The second part of the Observation. Demonstrations of Christs willingnesse to receive sinners that come to him. First how his heart stood from everla∣sting.—
AND so now I come to Christs willingnesse, which was the second thing propounded in the do∣ctrine, to be demonstrated. Now though his will was not first in it, (as was said) yet we shall finde him to have been no lesse willing then his Father. As Christ in subsisting is the second person, and hath his personall subsistence from his Father, so he is second Page 22 also in order of working, and consequently, of wil∣ling too, yet he is not second to him in heartinesse of willing: but as his Father and he are equall, so in all that his Father willeth, his will is equall with his Fa∣ther, and so, is as much in this busines as his.
In the demonstrating of this, I will take the same course that I did in the former:
First, I will shew how hearty he was in this, To have sinners saved before he came into the world.
And Secondly, How willing he was since he came into the world, and since his death and going out of the world.
And as a generall introduction to either, I shall pre∣mise this, which shall be as the corner stone in this building, joyning both parts of this discourse toge∣ther, and is a consequent of what hath formerly been delivered.
The thing to be premised is this: That if God the Father be willing, then Jesus Christ must needs be willing also, and look how much the will of the one is in it, so much the will of the other must be in it al∣so, for the Father and he are all one; And this will serve for our further assurance of the wils of either; and we may make use of it both wayes, either to argue to our faith, that if the Father be willing, Christ must needs be so also; and that if Christ be willing, the Father is so also. That whereas some mens thoughts have been more taken up about, and so more taken with the consideration of how much the Fathers heart was in it, and how active and plotting he was about it: and again, others mens apprehensions have been carried more unto Christs heart in the work: Page 23 this Demonstration which I have in hand shall be a help to the faith of either of these; so that if your hearts have a door of Faith, (as the Apostle speaks) set open, or a window to see either into Gods heart, or Christs, you may raise a confidence of the one from the other, and so come to be sure of both.
And this also I do first mention, because it is the most intrin∣secall bottome-demonstration that can be made of Christs wil∣lingnesse, and is the utmost reason of it.
This demonstration I found upon Joh. 10. 30. [I and my Fa∣ther are one] That whereas in this my Text he shewes how his Fathers will and his agree in one, he there gives the reason of it, for (sayes he) we are one: and the words there, as they stand in their coherence, are proper to the purpose in hand. For Christ there alledgeth them, as the reason why his heart, and power, and all in him is so engaged for the salvation of his own, that if he have any power in him, and be able to do any thing, not one of them shall perish, because his Father and he are one. For mark the occasion upon which he speaks this, it is the same that here in my Text. He had been speaking of saving his sheep, and of his pow∣er and will to save them; and concludes, that they shall never perish. And he sayes not only, that he will never cast them out, (as here) but that, neither shall any man pluck them out of his hand. And in that speech he shewes and utters the strength of his will, as much as of his power. For otherwise although his hand of power had been never so potent to have held them, against all op∣position, yet if his will had not as strongly resolved to hold them in his hand, and so, if they were not as deep in his heart as they are fast in his hands, this speech of his had not been made good, That they shall never perish. And then he gives the reason both of this resoluteness of his will, and this prevalencie of his power, from his Fathers both will and power, engaged as much as his own, in this fulnesse: My Father (sayes he) that gave them me is greater then all, and none is able to pluck them cut of my Fathers hands. He pleads here first his Fathers will, [He gave them me:] And then secondly, his power, (whom these Jewes he spake to acknowledged greater than all, though him they did not) He is greater then all; none can pluck them out of his hands: and then argues to himself, [My Father and I are one:] One in nature, Page 24 therefore much more in will. Two persons that have distinct essence, may yet be one in will, as the Ten Kings are said to be of one minde when they agreed in one thing, Rev. 17. 13, 17. so Act. 4. 32. it is said, that they that believed were of one heart, and of one soule, that is, in judgement and consent of minde. But Christ and God the Father are one yet neerer; one in nature, and there∣fore much more entire in will, for by nature they have but one will between them. And that place speaks at once in relation to both their willingnesse to save, as to both their powers to save sinners. And this is not only an Argument that they did both agree, and were like to agree in it; but that they can never dis∣agree. Two that essentially have two wills, though for the pre∣sent agreeing in one; yet it may be supposed that they may come to disagree, and not will the same thing: but if they essentially have but one will, it is impossible then but that they must ever agree. This great security therefore doth Christ give for the sal∣vation of sinners. You have not only two Persons engaged, Per∣sons greater then all, but all that is in them engaged, both their Power and Will; and what more can be desired? And if the one holds his purpose, the other must also; for they are one. You have the one-nesse of God and Christ given you for security; so that if they can never be made two, and wrought asunder, then sinners must needs be saved. Till these two Persons do disagree, you are sure enough; and they must cease to be, ere they can cease to agree; for they are one, and one in being.
