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Duty of Living and Walking in the Holy Spirit: Conclusion

Book Sixth

CONCLUSION.

Adam became a living soul when God breathed into him the breath of life:[1] and from that time, the process of breathing is evidence that life exists. Prayer may be regarded as the breathing of the spiritual man. Sufficient proof was given that Saul of Tarsus had been converted, when the Lord said, “Behold, he prayeth.”[2] True prayer proceeds from the Holy Spirit, imparting spiritual life, and enkindling those spiritual desires which find their vent in prayer. These desires are breathed into the bosom of God, in the exercise of filial confidence in him; and, being in accordance with the will of God,[3] they are regarded by him with favor, and obtain answers of grace and peace.

From this view of prayer, we may see the propriety of the Apostle’s injunction: “Pray without ceasing.”[4] The cessation of prayer would be the cessation of spiritual life. A form of words may not be incessantly used; but spiritual desires must ever have place in the heart; and the habit must ever exist, of looking to God for the fulfilment of these desires. This constant intercourse with God is the life of faith. We live with him, converse with him, and enjoy communion with him, through the Holy Spirit which dwelleth in us.

We often complain that our prayers are not answered; but it would be profitable to inquire, what those unanswered petitions were. Did we ask for wealth, power, and long life? If so, our desires were carnal, and did not proceed from the Spirit of God. We must learn to regulate our desires by the will of God, and our prayers will be sure to obtain a gracious hearing.

Sincere prayer begins with the very commencement of spiritual life. An infant’s cries express its wants, before it knows how to express them in words; and the tender mother will understand this inarticulate language. So the desires of the spiritual infant may be signified by “groanings which cannot be uttered:”[5] but the Lord understands these groans, and knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, who maketh intercession for them. As the lamb in the bosom of the kind shepherd; as the babe on the breast of its tender mother; so the spiritual babe reposes on the bosom of eternal love; and in that bosom breathes all its desires.

Spiritual life, evidenced at first by the breathing of prayer, is afterwards indicated by spiritual growth. To be spiritual, we must not ever remain babes in religion. Paul said to the Corinthians, “I could not speak unto you, as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.”[6] Spiritual life is progressive, and tends to make us men, strong men in Christ Jesus. The truth of God supplies the milk for babes, and the strong meat for those who have attained to greater age.[7] We have been engaged in the study of this truth; and it will be well for us to inquire whether our spiritual life has been nourished by it, and whether we are growing in faith, and love, and every grace. Unless the truth strengthens the inner man, and gives increased vigor in the Christian life, our study of it has been in vain.

[1] Gen. ii. 7.

[2] Acts ix. 11.

[3] Rom. viii. 27.

[4] 1 Thess. v. 17.

[5] Rom. viii. 26.

[6] 1 Cor. iii. 1.

[7] 1 Pet. ii. 2; Heb. v. 12.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

Duty of Living and Walking in the Holy Spirit: Office of the Holy Spirit- Book Sixth- Chapter 3

Book Sixth

CHAPTER III.

OFFICE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

THE HOLY SPIRIT IS THE SANCTIFIER AND COMFORTER OF GOD’S PEOPLE.[1]

The Holy Spirit is the author of holiness in all those who are saved: “Through sanctification of the Spirit.”[2] “Ye are washed, ye are sanctified by the Spirit of our God.”[3] He is the author of the new or spiritual life which is produced in regeneration.[4] Not only the beginning of the new life, but its whole progress, is dependent on the Spirit: wherefore, believers are said to live in the Spirit,[5] to walk in the Spirit, to be led by the Spirit,[6] and be filled with the Spirit;[7] and, for this reason David prayed, “Take not thy Holy Spirit from me.”[8] As it is his office to change the soul, and from a state of death in trespasses and sins, bring it into a new life, so it is his office to change our vile body, and fashion it like the glorious body of Christ: “He that raised up Jesus from the dead, shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”[9] As both body and spirit are redeemed by Christ, so both body and spirit are changed by the Holy spirit, and fitted for the presence and enjoyment of God.

The Holy Spirit is the Comforter of God’s people. By his teaching, the knowledge of salvation by the remission of sins is obtained. The Saviour promised: “He shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you.”[10] In fulfilment of this promise, the Spirit makes known the sufficiency and suitableness of Christ as Saviour, and the efficacy of his blood to cleanse from sin. By the Holy Spirit the promises of the divine word are applied to the heart. Hence, peace and joy are called the fruit of the Spirit.[11] These spiritual enjoyments, which are a foretaste of heaven, are called “the earnest of the Spirit.”[12] And, as the earnest is given by him, we have reason to conclude that the full possession will be given by him. As Christ will be the medium through which the felicity of the future world will be bestowed; so, the Holy Spirit will be the immediate agent in bestowing it. The first comfort here below, and the full bliss and glory of heaven, are alike his work.

[1] Ps. li. 10-12; Ezek. xxxvi. 27; John xiv. 26; Acts ix. 31; Rom. v. 5; viii. 13, 16, 26; 1 Cor. vi. 11; 2 Cor. i. 22; iii. 18; Gal. v. 22; 2 Thes. ii. 13.

