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The method, through divine aslistance, I shall obferre, is as follows.
1. To prove that Christ is the everlasting God, and that he was from the beginning, ere ever the earth was.
II. Shew what is imported in his being set up from everlasi.
III. For what ends and purposes was he fet up.
1. The first thing is to prove, That Christ is the everlasting God, and that he was from the beginning, cre ever the earth was.
The Socinians affirm, That he had no being before his actual incarnation. And the Arians, Though they allow that he had a being before his incarnation ; yet they deny his eternal existence, and consequently make him but a nominal deity, and reduce him among the rank of created beings. Now, in opposition to both these damnable heresies, I shall endeavour to trace a little, the scriptural account of the eternal cxiftence cf the Son of God, our glorious Redeemer.
And first, that he existed before his incarnation, or his being born of the virgin, is evident from the appearance be made to our firit parents in paradise, after the fall, Gen. üi. 15. It viz. the seed of the woman, shall bruise thy head, viz. the fer. pent's, explained by the apostle, Heb. ii. 14. That this was God in the person of the Son, intimating his future incarnation, and the design thereof is evident, for God absolutely considered, is not a promising but an avenging God, a consuming fire unto the workers of iniquity. And all the proinises in him are yea and amen. It is only the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and none else, that opened the book of the divine council anent our redemption. And therefore it was he, and none elft, that broke up this seal, and disclosed this secret unto our first parents in paradise.
In like manner, it was he that preached the gospel to Abraham, saying, “In thy feed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed," as is clear from Gal. iii. 8.
We find him executing his threefold mediatorial offices, before ever he came in the flesh: We find him, as a prophet, preaching righteousness unto the great congregation, Pfal. xl. 9. “I have preached righteousness in the great congregarion: Lo, I have not refrained my lips, O Lord, thou knoweli !" And by his spirit in Noah he preached to the old world, who, because of their disobedience, were bhut up in the prison of hell; as we fee in 1 Pet. ii. 18-20. We find him ading as
the the great Priest of his church, uctore his actual appearance in the fieth, Pfal. cx 4.' “ The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedeck," and his royal and kingly office is afferred by God the Father, before ever he appeared in the fieth, Psal. ii. “Yet have I set my King upon my holy bill of Zion :" I have done it; it is not a thing to do, but it is done already; I have set him King, &c. And he speaks to him as a person actually existing : “ Alk of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy polleflion.” Thus you see him executing all his offices before he was incarnate, .
But I need not stand upon this point, in opposition to the Socinians, seeing we have it froin Christ's own mouth, who is the faithful witness, John viii, 58. says he there to the Jews, “Before Abraham was, I am," alluding probably unto that lame name he took to himself, when he appeared unto Mon les in the bulh, and sent him to bring Israel out of Egypt: Go (says he), and tell them, “ I am hath sent me unto you,” Exod. iii. 14., a name equivalent unto the name Jea HOVAH, which signifies past, present, and to come, and diftin. gu:ihes him from all the dunghill deities of the nations.
But then; fecondly, let us go back further, even to the creation of the world, and we thall find his existence and agency, in the production of all created beings, John i. 2. 3.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the begin. ning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” He must needs be the everlasting God, who is the Creator of all the ends of the earth. Gen. i. 1. “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth ;" hence, Psal. cii. 25. “ Of old haft thou laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the work of thy hands,” &c. Which words, are applied unto Christ, Heb. i. 10-12. “ Thou, Lord, in the beginning, haft laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands. They shall perish, but thou remaineft : and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a verture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed : But thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.”.
Again, thirdly, Let us run up to the endless ages before the creation of the world, and we find him existing or ever the earth was, Jonin xvii. 5. He prayeth that he might be
glorified with his Father, with the same glory that he had i with him before the foundation of the world. Hence he is VOL. III. 3D
pot not only called the mighty God, but the everlasting Father, or the Father of eternity; and Micah v. 2.“ His goings forth were from of old, from everlasting.” But I need not stand upon this, seeing the very words of the text are so clear as to this matter. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.” If he were not the everlasting God, he could never have been set up from everlasting, So much for the first thing.
II. The second thing proposed was, to inquire, what is im. ported in his being set up from everlasting.
And there are thele few things that I take to be imported in this expression.
ift, It supposes the council of peace, or an eternal tran!. action between the Father and the Son, concerning the redemption of lost finners; for this is the result of the council here declared by the Son, I was set up from everlasting. Zech. vi. 13. “ The council of peace shall be between them both."
2dly, It implies the infinite complacency that the Father and Son had in each other from all eternity. This is more clearly expreffed in the verse immediately preceding the text, “ The Lord poslessed me in the beginning of his ways, before his works of old;' and yet more clearly, ver. 29. 30. “ When he appointed the foundations of the earth, then I was by him, as one brought up with him ; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him." So If. xlii. 1. Matth. iii. at the close; chap. xvii. 5.
