by Thomas Manton
Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.—HEB. 1:9
IN the context the apostle is proving that Christ hath obtained a more excellent name than the angels. They are servants, he a son; they are creatures, he is God; they are to worship, he is to be worshipped, in which divine honours they can have no communion; they are spectators of the mystery of redemption, he is the head of the redeemed world, as being solemnly appointed thereunto by God. This is the argument of the text, which is a quotation out of the 45th Psalm, 'Thou hast loved righteousness,' &c.
In these words we have—(1.) A description of Christ; (2.) The exaltation of Christ; (3.) The respect of the one to the other, 'therefore.' The one is the foundation of the other.
1. In the description of Christ his holiness is taken notice of; and—
[1.] Both branches are mentioned, 'loved righteousness,' 'hated iniquity.'
[2.] The habitual inclination of his heart is asserted in all that he did or now doth do; all proceeded from his love to righteousness, and his hatred to sin.
[3.] This commendation or description doth not only concern his personal practice, but his design. His heart was set upon it, not only to practise holiness himself, but to promote it in the world; for the holiness of God incarnate is essentially necessary both to his person and employment. By it he was fitly qualified. Nothing puts us on to do a thing thoroughly more than love; this was Christ's principle; and therefore he would express the most effectual means.
2. His exaltation: 'God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows;' that is, exalted thee above men and all angels. Anointing is often applied to Christ: Ps. 2:2, 'Against the Lord and his anointed;' Acts 4:27, 'Thine holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed;' Isa. 61:1, 'The Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek.' Therefore he is called in the Hebrew Messiah, and in the Greek Χριστός. This anointing usually signifieth three things—
[1.] The giving of power and authority, as Saul by being anointed was made king of Israel, 1 Sam. 10:1, and Aaron and his sons made priests, Exod. 30:30. So Christ was anointed to authorise his dispensation, or to invest him in the authority and power of the mediatory office.
[2.] To fit and enable the person so authorised for the discharge of the office unto which he was called; for the oil was typical, and signified the gifts and graces of the Spirit. So Jesus Christ was 'anointed with the Holy Ghost, and with power,' Acts 10:38, to fit his human nature for so high a function.
[3.] His welcome and entertainment at his return to heaven; and so the glorious exaltation of our Lord Jesus Christ, when he solemnly sat down at the right hand of majesty, and entered upon his kingdom, was his anointing; for then was he solemnly 'made both Lord and Christ,' Acts 2:36, and evidenced to be the Lord's anointed one, as I shall show more fully by and by.
3. The respect or relation of his exaltation to his description, 'therefore.' At least it is a consequent of what he had done in the world in love to righteousness and hatred of sin, but moreover it is to him a recompense: Phil. 2:9, 'Wherefore God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name;' Rom. 14:9, 'For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.' Which is no lessening of his merit; for therein he considered not himself, but us, that he might be a merciful high priest to us, or a powerful king to defend his people. The Son of God had before his incarnation a glory to which nothing can be added, and a full right which cannot be increased; and whatever glory he received as mediator, it concerneth us more than him.
Doct. That Jesus Christ as mediator, because of his love to righteousness and hatred of sin, is dignified and advanced by God, not only above all men, but also above all angels.
In handling of this point—(1.) I shall speak of the holiness of Christ; (2.) His unction, which is the consequent and fruit of it.
First, Of the holiness of Christ, both as to his person and office.