[2] 1 Pet. i. 2.

[3] 1 Cor. vi. 11.

[4] John iii. 6.

[5] Gal. v. 25.

[6] Gal. v. 18.

[7] Eph. v. 18.

[8] Ps. li. 11.

[9] Rom. viii. 11.

[10] John xvi. 15.

[11] Gal. v. 22.

[12] Eph i. 13, 14; 2 Cor. i. 22.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

Duty of Living and Walking in the Holy Spirit: The Divinity of the Holy Spirit- Book Sixth- Chapter 2

Book Sixth

CHAPTER II.

THE DIVINITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

THE HOLY SPIRIT IS GOD.[1]

When we have ascertained that there is a person to whom the name Holy Spirit is applied, we can have little difficulty in arriving at the conclusion that he is a divine person. The following arguments establish this truth.

1. In the commission he is equally included with the Father and the Son, in the name into which we are baptised. If he is not God when we devote ourselves to him in our baptism, we are guilty of idolatry. It is no objection to this argument, that Paul says the Israelites were baptised unto Moses.[2] A formal baptism in the name of Moses is neither affirmed nor intended. An analogy is exhibited between the course of a believer who dedicates himself to Christ in baptism, and the course of the Israelites, who gave themselves up to the guidance of Moses, from the Red Sea to the promised land: but an analogy only is all that is intended. The Corinthians were not baptised in the name of Paul;[3] though it was their duty to follow him as he followed Christ: and the Israelites were not baptised in the name of Moses; though they followed him as their leader. The Angel, in whom the name of God was, went before them, in the pillar of cloud and fire; and Moses, equally with all the rest, followed his guidance, and acknowledged his authority.

2. In the benediction, the Spirit is named, equally with the Father and the Son, and regarded as the source of spiritual blessings. The words may be considered a prayer to the Holy Spirit, for the bestowment of these blessings.

3. When the bodies of believers are called the temple of the Holy Ghost,[4] the deity of the Holy Ghost is recognised. They to whom temples of wood or stone were erected, were regarded as deities: and he to whom the bodies of the saints are temples, must be God. But we are not left to our own inference on this subject. Paul has drawn the conclusion for us: for after having stated that the bodies of the saints are the temples of the Holy Ghost, he speaks of them as belonging to God;[5] and in another place, when speaking of the saints as a temple, he calls the building a “habitation of God through the Spirit.”[6] The same view is presented in 1 Cor. iii. 16: “Know ye not, that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy: for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” So the heathen deities were imagined to dwell in the temples dedicated to them; and so God was in his holy temple at Jerusalem.

4. The heinousness of the sin against the Holy Ghost, is proof of his divinity. When Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Ghost, Peter explained the enormity of their sin in these words: “Thou hast not lied to men, but to God.”[7] To sin against the Holy Ghost, is to sin, not against a creature, but against God. This argument acquires greatly increased force, when we consider the words of Christ: “All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men; but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.[8] Whatever be the reason that renders blasphemy against the Holy Ghost unpardonable, it must include in it that he is God. If he is not God, sin committed against him would be less heinous than that committed against the Father and the Son.

5. Passages of the Old Testament which speak of Jehovah, the Supreme God, are, in the New Testament, applied to the Holy Ghost.[9]

6. The attributes of God are applied, in Scripture, to the Holy Spirit.

Eternity. “Who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God.”[10]

Omnipresence. “Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? and whither shall I flee from thy presence?”[11]

Omniscience. “The Spirit searcheth all things; yea, the deep things of God.”[12]

7. Divine works are ascribed to the Holy Spirit.

Creation. “The Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters.”[13] “By his Spirit he garnished the heavens.[14]

Providence. “Thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created; and thou renewest the face of the earth.”[15]

Miracles. “If I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.”[16] “To another is given the working of miracles by the same Spirit.”[17]

Resurrection of Christ. “Declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.”[18] “Being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.”[19]

Resurrection of believers. “If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”[20]

[1] Matt. xxviii. 19; Heb. ix. 14; Ps. cxxxix. 7; 1 Cor. vi. 19; 2 Cor. vi. 16; Acts v. 3, 4.

[2] 1 Cor. x. 2.

[3] 1 Cor. i. 13.

[4] 1 Cor. vi. 19.

[5] 1 Cor. vi. 20.

[6] Eph. ii. 22.

[7] Acts v. 3, 4.

[8] Matt. xii. 31.

[9] Ex. xvii. 7 compared with Heb. iii. 9; Isaiah vi. 8, with Acts xxviii. 25; Jer. xxxi. 31-34, with Heb. x. 15-17.

[10] Heb. ix. 14.

[11] Ps. cxxxix. 7.

[12] 1 Cor. ii. 10.

[13] Gen. i. 2.

[14] Job xxvi. 13.

[15] Ps. civ. 30.

[16] Matt. xii. 28.

[17] 1 Cor. xii. 10.

[18] Rom. i. 4.

[19] 1 Pet. iii. 18.

