a woman alone without a man, Gal. 4:4. Christ as man was foretold of by the prophets, and by sundry types. Christ as man was attended upon at his birth by holy angels, and a peculiar star was created for him, Luke 2:13-14; Mat. 2:1-2. Christ as man was our sacrifice and expiation; he was the redemption price, such as we could never have paid—but must have remained, and even rotted in the prison of hell forever. Christ as man was conceived of the Holy Spirit, Mat. 1:18. Christ as man is ascended into heaven, Acts 1:9-10. Christ as man sits at the right hand of God, Col. 3:1.
Now what do all these things import—but that Jesus Christ is a very precious and most excellent person, and that even according to his manhood? Christ had the true properties, affections, and actions of man. He was conceived, born, circumcised; he did hunger, thirst; he was clothed; he did eat, drink, sleep, hear, see, touch, speak, sigh, groan, weep, and grow in wisdom and stature, etc., as all the four evangelists do abundantly testify. But because this is a point of grand importance, especially in these days, wherein there are risen up so many deceivers in the midst of us, it may not be amiss to consider of these following particulars—
(1.) First, Of these special scriptures that speak out the certainty and verity of Christ's body.John 1:14, "And the Word was made flesh;" 1 Tim. 3:16, "Without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness, God manifested in the flesh." Christ is one and the same, begotten of the Father before time, the Son of God without mother; and born of the Virgin in time, the Son of man without father; the natural and consubstantial son of both; and, oh! what a great mystery is this! Heb. 2:14, 16, "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same, that through death he might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil. For truly he took not on him the nature of angels—but he took on him the seed of Abraham." According to the Greek, He assumed, caught, laid hold on, as the angels did on Lot, Gen. 19:16; or as Christ did on Peter, Mat 14:31; or as men use to do upon a thing they are glad they have got, and are loath to let go again.
O sirs! this is a main pillar of our comfort—that Christ took our flesh, for if he had not taken our flesh, we could never have been saved by him!
Romans 1:3, "Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh." Rom, 9:5, "Whose are the fathers, and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen." This is a greater honor to all mankind, than if the greatest king in the world should marry into some poor family of his subjects. Christ's flesh was flesh indeed; as true, real, proper, very flesh as that which any of us carry about with us.
Col. 1:22, "In the body of his flesh through death;" Heb. 10:5, "Therefore when he comes into the world he says, Sacrifice and offering you would not—but a body have you prepared me." It is a metaphor taken from mechanics, who skillfully fit one part of their work to another, and so finish the whole. God fitted his Son's body to be joined with the deity, and to be an expiatory sacrifice for sin. 1 Pet. 2:24, "Who his own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree," etc. The word himself, has a great emphasis, and therefore that evangelical prophet Isaiah mentions it no less than five times in Isaiah 53:4-5, 7, 11-12. Christ had none to help or uphold him under the heavy burden of our sins and his Father's wrath, Isaiah 63:3. It is most certain, that Christ accomplished the work of man's redemption alone. He who did bear our sins, that is, the punishments that were due to our sins, in his own body on the tree; he did assume flesh, cast into the very mold and form of our bodies, having the same different parts, members, lineaments, the same proportion which they have. Christ's body was no specter or ghost, as if it had no being but what was in appearance and from imagination—as the Marcionites, Manichees, and other heretics of old affirmed, and as some men of corrupt minds do assert in our days. His body was as real, as solid a body as ever any was.
And therefore the apostle calls it a body of flesh, Col. 1:22—a body, to show the organization of it; and a body of flesh, to show the reality of it, in opposition to all aerial and imaginary bodies. Christ's body had all the essential properties of a true body—as all the evangelists do abundantly witness. Take a few instances for all: Luke 24:39, "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself, handle me and see, for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see me have." Christ here admits of the testimony of their own senses to assure those who it was no vision or ghost—but a true and real body risen from the dead, which they now saw. Certainly whatever is essential to a true glorified body, that is yet in Christ's body.
Those stamps of dishonor which the Jews had set upon Christ by wicked hands—those scars he retained after his resurrection, partly for the confirmation of his apostles, and partly to work us to a willingness and resoluteness to suffer for him when we are called to it.
1 John 1:1, "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the word of life." He alludes to the sermons which he and the other apostles heard from Christ's own mouth, and also to the glorious testimony which the Father gave once and again from heaven to Christ. He alludes also to the miracles that were wrought by Christ, and to that sight that they had of his glory in the mount, and to his resurrection and visible ascension into the highest heaven, Mat. 17, Acts 1. He alludes to the familiar conversation which the apostles had with Christ for about three years, and also to that touching, when after the resurrection Christ offered himself to the apostles who believed not in him, to touch him, Luke 24. The truth of these things were confirmed to them by three senses—hearing, seeing, handling; the latter still surer than the former; and this proves Christ to be a true man, as his being from the beginning sets out his deity.
