GENESIS xxviij. xij. xiij.
[— And behold a Ladder, &c.]
DOCT. I. The Lord Jesus may fitly be compared to a Ladder, that is set on the Earth, and the top of it reacheth up unto Heaven.
I Have run the Parallel in many respects between Christ and such a Ladder, in respect had to his Person and Offices, as our Saviour and Bles∣sed Mediator: I shall proceed to some further Par∣ticulars.
Thirteenthly, He that climbs up a Ladder looks upwards as he goes; he does not turn his eyes down towards the Earth, for that is dangerous.
So he that sets out in the way to Heaven by Jesus Christ, must look up; his eye must be set on Heavenly things;*While we look not at things that are seen, but at things that are not seen, &c.
1. This look my Brethren may refer to his Under∣derstanding; his Understanding is enlightened; it is open'd to see the Nature and Excellency of Hea∣venly things: That the eyes of your Ʋnderstanding being enlighthed,*that ye may know what is the Page 30 Hope of your Calling, and what is the Riches of the Glory of his Inheritance in the Saints. What the Eye is to the Body, that the Understanding is to the Soul.
2. It may refer to his Affections: Set your Affecti∣ons on things above;*where Christ sitteth on the Right Hand of God. A Believer's Desires and Af∣fections are Spiritual and Heaven-ward.
3. It denotes moreover, the Exercise of Faith▪ Such, with Moses, by Faith see him that is invisible. Did not the Eyes of Believers see something above excelling all things here below,* they would never ascend by Faith on this Ladder, nor slight and conntemn all the Riches, Pleasures, and Glory of this World.
4. It may also denotes the excellent Frame of their Hearts: They are born from above; they have received a heavenly Nature, an heavenly and spi∣ritual Frame; and therefore they look upwards; They that are after the Flesh,*mind the things of the Flesh; but they that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
5. This of looking upwards, may signify a Be∣liever's Hope and Expectation: Their Hope is in Heaven, not in this Life; If our Hope be only in this Life,*we are of all Men most miserable. As they are born from above, so they are travelling thither; their Faces are set heaven-ward, Heaven is their Inheritance. They seek an heavenly Coun∣trey; men of the World have their eyes down∣wards. A man that looks downward that climbs up a Ladder, is in danger of falling; however, he must make a pause, or stand still, but a Belie∣ver must go on his way, he must not look back, nor stand still, but press forwards, as Paul did. He must not look back.
Page 31Fourteenthly, A Ladder is a narrow way to go upon, and it is a difficult thing to travel all day upon it.
So Jesus Christ, who is the way to the Father, is a narrow way; Narrow is the way that leadeth to Life. The way to Hell is broad,* multitudes go in that way, but the way to Life is narrow; tho this Ladder is wide or broad enough for all the Elect of God, even for all for whom it was prepared,* for all that come to Christ, for the vilest Sinner that is helped to venture himself upon him; yet compa∣ratively it is a very narrow way.
1. A Narrow way is opposed to that which is Broad, where any careless or negligent Person may go, or multitudes may travel in it. Now Christ is so narrow a way, many cannot go this way,* it is not wide enough for them; Christ will not allow them the Liberty they will take and will have; let what will come of it, they will have their Lusts their Riches, their Honours, their sensual Plea∣sures, their old Companions, their sinful Customs, and sinful Practices, the way must be broad enough for them, and their base Consorts too, or they will not go that way.
2. It may be called a narrow way,* because it is hard to find it, a narrow Path is not soon found or discerned as a broad, common beaten road is: Christ is a way not discerned by Carnal Persons;*The natural Man receiveth not the things of the Spirit, they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are Spiritually discern∣ed.
Man naturally accounts the way to Heaven by Jesus Christ, a foolish thing▪* because they cannot comprehend how they should be Justified by the Righteousness of another, and he a poor Man (as he was accounted) who was Crucified on a Tree: to be Justified by their own Works, or by their own Righteousness; this seems easy to discern; it is Page 32 natural to them to seek t• be saved in such a way: all men being bor• under the Covenant of Works; Brethren, Chri•• is a way that lyes above human• Reason; it is a Mystery that depends wholly upon divine Revelation; it is as strange and as an unlike∣ly a thing to meer natural Men to think to be •aved or to go to Heaven this way; as it is for them to think a Ladder may be made, and set upon the Earth, the top of which shall reach up to Heaven: So that Men may that way, i. e. by climbing up on that Ladder, go to Heaven. They look with an eye of sense, and not by an eye of Faith.
3. Narrowness may denote the Difficulty of walking in this way: Christ is not only a way hard to find,* but also hard to walk in; Faith leads the Soul to deny it self; i. e. of Sinful-self, natural-self, and righteous-self; and to do this is hard and difficult, and not only to deny ourselves in all these respects, but also to take up our Cross: O 'tis this also that renders the way narrow! What deny ourselves of every Flesh-pleasing and profita∣ble Lust, and of all our own Wisdom, Honour, Relations and Righteousness, and take up the Cross too!
(1.) This includes all Losses and Damage, even to part with all for Christ's sake.
(2ly.) To take up our Cross, denotes Shame and Reproach for the sake of Christ.
(3.) It denotes also Pain and Suffering; nay, Death it self, when called to it.
(4.) Faith leads the Soul to mortify Sin, to crucify the Flesh,* with the Affections and Lusts: The Dominion and Power of Sin must be broke Sin, must not reign; we must not only leave Sin, but mortify it also: This is hard to do, and to follow Christ whither soever he goes, or doth lead us; to follow him fully; constantly, universally; and now, this is no easy thing to do to the Flesh.
