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THE EXCELLENCY OF CHRIST
AUTHOR: Edwards, Jonathan
PUBLISHED ON: April 1, 2003
DOC SOURCE: CCN
PUBLISHED IN: Sermons

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            INTRODUCTORY REMARK BY THE TRANSCRIBER

When this sermon was preached, the average listener had a
considerably greater attention span than his modern counterpart.
The reader may therefore be daunted by the length of the sermon. I
had considered abridging it, but finally decided not to.

Some readers will also complain that it gets off to a slow start.
This is standard for an extended speech in any context. An
experienced speaker intending to speak at length will give his
audience a minute or so to settle down into listening mode before he
says anything essential, anything that they must hear if they are
not to miss the whole point of the speech. And those who stick with
him will find that the pace does pick up after the first page.

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                  THE EXCELLENCY OF CHRIST
                a Sermon by Jonathan Edwards

                        TEXT

+ And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion
+ of the tribe of Judah, the Root  of David, hath prevailed to
+ open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I
+ beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne, and of the four
+ beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had
+ been slain –. Rev. 5:5-6

                    INTRODUCTION

    The visions and revelations the apostle John had of the future
events of God’s providence, are here introduced with a vision of the
book of God’s decrees, by which those events were fore-ordained.
This is represented (Revelation 5:1) as a book in the right hand of
him who sat on the throne, “written within and on the back side, and
sealed with seven seals.” Books, in the form in which they were wont
of old to be made, were broad leaves of parchment or paper, or
something of that nature, joined together at one edge, and so rolled
up together, and then sealed, or some way fastened together, to
prevent their unfolding and opening. Hence we read of the roll of a
book Jer. 36:2. It seems to have been such a book that John had a
vision of here; and therefore it is said to be “written within and
on the back side,” i. e. on the inside pages, and also on one of the
outside pages, namely, that which it was rolled in, in rolling the
book up together. And it is said to be “sealed with seven seals,” to
signify that what was written in it was perfectly hidden and secret;
or that God’s decrees of future events are sealed, and shut up from
all possibility of being discovered by creatures, till God is
pleased to make them known. We find that seven is often used in
Scripture as the number of perfection, to signify the superlative or
most perfect degree of anything, which probably arose from this,
that on the seventh day God beheld the works of creation finished,
and rested and rejoiced in them, as being complete and perfect.
    When John saw this book, he tells us, he “saw a strong angel
proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and
to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth,
neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look
thereon.” And that he wept much, because “no man was found worthy to
open and read the book, neither to look thereon.” And then tells us
how his tears were dried up, namely, that “one of the elders said
unto him, “Weep not, Behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah hath
prevailed” etc. as in the text. Though no man nor angel, nor any
mere creature, was found either able to loose the seals, or worthy
to be admitted to the privilege of reading the book, yet this was
declared, for the comfort of this beloved disciple, that Christ was
found both able and worthy. And we have an account in the succeeding
chapters how he actually did it, opening the seals in order, first
one, and then another, revealing what God had decreed should come to
pass hereafter. And we have an account in this chapter, of his
coming and taking the book out of the right hand of him that sat on
the throne, and of the joyful praises that were sung to him in
heaven and earth on that occasion.

    Many things might be observed in the words of the text; but it
is to my present purpose only to take notice of the two distinct
appellations here given to Christ.
    1) He is called a Lion. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah.
He seems to be called the Lion of the tribe of Judah, in allusion to
what Jacob said in his blessing of the tribe on his death-bed; who,
when he came to bless Judah, compares him to a lion, Gen. 49:9.
“Judah is a lion’s whelp; from the prey, my son, thou art gone up:
he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall
rouse him up?” And also to the standard of the camp of Judah in the
wilderness on which was displayed a lion, according to the ancient
tradition of the Jews. It is much on account of the valiant acts of
David that the tribe of Judah, of which David was, is in Jacob’s
prophetical blessing compared to a lion; but more especially with an
eye to Jesus Christ, who also was of that tribe, and was descended
of David, and is in our text called “the Root of David”; and
therefore Christ is here called “the Lion of the tribe of Judah.”
    2) He is called a Lamb. John was told of a Lion that had
prevailed to open the book, and probably expected to see a lion in
his vision; but while he is expecting, behold a Lamb appears to open
the book, an exceeding diverse kind of creature from a lion. A lion
is a devourer, one that is wont to make terrible slaughter of
others; and no creature more easily falls a prey to him than a lamb.
And Christ is here represented not only as a Lamb, a creature very
liable to be slain, but a “Lamb as it had been slain,” that is, with
the marks of its deadly wounds appearing on it.
    That which I would observe from the words, for the subject of
my present discourse, is this, namely —

              THERE IS AN ADMIRABLE CONJUNCTION
            OF DIVERSE EXCELLENCIES IN JESUS CHRIST.

    The lion and the lamb, though very diverse kinds of creatures,
yet have each their peculiar excellencies. The lion excels in
strength, and in the majesty of his appearance and voice: the lamb
excels in meekness and patience, besides the excellent nature of the
creature as good for food, and yielding that which is fit for our
clothing and being suitable to be offered in sacrifice to God. But
we see that Christ is in the text compared to both, because the
diverse excellencies of both wonderfully meet in him, — In handling
this subject I would
    FIRST, Show wherein there is an admirable conjunction of
diverse excellencies in Christ.
    SECOND, Show how this admirable conjunction of excellencies
appear in Christ’s acts.
    THIRD, make application.

                    ***** PART ONE *****

    First, I would show wherein there is an admirable conjunction
of diverse excellencies in Jesus Christ. which appears in three
things:
    A) There is a conjunction of such excellencies in Christ, as,
in our manner of conceiving, are very dlverse one from another.
    B) There is in him a conjunction of such really diverse
excellencies, as otherwise would have seemed to us utterly
incompatible in the same subject.
    C) Such diverse excellencies are exercised in him towards men
that otherwise would have seemed impossible to be exercised towards
the same object.

    A) There is a conjunction of such excellencies in Christ as, in
our manner of conceiving, are very diverse one from another. Such
are the various divine perfections and excellencies that Christ is
possessed of. Christ is a divine person, and therefore has all the
attributes of God. The difference between these is chiefly relative,
and in our manner of conceiving them. And those which, in this
sense, are most diverse, meet in the person of Christ. I shall
mention two instances.

    1) There do meet in Jesus Christ infinite highness and infinite
condescension.
    Christ, as he is God, is infinitely great and high above all.
He is higher than the kings of the earth; for he is King of kings,
and Lord of lords. He is higher than the heavens, and higher than
the highest angels of heaven. So great is he, that all men, all
kings and princes, are as worms of the dust before him; all nations
are as the drop of the bucket, and the light dust of the balance;
yea, and angels themselves are as nothing before him. He is so high,
that he is infinitely above any need of us; above our reach, that we
cannot be profitable to him; and above our conceptions, that we
cannot comprehend him. Prov. 30:4 “What is his name, and what is his
Son’s name, if thou canst tell?” Our understandings, if we stretch
them never so far, cannot reach up to his divine glory. Job 11:8 “It
is high as heaven, what canst thou do?” Christ is the Creator and
great Possessor of heaven and earth. He is sovereign Lord of all.
He rules over the whole universe, and doth whatsoever pleaseth him.
His knowledge is without bound. His wisdom is perfect, and what none
can circumvent. His power is infinite, and none can resist Him. His
riches are immense and inexhaustible. His majesty is infinitely
awful.
    And yet he is one of infinite condescension. None are so low or
inferior, but Christ’s condescension is sufficient to take a
gracious notice of them. He condescends not only to the angels,
humbling himself to behold the things that are done in heaven, but
he also condescends to such poor creatures as men; and that not only
so as to take notice of princes and great men, but of those that are
of meanest rank and degree, “the poor of the world,” James 2:5. Such
as are commonly despised by their fellow creatures, Christ does not
despise. I Cor. 1:28 “Base things of the world, and things that are
despised, hath God chosen.” Christ condescends to take notice of
beggars Luke 16:22 and people of the most despised nations. In
Christ Jesus is neither “Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free” (Col.
3:11). He that is thus high condescends to take a gracious notice of
little children Matt. 19:14. “Suffer little children to come unto
me.” Yea, which is more, his condescension is sufficient to take a
gracious notice of the most unworthy, sinful creatures, those that
have no good deservings, and those that have infinite ill
deservings.
    Yea, so great is his condescension, that it is not only
sufficient to take some gracious notice of such as these, but
sufficient for every thing that is an act of condescension. His
condescension is great enough to become their friend, to become
their companion, to unite their souls to him in spiritual marriage.
It is enough to take their nature upon him, to become one of them,
that he may be one with them. Yea, it is great enough to abase
himself yet lower for them, even to expose himself to shame and
spitting; yea, to yield up himself to an ignominious death for them.
And what act of condescension can be conceived of greater? Yet such
an act as this, has his condescension yielded to, for those that are
so low and mean, despicable and unworthy!
    Such a conjunction of infinite highness and low condescension,
in the same person, is admirable. We see, by manifold instances,
what a tendency a high station has in men, to make them to be of a
quite contrary disposition. If one worm be a little exalted above
another, by having more dust, or a bigger dunghill, how much does he
make of himself! What a distance does he keep from those that are
below him! And a little condescension is what he expects should be
made much of, and greatly acknowledged. Christ condescends to wash
our feet; but how would great men, (or rather the bigger worms,)
account themselves debased by acts of far less condescension!

