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ed by Christ present on the earth amongst men : I have seen in the other God manifested by Christ working in the Spirit, though absent from amongst men. Likewise God, to be manifested in Christ's coming to the earth again; and in all the mysteries of power and glory which he is then to bring into accomplishment. So much doth the very name and title of this book commend it to the church. And now we come to speak of the manner of its transmission from God to the church, or its authority.
II. This head of discourse includeth all that is contained in the first two verses, being, first, Its origin from God: “ God gave it unto Jesus Christ.” Secondly, The end of his giving it : to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass.” Thirdly, The method of its communication : “ He sent and signified it, (sending he signified it), by his angel to his servant John :" and, lastly, A description of John's identity, “who bare witness of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus, and all the things which he saw.” These are the four circumstances connected with the transmission from God unto the church of this book, whose title is, “ The Revelation or Manifestation of Jesus Christ.” And to each of these particulars it will be necessary that we should attend a little in order.
1. The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him. Is Christ himself not God? Yes, he is God, the eternal Son of God, God and man in two distinct natures and one person for ever. How is it then said that God gave it unto him ? Is not Jesus Christ God ? is not his very name Jesus, Jah or Jehovah, the I am, and Hoshea the Saviour, the I am the Saviour ? And yet the language is no way qualified, but simple and plain language, God gave it unto him. This therefore wanteth interpretation. Understand you therefore, dearly beloved brethren, that the Son of God, though God when he became man, came into the very condition of man; not ceasing to be God, but acting through the faculties of man, with the feelings and the knowledge of a man. He came into the number of our family, and was tempted in all points like as we
As it was with his feeling, so it was with his knowledge: as it was with the senses of his body, so it was also with the faculties of his reasonable soul : he took unto himself a true body and a reasonable soul. He did not take these that they might lie beside him unoccupied, or that they might be used now and then as it pleased him, or pleased him not. Those ideas which some men entertain, as if Christ now acted in one nature, and now in another, I regard as flat Nestorianism, which makes two persons to be in him. He is one person, the person of the Son of God, and every act of that person must include both natures, but never in either nature be perfected. If he did act in the Divine nature any thing without the human nature, then there is a person standing in the Di. vine nature alone; for that which is distinctive of a person is a complete action, feeling, or word. If again he did any act in the human nature alone, where is the Divine ? This ignorant, though common way of speaking, as if now you have an act of the human nature, and now of the Divine nature, doth make a person of each, and so ye bring in the false doctrine of Nestorius, who asserted that Christ had two persons instead of two natures in one person.
These remarks are necessary to the understanding of the thing declared in the text, that God gave this revelation to Jesus Christ, who in becoming man truly came into limitation of the knowledge, feelings, and complete nature of man ; self-contracted, self-humbled, self-emptied of his glory, that he might shew his love to human nature in its lowest forms, and redeem it out of its most miserable conditions; and, through the agency of men redeemed, might bring the universe into blessedness, and fix it there for ever. Agreeably hereto, the Scripture recordeth, that the Lord Jesus Christ grew in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and
That human reason which he took, he did inform with his personality of the eternal Word; and receiving the Holy Ghost from the Father, in answer to his faith, he did instruct and support the human nature through all the stages of its existence, which was upholden wise, faithful, and true, through the influence of the Holy Ghost*. And thus every action begun in the Godhead of the Son of Man, proceeded into the manhood, and out of the manhood passed complete. So that the creature is fully capable of apprehending God in human nature ; while, at the same time, Christ, in the Divine nature, is wholly incomprehensible; out of which he ever condescend. ed from his dignity, from his infinite vastness, from his incomprehensibility, into this creature condition, in order that he might make God intelligible through a body. And this is the way in which the fulness of the Godhead dwelleth in a body. So that the first part of his acting, that done in the Godhead, passeth all understanding. We cannot know the love, the condescension of God's coming to act in the human nature : but the acting in the human nature, perfectly harmonizing with the Divine will, we are enabled to comprehend the love and the goodness, and the other affections of the Godhead; and we are enabled to walk in that way which he loveth, and to have that mind in us which was also in Christ Jesus. There is great confusion in the way in which they speak of the actions both of God and of Christ in these times; shrinking from and shunning the language of the Trinity, in which alone a work of God can be truly expressed. And therefore I deem it good thus early in these discourses to express in one sentence the process of a Divine purpose, until it become a realized thing. The Godhead of the Father, infinite and incomprehensible, communicates to the Godhead of the Son, also infinite and in. comprehensible, by means of the Holy Ghost, also infinite and incomprehensible, that purpose which he would have performed: the Son assenting thereto in his Divine nature, which is one of substance and of will with the Father, doth proceed to perform that which the Father hath communicated to him. And to this end he emptieth himself out of his Divine nature, and passeth into the human nature, where he findeth himself a very man, with man's very limitations : and there acting faith, as a man he receiveth the Holy Ghost given by the Father unto his human nature, and consenting to act through the same ; by whom he in his human nature doth extend his human will, ever harmonious with his Divine will to the utmost bound and limit of God's creation. Wherever the person of the Father willeth to work, there the person of the eternal Son in human nature, or the Christ of God, doth, by the Holy Ghost acting as the Spirit of Christ, perform
* See Westminster Confession, ch. viii. $ 3.