Page 334. Narrowness of the Way, or Ladder, may signifie what careful steps must be taken by all that climb up thereon; we must step straight forward; viz. Lead a holy and strict life; For without Holiness, no Man shall see the Lord.*
We must take heed we do not suffer our feet to slide, or slip; therefore have need to say with holy David, Order my steps in thy Word,*and let not any iniquity have Dominion over me: Di∣rect all the thoughts, and motions of my Heart, and Actions by thy Spirit, accompanying thy Word, that Pride, Passion, earthly Mindedness, nor any evil Inclinations or Affections may lead me astray.
Fifteenthly,* It is dangerous for a Man that climbs up a high Ladder, that reacheth to Hea∣ven to look backwards.
So nothing is more dangerous for a Person that makes a Profession of Religion, (then with the Young Man in the Gospel) who was not far from the Kingdom of Heaven, to look back; He that sets his Hand to the Plough,*and looks back, is not fit for the Kingdom of Heaven. Our blessed Lord bids us Remember Lot's Wife;* why so? She, alas! for looking back, was turned into a Pillar of Salt, as an everlasting monument of God's Displeasure; and to fore-warn all Per∣sons to take heed that they do not look back: If any Man draw back, my Soul shall take no pleasure in him. Nay, such God's Soul abhors,* it brings upon them his high Displeasure, which is Death; or it will procure Death, and Perdi∣tion on all such in the end.
But, my Brethren, know this,* that all those who look back, never made one true step upon this Ladder; they never had one Dram of sa∣ving Faith, but ventured on Christ with a false Faith; and from hence could not see a far off, Page 34 but slavish fear possess them; and they being a∣fraid, faint, and so look back, and fall down, and are destroyed for ever; and the higher they 〈◊〉,*the greater is their fall: But we are not of them that draw back to Perdition.
Sixte••thly, A Ladder that stands upon the Earth, and the Top reacheth to Heaven, had need to have •ore Footing to stand upon.
* Now, Jesus Christ, our Mediator hath most sure and firm Footing to stand upon; i. e. He stands upon the Foot or firm Ground of God's Purpose, and everlasting Counsel, and blessed Decree; t••' he was set up upon the Earth in time, yet he was in that holy Counsel, held between the Father and the Son, Set up from e∣verlasting,*before ever the Earth was. The Wis∣dom, the Power, Purpose▪ good Pleasure, and e∣ternal Counsel of God hath fixed his Standing firm for ever; as you heard before.
Seventeenthly,* A Man that gets up a Ladder, should his Feet, thro' carelesness, or otherwise s•ip, he must catch hold of the Ladder with his Hands, and by holding fast, he may set his Feet right again, and prevent a fall, or danger of Death.
Beloved, the best of Christians, through Care∣l•se•s, •• Satan's Temptations may have their •••t s•ip; I mean they may slip, or fall into one S••, or another; or into one Error or another: What a slip had Noah,*Lot, David and Peter, and many more besides them, even many a dan∣gerous slip; but by taking hold of Christ, and of the Covenant, and free Promise of Pardon by the hand of Faith,* they all recovered themselves, tho' some of their Slips broke their Bones, and cost them many a Tear; Nay, it made Da∣vid to W•••e• his Couch with his Tears;* Yet he Page 35 got safe to Heaven. O what an excellent Grace is the Grace of Faith, the hand of Faith, and how useful and necessary at such a time?*I have prayed for thee that thy Faith fail not. Our Faith, in the Seed or habit, shall never fail; did not Christ preserve our Faith, strengthen our Faith, our Souls would soon finally fall, and perish for ever: If any Man sin,*we have an Advo∣cate with the Father.—I will be merciful to their Ʋnrighteousness, and their Sins;*and their Ini∣quities I will remember no more.—I am he that blotteth out thine Iniquities for my own Sake, &c. O what hold is here, when our Feet slip, for the hand of Faith to take hold of! Jesus Christ, my Brethren, hath paid all our Debts, he hath satisfied the Justice of God for all our Sins, for those committed after Faith, as well as those committed before Faith and Union with him, all Vindictative Wrath is gone for ever; no Sin can make a breach in our Justification, nor break our Union with Christ;*Nothing can separate us from the Love of God,*which is in Jesus Christ our Lord.—There is therefore now no condemna∣tion to them that are in Christ Jesus. None can condemn such, if sins committed after we believe were not Satisfied for, or Pardoned, there would be condemnation to every Believer, because all have Sin, all daily Sin, but their Sins are not imputed to them, they were all laid upon Je∣sus Christ; and his Righteousness is for ever and at all times imputed to them that are in Christ Jesus; and once in him, for ever in him, So that a true Believer can never fall finally from this spiritual Ladder.
Eighteenthly, To raise up a Ladder, whose Foot stands upon the Earth, and the Top of it reacheth up to Heaven, is not easily done; it needs all mighty Strength, it calls for great Page 36 Strength, wonderful Power, and also much Wis∣dom, and Skill; it is hard, you know, to raise a Ladder that reacheth up but four or five Sto∣ries, or to the Top of a high House or Build∣ing; What Power of Man then can raise up such a Ladder that reacheth from Earth to Heaven?
*My Brethren, as none could contrive, and make such a Ladder, i. e. such a way to Heaven, but God himself, who by his almighty Wisdom, and Pow∣er built this World: So none but he could raise up this Ladder; it required infinite Wis∣dom, and Strength to raise up Christ, when he was so low, being born down under the Guilt and Weight of our Sins, even low as Hell; for Hell pangs took hold of him: O how low was he, when in the Garden, in his bloody Agony, and in the Grave! Could Sin, Death, or Devils, yea all the powers of Hell and Darkness have kept him down, he had never been raised from the Dead▪ and from under Wrath, nor ascended up to Heaven: But what is too hard for God to do? He was raised by the Power of the Father;* or by the Glory of the Father; as the Apostle words it; that is by his glorious Power, and to his eternal Glory; God hath bo•h raised up the Lord, and will also raise us u• by his own Powe•. He first raised him up, as to his Humane Nature, out of a dry Root: And hath raised up an Horn of Salvat•on for us in the House of David.* An Horn of Salvation, or a powerful Salvation. Also he raised him up when Sin and Wrath lay upon him; and when he was Dead, and lay in the Grave. Nay, my Brethren, he raise• himself up, as I shall shew you hereafter, which is a greater wonder still, and more mar∣vellous.