    2) There meet in Jesus Christ, infinite justice and infinite
grace.
    As Christ is a divine person, he is infinitely holy and just,
hating sin, and disposed to execute condign punishment for sin. He
is the Judge of the world, and the infinitely just Judge of it, and
will not at all acquit the wicked, or by any means clear the guilty.
    And yet he is infinitely gracious and merciful. Though his
justice be so strict with respect to all sin, and every breach of
the law, yet he has grace sufficient for every sinner, and even the
chief of sinners. And it is not only sufficient for the most
unworthy to show them mercy, and bestow some good upon them, but to
bestow the greatest good; yea, it is sufficient to bestow all good
upon them, and to do all things for them. There is no benefit or
blessing that they can receive, so great but the grace of Christ is
sufficient to bestow it on the greatest sinner that ever lived. And
not only so, but so great is his grace, that nothing is too much as
the means of this good. It is sufficient not only to do great
things, but also to suffer in order to do it, and not only to
suffer, but to suffer most extremely even unto death, the most
terrible of natural evils; and not only death, but the most
ignominious and tormenting, and every way the most terrible that men
could inflict; yea, and greater sufferings than men could inflict,
who could only torment the body. He had sufferings in his soul, that
were the more immediate fruits of the wrath of God against the sins
of those he undertakes for.

    B) There do meet in the person of Christ such really diverse
excellencies, which otherwise would have been thought utterly
incompatible in the same subject; such as are conjoined in no other
person whatever, either divine, human, or angelical; and such as
neither men nor angels would ever have imagined could have met
together in the same person, had it not been seen in the person of
Christ. I would give some instances.

    1) In the person of Christ do meet together infinite glory and
lowest humility. Infinite glory, and the virtue of humility, meet in
no other person but Christ. They meet in no created person; for no
created person has infinite glory, and they meet in no other divine
person but Christ. For though the divine nature be infinitely
abhorrent to pride, yet humility is not properly predicable of God
the Father, and the Holy Ghost, that exist only in the divine
nature; because it is a proper excellency only of a created nature;
for it consists radically in a sense of a comparative lowness and
littleness before God, or the great distance between God and the
subject of this virtue; but it would be a contradiction to suppose
any such thing in God.
    But in Jesus Christ, who is both God and man, those two diverse
excellencies are sweetly united. He is a person infinitely exalted
in glory and dignity. Phil. 2:6. “Being in the form of God, he
thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” There is equal honor
due to him with the Father. John 5:23. “That all men should honor
the Son, even as they honor the Father.” God himself says to him,
“thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever,” Heb. 1:8. And there is
the same supreme respect and divine worship paid to him by the
angels of heaven, as to God the Father, ver. 6. “Let all the angels
of God worship him.”
    But however he is thus above all, yet he is lowest of all in
humility. There never was so great an instance of this virtue among
either men or angels, as Jesus. None ever was so sensible of the
distance between God and him, or had a heart so lowly before God, as
the man Christ Jesus. Matt. 11:29. What a wonderful spirit of
humility appeared in him, when he was here upon earth, in all his
behavior! In his contentment in his mean outward condition,
contentedly living in the family of Joseph the carpenter, and Mary
his mother, for thirty years together, and afterwards choosing
outward meanness, poverty, and contempt, rather than earthly
greatness; in his washing his disciples’ feet, and in all his
speeches and deportment towards them; in his cheerfully sustaining
the form of a servant through his whole life, and submitting to such
immense humiliation at death!

    2) In the person of Christ do meet together infinite majesty
and transcendent meekness. These again are two qualifications that
meet together in no other person but Christ. Meekness, properly so
called, is a virtue proper only to the creature: we scarcely ever
find meekness mentioned as a divine attribute in Scripture; at least
not in the New Testament; for thereby seems to be signified, a
calmness and quietness of spirit, arising from humility in mutable
beings that are naturally liable to be put into a ruffle by the
assaults of a tempestuous and injurious world. But Christ, being
both God and man, hath both infinite majesty and superlative
meekness.
    Christ was a person of infinite majesty. It is he that is
spoken of, Psalm 45:3. “Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most
mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.” It is he that is mighty,
that rideth on the heavens, and his excellency on the sky. It is he
that is terrible out of his holy places; who is mightier than the
noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea: before
whom a fire goeth, and burneth up his enemies round about; at whose
presence the earth quakes, and the hills melt; who sitteth on the
circle of the earth, and all the inhabitants thereof are as
grasshoppers, who rebukes the sea, and maketh it dry and drieth up
the rivers, whose eyes are as a flame of fire, from whose presence,
and from the glory of whose power, the wicked shall be punished with
everlasting destruction; who is the blessed and only Potentate, the
King of kings, and Lord of lords, who hath heaven for his throne,
and the earth for his footstool, and is the high and lofty One who
inhabits eternity, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and of
whose dominion there is no end.
    And yet he was the most marvellous instance of meekness, and
humble quietness of spirit, that ever was; agreeable to the
prophecies of him, Matthew 21:4f “All this was done, that it might
be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the
daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and
sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.” And, agreeable
to what Christ declares of himself, Matt. 11:29. “I am meek and
lowly in heart.” And agreeable to what was manifest in his behavior:
for there never was such an instance seen on earth, of a meek
behavior, under injuries and reproaches, and towards enemies; who,
when he was reviled, reviled not again. He had a wonderful spirit of
forgiveness, was ready to forgive his worst enemies, and prayed for
them with fervent and effectual prayers. With what meekness did he
appear in the ring of soldiers that were contemning and mocking him;
he was silent, and opened not his mouth, but went as a lamb to the
slaughter. Thus is Christ a Lion in majesty and a Lamb in meekness.

    3) There meet in the person of Christ the deepest reverence
towards God and equality with God. Christ, when on earth, appeared
full of holy reverence towards the Father. He paid the most
reverential worship to him, praying to him with postures of
reverence. Thus we read of his “kneeling down and praying,” Luke
22:41. This became Christ, as one who had taken on him the human
nature, but at the same time he existed in the divine nature;
whereby his person was in all respects equal to the person of the
Father. God the Father hath no attribute or perfection that the Son
hath not, in equal degree, and equal glory. These things meet in no
other person but Jesus Christ.

    4) There are conjoined in the person of Christ infinite
worthiness of good, and the greatest patience under sufferings of
evil.
    He was perfectly innocent,and deserved no suffering. He
deserved nothing from God by any guilt of his own, and he deserved
no ill from men. Yea, he was not only harmless and undeserving of
suffering, but he was infinitely worthy; worthy of the infinite love
of the Father, worthy of infinite and eternal happiness, and
infinitely worthy of all possible esteem, love, and service from all
men.
    And yet he was perfectly patient under the greatest sufferings
that ever were endured in this world. Heb. 12:2. “He endured the
cross, despising the shame.” He suffered not from his Father for his
faults, but ours; and he suffered from men not for his faults but
for those things on account of which he was infinitely worthy of
their love and honor, which made his patience the more wonderful and
the more glorious. 1 Pet. 2:20, “For what glory is it, if when ye be
buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently, but if when ye
do well. and suffer for it, ye take it patiently; this is acceptable
with God. For even hereunto were ye called; because Christ also
suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow his
steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who
when he was reviled, reviled not again, when he suffered, he
threatened not, but committed himself to him that judgeth
righteously: who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the
tree, that we being dead to sin, should live unto righteousness: by
whose stripes ye were healed.” There is no such conjunction of
innocence, worthiness, and patience under sufferings, as in the
person of Christ.

