|Fire and Ice: Puritan and Reformed Writings|
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by Ralph Erskine
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"All things that the Father hath are mine."John 16:15.
The glorious excellency, fullness, and all-sufficiency of our Lord Jesus Christ is inexpressibly great; none can speak of it so well as himself; and indeed he himself is the preacher here; and as here we have his word, so, if his Spirit accompany it, we may, in this glass, see his matchless glory; for here it is so wonderfully described, that neither the tongues of men nor angels can tell so much of his glorious fulness and furniture, in so few words, "All things that the Father hath are mine."
Our Lord fairly warns his disciples of what crosses they were to meet with in this world, verse 2, "They shall put you out of the synagogues; yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doth God service." But, at the same time, he assures them of what comforts he would afford them; and, as it was usual for the Old Testament prophets, to comfort the church in her adversity with the promise of the Messias, Isaiah 9:6, Micah 5:5, so, the Messias being come, he comforts his people with the promise of the Spirit, the Comforter; and this is the great New Testament promise.
Christ promises the Spirit here, from verse 5, as a fruit of his ascension, saying, "If I go, I will send him;" and that because the sending of the Spirit was to be not only the fruit of his purchase on earth, but the answer of his prayers in heaven, and of his intercession within the veil, John 14:16. The gift of the Spirit must be paid for, and prayed for, that we might highly value this privilege.
We are told, from verse 8 and downward, what a great benefit the coming of the Spirit should be to a blind world; "When he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment," &c. Next, what a great benefit his coming would be to the disciples themselves, from ver. 13. "When the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth," &c.
Again, the great work of the Spirit is summed up, verse 14. "He shall glorify me: for he shall take of mine, and show it unto you." This I have spoken to formerly. And now this text comes in as a reason of the former; that is to say, Would you have a reason why the Spirit, when he comes, shall glorify me, by taking of mine and showing it to you? Even because, "All things that the Father hath are mine: Therefore said I unto you, that he shall receive of mine, and show it unto you:" he being the Spirit of the Father as well as the Spirit of the Son, when he comes to glorify me, he comes to glorify the Father in me; and by showing things of mine, which are not different from, but the same with the things of the Father; his showing of mine will show what a glorious One I am, because "All things that the Father hath are mine."
Our Lord Jesus never speaks of his being glorified alone, without the Father's being glorified in him: nor of his own glory abstract from the Father's glory: see this in his entry upon his suffering work; "Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him," John 13:31. See it in his entry upon his intercessory work on earth; "Father, glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee," John 17:1. And see it here in his declaring what should be the work of the Spirit in his name after his exaltation: "He shall glorify me by taking of mine and showing it to you." But will the glorifying of the Father be here neglected? No, no: by showing my glory, he will show the Father's glory; and by showing my things, he will show the Father's; for "All things that the Father hath are mine;" and these things the Spirit shall show or make them known to you; that is, he shall so declare and evidence them to you and in you, that you shall understand and have experience of them in yourselves; and that both by revelation, instructing you in them; and by communication, imparting them to you.
It is the reason here given by our Lord Jesus, that I especially speak of at present; "All things that the Father hath are mine." Here is the vast extent of the things of Christ which are to be shewed to believers by the Spirit; they are all the things that the Father hath: they are mine, says Christ. Now, these things may be taken, either absolutely, respecting the person of the Father and the person of the Son: or restrictively, respecting the office of Christ, as Mediator betwixt God and man.
1. Viewing it absolutely; all things that the Father hath are his, even the whole entire divine nature, by having his personality from the Father, and that by an eternal, necessary, and ineffable generation: all the things of the Father must needs be his; for "He and his Father are one." In this sense Christ could say, All things that the Father hath are mine; even all the essential properties of the Godhead; there is no difference between his things and mine; his nature and essence are mine, only our personal properties are distinct: he is the first, and I am the second person of the glorious Trinity, according to the order of the subsistence of the three-one God: he is my eternal Father, and I am his eternal Son by ineffable generation. But the all things here spoken of seem not to be in this absolute sense, they are not the all things of the divine nature which he had by eternal generation. Therefore,
2. We are to view it in a more restricted sense respecting the office of Christ as Mediator. All things that the Father had in his heart and purpose from eternity, to reveal and dispense in time by voluntary donation are mine, according to these scriptures, Matt. 11:27. "All things are delivered to me of my Father," Luke 10:22, John 3:35. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. John 13:3. "Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hand, took a towel and girded himself to wash his disciples' feet." ALL THINGS; that is, all the effects of the Father's love, grace, and will, whatever he had purposed in himself from eternity, and whatever his infinite power and goodness would produce in the pursuit thereof, were all given and committed to Christ: thus "All things that the Father hath are mine."
The order of operation in the Holy Trinity, with reference to our salvation, is according to the order of the subsistence of the distinct persons of the Deity: and hence you have here, 1. The things to be declared to us, and bestowed upon us, they are originally the Father's things; he is the peculiar fountain of them all; his love, wisdom, grace, goodness, counsel, and will, is their supreme cause and spring; therefore here called the things that the Father hath. 2. They are the things of the Son: They are mine, says Christ, as Mediator; they are given to me and unto my disposal, on account of my mediation; by which they are prepared for us, and given out unto us to the glory of God. 3. They are actually communicated to us by the Holy Spirit; "Therefore, said I, he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you." He does not communicate them immediately to us from the Father. We cannot deal, nor have to do with the person of the Father immediately; it is by the Son alone we have access to him, and by the Son alone he gives out of his grace and bounty to us: it is with Christ, as the great Treasurer of heavenly things, that all grace and mercy are entrusted. The Holy Spirit therefore shows them unto us, not first as the Father's things, but as they are the fruits of Christ's mediation; and thereby as the effect of the Father's love and bounty.
Here, then, is the honey we are to eat this day, as you read, Song 5:1. "I am come to my garden, my sister, my spouse; I have eaten my honey comb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk. Eat, O friends, drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved." This honey is presented here according to the order of the subsistence of the three distinct persons of the Deity. 1. As honey in the flower, which is at such distance from us we could never extract it, namely, "All things that the Father hath." 2. Honey in the comb, prepared for us, in our EMMANUEL, God-man, Redeemer, the Word that was made flesh, saying, "All things that the Father hath are mine;" and mine for your use and behalf: for, 3. Here is honey in the mouth; the Spirit taking all and making application thereof, by showing them to us, and making us to eat and drink with Christ, and share of these all things; yea, not only eat the honey but the honeycomb with the honey; not only his benefits, but himself; his person with his benefits; himself and all things that the Father hath entrusted him with; here is bread enough and to spare in our Father's house: here is the steward saying, "All is mine to give out to you by the hand of my Spirit."
The subject here spoken of is no less than all things that relate to our eternal salvation, and these are spoken of, 1. In respect of their origination; they are the Father's things. 2. Their donation to Christ, as Mediator, they are mine. 3. Their communication, they are actually communicated to us by the Holy Ghost.
From the first part of this verse, we lay down the following doctrinal proposition.
OBSERVE. Such is the matchless glory of Christ, in his mediatorial fulness and furniture, that he can say, "All things that the Father hath are mine."
He, as Mediator, is possessed of all things that the Father hath for the benefit of sinners; and this is the reason why the Spirit, taking the things of Christ and showing them to us doth glorify Christ; because all the glorious things of the Father are things of Christ, they are mine, &c. How could the Spirit's revelation and communication of the things of Christ make his matchless glory to appear, if they were not the things of God? Or thus,
Christ our Redeemer is entrusted with all things the Father hath for the benefit of sinners.
If these things were only the Father's and not the things of Christ, we could have no access to them, no share of them; we could never see them in the Father's bosom; for, "No man hath seen God at any time," though all things that relate to our eternal life are originally there; but the only begotten Son, that lay in the Father's bosom, he came out thence, laden with all the good, and great, and glorious things that were hidden there from eternity, and he hath declared him, and declared that all things that the Father hath there are his.
In the prosecution of this subject, I would inquire, through divine assistance, into the following things:
I. What right and title Christ hath to all things that the Father
II. Point out some of these all things that the Father hath which are his.
III. Inquire how, and in what sense they are his.
IV. Show for what reason it is so ordered; or, the beauty of this dispensation, that all things the Father hath are his.
V. Make application of the whole subject.
I. The first thing proposed is, To show what right and title Christ hath to all things that the Father hath. And, in short,
1st, He hath a natural right to all things that the Father hath and that as he is God, one God with the Father and Holy Ghost in which sense he said, "I and my Father are one." And thus he hath the same essential right and title to all things with the Father, in regard of the unity of the essence among the glorious Three, and their equality in power and glory; "The Lord our God is one Lord."
2dly, He hath a mediatorial right and title to all things; and this may be considered under these following properties.
1. As Mediator he hath a federal right to all things; "I have made a covenant with my Chosen, my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him," Psalm 89:3,24. It is said in verses 4 and 11, "Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. The heavens are thine, the earth also is thine;" intimating, that he hath a federal right to all things by covenant with his Father.
2. As Mediator he hath a donative right and title to all the things the Father hath: hence, "The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand," John 3:35. And hence, says Christ, "All power in heaven and in earth is given unto me," Matt. 28:18.
3. As Mediator he hath an acquisite right, by his own purchase of the things the Father hath to give out to the children of men; by his death upon the cross, he hath merited and obtained a name above every name, and being head over all things to the church.
4. As Mediator, he hath a bellipotent right, by conquest, having destroyed principalities and powers, and overcoming them that make war with him, Rev. 17:14. "He is able to subdue all things to himself," Phil. 3:21. And accordingly, all things are put in subjection under his feet, Heb. 2:8. And he subdues his people to himself, and makes them willing in the day of his power, Psalm 110:3.
5. To these may be added, that he hath an hereditary right, being the heir of all things. It is said, Psalm 89:27. "I will make him my first born, higher than the kings of the earth." And Col. 1:18, he is called the first born from the dead, that in all things he might have the pre-eminence.
