Christ the IncarnateMiscellanies by Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
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81. Communion. It is probable that the faculties of the man Christ Jesus, now in his glorified state, are so enlarged that he can, with a full view and clear apprehension of mind, at the same time think on all the saints in the world, and be in the exercise of an actual and even of a passionate love (such as we experience) to all of them is particular. It is certain that human souls can have two ideas and more at the same moment in the mind, otherwise how could the mind compare ideas and judge between them. It will not suffice that they are very speedily, one after another, in the mind for comparing. For let the second idea be in the mind never so quick after the first, yet the mind cannot at that moment compare the second idea with the first, if the first be entirely gone out of the mind. For how can the mind compare an idea that is in the mind with another at the same time that is not in the mind. And I do not see why a mind cannot be of such powers as to be exercised about millions of millions of ideas with as great intenseness and clearness of apprehension as we admit two only. No doubt but the man Christ Jesus loves believers, not only the church in general, without particularly viewing one person, but that he loves believers in particular. No doubt but that the man Christ Jesus loves the church in general, because it is made up of those particular persons that he loves. He loves the church because of the lovelinesses that he sees in the church, but he sees loveliness nowhere else but in particular persons. Nor can we suppose that the man Jesus only loves the persons that are most eminent, with a particular love, but that every true saint may have the comfort of this consideration. And, seeing that he loves them, no doubt but that he, with a proper desire, desires communion with them; and even the man Christ, being the same person with the divine, has communion with them, by the communion of this person, as much as if his human soul were present, and suggested and answered by suggestions those sweet meditations. And there is the same delight in the man Christ as if he were bodily present with them, talking and conversing with them. And this seems to be one glorious end of the union of the human to the divine nature, to bring God near to us; that even our God, the infinite being, might be made as one of us; that his visible Majesty might not make us afraid; that Jehovah, who is infinitely distant from us, might become familiar to us. This capacity of the man Jesus is so large, by reason of the personal union with the divine nature, that by this means he knew the thoughts of men while on earth, and knew things acted at a distance. No doubt but if the man Christ Jesus were, with his glorified power, now on earth, and should meet here and there with holy men, he would be perfectly acquainted with them at first sight. What kind of powers are they, besides his own immutable attributes, that God cannot create a finite being with? And what kind of powers may we justly conclude his are, who is the firstborn of every creature, and is personally united to the Deity? This seems to have been the universally received belief of the primitive church, which nobody ever thought of denying.
108. Excellency of Christ. When we behold a beautiful body, a lovely proportion and beautiful harmony of features, delightful airs of countenance and voice, and sweet motions and gestures, we are charmed with it, not under the notion of a corporeal but a mental beauty. For if there could be a statue that should have exactly, the same, that could be made to have the same sounds and the same motions precisely, we should not be so delighted with it, we should not fall entirely in love with the image, if we knew certainly that it had no perception or understanding. The reason is, we are apt to look upon this agreeableness, those airs, to be emanations of perfections of the mind, and immediate effects of internal purity and sweetness. Especially it is so, when we love the person for the airs of voice, countenance, and gesture, which have much greater power upon us than barely colors and proportion of dimensions. And it is certainly because there is an analogy between such a countenance and such airs and those excellencies of the mind, — a sort of I know not what in them that is agreeable, and does consent with such mental perfections, so that we cannot think of such habitudes of mind without having an idea of them at the same time. Nor can it be only from custom, for the same dispositions and actings of mind naturally beget such kind of airs of countenance and gesture, otherwise they never would have come into custom. I speak not here of the ceremonies of conversation and behavior, but of those simple and natural motions and airs. So it appears, because the same habitudes and actings of mind do beget (airs and movements) in general the same amongst all nations, in all ages.
And there is really likewise an analogy or consent between the beauty of the skies, trees, fields, flowers, etc., and spiritual excellencies, though the agreement be more hid, and require a more discerning, feeling mind to perceive it, than the other. Those have their airs too, as well as the body and countenance of man, which have a strange kind of agreement with such mental beauties. This makes it natural in such frames of mind to think of them and fancy ourselves in the midst of them. Thus there seem to be love and complacency in flowers and bespangled meadows. This makes lovers so much delight in them. So there is a rejoicing in the green trees and fields, and majesty in thunder beyond all other noises whatever.
