Chapter 18 - Of Christ’s Nativity and OfficeThe Order of Salvation and Damnation by William Perkins (1558-1602)
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Election is God’s decree “whereby on his own free will, he hath ordained certain men to salvation, to the praise of the glory of his grace.” Reprobation is “that part of predestination, whereby God, according to the most free and just purpose of his will, hath determined to reject certain men unto eternal destruction, and misery, and that to the praise of his justice.”
Thus much concerning Christ’s incarnation, on the clear declaration thereof was by his nativity.
The nativity of Christ is that whereby Mary a Virgin, did after the course of nature, and custom of women, bring forth Christ that Word of the Father, and son of David: so that those are much deceived, which are of opinion that Christ, after a miraculous manner, came into the world, the womb of the virgin being shut, Luke 2:23, “(As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)” The which place of Scripture is applied to Mary and our Savior Christ. Hence is it that the Virgin Mary is to (theotokas) to bring forth God, albeit she is not in any way mother of the Godhead. For Christ as he is God is without mother, and as man, without Father.
It is convenient to be thought, that Mary continued a virgin until her dying day, albeit we make not this opinion any article of our belief. I. Christ being now to depart the world, committed his mother to the tuition and custody of his disciple John, which it is like he would not have done, if she had had any children, by whom as custom was she might have been provided for, John 19:26. II. It is likely that she who was with child by the Holy Ghost, would not after known any man. III. It is agreed by the Church in all ages.
Christ being now born, was circumcised the eight day that he might fulfill all the righteousness of the Law: and being thirty years of age, he was baptized, that he being publicly and solemnly invested into the office of his Mediatorship, might take upon him the guilt of our sins. He was both circumcised and baptized, that we might learn: 1) That the whole efficacy of the Sacraments, depend alone and wholly upon him. 2) That he was Mediator of mankind, both before and under the law, as also under grace. 3) That he is the knot and bond of both covenants.
His office followeth, to the perfect accomplishing whereof he was anointed of his Father, that is he was sufficiently furnished with both gifts and authority. Heb. 1:9, “Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” Isa. 61:1, “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” John 3:34, “For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.”
If any man enforce this as a reason, that Christ could not perform the office of a Mediator, being not the mean or middle betwixt God and man, but the party offended, and so one of the extremes; we must know that Christ is to ways said to be the middle or mean. 1) Betwixt God and all men for being both God and man, he doth participate with both extremes. 2) Betwixt God and the faithful only: First, according to his humanity, whereby he received the Spirit without measure. Secondly, according to his divine nature, namely, as he is the Word. Now the Word is the middle betwixt the Father, and faithful: 1) In regard of the order, because the Word was begotten of the Father, and by it we have access unto the Father. This subordination, which is the Son to the Father, is not in the divine essence, severally and distinctly considered, but in relation or manner of having the essence. And those things which are subordinate after this manner, cannot be unequal, if they have one and the same singular essence. 2) In regard of his office, the which being imposed on him, by his Father, he did willingly undergo and of His own accord.
Christ doth exercise this office according to both natures united in one person, and according to each nature distinct one from the other. For in reconciling God and man together, the flesh performeth some things distinctly, and the Word other things are done not by the Word or flesh alone, but by both together.
This office is so appropriate to Christ, that neither in whole or in part, can it be translated to any other. Heb. 7:14, “For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.”
Therefore Christ, as he is God, hath under him, Emperors, Kings, Princes, to be his Vice-regents; who therefore are called “gods.” (Psalm 82:1) But as he is Mediator, that is a Priest, Prophet, and King of the Church of God, he hath no Vice-regent, Vicar, or Lieutenant, who is in his Kingly, Priestly, or prophetical office, in two of these, or in one, can be in his stead.
Christ’s office is threefold, Priestly, Prophetical, and Kingly (or Regal), Palm 110:1-4, Isa. 42:1.
Christ’s Priesthood is an office of is wherein he preformed all those things to God, whereby is obtained eternal life. Heb. 5:9-10, “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.” Heb 7:24-25, “But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
His priesthood consisteth of two parts, Satisfaction and Intercession.
Satisfaction is that whereby Christ is a full propitiation to his Father for the Elect. Job 33:23, “If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness.” Rom. 3:24, “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” And verse 25, “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” 1 John 2:2, “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
Christ satisfied God’s anger for man’s offence according to his humanity, by performing perfect obedience to the will of God; according to Deity, by ministering to the same perfect obedience, especially dignity, to wit, merit before God, and efficacy. John 17:19, “And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” Acts 20:28, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” 2 Cor. 5:19, “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”
Satisfaction comprehendeth his passion, and fulfilling of the Law.
