Page images
PDF
EPUB

there should positively be no authority, no life, no Divine influence but what we have in Christ our Head; that His headship over the Church being that of authority, holds all worlds in abeyance, all enemies in subjection, all circumstances under His control, all souls at His command, all servants at His bidding, all ordinances and privileges for His bestowing; and it is by His authority alone that they are communicated. The centurion of old seemed to be sweetly conscious of this authority when he wanted Him to come and heal his servant. "Lord, trouble not thyself," said he, "for I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof. Wherefore, neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee; but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man set under authority." Now, whether he had a ray of light from above, discovering the person of Christ in His ordination, I will not attempt to determine; nor whether he was led under the spirit of prophecy to speak what he did not understand, as had sometimes been the case; yet the facts are the same "For I also am a man set under authority; and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it." As though he had said, "Thou, Lord, hast all authority and power entrusted unto thee in heaven and in earth, and only hast to say unto disease, Go, and it goeth; and to health, Come, and it cometh; or to say to the Church, Go, and she goeth; and to the sinner, Come, and he cometh." And whether it is for the breaking of the sinner's heart, comforting the mourner's soul, or loosening of legal bonds, it requires but His word, and it is done. I might speak until I had no breath left, and yet nothing be done. Jesus speaks, and it is done. He commands, and it stands fast. He is the Head of all authority, and as such is glorified.

Moreover, He is the Head of all life; for when the apostle John was directed by the Holy Ghost to speak of the Father's gift of Christ, he says, "This is the record that God hath given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." So that every particle of spiritual life which is received and possessed by a son of Adam emanates from the Saviour. And what an amazing fulness must be in Him! All the life of our souls, our privileges, joys, sorrows, praises, and prayers, comes from Him; and altogether poor nature's life is dry without Christ. He is glorified then, in that at this moment there are millions on millions of souls enjoying life divine from Christ, and receiving fresh communications from Him hour by hour.

So also He is the Head of all influence in His Church, for it is His prerogative to send the Holy Ghost. Thus, when the Spirit descends to communicate those fresh anointings which it is His to impart, Jesus is at the helm, because He sits enthroned and glorified. Recollect that it is positively written, that "He shall take of mine and show it unto you." So that Jesus is glorified by the Holy Ghost in every communication of grace which is made to the poor ruined sinner's heart. Let us dwell for a moment on His faithfulness and fulness in this glorious headship, in which He is and shall be eternally glorified. The fulness is described thus:-"It pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell." And again, "In Him is treasured up all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.' And hence the evangelist John, in writing his gospel, saith, "We beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father," whom, according to my text, the Father hath

thus glorified, "full of grace and truth," and adding, "of His fulness have all we received." Therefore we are positive witnesses, living witnesses, undoubted witnesses, because "of His fulness have we received, even grace for grace"-that is, every grace received by us is implanted by the Holy Ghost in the soul, and gains its reinforcements, supplies of strength and quickening power in all its actings immediately from the fulness of Christ, and ministered by the Holy Ghost. So also He is glorified in His faithfulness. You will recollect, when we dwelt on Christ's priestly office, that we drew the comparison which the Holy Ghost commanded the apostle to set down between the faithfulness of Moses as a servant, and the faithfulness of Christ as a Son. It was an honour done to Moses that his faithfulness should be approved; and Moses was undoubtedly a faithful servant to his God. But here we have something higher to talk of. Christ, as a Son over His own house, was found faithful-faithful to His covenant engage ments to the work He had undertaken to the responsibility which was laid upon Him in His ordination-faithful to the honouring and glorying of all the infinite perfections of Deity-faithful to the care and charge of the entire Church committed to Him, and to the holiness and purity of the Divine law, of which we are told that not one jot or tittle should fail-faithful to the demands and requisitions of inflexible justice, so that all shall be met, and not one single iota thereof abated-faithful to all the perfections of Deity, so that not one should be tarnished-faithful to the engagement of the first promise that He should "bruise the serpent's head," and He did it effectually; nay, more, He vanquished the power of darkness, led captivity captive, spoiled principalities and powers, and made show of them on His cross, and never went from the field of battle until He could shout, "It is finished"-who proclaimed His faithfulness with His departing breath, as He "bowed His head, and gave up the ghost." Never had the Captain of our salvation been admitted within the realms of glory; never had the proclamation gone forth, "Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in," had He not been found faithful. But being found faithful, and having finished the work entire, and accomplished all that for which He was sent, and glorified the Father's name, He could calmly and gloriously demand, "Now, Father, come I unto thee; and therefore glorify me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." This must suffice for the first particular of our subject-glorifying Jesus as the Head of His Church.

