calls the law of works, Rom. iii. 27. Every command that Christ obeyed may be reduced to that great and everlasting law of God that is contained in the covenant of works, that eternal rule of right which God had established between himself and mankind. Christ came into the world to fulfil and answer the covenant of works, that is, the covenant that is to stand for ever as a rule of judgment. The covenant that we had broken, was the covenant ihat must be fulfilled.

This law of works indeed includes all the laws of God that ever have been given to mankind; for it is a general rule of the law of works, and indeed of the law of nature, That God is to be obeyed, and that he must be submitted to in whatever positive precept he is pleased to give. It is a rule of the law of works, That men should obey their earthly parents: and it is certainly as much a rule of the same law, That we should obey our hearenly Father : and so the law of works requires obedience to all the positive commands of God. It required Adam's obedience to that positive command, Not to eat of the forbidden fruit; and it required obedience of the Jews to all the positive commands of their institution. When God commanded Jonah to arise and go to Nineveh, the law of works required him to obey: and so it required Christ's obedience to all the positive commands which God gave him.

But, more particularly, the commands of God which Christ obeyed, were of three kinds; they were such as he was subject to, either merely as man, or as he was a Jew, or purely as Mediator.

1. He obeyed those commands which be was subject to merely as man. These were the commands of the moral law, which was the same with that which was given at Mount Sinai, written in two tables of stone, which are obligatory on man. kind of all nations and all ages of the world.

2. He obeyed all those laws he was subject to as he was a Jew. Thus he was subject to the ceremonial law, and was conformed to it. He was conformed to it in his being circumcised the eighth day; and he strictly obeyed it in going up to Jerusalem to the temple three times a year; at least after he was come to the age of twelve years, which seems to have been the age wben the males began to go up to the temple. And 80 Chrisi constantly attended the service of the temple, and of the synagogues.

To this head of his obedience may be reduced his submission to John's baptism. For it was a special command to the Jews, to go forth to Joby the Baptist, and be baptized of him; and therefore Christ, being a Jew, was subject to this command: and therefore, when he came to be baptized of John, and John objected, that he had more need to come to

him to be baptized of him, he gives this reason for it, That it was needful that he should do it, that he might fulfil all righteousness. (See Matt. iii. 13–15.)

3. Christ was subject to the mediatorial law; or that which related purely to his mediatorial office. Such were the commands which the Father gave bim to teach such doctrines, to preach the gospel, to work such miracles, to call such disciples, to appoint such ordinances, and finally to lay down his life: for he did all these things in obedience to the commands he had received of the Father, as he often tells us. (John x. 18. xiv. 31.) These commands he was not subject to merely as man; for they did not belong to other men: nor yet was he subject to them as a Jew; for they were no part of the Mosaic law: but they were commands he bad received of the Father, that purely respected his mediatorial office.

Christ's righteousness, by which he merited heaven for himself, and all who believe in him, consists principally in his obedience to this mediatorial law: for in fulfilling this law consisted his chief work and business in the world. The history of the evangelists is chiefly taken up in giving an account of his obedience to this law. This part of his obedience was attended with the greatest difficulty ; and therefore his obedience in it was most meritorious. What Christ had to do in the world by virtue of his being Mediator, was infinitely more difficult than what he had to do merely as a man or as a Jew. To bis obedience to this mediatorial law belongs his going through his last sufferings, beginning with his agony in the garden, and ending with his resurrection.

As the obedience of the first Adam, wherein his righteousness would have consisted, if he had stood, would have mainly consisted in his obedience to that special law to which he was subject as moral head and surety of mankind, even the command of abstaining from the tree of knowledge of good and evil; so the obedience of the second Adam, wherein his righteousness consists, lies mainly in his obedience to that special law to which he was subject as mediator and surety for man.

Before I proceed to the next distribution of Christ's righteousness, I would observe three things concerning his obedience to these laws.

1. He performed that obedience to them which was in every respect perfect. It was perfect with respect to the work commanded; and the principle from which he obeyed. It was perfect with respect to the ends he acted for; he never had any by-ends, but aimed perfectly at such as the law of God required. It was perfect with respect to the manner of per


formance; every circumstance of each act was perfectly conformed to the command. It was perfect with respect to the degree of the performance : he acted wholly up to the rule.It was perfect with respect to the constancy of obedience, without any interruption; and with respect to perseverance. He held out in perfect obedience to the very end, in all the changes he passed through, and all the trials that were before him.

The meritoriousness of Christ's obedience, depends on the perfection of it. If it had failed in any instance, it could not have been meritorious : for imperfect obedience is not accepted as any obedience at all in the sight of the law of works, to which Christ was subject. That is not accepted as obedience to a law that does not fully answer it.

2. Christ's obedience was performed through the greatest trials and temptations that ever any obedience was.

His obedience was attended with the greatest difficulties, and most extreme abasement; which was another thing that rendered it more meritorious and thank-worthy. To obey another when his commands are easy, is not so worthy, as it is to obey when it cannot be done without great difficulty.