    5) In the person of Christ are conjoined an exceeding spirit of
obedience, with supreme dominion over heaven and earth.
    Christ is the Lord of all things in two respects: he is so, as
God-man and Mediator, and thus his dominion is appointed, and given
him of the Father. Having it by delegation from God, he is as it
were the Father’s vicegerent. But he is Lord of all things in
another respect, namely, as he is (by his original nature) God; and
so he is by natural right the Lord of all, and supreme over all as
much as the Father. Thus, he has dominion over the world, not by
delegation, but in his own right. He is not an under God, as the
Arians suppose, but to all intents and purposes supreme God.
    And yet in the same person is found the greatest spirit of
obedience to the commands and laws of God that ever was in the
universe; which was manifest in his obedience here in this world.
John 14:31 “As the Father gave me commandment, even so I do.”– John
15:10. “Even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in
his love.” The greatness of his obedience appears in its perfection,
and in his obeying commands of such exceeding difficulty. Never any
one received commands from God of such difficulty, and that were so
great a trial of obedience, as Jesus Christ. One of God’s commands
to him was, that he should yield himself to those dreadful
sufferings that he underwent. See John 10:18. “No man taketh it from
me, but I lay it down of myself.” “This commandment received I of my
Father.” And Christ was thoroughly obedient to this command of God.
Heb. 5:8. “Though he were a Son, yet he learned obedience by the
things that he suffered.” Philip. 2:8. “He humbled himself, and
became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Never was
there such an instance of obedience in man or angel as this, though
he was at the same time supreme Lord of both angels and men.

    6) In the person of Christ are conjoined absolute sovereignty
and perfect resignation. This is another unparalleled conjunction.
    Christ, as he is God, is the absolute sovereign of the world,
the sovereign disposer of all events. The decrees of God are all his
sovereign decrees; and the work of creation, and all God’s works of
providence, are his sovereign works. It is he that worketh all
things according to the counsel of his own will. Col 1:16f. “By him,
and through him, and to him, are all things.” John 5:17. “The Father
worketh hitherto, and I work.” Matt. 8:3. “I will, be thou clean.”
    But yet Christ was the most wonderful instance of resignation
that ever appeared in the world. He was absolutely and perfectly
resigned when he had a near and immediate prospect of his terrible
sufferings, and the dreadful cup that he was to drink. The idea and
expectation of this made his soul exceeding sorrowful even unto
death, and put him into such an agony, that his sweat was as it were
great drops or clots of blood, falling down to the ground. But in
such circumstances he was wholly resigned to the will of God. Matt
26:39. “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me:
nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt. Verse 42. “O my
Father, if this cup may not pass from me, except I drink it, thy
will be done.”

    7) In Christ do meet together self-sufficiency, and an entire
trust and reliance on God, which is another conjunction peculiar to
the person of Christ.
    As he is a divine person, he is self-sufficient, standing in
need of nothing. All creatures are dependent on him, but he is
dependent on none, but is absolutely independent. His proceeding
from the Father, in his eternal generation, argues no proper
dependence on the will of the Father; for that proceeding was
natural and necessary, and not arbitrary.
    But yet Christ entirely trusted in God: — his enemies say that
of him, “He trusted in God that he would deliver him,” Matt. 27:43.
And the apostle  testifies, I Pet. 2:23. “That he committed himself
God.”

    C) Such diverse excellencies are expressed in him towards men,
that otherwise would have seemed impossible to be exercised towards
the same object; as particularly these three, justice, mercy, and
truth. The same that are mentioned in Psalm 85:10. “Mercy and truth
are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other.”
    The strict justice of God, and even his revenging justice, and
that against the sins of men, never was so gloriously manifested. as
in Christ. He manifested an infinite regard to the attribute of
God’s justice, in that, when he had a mind to save sinners, he was
willing to undergo such extreme sufferings, rather than that their
salvation should be to the injury of the honor of that attribute.
And as he is the Judge of the world, he doth himself exercise strict
justice, he will not clear the guilty, nor at all acquit the wicked
in judgment.
    Yet how wonderfully is infinite mercy towards sinners displayed
in him! And what glorious and ineffable grace and love have been and
are exercised by him, towards sinful men! Though he be the just
Judge of a sinful world, yet he is also the Savior of the world.
Though he be a consuming fire to sin, yet he is the light and life
of sinners. Rom. 3:25f. “Whom God hath set forth to be a
propitiation, through faith in his blood, to declare his
righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the
forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his
righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him which
believeth in Jesus.”
    So the immutable truth of God, in the threatenings of his law
against the sins of men, was never so manifested as it is in Jesus
Christ, for there never was any other so great a trial of the
unalterableness of the truth of God in those threatenings, as when
sin came to be imputed to his own Son. And then in Christ has been
seen already an actual complete accomplishment of those
threatenings, which never has been nor will be seen in any other
instance; because the eternity that will be taken up in fulfilling
those threatenings on others, never will be finished. Christ
manifested an infinite regard to this truth of God in his
sufferings. And, in his judging the world, he makes the covenant of
works, that contains those dreadful threatenings, his rule of
judgement. He will see to it, that it is not infringed in the least
jot or tittle: he will do nothing contrary to the threatenings of
the law, and their complete fulfilment. And yet in him we have many
great and precious promises, promises of perfect deliverance from
the penalty of the law. And this is the promise that he hath
promised us, even eternal life. And in him are all the promises of
God yea, and Amen.

                    ***** PART TWO *****

    Having thus shown wherein there is an admirable conjunction of
excellencies in Jesus Christ, I now proceed,
    SECONDLY, To show how this admirable conjunction of
excellencies appears in Christ’s acts, [ namely:]
    A) in his taking of human nature,
    B) in his earthly life,
    C) in his sacrificial death,
    D) in his exaltation in heaven,
    E) in his final subduing of all evil when he returns in glory.]

    A) It appears in what Christ did in taking on him our nature.

    In this act, his infinite condescension wonderfully appeared,
That he who was God should become man; that the word should be made
flesh, and should take on him a nature infinitely below his original
nature! And it appears yet more remarkably in the low circumstances
of his incarnation: he was conceived in the womb of a poor young
woman, whose poverty appeared in this, when she came to offer
sacrifices of her purification, she brought what was allowed of in
the law only in case of poverty, as Luke 2:24. “According to what Is
said in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtle-doves, or two young
pigeons.” This was allowed only in case the person was so poor that
she was not able to offer a lamb. Lev. 12:8.
    And though his infinite condescension thus appeared in the
manner of his incarnation, yet his divine dignity also appeared in
it; for though he was conceived in the womb of a poor virgin, yet he
was conceived there by the power of the Holy Ghost. And his divine
dignity also appeared in the holiness of his conception and birth.
Though he was conceived in the womb of one of the corrupt race of
mankind, yet he was conceived and born without sin; as the angel
said to the blessed Virgin, Luke 1:35. “The Holy Ghost shall come
upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee,
therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee, shall be
called the Son of God.”
    His infinite condescension marvelously appeared in the manner
of his birth. He was brought forth in a stable because there was no
room for them in the inn. The inn was taken up by others, that were
looked upon as persons of greater account. The Blessed Virgin, being
poor and despised, was turned or shut out. Though she was in such
necessitous circumstances, yet those that counted themselves her
betters would not give place to her; and therefore, in the time of
her travail, she was forced to betake herself to a stable; and when
the child was born, it was wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in
a manger. There Christ lay a little infant, and there he eminently
appeared as a lamb.
    But yet this feeble infant, born thus in a stable, and laid in
a manger, was born to conquer and triumph over Satan, that roaring
lion. He came to subdue the mighty powers of darkness, and make a
show of them openly, and so to restore peace on earth, and to
manifest God’s good-will towards men, and to bring glory to God in
the highest, according as the end of his birth was declared by the
joyful songs of the glorious hosts of angels appearing to the
shepherds at the same time that the infant lay in the manger;
whereby his divine dignity was manifested.

    B) This admirable conjunction of excellencies appears in the
acts and various passages of Christ’s life.

