THERE is a peculiarity in this sentence which we shall do well first to understand. We are not to suppose that the will of the Father was contrary to the will of the Son, but that the Son meant to say it was not His will exclusively--it was not His will merely as man, but the joint will, and purpose, and design of the glorious Triune Jehovah. Just as when He said, in the passage upon which we dwelt some time ago, "My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me." (John 7:16) We are not to suppose that He did not approve of the doctrine, that is was not His at heart, that it was not His in origin, in substance, and fullness, but that He was not alone, not acting as an isolated individual, but that the grand council of peace, the ancient purpose of love, was carried out in His obedience and sufferings. Therefore, the will He was about to accomplish was not His own exclusively, but His Father's which sent Him also.
A further view we may take of the term will. We are accustomed to view in the term "will" a testament, an appointment, a bequest. All that pertains to salvation is the gift of the Father in the Person of the Son, and revealed by the Holy Ghost; and very blessed it is to see, in multitudes of Scriptures, how all the Persons of the glorious Trinity, individually as well as unitedly, concur in the grand matters of the Church's redemption and salvation. Indeed this ought to be always viewed as the standard of orthodoxy. For whatever is presented to your view, either from the pulpit or from the press, in the character of divinity, if it does not equally harmonize and honor all the Persons of the Godhead distinctly and unitedly, it is the doctrine of devils, and not the doctrine of God. There is not a vestige of Christianity where the doctrine of the Trinity is not known, and owned, and honored. There is not a vestige of godliness in the heart of any child of Adam where Father, Son, and Holy Ghost do not officially dwell. There is not a clear view of one doctrine of God's grace to be obtained by the most sagacious man upon earth, unless the telescope, if I may so speak, the doctrine of the Trinity, is applied to the eye of faith, and all viewed therethrough. Our blessed Lord was very intent upon this point, that He should not be viewed as acting alone, but as having His message, His commission, His embassy, from the throne; that what He said and did on earth was no new thing with God, but that He came down on purpose to carry out, accomplish, and fulfill what Had been planned, and purposed, and settled in the council of peace. Away with contingencies--my Lord never owned them, nor will I in the grand matter of salvation. When He says, in the language of my text, "I came down from heaven," it is quite unnecessary to say that He was in heaven before He came down upon earth; that His appearance in the likeness of sinful flesh was not His origin; that He had an existence before, though not in humanity. And this accords with what He said in the 17th of John, "The glory that I had with thee before the world was." So that I view His coming down from heaven as marking His eternal, essential, and self-existent Godhead. Then it opens to our view the grand subject of His incarnation. Then the errand on which He came is of infinite importance to our souls--to do that which you and I could not perform. And then the inquiry as to the manner in which the work is accomplished is of moment to us. If Christ has done His work there is none for me to do--if Christ has not done His work then there is more for me to do than all human intellect can accomplish, or the life of Methuselah can carry out, with all the aid of all the angels in heaven, and we are lost for ever. Our salvation hinges on this one point, Has Christ done His work for us or not? If He has, it is an insult to Him to attempt to add to it--if He has not, we may as well go down to despair at once, for there is not a shadow of hope for any human being. And this leads me to the point I just touched upon in the reading of the chapter, that the grand difference between me and the Popish Armininians--for they are Papists at heart--is simply this: they are for what they are to do to obtain the favor of God--my soul rejoices in accepting what He has done by my precious, glorious covenant Head.
I must not detain you longer by way of exordium, for there seems a great deal before me in the statements I have just referred to, which I will now, for the sake of strengthening your memories, put in order. First of all, glance at the incarnation of Christ; then, secondly, at His appointed work--to do the will of Him that sent Him; and then, thirdly, the manner in which He accomplished that will. We may learn that for our personal satisfaction.