Christ had also those natural affections, passions, infirmities, which are proper to a body—such as hunger. Mat. 4:2, "When he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he afterwards became hungry." All Christ's actions are for our instruction, not all for our imitation. Matthew expressly makes mention of nights, lest it should be thought to be such a fast as that of the Jews, who fasted in the day, and did eat at the evening and in the night, (Chemnitius.) He would not extend his fast above the term of Moses and Elijah, lest he should have seemed to have appeared only, and not to have been, a true man. He was hungry, not because his fasting wrought upon him—but because God left man to his own nature, (Hilary.) It seems Christ felt no hunger until the forty days and forty nights were expired—but was kept by the power of the Deity, as the three Hebrew children, or rather champions, from feeling the heat of the fire, Dan. 3:27. Christ fasted forty days and forty nights, and not longer, lest he might be thought not to have a true human body; for Moses and Elijah had fasted thus long before—but never did any man fast longer. When Christ began to be hungry the tempter came to him, not when he was fasting. The devil is cunning, and will take all the advantage he can upon us. During the forty days and forty nights the devil stood doubtful, and dared not assault the Lord Jesus, partly because of that voice he heard from heaven, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased," Mat. 3:17, and partly because his forty days and forty nights' fast did portend some great thing—but now, seeing Christ to be hungry, he impudently assaults him. Christ was not hungry all the forty days—but after, he was hungry, to show he was man.
Some think that Christ by his hunger did objectively allure Satan to tempt him, so that he might overcome him, as soldiers sometimes feign a running away, that they may the better allure their enemies closely to pursue them, so that they may cut them off, either by an ambush or by a facing about: so the devil tempted Christ as man, not knowing him to be God; or if he did know him to be God, Christ did as it were encourage his cowardly enemy, who dared not set upon him as God, showing himself to be man.
And as Christ was hungry, so Christ was thirsty. John 4:7, "There came a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus said unto her, Give me drink." Here you see that he who is rich and Lord of all—became poor for us, that he might make us rich, 2 Cor. 8:9; and he who gives to all the creatures their food in due season, Pa. 104:27, he begs water of a poor woman to refresh himself in his weariness and thirst. John 19:28, "Jesus said, I thirst." Bleeding breeds thirsting.
Sleeping. Mat. 8:24, he was asleep, to show the truth of the human nature, and the weakness of his disciples' faith. Christ was in a fast and dead sleep, for so much the Greek word signifies: his senses were well and fast bound, as if he had no operation of life, and therefore the disciples are said to raise him, as it were from the dead. The same Greek word is used in many places where mention is made of the resurrection, as you may see by comparing these scriptures together. [John 2:19; Mat. 27:52; 1 Cor. 15:12.]
He was asleep, [1.] By reason of his labor in preaching and journey he slept; [2.] To show forth the truth of his human nature. Some think the devil stirred up the storm, hoping thereby to drown Christ and his disciples, as he had destroyed Job's children in a tempest before, Job 1:18-19. But though Satan had the malice and will enough to do it—yet he had not the power; yes, though Christ slept in his human nature—yet was he awake in his deity, that the disciples being in danger might cry unto him more fervently, and be saved more remarkably.
And as Jesus slept, so he was also weary. John 4:6, "Jacob's well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime." In the heat of the day Christ was weary. Christ took on him not only our nature—but the common infirmities thereof, and he is to be as seriously eyed in his humanity, as in the glory of his Godhood. Therefore it is recorded that he was weary with his journey before half the day was spent.
But, in a word—he was conceived, retained so long in the virgin's womb, born, circumcised, lived about thirty years on earth, conversed all that time with men, suffered, died, and was crucified, buried, rose again, ascended, and sat down with his body at the right hand of God, and with it will come again to judge the world. Now what do all these things speak out—but that Christ has a true body? and who in their wits will assert that all this could be done in, and upon, and by, an imaginary body? But,
(2.) Secondly, The several names which are given to Jesus Christ in Scripture, do clearly evidence the verity and reality of his human nature.He is called:
(1.) The son of the virgin, Isaiah 7:14.
(2.) Her first-born son, Luke 2:7.
(3.) The branch, Zech. 3:8 and 6:12.
(4.) The branch of righteousness, Jer. 33:15, and 23:5.
(5.) A rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots, Isaiah 11:1.
(6.) The seed of the woman, Gen. 3:15.
(7.) The seed of Abraham, Gen. 22:18.
(8.) The fruit of David's loins, Psalm 80:36, and 132:11; Acts 2:30.
(9.) Of the seed of David according to the flesh, Romans 1:3; 2 Sam. 7:2.
(10.) The lion of the tribe of Judah, Rev. 5:5.
(11.) The seed of Jacob, Gen. 28:14.
(12.) The seed of Isaac, Gen. 26:4.
