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in him it dwelt in its fullness, in them according to measure. It was poured out on Christ, our Head, abundantly, and ran down to the hem of his garment. "God gave not the Spirit to him by measure.” John, 3: 34. God filled Christ's human nature, to the utmost capacity, with all fullness of the Spirit of knowledge, wisdom, love, &c. beyond all creatures, for the plenary and more effectual administration of his mediatorship. He was full extensively, with all kinds of grace; and full, intensively, with all degrees of grace. "It pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell,” Col. 1: 19, as light in the sun, or water in a fountain; so that the holy oil that was poured out upon the head of kings and priests, whereby they were consecrated to their offices, was but typical of the Spirit by which Christ was consecrated or sealed to his offices. Exod. 30 : 23–25; 30-32.
3. Christ was sealed by the Father's immediate testimony from heaven, whereby he was declared to be the person whom the Father had solemnly designed and appointed to this work. And God gave this extraordinary testimony of him at two remarkable seasons: the one was just at his entrance on his public ministry, Matt. 3 : 17; the other but a little before his sufferings. Matt. 17:5. By this God owned, approved, and, as by a seal, ratified his work.
4. Christ was sealed by the Father, in all those extraordinary miraculous works wrought by him, by which the Father gave yet more full and convincing testimonies to the world, that this was he whom he had appointed to be our Mediator. These proved to the world that God had sent him, and that his doctrine was of God. "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and power, who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with bim." Acts, 10; 38. And so, John, 5:36, "I have a greater witness than that of John ; for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.” Therefore he still referred those that doubted of him, or of his doctrine, to the seal of his Father, even the miraculous works he wrought in the power of God. Matt. 9:3–5.
IV. We will inquire why it was necessary Christ should be sealed by his Father to this work.
1. He had not otherwise corresponded with the types which prefigured him; and in him it was necessary that they should be all accomplished. Under the law, the kings and high priests had their inauguration by solemn unctions, in all which this consecration, or sealing of Christ to his work, was shadowed out: and therefore you find, Heb. 5 : 4, 5, "No man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. So also,” (mark the necessary correspondence between Christ and them,) " Christ glorified not himself to be made an High Priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son."
2. Hereby the hearts of believers are the more engaged to love the Father, inasmuch as the Father's love and good will to them was the origin and spring of their redemption. For had not the Father sealed him such a commission, he had not come; but now he comes in the Father's name, and in the Father's love as well as his name ; and so all men are bound to ascribe equal glory and honor to them both, as John, 5 : 23.
3. Christ would not come without a commission, because we should have had no ground for our faith in him. How should we have been satisfied that this is indeed the true Messiah, except he had opened his commission to the world, and showed his Father's seal annexed to it? If he had come without his credentials from heaven, and only told the world that God had sent him, and that they must take his bare word for it, who could have rested his faith on that testimony? This is the true meaning of John, 5 : 31," If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.” How so? you will say, does not this contradict what he says, John, 8 : 14, " Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true ?" I answer: You must understand the word truth here, not as opposed to reality ; but the meaning is, If I had only given you my bare word for it, and not brought other evidence from my Father, my testimony had not been authentic and valid according to human laws; but now all doubting is precluded.
INFERENCE 1. The unreasonableness of infidelity, and how inexcusable are those who reject Christ. You see he hath opened his commission in the Gospel, shown the world his Father's hand and seal to it, given as ample satisfaction as reason itself could desire or expect ; yet even his own received him not. John, 1:11. And he knew it beforehand, and therefore complained by the prophet, " Who hath believed our report ?" &c. Isaiah, 53 : 1. Yea, and that he is believed on in the world, is by the apostle put among the great mysteries of godliness. 1 Tim. 3:16. A man that well considers with what convincing evidence Christ comes, would rather think it a mystery that any should not believe. And it is equally wonderful to see the facility with which men embrace the most foolish imposture. Let a false Christ arise, and he shall deceive many. Matt. 24 : 24. Of this Christ complains, and not without great reason ; "I am come in my Father's
and ye receive me not: if another come in his own name, him will ye receive.” John, 5 : 43. As if he had said, You are incredulous to none but me: every deceiver, every pitiful cheat that has but wit, or rather wickedness enough to tell you the Lord hath sent him, though you must take his own single word for it, he shall obtain and get disciples; but
though I come in my Father's name, showing you a commission signed and sealed by him, doing those works which none but God can do; yet ye receive me not. But in all this we must adore the justice of God in permitting it to be so, giving men up to such unreasonable obstinacy and hardness. It is a sore plague that lies upon the world, and a wonder that we all are not ingulfed in the same infidelity.
2. If Christ was sealed to his work by his Father, how great the sin of rejecting and despising such as are sent and sealed by Jesus Christ. As he came to us in his Father's name, so he hath sent forth, by the same authority, ministers in his name; and as he acts in his Father's, so they in his authority. "As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.” John, 17 : 18.
Father hath sent me, even so have I sent you.” 20 : 21. You may think it a small matter to reject a minister of Christ; but in so doing you despise and slight both the Father who sent his Son, and Christ who sent his minister to you. This reverence and submission are not due to them as men, but as Christ's ambassadors. And by the
this may instruct ministers, that the way to maintain that veneration and respect that is due to them, in the consciences of their hearers, is to keep close to their commission.
3. How great an evil is it to intrude into the office of the ministry without a due call. It is more than Christ himself would do; he glorified not himself; the honors and advantages attending that office have invited many to run before they were sent. But, surely this is an insufferable violation of Christ's order.
4. The blessing there may be in all gospel ordinances duly administered. Christ having received full commission from his Father, and by virtue thereof having instituted and appointed these ordinances in the church,
all the power in heaven is engaged to make them good, to confirm and ratify them. Hence in the censures of the church, you have that great expression, "Whatsoever ye bind or loose on earth, shall be bound or loosed in heaven.” Matt. 18:18. And so for the word and ordi. nances, "All power in heaven and earth is given unto Go therefore,” &c. Matt. 28 : 18–20.
These are not the appointments of men ; your faith stands not in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. That very power which God the Father committed to Christ, is the fountain whence all Gospel institutions flow. And he hath promised to be with his officers, not only the extraordinary officers of that age, but with his ministers in succeeding ages to the end of the world. On therefore, when ye come to an ordinance, come not with slight thoughts, but with great reverence, and great expectations, remembering Christ is there to make all good.
5. Again, here you have another call to admire the grace and love both of the Father and Son to your souls: it is not lawful to compare them, but it is duty to admire them. Was it not wonderful grace in the Father to seal a commission for the death of his Son, for humbling him as low as hell, and in that method to save you, when you might have expected he should have sealed your doom to hell, rather than a commission for your salvation ? He might rather have set his irreversible seal to the sentence of your damnation, than to a commission for his Son's humiliation for you. And no less is the love of Christ to be wondered at, that would accept such a commission as this for us, and receive this seal, understanding fully, as he did, what were the contents of that commission : that the Father delivered him thus sealed, and knowing that there could be no reversing of it afterwards.
Oh, then, love the Lord Jesus, all ye his saints, for still you see more and more of his love breaking forth