6. He hath a right by the Father's consent. "It pleased the Father that in him all fulness should dwell."
We find Christ, as Mediator, hath his title to all things that the Father hath secured and confirmed with a special solemnity. It is confirmed by a solemn election: "Behold, my servant whom I uphold; mine Elect, in whom my soul delighteth," Isa. 42:1. By a solemn vocation and formal call I have called thee, and given thee to be a covenant of the people, a light to the Gentiles, &c., ver. 6. By a solemn commission under the Father's broad seal; "Him hath God the Father sealed," John 6:24. Sealed to be all the things that the Father hath to bestow upon poor sinners. It is confirmed with the solemnity of a promise, Psalm 77:8,9,10.
That his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth, &c. Also, with the solemnity of an oath, Psalm 89:35,36,37. "Once have I sworn by my holiness, that I will not lie unto David," &c. But not to enlarge.
II. The second thing proposed was, To point out some of these all things that the Father hath which are his. To speak of all things which the Father hath, that are entrusted to Christ is impossible but I mention a few.
1. All the perfections of the Father are his. There is nothing that the Father hath except his personality, or priority of order in subsistence, but the Son as Mediator hath; yea, he not only hath, but he is the wisdom of God, and the power of God, 1 Cor. 1:24. Here is wisdom for poor witless creatures who know nothing. Here is power for the impotent that can do nothing. He that saith. "All things that the Father hath are mine, he says, upon the matter, His wisdom is mine for your behalf; his power is mine, and all his other perfections. He that is the essential image is the representative image of God; the image of the invisible God, in whom are made visible or evident to our faith, all the invisible attributes of God. See the holiness of God, in this holy one of God, who is made of God to us sanctification; and who magnifies the holiness of God in the precept of the law, by fulfilling all righteousness. See the justice of God in Jesus Christ the righteous, who is made of God to us righteousness; and who was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him: and so the guilty sinner may become more righteous in God's sight than ever he was guilty in his sight; and not only justified by his blood and righteousness, but may find and see God to be just in justifying through him, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, whereby justice is satisfied fully, and glorified highly. But, of some other perfections, more afterwards may be mentioned.
2. All the glory that the Father hath is his: yea, the glory of all his Father's perfections is to be seen in him. For, "He is the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his person," Heb. 1:3. And hence, the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, is said to shine into our hearts, to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. It is not only the light of the knowledge of God, but the light of the knowledge of the glory of God: where is it? Even in the face, or person of Jesus Christ.
3. All the fulness that the Father hath is his. "It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; and in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily," Col. 1:19, 2:9. O! upon what solid footing does he say, "All things that the Father hath are mine," when all the Father's fulness is in him, and dwells in him? And, O! should not all poor souls look to and rely upon him, and out of his fulness receive grace for grace? O may we come and dwell where fulness dwelleth!
4. All the promises that the Father hath in his covenant are his; they are made to him first, and to us in him, in whom the covenant stands fast; "All the promises of God are in him, Yea, and Amen, to the glory of God," 2 Cor. 1:20. As the promises of God are all affirmed by his word, and confirmed by his blood, so he is trusted with the donation and application of the promises: hence he is the Author and Finisher of that faith whereby we see Christ in the promise, and the promise in Christ.
5. All the grace and mercy that the Father hath in store for sinners are his; "Grace is poured into his lips," Psalm 45:2. And this is a notable part of the glory of God that is to be seen in him; "The word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace," John 1:14. There is such fulness and sufficiency of grace in him for us, that we need no more but this saying, "My grace is sufficient for you." The spirit of all grace is in him above measure; he is anointed with this oil, that he may pour it upon us. And as he hath grace for the graceless; so, he hath mercy for the miserable; as all the grace, so all the mercy of God is his. My mercy shall be with him, Psalm 89:24. Mercy goes forth through his blood, even as grace is said to reign through his righteousness. God sent his law to Christ for obedience, and justice to Christ for satisfaction, that mercy might go forth, and grace might reign through his righteousness to eternal life.
6. All the truth and faithfulness of God the Father is his. "My faithfulness (as well as mercy) shall be with him," Psalm 89:24. "This of truth is added with grace," John 1:14. "Full of grace and truth." O what is Christ but just the love and faithfulness of God! The mercy and truth of God met together, and wrapt up in a garment of flesh and blood! I have observed in a former discourse, between thirty and forty places of scripture, where the mercy and truth of God, or his loving kindness are joined together. It was the work of mercy to make the promise; and it is the work of truth to make out the promise; therefore, O believer, when you have nothing to plead or prevail with a promising God for your succour or supply, remember there are two orators in his bosom that will effectually intercede for your relief; and these are his mercy and truth in Jesus Christ: "God is not man, that he should lie; nor the son of man, that he should repent: heaven and earth shall pass away, but his words shall not pass away." Nothing did ever God say in his word but what he hath and will accomplish. He said, "The seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent," Gen. 3:15; and he hath made it good, by Christ's coming in the flesh, and suffering in the flesh. God said to Abraham, he should have a son by Sarah; though the womb be dead, yet the promise lives: Isaac, the child of the promise, must come from this dead womb, to show that God is a faithful God. God said to Moses, that he should lead Israel out of Egypt; and therefore, notwithstanding of the hardness of Pharaoh's heart, and power of his opposition, yet God, by many miracles, made good his word. O sirs, he hath faithfulness for the girdle of his loins: and the girdle being round about him, we may hold by this girdle, even when he turns his back, and hides himself in the darkest providences: "His mercy endureth for ever, and his truth faileth never." Man's mercy soon turns to cruelty, and his truth to falsehood; but the mercy and truth of God have met together in Christ: and when you can find no mercy nor truth in man, you may look and see all the mercy and truth of God in Christ, and rest there; for he says, "All things that the Father hath are mine."
7. All the works that the Father hath done are his; the work of creation, providence, and redemption. God's creation work was his; "All things were made by him; and without him was nothing made that was made," John 1:3. God's works of providence are all his; for, "He upholdeth all things by the word of his power, Heb. 1:3. He is the Governor among the nations; and all the reins of providence are in his hand. God's work of redemption is his: the work of redemption by price was his; and he hath finished this work which the Father gave him to do: the work of redemption by power is his; and he will never rest till he hath finished that also; and for this end he promises the Spirit here to glorify him, by showing all the things that are his; and for this end all the influences of the Spirit of God are his. And we may say, all the winds of heaven are his: these are what his people seek to blow upon them; "Awake, O North wind, come thou south;" these are what he promises in the coming of the Comforter: "I will send him to you," Ezekiel 37:9. "Thus saith the Lord, Come from the four winds, O breath, and breath upon these slain that they may live;" O say, "Amen, Even so, come Lord Jesus;" come quickly in the power of thy Spirit. In a word, all his Father's works are his; therefore he says, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work," John 5:17.
8. All the authority that the Father hath is his, and he is entrusted with it as Mediator; therefore says God the Father, "My name is in him." and, he hath given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man, John 5:27, yea, "The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment to the Son; him hath God the Father sealed," and authorised to be both the Saviour and the Judge.
9. All the elect that the Father hath are his "I have manifested thy name to the men whom thou gavest me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gavest them me," John 17:6. They were thine by election; and thou gavest them to be redeemed by me. They were chosen in him before the foundation of the world, Eph. 1:4. These are called his seed, Isa. 53:10, "When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed; he shall see the travail of his soul and be satisfied."
10. Hence all the blessings that the Father hath to give out are his; he is constitute the Dispenser thereof; for, God hath set him to be blessings, as the word may be read, Psalm 21:6, "Thou hast made him to be most blessed for ever." Thou hast set him to be blessings for ever, to be the Dispenser of eternal blessings. It was promised, "Men shall be blessed in him," Psalm 72:17, and accordingly he is sent to bless us, Acts 3:26, "God having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquity." It is in him that God blesses us with all spiritual blessings; with the blessings of pardon, peace, and reconciliation with God; with the blessings of justification, sanctification, and consolation; with the blessings of grace and glory, and every good thing. Would you have God's blessing? You must have it out of Christ's hand; for the Father's blessing, and all the things that the Father hath are mine, says Christ; they are mine to dispense, and they would never have been yours, if they had not been mine.
In a word, all things that the Father hath in his mind and council from eternity, and that lay hid in his everlasting bosom, they are mine to reveal to you; for, "No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, that is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." All things that the Father hath in his heart, and bowels of compassion to the children of men, they are mine to manifest; and I am come to speak out of his heart, saying, "I have loved thee with an everlasting love, and with loving-kindness have I drawn thee." All things that the Father hath in his thoughts that are an infinite depth, they are mine to put in words; though as the heavens are higher than the earth, so his thoughts are higher than our thoughts, yet behold they are thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end. All things that the Father hath in his sovereign will to be done for sinners, they are mine to do; and therefore, in the volume of his book it is written of me, "Lo, I come; I delight to do thy will, O my God." O infinitely glorious Christ, that could say, "All things that the Father hath are mine," therefore shall the Spirit glorify me!
III. The third thing proposed was, To shew how and in what manner all things that the Father hath are his; I have already, upon the first head, relating to his right and title to all things that the Father hath shewed you, that all things are his naturally, as he is God; and donatively, or economically, as he is Mediator. I add, in a few words, these following particulars.
1. All things that the Father hath are his substantially, not symbolically, as Christ is said to be in the elements of bread and wine in the sacramental supper; or as God was said to be in the temple by the symbols of his presence; no, it is not symbolically, but substantially; it is not the shadow but the substance of all things the Father hath that are his; therefore it is said, Col. 2:9, that "In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily;" that is, substantially; and so in a glorious, eminent, superlative, and transcendent way. Christ is the substance of all the types, sacrifices, and ceremonies under the law. They were but the shadow of good things to come, Heb. 10:1. All the good things themselves are in Christ substantially.