1. As to his person. There we must consider the original holiness of his natures, divine and human. Divine; he is called, Isa. 45:21, 'A just God, and a saviour.' Human; he was wholly free from that original contagion wherewith others that come of Adam are defiled: Luke 1:35, 'That holy thing that shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.' Now add to this his perfect actual obedience to God both in heart and life, and this either to the common law of duty that lieth upon all mankind, for it' became him to fulfil all righteousness,' Mat. 3:15, or that particular law of mediation which was proper to himself: Heb. 5:8, 'Though he were a son, yet he learned obedience by the things he suffered;' by which he answered the end of the law which we have broken, and was also the meritorious cause of the covenant of grace, by which all blessings are conveyed to us: 2 Cor. 5:21, 'For he hath made him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.' Well, then, his personal holiness did make him acceptable to God, and should make him amiable to us. He loved righteousness, and hated iniquity. Adam in the state of innocency did perfectly love righteousness and hate sin but not constantly, for he soon fell. Believers in the state of regeneration love righteousness and hate iniquity sincerely and constantly, but not perfectly; but Christ, when he assumed our nature, did love righteousness and hate iniquity both perfectly and constantly, in heart and practice, and this even to the death. This qualified him for his office of prophet, priest, and king. As a prophet, who is so fit to teach the world holiness as one that hath a perfect love to holiness and hatred of sin, and this manifested in our nature? Angels are holy and righteous, but not so as Christ, who, besides the essential purity and holiness of the Godhead, hath also assumed our nature, and preserved it in purity and innocency. And therefore his nature and practice agreeth with his design: 1 John 3:5, 'He was manifested to take away our sins, and in him is no sin.' So as a priest; his holiness gave a value both to the merit of his sacrifice and intercession: Heb. 7:25, 26, 'Wherefore he is able to save them to the uttermost that come to God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them: for such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.' Here was a pure, unspotted sacrifice, offered up to God here upon earth, and pleaded and represented in heaven. He that was to satisfy in the behalf of others needed to be free from the defilement of sin himself, that he might be not only our ransom but our pattern. Then as a king, this purity and holiness is necessary, not only that he might powerfully affect, but also favour and patronise all that is good, holy, and just in the world; for, Prov. 15:9, 'The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness.' The one are the objects of his abomination, the other of his love. The wicked are for a while prosperous and successful, therefore they think God loveth them, but they are an abomination to him into whose hands all judgment is put. They cannot collect or conclude his approbation from his forbearance. No; nor any neglect of human affairs, as if they were left to their own chance and arbitrament. No; all that can be gathered from thence is his great forbearance and mercy to the worst, while he is inviting them to repentance. On the other side you have the disposition of the regenerate set forth, who do not perfunctorily and by-the-by do that which is holy and righteous, but set their whole heart and desire to it. They follow after righteousness; their business is to be eminently holy; and surely they are loved by Christ: for he that hateth iniquity and loveth righteousness will love those that follow after it, than which nothing more sweet, honourable, and blessed can be thought of by us than to be loved by our Redeemer. To have a prince love us, or a wise or learned man love us, we highly value it; what is it then to have Christ love us? This will not be a barren or an empty love. Well, then, he is fit to be the king of the world.
2. All this while we have spoken of his personal holiness, which maketh him acceptable to God and amiable to us, and qualifieth him for his office. Now let us see how he showeth this love to holiness and hatred to iniquity in his office as well as in his person. The general term whereby this office is expressed is mediator. The three particular functions are those of prophet, priest, and king.
[1.] As to the general term mediator, whose work it is to bring heaven and earth to kiss each other, or to make peace between God and man, God offended, and man guilty, all that he did therein was out of his love to righteousness and hatred of iniquity, which was the great makebate between God and us; therefore surely his chief design was to destroy sin and to promote holiness. So much we are told, Dan. 9:24, that the Messiah shall come 'to finish transgressions, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.' The great business for which the Mediator came into the world was to destroy the reign and power of sin, and to advance the practice of all goodness and holiness, and to recover the lost world to God. Now, because his heart was so much set upon this, God 'anointed him with the oil of gladness above his fellows.'
[2.] Come we to those three particular functions wherein this office is exercised, those of prophet, priest, and king.