II. Let us now see how the Father glorified Him in the economy of his salvation. I use the term "salvation," in order to include the entire economy of grace; for if that does not bring us full and complete salvation, it is not an economy that is worthy of God, and will not glorify Christ. In the economy of salvation I include the election of grace, the redemption of the Church, the justification of their persons individually, the sanctification of the powers of their souls by the implantation of new life, and their glorification at the right hand of God. I know there are some persons who snatch out one feature of it to make it contingent, and then all the rest must be a positive failure. Redemption they will take away and export it to Rome for a while, that there it may be double-dyed in the poison of Anti-Christ,

[blocks in formation]

and brought back with the inscription "universal" upon it. My hearers, it is better to keep it at home, to look at it as the old English divines preached of it, and as some few do now; and we shall find that the redeemed are redeemed from among men, and are not the whole of mankind in a mass. Then we shall include eternal redemp tion, and the other phrases I have employed in the one term "salvation." Now this economy of salvation is complete, perfect, and infallible. Let me remind you that Jesus was glorified in the acceptance of His bond, and in the performance of His work. First, in the bond of covenant engagement, set forth in His "Lo, I come! In the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do Thy will." That bond of covenant engagement was consequent upon the ordination of which we have been speaking, when the Father set his King on the holy hill of Zion, and pronounced his decree; and when that decree of the ordination of Christ was made, Jesus, as covenant Head, voluntarily exclaimed, "Lo, I come ;" and then the volume of the book had the record entered in it. His "Lo, I come," was written in the volume of the book of fixed decrees-the book of life, and then copied into the volume of the book of inspiration for you and me to read. So that Christ is glorified in that engagement above, in the revelation of it here, in the acceptance of that bond on behalf of His Church, by virtue of which acceptance, all the Old Testament saints went to glory before a single drop of His blood was shed, by virtue of that covenant bond being accepted by the Father. So that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets and Old Testament saints, took their seats in glory as redeemed, pardoned, justified, sanctified, glorified, when Christ had not become incarnate; and the sole ground of their admission was, that the covenant bond of Christ was accepted. But not only was His covenant bond accepted, but His work also as the result of it. When he came on earth He said, "I come not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent me." And this He ever kept in view. He was about His Father's business from His youthful days, though He entered specially upon it for only three years in the land of Judea. But blessings upon His holy name; when His work was completed, He could say so by way of appeal, "I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do." And had He not done that work, verily the whole race of Adam must have perished irretrievably and for ever. Talk they of chance and contingencies-talk they of the will of man, and of the power of man; let them talk thus-let them use those paltry expressions of the Apocalyptic beast; but at the bottom of them all we write the word "damnation," as their sure result. Oh, how blessed it is to view Christ, so glorified that His entire responsibility, His perfect work, and the immutable bond of engagement to which He has set His signet, are accepted of the Father on behalf of the Church. Not only have all the sins of His Church been laid upon Him, as is recorded by Isaiah, "The Lord hath laid upon Him the iniquity of us all" (the sheep) but even all the concerns of the Church. Paul, being only a poor worm of the earth, complained of the heavy weight which the superintendence of the Churches was unto him; but what saith our Saviour to this? He complains not at the work which He had to do. The whole of the concerns of His Church and people are laid upon Him. Their transgressions, or as it is written in the Old Testament phraseology, "All their transgressions in all their sins”—as if a great many transgressions were in every one sin—

are laid upon Him. Their very names appear on His breast-plate, are engraven on His heart and on the palms of His hands. All their conversions, the time when, the manner how, and the instrumentality by which they may be effected. All their blessings, how and when they shall have the seal of forgivenness, the joy of God's salvation, the privileges of adoption, and the blessings pertaining to it, poured upon their souls; all are in Christ. He is the Head of His body the Church; and there is not a moment of comfort or of joy, a promise fulfilled, or a blessing communicated, and not a step of advancement made in the divine life, but He is superintending it all, ordering the steps of His chosen, fixing the bounds of their habitations, and regulating all the affairs of Providence that relate to them, so as to make all things work together for good, "unto them that love God, and are the called according to His purpose." The world and the devil may put forth their efforts for their destruction, but both shall be frustrated; for Jesus is to be glorified in this way, and He hath the concerns of the Church laid upon Him. Moreover the glorification of the Church is laid upon Him, and He is Surety that he who overcometh shall sit with Him on His throne. It is the will of His Father that of all whom He hath given unto Him, He shall lose none. How blessed to look forward to this! My soul was almost overwhelmed with the thought whilst you were singing,—