I. First of all, let us look at what we commonly term the incarnation. People tell us we are not to use any word we cannot find in Scripture, and use this as an argument against the Trinity, and so on. They must surely be idiots to argue after that manner. They cannot find the word incarnation in Scripture, but I can find it said the great mystery of godliness was "God manifest in the flesh," (1 Tim. 3:16) and that is the same thing. It is not the word that I care about so much as the thing; and though I cannot find the word Trinity in the book of God, yet I can find it said that "there are three that bare record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one." (1 John 5:7) And I can find, in every promise and principle of the gospel, reference made, directly or indirectly, to each Person in the Trinity. A man must be an Infidel who is not a Trinitarian, be he who he may. But we are to speak a little this morning, of the coming of Christ, the Word that was made flesh and dwelt among us, the eternal Logos. Here I remark, that the second Person in the Trinity took to Himself perfect humanity when He came. It was said to be in the likeness of sinful flesh, but nowhere declared to be sinful; nay, it is emphatically declared, that it was without sin. But when I view His taking perfect humanity, I feel it to be of vast importance that we should understand the complex Person of our precious Christ, lest we should confound the Deity with the humanity, or the humanity with the Deity, neither of which is to be done. He is God manifest in the flesh. If I might be allowed so to speak, perfect humanity tenanted by infinite Deity. I view the Person of my glorious Christ in His incarnation as in the very body which the Father prepared Him. "A body hast thou prepared me" (Heb. 10:5)--that is, by Divine appointment. Then that body, further, is the very work of God the Holy Ghost. Hence, in the conception of the Virgin Mary, I find it recorded "that holy thing which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost." Now when I view the humanity as the gift and preparation of God the Father, the express work and operation of the Holy Ghost, assumed and inhabited by the second Person of the glorious Trinity, I have a consistent, and proper, and scriptural view of the glorious Christ of God, whom I trust and love. I have endeavored to be explicit in this statement, lest I should be misunderstood. Solomon once asked the question, at the dedication of his temple, "Will God in very deed dwell with men upon the earth? Behold, the heavens, even the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him, how much less this house which I have built." (1 Kings 8:27) How much less that little infant that was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger, having been conceived in the Virgin Mary. Oh, the mystery of godliness! the mystery of the purity, and holiness, and perfection of his humanity! We hesitate not to say, that His humanity was as pure, and incapable of sin, as His Godhead; and yet His humanity would not have been capable of the great work of salvation, which we shall presently have to dwell upon, without His Godhead; nor could His Godhead have suffered, or have been capable of atonement, without His manhood. The great mystery of godliness lies here, and the man who is not clear in his apprehensions of the Person of Christ by faith, is clear in nothing that may be accounted evangelical. The man who has right perceptions of the Person of Christ, connected with a believing confidence in Him, is as safe for heaven as if He was there. "For this is life eternal," said Jesus, appealing to the Father, "to know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." (John 17:3) I want you to know Him clearly, personally, spiritually. "Christ in you the hope of glory." (Col. 1:27)
Now let us pass on to mark, that the Godhead combined with perfect humanity was essential in order to be tangible to law and justice. Now justice could claim nothing of Deity; and justice might claim what it would of Adam's fallen race, but would never receive it. This claim must be urged, if met at all, upon a person who is tangible to it, liable to its claims being of a perfect nature that had given no offence, and yet possessing a nature capable of answering all its demands. Such is our precious Christ. The law had a claim upon His obedience, because He is Head of the Church. He met the claim in human nature, magnified the law and made it honorable (Isa. 42:21)--justice had a claim of satisfaction upon His humanity--in His humanity He met that claim, and threw open His heart and extended His arms when justice cried, "Smite the Shepherd--awake, O sword, against the man that is my fellow." (Zech. 13:7) The incarnation of our precious Lord was essential to His being a Redeemer, His being a Saviour, His being an Advocate; because while in His Godhead He had power to vanquish all foes, in His Godhead He had not a nature that could suffer. Deity could not suffer--His humanity was essential for this; and therefore in the prospect of His becoming incarnate, it is written, "The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all." (Isa. 53:6) If He had not been human He could not have suffered for sin. If He had not been Divine, He could not have borne up under the sufferings.