Ninteenthly, A Ladder, whose Foot stands up∣on the Earth, and the Top of it reacheth up to Page 37 Heaven, is wonderfully Elivated, or Exalted.
So Christ considered as Mediator, is wonder∣fully Elivated, or Exalted, both in respect o• his Person, and Offi•es.*
True, as he was God, and in the form of God, and thought it not Robbery to be equal with God, he could not be said to be Exalted; but ta∣king our Nature upo• him, he was abased, he Hum∣bled himself, He took on him the •orm of a Servant, and became Obedient unto Death: As consider∣ed as Mediator, he is Exalted, and hath a Name a∣bove every Name in Heaven, or Earth.*
First, In respect of his Person: Behold my Servant shall deal prudently, he shall be Exalted, and Extolled, and be made very high▪ here are three words signifying the same thing, to express and hold forth the Glory and Exaltation of Je∣sus Christ.
1. He hath the Glory of God,* the Glory of the whole God-head in him▪ The fullness of the God-head dwells bodily in this blessed Person, the Man Christ Jesus; and it pleased the Fa∣ther it should be thus.*He is the brightness of his Father's Glory, and the express Image of his Person.
2. In that all the Glory of his Father's House is hung upon him, placed in him; he is the true Eliakim, the glory of the house of David,* and of God's Israel: Nay, all the Glory of the holy Attributes sl•ine forth in him, and are united and meet together in sweet Harmony in him; He is the Man of God's right Hand, whom he hath made strong for himself: To manifest his own Glory, and to raise up his Elect to a most ex∣cellent State for ever.
3. In that the same divine Worship and Ado∣ration which is due to the Father, is due to the Man Christ Jesus; this, my Brethren, tends greatly to lift up, elivate, and exalt him to the Page 38 Heavens:*That all Men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father; all Men must thus honour, and Worship him.
Brethren,* this is one of our strongest Argu∣ments to prove that our Lord Jesus Christ is God, the true God, God by Nature, i. e. because Divine Adoration is due to him; even the same worship that is due to the Father; were he a meer Man, not the most high God, it would be great Idolatry to worship him: I am the Lord,*that is my Name; and my glory will I not give unto another,* &c. the Apostle John would have worshiped the Angel; (thinking no doubt it had been Christ) I fell at his Feet to worship him,*and he said, see thou do it not, I am thy Fellow-servant, and of thy Brethren that have the Testimony of Jesus; worship God. Here Note two things
1. That no meer Creature, tho' never so glori∣ous, ought to be worshiped with divine Worship; I am but a Creature equal in Office with thee, tho' not in Nature, (as if the Angel should say)therefore see thou do it not.
2. That divine Worship alone belongs to God; Worship God: — 'tis written, thou shalt worship the Lord thy God,*and him only shalt thou serve. But all Men are to worship Christ: and not only Men but the holy Angels also; and again, when he bringeth in his first begotten into the World,*he saith, and let all the Angels of God worship him: All the Angels, the mighty An∣gels that excell in Glory, Power, and Strength, bow down before him, and worship at his Feet: So far is he exalted above them, he is▪ beloved, the head of all Principalities,*and Powers; he is their great and glorious Prince and Sovereign, they are all at his Command, are his Servants, and Retinue; they all wait upon him, and wil∣lingly serve, and obey him.
Page 394. Christ is lifted up, or exalted in that he is the immediate Object of our Faith and Trust: True; the Father is Primarily the object of our Faith, but Brethren, Christ is the immediate Ob∣ject thereof; Ye believe in God,*believe also in Me: And this, because he is equal with the Father, and as Mediator we must by him be∣lieve in God the Father, and come to the Fa∣ther by him: No Man cometh to the Father,*but by me. But again,
5. Brethren, Jesus Christ is lifted up and ex∣alted in that the Government of the World is committed unto him;*The Father Judgeth no Man, but hath committed all Judgment to the Son; the Father Judgeth no Man, but by the Son, all the administration of Judgment, Rule, and Authority in the Church, and in the World, is in the hands of Christ, as Mediator;* he pulls down and sets up; By me Kings reign, and Princes decree Judgment. All Power and Au∣thority in Heaven and Earth is his;* it is his essentially as God, and it is given unto him as Mediator.
6. Christ is Lifted up, or exalted,* in that he is all, and in all, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, &c. but Christ is all, and in all, He is our All to the Father; he is our all with the Father; and our All from the Father, he is our All by way of Merit; he is meritoriously made All to us; he purchased All that good we have, and expect to have, both Grace here, and glory hereafter.
Jesus Christ is All to us by way of Con∣veyance, as he meritted all for us, so it is through him all good things, or divine Blessings, are communicated to us. As he is the Fountain that contains all things, so he is the Conduit-Pipe, thro' whom all good is conveyed to us also.
Again,* he is All to us by way of Efficency Page 40 and Causality; he works all our Works in us, and for us,*and without him we can do Nothing: It is from him the Head that the whole Body receiveth Nourishment; so he it is that blesseth that Nourishment,* that Food, viz. himself, his Word, his Ordinances, and all afflictions to us, which we live upon.