Now we have shown that the Son of God created the world for this very end, to communicate himself in an image of his own excellency. He communicates himself, properly, only to spirits, and they only are capable of being proper images of his excellency, for they only are properly beings, as we have shown. Yet he communicates a sort of a shadow, or glimpse, of his excellencies to bodies, which, as we have shown, are but the shadows of beings, and not real beings. He who by his immediate influence, gives being every moment, and by his Spirit, actuates the world, because he inclines to communicate himself and his excellencies, does doubtless communicate his excellency to bodies, as far as there is any consent or analogy. And the beauty of face and sweet airs in men are not always the effect of the corresponding excellencies of mind, yet the beauties of nature are really emanations or shadows of the excellencies of the Son of God.
So that when we are delighted with flowery meadows, and gentle breezes of wind, we may consider that we see only the emanations of the sweet benevolence of Jesus Christ. When we behold the fragrant rose and lily, we see his love and purity. So the green trees, and fields, and singing of birds are the emanations of his infinite joy and benignity. The easiness and naturalness of trees and vines are shadows of his beauty and loveliness. The crystal rivers and murmuring streams are the footsteps of his favor, grace, and beauty. When we behold the light and brightness of the sun, the golden edges of an evening cloud or the beauteous bow, we behold the adumbrations of his glory and goodness, and in the blue sky, of his mildness and gentleness. There are also many things wherein we may behold his awful majesty, in the sun in his strength, in comets, in thunder, in the hovering thunderclouds, in ragged rocks, and the brows of mountains. That beauteous light with which the world is filled in a clear day, is a lively shadow of his spotless holiness, and happiness and delight in communicating himself; and doubtless this is a reason that Christ is compared so often to those things, and called by their names, as the Sun of Righteousness, the morning star, the rose of Sharon, and lily of the valley, the apple tree amongst the trees of the wood, a bundle of myrrh, a roe, or a young hart. By this we may discover the beauty of many of those metaphors and similes, which to an unphilosophical person do seem so uncouth.
In like manner when we behold the beauty of man’s body in its perfection, we still see like emanations of Christ’s divine perfections: although they do not always flow from the mental excellencies of the person that has them. But we see far the most proper image of the beauty of Christ when we see beauty in the human soul.
Corollary 1. From hence it is evident that man is in a fallen state, and that he has naturally scarcely anything of those sweet graces, which are an image of those which are in Christ. For no doubt seeing that other creatures have an image, of them according to their capacity: so all the rational and intelligent part of the world once had according to theirs.
Corollary 2. There will be a future state wherein man will have them according to his capacity. How great a happiness will it be in heaven for the saints to enjoy the society of each other, since one may see so much of the loveliness of Christ in those things which are only shadows of being. With what joy are philosophers filled in beholding the aspectable world. How sweet will it be to behold the proper image and communications of Christ’s excellency in intelligent beings, having so much of the beauty of Christ upon them as Christians shall have in heaven.
112. Heaven. [Addition to M 108. Corollary 2] What beautiful and fragrant flowers will those be, reflecting all the sweetnesses of the Son of God! How will Christ delight to walk in this garden among those beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies!
121. Incarnation. Christ took the nature of a creature, not only because the creature’s great love to him desired familiar communion with him, — more familiar than his infinite distance would allow, — but also because his great love to us caused him to desire familiar communion with us. So he came down to us, and united himself to our nature.”
180. Christ’s Love. Such thoughts as these are ready to run into our minds when we think of the death of Christ; and would enflame our hearts with a sense of our love therefrom, that we cannot certainly argue so great love of the eternal Logos from it, for the Logos felt nothing, no pain, and suffered no disgrace, but it was the Human Nature. But I answer, the love the Human Nature had to mankind, and by which he was prompted to undergo so much, it had only by virtue of its union with the Logos. It was all derived from the love of the Logos, or else they would not be one person. Many things also might be said together with this.
183. Christ’s Love. Such was the love of the Son of God to the human nature, that he desired a most near and close union with it, — something like the union in the Persons of the Trinity: nearer than there can be between any two distinct creatures. This moved him to make the human become one with him, and himself to be one of mankind that should represent all the rest; for Christ calls us brethren, and is one of us. How should we be encouraged when we have such a Mediator! It is one of us that is to plead for us: one that God from love to us has received into his own person from among us. And it is so congruous that it should be so, and is also so agreeable to the Scripture, that it much confirms in me the truth of the Christian religion.