[20] Rom. viii. 11.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

Duty of Living and Walking in the Holy Spirit: Personality of the Holy Spirit- Book Sixth- Chapter 1

Book Sixth

CHAPTER I.

PERSONALITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

THE HOLY SPIRIT IS A PERSON, DISTINCT FROM THE FATHER AND THE SON.[1]

The Holy Spirit is a person, and not a mere influence or operation. This may be proved by the following arguments:

1. When Christ promised his coming as another Comforter, the language clearly refers to him as a person: “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter that he may abide with you.”[2] “The Comforter whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you.”[3]

2. Things are, in the Holy Scriptures, attributed to the Holy Spirit, which can be true only of a person: “He divideth to every man severally as he will;”[4] “Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them;”[5] “Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost;”[6] “Grieve not the Holy Spirit.”[7]

3. The commission given to the apostles required them to baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.[8] A mere influence or virtue, could not thus be associated with the Father and the Son; nor would it accord with the language of Scripture, to speak of the name of an influence; or with the analogy of faith, to administer baptism in the name of an influence. In the apostolical benediction, the Holy Spirit is connected, in a similar manner, with the Father and the Son: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all.”[9] In 1 Cor. xii. 4–6, the Holy Spirit is introduced, together with God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, as a personal agent equally with them.

To these arguments, it may be opposed, that the Scriptures frequently use the words Spirit, Holy Spirit, to denote divine influence. But it is very common, in language, for an influence to be designated by the name of the source from which it emanates. We say: “This plant thrives in the shade; that, in the sun;” but by the word sun, we mean, not the body of the luminary, but the light and heat emanating from it. So, when it is said: “He will report that God is in you of a truth,”[10] the general omnipresence of God is not meant; for this is equally true of all persons and places. A peculiar presence, implying special divine influence, is intended. It would be improper to argue from this passage, that God is nothing but an influence; and it is, in the same manner improper to argue that the Holy Spirit is not a person, because the name is used in the Scriptures for the influence which he, as a personal agent, exerts.

The frequency with which the name is used to denote the influence exerted, may perhaps be accounted for, from the fact, that the name is given to the agent, because of his influence. It cannot denote anything peculiar in the nature of the agent; for the first and second persons in the Godhead, are, in their nature, spirit, and holy, as truly as the third. The name must, therefore, be regarded as distinguishing him with reference to his operation. He is called holy, because he is the immediate agent in the production of holiness; and he is called the Spirit, the Spirit of God, because he is the immediate agent in exerting the invisible, life-giving, divine influence which proceeds from God.

The Holy Spirit is distinct from the Father and the Son. The same passages which prove his personality prove this also. He could not be another Comforter, if he were not distinct from the Father. In the commission to baptise, and in the benediction, his personality is not more manifest than the distinction from the Father and the Son, with whom he is named.

[1] Isaiah xlviii. 16; Matt. iii. 16; John xiv. 16, 26; xvi. 7; Acts x. 19, 20; xiii. 2; xv. 28; xx. 28; Eph. iv. 30; Matt. xxviii. 19.

[2] John xiv. 16.

[3] John xiv. 26.

[4] 1 Cor. xii. 11.

[5] Acts xiii. 2.

[6] Acts v. 3.

[7] Eph. iv. 30.

[8] Matt. xxviii. 19.

[9] 2 Cor. xiii. 14.

[10] 1 Cor. xiv. 25.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

Duty of Living and Walking in the Holy Spirit: Introduction- Book Sixth

Book Sixth

INTRODUCTION.

DUTY OF LIVING AND WALKING IN THE HOLY SPIRIT.[1]

We live, move, and have our being in God. His presence is ever with us; and by his power, we are, at every moment, upheld in being, and faculties and powers, from which all movements corporeal or mental, proceed, are preserved in existence and action. Such is our constant and immediate dependence on God. We are, in like manner and degree, dependent on the Holy Spirit, for the existence of spiritual life, and for the faculties and powers necessary to all spiritual action. Our dependence on the Holy Spirit extends still further. The very disposition to holy action, proceeds from the Spirit; and the production of this disposition, is his peculiar work in sanctification. In our natural actions, we live and move in God; in our spiritual actions, we live and walk in the Holy Spirit.

The Scripture representations of our dependence on the Holy Spirit, are full and strong. Our spiritual life comes from him, for it is the spirit that quickeneth;[2] and he is called the Spirit of Life.[3] When the prophet saw the dead bones in the valley, he prayed: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live;”[4] and the spirit of life entered into them. So souls, dead in trespasses and sins, are quickened by the Holy Spirit. And we live in the Holy Spirit as dependent on him for spiritual life, as the body is dependent for animal life on the atmosphere which we breathe. Hence proceed the earnest prayers, that the Holy Spirit may be granted, and may not be taken away.[5] And hence the bestowment of the Holy Spirit is regarded as the giving of all good.[6] The importance of the Holy Spirit’s influence in the exercises of the spiritual life, may be inferred from such passages as the following: “Led by the Spirit;”[7] “Mind the things of the Spirit;”[8] “Filled with the Spirit;”[9] “The Spirit lusteth against the flesh;”[10] “If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live:”[11] “The Spirit helpeth our infirmity:”[12] “Changed into the same image by the Spirit;”[13] “The Spirit beareth witness with our spirits.”[14]

No believer, who has any just sense of his dependence on the Holy Spirit, for the divine life which he enjoys, and all its included blessings, can be indifferent towards the Agent by whom all this good is bestowed. He cannot willingly “grieve the Holy Spirit, by whom he is sealed to the day of redemption.” He will seek to know, in all things, what is the mind of the Spirit; and, to him, the communion of the Holy Spirit will be the sweetest foretaste of heaven, that can be enjoyed on earth. And to him, therefore, the study of the Holy Spirit’s character and office, will be a source of delight.