2. All things that the Father hath are his communicatively. The Mediator's fulness is communicable to us. As they are the Father's things we have no immediate access to them; but as they are lodged in the hand of Christ, whom the Father hath made the Dispenser, we have access to him immediately. Christ hath opened the door of his Father's storehouse, and comes out with all things in his hand that the Father hath; and, indeed, all other shops are closed, if we may be allowed the expression, but Christ's shop stands open; and upon the door head is written this inscription, "Whosoever will, let him come, and share of all things that the Father hath, for they are mine." Christ's fulness, which is the fulness of God, is communicative; therefore, "Out of his fulness we may all receive," John 1:16. We needed not preach of this great store, if it were locked up in him; nay, "In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead, that we may be complete in him," Col. 2:10. Christ is a cabinet of rich and rare jewels, that can enrich you, sirs, to eternity. There are two keys that use to open this cabinet; faith is a key, for, out of his fulness we receive by faith; prayer is another key; "If any man lack wisdom, let him ask it of God." If these keys be not in your hand just now, yet surely they are in his hand, who says, "All things are mine." O sirs, beseech him to throw you the keys, and give you the Spirit of faith and prayer.
3. All things that the Father hath are his sufficiently; even bread enough and to spare, Luke 15:17. Fulness enough for the destitute; light enough for the dark; life enough for the dead; pardon in abundance for guilty sinners; and plenty of all things for poor and needy souls; bread enough to spare. If you think there is none to spare for you, it is because you do not believe there is enough in him; nor believe that all things that the Father hath are his. But, O let us not thus, by unbelief, disgrace our infinitely noble and glorious Lord, by supposing there is not enough in him! Philip said once to Christ, John 14:8, "Shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us;" q.d., surely there is such a sufficiency in God the Father, that, if he be shewn to us, we will have what is enough to give full satisfaction to all the insatiable desires of the immortal soul; therefore, "Shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us." Well, what is Christ doing here this day among us, but shewing us the Father and all his treasures in himself; in whom alone are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; and in whom alone they can be seen; and by whom alone they can be opened up to us, which he is doing, by saying, "All things that the Father hath are mine?" O then, sirs, there is enough in him; and how easily can he satisfy the longing soul, and fill the hungry with good things? Nothing else in this world can give satisfaction to the soul; he was a fool that said, when he had a full barn, "Soul, take thy rest;" we may as well dream of a coffer full of grace and glory, as a soul full of corn and wine. It is only Christ that hath suitable and satisfying fulness for the soul, enough to give complete, solid, permanent, and everlasting satisfaction.
4. All things that the Father hath are his efficiently, or effectively, so as to make us take and share of that store; he can make us comely, through his comeliness; righteous, through his righteousness; and glorious, through his glory; "I have made thee perfect through my comeliness which I have put upon thee," Ezek. 16:14. He imputeth righteousness without works, Rom. 4:67 "All we, beholding as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord," 2 Cor. 3:18. There is a power and efficacy in every saving uncovering of this glorious treasure; it enriches all that behold it; and completely satisfies all that have a title unto it, and an interest in it.
5. All things that the Father hath are his unchangeably; for, he is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever, Heb. 13:8. Whatever supply you get out of his hand, his stock and store is still the same. Let faith draw never so many bills upon him for this and that supply, at this and the other time, and get never so much rent, annual rent, may I call it, or daily rent out of the stock; yet still the stock and interest both are in his hand; and the believer hath all his store secured for him, in Christ's band, even when all that you get in your hand is spent; this well of salvation springs up for ever, and that to everlasting life. You may be full and empty by turns; but he is invariably the same; "I am the Lord, I change not."
6. All things that the Father hath are his eternally; they are the everlasting things of the everlasting Father. The fulness of the Father that is his is a dwelling fulness; It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell. "All the fulness of the Godhead dwells in him;" and in him it dwells for ever; hence the blessings he communicates are everlasting blessings, everlasting peace, everlasting pardon, everlasting consolation; so called, because though perishing things may give people perishing comforts; yet the consolations of the Spirit are from everlasting things; such as everlasting love, everlasting righteousness, and everlasting inheritance. Here is a depth to dive for ever into, O poor mortal that would be happy for ever! All things that Christ hath to give are everlasting and eternal things; because, All things that the Father hath are his.
IV. The fourth thing proposed was, To shew why all things that the Father hath are the things of Christ. Or, wherein appears the beauty of this disposal of all things.
1. Herein appears beauty and wisdom, that the right and property of no party is lost or alienated. When Christ says, "All that the Father hath are mine," the Father's right is not alienated. When, among men, an inheritance is conveyed from one to another, then the conveyer denudes himself of his right; and the other only can say, All is mine; but it is not so here; when Christ says, "All things that the Father hath are mine," he grants that God the Father hath all things; and yet he asserts his own title and possession also, they are all mine; yea, when God gives Christ, and all things to us, he still keeps his right to all that he gives, "All things are yours, and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's," 1 Cor. 3:22, 23. Thus what the Father gives into Christ's hand remains still in the Father's hand; "And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father which gave them me is greater than all, and none is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one," John 10:28,29,30.
2. Herein appears beauty and wisdom, namely, in the fitness of the great Trustee to whom all things that the Father hath are committed, that he who is the centre of the glorious Trinity (so to speak) the middle person should be the centre of all things. O sirs, how fit is it that all things should move toward their centre, and meet there! That he should be the Mediator betwixt God and man, the central place of meeting, where God and man, might have all things common betwixt them; and that he might gather together in one, all things in Christ, hath which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in him! Ephes. 1:10. All things good and bad, may be said to be given to Christ's management; all good things are put in his hand to be secured; and all bad things put under his feet to be over-ruled for the glory of God, and the good of his people. None but Christ was capable of such a trust: no mere creature among men or angels were able to bear this glory. It is he that shall build the temple of the Lord, and bear the glory, Zech. 6:13. None but he was capable to be the general receiver of all things that the Father hath and the disposer and dispenser of all things.
3. Herein appears beauty and wisdom, that in this dispensation the pleasure of all parties is consulted; even the pleasure of all the persons of the glorious Trinity; it pleased the Father that in him all fulness should dwell, Col. 1:19. The word Father there is a supplement, and not in the original; therefore, this work of reposing all things, all fulness in Christ may be looked upon as not only the work of the Father, but the work of the whole glorious Trinity; it pleased the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, that in Christ as Mediator, all fulness should dwell: the Father proposed, the Son accepted, the Holy Ghost consented, that in him all fullness should dwell: this was done with rapturous pleasure. It pleased the Father to propose it; for he says, "I have laid help upon one that is mighty;" and, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased." It pleased the Son to accept: for he says, "Lo! I come: in the volume of thy book it is written of me I delight to do thy will, O my God!" It pleased the Holy Ghost to consent; for he rested upon Christ and furnished him for all his work; "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he hath anointed me," Isa. 61:1. This unspeakable pleasure is expressed, Isa. 42:1, "Behold my Servant, whom I uphold; mine Elect in whom my soul delighteth," &c. Also, Prov. 8:30,31, "I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him," &c. As God consulted his own pleasure herein so the pleasure of all the redeemed, whose eyes are opened to see the glory of this method of salvation: how does it fill them with joy unspeakable and full of glory, that in Christ they have all things!
4. Herein appears beauty and wisdom, that in this dispensation. The credit and honour of all concerned is consulted: for,
(a.) Here God hath consulted the credit and honour of his own majesty and greatness, in putting all things in the hand of the second Adam, and not transacting any more with man immediately in his own person, now when turned a rebel to his crown and dignity, by transacting immediately with Christ, a person of equal dignity with himself, and giving out all things through him to us. Thus we are taught to keep at a due distance from this infinitely glorious Sovereign, and to come and receive blessings, not immediately from God, but by the hand of Christ the Mediator, who saith, "I am the way; no man cometh to the Father, but by me."
(b.) He consulted the credit of his name, and of all his other glorious excellencies: the credit of his broken law: how it might not only be fulfilled, but magnified to the utmost; the credit of his offended justice; how it might be not only satisfied, but glorified to the highest. Why, infinite Wisdom knew that there was nothing that the violated law or injured attributes of God could demand, for the reparation of their honour, but what the sinner's Surety, having all things, could answer with ease and to infinite satisfaction. The Creditor well knew that the Surety was not only creditable, but responsible and able to pay all the debt, but mighty to save, mighty to satisfy, mighty to give all the infinite satisfaction demanded; insomuch, that mercy to sinners goes forth without prejudice to justice; and the attributes of God seemingly inconsistent, harmoniously meet in Christ. "Mercy and truth met together, righteousness and peace kissed each other;" whereupon God pardons and justifies, so as not only to be merciful but even just in justifying the ungodly.
(c.) He hath herein consulted the credit of his Son, Christ Jesus, who thus is honoured with a name above every name; all things being his, not only to furnish him for his mediatorial service, but also to reward him for it; because "He became obedient to death, even the death of the cross; wherefore God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name," Phil. 2:9. He is honoured with a goodly train and a crowded court of supplicants; all things that the Father hath being his, that the gathering of the people might be to him for supply, and that revenues of praise might be given him to eternity. Yea,
4. Herein is consulted the credit as well as the profit of all the redeemed. God never honoured the church and people of God, nor advanced them to a higher dignity, than by making over to Christ an universal plenitude, as Head of the body the church; and every believer may say, my Head, my Husband, my Lord, hath all things that the Father hath; and this is the honour of all the saints, they have all things in Christ; and he is made of God unto them, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, redemption, and all things, that he that glorieth may glory in the Lord.
V. The fifth and last thing promised was, To make application. If it be so, That our Lord Jesus Christ, as Mediator, is possessed of all things that the Father hath; then hence,
1. It is most proper to infer, what our Lord Jesus himself demonstrates by it, namely, that there is good reason why the Holy Spirit, by taking and shewing the things of Christ doth glorify him: even because all things that the Father hath are his. The things of Christ are glorious things: why? 1. They are the things of the Father, the things of God. Yea, 2. They are all things; nothing is lacking in our Lord Jesus Christ. 3. They are all things that the Father actually hath; they are actually his. They are all mine, saith Christ; and therefore, when the Spirit takes of mine and shews it to you, it cannot but glorify me, and shew my glory; because, if the things of the Father be glorious things, then mine are so; for, "All things that the Father hath are mine."