One point further. This precious glorious Christ going forth from heaven, coming down for this express purpose, was of necessity in all things made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest; that He might know how to succor, that He might be tender, that He might sympathize, that He might perfectly understand all the exercises of His brethren upon earth from first to last. (Heb. 2:17,18) And oh how beautiful are those expressions to which we have just adverted--"He was tempted in all points like unto His brethren, yet without sin; that He might know how to succour them that are tempted." "Touched with the feeling of our infirmities." How could He be touched, if He were not human, if He had not become incarnate? He could hunger, and thirst, and toil, and exercise patience, and weep, and be weary with His journey; all which pertains to the sinless infirmities of His Church, He could endure and bear. Yea, He could conflict with Satan, endure the contradiction of sinners against Himself, experience soul darkness and desertion when He cried out, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" He could pass through all that is experienced and endured by His Church, save only that which is sinful. He was not peccable; He could not have a sinful thought or inclination. Then He is capable of tenderly sympathizing with His Church; and this marks the character of His incarnation--"God manifest in the flesh."
Now just let us glance at His appointment, having the Father's commission--"I came down from heaven to do the will of Him that sent me." He came under the authority, the commission of the Father. The high decrees of Infinite Wisdom and love had given Him that appointment in the council of peace. Before all time the grand matter pertaining to the salvation of the Church was arranged, and ordered, and settled, and determined; yea, says David, "ordered in all things and sure." (2 Sam. 23:5) And our precious glorious Christ accepted the appointment of God the Father to be the Daysman, the Head, the Surety, the Substitute of His whole Church; and take the entire charge of her redemption, and salvation, and everlasting glorification, upon Himself. Now we glory in the thought that this brings us to the fixed standing, and to the firm believing assurance and confidence that the gospel holds out; that Jehovah's fixed decree has settled all things relative to His Church, and deputed and commissioned the Third Person in the Trinity to assume humanity for the purpose of carrying out and accomplishing those decrees. Moreover, by His accepting the appointment the honor of Christ is at stake with regard to His Church's redemption and salvation. I wish to put these few things in as positive terms as I can, that you may have them in remembrance after my decease. I feel that poor old nature is wearing out, and the sooner the better for my comfort; but I bless God that He has given me an increasingly firm determination to utter these things in the strongest term I can muster, that you may see when you look over the records after I have gone to glory, that there has been no flinching in the declaration of the word of God here. Then I dwell a moment on this point--that the honor of Jesus is pledged in accepting this appointment. He came down to earth to do His Father's will. The high decree of the eternal council settled all. Jesus put forth His "Lo, I come;" and thus made Himself responsible for the entire and eternal salvation of His Church, and undertook the charge of her from one eternity to another; and when she fell away wallowing in the ruins of the fall, His eye pitied, His hand was stretched forth to save, and
"Down from the shining realms of bliss,
With joyful haste He came,"
as one of our poets has it, for the express purpose of carrying out the appointment He had accepted, and thus securing the honor of His own name. Follow this on a little further with the Holy Spirit's testimony, for it is His to take of the things of Christ, and show them to us. (John 16:14,15) And we will dwell a little on the way in which He thus testifies of Christ. (John 15:26) Take the prophetic office. The Holy Ghost commanded Moses to set it down--"A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me. Him shall ye hear." (Acts 3:22) Take His priestly office. We hear Jehovah in the 110th Psalm announcing--"I have sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec." Take His kingly office. "I have set my King upon my holy hill of Zion; I will declare the decree." (Ps. 2:6,7) We have then the testimony of the Holy Ghost relative to the official character of Christ, as coming forth commissioned by the Father. In His prophetic office He is commissioned to instruct and teach all His family--"All Thy children shall be taught of the Lord." (Isa. 54:13; John 6:45) His priestly office--to supersede Aaron, and annihilate all human successions, Himself alone being the High Priest under the oath of the Father, after the order of Melchisedec. And in His kingly office the Father hath set Him upon His holy hill, and declared the decree concerning Him; and Isaiah seemed to love to chime in and sing, "A King shall reign in righteousness:" (Isa. 32:1) and this is the King, the Lord of hosts, that reigneth in righteousness to the present hour.