3. He performed this obedience with infinite respect to God, and the honour of his law. The obedience he per formed was with infinitely greater love to God, and regard to his authority, than that of angels. The angels perform their obedience with a sinless perfection of love ; but Christ performed his with infinite love. Though the human nature of Christ was not capable of love absolutely infinite, yet Christ's obedience in that nature, is the obedience of his person, as God-man; and therefore there was infinite love manifest in that obedience. And this, together with the infinite dignity of the person who obeyed, rendered his obedience infinitely meritorious.

II. The second distribution of the acts of Christ's obe. dience, is with respect to the different parts of his life, wherein they were performed. And in this respect they may be divided into those which were performed in private life, and those which were performed in his public ministry.

Ist, Those acts he performed during his private life.lle was perfectly obedient in his childbood. He infinitely differed from other children, wlio, as soon as they begin to act, begin to sin and rebel. He was subject to bis earthly parents, though he was Lord of all, Luke ii. 51; and was found about his Father's business even when a child, Luke ii. 42.He then began to fulfil the mediatorial law, which the Father had given him. He continued his private life for about thirty years, dwelling at Nazareth, in the house of his reputed father Joseph, where he served God in a private

capacity, and in following a mechanical trade, the business of a carpenter.

2dly, Those acts which he performed during bis public ministry, which began when he was about thirty years of age, and continued for the three last years and a half of his life.Most of the evangelic bistory is taken up in giving an account of what passed during that time. Indeed all the history of Matthew, excpt the two first chapters; the whole of Mark; all the gospel of John ; and all of Luke, except the two first chapters; excepting also what we find in the evangelists concerning the ministry of John the Baptist. Christ's first appearing in his public ministry, is what is often called his coming in scripture. Thus John speaks of Christ's coming as future, though he had been born long before.

Concerning the public ministry of Christ, I would observe the following things.

1. The forerunner of Christ's coming in his public ministry was John the Baptist. He came preaching repentance for the remission of sins, to make way for Christ's coming, agreeable to the prophecies of him, Isa, xl. 3–5. and Matt. iv. 5, 6. It is supposed that John the Baptist began his ministry about three years and a half before Christ; so that John's ministry and Christ's put together, made seven years, which was the last of Daniel's weeks; and this time is intended in Dan. ix. 27. He will confirm the covenant with many for one week. Christ came in the midst of this week of years, as Daniel foretold : And in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.

John tbe Baptist's ministry consisted principally in preaching the law, to awaken and convince men of sin, to prepare them for the coming of Christ, and to comfort them, as the law is to prepare the heart for the entertainment of the gospel. A very remarkable outpouring of the spirit of God attended John's ministry; and the effect of it was, that Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan, weré awakened and convinced. They went out to him, and sub. mitted to his baptism, confessing their sins. John was the greatest of all the prophets who came before Christ, Matt. xi. 11. Among those that are born of women, there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist ; i. e. he had the most honourable office. He was as the morning-star, which is the harbinger of the approaching day, and forerunner of the rising sun. The other prophets were stars that gave light in the night; but those stars went out on the approach of the gospel-day. Now the coming of Christ being very nigh, the morning star comes before him, the brightest of all the stars, as John the Baptist was, in the sense mentioned, the greatest of all the prophets. And when Christ came in his public ministry, the light of that morning-star decreased too; as we see, when the sun rises, it diminishes the light of the morning-star. So Jobp the Baptist says of himself, John iii. 30. He must increase, but I must decrease. And soon after Christ began his public ministry, John the Baptist was put to death ; as the morning-star is visible a little while after the sun is risen, yet soon goes out.

2. Christ's entrance on bis public ministry was by baptism, followed with the temptation in the wilderness. His baptism was as it were his solemn inauguration, by which he entered on his ministry; and was attended with his being anointed with the Holy Ghost, in a solemn and visible manner, the Holy Ghost descending upon him symbolically, in a visible shape, like a dove, attended with a voice froin heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, Matt. iii. 16, 17. After this he was led by the devil into the wilderness. Satan made a violent attack

upon him at his first entrance on his work; and now be had a remarkable trial of his obedience ;, but he got the victory. He who had such success with the first Adam, bad none with the second.

3. I would take notice of the work in which Christ was employed during his ministry. And here are three things chiefly to be noticed, viz. his preaching, his working of miracles, and his calling and appointing disciples and ministers of his kingdom.

(1.) His preaching the gospel. Great part of the work of his public ministry consisted in this; and much of that obedience by which he purchased salvation for us, was in his speaking those things which the Father commanded him. He more clearly and abundantly revealed the mind and will of God, than ever it had been revealed before. He came from the bosom of the Father, perfectly knew his mind, and was in the best capacity to reveal it. As the sun, as soon as it is risen, begins to shine; so Christ, as soon as he came into his public ministry, began to enlighten the world with his doctrine. As the law was given at Mount Sinai, so Christ delivered his evangelical doctrine, (full of blessings, and not curses,) to a multitude on a mountain, Matt. v.-vii.

When be preached, he did not teach as the scribes, but as one having authority; so that his hearers were astonished at his doctrine. He did not reveal the mind and will of God in the style of the prophets, as “ Thus saith the Lord ;" but in such a style as this, “ I say unto you," " Verily, verily, I say unto you.” He delivered his doctrines, not only as the doctrines of God the Father, but as bis own doctrines. He gave forth commands, not (as the prophets were wont to do,) as God's commands, but as his own.

He spake

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