    Though Christ dwelt in mean outward circumstances, whereby his
condescension and humility especially appeared, and his majesty was
veiled; yet his divine divinity and glory did in many of his acts
shine through the veil, and it illustriously appeared, that he was
not only the Son of man, but the great God.
    Thus, in the circumstances of his infancy, his outward meanness
appeared; yet there was something then to show forth his divine
dignity, in the wise men’s being stirred up to come from the east to
give honor to him their being led by a miraculous star, and coming
and falling down and worshipping him, and presenting him with gold,
frankincense, and myrrh. His humility and meekness wonderfully
appeared in his subjection to his mother and reputed father when he
was a child. Herein he appeared as a lamb. But his divine glory
broke forth and shone when, at twelve years old, he disputed with
doctors in the temple. In that he appeared, in some measure, as the
Lion of the tribe of Judah.
    And so, after he entered on his public ministry, his marvellous
humility and meekness was manifested in his choosing to appear in
such mean outward circumstances; and in being contented in them,
when he was so poor that he had not where to lay his head, and
depended on the charity of some of his followers for his
subsistence, as appears by Luke 8. at the beginning. How meek,
condescending, and familiar his treatment of his disciples; his
discourses with them, treating them as a father his children, yea,
as friends and companions. How patient, bearing such affliction and
reproach, and so many injuries from the scribes and Pharisees, and
others. In these things he appeared as a Lamb.
    And yet he at the same time did in many ways show forth his
divine majesty and glory, particularly in the miracles he wrought,
which were evidently divine works, and manifested omnipotent power,
and so declared him to be the Lion of the tribe of Judah. His
wonderful and miraculous works plainly showed him to be the God of
nature; in that it appeared by them that he had all nature in his
hands, and could lay an arrest upon it, and stop and change its
course as he pleased. In healing the sick, and opening the eyes of
the blind, and unstopping the ears of the deaf, and healing the
lame, he showed that he was the God that framed the eye, and created
the ear, and was the author of the frame of man’s body. By the
dead’s rising at his command, it appeared that he was the author and
fountain of life, and that “God the Lord, to whom belong the issues
from death.” By his walking on the sea in a storm, when the waves
were raised, he showed himself to be that God spoken of in Job 9:8.
“That treadeth on the waves of the sea.” By his stilling the storm,
and calming the rage of the sea, by his powerful command, saying,
“Peace, be still,” he showed that he has the command of the
universe, and that he is that God who brings things to pass by the
word of his power, who speaks and it is done, who commands and it
stands fast; Psalm 115:7. “Who stilleth the noise of the seas, the
noise of their waves.” And Psalm 107:29. “That maketh the storm a
calm, so that the waves thereof are still.” And Psalm 139:8f. “O
Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord like unto thee, or to thy
faithfulness round about thee? Thou rulest the raging of the sea:
when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.” Christ, by
casting out devils, remarkably appeared as the Lion of the tribe of
Judah, and showed that he was stronger than the roaring lion, that
seizes whom he may devour. He commanded them to come out, and they
were forced to obey. They were terribly afraid of him; they fall
down before him, and beseech him not so torment them. He forces a
whole legion of them to forsake their hold, by his powerful word;
and they could not so much as enter into the swine without his
leave. He showed the glory of his omniscience, by telling the
thoughts of men; as we have often an account. Herein he appeared to
be that God spoken of, Amos 4:13. “That declareth unto man what is
his thought.” Thus, in the midst of his meanness and humiliation,
his divine glory appeared in his miracles, John 2:11. “This
beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested
forth his glory.”
    And though Christ ordinarily appeared without outward glory,
and in great obscurity, yet at a certain time he threw off the veil,
and appeared in his divine majesty, so far as it could be outwardly
manifested to men in this frail state, when he was transfigured in
the mount. The apostle Peter, 2 Pet. 1:16,17. was an “eye-witness of
his majesty, when he received from God the Father honor and glory,
when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This
is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; which voice that came
from heaven they heard, when they were with him in the holy mount.”
    And at the same time that Christ was wont to appear in such
meekness, condescension, and humility, in his familiar discourses
with his disciples, appearing therein as the Lamb of God; he was
also wont to appear as The Lion of the tribe of Judah, with divine
authority and majesty, in his so sharply rebuking the scribes and
Pharisees, and other hypocrites.

    C) This admirable conjunction of excellencies remarkably
appears in his offering up himself a sacrifice for sinners in his
last sufferings.

    As this was the greatest thing in all the works of redemption,
the greatest act of Christ in that work; so in this act especially
does there appear that admirable conjunction of excellencies that
has been spoken of. Christ never so much appeared as a lamb, as when
he was slain: “He came like a lamb to the slaughter,” Isaiah 53:7.
Then he was offered up to God as a lamb without blemish, and without
spot: then especially did he appear to be the anti-type of the lamb
of the passover: 1 Cor 5:7. “Christ our Passover sacrificed for us.”
And yet in that act he did in an especial manner appear as the Lion
of the tribe of Judah; yea, in this above all other acts, in many
respects, as may appear in the following things.

    1) Then was Christ in the greatest degree of his humiliation,
and yet by that, above all other things, his divine glory appears.
    Christ’s humiliation was great, in being born in such a low
condition, of a poor virgin, and in a stable. His humiliation was
great, in being subject to Joseph the carpenter, and Mary his
mother, and afterwards living in poverty, so as not to have where to
lay his head; and in suffering such manifold and bitter reproaches
as he suffered, while he went about preaching and working miracles.
But his humiliation was never so great as it was, in his last
sufferings, beginning with his agony in the garden, till he expired
on the cross. Never was he subject to such ignominy as then, never
did he suffer so much pain in his body, or so much sorrow in his
soul; never was he in so great an exercise of his condescension,
humility, meekness, and patience, as he was in these last
sufferings; never was his divine glory and majesty covered with so
thick and dark a veil; never did he so empty himself and make
himself of no reputation, as at this time.
    And yet, never was his divine glory so manifested, by any act
of his, as in yielding himself up to these sufferings. When the
fruit of it came to appear, and the mystery and ends of it to be
unfolded in its issue, then did the glory of it appear, then did it
appear as the most glorious act of Christ that ever he exercised
towards the creature. This act of his is celebrated by the angels
and hosts of heaven with peculiar praises, as that which is above
all others glorious, as you may see in the context, (Revelation
5:9-12) “And they sang a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take
the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain and
hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and
tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings
and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I
heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the
beasts, and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand
times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud
voice Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and
riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and
blessing.”

    2) He never in any act gave so great a manifestation of love to
God, and yet never so manifested his love to those that were enemies
to God, as in that act.
    Christ never did any thing whereby his love to the Father was
so eminently manifested, as in his laying down his life, under such
inexpressible sufferings, in obedience to his command and for the
vindication of the honor of his authority and majesty; nor did ever
any mere creature give such a testimony of love to God as that was.
    And yet this was the greatest expression of his love to sinful
men who were enemies to God; Rom. 5:10. “When we were enemies, we
were reconciled to God, by the death of his Son.” The greatness of
Christ’s love to such, appears in nothing so much as in its being
dying love. That blood of Christ which fell in great drops to the
ground, in his agony, was shed from love to God’s enemies, and his
own. That shame and spitting, that torment of body, and that
exceeding sorrow, even unto death, which he endured in his soul, was
what he underwent from love to rebels against God to save them from
hell, and to purchase for them eternal glory. Never did Christ so
eminently show his regard to God’s honor, as in offering up himself
a victim to Justice. And yet in this above all, he manifested his
love to them who dishonored God, so as to bring such guilt on
themselves, that nothing less than his blood could atone for it.

    3) Christ never so eminently appeared for divine justice, and
yet never suffered so much from divine Justice, as when he offered
up himself a sacrifice for our sins.
    In Christ’s great sufferings did his infinite regard to the
honor of God’s justice distinguishingly appear, for it was from
regard to that that he thus humbled himself.
    And yet in these sufferings, Christ was the target of the
vindictive expressions of that very justice of God. Revenging
justice then spent all its force upon him, on account of our guilt;
which made him sweat blood, and cry out upon the cross, and probably
rent his vitals–broke his heart, the fountain of blood, or some
other blood vessels–and by the violent fermentation turned his
blood to water. For the blood and water that issued out of his side,
when pierced by the spear, seems to have been extravasated blood,
and so there might be a kind of literal fulfilment of Psalm 22:14.
“I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my
heart is like wax, it is melted in the midst of my bowels.’ And
this was the way and means by which Christ stood up for the honor of
God’s justice, namely, by thus suffering its terrible executions.
For when he had undertaken for sinners, and had substituted himself
in their room, divine justice could have its due honor no other way
than by his suffering its revenges.
    In this the diverse excellencies that met in the person of
Christ appeared, namely, his infinite regard to God’s justice, and
such love to those that have exposed themselves to it, as induced
him thus to yield himself a sacrifice to it.

    4) Christ’s holiness never so illustriously shone forth as it
did in his last sufferings, and yet he never was to such a degree
treated as guilty.
    Christ’s holiness never had such a trial as it had then, and
therefore never had so great a manifestation. When it was tried in
this furnace it came forth as gold, or as silver purified seven
times. His holiness then above all appeared in his steadfast pursuit
of the honor of God, and in his obedience to him. For his yielding
himself unto death was transcendently the greatest act of obedience
that ever was paid to God by any one since the foundation of the
world.
    And yet then Christ was in the greatest degree treated as a
wicked person would have been. He was apprehended and bound as a
malefactor. His accusers represented him as a most wicked wretch.
In his sufferings before his crucifixion, he was treated as if he
had been the worst and vilest of mankind, and then, he was put to a
kind of death, that none but the worst sort of malefactors were wont
to suffer, those that were most abject in their persons, and guilty
of the blackest crimes. And he suffered as though guilty from God
himself, by reason of our guilt imputed to him; for he who knew no
sin, was made sin for us; he was made subject to wrath, as if he had
been sinful himself. He was made a curse for us.
    Christ never so greatly manifested his hatred of sin, as
against God, as in his dying to take away the dishonor that sin had
done to God; and yet never was he to such a degree subject to the
terrible effects of God’s hatred of sin, and wrath against it, as he
was then. in this appears those diverse excellencies meeting in
Christ, namely, love to God, and grace to sinners.