[1] Gal. v. 25. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

[2] John vi. 63.

[3] Rom. viii. 2.

[4] Ex. xxxvii. 9.

[5] Ps. li. 11, 12.

[6] Compare Matt. vii. 11 with Luke xi. 13.

[7] Gal. v. 18.

[8] Rom. viii. 5.

[9] Eph v. 18.

[10] Gal. v. 17.

[11] Rom. viii. 13.

[12] Rom. viii. 26.

[13] 2 Cor. iii. 18.

[14] Rom. viii. 16.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

Duty of Believing in Jesus Christ: Offices of Christ: Conclusion- Book Fifth

Book Fifth

CONCLUSION

“What think ye of Christ?” We may now, with great propriety, consider this question solemnly addressed to us. We have contemplated the person, states, and offices of Christ. What impression does the contemplation leave in our minds? What emotions has it produced? Have the words of the prophets been fulfilled in our case: “He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him”? Or, can we say, “He is the chief among ten thousands, and altogether lovely”? According as Christ appears in our view, the evidence of our spiritual state is favorable or unfavorable; and by this test, we may try our hope of acceptance through him, and of reigning with him for ever.

In the ordinary experience of mankind, the affections are attracted most strongly by objects near at hand. To the imagination, distance may lend enchantment; but the affections of the heart play around the fireside, and fix their firmest hold on those with whom we converse most familiarly. In accordance with this tendency of our nature, the son of God attracted the hearts of men, by dwelling among them, and exhibiting himself in familiar intercourse with them, and in the endearing relations well known in human society. We see him, as the affectionate brother and friend, weeping in the sorrows of others, and alleviating their sufferings by words and acts of kindness. The tenderness with which, when hanging on the cross, he committed his mother to the care of his beloved disciple, is an example of filial love, which cannot be contemplated with an unmoved heart. In the simple narratives of his life, which have been given for our instruction, we trace his course in his daily walk as a man among men, going about doing good, and the traits of character exhibited in this familiar intercourse, call forth our love. The heavens have now received him out of our sight, but we know that, in fulfillment of his promise, he is always with us; and we are taught to regard him, not only as near at hand, but also as sympathizing with our infirmities, having been tempted in all points as we are. In the humanity of Jesus, we see the loveliness of the divine perfections familiarly and intelligibly exhibited.

It sometimes happens, in the experience of mankind, that persons of extraordinary merit remain for a time in obscurity, and that those who have been most intimate with them have been taken by surprise, when the unsuspected greatness of their character has been disclose. Writers of fiction know how to interest the feelings, by presenting great personages under disguise, and unveiling them at a fit moment, to produce impression. But incidents, infinitely transcending all fiction, are found in the true history of Jesus Christ, in which the concealed majesty of his divinity broke forth, and caused surpassing astonishment. The humble sleeper in the boat on the Lake of Tiberias, comes forth from his slumbers, and stills the raging water; and the beholders of the miracle exclaim: “What manner of man is this?” The weary traveller arrives at Bethany, and claims to be the resurrection and the life, and demonstrates the truth of his claim, by calling the dead Lazarus from the tomb. As a condemned malefactor, he hangs on the cross, and expires with such exhibitions of divinity, that the astonished Roman centurion cried: “Truly this man was the Son of God.” We have contemplated the divinity of Jesus Christ, not merely in these transient outbursts which occurred while he was on earth, but in the full demonstration which has been given since he ascended to heaven, and the impression on our hearts ought to be strong and abiding. The disciples who attended on his personal ministry loved and honored him; but when they saw him ascend to heaven, being more deeply impressed with his divinity, they worshipped him. Let us devoutly join in rendering him divine honor.

We read with interest the history of men who have passed through great changes in their condition, and who, in every condition, have displayed great and noble qualities. But no changes of condition possible to men, can equal those which the Son of God has undergone. Once rich in his original glory, he became so poor that he had not where to lay his head: and from his depth of poverty, he has been exalted to supreme dominion, and made proprietor and ruler of all worlds. Through these changes he has ever exhibited such moral perfections as have been most pleasing to God. In whatever condition we view him, let us delight in him, as did his Father.