205. The Man Christ Jesus, being the same Person with the eternal Son of God, has a reminiscence or consciousness of what appertained to the eternal Logos, and so of his happiness with the Father. Therefore we often find Christ speaking as being very well acquainted with the Father before he came into the world, and speaking of transactions betwixt him and the Father before he came, as if there were an agreement about the work of redemption, and what he should teach, what he should do, and who should be his. Thus Christ frequently tells us that what he does, he does not do of himself, but as he was ordered of the Father, and that he did not teach of himself, but that he had received of his Father what he should teach, before he came down from heaven, etc. So he speaks of his coming down from heaven, as if he remembered how he was once there, and how he came down. Now, when he remembered these things, he could not remember them as they were in the infinite mind, for the idea of the Creator cannot be communicated to the creature, as it is in God. But the remembrance as it was in his mind was the same after a different manner. The things which he remembered were from all eternity in the Logos after the manner of God, and the man Christ Jesus was conscious to himself of them as if they had been after the manner of a creature. Those transactions which Christ speaks of in the Covenant of Redemption were no other than the eternal and immutable gracious design, both of the Father and Son, of what was to be done by the Son, and what was to be the fruit of it. It was impossible that the man Christ Jesus should remember this as it was in the Deity; for then an idea of the eternal mind could be communicated to a finite mind, even as it is in the infinite mind. But he remembered it as if it had been really such a transaction, before the world was, between him and the Father. Not that he was deceived, for he knew how it was, but as the consciousness of it was communicated to him, it must of necessity seem thus. That in the general it was thus is no bold conjecture, but so it must of necessity be. Though the particular manner of this consciousness, and how far the ideas of a creature can be after the manner of the divine mind, and how a creature may be said to remember what is in God, is uncertain.
327a. End of the Incarnation and Death of Christ. The infinite love, which there is from everlasting between the Father and the Son, is the highest excellency and peculiar glory of the Deity. God saw it therefore meet, that there should be some bright and glorious manifestation made of it to the creatures, which is done in the incarnation and death of the Son of God. Hereby was most clearly manifested to men and angels the Distinction of the Persons of the Trinity. The infinite love of the Father to the Son is thereby manifested, in that for his sake he would forgive an infinite debt, would be reconciled with, and receive into his favor and to his enjoyment, those that had rebelled against him and injured his infinite Majesty; and in exalting of him to that high mediatoral glory. And Christ showed his infinite love to the Father in his infinitely abasing himself for the vindication of his authority, and the honor of his Majesty. When God had a mind to save men, Christ infinitely laid out himself that the honor of God’s majesty might be safe, and that God’s glory might be advanced.
395. Christian Religion. Christ’s Incarnation. It is no argument against the reality of the incarnation of Jesus Christ (whereby God became the same person with a man), that it is such a strange thing that there is nothing else like it or bears any shadow of it anywhere to be seen, because it was evidently God’s design to show his wisdom by doing a thing that was, and forever would have been, far beyond the thoughts of any creatures. Man’s fall was God’s opportunity to show how far his contrivance and wisdom was beyond that of all creatures.
487. Incarnation. As the union of believers with Christ is by the indwelling of the Spirit of Christ in them, so it may be worthy to be considered, whether or no the union of the divine with the human nature of Christ is not by the Spirit of the Logos dwelling in him after a peculiar manner and without measure. Perhaps there is no other way of God’s dwelling in a creature but by his Spirit. The Spirit of Christ dwelling in man causes an union so that in many respects they are looked upon as one. Perhaps the Spirit of the Logos may dwell in a creature after such a manner that the creature may become one person, and may be looked upon as such, and accepted as such. There is a likeness between the union of the Logos with the man Christ Jesus and the union of Christ with the church, though there be in the former great peculiarities.
The man Christ is united to the Logos these two ways: —
1. By the respect which God has to this human nature. God has respect to this man, and loveth him as his own Son. This man has communion with the Logos in the love which the Father has to him as his only begotten Son. Now the love of God is the Holy Ghost, and
2. By what is inherent in this man, whereby he becomes one person with the Logos, which is only by the communion of understanding, and communion of will, inclination, spirit, or temper. It is not any communion of understanding and will that makes the same person, but the communion of understanding is such that there is the same consciousness.