3dly, It implies a divine ordination and decree, whereby lie was from eternity elected unto the great fervice of man's redemption. Hence he is called his Father's Elect, If. xlii. I. “Behold my Servant whom I behold, mine Elect, in whom my soul delighteth.” So Plal. lxxxix. 19. says God the Father, “ I have laid help upon one that is mighty, I have exalted one chosen out of the people ;” and, with an eye to this decree of the election of Christ is that forecited of the apostle, i Pet. i. 20. “ Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world," &c. Though he be God coequal with the Father, yet he voluntarily came under a decree of election, that fo he miglit be the head of the election among mankind sinners, in whom they are elected unto everlaiting life, Eph. i. 4. “ lie hath chofen us in him, before the foundation of the world."
4thly, I was set up from everlafling, it implies, thiat, in consequence of the decree, he was called of God to undertake the work of redemption, Il. xiii. 6. " 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," Heb. v. 4. 5. “No man taketh this honour unto himself, but he who is called of God, as was Aa. ron: So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest, but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.”
5thly, It implies his own voluntary consent to, and compliance with his Father's call: This is of fo great moment, that it is registrated in the volume of the book of God, Psal. xl. 7. 8. “ Then said I, Lo, I come; in the volume of the book it is written of me: I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea thy law is within my heart.” Upon which words the apostle Paul comments, Heb. x. 5–10. applying them to the purpose in hand.
And, upon this voluntary consent of the Son of God fol. lowed a multitude of great promises that the Father macle to him. The Father promised to fit him with a human nature, to be personally united to his divine nature: “A body hast thou prepared me; a promise of all needful furniture and afsistance in the undertaking, that an immeasurable fulness of the Spirit, and all his gifts, graces, and qualifications, should rest upon him, If. xi. 2. 3. chap. xlii. liii. 10-12. “ The pleasure of the Lord Thall prosper in his hand. I will die vide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong :” That he should see his seed; a seed fhould serve hiin, that should be accounted to him for a gene
ration, Psal. xxii. at the close: That he would make his ene- mies bis footstool, and greatly plague all that hated him : And
that, when he had drunk of the brook that ran in the way, he should again lift up the head, and be repoflessed, even in the human nature, of all that glory which he had with the Father before the world was. Thus you see what is implied
in his being set up from everlasting. . But now, before I go on to the third general head, I would
here show, how (in consequence of all this, which was done before the foundation of the world was laid) ke was actually let up in time, in the view of loft finners of Adam's family, whom he came to save and redeem. And,
1. His first appearance was in the promise made to our first parents, of his future incarnation, alıeady mentioned, Gen. jj. 15. which was the only foundation of faith the church had, until the days of Abrahain, to whom that promise was renewed, “ In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blefled," Gen. xxii. 18.
tationsconomy? Te, of all that was the one of the
inges were alti facrificele meant
2. He was set up typically, in the view of the church, under the old Testament. What was the meaning of the tabernacle and temple, of all the sacrifices and ceremonies of that economy? They were all intended as shadowy representations of good things to come, upon the actual appearance of the Son of God in our nature.
. 3. He was set up prophetically, in the prophecies of the prophets isaiah, Jeremiah, ard the rest ; for all the prophets prophesied of him: To him they did all bear witness, and every one of them successively spoke more clearly then another, till John the Baptist came in the spirit and power of Elias, pointing him out with the finger, saying, “ Behold the Lamb of God.”
4. He was set up personally and actually, in his incarnation, obedience, and death. · His birth was celebrated and intimate by a company of angels, saying, “Unto you is born, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord,” and that heavenly anthem, “ Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill towards men." His inauguration unto his mediatorial work, at his baptism, was celebrate by the opening of the heavens, the descent of the Spirit upon him in the likeness of a dove, and a voice coming from his Father, from heaven, saying, “ This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased;" which voice was again repeated at his transfiguration and his passion. His death was celebrated by the rending of the vail of the temple from top to bottom, a quaking of the earth, a rending of the rocks, and a darkening of the sun in the firmament; all importing, that now the finishing stroke was given to the head of the old ferpent, and that principalities and powers were spoiled, and The prince of this world cast out of his usurped authority and government..i
5. He was set up in a glorious and triumphant way and manner, in his resurrection and ascension; for then he was “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by his resurrection from the dead." And when he ascended up “ on high, he led capti. vity captive, and sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high ;” and things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth, being ordered to bow at the name of Jesus, and every tongue to confess, that he is the Lord, to the praile and glory of his Father. :::
6. He was and is set up declaratively, in the preacii. ing of the everlasting gospel ; wliich is like the pole upon which the brasen serpent was lifted up in the wilderness, by