The offices which Christ sustains toward us, are such as have been in highest repute among men. Prophets, priests, and kings have always been accounted worthy of honor. We should give the highest honor to Christ, who, as a prophet, is superior to Moses; as a priest, superior to Aaron; and as a king, the Lord of David. These offices, as exercised by Christ, deserve our honor, not only because of their excellence, but also because of their adaptedness to us. We are, by nature, ignorant, guilty, and depraved. As ignorant, we need Christ, the prophet, to teach us; as guilty, we need Christ, the priest, to make atonement for us; and as depraved, we need Christ, the king, to rule over us, and bring all our rebellious passions into subjection. These offices of Christ are also adapted to the graces which distinguish and adorn the Christian character. The chief of these, as enumerated by Paul, are faith, hope, and love; in the exercise of faith, we receive the truth, revealed by Christ, the prophet; in the exercise of hope, we follow Christ, the priest, who has entered into the holiest of all, to appear before God for us; and we submit to Christ, the king, in the exercise of love, which is the fulfilling of the law, the principle and sum of all holy obedience.

In the theology of the ancient Christians, Christ held a central and vital place. If we take away from the epistles of Paul all that is said about Christ, what mutilation shall we make? If, when we have opened anywhere to read, as at 1 Cor. ch. i., we expunge Christ, what have we left? Paul, while in ignorance and unbelief, thought that he did God service, by persecuting Jesus of Nazareth. But when his eyes were opened, to see that the despised Nazarene, whom his nation had crucified, was the Lord of Glory, when he learned that in him are the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, unsearchable riches, and the fulness of grace, the heart of the persecutor was changed, and he became devoted to the service of him whom he had sought to destroy. Henceforth, he counted all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus. Has our knowledge of Christ produced a like effect on us? If our hearts are in unison with that of the great Apostle, we are prepared to say, from the inmost soul, “Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel,” a gospel of which Christ is not the centre and the sum, “let him be accursed.”[1] “If any man love not our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be an anathema maranatha.”[2]

In our investigation of religious truth, we have found four sources of knowledge: our own moral feelings, the moral feelings and judgments of others, the course of nature, and the book of divine revelation. The first three of these can give us no knowledge of Jesus Christ and his great salvation. For this knowledge we are wholly indebted to the Bible. Yet, when we have learned our lost and helpless state by nature, the scheme of salvation which the Bible reveals is so perfectly adapted to our condition, that it brings with it its own evidence of having originated in the wisdom of God.

When Paul preached the gospel of salvation, he know nothing but Jesus Christ, and him crucified. He gloried in nothing, save the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have tarried long in our meditations on the doctrine concerning Jesus Christ; and, before we dismiss the subject, it may be profitable to linger yet a little time at the cross, that we may again survey its glory, and feel its soul-subduing power.

In the cross of Christ, all the divine perfections are gloriously and harmoniously displayed. Infinite love, inviolable truth, and inflexible justice are all seen, in their brightest and most beautifully mingled colors. The heavens declare the glory of God; but the glory of the cross outshines the wonders of the skies. God’s moral perfections are here displayed, which are the highest glory of his character.

The cross of Christ is our only hope of life everlasting. On him who hangs there, our iniquities were laid, and from his wounds flows the blood that cleanses from all sin. Our faith views the bleeding victim, and peacefully relies on the great atoning sacrifice. It views mercy streaming from the cross; and to the cross it comes to obtain every needed blessing.

In the cross, the believer finds the strongest motive to holiness. As we stand before it, and view the exhibition of the Saviour’s love, we resolve to live to him who died for us. The world ceases to charm. We become crucified to the world, and the world crucified to us. Sin appears infinitely hateful. We regard it as the accursed thing which caused the death of our beloved Lord; and we grow strong in the purpose to wage against it an exterminating war. By all the Saviour’s agonies, we vow to have no peace with it for ever. The cross is the place for penitential tears. We look on him whom we have pierced, and mourn. Our hearts bleed at the sight of the bleeding sufferer, murdered by our sins; and we resolve that the murderers shall die. The cross is a holy place, where we learn to be like Christ, to hate sin as he hated it, and to delight in the law of God which was in his heart. In the presence of the cross, we feel that omnipotent grace has hold of our heart; and we surrender to dying love.

The wisdom of man did not devise the wonderful plan of salvation. As well might we suppose that it directed the great Creator, when he spread abroad the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth. But as in the heavens and earth human reason may see the power and wisdom of God, so, to the Christian heart, Christ crucified is the power of God, and the wisdom of God. The doctrine of the cross needs no other demonstration of its divine origin, than its power to sanctify the heart, and bring it into willing and joyful subjection to Christ.

[1] Gal. i. 8.

[2] 1 Cor. xvi. 22.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

Duty of Believing in Jesus Christ: Offices of Christ: King- Book Fifth- Chapter 3- Section 3

Book Fifth

CHAPTER III.

SECTION III.–KING.

JESUS CHRIST, AS THE MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND MEN, EXERCISES KINGLY AUTHORITY OVER ALL CREATURES, TO THE GLORY OF GOD, AND THE GOOD OF HIS PEOPLE.[64]

The superscription which Pilate placed on the cross, was, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” This writing expressed a truth of which its author was not aware. Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah, foretold by the Hebrew prophets, and expected by the nation as the king who would rule over them, and raise them to great prosperity.

