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nothing to Christ's name: his name is a worthy name ; and there is no man that gives up his name as a shield to Christ, but shall thereby secure and increase its true honor.
FIRST BRANCH OF CHRIST'S PROPHETICAL OFFICE.
REVELATION OF THE WILL OF GOD.
"A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren,
like unto me: him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.”— Acts, 3:22.
Having shown the solemn preparations, both by the Father and the Son, for the blessed design of reconciling us by the meritorious mediation of Christ, and taken a general view of the nature of his mediation, I proceed to show how he executes it in the discharge of his blessėd offices of Prophet, Priest, and King.
His prophetical office consists of two parts: one external, consisting in a true and full revelation of the will of God to men, according to John, 17:6," I have manifested thy name to the men thou gavest me.” The other in illuminating the mind, and opening the heart to receive and embrace that doctrine. The first part is contained in the words before us: "A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up," &c.
These are the words of Moses, recorded Deut. 18: 15, and here, by Peter, pertinently applied to Christ, to convince the incredulous Jews that he is the true and only Messiah, and the great prophet of the church, whose doctrine it was highly dangerous to contemn, though uttered by such humble individuals as were himself and John. And it is well observed by Calvin, he singles out this testimony of Moses, rather than any other, because of the great esteem they had for Moses, and his writings, beyond any others. In these words Christ, in his prophetical office, is described; and obedience to him, as such a Prophet, is strictly enjoined.
1. We have a description of Christ in his prophetical office; "A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethen, like unto me.”
"A Prophet,” the Prince of the prophets, or the great and chief Shepherd, as he is styled, Heb. 13: 20; 1 Pe. ter, 5: 4. It belongs to a prophet to expound the law, declare the will of God, and foretell things to come. All these meet, and that in a singular and eminent manner, in Christ our Prophet. Matt. 5 : 21, &c.; John, 1:18; 1 Peter, 1:11.
"A Prophet like unto Moses," who typified and prefigured him. But is it not said of Moses, in Deut. 34 : 10, " that there arose not a prophet since in Israel, like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face ?" True, of mere men there never arose so great a prophet in Israel as Moses, either in respect to his familiarity with God, or his miracles which he wrought in the power of God: but Moses himself was but a star to this sun. However, in these following particulars Christ was like him: He was a prophet that went between God and the people, carried God's mind to them, and returned theirs to God, they not being able to hear the voice of God immediately: "According to all that thou desiredst of the Lord thy God in Horeb, in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not again hear the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.” Deut. 18 : 16. And upon this their request, God makes the promise which is cited in the text; " They have well spoken that which they have spoken: I will raise them up a Prophet like unto thee," &c. ver.
17, 18. Moses was a very faithful prophet, precisely faithful, and exact in all things that God gave him in charge, even to a pin of the tabernacle. "Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken aster; but Christ as a Son over his own house.” Heb. 3 : 5, 6. Again, Moses confirmed his doctrine by miracles, which he wrought in the presence, and to the conviction of gainsayers. Herein Christ our Prophet is also like unto Moses, who wrought many mighty miracles, which could not be denied, and by them confirmed the Gospel which he preached. Lastly, Moses was that prophet which brought God's Israel out of literal Egypt, and Christ his out of spiritual Egypt, whereof that bondage was a figure.
He is also described by the stock and original, from which, according to his flesh, he sprang : "I will raise him up
from among thy brethren. Of Israel, as concerning the flesh, Christ came.” Rom. 9:5. And " it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah.” Heb. 7: 14. He honored that nation by his nativity. Thus the great Prophet is described.
2. Here is a strict injunction of obedience to this Prophet, "Him shall ye hear in all things.” By hearing, understand obedience. So words of sense are frequently used in Scripture to signify those affections that are awakened through the senses.
This obedience is required to be yielded to this Prophet only, and universally, and under great penalties. It is true, we are commanded to obey the voice of his ministers. Heb. 13:17. But still it is Christ speaking by them whom we obey : "He that heareth you, heareth me.” We obey them in the Lord, that is, as commanding or forbidding in Christ's name and authority. So when God said, " Thou shalt serve him,” Deut. 6 : 13; Christ expounds it exclusively, "Him only shalt thou serve.” Matt. 4 : 10.
He is the only Lord, Jude 4, and therefore to him only our obedience is required. And as it is due to him only, so to him universally ; " Him shall ye hear in all things :" his commands are to be obeyed, not disputed. Christians are indeed to judge whether what is spoken be the will of Christ. We must "prove what is that holy, good, and acceptable will." Rom. 12 : 2. "His sheep hear his voice, and a stranger they will not follow: they know his voice, but know not the voice of strangers.” John, 10 :4, 5. But when his will is understood and known, we have no liberty of choice, but are bound by it, be the duty commanded ever so difficult, or the sin forbidden ever so tempting: and this is also required under penalty of being destroyed from among the people, and of God's requiring it at our hands, Deut. 18, that is, avenging himself in the destruction of the disobedient. Hence, Jesus Christ is called and appointed by God to be the great
Prophet and Teacher of the Church. He is " anointed to preach good tidings to the meek,” and sent to bind up the broken-hearted.” Isa. 61:1. When he came to preach the Gospel among the people, then was this Scripture fulfilled, " Yea, all things are delivered him of his Father; so that no man knoweth who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.” Matt. 11:27. All light is now col. lected into one body of light, the Sun of righteousness; and he "enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world." John, 1:9. And though he dispensed knowledge variously, in times past, speaking in many ways and di. vers manners to the fathers, yet now the method and way of revealing the will of God to us is fixed and settled in Christ : in these last times he "hath spoken to us by his Son." Twice hath the Lord solemnly sealed him to this office, or approved and owned him in it by a miraculous voice from the most excellent glory. Matt. 3 : 17, and Matt. 17 : 5
Here we are called to consider what Christ's being a Prophet to the church implies, and how he executes and discharges this his office.
I. What is implied in Christ's being a Prophet to the church.
1. The natural ignorance and blindness of men in the things of God. The world is involved in darkness: the people sit as in the region and shadow of death till Christ arise upon their souls. Matt. 4 : 15–17. It is true, in the state of innocency man had a clear apprehension of the will of God without a Mediator ; but now that light is quenched in the corruption of nature, "and the natural man receiveth not the things of God.” 1 Cor, 2 : 14. These things of God are not only contrary to corrupt and carnal reason, but they are also above right reason. Grace indeed useth nature, but nature can do nothing without grace. The mind of a natural man has not only a native blindness, by reason whereof it cannot discern the things of the Spirit, but also a natural enmity, Rom. 8:7, and it hates the light, John, 3: 19, 20. So that until the mind be healed and enlightened by Jesus Christ, the natural faculties can no more discern the things of the Spirit, than the sensitive faculty can discern the things of reason. The mysteries of nature may be discovered by the light of nature ; but when it comes to supernatural mysteries, there, as Cyprian somewhere speaks, the most subtle, searching, penetrating reason is at a loss.
2. It implies the Divinity of Christ, and proves him to be true God; forasmuch as no other can reveal to the world, in all ages, the secrets that lay hid in the heart of God, and that with such convincing evidence and authority. He brought his doctrine from the bosom of his Father ; " The only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath revealed him.” John, 1: 18. The same words which his Father gave him he hath