609. Christ God-Man, shall reign after he has delivered up the kingdom to the Father; but not as he does now. Now he reigns by a delegated authority, as a king’s son may reign in some part of his dominions as his viceroy, or over the whole, by having the whole government and management committed to him, and left with him for a time. But then Christ will reign, as a king’s son may reign, in copartnership with his father. Now he reigns by virtue of a delegation or commission: then he will reign by virtue of his union with the Father. Now things are managed in Christ’s name: they are left to his ordering and government, and the Father reigns by the Son. Then the Father will take the government upon himself; and things will be managed in the Father’s name, and the Son shall reign in, and with the Father. As it cannot be said that the Father does not reign now, when the kingdom is in the hands of his Son, so neither can it be said that the Son will not reign then, when the kingdom shall be delivered up into the hands of the Father. The government of the world now takes its rise from the Son, as the head and spring of it, and the Father reigns now by virtue of the relation of the Son and his government to him, as his Son, infinitely near and dear to him, the same with him in nature and will, as being in the Son, and the Son from him commissioned and instructed by him, acting and influencing by the same Spirit, and so the Father now governs all by the Son. Then the government of the universe will be from the Father and will take its rise from him, and then the Son will reign by virtue of the Father’s relation to him, and his to the Father as being his Father, the same in nature and will: the Son being his perfect image, and being in the Father, being his Fellow, admitted to fellowship and communion with him in government, and the Spirit of the Father, by which he actuates and influences, being also his Spirit. Christ will forever continue to reign over all things for two reasons : —
1. Because it is his natural right, as he is a divine person, the Son of God. He has a right to reign forever, as he is the Father’s proper heir.
2. He will also reign forever, in reward for what he did as God-man, in the work of redemption.
And again: “Christ will to all eternity continue the medium of communication between God and the saints.”
738. The Divine Logos is so united to the humanity of Christ that it spoke and acted by it and made use of it as its organ, as is evident by the history of his life and as it is evident he will do at the day of judgment. And this he does, not occasionally once in a while, as he may in the prophets but constantly, not by an occasional communication but a constant and everlasting union. Now it is manifest that the Logos in thus acting by the humanity of Christ did not merely make use of his body as an organ, but his soul, not only the members of his body but the faculties of his soul. Which can be no otherwise than by such a communication with this understanding, as we call identity of consciousness. If the Divine Logos speaks in (?) with the man Christ Jesus, so that the man Christ Jesus in his speaking, should say “I say thus or thus,” and his human understanding is made use of by the Logos, and it be the speech of his human understanding: it must be by such a communication between the Logos and the human nature as to communicate consciousness.
742. Christ the Kingdom Ruler. That kingdom that Christ shall deliver up to the Father at the end of the world, is not properly his mediatorial kingdom, but his representative kingdom. Christ, God-man, rules now as representing the Father’s person in his government, and therefore that work is committed to Christ, that according to the economy of the Trinity, is properly the work of the Father, as particularly the work of lawgiver and judge. But this state of things will not last always. God the Father has committed his work to the Son for a season for special and glorious reasons, but things are not thus fixed to be thus ultimately and eternally, for that would amount even to an overthrowing of the economy of the Persons of the Trinity. But doubtless this representative kingdom, when the several ends of it shall be answered, shall be delivered up; and things shall return to their own primeval, original order. And every Person of the Trinity, in the ultimate and eternal state of things, shall continue each one in the exercise of his own economical place and work.
