The teachings of Christ in the soule. Opened in a sermon before the Right Honble House of Peers, in Covent-garden-Church, upon the solemne day of their monthly fast, March 29. 1648.
Sterry, Peter, 1613-1672.

The Doctrine.

THe Words thus opened, and divided, afford us from both parts this one Doctrine:

[Doctr.] Jesus Christ is the onely Master in Christianity.

Jesus Christ is Emmanuel, God with us, Mat. 1. 23. The Creatour in union with the Creature; The Divine nature joyned with the Humane in one Person; God living in the nature, and forme of man: man living in the person, and power of God.

This Christ is Lord of all, as the Scripture speaks, and so he is a Master. But I speak not of him now in this sence, as a Master in power, but in precepts: as a Master over ser∣vants, but Disciples.

I will give you one Proofe of the Doctrine, and one Reason for it:

[Proofe.] The Proofe is that place, Matth. 11. 27. All things are delivered to me of my Father, and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father: neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son; and he, to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.Page  6 There is nothing worth the knowing but God alone. Let him that glorieth, glory in this, that he understandeth me, Jer. 9. 24. There is nothing capable of being Known, but God; or by the Knowing of him first. For all other things are meer Representations of him, and relate to him. Prov. 16. 4. God hath made all things for himself: that is, to resemble him, and returne to him. No knowledge can bring into your soules substance, or satisfaction; life, or immortality, be∣sides this. This is Eternall life to Know thee the only true God, John 17. 3. Thou art a good Christian, if thou Knowest thy God, thy Father; from whence thou camest; in whose house thou dwellest; to whom thou must returne. But no man can Know the Father, except he be taught by the Son.

[Reason.] The Reason of the Doctrine is the Office of Christ. Our Saviour hath a three-fold Office of

  • 1. King.
  • 2. Priest.
  • 3. Prophet.
It belongs to him by all these Offices, to be our onely Master.

1. Christ hath the Office of a King, Psal. 2. 6. God saith, I have set my King upon my holy hill of Sion. Christ is a King of God's making, and appointing; the King of Saints; a King in his Church, which is the true mount Sion.

Saul the first King of the Jewes, was taller by the head, than the rest of his Brethren. Jesus Christ is higher by the head, than all the Creatures; his head is ever above all Clouds in the light of the Divine nature. The head of Christ is God, 1 Cor. 11. 3. Thus is Christ crowned King by the Godhead. And by this Title hath he the Law of all Truth, and Goodnesse in his own Breast. For he is an absolute, su∣pream King.

Page  7 God calls Christ, my King; a King in my likenesse, in my stead.

Therefore Moses speaks to Jesus Christ, in a Figure, af∣ter this manner, Deut. 33. 3. All his Saints are in thine hand, (to be trained up, and form'd by thee, O Lord Jesus) they sate at thy feet, (as Paul at the feet of Gamaliel) they received the words from thy mouth.

It is a Spirituall Kisse from the mouth of Jesus Christ up∣on the soul, that can alone set the stamp of a Truth, or a Law upon any thing there. They received the words from my mouth. Christ is our only Master by his Kingly office.

2. Christ hath the Office of a Priest, Psal. 110. 4. Thou art a Priest for ever after the Order of Melchisedech. Some Divines tell us from the 7. of the Hebrews, that this Melchi∣sedech was the Holy Ghost, or Jesus Christ in the Spirit, ap∣pearing to Abraham in the Form of a Man. Both are much at one. But however this be; it appears clearly from the Chapter; that this Order of Priesthood was absolute, incom∣municable, immortall.

The Priesthood, and Kingdome of Christ are both pecu∣liar to himself. For he hath a peculiar anointing to them both, Psal. 45. 7. God, thy God hath anointed thee with the oyle of gladnesse above thy Fellows.

The anointing which Jesus Christ hath is the powring forth of the Divine nature upon the Humane. This makes him both Priest, and King after an eminent, and singular manner.

Now it was one of the Principall works of the Priest, to teach men the Knowledge of God. So you may read Mal. 2. 7. For the Priests lips should keep Knowledge, and they should Seek the Law at his Mouth, for he is the Messenger of the Lord of Hosts. This was the duty of Priests under the Law, as the Type. But this is the dignity of Christ alone in Page  8 the Gospel, as the Truth to that Type. He is the Messenger (the Angel) of the Lord of Hosts.

This is the living Spring of Knowledge, which is ever full, and flowes forth upon those Soules, that hang on his lips; even the Spirit of our Lord Jesus.

The Office, and aptnesse of Christ to Teach; his Com∣municative nature in Divine things is sweetly exprest, Cant. 5. 13. His Lips, like Lillys, dropping sweet-smelling Myrrhe.

