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CHRIST THE ELECT OF GOD.
Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in
whom my soul delighteth.-ISAIAH XLII. 1.
THE God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ here summons the attention of his church to his chosen, to contemplate his person, his covenant-offices, and the blessings flowing from them. God has his servants, and his elect servants; all beings are, in some respects, the servants and ministers of God, not excepting the fallen angels; all creatures must serve his purposes,—the fallen angels will not only serve, but eventually glorify him; and that against their will, and for ever and ever. Persons are chosen by God to perform, as the ministers of his will, the works he allots them; some as ministers of mercy, others to perform his works of vengeance or otherwise, and are called servants. In like manner God's chosen people are called his servants; and in this sense is the word used in the text, “My servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth :” thus the word is used in Psalm xc. 16. “ Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children.” Others also in Scripture are called servants, namely, those who are chosen by God to fill some high office in church or state, or in both, Moses, David, Zerubbabel, Paul, and others. But here is One mentioned in the text, as a servant in a far higher sense-a Son, who is also a servant : his servitude did not constitute his Sonship, but his Sonship shed a glory upon his servitude. It was not the office that conferred the Sonship, though the excellent Romaine fell into this error. It is not the offices of the Father, Son, and Spirit, which gave them their names of Father, Son, and Spirit; but those names were indicative of the personifying perfections of Jehovah; they indicate the unity of the essence; and, at the same time, the Trinity of the person. Here is One who is God, and takes upon him the form of a servant, and becomes man for the sake of sinners. Man was once the willing servant of God in paradise ; but he soon fell, and became the servant of sin. My brethren, we have only to peruse the workings of
our own bosom, and we shall, from the voice of conscience, discover that rebellion is the element of man. To deliver the rebel, the Son of God became a servant. God says of him, “Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.” Isaiah xlix. 3. It was absolutely necessary that he should take upon him the nature that had sinned, that in that nature, united to the Godhead, he might pay into the hands of God the wealth of God, as the sinner's ransom, to deliver us for ever: in other words, by taking upon him the nature that had sinned, and making the infinite satisfaction, which, as God, he alone could render, he honored to the utmost, the law of God which we had violated, and the curse which God had denounced against the sinner, and which otherwise we had incur. red. This, my brethren, is a truth of the utmost importance, and is necessary to keep the con. science at peace, and never fails in producing this effect, if applied by the Spirit. The Apostle insists upon this, “ Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; 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.”
Again, “in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people;” yes, he became a servant, and remained so until he had completed the work he had undertaken.
To ascend still higher, let us also consider Christ as the elect of God before the foundation of the world. He became the elect of God in time, because he had been the elect of God, from all eternity. In this election of Christ, we trace the source of our own election ; and in his, the security of our election is ensured for ever. He is mine elect--as God-the source of election. Here we see the election of God by one who is God-and here we find the source of that wealth which is to cancel the debt we have contracted. Here is election, because of worth. Here is an infinite worth : and hence the reason why he is chosen,-because he is infinitely rich, he can alone cancel the debt of infinity. He is chosen, as it were, to enrich God himself; and in this way, to manifest the perfections of Jehovah, which, if not thus exhibited in the person of Jesus Christ, must have been concealed for ever from every eye, but that of Jehovah himself. Attend, my brethren, to this doctrine; it is very important, and will tend much to bring others to light. Here is the only Being who has any merit. There is nothing in the election of Christ by God, in which we can trace merit, except in his essential Sonship. All idea of merit must be excluded from the creature; even the angelic hosts, who have never fallen, who have been preserved by God in their state of innocence, are infinitely unworthy of meriting anything at the hand of their God. He created them what they are, and kept them so; if they had merited anything, it must have been before they were created, and this is an impossibility. Again: I would ascend yet higher, and I intreat you, my brethren, to follow me; be not afraid I exclude all idea of merit from the mere humanity of Christ. It is true, I see the wisdom, and holiness, and justice of God shining in the election of the man, and raising him to the highest pitch of honor and glory which a created being can attain to. I see the terrible justice of God lays hold of one who is God-and his Sovereignty, of one who is man, and in strict justice visits this divine person. If it be a fact, as it is, that the humanity of Christ never could merit anything of God, the merit of Christ must be the merit of one who is God. The sovereignty of God shines in a glorious manner in Deity united to humanity;