I cannot quit this point, for it is marrow and fatness to my soul, without just remarking that the Holy Ghost is commissioned to witness to us of His official character. As the apostle says to the Galatians--"The gospel which was preached of me is not after man; for I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." (Gal. 1:11,12) As a Prophet, Christ has taught me all I know concerning Him. As a Priest, I have an entire confidence and full reliance on His atonement, and sacrifice, and perfect work; I desire no other priest, nay, I despise all others. As a King, I rejoice in His scepter, in His sway; for He has conquered and vanquished my heart, and made me cry
I pass on just to mark, His coming down from heaven was under engagement of responsibility. Equity was always dear to His heart. Efficiency was in His person as God-man; contingency utterly excluded by His finished work. I meant to have dwelt on these particulars, but I see our time is hastening. Equity is so dear to Him, that "righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins." (Isa. 11:5) He is the God of truth, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. He would not, could not save a sinner at the expense of one of the attributes of Deity. He would not, could not save a sinner but on principles the most upright and full of equity. Well, "Who is sufficient for these things?" Our Jesus. Sufficiency is with Him. As we sometimes sing of Him, He is
If He had not a nature that was crucified through weakness, as the apostle states, He could not have been a sufferer; He could not have bowed His head and died. There is efficiency with Him. Away then with all other saviours--we want no other. Our Jesus is all-sufficient, being truly and properly God, and truly and properly man.
Pass on to mark the exclusion of all contingencies. And here I must be allowed to detain you a few minutes; because the grand difference between Popery and Protestantism, between the carnal and the spiritual, between the Church and the world, in point of theology, lies in this one point--theirs is a religion of contingencies, ours is a religion of certainty. I beg of you to bear in mind what I shall say on this point, if you forget all I say besides. The religion of the carnal mind, whether Papist, Puseyite, or nominal Protestant--the religion of the worldling is a religion of contingency. It is full of ifs, and buts, and peradventures; it leaves the deciding point to man's caprice; it holds out certain offers and proposals in themselves perfectly ridiculous, and quite beyond the touch of fallen mortals; and then sets man to work to perform impossibilities, and it is, if they will repent, and if they will believe, and if they will turn, and if they will bow before God, and the like. Now my creed has no such ifs in it. I rejoice to know that the very incarnation under official responsibility of my beloved Lord, excludes all conditions. "I will be their God, and they shall be my people." (Jer. 31:33) These are the terms of the covenant of salvation. "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy; I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." (Rom. 9:15) These are God's own statements. We find nothing like them in human creeds apart from the Bible. I therefore reject in the most positive terms all religions of contingency, call them by what names you may. You may designate them by every name, and sect, and party, and denomination, that exists upon earth; they are Popish, they are Infidelity, they are Atheism from first to last, if there is a single contingency in them. I wish I had stronger language to employ. You recollect that I showed you on the 5th of November that Popery is Atheism. The Papists do not believe in the existence of a God, and I prove it by that which a certain divine took upon him the other day to contradict. They were said to be sound in the doctrine of the Trinity by a certain divine. It is a bare-faced falsehood. They positively deny it; for they set up the decrees of Popes and councils in opposition to the decrees of God the Father. They set up a poor woman, and a parcel of saints, or mock saints, in place of the mediation of Christ. And they set up a ghostly priesthood to do the work of the Holy Ghost, and consequently they deny the doctrine of the Trinity. But there is another view which proves them to be Atheists in their religion of contingencies. They talk about a God, and worshipping a God that has a mother. Now a God that has a mother must have only a derived existence; and that cannot be the God of the Bible, for the God of the Bible is a self-existent Being. A God that has a mother is no better than Juggernaut; and I would just as soon worship the pillar that supports the gallery, as worship a God that had a mother. It is downright Atheism. I wish this to appear in a plain light; because this is what is wanted in these days, for people to understand these things.
Now come back to the point we just left. Our religion is a religion of certainty. Theirs is a religion of uncertainty, and consequently a religion of positive foolery and damnation. Our religion is a certainty, that God the Father has made oath for His dear people, and His Son has accepted that oath, so that He is positively sworn to His work; and God the Holy Ghost subscribing to that oath, and writing His people's names in the book of life, has pledged His own honor to the carrying it on. So that whom the Father loves and makes choice of, the Son loves and redeems, and God the Spirit loves and regenerates, and will bring to everlasting glory. That is a Christianity worth having--a Christianity of positive securities, that one may live and die by; and you may send the ghostly priesthood were you like, we do no want any of their help.