(1.) As a prophet, by his doctrine he showeth that he loveth righteousness and hateth iniquity, for the whole frame of it discovereth and breatheth out nothing else but an hatred against sin and a love to holiness: John 17:17, 'Sanctify them through the truth; thy word is truth;' Ps. 119:140, 'Thy word is very pure.' All the histories, mysteries, precepts, promises, threatenings, aim at this one business, that sin may be subdued in us, and brought into disrepute and disesteem in the world. The histories are certain patterns and examples of holiness, and those taken from men and women that had not divested themselves of the interests and concernments of flesh and blood no more than we have, and yet pleased and served God in their several generations, to excite us to like diligence and self-denial: Heb. 6:12, 'Be followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.' The mysteries are not only to raise our wonder—but breed a true spirit of godliness: 1 Tim. 3:16, 'And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness.' The whole gospel is called, Titus 1:1, 'The truth which is after godliness;' and 1 Tim. 6:3, 'A doctrine which is according to godliness;' because it delivereth the exact and most perfect way of serving God. The Lord Jesus was desirous that this doctrine should take place in the world, therefore he himself was pleased to assume our nature to preach it to us. So for his precepts, they all prescribe an universal adherence to God, and dependence on him, that we may not be carried away by the false offers and delights of sin, but may live in perfect obedience to God, and justice and charity to men. Besides, the word discovereth all the cheats and fallacies we put upon ourselves, to keep us from all impure mixtures of worldly and carnal aims: it discovereth the crafty pretences, and the most insinuating and cunning contrivances to disguise and hide sin: Heb. 4:12, 'For the word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and the intents of the heart.' In short, the whole aim of it is that we may please God and be beloved by him: John 14:21, 'He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me, shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.' The promises call for the greatest purity and cleanness of heart and life: 2 Cor. 7:1, 'Having therefore these promises, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness both of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.' So the threatenings; why doth Christ tell us of torments without end and ease, of a pit without a bottom, of a fire that shall never be quenched, but to make sin more odious and hateful to us? Surely not to terrify us, but to sanctify us; for his government is rather by love than by fear. Now, whosoever wisely considereth the christian religion, he will soon discern that it was framed and set afoot by one that loved righteousness and hated iniquity.
(2.) His priestly office consists in his oblation and intercession, as the high priest under the law did both offer sacrifice and intercede for the people. Now what was the intent of Christ's sacrifice but to put away sin? Heb. 9:26, 'Now once in the end of the world hath he appeared, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself;' that is, not only to destroy the guilt, but the power of it. There are three things in the death and sufferings of Christ to make us hate iniquity, and so by consequence to love righteousness—(1.) By way of representation; (2.) By way of impetration; (3.) By way of obligation.
(1st.) By way of representation. His bitter sufferings are an instance of God's great wrath against sin and sinners: for if Christ must thus be handled rather than sin shall go unpunished, it warneth us to be very cautious how we meddle with the forbidden fruit. When we remember his bitter agonies, his accursed, shameful death, we should cry out Oh, odious sin! This is the meaning of that expression, Rom. 8:3, 'And for sin he condemned sin in the flesh;' that is, by a sin-offering, or the sacrifice of Christ, he hath condemned sin, he hath left a brand or mark of his displeasure against sin, which should induce us to be very cautious and watchful against it; for if these things be done in the green tree, what shall be done in the dry?
(2d.) By way of impetration and purchase. Christ came not only to expiate the guilt of it, but to get it out of our hearts. As he pacified the wrath of God, so he purchased the Spirit; in which sense our old man is said to be crucified with him, Rom. 6:6, namely, as grace was obtained whereby it might be crucified. Now we are sluggish and cowardly if we tamely yield to our lusts, and pretend want of power, when it is want of will to cast them off.
(3d.) By way of obligation, by this great instance of his love to induce us to kill our love to sin: 1 Peter 2:24, 'Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sin, should live unto righteousness, by whose stripes we are healed.' Since he hath borne the weight of our sins, and endured the wrath due to them in his own person, if we have any esteem of Christ's love, certainly we would not spare our most beloved lusts, nor be still alive to sin and dead to righteousness, nor wittingly and allowedly do the least thing that is offensive to him: Ezra 9:14, 'Should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations, wouldst thou not be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping?'