(13.) A son born to us, a child given to us, Isaiah 9:6.
(14.) The son of man, Mat. 8:20, and 17:13; Rev. 1:13; Dan. 7:13; John 3:13.
(15.) He is called the man Christ Jesus, 1 Tim. 2:5; 1 Cor. 15:21, "Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead." God's justice would be satisfied in the same nature that had sinned.
(16.) God's Son made of a woman, Gal. 4:4.
(17.) Man, 1 Tim. 2:5; the man Christ Jesus.
(18.) The son of David, Mat. 1:1; Mark 12:35. "How say the scribes, that Christ is the son of David?" In that the scribes and Pharisees knew and acknowledged, according to the Scripture, that Christ should be the son of David—that is, should be born and descend of the stock and posterity of David according to the flesh—hence we may easily gather the truth of Christ's human nature, that he was ordained of God to be true man as well as God, in one and the same person; for else he could not be the son of David. Now, that he must be the son of David, even the scribes and the Pharisees knew and acknowledged, as we see here; and this was a truth which they had learned out of the Scriptures; and not only they—but even the common sort of Jews in our Savior's time.
John 7:42, "some of the common people spoke thus, Has not the Scripture said that Christ comes of the seed of David?" And the Messiah was then commonly called the son of David, Romans 1:3. Just so, then, Christ being of the seed of David after the flesh, he must needs be true man as well as God; for which cause he was incarnate in the due time appointed of God; that is to say, he being the Son of God from everlasting, did in time become man, taking our nature upon him, together with the infirmities of our nature, sin only excepted, John 1:14.
Now thus you see that the eighteen names which are given to Christ in the blessed Scriptures, do abundantly demonstrate the certainty of Christ's human nature. But,
(3.) Thirdly, Christ took the whole human nature.He was truly and completely man, consisting of flesh and spirit, body and soul; yes, that he assumed the entire human nature, with whatever is proper to it. Christ took to himself the whole human nature, in both the essential parts of man, soul and body. The two essential and constitutive parts of man are soul and body; where these two are, there is the true man. Now Christ had both, and therefore he was true man.
[1.] First, Christ had a true human and reasonable SOUL.The reasonable soul is the highest and noblest part of man. This is that which principally makes the man, and has the greatest influence into his being and essence. If, therefore, Jesus Christ had only a human body without a human soul, he had lacked that part which is most essential to man, and so he could not have been looked upon as true and perfect man. O sirs! Christ redeemed and saved nothing but what he assumed. The redemption and salvation reach no further than the assumption. Our soul then would have been never the better for Christ, had he not taken that as well as our body. Hence said Augustine, "Therefore he took the whole man, without sin, that he might heal the whole of which man consists, of the plague of sin." And Fulgentius, to the same purpose: "As the devil smote by deceiving the whole man, so God saves by assuming the whole man." "If he will save the whole man from sin, he will assume the whole man without sin," says Nazianzen.
The Scriptures do clearly evidence that Christ had a real human soul: Mat. 26:38, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death." Every word is emphatical: "My soul;" his sorrows pierced his soul, and "sorrowful round about," even to death,—that is, "heavy round about," Psalm 22:16. Look, as the soul was the first agent in transgression, so it is here the first patient in affliction. "To death;" that is, this sorrow will never be finished or intermitted but by death. "My soul is exceeding sorrowful." Then Christ had a true human soul; neither was his deity to him for a soul, as, of old, men of corrupt minds have fancied; for then our bodies only had been redeemed by him, and not our souls, if he had not suffered in soul as well as in body. The sufferings of his body were but the body of his sufferings; the soul of his sufferings were the sufferings of his soul, which was now beset with sorrows, and heavy as heart could hold.
John 12:27, "Now is my soul troubled, and what shall I say?" The Greek word signifies a vehement commotion and perturbation; as Herod's mind was troubled when he heard that a new king was born, Mat. 2:3; or as the disciples were troubled when they thought they saw a ghost walking on the sea, and cried out for fear, Mat. 14:26; or as Zacharias, Luke 1:12, was troubled at the sudden sight of the angel. The rise and cause of Christ's soul-trouble was this: the Godhead hiding itself from the humanity's sense; and the Father letting out, not only an apprehension of his sufferings to come—but a present taste of the horror of his wrath, due to man for sin. He is amazed, overwhelmed, and perplexed with it in his humanity; and no wonder, since he had the sins of all the elect, laid upon him by imputation, to suffer for. And so this wrath is not let out against his person—but against their sins which were laid on him.