His passion is the first part of Satisfaction by which he having undergone the punishment of sin, satisfied God’s justice and appeased his anger for the sins of the faithful. His passion was on this manner.
Somewhat before his death, partly fear arising from the sense of God’s wrath imminent upon him, partly grief possessing, as it were, each part of him, so disturbed his sacred mind, that inwardly for a while it stroke into him a strange kind of astonishment, or rather oblivion of his duty imposed upon him: and outwardly made him pray unto his Father (if he would) to remove that cup from him, the which he did express with no small cry, many tears, and a bloody sweat, trickling from body unto the ground. But when he can unto himself, he freely yielded himself unto his Father, to satisfy upon the cross for the transgression of man. After this his agony was over passed, by Judas his treachery Christ is apprehended, and first is brought to Annas, after to Caiaphas, where Peter denieth him: from Caiaphas he is brought to Pilate, Pilate handed him over to Herod, he transporteth his back again to Pilate, who acknowledgeth his innocencey, and yet condemneth his as an offender. This innocent man thus condemned is pitifully scourged, crowned with thorns, scoffed, spitted at, spitefully adjudged to the death of the cross, of which his hands and feet are fastened with nails. He stayed not his passions, but after all these he became as accursed to God the Father, that is, God poured upon him, being thus innocent, such a sea of His wrath, as was equivalent to the sins of the whole world. He now being under this curse, through the since and feeling of this strange terror, complaineth to his Father that he is forsaken: who notwithstanding, encountering then with Satan and his angels, did utterly vanquish and overcome them. When this was ended, his heart was pierced with a spear, till the blood gushed out of his sides, and he gave up the Ghost and commended his spirit to the Father’s protection, the which immediately went into Paradise. His body, whereof not one born was broken, was buried, and three days was ignominiously captivated of death. (Mark 4:32, Matt. 26:38, John 12:27, Mark 14:35, Matt. 26:37-42, John 12:29, Heb. 5:7, Luke 22:44, Heb. 9:5, 1 Cor. 5:7, Isa. 53:10-11, Matt. 26:47, John 18:13-14, John 18:29, Luke 23:2-8, Luke 23:!5, Matt. 27:24-26 (the same place), John 19:18, Gal. 3:13, Matt. 27:35-46, Col. 1:14-15, John 19:34, Heb. 9:15-16, Luke 23:43-46, John 19:33-42, Act 1:13.)
In this description of Christ’s passion, we may note five circumstances especially.
I. His agony, namely, a vehement anguish, arising upon the conflict of two contrary desires in him. The first, was to be obedient to his Father. The second, to avoid the horror of death. Luke 22:44, “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Heb. 5:7, “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared.”
II. His sacrifice, which is an action of Christ’s offering himself to God the Father, as a ransom for the sins of the elect. Heb. 9:26, “For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”
In this sacrifice the oblation was Christ, as he was man. Heb. 10:10, “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Heb. 9:14, “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Hence it is that Christ is said to sanctify himself, as he is man, John 17:19, “And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” As the altar, the gift, and the temple, the gold, Matthew 23:17-19.
Christ is the Priest, as he is God and man. Heb. 5:6, “As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” 1 Tim. 2:5-6, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”
III. God the Father’s acceptation of that his sacrifice in which He was well pleased. For had it been that God had not allowed of it, Christ’s suffering had been in vain, Matt. 3:17, “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Eph. 5:2, “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.”
IV. Imputation of man’s sin to Christ whereby his Father accounted him as a transgressor, having translated the burden of man’s sins to his shoulders, Isa. 53:4, “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” And verse 12, “Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” 2 Cor. 5:21, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
V. His wonderful humiliation consisting of two parts. 1) In that he made himself of small or no reputation in respect of his Deity, Phil. 2:7-8, “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
We may not think, that this debasing of Christ came, because his divine nature was either wasted or weakened, but because his Deity did, as it were, lay aside, and conceal his power and majesty for a season. And as Iranaeus saith, “The Word rested, that the human nature might be crucified and dead.” 2) In that he became execrable, which is by the Law accursed for us. Gal. 3:10, “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.”
This accursed ness is either inward or outward. Inward is the sense of God’s fearful anger upon the cross. Rev. 19:15, “And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” Isa. 53:5, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” This appeared by those drops of blood which issued from him, by his cryings to the Father upon the cross, and by sending of an angel to comfort him. Hence was it that he so much feared death, which many Martyrs entertained most willingly.