This representative, or delegated, kingdom of Christ is not just the same with his mediatorial kingdom. Indeed the kingdom that he has as the Father’s vicegerent, is given and improved to subserve the purposes of his mediation between God and the elect, but yet it is not the same with his mediatorial kingdom. It is rather something that is superadded to that, which is most essential in his mediatorial office and work, to subserve the purposes of it, and therefore his mediation, or mediatorial work, will continue, after that which is thus superadded ceases. Christ’s mediatorial kingdom never will be delivered up to the Father. It would imply a great absurdity to suppose that Christ should deliver up, or commit, the work of a Mediator to the Father, as if the Father himself should thenceforward take upon him the work of mediating between himself and man. Christ’s mediation between the Father and the elect will continue after the end of the world, and he will reign as a Middle Person between the Father and them to all eternity; though he will not continue to do the same things as Mediator, then, as he does now, as he now does not do the same things as Mediator that he has done heretofore, and particularly the work which he did when he was here on earth, called the Impetration of Redemption, which work he finished and rested from when he rose from the dead. But still unto men he is as much the Mediator now, as he was then, and doing the work of a Mediator now, as well as then. So though he will not continue to do the same parts of his mediatorial work after the end of the world as he does now, such as delivering the saints from the remains of sin, and interceding for them as sinful creatures, and conquering their enemies (to subserve which parts of his mediatorial work, his kingdom of vicegerency is committed to him), yet he will continue a Middle Person between the Father and the saints to all eternity, and as the head of union with the Father, and of derivation from him, and of all manner of communication and intercourse with the Father.
When the end comes, that relation that Christ stands in to his church, as the Father’s viceroy over her, shall cease, and shall be swallowed up in the relation of a vital and conjugal Head, or Head of influence and enjoyment, which is more natural and essential to the main ends and purposes of his union with them. And henceforward his dominion or kingship over them will be no other than what naturally flows from, or is included in, such an headship. And now God will be all. The church now shall be brought nearer to God the Father, who by his economical office sustains the dignity and appears as the fountain, of the deity; and here enjoyment of him shall be more direct. Christ, God-man, shall now no longer be instead of the Father to them, but, as I may express it, their head of their enjoyment of God: — as it were the eye to receive the rays of divine glory and love for the whole body, and the ear to hear the sweet expressions of his love, and the mouth to taste the sweetness and feed on the delights of the enjoyment of God: the root of the whole tree, planted in God, to receive sap and nourishment for every branch.
772. Christ the Mediator. Christ as God-man is a fit person for a Mediator between God and man, not only as he is a Middle Person between the Father and the Holy Ghost, but also as he is a Middle Person between God and men themselves: he is really allied to both. He is the Son of God and the Son of man, he is both God and man, he is God’s son and our brother. And as he has the nature of both, so he has the circumstances of both: — the glory, majesty and happiness of the one, and the infirmity, meanness, disgrace, guilt and misery of the other. As it was requisite in order to his being Mediator between God and man, that he should be the subject of our calamity, that he might know, on the one hand, how to pity us who suffer, or are exposed to those calamities, so on the other hand, it was requisite that he should be possessed of the glory and majesty of God, that he might know how to value that glory and majesty, and to be careful and tender of them, and effectually engaged to see to it that they are well secured and gloriously magnified.
Christ brings God and man to each other, and actually unites them together. This he does by various steps and degrees, which terminate in the highest step, in that consummation of actual union which he will accomplish at the end of the world.
First, he came into the world, and brought God or Divinity down with him to us, and then he ascended to God, and carried up humanity, or man, with him to God. And from heaven he sent down the Holy Spirit, whereby he gives God to man, and hereby he draws them to give up themselves to God. He brings God to dwell with their souls on earth, at their conversion, and he brings their souls to dwell with God in heaven, at their death.
The time will come when he will come down again from heaven in person, and will bring God with him to man, a second time; and he will then ascend, a second time, to carry up man with him to God. At the first descent, he brought divinity down to us, under a veil. At his second coming, he will bring divinity down with him, without a veil, appearing in its glory. At his first ascension, after his own resurrection, he carried up our nature with him to God. At his second ascension, after the general resurrection, he will carry up our persons with him. At death, he brings the souls of the saints to God in heaven; whereby a part of the church is gloriously united to God. At the end of the world, he will bring in both body and soul to heaven, and will bring all the church together to their highest and consummate union with God, and this will be the last step he will take, in the office of a Mediator, to unite God and man. Having presented all his church together, in body and soul, to the Father, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, perfectly delivered, perfectly restored, and perfectly glorious; saying, “Here am I, and the children which Thou hast given me;” and having finished the work which the Father gave him to do, then comes the end, when he will deliver up the kingdom to the Father.