(3.) The next is a king. He is one whose heart was so set upon the love of righteousness, and the hatred of all iniquity, that he would come as a prophet himself to teach the sinful lost world how to become holy again. And as a priest to die for the guilty world to reconcile them to God. Surely he was fit also to rule and govern the world. There are two parts of government—laws and actual administration. His laws are all good and equal, the same with his doctrine. As he giveth notice of these things as a prophet, so he giveth charge about them as a king. Of his laws we need not further speak, but the administration is under our consideration. Now in the righteous ordering the affairs of his kingdom he showeth himself to be one that loveth righteousness and hateth iniquity. As the laws are good and equal, so the administration is right and just. The administration of this kingdom is twofold—internal and external.
(1st.) Internal. Christ is set over the church of God as a glorious head and chief, who is to recover a lost people unto God. His internal administration is either effective or remunerative.
(1st.) Effective by his preventing grace, as he changeth our hearts, bringeth us into his kingdom, worketh faith in us, and maketh us willing subjects to him. Conversion is one of his kingly acts, wrought in us by the efficacy of his preventing grace; otherwise we cannot enter into his kingdom: Mat. 18:3, 'Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven;' Col. 1:13, 'Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.' Till he subdue the power of sin and Satan in our hearts, we shall still groan under that tyranny: Acts 26:18, 'To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God.'
(2d.) Remunerative, by the rewards of godliness here and hereafter. Here: Rom. 14:17, 'For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.' Peace of conscience, increase of grace, joy in the Holy Ghost. They shall not want encouragement who seriously set themselves to love righteousness and hate iniquity: 2 Peter 1:11, 'For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.' Hereafter, heaven is the portion of the sanctified: Acts 20:32, 'And now, brethren, I commend you to God and the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.' He doth sanctify all that believe on him, and then gives them eternal life.
(2d.) External, in the course of his providence. Christ hath set up a government wherein he will favour and protect those that walk uprightly: Ps. 11:7, 'For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.' But with the disobedient 'God is angry every day,' Ps. 7:11. Only it is the day of God's patience. God is preparing himself. Well, then, we must neither rebel against his government nor distrust his defence; for Christ administereth justice in his kingdom, defending the good, and destroying the wicked, and he will in time earnestly espouse the cause of all holiness and righteousness.
Secondly, I come now to the unction of Christ, which is the consequent fruit of the former: 'God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.' There you may observe—(1.) The author of this unction, 'God, even thy God;' (2.) The privilege itself, to be 'anointed with the oil of gladness;' (3.) The partakers of this privilege, or the persons to whom it is applied. One principal and singular, who hath the pre-eminence, and that is the Mediator; others inferior, and in a lower degree of participation, called here 'his fellows.' Let us a little explain these things.
1. The author of this unction, 'God, even thy God.' Is this spoken to him as God or man? It may be true in both senses. As to his divine nature he is God of God, or, as it is in John 1:1, 'The Word was with God, and the Word was God.' As to his human nature, he is a creature made of a woman, and so God is his God, as he is the God of all flesh. But especially is this spoken of him as Mediator, so Christ is one of God's confederates. There is a covenant between God and him: John 20:17, 'I go to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.' The sum of the covenant was, that after he had suffered here upon earth, and satisfied God's justice by being made a curse for us, he was at length to be raised out of the grave, and exalted to his regal power in heaven. All that belongeth to a covenant is found in this transaction between God and Christ.
[1.] God propoundeth the terms, or demandeth of his Son that he lay down his life; and for his labour he promiseth that he shall see his seed, that God shall give him many children: Isa. 53:10, 'He shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hands.'
[2.] The Son consenteth, and saith, 'A body hast thou prepared for me; Lo, I come to do thy will,' Ps. 40:6, 7; 'Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt-offering and sin-offering thou hast not required. Then said I, Lo, I come; in the volume of the book it is written of me.' Here the eternal Son of God doth agree and contract with his Father to perform that perfect obedience to his laws, and to offer up himself such a divine and spotless sacrifice for the sins of the whole world as was necessary for the expiation of sin.
