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these are subdued by Christ; and that two ways. First, In his own person ; for they all attempted bim, and failed in their enterprise, John siv, 30. Ile bruised the serpent's head, Gen. iii. 15. and destroyed him that had the power of death, that is the devil, ver. 14. of this chapter ; destroyed his power in a glorious and triumphant manner, Col. ij. 15. He spoiled principalities and powers, and made a shew of them openly, triumpiiing over them in his cross, adding the utmost complement unto his victory in a triumph. And he overcame the world, John xvi. 33. - Be of good cheer,” saith he, “ I have overcome the world.” Botb it, and the prince of it, were put under his feet. Death also was subdued by him : le swallowed it up in victory, 1 Cor. xv. 6t. He plucked out its sting, broke its power, disannulled its peremptory law, when he shook it off from him, and rose from under it, Acts ii. 24. Sin also set upon him in his temptations, but was utterly foiled; as all sin is destroyed in its very being, where it is not obeyed. And all this was for the advantage of the sons of God.
For, 1. He hath given them encouragement, in shewing them that their enemies are not invincible, their power is not uncontrollable, their law not peremptory or eternal; but that, having been once conquered, they may the more easily be dealt withal.
2. They know also, that all these enemies set upon his person in their quarrel, and as he was the great Defender of the faithful; so that although they were not conquered by their persons, yet they were conquered in their cause ; and they are called in to be sharers in the victory, although they were not engaged in the battle.
3. That he subdued them by God's ordinance and appointment, as their representative; declaring in his person, who is the head, what should be accomplished in every one of his members.
And, 4. That by his personal conquest over them, he hath left them weak, maimed, disarmed, and utterly deprived of that power they had to hurt and destroy, before he engaged with them. For he hath thereby deprived them, 1. Of all their right and title to exercise their enmity against, or dominion over the sons of God. Before his dealing with them, they had all right to the utmost over mankind. Satan to rule, the world to vex, sin to enslave, death to destroy and give up unto hell. And all this right was enrolled in the law, and hand-writing of ordinances which was against us. This was cancelled by Christ, nailed to the cross, never to be pleaded more, Col. ii. 14. And when any have lost their right or title unto any thing, whatever their strength be, they are greatly weakened. But he hath herein, 2. Deprived them of their strength also. He took away the strength of sin as a law, and the sting of death in sin, the
are greatly weakenany thing, what
arms of the world in the curse, and the power of Satan in his works and strong holds.
But this is not all, he not only subdues these enemies for them, but also in them and by them; for though they have neither tiile nor arms, yet they will try the remainder of their power against them also. « But thanks be to God," saith the apostle, " who giveth us the victory by Jesus Christ,” i Cor. xv. 57. He enables us in our own persons to conquer all these enemies. “ Nay," saith le, « in all these things we are more than conquerors,” Rom. viii. 37. Because we have more assurance of success, more assistance in the conflict, more joy in the trial, than any other conquerors have, or we do not only conquer, but triumph also. As for Satan, he tells believers, that “they have overcome the wicked one,” i John ii. 13, 14. And shews how it came to pass that they should be able to do so, chap. iv. 4. “ It is, because greater is he that is in them, than he that is in the world.” The good Spirit which he hath given unto them to help and assist them, is infinitely greater and more powerful than that evil spirit which rules in the children of disobedience; and by this means is Satan bruised even under their feet. A conflict indeed we must have with them, we must wrestle with principalities and powers in heavenly places; but the success is secured tlırough the assistance we receive from this Captain of our salvation.
The world also is subdued in them and by them, 1 John v. 4. “ Whosoever is born of God overcometh the world, and this is the victory that overcomieth the world, even our faith.” Faith will do this work, it never failed in it, nor ever will. He that believeth shall overcome ; the whole strength of Christ is engaged unto his assistance. Sin is the worst and most obstinate of all their enemies. This puts them hard to it in the battle, and makes them cry out for aid and help, Rom. vii. 24. But this also they receive strength against, so as to carry away the day. “ I thank God," saith the apostle, “ through Jesus Christ our. Lord,” ver. 25. namely, for deliverance and victory. Sin hatha double design in its enmity against us. 1. To reign in us; 2. To condemn us. If it be disappointed in these designs, it is absolutely conquered, and that it is by the grace of Christ. As to its reign and dominion, it is perfectly defeated for the present, Rom. vi. 14. The means of its rule, is the authority of the law over us; that being removed, and our souls put under the conduct of grace, the reign of sin comes to an end. Nor shall it condemn us, Rom. viii. 1. And what can it then do? Where is the voice of this oppressor ? It abides but a season, and that but to endure and die. Death also contends against us, by its own sting and our fear ; but the first by the grace of Christ is
taken from it, and from the latter also we are delivered, and so have the victory over it. And all this is the work of this Captain of our salvation for us, and in us.
5. He doth not only conquer all their enemies, but he avenges their sufferings on them, and punisheth them for their enmity. These enemies, though they prevail not absolutely nor finally against the sons of God, yet by their temptations, persecutions, oppressions, they put them ofttimes to unspeakable hardships, sorrow and trouble. This the Captain of their salvation will not take at their hands, but will avenge on them all their ungodly endeavours from the lowest unto the greatest and highest of them. Some he will deal withal in this world, but he hath appointed a day wherein not one of them shall escape. See Rev. xx, 10. 14. Devil, and beast, and false prophet, and death, and hell, shall go altogether into the lake of fire.