    5) He never was so dealt with, as unworthy, as in his last
sufferings, and yet it is chiefly on account of them that he is
accounted worthy.
    He was therein dealt with as if he had not been worthy to live:
they cry out, “Away with him! away with him! Crucify him.” John
19:15. And they prefer Barabbas before him. And he suffered from the
Father, as one whose demerits were infinite, by reason of our
demerits that were laid upon him.
    And yet it was especially by that act of his subjecting himself
to those sufferings that he merited, and on the account of which
chiefly he was accounted worthy of the glory of his exaltation.
Philip. 2:8, 9. “He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death;
wherefore God hath highly exalted him.”And we see that it is on this
account chiefly, that he is extolled as worthy by saints and angels
in the context: “Worthy,” say they, “is the Lamb that was slain.”
This shows an admirable conjunction in him of infinite dignity, and
infinite condescension and love to the infinitely unworthy.

    6) Christ in his last sufferings suffered most extremely from
those towards whom he was then manifesting his greatest act of love.
    He never suffered so much from his Father, (though not from any
hatred to him, but from hatred to our sins,) for he then forsook
him, or took away the comforts of his presence; and then “it pleased
the Lord to bruise him, and put him to grief.” as Isaiah 53:10. And
yet he never gave so great a manifestation of love to God as then,
as has been already observed.
    So Christ never suffered so much from the hands of men as he
did then; and yet never was in so high an exercise of love to men.
He never was so ill treated by his disciples; who were so
unconcerned about his sufferings, that they .would not watch with
him one hour, in his agony; and when he was apprehended, all forsook
him and fled, except Peter, who denied him with oaths and curses.
And yet then he was suffering, shedding his blood, and pouring out
his soul unto death for them. Yea, he probably was then shedding his
blood for some of them that shed his blood, for whom he prayed while
they were crucifying him; and who were probably afterwards brought
home to Christ by Peter’s preaching. (Compare Luke 23:34. Acts
2:23,36,37,41. and chap. 3:17. and chap. 4.) This shows an admirable
meeting of justice and grace in the redemption of Christ.

    7) It was in Christ’s last sufferings, above all, that he was
delivered up to the power of his enemies; and yet by these, above
all, he obtained victory over his enemies.
    Christ never was so in his enemies’ hands, as in the time of
his last sufferings. They sought his life before; but from time to
time they were restrained, and Christ escaped out of their hands,
and this reason is given for it, that his time was not yet come. But
now they were suffered to work their will upon him, he was in a
great degree delivered up to the malice and cruelty of both wicked
men and devils. And therefore when Christ’s enemies came to
apprehend him, he says to them, Luke 22:53. “When I was daily with
you in the temple ye stretched forth no hand against me: but this is
your hour, and the power of darkness.”
    And yet it was principally by means of those sufferings that he
conquered and overthrew his enemies. Christ never so effectually
bruised Satan’s head, as when Satan bruised his heel. The weapon
with which Christ warred against the devil, and obtained a most
complete victory and glorious triumph over him, was the cross, the
instrument and weapon with which he thought he had overthrown
Christ, and brought on him shameful destruction. Col. 2:14,15.
“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances,–nailing it to his
cross: and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show
of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” In his last sufferings,
Christ sapped the very foundations of Satan’s kingdom, he conquered
his enemies in their own territories, and beat them with their own
weapons as David cut off Goliath’s head with his own sword. The
devil had, as it were, swallowed up Christ, as the whale did Jonah–
but it was deadly poison to him, he gave him a mortal wound in his
own bowels. He was soon sick of his morsel, and was forced to do by
him as the whale did by Jonah. To this day he is heart-sick of what
he then swallowed as his prey. In those sufferings of Christ was
laid the foundation of all that glorious victory he has already
obtained over Satan, in the overthrow of his heathenish kingdom in
the Roman empire, and all the success the gospel has had since; and
also of all his future and still more glorious victory that is to be
obtained in the earth. Thus Samson’s riddle is most eminently
fulfilled, Judges 14:14. “Out of the eater came forth meat, and out
of the strong came forth sweetness.” And thus the true Samson does
more towards the destruction of his enemies at his death than in his
life, in yielding up himself to death, he pulls down the temple of
Dagon, and destroys many thousands of his enemies, even while they
are making themselves sport in his sufferings–and so he whose type
was the ark, pulls down Dagon, and breaks off his head and hands in
his own temple, even while he is brought in there as Dagon’s
captive. (1 Samuel 5:1-4)
    Thus Christ appeared at the same time, and in the same act, as
both a lion and a lamb. He appeared as a lamb in the hands of his
cruel enemies; as a lamb in the paws, and between the devouring
jaws, of a roaring lion; yea, he was a lamb actually slain by this
lion: and yet at the same time, as the Lion of the tribe of Judah,
he conquers and triumphs over Satan; destroying his own destroyer;
as Samson did the lion that roared upon him, when he rent him as he
would a kid. And in nothing has Christ appeared so much as a lion,
in glorious strength destroying his enemies, as when he was brought
as a lamb to the slaughter. In his greatest weakness he was most
strong; and when he suffered most from his enemies, he brought the
greatest confusion on his enemies.
    Thus this admirable conjunction of diverse excellencies was
manifest in Christ, in his offering up himself to God in his last
sufferings.

    D) It is still manifest in his acts, in his present state of
exaltation in heaven. Indeed, in his exalted state, he most
eminently appears in manifestation of those excellencies, on the
account of which he is compared to a lion; but still he appears as a
lamb; Rev. 14:1. “And I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on mount Sion”;
as in his state of humiliation he chiefly appeared as a lamb, and
yet did not appear without manifestation of his divine majesty and
power, as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. Though Christ be now at
the right-hand of God, exalted as King of heaven, and Lord of the
universe; yet as he still is in the human nature, he still excels in
humility. Though the man Christ Jesus be the highest of all
creatures in heaven, yet he as much excels them all in humility as
he doth in glory and dignity, for none sees so much of the distance
between God and him as he does. And though he now appears in such
glorious majesty and dominion in heaven, yet he appears as a lamb in
his condescending, mild, and sweet treatment of his saints there,
for he is a Lamb still, even amidst the throne of his exaltation,
and he that is the Shepherd of the whole flock is himself a Lamb,
and goes before them in heaven as such. Rev. 7:17. “For the Lamb,
which is in the midst of the throne, shall feed them, and shall lead
them unto living fountains of waters, and God shall wipe away all
tears from their eyes.” Though in heaven every knee bows to him, and
though the angels fall down before him adoring him, yet he treats
his saints with infinite condescension, mildness, and endearment.
And in his acts towards the saints on earth, he still appears as a
lamb, manifesting exceeding love and tenderness in his intercession
for them, as one that has had experience of affliction and
temptation. He has not forgot what these things are, nor has he
forgot how to pity those that are subject to them. And he still
manifests his lamb-like excellencies, in his dealings with his
saints on earth, in admirable forbearance, love, gentleness, and
compassion. Behold him instructing, supplying, supporting, and
comforting them; often coming to them, and manifesting himself to
them by his Spirit, that he may sup with them, and they with him.
Behold him admitting them to sweet communion, enabling them with
boldness and confidence to come to him, and solacing their hearts.
And in heaven Christ still appears, as it were, with the marks of
his wounds upon him, and so appears as a Lamb as it had been slain,
as he was represented in vision to St John, in the text, when he
appeared to open the book sealed with seven seals, which is part of
the glory of his exaltation.

    E) And lastly, this admirable conjunction of excellencies will
be manifest in Christ’s acts at the last judgement.
    He then, above all other times, will appear as the Lion of the
tribe of Judah in infinite greatness and majesty, when he shall come
in the glory of his Father, with all the holy angels, and the earth
shall tremble before him, and the hills shall melt. This is he (Rev.
20:11.) “that shall sit on a great white throne, before whose face
the earth and heaven shall flee away.” He will then appear in the
most dreadful and amazing manner to the wicked. The devils tremble
at the thought of that appearance, and when it shall be, the kings,
and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains. and the
mighty men, and every bond-man and every free-man, shall hide
themselves in the dens, and in the rocks of the mountains, and shall
cry to the mountains and rocks to fall on them, to hide them from
the face and wrath of the Lamb. And none can declare or conceive of
the amazing manifestations of wrath in which he will then appear
towards these, or the trembling and astonishment the shrieking and
gnashing of teeth, with which they shall stand before his
judgment-seat, and receive the terrible sentence of his wrath.
    And yet he will at the same time appear as a Lamb to his
saints; he will receive them as friends and brethren, treating them
with infinite mildness and love. There shall be nothing in him
terrible to them, but towards them he will clothe himself wholly
with sweetness and endearment. The church shall be then admitted to
him as his bride; that shall be her wedding-day. The saints shall
all be sweetly invited to come with him to inherit the kingdom, and
reign in it with him to all eternity.

