Page images

This glorious throne of majesty, this sitting at the right hand of the power of the Almighty, is a name incommunicable, an exaltation whereof no CREATURE in heaven or earth is capable: which is, that the Apostle means to tell us, when he saith, Eph. i. 21, “ 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 Phil. ii. 9, 10, “Wherefore, God also hath highly exalted bim, and given him a name which is above every name, (that is, created name,) that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, both of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth ;" Revel. iii. 21, “He that overcometh, (saith Christ,) I will give him to sit with me in my throne; even as I have overcome, and sat with my Father in his throne.” Here is mention, we see, of two thrones, of which, “my throne,” that is, Christ's throne, is the condition of a glorified man ; in this throne his saints shall sit with him ; but “my Father's throne" is the power of Divine Majesty, wherein none may sit but God, and the God-man Jesus Christ.

These grounds laid, I say,—that the honour of being prayed to in heaven, and before the throne of presence, is a prerogative of the right hand of God; and to receive our devotions there, a flower of Christ's sitting at the right hand of God : as St. Paul, Rom. viii. 34, conjoins them, saying, “Who is he that condemneth ? It is Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again, who is at the right hand of God, and who makes intercession for us.” For by right of this his exaltation and majesty, he comes to be a priest after the order of Melchisedec, as appears Psalm cx, 1. “ The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool;" then follow the effects thereof, ver. 4. “ The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, thou art a Priest for ever, after

Majesty given him by his Father are revealed: whence it comes that his kingdom is called the kingdom of Heaven, that is, a kingdom whose king's residence and kingly throne are both in Heaven.


the order of Melchisedec.” And by the same right, also, he becomes the only and eternal Priest which hath to do in the most holy place, the heavens; for as the High Priest only entered the most holy place beyond the veil in the earthly tabernacle, so Jesus Christ, our only High Priest, through his body, as the first tabernacle, by his own blood, entered into the second tabernacle, or holy place, not made with hands, as was the figure, but “into heaven itself, there to appear in the presence of God for us.

All this you have in the same words at large, Heb. ix. 7, 11, 12, 24.

Now, in the tabernacle of this world, as was in the first tabernacle, we may haply find many priests whom to employ as agents for us with God. But in the second tabernacle, which is heaven, there is but one agent to be employed, but one who hath royal commission to deal between God and men, that angel of the presence, as Isaiah calls him (chap. Ixiii. 9,), and one only Mediator, Jesus Christ the Lord of glory, who in this prerogative is above saints and angels; "for to which of the" saints or “angels said to God at any time, sit on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool ?” Heb. i. 4, 9, 13.

Neither will this demonstration admit that vulgar exception to be of any force, namely,--that expiatory mediation, or meritorious intercession in heaven, should indeed appertain to Christ alone, but favourable intercession to pray for us, not so; and, therefore, for this, we may without derogation to Christ, solicit either saints or angels. I could say, that this rag is too narrow and short to cover the nakedness of those who lay hold of it; in whose supplications to saints and to God too in their names, nothing is more usual than the express mention of their merits, blood and sufferings, as motives to God to hear them. But we shall not need this answer, for we have demonstrated, that as in the law none but the high priest alone was to do office in the holiest place, so Christ Jesus now is the only agent for whatsoever is to be done for us in the holiest tabernacle of heaven. Besides,

we read, that none but the High Priest alone was to offer incense, or to incense the most holy place when he entered into it: but incense is the prayers of the saints, sent thither from this outward temple of the militant church, as in the law was fetched from without the veil ; this, therefore, none in heaven but Christ alone must receive from us to offer for us. And this is that angel with the golden censer (Rev. viii. 3,), who there offers the incense of the prayers of the saints there given him to offer upon the golden altar before the throne, alluding expressly to the golden altar before the testimony.

