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before and after his appearance in the flesh, is attested by St. Paul, in the second chapter of his Epistle to the Philippians. “Being in the form of God, he thought it not robbery to be equal with God.'' He did not affect to be equal with God, or to appear with divine honours (for such is the sense, which the words in the original will bear,) “ but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore,” i. e. for this his obedience even to the last extremity, even unto death, “God also bath highly exalted him ;” or, as it is distinctly and perspicuously ex. pressed in the original, God also hath more highly exalted him,' that is, to a higher state thart what he even before possessed ; insomuch that he hath “given him a name which is above every Dame,' that at, or more properly, in “ the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father;" exactly agreeable to what our Lord himself declared to his disciples after his resurrection, " All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.»*
You will observe in this passage of St. Paul, not only the magnificent terms in which Christ's exaltation is described, viz. “ that every kuee should thenceforward bow in his name, and that every tongue should confess him to be Lord;" but you will observe also, the comprehension and extent of his dominions," of things in heaven, of things on earth, of things under the earth.” And that we are specifically comprised under this authority and this agency, either of the two follov. ing texts may be brought as a sufficient proof. " Where two or three are gathered together there am I in the midst of you;"which words of our Lord imply a knowledge of, an observation
* Matt. xxviil
1 lb. xviil. 20.
of, an attention to, and an interference with, what passes amongst his disciples upon earth. Or take his final words to his followers, as recorded by St. Matthew ; “Lo, I am with you always, to the end of the world,”—and they carry the same implication. And, lastly, that in the most awful scene and event of our existence, the day of judg. ment, we shall not only become the objects, but the immediate objects of Christ's power and agency, is set forth in two clear and positive texts. « The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God,' voice of God, but the voice of the Son of God. And then, pursuing the description of what will afterward take place, our Lord adds in the next verse but one,- that the Father hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man;" which is in perfect conformity with what St. Paul announced to the Athenians, as a great and new doctrine, namely, “that God hath appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man, whom he hath ordained, whereof he hath given-assurance unto all men, in, that he hath raised him from the dead.
Having shewn that the power of Jesus Christ is a subsisting power at this time, the next question is, as to its duration. Now, so far as it respects mankind in this present world, we are assured that it shall continue until the end of the world. The same texts, which have been adduced, prove this point, as well as that for which they were
ted; and they are confirmed by St. Paul's de. : tion, " Then cometh the end, when he shall
delivered up the kingdom to God, even the ...;" therefore he shall retain and exercise il then. But farther, this power is not only ival, but progressive, advancing and proing by different steps and degrees, until it I become supreme and complete, and shall vail against every enemy and every opposition,
* John v. 25. 1 1 Gor. XV. 24
That our Lord's dominion will not only remain unto the end of the world, but that its effects in the world will be greatly enlarged and increased, is signified very expressly in the second chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews. The apostle in this passage applies to our Lord a quotation from the Psalms: "Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet;” and then draws from it a strict inference; “ for in that he put all things in subjection under him, he left nothing that he did not put under him :” and then he remarks, as a fact, Es but now we see not yet all things put under bim.” That complete entire subjection, which is here promised, hath not yet taken place. The promise, must, therefore, refer to a still future order of things. This doctrine of the progressive increase and final completeness, of our Lord's kingdom, is also virtually laid down in the passage from the Corinthians already cited : “ He must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet;' for that this subjugation of his several enemies will be successive, one after another, is strongly intimated by the expression, “ the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” Now, to apprehend the probability of those things coming to pass, or rather to remove any opinion of their improbability, we ought constantly to bear in our mind this momentous truth, that in the hands of the Deity time is nothing, that he has eternity to act in. The Christian dispensation, nay the world itself, may be in its infancy. A more perfect display of the power of Christ, and of his religion, may be in reserve; and the ages, which it may endure after the obstacles and impediments to its reception are removed, may be, beyond comparison, longer than those which we have seen, in which it has been struggling with great difficulties, most especially with ignorance and prejudice. We ought not to be moved, any more than the apostles were moved, with the reflection which was cast upon their mission, that since the "fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were” We ought to retarn the answer which she of the
returned, that what we call tardiness in the Deity, is not so; that our so thinking it arises from pot allowing for the different importance, nay probably, for the different apprehension of time, in the Divine mind and in ours; that with him a thousand years are as one day; words which confound and astonish human understanding, yet strictly and metaphysically true.
Again; We should remember, that the apos. tles, the very persons, who asserted that God would put all things under him, themselves, as we have seen, acknowledged that it was not yet done. In the mean time, from the whole of their declarations and of this discussion we collect, that Jesus Christ, ascended into the heavens, is at this day a great efficient being in the universe, invested by his father with a high authority, which he exercises, and will continue to exercise, until the end of the world.
Thirdly; He is the same in his office. The principal offices, assigned by the Scriptures to our Lord in his glorified state, that is, since his ascension into heaven, are those of a Mediator and intercessor. Of the mediation of our Lord the Scriptures speaks in this wise. “There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."* It was after our Lord's ascension that this was spoken of him; and it is plain from the form and turn of the expression, that his mediatorial character and office was meant to be represented as a perpetual character and office, because it is described in conjunction with he existence of God and men, so long as men ex
“there is one mediator between God and the man Jesus Christ.” “ Hitherto ye have nothing in my name. “At that day ye ask in my name.”+ These words form part
Lord's memorable conversation with his see disciples, not many hours before his death ; i clearly intimate the mediatorial office, which vas to discharge after his ascension.
Concerning his intercession, not that which he occasionally exercised upon earth, when he prayed, as he did most fervently for his disciples, but that which he now, at this present time exercises, we have the following text, explicit, satisfactory, and full. “ But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood :" by priesthood is here meant the office of praying for others. Wherefore he is able to save them to the uttermost, that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for us." No words can more plainly declare, than these words do, the perpetuity of our Lord's agency: that it did not cease with his presence upon earth, but continues. “He continueth ever; he ever liveth; he hath an unchangeable priesthood.” Surely this justifies what our text saith of him ; “ that he is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever;" and that not in a figurative or metaphorical sense, but literally, effectually, and really. Moreover, in this same passage, not only the constancy and perpetuity, but the power and efficacy of our Lord's intercession are asserted. 66 He is able to save them to the uttermost, that come unto God by him.” They must come unto God; they must come by him: and then he is able to save them completely.
These three heads of observation, namely, upon his person, his power, and his office, comprise the relation, in which our Lord Jesus Christ stands to us, whilst we remain in this mortal life. There is another consideration of great solemnity and in. terest, namely, the relation which we shall bear to him in our future state. Now the economy, which appears to be destined for the human crea. tion, I mean, for that part of it which shall be received to future happiness, is, that they shall live in a state of local society with one another, and under Jesus Christ as their head, experiencing 4
nsible connexion amongst themselves, as well as the operation of his authority, as their Lorit and governor. I think it likely that our Saviour bad this state of things in view, when, in bis fina!