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Let all be exhorted to cleave to the Lord, and tremble at the thought of turning aside from him. Be exhorted, with purpose of heart to cleave unto the Lord, Acts xi. 23. Turn not aside from his precious truths, his holy ordinances, the way of holiness and tenderness in the whole of your conversation; but cleave to the Lord, his word, his way, and to whatever bears his stamp. Turn not aside, whatever may be the temptation or allurement. Know of a truth, that it is but poison presented in a golden cup to you, which will work the ruin of your condition ; it is but a gilded vanity, to cheat you to cut off a substantial good : it is what will not fail to be bitterness in the end. Have your eyes in your head, then, and forfeit not God's favour or smiles for lying vanities.
Again, turn not aside, whatever be the bazard of holding on. Let devils and men run that as high as they will, as sure as God's word is truth, the greatest hazard is ever on the other side ; and they who turn aside run the most fearful risk.- Wherefore, take it home with you, lay it up in your hearts, and improve it in your daily walk; decide all your controversies with temptation, managed by a subtile devil, a carnal heart, or the men of the world, by this,—That you cannot turn aside, but "after vain things, which cannot profit, nor deliver, for tbey are vain." Amen.
JESUS COMPLETELY QUALIFIED FOR HIS WORK.*
SERMON XLV I.
Isaran Ixi. 1, The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath
This text is that upon which our Lord Jesus himself preached to the congregation at Nazareth, Luke iv. 16–19. And if we ask of whom the prophet spake, Jesus tells you, ver. 21, that it was of him. Though the prophet perhaps had an eye to himself, and to the promised deliverance from the Babylonish captivity ; yet certainly Christ, and the spiritual deliverance by him, is the principal subject. Jesus is here described as the Mediator between God and man. In the words we have two things :
1. The glorious qualifications of our Mediator : “ The Spirit of the Lord God is opon me.” Here are the three persons of the Trinity
* Delivered Sept., 1718.
JESUS COMPLETELY QUALIFIED
distinguished. The Lord God, his Son, and his Spirit. Our Lord Jesus being both God and man, the Holy Spirit, with all his gifts, was put on the man Christ. At his baptism the Spirit descended upon him like a dove, Matth. iii. 16. On him also the Spirit rested, and never again departed from him, but continued filling him at all times with graces and gifts for the discharge of his great trust. So that he says the Spirit is upon me, not is come upon me.- - We have,
2. The reason of these glorious qualifications. This was, because they were necessary for the office to which he was called :
" Because the Lord God hath anointed me." It behoved him to be both God and man.
As he was God, he could have nothing added to him ; but as he was man, it behoved him to be endowed with unparalleled qualifications for this unparalleled office.--Here consider his call to the work. The Lord anointed him, as prophets, priests, and kings were wont to be, and thus were called and set apart to their respective offices; in like manner was Christ called of the Father to the Meditorial works, not with material oil, as they were, but with the Holy Spirit, which was signified by that oil.–Again, consider his mission : the Lord sent him. He did not come upsent to the world ; but his Father having called him, and furnished him for the work, sent him away to exercise his commission, and to perform his work.Consider, next, the work he was called to, and sent ont upon. Consider this work with respect to Christ himself; and it is threefold. First, As a prophet or preacher of the gospel, revealing the Father's mind. Secondly, A priest or healer, a spiritual physician, for sin-sick souls, to bind up the broken-hearted. Thirdly, As a king, to issue out proclamations, far more joyful than those of Cyrus to the captives, as the spiritual captivity and imprisonment is far worse than a corporal one.-Consider the work as it respects the different sorts of people with whom he has to deal; and it is twofold. First, Some of. them have some good in them wrought by his Spirit; and of these, some are the meek, others are broken-hearted. Secondly, Some of them have no good in them, they are captives, prisoners to Satan. Both sorts are in his commission, as persons he has to deal with.-Consider this work as it respects the different cases of these sorts of persons ;
and it is fourfold. 1st, To the meek, he has to carry good tidings. 2dly, to the broken-hearted, he has to bind up their wounds. 3dly, To the captives he has to give deliverance, and 4thly, To the prisoners he has to open the prison doors. Thus he is, by the Father's special appointment, to give suitable help to each case. A more particular explication of these things will be given as we advance in the subject.
Now, here is a great work; and because of it, (or, as it is in the
Hebrew, answerable to it), he is endowed with the Spirit, with his graces and gifts, without which he could not be qualified for it.
The subject of our present discourse, is our Lord's qualification for his work : “ The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me.”
Here our Lord commends himself to poor sinners, that they may come to him, and be happy in him. Who can commend him to purpose but himself? He commends himself to us, from the fulness of the Spirit lodged in him, as in Rev. iii. 1, “ And unto the angel of the church of Sardis write, These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars.” As when the soul is gone, the body can move and act no more ; so where the Spirit of God is gone from men, they can do no more good. While destitute of the Spirit, they are shut up under an uninterrupted barrenness. Now, this is the natural case of the whole world. To the world, then, under the want of the Spirit, Christ here makes public proclamation where the Spirit is to be found; as if he had said, “ O all ye spiritless, lifeless sinners, dead to grace and goodness, be it known unto you," the Spirit of the Lord God is upon me.” He says as Joseph said to his brethren, Gen. xlv. 9, and downwards. The Spirit came upon Moses and the prophets, but they could spare none of their oil; if they could, they could not have communicated it. But the Spirit is on me, as the oil in the cistern, to be dispersed by the pipes of conveyance to poor sinners who will come to me.
