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they are made the lot, the seed, the portion and inheritance of Christ. To this end doth the Lord, that is the Father, who said unto the Lord the Son, “ Sit thou on my right hand,” (Psal cx. 2.) send the “ rod of his power out of Sion,” ver. 2. by it to declare his rule even over his enemies, and to make his people, those given unto him, willing and obedient, ver. 3. The inheritance given by the Father unto Christ, being wholly in the possession of another, it became bim to take it out of the usurper's hand, and deliver it up to him, whose right it was; and this he did, and doth by the revelation of his mind in the preaching of the word, Col. i. 12, 13. And from these considerations it is, that
4. The whole revelation and dispensation of the will of God in and by the word, is (as was said) eminently appropriated unto the Father. « Eternal life (the counsel, the purpose, ways, means, and procurer of it) was with the Father, and was manifested to us by the word of truth,” 1 John i. 1, 2. And it is the Father, that is, his will, mind, purpose, grace, love, that the Son declares, John i. 18. in which work he speaks nothing, but what he heard from, and was taught by the Father, John viii. 28. And thence he says, “ the doctrine is not mine, (that is, principally and originally) but his that sent me,” John vii. 16. And the gospel is called the “ gospel of the glory of the blessed God," 1 Tim. i. 11. which is a periphrasis of the person of the Father, who is the “ Father of glory,” Eph. i. 17. And we might also declare, that the great work of making this gospel effectual on the minds of men, doth peculiarly belong unto the Father, which he accomplisheth by liis Spirit, 2 Cor. ili. 18. ch. iv. 6. But that is not our present business. Thus the revelation of events that should befal the church to the end of the world, that Christ signified by his angel unto Jolin, was first given him of the Father, Rev. i. 1. And therefore, though all declarations of God and his will, from the foundation of the world, were made by the Son, the second person of the Trinity, and by his Spirit speaking in the prophets, 1 Pet. i. 11-13. yet as it was not by him immediately, no more was it as absolutely so, but as the great angel and messenger of the covenant, by the will and appointment of the Father. And therefore, the very dispensers of the gospel are said, πρεσβευειν υπες Χριστο, to treat as ambassadors about the business of Christ with men in the name of God the Father; ώς τε Θεε παρακαλεντος δι ήμων, saith the apostle; as if God the Father 6 exhorted in and by us,” 2 Cor. v. 20. For to him doth this whole work principally relate.
And from the appropriating of this work originally and principally to the Father, there are three things that are particularly intimated unto us.
1. The authority that is to be considered in it: the Father is the original of all power and authority; of him the whole family of heaven and earth is named, Eph. iii. 15. He is the Father of the whole family, from whom Christ himself receives all his power and authority as Mediator, Matt. xxviii. 18. which when his work is. accomplished, he shall give up again into his hand, 1 Cor. xv. 28. He sent him into the world, set him over his house, gave him command unto his work. The very name and title of Father, carries authority along with it, Mal. i. 6. And in the disposal of the church, in respect of this paternal power doth the Son affirm, that the Father is greater than he, John xiv. 28. and runs up the contempt of the word in the preaching of it by his messengers, into a contempt of this authority of the Father: he that "refuseth you, retuseth me; he that refuseth me, refuseth him that sent me.”
The revelation then and dispensation of the mind and will of God in the word, is to be considered as an act of supreme sovereign authority, requiring all subjection of soul and conscience in the receiving of it. It is the Father of the family that speaks in this word; he that hath all power and authority essentially in him, over the souls and eternal conditions of them to whom he speaks. And what holy reverence, humility and universal subjection of soul to the word this in a particular manner requires, it is easy to apprehend.
2. There is also love. In the economy of the blessed Trini- . ty about the work of our salvation, that which is eminently and in an especial manner ascribed unto the Father, is love, as hath been at large elsewhere shewed, 1 John iv. 9, 10. 16. God, that is the Father, saith he, is love. And how he exerts that property of his nature in the work of our salvation by Christ, he there shews at large: so John iii. 16. Rom. v. 7,8. To be love, full of love, to be the especial spring of all fruits of love, is peculiar to him as the Father; and from love it is that he makes the revelation of his will whereof we speak, Deut. vii. 8. chap. xxxiii. 3. Psal. cxlvii. 19, 20. 2 Cor. v. 18, 19. It was out of infinite love, mercy and compassion, that God would at all reveal his mind and will unto sinners. He might for ever have locked up the treasures of his wisdom and prudence, wherein he abounds towards us in his word, in his own eternal breast. He might have left all the sons of men unto that woful darkness, whereinto by sin they had cast themselves, and kept them, with the angels who sinned before them, under the chains and power of it, unto the judgment of the great day: But it was from infinite love that he condescended to reveal himself and his will unto us. This mixture of authority and love, which is the spring of the revelation of the will of God unto us, requires all readiness, willingness, and cheerfulness in the receipt of it, and submission unto it. Besides these also,
3. There is care eminently seen in it. The great care of the church is in, and on the Father. He is the husbandman that takes care of the vine and vineyard, John xv. 1, 2. And thence our Saviour, who had a delegated care of his people, commends them to the Father, John xvii. as to him to whom the care of them did principally and originally belong. Care is proper to a father, as such; to God as a father. Care is inseparable from paternal love. And this also is to be considered in the revela- . tion of the will of God.
What directions from these considerations may be taken for the use both of them that dispense the word, and of those whose duty it is to attend unto the dispensation of it, shall only be marked in our passage.
For the dispensers of the word, let them,
1. Take heed of pursuing that work negligently, which hath its spring in the authority, love, and care of God; see 1 Tim. iv. 13-16.
