« PredošláPokračovať »
vestiture of prophets, priests, and kings, in their respective offices, they are, for that reason, called God's anointed: thus it is said, concerning the prophets, Touch not mine anointed and do my prophets no harm, Psal. cv. 15. Kings are likewise so styled, as Samuel says, Surely the Lord's anointed is before him, 1 Sam. xvi. 6. These were often anointed, though not always; but the priests were always anointed, when they first entered on their office; and the high priest is described by this character, as he upon whose head the anointing oil was poured; so we read of the precious ointment upon the head that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard, that went down to the skirts of his garments, Psal. cxxxiii. 2. This was not an insignificant ceremony, or merely political, in which respect it is used, in our day, in the inauguration of kings; but it was an ordinance to signify God's designation of them, to the office which they were to execute, in which they were to expect, and depend upon him for those qualifications that were necessary thereunto; but it was more especially designed to typify the solemn inauguration and investiture of our Saviour, in the offices of Prophet, Priest, and King of his church; and, in allusion hereunto, he is called, the Messiah, or the Christ. His anointing was not external, or visible, with material oil; but, in a spiritual sense, it signified his receiving a coinmission from the Father to execute the offices of Prophet, Priest, and King: upon which account, he is styled, God's holy child Jesus, whom he had anointed, Acts iv. 27. And this unction, as it was of a spiritual nature, so it was attended with greater circumstances of glory; and the offices he was appointed to execute, were more spiritual, extensive, and advantageous, than theirs, who were types thereof: thus the Psalmist says of him, God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness, above thy fellows, Psal. xlv. 7. accordingly he was anointed to execute his prophetical office, to
Propiets were, indeed, oftentimes set apart for that office, without anointing ; but it seems probable, from the command of God to Elijah, to anoint Elisha to be a prophet in his room, that when they were called, in an extraordinary manner, to be public prophete, and in that respect, as it is suid concerning the prophet Jeremah, (chap i. 10.] Set over nations and kingdoms, then they were not only sanctified and ordained hereunto, but the ceremony of anointing wus used, especially when some other prophet was appointed to instal them in this office. And as for kings, though they zvere not alwuys anointed, yet this ceremony was generally used, as is observed by some Jewish writers, when the kingdoin was rent out of the hand of one, und unother was, by immediate divine direction, substituted to reign in his stead : thus, when the kingdom was taken from Saul, David was anointed; and it was also used in other instances, though the crown was inherited by linical descent, avhen any other moule pretensions to it. Thus David commanderl Solomon to be anointed, because I donijah pretended to it, (1 Kings i. 34.) And Joach Q8 anointed, though he had a right to the crown, as descended from thaziah, who was king before him, because the crown hud, for some time, been usurped by Athaliah, [2 Kings xi. 12.] In these, und such like cases, kings were installed in their office by unction, though, in other instances, it was not raiversally practised.
preach the gospel to the poor, Luke iv. 18. and his priestly, so the prophet Daniel speaks of him, as finishing transgression, making an end of sin, bringing in an everlasting righteousness, Dan. ix. 24. which he did as a Priest; and then he speaks of anointing him, who was most holy, as infinitely excelling all those who were anointed with holy oil. He is also said to be anointed to execute his kingly office; and, with respect thereunto, is called the Lord's anointed; and God says, concerning him, I have set, or as it is in the margin, anointed, my king upor my holy hill of Sion, Psal. ii. 2. Now there are three things which are more especially intended in this unction, which are particularly mentioned in this answer.
1. His being set apart, or separated from the rest of mankind, as the only Person who was designed to execute the offices, together with his public investiture therein. For the right understanding of which, let it be considered, that there was an eternal designation of him by the Father thereunto: thus the apostle speaks of him, as one who was fore-ordained before the foundation of the world, 1 Pet. i. 20. And some think, that this is intended by that expression of the Psalmist, I will declare the decree; the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee, Psal. ii. 7. and that this is also intended by his being set up from everlasting, Prov. viii. 23. This we may call his eternal inauguration, which was the foundation, ground, and reason of his incarnation, or of that inauguration, or investiture, which was visible to men in time, which is the second thing to be considered, in his being set apart to execute these offices.
When he came into the world, there was a glorious declaration given, both to angels and men, that he was the Person whom God had conferred this honour upon, and accordingly he received glory from them, as Mediator, by a divine warrant; so some understand that scripture, When he bringeth in the first-begotten into the world, he suith, and let all the angels of God worship him, Heb. i. 6. And elsewhere we read, Luke ii. 10, 11. of the angels being sent as heralds, to make proclamation of this matter to men, at his first coming into the world. And, when he entered on his public ministry, there was a divine declaration given, as a farther visible confirmation hereof, immediately after his baptism, when the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, * and lighting upon him, and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, Matt. iii. 16, 17. and John the Baptist was immediately raised up, as a prophet, to signify this to the world, which he did at that time, when our Saviour first entered on his public ministry, and speaks of bim, as preferred before himself, oot only as having a more excellent nature, but as being set apart to an higher office, than that which he was called to; and accordingly he styles him, The Lamb of God, intimating, that God had set him apart, as the great Sacrifice that was to be offered for sin, John i. 29, 30. and, soon after this, he gives another testimony hereunto, together with a glorious, yet just, character of the Person, who was invested with this authority, when he says, concerning him, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven: q. d. “ I have not received this honour of being the Christ, and
doing the works which he does, but it is given him from hea“ ven: I am not the bridegroom of the church, but his friend, “ who rejoice greatly, because of his voice; what he hath seen " and heard, that he testified; and God hath sent him, whose “ word he speaketh ; for God giveth not the Spirit by measure
unto him; the Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things “ into his hand, John iii. 27—35. therefore he is set apart, by “ him, to perform the work of a Mediator, which belongeth
not unto me."
