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indecency and fierceness of their opposition, Jesus continued to affirm, that "his flesh was meat indeed, and his blood "drink indeed," and that "unless they eat the flesh, and "drank the blood of the Son of man, they had no life in "them;" adding, in our text, "As the living Father hath "sent me, and I live by the Father, so he that eateth me, “even he shall live by me.”
In these words, which are purely spiritual, and deeply mysterious, three affirmative particulars appear: One con cerning Christ himself; another concerning the person who eateth him, or believeth on him; and the third concerning the resemblance betwixt his living by the Father, and the person eating, or believing, living by Christ. Concerning himself, Jesus affirms, that "the living Father had sent "him," and that "he lived by the Father." Concerning the person who eateth him, or believeth on him, he affirms That "he who cateth me, shall live by me." And concerning the resemblance he affirms, in the third, “As the "living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father, so "he that eateth me, even he shall live by me." The words which express these particulars are not foreign to the holy solemnities of this occasion, and through the unction and teaching of the Spirit, clearer apprehensions of their meaning will strengthen our faith, confirm our hope, and increase our joy, in shewing the death and celebrating the love of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We shall endeavor in the FIRST place, to explain what our Saviour affirms concerning himself. He affirms, that
the living Father had sent him, and that he lived by the "Father." In the first part of this affirmative sentence, the following particulars may be observed: He was sentsent by the Father-sent by the living Father.
First, The Son of God was sent. In speaking of himself and the Father, he uses this term very frequently, and, from using it, we must acknowledge the propriety of its. application and meaning with regard to our conceptions of their operations. The Son of God came not into the world solely on his own account, or to transact business that concerned only himself: He appeared among men under the character of a servant, or an ambassador, bearing a commission from one greater than himself. To this character his manner of speaking is adapted, and cannot be un
derstood on any other supposition. "My doctrine is not "mine, but his that sent me." "My meat is to do the will "of him that sent me." "I came down from heaven, not "to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.' "I must work the works of him that sent me while it is. "day." "I have not spoken of myself, but the Father who "sent me; he gave me a commandment what I should say, "and what I should speak. And I know that his com"mandment is life everlasting; whatsoever I speak, there"fore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak." "The "cup that my Father giveth me, shall I not drink it?” How one divine person sends another divine person, and commands him to speak his word, and do his will, and perform his work, is too high for us to comprehend. But scripture affirms, that these intimacies in their communion exist, and uses the forms and modes of expression above recited, in making known the operations of their wisdom and love in our redemption. Concerning the riches of the glory of the intimacies and operations of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in the dispensation of redemp tion, the light of revelation is wisely proportioned to our faculties of apprehension. It could not have been clearer nor more extensive, unless these had been enlarged. But though much of the glory be yet hid in God, because at present we are not able to bear brighter manifestations, let us walk in that light which is shining, and, in the expectation and vigor of hope, look forward to the day of the revelation of Jesus Christ, when discoveries will be made of all that is yet hid in God, when our faculties of apprehension will be adapted to these discoveries, and when intuition will raise us above the use and need of the Bible.
Secondly, The Son of God was sent by the Father. In Godhead, Father and Son are one and equal. But in the dispensation of redemption, these equal persons appear in une qual stations. The Son is lower than the Father, and the Father is higher than the Son. The Son is less than the Father, and the Father is greater than the Son, and greater than all. Over the office of the Son, supremacy is the revealed glory of the Father; and subordination in office is the revealed glory of the Son. Here unbelief frets, and pride, raising its head, insolently asks, How can these things be? Upon the testimony of God in his word, faith believes that they are, and, walking in the light of reve
tion, humility doth not stumble. Before official subordination be admitted to be inconsistent with personal equality, we must be able to comprehend the incomprehensible God, whose riches in glory, by Christ Jesus, revelation acknowledges to be unsearchable, and reason cannot deny to be past finding out. Instead of cavilling at the hidden wis-` dom of God, we will feed upon the discoveries of his love in the mission of his Son. "In this was manifested the love "of God towards us, because that God sent his only begot"ten Son into the world, that we might live through him. "Herein is love; not that we loved God, but that he loved "us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begot"ten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Unto you who hunger and thirst after righteousness, the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord is hidden manna and living water, or, like the flesh and blood of the Son of man, meat indeed and drink indeed. Feeding on it whets the appetite, renews the strength, and raises the stature of believers, causing the vigor and bloom of youth to break forth among them even in old age.
