Afternoon same day
- (2) Another great benefit which ariseth from Christs sitting at the Right hand of the Father, belongs to his Kingly Office, & consists in two things.
- 1. In his Government of his Church.
- 2. In his defending of it against its enemies.
- 1. Then Christ sits at the Right hand of the Father, as Lord & King to Govern his Church. Indeed he has the Rule & Government of the whole world. 28. Matt. 18. All Power is given unto me in Heaven & in Earth. But his Special Government is exercised towards his Church. As Joseph when exalted from a Prison, he had the Rule of all Egypt, but he took special care of his Brethren. So here. Now Christ Governs his Church by External means, & by Internal means.
- 1. By External means, namely by his Word & Rod. By the preaching of the word, whereby he gives us his Laws: & by afflictions whereby he brings us back, when we have strayed from them. 119. Ps. 67.
- 2. By Internal means, namely by his holy Spirit. This is called his strong Rod (or Sceptre) verse after the text. The Lord shall send the Rod of thy strength out of Zion. i.e. his holy word which is full of might when set on by the Spirit. Hince it is called the Power of God. 1. Ro. 16.
More particularly the order of this Government is after this manner
- 1. By the Preaching of the word, Christ gathers a Church by separating of the Elect from the rest of mankind as his peculiar Flock, 15. Joh. 19. I have chosen you out of the world, i.e. I have separated you from the world. Now by what means is this Separation made? Why it is by the Preaching of the word, that a Church is born & propagated. This is the way men are born again, 3. Joh. 3. 2. Acts. 41. 47. 4. Ch. 4. & 6. 7. And for this purpose Christ hath given Ministers extraordinary, & ordinary, fitted & qualifyed for this work. 4. Eph. 8. 11. 12. 13.
- 2. By adding to the Preaching of the word the efficacy of his Spirit, by which means the dark minds of the Elect are enlightened, & their hard hearts are softened. It is said of the Apostles that they went forth preaching of the word, & the Lord worked with them. ult. Mark. ult. i.e. both with Preachers, & Hearers. An instance you have in Lydia. 16. Acts. 14. Hince all saving profit by the word is justly attributed unto God. 1. Cor. 3. 5. 6. 7. We our selves, as the children of Israel of old, are abundantly prone to wander in the wilderness of this world, were it not for Christ as a pillar of fire, & a Cloud, by his word & Spirit going before us, as our Leader into the Heavenly Canaan. 30. Isa. 20. 21.—Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying this is the way &c.
- 3. Last: By exercising his Church in Spiritual obedience by manifold & various troubles, afflictions, & persecutions in this world, even as Earthly good Princes chasten the transgressors of their laws to bring them to obedience. Christ hath placed his Church in this world, as in a Sea, & suffereth many storms & tempests to threaten its Shipwreck, whilst in the mean time he himself seems to be fast asleep, as. 8. Matt. 23. 24. Now this Christ doth chiefly for these three Reasons.
- 1. R. To humble his Church for their sins. The Church of God whilst militant is not without sin: well now by sore afflictions, & cross providences, Christ will bring her sins to Remembrance, & humble her deeply at the Remembrance of them. 5. Lam. 16. The crown is fallen from our head: wo unto us that we have sinned. They mourn more for their sin, than for the loss of their crown.
- 2. R. To make his Church more watchful against sin. Even as Parents, seeing their young children over bold with Fire, or water, they bring their children neer to the fire, & hold them over ye water, as if they would burn them, or drown them whereas they intend nothing less, only to awe them & fright them, that they may hereafter keep farther off: Why so our Lord Jesus seeing us often over bold & venturesom upon sin, suffers us almost to fall even as it were over head & ears, & for a time seems to desert, & all is out of love to prevent a total fall, as in David & Peter.
- 3. R. Last: To make us more watchfull to duty. Hince afflictions are compared to a hedge of thorns. 2. Hos. 6. Now unruly creatures when they endeavour to break the bounds, but meet with pricking briers & thorns, this will cause them to desist: So here. Even famous Paul had need of such a smarting Providence to keep within the divine bounds of humility. 2. Cor. 12. 7.
- II. As Christ Governs his Church, as he sits, as King, at the Right hand of God the Father, so also He as King defends his Church against all ruining attempts and purposes. Now here a twofold action of Christ as King falls under our consideration. Namely
- 1. The deportment of Christ, as King, sitting at the Right hand of the Father, with reference to the defense of his Church
- 2. The deportment of Christ, as King, sitting at the Right hand of ye Father, with reference to the punishing of the Enemies of his Church.
- 1. Then Christ, as King, sits at the Right hand of the Father for the defense of his Church, against all the madness, rage, & fury, of their enemies. The Church is separated from the world: They are new-born, new creatures, have other aims, ends, & principles, different from, yea contrary to the men of the world: Hince ariseth hatred & persecution from those they act so contrary to. As long as there is a contrary Seed, a Seed of the Woman, & a Seed of the Serpent, there will be opposition, more or less, open or secret. 4. Gal. 27. Hince it is that not Seldom great hatred ariseth even from nearest Relations, 13. Mark. 12. 13. Well but then, you may say, what will become of the Church, for that is but a small part of the world. 12. Luke. 32. Oh, as little a part as they are, they are well enough, secure enough, Their King Christ takes special care of them. 27. Isa. 3. Lest any hurt it, I will keep it night & day. Now Christ defends his Church two wayes
- 1. By supplying them with renewed strength suitable to their trials. Christ having begun a new work, it is the main drift of the Devil to pull it all down, but Christ will see to the promoting of it. 1. Philip. 6. He yt hath begun a good work in you, will perform it untill the day of Jesus Christ. He gives renewed strength. 1. Col. 11. As in those worthies. 11. Heb. ⅌ totum
- 2. By hampering & fettering their enemies &c. As we see in the case of the Jews in Esthers dayes
Now Christ defends his Church against three great enemies
- 1. Against inward enemies in their own souls: their own remaining lusts. 7. Rom. 24. 25.
- 2. Against furious & fiery persecutions. Hince the Church is compared to a burning bush. 3. Ex. 2. And. 12. Rev. 14 ad finem
- 3. Last: Against the power of Death. 1. Cor. 15. 25. 26. 5. John. 28. 29.
- 2. Christ as King sits at the Right hand of the Father for the punishment of the enemies of his Church. Both these are the properties of a God King &c
- 1. The Devil the grand enemy of the Church, Christ afflicts him by hindring the successes of his attempts: as in Peters case. 22. Luke. 31. 32. He binds this strong man armed &c.
- 2. Wicked &c Reprobate men (the assistants of Satan to afflict the Church) he punisheth them by hardning of their proud & inveterate hearts, i.e. by giving them up to ye hardness of their own hearts, as we see in Pharoah, so yt they run themselves voluntarily & merrily into ye Sea of destruction. Somtimes they fall into utter desperation as bloody Saul, & treachorous Ahitophel & Judas &c.
But by reason of the Cold so much shall suffice for the doctrinal handling of this point.