Now though Christ was here troubled, or jumbled and puzzled, as the word imports—yet we are not to conceive that there was any sin in this exercise of his, for he was like clean water in a clean vessel, which, being ever so often stirred and shaken—yet still keeps clean and clear. Neither are we to think it strange that the Son of God should be put to such perplexities in this trouble as not to know what to say; for considering him as man, encompassed with our sinless infirmities, and that this heavy weight of wrath did light upon him suddenly, it is no wonder that it did confound all his thoughts as man. O sirs! look, that as sin has infected both the souls and bodies of the elect, and chiefly their souls, where it has its chief seat, so Christ, to expiate this sin, did suffer unspeakable sorrows and trouble in his soul, as well as torture in his body; "for my soul is troubled," says he. Though some sufferings of the body are very exquisite and painful, and Christ's in particular were such—yet sad trouble of mind is far more grievous than any bodily distress, as Christ also found, who silently bore all his outward troubles—but yet could not but cry out of his inward trouble, "Now is my soul troubled."
Isaiah 53:10, "You shall make his soul an offering for sin," Isaiah 53:7; 1 Pet. 2:24. When Christ suffered for us, our sins were laid upon him, verse 5-6, as by the law of sacrificing of old, the sinner was to lay his hands upon the head of the animal, confessing his sins, and then the animal was slain, and offered for expiation, Lev. 8:14, 18, 22; thus having the man's sins as it were taken and put upon it, and hereby the sinner is made righteous. The sinner could never be pardoned, nor the guilt of sin removed—but by Christ's making his soul an offering for sin. What did Christ in special recommend to God, when he was breathing out his last gasp—but his soul? Luke 23:46, "When Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, he said, Father, into your hands I commend my spirit; and having said thus, he gave up the Spirit;" that is, "To your safe custody and blessed wisdom I commend my soul, as a special treasure or jewel, most carefully and tenderly to be preserved and kept.
Luke 2:52, "He increased in wisdom and stature;" here is stature for his body, and wisdom for his soul. His growth in that speaks the truth of the former, and his growth in this the truth of the latter: his body properly could not grow in wisdom, nor his soul in stature, therefore he must have both.
There are two essential parts which make up one of his natures, his manhood, namely, soul and body—but both of these two of old have been denied. Marcion divests Christ of a body, and Apollinaris of a soul; and the Arians held that Christ had no soul—but that the deity was to him instead of a soul, and supplied the office thereof, that what the soul is to us, and does in our bodies, all that the divine nature was to Christ, and did in his body. And are there not some among us, that make a great noise about a light in them, that dash upon the same rock? But the choice scriptures last cited may serve sufficiently to confute all such brain-sick men. But,
[2.] Secondly,As Christ had a true human and reasonable soul, so Christ had a perfect, entire, complete BODY, and everything which is proper to a body; for instance,
(1.) He had blood Heb. 2:14, "He also took part of the same flesh and blood." Christ had in him the blood of a man. Shedding of blood there must be, for without it there is no remission of sin, Heb. 9:22. The blood of brute creatures could not wash away the blots of reasonable creatures, Heb. 10:4-5, 10; wherefore Christ took our nature, that he might have our blood to shed for our sins. There is an emphasis put upon Christ as man, in the great business of man's salvation, "The man Christ Jesus," 1 Tim. 2:5; the remedy carrying in it a suitableness to the malady, the sufferings of a man to expiate the sin of man.
(2.) He had bones as well as flesh: Luke 24:39, "A spirit has not flesh and bones, as you see me have."
(3.) Christ had in him the affections of a man, Phil. 2:8, which affections he fully expressed when he was on earth, Mat. 12:18-20; nay, he retains those affections now he is in heaven; in glory he has a fellow-feeling of his people's miseries: Acts 9:4, "Saul, Saul, why persecute you me?" See Mat 25:35, to the end of that chapter. Though Christ in his glorified state be freed from that state of frailty, mutability, mortality—yet he still retains his sympathy and pity.
(4.) He had in him the familiarity of a man; how familiarly did Christ converse with all sorts of people in this world, all the evangelists do sufficiently testify. Man is a sociable and familiar creature; Christ became man who he might be a merciful high priest, Heb. 2:17; not that his becoming man made him more merciful, as though the mercies of a man were more than the mercies of God—but because by this means mercy is conveyed more suitably and familiarly to man. But,
(4.) Fourthly and lastly, Our Lord Jesus Christ took our infirmities upon him. When Christ was in this world he submitted to the common accidents, adjuncts, infirmities, miseries, calamities, which are incident to human nature. For the opening of this, remember there are three sorts of infirmities:
(1.) There are sinful infirmities: James 5:7; Psalm 77:10. The best of men are but men at the best. Witness Abraham's unbelief, David's security, Job's cursing, Jonah's passion, Thomas's unbelief, Peter's lying, etc. Now these infirmities Jesus Christ took not upon him; for though he was made like unto us in all things—yet without sin, Heb. 4:15.
(2.) There are personal infirmities, which from some particular causes befall this or that person; as leprosy, blindness, dumbness, palsy, dropsy, epilepsy, stone, gout, sickness. Christ was never sick. Sickness arises from the unfit or unequal temperature of the humours, or from intemperance of labor, study, etc.—but none of these were in Christ. He had no sin, and therefore no sickness. Christ took not the passions or infirmities which were proper to this or that man.