                    ***** PART THREE *****

    [I would now show how the aforesaid teaching is of benefit to
us, in that
    A) it gives us insight into the names of Christ in Scripture,
    B) it encourages us to accept him as our Savior,
    C) it encourages us to accept him as our Friend.]

    A) From this doctrine we may learn one reason why Christ is
called by such a variety of names, and held forth under such a
variety of representations, in Scripture. It is the better to
signify and exhibit to us that variety of excellencies that meet
together and are conjoined in him. Many appellations are mentioned
together in one verse Isaiah 9:6. “For unto us a Child is born, unto
us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God,
the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” It shows a wonderful
conjunction of excellencies, that the same person should be a Son,
born and given, and yet be the everlasting Father, without beginning
or end, that he should be a Child, and yet be he whose name is
Counsellor, and the mighty God; and well may his name, in whom such
things are conjoined, be called wonderful.
    By reason of the same wonderful conjunction, Christ is
represented by a great variety of sensible things, that are on some
account excellent. Thus in some places he is called a Sun, as Mal.
4:2, in others a Star, Numb. 24:17. And he is especially represented
by the Morning star, as being that which excels all other stars in
brightness, and is the forerunner of the day, Rev. 22:16. And, as in
our text, he is compared to a lion in one verse, and a lamb in the
next, so sometimes he is compared to a roe or young hart, another
creature most diverse from a lion. So in some places he is called a
rock, in others he is compared to a pearl. In some places he is
called a man of war, and the Captain of our Salvation, in other
places he is represented as a bridegroom. In the second chapter of
Canticles, the first verse, he is compared to a rose and a lily,
that are sweet and beautiful flowers; in the next verse but one, he
is compared to a tree bearing sweet fruit. In Isaiah 53:2 he is
called a Root out of a dry ground; but elsewhere, instead of that,
he is called the Tree of Life, that grows (not in a dry or barren
ground, but) “in the midst of the paradise of God.” Rev. 2:7.

    B) Let the consideration of this wonderful meeting of diverse
excellencies in Christ induce you to accept of him, and close with
him as your Savior. As all manner of excellencies meet in him, so
there are concurring in him all manner of arguments and motives, to
move you to choose him for your Savior, and every thing that tends
to encourage poor sinners to come and put their trust in him: his
fullness and all-sufficiency as a Savior gloriously appear in that
variety of excellencies that has been spoken of.
    Fallen man is in a state of exceeding great misery, and is
helpless in it; he is a poor weak creature, like an infant cast out
in its blood in the day that it is born. But Christ is the lion of
the tribe of Judah; he is strong, though we are weak; he hath
prevailed to do that for us which no creature else could do. Fallen
man is a mean despicable creature, a contemptible worm; but Christ,
who has undertaken for us, is infinitely honorable and worthy.
Fallen man is polluted, but Christ is infinitely holy; fallen man is
hateful, but Christ is infinitely lovely; fallen man is the object
of God’s indignation, but Christ is infinitely dear to him. We have
dreadfully provoked God, but Christ has performed that righteousness
which is infinitely precious in God’s eyes.
    And here is not only infinite strength and infinite worthiness,
but infinite condescension, and love and mercy, as great as power
and dignity. If you are a poor, distressed sinner, whose heart is
ready to sink for fear that God never will have mercy on you, you
need not be afraid to go to Christ, for fear that he is either
unable or unwilling to help you. Here is a strong foundation, and an
inexhaustible treasure, to answer the necessities of your poor soul,
and here is infinite grace and gentleness to invite and embolden a
poor, unworthy, fearful soul to come to it. If Christ accepts of
you, you need not fear but that you will be safe, for he is a strong
Lion for your defense. And if you come, you need not fear but that
you shall be accepted; for he is like a Lamb to all that come to
him, and receives then with infinite grace and tenderness. It is
true he has awful majesty, he is the great God, and infinitely high
above you; but there is this to encourage and embolden the poor
sinner, that Christ is man as well as God; he is a creature, as well
as the Creator, and he is the most humble and lowly in heart of any
creature in heaven or earth. This may well make the poor unworthy
creature bold in coming to him. You need not hesitate one moment;
but may run to him, and cast yourself upon him. You will certainly
be graciously and meekly received by him. Though he is a lion, he
will only be a lion to your enemies, but he will be a lamb to you.
It could not have been conceived, had it not been so in the person
of Christ, that there could have been so much in any Savior, that is
inviting and tending to encourage sinners to trust in him. Whatever
your circumstances are, you need not be afraid to come to such a
Savior as this. Be you never so wicked a creature, here is
worthiness enough; be you never so poor, and mean, and ignorant a
creature, there is no danger of being despised, for though he be so
much greater than you, he is also immensely more humble than you.
Any one of you that is a father or mother, will not despise one of
your own children that comes to you in distress: much less danger is
there of Christ’s despising you, if you in your heart come to him.

Here let me a little expostulate with the poor, burdened, distressed
soul.
    1) What are you afraid of, that you dare not venture your soul
upon Christ? Are you afraid that he cannot save you, that he is not
strong enough to conquer the enemies of your soul? But how can you
desire one stronger than “the almighty God”? as Christ is called,
Isa. 9:6. Is there need of greater than infinite strength? Are you
afraid that he will not be willing to stoop so low as to take any
gracious notice of you? But then, look on him, as he stood in the
ring of soldiers, exposing his blessed face to be buffeted and spit
upon by them! Behold him bound with his back uncovered to those that
smote him! And behold him hanging on the cross! Do you think that he
that had condescension enough to stoop to these things, and that for
his crucifiers, will be unwilling to accept of you, if you come to
him? Or, are you afraid that if he does accept you, that God the
Father will not accept of him for you? But consider, will God reject
his own Son, in whom his infinite delight is, and has been, from all
eternity, and who is so united to him, that if he should reject him
he would reject himself?
    2) What is there that you can desire should be in a Savior,
that is not in Christ? Or, wherein should you desire a Savior should
be otherwise than Christ is? What excellency is there wanting? What
is there that is great or good; what is there that is venerable or
winning; what is there that is adorable or endearing; or, what can
you think of that would be encouraging, which is not to be found in
the person of Christ? Would you have your Savior to be great and
honorable, because you are not willing to be beholden to a mean
person? And, is not Christ a person honorable enough to be worthy
that you should be dependent on him? Is he not a person high enough
to be appointed to so honorable a work as your salvation? Would you
not only have a Savior of high degree, but would you have him,
notwithstanding his exaltation and dignity, to be made also of low
degree, that he might have experience of afflictions and trials,
that he might learn by the things that he has suffered, to pity them
that suffer and are tempted? And has not Christ been made low enough
for you? and has he not suffered enough? Would you not only have him
possess experience of the afflictions you now suffer, but also of
that amazing wrath that you fear hereafter, that he may know how to
pity those that are in danger, and afraid of it? This Christ has had
experience of, which experience gave him a greater sense of it, a
thousand times, than you have, or any man living has. Would you have
your Savior to be one who is near to God, that so his mediation
might be prevalent with him? And can you desire him to be nearer to
God than Christ is, who is his only-begotten Son, of the same
essence with the Father? And would you not only have him near to
God, but also near to you, that you may have free access to him? And
would you have him nearer to you than to be in the same nature,
united to you by a spiritual union, so close as to be fitly
represented by the union of the wife to the husband, of the branch
to the vine, of the member to the head; yea, so as to be one spirit?
For so he will be united to you, if you accept of him. Would you
have a Savior that has given some great and extraordinary testimony
of mercy and love to sinners, by something that he has done, as well
as by what he says? And can you think or conceive of greater things
than Christ has done? Was it not a great thing for him, who was God,
to take upon him human nature: to be not only God, but man
thenceforward to all eternity? But would you look upon suffering for
sinners to be a yet greater testimony of love to sinners, than
merely doing, though it be ever so extraordinary a thing that he has
done? And would you desire that a Savior should suffer more than
Christ has suffered for sinners? What is there wanting, or what
would you add if you could, to make him more fit to be your Savior?