The Hebrew word Messiah, to which the Greek word Christ corresponds, signifies the Anointed. When kings and priests were introduced into office among the Israelites, it was usual to anoint them with oil. We have one example, in which a prophet was set apart to his work, by the same ceremony.[65] Jesus was the Anointed, because he sustained all these offices; and, although he was not introduced into either of them, by a literal anointing with oil, he had the unction of the Holy Spirit, of which the literal unction with oil was a type. The words of Isaiah read by him in the synagogue of Nazareth, were applied to himself: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach,”[66] &c. Here the anointing must be understood as referring to his prophetical office. The same reference seems to have been made with taunt and derision by the individual who smote Jesus, and said: “Prophesy, thou Christ, who is he that smote thee?”[67] In this taunt, it was implied, that the Christ was expected to be a prophet. But from the common use of anointing, we are led to refer the term Christ rather to the priestly and kingly offices, with which Jesus was invested. The most common reference, is to his kingly office. He was reported to Pilate, as making himself “Christ, a king.”[68] In expecting their Messiah, the Jews looked for a king, who was to rule over them and deliver them from their enemies. Many of the prophecies concerning the Christ, relate to his reign as king over Israel: and when he, before the Jewish council, claimed to be the Christ, he referred to the future manifestation of his kingly power and glory, “Hereafter shall the Son of Man sit on the right hand of the power of God.”[69]

A proof that Jesus was the promised Messiah, is found in the fact, that the prophecies were fulfilled in him. The time and place of his birth, and the tribe and family from which he was to spring, were particularly foretold; and the events corresponded to the predictions. Many prophecies of events in his life, sufferings, death, burial, and resurrection, were exactly fulfilled. Jesus appealed with confidence to the Scriptures, for proof of his claims: “Search the Scriptures; for they are they that testify of me.”[70]And the apostles said: “To him give all the prophets witness.”[71]

Further proof that Jesus was the Christ, is furnished by the testimony of John the Baptist,[72] by the voice of the Father at his baptism,[73] and at his transfiguration in the mount;[74] by his works, to which he often appealed in proof of his claim; and by his claim before the Jewish council, and before Pilate, and which was sustained by his miracles, and ultimately by his resurrection from the dead.

To all these proofs it may be added, that the Jews have found no other Messiah. They have confidently expected one, and the time for his coming has long passed. Either Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah foretold, or the prophecies were false, and the religion of which they were a part was not from God. Jesus Christ, as the Supreme God, had, of original right, sovereign authority over all creatures. But when the Word was made flesh, he took on him the form of a servant; and, for a time, appeared divested of divine power and glory. But, after having humbled himself, and completed the service for which his humiliation was necessary, it pleased God to reward that service by exalting him to supreme authority over all creatures. “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”[75]

A peculiarity of Christ’s dominion as Mediator, is, that it is exercised by him in human nature. Why it was the pleasure of God to exalt human nature to a dignity so high, it is impossible for us fully to comprehend. We see in it the complete defeat of Satan, the apostate angel, who aimed to bring our inferior nature entirely under his power. He triumphed over the first Adam: but the second Adam has triumphed over him, and will bring him into complete subjection, with all the hostile powers that he has set in array; and will, in the very nature over which Satan triumphed, bring them into subjection under his feet. This dominion over principalities and powers Jesus Christ exercises, with a reference to the good of his people, redeemed from among men. To secure this benefit, the exercise of his dominion in human nature doubtless contributes. The redeemed are one with him, as he is one with the Father. That wonderful prayer is fulfilled, “that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us.”[76] They are admitted to a communion with God, far more intimate and glorious than could otherwise be enjoyed; and are exalted to such honor, that they are said to reign with Christ. This dignity is nowhere ascribed to angels. Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. This exercise of divine authority, through the human nature of Jesus Christ, will manifest the glory of God in its richest displays; and angels and men will here learn, through eternal ages, the perfections of the divine nature, and will for ever admire and adore, with ineffable joy.

Another peculiarity of this dominion, is, that it opens a new dispensation to rebellious men. When the angels, that kept not their first estate, sinned against God, they were driven from his presence, and condemned to hopeless woe. No mediator was provided for them; and no gospel of salvation was ever proclaimed in their ears. Such an administration of divine authority, as gives hope of pardon to offenders, was unknown in the government of the world until man sinned; and this administration constitutes a distinguishing feature of Christ’s mediatorial reign. Hence, he is the Mediator between God and men, and not between God and angels; and hence the Mediator is emphatically called “the man Christ Jesus.”[77] On earth, the Son of Man had power to forgive sins;[78] and in heaven he sits on a throne of grace, to which we are permitted and invited to come, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in every time of need. When God displayed his glory to Moses, and proclaimed his name in the hearing of that favored servant, his forgiving mercy had a conspicuous place in the revelation: “The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long suffering,”[79] &c. so, in heaven, where his full glory is seen, the dispensation of his mercy from the throne of grace on which the exalted Mediator sits, constitutes the most lovely and attractive exhibition of the divine glory that the happy worshippers are permitted to behold.