It is remarkable in the context, that every thing here that the Spirit is said to do, when he comes to enlighten the world, is done by a demonstrative light and by an evident, clear demonstration; when he shall convince the world of sin how does he it? Even by this demonstration, "Because they believe not in me;" this will above all things reveal and demonstrate the world's sin and enmity against God, when he convinceth them of unbelief, or of their not believing in me, but rejecting this greatest instance of divine love, "He will convince of righteousness;" how? Even by this demonstration, that "I have gone to the Father; for, this shews, that God is well-pleased with this righteousness of mine, otherwise I would not have been received thus into the Father's embraces, and to sit in the midst of the throne. He will convince of judgment; how? Even by this demonstration, that the prince of this world is judged; I have by death destroyed him that had the power over death, and execute judgment in person upon enemies; therefore, judgment shall be brought forth into victory in behalf of all his people. And now again, He shall glorify me, says Christ. How? And by what demonstration? Why, He shall take of mine and shew it to you. Well, how will this demonstrate my glory? Why, the argument shineth with demonstrative light, "All things that the Father hath are mine; therefore said I unto you, he shall receive of mine and shew it unto you;" where our Lord, by doubling the expression, declares what way the Spirit demonstrates his glory; for, whenever the Spirit takes and shews any thing of Christ to us, then he lets in a ray and beam of the Father's glory; because all things that the Father hath are mine, and mine are his, therefore it is impossible when he shews my glory and glorifies me, but the glory of God the Father must shine in with it.
2. If all the things the Father hath are his, then the Father's Spirit is his. He is God equal with the Father; and the Spirit of God is the Spirit of Christ, and the Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of God. The Father's Spirit is his, not only naturally, as God; but donatively, as Mediator; and he hath the giving of the Spirit unto men in his power; for, "When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and received gifts for men; and he gave gifts to men," Eph. 4:8; and he still hath the giving of the Spirit in his hand. The Father says, "I have put my Spirit upon him, and he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles; he shall bring forth judgment unto truth, and set judgment in the earth; and the isles shall wait for his law," Isa. 42:1,3,4. Hence he says, "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, for he hath anointed me." And he having "received gifts for men, even for the rebellious;" see by what authority we go about such solemn work, and execute our ministerial service; why, all the gifts and graces of the Father's Spirit are his to be communicated to us; and therefore as he had power and authority to promise the Spirit, saying, "If I go, I will send him, and he shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and shew it unto you:" so he hath the power and authority to accomplish his promise. His power is equally the same this day, as it was when he first gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; and, I hope, he is to this day giving and sealing our commission; for he that said, "All things that the Father hath are mine, and, All power in heaven and earth is given unto me," said with the same breath, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations; and lo I am with you always."
It is therefore in his name, that says, "All things that the Father hath are mine, and in his authority, we execute this commission: and who are the men upon earth, or angels in heaven, that dare take upon them to say it is unlawful; or dare upon any new pretences, and new inventions of their own head, assume the power of counteracting his orders? No power or authority did our Lord ever give to the eminent apostles themselves, but what was for edification, and not for destruction: and what a humbling and astonishing providence is it, that any who bear the name of saints and servants of Christ, should be left of God to such amazing madness and distraction, as to assume to themselves a power for destruction, a power to commit sacrilege and robbery upon the sacred offices of ministers and elders; a power of shutting the door that he hath opened! Who alone hath authority to open and shut, and who alone can say, "I have the key of the house of David, that openeth and none shutteth;" of these keys, the keys of the kingdom of heaven, no man can say, they are mine to give and take; yea, no angel dare say, they are mine; but glory, glory to him whose prerogative alone it is to say, "All things that the Father hath are mine." As to the dear Brethren, who are left to arrogate such unlawful power to themselves? The worst thing I shall say of them, is, in the Spirit of meekness, what Christ said once to his disciples, "They know not what Spirit they are of." ****
But to return to what I was saying. The Spirit of Christ is the Father's Spirit, and indeed a fatherly and friendly, not a furious nor violent spirit; "Thus saith the Lord, Fury is not in me;" and it is by this Spirit he seals the commission that he gives to the gospel minister; we read, John 20:22, that, "The Lord Jesus breathed on his disciples, and said to them, Receive ye the holy Ghost." We pretend to no new revelation of the Spirit, or such extraordinary effusions thereof, as the apostles had; but, yet, what we have heard and seen, we may declare unto you, that you may have fellowship with us in the same Spirit. I hope I can say, even since the time, I began to think upon this text, that now and then, the Lord hath breathed upon my soul; and may I not hope, since I began to speak upon it, he hath been breathing upon you? Yea, what do I know, but he is breathing upon some here, and saying, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost!" For, as all things that the Father hath are mine, so all the gifts, and graces, and influences of the Father's Spirit are mine to give out to you: therefore, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost;" and so far as this takes place in any measure, so far is he sealing our ministry; let men tear it, and trample on it at their peril.
3. See wherein it is, that the real personal glory of Christ, as Mediator, lies; and what is requisite for his declarative glory. His personal glory lies in this that all things that the Father hath are his; and that this glory may be declared, he manifests these things, and communicates them by his Spirit. It is not possible he can keep all these things to himself, and give out nothing; no: it stands upon his honour and credit as Mediator, and the church's Treasurer to give out of that treasure of grace and fulness that is laid up in him for our behalf. Here is a door of hope for sinners, that Christ, as a faithful Trustee, must give out of his grace to make his people willing and to bring them to himself; John 10:16, "Other sheep I have that are not of this fold, these (Gentiles, as well as Jews), I must bring, and they shall hear my voice:" them I must bring. "He must needs go through Samaria," we are told, John 4:4. Why, for what end? It was even to give out of his grace to a poor harlot, a vile sinful woman there; even so, I hope, he must needs go through this congregation to-day, to give out of that store of all things, and of all fulness, which he hath for the sake of some poor vile sinner here. As there was a blessed necessity for his suffering at Jerusalem; yea, Luke 24:26, "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?" Even so, there is a blessed necessity for his applying the virtue of his death and sufferings, by pouring out of his Spirit, and communicating of his fulness.
The context here shews, that his glory and honour stands upon this, and his Father's glory too, that the Spirit be sent to show his treasures; which are both the Father's and his. Christ is not proud of his treasures; see how high, and yet how humble our Lord Jesus is, so as not to think it below him to stoop and distribute thereof among poor beggars. Unbelief says, O will he ever stoop down and wash such a leper as I, when he is so eminently and so infinitely glorious as to have all things that the Father hath? Yea, but his grandeur and glory does not make him disdainful and lordly; "Jesus knowing that all things were given him, he stooped down and washed his disciples feet," John 13:3. O sirs, it is strange! That a man, that hath nothing, is most proud; but he that hath all things is most humble: and because he is so highly exalted, therefore he stoops to wash polluted sinners, saying, "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part in me." He is exalted for this very end, to pardon and purge guilty polluted sinners; "Him hath God exalted to be a prince and a Saviour, to give repentance and remission of sins to Israel," Acts 5:31. It is no disparagement to his exalted state for him to stoop down and wash your feet, and wash your heart: and this is the way he washeth, by giving pardon and repentance. He knows, the lower he stoops, the higher will he be honoured in the hearts of his people. Do you think the less of him, O believer, that he stoops and condescends to wash you? No; you think the higher of him. O sinner, do not through unbelief think him too high to look towards you; nay, the higher he is the lower doth he stoop; and, therefore, the higher you conceive he is, the more hope you may conceive of his pity and favour towards you; and the more divine store you see he hath, the more let your expectation arise, for faith hath the more footing.
4. Hence see, how the infinite wisdom of God hath outwitted the policy of the devil, the old serpent, in robbing the first Adam of all his stock, and thereby thinking to destroy all mankind; but, behold, the second Adam appears with a stock incomparably greater than that which the first Adam lost! It was a dismal thing to hear such sad news upon the breach and violation of the old covenant. Behold, all things that man had are lost! But Christ, the new covenant Head, comes in with glad news: Behold, all things that God hath are mine! O happy change of Adams! Happy change of covenants, and covenant Heads! O what a well furnished Saviour is here! All things are mine. And, O how well is it secured in the hands both of the Father and of the Son: for, "All things that the Father hath are mine!" And, O how fully and divinely glorious is the treasure! What can be more full and extensive than all things? And what more divine than all the things of God? These glorious things, that could never have been seen otherwise, even all the glory of God, to be seen in the face and person of Christ, who is the Father's representative, not in some things, but in all things here is all the glory of God represented, 2 Cor. 3:18.
5. Hence see, what a great lack it is to lack Christ; for then they lack all things. Oh! the miserable case of the wicked, ungodly, Christless world; they are cursed in the lack of all things: they need all things that God hath, while they are without Christ; without him ordinances are nothing but an empty shell; the sacramental supper, without Christ, is but an empty table; sermons without Christ are but an empty sound; heaven without Christ would be but darkness, and if the Lamb were not the light of the place. But, on the other hand, what a great thing must it be to have Christ? For, they that have him, have all things, Rom. 8:31. When God gives Christ, he cannot but with him freely give us all things; all things that Christ hath, and all things that the Father hath. O how happy are believers! "All things are yours; for, ye are Christ's and Christ is God's:" you have wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, and all things in Christ: it is easy with Christ to supply all your needs, and to give you all-sufficiency in all things, 2 Cor. 9:8. O what a well-furnished table is the Lord's table, when the Lord himself is presented upon it! There is an overflowing ocean of all good in Christ for sinners, infinitely exceeding all our sins and all our needs; it is unbelief that doth diminish and limit the fulness of Christ; it reveals a multitude of sins and deficiencies, but it conceals and overlooks the treasure of grace and fulness of all things, that are in Christ. But passing other inferences, at present,
6. Hence see the duty of all poor and needy sinners, and where they ought to go for supply, and for a share of all things they need and what a broad foundation for faith is here. God in Christ is the fountain of living waters. God the Father hath all things but how we come at them? Why, says Christ, come to me: for they are all mine; mine to give out, mine to distribute among poor needy sinners. Here is enough both to excite and direct your faith.