2. Know to whom to look for support, help, ability, and encouragement in their work, Eph. vi. 19, 20. And,
3. Not to be discouraged, whatever opposition they meet with in the discharge of their duty, considering whose work they have in hand, 2 Cor. iv. 15, 16.
4. Know how they ought to dispense the word, so as to answer the spring from whence it comes; namely, with authority, Jove to, and care for the souls of men. And,
5. Consider to whom they are to give an account of the work they are called to the discharge of, and entrusted with, Heb. xiii. 7.
And for them to whom the word is preached, let them consider,
1. With what reverence and godly fear they ought to attend to the dispensation of it, seeing it is a proper effect and issue of the authority of God, Heb. xii
. 25. And, 2. How they will escape if they neglect so great salvation declared unto them from the love and care of God, Heb. ii. 3. And,
3. With what holiness and spiritual subjection of soul unto God, they ought to be conversant in and with all the ordinances of worship, that are appointed by him, Heb. xii. 28, 29. Other observations I shall more briefly pass over.
« God spake in them.”
II. The authority of God speaking in and by the penmen of the Scriptures, is the sole bottom and foundation of our assent. ing to them, and what is contained in them, with faith divine and supernatural
He spake in them: he then continues to speak by them, and therefore is their word received, 2 Pet. i. 20, 21. But this is elsewhere handled at large.
III. God's gradual revelation of himself, his mind and will unto the church, was a fruit of infinite wisdom and care towards his elect.
“ These are parts of his ways," says Job, “ but how little a portion is heard of him!” Job xxvi. 14. Though all his ways and dispensations are ordered in infinite wisdom, yet we can but stand at the shore of the ocean, and admire its glory and greatness. Little it is that we can comprehend. Yet what may be our instruction, what may further our faith and obedience, is not hidden from us. And these things lie evident unto us, in this gradual discovery of himself and his will.
1. That he over-filled not their vessels, he gave them out light as they were able to bear. Though we know not perfectly what their condition was, yet this we know, that as no generation needed more light than they had, for the discharge of the duty that God required of them, so more light would have unfitted them for somewhat or other, that was their duty in their respective generations.
3. He kept them in a continual dependence upon himself, and waiting for their rule and direction from him, which, as it tended to his glory, so it was exceedingly suited to their safety, in keeping them in an humble waiting frame.
3. He so gave out the light and knowledge of himself, as that the great work which he had to accomplish, that lay in the stores of his infinitely wise will, as the end and issue of all revelations, namely the bringing forth of Christ into the world, in the way wherein he was to come, and for the ends which he was to bring about, might not be obviated. He gave light enough to believers to enable them to receive him ; and not so much as to hinder obdurate sinners from crucifying him.
4. He did this work so, that the pre-eminence fully and ultimately to reveal him, might be reserved for him, in whom all things were to be gathered unto a head. All privileges were to be kept for, and unto him, which was principally done by this gradual revelation of the mind of God.
5. And there was tender care conjoined with this infinite wisdom. None of his elect in any age were left without that light and instruction which were needful for them in their seasons and generations. And this so given out unto them, as that they might have fresh consolation and support, as their occasions did require. While the church of old was under this dispensation, they were still hearkening when they should hear new tidings from heaven for their teaching and refreshment. And if any difficulty did at any time befal them, they were sure
not to want relief in this kind. And this was necessary before the final hand was set to the work. And this discovers the woful state of the present Jews. They grant that the revelation of the will of God is not perfected, and yet notwithstanding all their miseries, darkness and distresses, they dare not pretend that they have heard one word from heaven these 2000 years, that is from the days of Malachi ; and yet they labour to keep the vail
upon IV. We may see hence the absolute perfection of the revelation of the will of God by Christ and his apostles, as to every end and purpose whatever, for which God ever did, or ever will in this world reveal himself, or his mind and will.
For as this was the last way and means that God ever designed for the discovery of himself, as to the worship and obedience which he requires, so the person by whom he accomplished this work, makes it indispensably necessary that it be also absolutely perfect; from which nothing can be taken, to which nothing must be added, under the penalty of the extermination threatened to him that will not attend to the voice of that prophet.
We now return again unto the words of our apostle. Having declared the Son to be the immediate revealer of the gospel, in pursuit of his design, he proceeds to declare his glory and excellency, both that which he had in himself antecedently to his susception of the office of Mediator, and what he received upon his investiture therewith.
Two things in the close of this verse he assigns unto him: 1. That he was appointed heir of all. 2. That by him the worlds were made." 'Wherein consists the first amplification of his proposition, concerning the revealer of the gospel, in two parts, both acknowledged by the Jews, and both directly conducing to his purpose in hand.
"Ον εθηκε κληρονομος παντων. E9nxt; posuit, fecit, constituit; Syr. DD, posuit: he placed, set, made, appointed.
I. 'Oy, whom ; that is, the Son, in whom the Father spake unto us; and as such, as the revealer of the gospel, exr9pwmos, God and man. The Son, as God, hath a natural dominion over all. To this he can be no more appointed, than he can be to be God. On what account he hath his divine nature, on the same he hath all the attributes and perfections of it, with all things that necessarily on any supposition attend it, as supreme dominion doth. Nor doth this denotation of him respect merely the human nature ; for although the Lord Christ performed all the acts of his mediatory office in and by the human nature, yet he did them not as man, but as God and man in one person, John i. 14. Acts xx. 28. And therefore unto him, as such, do the privileges belong that he is vested with on the account of