the work which the infinite and incomprehensible Godhead of the Father had originated in himself.
So much for the general principle. And now, in order to explain the particular case of an increase of Christ's knowledge, which is now before us, turn to the xiiith chapter of Mark, and see what he says verse 32: “ Of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father." What is the day and the hour here spoken of? It is the day and the hour of his revelation, his coming, or appearing. Ver. 26 : “ Then shall they see the Son of Man coming in the clouds, with great power and glory." Ver. 32: Now “ of that day and that hour knoweth po man; no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” Here the Divine Person, Christ, declares, that, when he was on the earth, he knew not the day or the hour of the coming of the Son of Man. Now recollect, that the coming of the Son of Man is the same as the revealing of Jesus Christ. The words “revealing of Jesus Christ,” in those passages which are quoted above, is translated “ the coming, or the appearing of the Son of Man;" so that here we have a declaration of his ignorance during the days of his flesh, as to that one matter. And here in our text it is declared, that he received the knowledge of it from the Father; that he ; received it from God; that God gave it to him. We see therefore, dearly beloved brethren, that when our blessed Lord was with us in the days of his flesh, his humility is shewn in this no less than in other things, that his knowledge was under a veil, under the veil of the flesh, under the limitation of that form of being which he was then possessed of, having only the limited compass of flesh mortal: but, when he ascended on high, and received his glorified body of flesh immortal, when he received the promise of the Holy Ghost from the Father to bestow on his disciples, he likewise received by the Holy Ghost farther lights and communications, which he doth bestow on the church through means of the holy Apostles. It was from Christ that the holy Apostles received their new revelations; and Christ himself received them from God; and, receiving them from God, he received them from his own substance. Think not that Jesus Christ is another substance
from God, or that God is another substance from Jesus Christ : remember, that Jesus Christ is one of the Persons in the Godhead: and when he says, that God gave it to him, it merely signifies, that Jesus Christ having humbled himself to the likeness of man, received from the God head those communications which the Godhead was pleased to give him; and did grow up, as it is said, in wisdom and in favour with God and man. After his resurrection he received new communications ; and one of these is the substance of this book.
In the Scriptures, both of the Old and New Testament, our blessed Lord, after he ascendeth unto, and sitteth at the right hand of his Father, is represented as receiving all his information from the Father, and not from his own Divine nature ; no otherwise, indeed, than he received it upon the earth ; where he increased in wisdom, and guided in understanding, through means of the Holy Scriptures, just as all his disciples are. For example : In Isaiah viii. 17, 18, which we have Paul's authority (Heb.ii.) for referring unto Christ, he representeth himself as waiting his Father's time and pleasure, during the long night of Jacob's darkness and Zion's desertion. So also in Isai. xlix, which we have apostolic authority (2 Cor. v.) for referring to the same time, we have Christ under the name of Jacob, and in the language of Jacob, complaining that the wife of his love, the Rachel, the Jewish Church, had not been given up unto him; and that he had spent his labour for nought; whereupon, Jehovah, his Father, maketh known to him, that he purposed first to give unto him her for whom he had not laboured, to wit, the Gentile church ; and further, he revealeth the other mystery, that after their day of salvavation he would give him for a covenant of the (Jewish) people to establish the earth (that it should not again be shaken, Heb. xii. 27), and to cause to inherit the desolate heritages (the redemption of the purchased inheritance, until which we are sealed by the Holy Ghost, Eph. i. 14). These two mysteries, I say, of the calling of the Gentiles, first, and of his after manifestation to be the glory of Israel, Christ received from his Father, after his ascension. In the days of his flesh, he knew of them only as a prophet, and he made them known only in proportion to the