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THE PRESENCE OF THE FATHER WITH THE SON.
JOHN xvi. 32.
I am not alone, because the Father is with me.
THE union of Father and Son is one of those deep things of God, which cannot be known but by the revelation of the Spirit. It appears, however, from the ministry of the Son in his humiliation, that this union was the joy of his heart under our sins, our sorrows, and our griefs. When men contradicted his doctrine, and cavilled at his bearing record of himself, he said, "He who sent me "is with me; the Father hath not left me alone." When they demanded proofs of his mission, and of his claim to be the Son of God, he replied, "I and my Father are "One." When a disciple asked him to shew them the Father, he answered, "I am in the Father, and the Father "in me;" and, "He who hath seen me, hath seen the Fa"ther." And when he foretold that his disciples would be scattered, every man to his own, and leave him alone, he added the words of our Text, "And yet I am not alone, "because the Father is with me.”
The union of persons in the Godhead is revealed to our faith, but at present our capacity is not able to comprehend the nature and glory of it. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are united, and united in a sense so high and sublime as to be One. This is revealed, and this, upon the testimony of revelation, we believe and acknowledge.But how these three are one, and how each is in each, revelation doth not define, and we are not able to comprehend. In believing and acknowledging incomprehensibles in revelation, we do not act unreasonably. On the contrary, we act unreasonably in deifying our reason, setting it in the seat of God, and compelling revelation to bow at its footstool.
In Revelation, the equal persons of the Godhead, Father and Son, appear in unequal stations, and in distinct operations. In these stations and operations, their essential union is not dissolved. Though one person is higher, and another lower, union appears in each station, and the operation which is performed by one glorifies both.This may be particularly observed in the dispensation of our redemption. "The Father is greater than I;" "I and "my Father are one;" "Verily, verily, I say unto you, the "Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the "Father do; for what things soever He doth, these also "doth the Son likewise;" "I have not spoken of myself;" "The Father who sent me, he gave me a commandment "what I should say, and what I should speak;" "Whatso"ever I speak, therefore, even as the Father said unto me, "so I speak."-You know these to be declarations by the Son in his ministry; and observe him affirming, that while he and his Father are one, there is between them, in the dispensation of redemption, subordination in station, and union and concurrence in operation; and hence, when entering into his troubles and sorrows, toward the close of his ministry, he says, "I am not alone, because the Father "is with me."
In order to explain the meaning and importance of these sublime and holy words, we shall speak concerning the presence, union and concurrence of the Father with the Son, in his humiliation-concerning the knowledge which the Son professes of the presence, union, and concurrence of the Father-concerning his design of declaring his knowledge of the presence, union, and concurrence of the Father, when entering into the troubles and sorrows at the close of his ministry; and then some instructions and exhortations shall be added.
We are entering upon a theme of discourse which surpasses the investigation of created understanding. The presence, union, and concurrence of the Father with the Son, in the dispensation of redemption, cannot be searched out unto perfection by angels, and much less by men.Our knowledge of it is but partial and indistinct, and our language concerning it will be like that of children in understanding. We profess to be able to do no more than to endeavour, by comparing speech with speech, and one text with another, to illustrate what the Son hath spo
ken, and his Spirit hath recorded. Nor should we be uneasy because this high subject is not wholly revealed.The Author of Revelation hath made such discoveries of it as we are capable of receiving and improving at present, and reserved the higher and clearer discoveries for the age and glory of our manhood and perfection. We will therefore be humble and thankful; and, as we proceed, look up to him for the anointing and sealing of his Spirit, in order to understand, receive, and improve, what is revealed and testified.
According to the method which we have chosen, we shall speak, in the FIRST place, concerning the presence, union, and concurrence of the Father with the Son, in the ministry, and sorrows, and temptations of his humiliation. Upon this part of our subject, it may be observed, that the Father was with the Son, and in the Son, and for the Son. Two of these observations are expressed in the words, and the other in the sense of scripture. An illus tration of each will, through the blessing of God, be use ful and edifying to the saints, and profitable for the conviction and instruction of sinners.