Of the two peculiarities which have been mentioned as distinguishing the mediatorial dominion of Christ, the first could not exist until the humanity of Christ was exalted to the throne. Then the mediatorial reign, in its full development, commenced, when the Father said, “Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.”[80] But the second peculiarity existed in an incomplete administration of this mediatorial reign, which was exercised from the time of man’s fall. Before the efficacious sacrifice for sin was made, in which the humanity of Christ became its virtue, pardons were bestowed on believers, from the days of Abel. It is now made known to us, that these pardons were engaged, as the surety for sinners, to do the work which he has since performed: and the inquiries of angels, and the faith of Old Testament saints, were all directed forward to the coming of Christ, for explanation of that mysterious dispensation by which rebels obtained mercy.

Jesus Christ is head over all things to the Church. He exercises his supreme authority for the benefit of his people, for whose sake he sanctified himself to undertake the work of mediation. He is head over principalities and powers; and angels honor and obey him, and are sent forth as ministering spirits, to minister to the heirs of salvation. He is Lord over all the earth; and regulates every agent and every event in the world, so that “all things work together for good to them that love God.” If Christ is ours, all things are ours; for all things are in his hands, and he holds them for the benefit of his people.

In the few words which Jesus spoke respecting his kingdom, when he stood before Pilate, the most important instruction is conveyed. We cannot too much admire the wisdom with which he accurately described, in so few words, the kingdom that he came to establish: “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight.”[81] The kings of the earth maintain their authority by force. The coerced obedience which they procure, is often reluctantly rendered. The proper subjects of Christ’s kingdom are a willing people,[82] who voluntarily give themselves up to his authority, and serve him with delight. In extending his kingdom he has not allowed carnal weapons to be used; but such only as are powerful, through God, to bring the heart into subjection: “Every one that is of the truth, heareth my voice.”[83] He who receives the truth, hears the voice of the king, and acknowledges his authority. To believe the truth, is to obey the Gospel; and this is to be subject to Christ as king. The Jews had expected the Messiah to set up a kingdom, which would be like the kingdoms of the earth, and surpass them in glory. The disciples of Jesus entertained similar views; and hence arose the request to sit on his right hand, and on his left, in his kingdom. Hence, too, arose their despondency when they saw him crucified. They had thought that it was he who was to restore the kingdom to Israel;[84] and his death darkened their prospects, and cut off their hopes. The faith of the expiring thief recognised the expiring Jesus as king; and prayed, “Lord, remember me, when thou comest into thy kingdom:”[85] but the mourning disciples of Jesus could not see the bright prospect of his kingdom, through the darkness of the grave. Yet, the death of Jesus was necessary to the establishment of his kingdom: “For obedience unto death, he was crowned with glory and honor.”[86] And the dying love of Christ is the constraining power which brings the heart into subjection to his authority.

Wrong views respecting the nature of the Messiah’s kingdom, have been productive of much evil. The princes of this world crucified the Lord of glory, because they could not recognize him in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, who came into the world to bear witness to the truth, and not to introduce his kingdom with the pomp which the carnal mind is pleased with. And Christ has been crucified afresh, and put to open shame, by his professed followers, because of their wrong notions respecting his kingdom. A visible ecclesiastical organization, distinguished by the observance of external forms, has claimed to be the kingdom of Christ; and its power has been extended and wielded by means far different from those which Jesus authorized. To banish this corrupt Christianity from the earth, correct views respecting the kingdom of Christ must prevail.

The Messiah was to rule in the midst of his enemies; and his iron sceptre was to break in pieces, as a potter’s vessel,[87] all who are disobedient, and do not obey the truth: but those who obey the truth are “the children of the kingdom:” and to them the benefits and blessings of his reign belong. In this restricted sense, none but regenerate persons enter into his kingdom.[88] We are translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son,[89] when we receive his truth into our hearts. In this sense, no profession of religion, and no observance of external forms, can bring any one into the kingdom of Christ. The tares may resemble the wheat: but the tares are the children of the wicked one; and the good seed only are the children of the kingdom;[90] and when the Son of Man shall gather out of his kingdom whatever is offensive to him, the tares will, equally with the briars and thorns, be rejected, as not belonging properly to his kingdom, and doomed to be burned. Let it then be distinctly understood, that the kingdom of Christ is not a great visible organization, consisting of good men and bad, who are bound together by some ecclesiastical tie. He rules over all; but he accounts all as the enemies of his reign who do not obey the truth: and the hypocrite and formalist have no more part in his kingdom than Herod and Pontius Pilate.