781. Christ the Mediator. Christ, God-man, is not only Mediator between God and sinful men, but he acts as a Middle Person between all other persons, and all intelligent beings, that all things may be gathered together in one in him, agreeably to Eph. 1:10. He is the Middle Person between the other two divine persons, and acts as such in the affair of our redemption. Though he is not properly a Mediator between God and angels, yet he acts in many respects as a Middle Person between them, so that all that eternal life, glory and blessedness that they are possessed of is by his mediety. And he is a kind of Mediator between one man and another to make peace between them. He reconciles one man to another by his blood by taking away all just cause one can have to hate another for what is indeed hateful in them, and for which they deserve to be hated of both God and man, by suffering for it fully as much as it deserves, so that what the hatred of both God and man desires is here fully accomplished in a punishment fully proportional to the hatefulness of the crime. Were it not that the sins of men are already fully punished in the sufferings of Christ, all, both angels and men, might justly hate all sinners for their sins. For appearing as they are in themselves, they are indeed infinitely hateful, and could appear no otherwise to any than as they are in themselves, had not another been substituted for them. And therefore they must necessarily appear hateful to all that saw things as they are. It is impossible for any to hate a crime as a crime or fault, without desiring that it should be punished, for he that hates sin is thereby an enemy to it, and therefore necessarily is inimical, or inclined to act against it, that it may suffer, or to see it suffer. And if we impute men’s sins to them, i.e. if we look on the hatefulness of their sins as their hatefulness, we necessarily hate them, and are inclined that the sufferings that we desire for their sins should be their sufferings. But now Christ has suffered for the sins of the world, we ought to hate no man, because Christ has suffered and satisfied for his sins, and therefore we should endeavor to bring him to Christ. A right consideration of Christ’s sufferings for the sins of others is enough to satisfy all just indignation against them for their sins. So that Christ, by his sufferings, has in a sense made propitiation for men’s sins, not only with God but with their fellow creatures. And so, by his obedience, he recommends them not only to the favor of God, but of one another, for Christ’s righteousness is exceeding amiable to all men and angels that see it aright, and Christ himself is amiable to them on that account. And it renders all, that they look upon to be in him, amiable in their eyes, to consider them as members of so amiable a head, as we naturally love the children of those that we have a very dear love to. Christ, by his death, has also laid a foundation for peace and love among enemies, in that therein he has down two things: —
1. In setting the most marvelous, affecting example of love to enemies: an example in an instance wherein we are most nearly concerned, for we ourselves are those enemies that he has manifested such love to. And,
2. He has done the greatest thing to engage us to love him, and so to follow his example. for the examples of such as we have a strong love to have a most powerful influence upon us.
Christ was Mediator between the Jews and Gentiles to reconcile them together, breaking down the middle wall of partition. He also unites men and angels. He unites angels to men by the following things: by taking away their guilt by his blood; by suffering for that which otherwise would necessarily have rendered them hateful to the angels; by taking away sin itself by sanctification; by rendering those that are so much inferior in their natures honorable in their eyes, and worthy that they themselves should be ministering spirits to them, going forth to minister to their salvation; by his taking their nature upon him, dying for them and uniting them to be members of himself; by setting them such a wonderful example, in manifesting God’s and his own eternal transcendent love to them by the great things he did and suffered for them; by being an intermediate person, as a bond and head of union, being a common head to each, in which both are united; and by confirming their hearts by his Spirit against all pride, which was the thing that caused such an alienation between the angels that fell and men, so that they could not endure to be ministering spirits to him, which was the occasion of their fall.
902. Jesus Christ: Prophet, Priest and King. When the appointed time that Jesus, the great King, Priest, and Prophet of Israel, was to come, God, by a remarkable hand of providence, brought to nothing the office of king, prophet, and priest, among the Jews. After the captivity, the Jews, in their civil power, were never wholly independent. For a while, considerable power was in the hands of the governors of the house of David. Afterwards, the kingly power was taken from the house of David and was assumed by the priests. After this, Herod, who was but half Jew, ascended to the throne Soon after his death Judea became a Roman province and was subject to the Roman governor, as it was when Christ died. Soon after this, the Jewish state was destroyed and all manner of civil power was taken from them.
So as to the prophetical office: it ceased with the prophet Malachi, or at least with Simon the Just, and never revived otherwise (except in Christ or those that were his forerunners or followers).