For the fuller understanding and further confirmation of what hath been spoken, take this also; that notwithstanding the man Christ Jesus in regard of his person, being God as well as man, was from his first incarnation capable of this royalty and glory; not only for the incomparable sufficiency of his person, which by reason of his two-fold nature is always and in all places present both with God and men, and so at one instant able and ready at every need to present to the one what he should receive from the other; but chiefly and most of all, for that by being very God himself, his Father's jealousy (which could never have brooked the communication of this glory to any other which should not have been the self-same with himself) was by this condition of his person prevented and secured.

Nevertheless and notwithstanding all this capability of his person, it was the will of his Father, in the dispensation of the mystery of our redemption, not to confer it upon him, but as purchased and attained by suffering and undergoing of that death which no creature in heaven or in earth was able to undergo but himself; being a suffering of a death, whereby death itself was overcome and vanquished ; to the end that none by death save Jesus Christ alone might be ever thought or deemed capable of the like glory and sublimity; but that it might appear for ever to be a peculiar right to him.

And this, I think, is not only agreeable to the tenor of

Scripture, but express Scriptue itself. Heb. ii. 9, 10. “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, by the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." Phil. ii. 8. “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross ;" and v.9, 10. “Wherefore God hath also highly exalted him, and given him a name above every name, that at the name of Jesus

every knee should bow. Heb. x. 12. “But this man after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, for ever sat down on the right hand of God.” Rom. xiv. 9. “For to this end Christ both died, rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and the living.” See besides, Acts v.30, 31. Rom. viii. 34. Ephes. i. 20. 1 Pet. i. 11.

Lastly, for that particular parcel of this glory of Christ, viz. To be that only Name in which we are to ask at the hands of God whatsoever we have to ask ; is not this also ascribed and annexed to his triumph over death ? John xiv. 12, 13. “I go unto my Father, (viz. through death ;) and whatsoever ye ask in my name, that will I do." John xvi. 16, and 23. “A little while, and ye shall not see me; and again a little while, and


see me; because I go to my Father. And in that day (when I am gone to my Father) ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you." "Verse 24. “Hitherto ye have asked nothing in my name; ask, and ye shall receive.” Heb. vii. 25, 26. “ Wherefore he is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him ; seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such an High Priest became us—who is made higher than the heavens."

How is it, then, that some extenuate that kind of Saintworship, wherein prayers are not made unto them directly, but God is prayed to in their names and for their mediation sake to grant our requests ? Is it not a denial of Christ's prerogative, to ascribe unto any other, for any respect of glory or nearness to God after death or otherwise, that whereof he alone is infeoffed by his inimitable death, triumphant resurrection, and glorious ascension ? Certainly that which he holds by incommunicable title, is itself also incommunicable.

To conclude, therefore, with the words of St. Paul, 1 T'im. ii. 5. “ There is but one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the inan Christ Jesus :" as God is one, so is the Mediator one; for it is a God-like royalty, and therefore can belong but to one. There is but one God in Heaven, without any other Gods subordinate to him; therefore but one Mediator there, without any other Mediator besides him. As for the angels and blessed saints, they have indeed a light of glory too, but they are but as lesser lights in that heaven of heavens. And therefore as where the sun shines, the lesser stars of heaven, though stars, give not their light to us: so where this glorious sun Christ Jesus continually shineth by his presence, sitting at the right hand of God, there the glory of the saints and angels is not sufficient to make them capable of any flower of that Divine honour which is God-like, and so appropriate to Christ by right of his heavenly exaltation in the throne of Majesty. Whatsoever spirit saith otherwise, (8 xPatel Thy xepanny) holds not the head ; but is a Christ-apostate spirit; which denies the faith of Christ's assumption into glory, and revives the Doctrines of Demons.

The way being now cleared, I may (I hope) safely resume my application, which I have already given some taste of, that the words in the text-" The Doctrine of Demons,comprehend, in most express manner, THE WHOLE IDOLATRY OF THE MYSTERY OF INIQUITYthe deifying and invocating of saints and angels--the bowing down to images--the worshipping of crosses (as new idol columns)—the adoring and templing of reliques--the worshipping of any other visible thing,

« PreviousContinue »