Some obscurity has arisen in the interpretation of Scriptures in which the word kingdom occurs, from supposing that it always refers to the territory of subjects that are under the government of a king. Kingdom is king dominion, king jurisdiction. The primary idea is kingly authority. In this primary sense it is used in Luke xix. 12: “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom.” See also Rev. xvii. 12. This radical idea the word retains everywhere; but it becomes so modified by the connection in which it is used, as to refer to the time, place, or circumstances in which kingly authority is exercised; to the persons over whom it is exercised; and, sometimes, to the benefits resulting from its exercise. An example of this last use is found in Rom. xiv. 17: “The kingdom of God is righteousness peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” The phrases, “kingdom of heaven,” “kingdom of God,” “kingdom of Christ,” “kingdom of God’s dear Son, ” are used with reference to the reign of the Messiah. They denote God’s exercise of kingly authority in the person of the Messiah; and this radical idea, as before stated, becomes modified by the connection in which the phrases are used. When parables are introduced with the words “The kingdom of God is like,” we are to understand that some fact or truth connected with the reign of the Messiah is illustrated by the parable. It will be impossible to make sense of many passages, if the term be understood always to signify the subjects over whom Christ reigns. How, in this signification of the term, can the kingdom be like a merchantman,[91] a net,[92] a treasure?[93] “The kingdom of heaven is like to a man which sowed good seed in his field.”[94] Here, no comparison can be intended between the subjects of Christ’s reign and the man that sowed the seed. But the parable illustrates important truth commented with the reign of the Messiah. It teaches that the world, represented by the field, is under his dominion; that, for a time, the good and bad are permitted to remain together; but that a separation will finally be made, and the blessings of his reign will be enjoyed by those only who are “the good seed,” sown by himself, and who only are “the children of the kingdom.”

The mediatorial reign of Christ will include the judgment of the great day. It is said, “We must all stand at the judgment seat of Christ;” and also, in describing the sentences pronounced, “Then shall the king say,” &c. Then they who condemned and crucified Christ the king, and all who would not have him to reign over them, shall stand at his tribunal. The decisions of that day will be made according to the relation which each individual has borne to Christ. What men have done to the least of his disciples, he will regard as done to him; and, according to the dispositions so evinced, will be every man’s final doom.

Will the mediatorial reign of Christ continue after the transactions of the great day? An important change will doubtless then take place in the manner of his reign. All his enemies will have been subdued, all his ransomed people brought home, and his last act of pardoning mercy performed. Yet, we are informed that the glory of God and the Lamb will be the light of the New Jerusalem;[95] that the Lamb will be in the midst of the throne; and that he will feed the redeemed, and lead them to the fountains of living water.[96] From these representations, we appear authorized to conclude that Christ will remain the medium of communication through which the saints will for ever approach God, and receive glory and bliss from him. The language of Paul in 1 Cor. xv. 25, is not inconsistent with this opinion: “He must reign, until he hath put all enemies under his feet.” When it is said, “Until the law, sin was in the world,[97] we are not to conclude that sin was not in the world afterwards: so, when it is said, “He must reign until,” &c., we must not infer that he will not reign after this time. It will not accord with his own representation of the subject, if, when those who would not have him to reign over them, shall have been slain before his face,[98] he himself shall cease to reign. When it is said, “then shall the Son be subject to the Father,”[99] we are not to understand that this subjection excludes the idea of reigning; otherwise it would be implied that his previous reign had not been in subjection to the Father. Christ now reigns in subjection to the Father; but the harmony of his administration with the will and perfections of God, cannot fully appear while rebels go at large under his government; but when all enemies have been subdued, the harmony of his administration with the government of God, absolutely considered, will be made apparent. The coincidence of the two modes of government will be fully manifested. This will be the time of the restitution of all things.[100] He must reign until his enemies are subdued; and the heavens must receive him until the time of the restitution of all things; but he will not, then, either forsake heaven or cease to reign.

[64] Num. xxxiv. 17; Ps. ii. 6; Isaiah xxxii. 1; Zech. ix. 9; Matt. xxi. 5; John xviii. 36; Matt. xxv. 34; Heb. ii. 9; Rev. v. 13; 1 Tim. vi. 15; Rev. xvii. 14; xix. 16; Eph. i. 20–23; v. 23; Phil. ii. 9, 10.

[65] 1 Kings xix. 16.

[66] Isaiah lxi.1.

[67] Matt. xxvi. 68.

[68] Luke xxiii. 2.

[69] Luke xxii. 69.

[70] John v. 39.

[71] Acts x. 43.

[72] John iii. 28.

[73] Matt. iii. 17.

[74] Matt. xvii. 5.

[75] Matt. xxviii. 18.

[76] John xvii. 21.

[77] 1 Tim. ii. 5.

[78] Matt. ix. 6.

[79] Ex. xxxiv. 6.

[80] Ps. cx. 1.

[81] John xviii. 36.

[82] Ps. cx. 3.

[83] John xviii. 37.

[84] Luke xxiv. 21; Acts i. 6.

[85] Luke xxiii. 42.

[86] Phil. ii. 8, 9; Heb. ii. 9.

[87] Ps. ii. 9.

[88] John iii. 5.

[89] Col. i. 13.

[90] Matt. xiii. 38.

[91] Matt. xiii. 45.

[92] Matt. xiii. 47.

[93] Matt. xiii. 44.

[94] Matt. xiii. 45.

[95] Rev. xxi 23.

[96] Rev. vii. 17.

[97] Rom. v. 13.

[98] Luke xix. 27.

[99] 1 Cor. xv. 28.

[100] Acts iii. 21.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology