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ON THE OFFICES OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
RESPONDENT: PETER FAVERIUS
I. Since all offices are instituted and imposed for the sake of a certain end, and on this account bear some resemblance to means for obtaining that end; the most convenient method of treating on the offices of Christ will be for us to enter into an examination of this subject according to the acceptation of the name by which He is denominated. For he is called Jesus Christ, in words which belong to a person according to the signification conveyed by them, as well as by way of excellence. In the first of those words is comprehended the relation of the end of his offices; and, in the second, that of the duties which conduce to such end.
II. The word "Jesus" signifies the saviour, who is called Swthr by the Greeks. But "to save" is to render a man secure from evils, either by taking care that they do not assail him, or, if they have attacked him, by removing them, and of consequence by conferring the opposite blessings. But among the evils, two are of the very worst description: they are sin, and its wages, eternal death. Among the blessings also, two are of the greatest importance, righteousness and eternal life. He, therefore, is a saviour in an eminent degree who liberates men from sin and death eternal, the two greatest evils with which they are now surrounded and oppressed; and who confers upon them righteousness and life. On account of this method of saving, the name Jesus agrees well with this our saviour, according to the interpretation of it, which the angel gave in Matt. i. 21. For such a method of salvation was highly befitting the excellence of this exalted person, who is the proper, natural and only-begotten Son of God; especially when other salvations were capable of being accomplished by his servants, Moses, Joshua, Othniel, Gideon, Jephtha and David.
III. The word "Christ," denotes an anointed person, who is called h y m "the Messiah," by the Hebrews. Under the Old Testament, oil was anciently used in anointing; because, according to its natural efficacy, it rendered bodies not only fragrant but agile, and was therefore well fitted for typifying two supernatural things. The First is, the sanctification and consecration of a person to undertake and discharge some divine office. The Second is, adoption, or the conferring of gifts necessary for that purpose. But each of these acts belongs properly and per se to the Holy Spirit, the author and donor of Holiness and of all endowments. (Isa. xi. 2.) Wherefore it was proper, that he who was eminently styled "the Messiah, should be anointed with the Holy Spirit, indeed "above all his fellows," (or those who were partakers of the same blessings,) (Psalm xlv. 7,) that is, that He might be made the Holy of holies, and might be endued not only with some gifts of the Holy Spirit, but with the whole of the Holy Spirit without measure. (John 3, xxxiv, ;1, 14.) But when he is called "the saviour" by anointing, it appears to us that he must for this reason be here considered as a Mediatorial saviour, who has been constituted by God the Father, and [as Mediator] is subordinate to Him. He is therefore the nearer to us, not only according to the nature of his humanity, of which we have already treated, but also according to the mode of saving, which reflection conduces greatly to confirm us in faith and hope against temptations.
IV. Two distinct and subordinate acts appertain to the salvation which is signified by the name Jesus; and they are not only necessarily required for it, but also suffciently embrace its entire power. The First is, the asking and obtaining of redemption from sin and death eternal, and of righteousness and life. The Second is, the communication or distribution of the salvation thus obtained. According to the former of these acts, Christ is called "our saviour by merit;" according to the latter he is called "our saviour by efficacy." According to the first, he is constituted the Mediator "for men, in those things which pertain to God." (Heb. v. 1.) According to the second, he is appointed the Mediator or vicegerent of God, in those things which are to be transacted with men. From this it is apparent, that two offices are necessary for effecting salvation-the priestly and the regal; the former office being designed for the acquisition of salvation, and the latter for its communication: on which account this saviour is both a royal priest and a priestly king, our Melchisedec, that is, "king of Salem, which is king of peace and priest of the Most High God." (Heb. vii. 2.) His people also are a royal priesthood and a sacerdotal kingdom or nation. (1 Pet. ii. 5, 9.)
