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Chapter 10.—In What Manner Christ Shall Deliver Up the Kingdom to God, Even the Father. The Kingdom Having Been Delivered to God, Even the Father, Christ Will Not Then Make Intercession for Us.
20. Our Lord Jesus Christ, therefore, will so deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father, Himself not being thence excluded, nor the Holy Spirit, when He shall bring believers to the contemplation of God, wherein is the end of all good actions, and everlasting rest, and joy which never will be taken from us. For He signifies this in that which He says: “I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice; and your joy no man taketh from you.”108108 John xvi. 22 Mary, sitting at the feet of the Lord, and earnestly listening to His word, foreshowed a similitude of this joy; resting as she did from all business, and intent upon the truth, according to that manner of which this life is capable, by which, however, to prefigure that which shall be for eternity. For while Martha, her sister, was cumbered about necessary business, which, although good and useful, yet, when rest shall have succeeded, is to pass away, she herself was resting in the word of the Lord. And so the Lord replied to Martha, when she complained that her sister did not help her: “Mary hath chosen the best part, which shall not be taken away from her.”109109 Luke x. 30–42 He did not say that Martha was acting a bad part; but that “best part that shall not be taken away.” For that part which is occupied in the ministering to a need shall be “taken away” when the need itself has passed away. Since the reward of a good work that will pass away is rest that will not pass away. In that contemplation, therefore, God will be all in all; because nothing else but Himself will be required, but it will be sufficient to be enlightened by and to enjoy Him alone. And so he in whom “the Spirit maketh intercession with groanings which cannot be uttered,”110110 Rom. viii. 26 says, “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that I will seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to contemplate the beauty of the Lord.”111111 Ps. xxvii. 4 For we shall then contemplate God, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, when the Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father, so as no longer to make intercession for us, as our Mediator and Priest, Son of God and Son of man;112112 [The redeemed must forever stand in the relation of redeemed sinners to their Redeemer. Thus standing, they will forever need Christ’s sacrifice and intercession in respect to their past sins in this earthly state. But as in the heavenly state they are sinless, and are incurring no new guilt, it is true that they do not require the fresh application of atoning blood for new sins, nor Christ’s intercession for such. This is probably what Augustin means by saying that Christ “no longer makes intercession for us,” when he has delivered up the kingdom to God. When the Mediator has surrendered his commission, he ceases to redeem sinners from death, while yet he continues forever to be the Head of those whom he has redeemed, and their High Priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek (Heb. vii. 17.)—W.G.T.S.] but that He Himself too, in so far as He is a Priest that has taken the form of a servant for us, shall be put under Him who has put all things under Him, and under whom He has put all things: so that, in so far as He is God, He with Him will have put us under Himself; in so far as He is a Priest, He with us will be put under Him.113113 1 Cor. xv. 24–28 And therefore as the [incarnate] Son is both God and man, it is rather to be said that the manhood in the Son is another substance [from the Son], than that the Son in the Father [is another substance from the Father]; just as 29the carnal nature of my soul is more another substance in relation to my soul itself, although in one and the same man, than the soul of another man is in relation to my soul.114114 [The animal soul is different in kind from the rational soul though both constitute one person; while the rational soul of a man is the same in kind with that of another man. Similarly, says Augustin, there is a difference in kind between the human nature and the divine nature of Christ, though constituting one theanthropic person, while the divine nature of the Son is the same in substance with that of the Father, though constituting two different persons, the Father and Son.—W.G.T.S.]
21. When, therefore, He “shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father,”—that is, when He shall have brought those who believe and live by faith, for whom now as Mediator He maketh intercession, to that contemplation, for the obtaining of which we sigh and groan, and when labor and groaning shall have passed away,—then, since the kingdom will have been delivered up to God, even the Father, He will no more make intercession for us. And this He signifies, when He says: “These things have I spoken unto you in similitudes;115115 Proverbs—A.V. but the time cometh when I shall no more speak unto you in similitudes,116116 Proverbs—A.V. but I shall declare117117 Show—A.V. to you plainly of the Father:” that is, they will not then be “similitudes,” when the sight shall be “face to face.” For this it is which He says, “But I will declare to you plainly of the Father;” as if He said I will plainly show you the Father. For He says, I will “declare” to you, because He is His word. For He goes on to say, “At that day ye shall ask in my name; and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.”118118 John xvi. 25–28 What is meant by “I came forth from the Father,” unless this, that I have not appeared in that form in which I am equal to the Father, 30but otherwise, that is, as less than the Father, in the creature which I have taken upon me? And what is meant by “I am come into the world,” unless this, that I have manifested to the eyes even of sinners who love this world, the form of a servant which I took, making myself of no reputation? And what is meant by “Again, I leave the world,” unless this, that I take away from the sight of the lovers of this world that which they have seen? And what is meant by “I go to the Father,” unless this, that I teach those who are my faithful ones to understand me in that being in which I am equal to the Father? Those who believe this will be thought worthy of being brought by faith to sight, that is, to that very sight, in bringing them to which He is said to “deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father.” For His faithful ones, whom He has redeemed with His blood, are called His kingdom, for whom He now intercedes; but then, making them to abide in Himself there, where He is equal to the Father, He will no longer pray the Father for them. “For,” He says, “the Father Himself loveth you.” For indeed He “prays,” in so far as He is less than the Father; but as He is equal with the Father, He with the Father grants. Wherefore He certainly does not exclude Himself from that which He says, “The Father Himself loveth you;” but He means it to be understood after that manner which I have above spoken of, and sufficiently intimated,—namely, that for the most part each Person of the Trinity is so named, that the other Persons also may be understood. Accordingly, “For the Father Himself loveth you,” is so said that by consequence both the Son and the Holy Spirit also may be understood: not that He does not now love us, who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all;119119 Rom. viii. 32 but God loves us, such as we shall be, not such as we are, for such as they are whom He loves, such are they whom He keeps eternally; which shall then be, when He who now maketh intercession for us shall have “delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father,” so as no longer to ask the Father, because the Father Himself loveth us. But for what deserving, except of faith, by which we believe before we see that which is promised? For by this faith we shall arrive at sight; so that He may love us, being such, as He loves us in order that we may become; and not such, as He hates us because we are, and exhorts and enables us to wish not to be always.
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