His outward accursedness standeth in three degrees. 1) Death upon the cross, which was not imaginary, but true, because blood and water issued from his heart. For seeing that water and blood gushed forth together, it is very like, the casket or coat which investeth the heart called Pericardian, was pierced. As Columbus observeth in his Antatomy, book 7. (John 19:34)
His death as necessary that he might confirm to us the Testament, or Covenant of grace promised for our sakes. Heb. 9:15-16, “And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.” (Also cf. verse 17)
2) Burial, to ratify the certainty of his death.
3) Descending into hell, which we must not understand that he went locally into the place of the damned, but that it is for the time of his abode in the grave, he was under the ignominious dominion of death. Acts 2:24, “Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.” Eph. 4:9, “(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?”
It was necessary that Christ should be captivated of death, that he might abolish the sting, that is the power of death thereof. 1 Cor. 15:55, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”
Thus we have heard of Christ’s marvelous passion, whereby he hath abolished the first and second death, due unto us for our sins; the which (as we may further observe) is a perfect ransom for the sins of all every one of the elect. 1 Tim. 2:6, “Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” For it was more that Christ the only begotten Son of God, yea, God Himself, for a small while should have suffered eternal punishment.
This also is worthy our meditation, that then a man is well grounded in the doctrine of Christ’s passion, when his heart ceaseth to sin, and is pricked with the grief of those sins, whereby, as with spears he pierced the side of the immaculate Lamb of God. 1 John 3:6, “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.” Zech. 12:10, “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”
After Christ’s passion followeth the fulfilling of the Law by which he satisfied God’s justice in fulfilling the whole Law, Rom. 8:3-4, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
He fulfilled the Law partly by the holiness of his human nature, and partly by obedience in the works of the Law. Rom. 8:2, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” Matt. 3:15, “And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.” (Cf. John 17:19)
Now suceedeth the second part of Christ’s priesthood, namely, intercession, whereby Christ is an advocate and intreater of God the Father for the faithful. Rom. 8:34, “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” Christ’s intercession, is directed immediately to God the Father. 1 John 2:1, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” Now as the Father is first of the Trinity in order, so if he be appeased, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are appeased also: For there is one and the same agreement and will of all the persons of the Trinity.
Christ maketh intercession according to both natures. First, according to his humanity, partly by appearing before his Father in heaven, partly by desiring the salvation of the elect. Heb. 9:24, “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” And chapter 7:25, “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Secondly according to his Deity, partly by applying the merit of his death; partly by making request of his Holy Spirit in the hearts of the Elect, with sighs unspeakable. 1 Peter 1:2, “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.” Rom. 8:26, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
We are not therefore to imagine or surmise that Christ prostrateth himself upon his knees before his Father’s throne for us; neither is it necessary, seeing his very presence before his Father hath in it the force of an humble petition.
The end of Christ’s intercession is that such as are justified by his merits should but his means continue in the estate of grace. Now Christ’s intercession preserveth the elect in covering the continual slips infirmities and imperfect actions by a special and continual application of his merits; that by this means a man’s person may remain just and man’s work acceptable to God. 1 John 2:2, “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 Pet. 2:5, “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” Rev. 8:3-4, “And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.”
Thus far concerning Christ’s priesthood; now follow his Prophetical and Regal (Kingly) offices.
His Prophetical Office is that whereby he immediately from his Father, revealeth his word and all the means of salvation compressed in the same. John 1:18, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”
John 8:26, “I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him.” Deut. 18:18, “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.”
The word was first revealed, partly by visions, partly by dreams, by speech; partly by the instinct and motion of the Holy Ghost. Heb. 1:1, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets.” 2 Peter 1:21, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
The like is done ordinarily only by the preaching of the Word, where the Holy Ghost doth inwardly illuminate the understanding. Luke 24:45, “Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.” And 21:15, “For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.” Acts 16:14, “And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.” For this cause Christ is called the Doctor, Lawgiver, and Counselor of his Church. Matt. 23:10, “Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.” James 4:12, “There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?” Isa. 9:6, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Yea, he is the Apostle of our profession. Heb. 3:1, “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus.” The angel of the covenant. Mal. 3:1, “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.” And the Mediator of the New Covenant. Heb. 9:15, “And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” Therefore the sovereign authority of expounding the Scripture only belongs to Christ: and the Church hath the ministry of judgment and interpretation committed unto her.
Christ’s Regal office is that whereby he distributeth his gifts and disposeth all things for the benefit of the elect. Psalm 2 and 110:1-2, “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.”
The execution of Christ’s Regal office comprehendeth his exaltation.