*Secondly, Christ is wonderfully lifted up, or is exalted to Heaven, if we consider the Per∣sons, who are said to Greaten, and Magnifie Him.
1. The Father magnifies him,* and hath exalted him at his Right hand to be a Prince, and a Sa∣viour: This Exaltation of Christ denotes his Abasement, because he condescended so low, to humble himself, and to dye the Cursed death of the Cross; therefore he is exalted: See what Paul saith;
*Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a Name above every Name; that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, &c. Not at the naming of Jesus, but at his Name. that is in respect of his Power, Authority, and Glory which he hath above all in Heaven and Earth considered, as he consi•teth in both Natures or as Mediator, God-man.
2. All the Saints of God, and Faithful Mini• of the Gospel, exalt Jesus Christ: True, they cannot add any thing to his Glory, but they give or ascribe the highest Glory unto him as his due. The Apostle lifted him up above: Moses, above Ang•ls; nay, as equal with the Father; Paul desired,*to know nothing but Jesus Christ, and him Crucified, and resolved he should be magnified in his Body,*whether it were by Life or by Death. (1.) In that they all, did all things they did, in his Name. (2.) By his Power. (3.)To his Praise, and Glory. (4.) Also in shewing all Knowledge, Learning, Parts, Righteousness, moral Vertues, Gifts, and all Du∣ties Page 41 of Religion, are Nothing, or avail Nothing to a Man out of Christ; because it is his Righ∣teousness, his M•rits exclusive of all, or any thing else that is the matter of our Justification before God.
3. All the holy Angels likewise exalt Christ, adore and magnify hi•.
Thirdly, God ha•• exalted him from Earth to Heaven, in respect of his Office (in which als• he is the Antitype of Jacob's L••de•) wh•c•〈◊〉 I have hinted at already, yet I ••all add 〈…〉.
1. Christ is chosen of God, a• I said,* to be the only Mediator between God and Man, our Days-Man, that lays his hands upon both; and as Me∣diator he is a King, Priest, and Prophet.
First, He is a Priest excelling the High-priests under the Law, being the substance and Antitype of all those Priests; he is both Priest, Altar,* and Sacrifice: they were made Priests by men, he is made a Priest by God himself; they without an Oath; he by an Oath; they had Infirmities, he had none. The Priest under the Law could not continue, by reason of Death, he abideth a Priest for ever: They offered up Sacrifices that could not take away Sins, but by his one Sacrifice,*all sins are done away for ever. He bore the sins of his People indeed; he entered into the holiest of all; he appears before God indeed, they only Typically. He made Attonement indeed, they but Typically and Ceremonially: He Judgeth of Uncleanness in∣deed, they but Typically; he maketh true Judg∣ment, because he knows all mens Hearts: He offers up unto God the true Incense; he blesseth the People, by conferring Grace, and divine Ha∣bits to them, and by turning them from their evil ways.*
Page 42He beyond the Priests under the Law, doth determine all, (yea the hardest) Controversies; he resolves all doubts between God and Man, such as these following;
1. How God is Just, and yet Gracious; or how an offended God can, and doth justify guilty Sinners.
2. In and by by him we see how Justice and Mercy meet together, and Righteousness and Truth kiss each other:* The one exalting the highest Sa∣tisfaction on terms of pure and severe Justice; and the other crying for infinite Mercy.
3. He resolves this Question; viz, How an un∣righteous and ungodly Man can be justified with God.
4. How Sin can be Punished, and yet Pardoned:
5. How the Debt can be Paid, and yet be freely forgiven.
Brethren, Christ is a Priest, and as a Priest he is the Antitype of Jacob's-Ladder; and as so consider∣ed, he is exalted on high; for in and by this Office he brings God and Man, Heaven and Earth toge∣ther; I mean by that Attonement he hath made by his bloody Sacrifice; It pleased the Father by him to reconcile all things to himself, whether they be things on Earth,*or things in Heaven. Hea∣ven and Earth are not at a farther distance from each other, as Naturally we are unto God, in re∣spect of our state and Spirits,* such Enmity is in the hearts of all unrenewed Sinners against God; but saith the Apostle; But now in Christ Jesus ye that were afar off are made near by the Blood of Christ.* The way is by his Death, by his Blood which was shed upon the Earth; here we were, and here is the Foot of the Ladder. God's Justice requires an infinite Satisfaction, and Christ being God, reached Heaven; i. e. the full demands of divine Justice: Such a Days-Man we needed, who layeth his hands upon both. By his being Page 43 a Priest in his o••ering up that one Sacrifice he reconciled God to us,* and by his Spirit he re∣conciles us to God, by his applying and making the Attonement efficacious, or effectual to us,*that in the dispensation of the fulness of time, he might gather together in one, all things in Christ.
This is done in him, even in Christ alone, none but he hath done it, or could do it. God by him, who stands at the top of the Ladder, comes down to us, as well as we go up to God; it is by Christ that God comes down to us in a way of Mercy, Peace, and Reconciliation; and it is by Christ we go up to God in a way of Faith, and dependance. Beloved,* God and poor Sinners meet together on this Sacred Ladder (or blessed Medium and contrivances of infinite Wisdom) in Christ, we who were Strangers and Enemies, meet with a holy and just God, with joy and comfort: You that were sometimes alienated, and enemies in your Minds by wicked Works,*hath he reconciled in the body of his Flesh, through Death.*When we were Enemies we were reconciled unto God by the Death of his Son. Now this is done by Christ as a Priest in dying; But
Secondly, He is the Antitype of Jacob's Ladder, as our High-Priest also,* by his Intercession now in Heaven.
