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o not want.” Tribulations, temptations, persecutions, conflicts, yea and death itself, are instruments in the hands of Christ, to prepare them for “ an exceeding and eternal weight of glory;" and “ in all things they will be made more than
conquerors,” until they are enriched with everlasting felicity. But this power is equally formidable to obstinate .unbelievers : all “ who will not “have Christ to reign over them” will be destroyed as his enemies: no refuge can be found from his intolerable indignation, no resistance made to his omnipotent word.
This kingdom shall endure through all ages, to the end of time: then his power will raise the dead: he will “judge the world in righteousness,” and decide the eternal state of all mankind : and thus, the design of his delegated authority being completely answered, he will, as mediator, deliver up “ the kingdom to God, even the Father ;"l the absolute dominion of the Creator will be re-established, and “ God will be all in all.”
It scarcely needs to be observed, that the authority, protection, and munificence of our glorious King demand of us implicit and unreserved obedience. The faith that welcomes his salvation, “worketh by love," and ensures acheerful attention to his commands: all the precepts of scripture are either the mandates of Christ our King, to those who share the blessings of his peaceful rule; or they constitute that law which is “the ministration “ of death” and condemnation. Though his commands coincide with the moral law, yet they are modified differently, as addressed to sinners who seek salvation by him. The commands, to repent, to believe, to pray, to observe his ordinances, and to love the brethren, are indeed virtually contained in the comprehensive requirement of supreme love to God, and the love of our neighbour as of ourselves: yet they are given to sinners only through Christ and the gospel ; and those alone are his true subjects, who submit to his authority, and, from evangelical principles, uprightly endeavour to obey his commandments.
' 1 Cor. xv.
We must likewise consider the ascended Redeemer, as the great Prophet of his Church. He indeed personally performed the prophetical office on earth only during his humiliation : but, as all the ancient prophets were his servants and representatives, so the apostles, evangelists, and penmen, of the New Testament were his delegates; and so are all those who preach according to the holy scriptures. Christ is the great teacher of mankind : the whole revelation of God is imparted to him : he is the word and wisdom of the Father, and “the light “ of the world :” all who follow him have“ the light “ of life ;” all others abide in darkness. Divine truth is reposited in him as in a storehouse, for our benefit; thence it is communicated to us through the scriptures. The Holy Spirit was sent forth from him to inspire prophets, apostles, and evangelists; and still he furnishes pastors and teachers for their work; for these are the “gifts” of the ascended Redeemer to rebellious man. Moreover
· Mat. vii. 21–28. John, xiv. 21-23. xv. 14. * Eph. iv. 8-16.
the same Spirit prepares men's minds to receive the truth in faith and love, and to understand its nature, glory, and tendency: thus he gives efficacy to the word, and applies his salvation to our souls. So that the Lord Jesus, as ascended on high, is the sole Prophet of the church, and teaches his people by his word, by faithful ministers, and by his Holy Spirit. They, therefore, who with a humble, teachable, believing, and obedient disposition, seek from him the knowledge of God, and of his truth and will, in the use of his appointed means, will be 6 made wise to salvation ;" preserved, in proportion to the simplicity of their dependence, from errors and delusions ; guided“ in the midst of the “ paths of judgment;" and instructed how to act, as circumstances may require, with discretion and propriety. But the self-wise of every description, and all who refuse to receive instruction from Christ, will be entangled in error, and given over to strong delusion ; whatever their talents, opportunities, attainments, reputation, or assiduity may be.2 And even believers will be left to fall into distressing mistakes, if at any time they “ lean to “ their own understanding,” neglect to seek wisdom from this great counsellor, or prefer the opinion of some favourite teacher to the word of him who is the truth itself.
These distinct offices of our glorified Lord cannot be separated, either in respect of his performance of them, or of our dependence on him. The self-righteous and the self-wise may seem willing to own him as their King ; whilst the one rejects him as a Prophet, and both of them refuse to come to God through him as their High Priest; on the other hand, the antinomian may seem to rely on him as a Priest, whilst he determines that “ he will “ not have him to reign over him.” But these and similar dependences are mere delusions : for Christ rules as a Priest on his throne: he intercedes with regal authority: and he teaches his disciples to rely on his atonement and advocacy, to shelter their souls under his omnipotent protection, and to submit to his sovereign rule. He reveals, as a Prophet, what he purchased as a High Priest, and confers as a munificent Prince. The obedience which he requires of his subjects, he by his grace disposes and enables them to perform, and renders it accepted through his intercession. So that they, who truly receive him in one of these combined offices, receive him in them all.
1 John xvi. 14, 15.
2 Matt. xiii. 11-15
In this manner our Lord prepares the souls of his people for the inheritance which he has, prepared for them ; nor could any one of these distinct parts of his mediatorial undertaking, apart from the others, by its utmost efficacy accomplish that gracious purpose. His sacrifice and intercession, indeed, render it consistent with the glory of God to admit us sinners into his presence, to receive us to his favour, to make us his children, and to give us an inheritance in his own holy habitation : but how should we profit by this provision, did he not send forth his word and his ministers to proclaim the glad tidings, to give the invitations, and to set before us his precious promises and new covenant engagements? How can we receive the advantage even of this revelation, without we' understand and believe it? or how shall we credit such a humbling spiritual message, except the eyes of our minds be opened by the Holy Spirit ?1 How could we unholy creatures be made meet for this holy inheritance, without the influences of his newcreating Spirit? How could we overcome the powers of darkness, and all our enemies, if he did not fight for us? How could we meet the king of terrors, if he did not engage to support and deliver us; and finally to raise our bodies, incorruptible, immortal, and glorious, to unite with our souls in the everlasting enjoyment of the love of our reconciled God and Father?
We indeed may consider Christ as our Shepherd and Physician, or in many other characters illustrative of our dependence on him and obligations to him: yet they may all with propriety be referred to the offices of Prophet, Priest, and King, according to the old and scriptural distinction. These are comprised in his title, Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed of God; as prophets, priests, and kings were anointed under the typical dispensation of the Old Testament.?
Is this then our creed, our experience, and our dependence? Do we thus receive and rely on Christ our Prophet, Priest, and King? and do we, in the patient obedience of faith and love, “wait “ for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto
11 Cor. ii. 12-14. * Lev. viii. 12. 1 Sam. x. 1. xvi. 13. 1 Kings, xix. 16.
2 Kings, ix. 6. VOL. II.