2. Christ was furnished with authority, or had a commission given him, to perform the work he was engaged in, as Mediator. This was absolutely necessary, since, as the apostle says, concerning the priesthood in general, that no man tuketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, and authorized by him to perform it, as was Aaron; so also Christ glorified not himself, but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to-day have I begotten thee; and, Thou art a Priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedec, Heb. v. 4–6. As it was reckoned an intrusion, and no other than an instance of profaneness, for any one to exercise a sacred office, without a divine warrant, it was necessary that our Saviour should be furnished therewith : the work he was to perform was glorious, the consequences thereof of the highest importance, and his services would not have been accepted, or availed to answer the great ends thereof, had he not received a commission from the Father. And that he came into the world with this commission and authority, derived from him, he constantly asserts and proves, he asserts it, when speaking concerning himself, that God the Father had sealed him, John vi. 27. and elsewhere says, I have power to lay down my life, and to take it again ; this commandment have I received of my Father, John X. 18. and he not only asserts, but proves it; every miracle that he wrought being a confirmation thereof, in which respect a divine testimony was affixed to his commission : thus he says, The works that I do, in my Father's name, they bear witness of me, ver. 25. and elsewhere, when he asserts his authority, and proves, that the words which he spake, he spake not of himself; he adds, the Father that dwelleth in me, he doth the orks, John xiv. 10, 11. He appeals to those miraculous works,
which were performed either by himself, or by the Father, which he might well do, because the Father and he had the same divine power, and thereby intimates, that the commission, which he received from the Father, was attested in this extraordinary manner.
3. Our Saviour's unction included in it an ability to execute those offices, which he was engaged in, as Mediator. We have before observed, that when persons, under the ceremonial law, were anointed to execute the offices either of prophet, priest, or king; this was not only an ordinance, to signify that they had a divine warrant to execute them, but they were hereby given to expect those qualifications that were necessary to the discharge thereof. God never calls to an office, but he qualifies for it: thus our Saviour was furnished with ability, as well as authority; this was more especially applicable to his human nature, in which he was to obey and suffer; as to his divine nature, that could not be the subject of a derived power, or qualifications conferred upon it. Now this ability, with which our Saviour was furnished, as man, was that which rendered him fit to perform the work which he came into the world about. As a Prophet, he was qualified to preach the gospel with greater wisdom and authority than all others, who were ever engaged in this work : his very enemies confessed, that never man spake like him, John vii. 46. and he had continual assistance from God, which preserved him from all mistakes ; so that what he delivered was infallibly true, and, as such to be depended on : he was also furnished with zeal for the glory of God, yet such as was tempered with sympathy, meekness, and compassion towards his people; and an holy courage, resolution, and fortitude, which preserved him from fainting, or being discouraged under all his sufferings; and a constant disposition and inclination to refer all to the glory of the Father, and not to assume any branch of divine honour to his human nature; and, by this means, the whole discharge of his ministry was acceptable, both to God and man.
Thus concerning the reasons why our Saviour is called Christ. And this leads us to consider the offices which he was anointed to execute, upon the account whereof he is styled, the Prophet, Priest, and King of his church. Here we shall premise some things in general concerning these three offices; and then speak to each of them, as contained in the following answers.
1. Concerning the number of the offices, which he executes ; they are three. Some have enquired, whether there are not more than three executed by him, inasmuch as there are several characters and relations, which Christ is described by, and is said to stand in, to his people, besides those of Prophet, Priest, and King: thus he is styled, The Head of the body, the church, Col. i. 18. and an Husband, to it, Isa. liv. 5. and a Bridegroom, John iii. 29. and elsewhere he is said to perform the office of a Shepherd : thus he styles himself, The good Shepherd, John x. 14. and he is called, The Captain of our salvation, Heb. ii. 10. and many other characters of the like nature are given him, from whence some have taken occasion to think, that several of them contain ideas, distinct from those of a Prophet, Priest, and King, and therefore that there are more offices than these executed by him : but all that need be said to this, is, that these, and other characters and relations, which are ascribed to Christ in scripture, are all included in, or reducible to one or other of these three offices; therefore we have no reason to conclude, that he executes any other offices, distinct from them, as Mediator.
2. The condition of fallen man, and the way in which God designed to bring him to salvation, which was adapted thereunto, renders it necessary that Christ should execute these three offices. Accordingly, we are all of us, by nature, ignorant of, and prejudiced against divine truth, as the apostle observes, The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him ; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned, 1 Cor. ii. 14. therefore it is necessary that Christ should execute the office of a Prophet, to lead us into all truth, and give this spiritual discerning thereof.
Moreover, we are all guilty before God, Rom. iïi. 19. and can by no means make atonement, give satisfaction to his justice, or procure a pardon; nor can we plead any thing done by us, as a ground thereof; therefore we need that Christ should execute the office of a Priest, and so first make atonement, and then intercession, for us.
And as to the way in which God brings his people to salvation, this requires Christ's executing his threefold office. Salvation must be purchased, proclaimed, and applied; the first of these respects Christ's Priestly office; the second, his Prophetical ; and the third, his Kingly; accordingly he is said to be made of God unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, 1 Cor. i. 30. and elsewhere he styles himself, The Way, the Truth, and the Life, John xiv. 6.
Moreover, in the execution of these offices, and bringing us thereby to salvation, he deals with God and man in different respects ; with God, more especially, as a Priest, in satisfying his justice, and procuring his favour: thus the high priest under the law, who was a type of Christ's Priestly office, is said to be ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins, Heb. v. 1. even so Christ,