The Appearances, and Discoveries of Christ to the Soule are those Lips, with which he Kisseth the Spirits of Men.

Lillys are Flower-de-luces, Flowers of Divine light. Myrrhe is an Embalming spice of sweet savour, preserving from corruption.

The Lips of Christ, his layings forth of himself to the Soul are exceeding faire with the brightnesse of heavenly Truths. They drop upon the Soule in the pretiousnesse, and power of those Truths, like Myrrhe, carrying the sweet savour of Life and Immortality along with them.

This is the second Office of Christ, his Priesthood, by vertue of which he is our only Master.

3. Christ hath the Office of a Prophet, Act. 3. 27. Mo∣ses truly said to the Fathers; A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you, from among your Brethren, like unto me. Him shall you hear in all things, whatsoever he shall say unto you. The Lord Jesus is a Prophet like Moses, because he is a Man, but unlike him, because he is God, as well, as Man. He is like Moses, because Moses was the shadow of this rising Sun, which went before him. Yet he is unlike, because he is the Sun it self.

The name of a Prophet (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) Signifies two things in the Office: 1. To fore-tell things to come. 2. To tell forth the Hidden truths of God from the Secret of his Spirit to the Ears, or Souls of Men.

Page  9A Prophet in the latter of these senses, is that Prophet, of which I now principally speak. And in this sense are Pro∣phets spoken of, 1 Cor. 14. 29. Let the Prophets speak, two, or three, and let the rest judge. Ver. 30. If any thing be re∣vealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. Ver. 31. For ye may all prophesie one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.

A Prophet is the Oracle of God, for the delivery of Divine Discoveries to men.

And in this sense God speaketh of Christ, Hebr. 1. 2. God hath spoken in these last times by his Sonne. Glorious truths laid up in God, concerning Himselfe, and the Hea∣venly estate of things are revealed first to Jesus Christ, and by him to us.

The Lord Jesus is God-man, God and Man in Vnion. As God, he possesseth eternally all Divine Truths in Himself: then by vertue of the Vnion he drawes forth these Truths out of the Depth of the Divine nature into the Humane, as it were to the top of the water, that they may be visible there.

Divine Truths can live no where, but in the Divine na∣ture: neither can they appeare to us, but in the Humane na∣ture. Therefore can there be a Spirituall Discovery no where, but in Jesus Christ, where he goes along with it, and carryes it on in his owne Person: Because in Him alone is the Vnion betweene both Natures.

[Object.] But you may say, May we heare no Person in Divine things? May no man speak to us the things of God, be∣sides Jesus Christ? Were there not Prophets before his Be∣ing in the flesh? Have there not been Prophets, and Teachers in the Church, since his fleshly comming?

[Ans.] You shall have an Answer to this Objection from the Page  10 mouth of an Angel, Rev. 19. 10. Saint John would have worshipt the Angel, which ministred to him the revelations of Jesus Christ: But he forbade it in these words, See thou doe it nor, I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy Brethren, that have the Testimony of JESUS, worship God, For the Testimo∣ny of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophesie. Prophesie is a Disco∣very of Divine things by a Divine light. This is that which is called a Revelation, Ephes. 1. 17. The Spirit of Wisdome, and Revelation in the Knowledge of Him, that is, Jesus Christ. And 1 Cor. 14. 30. If any thing be revealed to another, let the first hold his peace.

Nothing can come to us in a Divine light, except it come in Christ, and his Appearance. For this is that which makes the Day in Divine things. Ye are Children of the Light, and of the Day.

We are to take nothing for a Divine Light, a Prophesie, or a Revelation, except the Lord Jesus give his Testimony to it by his Appearance in it.

Worship God, saith the Angel, I am a servant, who beare the Image of the Living God, which is the Appearance of Jesus Christ in me. I am no more than the Precious Stones were under the Law, on which a Light from Heaven shone forth, to give answers from God. I am onely the Lanthorne, that carry the Light in me, which sends forth its Beames to you.

The Prophet saith, To the Law, and to the Testimony, if they speak not according to these, they have no Light in them. Esay 8. 20. This he speaketh of the Prophets. No Light, that is, no Morning.

All Prophesies, or Spirituall Discoveries, before Christ appeared, were, as Morning light, which flowes from the Sun, though that be not yet seene it selfe. All since Christ are as Beames falling from his Face. S. Paul calls all Gospel-discoveries, The Glory of God in the Face of Christ, 2. Cor. 4. 6.

Page  11 Thus much for the Answer to this Objection, and the Reason of the Point.