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was then also in heaven, John iii. 13. vi. 35.51. vii. 32, 33. 41, 42. 57, 58. viii. 29. have broached a Mahometan fancy, that the Lord Christ, before his entrance on his public ministry, was locally taken up into heaven, and there instructed in the mystery of the gospel, and the mind of God which he was to reveal, Catech. Raccoo. cap. 3. de Offic. Ch. Prophet. Quest. 4, 5.' Smalcius de Divinitat. Christi, cap. 4. Socin. Respons, ad Paren.» Vol. ii. pag. 38, 39.
But, 1. There was no cause of any such rapture of the hu- . man nature of Christ, as we shall evidence in manifesting the way whereby he was taught of the Father, especially after his baptism. 2. This imaginary rapture is grounded solely on their seator fondos, that the Lord Christ in his whole person was no more than a mere man. 3. There is no mention of any such thing in the Scripture, where the Father's revealing his mind and will to the Son is treated of, which, had it been, ought not to have been omitted. 4. The fancy of it is expressly contrary to Scripture; for, 1. The Holy Ghost affirms, that Christ entered once into the holy place, and that after he had : obtained eternal redemption, Heb. ix. 12. which should have been his second entrance, had he been taken thither before in his human nature, so that coming of his into the world, which we look for at the last day, is called “his second coming," his “ coming again,” because of his first entrance into it at his incarnation, Heb. ix. 28. 2. He was to suffer before his entrance into heaven and his glory therein, Luke xxiv. 26. And 3. As to the time of his ascension which these men assign, namely, the forty days after his baptism, it is said expressly that he was all that time “ in the wilderness amongst the wild beasts," Mark i. 13. So that this figment may have no place in our inquiry into the way of the Father's speaking in the Son.
2. Some lay the whole weight of the revelation of the will of God to Christ, upon the endowments of the human nature by virtue of its personal union with the eternal Word; but this is wholly inconsistent with the many testimonies before rehearsed, of the Father's revealing himself to him after that union. Wherefore to declare the nature of this revelation, we must observe further,
4. That Jesus Christ in his divine nature, as he was the eternal Word and Wisdom of the Father, not by a voluntary communication, but eternal generation, had an omniscience of the whole nature and will of God, as the Father himself hath, because the same with that of the Father; their will and wisdom being the same. This is the blessed ournigy menors, or in-being of each person,' the one in the other, by virtue of their oneness in the same nature: thus as God, he had an absolute omniscience. Moreover, the mystery of the gospel, the especial counsel and covenant of it concerning the redemption of the elect in his blood, and the worship of God by his redeemed ones, being transacted between Father and Son from all eternity, was known to him as the Son, by virtue of his own personal transactions with the Father in the eternal counsel and covenant of it. See what we have elsewhere delivered concerning that covenant.
5. The Lord Christ discharged his office and work of revealing the will of the Father, in and by his buman nature, that nature wherein he dwelt among us, John i. 14. For although the person of Christ, God and man, was our Mediator, Acts xx. 28. John i. 14. 18. yet his human nature was that wherein he discharged the duties of his office, and the principum quod of all his mediatory actings, 1 Tim. ii. 5.