(1.) To move and excite faith. O may the Spirit come for this end. See that whatever you can object here is answered.
(a.) Do you think with yourself, Ah! I am universally destitute; I have nothing? Well, but here is all things; and they are all mine, says Christ; therefore come to me. But,
(b.) Do you think that God is displeased with you, because of your sin; and that the Father of Christ hath no favour for you? Nay, but the fulness here exhibited, is the fulness of God the Father; even ALL the things that the Father hath. But,
(c.) Do you think, O the Father is far away from me! How can I have all things that the Father hath? It is answered, They are all laid up in the hands of a near friend and kinsman; they are all mine, says Christ, for your use. But,
(d.) Do you think, Alas! I hear of these glorious things, but I do not see them; I am blind and in the dark, so as I cannot see any of these all things that Christ and his Father hath? Well, but says Christ; My Spirit is at hand to receive of mine, and shew it unto you: and thus to glorify me: he would not glorify me, if he did not shew it unto you. But now, in so far as he is shewing it to you, he is glorifying me, by making me appear glorious to you, more glorious than all the mountains of prey.
The Spirit shews this glory of Christ just in this glass of the word, 2 Cor. 3:18. And if he be shewing it to you, surely you must be moved to believe with application, that when Christ hath so much, you shall not lack; and that he hath enough to spare unto you. Is it possible to believe his immense fulness, and that he hath all things, and yet hath nothing to spare for you? Nay, let faith say it is for me, for me: "He received gifts for men, even for the rebellious." O sirs, as the fulness of the Godhead is in him; so, if there were ten thousand millions of worlds, Christ could not be pinched to supply all their needs. Here is the well of life; but who knows how deep it is to the bottom? The due consideration of this might provoke all the world to come and draw water out of this well of salvation with joy, this fountain opened for you.
(2.) Here is enough to direct your faith, in and by the same topics that are here before you in the text,
(a.) Remember where all things are to be had; and that therefore, if you would believe, you must remember, that faith to believe in the Son of God is to be had where all other things are. Faith is the gift of God; and Christ is the Author of faith; therefore, seek not to bring faith out of your own bowels; for, as faith comes by hearing, so nothing but the power of God can produce it effectually; that is, by the gospel's coming, not in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost. This power works secretly and silently upon the heart in hearing, when, perhaps, the person little knows that it is the power of God that is dealing with his heart; when yet, while the Spirit is in the word, shewing the things of Christ, there may be a heart-beating towards him: a heart-bleeding, a heart-bursting, a heart-burning towards him: and possibly, the heart that was hard like a rock, now melting like water before the Lord; yea, under this drawing power of the Spirit, there may be heart-panting after the Lord, and yet the poor soul, perhaps, doth not know that the power of God is present. This faith cometh not by working or doing, or forcing yourselves up to some strong actings: but it comes by hearing: the actings of faith come by hearing of the object of faith presented in the word, and by hearing what the Spirit says of his glory.
Why then do you stand poring over your lack of power to act faith, as if you were to pull it out of your own breast? You will be nearer to your purpose, if you pore over the object of faith, wherein all things are. The soul, in believing, considers not, What can I do, but What can Christ do? Not, What have I in me, but, what hath Christ in him? It is taken up with nothing but Christ; and it is the best act of faith that loses itself, and is swallowed up in his fulness.
(b.) The next direction to your faith, is, Let the claim of right that Christ hath to all things that the Father hath, be your claim. Christ is the first receiver of all things from the Father; and we can receive nothing but through his hand. We have no claim to any thing that the Father hath, but in him whom the Father loveth, and to whom he hath given all things; they must be his before they can be ours. All is mine first, says Christ, before ever you can share; and they are mine, that they may be yours: my mediatorial right to them is on your account: his love falls upon me, that it may descend upon you; his blessing lights upon me, that it may light on you; his Spirit is given to me, and put upon me, that it may be put upon you; his fulness dwelleth in me, that out of my fulness ye may receive, and grace for grace; his promise lights upon me, that it may be accomplished to you: Psalm 2:9, Rev. 2:27. Therefore, let your claim of right to any thing the Father hath, be grounded on my right; for, "All things that the Father hath are mine." He is your God, because he is my God; and your Father, because he is my Father; he is yours, because he is mine; and all things the Father hath are yours, because they are mine; all things are yours: for ye are Christ's and Christ is God's. God's kindness toward us is only through Christ, Eph. 2:7. We are blessed with all spiritual blessings only in Christ, Eph. 1:3; and accepted only in the Beloved, verse 6.
(c.) The third direction to your faith is, O let faith take the testimony of Christ out of his own mouth concerning his own glory, which is here wrapped into the very midst of the Father's glory! "All things that the Father hath are mine," Christ, the Mediator, is the speaker here: and as he declares, to his Father's praise and honour, that all things he hath for us are originally the Fathers, even that God, who so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son, &c., so he proclaims his own glory that he hath from the Father: "All things that the Father hath are mine." We need not commend Christ to you, as if we could say more than he says himself; there is ten thousand times more in this very word, than men or angels can tell: therefore, O hear his commendation out of his own mouth, "All things that the Father hath are mine." He says, elsewhere, "Come to me, and I will give you rest." Why? What rest? What happiness? What good things? Even all things that the Father hath, they are put in my hand to give. Christ himself is here the preacher, commending himself, and offering himself. O sirs, is there none here hearkening to him, and saying, O! "It is the voice of my Beloved; behold he cometh, skipping on the mountains, and leaping on the hills? It is the voice of my Beloved, saying, Rise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for, lo the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;" the heavy shower of the Father's wrath for your sins, hath fallen on my head, and now all the treasures of the Father's grace and love are put into my hand and will you not come to me? Rise, my love, my fair one, you shall be fair in my sight, though in yourself a vile monster, and black like hell, by lying among the pots of sin and guilt; yet, rise at my call; let your heart rise, let your soul rise: "Rise, my love, my fair one, and come away: all things are ready, come to the marriage." If you intend to come to the marriage supper, come first to the marriage. All things are ready for you, whatever you lack; pardon, and peace, and grace, and glory, and every good thing; "All things that the Father hath are mine;" and, "I that speak unto you am he;" and, "To you, O men, do I call; my voice is to the sons of men. If any man thirst let him come to me and drink." Come and drink abundantly of all things that your souls stand in need of: only come to me, and then drink. The Father hath put the cup of salvation in my hand: come then, and take a large drink of wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, redemption, and all things that the eternal God hath; for, "All things that the Father hath are mine." A large drink of the Spirit is to be had here. See John 7:37.
(d.) The last direction I offer to your faith is, O! Would you take this testimony of Christ. Then receive it in the demonstration of the Spirit, who is come to glorify Christ. Look for the anointing that teaches all things; the Spirit takes and shews them to you. All the glorious things that are spoken of Christ will be tasteless, till the spirit give you a taste of them. But, O sirs, have you not now ground to expect the Spirit, when he that hath all things that the Father hath, hath said, "He shall come, he shall glorify me, he shall receive of mine, and shew it unto you;" and again, "He shall receive of mine, and shew it unto you?" And, O! is he not this day shewing you, that the things of God are the things of Christ, and the things of Christ the things of God? Yea, so far as he hath shewn you that all things that the Father hath are Christ's so far hath he glorified Christ, and made all the glory of God to appear in his face. If you have heard what Christ says of himself, you have heard what the Spirit says; and, O! The voice of the dove agrees in one with the voice of Christ. That is the turtle dove that rests upon Christ; and when the voice of the turtle dove is heard, it is another argument by which Christ courts his bride: "Rise, my love, my fair one, and come away; the voice of the turtle is heard in our land," Song 2:10-13. The voice of the turtle is again heard in Dunfermline; the Spirit is come to glorify Christ, by making the words of Christ sound in our ears "All things that the Father hath are mine."
QUEST. How shall I know, if I have believed what Christ here says, and what the Spirit shews; for, I think I am yet brutish in my knowledge; I think I know nothing of this mysterious glory, how all things that the Father hath are his; I think I have no right notion or understanding herein?
In answer hereto, read and consider Jer. 26:7, "I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the Lord; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people: for they shall return to me with their whole heart." Whence you may see, that the promise is not here of a head-knowledge, but of heart knowledge; for many learned heads, that have had very high notions, and lofty speculations, are lying in the bottom of hell: but, though you have not a head to know, yet have you got a heart to know the Lord; a heart desire to know him, such is many learned rabbis never had. And, though you cannot boast of knowing what a Lord he is (for his glory is infinitely great above the language of men and angels;) yet have you got a heart to know that he is the Lord? Not what he is, but that he is the Lord of lords, and King of kings; that he is such a Lord as commands your heart, and is drawing your heart to him, and away from all your lusts and idols, so as you are returning to him with the whole heart? Then he is so far enlightening your minds in the knowledge of his glory, in having all things that the Father hath is to he giving you what is vastly better than a head to know, even a heart to know him that he is the Lord, a heart-burning desire to know him.
Yea, says he, I give you a heart to know me, that I am the Lord, that I am thy Lord; therefore worship thou me; for, "All things that the Father hath are mine;" all his power and glory, dominion, and authority is mine; and all his treasures and unsearchable riches are mine; and now that thou hast got a heart to know me, thou art mine too. I have given thee a heart to know me, to love, and fear, and adore me; you never had such a heart by nature; it was a heart full of enmity against me, and my Father too; but yet my Father had a heart toward thee, a heart-love to thee; and as all things that he hath are mine; so his heart-love is mine, and he gave it to me, that I might give it to you, and declare it by my Spirit; and I open his heart to thee in his own words, "I have loved thee, with an everlasting love, and with loving-kindness have I drawn thee."