V. But since it has seemed good to the wise and just God, to save none except believers; nor, in truth, is it right that any one should be made partaker of the salvation procured by the priesthood of Christ, and dispensed by His kingly office, except the man who acknowledges Him for his priest and king; and since the knowledge of Christ, and faith in him, are produced in the hearts of men by the power of the Holy Ghost, through the preaching of the word as the means appointed by God; for these reasons the prophetical office is likewise necessary for effecting salvation, and a perfect saviour must be a prophet, priest and king, that is, by every reason according to which this ample title can be deservedly attributed to any one. We nave Jesus therefore, that is, the saviour, by a most excellent and perfect notion called Christ, because he has been anointed by God as a prophet, priest and king. (Matt. xvii. 5; Psalm cx. 4; 2, 6; John xviii. 37.) On each of these four offices we shall treat in order, and shew, (1.) That all and each of these offices belong to our Christ. (2.) The quality of these offices. (3.) The functions pertaining to each of them. (4.) The events or consequences.
VI. The Messiah was the future prophet promised to the fathers under the Old Testament. Moses said, "The Lord thy God will raise up unto you a prophet like unto me; unto him shall ye hearken." (Deut. xviii. 15.) Isaiah also says "I will give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles, to open the blind eyes," &c. (xlii, 6.) "Jehovah hath called me from the womb, and he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword," &c. (xlix, 1, 2.) The attestation, by anointing, of his call to the prophetical office, was likewise predicted: "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings," &c. (xli, 1.) So was his being furnished with the necessary gifts when he was thus called and sealed: "The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding," &c. (xi, 2.) Lastly, Divine assistance was promised: "In the shadow of his hand hath He hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me." (xlix, 2.) And this thing was publicly know, not only to the Jews, but likewise to the Samaritans, as is apparent from what the woman of Samaria said, "When Messias is come, He will tell us all things." (John iv. 25.) But our Jesus himself testifies, that these predictions were fulfilled in him, and that he was the prophet sent into the world from God. After having read a passage out of Isaiah’s prophecy, he spake thus, "This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears." (Luke iv. 21.) "To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth." (John xviii. 37.) God himself also bore his testimony from heaven, when he "opened the heavens unto Christ" immediately after he had been baptized by John, sent down upon Him the Holy Spirit, and in inaugural strains of the highest commendation seemed to consecrate him to this office. (Matt. iii. 16.)
VII. In the Quality of the prophetic office, we take into our consideration the excellence not only of the vocation, instruction and divine assistance afforded, but likewise that of the doctrine proposed by Him, according to each of which it far exceeds the entire dignity of all the prophets. (Luke 4.) For God’s approval of his mission was expressed by three peculiar signs. the opening of the heavens, the descent of the Holy Ghost in a bodily shape upon Him, and the voice of his Father conveyed to him. The instruction, or furnishing, by which He learned what things he ought to teach, was not "by dreams and visions," nor by inward or outward discourse with an angel, neither was it by a communication of "mouth to mouth," which yet [in the case of Moses] was without the actual sight of the glory and the face of God; (Num. 12;) but it was by the clear vision of God and by an intimate intuition into the secrets of the Father: "For the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, hath declared him to us;" (John i. 18;) "He that cometh from heaven testified what he hath seen and heard." (iii, 32.) The aid of the Holy Spirit to Him, was so ready and every moment intimately near, that He, like one who was lord by possession and use, employed the Holy Spirit at pleasure, and as frequently as it seemed good to himself. But the excellence of the doctrine lies in this, that it did not announce the law, neither as being the power of God unto salvation "to him who worked and that of debt," (Rom. iv. 4,) nor as being the seal of sin and of condemnation; (Col. ii. 14;) neither did it announce the promise, by which righteousness and salvation were promised OF GRACE to him that believed; (Gal. iii. 17-19;) but it announced the Gospel, according to this expression, "He hath sent me to preach good tidings to the meek," (Isa. lxi. 1,) or, "the gospel to the poor;" (Matt. xi. 5;) because it exhibited GRACE and TRUTH, as it contained "the end of the law," and the accomplishment of the promise. (Rom. x. 4; i, 1, 2.)