[3.] Christ hath not only consented, but doth with all joy and delight set about this whole will and counsel of God, and go through with the work and office assigned unto him very cheerfully and heartily, till he had brought it to a good end and issue: Ps. 40:8, 'I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is in my heart.'
[4.] After this ready and willing obedience he is to plead the covenant: Ps. 89:26, 'He shall cry unto me, Thou art my Father, my God, and the rock of my salvation;' Ps. 2:8, 'Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.' Upon this there is—
[5.] God's answer, 'God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows;' and Ps. 110:1, 'The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool.' Thus doth the scripture lisp to us in our own dialect, or in such language as we can best understand, concerning that bill of contract or transacted bargain between God and Christ from all eternity, wherein Christ, undertaking perfectly to fulfil the will of God, and to perform all active and passive obedience even unto death, had the promise from God that he should become the author of eternal salvation to all that obey him. The redemption of sinners is not a work of yesterday, nor a business of chance, but well advised, and in infinite wisdom contrived. There was a preparatory agreement to that great work before it was gone about, and therefore it should not be slighted by us, nor lightly passed over.
2. The privilege itself; to be anointed with the oil of gladness. It noteth his solemn exaltation and admission to the exercise of his office. By oil all agree is meant the Spirit, by which Christ was anointed: Luke 4:18, 'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me.'
[1.] Christ was anointed at his conception in his mother's womb, when he was sanctified by the Holy Spirit; for the work of the Spirit was not only to form his body out of the substance of the virgin, which nature could not do of itself; but chiefly to preserve it from sin, and endow it with the gift of holiness; from which time he grew in wisdom and grace, as well as in stature: Luke 2:52, 'And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.'
[2.] Again, Christ may be said to be anointed at his baptism, which was the visible consecration to his office, when the Holy Ghost descended upon him 'in the form of a dove,' Mat. 3:16, 17, and John 1:33. Once more—
[3.] He may be said to be anointed at his ascension, when he received of the Father the promise of the Spirit to pour him forth upon his disciples: Acts 2:33, 'Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.' This I take to be the sense here, his glorious exaltation at the right hand of God, where, being possessed of all power, he joyfully expecteth and accomplisheth the fruits of his redemption. I am the more confirmed in this—
(1.) Because the exaltation of Christ is as it were his welcome to neaven; God doth as it were take him by the hand, and set him upon the throne after all the sorrows of his humiliation. As we welcome a stranger or a guest whose coming is pleasing to us by taking him by the hand and bringing him into our houses, so is Christ exalted by the right hand of God, and welcomed into heaven, as having done his work, and made full provision for the glory of God and the obedience of the creature; as we are also received into glory after we are guided by his counsel: Ps. 73:24, 'Thou shalt guide me by thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory;' and then all tears shall be wiped from our eyes.
(2.) The term, 'the oil of gladness,' implieth it; for that was the entertainment of honourable guests invited to a feast. We see it practised to Christ by one woman: Luke 7:37, 'And behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment.' And by another: Mat. 26:7, 'There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head as he sat at meat.' And the psalmist, speaking of God's festival entertainment: Ps. 23:5, 'Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou anointest my head with oil.' Another mention of this practice is, Ps. 104:15, 'Wine to make glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine.' All these places, and many more in the scripture, allude to the custom of pouring some fragrant precious ointments on the heads of guests of special eminency, called 'the oil of gladness,' because the use of it was to exhilarate and cheer the spirits. Now, because this was an extraordinary respect paid them, this phrase came at length to signify the preferring one above another; and so it is fitly applied to Christ, whom God hath dignified above all men and angels, in that he hath received power spiritual and divine above what was communicated to any other.