Tell me, soul, Dost thou now believe? And in a way of believing, welcome the Father's Sent, saying, "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord;" and that cometh loaded with all spiritual blessings; yet with all things that the Father hath? And dost thou welcome the Comforter, that is sent to glorify Christ, by taking of his things and shewing them to you and making the light of the knowledge of the glory of God shine into your hearts? Then surely our glorious Lord is welcoming you to his table, saying, "Rise my love, my fair one, and come away." Whatever be your needs, my Father hath let me lack for nothing. Do you need life or light, or strength, or pardon, or grace? Let all your necessities be upon me; for, "All things that the Father hath are mine."
We are now to set about the work of commemorating the love of Christ in giving himself a sacrifice to satisfy justice for our sins; and to remember the love of God in Christ, in whom is treasured up all things that the Father hath to dispense to poor sinners. Here is a feast of fat things to us; but, though it be presented on the gospel-table to all sinners that hear the gospel, yet it is presented on the communion-table, only to believers and friends, who alone are capable of communion with him in all these things which the, Father hath intrusted him with.
Therefore, I must debar enemies, who evidence themselves to be so, by their continuing to be impenitent breakers of God's commands, &c.
But, on the other hand, I do, in the same name and authority, invite to the table of the Lord, all believers, and lovers of our Lord Jesus Christ, even though they have been formerly of the black catalogue I have mentioned; if, upon a view of the glory of Christ, they are brought to abhor themselves, and repent in dust and ashes. All who are brought to believe, that all things the Father hath are Christ's and to be joyfully content that they should be humbled to nothing, and that Christ should be all things to them; and particularly, as made of God to them, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. Are you taking with your name, folly, and guilt, and sin, and misery; and yet would willingly give Christ the honour of his name, as made of God to you these opposite remedies, viz., wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption? Are you taking with your vile name, saying, "Truth, Lord, I am a dog;" yet, with the dogs, wanting to eat of the crumbs that fall from the Master's table? Are you taking with your name, Nothing Nothing? Saying, I am nothing but sin, I have nothing but sin, I can do nothing but sin, I deserve nothing but hell and wrath; and yet for all this my heart leaps within me for joy, to think, of Christ's being all things to me, and having all things that the Father hath? Are you content to be nothing, that Christ may be all things to you? And to be worse than nothing, that Christ may be better than all things to you? Is that the frame of soul you are in, or have been in this day? Then, O come to his table, and share of all things that he hath.
Have you got the faith of this glorious truth that proceeded out of the mouth of Christ, "All things that the Father hath are mine?" And have you therein seen his glory? If so, then, 1. You have seen the glory of Christ, as the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. And hence, 2. You have seen Christ's treasure to be very great and extensive; no less than all things that can render you happy for ever. 3. You have seen the store and treasure he hath, to be divine and excellent things; to be the things of God the Father. 4. You have seen Christ's interest and the Father's twisted together; and hence have seen the things of Christ to be the things of God; and the things of God to be the things of Christ; the blood of Christ to be the blood of God: the righteousness of Christ to be the righteousness of God, the words of Christ to be the words of God; and the fullness of Christ to be the fulness of God. 5. You have seen that though you have nothing, yet he hath enough to spare for you; that in your Father's house there is bread enough and to spare. If you thought there was nothing to spare for you, it would flow from this unbelieving thought that there is not bread enough, fulness enough in Christ; for, if you believe there is bread enough in him then you will believe there is to spare also; and hence, have you not seen that your present, chief, and only good lies here? And do you boast of this as enough, and glory in Christ; for, "In him shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory." 6. Do you value and highly prize the Anointing that teacheth all things; and highly prize the Spirit's work in glorifying Christ by taking of his and shewing it to you? And are you glad of every glance of his glory that the Spririt gives you in the word of grace; and in so far is he gives you a heart to know him, a heart's desire after him, and a heart's delight in him? O have you got some glance of a glorious Trinity in this text; and of the joint concern each person thereof hath according to the distinct economy of the glorious Three-one God, in carrying on this work of redemption avid salvation? And are you well-pleased with this scheme as most honouable to God, and profitable to you? Hath any thing like this been formerly or presently your heart-ravishing exercise? Then, O man, woman, thou art greatly beloved; Christ is here himself inviting you to his table, and saying, "Rise, my love, my fair one, and come away," resting on me for all things for, "All things that the Father hath are mine."
Now, believer, you are set down to a feast of fat things, a feast of great and glorious things. The Master of the feast, who is the matter of it, is saying, "All things that the Father hath are mine;" and they are mine for you; all my Father's; treasures are mine; and all my treasures are for you; and I am sent of the Father to give all to you, to give his love to you which he gave to me: see John 17:23, 26. I am sent with the word of salvation to you; and am sent with the cup of salvation, and the bread of life to you.
"Our Lord Jesus Christ, the same night wherein he was betrayed, took bread," &c. O my friends, remember that as all things that God hath are Christ's, so all things that Christ hath are God's. This bread here sacramentally representing the broken body of Christ, is the bread of God; 1 John 3:16. "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us," that sin and guilt being expiated, and justice being satisfied, a opportunity might be made for all things that the Father had to communicate unto you.
"After the same manner also, after supper, he took the cup," &c. Now, all things that God the Father hath all the fruits of the love of God in Christ, are in this cup of blessings. You are now getting the seal of the covenant of promise, and you may be sure that the covenant is well ordered in all things, seeing that all things the Father hath are his, and committed to his management; therefore, all things, however heavy and trying, shall be well ordered. All the children shall have this to say in the issue of all their troubles, that "He hath done all things well." It is unbelief that says O! This and that is an ill-ordered providence, an ill-ordered trial. Tarry a little, till faith look up and see that Christ hath the management of it, and you will see therein infinite wisdom and holiness, truth and faithfulness. And in the faith of all being in Christ's hand, by the Father's appointment, you will have ground to say, O well ordered temptation, that hath thus tended to humble me; well ordered tribulation, that made me seek and take rest in God only as my hiding place; well ordered oppression that I met with, which, through grace, made me to run to him who is a refuge for the oppressed; well ordered chastisement, that hath sent me to my heavenly Father; well ordered losses and crosses, that have contributed to win my heart, and made Christ precious to me; well ordered desertion, that embittered sin to me, which separated between God and my soul, and made God's presence more precious to me than ever; well ordered victory, that sin and Satan got over me, that tended to fill my soul with holy revenge against sin; and made me set the power of heaven against the power of hell, and the power of Christ against the power of sin; well ordered disappointment I met with at such a time, that made me know that God is a sovereign to be waited on, and not limited to my time; well ordered calumny and reproach cast upon my name, that made me to seek to have my name perfumed with the savour of Christ's name, which is as ointment poured forth, and made me see how I was honoured to have some conformity to Christ who was most innocent, yet most reproached; and even to glory in the cross of Christ, and reckon the reproach of Christ greater riches than all the treasures of Egypt; for I have found, that when I have been reproached for the name of Christ, the Spirit of God and of glory hath rested on me; O well ordered providence, that hath dried up the streams of creature comforts, and worldly enjoyments, that I might betake myself to the fountain of consolation; well-ordered dispensation, that friends and brethren turned their backs upon me; for, "When all men forsook me, the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me;" and, "I was not alone, for the Father was with me;" O well ordered weakness and fainting, under such and such a shaking and sinking providence, that made me run to that name of the Lord as a strong tower, the God who gives power to the faint, and to them that have no might he increaseth strength; for, "The Creator of the ends of the earth fainteth not, neither is weary; there is no searching of his understanding." The covenant being well ordered in all things, makes even the greatest extremity to be well ordered, for making the Lord's appearing at such a time to be the more wonderful and welcome; and all because Christ hath all things that the Father hath and the ordering of all providences, and will make all work together for good to them that love him.
You may be sure that all things that God hath promised will be accomplished; for, "The promises are all Yea and Amen in Christ." You may be sure that all things whatsoever you ask believingly, you shall receive, John 14:13, 14, and chap. 16:23.
Here is a never failing fountain of joy and comfort to you, though
all things else should fail you; though flesh and heart should
fail you; though the good frame you have should fail you; though
ministers and people should fall you, yet God will fail you never;
for, "He will be the strength of your heart, and your portion
for ever." All things that you have, and that creatures have,
may fail, because all flesh is grass; but the all things that
the Father hath cannot fail you, because Christ is possessed of
them; he has said, they are all mine.
Now, O believer, improve the doctrine delivered out of Christ's mouth, saying, "All things that the Father hath are mine;" and therein see the new covenant and the superiority of the second Adam to the first; we have all things in the second Adam to greater advantage than ever we could have had, if the stock had remained in the hands of the first Adam. Why, we have all things in Christ.
1. More gloriously, he being the glorious God, the brightness of the Father's glory: hence the new covenant ministration is said to exceed in glory, 2 Cor. 3:9, and the gospel is called the glorious gospel; because therein the glory of God shines more brightly than ever it did under the law, or could have done in the first covenant.
2. In Christ we have all things more abundantly, John 10:10. "He came to give life, and to give it more abundantly;" he came to give grace, and to give it more abundantly; he came to give glory, and to give it more abundantly; he came to give obedience to the law more abundantly, even to magnify the law; to give satisfaction to justice more abundantly; to give satisfaction to all the attributes of God more abundantly than could have been done any other way.
3. In Christ we have all things more safely, all the stock being so well secured in his hand; the bonds of provision being all sealed with his blood; for, all the promises of God are so many bonds and obligations faith hath to rely upon; they are all Yea and Amen in Christ Jesus to the glory of God, 2 Cor. 1:20.
4. In Christ we have all things more comfortably. This is the comfort as well as the honour of all the saints, that now their store is lodged in the hand of the Father's Beloved, and their Beloved; in whom God is well pleased, and they are well pleased; and that their supply runs in such a sweet channel; for, thus "We enjoy God, through Jesus Christ, by whom we have received the atonement," Rom. 5:11.
5. In Christ we have all things more wonderfully, to the surprise and admiration of men and angels. Christ's name is wonderful to all the rational world, that are enlightened in the knowledge of him; "Great is the mystery of godliness." Angels desire to look into it; and new scenes of wonder will open out of this contrivance of infinite wisdom to all eternity.