(3.) There are natural infirmities which belong to all mankind since the fall; as hunger, thirst, wearisomeness, sorrowfulness, sweating, bleeding, wounds, death, burial. Now these natural infirmities which are common to the whole nature, these Jesus Christ took upon him, as all the evangelists do abundantly testify. Our dear Lord Jesus lay so many weeks and months in the Virgin's womb; he received nourishment and growth in the ordinary way; he was brought forth and bred up just as common infants are; he had his life sustained by common food, as ours is; he was poor, afflicted, reproached, persecuted, tempted, deserted, falsely accused, etc.; he lived an afflicted life, and died an accursed death; his whole life, from the cradle to the cross, was made up of nothing but sorrows and sufferings; and thus you see that Jesus Christ did put himself under those infirmities which properly belong to the common nature of man, though he did not take upon him the particular infirmities of individuals. Now what do all these things speak out—but the certainty and reality of Christ's manhood?
QUESTION. But why must Christ partake of both natures? was it absolutely necessary that he should so do?
ANSWER. Yes, it was absolutely necessary that Christ should partake of both natures; and that both in respect of God, and in respect of us:
(1.) First, in respect of US; and that,
[1.] First, Because man had sinned, and therefore man must be punished. By man came death, therefore by man must come the resurrection of the dead, 1 Cor. 15:21. Man was the offender, therefore man must be the satisfier; man had been the sinner, and therefore man must be the sufferer. It is but justice to punish sin in that nature, in which it had been committed. By man we fell from God, and by man we must be brought back to God. By the first Adam we were ruined, by the second Adam we must be repaired, Romans 5:12. The human nature was to be redeemed, therefore it was necessary that the human nature should be assumed. The law was given to man, and the law was broken by man, and therefore it was necessary that the law should be fulfilled by man. But,
[2.] Secondly, That by this means the justice of God might be satisfied in the same nature which had sinned, which was the nature of man. Angels could not satisfy divine justice, because they had no bodies to suffer. The brutish sensible creatures could not satisfy the justice of God, because they had no souls to suffer. Therefore man, having body, soul, and sense, must do it; for he had sinned in all, and he could suffer in all.
(2.) Secondly, There are reasons both in respect of GOD and in respect of ourselves, why Jesus Christ should be God, and God-man also; and they are these five—
[1.] First, That he might be a meet mediator between God and man. Christ's office, as mediator, was to deal with God for man, and to deal for God with man. Now that he might be fit for both these transactions, for both parts of this office, he must partake of both natures. That he might effectually deal with God for man, he must be God, "If a man sins against the Lord, who shall entreat for him?" says Eli to his sons, 1 Sam. 2:25. And that he might deal for God with man, he must be man. He must be God, that he may be fit to transact, treat, and negotiate with God; and he must be man, that he may be fit to transact, treat, and negotiate with man. When God spoke unto Israel at Mount Sinai at the giving of the law, the people were not able to abide that voice or presence, and therefore they desired a mediator, a man like themselves, who might be as a mediator to go between God and them, Exod. 20:18-19.
Now upon this very ground, besides many others that might be mentioned, it was very requisite that Jesus Christ should be both God and man, that he might be a meet mediator to deal between God and man, Heb. 12:18. Jesus Christ was the fittest person, either in that upper or in this lower world, to mediate between God and us. There was none fit to umpire the business between God and man—but he who was God-man. Job hit the nail on the head, when he said, "If only there were someone to arbitrate between us, to lay his hand upon us both," Job 9:33. There was a double use of the arbitrator, and his laying his hand upon them: (1.) To keep the dissenting parties asunder, lest they should fall out and strike one another; (2.) To keep them together, and compose all differences, that they might not depart from each other. The application is easy.
Man is not fit to mediate, because man is the person offending; angels are not fit to mediate, for they cannot satisfy divine justice, nor pacify divine wrath, nor procure our pardon, nor make our peace, nor bring in an everlasting righteousness upon us. God, the Father, was not fit for this work, for he was the person offended; and he was as much too high to deal with man, as man was too low to deal with God. The Holy Spirit was not fit for this work, for it is his work to apply this mediation, and to clear up the believer's interest in this mediation. Just so, then there is no other person fit for this office but Jesus Christ, who was a middle person, between both, that he might deal with both. Christ could never have been fit to be the mediator in respect of his office, if he had not first been a middle person in respect of his natures; for, says the apostle, Gal. 20, "Now a mediator is not a mediator of one—but God is one." "A mediator is not a mediator of one," that is, of one party—but is always of two differing parties to unite them; "not of one;" that is,
(1.) Not of one person, because mediation implies more persons than one; it necessarily supposes different parties between whom he does mediate. Christ, to speak after the manner of men, lays his hand upon God, the Father, and says, "O blessed Father, will you be at peace with these poor sinners? will you pardon them? and will you lift up the light of your countenance upon them? If you will, then I will undertake to satisfy your justice, and to pacify your wrath, and to fulfill your royal law, and to make good all the wrong they have done against you." And then he lays his hand upon the poor sinner, and says, "Sinner, are you willing to be changed and renewed? are you willing to come under the bond of the covenant? are you willing to give up your heart and life to the guidance and government of the Spirit? Then be not discouraged, for you shall certainly be justified and saved."
