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and a Saviour, Acts v. 31. From all which it is evident, that the dominion which the apostle here treats of is not the essential dominion of Christ, which, as he is God essential, is coeternal without him; but that mediatorial dominion which was committed to him by the voluntary disposal of his Father, and which once he had not, and will hereafter cease to have.
II. That he is to possess this kingdom or dominion so long as, and no longer than till all things are actually subdued unto him. So, ver. 24. you see the time of his delivering up this kingdom is then, when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power; i.e. till he shall have converted and destroyed all those powers of the earth that oppose themselves against him; for so ver. 25, 26. For he must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. Which plainly implies, that when he hath conquered all enemies, and destroyed death, which is the last enemy, by giving a glorious resurrection to his faithful subjects, then, and not till then, his mediatorial reign is to conclude: for so, Psalm cx. 1. to which the apostle here refers, the Psalmist brings in Jehovah the Father, thus bespeaking Jehovah the Son, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. Now to sit at the right hand of God, whenever it is applied to our Saviour, doth in scripture always denote his possessing and exercising this his mediatorial kingdom; so that the meaning of the Psalmist is this; The Father hath commissioned his Son to continue the exercise of his mediatorial dominion, till such time as either by the dint of his almighty vengeance he hath trampled all his enemies under foot, or by the power of his grace reduced them voluntarily to prostrate themselves before him. And indeed the end for which this kingdom of our Saviour was erected, was to subdue the rebellious world to God, and either to captivate men into a free submission to his heavenly will, which is its first intention, or, if they will not yield, to make them the triumph of his everlasting vengeance; which end at the day of judgment will be fully accomplished : for" then the fate of all the rational world will be fixed and determined; then the faithful subjects will be crowned, and the incorrigible rebels condemned and executed; and so, one way or the other, all things will be subdued unto him. So that from henceforth the end and reason of this his mediatorial dominion will cease; and when the end of it ceaseth, he, who never doth any thing in vain, will immediately deliver it up into those hands from whence he received it. For when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power, i. e. conquered and subdued all that resisted and opposed him, then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father, 1 Cor. xv. 24.
III. That during his possession of this kingdom he is subject to the Father. So ver. 27. But when he saith, All things are put under him, it is manifest that he (i. e. the Father) is excepted, which did put all things under him. As if he should say, Do not mistake me; for when I say all things are put under him, my meaning is, all things except God the Father, for it was he that did put all things under him; and it is manifest that he who gave
him this superiority over all things must himself be superior to him; and indeed, considering Christ as mediatorial king, he is no more than his Father's viceroy, and doth only act by deputation from him, and rule and govern for him; and hence the Father styles him his king, Psalm ii. 6. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. So that now he is subject to the Father in the capacity of a viceking to a supreme sovereign, and whatsoever he doth in this capacity he doth in his Father's name and by his authority; for he mediates, as for men with God, in doing which he is our advocate; so for God with men, in doing which he is our king. God's part is to govern us, and our part is to sue to him for favour and protection; and both these parts our Saviour acts as mediator between God and us: he acts our part for us in being advocate, and God's part for him in being king. So that in that rule and government which he now exercises over us, he is only the supreme minister of his Father's power and dominion; and as the Father reigns by his ministry, so he reigns by the Father's authority. But though now, while his mediatorial kingdom doth continue, he is subject to the Father in the administration of it, yet, from this passage of St. Paul, it is evident,
IV. That when he hath delivered it up to the Father, he will be otherwise subject to him than he is now; for so, ver. 28. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, that is, actually, and as they will be at the day of judgment, when the good are crowned, and the wicked consigned to that fearful execution, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that did put all things under him ;
which necessarily implies, that then he should enter into a different state of subjection to the Father from that wherein he was before. Why then shall the Son himself be subject to him? Was he not subject to him before? Yes, doubtless he was; and therefore either this then must be impertinent, or then he shall be so subject to him as he was not before. Before he was subject to him as he was his mediatorial king or viceroy, as he reigned under him and by his authority; but then he is to be subject to him after a different manner: for the explication of which it is to be considered, that now the Son, considered as mediator, reigns under God in the right of what he did and suffered in his human nature hypostatically united to his godhead; for it was because he humbled himself, and became obedient to the death, even the death of the cross, that God highly exalted him, Phil. ii. 8, 9. Now it was as he was man that he became obedient to death; and it was in the right of that obedience that God exalted him to his mediatorial kingdom; so that now as mediator he not only reigns in his human nature, but in right of the passion of his human nature: his mediatorial kingdom is the purchase of his blood, by which he both obtained the new covenant for us, and regal power to execute it upon us.
When therefore he hath executed it to the full, (as we are sure he will do at the day of judgment,) this regal power of his, which he purchased with his blood, will cease, as having fully accomplished that for which it was given and intended. And now he being to reign no longer in right of the sufferings of his human nature, his human nature will be subject to the Father in a more
different manner than it was before. Before it was subject to him as authorized in consideration of its passion to reign and govern under him; but then, having delivered up its reign and government, it will be subject to him in a more private capacity, as the presidents of the Roman empire were subject to Cæsar while they governed under him, but when they rendered back their character, they became his subjects in a more private station. Not that the humanity of Christ shall be any way depressed or degraded by his delivering up his mediatorial kingdom; but as an ambassador, after he is discharged of the burden of his embassy, doth still retain the honour and dignity of it, so the human nature of Christ, after he hath surrendered up its mediatorial dominion, shall still remain as highly exalted in honour, dignity, and beatitude as ever; and angels and saints shall for ever render to it the same religious respect and veneration as they did before he surrendered it: for it shall still remain hypostatically united to his godhead, and so God shall for ever reign in it, though it shall not for ever reign with God. So that it being still the temple of the Deity, and all the glorious achievements it made during its humiliation and mediatorial reign reflecting still the same honour and praise and glory upon it, it will to eternity be as great and glorious throughout all the heavenly world, as ever it was in the full splendour of its kingdom: so that in this respect what the ancient fathers added to the Nicene creed is most true, his kingdom shall have no end; because, without possessing it, he shall for ever enjoy the glory and honour and beatitude of it.
V. And lastly, That the Son being thus subjected