1. He interceeds with God for us in Heaven also.
2. He interceeds by his Spirit in us:* By his Intercession in heaven he prevails with God for the Blessings of his Attonement; and by his Spi∣rits intercession in us, all those Blessings are ap∣plyed, and so made effectual to us. By vertue of his Satisfaction, God is brought near to us; and thro Application of his Blood, by his Spirit, we are brought near unto God: And thus is Christ, the blessed Medium or Way, by which Peace is made between Heaven and Earth, or God and Sinners.
Page 44Moreover, by this glorious Me•ium we have free access unto God, which is the effects of Christ's Priestly Office.
It is on this Sacred Ladder we come with holy boldness to the Throne of Gra•e: It is by the blood of Jesus,*through him by one Spirit we have both (that is Jews and Gentiles,) access unto the Father.* Again he saith, In whom we have boldness and access with Confidence, through Faith of •im.
Christ is the Way of our Union with God, and also of our Com•union: All that divine and blessed intercourse that passeth between God and us,* is in and by Jesus Christ; Seeing then we have a great High-Pri••t,*t••t is passed into Heaven, let us therefore come •oldly to the Throne of Grace, &c. Again he sai•h, Having therefore, Brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.
*Secondly, Christ is exalted as he is a King, and also as King, he is the Antitype of Jacob's Ladder; and in this respect wonderfully exalted: Him hath God exalted at his Right-hand, to be a Prince,*and a Saviour to give Repentance to Israel, and remission of Sins. Christ is King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, the only Potentate; It is by him Kings reign, and Princes decree Judgment. He pulls down one, and sets up another as it plea∣seth him.* [1.] Christ, my Brethren, is the Father's Heir, his First-born. [2.] He is also qualified with all Princely Wisdome, and so fit to reign over all; Angels Men and Devils are subject un∣to him. [3.] He is chosen-King. [4.] He is by the Fa•her anointed King with the Oyl of gladness above his Fellows.* [5.] And he is pro∣claimed King for ever. [6.] He has the Govern∣ment on his Should•rs;* he rules in us, and sub∣dues all our Enemies; he bows and bends our Page 45 Spirits and stubborn Wills to submit to his So∣ver•ignty; he mortifies all our Co•ruptions, and brings us out of the Prison-house,* and spoils the strong Man armed: he has conquered the World,* Sin, and Devils for us, and doth, and will also subdue them i• us; he is both King of Saints, and King of Nations.
Thirdly, Christ as he is a Prophet,* is also the Antitype of Jacob's Ladder; and as thus con∣sidered he is exalted.
1. He received his Doctrine from Heaven, and brings it down to Earth. He is said to speak from Heaven, and yet he spake on Earth; and when he spake on Earth as Man, he was in Heaven as God: And thus the Foot of the Lad∣der was on Earth, and the Top reached to Heaven. Moreover, by his Speaking he makes such Hearts of men as were earthly▪ to be heavenly, and lifts us up in our Desires, Meditations, and Affections from earth to heaven.
Christ is lifted up and exalted as a Prophet, and higher in Glory than all the Prophets of God.
A Prophet is the Mouth of God to the Peo∣ple. Now, Jesus Christ, received his holy Do¦ctrine from God,* and spake as his Father gave Commandment. —Moreover, he excels all other Prophets;
1. All the Prophets of God besides him, were inspired by him
2. They received the Spirit but by Measure; but he without Measure.
3. Other Prophets only could speak to the Ear, he speaks to the Heart.
4. Other Prophets could cause Men only to hear that were alive; but Christ can make them that are deaf and dead to hear.*
6. He can open the Ear as well as give In∣struction.
7. All the Teachings of other Prophets and Teachers are in vain, without his divine Teachings.
8. He can cause such whom he Teacheth to remember what they hear.*
9. He Teacheth powerfully, and instructs with a high hand, and yet he Teacheth sweetly.
10. He Teacheth not only Efficaciously, but also Infallibly, and removes all Obstructions that hinder Sinners from hearing and receiving what he saith unto them. He can teach men Wisdom as you have heard when they are asleep; O who teacheth like him.*
Christ is lifted up to Heaven, in that he is the Sum and Substance both of Law and Gospel: I mean the Antitype of all Types,* and Substance of all Shadows: He is the great Subject of Go∣spel-ministration. What have Ministers to Preach but Jesus Christ? I have formerly shewed you what it is to Preach Christ, so as to exalt him and lift him up in the ministration of the Gospel.
First, 'Tis to Preach the Excellencies of his Person.
1. To Preach that he is GOD, God by Na∣ture, not a petty-god, a god by Office, but the most high God, the eternal God, Co-essential, Co-equal, and Co-eternal with the Father.
2. To Preach that he is MAN, truly Man, made of a Woman,* of the same Flesh and Blood that the Children partake of.
3. That he is GOD and MAN, in one Per∣son, both Natures making but one Christ, by a wonderful, and hypostatical Union.
Page 47Secondly, To Preach Christ is to Preach his In∣carnation, his Birth, his Life, his Death, his Re∣surrection, his Ascension, and his Intercession.
Thirdly, To Preach Christ, is to Preach his holy Doctrine, and his exemplary Life,* in his sweet Spirit, great Condescension, wonderful Abase∣ment, infinite Love, Mercy, Faithfulness, Meek∣ness, Charity, &c.
4. To Preach the Preciousness of Christ,* is to Preach Christ.
5. To Preach Christ, is to Preach the necessity of Christ, and of his Death: And that
1. Because of that voluntary obligation he en∣tered into with the Father. in behalf of the Elect from Eternity; that holy Covenant, and Compact •aid a necessity upon him to dye in our stead.