3. The persons anointed.
[1.] One singular in this unction, the Lord Jesus Christ. There are two sorts of privileges—(1.) Some things only given to Christ, not to us; as the name above all names to be adored, Phil. 2:9; to be the head of the renewed state, Eph. 1:21, the saviour of the body, Eph. 5:23; to have power to dispense the Spirit, to administer providences, &c. All this is proper to Christ; neither men nor angels share with him in these honours. (2.) There are other things given to Christ and his people; as the sanctifying and comforting Spirit, the heavenly inheritance, victory over our spiritual enemies, the devil, the world, and the flesh; these are given to us and him; only God doth grace his Son above his fellows: Rom. 8:29, 'That he might be the firstborn among many brethren.' He must have the honour due to the first-born. Anciently the first-born was lord of the rest of the family: Gen. 27:37, 'And Isaac answered and said unto Esau, Behold, I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I given to him for servants.' And also the first-born gave the rest of the brethren a share of the father's goods, reserving to himself a double portion: Deut. 21:17, 'He shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the first-born by giving him a double portion of all that he hath, for he is the beginning of his strength, the right of the first-born is his.' Christ being the first-born, he must in all things have the pre-eminence. In our conflicts and trials he is 'the captain of our salvation,' Heb. 2:10. In holiness he is our pattern, or the copy which we must transcribe: 2 Cor. 3:18, 'Are changed into the same image from glory to glory.' Primum in unoquoque genere est mensura et regula cœterorum—The first in every kind is the standard for all the rest. In our glory and blessedness he is our forerunner, Heb. 6:20, having actually taken possession of that felicity and glory which he will bestow upon his followers; so that Christ's honour is reserved, and believers are comforted whilst they follow their head in every state and condition.
[2.] Others are admitted to be partakers of this grace in a lower degree, called 'his fellows.' They are also dignified and graced by God above the rest of the world, but not as Christ was. Two things I will observe here—
(1.) They must be his consorts and fellows. Sometimes they are called 'his brethren,' Heb. 2:11; sometimes members of his mystical body, Eph. 1:22, 23; sometimes 'joint-heirs with Christ,' Rom. 8:17; meaning thereby all believers, who are companions with him both in grace and glory. Thus we must be before we partake of this anointing. Actus activorum sunt in passivo unito et disposito—They that receive influence from another must be fitted for what they receive, and united to him from whom they receive it. Therefore none but Christ's members and fellows do partake of his unction. But who are they? All such as are like-minded with himself, that love righteousness, and hate iniquity, that set themselves seriously to promote the glory of God, and to destroy the reign of sin in the world, both in themselves and others; in short, those that are regenerated and planted into his mystical body by the Spirit.
(2.) The next thing which I observe is, that all these may have somewhat of this unction according to their measure and part which they sustain in the body: 1 John 2:20, 'But we have an unction from the Holy One;' compare Ps. 133:2, 'It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard, that went down to the skirts of his garments.' The ointment poured upon our head in such plenty that it diffuseth itself to all his members, God is the author thereof: 2 Cor. 1:21, 'Now he that establisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God.' It is a divine work but the pipe or means of conveying it to us is Christ, who is the great receptacle from whence the whole family is supplied: John 1:16, 'Of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.' And it mainly consisteth in the gift of the Spirit, sanctifying and preparing us for our present work and final reward, and comforting us with our present interest in the love of God and hopes of glory: 2 Cor. 5:5, 'Now he that hath wrought us for this self-same thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.'
Use. I shall exhort you to two things—(1.) To holiness; (2.) To get more of the oil of gladness.
