Page images
PDF
EPUB

must all receive, and grace for grace, John i. 16. Hence he is called the light of the world, the resurrection and the life, and also the consolation of Israel, because he dispenses and communicates light, life, and consolation to all his redeemed. The faith of the true Christian supposes this ; for it is a trusting in him with the heart for all his salvation ; that is, a cordial trust, that he will communicate all the blessings of salvation to him in particular, according to the tenor of the promises, and the necessities of his soul. And Oh, what a distinguished honour must it be to the Lord Jesus, to have the eyes of all his saints in the Church militant fixed upon Him, for communications of grace to supply their innumerable wants; every one, expecting his portion in due season ! and how well qualified must Christ be for such an honourable office, who is most intimately acquainted with all their wants, and is possessed of the most tender sympathy, to prompt him to relieve them !

5. As the Father's honorary Servant, he is, at the end of time, to be the Judge of angels and men.-During his state of servitude in this world, he was

a servant of rulers ;" and at a human tribunal he was judged worthy of crucifixion, the death of a bond-man. Therefore, as a reward of such astonishing abasement, the Father resolved to judge no man,“ but to commit all judgment unto the Son, that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father.” And since the fallen angels had been active in seducing the first Adam to sin, which occasioned the second Adam's being reduced to the low condition of a bond-servant, the Father resolved that He should be employed as his honorary Servant, to pronounce a sentence of condemnation also upon them, suitable to their demerit. Accordingly “he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that Man whom he hath ordained,” Acts xvii. 31.

6. Lastly, In virtue of that dignified character, he was to be the illustrious medium of communication and intercourse between God and the saints in heaven, for ever and ever.

Hence every blessing necessary to constitute

the everlasting felicity of the redeemed in the heavenly world shall be conveyed to them, not only through the channel of his surety-righteousness, but by his own gracious hand. “ The Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them and lead them unto living fountains of water ; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes," Rev. vii. 17.

III. The third thing proposed was,-- To mention some of his properties as the Servant of his Father in general.

l. He is a righteous Servant. “ By his knowledge," saith the eternal Father,” shall my righteous Servant justify many." He is righteous in the whole course of his service. When he was a bond-servant, he observed the strictest justice in all his dealings with God. He did ample justice to the law of God, by fulfilling all rightteousness, as the Surety of his people, in obedience both of its commands and demands, considered as a covenant of works. He did justice to the perfections of God: he gave unto the Lord the glory due unto his name.

As an honorary Servant, he is just in the whole of his conduct toward his enemies : he will, with infinite exactness, suit the degree of their punishment to the demerit of their crimes. And as to his own people, his justice shall go before him, and set them in the way of his steps. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age ; they shall be fat and flourishing'; to show that the Lord is upright, and that there is no unrighteousness in him.” He will communicate holiness and comfort to them, according to the merit of his righteousness imputed to them, insofar as they shall be capable of receiving them ; and will administer the discipline of the covenant to them, in proportion as their cases require it. 2. He is a faithful servant. Solomon

says,

that “the most of men will proclaim every man his own goodness ; but a faithful man who can find ?” Prov. xx. 6. The glory of God, the honour of the law, and the salvation of an elect world, all depended on the faithful performance of the work assigned him, and the faithful management of the trust committed to him; and yet the Father, who

had the most perfect knowledge of the high importance of each of these, intrusted them to him, with the most unsuspecting confidence; and we read that he was faithful to him who appointed him, as Moses was faithful in all his house. It was prophesied of him, that faithfulness should be the girdle of his reins. His people sometimes behave as if they thought him unfaithful; when they do not receive an answer of prayer, or the performance of a promise, or such and such a measure of sensible comfort, at the time that they prescribed to him, or at the time in which they seem to themselves to need it,—they begin to doubt of his faithfulness in the promise ; and when they are exhorted to trust in him, and wait for him, they will say,

“We cannot.” They can trust their friend, they can trust their neighbour ; but they cannot trust their Saviour: nay, they will sometimes

argue in favour of their inability to trust in him. But whether they can trust in him or not, he abideth faithful, as the experience of all who resolutely trust in him can testify.

