Billeder på siden
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

cessary, that all those arms wherewith he was to make a conquest of it, should be given to his 'disposal, 2 Cor. x, 4. These were the weapons which, through God, were so mighty to cast down the strong-holds of sin and Satan. These are the slings and stones before which the Goliah of earth and hell did fall. This was that power from above, which he promised his apostles to furnish them with, when they should address themselves to the conquest of the world, Acts i, 8. With these weapons, this furniture for their warfare, a few persons, despised in the eyes of the world, went from Judea to the ends of the earth, subduing all things before them, to the obedience of their Lord and Master. And,

2. By these the church is edified; and to that end doth he continue to bestow them to the end of the world, 1 Cor. xii, 7, 13, 14; Ephes. iv, 8-13; Rom. xii, 6-8. And for any to hinder their growth or exercise is, what in them lies to pull down the church of Christ, and to set themselves against the testimony which he gives in the world, that he is yet alive, and that he takes care of his disciples, being present with them, according to his promise.

3. And by these means and ways is God glorified in him and by him; which is the great end of his Lordship over all the gifts of the Spirit.

§17. That we may a little, by the way, look into our special concernment in these things, their order and subserviency one to another may be briefly considered; for as natural gifts are the foundation of spiritual, and lie in an especial subordination to them; so are spiritual gifts enlivened, made effectual and durable by grace. The principal end of Christ's bestowing gifts is, the erection of a ministry in his church, for the ends before-mentioned; and where all these, in

their order and mutual subserviency to one another, are received by any, there and there alone, is a competent furniture for the work of the ministry received; and where any of them, as to their whole kind, are wanting, there is a glaring defect in the person, if not a nullity as to the office. Natural gifts and endowments of mind are so necessary a foundation for any man that looks towards the work of the ministry, that without some competent measure of them, it is folly and madness to entertain thoughts of any progress. Unless unto these spiritual gifts are superadded, the other will be never of any use for the edification of the church, as having, in their own nature and series, no special tendency to that end. Nor will these superadded spiritual gifts enable any man to discharge his duty unto all well-pleasing before God, unless they are also quickened and seasoned by grace: and where there is an intercession of this series and order, the defect will quickly appear. Thus we see many of excellent natural endowments in their first setting forth in the world, and in their endeavors on that single stock, promising great usefulness and excellency in their way; who, when they come to engage in the service of the gospel, evidence themselves to be altogether unfurnished for the employment they undertake; yea, and to have lost what before they seemed to have received. Having gone to the utmost length and bounds that gifts merely natural could carry them, and not receiving superadded spiritual gifts, they faint in the way, wither, and become utterly useless. And this, for the most part, falleth out, when men have either abused their natural gifts to the service of their lusts, and in opposition to the simplicity of the gospel; or, when they set upon spiritual things, and pretend to the service of Christ, merely in their own strength,

without dependance on him for abilities and furniture; or, when they have some fixed corrupt end to accomplish by a pretence of the ministry, without regard to the glory of Chrirt, or compassion to the souls of men; to which the Lord Christ will not prostitute the gifts of his Spirit. And sundry other causes of this failure may be assigned. It is no otherwise, as to the next degree in this order, in reference to spiritual gifts and saving grace. When these gifts, in the good pleasure of their sovereign Dispenser, are superadded to the natural endowments above-mentioned, they carry on those who receive them cheerfully, comfortably, and usefully in their progress. The former are increased, heightened, strengthened, and perfected by the latter, towards that special end, whereunto themselves are designed; the glory of Christ in the work of the gospel. But if these also are not in due season quickened by saving grace; if the heart be not moistened and made fruitful thereby, even they also will wither and decay. Sin and the world, in process of time, will devour them, whereof we have daily experience in this world. And this is the order wherein the great Lord of all these gifts hath laid them in a subserviency, one kind to another, and all of them to his glory.

$18. Secondly, To close our considerations of this part of the Lordship of Christ, there remains only that we shew him to be the Lord of all spiritual eternal things, which in one word we call glory. He is himself the "Lord of glory," 1 Cor. ii, 8; and the Judge of all, in the discharge of which office, he gives out glory, as a reward to his followers, Matt. xxv, 32, &c. Rom. xiv, 10. Glory is a reward that he will give at the last day as a crown, 2 Tim. iv, 8; John xvii, 2. And, that he might be Lord of it, he hath purchased it, Heb. ix, 12; taken actual possession of



it in his own person; and also as the forerunner, in behalf of those on whom he will bestow it, Heb. vi, 20. And this is a short view of the Lordship of Christ, as to things spiritual.

§19. Secondly, Ecclesiastical things, or things that concern church institutions, rule, and power, belong also to his dominion: he is the only Head, Lord, Ruler, and Law-giver of his church. There was a church state ever since God created man on the earth, and there is the same reason of it in all its alterations, as to its relation to the Lord Christ. Whatever changes it underwent, still Christ was the Lord of it, and of all its concernments. But, by way of instance and eminence, we may consider the Mosaical church state under the Old Testament, and the Evangelical church state under the New. Christ is Lord of both. 1. He was Lord of the Old Testament church state, and he exercised his power and Lordship towards it. Its institution and erection, he made, framed, set up, and appointed that church state, and all the worship of God therein observed. He it was who at first appeared unto Moses, who gave them the law on mount Sinai, and continued with them in the wildernesss; by prescribing to it a complete rule of worship and obedience. And the same power he exercised by way of reformation, when it was decayed; and by way of amotion, or taking down and removal of what he himself had set up, because it was so framed, as to continue only for a season, Heb. ix, 10; Deut. xviii, 16-18; Hag. ii, 6, 7; Isa. lxv, 17, 18; Pet. iii, 13; which part of his power and Lordship is abundantly proved against the Jews in the exposition.

2. Of the New Testament Evangelical church state also he is the only Lord and Ruler; yea, this is his proper kingdom, on which all other parts of his do

minion do depend; for he is given to be Head over all things to the church, Ephes. i, 22. For, he is the foundation of this church state, 1 Cor. iii, 11; the whole design and platform of it being laid in him, and built upon him. And he erects this church state upon himself, Matt. xvi, 18; "I will build my church;" the Spirit and Word whereby it is done being from him alone, and ordered by his wisdom, power, and care. And he gives laws and rules of worship and obedience to it, when so built by and upon himself, Heb. iii, 2-6. And finally he is the everlasting, constant, abiding Head, Ruler, King, and Governor of it, Ephes. i, 22; Col. ii, 19; Heb. iii, 6.

$20. Thirdly, He is Lord also of political things; of all the governments of the world that are set up and exercised for the good of mankind, and the preservation of society, according to rules of equity and righteousness. He alone is the absolute potentate; the highest on the earth are in subordination to him, That he is designed unto, Psal. Ixxxix, 27; and accordingly he is made Lord of lords, and King of kings, Rev. xvii, 14; and xix, 16; 1 Tim. vi, 15; and he exerciseth dominion answerable to his title; and hath hence a right to send his gospel into all nations of the world, attended with the worship by him prescribed, Matt. xxviii, 18; Psal. ii, 9-12; which none of the rulers or governors of the world have any right to refuse or oppose, but upon their utmost peril. And all kingdoms shall at length be brought into a professed subjection to him and his gospel, and have all their rule disposed of to the interest of his church and saints, Dan. vii, 27; Isa. lx, 12; Rev. xix, 16-19.

§21. Fourthly, The last branch of this dominion of Christ consists in the residue of the creation of God; heaven and earth, sea and land, wind, trees, and fruits,

« ForrigeFortsæt »