2. In respect of God's eternal Decree, and pur∣pose, he being a Lamb slain before the beginning of the World.
3. In respect of those ancient Prophesies con∣cerning him, and of his Work, and Office which must be all accomplished.
4. In respect of all those Types and Shaddows that pointed to him, which must be fulfilled in their Antitype, &c.
5. And in respect of all the Saints who lived under the Old-Testament, who ventured their Souls and Salvation upon him, as to come and was to dye for them.
6. In respect of the Nature, Holiness, and Ju∣stice of God, and of his absolute Threatning, pronounced against Adam, and all Mankind in him.
7. In respect of the Sanction and perfect Ho∣liness of the Law; and of that Curse it laid all Men under.
8. Moreover, there is an absolute necessity of Christ, and of Faith in him, in respect of God's Revealation, there being no other Way, Per∣son, or Means, found out or revealed, to redeem Page 48 fallen Man, but Jesus Christ only.
*Fourthly, To Preach Christ, is to Preach the power and ability of Christ, to save all that be∣lieve in him, or that come to God by him.
Fifthly, To Preach Christ, exalt him, and lift him up, is to Preach his Readiness, and Willing∣ness, as well as his Power, and Ability to save.
*Sixthly, 'Tis to Preach the unsearchable Riches of Christ.
Seventhly, To Preach Christ, is to Preach Christ the Power of God, and the Wisdom of God; i. e. in whom all the glorious Attributes of God are united in sweet Harmony, and shine forth in equal Glory, and Strength to save Sinners, lost and undone Sinners.
Eighthly,* To Preach Christ, is to preach him not only the one Mediator, between God and Man, but also our blessed Surety, or the Surety, and Testator of the New-Covenant.
Ninthly, To preach Christ, is to preach him in all his offices, as you have heard.
Tenthly, To Preach Christ, exalt Christ alone, is to preach his Satis•action;* or that full and compleat Reconciliation he hath made by his O∣bedience,* and suffering; our Faith and Holiness adding nothing thereunto.
Eleventhly, To Preach Christ, is to Preach Justi∣fication only by him; i. e. That he and his perfect Righteousness alone is that which Justifies us, as it is Imputed to us that believe;* his active Obedience being that whi•h is our only Title to Heaven;* and that his Death (he bearing all God's vindictative Wrath for our Sins) is that only which deli∣vers us from Hell.*
Twelfthly, To Preach Christ, exalt Christ, is to Preach him the Way, the only way to the Father; No Man cometh to the Father, but by me.*
To p•each Christ the Life, the life of our Souls; not only having purchased Life for us,* but infuseth Life, or a vital Principle into us, and preserves that Life; that he is the Bread of Life, and the Water of Life. That Christ is the hidden Manna that came down from Hea∣ven; (which the natural Man knoweth not) that by coming to him, by believing on him,* or receiving of him, we live; and that by our U∣nion with him, he is ours; and his Righteous∣ness, and all the Merits of his Blood, even all his Riches, both Grace and Glory, becomes ours; or we have an Interest in him, and all he is, and hath.
Thirteenthly, To Preach Christ, is to Preach him to be our Bride-groom,* that espouseth us in Con∣jugal Affections, in Knowledge, in Faithfulness,* in Mercy, and in loving Kindness for ever.* That he is our Physician, that heals all our Diseases: Our Shepherd to gather us, or bring us home to his Fold, that feeds, leads, protects and defends us.
To Preach Christ the only Head of the Church, having absolute Power over his Body,* and graciously guiding and influencing it, and every Member thereof.
To Preach Christ the only Foundation, and chief Corner-stone, upon whom the Church is built,* and every lively Stone is united, to build our Salvation on him, to Trust on him, and to have all our Faith and Hope in him.
To Preach Christ, is to Preach him the Sun of Righteousness, like as the Sun in Glory, he is the Anima Mundi, the very Soul of the new World,* in respect of Light and Life, as well as Heat; and in respect of his fructifying and comforting In∣fluence; and by his expelling all our Darkness, cau∣sing a lovely Spring, and blessed Day in all such Souls on whom he riseth and shines.
Page 50*To Preach Christ the Fountain, to wash us, as well as the Sun to enlighten us, and our only Phy∣sician to heal us.* To Preach Christ in a Word▪ is to Preach him to be every thing that God hath made him to be unto us; even both Wisdom and Righteousness, Sanctification and Redemption.
Fourteenthly, To Preach Christ, is to Preach him, as I said, to be the Antitype of all Types, and the Substance of all Shadows.
1. The second Adam, publick Person, and great Covenanting Head, and blessed Representative of all his Elect; out of whose Side his Spouse is taken.
2. The true Noah, and Heir of the World, that builds the Ark, and that saves all just Per∣sons; the true Preacher of Righteousness, that sends the Dove, and that repairs the lost World.
3. The true Melchizedeck, without Father and Mother,* made a Priest by an Oath, that blesseth Abraham, and all his true Seed.
5. The true, and Antitypical Isaac, long promi∣sed before Born, and brought forth out of a dry Root, by the mighty Power of God, and Word of Promise; three dayes dead, and yet, as to his Deity, dyed not, and yet was Offered up for a Sacrifice by his Father.
6. The true Jacob, who as a Prince, prevailed with God.
7. Our Joseph, who was Sold into the hands of the wic•ed Ishmaelites; and who by his Abasement, was raised to Honour, and made Lord-Treasurer of all the Land, who feeds all Famished and hun∣ger-starved Sinners, to whom all must go for Bread, and before whom, all his Brethren must bow.
Page 518. Our Moses, that brings all the Children of Israel out of Spiritual Egypt, and Bondage of Sin, and Satan.
