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to every possible instance of professional apostacy, that ever was, and ever can be alleged, the following remark of St. John will always hold true: They went out from us [i. e. they passed, during a time, for true believers], but they were not of us; for, if they had been of us, they would, no doubt, have continued with us, 1 John ii. 9.
II. The nature of their defection is pointed out. 1. They crucify saurois, (a) within themselves, the Son of God afresh: i. e. they, as it were, act the crucifixion of Christ over again, in their own minds, and by word of mouth; forasmuch as they inwardly approve, and outwardly justify and applaud, the treatment which Jesus met with. They blasphemously style the Lord of glory an impostor; and make his murder, in some sense, their own act and deed, by horridly thinking, and declaring, that he was deservedly put to death. In so doing, they,
(2.) Put him, so far as in them lies, to open shame.No wonder that it should be pronounced humanly impossible to renew, or restore again to church-communion, and to repentance, such worse than infernal wretches; to whom, in all probability, is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.
(a) Vide Millium.
ECCL. vii. 16.
"Be not righteous overmuch, neither make thyself overwise, why shouldest thou destroy thyself?"
THE carnal Jews, being ignorant of God's righteousness, went about to establish their own: and, from a supposition that they must appear before God in their legal garments, they fasted, prayed, and even scourged themselves, to make their imaginary righteousness more complete. The above austerities being carried on with such rigour, as threatened ultimate injury to the health of the self-righteous ascetics; and Solomon, knowing that bodily exercise, legally performed, would profit them nothing; advised them not to carry their misguided zeal too far, to so little purpose: Be not righteous overmuch.
Moreover, as their wisdom (being from beneath, and contrary to the wisdom of God, which reveals the glorious righteousness of our adorable Saviour) had a strong tendency to make them lose sight of salvation by the Messiah alone, to swell them with self-conceit, and fire their imagination with undue opinion of their own excellence; the sacred writer, thoroughly aware of the tremendous consequences, which must follow on a final persistence in delusion like this, adds, neither make thyself overwise. As if he had said: "By carnal wisdom, ye can never know God. It only makes you more fit for hell. And, whatever others may do, my son, be thou
better instructed; for why shouldst thou destroy thyself, by setting up thy own righteousness in opposition to the merits of Christ; and thy own fancies in opposition to the way of justification planned and revealed by God?"
I doubt not it will be readily allowed, that there is no danger of our being too righteous, in a gospel sense; nor of our having too much of that wisdom which maketh wise unto salvation.
1 COR. XV. 28.
"And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him; that God may be all in all."
THOSE Words are of unspeakable importance. Much, very much indeed, depends on a right understanding of them. Here let it be observed,
1. That the Son of God, as such, is and must be God, or a person in the divine nature. "Unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God," &c.; Heb. i. 8. -"The Son of God was manifested;" is the same with, "God was manifested in the flesh:" 1 John iii. 8. and 1 Tim. iii. 16.-Certain it is, that the eternal Deity, of the second person in the Trinity, results necessarily and solely from his eternal Sonship, or from his having been everlastingly begotten of the Father in the same infinite and undivided
2. The Son of God, as such, cannot possibly be inferior to the Father. There can be no difference, and consequently no inequality of nature, between them. Even among men, a son is as much a human being, as his father: and, surely, the uncreated and eternally begotten Son of the Father Almighty is, and must be, as truly a divine being, as the Father who begat him.
3. We are expressly assured, that the throne of God the Son is for ever and ever, Heb. i. 8. And that, even considering him, not in his divine and essential character, as Son of the Father; but view
ing him in his human, economical, and assumed character, as man and mediator, he shall reign over the house of Jacob [or the elect "church of God] for ever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end," Isa. ix. 7. Luke i. 33.
4. It follows, from the above premises, that when we read of a future period, in which the Son also himself shall be subject [zolanoslar, shall be subordinate, or shall act in subserviency] to the Father; it cannot be understood of him, as man and mediator: for, in those capacities, he did from the first, and to this moment does, act "subjectively, subordinately, and subserviently," to the Father's will and designs, John iv. 30. and vi. 38.
5. Consequently, the future subordination, or subserviency, spoken of in this text, must be some voluntary act of surrender and acknowledgment, which (not the man Christ Jesus, but which) the co-eternal and co-equal Son of God will make to the Father, when the whole number of the elect shall be gathered in.
6. What act of subserviency, or of acknowledgment and surrender, will the Son then make? The apostle tells us: "He shall deliver "He shall deliver up the kingdom to God, even to the Father." What kingdom? Not his essential royalty, as God with God: for that is inseparable from each of the three divine persons. Nor his presidency over the church, as her head and mediator: for that relation is indissoluble, and he will ever shine as the first-born among many brethren. But I take the kingdom to consist of that innumerable company, whose names were written in heaven; and which, when their numerical fulness is completed, the Son of God, who graciously consented to become the Son of man for their sakes, will present in one entire and glorified body to the Father. Thus God will then be all in all: i. e. the Son will say to the Father, and to the holy Spirit, "Our covenant designs are now completely fulfilled.