II. I must pass on hastily to the next particular of our subject--the appointed work of our precious Christ. All glory to His name that He has given it to us in His own words in so concise and descriptive a manner--"to do the will of Him that sent me." Now what is that will? We read portions of it in the reading of the chapter, as beautifully unfolded by Himself. Just glance at a summary of it. The will of God was the conquest of Satan, and the putting away of sin--"For this purpose was the Son of God manifested," or came down from heaven, "the He might destroy the works of the devil;" (1 John 3:8) "that through death He might destroy Him that had the power of death, that is, the devil." (Heb. 2:14) The old serpent vanquished God's fair creation in Eden, and forth went the promise that he should be vanquished in consequence, by the seed of the woman that should bruise the serpent's head. (Gen. 3:15) The time came for its accomplishment. The Lord Jesus came down from heaven the Second Person of the glorious Trinity, became incarnate; the devil was aware of it and said, "I must put an end to this; I must destroy that first promise, or else my kingdom is ruined." He puts it into the heart of that bloody Papist Herod to send forth an edict to murder all the infants in Bethlehem, for the purpose of murdering the Lord Jesus Christ. Satan thought He could carry his point then, but God had otherwise determined. The infant must be taken care of; it must be housed in Nazareth; it must go into Galilee; it must be trained, and dedicated, and go forth in due time to perfect His work. No sooner does He enter on His ministry, than the devil says, "I must get rid of this. I ruined the fair creation of God by my temptation in Eden; I must ruin this seed of the woman, or else He will ruin me." He was led of the devil forty days into the wilderness to be tempted, and that under fasting. There the devil is vanquished again by our precious Christ, and angels came and ministered to Him. Forth He goes, works miracles, performs cures, preaches the gospel of the kingdom, asserts His Father's will, communicates with His disciples, and tells them what is His errand, and what shall be the end of His ministry on earth. During its progress Belzebub says, "I will send a legion against Him; if I could not conquer Him in duel single-handed in the wilderness, I will send a legion against Him." A legion of devils possessing one man are vanquished, cast forth, driven away by one word from the precious Christ of God. This is the work the Father gave Him to do, to conquer the devil. Moreover, it was done on Calvary perfectly and completely; for there He spoiled principalities and powers, and through death destroyed Him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. Follow this on a little further. It was the will of the Father. "He put away sin," it is positively set down, "by the sacrifice of Himself." Now all the angels of heaven could neither have conquered Satan nor put away sin. Nay, beloved, you know that it is not in your power or mine since we have known the Lord, to put away one sin, or one temptation. It must be His own work from first to last. When the punishment of it is called in question, this only can be referred to our precious Christ, who put it away by the sacrifice of Himself.
Then go on to mark, that the precious Redeemer affords in this work which He has performed, the highest satisfaction and comfort for all His Church. If Satan be conquered, then he shall never conquer me. If sin be put away, then it can never dam me; it can never stand in the way of my going to heaven. I know it may dwell in my poor mortal nature. I know it will give me something to conflict with as long as I am here. I know it will mar some of my best enjoyments. I know Satan may be permitted to hurl some of his fiery darts. I am not ignorant of his devices. But I am, as sure as I am that there is a God, and that He is eternal and self-existence, that our Lord having vanquished Satan and put away sin, will bruise him under our feet shortly, and cast all our sins behind His back, so that when they are sought for they shall not be found, and when they are asked for there shall be none. (Jer. 50:20) Precious, precious Christ! how I long to love thee more! How is it that my heart is so cold towards Thee? How is it that I have so little to say about Thee? Would that I had the powers known and possessed only by glorified spirits, that I might publish in language hitherto unknown, the name, and fame, and glory of my precious Christ.