6. In Christ we have all things more durably; I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever," Psalm 89:2. The covenant of grace and mercy is an everlasting covenant; it stands fast in Christ. The covenant of works was properly betwixt God and man, like a bridge over a river, the one end built with firm stone, the other of fading clay, and so the weak end fell down; and there is no passing to heaven by any such bridge: by any such covenant: Such is the Arminian's covenant, that makes God's will one end of it, and man's free will another; but no wonder that the weak end fall down, and there be no passage that way. But the covenant of grace is better ordered, and better built; it is made betwixt God and Christ, two divine and everlasting persons; therefore, "Mercy shall be built up for ever." If it be asked, What is our part of the covenant? Indeed we make no part of the bridge at all; we are only called by faith to pass along by this bridge; this faith is properly no part of the bridge itself, but a taking the bridge, when, in a day of power, we are persuaded to take it; that is, to embrace Christ and receive him, and then to walk in him; and so to walk along the bridge till we come to heaven, and thus to live a life of faith and gospel obedience.
7. In Christ we have all things more freely. As the new covenant bridge is firm, so it is free to all passengers. At some bridges there is money to pay before you be allowed to pass; but there is none here; whosoever will, may come and pass. But the old covenant bridge is still the old price; it requires more money of personal obedience, to the law than you are able to give it; whereas the new covenant bridge is such a free passage that it requires less money than you are willing to give, Isaiah, 55:1,2,3, till God, by a work of humiliation let you see your empty purse, and make you willing to be saved by free grace, and content to be obliged to Christ for all things and that because all things that the Father hath are his. You that have a full purse, and are rich and increased in goods, and stand in need of nothing, valuing yourselves upon your good hearts, your good duties, your good endeavours and meanings, your privileges, performances, and attainments, you mistake if you expect passage for your money by the old bridge of the covenant of works; know, that you and your money will perish; that bridge will fail you; for "By the deeds of the law no flesh can be justified, All your righteousness are as filthy rags;" you will fall into the gulf of wrath. But, for you that are poor, miserable, wretched, blind, and naked, having no money, no grace, no good qualifications that you can see, which indeed is the case with all, though all have not their eyes open to see it; here is a good passage to you, free passage; and the poorer you come, the welcomer. As Christ hath laid himself like a bridge over the gulf of God's wrath and terrible justice, over which we may pass to the enjoyment of God; so, he hath all things provided for the poorest passenger. Christ is the way to the Father; and there is no fear of lack of provision for them that take this way; for, "All things that the Father hath are his."
8. In Christ we have all things more honourably; and this is the honour of all the saints, that Christ is their all; and that of God they are in Christ Jesus, who of God also is made unto them, wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption, and all things. Here is divine plenty and variety; for, in him, as a Prophet, they have all things necessary for their instruction and illumination; in him, is a Priest, they have all things necessary for their justification; in him as a King, all things needful for their sanctification; in him, as a Physician, they have all things needful for their healing; in him, as a Surety, they have all things necessary for paying their debt in him, as a Treasurer, all things necessary for supplying their needs; in him, is a Counsellor, all things necessary for their direction in him, is a Commander, all things necessary for their protection in him, as in everlasting Father, all things necessary for their everlasting provision. Here, indeed, is royal provision, and honourable accommodations. Nothing is wanting where all things are; and surely, if you be a gospel believer, who are a hearer of these glad tidings, you will not be standing on dishonourable terms with God. It were dishonourable to a great man to offer money for a free feast, to which he invites his guests; how dishonourable to the great God is it to stand upon terms and conditions with him? He stands upon no terms with us who have nothing, when he invites us to come and share of all things freely.
God stood upon terms with the Surety, Jesus Christ; terms honourable to law and justice, viz., perfect obedience and complete satisfaction; but now Christ having fulfilled these terms, to the honour of law and justice, therefore God stands now upon no terms with the sinner, but allows him to come freely to him to whom he that given all things. This is, indeed, an honourable way; more honour comes to God this way than any other, and more to the poor soul that comes to live upon this glorious and honourable steward, that saith, "All things that the Father hath are mine."
Again, hence let all believers learn to lay all things they need over against the all things that Christ hath; when you think on your guiltiness, look to Christ's righteousness, and lay this over against that; when you apprehend your weakness, then apprehend Christ's strength, and lay this over against that; when you consider your emptiness, consider Christ's fulness, and lay this over against that. Study Christ and your condition together; for, if you study your condition without studying Christ, then you will be full of despair and discouragement; and if you study Christ, without studying your condition, then you will be filled with pride and presumption. If you be ignorant, think upon Christ as a Prophet; if guilty, now think upon Christ as a Priest; if enslaved, now study him as a King; Christ hath titles suited to your condition; therefore lay his titles and your condition together. It is remarkable that all the epistles to the seven churches of Asia begin with some title of Christ suited to the condition of that church; for example, his title to the church of Smyrna, Rev. 2:8, is, "The first and the last, that was dead and is alive;" why so? Because they were to suffer hard things, and were called to be faithful unto death, and so on; he shews that he hath titles suited to every case. Thus, set you his names and titles that suit your condition, just over against it, and assure Yourselves that Christ will make good his titles that he is clothed with; if the title be, "The Lord is my shepherd," then I may assure myself, "I shall not want," Psalm 23:1. Thus do you; when you find distress among the saints, then remember his title, "The King of Saints;" when there is a disorder among the nations, remember his title, "The King of nations;" when you find darkness overspreading your souls, remember his title, "I am the Light of the world;" when you find death and deadness taking place, remember his title, "I am the resurrection and the life;" when you are reproached, troubled, and oppressed, remember his title that he is a "Refuge in time of trouble, a present help." Know that as Christ and the promise is yours, in the gospel-offer and publication, to be believed in, and rested upon; so, Christ is so far yours in possession, as you through grace improve him, and rest upon him; and the promise is so far yours in possession, as you improve it, and rest upon it. Thus you may be possessed of all things.
Again, hence learn how groundless the complaints of believers are when they complain of things they lack. Whatever you lack, yet still look to him, and you will see you lack nothing. Do you say, Alas! I lack such and such a near relation? Why, do you complain as long as you have such a relation as Christ living? Will you say, I miss a dear child? Is he not better to you than ten children? Do you want a father as long as your everlasting Father remains? Yea, here is comfort enough even in the case of parting with all things in the world; you may say joyfully, Farewell passing shadows and empty nothings, and welcome Jesus who hath all things that the Father hath, and who invites me to the everlasting enjoyment thereof. Let no extreme difficulty discourage you, and make you think, Oh! it is impossible relief can now come; What? Are not all things possible to him that hath all things in his hand? Yea, "All things are possible to him that believeth;" and it is possible for you to do all things through Christ strengthening you, even to overleap the highest walls, to break bows of steel in pieces, and wade through the deepest fords in your way. "What ailed thee, O sea! that thou fleddest? and thou Jordan, that thou wast driven back? Tremble thou earth at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob."
O believer! Let him that hath all things the Father hath be all things to you; let him be the all of your knowledge, saying with Paul, "I desire to know nothing but Christ, and him crucified;" what, Paul, was you not acquaint with the heathen poets, and all the learning of your age? True; but I count all dung for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ; in knowing him I know all things. Let Christ be the all of your desire, saying, "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none on earth that I desire beside thee, Psalm 73:25. One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple," Psalm 27:4. This is my salvation and all my desire. Let him be the all of your love and delight; let him be the all of your esteem, the all of your joy, the all of your glory, the all of your life, and the all of your trust and confidence.
Again, O believer, hold your claim to all things only in him who hath "All things that the Father hath;" and reckon yourself sure of nothing but what you have in him. What claim have you to the promises, but in him in whom they are all, Yea, and Amen? What claim to pardon of sin, but only in his blood? What claim have you to a comfortable life, but in him who is the Consolation of Israel? What claim to a happy death, but in him who hath the keys of hell and of death? What claim to a blessed resurrection, but in him who is the resurrection and the life, and is risen as the first fruits of them that sleep? what claim to everlasting life, but in him who is the true God and eternal life. "The gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord." What claim have you to God as your God and Father, but in him who says, "I ascend to my Father, and your Father; to my God, and your God?" As a sound believer will hold his claim to all things only in Christ; so, he will reckon himself sure of nothing but what lip, hath in Christ. What you have in the world you are not sure of for a day nor a moment; what you have in your own hand may quickly be lost, whether they are temporal or spiritual enjoyments; flesh, and heart, and frames, and comforts, and all may fail you; but of all things you have in Christ, you may well reckon yourself sure; they are as safe in his hand as in his Father's, for he and his Father are one, John 10:28,29,30.
The great promise of the new covenant is, "I will be thy God;" this promise comprehends all things that God hath to give, and all things we need to make us happy for time and eternity. But if the question be, How shall this promise be made good to us? We are to remember that this new covenant promise is made first to Christ, the seed of the woman, spoken of in Gen. 3:15, and who is called the seed of Abraham, Gen. 22:18, "In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed;" this is distinctly explained of Christ, Gal. 3:16, "Now to Abraham and to his seed were the promises made. He says not, And to seeds, as of many, but as of one, and to thy seed, that is Christ." Now, the promises being all made to Christ primarily, this promise, "I will be thy God," lights first upon him as Mediator, and he claims it, according as it is said, Psalm 89:26, "Thou art my Father; he shall cry, thou art my God alone;" he claimed it when hanging upon the cross, with an "ELI, ELI, My God, my God;" he claimed it when mounting "I ascend to my Father, and your Father; to my God, the throne, and your God." It is therefore evident how God becomes our God, according to that promise, "I will be thy God;" we are to look upon it as a promise made first to Christ. our glorious Mediator and exalted Head; if it did not go to him first, it could not belong to us; God and all things that he hath are his; and in him, God and all things that he hath come to be ours, who believe in him; and who believe so as to receive his testimony that he gives of himself, saying, "All things that the Father hath are mine."