(2.) Not of one nature—the mediator must necessarily have more natures than one—he must have the divine and human nature united in his single person, or else he could never suffer what he was to suffer, nor never satisfy what he was to satisfy, nor never bring poor sinners into a state of reconciliation with God. It is further observable that the text last cited says, "God is one," 1 Tim. 2:5; namely, as he is essentially considered, and therefore as so he cannot be the mediator—but Christ, as personally considered, he is not of one, that is, not of one nature, for he is God and man too, and therefore he is the only person that is fitted and qualified to be the mediator; and it is observable that, when Christ is spoken of as mediator, his manhood is brought in, that nature being so necessary to that office.
1 Tim. 2:5, "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus." Jesus Christ was God and man; as man he ought to satisfy—but could not; as God he could satisfy—but ought not. But consider him as God and man, and so he both could satisfy and ought to satisfy, and accordingly he did satisfy, according to what was prophesied of him.
Dan. 9:24, "He did make reconciliation for iniquity, and brought in everlasting righteousness." He did not begin to do something and then faint and leave his work imperfect—but he finished it, and that to the glory of his Father.
John 17:4, "I have glorified you on the earth, I have finished the work which you gave me to do." And it is good to observe the singularity and oneness of the person mediating; not many, not a few, not two—but one mediator between God and man. There was none with him in his difficult work of mediatorship—but he carried it on alone. Though there are many mediators among men—yet there is but only one mediator between God and men: and it is as high folly and madness to make more mediators than one, as it is to make more Gods than one, Isaiah 63:3. "There is one God, and one mediator between God and men." For look, as one husband satisfies the wife, as one father satisfies the child, as one master satisfies the servant, and one sun satisfies the world—so one mediator is enough to satisfy all who desire a mediator, or who have an interest in a mediator. [I confess the word Mesites is given to Moses, in that Gal. 3:19—but Moses was but a typical mediator, and you never find that Moses is called a mediator in a way of redemption, or satisfaction, or paying a ransom; for so dear Jesus is the only mediator: so the word is used in that 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 8:6-8, 9:14-15, and 12:22-24.]
The true sense and import of this word a mediator, is a middle person, or one who interposes between two parties at variance, to make peace between them. Though a mediator is rendered variously, sometimes an umpire or arbitrator, sometimes a messenger between two people, sometimes an interpreter imparting the mind of one to another, sometimes a reconciler or peace-maker—yet this word does most properly signify a mediator or a middler, because Jesus Christ is both a middle person and a middle officer between God and man, to reconcile and reunite God and man. This of all others is the most proper and genuine signification of this name. Jesus Christ is the middle, that is, the second person in the Trinity, between the Father and the Holy Spirit. He is the only middle person between God and man, being in one person God-man; and his being a middle person fits and capacitates him to stand in the midst between God and us.
And as he is the middle person, so he is the middle officer, intervening or interposing or coming between God and man by office, satisfying God's justice to the full for man's sins by his sufferings and death, and maintaining our constant peace in heaven by his meritorious intercession. Hence, as Gerhard observes, "Jesus Christ is a true mediator, is still found in the middle. He was born, as some think, about the middle of the night; he suffered, Heb. 13:12, in the middle of the world, that is, at Jerusalem, seated in the middle of the earth: he was crucified in the midst, between the two thieves, John 19:18: he died in the air on the cross, in the midst between heaven and earth: he stood after his resurrection in the midst of his disciples, John 20:19; and he has promised, that where two or three are gathered together in his name, he will be in the midst of them, Mat. 18:20: and he walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, Rev. 2:1, that is, the churches: and he as the heart in the midst of the body, distributes graces and virtue to all the parts of his mystical body, Eph. 4:15-16." Thus Jesus Christ is the mediator between God and man; middle in person and middle in office. And thus you have seen at large what a fit mediator Jesus Christ is, considered in both his natures, considered as God-man. But,
[2.] Secondly, If Jesus Christ is not God, then there is no spiritual nor eternal good to be expected or enjoyed. If Christ is not God, our preaching is in vain, and your hearing is in vain, and your praying is in vain, and your believing is in vain, and your hope of pardon and forgiveness by Jesus Christ is in vain; for none can forgive sins but a God. Christ has promised that "believers shall never perish;" he has promised them "eternal life," and that he will "raise them up at the last day," he has promised "a crown of righteousness," he has promised "a crown of life," he has promised "a crown of glory," he has promised that conquering Christians shall "sit down with him in his throne, as he is set down with his Father in his throne." He has promised that they shall not be hurt of "the second death." [Mark 2:7; John 3:16; John 10:28; 2 Tim. 4:8; James 1:12; 1 Pet. 5:4; Rev. 3:21, and 2:11.] And a thousand other good things Jesus Christ has promised—but if Jesus Christ be not God, how shall these promises be made good? If a man who has never a foot of land in England, nor yet worth one groat in all the world, shall make his will, and bequeath to you such and such mansions and lands, in such a county or such a county; and shall by will, give you so much in gold, and so much in jewels, and so much in money; whereas he is not, upon any account, worth one penny in all the world; certainly such legacies will never make a man the richer nor the happier.
