« PreviousContinue »
perfectly holy in each individual act of his life. And secondly, that his holy behavior was properly of the nature of virtue and was worthy of praise ; and that he was the subject of law, precepts or commands, promises and rewards ; and that he was in a state of trial.
1. It was impossible, that the acts of the Will of the human soul of Christ should, in any instance, degree or circumstance; be otherwise than holy, and agreeable to God's nature and will. The following things make this evident.
1. God had promised so effectually to preserve and uphold Him by his Spirit, under all his temptations, that he could not fail of reaching the end for which he came into the world; which he would have failed of, had he fallen into sin. We have such a promise, Isa. xlii. 1, 2, 3, 4, “ Behold my Servant, whom I uphold ; mine Elect, in whom my soul dea lighteth: I have put my Spirit upon him : He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles : He shall not cry, nor lift up, ñor cause his voice to be heard in the street. He shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till He have set judgment in the earth ; and the isles shall wait for his law.” This promise of Christ's having God's Spirit put upon Him, and his not crying and lifting up his voice, &c. relates to the time of Christ's appearance on earth; as is manifest from the nature of the promise, and also the application of it in the New Testament, Matthew xii. 18. And the words imply a promise of his being so upheld by God's Spirit, that he should be preserved from sin ; particularly from pride and vain glory, and from being overcome by any of the temptations, he should be under to affect the glory of this world, the pomp of an earthly prince, or the applause and praise of men : And that he should be so upheld, that he should by no means fail of obtaining the end of his coming into the world, of bringing forth judgment unto victory, and establishing his kingdom of grace in the earth. And in the following verses, this promise is confirmed, with the greatest imaginable solemnity. Thus saith the LORD, HE that created the heavens, and stretched them out : He that spread forth VoL, V.
the earth, and that which cometh out of it : He that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein : I the Lord have called Thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand ; and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles, to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. I am JEHOVAH, that is my name," &c.
Very parallel with these promises is that, Isa. xlix. 7, 8, 9, which also has an apparent respect to the time of Christ's hu. miliation on earth. “ Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers; kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship ; because of the Lord that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose Thee. Thus saith the Lord, in an acceptable time have I heard Thee; in a day of salvation have I helped Thee ; and I will preserve Thee, and give Thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth,” &c. · And in Isa. 1. 5....9, we have the Messiah expressing his assurance, that God would help Him, by so opening his ear, or inclining his heart to God's commandments that He should not be rebellious, but should persevere, and not apostatize, or turn his back; that through God's help, He should be immovable, in a way of obedience, under the great trials of reproach and suffering he should meet with; setting his face like a flint: So that he knew, he should not be ashamed, or frustrated in his design, and finally should be approved and justified, as having done his work faithfully. “ The Lord hath opened mine ear; so that I was not rebellious, neither turned away my back : I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair ; I hid not my face from shame and spitting. For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded ; therefore have I set my face as a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. He is near that justifieth me : Who will contend with me?
Let us stand together. Who is mine adversary ? Let him : come near to me : Behold the Lord God will help me : Who
is he that shall condemn me? Lo, they shall all wax old as a garment, the moth shall eat them up."
2. The same thing is evident from all the promises which God made to the Messialı, of his future glory, kingdom and success, in his office and character of a Mediator: Which glory could not have been obtained, if his holiness had failed, and he had been guilty of sin. God's absolute promise of any thing, makes the things promised necessary, and their failing to take place absolutely impossible : And, in like manner, it makes those things necessary, on which the things promised depend, and without which they cannot take effect. Therefore it appears, that it was utterly impossible that Christ's holiness should fail, from such absolute promises as those, Psal. cx. 4. « The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a Priest forever, after the order of Melchizedeck.” And from every other promise in that psalm, contained in each verse of it. And Psal. ii. 7, 8. “ I will declare the decree : The Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten Thee : Ask of me, and I will give Thee the Heathen for thine inheritance, &c." Psal. xlv. 3, 4, &c. “ Gird thy sword on thy thigh, O most Mighty, with thy Glory and thy Majesty ; and in thy Majesty ride prosperously.” And so every thing that is said from thence to the end of the Psalm. And those promises, Isa. lii, 13, 14, 15, and liii. 10, 11, 12. And all those promises which God makes to the Messiah, of success, dominion and glory in the character of Redeemer, in Isa. chap. xlix.