Just go on to mark, that the will of Him that sent Him was the honoring of all the Divine perfections. And this He did. The law of God was holy, just, and good; and demanded perfect sinless obedience, in thought word, and deed. But the law could never have been honored by any other being but by Christ. Man, fallen man, is so in love with sin, so degraded and blind, deaf, dumb, and dead, that He can do nothing towards it--though some are proud enough to think that they can do a great deal, and pride themselves upon their supposed creature excellencies, moral integrity, and the like. We admire all this in its place; but what has it to do with salvation? Nothing at all. We bring before them that one passage of the apostle--"He that offendeth in one point is guilty of all." (James 2:10) Now if there be such a proud free-willer before me this morning, that really thinks that he has very nearly all but kept the whole law, will he be ignorant and proud enough to say, he has not offended on one point, in thought, word, or deed? I can hardly imagine there is a being on earth who would make such an assertion. Well then, says the apostle, if he is an offender in one point, he is a breaker of the whole law. I do not under-value morality amongst mankind. I like an honest man better than a thief. I like a sober man better than a drunkard. But as regards the matter of salvation I come to this point, that the violation of a single iota of the law of God, even though it be in a wandering thought in one solitary instance, would damn a man to all eternity. Well then, I must have the will of God done in such a manner, as that the law shall be satisfied. Jesus did it. He not only went to the end of it for righteousness, and put an end to it as regards its demands, but magnified it and made it honorable. (Isa. 42:21) This is the will of God that Christ came to do; to honor the law of God and magnify it, declaring that till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass from the law till all be fulfilled. (Matt. 5:18)
Then again, the justice of God demanded infinite satisfaction, that must be paid. The sufferings, and horrors, and despair of millions of souls, endured for millions of ages, could not purchase satisfaction; being infinite, he must have infinite satisfaction. But when I view the precious, glorious Christ of God in my nature, united with His essential Deity, constituting one Person, one precious Christ, and that humanity suffering all the torments that insulted justice could inflict, all the poignancy of the sword that was bid to awake and smite the Shepherd (Zech. 13:7)--all the wrath of offended Deity--all the frown of Jehovah, and that borne in His own body on the tree, pouring out His soul unto death, and the union of Deity with that of suffering humanity, imparting Divine merit and efficacy to all that He did and all that He suffered--I then see my Father's will performed, carried out, and fulfilled by Him who came on purpose to accomplish it. Moreover, all the other attributes--truth, and holiness, and love, and mercy, and goodness--must be honored; and therefore the Son of God said, when He had finished the work, "I have glorified thee on the earth, I have finished the work thou gavest me to do." (John 17:4)
One feature more we must name, and that is, the redemption of His Church. The work which the Father gave Him to do was to redeem His Church--He came for that very purpose. Now if the Father had given Him the world at large to redeem, according to the Popish notion of universal redemption, it might be said that He failed to do His work. "How so?" say you. "We believe that He did redeem all the world." What! redeem them and leave them in the hands of the master that oppressed them? What! redeem them, and leave them in slavery? What! redeem them, and doom them to eternal despair? What! redeem them, and abandon them to be lost? What! redeem them, when He knew they were already lost, and would never be retrieved? Fearful dogma! Frightful contradiction of terms! Awful insult of the sufferings of Christ! Oh, no, beloved; all that the Father gave Him He took special charge of, and declared that it was the will of the Father that they should not be lost when He came down to do that will. Consequently, He redeemed them by His own precious blood from among men--not along with men, but from among men, (Rev. 14:4) according to the Apocalypse.
Moreover, that redemption which He accomplished for His Church was a covenant engagement, a covenant satisfaction, a grand covenant business; the very errand for which our precious Christ came down upon earth. He saw His Church lost--she was not lost to Him but she was lost to all enjoyment of Him. He came to seek and to save that which was lost; and, glory to His name, He knew the entire amount of payment, and suffering, and obedience, and power that was requisite to spoil principalities and powers, in order to rescue and redeem His Church. Oh! how vast the importance of having a right view of Christ's redemption! Believe me, beloved, it is an insult offered to His very name to talk about a universal redemption. It is this floodgate of wickedness being thrown open that has made room for the torrent of Popery to pour in upon us. They are universal redemptionists to a man. It was the will of the Father that our precious Christ should redeem His Church, should "purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works," (Titus 2:14) and all whom He redeemed with His own precious blood shall sing to all eternity, "To Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father, to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." (Rev. 1:5,6)
III. A word or two, as briefly as I can, about the manner in which He has done the Father's will. "I came down from heaven not to do mine own will, but to do the will of Him that sent me." Three words ought to be sufficient for us here. He has done it infallibly, satisfactorily, and triumphantly.