None of those great and precious promises, which are hinted at above, will signify anything—if Christ is not God. For they can neither refresh us, nor cheer us in this world, nor make us happy in the eternal world. If Christ is not God, how can he purchase our pardon, procure our peace, pacify divine wrath, and satisfy infinite justice? A man may satisfy the justice of man—but who but a God can satisfy the justice of God? "Will God accept of thousands of rams, or ten thousands of rivers of oil, or the firstborn of your body for the sin of your soul?" Micah 6:7. Oh, no! he will not, he cannot! That scripture is worthy to be written in letters of gold!
Acts 20:28, "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers; to feed the church of God, which he has purchased with his own blood." This must needs relate to Christ, and Christ is here called God, and Christ's blood is called the blood of God; and without all question, Christ could never have gone through with the purchase of the church, if the blood he shed had not been the blood of God. This blood is called God's own blood, because the Son of God, being and remaining true God, assumed human flesh and blood in unity of person. By this phrase, that which appertains to the humanity of Christ is attributed to his divinity, because of the union of the two natures in one person, and communion of properties. The church is to Christ a bloody spouse, an Aceldama or field of blood: for she could not be redeemed with silver and gold—but with the blood of God, 1 Pet. 1:18-19: so it is called by a communication of properties, to set forth the incomparable value and virtue thereof. But,
[3.] Thirdly, If Christ be not God, yes, God-man, then we shall never be able to answer all the challenges that either divine justice or Satan can make upon us. Whatever the justice of God can exact—that the blood of God can discharge. Now the blood of Christ is the blood of God, as I have evidenced in the second reason. By reason of the hypostatic union, the human nature being united to the divine, the human nature did suffer, the divine did satisfy. Christ's godhead gave both majesty and efficacy to his sufferings. Christ was sacrifice, priest, and altar. He was sacrifice as he was man, priest as he was God and man, and altar as he was God. It is the property of the altar, to sanctify the thing offered on it, Mat. 18:19; so the altar of Christ's divine nature sanctified the sacrifice of his death, and made it meritorious. Man sinned, and therefore man must satisfy. Therefore the human nature must be assumed by a surety, for man cannot do it. If an angel should have assumed human nature, it would have polluted him. Human nature was so defiled by sin that it could not be assumed by any but God. Now Christ being God, the divine nature purified the human nature which he took, and so it was a sufficient sacrifice, the person offered in sacrifice being God as well as man.
This is a most noble ground upon which a believer may challenge Satan to say his worst and to do his worst. Let Satan present God as dreadful, yes, as a consuming fire, Heb. 12:29; let him present me as odious and abominable in the sight of God, as once he did Joshua, Zech. 3:2-3; let him present me before the Lord as vile and mercenary, as once he did Job, chapter 1:9-11; let him aggravate the height of God's displeasure, and the height and depth and length and breadth of my sins—I shall readily grant all. But against all this, I will set the infinite satisfaction of dear Jesus. This I know, that though the justice of God cannot be avoided nor bribed—yet it may be satisfied. Here is a proportionable satisfaction, here is God answering God. It is a very noble plea of the apostle, "Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died," Romans 8:34. Let Satan urge the justice of God as much as he can, I am sure that the justice of God makes me sure of salvation; and the reason is evident, because his justice obliges him to accept of an adequate satisfaction of his own appointing, 1 John 1:7-9.