We have another testimony as full as this, 1 John 5. 7. There are three that beare record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, (we are yet surer here is a third Person that comes in) and these three are one. Now what is the thing that these do witnesse unto? ver. 11. it followes, This is the record, that God hath given to us eternall life, and this life is in his Sonne. Here their truth is pawned, as in that other place their power was: for the Apostle alledgeth this as such a truth, as they all agree and stand in to make good. And to prove this, he sayes (as in that other place, Joh. 10.) that these three are one: that is, one in nature, therefore one in will; and so also one in witnesse to this truth. He sayes not only, They agree in one; for you shall ob∣serve, that whereas there are three other witnesses mentioned to Page 25 be on earth, there is this difference put between their concur∣rencie in their testimonies and that of these, that they agree in one, (so ver. 8.) but there is more said of these, namely, that they are one; that is, in Nature, and so in Will or Purpose; and so must needs much more agree in one. Now that thing which their wils, and testimonies, and all agree in, is (as hath been said) that God hath given us eternall life; and this life is in his Son, to all that shall come for it. So that for Demonstrations of this, I need go no further. If there be any Power, Will, or Truth in these Per∣sons, Sinners shall be saved.
This being premised, as the most bottome ground of Christs being at first, and his continuing to be for ever willing to pardon sinners; let us more particularly see, first, how his heart stood to the salvation of them before he came into the world: and then secondly, how it stood enclined unto it after he was come; and what confirmations our faith may have from both. So that the thing that I am herein to speak to, is not so much his willingnes to the work of Redemption it self, (that I have elswhere handled apart) but his willingnesse and readinesse to save sinners.
1. Let us see how his heart stood to this before the world was, and before he came into it. And for this we find, that his delights were set upon it; so Prov. 8. 31. [Rejoycing in the habitable parts of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.] Which words are more properly spoken of Christ, then of God the Father; and therefore I produce them under this Head. For they are said to be spoken by Wisdome, that is, Christ himself, he therein shewing how his minde stood towards us before the world began: for he speaks what he and his Father did before the mountains were, &c. I was set up from everlasting, ver. 22. Then I was by him, &c. ver. 30. And how did they passe away that long aevum? (as the Apostle cals it) in nothing but rejoycing and delights. He there speaks of nothing else that they did. And what was the matter of delight unto them?
1. He and his Father delighted one in another, ver. 30.
2. In the salvation of men, My delights were with the sons of men, so ver. 31. And he speaks of men as falne; for it is said in the beginning of the same verse, that he rejoyced in the habitable parts of his earth; which is spoken not of the Jews only, but of Page 26 the Gentiles too, and of men all the earth over. Now first, De∣lights arise out of the strongest and choicest desires. Men are pleased with many things in which they delight not. Christs heart and desires must needs have been most on that which his delights are in. Again, secondly, the greater the persons are, and the greater their minds are, the greater are their delights. Things of great concernment are usually the objects which are the de∣lights of Kings, and which they take pleasure in. Now the great God and Jesus Christ singled out the pardon and reconciliation of sinners for their chiefe delights.
3. Their delight herein is mentioned, and in no other work of theirs: not the Angels, nor the World, nor any thing in it.
4 This their delight is mentioned next to their delighting in each other.
And fiftly, this delight he took aforehand, whilst his heart was only in the expectation of it, and his mind but laying the plot of it. He delights in it ere he doth it. And if all this joy of his be only in the thoughts of it, how much more will it delight him when he comes to do it? All this argues how great a matter this was in his esteem, and how much his heart was in it, and that from everlasting.