But further, to induce you to accept of Christ as your Savior,
consider two things particularly.

    1) How much Christ appears as the Lamb of God in his
invitations to you to come to him and trust in him. With what sweet
grace and kindness does he, from time to time, call and invite you,
as Prov. 8:4. “Unto you, O men, I call, and my voice is to the sons
of men.” And Isaiah 55:1-3 “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to
the waters, and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat– yea
come, buy wine and milk without money, and without price.” How
gracious is he here in inviting every one that thirsts, and in so
repeating his invitation over and over, “Come ye to the waters,
come, buy and eat – – yea come!” Mark the excellency of that
entertainment which he invites you to accept of; “Come, buy wine and
milk!” your poverty, having nothing to pay for it, shall be no
objection, “Come, he that hath no money, come without money, and
without price!” What gracious arguments and expostulations he uses
with you! “Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread?
and your labor for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently
unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight
itself in fatness.” As much as to say, It is altogether needless for
you to continue laboring and toiling for that which can never serve
your turn, seeking rest in the world, and in your own righteousness
— I have made abundant provision for you, of that which is really
good, and will fully satisfy your desires, and answer your end, and
I stand ready to accept of you: you need not be afraid; If you will
come to me, I will engage to see all your wants supplied, and you
made a happy creature. As he promises in the third verse, “Incline
your ear, and come unto me: Hear, and your soul shall live, and I
will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of
David.” And so Prov. 9 at the beginning. How gracious and sweet is
the invitation there! “Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither;” let
you be never so poor, ignorant, and blind a creature, you shall be
welcome. And in the following words Christ sets forth the provision
that he has made for you, “Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the
wine which I have mingled.” You are in a poor famishing state, and
have nothing wherewith to feed your perishing soul; you have been
seeking something, but yet remain destitute. Hearken, how Christ
calls you to eat of his bread, and to drink of the wine that he hath
mingled! And how much like a lamb does Christ appear in Matt. 9:28
30. “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will
give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek
and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest to your souls. For my
yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” O thou poor distressed soul!
whoever thou art, consider that Christ mentions thy very case when
he calls to them who labor and are heavy laden! How he repeatedly
promises you rest if you come to him! In the 28th verse he says, “I
will give you rest.” And in the 29th verse, “Ye shall find rest to
your souls.” This is what you want. This is the thing you have been
so long in vain seeking after. O how sweet would rest be to you, if
you could but obtain it! Come to Christ, and you shall obtain it.
And hear how Christ, to encourage you, represents himself as a lamb!
He tells you, that he is meek and lowly in heart, and are you afraid
to come to such a one! And again, Rev. 3:20. “Behold, I stand at the
door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will
come in to him, and I will sup with him and he with me.” Christ
condescends not only to call you to him, but he comes to you; he
comes to your door, and there knocks. He might send an officer and
seize you as a rebel and vile malefactor, but instead of that, he
comes and knocks at your door, and seeks that you would receive him
into your house, as your Friend and Savior. And he not only knocks
at your door, but he stands there waiting, while you are backward
and unwilling. And not only so, but he makes promises what he will
do for you, if you will admit him, what privileges he will admit you
to; he will sup with you, and you with him. And again, Rev.
22:16,17. “I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright
and morning star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let
him that heareth, say, Come. And let him that is athirst come.  And
whosoever will let him take of the water of life freely.” How does
Christ here graciously set before you his own winning attractive
excellency! And how does he condescend to declare to you not only
his own invitation, but the invitation of the Spirit and the bride,
if by any means he might encourage you to come! And how does he
invite every one that will, that they may “take of the water of life
freely,” that they may take it as a free gift, however precious it
be, and though it be the Water of life.

    2) If you do come to Christ, he will appear as a Lion, in his
glorious power and dominion, to defend you. All those excellencies
of his, in which he appears as a lion, shall be yours, and shall be
employed for you in your defense, for your safety, and to promote
your glory, he will be as a lion to fight against your enemies. He
that touches you, or offends you, will provoke his wrath, as he that
stirs up a lion. Unless your enemies can conquer this Lion, they
shall not be able to destroy or hurt you; unless they are stronger
than he, they shall not be able to hinder your happiness. Isaiah
31:4. “For thus hath the Lord spoken unto me, Like as the lion and
the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is
called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor
abase himself for the noise of them; so shall the Lord of hosts come
down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof.”

    C) Let what has been said be improved to induce you to love the
Lord Jesus Christ, and choose him for your friend and portion. As
there is such an admirable meeting of diverse excellencies in
Christ, so there is every thing in him to render him worthy of your
love and choice, and to win and engage it. Whatsoever there is or
can be desirable in a friend, is in Christ, and that to the highest
degree that can be desired.
    Would you choose for a friend a person of great dignity? It is
a thing taking with men to have those for their friends who are much
above them; because they look upon themselves honored by the
friendship of such. Thus, how taking would it be with an inferior
maid to be the object of the dear love of some great and excellent
prince. But Christ is infinitely above you, and above all the
princes of the earth; for he is the King of kings. So honorable a
person as this offers himself to you, in the nearest and dearest
friendship.
    And would you choose to have a friend not only great but good?
In Christ infinite greatness and infinite goodness meet together,
and receive lustre and glory one from another. His greatness is
rendered lovely by his goodness. The greater any one is without
goodness, so much the greater evil; but when infinite goodness is
joined with greatness, it renders it a glorious and adorable
greatness. So, on the other hand, his infinite goodness receives
lustre from his greatness. He that is of great understanding and
ability, and is withal of a good and excellent disposition, is
deservedly more esteemed than a lower and lesser being with the same
kind inclination and good will. Indeed goodness is excellent in
whatever subject it be found; it is beauty and excellency itself,
and renders all excellent that are possessed of it; and yet most
excellent when joined with greatness. The very same excellent
qualities of gold render the body in which they are inherent more
precious, and of greater value, when joined with greater than when
with lesser dimensions. And how glorious is the sight, to see him
who is the great Creator and supreme Lord of heaven and earth, full
of condescension, tender pity and mercy, towards the mean and
unworthy! His almighty power, and infinite majesty and
self-sufficiency, render his exceeding love and grace the more
surprising And how do his condescension and compassion endear his
majesty, power, and dominion, and render those attributes pleasant,
that would otherwise be only terrible! Would you not desire that
your friend, though great and honorable, should be of such
condescension and grace, and so to have the way opened to free
access to him, that his exaltation above you might not hinder your
free enjoyment of his friendship? — And would you choose not only
that the infinite greatness and majesty of your friend should be, as
it were, mollified and sweetened with condescension and grace; but
would you also desire to have your friend brought nearer to you?
Would you choose a friend far above you, and yet as it were upon a
level with you too? Though it be taking with men to have a near and
dear friend of superior dignity, yet there is also an inclination in
them to have their friend a sharer with them in circumstances. Thus
is Christ. Though he be the great God, yet he has, as it were,
brought himself down to be upon a level with you, so as to become
man as you are that he might not only be your Lord, but your
brother, and that he might be the more fit to be a companion for
such a worm of the dust. This is one end of Christ’s taking upon him
man’s nature, that his people might be under advantages for a more
familiar converse with him than the infinite distance of the divine
nature would allow of. And upon this account the church longed for
Christ’s incarnation, Cant. 8:1. “O that thou wert my brother that
sucked the breast of my mother! when I should find thee without, I
would kiss thee, yea, I should not be despised.” One design of God
in the gospel is to bring us to make God the object of our undivided
respect, that he may engross our regard every way, that whatever
natural inclination there is in our souls, he may be the centre of
it; that God may be all in all. But there is an inclination in the
creature, not only to the adoration of a Lord and Sovereign, but to
complacence in some one as a friend, to love and delight in some one
that may be conversed with as a companion. And virtue and holiness
do not destroy or weaken this inclination of our nature. But so hath
God contrived in the affair of our redemption, that a divine person
may be the object even of this inclination of our nature. And in
order hereto, such a one is come down to us, and has taken our
nature, and is become one of us, and calls himself our friend,
brother, and companion. Psalm 122:8. “For my brethren and
companions’ sake, will I now say, Peace be within thee.”
    But is it not enough in order to invite and encourage you to
free access to a friend so great and high, that he is one of
infinite condescending grace, and also has taken your own nature,
and is become man? But would you, further to embolden and win you,
have him a man of wonderful meekness and humility? Why, such a one
is Christ! He is not only become man for you, but far the meekest
and most humble of all men, the greatest instance of these sweet
virtues that ever was, or will be. And besides these, he has all
other human excellencies in the highest perfection. These, indeed,
are no proper addition to his divine excellencies. Christ has no
more excellency in his person, since his incarnation, than he had
before; for divine excellency is infinite, and cannot be added to.
Yet his human excellencies are additional manifestations of his
glory and excellency to us, and are additional recommendations of
him to our esteem and love, who are of finite comprehension. Though
his human excellencies are but communications and reflections of his
divine, and though this light, as reflected, falls infinitely short
of the divine fountain of light in its immediate glory; yet the
reflection shines not without its proper advantages, as presented to
our view and affection. The glory of Christ in the qualifications of
his human nature, appears to us in excellencies that are of our own
kind, and are exercised in our own way and manner, and so, in some
respect, are peculiarly fitted to invite our acquaintance and draw
our affection. The glory of Christ as it appears in his divinity,
though far brighter, more dazzles our eyes, and exceeds the strength
of our sight or our comprehension; but, as it shines in the human
excellencies of Christ, it is brought more to a level with our
conceptions, and suitableness to our nature and manner, yet
retaining a semblance of the same divine beauty, and a savor of the
same divine sweetness. But as both divine and human excellencies
meet together in Christ, they set off and recommend each other to
us. It tends to endear the divine majesty and holiness of Christ to
us, that these are attributes of one in our nature, one of us, who
is become our brother, and is the meekest and humblest of men. It
encourages us to look upon these divine perfections, however high
and great; since we have some near concern in and liberty freely to
enjoy them. And on the other hand, how much more glorious and
surprising do the meekness, the humility, obedience, resignation,
and other human excellencies of Christ appear, when we consider that
they are in so great a person, as the eternal Son of God, the Lord
of heaven and earth!