First, The Father was with the Son in the temptations, and ministry, and sorrows of his humiliation. This is his own expression: "He who sent me is with me; the Father "hath not left me alone." "I am not alone, because the "Father is with me." In every expression which he uttered in his ministry, truth and justness of sentiment shineforth. When he spake of himself, and when he spake of the Father, he used the fittest and best expressions for making known to men their union and concurrence in operation. The Father was with him to uphold, to encourage, to strengthen, and to work. With him to uphold: "Behold my Servant, whom I uphold." With him to encourage: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am "well pleased." With him to strengthen: "With whom "my hand shall be established, mine arm also shall "strengthen him." With him to work: "My Father "worketh hitherto, and I work;" "What things soever "the Father doth, these also doth the Son likewise.' These expressions of presence, union, and concurrence, which we have laid before you, ought to be recollected and acknowledged in our meditations on the sorrows and
temptations endured by the Son of God in our nature, under our iniquities. In his humiliation, each person of the Godhead appeared and glorified himself; and, in bearing witness to this, there is an union of testimony, which is the foundation of our faith. The Father promised, the Son testified, and the Holy Ghost recorded that which was promised by the former, and testified by the latter, concerning their presence, union, and concurrence, in our redemption.
Secondly, The Father was in the Son. In his answer to Philip, who asked him to shew them the Father, this is expressly affirmed. "Believest thou not that I am in the Fa"ther, and the Father in me. Believe me that I am in the "Father, and the Father in me." Holy surprise, after the manner of men, is discovered in this answer at the weakness of the disciple, in asking a revelation of the Father, when his express character was before their eyes; and a serious admonition is given, to believe and acknowledge the union and concurrence of these glorious persons. In prayer, the same evening, he says, "Thou, Father, art in "me, and I in thee;" and "All mine are thine, and thine "are mine." Concerning the ministry of reconciliation, the Apostle to the Corinthians has these interesting words, upon the same subject: "God was in Christ. reconciling "the world to himself." As persons of the Godhead, Father and Son are in each other, and in each other in a sense so sublime as to be One. Under this consideration our Saviour saith, "I and my Father are one," We are one in Godhead, and equal in power and in glory. These glorious and equal persons, who are One, and in each other in Godhead, and in creation and providence united in operation, are also One and in each other in the dispensation of redemption, where the Father is greater than the Son, and the Son is lower than the Father. In this marvellous dispensation, Father and Son were in each other, and One, with respect to their operations. The Father wrought in the Son, and the Son wrought in the Father-In each other, and One, with respect to their testimony. The Father testified in and of the Son, and the Son testified in and of the Father-In each other, and One, with respect to their design. The Father glorified the Son, and the Son glorified the Father: the Father glorified himself in the Son, and the Son glorified himself in the Father-In each.
other, and One, with respect to their affection and esteem. The Father loved the Son, and shewed him all things which he himself did; and the Son loved the Father, and did always those things which pleased the Father. What can we more say "O the depth of the riches both of the "wisdom and knowledge of God!"
Thirdly, The Father was for the Son. In his humiliation the Son was the servant of the Father. His work was given him by the Father, and the doing it was the service of the Father, and defined by himself the glorifying of the Father. In this arduous, though honorable service, the Father was not against his servant, but for him, concurring with him, and working in him, according to the riches of the glory of the mystery of their union. These glorious and equal persons were united in the same work; and, though they were in unequal stations, and the Father was greater than the Son, there could be no variance or strife betwixt them in doing it. When the suffering and dying nature of the one was bruised, and bruised by the pleasure of the other, they were not contending against each other, nor engaged in opposite and interfering interests. The persons were with each other, in each other, for each other, and to each other; had the same love as before the foundation of the world.
In the SECOND place, we shall speak concerning the knowledge, which the Son professes in the Text, of the presence, union, and concurrence of the Father. He had just told the disciples that they would leave him alone, and the event, that very evening, proved the truth of his prediction, notwithstanding, adds he, "I am not alone, be"cause the Father is with me;" and this he knew from the purpose and engagement, from the promise and declaration, and from the love and complacency of the Father.
First, The Son knew that the Father was with him, from his purpose and engagement. Their operation and concurrence in our redemption had been planned before the world began, and fixed by reciprocal and unalterable engagements. A comprehensive and arduous work, which the Son engaged to do in our nature, was committed to him, and the Father assured him, by his purpose and engagement, of his presence and concurrence in doing it. These purposes and engagements were establish