Thirdly, The Son of God was sent by the living Father. "Living God," is a title of the only true God, which is frequently used by the holy writers. But "living Fa"ther," which is a title of the same object, stands only in our text. On other occasions, the Son calls him Father, Holy Father, Righteous Father, Heavenly Father, and my Father. On this he introduces among his titles a new term, and calls him the living Father. A new term from the mouth of the Son of God, who claims and inherits the attributes Faithful and True, ought not to be suspected. But what doth it signify? Is it a mere expletive to fill up a corner of the sentence, or an ornamental word which beautifies it without adding to the sense? or is it designed to convey truth, and give a new discovery of the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ? Truth is designed to be conveyed by it into the mind, and brightness to be added to the revelation of that light, in which the Father of glory is manifested by the Son. Living God is an essential title, which distinguishes from and exalts above idols the only true God; but living Father is an honorary title, which, in the dispen
sation of redemption, expresses his supremacy over the office of his Son, and stands at the head of his mission into the world. With respect to his person, the Son hath life independently and essentially in himself; but with respect to his office, the life which he lives unto God, and which, in the execution of his office, he communicates and bestows, is derived from, and dependent on, the will and good pleasure of the Father. "In bim dwelleth bodily "all the fulness of the Godhead;" and "in him it pleased "the Father that all fulness should dwell officially." The fulness of the Godhead is the glory of his person, and a proof that he in whom it dwells bodily is over all, God blessed for ever. The fulness of his office is the glory of his mediation, and a proof that the Father, by whose plea sure it dwells in him, is the fountain of life, and strength, and sufficiency. The dependence of his office on the pleasure of the Father, and the derivation from him of life, strength, and sufficiency to execute it, are constitu tions of "the hidden wisdom which God ordained before "the world unto our glory," and streams of the living wa ter which issues out of the throne of God and of the Lamb unto our consolation. By discoveries of the derivation and dependence of our life, which is hid with Christ in God, the Holy Ghost renews the strength of our faith, and the vigour of our hope, and, in believing, fills our souls with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
The Second part of the affirmative sentence concerning himself is next to be explained.. Our Saviour affirms, that he lives by the Father. Two particulars may be observed in this affirmation: He lives, and-lives by the Father.
First, The Son of God our Saviour lives. "I," saith he, "live," What doth he mean, or how the meaning of this familiar and easy word is to be understood, is an inte vesting enquiry, to which the edification of believers in him calls for a reply. The Son of God liveth, and hath life in himself. His existence and Sonship are neither dependent on the pleasure, nor supported by the power of the Father. Life is an attribute of his person, and an essential and original glory in his Godhead. But though the existence of his personal and essential life is supposed, it is not his object of affirmation in our text. The object of affirmation is the existence of his official or mediatorial
life, which depends on the will and pleasure of the Father, and over which the supremacy of the Father extends.What thinkest thou, believing hearer, of this application and use of the gracious word, "I live?" Would there not be a dismal blank in the Bible were it to be erased? But none of the powers of darkness is able to erase it.→ From the opening of revelation in Paradise, to the sealing up of vision and prophecy in Patmos, it fills the eye in capitals, and while earth remaineth will drive terror and gloominess from the cottages of weakness, and the haunts of fear. Before he was made of the woman, it was true; and, from Adam to Simeon, believed by all the faithful. "I know that my Redeemer liveth," was their common faith, in every age and in every nation. While he dwelt among men, it was true; nor was it false during the time that he was numbered with the dead. When cut off out of the land of the living, he lived unto God; and now that the world seeth him no more, it is true, and adds, and will for ever add, strength and melody to the pleasure and joy of heaven. "I am he "that liveth and was dead, and behold I am alive for ever "more, Amen."
Secondly, The Son of God our Saviour lives by the Father. How is this part of the affirmation to be understood? Though the Son is speaking in our text, he doth not speak of his person, but of his mediation. The context before and after it, renders this incontrovertibly evident, and to urge against the glory of his person words which he spake concerning the glory of his mediation, subverts the laws of reasoning, and betrays prejudice and alienation of mind. If the affirmative upon the existence and dependence of his office, be perverted to an affirmative upon the existence and dependence of his person, every text of scripture concerning him becomes that moment unintelligible; but restrained, according to his intention, unto his office, Revelation instantly appears a system of sound reasoning, worthy of the wisdom and love of God to establish. The existence of the office and mediation of the Son of God depends upon the pleasure and will of the Father, and the life which he lives in our nature; for the execution of it is derived from his appointment, and upheld by his power. In the glory of it, the living Father set him up from everlasting, and fore-ordained him to