So the priestly office: the high priesthood, which used to be hereditary, according to the law of Moses, became subject to the disposal of either the Romans or the ruling princes. The Jewish church, which for a great many ages say but one high priest deposed, had a new head almost every year The competition for the priesthood, at length, came to quarreling, sword in hand. The temple at last was burnt down to the ground, the sacrifices abolished, and the high priesthood extinct.
So with Christ being the great sacrifice and the substance and end of all ceremonies, God, by degrees and in his providence, brought those sacrifices and all those ceremonies to nothing After this, God made it impossible that ever the civil power of the house of David, the priesthood of Aaron, or the ceremonial worship, should be restored, by blotting out among them the memory and distinction of their tribes and families, and confounding their attempts for rebuilding the temple. The zealots at length broke into the holy place and drove out all the families from which the high priests were usually taken and set up one Phanus, a stupid, ignorant fellow. These zealots, before the destruction of Jerusalem, made the temple a mere slaughter house and receptacle for robbers. See Basnage’s History of the Jews, book 1, chap. iii, iv, v, vi, where one sees the most horrid corruptions and vices of the high priests, before Jerusalem’s destruction.
If Christ therefore be not the Messiah, what becomes of that prophecy and promise, so solemnly made and so extraordinarily confirmed, in Jer. 33:14 to the end.
957. Christ Glorified. After the curse is executed on the universe of the ungodly, and all the angels and saints have beheld the dreadful execution, then Christ, with all his elect church, now perfect, shall ascend to heaven, and Christ shall come and present his church, now perfectly redeemed, to the Father, saying, “Here am I, and the children whom thou hast given me.” And having thus finished all the work that the Father had given him to do, he shall deliver up the kingdom to the Father. Then shall the Father, with infinite manifestations of endearment and delight, testify his acceptance of Christ, and of his church thus presented to him, his infinite acquiescence in what his son has done, and his complacency in him, and in his church. And in reward he shall now give them the joy of their eternal marriage feast, and he himself will dress his Son in his wedding robes. The human nature of Christ, or Christ as God-man, shall be the subject of a new glorification then, when he shall be the subject of those smiles of the Father, and those infinitely sweet manifestations of his acceptance and complacency, when he shall present his redeemed church, and deliver up the kingdom. And from the manifestations of complacency, the Son shall be changed into the same image of complacency and love, and shall put on that divine glory, the glory of the infinitely sweet divine love, grace, gentleness, and joy, and shall shine with this special light far more brightly than ever he did before, shall be clothed with those sweet robes in a far more glorious manner than ever before: then shall that be fulfilled in the highest degree; Psa. 21:6, “For thou hast made him most blessed for ever; thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance;” and also the foregoing verses. Thus God the Father will give the Son his heart’s desire, as it is said in the 2nd verse of that psalm: his heart’s desire was, that he might express his infinite love to his elect church, fully and freely; to this end God the Father will now crown him with a crown of love, and array him in the brightest robes of love and grace, as his wedding garments, as the robe in which he should embrace his redeemed church, now brought home to her everlasting rest, in the house of her spiritual husband. As before he came into this accursed world in the glory of the Father, and God the Father arrayed him with his own glory, chiefly of his majesty, power, justice, omnipotence, and holiness, attributes that are terrible to God’s enemies, because his errand into this reprobate part of the universe was to destroy it; so now he is returned and entered into the elect and blessed world, to receive the joy that was set before him with his church. Now he shall more especially have conferred on him the glory of his Father, in his gentle and sweet attributes, shining forth in the infinitely bright robes of his love, and grace, and holiness, his sweet ravishing beauty and delight, that he may bless and glorify that elect world with the beams of this light. The Son being thus glorified with infinite sweetness, by the light of the countenance of the Father, the glory will be communicated from him to his church, and she shall be transformed into his image by beholding him, and by the light of his glory and love, shining and smiling upon her. And at that time will be the transformation of all heaven, and it will become a new heaven. The beams of the Son’s new glory of grace and love shall advance that whole world to new glory and sweetness. Thus Christ and his saints shall both receive their consummate felicity and full reward, and shall begin that eternal feast of love, and the eternal joys of that marriage supper of the Lamb. The saints shall not receive their full happiness till then, though they shall be glorified on earth when they shall be raised and changed at the first sight of their glorious Redeemer coming in the clouds, and shall be further glorified when they shall be made to sit with Christ on his throne of judgment. Yet Christ speaks of their greatest happiness as then future, when he says, at the close of the judgment, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you,” etc. Now they shall inherit it. Now they shall be put in possession of it.
