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I commend to you a sealed Saviour; oh that every one that reads these lines might, in a pang of love, cry out with the enamored spouse, Set me as a seal upon thy heart, as a seal upon thy arm ; for love is strong as death, jealousy is cruel as the grave; the coals thereof are coals of fire, which have a most vehement flame.” Cant. 8:6.
6. Hath God sealed Christ for you, then draw forth the comfort of his sealing for you, and rest not till ye also be sealed by him.
Remember, that hereby God stands engaged, even by his own seal, to allow and confirm whatever Christ hath done in the business of our salvation. And on this ground you may thus plead with God: Lord, thou hast sealed Christ to this office, and therefore I depend upon it, that thou allowest all that he hath done, and all that he hath suffered for me, and wilt make good all that he hath promised me. If men will not deny their own seals, much less wilt thou.
Get your interest in Christ sealed to you by the Spirit, else you cannot have the comfort of Christ's being sealed for you. Now the Spirit seals by working those graces in us which are the conditions of the promises; and also by shining upon his own work, and helping the soul to discern it ; which follows the other both in order of nature and of time. The person sealed is the. true believer, Eph. 1 : 13; and the comfort and aid imparted are ever consonant to the written word. Isaiah, 8: 20. The Spirit produces in the sealed soul, great care and caution to avoid sin. Eph. 4 : 30. Great love to God. 1. John, 2 : 5. Readiness to suffer any thing for Christ. Rom. 5: 3-5. Confidence in addresses to God. 1 John, 5:13, 14 ; and great humility and self-abasement, as in Abraham, who lay on his face when God sealed the covenant to him. Gen. 17 : 1-3. This, oh this brings home the sweet and good of all, when the peace and comfort of all graces of the Spirit are sealed upon the soul.
OF THE SOLEMN CONSECRATION OF THE MEDIATOR.
“And for their sakes I sanctify myself.”—John, 17 : 19.
Jesus Christ being fitted with a body, and authorized by a commission from the Father, now actually devotes, and sets himself apart to his work: the further advancement of the glorious design of our salvation. He sanctified himself for our sakes. Wherein observe,
1. Christ's sanctifying of himself. The word sanctify is not here to be understood for the cleansing, purifying, or making holy that which was before unclean and unholy, either in a moral sense, as we are cleansed from sin by sanctification; or in a ceremonial sense, as persons and things were sanctified under the law; though here is a plain allusion to those legal rites: but Christ's sanctifying himself imports, his separation, or being set apart as an oblation or sacrifice. So Beza explains it, nempe ut sacerdos et victima, as the priest and sacrifice. It imports, also, his consecration, or dedication of himself to this holy use and service. So the Dutch annotators, I sanctify myself, that is, I give up myself for a holy sacrifice: I sanctify, that is, I consecrate and voluntarily offer myself a holy and unblemished sacrifice to thee for their redemption. Thus under the law, when any day, person, or vessel, was consecrated and dedicated to the Lord, it was so entirely for his use and service, that to use it afterwards in any common service, was to profane and pollute it. Dan. 5 : 3.
2. The end of his so sanctifying himself: "for their sakes,” that they might be sanctified. Where you see that the death of Christ wholly respects us; he offered not for himself as other priests did, but for us, that we may be sanctified. Christ is so in love with holiness,
that at the price of his blood he will buy it for us. Hence, Jesus Christ dedicated, and wholly set himself apart to
the work of a Mediator, for the elect's sake. This point is a glass, wherein the eye of your faith may see Jesus Christ preparing himself to be ofiered up to God for us, fitting himself to die. We shall consider what his sanctifying himself implies, and how it respects us.
1. What is implied in the phrase," I sanctify myself.”
1. It implies the personal union of the two natures in Christ; for what is that which he here calls himself, but the same that was consecrated to be a sacrifice, even his human nature ? This was the sacrifice. And this also was himself: so the apostle speaks, "He through the eternal Spirit offered up himself to God without spot.” Heb. 9:14. So that our nature, by that assumption, is become himself. Greater honor cannot be done it, or greater ground of comfort proposed to us, as has been already shown.