9. The true Joshua, that carries God's Israel in∣to the Land of Promise.
10. Our strong Samson, that slew the devouring Lyon, and who, by death, or dying, destroyed our Enemies,
11. The true David, beloved of God, and his only Anointed, with whom the Covenant stands fast for ever.
12. The true Solomon, the Prince of Peace, that excells all in Wisdom, both Men and Angels; that builds God's Temple, and bears the Glory: and that Marries the Aethiopian Woman, the black and polluted Gentiles.
13. The true Elisha, that Cures all the Leperous Naamans, and multiplieth the Widdows Oyl.
14. The true Elijah, that raiseth up the dead Child, i. e. the dead Soul: and that went to Heaven.
15. Our Jonah, that was cast into the Sea of God's Wrath, to make a Calm, that lay three days and three nights in the heart of the Earth.
16. The true Antitypical Aaron, as you heard before.
17. The Mercy-Seat, from whence God Com∣munes with us.
18. The Altar of Perfame, that presents all our Persons and Prayers, acceptable unto God the Father.
19. The Antitype of the Slain, and Scape-goat, on whom all our Sins are laid; and who bears them all away into an unknown Land.
20. The true Antitypical Rock, that was smitten in the Wilderness, that we might have Water of Life to drink in this Wilderness, until we come to the true Canaan.
Page 5221. The true Passover, that was Sacrificed for us.
22. The true Sin-offering: yea, both Priest, Altar, and Sacrifice.
Lastly, the Antitypical brasen Serpent, that is lifted up to cure all that are Stung with Sin, that fiery Serpent,* that look up to him by Faith.
Fifteenthly, To Preach Christ, is to Preach all the Ordinances of Christ, holy Precepts and In∣stitutions.
Sixteenthly, To Preach Christ, is to Preach all the Promises of Christ,* and all in him, and in him sure to all his Seed; Not Yea, and Nay, but Yea, and Amen, to the Glory of God the Father.
*Seventeenthly, To Preach Christ, is to Preach that fulness that is in Christ; viz.
1. A Soul-fulness, or spiritual Fulness, a Soul enriching fulness, a s•itable fulness, and seasonable fulness, a necessary fulness, a Soul-satisfying fulness, an eternal and everlasting fulness.
2. A fulness of Merit and Satisfaction, and of Righteousness.
3. A fulness of Grace.
4. A fulness of Light, and a fulness of Sufficiency, as Mediator of Power, Wisdome, Knowledge, Love, Mercy, Pardon, Peace, Joy and Glory.
5. A fulness of Efficiency. Tho we are never so empty, Christ can fill us; tho never so poor, he can inrich us; tho never so weak, he can strengthen us; tho never so Ignorant, he can give us know∣le•ge, tho never so guilty, he can justifie us; tho' never so naked, he can cloathe us; tho never so sa•• he can rejoyce our troubled Hearts: In a word,* All fulness is in Christ: In him dwelleth the fulness of the God-head, Bodily: Not part of the God-head, (the God-head, the distinguished, can∣not be divided) but the whole God-head dwelleth in the Son, as in the Father, and in the Holy Ghost.
Page 53Eighteenthly, To Preach Christ, to exalt him, as the Father hath I fred him up▪ and magnify'd him, is to abase the Creature; 'tis to give all the glory of our Salvation to him, and assume none of it to ourselves. To Preach him only, not to Preach Mo∣ses, nor to take the Law from his Mouth, but from the Mouth of Christ, or as it is in Christ's hands; not to Preach Morality, as that which can justifie and save us. Not to Preach the Light within all, to be our Saviour: For that is to Preach the Law written in the Heart of Man, it being the substance of that Law written in the Two Tables of Stone. Not to Preach the Decrees of general Councils, or National Synods. Nor to mix our in∣herent Righteousness, and sincere Obedience; no, nor our Faith with Christ's Righteousness.
Thus I have shewed you how Christ is Exalted, Flivated, and like Jacob's Ladder lifted up to Heaven: Nay, he's made higher than the Hea∣vens; and that in his Person, and by his Offices, Heaven and Earth meet together, and God and Man, in Jesus Christ, are made One, —
I shall Close at this time with a Word of Application:
1. We may Infer from hence, that here is won∣derful Incouragement for poor Sinners to come to Christ; believe in him, or to venture up this Spi∣ritual Ladder.
2. Behold the fulness which is in Christ, and bless God for such a Way, for such a Ladder that reacheth up to Heaven.
Page 541. Because God will Exalt him, and Magnify him: He knew how many would Debase him, and Disrobe him, of which sort we have too many in these Days.
2. Because he being God, it cannot be otherwise; and this shews he is God: Would God give this Glory to a meer Creature, it would be Idolatry to give divine Adoration to Christ, were not he the most high God.
3. It is because there is such an Emptiness in poor Sinners; nay, in Believers, as in themselves.
4. It is because Christ hath so many Vessels, empty Vessels to fill: True, he has filled Multi∣tudes already, from the beginning of the World; for all that ever had any Righteousness, any Grace, or Peace; I mean true Grace and Peace, they had it from Jesus Christ.
But he hath many empty Vessels yet to fill, therefore there is need of such a fulness in him; he fills his Church, nay all his Churches, and hath a greater Vessel yet to fill, when he hath emptied it, namely the whole Earth;*For all the Earth shall be filled with the Knowledge of the glory of the Lord. And he is emptying it in order to this now:*He will make the Earth empty, and turn it up▪side down. Now 'tis full of Wickedness, full of Sin, full of horrid Abominations, of Oaths, of Pride, Uncleanness, Drunkenness, Cruelty, Divisions, Con∣tentions; nay, of Idolatry, Superstition, Errors, Heresies, and what not; but he will empty it e'er long, and then fill it, there is a new World very near, look for it, prepare for it, be ready.
