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refined, and raised, and heroical actions. That he might obviate all these, says he,“ We are not born of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” You are for free-will, and you think free-will hath a great stroke in man's conversion : but how can ye look this scripture in the face? No way of will: “ Not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man.” If it be any will, it must be either the will of the flesh or the will of man: but I tell you, says he, “ we are not born of bloud, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man," no way of will, “but of God.”
To the like purpose you have, in James i. 17, “Every good giving and every perfect gift is from above.” In some of your books you read thus: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.” But it is rather to read, “Every good giving.” Every good gift and every good giving is from above. Not only the thing given is from above, but the very donation, the very exhibition, the very giving out of the thing that is good, it is from above. Every good giving and every perfect gift is from above. So that plainly then, there is an utter insufficiency in nature unto what is good.
As for the all-sufficiency of Jesus Christ,“ He is the firstborn among many brethren,” Rom. viii. 29. He is the first fruit that sanctifieth all the rest. “ I am the First and the Last," says he, Rev. i. 17. The first is the cause of the rest. The sun is the first and the great light, so the cause of all other light. Jesus Christ, he is called the first in this same chapter, 15th verse : “ This was he (says John) of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me, for he was before me.” So ye read it, but it is, “ He was my first,” preferred before me, for he was my first. And therefore the first, giving a being unto all that follows, Jesus Christ, he does give a being unto all our grace. the truth, and the life," says he, John xiv. 6.
“ I am the way.” Would you go to heaven? You cannot go thither, but
go in some way. A man cannot go unto a city, but he must go some way or other; if he go by water, go by land, this way or that way, still he goes some way or other. Says Christ, If you would go to heaven, I am the
This same word, way, it notes the means unto a thing; and when he says, “ I am the way,” it is as if he should
say, That look whatever means you do use in order
66 I am the way,
to heaven, all those means, they have their virtue and their power and their efficacy from me.
Aye, but a man may be in a way, and in a right way, and yet notwithstanding, if he have not some guide he may lose
True, says he, therefore “ I am the truth.” And it is observable, how truth lies between way and life; as if the way to life were thorough truth, as if truth were the great road or thorough-fare to life. Says Jesus Christ, I am that too, I am the
and the truth too. Aye, but though a man be in the right way, and he have a guide, he may fall sick and die, and never come to his journey's end.
Therefore says Christ, “ I am the way, and the truth, and the life” too. I, even I am he that gives life unto all your motions and actions for heaven: all grace from Christ. He it is, even he alone, that hath every man's heart and soul under lock and key.
There are three great doors that must ordinarily be opened, before converting grace can get into the soul of man. The door of a powerful ministry; a large and an effectual door is opened. I Cor. xvi. 9. The door of the ear; “ He openeth the ear and sealeth instruction,” Job xxxiii. 16. The door of the understanding and of the heart; Lydia's heart was opened. Acts xvi. 14. Now if you look into the Scripture you will find, that Jesus Christ hath the opening of all these doors. “He hath the key of David; he openeth and no man sbuts, and shutteth and no man openeth,” Rev. iii. 7. In the ist of the Revelation and the 18th verse, he says, that he “ hath the keys of hell and of death.” No man goes into the grave, but he opens a door to let him in; and no man goes to hell, but Jesus Christ he locks him up there, he locks him up there unto all eternity. If he did not lock him in, he would not be there unto all eternity. So that whatsoever grace or holiness there is in any man's heart, he opens the door, he lets it in, it is by his ordering and his sending thither.