1. To holiness. If there were no more than that it is pleasing to Christ, and visibly exemplified in his own person, this should induce us. It was love to holiness and hatred of sin that brought him out of heaven, and put him on the work of our redemption. Nothing doth more urge us to do a thing than love, or to forbear it than hatred. These were Christ's motives to undertake the redemption of sinners. Now we should love what he loveth, and hate what he hateth: Rev. 2:6, 'Thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate;' Prov. 8:13, 'The fear of the Lord is to hate evil, pride, and arrogancy; and the evil way and the froward month do I hate.' But there is more in the argument than so. This was the design of our Redeemer: 1 John 3:8, 'For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.' Now it doth not become christians to contradict the designed end of their Redeemer. But this is not all; it is to slight the price of our redemption, as if there were no such great mystery in it, that the Son of God should die; for if we slight the benefits we slight the ransom, 1 Peter 1:18. Yea, there is this further in it, we neglect the grace that may be had upon such easy terms. Surely the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ did somewhat shorten the power of sin, or else he came in vain. He obtained the grace he purchased: John 12:31, 'Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the prince of this world be cast out.' These are the glorious fruits and effects of his death, that it shall tend to the glory of God and the bringing down the kingdom of sin and Satan in the world. They to whom this purchase is revealed, and yet reject the offer, are guilty of sluggish cowardice, and if they be not delivered from the power of the devil, and restored to a life of holiness, their condemnation is just. In our natural estate by the fall of Adam we were all corrupted and out of frame, but the second Adam came to restore things that were in confusion and out of frame to their right and primitive order. Man hath fallen from holiness and happiness; sin and Satan have reigned and raged in this world; the children of this world have blessed themselves in their bad condition, and delighted in their slavery and bondage. Now if Christ come to make an end of sin and bring in everlasting righteousness, shall it be so still as it was before? shall the disordered world go on in its ancient wont? Surely there should be more visible fruits of his coming seen among us. If men should lie in wickedness still, and turn their backs upon God, after whose image they were created, and sin and Satan rule them at their pleasure, how are things put in frame that were out of course? What hath the Son of God done by all his holy life and bloody sufferings? Surely either the purchase is not so great and glorious, or we make but little use of it, and so are quite strangers in God's Israel.
I have not done with the argument yet. We have no communion with Christ, yea, we renounce it, if we continue to be so unlike him: 1 John 1:6–8, 'If we say we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth; but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, then have we fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.' Such a solemn preface introduceth that truth, to show that if we live in our sins, we shall die in our sins, and then farewell all happiness.
2. To look after more of this unction. He is Christ the anointed of God; we must be christians: Acts 11:26, 'The disciples were called christians first in Antioch;' anointed with the Holy Ghost and with power, that we may understand the mind of God, consecrate ourselves to him, work his work, and engage in his warfare, fighting against the devil, the world, and the flesh, till we triumph with Christ in heaven. All must be anointed.
[1.] This is the fruit of Christ's exaltation, to send and shed abroad the Spirit. There are effects of Christ's humiliation and effects of Christ's exaltation. The effects of Christ's humiliation are taking away the curse of the law, pacifying God's wrath, satisfying his justice, the annihilation of the right which the devil had over sinners, a right to return to God and enjoy eternal life. The exaltation of Christ also hath its effects; the application of this grace and the execution of this right, by quickening us who were dead in trespasses and sins, and pardoning our transgressions, and putting us into the way everlasting. Now we should seek in Christ not only the force of satisfaction but the force of regeneration, and his efficacious grace to apply what he hath purchased for us, that he may be 'made sanctification to us' as well as 'righteousness,' 1 Cor. 1:30. Since Christ is so able and willing to dispense this grace freely and abundantly into men's hearts, surely it should not be neglected.
[2.] Consider the necessity of this grace. Our love to righteousness and hatred of iniquity is the fruit of this unction, for affections follow the nature. When we live in the Spirit we shall walk in the Spirit: Ps. 97:10, 'Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.' All that pretend to return to God must show the reality of it this way. Therefore, as you would be pleasing to Christ, do not neglect this grace.
[3.] Consider the utility and profit. It is for our comfort. The Spirit is called 'the oil of gladness,' because the benefits whereof we are partakers are matters of great joy: Acts 13:52, 'The disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Ghost;' Acts 8:39, 'He went on his way rejoicing;' Acts 16:34, 'He rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.' It is for our honour we are dignified above others, the more we are made partakers of the Spirit: 1 Peter 2:9, 'Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people.'