2. This sanctifying, or consecrating himself to be a sacrifice for us, implies the greatness and dreadfulness of that breach which sin made between God and us. You see no less a sacrifice than Christ himself must be sanctified to make atonement. Judge of the greatness of the wound by the magnitude of the remedy. "Sacrifice, and offering, and burnt-offering for sin, thou wouldest not; but a body hast thou prepared me." Heb. 10:5. All our repentance, could we shed as many tears for sin as there have fallen drops of rain since the creation, could not be our atonement : "But God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself.” And had he not sanctified Christ to this end, he would have sanctified himself upon us, in judgment and fury for ever.
3. This sanctifying himself, implies his free and voluntary undertaking of the work. It is not, "I am sanc
tified," as if he had been merely passive in it, as the lambs that typified him were, when plucked from the fold; but, "I sanctify myself.” He would have none think that he died out of a necessity of compulsion, but out of choice: therefore he is said to offer
himself to God.” Heb. 10:14. And he says, "I lay down my life of myself; no man taketh it from me.' John, 10:18. Though it is often said his Father sent him, and gave him; yet his heart was as much set on that work as if there had been nothing but glory, ease, and comfort in it; he was under no constraint but that of his own love. Therefore, as when the Scripture would set forth the willingness of the Father to this work, it saith, God sent his Son, and God gave his Son; so when it would set forth Christ's willingness to it, it saith, He offered up himself, gave himself, and, here in the text, sanctified himself. A sacrifice that struggled, and came not without force to the altar, was reckoned ominous and unlucky by the heathen: our Sacrifice dedicated himself; he died out of choice, and was a free-will offering.
4. His sanctifying himself implies his pure and perfect holiness: that he had no spot or blemish in him. Those beasts that prefigured him, were to be without blemish, and none else were consecrated to that service. So, and more than so, it behoved Christ to be :
Such an High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.” Heb. 7:26. And what it became him to be, he was. Therefore, in allusion to the lambs offered under the law, the apostle calls him a Lamb without blemish or spot. 1 Pet. 1:19. Every other man hath a double spot on him, the heart spot and the life spot; the spot of original, and the spots of actual sins. But Christ was without either: he had not the spot of original sin, for he was not by man; he came in a peculiar way into the world, and so escaped that: nor yet of actual sins; for, as his nature, so his life was spotless and pure; "He did no iniquity.” Isa. 53:9. And though tempted to sin externally, yet he was never deGled in heart or practice.
5. His sanctifying himself for our sakes, speaks the strength of his love and largeness of his heart to poor sinners, thus to set himself wholly and entirely apart for us: so that what he did and suffered must all of it have a respect and relation to us. He did not (when cousecrated for us) live a moment, do an act, or speak a word, but had some tendency to promote the great design of our salvation. His incarnation respects you; "for to us a child is born, to us a son is given.” Isa. 9:6. And he would never have been the Son of man, but to make you the sons and daughters of God. God would not have come down in the likeness of sinful flesh, in the habit of a man, but to raise up sinful man unto the likeness of God. All the miracles he wrought were for you, to confirm your faith. When he raised up Lazarus, "Because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me." John, 11:42. While he lived on earth, he lived as one wholly set apart for us: and when he died, he died for us; "he was made a curse for us.” Gal. 3:13. When he hung upon that cursed tree, he hung there in our room, and did but fill our place. When he was buried, he was buried for us; for the end of it was, to perfume our graves, against we come to lie down in them. And when he rose again, it was, as the apostle says, "for our justification.” Rom. 4: 25. When he ascended into glory, he said it was to prepare a place for us. John, 14 : 2. And now he is there, it is for us that he there lives; for he "ever liveth to make intercession for us.”' Heb. 7 : 25. And when he shall return again to judge the world, he will come for us too. He comes (when ever it be) "to be glorified in his saints, and admired in them that believe.” 2 Thess. 1 : 10. He comes to ga.