3. It was often promised to the Church of God of old, for their comfort, that God would give them a righteous, sinless Saviour. Jer. xxiji. 5, 6. - Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise up unto David a righteous Branch ; and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days shall Judah be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely. And this is the name whereby He shall be called, The Lord our Righteousness.” So, Jer. xxxiii. 15. “ I will cause the Branch of Righteousness to grow up unto David ; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.” Isa. ix. 6,7.' « For unto ys
a Child is born ; upon the throne of David and upon his king, dom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and justice, from henceforth, even for ever : The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will do this.” Chap. xi. at the beginning, “ There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots; and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him....the spirit of knowledge, and of the fear of the Lord :.... With righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity :....Righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins." Chap. lii. 13. 6 My Servant shall deal prudently." Chap. liü. 9. * Be, cause He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.” If it be impossible that these promises should fail, and it be easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than for one jot or tittle of these promises of God to pass away, then it was impossible that Christ should commit any sin. Christ himself signified, that it was impossible but that the things which were spoken concerning Him, should be fulfi Hed. Luke xxiv. 44. “That all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms concerning Me.” Matth. xxvi. 54. 6 But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be ?! Mark xiv. 49, “ But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” And so the apostle, Acts i. 16. « This Scripture must needs have been fulfilled.”
4. All the promises, which were made to the Church of old, of the Messiah as a future Saviour, from that made to our first parents in paradise, to that which was delivered by the prophet Malachi, shew it to be impossible that Christ should not have persevered in perfect holiness. The ancient predictions given to God's church of the Messiah-as a Savjour, were of the nature of promises; as is evident by the predictions themselves, and the manner of delivering them. But they are expressly, and very often called promises in the New Testament; as in Luke i. 54, 55, 72, 73. *Acts xiii. 32, 33. Rom. i. 1, 2, 3, and chap. XV. 8. Heb. vi. 13, &c. These promises were often made with great solemnity, and confirmed with an oath ; as in Gen. xxi. 16, 17, 18, « By myself have
I sworn, saith the Lord, that in blessing, I will bless thee, and in multiplying, I will multiply thy seed, as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore....And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” Compare Luke i. 72, 73, and Gal. üi. 8, 15, 16. The apostle in Heb. vi, 17, 18, speaking of this promise to Abraham, says, 46 Wherein God willing more abundantly to shew to the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath ; that by two IMMUTABLE things, in which it was IMPOSSIBLE for God to lie, he might have strong consolation.”....In which words, the necessity of the accomplishment, or (which is the same thing) the impossibility of the contrary, is fully declared. So God confirmed the promise of the great salvation of the Messiah, made to David, by an oath ; Psal. Ixxxix. 3, 4. 6 I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant; thy seed will I establish forever, and build up thy throne to all generations." There is nothing that is so abundantly set forth in Scripture, as sure and irrefragable, as this promise and oath to David. Şee Psalm Ixxxix. 34, 35, 36. 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. Isa. ly. 3. Acts ii. 29, 30, and xiii. 34. The Scripture expressly speaks of it as utterly impossible that this promise and oath to David, concerning the everlasting dominion of the Messiah of his seed, should fail. Jer. xxxiii, 15, &c. “ In those days, and at that time, I will cause the Branch of Righteousness to grow up unto David....For thus saith the Lord, David shall never want a Man to sit upon the throne of the House of Israel." Ver. 20, 21. « If you can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season ; then may also my covenant be broken with David my seryant, that he should not bave a son to reign upon his throne” So in verse 25, 26....Thus abundant is the Scripture in representing how impossible it was, that the promises made of old concerning the great salvation and kingdom of the Messiah should fail ; which implies, that it was impossible that this Messiah, the second Adam, the promised seed of Abraham, and of David, should fall from his integrity, as the first Adam did.