VIII. The Functions which appertain to the prophetic office of Christ, are, the proposing of his doctrine, its confirmation and prayers for its felicitous success; all of which were executed by Christ in a manner which evinced the utmost power and fidelity. (1.) He proposed his doctrine, with the greatest wisdom, which his adversaries could not resist; with the most ardent zeal for the glory of God his Father, and for the salvation of men; without respect of persons; and with an authority which was never exercised by other teachers, not even by the prophets. (2.) His confirmation was added to the doctrine, not only by the Scriptures of the Old Testament, but likewise by signs of every kind by which it is possible to establish the divinity of any doctrine. (i.) By the declaration of the knowledge which is peculiar to God, such as the inspection of the heart, the revelation of the secrets of others, and the prediction of future events. (ii.) By a power which belongs to God alone, and which was demonstrated "in signs and wonders, and mighty deeds." (iii.) By the deepest patience, by which He willingly suffered the death of the cross for the truth of God, that he might confirm the promises made to the fathers, "having witnessed before Pontius Pilate a good confession." (3.) Lastly. He employed very frequent and earnest prayers, with the most devout thanksgiving; on which account he often retired into solitary places, which he spent whole nights in prayer.
IX. The Issue or consequence of the prophetic office of Christ, so far as he executed it in his own person while he remained on earth, was not only the instruction of a few persons, but likewise the rejection [of Himself and his doctrine] by great numbers, and even by their rulers. The former of these consequences occurred according to the nature and merit of the doctrine itself. The latter, accidentally and by the malice of men. Christ himself mentions both of these issues in Isaiah’s prophecy, when he says, not without complaining, "Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me, are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts." (viii, 18.) "I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for naught and in vain." (xlix, 4.) But because this repulse of Christ’s doctrine could not occur without proving a stumbling block to the weak, it was the good pleasure of God to obviate it in a manner at once the wisest and the most powerful, (i.) By a prophecy which foretold that this rejection would actually take place: "The stone which the builders refused, is becoming the head-stone of the corner:" (Psalm cxviii. 22.) (ii.) And by the fulfillment of that prediction, which was completed by the resurrection of Christ from the dead, and by his being placed at the right hand of God; by which Christ became the head and foundation of the angle, or corner, uniting the two walls, that of the Jews and that of the Gentiles, in accordance with these words of the prophet Isaiah, "It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I have also given thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth." (xlix, 6.) These words contain an intimation of the fruit of Christ’s prophesying as administered by his ambassadors.
X. Topics, similar to the preceding, come under our consideration in the Priestly Office of Christ. (1.) The Messiah, promised of old, was to be a Priest, and Jesus of Nazareth was a Priest. This is proved (i.) by express passages from the Scriptures of the Old Testament; and which attribute to the Messiah the Name of "Priest," and the Thing signified by the name. With regard to the Name: "Thou an a Priest for ever after the order of Melchizedec." (Psalm cx. 4.) With regard to the Thing signified, "Surely He hath borne our griefs: He was wounded for our transgressions: And the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, He shall see his seed, &c. He bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressor" (Isa. liii. 4-6, 10-12; Rom. iv. 15.) (2.) By arguments taken from a comparison of the dignity of his person and priesthood. For the Messiah is the first-begotten Son of God, the principal dignity of the priesthood, and governor over the house of his Father. (Psalm ii. 7; lxxxix, 27; Gen. xlix. 3.) Therefore, to Him appertains the excellence of administering the priesthood in the house of God, which is Heaven. (Heb. iii. 6; x, 21.) For that is properly typified by a temple, the place of the priesthood; and principally by the innermost part of it, which is called "the holy of holies." (ix, 24.) Also, by arguments deduced from the nature of the people over whom He is placed. This people is "a kingdom of priests" (Exod. xix. 6,) and "a royal priesthood" (1 Pet. ii. 9.) But the Christian Faith holds it, an indisputable axiom, that "Jesus of Nazareth is a priest," by the most explicit Scriptures of the New Testament, in which the title and all things pertaining to the sacerdotal office are attributed to him. (Heb. ii. 5.) For the Father conferred that honour upon Him, sanctified and consecrated Him; (ii, 10;) and "He was made perfect through sufferings," "that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest, and be able to sympathize with, or to succour them that are tempted." (ii, 18.) The Father also "opened his ears," (Psalm xl. 6,) or "prepared a body for Him," (Heb. x. 5,) "that He might have somewhat also to offer," (viii, 3,) and hath placed Him, after his resurrection from the dead, at his own right hand in heaven, that He may there perpetually "make intercession for us." (Rom. viii. 34.)
XI. But the Scriptures of the Old Testament speak of the Nature and Quality peculiar to Messiah the Priest, and assert that his priesthood is not according to the order of Levi. (Psalm cx. 4; Heb. v. 5, 6.) For David speaks thus, in the person of the Messiah, "Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire. Mine ears thou hast opened. Burnt-offering and sin-offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come. In the volume of the book it is written of me, to do thy will, O my God! Yea, I have willed; and thy law is within my heart." (Psalm xl. 6-8.) That is, "Thou hadst no pleasure in the sacrifices which are offered by the law" according to the Levitical ritual. (Heb. x. 6-9.) They also assert, that "He is a Priest for ever after the order of Melchizedec." (Psalm cx. 4.) But the entire nature of that priesthood is more distinctly explained in the New Testament, especially in the Epistle to the Hebrews, the excellence and superiority of the Messiah’s priesthood above the Levitical having been previously established. (Heb. x. 5.) This pre-eminence is shewn by the contrast between them. (1.) The Levitical priesthood was typical and shadowy; but that of the Messiah is real and true, and contains the very body and express pattern of the things. (2.) In the Levitical priesthood, the Priest and the victim differed in the subject. For the Priest after the order of Levi offered the sacrifices of other men. But the Messiah is both the Priest and the victim. For "He offered himself," (Heb. ix. 14,) and "by his own blood has entered into heaven," (ix, 12,) and all this as it is an expiatory priesthood. But as it is eucharistical, (for it embraces the entire amplitude of the priesthood,) the Messiah offers sacrifices which are distinguished by him according to the person; yet they are such as, being born again of his Spirit from above, are flesh of his flesh and bone of his bones. (x, 14; ix, 26; Ephes. v. 30; 1 Pet. ii. 5.) (3.) They differ in the mode of their institution and confirmation. The Levitical priesthood was "instituted after the law of a carnal commandment;" but that of the Messiah, after the law of a spiritual commandment, and "the power of an endless life." (Heb. vii. 16.) The Levitical was instituted "without an oath;" but Christ’s "with an oath," by which it was corroborated beyond the other. (vii, 20, 21, 28.) (4.) The fourth difference is in the time of their institution. The Levitical priesthood was instituted first; that of Christ, afterwards. The first, in the times of the Old Testament: the other, in those of the New. The former, when the church was in its infancy; the latter, when it had arrived at maturity. The former, in the time of slavery; the latter, in that of liberty.
XII. (5.) The fifth distinction lies in the persons discharging the functions of the priesthood. In the former, the Priests were of the tribe of Levi, "men who had infirmities," who were mortal and sinful, and who, therefore, accounted it "needful to offer up sacrifice for their own sins and for the people’s." (Heb. vii. 28; v, 3.) But the Messiah was of the tribe of Judah, (vii, 14,) weak indeed "in the days of his flesh," (5, 7,) but now when raised immortal from the dead and endued with "the power of an endless life," He is "holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners, and therefore needeth not to offer up sacrifice for himself." (7, 26, 27) (6.) We may denote a sixth difference in the end of the institution. The Levitical priesthood was instituted to ratify the old covenant; but that of the Messiah, for confirming the New. He is on this account called both "the Mediator of the New Testament," (ix, 15,) and "the surety of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises." (viii, 6.) (7.) They differ in their efficacy. For the Levitical is useless and inefficacious, "not being able to take away sins, (x, 11,) (for they remained under the old covenant,) nor could it sanctify or perfect the worshippers in their consciences, for "it sanctifieth only to the purifying of the flesh." (ix, 9, 10, 13.) But the priesthood of the Messiah is efficacious. For He hath destroyed sin and obtained eternal redemption, (ix, 12, 14.) He consecrates priests and sanctifies the worshipers in their consciences, and "saves them to the uttermost that come to God by Him." (vii, 25.) (8.) With the Apostle we place the eighth difference in the duration of each. It was necessary that the Levitical priesthood should be abrogated, and it was accordingly abrogated; (viii, 13;) but that of the Messiah endures for ever. For this difference between them we have as many reasons as for the differences which we have already enumerated.
XIII. (9.) The ninth quality by which the Messiah’s priesthood is distinguished from the Levitical, is this, "Now once in the end of the world, the Messiah hath appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself; (Heb. vii. 26;) and thus "by one offering hath He perfected for ever them that are sanctified." (x, 14.) But the Priests after the order of Levi "offered oftentimes the same sacrifices, "through each succeeding day, and month, and year. (x, 11; ix, 25.) (10.) The tenth property of the Messiah’s priesthood is that of its nature. It does not pass from one person to another. For the Messiah has neither a predecessor nor a successor. (vii, 24, 25, 3.) But the Levitical priesthood was transmitted down from father to son. (11.) To this we add the eleventh difference, the Messiah was the only person of his order. For Melchizadeck was a type of Him, "like unto Him," but by no means equal with Him. (vii, 3.) But the Levitical Priests "truly were many, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death;" (vii, 23;) and among them, some were of superior, some of inferior, and others of equal dignity. (12.) We deduce the twelfth and last distinction from the place in which each of them was administered. For the Levitical priesthood was administered on earth, and in fact in a certain spot peculiarly assigned to it; but though that of the Messiah commenced on earth, yet it consummated in heaven. (ix, 24.)
XIV. The Actions which appertain to the priestly office of Christ, are those of oblation and intercession, according to the following passages: "Every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: (Heb. v. 1.) And "He ever liveth to make intercession for them." (1.) Of the Messiah’s Oblation two acts are described to us: the first of which is performed on earth; the delivering of his own body unto death, and the shedding of his blood. By this act He was consecrated or perfected, and opened heaven to himself: (ix, 12; x, 29, 10; ix, 24 -- xxvi, ) For it was a part of his office to enter into heaven by his own blood, and "through the veil, which is his flesh," (x, 22,) flesh indeed, destitute of blood, that is, destitute of life, and delivered up to death "for the life of the world," (John vi. 51,) although it was afterwards raised up again from death to life. The second act is, the presenting of himself, thus sprinkled with his own blood, before the face of his Father in heaven; and the offering of the same blood. To which we must add, the sprinkling of this blood on the consciences of believers, that they, "being purged from dead works, might serve the living God." (ix, 14.) (2.) Intercession is the second act of the priesthood of Christ, which also contains the prayer of Christ for us, and his advocacy or defense of us against the accusation with which we are charged by the grand adversary. (vii, 25; Rom. viii. 34; 1 John ii. 1, 2.) Because the force of this intercession is partly placed in the blood by which, not only Christ himself, but also our consciences, are sprinkled; the blood of Christ is said "to speak better things than that of Abel," (Heb. xii. 24,) which cried unto God for vengeance against the fratricide.
XV. The fourth part of the priesthood of Christ lies in the Results or Consequences. That the sacerdotal office concurs to the general effect of salvation, is apparent from this—that He is called Christ by consecration, which was effected "through sufferings," through which He is said "to have been made perfect," (Heb. ii. 10,) and thus to have "become the author of eternal salvation," (v, 9, 10,) being denominated "an High Priest forever after the order of Melchisedec." "But Christ, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood: wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him." (vii, 24, 25.) But the particular results which flow from the sacerdotal functions, when considered according to the two-fold act of oblation and intercession, are chiefly these: From Oblation, accrue the reconciling of us unto God the Father, (2 Cor. v. 19,) the obtaining of the remission of sins, (Rom. iii. 24-25,) of eternal redemption, (Heb. ix. 12,) and of the Spirit of grace, (Zech. xii. 10,) the laying open of the vein for the expiation of sin, and the disclosing of the fountain for sprinkling, (Zech. xiii. 1,) the removal of the curse, (Gal. iii. 13,) and the acquisition of everlasting righteousness and of life eternal, (Dan. ix. 24,) as well as a supreme power over all things in heaven and earth, (Phil. ii. 6-10,) for his church, to whom all these blessings are communicated: (Acts xx. 28) And, to sum up all in one expression, the procuring of the entire right to eternal life, and to all things whatsoever that are necessary either for its being given, or for its reception. Intercession obtains, that we, being reconciled to God, are saved from future wrath. (Rom. v. 9.) Christ as our intercessor offers to God, perfumed with the fragrant odour of his own sacrifice, the prayers and thanksgivings, and thus the whole rational worship which justified persons perform to God; (1 Pet. i. 5;) and he receives and turns aside the darts of accusation which Satan hurls against believers. (Rom. viii. 34.) All these blessings really flow from the sacerdotal functions of Christ; because he hath offered to God the true price of redemption for us, by which He has satisfied Divine justice, and interposed himself between us and the Father, who was justly angry on account of our sins; and has rendered Him placable to us. (1 Tim. ii. 6; Matt. xx. 28.) But the results per accidens is a greater pollution and the demerits of "a much sorer punishment" from having "trodden under foot the Son of God, and counted the blood of the covenant an unholy thing." (Heb. x. 29.)
XVI. Nor is it at all repugnant to the merits and satisfaction of Christ, which belong to him as a priest and a victim, that God is himself said to have "loved the world and given his only begotten Son," (John iii. 16,) to have delivered him unto death, (Rom. iv. 25,) to have reconciled the world unto himself in Christ, (2 Cor. v. 19,) to have redeemed us, (Luke i. 68,) and to have freely forgiven us our sins. (Rom. iii. 25.) For we must consider the affection of love to be two-fold in God. The first is a love for the creature—The other, a love for justice, united to which is a hatred against sin. It was the will of God that each of these kinds of love should be satisfied. He gave satisfaction to his love for the creature who was a sinner, when he gave up his Son who might act the part of Mediator. But he rendered satisfaction to his love for justice and to his hatred against sin, when he imposed on his Son the office of Mediator by the shedding of his blood and by the suffering of death; (Heb. ii. 10; v, 8, 9;) and he was unwilling to admit him as the Intercessor for sinners except when sprinkled with his own blood, in which he might be made the propitiation for sins. (ix, 12.) Again, he satisfies his love for the creature when he pardons sins, and that freely, because he pardons them through his love for the Creature; although by inflicting stripes upon his Son, in which he was "our peace," he had already rendered satisfaction to his love for justice. For it was not the effect of those stripes that God might love his creature, but that, while love for justice presented no hindrance, through his love for the creature he could remit sins and bestow life eternal. In this respect also it may with propriety be said that God rendered satisfaction to himself, and appeased himself in the Son of his love."
XVII. It remains for us to discuss the Kingly Office of Christ. We must first consider, that the Messiah, according to the promise, was to be a King, and that Jesus of Nazareth is a King: "I will raise unto David a righteous branch, and a King shall reign and prosper." (Jer. xxiii. 5.) "David my servant, shall be king over them." (Ezek. xxxvii. 24.) But he was constituted king by unction: "Yet have I anointed my King upon my holy hill of Zion." (Psalm ii. 6.) On this account, the title of "the Messiah" belongs to him for a certain peculiar reason. Nor should He be merely a King, but the most eminent and famous among kings: "Thy God hath anointed thee with the oil of joy above thy fellows." (Psalm xlv. 7.) "I will make him my First-born, higher than the kings of the earth." (lxxxix, 27.) Nay, he is the Lord and Master of all kings: therefore, O ye kings and judges of the earth, kiss the Son." (ii, 12.) "All kings shall fall down before Him." (lxxii, 11.) He was also to be instructed in all things necessary for the administration of his kingdom: "Give the King thy judgments, O God!" (lxxii, 1.) "The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion." (cx, 2.) "Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron" (ii, 9.) "The Spirit of Jehovah shall rest upon him." (Isa. xi. 2.) God will likewise perpetually stand near Him: "With him shall my hand be established, mine arm also shall strengthen him." (Psalm lxxxix. 21.) But God hath made Jesus of Nazareth Lord and Christ, (Matt. ii. 2, 6,) "King of kings, and Lord of lords," (Rev. xvii. 14,) "all power being given unto Him in heaven and in earth," (Matt. xxviii. 19; Acts ii. 33,) and "authority over all flesh," (John xvii. 2,) that "unto Him every knee may bow." God also furnished or supplied Him with his Word and Spirit, as necessary means for the administration of his kingdom. He hath made angels also his servants to execute his commands. (Heb. i. 6, 14.) He stands constantly nigh to Him, "being placed at his right hand till he has made his enemies his footstool." (1 Cor. xv, ,5; Psalm cx. 1.)
XVIII. We say, in one expression, concerning the Quality of the Messiah’s kingdom, that it is a spiritual kingdom, not of this world, but of that which is to come, not earthly, but heavenly. For it was predicted, that such would be the kingdom of the Messiah; and such also, we assert, is the kingdom of Jesus of Nazareth. We prove the First, (1.) Because David and Solomon, and the reign of each, were types of the Messiah and his kingdom; for the Messiah is called David; (Ezek. xxxvii. 25;) and all the things spoken about Solomon which are high and excellent, belong with far more justness to the Messiah, and some of them to him alone. (2 Sam. vii. 12-16.) But earthly and carnal things are types of spiritual and heavenly things, not being homogeneous with them. (Psalm 1, 2.) (2.) It was predicted of the Messiah, that he should die and rise again, (Psalm xvi. 10,) that "he should see his seed," (Isa. liii. 10,) and that he should rise again into a spiritual life. (Psalm cx. 3.) Therefore, that he should be a spiritual King, and that his kingdom also should be spiritual. (Psalm lxxxix. 5-8; xcvi, 6-9.) (3.) It was predicted that the priesthood of the Messiah should be spiritual, a real priesthood, and not a typical one. Therefore, his kingdom also is of the same description; for there is a mutual analogy between them, according to that expression -" Ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests," &c. (Exod. xix. 6.) (4.) Because the law of Moses was to be abrogated on account of its being carnal. But the administration of the priesthood and of the kingdom of Israel was conducted according to that law. Therefore the kingdom of the Messiah ought to be administered according to another law, which was more excellent, and therefore spiritual. (Jer. xxxi. 31-34.) But such as was the law, such were the King and his kingdom. (5.) Because the gentiles were to be called to a participation of the kingdom of the Messiah, and all of them were to be added to it with their kings, who should still continue as kings, and yet voluntarily serve the Messiah, (Psalm ii. 10, 11; cx, 3,) who should glory in him, and in him place all their blessedness. Nothing of this kind can be done, unless the kingdom of the Messiah be spiritual. (6.) Because the Jews were to be rejected by the Messiah, for their rebellion, who was unwilling to have them for his people, not to the prejudice of the Messiah himself, but to the injury of the Jews alone. (Mal. i. 10, 11; Isa. lxv, 2, 3.) This is a strong indication of a King and of a kingdom that are spiritual. (7.) The same conclusion may be drawn from the excellence, amplitude, duration, and mode of administration, of the Messiah’s kingdom. But the kingdom of Jesus of Nazareth is spiritual and heavenly. For he said, "Repent, because the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matt. iv. 17.) "My kingdom is not of this world." (John xviii. 36.) This may also be shown in all those things which relate to that kingdom. For the King is no more known after the flesh, because he is become spiritual by his resurrection, and is "the Lord from heaven." (Rom. viii. 1 Corinthians 15.) His Subjects are those who are already born again, in their souls, of his Spirit, and who shall likewise hereafter be spiritual in their bodies, and conformed unto him. The Law of the kingdom is spiritual: for it is the gospel of God, and the prescription of a rational and spiritual worship. (Rom. xii. 8; John iv. 23, 24.) Its Blessings are likewise spiritual—remission of sins, the Spirit of grace and life eternal. The Mode of Administration, and all its Means, are spiritual; for though all temporal things are subjected to Christ, yet he administers them in such a way as he knows will be conducive to the life that is spiritual and supernatural.
XIX. The Acts which belong to the regal office of Christ are generally comprehended in vocation and judgment. If we be desirous to consider these two acts more distinctly, we may divide them into the four parts following: vocation, legislation, the communication of blessings and the removal of evils, and the final and universal judgment. (1.) Vocation is the first function by which Christ, the King, calls men out of a state of animal life and of sin, to the participation of the covenant of grace which he has confirmed by his own blood. For he did not find subjects in the nature of things; (Isa. lxiii. 10;) but as it was his office by the priesthood to acquire them for himself, so likewise as King, it is his province to call them to him by his word, and to draw them by his Spirit. (Psalm cx. 1-3; Ephes. iii. 17.) This vocation has two parts—a command to repent and believe, (Mark i. 14, 15,) and a promise, (Matt. xxviii. 19, 20,) to which is also subjoined a threatening. (Tit. iii. 8;
Mark xvi. 16.) (2.) Legislation, which we consider in a distinct form, is the second function of the regal office of Christ, by which he fully prescribes, to those who have been previously called and drawn to a participation of the covenant of grace, a rule by which they may live godly, righteously and soberly, and to which are also annexed promises and threatenings. To this must be added the act of the Holy Spirit by which believers are rendered fit to perform their duty. (3.) The third act is the communication of blessings, whether they be necessary or conducible to this animal life or to that which is spiritual, and the removal of the opposite evils, not through strict justice, but according to a certain dispensation, which is suited to the period of the present life. It is according to this that God equally "sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust," (Matt. v. 45,) and his "judgment often begins at his own house." (1 Pet. iv. 17.) (4.) The fourth and last act is the final and universal judgment, by which Christ, having been appointed by God to be the judge of all men, will pronounce a sentence of justification on his elect, and will bestow on them everlasting life; but after the sentence of condemnation has been uttered against the reprobates, they will be tormented with everlasting punishments. (Matt. 25.)
XX. To these functions it is easy to subjoin their Results or Consequences, which exist from the functions themselves, according to their nature; and, at the same time, the Events which flow from the malice of men who reject Christ as their King. Among the former are repentance, faith, and thus the church herself, and her association with Christ her head, obedience performed to Christ’s commands, the participation of blessings which are bestowed on men in the course of the present life, immunity from evils, and lastly, life eternal. Among the latter, are blinding, hardening, the giving over to a reprobate mind, the delivering unto the power of Satan, the imputation of sin, the gnawings of conscience in this life, and the feeling endurance of many evils, and, lastly, eternal death itself. All these evils Christ inflicts as an omniscient, omnipotent, and inflexible judge, who loves goodness and hates sin, from whose eyes we cannot hide ourselves, whose power we cannot avoid, and whose strictness and rigor we are unable to bend. May God grant, through his Son, Jesus Christ, in the power and efficacy of the Holy Spirit, that these considerations may serve to beget within us a filial and serious fear of God and Christ our Judge.
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