Thus, though the new glory of heaven shall be, as it were, from the communicated influence and glory of the Sun of righteousness returning to heaven from the judgment, yet it will not be at once, as soon as the beams of the returning Jesus shine on that world. But Christ, with all his saints and angels, shall first enter into the world, and they shall have opportunity to see its glory in its former state. And then the presentation shall be made to the Father, and his acceptance manifested, and the purchased glory then given by his hands, so that the saints and angels shall have opportunity fully to see this work of the new creation. First fully beholding the world before its renovation, and then seeing the change as it is, with the destruction of the reprobate world. That world, as it were, sinks of itself, flies away, and breaks in pieces, by beholding the manifestation of his awful majesty and wrath. The shining forth of the infinitely pure and powerful holiness, justice, and wrath, does, as it were of itself, set all on fire, yet this destruction will not actually be at Christ’s first appearing in terrible majesty in the lower world, but at the greatest manifestation of it when he pronounces the curse on the ungodly.
How immensely will it heighten, in the eyes of the saints, the value of that love and gentleness with which they now shall see Christ clothed, that they just before have seen such great manifestations of his infinite majesty, and the terribleness of his wrath! And how will it heighten their admiration and joy in his love, when Christ himself, that glorious King, shall resign up the kingdom to the Father! Though he shall receive now his reward, and new glory from the Father, it will not be to act henceforward as the Supreme Head of dominion, to whom the government of the world is left, but rather as a head or grand medium of enjoyment of the Father. Christ himself shall be admitted to a higher enjoyment of the Father than ever he was admitted to before; and in Christ the saints shall enjoy the Father. The Son himself, as God-man, shall now be subject to the Father. After the saints have seen him in infinite majesty in the judgment wherein his glorious and divine dignity appeared, and now come to see him in his ineffable mildness and love, they shall also see his transcendent humility in his adoration of the Father. And what a sense will this give them of the honor of the Father, to behold Jesus Christ, God-man, a person of such dignity as they saw in the judgment, thus humbly adoring the Father! And how will this example influence their adoration of God, and keep up their reverence in that infinite nearness and freedom to which they are admitted, as the sight they have had of the terrible majesty of Christ in the judgment will keep up their reverence towards him in the midst of their most intimate communion with him, and while they dwell, as it were, in his arms, and on his lips! See concerning the new occasion of glory to the highest heavens at Christ’s first ascension, Note on these words, John 14:2, “I go to prepare a place for you.”
1106. Righteousness of Christ. That salvation is not only by the atonement of Christ but by his obedience to the law or commands of God is manifest by Heb. 10:8-10. Above when he said “sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldst not neither hadst pleasure therein, which are offered BY THE LAW.” Then said he “Lo I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first that he may establish the second BY THE WHICH WILL we are sanctified.” In what Christ says in Psalms 40, which is here quoted by the Apostle, Christ speaks of his appearing in the form of a servant or become a servant to God for our sakes like the servant that had his ear bored to perform an upright willing service to God and perfect obedience to his law. I delight to do thy will O my God, and thy law is within my heart. The Apostle here signifies that it was by that WILL or that LAW, as it was fulfilled in the human nature of Christ (here called his body), that we are sanctified and not the ceremonial law, as fulfilled in Levitical sacrifices which law the Apostle speaks of in the 8th verse.
Consider the following two works by Edwards that have been updated and republished for easy reading:
Ripe for Damnation: Sermons on the Book of Revelation – by Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758). Are you hungry for more of Edwards’ sermons? On the book of Revelation? These new works are not found anywhere on A Puritan’s Mind, and there are new ones not found in his large 2 volume works. 4 deal with the plight of the wicked, and 2 deal with the bliss of saints in heaven. These sermons are powerful, practical, and biblical, glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ, and contain 2 never before published sermons.
Justification by Faith Alone – by Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758). In this classic work, Edwards covers the intricacies of how believers are made righteous only through Christ’s merits, and that this justifying righteousness is equally imputed to all elect believers. This is accomplished by the condition of faith as an instrument.