The justice of God makes me sure of my own happiness, because if God is just—when that satisfaction is made, justice requires that the person for whom it is made shall be received into favor. I confess that unless God had obliged himself by promise, there were no pressing his justice thus far. There was mercy in the promise of sending Christ, out of mercy to undertake for us; otherwise we cannot say that God was bound in justice to accept of satisfaction, unless he had first in mercy been pleased to appoint the way of a surety, Gen. 2:15. [Had not Christ stepped in between man's sin and God's wrath, the world had fallen about Adam's ears.] Justice indeed required satisfaction—but it required it of the person who sins: Gen. 2:17, "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it; for in the day you eat thereof you shall surely die"—or dying you shall die; or, as others read the words, "you shall surely and shortly or suddenly die!" And without controversy, every man would die the same day he is born. "The wages of sin is death," Romans 6:23; and this wages should be presently paid, did not Christ, as a blessing, beg poor sinners' lives for a season. For which cause he is called the Savior of all men, 1 Tim. 4:10—not of eternal preservation—but of temporal reservation. It was free and noble mercy to all mankind, that dear Jesus was promised and provided, sealed and sent into the world, John 6:27, that some might be eternally saved, and the rest preserved from wrath, for a time. Here comes in mercy, that a surety shall be accepted; and what he does is as if the person that offended should have done it himself. Here is mercy and salvation surely founded upon both. Ah, what sweet and transcendent comfort flows from this very consideration, that Christ is God But,
[4.] Fourthly, The great and glorious majesty of God required it, that Christ should be God. God the Father being a God of infinite holiness, purity, justice, and righteousness; none but he who was truly God, who was essentially one with the Father, could or dared interpose between God and fallen man, John 10:30, and 14:9-11, etc. The angels, though they are glorious creatures—yet they are but creatures; and could these satisfy divine justice, and bear infinite wrath, and purchase divine favor, and reconcile us to God, and procure our pardon, and change our hearts, and renew our natures, and adorn our souls with grace? And yet all these things must be done—or we undone, and that forever! Now if this were a work too high for angels, then we may safely conclude that it was a work too hard for fallen man. Man was once the mirror of all understanding, the epitome of wisdom—but now there is a great alteration; for poor sorry man is now sent to school to learn wisdom and instruction of the beasts, birds, and creeping things. He is sent to the ant to learn providence, Proverbs 6:6, to the stork and to the swallow to learn to make a right use of time, Jer. 8:7, to the ox and the donkey to learn knowledge, Isaiah 1:3, and to the fowls of the air to learn confidence, Mat. 6. Man who was once a master of knowledge, a wonder of understanding, perfect in the science of all things, is now grown blockish, sottish, and senseless, and therefore altogether unfit and unable to make his peace with God, to reconcile himself to God, etc. But,
[5.] Fifthly and lastly, That Christ's sufferings and merits might be sufficient, it was absolutely necessary that he should be God. The sin of man was infinite, I mean infinitely punishable; if not infinite in number—yet infinite in nature, every offence being infinite, it being committed against an infinite God. No creature could therefore satisfy for it—but the sufferer must be God, so that his infiniteness might be answerable to the infiniteness of men's offences. There was an absolute necessity of Christ's sufferings, partly because he was pleased to substitute himself in the sinner's stead, and partly because his sufferings alone, could be satisfactory. Now, unless he had been man, how could he suffer? and unless he had been God, how could he satisfy offended justice? Look, as he must be more than man, that he may be able to suffer, that his sufferings may be meritorious; so he must also be man, that he may be in a capacity to suffer, die, and obey; for these are no work for one who is only God. A God alone, cannot suffer; a man alone, cannot merit; God cannot obey, man is bound to obey. Therefore Christ, that he might obey and suffer, he was man; and that he might merit by his obedience and suffering, he was God-man; just such a person did the work of redemption call for. That Christ's merits might be sufficient, he must be God; for sufficient merit for mankind could not be in the person of any mere man, no, not in Christ himself, considered only as man; for so all the grace he had he did receive it, and all the good he did he was bound to do it; for "he was made of a woman, and made under the law," Gal. 4:4—not only under the ceremonial law as he was a Jew—but under the moral as a man, for it is under that law under which we were, and from which we are redeemed, Gal. 3:13, therefore in fulfilling it he did no more than that which was his duty to do; he could not merit by it, no, not for himself, much less for others, considered only as man; therefore he must also be God, that the dignity of his person might add dignity, and virtue, and value to his works.
In a word, God could make satisfaction—but he was not bound to do so. Man was bound to make satisfaction—but he could not do it. Therefore he who would do it must be both God and man. As the prophet speaks, "Is not this a firebrand taken out of the fire?" Zech. 3:2. You know that in a firebrand taken out of the fire, there is fire and wood inseparably mixed, and in Christ there is God and man wonderfully united. He was God, else neither his sufferings nor his merits could have been sufficient; and if his suffering could not atone, much less any other man's. For all other men are both conceived and born in original sin, and also much and often defiled with actual sin, and therefore we ought forever to abhor all such Popish doctrines, prayers, and masses for the dead, which exalt man's merits, man's satisfaction: "For no man can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him; for the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceases forever," Psalm 49:7-8. And therefore all the money that has been given for masses, dirges, etc., has been thrown away; for Jesus Christ, who is God-man, is the only Redeemer, and in the eternal world, money bears no mastery. Let me make a few applications and INFERENCES from what has been said.