This is indeed a proclamation of a well-stored and cheap market, to a country perishing under famine, to which they should all resort.
That this is the true intent of these words, appears first, Because it is plain from the original accentuation, that the principal purpose of the text, is not to shew why the Spirit was on Christ, (for in that case the chief stop within the verse had been at broken-hearted), but to shew, that the Spirit is on him, (for there the great stop is.) “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me," &c. Secondly, Because an amazing change is prophesied, in the preceding chapter, to come upon the church of the Gentiles; and so here follows the accounting for it : “ The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,” to be communicated for effecting this change.
From this part of the subject, I observe the following
DOCTRINE, That the Spirit of God was eminently on Jesus Christ, to be communicated to poor sinners.
This was typified by the ointment poured out on the head of the
For illustrating this doctrine, we propose,
II. To confirm this point, That the Spirit is put upon Christ to be communicated.
III. I will consider the reasonableness and suitableness of this glorious device, of the Spirit's being put on Christ, to be communicated to poor sinners.—And then,
IV. We sball improve the subject. We are,
I. To shew in what eminent sort the Spirit of the Lord was upon the Mediator.--Here we observe,
1. That the gifts and graces of the Spirit were conferred on Christ's human nature in a singular measure : Psalm xlv. 7,“ God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." What these are you may see, Isa. iii. 2, 3. Others have had much of these, but never any so much of them as the man Christ, though they were not infinite, which is a property peculiar to the divine perfections. Thus his enemies were obliged to confess, that he spoke as never man spoke. And in this sense that testimony, John iii. 34, “God giveth not his Spirit by measure anto him,” may be applied even to Christ's manhood; namely, that God gives not his gifts and graces to him sparingly, as out of a measure, but with a full hand most abundantly.-We observe,
2. The fulness of the Spirit was upon the Mediator; and that is an infinite fulness, for he is God as well as man: Col. ii. 9, in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” The Holy Spirit is an infinite Spirit of boundless perfections, all which Jesus Christ as God doth fully possess. The divine nature, an unfathomable depth of perfections, was united to the human nature in our Mediator; so that he has not only a portion of the Spirit, but the whole fulness of the Spirit, John iii. 34. Saints have, and can have, by their measure; but the ocean of perfections, which knows no bounds, and all grace, were and was in him. We observe,
3. That the Spirit was at all times alike on that Mediator. The Spirit came sometimes on the prophets, instructing them what to say, and exciting them to say it; but sometimes the spirit of prophecy did not blow, they had it not at their command : 1 Peter i. 21, “ For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." See an instance, 2 Sam. vii. 2-5, where the prophet Nathan knew not how to direct David, till the word of the Lord came to him. So the Spirit of sanctification in the saints, though he never departs from them, yet how often is there a dead calm in their souls, which requires them to say, as in Song iv. 26, “Awake, O north wind ! and come, thou south ; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his
garden, and eat bis pleasant fruits.” But the Spirit rested on Jesus Christ, Isa. xi. 2; it dwelleth in him, Col. ii. 9.
He never can be at a loss for want of the Spirit, whose waters in him are never shallow, but still continae alike deep. We observe,
4. That the Spirit is upon him in the fulness of a fountain, to be communicated to those who come to him : Zech. xiii. 1, "In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness :" so “ Jesus breathed on his disciples,” Johu xx. 22, and said unto them, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost." All others, even the saints in heaven, have but the fulness of a vessel, what only may serve themselves. But he has the fulness of a spring, where the waters are ever flowing, and therefore can furnish all others who come to him, and yet have never the less to himself.- We come now,
II. To confirm this point, That the Spirit was in Christ to be communicated. We observe,
1. That this is plain from scripture-testimony: Rev. iii. 1, " He hath the seven spirits of God.” All the saints have the Spirit of God. He dwells in each of them ; if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his, Rom. viii. 9. But then this is quite another thing than the simple having of the Spirit. Christ hath the Spirit as he hath the seven stars, that is, at his disposal, to give them or take them from whom he will: Psalm lxvi. 18, “ Thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God may dwell among them.” Compare Eph. iv. 8. Whence it is plain, that Christ received these gifts, received them to give them to men.--This is plain,
2. For Christ, as Mediator and surety of the new covenant, is a common person, as Adam was in the first covenant, who received the stock of all mankind in his hand, and lost it. Now, free grace has made up the stock again, and put it in a sure hand, where it never can be lost: Psalm lxxxix. 19, “ I have laid help upon one that is mighty.” He is the second Adam, and therefore the fulness of the Spirit and of his grace is put upon him, to be communicated by him to poor sinners. Consider farther,
3. That Christ could not have been qualified to execute the office to which the Father had called him, without communicating the Spirit to those with whom he has to deal; therefore says the text, “ The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because he hath sent me to preach good tidings to the meek.” How shall the poor meek ones, who see nothing in them or about them to recommend them to God, believe the good tidings, without the Spirit of faith? How can the broken-hearted have their wounds bound up without the