3. He is a Servant who deals prudently. Thus saith the Lord, “ Behold, my Servant shall deal prudently; he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high,” Isa. lii. 13. The work which was assigned to Christ was such as required infinite prudence to perform it well. He had contrary interests, and contrary dispositions, to reconcile; it was incumbent upon him to reconcile the glory of God, the glory of his holiness, justice, and faithfulness, with the salvation of guilty sinners, which were perfectly opposite to one another. He had God to reconcile to sinners, and sinners to God. The infinitely holy Lord God had legal enmity to sinners ; and sinners had natnral enmity against God. Christ, then, in the character of a bond-servant, had to reconcile God to sin. ners, by satisfying all the demands of law and justice in their stead ; and as an honorary Servant, to reconcile sin. ners to God, by communicating to them the gracious influences of his Holy Spirit. Besides, he was not only to bring the parties at variance together, but to make them well pleased with one another, and take a mutual,

and eternal complacence in each other. These things surely required the most consummate prudence. But Christ, the personal Wisdom of the Father, hath dealt so prudently as to accomplish an everlasting reconci. liation. It also requires the highest prudence to manage his people well. They ask many things in prayer which would be unrea

reasonable, and even hurtful to them; but the Lord Jesus deals so prudently with them, as to withhold all such things from them, and to give them only the blessings which he sees proper; and, after all, to make them better pleased with what he has bestowed on them than they could be with what they asked of him.

4. He is a powerful Servant, “ able to save them to the uttermost who come unto God by him.”—Never did any service require so much strength for the performance of it as that which was assigned to Jesus Christ. As a bond-servant, he was required to perform perfect obedience to the precepts of the violated law, and at the same time, to bear the infinite weight of its tremendous curse, which would have sunk a whole elect world to the bottom of the bottomless pit; and, as an honorary Servant, to sustain under all their pressures a multitude which no man can number, and raise them up to eternal glory.

5. Once more: He is an infinitely willing and ready Servant.“ Behold, he cometh leaping upon the moun. tains, skipping upon the hills," Song ii. 8. He foresaw that, in the course of his service, he should have the greatest difficulties to surmount, and the most excruciating torments to endure; and yet, instead of engaging with reluctance, he said, “Lo, I come; I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my

heart." If he had engaged with reluctance, instead of saying, Lo, I come, he would have said, Lo, I am urged, I am compelled to it against my will. But he said, “Lo, I come : Î delight to do thy will, O my God." His people sometimes fear that he does not delight to communicate the blessings of salvation to them ; they question his willingness to supply their wants. But the truth is, if they could believe it, he is infinitely more willing to give them grace, abundance of grace, than they can be to receive it. And if they find themselves, in any degree, willing to receive his whole salvation as a free gift, they ought to regard it as an evidence that he is able to be. stow it

upon them; for their willingness to receive it, as a gift of sovereign grace, and their desire to possess and enjoy it, are only the effects of his willingness to give it to them.

From what has been said on this subject, we may see ground for the deepest humiliation before the Lord. Christ's having been constituted the Servant of God in our stead, plainly supposes that we were without strength, and were not able to serve for ourselves. If we had ability ourselves to answer the requirements of the holy law, God would never have consented that his only-begotten and infinitely dear Son should become a bond-servant in our stead.

But he actually substituted him as his servant in our place ; and this substitution demonstrates, though there were no further evidence of it, that our ability for such service was entirely gone. Ought we not, then, instead of extolling the moral powers of human nature in its fallen state, to exercise the deepest selfabasement, and to confess, with the holy apostle Paul, that we are not sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves, but that our sufficiency is only of God ?

From the foregoing subject, we may surely infer the amazing love of God to sinners of mankind. Rather than leave us to endure his eternal wrath, as the due punishment of failing in the performance of our service, he gave up the Son of his eternal love, “the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person,” to a state of servitude in our stead ; that we who were bound over to eternal death, and were the bond slaves of sin and Satan, might be set at liberty. And how astonishing was the love of Christ to us, who, though he was in the form of God, and thought it not robbery to be equal with God, yet condescended, in his love and in his pity, to take upon him the form of a bond-servant, that he might merit for

« PreviousContinue »