5. Christ is full, because there is no Bread but in this Garner, no Water of Life for all the World, but in this Well, in this Fountain.
6. Because no Sinner might be discouraged, nor dispair of help, succour, and relief in Christ, nor Be∣lievers, because they are God's Children, and have his Likeness; — Also;
Page 554. This may Reprove such that cast Contempt upon Jesus Christ.* Some lay quite aside this chief Corner-stone: What do they less, that trust to a sober Moral Life?* or they that cry up the Light within, as if that was a Ladder that reaches to Hea∣ven, which is to build on the Covenant of Works. Others degrade him, that put part of the highest Glory on the Will of Man; and such who mix their own Faith, sincere Obedience, or Righteousness with Christ's Merits, and make the Gospel as a meer Law of Obedience, with the sanction of Pro∣mises and Threatnings, rendring our Faith and Obedience the Condition of our Salvation. This is not to go to Heaven by Jacob's Ladder.
5. Be Exhorted to venture up this Spiritual Ladder, i. e. to believe in Christ.*
1. A mighty Flood of divine Wrath is near; it will certainly come, and it will over-flow all the dwellers on the Earth, or such that dwell below: The Saints, who are ascended upon this Ladder,* dwell above: Oh climb up quickly, if you would escape the Wrath to come!
2. There is (you have heard) no other way to go to Heaven; Christ is the Way in which we must walk, the Foundation on which we must build, the Door by which we must enter, or the Ladder by which we must ascend, even by the Vail; that is to say, his Flesh, or by the blood of his Cross.
Do not dream of getting to Heaven by your Tears or Prayers, or by your good Deeds, or good Duties; or by the broken Ladder of Free-will; or by the Light within all. What, O what will become of them that strive to throw down this Ladder, and th•nk to be saved some other ways!
3. Tho this Ladder be high, and thy Faith is but weak, yet venture up, set thy Foot upon the first Round; I told you the last day that many Page 56 vvho vvere weak as thou art, are gone to Hea∣ven this way; yea, Multitudes that were as heavy laden as thou art, or canst be, ventured up, and found sure and firm Footing.
4. Thy danger, O Sinner! is great, wilt thou perish in the Flood? O fly to this Ark, get up this Ladder;*He that believeth not shall be Damned.
5. Remember the top reacheth to Heaven, it will bring thee to Heaven, and know also, that in the way,* there are many Angels, they ascend and descend upon this Ladder: they come down to fetch some up, and others they lead and conduct, even those that are ascending upon it: Thou shalt, O Sinner, have blessed Support and Supporters in the way.
Examin. ] Try yourselves, do you exalt Jesus Christ? Certainly if the Father hath exalted him, we ought so to do.
1. Dost thou lay the whole stress of thy Salva∣tion on Jesus Christ, and believe with thy whole Heart?
2. Dost thou love him above all things in the world?
3. Dost thou deny thy self, and forsake all things for his sake, and take up thy Cross and follow him?
4. Dost thou account all things loss for the excel• of Jesus Christ?
5. Dost thou take none of his Right, nor Glory from him, and ascribe it to Man, or to the Will of the Creature.
6. Canst not thou be satisfied with any thing with∣out him? No, not with Ordinances, unless thou dost meet with him, and enjoyst him in them?
7. Dost thou desire before all things to be like unto him, or have his Image?
8. Canst not thou endure to grieve nor offend him?
9. Dost thou love him in all wheresoever thou seest his Image, not because they are in all things Page 57 of thy Opinion, but because they are God's Chil∣dren, and have his Likeness. — Also,
6. This may I•form us who are true Ministers,* as well as who •re 〈◊〉 C•ristians.
1. Not the•〈…〉 the G•d-head of Christ: No, let the•〈…〉 lush 〈◊〉 be a•hamed•▪ This discovers that 〈◊〉 are grand Hereticks, and know not Christ.
2. Not such who render God only re•oncilable, or a conditional Saviour, not fully re•onciled in Jesus Christ, according to their Doctrin•: Christ is yours, if you perform the Condition, and what is that? why change your own Hearts, be Rege∣nerated, or never venture to believe on Christ. Alas, they may as so•n create a World as do this,* it is Christ's work alone,we are born of God, he works all our works in us: Regeneration is the ef∣fect of Ʋnion with Christ.
3. Not such that Preach themselves,* or that Preach for Gain, or seek their own Glory; We Preach not ourselves, but Jesus Christ, the Lord.
Consol.] O know ye Saints, what a happy state you are in, you are mounting up, and shall ascend on high.
2. Angels guard you, support and guide you, and the holy Spirit also directs every step you take.*
3. Nay, God himself takes you by the hand, The steps of a good Man are ordered by the Lord; and tho he falls, he shall not utterly be cast down, because God upholdeth him with his Right-hand.
This Ladder brings you to God,*the Lord God is at the top of it.
1. He was the Contriver of this way; he made this Ladder, he prepared it.
2. He is above the Ladder, denoting tho Christ as Cod, is equal with the Father; yet as Man, or Considered as our Mediator, the Father is above him; My Father is above all, — my Father is greater than I.
Page 583. God being also above it, it may denote that he upholds it by his eternal Counsel, and infinite Power.
4. God is above it also, as an observer of all that are upon it; he sees all that believe on his Son, and takes notice of them.
5. Moreover, he is above it, to encourage all that are upon it with his Covenant-Promise, I am the Lord, the God of Abraham, &c. be not afraid, I will up-hold thee, I will strengthen thee, &c.
6. It may also denote he is at the top of it as an Inviter, to call upon poor Sinners to behold his blessed Son, the Lamb of God, or to believe on him, and venture up.
7. Lastly, he is above it also as a Rewarder, or as the end of our Journey:
[But so much at this time.]