6. This human nature of Christ, as he was in it « made of a woman made under the law,” Gal. iv. 4. was from the instant of its union with the person of the Son of God, a “boly thing," Luke i. 35. “ Holy, harmless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and radically filled with all that perfection of habitual grace and wisdom, which was or could be necessary to the discharge of that whole duty which as a man he owed to God, Luke ii. 40.. 49.52. John viii. 46. 1 Pet. i. 22. But,
7. Besides this furniture with habitual grace for the performance of all troly obedience to God, as a man made under the law, there was a peculiar endowment with the Spirit, without and beyond the bounds of all comprehensible measures, that he was to receive as the great Prophet of the church, in whom the Father would speak and give out the last revelation of himself. This communication of the Spirit to him, was the foundation of his sufficiency for the discharge of his prophetical office, Isa. xi. 2, 3. xlviii. 16. lxi. 1-3. Dan. ix. 24. As to the reality and being of this gift of the Spirit, he received it from the womb, whence in his infaney he was said to be mine mueros, copios, Luke ii. 40.“ filled with wisdom,” wherewith he confuted the doctors to amazement, ver. 4.7. And with his years were these gifts increased in him ; trgotxoals copie xat insela kes ragoth, he went forwards in wisdom and stature and favour,' ver. 52. But the full communication of this Spirit, with special reference to the discharge of his public office, with the visible pledge of it in the Holy Ghost descending on him in the shape of a dove, he was made partaker of in his baptism, Matt. iii. i6. when also he received his first public testimony from heaven, ver. 17. which when again repeated, received the additional command of hearing him, Mat. xvii. 5. designing the prophet that was to be heard on pain of utter extermination, Deut. xviii, 18, 19. And therefore he was thereupon said to be trupatos ding is tangas, Luke
iv. 1. “ full of the Holy Ghost," and sealed to this work by the sign foretold of God, John i. 33.
This was the foundation of the Father's speaking in the Son as incarnate. He spake in him by his Spirit, so he did in the prophets of old, 2 Pet. i. 21. And herein in general the prophecy of Christ, and theirs did agree. It remaineth then to shew wherein his pre-eminence above them did consist, so that the word spoken by him is principally and eminently to be attended to, which is the argument of that which the apostle hath in hand in this place.
8. The pre-eminencies of the prophecy of Christ, above that of Moses, and all other prophets, were of two sorts, 1. Such as arose from his person who was the prophet. 2. Such as accompanied the nature and manner of the revelation made to him.
1. They arise from the infinite excellency of his person above theirs. This is that which the apostle from the close of this verse insists upon to the very end of the chapter, making his discourse upon it the basis of his ensuing exhortations. Í shall therefore remit the consideration of it, unto its proper place.
2. There were sundry excellencies that attended the very revelation itself, made unto him, or his prophecy as such. For,
1. “ Receiving the Spirit not by measure," John iii. 34. as they all did, he had given unto him altogether, a comprehension of the whole will and mind of God, as to whatever he would have revealed of himself, with the mystery of our salvation, and all that obedience and worship which in this world he would require of his ehurch. “ It pleased the Father, that in him all fulness should dwell," Col. i. 19. that is, “ of
grace and truth,” Jolin i. 17. not granting him a transient irradiation by them, but a permanence and a constant abode of them with him in their fulness; all “ treasures of wisdom and knowledge being hid in him,” Col. ii. 3. as their home and proper abiding place; which made him of “ quick understanding in the fear of the Lord,” Isa. xi. 3. All the mysteries of the counsel between the Father and the eternal Word for the salvation of the elect, with all the ways whereby it was to be accomplished through his own blood, were known unto him; as also were all the bounds, the whole extent of that worship which his church was to render unto God, with the assistance of the Spirit that was to be afforded unto them for that end and purpose. Hence the only reason why he did not at once reveal unto his disciples the whole counsel of God, was not because all the treasures of it were not committed unto him, but because they could bear no other but that gradual communication of it, which he used towards them, John xvi. 12. But tre himself dwelt in the midst of those treasures, seeing to the bottom of them. All
other prophets, even Moses himself, receiving their revelation by transient irradiations of their minds, had no treasure of truth dwelling in them, but apprehended only that particular wherein they were enlightened, and even that not clearly in its fulness and perfection, but in a measure of light accommodated unto the age wherein they lived, 1 Pet. i. 11, 12. Hence the Spirit is said to rest on him, Isa. xi. 2, 3.. and to abide on him, Matt. iii. 16. who did only in a transient act affect the minds of other prophets; and by an actual motion, which had not an habitual spring in themselves, cause them to speak or write the will of God; as an instrument of music gives forth a sound according to the skill of him that strikes it, and that only when it is so stricken or used. Hence,
2. The prophets receiving their revelations, as it were, by number and tale from the Holy Ghost, when they had spoken or written what in particular at any season they had received from him, could not add one word or syllable of the same infallibility and authority with what they had so received. But the Lord Christ having all the treasures of wisdom, knowledge and truth hid and laid up in him, did at all times, in all places, with equal infallibility and authority give forth the mind and will of God, even as he would; what he so spake, having its whole authority from his speaking of it, and not from its consonancy unto any thing otherwise revealed.