"Amen I'll cry, when standing there,

And Jesus shall the glory wear."—Hymn 321, Zion's Hymns. It all belongs to Him. Just see also how glorified Christ is in the sacred fact that the Father loves the members of Christ in Him as Himself. I only speak His own language when I say this. "Oh, righeous Father," said He, "Thou hast loved them as Thou hast loved Me." Overwhelming thought! My soul loved as much as Christ Himself. A poor worm of the earth loved as much as Christ! I never could have believed it if He had not assured me that it is so. But this is the way the Father hath glorified Him by loving all His members as Himself, parts of Himself, inseparable from Him, as dear to the heart of Jehovah, registered in the same book, destined to the same glory; and therefore the precious glorious Head, thus glorified in them, could exclaim, "The glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them, that they may be one even as we are one."

III. Let us now say a word of the glorifying of Christ by the Father in the achievements of His life and death. "He hath glorified Thee." If spared until the evening, we are to commemorate the death and sufferings of our precious Saviour, according to His command at His table; but previous thereto let us for a few moments contemplate what that life and death were, by which He achieved so much, as we have already hinted, and more which we shall yet have to state. His life was a life of sinless obedience; His death a death of ignominy and suffering; His life holy, harmless, separated from sinners; during His infancy subject to His parents; up to His manhood, even to the thirtieth year of His age, in obedience to His parents, and according to the customs of the Jews, working at a trade. In taking upon Him that part of the curse, this must have been His portion, or He could not have carried away the curse, which says, "In the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat bread." I propose for a moment here to take a view of my precious Christ in my nature, earn

ing His daily bread by the sweat of His brow, no doubt from the time that He was capable of work, until the period of His entering upon His ministry. Hid away, unknown both to the world and the Church. The wonder excited at His birth seemed to have subsided, and Jesus passes on quietly, perhaps, from His fourteenth to His thirtieth year; but during these fourteen or fifteen years He was obeying the law, living a sinless life, glorifying the Father's name, accomplishing all that was contained in the grand scheme of salvation for the removal of the curse, the taking away of sin, and vanquishing the powers of darkness, before He came to His open ministry; and from His birth to His death he could turn to the eagle-eyed Pharisees and say, “Which of you convinceth me of sin?" "He hath glorified thee." Help me so to do, Lord! And when we come to His death, mark how He is glorified in it; that He must tread the wine-press alone, that there should be none with Him, no helping hand, not a pang spared, but the whole weight of human transgression laid upon His spotless soul, and the entire load of divine justice endured by Him. The cry of "Awake, oh sword!" was met with holy composure and fixed faithfulness by Him; and therefore, when the sword was about to awaken on Gethsemane, and the ruffian mob were about to pounce upon Him, He went out to meet them. When the sword was awake to smite the shepherd that the sheep might go free, He went to meet it; and even when in the depth of His agony he cried, "Father, save me from this hour," He immediately adds, "but for this purpose came I to this hour." The spirit, indeed, was willing, though the flesh was weak; and herein was He glorified; and not all the thorns and briers, the buffetings and scoffings, not all the hue and cry of " Away with Him-crucify Him," not all the piercings of the spear, not all the tortures of the nails which were driven through the tenderest parts of His holy frame, could shake his faithfulness. He is glorified in it all; so that whilst He glorified the Father in His life and death, the Father glorified Him in giving to Him that which we are about to state. The achievements which must redound to His honour and praise through all eternity, are, Zion emancipated, and infinite glory brought to the perfections and attributes of the Deity. Does not this glorify Christ? Zion emancipated! those who had been in thraldom, and slaves, carried away captive! Zion emancipated, set free of Satan's yoke, of sin's thraldom, and a worse enemy than these-self. When I find a soul set free from self, I have no longer apprehension relative to his present peace or his future and eternal welfare. Let that worst of all enemies be subdued, and the soul stands on safe ground. But how blessed these achievements of the life and death of our Lord Jesus Christ! His entire Church, all that the Father hath given Him, the whole covenant family, without one single exception, or the possibility of a failure, emancipated from the tyranny of Satan, delivered by His mighty hand, translated out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God's dear Son, taken possession of as His own children, His own body, His members, His jewels, never, never to be recaptured, and carried away by the Prince of Darkness; an emancipation from the power of sin in this life, and ultimately entire emancipation from the sphere of its existence. At present we have to complain of sin that dwelleth within us; but if Christ hath made us free from Satan's tyranny, I am sure He has also made us free from the reigning power of sin, and from the love which the poor old fleshly nature always had for it. It is henceforth

« PreviousContinue »