    By your choosing Christ for your friend and portion, you will
obtain these two infinite benefits.

    1) Christ will give himself to you, with all those various
excellencies that meet in him, to your full and everlasting
enjoyment. He will ever after treat you as his dear friend; and you
shall ere long be where he is, and shall behold his glory, and dwell
with him, in most free and intimate communion and enjoyment.
    When the saints get to heaven, they shall not merely see
Christ, and have to do with him as subjects and servants with a
glorious and gracious Lord and Sovereign, but Christ will entertain
them as friends and brethren. This we may learn from the manner of
Christ’s conversing with his disciples here on earth: though he was
their Sovereign Lord, and did not refuse, but required, their
supreme respect and adoration, yet he did not treat them as earthly
sovereigns are wont to do their subjects. He did not keep them at an
aweful distance, but all along conversed with them with the most
friendly familiarity, as a father amongst a company of children,
yea, as with brethren. So he did with the twelve, and so he did with
Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. He told his disciples, that he did not
call them servants, but friends, and we read of one of them that
leaned on his bosom: and doubtless he will not treat his disciples
with less freedom and endearment in heaven. He will not keep them at
a greater distance for his being in a state of exaltation; but he
will rather take them into a state of exaltation with him. This will
be the improvement Christ will make of his own glory, to make his
beloved friends partakers with him, to glorify them in his glory, as
he says to his Father, John 17:22, 23. “And the glory which thou
hast given me, have I given them, that they may be one, even as we
are one I in them” etc. We are to consider, that though Christ is
greatly exalted, yet he is exalted, not as a private person for
himself only, but as his people’s head; he is exalted in their name,
and upon their account, as the first fruits, and as representing the
whole harvest. He is not exalted that he may be at a greater
distance from them, but that they may be exalted with him. The
exaltation and honor of the head is not to make a greater distance
between the head and the members, but the members have the same
relation and union with the head they had before, and are honored
with the head; and instead of the distance being greater, the union
shall be nearer and more perfect. When believers get to heaven,
Christ will conform them to himself, as he is set down in his
Father’s throne, so they shall sit down with him on his throne, and
shall in their measure be made like him.
    When Christ was going to heaven, he comforted his disciples
with the thought, that after a while, he would come again and take
them to himself, that they might be with him. And we are not to
suppose that when the disciples got to heaven, they found him
keeping a greater distance than he used to do. No, doubtless, be
embraced them as friends, and welcomed them to his and their
Father’s house, and to his and their glory. They who had been his
friends in this world, who had been together with him here, and had
together partaken of sorrows and troubles, are now welcomed by him
to rest, and to partake of glory with him. He took them and led them
into his chambers, and showed them all his glory; as he prayed, John
17:24. “Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me, be
with me, that they may behold the glory which thou hast given me.”
And he led them to his living fountains of waters, and made them
partake of his delights, as he prays John 17:13. “That my joy may be
fulfilled in themselves,” and set them down with him at his table in
his kingdom, and made them partake with him of his dainties,
according to his promise, Luke 22:30, and led them into his
banqueting house, and made them to drink new wine with him in the
kingdom of his heavenly Father, as he foretold them when he
instituted the Lord’s supper, Matt. 26:29.
    Yea the saints’ conversation with Christ in heaven shall not
only be as intimate, and their access to him as free, as of the
disciples on earth, but in many respects much more so; for in
heaven, that vital union shall be perfect, which is exceeding
imperfect here. While the saints are in this world, there are great
remains of sin and darkness to separate or disunite them from
Christ, which shall then all be removed. This is not a time for that
full acquaintance, and those glorious manifestations of love, which
Christ designs for his people hereafter; which seems to be signified
by his speech to Mary Magdalene, when ready to embrace him, when she
met him after his resurrection; John 20:17. “Jesus saith unto her,
Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father.”
    When the saints shall see Christ’s glory and exaltation in
heaven, it will indeed possess their hearts with the greater
admiration and adoring respect, but it will not awe them into any
separation, but will serve only to heighten their surprise and joy,
when they find Christ condescending to admit them to such intimate
access, and so freely and fully communicating himself to them. So
that if we choose Christ for our friend and portion, we shall
hereafter be so received to him, that there shall be nothing to
hinder the fullest enjoyment of him, to the satisfying the utmost
cravings of our souls. We may take our full swing at gratifying our
spiritual appetite after these holy pleasures. Christ will then say,
as in Cant. 5:1. “Eat, O friends, drink, yea, drink abundantly O
beloved.” And this shall be our entertainment to all eternity! There
shall never be any end of this happiness, or any thing to interrupt
our enjoyment of it, or in the least to molest us in it!

    2) By your being united to Christ, you will have a more
glorious union with and enjoyment of God the Father, than otherwise
could be. For hereby the saints’ relation to God becomes much
nearer; they are the children of God in a higher manner than
otherwise could be. For, being members of God’s own Son, they are in
a sort partakers of his relation to the Father: they are not only
sons of God by regeneration, but by a kind of communion in the
sonship of the eternal Son. This seems to be intended, Gal. 4:4-6.
“God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to
redeem them that are under the law, that we might receive the
adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the
Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” The
church is the daughter of God not only as he hath begotten her by
his word and Spirit but as she is the spouse of his eternal Son.
    So we being members of the Son, are partakers in our measure of
the Father’s love to the Son, and complacence in him. John 17:23.
“I in them, and thou in me, — Thou hast loved them as thou hast
loved me.” And ver. 26. “That the love wherewith thou hast loved me
may be in them.” And chap. 16:27. “The Father himself loveth you,
because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from
God.” So we shall, according to our capacities, be partakers of the
Son’s enjoyment of God, and have his joy fulfilled in ourselves,
John 17:13. And by this means we shall come to an immensely higher,
more intimate and full enjoyment of God, than otherwise could have
been. For there is doubtless an infinite intimacy between the Father
and the Son which is expressed by his being in the bosom of the
Father. And saints being in him, shall, in their measure and manner,
partake with him in it, and of the blessedness of it.
    And thus is the affair of our redemption ordered, that thereby
we are brought to an immensely more exalted kind of union with God,
and enjoyment of him, both the Father and the Son, than otherwise
could have been. For Christ being united to the human nature, we
have advantage for a more free and full enjoyment of him, than we
could have had if he had remained only in the divine nature. So
again, we being united to a divine person, as his members, can have
a more intimate union and intercourse with God the Father, who is
only in the divine nature, than otherwise could be. Christ, who is a
divine person, by taking on him our nature, descends from the
infinite distance and height above us, and is brought nigh to us;
whereby we have advantage for the full enjoyment of him. And, on the
other hand, we, by being in Christ a divine person, do as it were
ascend up to God, through the infinite distance, and have hereby
advantage for the full enjoyment of him also.

    This was the design of Christ, that he, and his Father, and his
people, might all be united in one. John 17:21 23. “That they all
may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee — that they
also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast
sent me. And the glory which thou hast given me, I have given them,
that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them and thou in me,
that they may be made perfect in one.” Christ has brought it to
pass, that those whom the Father has given him should be brought
into the household of God, that he and his Father, and his people,
should be as one society, one family; that the church should be as
it were admitted into the society of the blessed Trinity.

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