3. The prophets of old were so barely instrumental in receiving and revealing the will of God, being only servants in the house, Heb. iii. 4. for the good of others, 1 Pet. i. 11. that they saw not to the bottom of the things by themselves revealed; and did therefore both diligently read and study the books of them that wrote before their time, Dan. ix. 2. and meditated upon the things which the Spirit uttered by themselves, to obtain an understanding in them, 1 Pet. i. 10-12. But the Lord Jesus, the Lord over his own house, had an absolutely perfect comprehension of all the mysteries revealed to him and by him, by that divine wisdom which always dwelt in him.
4. The difference was no less between them in respect of the revelations themselves made to them, and by them. For although the substance of the will and mind of God concerning salvation by the Messiah was made known unto them all, yet it was done so obscurely to Moses and the prophets that ensued, that they all came short in the light of that mystery of John the baptist; and he did not rise up in a clear and distinct apprehension of it, unto the least of the true disciples of Christ, Matt. xi. 11. whence the giving of the law by Moses to instruct the church in that mystery, by its types and shadows, is opposed to that grace and truth which were brought by Jesus Christ, John i. 17, 18. See Ephes. iii. 8-11. Col. i. 20, 27. Tit. ii. 11. 2 Tim. i. 10.
In these and sundry other things of the like importance, had the Father's speaking in the Son, the pre-eminence above his speaking in Moses and the prophets ; for which cause the apostle placeth this consideration in the head of his reasonings and arguments, for attendance unto and observance of the things revealed by him. For even all these things have influence into his present, argument, though the main stress of it be laid on the excellency of his person, of which at large afterwards.
6. We must yet further observe, that the Jews, with whom the apostle had to do, had all of them an expectation of a new signal and final revelation of the will of God, to be made by the Messiah in the last days, that is, of their church-state, and not, as they now fondly imagine, of the world. Some of them indeed imagined that great prophet promised Deut. xviii. to have been one distinct from the Messiah, John i. 21. but the general expectation of the church for the full revelation of the will of God, was upon the Messiah, John iv. 25. Qf the same mind were their more ancient doctors, that retained any thing of the tradition of their fathers; asserting that the law of Moses was alterable by the Messiah, and that in some things it should be so. Maimonides is the leader in the opinion of the eternity of the law: whose arguments are answered by the author of Sepher Ikkarim, lib. iii. cap. 13. and some of them by Nachmanides. Hence it is laid down as a principle in Neve
, DIVn · Messiah the king shall be exalted above Abraham, be high above Moses, yea and the ministering angels.' And it is for the excellency of the revelation made by him, that he is so exalted above Moses. Whence Maimonides himself acknowledgeth, Tractat. de Regibus, that at the coming of the Mes
, deep things (i. e. of the counsel of God) shall be revealed or laid open unto all. And this persuasion they built on the promise of a new covenant to be made with them, not “ like the covenant made with their fathers,” Jerem. xxxi. 32, 33. Whence the author before mentioned concludes, that it was the judgment of the ancient doctors, that they should receive a new covenant from the mouth of God himself; and all their worship being annexed and subservient unto the covenant that was made with them in Horeb, upon the removal of that covenant, there was of necessity a new kind of worship, subservient thereunto, to ensue.
From all these observations, we may evidently perceive wherein the force of the apostle's argument doth lie, which he insists upon in this very entrance of his discourse; rather insinuating it from their own, principles, than openly pressing them with its reason, which he doth afterwards. They acknow,
מלך משיח ירום מאברהם ונשא ממשה וגבה ממלאבי ,Shalom
hidden and יהיו הדברים הפתרמים והעמוקים גלוים לכל ,siali