And, beloved, if Jesus Christ were not the great LordKeeper of his Father's wardrobe, why should those names and titles be given to him, which you find so frequently in Scripture? Cast your eyes where you will, you shall hardly
look upon any thing, but Jesus Christ hath taken the name of that upon himself. If you cast your eyes up to heaven in the day, and behold the sun, he is called “ the Sun of Righteousness," Mal. iv. 2. If you cast your eyes in the night upon the stars, or in the morning upon the morning star, he is called “ the bright Morning Star," Rev. xxii. 16. If
you behold your own body, he is called the head, and the church the body. Col. i. 18. If you look upon your own clothes, he is called your raiment; “Put ye on the Lord Jesus,” Rom. xiii. 14. If you behold your meat, he is called bread, “ the Bread of Life,” John vi. 35. If you look upon your houses, he is called a door. John X. 9. If you look abroad into the fields, and behold the cattle of the fields, he is called the Good Shepherd, John x. 11; he is called the Lamb, John i. 29; he is called the fatted calf, Luke xv. 23. If you look upon the waters, he is called a fountain; the blood of Christ a fountain. Zech. xiii. 1. If
you the stones, he is called “a Corner Stone,” Isa. xxviii. 16. If you look upon the trees, he is called " a Tree of Life,” Prov. iii. 18. What is the reason of this ? Surely, not only to way-lay your thoughts, that wheresoever you look, still you should think of Christ; but to show, that in a spiritual way and sense, he is all this unto the soul. And you may observe, that these titles and names, they are not barely and nakedly given to him ; but still with some speciality, some mark or other. He is not barely called the Shepherd, but the Good Shepherd. He is not only called a Lamb, but the “ Lamb slain from the beginning of the world.” He is not barely called the light, but “the true Light,” the light of the world. He is not barely called bread, but “the Bread of Life.” Now you know why Adam at the first gave names unto the creatures; according to their names was their natures, was their conditions, and Adam, our first father Adam, was not mistaken when he
And do you think Christ, the second Adam, when he gives these names unto himself, that he is mistaken ? Certainly he is not mistaken, he is all this. And therefore, as the apostle speaks, Col. iii. 11, you read it, “ Christ is all in all.” But better, he is all things in all persons, or all things in all things; he is all things. Whatsoever good there is found in any man, it is from Jesus Christ. Surely may one say,
The Lord is our strength; surely may we all say, The Lord is our strength, the Lord Jesus is our righteousness. Whatsoever grace or holiness the saints have, they have it from Jesus Christ.
You will say, This, though it seem to give much to Christ, it derogates from the Father; for if all be from Jesus Christ, then nothing from the Father, and so it derogates from God the Father.
I answer, No, it does no way derogate from God the Father. The apostle Paul was much in this doctrine that now I am upon, and yet he honoured the Father too.
6 Grace and peace (says he) from God our Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,” Rom. i.7. Though all grace be from Christ, yet grace and peace from the Father too, says he, from God our Father. And having shown in the viith of the Romans, that being married unto Christ, and dead unto the law, that therefore we should bring forth fruit. As in the 4th verse : “ Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ, that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.” He does not say, that we should bring forth fruit unto Christ, but that we should bring forth fruit unto God. The Father and Christ are one: “ I and my Father are one,” says Christ, John x. 30. In honouring Jesus Christ, you honour the Father, as in honouring of the Father you honour Christ. . You will
Wherein is the honour to the Father according unto this truth? How does this any way make to the honour of God the Father, that all grace is from Jesus Christ?
Yes! for I answer, First, though all grace be immediately given out of the hand of Christ, all grace from him, and he gives it out; he is commissioned, and designed by the Father to do it: he does but the Father's work. " I came not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me," John vi. 38. Was it any dishonour to Pharaoh, that Joseph gave out the bread in the time of famine? No, because he was commissioned by Pharaoh to do it. And so now, if Jesus Christ have a commission from the Father to do this, it is no dishonour to the Father: and a commission he hath,
he will shew you it under hand and seal; “ Him hath God the Father sealed," John vi. 27. So says Christ.
Again, though all grace come immediately out of the hand of Christ, all grace from him, and he gives it out : yet he is furnished and accomplished with ability unto this great office by God the Father. Isa. lxi. 1. “ The Spirit of the Lord is upon me (says he) and he hath anointed me to open the prison doors to captives," &c. Now, is it any dishonour to God, that the sun does distribute and give out light, and heat unto all the creatures ? No, but rather an honour to him: for when a man sees so glorious a creature as the sun, that gives out light, and heat unto all the creatures here below; he lifts up his hands, and says; Oh! what a glorious God have we, that hath furnished this creature with these abilities? So now, when a man considers Christ as this great Sun of Righteousness, distributing his graces to all the saints; will it be any dishonour to God the Father that he is in this office, seeing he hath furnished him hereunto? Surely no, they will rather lift up their hands and say, Oh! what a good God have we, that hath furnished Christ with all these abilities for our poor souls ?
Again, Though the administration of things be in the hand of Christ, the right is in the Father: and when Jesus Christ hath done his work, he will give up the kingdom to the Father: in the mean while, “ None comes unto the Son but whom the Father draws,” John vi. 14, and “ None comes unto the Father, but he unto whom the Son reveals him," Matt. xi. 27. Is it any disparagement unto a man, to have a wise, a potent, a great man to his child? “A wise son makes a glad father,” says Solomon, Prov. x. 1. Indeed if the Father and the Son were two, they might be enemies: but Christ and the Father are one: “ I and
Father are one,” John x. 30: and therefore in honouring of Jesus Christ, you honour the Father also.
But you will say, Was there no creature in all the world, that was fit to make this great trust over to? Why hath God the Father put Christ into this office, that all grace should come out of his hand? Was there no creature that was fit for this work but Christ alone ?
No, I answer, this trust would have broke the back of any creature: no creature in heaven or earth, as a mere creature,