6. He provides a reward, a crown for them, and in the bestowing thereof, accomplisheth this his blessed office of the Captain of our salvation. He is gone before the sons into heaven, to make ready their glory, to prepare a place for them, and he “ will come and receive them unto himself, that where he is, there they may be also,” John xiv. 2, 3. When he hath given them the vic. tory, he will take them unto himself, even unto his throne, Rev. iii. 22. And as a righteous judge, he will give 6 unto them a crown of righteousness and glory,” 2 Tim. iv. 8. And thus is the whole work of conducting the sons of God unto glory, from first to last, committed unto this great Captain of their salvation, and thus doth' he discharge his office and trust therein, and blessed are all they who are under his leading and guidance. And all this should teach us,
First, To betake ourselves unto him, and to rely upon him in the whole course of our obedience, and all the passages thereof. To this purpose is he designed by the Father, this hath he un. dertaken, and this doth he go through withal. No address that is made unto bim in this matter will he ever refuse to attend unto; no case or condition that is proposed unto him, is too hard for him or beyond his power to relieve. He is careful, watchful, tender, faithful, powerful, and all these properties and blessed endowments will be exercise in the discharge of this office. What should binder us from betaking ourselves unto him continually ? Is our trouble so small, are our duties so ordinary, that we can wrestle with them or perform them in our own , strength ? Alas, we can do nothing, not think a good thought, not endure a reproachful word. And whatever we seem to do or endure of ourselves, it is all lost, 6 for in us there dwelleth no good thing." Or are our distresses so great, our temptations so many, our corruptions so strong, that we begin to say there is
no hope? Is any thing too hard for the Captain of our salvation ? Hath he not already conquered all our enemies? Is he not abl: to subdue all things by his power? Shall we faint whilst Jesus Christ lives and reigns ? But it may be, we have looked for help and assistance, and it hath not answered our expectation, so tliut now we begin to faint and despond. Sin is not subdued, the world is still triumphant, and Satan rageth as much as ever, his temptations are ready to pass over our souls. But have we sought for his help and assistance in a due manner with faith and perseverance, unto right ends of his glory, and advantage of the gospel ? Have we taken a right measure of what we have received ? Or do we not complain without a cause? Let us not judge according to outward appearance, but judge righteous judgment. What is it to us, if the world triumph, if Satan rage, if sin tempt and vex? we are not promised that it shall be otherwise. But are we forsaken? Are we not kept from being prevailed against ? If we ask amiss, or for improper ends, or know not what we do receive, or think because the strength of enemies appears to be great, we must fail and be ruined ; let us not complain of our Captain, for all these things arise from our own unbelief. Let our application unto him be according unto his command, our expectations from him according to the promise ; our experiences of what we receive be measured by the rule of the word, and we shall find, that we have all grounds of assurance that we can desire. Let us then in every condition 6 look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith," who hath undertaken the leading of us in the whole course of our obedience from first to last, and we shall not need to faint, nor shall we ever fail.
Secondly, To look for direction and guidance from him. This in an especial manner belongs unto him as the Captain of our salvation. There are two things which we find by experience, that professors are apt to be at a great loss in, while they are in this world : the worship of God, and their own troubles. For the first, we see and find that woful variance that is among all sorts of men; and for the latter, we are apt ourselves to be much bewildered in them, as unto our duty and our way. Now all this uncertainty ariseth from the want of a due attendance unto Jesus Christ as our guide. In reference unto both these, he hath peculiarly promised his presence with us. With the dispensers of the word he hath promised to be unto the end of the world, or consummation of all things, Matt. xxviii, 29. And we find “ him walking in the midst of his golden candlesticks," Rev. i. In that allegorical description of the gospel church-state and worship, which we have in Ezekiel, there is a peculiar place assigned unto the prince. Now one end of his presence is, to see that all things are done according to his mind and will. And unto whom should we go but unto himself alone ? His word here will prove the best directory, and his Spirit the best guide. If we neglect these, to attend unto the wisdom of men, we shall wander in uncertainties all our days. It is so also in respect of our troubles; we are ready in them to consult with flesh and blood, to look after the examples of others, to take the advice that comes next to hand; when the Lord Christ hath promised his presence with us in them all, and that as the Captain of our salvation. And if we neglect him, his example, his direction, his teaching, it is no wonder if we pine away under our disc tresses.
II. We may observe, that the Lord Jesus Christ being priest, sacrifice and altar himself, the offering whereby he was consecrated unto the perfection and complement of his office, was of necessity to be part of that work, which as our priest and mediator he was to undergo and perform. When other typical priests were to be consecrated, there was an offering of beasts appointed for that purpose, and an altar to offer on, and a person to consecrate them. But all this was to be done in and by Jesus Christ himself. Even the Father is said to consecrate hiin, but upon the account of his designing him and appointing him unto this office; but his immediate actual consecration was his own work, which he performed when he offered himself through the eter, nal Spirit. By his death and suffering, which he underwent in the discharge of his office, and as a priest therein offered himself unto God, he was dedicated and consecrated unto the perfection of his office. This would require our further explication in this place, but that it will again occur unto us more directly.
III. The Lord Christ being consecrated and perfected through sufferings, hath consecrated the way of suffering, for all that follow him, to pass through unto glory. All complaints of sufferings, all despondencies under thein, all fears of them, are rendered unjust and unequal by the sufferings of Christ. It is surely righteous that they should be contented with His lot here, who desire to be received into his glory hereafter. Now there are sundry things that follow upon this consecration of the way of suffering by Jesus Christ. As,
First, That they are made necessary and unavoidable. Men may hope and desire other things, and turn themselves several ways in their contrivances to avoid them, but one way or other, sufferings will be the portion of them that intend to follow this Captain of salvation. The apostle tells believers, that they are « predestinated to be conformed to the image of the Son of God," Rom. viii. 29. And lets them know in the close of that chapa ter, that no small part of this conformity consists in their affic
Self unscharge of his collide and sufferi