But if the next question be, How are all things that Christ hath made ours? We answer, By manifestation and communication, as the context shews; "All things that the Father hath are mine;" that is, either, 1. Mine to give you a sight of them by manifestation; or, 2. Mine to give you a share of them by communication; or, 3. Mine to give you both a sight and share by manifesting and communicating them. "For this end the Spirit shall be sent to glorify me, by receiving of mine and shewing it to you."
Hence see reason to hearken to Christ's voice, when he comes to open and reveal the Father's treasures, and dispense them to us. The Father hath said of him, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him;" why then, let us hear what he says; and, 1. What says he of his Father? namely, That the Father hath all things; yea, but what is that to us? The Father is not our Redeemer; he did not take on our nature; he did not become our kinsman. Well, but 2. What says he of HIMSELF? "All things that the Father hath are mine;" and therefore you have a concern in them, a relation to them, and a right to claim them as your own; in him whom the Father hath given to be a covenant of the people, the light of the Gentiles, and to be wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption; a Prophet, Priest, King, and all to you.
Our Lord speaks here of all things the Father hath as his, not essentially, by nature, as he is God; for thus he and his Father are one; but economically, by office, as he is Mediator; for thus, he is the Father's Servant and Commissioner, to come and reveal and dispense all his treasures that he hath to give out to us, and that we as creatures are capable of receiving and enjoying; more particularly when he says, "All things that the Father hath are mine."
(1.) He says the Father himself is mine; he is my Father, and my God; and this I came to tell you, that in me you may see him to be your Father, and your God, and hear him saying, as Jer. 3:43 "Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My Father?" It is in Christ that he issues out that first command, "Thou shalt have no other God before me;" but know and acknowledge him to be the Lord your God and Redeemer. Thus, by the hand of Christ, God reveals and manifests himself to us as our God and Father; this includes all things else that can be said; all things he hath are mine, because he himself is mine; and this uncovering opens your right to him as your God and Father too, because of your right to me; and you have such a right to me by virtue of my being the Father's gift to you, that you must claim me as your own; "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believed on him, might not perish, but have everlasting life. My Father gives you the true bread," to be used as your own; and if you reject it, you reject your own mercy, as the Jews did, of whom it is said, "He came to his own, and his own received him not;" and in rejecting him, they reject the Father, and all things that Christ and his Father had to give unto them; when Christ says, the Father himself is my God and Father, then he reveals and dispenses to us the claim we have to the Father as our God and Father; he is mine, and therefore yours who receive me; "All things are yours, whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come, all are yours, and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's," 1 Cor. 3:22,23. But,
(2.) And more particularly, as the Father is mine, so, "All things that the Father hath are mine;" and here is also a field to travel through, which to all eternity we can never come to the end of. Besides what I have formerly offered, there are some particulars I would mention, which we may gather from the word. What then are the particular things the Father hath, which Christ speaks of, saying, They are mine to reveal and dispense to the children of men? The sum of them is,
The Father's mind is mine to reveal and disclose unto you; and, indeed, God's mind is himself, and when his mind is told he himself is declared, see John 1:182 "No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." The Father's mind is his bosom, and Christ was and for ever is in the Father's bosom, and he hath declared him; not only as a Prophet declaring the mind of God, but as the heavens declare the glory of God; Christ is not only a great Prophet to teach, but a bright Heaven to declare the Father's mind; for he is the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his person. When therefore he says, "All things that the Father hath are mine, he says, the Father's mind is mine to reveal and dispense to you.
QUEST. What are the special things in the Father's mind, that are in Christ's commission also, to reveal and dispense?
ANSW. Many things of this sort doth Christ declare in this sermon to his disciples, from chap. 14 to the end of this chapter. I will name five or six.
1. It was the Father's mind that Christ should tell us of a resting-place from heart trouble, even in this world; and that this resting-place is not an absolute God, but a God in Christ. John 14:1, "Let not your heart be troubled, ye believe in God, believe also in me;" and that thus and thus only, you will get rest to your hearts, in God even by me; for, "No man cometh to the Father but by me." It was my Father's mind, that I should come and bring you to God; for, as it is said, 1 Pet. 3:18, "Christ also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God;" Rev. 5:9, "Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood; Let not your heart be troubled, then, ye believe in God, believe also in me, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation;" and in whom God hath found rest and satisfaction to his justice, that ye may rest safe where God rests, even in me.
2. It was the Father's mind that Christ should tell us of a resting-place in the world to come, after all our troubles in this world are at an end; therefore he says, John 14:2,3, "In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; I go to prepare a place for you; and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also." It was the Father's mind that Christ had to reveal and dispense to us, to shew us how we might enter into rest here, from all heart trouble; for, "He that believeth hath entered into his rest;" and to shew us what a blessed rest remains for the people of God at the end of time. It was the Father's mind that Christ should tell of his Father's house, which was to be their everlasting home; and that their everlasting rest was to be with him and his Father there.
3. It was the Father's mind that Christ should come and tell us we were to have the Father's ear whenever we should apply to the throne of grace; "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it," John 14:13,14. It says, we should never lack errands to come to God withal, but yet come when we would in the name of Christ, we should have his ear open to our suits, as the hearer of prayer, and the answerer of requests.
4. It was the Father's mind that Christ should tell us of the blessed Comforter, John 14; his name and abode with us, ver. 16,17,18; his attendants, namely, the Father and the Son, verse 23; his offices, ver. 26, 15:26, 16:8,9,10,14, 15; all shewing how he was to confirm and comfort them. Again, among the mysteries of the Father's mind,
5. It was the Father's mind that Christ should come and shew his disciples the proper and needful purgatory he designed to bring them through; not the anti-christian purgatory, after this life; for there is no word of this in the sacred oracles; but the Christian purgatory is three-fold; the first is, the bloody purgatory of the blood of Christ, that cleanseth from all sin. The second is, the fiery purgatory of the Spirit of Christ, and his operations, compared to fire. The third is, the crying and pruning purgatory of the cross. All these, but especially the last, seem to be spoke of by our Lord here, John 15:2, "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit." There are two things in this world that he makes use of for trying, purging, and purifying his disciples; and it is part of his Father's mind to tell them of this; there is, 1. The world's hatred, John 15:18, 19, "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." 2. The world's rage, John 16:2, They shall put you out of the synagogues; yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think he doth God service, &c. It was his mind to tell them the worst as well as the best.
6. It was the Father's mind that Christ should come and publish the Father's peace, and his peace to them amidst all their tribulations, see and compare John 14:27 with 16:33. It is another sort of peace than that of the world, which is a sinful and carnal peace, whereas this is holy; that is a crazy, brittle peace, whereas this is abiding; that, an outward peace from outward things; this, from inward and spiritual things; that, outward objectively; this, inward subjectively, solid heart peace, Phil. 4:7, the peace of God; that a peace that is soon off, indeed; but this, like that in Psalm 119:165, "Great peace have they that love thy law, and nothing shall offend them." Lovers of the truth are least liable to offence; many take offence where none is given; thus Christ himself was a stone of stumbling, and rock of offence; he was to the Jews a stumbling-block; they were offended at his person and doctrine; "Because I said, except you eat my flesh, and drink my blood, you cannot have life, &c. Doth this offend you?" When men are offended at the word of God, it argues little love to the word; for, "Great peace have they that love thy word, and nothing shall offend them." This divine peace is the part of the mind of God that Christ hath to reveal to his disciples. God is the God of peace; and all things that God hath, Christ hath to give; therefore says, "My peace I leave to you: in me ye shall have peace."
I shall only add a word in general to all. Let none go away from this occasion, complaining, and saying, There was nothing to spare for them; for, behold, before you go, I will give you something that is worth a thousand worlds, and that is an offer of Christ, and all things in him that can make your soul happy for ever, even all the unsearchable riches of Christ; he is courting you, and commending himself to you, in these words, "All things that the Father hath are mine:" there is therefore nothing to hinder your matching and marrying with the Son of God; "All things are ready, come to the marriage, Matt. 22:4. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things to him," and hath made him wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, redemption, and all things for your use, that you may receive and welcome him: he lacks nothing, for he hath all things ready: and if you say, you are not ready, for you lack all things; you lack faith, repentance love, and every grace; your lack is no excuse, but a reason why you must come to him for all things you lack; you will never share of them nor find them, but where they are; if you come not to him, you must lack for ever, and live and die cursed in the lack of all things. O may your ears be opened to hear the voice of Christ, saying, "Come to me: whosoever will let him come, and take the waters of life freely:" that is, of all good things that I have to give; for, "All things that the Father hath are mine."
The beautiful harmony that had subsisted from the
commencement of the Secession amongst the Associate Brethren,
was, by this time obstructed, by the rupture which had taken place
in the Associate Synod, in April, 1746, concerning the religious
clause in some burgess oaths. Though we will have occasion afterwards,
where our Author speaks more full and clear to this point, to
lay it open; yet, for understanding this passage, it may be proper
to observe, That when the sinfulness of the religious clause was
condemned by a small majority of a thin meeting at the conclusion
of the Synod, in April, 1746, yet the full Synod which met in
April, 1747, proposed, "Whether the decision concerning the
religious clause in some burgess oaths, in April, 1746, should
now, or afterwards, be made a term of ministerial and Christian
communion, aye, and until the making the same to be so, shall
be referred, by way of overture, unto Presbyteries and Kirk-Sessions,
in order to their giving their judgment thereanent, &c., or
not?" This vote being carried in the negative, the party
condemning the religious clause as sinful, immediately withdrew
themselves from the Synod, and next day constitute[d] themselves
upon a new foundation, suddenly calling themselves the Synod,
and the only Synod; and enacted, "That all Presbyteries,
Kirk Sessions, and Communities in the Association, were subject
to them; and that all Courts, whether Presbyteries, or Sessions,
that were not subordinate to them, were unlawful Courts; and that
all Ministers and Elders, who were not subject to them, had lost
the keys of the kingdom of heaven:" and thus materially suspending
and deposing all Ministers and Elders from their sacred offices,
who could not yield subjection to their authority. It is this
piece of their conduct our Author here alludes to.Back
Index to Ralph Erskine
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