He has done it infallibly. Talk about the infallibility of Rome--they must be arrant fools that believe it. The infallibility of a poor vagabond, that escaped into exile the other day on a coach-box. Really men must be idiots who believe in it. Talk about building an asylum for idiots--there ought to be one built fifty miles square, to take in one-tenth part of the idiots in England, that can prostrate their common sense and their natural powers so low beneath the brute creation. Bear with this; I feel indignant at the insults offered to my Lord by such rebels against His authority. He has done His work infallibly. They cannot--there is not an infallible being among them, and never was. There is not a council but what has contradicted itself and warred against itself. Nor is there an infallible decree. But our precious Christ has done His work infallibly. He has taken all the guilt away from His Church, paid all the debt, vanquished all the foes, secured all the blessings, ratified all the covenant engagements, and glorified all the attributes and perfections of Deity; so that there is nothing left for the creature to do.
Then He has done all satisfactorily to both parties. It would be a difficult thing for a person who took upon himself the office of a mediator to do what is satisfactory to both parties among fellow-mortals. One party may rejoice that he has leaned a little to his side--the other being exceedingly chagrined at being obliged to submit. But our precious Christ did His work so satisfactorily to God, that He said, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye Him;" He has paid all the debt, and honored all the perfections and attributes of Deity. And He has done His work satisfactorily to His elect family--at least I may speak for one--it is so satisfactory to me, that I would not have anything added to it that people might offer to me, nor would I put a finger to it myself, nor have anything taken from it. It is everything that meets my ruined case, my guilt, my misery, my pollution, my burden, my sorrow, my inbred corruptions, Satanic power and influence, the world's snares, all guarded against by Him--His entire salvation is more than a match for them all; so that I shall triumph over them all through Him that loved me and gave Himself for me. It is so satisfactory to me, that I cannot go to Him with any other plea--I want neither saint nor virgin to intercede for me--I go to God simply pleading the perfect and official character and perfect work of Christ, and reject all other pleas. While I can thus come to God I feel a holy joy in saying to my covenant God and Father, "Since thou art satisfied with what my Redeemer has done, with His obedience and sufferings, I glory that nothing stands in the way of my access to the throne, and holding communion with God." I want no rag of creature-righteousness, and I abhor the thought of having any other Intercessor by Christ, and will reject all other that stand in my way before the throne, and triumph, as we have been singing, that--
"None but Jesus
Shall be crown'd by ransom'd throngs."
One word more. He did His work triumphantly. And hence the apostle uses this very phrase in the passage I have before cited part of, "He spoiled principalities, and made a show openly upon His cross, triumphing over them in it." (Col. 2:15) He had triumphed before prophetically and typically, and then and there he triumphed personally. "O death, I will be thy plague; O grave, I will be thy destruction," (Hos. 13:14) was the language uttered concerning Him long before He became incarnate; and when He did become incarnate, it was His own triumph. And as if that triumph must be memorably recorded, heaven, earth, and hell, are summoned to bear witness to it. The sun must hold back its shining, and dropping behind the cross, is unseen or extinguished. Angels must tune their harps anew with rapture. Glorified spirits enthroned there shouting afresh that their thrones are perfectly secure; while all the powers of darkness were obliged in dismay to own that the serpent's head was bruised by Him that hung upon the cross. Nature around groans and heaves with convulsions; the rocks rend, the graves open, the dead appear; the temple vail is rent in twain, and the economy of Moses annihilated in the triumphs of our precious Christ. All glory to His name, He has decreed, and is waiting till it is accomplished, that all His Church shall share in His triumphs, and long as eternity is rolling on we will shout the victories of Christ, and glorify Him for having performed and finished the work His Father gave Him to do; nor shall Popes, Cardinals, or Priests rob Him of the glory due unto His name, by imposing their Antichristian dogmas and superstitions upon His living Church; but His triumphs shall annihilate every vestige of priestcraft, with all its Arminian contingencies; for He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet, and then, through all eternity, "upon Himself shall His crown flourish!"
Say, my hearer, are you satisfied with the perfect work of the incarnate Son of God? Believe me, you will never be fully and safely satisfied until you are; but if with Paul you can say, "Having Christ I possess all things," and faith can claim and appropriate His Person, official character, and His perfect work as your own, then rejoice in Him, and seek grace from on high to glorify Him while on earth, in the blissful anticipation of being glorified with Him where no inhabitant will wish to rob Him of His glory.
May the Holy Ghost put life and power into these sacred truths, and Israel's Triune Jehovah shall have all the honor. Amen.