Christ’s exaltation is that by which he, after his lowest humiliation, was by little and little exalted to glory, and that in sundry respects, according to both his natures.
The exaltation of his divine nature is an apparent declaration of his divine nature, is an apparent declaration of his divine properties in his human nature, without the least alteration thereof. Rom. 1:4, “And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” Acts 2:36, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
The exaltation of his humanity is the putting of from his servile condition and all infirmities, and the putting on of such habitual gifts; which albeit they are created and finite, yet they have so great and so marvelous perfection as possibly can befall any creature. The gifts of his mind are wisdom, knowledge, joy, and other unspeakable virtues: of his body, immortality, strength, agility, brightness. Phil. 3:21, “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” Matt. 17:2, “And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.” Heb. 1:9, “Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” Eph. 1:20-22, “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church.”
Christ’s body. Although to be thus glorified, yet it is still of a solid substance, compassed about, visible, palable, and shall perpetually remain in some certain place, Luke 24:39, “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.”
There be three degrees of Christ’s exaltation.
I. His resurrection, wherein by his divine power he subdued death, and raised up himself to eternal life. 2 Cor. 13:4, “For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you.” Matt. 28:6, “He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”
The end of Christ’s resurrection was to shew that his sanctification, by his passion and death, was fully absolute. For only one sin would have detained the Mediator under the dominion of death, though he had fully satisfied for all the rest. 1 Cor. 15:17, “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.” Rom. 4:25, “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.”
II. His ascension into heaven, which is a true, local, and visible translation of Christ’s human nature from earth into the highest heaven of the blessed, by the virtue and power of hid deity. Acts 1:9, “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.” Eph. 4:10, “He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)”
The end of Christ’s ascension was that he might prepare a place for the faithful, give them the Holy Ghost, and that they would enjoy eternal glory. John 14:2, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”
III. His sitting at the right hand of God the Father. Which metaphorically signifieth that Christ hath in the highest heavens actually all glory, power and dominion, Heb. 1:3, “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Psalm 110:1, “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” 1 Cor. 15:25, “For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.” Acts 7:55, “But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God.” See also Matt. 20:21.
His regal office hath two parts: The first is his regiment of the kingdom of heaven, part whereof is in heaven, part upon earth, namely the congregation of the faithful.
In the government of his Church he exerciseth two royal prerogatives. The first is to make laws. Jam. 4:12, “There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?” Eph. 4:11, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.” 1 Cor. 12:28, “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.”
Christ’s government of the church is either by collection of it out if the world or conservation being collected. Eph. 4:12. Psalm 110.
The second part of this Regal office is the destruction of the kingdom of darkness. Col. 1:13, “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” Psalm 2:9, “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Luke 19:27, “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.”
The kingdom of darkness is the whole company if Christ’s enemies.
The Prince of this kingdom, and of all the members thereof is the devil. Eph. 2:2, “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” 2 Cor. 4:4, “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” 2 Cor. 6:15, “And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?”
The members of this kingdom and subjects to Satan are his angels; and unbelievers, among whom the principal members are Atheists, who say in their heart there is no God (Psalm 14:1) , and Magicians who bargain with the devil to accomplish their desires (1 Sam. 28:7; Psalm 58:5), Idolaters, which either adore false gods, or the true God in an idol. (1 Cor. 10:7, 20) Turks and Jews are of this bunch; so are heretics, who are such as err with pertinency in the foundation of religion. 2 Tim. 2:18. Apostates, or revolters from faith in Christ Jesus. Heb. 6:6. False Christs, Matt. 24:26. There were many such about the time of our Savior Christ’s first coming, as Josephus witnesseth, book 20 of Jewish antiquities, the 11th, 12th, and 14th chapters. Lastly, that Antichrist who as it is now apparent can be none other but the Pope of Rome. 2 Thess. 2:3, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” Rev. 13:11-12, “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.”
There were then, first, Antichrists at Rome when the Bishops thereof would be entitled universal, or Bishops over the while church throughout the world, but then were they complete when they, together with Ecclesiastical censure, usurped civil authority.
After that Christ hath subdued all his enemies, these two things shall ensue: 1) The surrendering over of his kingdom to God the Father as concerning the manner of regiment and spiritual policy, consisting in word and spirit together. 2) The subjection of Christ only in regard of his humanity and the which then is when the Son of God shall mist fully manifest his majesty, which before was obscured by the flesh as a veil, so that the same flesh remaineth both glorious and united to the Son of God may by infinite degrees appear inferior.
We may not therefore imagine that the subjection of Christ consisteth in diminishing the glory of the humanity, but in manifesting most fully the majesty of the Word.